Chapter #5: Promises to Keep (Takes place in 1980 with a 17 year old Gene Hunt and 10 year old Sam Tyler)

Young teenaged Gene Hunt meets up 10 year old Sam Tyler; he appears to have a lot in common with, as the younger boy is still missing his father even though it had been seven years since Vic Tyler left Manchester. Gene's detective skills find that Sam has been bullied in school yet again.

Gene Hunt walked along the street like a proper bobby on the beat. He knew his mother would rather he came straight home, but it was a beautiful day after a solid week of rain, and he wasn't ready to go home just yet. He liked it here where the sun glinted off the terraced street. It was quiet; a place a person could go to spend some time in his own head without the jeers of classmates or the unwelcome concern of adults.

Some of the boys at school scoffed at Gene's dream of being a police officer and his going to Greater Manchester Police Cadets after 4:00 pm everyday in his uniform without fail. The lanky, skinny, tall and fresh faced 17 year old drove his hand me down Ford Cortina Mk3 2000 GXL to a derlict area of garden weeds, disused council estates, and the bits of old bicycles.

Gene had just recently passed his driving test and got his license to drive, the best freedom ever since his dad DCI Hunt now got the brand new squared off Mk5 model of the Cortina on the Ghia trim in champagne gold. But why was a ten year old boy spending so much time exploring the derelict seventies council estate? But Gene takes the police Cadet Training the way that it was now, flaws and all, because right now the future was here for him to enjoy.

Gene walked on with a smile until he heard a small cry from one of the boarded up houses in the Hamwick Estate. It had only been ten years old, but was already in such a state.

He was about six, maybe seven, with jet black hair. His face still held a bit of baby fat, but it looked like he might grow up to be thin-featured. The boy looked like he desperately wanted to cry, but having spotted Gene he set his jaw and was absolutely refusing to do so. Gene Hunt admired the kid for that.

"Rough place for a hideout?" said 17 year old Gene Hunt seeing his younger friend upset , sat in front of one of the condemned council houses.

10 year old Sam Tyler said with his eyes fixed on the ground in front of him. "Just tryin' to fix things, but now I made a big old mess and she's gonna know for sure."

"Who's going to know?" asked Gene Hunt gently picking up the small ten year boy carefully off the doorstep, tucking his head underneath his chin.

"Me mum." mumbled Sam Christopher Tyler wrapping his arms around the tall 17 year old boy.

"Do you really think she will be that upset that you got involved with the bullies?" whispered Gene Hunt, his Greater Manchester Police Cadet skills were kicking in, time to put everything you learned about being a good copper to the test, Genie boy. his brain told himself.

At that little Sam looked at Gene, frustration and a touch of anger in his eyes. "No, you don't understand. My teachers don't believe me when I tell them about the other boys teasing me about my Dad, Vic Tyler." he sobbed into his future boss's shoulders being gently patted.

"It's about that and I'm worried me classmates have called me a baby." said Sam Tyler through his wailing "'Cause I miss my Dad!" Gene sat next to the kid and held out his hand. "My name's Eugene, but everyone calls me Genie, by the way." stroking little Sammy's hands lovingly.

A bit of memory gave little Sam an idea. "Or I could call you Gene Genie. There used to be a David Bowie song by that name. It was pretty cool." He then opens up to the older boy who would years later be his future Guv and tells him about what happened in the playground "I had some of Jamie Donovan's lunch thrown at me, but I could have gotten away with that by telling Mum I was clumsy."

He had read about this in some of his police text books; how sometimes people didn't always want to tell you what happened, even when you were trying to help them. Gene thought getting Sammy Tyler to tell him what happened might be good practice for when he was a detective. He figured he ought to start with something other than another question.

Gene detective skills were starting to kick in. "So these boys? Jamie and Billy, wasn't it? They did this to you on purpose?"

"Tommy Stone was with them too. He was the one who spit on me. Don't tell Mum, Guv." said 10 year old Sam Tyler calling Gene by his future title without thinking.

Three against one. Even assuming these boys were the same age as the kid in front of him, Gene Hunt didn't like that one bit."So why did these guys do something like this, do you know, Samuel?"

The black haired kid nodded and stared at his knees for a moment. "Because of my dad."

Gene was really starting not to like this. "What about your dad?"

"Because he's not here and when I was four, Dad left Manchester on the run!" sobbed ten year old Sam Tyler since Vic Tyler's leaving out of the blue still affected him 7 years later.

Gene's own heart was beating faster now and he almost hated himself for asking the next question. "Do you know where he is?"

"No." Little Sammy shook his head.

Gene Hunt held his younger mate as he cried out all the frustration of the day, knowing there wasn't much else he could do, and by the time the last of the sniffles faded, the kid toddled to the waiting Cortina 2000 GXL.

"That would be so cool. Thanks, Guv." as both boys got into the Cortina immediately.

"Don't thank me yet, I still haven't figured out what to say to your mum, Sammy boy." Gene Hunt is behind the wheel taking his younger mate home to his worried mother.

Mrs. Ruth Tyler had held herself together tonight the same way she had for over two years now, by concentrating on Sammy. She got him washed and into some dry pyjamas, made him dinner, and sent him off to bed. Once she was alone she poured herself a hefty measure of scotch and downed it in one. Her second glass was raised in a mock toast to the man staring back at her from the wedding portrait on the wall. "You knew, didn't you? Bastard. Fucking bastard, you knew Vic Tyler!" The second whiskey went the way of the first before the angry silence was broken when the glass shattered against the picture frame.

Ruth watched as Gene played football with Sam. He insisted on Sam now, refusing to let her use that "stupid baby name" anymore. The older boy was patient, carefully showing the younger one how to shift his weight and turn his body just so to get the most force on the ball.

Gene encouraged Sam to stand up for himself. Mrs. Tyler might not always like that, but then she was his mother, and she would baby him forever if he would let her; that was her job.

And now the story behind Gene Hunt and Sam's Tyler's friendship in their early years is now complete, please feel free to read and review! BBC Television and Kudos studios own the series, I just have fun with the characters.