000 Disclaimer, I don't own Life On Mars in any way shape or form, I'm merely borrowing them a while :) 000 This is the very first Life On Mars fic I ever wrote before the last ever episode was aired, so I guess this could be considered an AU ending :) 000
I've been in many a pub in my time, but I always end up back here. Me and the barman have an understandin' y'see - whatever I ask for I get one of those bloody pansy fruit juice things. I haven't had a proper drink for fifteen years. It were the missus idea, she were worried my liver was gonna shut up shop after most of the seventies and eighties passed in a drunken haze.
In the end I didn't mind, took me a while but I realised I'd let a lot of stuff slide, my city was going straight down the shithole and I was too drunk to do anythin' about it. No, I knew I couldn't let it go on like that. So I sobered up, relying on all the shit that happened daily to distract from the past, denying it ever happened - made it easier that way.
Or it did till the past walked through the door.
When I first saw the article on him in the paper I thought I'd finally lost it. After all these years...he'd been telling the truth, the coma, the crash. Almost made me reach for the bottle again, but I got hold of meself in time, shoved the paper in the outside bin and told the missus I hadn't brought one when she asked to read it later.
He didn't say anythin' at first, just sat beside me at the bar and ordered a diet coke. I could see him eyein' my juice.
I ignored him, knocked back a good half of my drink, trying to decide whether or not to leave. Bastard hadn't aged a day whilst I had another thirty years under my belt, I could deny any knowledge of him till the cows came home but it's hard to tell yourself somethin' didn't happen when the evidence is sat next to you. Especially when even after all this time you can still remember the ways he used to try and approach you, just from the way he was sat I knew he was going to try a softly-softly approach.
"What?" Took a sip of my drink, wished it were a proper pint.
His face was completely blank as he asked "Are you Gene Hunt?" Just from his tone of voice I could tell he knew who I was, it was just something to start a conversation. Bastard.
"The one and only."
"Do you remember ever working with a copper called Sam Tyler?" He wasn't detached enough, he sounded too eager, too uncertain of what the answer would be.
He didn't know, he didn't know if it'd happened. I looked back at my drink.
He frowned then, one hand lightly curled round his drink, the other clutching hold of them mobile phone things he'd brought out of his pocket. "He was a DI in your department, CID," he pressed.
"Don't know him, sorry." Bastard. I got up to leave then and he suddenly grabbed hold of my arm.
"You must remember," he insisted. He was panicking, I could see it in his eyes. "1973. He was there same time as DS Ray Carling, DC Chris Skelton - think, please."
"What does it matter now? '73 was a long time ago." That'd become my saying, something to keep me going.
He rubbed his thumb against his mobile, his hand still clutching hold of my coat, his eyes boring into me. But I knew he wouldn't see anything in my face, I had thirty odd years over him, years of practice at lyin'. "Detective Inspector Sam Tyler," he said emphasising every word. "He was shot during -"
"Look Gladys," Had to interrupt him then, didn't want to let him finish his sentence. "It doesn't matter how many times you ask the bloody answer will still be the same!"
But instead of letting go he just grinned up at me. "Gladys?"
"Got to call you somethin'." I shrugged.
"You do remember m-him," he pressed. I was surprised his phone didn't break he was clutchin' it that hard.
"No, I bloody well don't. Now bugger off." I pulled my arm from his grip.
I could see it all in his face, confusion, panic, frustration, but I couldn't tell him. After all I'd had thirty years of denial.
He stood up, moved to block my way. "You really don't remember?" He didn't believe me.
"No." A lie.
You don't forget when someone dies in your arms, you don't forget how their blood felt on your skin, or how it looked smeared over your clothes. You don't forget how it felt to know you'd been just a fraction of a second too late, and you don't forget how you kept reliving it over and over every night till you hit the bottle to make the pain go away, if only for a second. You can't forget, you only wish you could.
Something in my face betrays me, and he smiles ruefully.
"What did you expect?" I asked bitterly. "I've known a lot of coppers in my time, you expect me to remember one from thirty years back?"
He didn't say anything to that, his gaze fixed on the floor. Finally he looked up. "Sorry for ruining your coat."
000 Please review :) 000