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retort

Fic: Fitness First (LoM)

Posted on 2008.04.04 at 13:15
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Tags: , ,
Title: Fitness First (yep, still rubbish at titles!)
Author: me
Words: 3900 or thereabouts
Rating: Green Cortina (would be white but for the odd swear word and the potential damage to young minds from the idea of Chris in very tight shorts)
Pairings: None - gen.
Disclaimer: I did not invent smoothies.

A/N: The BPM that is draycevixen sought bunnies, and elfbert's decided to adopt me. (Because we all know who's adopting who in the writer-bunny relationship). Thanks to both of you. :D

The prompt was:

Sam decides that Gene should get fit. Gene decides that there's no way he's going through that sort of torture alone and orders Ray and Chris (plus anyone else of your choice) to join in too.
Sam decides exercise, no smoking and no drinking...and some nice 2006-style smoothies/detox plans are just the thing...This means early morning jogging, no nights in the pub and any other torture you can think up.
Does mutiny occur? Do the boys have to sneak off and smoke behind the bike sheds? Does anyone actually get any healthier...or just angrier?
Any pairings/ratings etc.


x-posted to lifein1973


“Oi, Carter, you poncey little git! Get back here now!”

It was one of those strokes of luck that just come up from time to time. The squad had spent most of the last two days trying with no success whatsoever to track down Billy Carter, low-level criminal and occasional grass, who had apparently decided to make a push for the big league by tooling up for his latest robbery. The gun had gone off accidentally, the shopkeeper was now lying in hospital hoping he wouldn’t have to lose an arm, and Carter had seemingly dropped off the face of the planet.

Until now, anyway. Twenty minutes ago Gene had slammed the phone back into its cradle, hurled a file against the wall and crashed into the outer office. “Right, Tyler, Chris, Raymondo. With me.”

Wary glances exchanged all round. “Where to, Guv?” Ray asked.

“Pub.”

“But…” Sam swallowed his instinctive protest under the intimidating glare launched at him by the DCI. The four men piled into the Cortina, screeching away from the station.

Silence reigned in the car as Gene threw it haphazardly around corners, taking out his frustrations on the road. Without warning, Ray let out an exclamation. “Eh! There ‘e is, Guv! Carter.”

Sure enough, their quarry was sauntering along the pavement mere yards from them, munching contentedly on a bag of chips. Gene pulled the car in alongside him, rolling down the window. “Mr Carter. A word, if you’d be so kind.”

But Carter had spent more than his fair share of time within the thick walls of Lost and Found, had become intimately acquainted with the sort of word DCI Hunt preferred to have with those of his ilk, and was in no hurry to repeat the experience. Dropping the chips, he fairly sprinted across the street and disappeared out of sight down an alleyway.

And so, the chase was on. Sam cursed as he wrestled with the door handle, which seemed determined to keep him trapped in the Cortina for all eternity. By the time he decided to abandon it, clambering over the driver’s seat to exit through Gene’s door, the other three were in hot pursuit of their target. Undeterred, Sam hurtled after them.

Scooting round the corner into the alley, he pulled up in surprise at the sight of Ray casually propping up a wall. “Stitch, boss,” the DS drawled, not even out of breath. Sam glared, decided now was not the time. “Which way?” he demanded instead. Ray, now pulling a packet of cigarettes out of his pocket, pointed without comment to where the alley turned left along the back of the row of houses. Sam raced on.

The path he turned onto was long, and deserted, with various entrances sporadically leading off, creating something of a rabbit warren. Having no clue which way the others might have gone, Sam pelted on regardless, trusting to luck, rewarded by faint shouts ahead and to the right. He followed the sound, dashing past Gene, who had clearly run out of steam and was leaning against the wall, bent almost double as he tried to drag some much-needed air into nicotine-clogged lungs.

In the distance, Sam finally caught a glimpse of Carter as he pushed open a metal gate and slipped through. Rather nearer, Chris was still giving chase, staggering slightly and losing ground all the time, but manfully continuing the pursuit. Sam arrived at the gate seconds after Chris, wheezing and moving with all the catlike agility of an octogenarian, had stumbled through it.

