Title: Schrodinger's Cat
Pairing: Sam/Annie, Sam/Gene
Rating: R for language and sexual content
Timeline/Spoilers: Post ep 1.06
Length: 1,734 words
Disclaimer: Not mine. We all know that.
A/N: Unbeta'd, crit welcome.
It might have been three o'clock in the morning, but Sam wasn't surprised to hear the knock on the door. He'd been expecting it. In fact, he'd been lying awake waiting for it.
That was the thing about near-death experiences: they made you want to prove you were still alive.
He'd very nearly been the one out knocking on doors himself - he'd got as far as sitting in the car with the engine running, but the momentum had deserted him when he realised that he had no idea where he was planning to go. So he'd come back inside, and decided to let someone else make the decision.
The knocking sounded again, but it gave no clue. Two short, equal raps: neither demanding nor questioning, neither hard nor soft.
He got up, walked slowly to the door and put his hand against the cool surface. As far as the mysteries of his life went, this had to be of the easier ones to solve - just open the door, or at least ask 'who's there?' That wasn't an unreasonable question.
But still, he didn't ask.
His hand moved towards the door handle and hovered there, not quite touching it. Of course, the problem with solving mysteries was that to satisfy your curiosity, you had to sacrifice your anticipation. And Sam liked anticipation: he liked the thrill of knowing that something good was coming, liked basking in that feeling. His mum always used to say he was the only kid she'd ever heard of that you couldn't get out of bed on Christmas morning.
Maybe he'd wait a little longer, just to savour the possibilities.
If it was Annie, she probably wouldn't say anything when he opened the door. She'd just give him that smile, the one that was a little knowing and a little unsure at the same time. He wouldn't say anything either, just hold the door wide and close it softly behind her.
They'd look at each other for a long time, and he'd be the one to crack first. He'd take a step towards her, opening his mouth to say her name, and she'd reach out a hand to brush a single finger against his lips. She'd shake her head and give him that smile again, and he'd understand. There'd be no need for words, not tonight.
And it might just be for tonight, he'd know that. His life was messy and complicated and not geared up towards happy endings, and she – well, they both knew she deserved better. But for tonight, it wasn't about any of that. It was about being alive, and reaching out, and making something that was real – even if it could only be temporary.
He'd glance at the bed then, and feel the flush warm his cheeks when he realised what he'd done. He'd duck his head but she'd just laugh, and reach out to tilt his chin back up to face her. She'd look at him with such amused affection that something inside him would loosen up, something that he hadn't even known was there, and he'd finally be able to breathe again.
He'd put his hand over hers where it cradled his face, and smile back. And in that moment he'd love her, as much as he was able to.
The kiss would be tentative at first, while they tested angles and pressures and worked out how they fit together. Then she'd open her mouth and meet his tongue with her own, and the sensation would send an electric shock all the way down his body. Her hand would slide behind his head and caress the nape of his neck, her fingers playing lightly across the soft hair.
His hands would find their way to her back, pulling her towards him until he could feel the heat of her skin through the thin cotton of her shirt. He'd break the kiss then, gasping and dizzy, and catch her gaze in his. She'd nod, slowly, and start unbuttoning the shirt.
When it was done she'd push her shoulders back and let it drop to the floor, shaking her hair. Her arms would start to move, as if her first instinct was to cross them across her breasts, but then she'd lower them to her sides and raise her chin, holding herself straight and proud.
He'd watch her unashamedly, feeling like the luckiest man in the world, while they each took off the rest of their clothes. There was no rush, just a sweet inevitability.
He'd feel a twinge of regret when she finally lowered herself onto the bed – she should have clean, expensive sheets and champagne chilling in an ice bucket somewhere – but it would soon be forgotten once he started to move inside her. She'd be pliant and responsive, arching her back and wrapping her legs around him. He'd start to lose himself in her – in her body, in her warmth, in her moans – but he'd fight the pressure building inside him and deliberately bring himself down from the edge. He'd roll them over, laughing at her surprise, and explore her body with hands and lips and tongue. They'd cry out each others' names when they came, and those would be the only words that would pass between them.
