Title : Travellers in time

Notes : My first Life on Mars fic :)


01

"Boss ? She's dead, boss", says a muffled voice. "Let her go now."

Someone snaps his fingers in front of him, jerks his shoulder.

"Oi, Tyler !", calls another distant voice. "Let us know when you'll fancy moving your arse off the crime scene, eh ?"

He can hear them talk around him, but they are all far, so far away. He tries to move but his body is paralyzed, as if time had frozen right before the next second and refused to go any further. Lost and bewildered in another world, he catches glimpses of what must have been the girl's deluded dream. She brought him there with her, in her own mind - he sees flashes, lights, smiles for the journos, more flashes, and he watches himself standing besides her, holding her hand. Somewhere in the future, he could tell, but none of it makes any sense. He closes his eyes, tries to get back to reality.

The lights flicker, and Sam's back in 1973.

"Are you ok, boss ? C'mon, put yourself together."

They're on the police station, and half CID is here busy looking at them.

The woman lies on her back, her head to the side, blue eyes wide open staring at him. Sam's on his knees, holding her wrist in his hand. She clings to life, but maybe not enough, and her pulse weakens slowly.

A familiar face. Chris. He offers Sam a hand to help him stand up, but someone else grabs him under the arms and puts him roughly on his feet. The girl's hand falls on the floor with a muted sound.

Blood. Sam only notices it now, and he feels dizzy and disconnected again.

Blood on his own hands, on the girl's body, on the floor, everywhere.

She's a young and pretty woman, with long blond hair, white dress and flats, a gun in her open hand.

She's been shot twice in the chest.

"Lucky bastard you are, Sammy boy. Next time you're about to piss off another loopy bird, make sure she doesn't hide a bloody shooter in her handbag, will ya ?"

Sam still navigates between dreams and reality, and he squints at Gene as he pushes the gun away from her with his boot.

"She's dead. Looks like Gene Genie saved you again."

She's not dead, Sam tries to say, but he only manages to utter unintelligible sounds as the words collide in his brain. She's not dead, she's still breathing, she needs an ambulance, she needs CPR, someone call a doctor please

"Where is she ?"

Sam recognizes a voice as someone passes him by, but he looks toward the ground and thus can't see the man's face, only a pair of red plimsolls that look oddly familiar.

The lights flicker again.

Someone hauls him outside, and the doors of the Lost & Found room close behind him.


"Who was she, Sam ?"

They're in the empty canteen, Annie sitting in front of him. There is something in her voice, a subtle resentment, and Sam doesn't understand. He could've been killed, yet she doesn't seem to realize it.

"I don't know, Annie. Chris is going through the records to see if we've anything on her."

He doubts it though. The woman looked like she was from a different time, just like him. Something he'd rather not tell Annie anyway.

"She knew you. And she said she was..."

She pauses, looks Sam in the eye. What's she on about ? He cannot remember what the girl said, and Annie looks peeved again.

"Annie, what ?"

"She said she was your bloody wife, for God's sake ! "

"Did she... ? Anyway, she seemed a bit deluded, don't you think ?"

Indeed she was, and Annie sighs.

"So what d'you reckon, Sam ? She woke up this morning, decided to walk into CID to take any officer hostage ?"

"Why not ?"

"Bit of bad luck for you, intit ?"

It's the least she could say, he thinks, but he doesn't want to anger her more than she already is.

"And what did she say to you, when you were alone with her ?"

That's when things start to become a bit unreal. He's spent two hours locked in the Lost & Found room with this woman - well, so they say, because Sam can't honestly remember. That was only this morning, three hours ago, and every moment has already turned into a blurry mess in his mind. What did she want ? What did he say to her ? Did he talk to her, did he reason with her and try to understand what she wanted ? He must have done all that, but he doesn't remember,as if something inside him didn't want to.

But he really can't say that to Annie. Against all odds, so far she doesn't see him as a total nutcase, and he'd like to keep things that way.

"What was her name again ?", asks Sam, in a pitiful attempt to elude the question, and Annie rolls her eyes.

