Whatever Happened to Raymond Doyle


AUTHOR'S NOTE: I do not consider this story to be a sequel to any of my previous works, but rather a stand-alone exploration of a possibility. This is not by any stretch of the imagination a death story.

The black Merc pulled up in front of the building, and he stepped out onto the curb, never one for the time wasted waiting for his driver to get out, walk around the car, then open the door for him. Still, he had emerged from the backseat of a luxury car, and out of the corner of his pale blue eyes, he noted a couple pausing to study him. Their manner and dress had the air about them that always said 'tourist,' and American, at that.

After a moment, they moved on, dismissing him as ... just another politician? Or perhaps a harmless old man. He smiled. Although at seventy-five he had to admit he qualified for the 'old' no one who knew him would have ever labeled George Cowley as harmless. But not even the old felt accurate. Five years ago, he'd finally submitted to a surgery to have a bullet removed from his leg, and he walked with a faster, lighter step than he had in decades.

Nor had he noticed any mental deterioration. And he was a stickler for having that monitored; it wouldn't do at all for a man in his position to descend into senility or worse. So it was with no alarm that he once again looked at the building before him with the persistent feeling that it had a wrongness about it. This was not an example of his vaunted intuition at work, or of mental time slips, but of his sense of style. While he could appreciate the security and comforts provided by the current headquarters of Criminal Intelligence 5, he considered the building itself to be a typical modern monstrosity and missed the atmosphere of the building abandoned ten years ago.

He took a moment to scowl at the building, then went through the glass doors into the security lobby. It too had the usual modern look: all glass and bright colours to make guests feel welcome, the desk in front of the lifts manned by a smiling, ever eager-to-be-helpful receptionist/security guard. And if the glass were bullet proof and the receptionist a crack shot with an Armalite kept hidden, but within easy reach ... well, what the public did not know wouldn't hurt them.

The metal detector to the right of the desk -- and the only portal through which the lifts could be reached -- was a slight blight on the friendly scene, but such devices were also relatively common these days, at least in the buildings housing the government and the various security organizations.

This morning Joanna was not alone, the redhead looking up from a conversation with her immediate boss to greet him. "Good morning, sir."

"Joanna, Charlie," he nodded his hellos. "I trust things are well."

"Yes, sir," Charlie assured him. Once a member of CI5's A-Squad, the man now had responsibility for internal security. It had pleased Cowley to no end that he'd accepted the job when it had come time for him to retire from the field. Of all the things he had to worry about, the integrity of the building and its personnel was no longer among them.

He asked Charlie to stop by his office later in the day to discuss some equipment upgrades -- he'd already decided to approve them, but it wouldn't do at all for any of his department heads to start thinking he was made of money.

Charlie gave him an apprehensive look and agreed on a 2.30 meeting.

That taken care of, Cowley went through the detector -- the device temporarily disengaged by the touch of a button on Joanna's console -- then took the lift to the fifth floor, where the administrative offices were located.

Several areas in the building and most equipment that supplied information required palm scans to gain access, but the office marked 'Controller' did not have such elaborate devices -- merely another attractive woman stationed inside who could use an automatic weapon with consummate skill.

He walked into the outer office, then nodded to the young black woman sitting behind the desk that separated visitors from the two inner doors. "Good morning, Grace."

Grace Northcott smiled, returned his greeting, then added, "I hope you had a pleasant few days in the country."

"Yes, very pleasant." Though they maintained a flat in London, Cowley's wife had an estate in the country. She went up there almost every weekend, understanding that her husband could not often get away to join her, but insistent that he make the effort at least once every few months. To both their mutual surprise and pleasure, his attempt to take a long weekend had actually succeeded. "I assume that all was well here."

She nodded. "It's even quieter this morning."

One eyebrow rose, then his glance shifted to the door to her right, the one marked Arthur Stebbings, Controller CI5. "Off making speeches?"

"Yes, but the city seems quiet as well. Most excitement we had yesterday were the usual 'nothing on for a few days' shouting matches in the rest room."

He nodded, knowing well how tempers could flare when the members of the A Squad had nothing to do. That much hadn't changed since CI5's inception. "I trust the offenders were sent to Records." That much hadn't changed either, or at least he hoped not. Stebbings could be overly indulgent with his 'thoroughbreds.'

"Yes, sir."

"At least the man has some sense," he muttered, then headed towards the door on her left, the one labeled simply George Cowley. For of all the things that had not changed, first on the list was that George Cowley ran CI5. Stebbings was merely a nod to the mandatory retirement age, a compromise with Whitehall that Cowley found acceptable. Stebbings made the speeches, the goodwill gestures, and Cowley ran things behind the scenes.

But now, with Stebbings due for his own retirement in three months and some promising developments in a problem of long standing, Cowley had decide the time had come for some changes. He entered his office, then sat down at his antique desk. A beautiful piece of furniture, it was adorned with a brass lamp of equal craftsmanship, the inevitable stack of files, and two photographs.

From the first Margaret Cowley smiled radiantly out at the world. A remarkable woman, he'd never quite figured out how he had captured her heart or convinced her to marry a man who spent most of his time at the office. Patient as she was, yesterday Margaret had wistfully observed that it would be nice to have her husband around for more than an occasional day or two off. A few hours later she'd mentioned that some friends of theirs had taken a cruise to celebrate their anniversary. Since he and Margaret would celebrate their sixteenth wedding anniversary in July, Cowley had realized this was a request and not information to keep him up-to-date about the latest neighbourhood gossip.

In a moment of optimism, he'd purchased tickets for a trip of their own in September. Now, he needed to ensure that he could accompany his wife.

CI5 could not exist without George Cowley. He'd heard that more times than he cared to remember, but he had always disagreed. The problem had never been that no one could replace him, but that it took a certain kind of man to do it. And such a man had not existed when he had reached sixty-five. Hence Stebbings. To be accurate, such a man still did not exist. But two did. And he was determined that when he boarded that cruise ship with Margaret, it would be with the knowledge that CI5 was safely in the hands of his chosen successors.

Except there was that problem of long standing to deal with. But then there almost always was some sort of problem when it came to those two.

His glance shifted to the second photo and the handsome image of William Andrew Philip Bodie -- his illegitimate son, the very image of Cowley's maternal grandmother, and the head of CI5 Hong Kong. Though circumstances allowed him to telephone Bodie quite often, Cowley only saw him once a year when they met in Malta for a combined vacation and annual debriefing session. For his part, Bodie had not set foot in London for fifteen years, not since the problem had begun.

Capturing a moment frozen in time, the dark-blue eyes sparkled in the photograph and a broad, almost mischievous grin lit up Bodie's face. Cowley sighed, missing that young tearaway with an almost physical pain, but the lad no longer existed. Bodie's file contained more current photos, yet Cowley could not bear to look at them, couldn't endure seeing the dullness of the eyes, the small, forced smiles. In essence, all the life had gone out of the man since he'd left for Hong Kong.

