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Fic: Jumping Off (LoM)

Posted on 2007.11.09 at 19:20
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Tags: , , ,
It's been a bit of an issue for me ever since 1.01 that, truth be told, the chances are that if Sam had chucked himself off that building instead of being talked round by Annie, he'd have woken up in 2006 and that would have been that. Even now, every time I watch it I'm sort of willing him to jump. But then of course we'd have only one episode instead of 16, which could only be said to be a Bad Thing.

So this is a sort of AU attempt to resolve things in my mind.

Word count: 1200 ish.

Rating: Oh about 13 (Blue Cortina). And it's gen. Or in my mind pre-pre-pre-slash, but that's how my mind works and it's nobody else's problem!

Characters: Sam, Neil, Annie, Gene

Summary (and warning - but not a very bad one): What if Sam had jumped?

(Oh and I've messed about a bit with the timeline of canon events in 1.01. Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, you know how it is).



Sam glanced warily over the edge, forcing himself not to shrink away from the dizzying drop, trying not to imagine the physical effects of plunging downwards onto the hard concrete below. After all, none of this was real, right? So the scattered mess of blood and bone could have no existence beyond his own imagination.

The definitive step. Wasn’t that what the psychologist had said? What could possibly be more definitive than this? He watched Neil now, far below, waving his arms frantically and screaming that he mustn’t do it, that it had all been some kind of bizarre joke. Annie, too, was wheedling and coaxing, but so little of what she was saying made any sense that Sam had all but tuned her out.

It was natural, he supposed. Jumping off a building in any reality, dream or otherwise, was an unarguably momentous and daunting step. He was bound to have the odd reservation. His mind had obviously chosen to use Annie, and this faintly incredible tale of a prankster ex-boyfriend, as a manifestation of his inner doubts.

As this realisation imbued him with a renewed sense of determined purpose, Annie’s persuasive tactics became correspondingly more intense. “You’re here for a reason,” she tried, awakening a spark of intrigue in Sam. Presumably that was in fact true. His mind had catapulted him headlong into this amazing, frustrating, sepia-toned world of 1973, an era he barely remembered. There must be a point to that.

And finally, simply, beseechingly – “Stay.” Just that, the plea stripped bare, the starkness of his own fear revealed. His gaze burned into her, as if with that one penetrating look he could peel away the self-deception, discover the truth beneath. Her hand stretched towards him, a deadly lifeline. Tempted, drawn in despite himself, he reached for her.

The physical contact wasn’t what he had expected, a sharp grittiness in the texture that shocked him out of the hypnosis of the moment. God, this must be what drowning was like, being dragged back under again and again until you finally succumbed to the inevitable. He had to escape now if ever, had to get out of this nightmare before it bound him irrevocably.

Freeing himself with one desperate wrench from the grasping hand, he took a last deep breath and resolutely stepped out over the edge.

The few seconds stretched out in a glorious exhilarating rush of rightness. Robbed of the consequences of impact, the fall became a liberating flight. Sam, caught up in the sheer joy of the moment, laughed out loud, the sound sickeningly cut short as his body slammed into the unforgiving ground.

For an indefinable period there was utter darkness, absolute silence, terrifying and comforting at once. Then, gradually, sounds began to emerge – the mechanical beeping he had become accustomed to, louder and closer now, more frantic, the gentle steady rhythm transformed into a nightmarishly hectic stuttering. Voices, urgent but determinedly calm, a tone he knew from his own experience as the voice of crisis.

“He’s not responding.”

“OK, give it another go. Charge…and clear…”

Searing brightness scorched through Sam’s retinas, before the dark claimed him again, reducing him to a helpless nebulous mass of sick pain. The beeping, his one fragile link to any reality, had settled now, still unnervingly rapid and faint, but rhythmic.

“That’s it. He’s stabilising.”

Silence. Sam tried half-heartedly to think, couldn’t remember how. Lay, existing, hurting in a non-specific, all-encompassing kind of numb agonising ache.

A voice penetrated the murk. Vaguely he recognised the source as Neil the might-be-psychologist.

“Sam? Can you hear me, Sam? Listen to me very carefully. This is important.”

An emotion surfaced, the first real sign for Sam that he wasn’t yet dead. Irritation. His first consciously formed thought, a desire to punch Neil’s smug, all-knowing, stupid face in. Cheers mate. Great advice. Result.

