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dark Dean

LoM fic: Moment of Truth

Posted on 2007.04.07 at 14:40
Current Mood: melancholymelancholy
Current Music: Joni Mitchell
Tags: ,
It seems that the imminence of the very last episode (sob!) is inspiring a great deal of fiction.  Not surprising, as this is the last chance to speculate and try and create the ending we want before the reality of the situation is a fact of life.  Personally, I'm still unspoilt, although this has involved a certain amount of running from the room with my hands over my ears to avoid the trailer.  My OH, not so sensitive, has seen it and (bless him) won't tell me anything, other than that "All kinds of s**t is kicking off".  Which I'd guessed!

So here, for what it's worth, is my last unspoilt LoM fic.  With the ending I want.  (Apart from, it's gen, but a good slashy smoochfest just didn't seem to fit!)

Words: 1500ish
Rating: Green Cortina
Notes: Gen.
Summary:  Sam's choice.

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MOMENT OF TRUTH

Sam sighs, rolls his eyes, runs exasperated fingers swiftly through too-short hair. This is really too much, he thinks irritably. Come on! He knows, this time, he’s out of reality. A dream within a dream within a dream. He feels no terror, which is of itself a blessed interlude from a life made up, on so many levels, of constant unyielding fear.

Slowly, he turns, casting defiant eyes around this empty blue environment. Despite himself, he finds time to wonder what on earth his ridiculous overcomplicated brain is trying to tell him now. One thing about 1973, it’s mercifully less complex. Unless of course you happen to be a time-travelling coma victim given to excessive introspection.

He thinks back. Nothing unusual comes to mind. This thought brings with it a bubble of near-hysteria. He suppresses the laugh with well-practised ruthlessness. Okay, nothing more unusual than usual. He recalls a grinding, difficult day – washing a dead prostitute’s copiously spilled blood from his hands, dragging an uncontrolled Gene Hunt off a suspect when his interview technique threatened to cross the line into outright murder. Several too many down the Railway Arms, an unsteady shamble to a curry house, arms linked with the now-buoyant DCI, trying loudly and in vain to teach him the lyrics to Blockbuster.

Pouring himself into the solitary armchair in the early hours, jacket discarded in a crumpled heap, one more whisky to settle the curry, glaring aggressively at the nasty little test card girl and her stupid clown. Bring it on, then, he silently dared her. See if you can scare me now.

He supposes he must have fallen asleep, there in the chair, whisky presumably slipping from nerveless fingers. The notion that he’ll have spilt scotch to clear up merely adds to his irritation.

He breaks off his musing, suddenly transfixed, confronted by the sight of himself, mouth agape, snoring lightly in the twilit flat, the predicted spilt liquid puddling beneath a dangling hand. The image, depicted on a small, flat screen, projects a jarring streak of darkness into the azure tranquillity surrounding him.

Tearing his fascinated eyes with difficulty from his sleeping form, Sam turns further into the room. Not that it could, in truth, be called a room as such. More – a space. No corners, no tangible presence at all. Just blue, tinged with spectral whispers of rainbow colour. And screens. Dotted around at random intervals, subtly built into the peripheries, giving the only sense of finite dimensions.

He knows, deeply and with firm conviction, that what he is seeing should be scaring him half to death. Lucid dreaming, that’s what it’s called. He’s read bits about it, without particular interest, back in the days when dreams were formless, half-remembered events that got forced aside by the stark realities of daily existence.

Another screen, another sleeping Sam, this one draped with wires and tubes and bandages. He examines the face, a study in peace, half-smiling, but with an intangible yet unmistakable absence of life. His body, without a soul.

Yet another screen, and another and another. Image after image stabbing into his mind – Maya, angry and upset, as he remembers her all too frequently in recent times. His mother and father, dancing in blurry slow motion, heads bent close together, an exchange of whispered words sheltered from outside ears. Annie, eyes shining, head tilted to one side in affectionate challenge. Gene…

Without conscious will, Sam is drawn towards this last image, leaning towards the screen as if he might somehow make contact. Oblivious, Gene sprawls on his office chair, feet on the desk affording a perfect view of the favoured white loafers, head bowed over the back pages of some newspaper. Sam’s lips part unbidden in a smile of wry affection. He lifts up one hand, tentative fingers stretching towards the screen…

"Hello, Sam Tyler." Oh God, that’s all he needs. Arm drooping back to his side, he turns slowly but without surprise to face this interruption. "You’ve come to see me at last." Tap. Tap. Tap. In this place, the little girl doesn’t glide mysteriously, as was her preferred mode of transport during her hair-raising visits to his shabby flat. She steps lightly towards him, shiny patent shoes clicking as she moves. Just a normal, slightly sad little girl, lost and lonely as Sam himself. She smiles up into his suddenly sympathetic eyes, holds out the tatty, ugly clown. "Do you want to play with me?"

