"Nah. Put the king there an' you've got all them cards to play with."
"Put that king there an' you've got another gap to work with, too."
"So put the first king there?"
"How did you get to the age of forty-whatever without learnin' solitaire?"
Gene sniffs. "Might've known, once upon a time, an' we'd never bleedin' know now. 'Sides, it was with proper cards then. Not these poncy pencils."
"Pixels," Sam corrects gently, shifting as best he can to crane at the laptop screen. "Why did you change my desktop background to a Ford Cortina?"
"Goggle suggested it."
"Google suggested- Google didn't bloody tell you to hijack my computer!" He snatches it off Gene's lap, scowling. "It was a koala. I like koalas."
Gene yawns, tipping his head back; Sam can feel his scowl softening. "You tired? I can grab a nurse- not in that way!" he barks at Gene's snort of laughter. "You're incorrigible."
"Not tired. They make me tired."
"Oh, come on, Guv. Sooner yer out of physiotherapy, sooner yer out of that wheelchair." Sooner you can take me home.
"Sooner I can be yer live-in nanny. Do I 'ave 'mug' written on my forehead, Tyler?"
"That can be arranged." Sam stretches, lets the pillows take his weight again. His head's starting to hurt and his pelvis is aching. "You know 'ow much I love pens."
"Yeah, an' the lids. That Heimlich manoeuvre bloody hurt."
"Hurt YOU? I was in Intensive Care! With five broken ribs!"
"If you 'adn't swallowed it, I wouldn't 'ave 'ad to 'elp!"
"Do you always argue like this?"
Both men swerve round at the sound of the ward sister's voice, framed in the doorway by the corridor strip lighting. "Sorry," they mumble in unison.
"Please be quiet." The door swings closed again.
"Oo-oo-ooh," Gene mutters, yelps as Sam's elbow digs him in the side. "Ow! Bastard!"
"Keep yer voice down or she'll be back," Sam hisses. "Can you not sit quietly an' play solitaire like a normal person?"
Gene glares, snatches the laptop back, and returns to his game with a pout of monumental proportions. Sam lets his eyes drift shut, one hand on Gene's warm arm, the other snuggled beneath his blankets as he lets himself relax right into the mattress, listens to the in-out, in-out of Gene's breathing, the hisses of their oxygen masks, the clicking and rustling of the mouse, his Guv's swearing as a card or a game goes awry...
A warm weight is placed on his tummy, and he opens his eyes to see Gene gently tucking his DI's hand under the covers, smoothing them down around him, tidying the drips and wires and the nasal cannula with such sweet, intense concentration on his face Sam wants to kiss him. Gene slots the laptop into the bedside table, tidies the cable and charger away and bends to press one long, lingering kiss to Sam's forehead, stroke the unbandaged skin with his thumb, only flopping back down into the wheelchair when his legs won't hold him up any longer.
"Night, Tyler," he whispers, hand sliding down to squeeze Sam's bicep, vanishing away too quickly. "Sleep well, you picky pain bastard."
"I, er, I'm sorry about, er... I deleted something an' it all went blue. Night Sam, see you tomorrow!"
"YOU DID WHAT?"
Chasing Gene down the corridor is the best physiotherapy Sam could ask for. Strangling him is going to do his arm muscles no end of good.