If things went well, Cowley would have his son back, smile and all. If not ... it would destroy Bodie completely. For that reason, George Cowley had sat down and planned this operation with the same renowned care he used when coordinating searches for terrorist bombs planted in the heart of London.

And that brought him to the files. To be precise, the personnel files of the seven men on the short list to head the national CID. Except there would be no national CID. Cowley had seen to that. Instead, CI5 would expand, change with the times, as it were. The organization would split into two divisions: one charged with terrorist/espionage activities, the other with criminal. Bodie would head the first; a selection committee would appoint one of the seven to the second. All of Cowley's plans hinged on that appointment, and, if necessary, he would call in every favour owed him to secure it.

He opened the only file he cared about and read the latest psychological evaluation, hoping it would contain the same encouraging signs found in the three that had preceded it. An hour later, he picked up the phone.

Bodie stood at his office window, staring out at the city without really seeing it. He had lived in Hong Kong longer than any other place, but he felt no connection to it, no sorrow at the days ticking away towards the end of British rule. To him, it was not a city full of excitement, but a place of exile and a refuge.

London had been the only home he'd ever known, the only one he'd ever wanted, but fate had never been kind to him, and he had been unable to stay. Some fathers gave their sons fancy cars or jobs in the family business; George Cowley had given his a place to hide, and, to his ever lasting shame, Bodie had taken it. By some standards he'd even thrived.

On the face of it, he ran the CI5 Hong Kong Station, a redundant addition to the usual bureaucratic levels of red tape that threatened to choke any large city. But the station had very little to do with Hong Kong and its criminal activity. He left that to the local police and MI5. Instead, his office specialized in international covert operations. If the SAS wouldn't or couldn't touch it, but it needed to be done, Bodie and his team saw to it. At least once a week someone around the office would hum the Theme from Mission Impossible. To which someone else would add a rendition of the Theme from the Twilight Zone. Both were apt descriptions of the kind of tasks his people had faced. Most of it made his years on the streets of London seem easy.

He sighed. Hard, demanding work with other lives counting on him: he knew the trick cyclists had told his father that was the prescription that would keep Bodie alive. That and to get him out of London where the reminders of all he'd had kept the wound in his soul raw and bleeding. While his life no longer hung in the balance, his job gave him a sense of purpose, grounding him in a world that needed him. While not a road to happiness -- he honestly never expected to feel happy again -- he was content.

Given all this, he had been unconcerned about the change over in power. He'd simply assumed that his team would be relocated and business would continue as usual. Or at least he had until an hour ago and the phone call from his father. In one sense, he hadn't been wrong. The end of British rule in Hong Kong would not be the end of the team, but it would mark the end of his days as its commander.

The door of his office opened, drawing his attention, and a lovely woman with shoulder-lengthen blonde hair walked in. Or at least Susan was normally quite lovely, but that description didn't quite match up with the scowl of disapproval she had trained on him. "Something wrong?" he asked.

She rolled her eyes. "In case it has escaped your notice, it is now 7.30 at night and we've been here since 4.00 this morning. I'm tired, I'm hungry, and I'm beginning to forget what our flat looks like."

Inwardly he smiled. "Ah, time to go home, is it?"

"Bodie --"

"My father called," he told her, knowing he had to get it over with before he lost his nerve.


Such a calm little sound.

Susan had not shared his lack of concern of what the immediate future would bring. "Well, let's have it."

"This office will be relocated to Wales," he told her the best and worst of it. Yes, the operation would go on, but it would not be stationed in the sort of cosmopolitan surroundings that Susan enjoyed. Then he dropped the bombshell, "I've been instructed to offer command of it to you, then to Murphy if you turn it down."

It was a rather dispassionate speech given that he was talking not only to his second-in-command, but to a woman he had lived with for all but the first year since they'd both fled to Hong Kong. They'd built something of a life together out of mutual affection and loss -- though her loss had been of a more straight forward manner. Her husband, Jax, had been killed two months before Bodie had suffered his own tragedy. If Bodie and Susan had never known love together, they had known deep friendship and comfort. But he had come to feel ... know that she deserved so much more.

She moved over to him and touched his arm. "And you?"

"He wants me back in London."

A sharp intake of breath, then her arms slipped around him, her head coming to rest against his shoulder. "Tell me that means what I hope it does."

He kissed the top of her head. "There is ... a chance of a possibility."

A hug answered him. "I'm glad."

Bodie wasn't as certain. He'd lived without hope for so long, he didn't know how to feel it anymore, and ... "It seems like a poor reward for all you've done for me."

She gave him another hug. "Do you know how long it's been since we last made love?"

He had to think about it for a moment, then remembered it was how they had celebrated surviving the Lebanon op. "Seven months. I hadn't realized --"

Her hand covered his mouth. "You're my best friend, Bodie, and in that way I'll love you for the rest of our lives, but we haven't been lovers for a long time, and in some ways we never were."

He kissed her palm. Her words echoed his own feelings about their relationship, and he once more felt regret at whatever it was inside him that would not allow him to love again. "I wish things had been different."

"We made the most of what we had. It's simply time to move on."

He nodded, and together they stood at the window, watching the glittering lights of Hong Kong at night, holding each other as they each said their silent goodbys to the life they'd led together.

June 30, 1997

After the usual, but interminable delays, the jet hurtled down the runway, then lifted up into a sky growing grey. Bodie watched the tarmac give way to the more interesting view of Hong Kong and continued to stare until long after the huge city had been left behind. He would never see it again. Even if he returned, the city he had lived in would cease to exist at the stroke of midnight. At that moment, the Union Jack would be lowered for the last time, and the flag of the People's Republic of China would take its place as, after 156 years of British rule, Hong Kong once again became part of China.

Bodie and his team had declined to stay for the festivities surrounding the change in governments. No, that wasn't right. Bodie, Susan and Murphy's team had declined to stay. He took Susan's hand, then glanced back to where Murphy sat. He had few reservations about handing over the care of his people to him. And there was a sense of rightness about it. Cowley had created the operation with Murphy in mind, but had forced the approval for the new station through and appointed Bodie to head it when it had become obvious that Bodie had to leave London. Though Bodie liked and respected Murphy, he felt Susan was the more skilled operative and had made her his deputy instead. Fortunately, only Bodie and Cowley knew all of this so there were no hard feelings, and the gradual change over in command had gone smoothly.

His attention turned back to Susan. Having her at his side would make the days to come easier to bear and eliminated the need to find a new deputy he could trust so completely, but he had demanded constant reassurance from her that she had made the decision to return to London with him based on her own needs, not his. That she'd eventually convinced him of that was due to the fact that he knew how much she hated the sort of rural area the team would now call home.

Well, that and the mutual agreement that they would live in separate flats from now on.

He sighed. That would take some getting used to; he'd grown quite accustomed to her soft warmth in his bed, even if he hadn't been doing more than sleeping with her. But it was long past time she stopped wasting herself on a man with a lost soul.

She seemed to realize what he was thinking, for she squeezed his hand and asked, "Will you be all right?"