Sam himself was beginning to feel the effect of the full-on sprint, but the adrenaline of having his target so close gave him an extra spur, and he was actually gaining speed as he threw himself through the gate onto the waste ground beyond. And ran headlong into Chris’ prostrate body sprawled just inside the gateway. The world flipped over as Sam, propelled by momentum, flew in a graceless somersault over the DC’s gasping form, crashing onto his back with a force that ripped the breath from his body. He gazed skywards, taking in the scudding clouds and the fading echo of mocking laughter as Carter lost no time in making good his escape. A shadow loomed over him.

“Sorry boss.” The voice emanating from the silhouetted face sounded breathless, but contrite. “I’m knackered.”

Sam, speechless from outrage and impact, hauled himself painfully into something approaching an upright position. The Guv was standing nearby, wearing an expression of shame-faced truculence that put Sam in mind of a small boy caught in an act of naughtiness. As Sam opened his mouth, Gene forestalled him.

“Not now, Gladys,” he said sharply. “Keep your bloody opinions to yourself. Trust me, we’ll nab the smug little bastard. Won’t be bloody laughing when I’ve finished with him.”

If the outward journey had been quiet, it was nothing in comparison to the oppressive silence that now fell on the occupants of the Cortina. Ray, knowing it would wind the DI up, was leaning an elbow nonchalantly on the open window frame, chain-smoking. Chris slumped disconsolately against the opposite window, trying not to catch anyone’s eye. Gene drove, aggressively, gloved hands clenched around the steering wheel as if trying to choke the life out of it, eyes firmly fixed straight ahead. And Sam bristled, radiating disgust and disapproval in almost tangible waves. It came as no surprise to anyone that the DI was the first to speak.

“Well? Would anyone like to share their feelings about that fiasco?”

Nobody, it seemed, felt like sharing. The lack of response did nothing to calm Sam, who carried on at a slightly higher volume.

“You lot are bloody pathetic. Unfit, out of condition – look at yourselves.” A pause, for dramatic effect. Chris obediently looked at himself. Gene and Ray seemed unaware that any sound had been made. Sam ploughed on regardless.

“It’s a bloody miracle that you ever catch anyone. You do realise that if any of you actually considered exercising once in a while, the clear-up rate might just expand to include all those criminals who don’t stand still and say ‘Here I am, officer, please come and arrest me now’.”

Ray snorted, lit another cigarette. Gene glared briefly across at Sam.

“Yeah well, fortunately for us, Doris, most of the scrotes in this neck of the woods live off pies, beer and fags. So we don’t normally have to go fannying about after them at top speed.”

“Did today, though, didn’t you?”

Gene muttered something that may or may not have been, “Yeah, suppose so.”

Vindicated, Sam glanced smugly round into the back of the car, receiving an earnest nod from Chris, and a blank stare of undiluted insolence from Ray. Sam met the gaze head-on for a few seconds, breaking off with a splutter as the DS blew smoke vindictively in his direction.

The Cortina took a corner particularly precariously and Sam returned his attention to the road.

“Hang on,” he said, recognising the location instantly. “Where exactly are we going?”

“The Arms. I reckon a pint or three is in order.”

“Nope.” Sam’s tone was firm, resolved. “Not going to happen.”

“Sorry?” Gene lifted one hand from the wheel to cup it behind his ear. “Didn’t quite catch that.”

“We’re. Not. Going. To the pub. Tonight you all go home, get an early night. Tomorrow, you meet me at seven a.m., sharp, at the playing fields. You lot are going to get fit.”


Sam emerged from his flat at quarter to seven the next morning glancing up at the sky. Gloomy and overcast, the threat of rain yet to come to anything, a slight damp chill in the air. He set off at a light jog in the direction of the playing fields, enjoying the bracing temperature, wondering what he had waiting for him. Wondering whether the others would even show up. Chances were they hadn’t made it out of bed yet.

Spotting three figures waiting on the other side of the pitch, Sam’s heart lifted and he picked up speed as he ran towards them. Drew to an abrupt halt, the smile of greeting frozen rictus-like on his face as his brain struggled to assimilate the truly astounding sight before him.

