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Fic: In the Shadows (LoM, gen)

Posted on 2009.03.21 at 14:15
Current Mood: artistic
Tags: , ,
So it's been a matter of concern that LoM fandom has become a little quiet of late. Which, indeed, it has. Anyway, it came to me in the kind of lightning flash of inspiration for which I am famed far and wide, that the best way to get the comms moving again is to post stuff! I know, I know, sometimes I amaze myself!

In which spirit, I give you a little noirish vignette. This is actually one of the unfinished fics I featured in that WiP meme a little while back, and possibly the one I least expected to ever complete, so YAY! :D One down...

(I should point out that this fic features a scene of attempted rape - nothing particularly explicit, but might be a problem if you're very sensitive to that sort of thing. Just so ya know.)

You know the scene. Deserted gloomy backstreet, swirling mist pierced by needles of white from determined streetlamps, fine drizzle clinging to clothes, dripping off skin. High-heeled footsteps tap-tapping across glistening tarmac. The clicking gathering pace as the woman glances nervously back, pulling her coat more closely around her in a futile gesture of self-protection.

Across the street the shadows solidify, coalesce into an indistinct human form as the watcher begins his move, gliding noiselessly towards the light. The raw glint of silver in his hand, trapped in a shaft of neon, signals his intent. The woman catches the gleam, abandons pretence and breaks into a run, tottering and slipping on the impractical heels.

The pursuer picks up his own pace, matching and outstripping his quarry as he streaks across the road, tiny explosions of spray charting his progress at each step. The woman’s heel catches, snaps, the sharp crack over-loud in the murky stillness. She gasps, a tiny half-scream torn from her in frustration. Bends down to abandon the useless shoe, frantically scrabbling at the strap with desperate fingers, all the time keeping up a graceless crouching shuffle in a futile, instinctive need to keep moving, but by now he is on her.

He hauls her up with ease, drags her into the mouth of a gennel between two sleeping houses. The shoe, liberated at last, skitters across the pavement to land on a grate in the gutter, rainwater dribbling through the open toe to drip steadily into blackness.

He leans in close, pinning her with his weight against the chilly bricks, the blade at her throat impeding all but the slightest struggle, preventing her from turning her face away from the hot dank breath on her cheek.

“Bitch,” he rasps, his free hand shoved up inside her skirt to rip away the flimsy nylon tights. “Bitch. Bloody bitches, the lot of you. I’ll have you, bitch.” There are tears on her cheeks now, though she makes no sound.

“Sorry, love, she’s not your type.” A voice, rough, incongruously cheerful, fills the darkness, bouncing off and around the stone passageway. Strong hands grab hold of the attacker, pulling him backward to shove him unceremoniously into the arms of a smaller man waiting behind. The woman’s breath hitches as the knife catches her neck in the sudden move, carving a thin stinging cut into the soft skin. The larger man moves towards her, puts an arm round her shoulders.

“You okay, Cartwright?”

She doesn’t look at him, concentrating on straightening her clothes. “I…yes, I’m OK, sir.”

The other man glances briefly her way, returns his attention to the job at hand. Metal clinks softly as he turns his prisoner, presses him firmly against the damp wall.

“I’m placing you under arrest on suspicion of rape, attempted rape and attempted murder,” he begins. “You do not have to say anything…”

Lulled perhaps by the slight build, the unassuming matter-of-fact tone, the prisoner senses an opportunity. He kicks back viciously, jerking an arm free and wheeling round. A brutally economical kidney punch effectively cuts the move off, dropping him to one knee. He looks up, and something he sees in the man’s expression stills him.

“All right, all right, mate,” he babbles, conciliatory. “I was just…”

“Shut up.” He is hauled back to his feet, and the handcuffs click shut round his wrists. “You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when…”

“Cobblers to this, Tyler.” The big man saunters across, grabbing the prisoner’s shoulders to shove him, hard, back against the wall. “You’re nicked. Got that?”

The prisoner nods, head bobbing mutely up and down.

“Right then.” He pauses, assessing the handcuffed man in front of him. “Know what?” His tone is still cheerful, conversational. “One thing does my head in, it’s a thick pervert. Did it never occur to you to wonder, back when you were planning your seedy little nights out, whether going back to the same street time and again might be a bit of a mistake?”