He kissed her forehead to reassure her, but couldn't bring himself to lie. He hadn't been all right for fifteen years. Not since the day the doctors had told him Raymond Doyle was dead.

Alan Cade entered his hotel room, then flipped on the television. Normally he didn't touch the thing this time of day, but like many he wanted to see history in the making. Silly, really. Whatever would happen to Hong Kong wouldn't occur tonight or even next week. Only time would tell if today's pomp and circumstance would lead to triumph or tragedy, not to mention whose viewpoint would be used to define the terms. Still, he'd felt it important to watch and had been pleased when his interview schedule had allowed him a few hours to escape back to his hotel at the right time.

He poured himself a glass of mineral water and smiled. He doubted this freedom had been an accident. It struck him that nothing that had anything to do with George Cowley happened accidentally. Though technically retired for almost nine years, everyone knew the former Controller of CI5 still ran the organization. And a damned good thing it was, too. Cade shuddered, having had more than one encounter with Cowley's 'successor.'

Arthur Stebbings seemed a pleasant enough man and intelligent, but he was a politician, not the skilled tactician needed to run the organization. Cowley was the only man who could and should head CI5 with its sweeping brief that banished all jurisdictional boundaries and more legal niceties than Cade cared to count.

Cade had never approved of authoritarian organizations and did not consider CI5 an exception. Still, its existence had been tolerable with Cowley at the helm; but the organization should have been retired along with its founder. Even Cowley didn't seem to disagree with those who said that CI5 should give way to the national CID, and his presence on the selection committee seemed to indicate his approval of the notion. Seemed being the operative word. 'Never take anything Cowley does at face value,' he reminded himself.

But it all did seem straight forward. Cade had known for over three years that his name was on the short list to head the national CID ... if it ever happened. Well, if had arrived, and he had indeed been called in for interviews. Through the years they'd known each other, Cowley had supported him, or at least not opposed him every time Cade made a move Whitehall disapproved of -- which Cade had to admit had been frequently. He'd always considered the CID job a flimsy carrot dangled in front of his face to make him conform and hadn't believed he'd ever be considered for it. But Cowley's presence made it all make sense. Not only had Cowley got him on the list, Cade knew the man could arrange the appointment with a few whispers in the right ears. Now all he had to decide was whether or not he wanted the job.

The plane landed late the day before it had taken off. 'Ah, the joys of time zones and jet travel,' Bodie thought as he released his seat belt, then stood up to stretch. He'd stayed in shape through the years. But not the 'in shape' of a man in his late forties who jogged and gave an occasional acknowledgment to eating right. Bodie's body was CI5 hard, a necessity for a man who took a hands-on approach to running a special ops team. He'd have to work all the harder at keeping fit now that his job would be more desk bound.

He got his and Susan's carry-alls from the overhead bins, then they joined the slow shuffle out of the plane. When they reached the terminal, they found Cowley and Margaret waiting for them. He'd not seen them for ten months, but to his relief he found George Cowley seemed as untouched by time as ever. Bodie knew the mind to be alert and as cunning as ever, and the body he took into his arms lacked any hint of the frailty he'd feared he might find when so much time passed between meetings.

"Welcome home, laddie. Welcome home," a deep voice whispered in his ear. Yes, for better or for worse, Bodie had finally come home.

"What do you mean there's been a change in plans?" While the voice held no particular edge, dark blue eyes regarded Cowley with a look of pure suspicion\tab

Twelve hours sleep in a decent bed, a shower and a change of clothes had done much to restore his son, and, as Cowley poured two glasses of pure malt scotch, he thought that it might have been wiser to have kept him groggy. Though this morning's meeting had reached a satisfactory conclusion, the reaction to his news had been -- as expected -- volatile. His ears were still ringing, and while he did not think Bodie would express his own displeasure with equal volume or heat, he knew the next few minutes would be most unpleasant.

Still, there was little else for it but to get down to it. "As times change, so must we, Bodie," Cowley answered, handing him a glass.

Bodie took a long fortifying drink. "And what sort of changes are we talking about?"

He settled into his favourite chair with his own scotch. "There is a suggestion that CI5 will be disbanded when Stebbings retires."

Perhaps taking his cue from Cowley's matter-of-fact attitude, Bodie opted not to react to that little bombshell. "So, I'm out of a job and coming home to live with you and Maggie? Be a right proper situation comedy, that will."

Cowley smiled. "You will always have a room in my home, son," he reminded him. "But I suspect you will prefer your own flat."

"And how am I to pay for said flat?"

A sip of scotch, then he revealed the results of months of favours called in and strings pulled almost to the breaking point. "It will be the notion of a national CID that will retire with Stebbings, while CI5 will assume the responsibilities envisioned for that organization. The job and personnel required to do this will require more than one man at the helm."

Actually, one man could handle the responsibility, but CI5's value was more than a brief with a loop hole and broad jurisdiction. By keeping the organization small, the security breeches were minimal. To date, there had been only two in the entire history of the organization. That might change drastically if CI5 became another MI5 with layers of command and little contact between the controller and those who worked the streets. By adding a second controller, in essence creating a partnership at the highest level, Cowley hoped CI5 would retain its security as it all but doubled in size. "You will head the anti-terrorist division."

Bodie considered that and seemed to have no objections. "Who would I report to?"

"The Home Secretary. You would be a joint controller with the man heading the domestic crimes unit."

"Ah, and that would be?"

Though regretting the pain he was about to cause, he announced, "Alan Cade."

Cade walked through the restaurant over to a corner table where a pretty young woman with dark eyes and hair waited for him. "Sorry I'm late, love," he said, giving his daughter a kiss on the cheek.

"No problem, Dad. It's a good spot to people watch," Elena Belinsky said with a smile that reminded him of her mother.

Strange the things he remembered. He hadn't seen Yvonne in twenty years, not since the day she'd taken their one-year-old daughter and left Britain for Canada. But the memory of the woman's smile was as sharp and clear as the pain of her taking Elena from him. At least their daughter had finally stopped blaming him for that. In fact, though there were no winners in such a situation, Yvonne had come out the clear loser. Too many years of Yvonne's snide comments about Cade had influenced Elena against him for a time, but they'd also not endeared Yvonne to her. In the end, Elena had decided to move to England to complete her schooling and make her own decisions about him. To his utter joy, they'd decided they liked each other very much, and she planned to live in London once her legal studies were completed.


Her voice pulled him from the memories, and he gave her a smile as he sat down opposite her. "It seems like my day for apologies. Sorry."

"You've got a lot on your mind. How did it go?"

He took a moment to give his drink order to the waiter, then answered, "Well, that depends on your point of view."

"What do you mean?"

"I got the job. In a manner of speaking."

She gave him the sort of puzzled look that he felt adequately expressed his own feelings on the subject. "Dad?"

He sighed, knowing full well how she would react. "You are looking at the head of the criminal investigations division and Co-Controller of CI5."

"What?" her loud hiss drew the attention of several other diners, and his hand moved to cover hers.