Ray. Well, no real surprise there. He had swapped his usual jacket for a tracksuit top, but there his concession to the promised activities of the morning ended. His bottom half sported a somewhat tatty looking pair of jeans, rounded off with what appeared to be the shoes he usually wore to work.

Chris. Sam blinked, an urge to laugh hysterically warring with a sudden surge of affection for the young DC. You couldn’t say he hadn’t made the effort. A T-shirt bearing the legend ‘Didsbury Greys’ covered him to about waist level, with a noticeable gap between that and an unfeasibly tight pair of too-short shorts. Work socks accompanied a scuffed pair of football boots for the full effect.

Sam brought his face under control enough to raise an eyebrow in what he hoped was polite enquiry. “I know, boss. It were the best I could do at short notice. Lent ‘em off me Auntie Vy, she’s a bit of a hockey player. Not really me Auntie, just a friend of me mum’s, but I call ‘er…”

“Fine, Chris.” Sam’s tone was warm, his smile reassuring. “That’ll do fine.”

Not able to put it off any longer, he turned his attention to the one person he’d been avoiding looking at since his first astonished gape.

What he’d failed to take into account, having been brought up in a different era, was that for men of Gene’s age and disposition, the last proper exercise they saw had probably taken place during National Service. And didn’t it show. Gene was gloriously decked out in a military-style green vest, with knee-length black shorts that reminded Sam of old black-and-white photos of magnificently moustachioed gentlemen celebrating some daring achievement like scaling Everest on a penny-farthing. And boots. Proper, heavy, leather Army boots.

Racking his brains for a few seconds, Sam genuinely couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say in response to Gene’s efforts, so he decided to press on.

“Morning!” His tone bore such obviously false jocularity that even he found it irritating, and he clearly wasn’t alone. A couple of incoherent mumbles were all the answer he was going to get.

“Right. Put those out, for a kick off.” All three of his charges were holding lit cigarettes. Chris, who hadn't taken a drag since Sam had appeared on the scene, quickly stubbed the dog end out and stood on it, as if somehow he could hide the evidence. Gene took one long final drag, regarded Sam thoughtfully for a moment, then without comment crushed the cigarette decisively underfoot.

Ray dropped the half-smoked butt. Ground it slowly, deliberately, into the mud. Met Sam’s eyes and held his gaze while he shook out another from the pack, putting it between his lips and lighting it with evident glee. Sam, with the studied calm of one who had been anticipating something along these lines, stepped forward, plucked the cigarette from the DS’s mouth and casually flicked it several feet into a convenient muddy puddle.

The two men faced each other, eyes locked, faces inches apart, neither prepared to back down, challenge buzzing in the air between them. Until Ray pulled back an arm and thumped Sam squarely on the jaw. Sam staggered back, regained his footing and would have launched himself onto Ray but for Gene stepping in to hold him still.

The Guv turned his attention to Ray. “DS Carling,” he said in a tone that commanded obedience. “Apologise to DI Tyler. Now.”

Ray hesitated, but Gene was insistent. “What was that, Sergeant?”

With a glower of unrepentant fury, Ray backed down. “Sorry,” he spat. “Boss.”

“Thank you.” Gene let go of Sam, dusting him down with a cheerful grin. “There,” he said. “All better. Now, could we please get on with it? I’m freezin’ me knackers off here.”

Sam turned away, running a hand over his face as he took a couple of deep, calming breaths. Come on! This doesn’t have to be a disaster. He turned back, facing his colleagues with renewed resolution.

“OK. First off, if we’re going to have a proper session, we need to warm up.”

“My sentiments exactly.” Gene nodded a vehement agreement, withdrawing a hip flask from one of the capacious pockets in the voluminous shorts. “This should do the trick nicely.”

“…Warm up our muscles.” Sam held out a hand. “Might be best if I hold onto that for now, Guv.” Gene threw him a scathing look, but returned the flask to its hiding place. Sam sighed.

“So. What we’re going to do is a gentle run right round the perimeter of the field. No rush, just at your own pace. All right?” He took the grim silence as assent. “Right then. On your marks, get set, go.”

Unpredictably, apart from Sam himself, Ray was the only one that completed the course. In fairness, he walked the last three quarters after attempting a shambling jog that took him most of the way down one side of the field. Even then, he was wheezing alarmingly as he trudged back to where Sam was waiting.