If it was Annie, at the door.
If it was Gene – well. If it was Gene, the door would be thrown open as soon as he'd unlocked it, and if it cracked into him on the way past then so much the better.
Gene would stalk inside, kick it shut and then slam him up against it, one strong, meaty hand around his throat.
"You know what?" he would say, punctuating each statement with another shove. "I don't much like having guns, or journalists, stuck in my face, I don't much like being shot and I don't much like you."
He'd let Sam go and start to pace the room, making it seem even smaller with every turn. "I nearly died tonight," he'd say, in a tone that was half disbelief and half fury. "I nearly got killed by some washed-up fucker who wanted his fucking name in the fucking paper. And why? Because you get some poncey fucking plan in your head about negotiating with the bastard and I have to go following you around like some kind of fucking idiot."
His hand would curl into a fist and Sam would eye it warily. "Is that what you take me for?" he'd bellow. "Some kind of fucking idiot?"
"No, Guv," Sam would say quietly.
"Then what, eh?" He'd whirl round again and get right up in Sam's face, backing him up against the wall. "What's your game?"
"No game, Guv. Just trying to do my job."
"I think your job," Gene would say, spitting the word out, "is trying to drive me round the fucking bend."
He'd thump his hand against the wall an inch from Sam's face and glare into his eyes. There would be confusion there, and anger, and challenge.
"Back off, Guv," Sam would say quietly but firmly, and Gene would go very, very still. He'd lean in closer, until their faces were nearly touching. "You what?" he'd say, in a light, almost conversational tone.
Sam would take a deep breath and know that it was now or never: he could deal with this like a rational, civilised man, or -
He'd straighten up and put one hand squarely in the middle of Gene's chest. "I said back off," he'd growl, and shove Gene away just as hard as he could.
Gene would stumble backwards, his eyes going wide, and then he'd look back at Sam with a slow, dangerous smile. "You little fucker," he'd say. "Right, that's it. That's your lot now, sunshine."
He'd throw a huge pinwheeling punch that Sam would duck easily and then swing round, eyes glittering, and lunge for him again. This time, Sam would allow himself to be grabbed by the shoulders and pushed back against the wall.
Fuck it, he'd think. He's probably going to kill me anyway.
And so he'd reach out and pull Gene's head towards him, crush their lips together furiously for a second and then push him away.
Gene's face would go completely blank, and for a while Sam would think he'd misjudged it – badly, badly misjudged it – and then Gene's eyes would narrow and his expression would say 'so that's it' far louder than his voice ever could. And the smile would become feral, and he'd grab hold of Sam and kiss him back – except that it would be less a kiss than an assault, rough and painful and absolutely not about pleasure. It would be about dominance, and neither of them would even start to think otherwise.
There would be more kisses, each more violent than the last, and Sam would grind his hips against Gene's. The friction and the violent, frantic roughness would quickly be enough to send him over the edge with a guttural cry.
When it was over, Gene would clean himself off with Sam's ripped and discarded shirt, which he would then throw contemptuously on the floor.
"This never happened," he'd snarl, pointing at Sam. "And don't you forget it."
Sam would nod once, curtly, and only when Gene had slammed out again would he let himself smile. "Yeah, right," he say, and he'd crawl into bed to nurse his bruised and aching body.
If it was Gene, at the door.
Sam stared at the handle, trailing his fingers over it.
But still, he didn't ask.
Until he opened the door, it was both. Like Schrodinger's cat, dead and alive at the same time in its sealed box, it was both Gene and Annie standing waiting for him on the other side. Only the act of opening it would crystallise those two realities into one.
Slowly, Sam dropped his hand. Living in two realities wasn't actually that bad, when you got used to it.
He backed away, sat down on the bed and stared at the door for a long time.
There was no more knocking.
- end -