While she visibly struggled to control herself, he thought, not for the first time, that it might have been a mistake not to tell Elena that her assault case had been reviewed and over turned, not as she thought by his string pulling, but by Cowley's. If she knew she had recovered her dream of becoming a barrister due to George's help, she might have been inclined to think more kindly towards the man. On the other hand, she might have opted to give up law entirely rather than owe anything to a man who stood for everything she despised about authority. That shucking of her chosen career a real fear, Cade had opted to keep the details murky, but it didn't keep him from toying with the notion of telling her the truth from time to time. He shook his head slightly, then muttered, "I knew George was up to something, but he still never fails to surprise me."

"Why does that fascist keep interfering with your life?"

"He's not a fascist," he snapped, more than weary of defending his friendship with the man. Not that he understood it himself. He shared most of his daughter's liberal attitudes, and that all added up to the fact that Cowley, and men like him, were the enemy. But then there were no other men like Cowley. For that reason, he opened his mouth to say that sometimes you had to fight fire with fire, but he closed it. Fire with fire; the end justifies the means; all too keep things smelling ever so faintly of roses and lavender. He didn't believe it. He'd never believed it. But. ...

He did. Deep down inside, he knew that sometimes it was the only way to win the battles that simply must not be lost. And it shamed him to feel that way, because he didn't understand why he did. It violated everything he'd ever fought for or against. He should have told Cowley exactly what he could do with his 'change of plans,' had been on the brink of doing so; instead, he'd ended a rather spectacular shouting match with his acceptance of the post.

No, he didn't understand it, yet somehow if felt ... like coming home. So he set himself to gaining his daughter's acceptance, and, as he spoke, her ever deepening frown mirrored his thoughts. Cowley had an agenda. Every scrap of intellect Cade possessed screamed it. But what was it? And who the hell was William Andrew Philip Bodie?

The half-empty glass of scotch tumbled from Bodie's hand. Speechless, he stared at his father, his heart full of the one thing he'd never experienced with the man. Cowley had betrayed him. Not once, not in all the Operation Suzies, not in all the webs of double and triple think that had ensnared him, had Bodie ever felt that. "No," he whispered, standing without realizing he'd done it. "You can't expect me -- I won't -- Goddamn you, he killed Ray!"

His father's hands closed around his upper arms, bearing down with surprising strength. "Stop it, Bodie!" he snapped. "Life killed Doyle, not Cade, and not you. You've had fifteen years to realize that! Are you so daft that you're still blind to the truth?"

"I love him," Bodie gasped out the only truth he had ever known, his chest heaving against a weight of emotion that would have crushed a lessor man. Love? Christ, what an inadequate word that was. People loved ice cream, a movie, a rock group. How could he use that to describe what he felt for Ray? Doyle was half his soul, and the half that was Bodie's alone had never been worth keeping.

Hurt, he lashed out with words he knew would wound. "I stayed alive for you." It was true. In those first few days after he had lost Ray, he'd wanted desperately to put his gun in his mouth and end the pain. But Cowley was his father, and he had been unable to bear the thought of forcing the man to survive his son.

Cowley gave him a shake. "Do you think I'm such a fool that I didn't know that? Ach, laddie, I employ the best of the best, and that includes Ross and her ilk. Even if I hadn't seen it in your eyes, you never fooled their tests."

The tests. Bodie's sense of hurt and betrayal vanished in a wave of dismay. His father had looked at those tests, then put him on a plane headed for the other side of the world. There he had found a hard, demanding job, distance, and a woman suffering from a similar pain to help him cope with his own. Cowley had saved him, and all it had cost the old man was his son's presence in his life. "I'm sorry," he whispered, his hand reaching out, then settling on his father's shoulder. "I forget sometimes that I wasn't the only one who got hurt."

"It's been fifteen years, Bodie," Cowley said, his voice heavy with emotion. "I didn't bring you home just to head CI5, though that was always my dream."

Bodie shook his head. His father had given him years as far away from this pain as was possible, but Bodie had accepted that it was time to come home. Time to do what his father had always wanted and take over CI5. But he lacked the strength to do more than that. "Ray's dead."

Cowley looked him straight in the eye. "His mind is strong now, Bodie. Somewhere inside Alan Cade sleeps the man you loved. It's time you woke him up."

Cade was running late. Technically still Chief Constable of Eastland until the end of the month when his new posting became official, a minor crisis had delayed him. And he wasn't pleased about it. While he had no intention of throwing the people of Eastland to the wolves, and while he appreciated Wes Morton's acknowledgment of the fact that Cade was still his superior, it was all more than silly. Wes was more than capable of handling things in Eastland until Cade's replacement was picked. In fact, more than a few -- many of them denizens of Whitehall -- would consider Mortan's way of handling things superior to Cade's. Superior translating as conservative.

He glanced at the woman striding down the corridors with him. Attractive in a no-nonsense sort of way, Rose Penfold radiated a confidence that Cade felt sorely lacking in himself and he was grateful for her calming presence. The Detective Superintendent had headed CID at Eastland for the last two years, and she'd agreed to accept the position as his deputy in CI5. Such a relief he had someone familiar to rely on.

A nervous smile touched his lips, and Rose frowned. "Is something wrong, Alan?"

"New job jitters," he said, dismissing the fluttering in his stomach. How could he tell her that he'd gone through the nastiest gauntlet minds like Cowley's could devise to win this appointment only to be reduced to a bundle of nerves at meeting his ipso facto partner? He couldn't begin to understand it himself, but his stomach had been doing back flips ever since he'd heard the name. That and the embarrassment he felt on top of it had left him in a lousy state to meet a man he'd have to work with day in and day out. If they didn't work well together, their lives would be utter hell, and the only direction to go career-wise from here was straight down.

As if that weren't enough cause for irritation, he found that even the bloody building felt wrong. Nice enough, but somehow it lacked style. Somehow, it felt ... off. And he'd never even bothered to notice buildings before.

He had that same inexplicable feeling of wrongness when he pushed open the door marked Controller and entered the outer office. An attractive young black woman sat at the desk guarding the inner doors. Somehow she wasn't at all what he'd expected, yet she fairly glowed with that blend of efficient personableness that anyone with half a brain cell would expect from someone stationed in this room. He told himself that he'd grown too accustomed to Diane Lewis in the desk outside his office door, and once again felt a moment's regret that she'd opted not to leave her life and friends in Eastland behind to join his staff in London.

The woman stood. "Good afternoon, Mr Cade."

"Ms Northcott," he said, assuming she matched the nameplate on the desk, and moved towards the door opposite her desk.

"They are waiting for you in Mr Cowley's office," she told him.