“Sam, you’ve done really well. But there are complications to your condition that we weren’t aware of until now. Your brain isn’t strong enough to be fully active just yet. You need to rest, Sam. Give yourself time to recover.”

The tone altered slightly, became more gentle, hypnotic. “Sleep now, Sam. Rest. We’ll try again soon.”

An overpowering weariness seeped into every corner of Sam’s being. The beeping slowed, faded so it seemed to span a vast distance, soft and soporific. Gratefully, he allowed himself to be swallowed up in the comforting blackness.

“Sam? Sam?”

“Bloody hell, Tyler.”

Sam was jerked suddenly and unpleasantly out of the catatonic torpor he had so willingly embraced. The pain, until now an indefinable background presence, instantly sharpened and intensified, forcing from him a strangled gasping sob.

“It’s all right, Sam.” Annie was clearly striving for a soothing controlled tone, but there was a catch and a thickness behind the words that hinted heavily at recent tears.

“There’s an ambulance on the way. All you have to do is lie still. We’ll take care of everything else.”

So here he was, then. Back in 1973. Obviously his mind was very keen for him to be here. Sam was too shattered, physically and mentally, to spend much effort wondering about it. Setting the whole conundrum aside for the time being, he gathered the slim reserves of strength still remaining to him, concentrating all his will power on forcing open his immensely heavy eyelids.

At first he was blinded by brightness, relieved only by a darkened silhouette form crouching over him. Gradually the shadow resolved into Annie’s concerned, pretty face, tear streaks marring the smoothness of the cheeks, giving them character. She searched his eyes, tried a tremulous smile.

“Welcome back, Sam.”

Sam would have smiled back, if he’d had the strength. He owed her something, even if she was a figment of his imagination. She’d been right, after all. He took a breath, light and shallow against the fiery agony.

“Sorry.” A whisper, heartfelt. The touch of Annie’s hand on his arm was absolution.

With effort, he shifted his gaze to a point beyond her, taking in with an unexpected jolt the towering figure of Gene Hunt. The DCI was staring, arms folded, upward towards the point from which Sam had leapt. As Sam watched, Hunt glanced down at him, expression at once bewildered and shrewdly assessing. It struck Sam suddenly, irrelevantly, that this was a character it would be unwise to underestimate.

“You should be dead, Tyler.” There was a hint of suspicion in his tone that Sam couldn’t blame him for. “We should be picking up bits of you from all over this area. How the bloody hell does someone survive a drop like that?”

Something surprisingly like a laugh bubbled up deep within Sam, as he momentarily contemplated trying to explain exactly how he had come to wake up, here, more or less in one piece.

“Lucky,” he managed.

An answering grunt. “Lucky,” Hunt echoed. “Yeah. Well, if I catch you trying to do anything as daft as this again, I’ll finish the job for you. Consider that a threat.”

The two men contemplated each other silently, Gene’s face inscrutable, Sam drawing immeasurable comfort from the imposing, reassuring presence. As a screeching wail heralded the arrival of what passed for emergency services, Sam allowed his eyelids to flicker shut, abandoning himself once more to the safety of warm oblivion. For now, everything else could wait.

Comments:


Loz
lozenger8 at 2007-11-09 19:56 (UTC) (Link)
You are amazing. This is perfect.

This is what happened to me, the other day, when I rewatched. I found myself saying, 'well, do it, Sam - jump.' But then I had the exact same thought - what if it lead back to 1973, and in worse condition?

I love the flow and ebb of the words in this - it reads so very well, with fantastic lines like 'Voices, urgent but determinedly calm, a tone he knew from his own experience as the voice of crisis.'. You also have them all completely spot on - Gene especially.

And I get your pre-pre-pre-slash and raise you to pre, because I can easily see a scenario, where, in a couple of weeks time, Sam finds himself attempting to kick himself out of this reality with a vastly different approach. I'm assuming his ability to talk means he's really not that mangled.

Thank you so much.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-09 20:21 (UTC) (Link)
No, thank you!! *g*

I'm assuming his ability to talk means he's really not that mangled.