"Lucy", she says. "Lucy Saxon. Does it ring a bell ?"

"My faithful companion", whispers Sam to himself.

Annie quizzically stares at him, puzzled.

"Wh... What did you say ?"

"I don't know. It just came like that, like..."

Like someone else was talking. But what could he say ? The whole conversation irritates Annie, and she just leaves him there, pretending she has urgent work to do.


Back home and lying in his bed, Sam tries to recall the events of the day. The more he tries, the more his memory faults him.

Back to the start, this morning : Phyllis said she had a witness for him, waiting in the interview room. She specified the woman showed her 'an unusual photograph of him'.

"What d'you mean, 'unusual' ?", he asked, hoping Phyllis wasn't talking about Joni style photos.

"You don't look like yourself in it. All posh and classy, wasn't sure t'was you."

Nice.

So the woman was waiting in the Lost & Food room. She looked so harmless - who could've guessed this young woman in her white dress was hiding a gun in her handbag ?

So he hadn't had the time to say hello that already she was next to him, pointing the shooter to his head.

What was she trying to do, holding a DI hostage in a crowded police station ?

Did he know her from another case ?

Was it personal, really ?

Or was she just mad ?

Sam doesn't have the answer to any of these questions. He knows he was alone with her these two hours in the interview room.

And after that - nothing until at some point, she opened the door, went out, and Gene shot her twice.

But there had been this strange noise, outside, just before she left the room. She had looked panicked, he didn't forget that, …

He stares at the ceiling and wonders what's he gonna tell the guv tomorrow.

"Are you ok, Harry ?", asks a voice behind him.

Sam screams and jumps off the bed.

At first, he mistakes her for the Test Card Girl, that bloody little brat that enjoys haunting his bedroom or his mind now and then.

He blinks and looks again. It's not the girl, and for the first time, he wishes it were.

Because it's Lucy, standing in front of him, impersonating the Test Card Girl with the red dress, the know it all smile, and Bubbles the Clown in her hand to complete the performance.

A nightmare. It must be a friggin nightmare.

These days his subconscious conceals the freakiest things.

"You're only in my head", Sam says, closing his eyes and opening them again, in the hope she will have disappeared. "You're not here. You don't even exist."

She's coming closer, and he backs away, till he finds himself against the wall.

"In my head", he tries to convince himself. "You're only in my head..."

She slaps him in the face, and that feels much too real to be one of his usual hallucinations.

"Don't be so conceited", says Test Card Lucy. "People are not only in your head. Do you know how far I've travelled to find you again ? I think it deserves a bit of consideration, Harry."

"My name is Sam Tyler. Don't you confuse me with someone else ?"

"Sam Tyler", she repeats, and she laughs with disdain. "Who gave you that name ?"

"What ?"

"Well, I knew you wouldn't recognize me anyway, but this is a bit disappointing. I'm Lucy, by the way."

"Yeah, I know that. But you're dead. Got killed this morning and I was there."

"Dead ?", and she laughs again. "You're deranged, my love."

"You're not the first to tell..."

Test Card Lucy looks around her, as if analyzing every detail from his apartment.

"Nice place you have. Where is it ?", she asks as she starts to rummage through his stuff.

"What're you doing ?"

"Where do you hide it ?"

"Where do I hide what ?"

She looks at him as if the answer were obvious. Sam doesn't move and let her search whatever she's looking for. How do you stop a dream - or a nightmare, anyway ? He closes his eyes, knowing she'll go away in the end. All he has to do is pretend she's not here, and eventually she'll leave him alone.

"I'll find it later", she says as she finally gives up. "You'll see me again."

She's gone when Sam opens his eyes.

She's left Bubbles on the floor and he refuses to disappear.

The raggedy clown stays there, nagging him.


First thing Sam notices next morning : there's a note on his desk.

"Sorry about what happened. Should've come earlier. Take care, Sam."

"Who left this ?", he asks the entire room.

Nobody answers.

Gene shouts his name from inside his office, and he doesn't seem very pleased.