"Now, now." A new voice, eerily familiar. Sam’s head lifts, and for the first time since this dream-nightmare-adventure began he feels a thrill of apprehension, adrenaline coursing through him, fight-or-flight instincts jolting into full alert.

"Sir?" The syllable emerges hoarse, indistinct. Sam clears his throat in preparation for another attempt, but the man seems not to have noticed.

"Please, Sam. Rank is hardly significant here. You are Sam, and I am – well, Frank will do."

"Frank?" Genuinely stunned by this turn in events, Sam casts around for something meaningful to say. "Is that really your name?" Oh very meaningful. Of all the myriad questions he could have chosen…

A pause. "Do you understand where you are, Sam?"

Sam gives this question more consideration than technically he feels it deserves. The last time he truly understood where he was, he’d been standing on a motorway slip road, trying to force into himself the strength to continue his fraught journey as David Bowie emanated semi-ethereally from the random function on his iPod. The fact that he understands even less at this precise moment is merely a deeper shade of unreality.

"Not really." Even to himself, Sam sounds sulky, childish.

"I see. Let me guess. You think you’re dreaming. You don’t want to listen because you see no point, yet you don’t want to leave because you are under the impression that what you wake up to will be just another part of the dream. Would that be an accurate summary?"

Sam closes his eyes. His head begins to throb, just a minor discomfort at first, then increasing in intensity until his vision starts to blur. "Look – er, Frank? I don’t see…"

"No. You don’t. Listen to me very carefully, Sam Tyler. Your future, from this moment on, is entirely dependent on what I’m telling you. To disbelieve me now, to reject my words, would be a catastrophic mistake."

The pounding ache swells to a nauseous surging climax, driving Sam to his knees. The man in front of him, Frank Morgan or whoever, whatever he really is, gazes down at him, remorseless, satisfied.

"Your role is finished, Sam. You played it well. Now, you have a choice to make." His arm sweeps expansively through blue space, encompassing the flickering visions surrounding them. "You can go home, recover, pick up where you left off. Or – you can stay. Consider carefully, Sam. You only get one chance."

Aching and shivering, Sam tries to assimilate the words, but they whirl and dance tantalisingly around his shattered brain, and he can’t bring any sense to them. Through the foggy confusion, he picks out a soft little-girl voice, resignation and despondency weaving through her words. "You could choose me. If you wanted."

The intense, yearning wistfulness of the tone forces Sam to a cataclysmic awareness that what he is experiencing is not some fervid drink or drug fuelled imagining. In a very real and literal sense, this is a moment of truth. He pulls himself to his feet. Glances round wildly at the screens, stumbling dizzily from one to another. Annie, Gene, Maya, his mother – young and glamorous, older and careworn. The smoke-filled chaotic CID office, the clinical emotionless CID office of his future. His past.

Eventually, drained, he pauses, turns, head bowed, shoulders slumped. Behind him, a blurry Gene Hunt lights another cigarette. Beside him, a light tapping, and a tiny, icy hand slips into his.

"I can’t," he whispers simply, reduced to childlike plaintiveness. "I don’t know."

The man stares back at him, stern features frowning in assessment. The silence is absolute. Sam feels nothing at all, would have stood there forever, but unexpectedly Frank softens, relents, sympathy apparent and incongruous on the authoritative face.

"All right, Sam. I can help. Just close your eyes." His tone now gentle and mellifluous, lulling Sam hypnotically into calm acceptance. "Empty your thoughts and let me in. Whatever comes into your mind first, that will be your choice. Will be your future. Do you accept?"

Sam nods once, slowly, barely aware that he is doing so. He feels himself drift and sway, blackness overwhelming him. He assumes later that he must have fallen…

"Bloody hell, Tyler!"

Sam blinks open his eyes, finds himself confronted by a piercing blue glare at close range, exasperation mingled with concern.

"Nice of you to join us. Do you think you could pick yourself up, quit cluttering up my office floor, and get some bloody work done?"

Sam blinks again. The hysteria that has been simmering beneath the surface finally bursts through, a slow smile spreading until it erupts into a wave of gasping, heaving laughter that goes on and on, tears of utter relief coursing across flushed cheeks and seeping through clenched fingers.

He is home.

 


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