Exactly. I've wanted to write about this for ages, but I kept getting stuck between either (a) 1973 isn't real, so he goes back to 2006, or (b) 1973 is real, so he's totalled. This way - 1973 isn't real, but he's not ready for whatever reason to go back to 2006 yet - seemed the best solution so that the rest of LoM could still follow on in approximately the same way.
Mac
ausmac at 2007-11-09 21:09 (UTC) (Link)
I actually watched the first ep again last night, wanted to check out some facts for writing purposes. I get the opposite for the jumping notion - to me, if he'd jumped it would have been fatal, because I believe that it would have been him dying while in the coma. Its a perfect mirror to the last episode where jumping in the real world put him back into his preferred existence. However, all that aside, I love your story; fanfic is ideal for exploring our own concepts in a creative way.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 10:52 (UTC) (Link)
Mmm yeah, that seems fair! You've got canon on your side to an extent, probably more than I have anyway - in 1.06 and then again in 2.01 the implication is strongly there that death in 2006 and 1973 will happen simultaneously.

But there's definitely enough room for doubt on the issue that exploring it in fic is worth a shot (let's face it, pretty much any random theory is worth a bit of ficcage!). And I'm very pleased you liked what I did with it, and thanks for commenting. :)

space_oddity_75
space_oddity_75 at 2007-11-09 21:13 (UTC) (Link)
This is a fantastic story, which I enjoyed immensely. I had thought of writing a 'jumping off' fic myself, but never managed to find the right words. And now you've created this work of art, so there's no reason for me to bang my head against the wall in search for inspiration. Yay you! :)


His mind had obviously chosen to use Annie, and this faintly incredible tale of a prankster ex-boyfriend, as a manifestation of his inner doubts.

This is EXACTLY what I've always thought of Annie! It's she who tries to pull Sam back into his dreamworld, telling him to stay and grabbing him whenever he tries to go back to the real world. She's the core of his delusion and the figure who ultimately manages to hold him there forever with her nice manners and apparent friendliness. The first time I watched LoM, I thought 'ok, she's the key to this madness', and imagined there was a dark side to her which could be decisive for Sam's actions.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 11:27 (UTC) (Link)
*squees at 'work of art'*:DDD

The first time I watched LoM, I thought 'ok, she's the key to this madness', and imagined there was a dark side to her

YES!!! In fact, yay to that whole paragraph. This is completely how I perceive Annie - right the way through I saw her as a decidedly malevolent figure. I think they missed a huge opportunity at the end, when Sam returned to 1973, to make something of this aspect - that would have been an incredibly powerful note to end on. Although I understand that it would have been a bit too dark for a commercial series. Still, I'll never really see Annie as a 'goodie'.
space_oddity_75
space_oddity_75 at 2007-11-10 12:07 (UTC) (Link)
My point exactly! I would have loved to see Annie's dark side in the end, but I understand that the character couldn't have gone dark all of a sudden, when no actual hint of that was ever given in the rest of the series. Nevertherless, if I had been in the writers' shoes, I'd have explored this side of her a bit more (although, maybe they have left some hints of this unconsciously): after all, she's the key figure of Sam's first dream sequence in 1.01 (the woman in red running through the woods), prevents him from jumping in 1.01, puts his loyalty to test in 1.07, takes more initiative than Sam ever thought possible (even sexually) in 2.04, makes Sam promise not to leave her (thus obliging him to go back to his dreamworld) in 2.08, and so on. Traits of dark!Annie show up everywhere, if you look thoroughly.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 12:17 (UTC) (Link)
the character couldn't have gone dark all of a sudden, when no actual hint of that was ever given in the rest of the series.

Yes, but huh. It's OK for Sam to suddenly develop brain cancer out of nowhere, or to suddenly abandon his carefully crafted relationship with Gene, with no hint beforehand. And, as you so expertly point out, there are a lot of Dark!Annie clues throughout.

