Gene aches for a drink.

Blood that just longs to be intoxicated pounds in his ears, sending flashes of pain across his vision, and his hands itch for his flask, for the soothing warmth to slip down his throat and into him. In the thin light of the very early morning that creeps in through the dusty window, he can feel his skin shivering. Just his skin, like it's crawling off him.

Not surprising, really, considering that he's in his knick-knacks because some rat-bastard's got all the sodding duvet tucked under his skinny behind.

As goose-bumps crawl up the hair on his arms, Gene looks down at the guilty man, coiled up and comatose next to him. Bloody oblivious at all times, that one: head-strong and wayward even in bed. Even now, the fruit loop isn't asleep like normal people would be. His eyes are screwed up tight, skin rippling outwards with some unknown tension, nose mashed into the pillow. His hands clutch reflexively at the pillow, tightening then relaxing their hold on it.

Gene grunts and narrows his eyes, trying to work out if Sam was deep enough asleep for him to risk getting up and claiming his flask from over them. With a flash of annoyance, he realises he knows already that he isn't. Never switched off, his DI... Made him a damn good copper, but it was fucking annoying at times like this, when nothing is going to quell the sickening roll and twist of his stomach that the hot liquid Gene knows is only a few inches of his reach.

Never one to ignore a challenge, Gene grits his teeth and pushes himself up on one elbow, feeling his skin burst into flames as the scratchy sheets scrub his arm. Sam suddenly shifts beside him, unknowingly disturbed as the bed dips dramatically under Gene's applied weight. He sharp knees come up, taking the stolen duvet with them, hands clutching all the tighter as if scared it's all going to be taken away from him. Sam lifts his head slightly, threatening Gene with his waking.

Gene freezes before he even realises what he's doing, holding still like a naffing lemon, eyes fixed on Sam's face as Sleeping Beauty tries to work out if it's worth waking up or not. After a lifetime, the unconscious option wins, and Sam's strained and puckered features smooth into a heavier sleep. His hands relax on the pillow and Gene lets out a breath he hadn't even known he was holding, and he drops his arm carefully.

Bloody Tyler.

Lying back, head banging almost-silently against that bastard headboard, Gene glares at the grubby ceiling. He should just push the Boy Wonder off the edge of the bed, retrieve both the duvet and the flask and have a grand old time with the pair of them but… Gene can't quite bring himself to do that to Sam. Useless git has looked terrible the past week or so: scrawnier, if that's possible, and more ragged, clearly not getting his full forty winks. Not that Gene would have noticed had Ray not been taking the piss out of Sam for it all last week.

A hot heat prickles Gene's neck as he thinks about Ray's gleeful smirk and mocking eyes on Sam, working hard at his desk at the other side of the squad room, head bent low enough to avoid the taunts being thrown at him. The thought of why this bothers him bothers Gene even more, and he quickly flings it out of his mind, like he does with all the rubbish a man like him doesn't think.

In any case, he can't have his top cop dragging his feet on this latest case, and Gene doesn't want knackerdness getting in the way of the only reason they keep Sam around: that brain of his. If Tyler doesn't have that he's neither use nor ornament to the department, what with all his funny turns, damn insubordination and idiotic logic.

A harsh cough presses up Gene's windpipe, and he hacks violently into the cold air. Sam doesn't even flinch. Gene glares at him, too, suddenly suspicious he's been set up… But apparently loud sudden noises don't disturb him, just little tiny movements from Gene. Chuffing wonderful, that… They're not even touching - they never do in the mornings, something Gene wouldn't have thought was even possible considering how tiny the bed is. But Sam slips away to nothing in the bed and Gene lies almost-awkwardly on one side: the only time they keep their distance.

But Gene can still feel the heat of him burning into his skin across the morgue-table he calls a bed.

Sammy-boy with that fire in his belly that sometimes makes Gene want to introduce his stupid too-small head to the nearest hard object, and sometimes sends a little thrill of pride and inexplicable gladness up the back of his ribs.

His strange distant heat scorches into Gene's skin like a brand, his bony little body hot enough to burn up an entire room. It's as if all the cogs and wheels that go into making Sam's brain whirr that little bit faster than most of Gene's DCs' put together heat up his skin to unbearable temperatures, sending him into a fury over the tiniest things, the smallest details. As if he's getting burned up from the inside and the rest of them have to suffer for it.

Only Gene doesn't suffer… Not anymore, not really. Not when it counts. Just like now, Sam's white-hot presence is enough to burn away everything else - the frustration of the job, the itch of the drink, the pain of all those unseeing eyes and trips of conscience.

Gene breathes in - a smothered yawn - and he can smell Sam's naff aftershave, mixed with the whiff of sweating under so many streetlamps in a day, and a twist of something else. It's sharp, new and entirely Sam. It's something Gene cannot for the life of him put his finger on - never has been able to - something he's not encountered before. It drives him mad.

He's still thinking about it as the smell lulls him away from the lure of the innocent-looking silver flask and back to sleep, lying as close to Sam as he can without touching, sharing his heat in the cold morning.

---- The end. ----