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This is not the first time you think of him when you touch yourself. Of course, it’s not, how could it be.

He mocks you every time you step into Gene’s office, black and white picture on that newspaper clipping staring back at you with the same professional, narrowed gaze. This is not the first time you’ve seen him, it couldn’t be. You know the time you spent with him, how you watched him, lifeless and desperate in that hospital bed, seeking some sort of comfort or something you heard from him but could never name. Again and again, you wished desperately to give him some respite; blow warmth back into his tender body.

-

“A man devoid of hope and conscious of being so has ceased to belong to the future.” You read, and he laughs so loud that it shocks you, the first time you’ve heard that in a month and a half. He doesn’t talk that session, only laughs, and smiles up at you like you told a joke only the two of you were in on. You only smile a little back and feel regret immediately as his face drops.

-

It aches inside. Your jaw clenches tight when you remember his delicate mouth and the curve of skin under his hospital gown. It’s not right, of course it isn’t, to do this again. It’s not fun either, despite the physical part of it, to do this and end up remembering every time the sort of man he truly was. Beyond your fantasies, the burn. Who he might have been if Alex Drake had truly tried to push him back into the time everyone wanted him in.

You decided this was your punishment, not just some great cosmic accident. These are all constructs, yes, but christ he wasn’t- isn’t. Wherever he was, he was real. You had held his hand in a firm grip, felt his pulse thrumming wild and deep in his wrist when you steadied it with your other hand. You had felt him embrace you, something chaste and lonely while still in his hospital gown. He was going to change back into work clothes, go home for a nap before he went back to the station, collecting all the paperwork he was due for. You had advised against this, but something in it made your body thrum. He was so eager, so desperate to be ‘fixed’ and ready to live again. “How eager might he have been with me?” You think, selfish and your chest tight with it

-

“What are you hoping for, when you’re able to leave?” You ask, tentative. He had insisted on a game today, some stimulation because staying in the bed was ‘so fucking bloody boring’. You were inwardly delighted at this and gave a smile as you broke out the small game of travel scrabble you had kept for Molly. He was unhappy when you asked this question then, a small frown on his mouth as he glanced up at you.

“I don’t know. Work, I guess. What else is there?” He almost whimpered it, and you hurt to think how pathetic he sounded. A desperate little animal. “I’ve got no girlfriend, I doubt they’ve kept my flat. There’s nothing.”

-

You remember how he spoke of this other life, how quickly two years seemed to pass with the group of people he stuttered when calling friends in front of you. How his eyes lit up. You find yourself wishing every time, how he would look up at you again. Please, you cry, just once more. You want so badly for him to have thought of you.

-

You jolt a little inside when you feel it. The second Sam Tyler ends his life you feel your body tighten like a rope.

-

“I heard your mum visited the other day, that must’ve been quite nice!” You feign a grin.

“She visits me a lot.”

“I know, but it must’ve been nice to have been able to see her this time.”

He starts to cry, and you wish you could pull your words out of the air and eat them just for the look on his face.

-

You rub your clit idly, thinking of his sharp eyes and his lithe frame, how it would’ve felt to feel his body tight against your own. You fuck yourself on two fingers, imagine how it would’ve felt to have the slow thrust of his cock inside you instead. How nice it would’ve been to feel the blood pumping through his body, for him to flush with desire and happiness for five fucking seconds. It feels so perverse, of course, it does.

You’re not in love with him, you think. That picture still stays there, and how you wish you could tear it down and crumple it in your fist.