Of course. Bodie had arrived first, so he would have claimed home ground, and it was only fitting that he take his father's office, for in twenty-two days George Cowley would truly be retired: the heir apparent had finally come home to accept the crown. Cowley's son. It was all Cade had been able to discover about his soon-to-be partner, and he didn't like it. Sounded positively medieval. A part of him knew that wasn't fair -- Bodie wouldn't have got the job on the strength of genetic ties alone, anymore than Cade had got his only through his friendship with Cowley. Yet, while Cowley could only strongly advise and recommend when it came to the position Cade had been chosen to fill, the man had been granted the unprecedented right to name his own successor at CI5. As Cade understood it, that right had been determined to mean he could chose one of the two controllers the new set-up had created. Cade might have been his favourite, but his appointment had not been the inevitability that Bodie's had.

He glanced towards the door that led to the office he would soon occupy, then turned to the right, and knocked on the door even as he pushed it open.

"Ah, Alan, at last," Cowley greeted him from where he sat all nice and cozy behind his desk. Two of the four chairs in front of the desk were occupied, and he nodded at the attractive blonde who first caught his eye.

"Sorry, George, a bit of a bother back home," Cade said, "You remember, Rose?"

"Good afternoon, Mrs Penfold. May I introduce your opposite number. ..."

Introducing the two seconds-in-command first was a violation of protocol, but Cade found himself grateful for the few moments that Cowley's odd lapse granted him. For he had finally got his first look at William Bodie.

Cade's heart caught in his throat, and two thoughts collided in his brain: the man was beautiful, but Cade had never referred to a man, especially one with such a powerful build, as beautiful. Handsome, he tried to amend his thoughts, tried to capture a state of disinterested assessment, but failed miserably. Bodie wasn't handsome. He was beautiful, and Cade, who had never noticed other men, found that he wanted him. At fifty-one, such earth-shattering discoveries should have been behind him, and should have, in any case, been devastating; but any shock he felt was merely his amazement over not being alarmed or stunned by the effect Bodie was having on him. He shook his head slightly, trying to clear it, while dark blue eyes studied him from beneath the longest eyelashes he'd ever seen.

Dimly he realized Cowley was introducing them and wanting to touch, he offered his hand.

One of the uneven eyebrows arched, but Bodie shook his hand.

It was all Cade could do to force himself to let go, then he said the first reasonable thing that sparked in his brain, "Haven't we met before?"

For a moment something flashed in the dark eyes. Hope, Cade tried to label the fleeting emotion, but that was ridiculous. He didn't know the man at all, let alone enough to try to read what he thought or felt from a fleeting look.

Whatever it was vanished in an instant, replaced by a mask of disinterested professionalism. "Yes," Bodie answered. "I was at the hospital when you came out of the coma."

Oh. "I'm afraid I don't remember much about those first few days," he admitted.

"So I was told."

February, 1982

Jumbled dreams of nonsensical images gave way to a soothing nothingness. He thought, even hoped this might be death, but he knew his own luck and doubted such peace could ever be his for long. Still, he floated for what seemed like quite a long time before an occasional isolated picture began to take form. Tears in a pair of dark brown eyes, a baby held close to a woman's breast, a photograph of a girl with the same dark eyes, an elderly woman telling him she was proud to be his mother, a pretty red-head with green eyes telling her little brother not to let his latest commendation go to his head, another photograph of the dark-eyed girl -- this time a few years older.

One after another they came, never quite fitting totally together, but slowly giving him enough sense of self to gather together the strength to open his eyes. He groaned at the sharp pain that rewarded his actions.

"Sunshine?" a voice called to him. A hand gripped his own. "I'm here, angelfish. I'm here."

He asked the first question that came to mind. "Where's here?"

"St Guys. Managed to end up in hospital again."

He processed that information. Again? He had no memory that he could latch on to of being in hospital before. He licked dry lips, and almost instantly a straw pressed against them. He took a long sip of water, felt better, then looked up into a pair of bloodshot eyes. "Who are you?" he asked, genuinely curious as to who was being so kind to him, who cared enough that he looked like he'd been crying or fighting it for days.

Horror filled blue eyes. "You don't know me?"


"Hang on a minute, I need to get the doctor."

He faded, losing track of the time until a pleasant looking black man bent over him. He wore a white coat and shone a painfully bright light into his eyes. All said doctor to him. The next question confirmed it. "Do you know who you are?"

"'course," he answered, indignant.

"Tell me."

Dimly he was aware of the blue-eyed stranger hovering near the door of his room. He found himself wishing he would come closer and go away with equal fervour, the two thoughts clashing with such force that his head ached almost beyond endurance. "Alan Cade," he answered through teeth clenched against the pain. "I'm Alan Cade."

When he looked towards the door again, the stranger was gone. And so was much of the pain.

July, 1997

Years of staying functional when sick with exhaustion or literally three-quarters dead allowed Bodie to respond normally throughout the afternoon, but inside he was screaming. The curls were gone along with all that Bodie held so dear, but time had done little else to mark the exotic face and sparkling green eyes. Absently, he noted that the tailored suit hid a body that had gone a touch soft -- been a long time since the man had done more than jog a few miles a day. There was no Brian Macklin to make a bloke do more in the police force.

Still, the shorter hair and greying temples suited Doy -- Cade, he reminded himself. They suited Cade. Alan Cade. He had to start thinking of him as Cade. For, despite what his father had said, if Doyle did indeed slumber inside this attractive shell, it was a slumber Doyle had chosen to take, and Bodie could never forget that.

He heard himself making small talk, then even agreeing to have a get acquainted drink with the man who wore the face of someone he had valued above anything else in the world. Wore the face of the man who had destroyed Bodie.

Undoubtedly realizing how he felt, Susan manoeuvred things so that she and Rose Penfold came along. And his lovely lady stayed close to him, more a mother hen than a friend or ex-lover, but she'd never been able to shield him from this pain. That had not changed.

March, 1982

Cowley walked into the doctor's office and sat down in one of two chairs. Bodie took the other. Only the sight of him proved he even existed anymore. Bodie seldom spoke and what colour he'd had in his pale complexion had vanished beneath the weight of pain and worry.

In the three weeks since Doyle had regained consciousness, Bodie had tried to see him twice. Doyle had not recognized him either time and had quickly developed such head pain that he'd all but seizured. For Doyle's sake, Bodie had been barred from his room, and the strain of obeying that edict was all but killing him.

He'd risked coming to the hospital today only to hear the results of the latest tests on Doyle.

The news was confusing at best. Carefully the doctor explained the rather encouraging results of the latest brain scans, concluding with, "The bullet seems to have left him relatively unharmed."

Good news indeed, but it did not take into account the obvious and most troubling aspect of Doyle's condition. "Doctor, he doesn't know who he is."

"Yes, I am aware of that," the man answered. "But I'm afraid none of our tests can find a physical cause."

"What are you trying to say?"

"I'm saying that our best guess is that Mr Doyle doesn't remember who he is because he simply doesn't want to."

Cowley heard Bodie's gasp and had to restrain himself both from reaching out to his son and from killing the doctor. He failed in the one, his hand coming to rest unnoted on Bodie's forearm, but managed not to do the other by reminding himself that the doctor did not know Bodie was Doyle's lover.

"And his reaction to Bodie?"

"Again it is guess work, but he must represent some threat to Mr Doyle's belief that he is Alan Cade."