“Well done, Ray!” Sam beamed, giving credit where it was more or less due. “Great effort.”

“Sod off.”

They waited in uncompanionable silence as the other two got their breath back and ambled across the field to rejoin them. Sam decided it was time for a change of tack.

“OK, that was – a start. Definitely. So, now we’re warmed up, we’re going to go on to more targeted muscle-toning exercises. Can any of you do press-ups?” A pause. “Guv?”

“No. Next question.”

“Sit-ups then?”

Ray snorted. “You won’t catch me flat on my arse in the mud for some pouffy exercise programme.”

“He’s probably right, Boss.” Chris hadn’t spoken much so far, so his sudden support for Ray’s protest came as an unwelcome surprise. “You can get piles sitting on cold ground. Common knowledge, that.”

Sam took a breath. He was beginning to feel like a primary school teacher, and he’d never had much time for children. “You won’t get – forget it. Lunges. How about that? Something you can do standing up.” He ignored the inevitable sniggers. “Feet apart, one in front of the other – like this.”

He adopted the appropriate stance, copied by the three men in front of him. “Great. That’s good. Now, you lunge forward – like this – and hold.”

The admirably energetic forward thrusts were punctuated by an agonised shriek as Chris collapsed to the ground, both hands clasped tightly over his genitals. “Bloody hell…these shorts…can’t do that, Boss,” he gasped, eyes still screwed shut against the pain. “Sorry.”

Sam gave up. This clearly wasn’t going to work. He still had one more card up his sleeve, though. And it was a gem.


“Well, this is more like it!” Gene beamed at Sam, throwing a jovial arm over the DI’s shoulders as they approached the doors of the Railway Arms. “I underestimated you, Inspector Tyler. Man after me own heart. Getting the beers in at – what is it now? – nine o’clock in the morning.”

Sam smiled back, the pure smile of the innocent, marred only slightly by a mischievous wink. “Oh, you’ll like this, Guv. This could change your life.” He rapped smartly on the glass of the door.

Moments later, three men stood, shoulder to shoulder, along the bar, dismay written along every line of their bodies.

“Go on then, amaze me.” Gene’s tone was disbelieving. “What the bloody hell is that supposed to be?”

“It’s a food blender,” replied Sam calmly, in a voice he usually reserved for talking to very old people or the mentally ill.

“Thank you, Gladys. I know it’s a food blender. The Missus pestered me into getting one for her last Christmas. She uses it for making soup sometimes. All very domestic. My question to you is, what the bloody hell is it doing here, in my pub, where my pint should be?”

“My pub, he says!” Nelson had taken up a ringside seat, persuaded to open his doors at this ungodly hour solely because of the entertainment value the situation offered.

Gene glowered. “You keep out of this – now what are you up to, Tyler?”

Sam was chopping up bananas and strawberries, throwing them into the blender’s bowl. “Trust me, Guv. Fastest way to feel good. Like a vitamin explosion.” He clicked the switch, pulverising the fruit before adding orange juice, milk, and a strawberry yoghurt just for the fun of it. Clicked again, splashes of pink gunk lifting from the bowl to plop onto the already sticky bar.

Gene looked on with growing suspicion. “Please tell me you’re not trying to make us eat fruit soup.”

“Fruit soup!” Ray sniggered. “That’d be right.” He broke off to glare at Chris, who had stuck a finger into the bowl, licking tentatively and raising his eyebrows in appreciative surprise. “Oi. Pack that in now. You’re being a div.”

“This is all right, though! Tastes like Spangles.” He subsided, sucking silently on the still-sticky digit as all eyes in the room focussed his way.

“There you go!” Sam was prepared to latch on this, being the most positive response he’d had so far. “See – if Chris can give it a go, so can the rest of you. Nelson, three glasses please.” The barman chose to comply without comment, but his grin grew wider as he placed three chunky half-pint mugs side by side on the bar. Carefully, Sam divided the slushy mixture equally between them.

“Okay. Down the hatch.”

Nothing. Sam decided to go in below the belt.

“…Or haven’t you got the bottle?”