God, it takes so little to get me wound up! XD
space_oddity_75
space_oddity_75 at 2007-11-10 12:30 (UTC) (Link)
It's OK for Sam to suddenly develop brain cancer out of nowhere, or to suddenly abandon his carefully crafted relationship with Gene, with no hint beforehand

You definitely have a point here! I was so disappointed when it turned out that Sam's problems were all due to a brain tumour (WTF, really?): it sounded like a cheap trick, a way out that was definitely too easy for my tastes (shame on the writers!). I also hated the fact that Sam turned out to be a turncoat after all (what a bastard!) and accepted to give Gene's head to Morgan on a silver tray. I've never precieved Sam as a 'good' character, mind you, but this was really a bit too much even for him.
vic
saintvic at 2007-11-09 21:28 (UTC) (Link)
I love this idea and to have Sam ending up back in 1973 despite making the opposite choice to the one we originally see is a great resolution at the end of this. The way you write his thoughts, the actions and the reactions of the other characters are superb. This makes me wonder how Sam's relationships with the others might be changed after this.
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 11:31 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! :D

This makes me wonder how Sam's relationships with the others might be changed after this.

Yep, me too. I was trying to set it up so that the series could have progressed similarly to canon, but obviously there would have been a few differences. Having said that, the other characters showed an incredible talent in canon for ignoring signs in Sam that something was wrong, so maybe they'd have ignored this too!


Edited at 2007-11-10 11:33 (UTC)
duckyone
duckyone at 2007-11-09 22:03 (UTC) (Link)
I suppose we have all wondered what exactly would have happened if Sam had jumped from the roof at the end of the first episode. I think your version borders on perfect.

Thank you!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 11:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much! For me, these unanswered points are one of the strengths of the series - and certainly an absolute gift for a fic writer!

mayblossom at 2007-11-09 22:53 (UTC) (Link)
I'm so glad someone has explored this. I don't think I've seen it before.

When I first watched the 1x01 upon it's original airing, I was very annoyed that Sam didn't jump. Which probably sounds a bit weird horrible, but I felt that if he was SO desperate to escape or find out what was going on, he really would have taken that "definitive step" and that it would take a lot more than a pretty face and a few words to snap him out of it.

Fantastic fic. I love your take on this issue...it's as plausable as any other take could be, IMHO. :)
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 11:42 (UTC) (Link)
it would take a lot more than a pretty face and a few words to snap him out of it.

Totally agree. Which is why I see Annie as a force within Sam's mind rather than a discrete individual. He didn't jump, I suppose, because his own fears were stronger than his resolve. And I guess the message we're supposed to get from that was that, by the end, he was a stronger person, more mentally equipped to follow through on his own decisions. Which is decidedly NOT how I interpret the ending, but there you go!

Thank you for commenting, and for liking! :D
~Tat~ Put me on your shelf and I'll be Grace Kelly
lackadaisydilly at 2007-11-10 11:12 (UTC) (Link)
Your writing is always gorgeous. It's rare to read a fic where I think that the writer should become a published author. You could do it. And I'm not just telling you that because I want to read more of your - Well, no, that is exactly my motive. I want to read more, I want to gobble up everything you've ever wrote and everything you're ever going to write. But mostly the latter because I'm currently doing the former. Does that sound stalkerish? Oh, this is tatlovestea by the way... although that probably doesn't make me seem any less stalkerish, does it? I wouldn't stalk you if you weren't so damn good. So it's entirely the fault of your enviable talent with words.

This was incredible, especially as it's filled with sentences like this: Searing brightness scorched through Sam’s retinas, before the dark claimed him again, reducing him to a helpless nebulous mass of sick pain. Perfect. And 'helpless nebulous mass of sick pain' is one particularly noteworthy example of your excellent descriptions. *g*
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-10 11:46 (UTC) (Link)
Oh, that's who you are! I'd wondered about that. Well, you stalk away, it's always nice to see you! (And you don't exactly suck at this writing malarkey yourself.)

It's rare to read a fic where I think that the writer should become a published author. You could do it.
That's a wonderfully generous thing to say, thank you. Seriously, it means something. Tragically, I have less will power than anyone else in the world, so the idea of me ever writing anything long enough to be published is remote!

Thanks. :D
~Tat~ Put me on your shelf and I'll be Grace Kelly
lackadaisydilly at 2007-11-10 12:16 (UTC) (Link)
Sorry, heh, perhaps I should have mentioned that somewhere else. How enigmatic of me... :S Ditto to you! (And thank you.)

I was being earnest - I think you'd write something amazing. You don't have to write a novel to become a published author. How about short stories? Most of your fics are quite short, I've noticed, yet you put so much emotion into each of them. They're all extraordinarily powerful. Short stories wouldn't be too exhausting...?