"Then exposure to Bodie might restore his memory?"

"It might. But it could also cause severe damage. As I said, the bullet has left him relatively unharmed, but he has still suffered a great deal of brain trauma. To attempt to force his memory might send him back into a coma. Perhaps even kill him."

"And if we wait until his brain physically heals?"

"Again, it might cure him. It also might create an emotional trauma great enough to require he be institutionalized."

Doyle's sister, Bridget, arrived and the three discussed the situation for hours while Bodie listened in unbroken silence. He didn't even react when the decisions were made.

Cowley took him home, put him to bed and made some calls. By morning he had the solution, and though it broke his heart to do so, he put his son on a plane to Hong Kong at the end of the week.

July, 1997

... doesn't want to. Bodie sipped at the scotch Cade had ordered for him and didn't even try to fight the memory of a day that was never far from his thoughts. ... doesn't want to. As he'd refused to even consider the possibility that Doyle might never come out of the coma, at first he'd refused to believe such nonsense. Doyle loved him. He'd told himself that over and over again. Doyle would never voluntarily leave him. Yet days had turned into weeks, and only Cade existed.

A decision had to be made. And Bridget Doyle Wentworth, Doyle's older sister and only living relative had made it. Her brother would not be told the truth. As far as she and everyone else was concerned Alan Cade he was, and Alan Cade he would remain until her brother announced otherwise. Cowley had agreed and helped Cade ease himself back into his life as a copper. Heart broken, but knowing it was best for Doyle, Bodie had not opposed any of it. Instead, he'd fled.

Now he'd returned, and Cowley had told him to seduce Cade. Had told him to show the man why he wanted to have what Doyle had lost to a bullet in the head and the pain of one too many emotional blows. But Bodie didn't know how to seduce Cade any more than he'd known how to seduce Doyle. Before Doyle, Bodie had had more than a few encounters with homosexual sex, but none of it had appealed. Doyle had turned something Bodie saw as a means of survival into an act of pleasure, then into love.

No, he didn't know how to seduce Cade, but the green eyes ravished his body with ever glance. If Cade were anything at all like Doyle, Bodie knew precisely how the evening would end.

Cade watched Bodie approach the table with the next round of drinks and thought of something he'd rather wrap his hand around than a glass of scotch. He knew his eyes were feasting on Bodie, but, to his delight, the other man had not reacted with anger as might be expected, but with an occasional, almost shy smile that Cade found encouraging.

But Cade's eyes weren't the only ones doing a great deal of work tonight. Rose gave him more than one curious glance, and he knew that he'd have a few questions to field from her once she got him alone. If he could stop gazing into Bodie's eyes, he might have been able to tell her to mind her own bloody business, but it must be rather obvious to any trained observer that he was utterly besotted.

In fact, it was probably equally as obvious as the fact that Susan had taken an instant dislike to him. He imagined a man could freeze to death beneath the icy glares she cast in his direction. At first he'd feared that she and Bodie were a couple, but neither Susan nor Bodie paid much attention to the other. Bodie returned Cade's looks, while Susan seemed well on her way to establishing a solid working relationship with Rose.

That was what Cade should have been doing with Bodie. Instead, he was busy mentally undressing him, imagining how the almost alabaster skin would feel, all but hearing Bodie's soft moans of pleasure as he. ...

"Evening all. Mind if I join you?" Cade forced his gaze to leave Bodie and focus on a rather pleasant looking man.

"Charlie!" Susan greeted the man with a bright smile. "How are you?"

"In need of a stiff drink," he answered, sitting down beside her. "You are looking at a man who has survived round three of budget talks with the Cow."

The Cow? Cowley? Cade nearly choked on a bubble of laughter and noticed Rose's grin.

"Frankly, my lovely," Charlie continued, "I'd rather suffer a week under Macklin's tender care."

Bodie gave Charlie a highly sceptical look. "Nothing's that bad, mate."

"Hah! Spoken like a man who never had to deal with that old miser. To think we used to complain about how hard it was to get him to sign off on simple expenses chits! But enough of the horror stories, introduce me to your friends."

The introductions quickly made, the newcomer settled in at the table and began an exchange of stories on bureaucratic nonsense that must be endured. And Cade found he liked this Charlie -- he had an easy sense of humour and a friendly manner that made it difficult to do otherwise. But all too soon he found his attention going back to his new favourite pastime: Bodie watching.

After a time Rose made her excuses -- her husband was expecting her, and it was getting late. That should have been a cue for the three former CI5 field agents to launch into endless stories about the good old days, but, even entranced by a pair of blue eyes, Cade quickly noticed two things: the subject of the 'good old days' was being avoided to an almost painstakingly obvious degree -- he chalked this up as a desire not to exclude him from the conversation --, and he was not the only besotted one at the table.

Charlie seemed to have his eye on Susan, and she responded with interest, until they were out and out flirting with one another. 'Make a cute couple,' he thought, then decided that they would not mind finding themselves alone. He leaned close to Bodie and whispered, "Shall we get something to eat?"

Bodie glanced at their companions and smiled. "I don't think we'll be missed. Did you have some place you wanted to try?"

He looked into those deep blue eyes and pictured their owner in Cade's bed. A lovely sight; one he thoroughly intended to see tonight. "Yes. Room service at my hotel."

The faintest of blushes coloured Bodie's cheeks. "I -- Sounds good."

Fairly humming with triumph, Cade said their good-byes, then whisked Bodie out of the pub and into a mini-cab. Settling as closely to Bodie as he dared, he had the strangest feeling that he'd done all this before.

March, 1975

Bodie dealt with the locks and alarms, then turned towards his partner. Apparently needing no other invitation than a man deciding not to walk backwards into the front room, Doyle pounced. The impact sent Bodie staggering into the door with an "oof" of surprise.

Doyle's tongue immediately seized the opportunity and invaded Bodie's mouth. Having the distinct feeling that he would lose his tonsils if the probe remained unopposed, Bodie kissed him back. Though he told himself it was an act of pure self-defence, the dueling tongues so absorbed his attention that Bodie did not notice Doyle had set about undressing him until a firm, warm hand closed on Bodie's bared cock.

He blinked, discovering he'd been stripped of all but his pants and trousers, which were in a useless bundle around his knees. "Christ, Doyle," he groaned as his partner's other hand groped Bodie's arse, "we don't even like each other."

"Want to fuck you, not marry you," Doyle growled, grinding his denim covered erection against Bodie's naked thigh.

It should have been off putting. Doyle's busy hands and mouth seemed as harsh as those in the past who had forced him to have sex, but Doyle's scent flowed through Bodie's senses like the finest of perfumes, and each touch seemed designed to arouse him.

In the back of his mind, Bodie thought ... knew that this was a mistake. Adding sex into a partnership forged to keep them alive on the streets would only confuse things, make it impossible to function as the team Cowley expected them to become. Yet he did not protest when Doyle led him over to the settee, then bent him over the back of it. He even whimpered when the bastard left him long enough to fetch some lubricant.