The stillness in the room intensified and darkened, the challenge recognised. Deliberately, Gene stepped up to the bar, picked up the glass. Downed the contents in one, wiping the resultant pink froth from his top lip with a sweep of his hand.

“There. Lovely. Bloody marvellous. Come on, Raymondo, Chris. Get it down your necks, if it shuts Dorothy here up it’s got to be worth it.”

Ray and Chris obediently followed suit, dispatching the smoothies in a few large gulps.

“Now,” Gene continued, “tell the nice policeman how wonderful that was.”

“Erm – yeah. Wonderful, Boss.” Chris nodded.

Ray swallowed. The smoothie was clearly not settling as comfortably as it might – already there was a clammyish tone to his skin that boded ill for the near future. “Wonderful,” he mumbled, gulping slightly. There was a pause of a couple of seconds, before he slammed down the glass, bolting for the door to the back yard.

“Right,” Gene said briskly, ignoring the interruption. “Now we’ve got that out of the way, time for a chaser. Nelson, three pints.”

“Coming right up.”

Sam stood, watching as the three beers appeared, screwing his eyes shut as he fought to control the wave of indignation surging up inside him. Decided not to bother. He’d had about as much as he was prepared to take, put up with resistance, sulking and outright taunting, and all so he could actually do these ungrateful bastards some good. He slammed his fist onto the wooden counter.

“No!”

“Pardon?” Gene was calmness itself.

“You heard. You are not going to stand here sinking pints at half past bloody nine in the morning. Haven’t you heard a single thing I’ve been trying to tell you?” A small voice in the back of his head was screaming at him to stop, now, but he suppressed it with the ruthless ease of long practice. “Sorry, maybe I didn’t make myself clear enough. You lot are a bunch of fat useless tossers, a bloody laughing stock for any criminal who doesn’t live like an animal, and a disgrace to the police force. Is that any…OW!”

Apparently Gene could move quickly enough when he put his mind to it. Sam’s arm was up between his shoulder blades, face smacking against the counter top, before he’d even realised that the DCI had put down his pint. He breathed shallowly, controlling the agonising fire in his shoulder. Gene wasn’t messing about.

Warm, strawberry-scented breath brushed his cheek. Sam tensed as far as his restricted position allowed. A voice, from close behind, the words almost a whisper, no less menacing for their softness.

“Have you quite finished, Tyler?”

Sam nodded, carefully.

“Good. Now you listen to me. We may not all choose to live like Bobby Moore, but we do all right. I don’t see you going anywhere in a hurry.” His voice dipped, inaudible now to the other occupants of the room. “And I’ve never had any complaints about my stamina. If you want to take me on, Detective Inspector, that’s fine with me.”

Pulling back suddenly, he strode back to his drink as Sam massaged some feeling ruefully back into his arm. “But you leave my team out of it. Nobody talks to us like that. Not you, not anyone. Have you got that?”

Sam looked down at the floor, banking down his frustration. “Fine, Guv. I think I can get my head round that." Suddenly, decisively, he needed to be somewhere else. As Ray strolled back into the bar, still looking slightly green around the edges, Sam headed for the exit.

“Tyler!” Gene’s voice pulled him up short, hand on the door handle. “Where do you think you’re off to?”

“Home,” Sam answered dully, feeling the usual jolt at a word that had no real meaning for him.

“Home? This is work time, Doris. You go home when I say so. Now quit sulking and get back over ‘ere. Nelson, a pint for the Inspector.”

Sam turned, remaining by the door but allowing his hand to drop away from the handle. He met Gene’s gaze levelly, calmed by the frank assessment that softened his own defiance into unwilling amusement at the absurdity of the situation. Sod it. He sighed.

“Go on then, all right.” He walked over and lifted the drink. “Cheers.”

The tension that had clogged the room lifted instantly. “Cheers!” came the response from beaming faces as glasses were lifted and the golden liquid within began to disappear at speeds approaching the miraculous. A peaceful silence descended as three men contemplated the beauty of a well-kept beer.

“Although,” Sam said thoughtfully. “We haven’t tried a team sport yet. Good for bonding and morale as well as health. How about football? Or cricket, maybe? We could enter competitions, as…”

With despairing headshakes and eye rolling, the other three picked up their now replenished drinks, moved away to sit at one of the tables, leaving Sam to explain his theories to the more tolerant Nelson.