“Actually, Guv,” Tyler interjects, earning a roll of eyes, “research has shown that sexual deviants are often drawn into pattern behaviour, including frequent returns to the same crime scene, or to the scenes of previous crimes. Part of the ritual.”

“Oh, save the psychobollocks for someone who gives a toss.” The Guv turns back to the prisoner. “You,” he takes hold of an arm, “come on.” They move together across the street, where a car waits silently, gleaming fiery bronze in the streetlight.

Tyler approaches the woman, Cartwright, saying something to her, the words inaudible but winning a smile and a straightening of shoulders. He slings an arm round her, guides her gently towards the car, holding the passenger door open for her before clambering into the back with the prisoner.

The engine revs and roars, tyres squealing as the car speeds off and rounds the corner. Empty once more, the street settles back into misty silence, a broken dripping shoe the only lasting testament to the drama of the night.


lozenger8 at 2009-03-21 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
♥ You are excellent, you know that, don't you?

I love the teamwork here, your use of atmosphere and description. The way this could easily have been pulled from the show itself. (You have Ashley in your basement, don't you?!)

I always adore your writing and this is no exception.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 15:28 (UTC) (Link)
You have Ashley in your basement, don't you?!

I blame you entirely for the fact that, when I saw this, I immediately thought I'd have to have Matthew and a king-sized double bed down there as well! XD

Thanks - I'm glad you liked the atmosphere, I don't often try this style. And I'm delighted you think it has a canon feel. ♥
lozenger8 at 2009-03-21 15:30 (UTC) (Link)
*cough* What are you talking about? *cough*


I love noir. It's hard to pull off well without it seeming like a laughable pastiche, but it really works here; it genuinely ratchets up the tension.

Edited at 2009-03-21 15:46 (UTC)
callistosh65 at 2009-03-21 14:45 (UTC) (Link)
Oh I liked this! Very atmospheric and gulpy until the rescue- I heard Sam and Gene so clearly here - Oh, save the psychobollocks for someone who gives a toss. Hee - loved this especially!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 15:34 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you - I'm really pleased you liked it, and especially that Sam and Gene sounded right. I don't watch LoM as often as I used to, and I do sometimes worry that the characterisation might have deteriorated as a result. It's reassuring to know that the voices in my head are still functioning properly! XD
culf at 2009-03-21 15:06 (UTC) (Link)
Very well written story. I'm glad they caught the bastard.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 15:45 (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely. And kudos to Annie for having the guts to play bait in this way. Thanks. :DD
GRITS in Misery
gritsinmisery at 2009-03-21 15:10 (UTC) (Link)
W00t! Go team CID!

This was a great little action scene, and doesn't it feel wonderful to drag something out of the WIP folder for good?

It does? Please, tell me how it feels. Please. It's been so long..... *whimpers*
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 15:49 (UTC) (Link)
It does! :D Especially this one - I only had the first 2-3 paragraphs, and I really wasn't convinced I'd be able to sustain the noir style for a full fic, so if it hadn't been for that meme this would almost certainly never have seen the light of day again!

Let this stand as a living reminder to all fanficcers that it is possible to finish those WiP snippets that lurk in the depths of all our hard drives!
msmoat at 2009-03-21 15:23 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, nifty; a nice little scene. I love these sorts of slice-of-life bits where we can see how they live and work--just a glimpse. Funny how we crave that. *g* Thanks!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 19:01 (UTC) (Link)
I love these sorts of slice-of-life bits

Oh, so do I! And I'm glad we crave it - it's only natural really, to want fic that enhances, adds to or fits in with the canon that we love. Hence the popularity of a certain set of Codas! :D

Glad you liked this peek into their world - thanks. :)
Strike while the irony is hot
draycevixen at 2009-03-21 15:39 (UTC) (Link)

Oooh Noir! I love Noir! *dips you* Erm... Yeah.

Beautifully done, I love touches like tiny explosions of spray charting his progress at each step.

Of course Gene and Sam being so completely in character and it being Sam who rabbit punches the villain -- only after he's attacked of course -- is just great.