You're always very welcome!
Mrs Tufty
fawsley at 2007-11-10 14:05 (UTC) (Link)
I've always found the 1.01 jump scene very unsettling, as much for what didn't happen as for what did, so this was a fascinating exploration of what might have occurred had Sam taken that step. Wonderfully written, dark and twisted as any nightmare, Annie feels almost like the serpent with the apple! And Gene is perfectly Gene, so much more going on in that brain than anyone ever realises, or perhaps he even admits to himself. Great stuff - thank you!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-11 15:29 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for your lovely feedback! :D

I suppose, to be scrupulously fair, Annie is more Eve than the serpent - making something very dangerous seem very appealing, but without understanding the impact of what she is offering. But that's the kind of vibe I was after.

Gene - yeah! He's an instinctive copper - I can fully imagine that, even faced with this situation, he'd be listening to his gut telling him something was not right.

Edited at 2007-11-11 15:31 (UTC)
It All Comes Back to the Breath
jo02 at 2007-11-12 03:14 (UTC) (Link)
Wonderful, wonderful piece of writing.
I'm in the unusual but annoying position of having all the season 2 episodes to hand, but not the season 1 episodes, so I can't go back and watch this one, which I WANT to do since several writers have refernced it recently.

More please soon?
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-12 18:11 (UTC) (Link)
but not the season 1 episodes, so I can't go back and watch this one

Ah - in that case, I'm happy to report that this fic hangs together perfectly, is smoothly unflawed in its sequencing and fits within the canon as if it was born there. Bwahahahaaa!

Thank you for the lovely comment (apart from the bit about not having the S1 eps - the very thought is nightmarish!). Hope to oblige with more as soon as the muse hits. *pokes indolent bunnies*
Sytaxia
sytaxia at 2007-11-12 12:48 (UTC) (Link)
This was absolutely amazing. Every character was completely and perfectly in tone, and it was just brilliantly detailed and wonderfully written; the flow of the story was excellent, and the descriptions of both the setting and the emotions were executed with a fine precision: bloody brilliant!

I loved the way that you've thought this through, and the way that you've written Annie as the anchor into 1973 for Sam: it just fits amazingly well, even though that's not the way that I've ever seen Annie before. Gene was also brilliantly done, although I really wish that there were more to see of his reaction, and everyone's reaction, to Sam's taking that leap: would he remain a part of the team, or would they call in the men in the white coats? That, plus the way that the jump cemented Sam into 1973, made this such an incredibly departure from the show and yet it still fit in so well and was so believable...

Absolutely wonderful job!
I, being poor, have only my dreams.
bistokids at 2007-11-12 18:28 (UTC) (Link)
I have thought about it. A lot. Ever since I first saw it, and was going - hang on. Run me through that leap of logic again. Neil says 'definitive step', Sam hears 'jump off a roof'. Hmm...

would he remain a part of the team, or would they call in the men in the white coats?
That's the big question, isn't it? I think there are enough canon examples of them ignoring blatant insanity in Sam that they could write this off too. And anyway, if this is all in Sam's head, and he decides they can still accept him, then that's what'll happen.

Gene's suspicion was drawing on 2.01. Because Gene knows. That look he gives Sam when Crane suggests calling the men in white coats - "Should I?"

Sorry, rambling again. Thank you! :DD
girl
totallywow at 2007-11-14 19:58 (UTC) (Link)
How wonderful that Sam stills wakes up in 1973. I love the way you write the bit just as Sam jumps (and the rest, but that bit is my favourite)

robbed of the consequences of impact, the fall became a liberating flight
Ah, love.
Hmpf
hmpf at 2008-10-22 21:39 (UTC) (Link)

Great little fic, *very* well written.

(I'm once more trying to read my way through the community memories, and have just reached 'B' again, hence the way, way belated comment here. ;-))

>His first consciously formed thought, a desire to punch Neil’s smug, all-knowing, stupid face in. Cheers mate. Great advice. Result.

Haha. I kind of want to see a sequel in which Sam, recovered, gets to punch Neil. Because, yeah, Neil deserves to be punched. (Even in canon, where Sam didn't jump.)

Also: ouch! What a way that would have been for Sam to begin his stay in 1973! I can't imagine spending what would most likely be at least a couple of months in hospital in *1973* would have been much fun... Poor guy. I can sort of see his subconscious doing that to him, though.
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