Comments:


Hambel
hambelandjemima at 2008-04-04 12:52 (UTC) (Link)
Fantastic. You've got to love Sam's enthusiasm :D

I sporfled mightily at Chris attempting the lunges, and I think you captured Ray's insolence very well.
“Well done, Ray!” Sam beamed, giving credit where it was more or less due. “Great effort.”
“Sod off.”

*snigger*

I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2008-04-04 18:14 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! That was my favourite section to write - I could see them all so clearly, out on a windswept field on a crappy morning. I'm especially pleased about Ray (who was very bad throughout) - I've been a complete wimp up till now about taking on Ray and Chris, so I'm delighted you thought these bits worked!
Callisto
callistosh65 at 2008-04-04 17:20 (UTC) (Link)
I am so pleased I friended you now, because I had no idea you wrote LoM fic. I've never read any, but I decided to take a chance and I'm so glad I did becasue this was delightful. You have the voices down pat, I heard them all so distinctly - Chris, Ray, Gene and Sam. Bloody brilliant, like reading a script being acted out. It's hard to pick out a favourite, but this just might have the edge:
“I know, boss. It were the best I could do at short notice. Lent ‘em off me Auntie Vy, she’s a bit of a hockey player. Not really me Auntie, just a friend of me mum’s, but I call ‘er…”

“Fine, Chris.” Sam’s tone was warm, his smile reassuring. “That’ll do fine.”
So them!

I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2008-04-04 18:18 (UTC) (Link)
Eeee! Seriously? You read LoMfic for the first time because of me? *jiggles the happy jiggle of squee*

Thank you so much for your generous comment. I'm pleased you friended me too, incidentally - I do have a habit of lurking rather too much in Prosland, and its lovely to feel more connected to it - especially through someone whose writing I deeply admire. :)
Strike while the irony is hot
draycevixen at 2008-04-04 17:32 (UTC) (Link)
Hooray for the bunny farm when it prompts stories like this!

The lads are so in character here and I just love their choice of work out gear.

I'm particularly fond of Gene's reaction to Sam's comment on his team and the fact that he stops Sam from hitting back AND makes Ray apologize which actually punishes both of them. :D

Thank you!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2008-04-04 18:22 (UTC) (Link)
The Big Pimpin' Mama rocks. No question. :D

Thanks - I'm always happy to get positive feedback, natch, but I was particularly hoping you'd like it (and elfbert) because without the pair of you this story would not have happened, and I would still have been stuck in the land of half-finished fics and dented confidence.
Strike while the irony is hot
draycevixen at 2008-04-04 18:32 (UTC) (Link)
I've read your LoM fic as I believe you know by my trail of reviews... and lo they shall know her by her spawn *eg* Let me just say, you have absolutely NO reason for dented confidence. *juts jaw*

Bunnies are still being slowly added, she hinted and nudged... Some are appearing mid-way down the list as if someone has already made a suggestion I've just added it under their name.
magenta_blue
magenta_blue at 2008-04-05 11:12 (UTC) (Link)
This was excellent! I actually snorted with laughter at one point (Gene's outfit!) - I could hear them all so clearly, and you had all the characters down to a T, exactly as if I was reading / imagining an out-take of the show. And it is all the little details you throw in so casually - scudding clouds, strawberry-scented breath - absolutely fab *g*
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2008-04-05 14:47 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you - always good to cause snorting! I have to give credit - my OH came up with the basic idea for Gene's outfit, I just embellished for effect.

*gazes at beautiful daffodil icon*

*peers out of the window at hail falling*

WHERE IS SPRING??

constance_b
constance_b at 2008-04-05 20:38 (UTC) (Link)
His voice dipped, inaudible now to the other occupants of the room. “And I’ve never had any complaints about my stamina. If you want to take me on, Detective Inspector, that’s fine with me.”
Gen fic? Are you sure?
Fantastic stuff. Great team dynamic.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2008-04-07 13:40 (UTC) (Link)
Gen fic? Are you sure?

Hee! I couldn't resist! Mostly gen fic, then. *g*

Thanks for commenting - glad you enjoyed it.
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