Thank you, Petal! ♥
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 19:05 (UTC) (Link)
I always give it more thought than is strictly necessary, when I have Sam hit anyone. Because this is canon!Sam, isn't it - the Sam who subdued Raimes in much this way in 1.01, or lashed out in 2.04 when he thought Annie was under threat.

I imagine, in these circumstances, Sam would be very angry indeed at this man for what he did to Annie. I think he was probably looking for an excuse to land one on him, truth be known.

Glad you liked my Noir! *hugs*
severinne at 2009-03-21 16:10 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank goodness, something to read!!! *dips and snogs you*

And even better, it's a hell of a read, deliciously moody and perfect bit of noir with the wonderful twist at the end when you reveal the sting. Annie's pragmatism is great, and the banter between Sam and Gene is pitch-perfect.

Thank you!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 19:12 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, thank goodness, something to read!!!

Heh. *g*

I love 'deliciously moody' loads - thank you! The sting wasn't actually the original intention - it was just supposed to be Sam and Gene looming out of the shadows in a lurky, save-the-world sort of way, possibly then going on to have a nice snog under a streetlamp - but I like it much better this way! (Thank you subconscious!)

And thank you for providing a noir icon for the occasion. I've seen this one around (when stalking you!) and I just adore it. :D
severinne at 2009-03-21 21:06 (UTC) (Link)
*pictures Sam and Gene having that noir snog under a streetlamp in the rain*

Mmmnnn... oh, sorry, where was I? Right, the icon! I love it too, jean_geanie was kind enough to make me a nice moody. batch of smoking!Gene icons in exchange for fic and I reckon I got the best end of that trade. *g*
dragonlit at 2009-03-21 17:06 (UTC) (Link)
Loved the dark - okay so I'll use noir too - feel of this. It definitely reads like a script and I mean that in a good way, in that I got a very clear picture of the the scene from what felt like a director's point of view. A great read. Thanks.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 19:21 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you - that kind of 'director's eye' thing is the key to noir, for me (and I speak as one who has now written 850 words in the genre and is therefore an expert! *g*)

I must admit, as I was writing it I found myself itching to set it up - the shoe with the water running through, for example, or the spray flying off the surface of the road. I'm really glad this came through itnto the fic. Thank you! :D

Edited at 2009-03-21 19:23 (UTC)
amproof at 2009-03-21 18:27 (UTC) (Link)
Very in character. I liked the line about the criminal thinking he could have the best of Sam b/c he was the opposite of Gene. Deceptive timidity!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-21 19:26 (UTC) (Link)
Exactly! :D I was a bit self-conscious about my constant reference to Sam as smaller (it annoys me in general when he's portrayed as weak, because he isn't), so I decided to use it to my advantage. I'm delighted that paid off for you. Thanks! :D
saintvic at 2009-03-21 21:16 (UTC) (Link)
Absolutely brilliant. Love the atmoshpere and your use of the language and description fits in wonderfully. Also love how you weave Annie, Sam and Gene into this scene and how they are prefectly in character. Thank you ♥
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-22 08:58 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! It was fun but challenging to take on this style, and I'm chuffed to bits that the language I chose worked for you. *hugs* (Mind you, it did bring home to me just how noir the canon is in any case.)
hugglewolf at 2009-03-21 23:08 (UTC) (Link)
Totally spot on with the characters there. Good fic.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-22 08:59 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! :D I'm glad you liked it.
walkerbaby at 2009-03-22 01:39 (UTC) (Link)
I got to agree with Loz -- you've kidnapped Ashley and trussed him up in the basement because this could have/should have been a scene from the series. You have this absolutely spot on in ways that are just too good to contemplate.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2009-03-22 09:01 (UTC) (Link)
OK, OK, I give up! I actually do have Ashley squirrelled away in a dark room, and beat him occasionally to force him to write for me! XD

Thanks so much for the wonderful compliment - I'm delighted you liked this. :D
Sometimes I wish I was a hippo
dakfinv at 2009-03-22 14:58 (UTC) (Link)
Ooo, this is brilliant. You're imagery is beautifully and slightly unnerving and the Sam and Gene are perfectly in character.
neuralclone at 2009-03-22 23:59 (UTC) (Link)
I just want to add my own "this is brilliant", "love the noir atmosphere" and "the dialogue sounds like something straight out of the show" to all the rest. Thanks for the wonderful story!
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