His whimpers soon turned to groans of pleasure as slick fingers massaged his cock and balls, coaxing Bodie into a sexual haze that knew no sense of reason. He spread his legs wide, and demanded, then begged for Doyle to get on with it as those same clever fingers played with his arsehole.

Despite the near roughness of their foreplay, Doyle eased his cock into Bodie's body slowly, pausing several times to allow Bodie to adjust to the penetration. Finally, he felt the press of Doyle's balls against his buttocks. The sensation devastated him. He felt possessed, even owned, yet something else. He felt. ...

Doyle's first thrust banished his thoughts, and the two men began moving in a dance of pushes and thrusts that quickly led them both to a screaming climax. Vaguely, Bodie realized his last scream had taken the form of his partner's first name.

For a moment neither of them moved, then Doyle shifted away, his spent cock falling free from Bodie. If the penetration had devastated him, the absence of it almost shattered him. He wanted Doyle back inside him, back where ... he belonged?

Feeling nine times a fool for thinking such rubbish, he decided he should collect his clothes and get out of there, but Doyle took hold of his hand, then gave it a tug.

"Come on, gorgeous," he said. "Need a quick kip after that, then maybe we'll see about getting something to eat."

Bodie allowed himself to be led into the bedroom, then settled on the bed and into Doyle's arms. He didn't think he'd sleep. He'd always done his best to avoid complicated entanglements, but it seemed fate had dropped him in it this time. He still wasn't certain if he liked Doyle, but, as he lay there curled up against him, the hair on Doyle's chest soft beneath his hand, Bodie knew that sometime during the few weeks they'd known each other, he had fallen in love.

July, 1997

His gaze locked with blue eyes fairly glowing with desire, Cade pushed into Bodie's body and wanted to shout in triumph. Even if all his past partners had been female, he'd always had a fondness for anal sex. But it had never been so deliciously tight, so hot, so perfect before. And Bodie was perfect.

The taste of his mouth, the softness of his skin, the scent of his body, everything about him made Cade ache with the need to claim it as his own. So incredibly good. Both of them seemed to know exactly where to touch the other to inspire the maximum pleasure, and Cade felt an overwhelming sense of destiny as he stopped thrusting long enough to kiss Bodie again.

One of Bodie's hands shifted up to hold the back of Cade's head. Fingers stroked his hair, a sensation that made Cade want to purr, but the hand withdrew after only a brief touch. For a moment paradise seemed oddly out of kilter, then Bodie pushed up with his hips, sending a frisson of pleasure coursing through Cade.

Helplessly, he began to thrust again, pumping into the powerful body that had yielded to him with such ease. Even that had seemed right. Reason said that the big-bad CI5 hotshot would try to dominate a 'mere' copper, but the submissiveness of his beautiful lover had not surprised him. No, more than that, he had expected it.

Paradise ended abruptly with mutual climax and the name that burst from Bodie's lips at the moment of his greatest pleasure. For a moment, Cade didn't move. It wasn't as if no one else had ever called out a different lover's name when in bed with him, or that he hadn't done it himself on occasion. But, like the fingers that had refused to linger in his hair, it didn't feel right.

Mentally, he shook himself, not wanting a silly slip to ruin things for them, and he went back to kissing Bodie, while carefully manoeuvring them both into more comfortable positions. Confidant that one of them would wake up before the morning alarm, he settled down to sleep with his beautiful lover in his arms.

Bodie sighed, then dashed Cade's hopes for a night-long snuggle by gently easing himself from the bed.

"Bodie, you don't have to go," Cade said, surprised he had to tell him that.

A faint smile touched the expressive mouth. "I'm sorry. I can't stay," he answered, pulling on his clothes. "Things to do. You know how it is."

Having used the same choice of words himself on occasions when he wanted to make a fast escape, Cade feared he knew exactly how it was. Had he misjudged things that badly? "Are we going to do this again?"

Bodie's smile grew broader, then he leaned over and gave Cade a long, lush kiss. "Oh, yes," he whispered as their lips parted. "I promise."

"That's all right then," Cade sighed with relief. He didn't think he could have stood it if this had been a one night stand. Another brief kiss, then Bodie left.

Cade curled up to go to sleep, only one petty thought disturbing otherwise sweet dreams. Who the hell was Ray?

Susan walked beside Charlie, utterly unconcerned that sometime during the evening her hand had found its way into his. She'd grown so accustomed to the contentment of her life with Bodie that she'd forgotten the thrill of a pulse racing at a touch, of the near fear laced with anticipation over what the future might hold.

'Take it slow, girl,' she reminded herself. Take it slow. Her memories of Charlie were fifteen years old. A span of time longer than she'd been married to a man she'd wanted to grow old with. Ah, her darling Jax. Though a part of her would always love him, sometimes it was difficult to remember how his arms had felt around her. Charlie was alive, his arms warm, and he made her laugh.

Bodie had been safer. Although her companion for years, he'd never threatened her memories of her dead husband. He'd never demanded that she move on, and for the first time she thought that their relationship might have been a mistake. Or rather the length of it, for she could not find it within herself to regret those first years together when the only thing that had dulled the pain of waking in a bed without the ones they'd loved beside them had been the compassion of the other's embrace. But when time had dulled the pain to a tolerable ache, and their relationship had remained nothing more than a sexual friendship, she should have insisted they part. For Bodie's sake as well as her own.

Would his own pain still have been as sharp if he had found someone else? She shook her head and wondered if she'd had too much to drink for she already knew the answer -- of course it would have. Bodie had loved Doyle with a depth that she found utterly terrifying. That he'd survived the loss of it amazed her. Survived. That's all he'd done. In the beginning, she'd felt that same emptiness in her soul, but as time had gone on. ...

Her glance stole once again to the man at her side. They had stayed in the Red Lion Bar until closing, then they'd walked and talked. She remembered a man with a great love of night clubs and an almost allergic reaction to the very notion of going home for a quiet night. But Charlie had changed. He still was good company, still could make anyone in the vicinity laugh, still had the mustache she'd always thought suited him, but he'd mellowed. The man she'd once known would have tried to talk her into hitting the nightspots instead of suggesting a walk. Though, like everyone else, she'd liked him, she'd never been interested in the man she remembered. But the man beside her made her pulse race from the simple pleasure of being with him. Susan didn't know whether to weep or laugh; she could love again. Perhaps, she could even love this man.

Her heart singing with its awakening, reality came thudding down upon her head as their walk took them back to CI5 HQ, and she could see a familiar silhouette backlit in an office window. "Oh, Bodie," she sighed.

Charlie looked up as well. "I thought he was with Cade."

Both of them knew what he meant. "So did I, but something must have gone wrong."

He shook his head. "Doesn't seem possible."

And it shouldn't have been, not the way those two had been looking at each other, but. ... Fifteen years was a long time, and Cade was not Doyle. She felt another surge of contempt for Cade and all the pain he had caused her dearest friend, but she couldn't afford to indulge her feelings. Cowley's plan had, for better or worse, made it necessary for her to work with him from time to time, and she couldn't allow personal attitudes to interfere with the job, but she damn well didn't have to like him.

"I don't know if Bodie can take this, Charlie," she admitted. On the face of it, she could find no real flaws in Cowley's plan, but she feared its consequences. Could Bodie survive if it

didn't work?

He squeezed her hand. "He'll be all right," he assured her. "Bodie's one of the strongest men I know."

"Yes," she agreed, "but without Doyle there's a part of him that's as fragile as an empty eggshell." And Cade could crush that shell so easily.

"Maybe ... maybe he just needs to know whether Doyle is really gone or not. Once he knows, he can move on."

It sounded so reasonable. Fifteen years was a long time; even if Doyle still existed, he might have changed so much that their love would have faded. Yes, very reasonable, except she knew reason had nothing to do with the situation; that, no matter what happened, Bodie would love Doyle for the rest of his life. She struggled for a way to put it into words, then remembered something she'd read in school. "Bodie is a swan."

"A swan?"

Yes, a sad, lonely, black swan, and ... "Swan's mate for life."


November, 1997

Cade sat up in the bed and glowered at his lover as he dressed.

Things had gone better than even the wildest of optimists could have predicted. Stebbings had retired on schedule and the new CI5 had gone into business. Bodie and Cade worked well together, neither reluctant to ask the other's input on a sticky case and always there to back one another up when Whitehall gave the occasional bellow, but were equally capable of working without the other. Two consummate professionals they were, and everyone from the PM down to the janitors seemed to be congratulating themselves on the success of the pairing.

It was when things got to a personal level that the whole thing was shit. Their jobs kept them busy. Very busy. It made the opportunities to get together infrequent and very precious. Except the stupid prat kept wasting them by insisting he had to leave as soon as the post coital haze wore off. And Cade had had more than enough of that. He wanted Bodie in his bed, in his

arms all night long. Hell, he wanted the dozy bastard to live with him, but he figured getting him to stay more than a few minutes after the fireworks were over had to be his first priority.

"Bodie, come back to bed."

Not unsurprisingly, Bodie shook his head. "I've got to go back to the office, Alan."

Alan. And that was another thing. Bodie seemed to grant everyone in the whole bloody universe a nickname, except for him. He always called him Alan. Unless he was in the midst of an orgasm, then he refused to call him anything. Although more than once Cade had thought he'd heard a muffled 'Ray' sounding behind clenched teeth.

"That little excuse worked for the last nine times, lover. It's getting old." True to his word, Bodie had come to him every time Cade had batted his eyelashes at him, so he couldn't doubt that their affair was something they both wanted. Or was it? "Tell me the truth, Bodie. You want to end it?"

"No, never."

"Then come back to bed."

Again the dark head shook. "Don't do this, Alan. I'm your partner and your friend. Please leave it at that."

"Funny, I thought we were lovers."

"We're ... friends who have sex."

Jealousy surged through his gut. "So are you and Susan. Or is she the one you go home to and I'm your bit on the side?"

"Stop it. You know there's no one else. Especially not Susan."

Well, yes, that had been unworthy of him. Though he knew a special affection existed between Bodie and his Deputy, he also knew she was in the midst of a rather passionate affair with Charlie. The two of them fairly glowed with happiness when they were together, and Cade would have sold his soul to see that same glow on Bodie's face. "Sorry," he muttered.

"'s all right," Bodie answered picking up his discarded tie. "Getting used to your spiky temper, aren't I?"

"Gosh, thanks, Bodie."

A look of near pain flashed across his lover's face so quickly that Cade could easily have convinced himself that he'd imagined it. Only he knew he hadn't. "I'll see you tomorrow, Alan," Bodie said, turning his back to the bed and heading for the door.

"Bodie," he made one last try. "I love you."

Bodie froze in mid-step, but he made no sound.

"Did you hear me? I said I love you."

"No, you don't," Bodie answered with a firmness that stunned Cade, and when the younger man lifted his head, the mirror over the dresser reflected the look on his face back to Cade, and the pain and sorrow he saw nearly made him cry out. Bodie pointed at that same reflection. "You love that. No one's ever loved anything but that."

Stupidity always made Cade angry, and this time it made him angry enough to blurt out his own foolish words, "Except Ray."

A telling silence confirmed his accusation, then Bodie turned back to face Cade. "I'm your partner, your friend, and, if it comes to it, I'll die for you. You can have me whenever you want me, but that's it. Don't ask anything more from me."

Cade stared at him, this proud, beautiful man who was all but begging him to accept things as they were. 'Well, not a chance, my love,' he thought, but knowing now was not the time to force the issue, he nodded his acceptance.

He could have killed Bodie for looking so relieved, so almost happy because of that, but he kept his mouth firmly closed and did nothing further to stop Bodie's departure. But he'd also come to a decision. He respected the privacy of others, but enough truly was enough. He was going to find out who the hell Ray was and what the fucking bastard had done to so deeply hurt the man Cade loved.

Unable to endure the thought of his empty flat, Bodie headed for the office and settled in for a long night of reviewing mission reports. He liked what he saw. Murphy's covert team was performing to Bodie's satisfaction, while the London based teams were handling the transition of CI5 into two divisions very well. Cade had brought in several CID hotshots to round out his own division, but seven teams from the old version of CI5 also now worked under him. Whatever else his father'd had in mind, the new CI5 seemed to be a great success. He only wished he could make similar claims for himself.

He felt so lost, so lonely, and the only person he wanted to turn to was the person he must never turn to. Despite every strict warning he'd given himself, he'd allowed himself to hope. A fool's game, that. But if it was a game, it was one he could neither stop playing nor see a way to win.

Despite the obscenely early hour of the morning it didn't surprise him to hear a soft knock at his door. The knock a courtesy rather than a request for entry, Susan walked in almost before the sound penetrated his concentration.

She set a cup of tea within his reach, then sat down in one of two chairs in front of his desk and concentrated on her own cup.

If he said nothing, she would slowly finish her tea, get up, kiss him on the cheek, then leave without saying a word. Her presence was an offer to talk, one extended at least once a week. But he'd not taken her up on it. Not even after she'd found him here after his first encounter with Cade when he desperately had needed to talk, to scream, to ... something. But that night, like this one, they drank their tea in silence.

He did not plain want to talk about it. It was almost as if putting his fears into words would make them real. No, he most certainly didn't want to talk, yet when she stood up, ready to leave, he said, "Susan."

That was it. Her name. Nothing more. But she sighed with a sound of pure relief, then sat back down.

He had to talk to her then, didn't he? He'd got her hopes up, and it would have been mean-spirited to stay silent now. Wouldn't it? He considered telling her something job related, and knew she'd let him get away with pretending that he hadn't understood the significance of speaking to her during their little 'tea party.' And, perhaps, because she would let him get away with it, he opted not to pretend. "I. ..." he tried to start, but suddenly didn't know what to say. So he sighed instead, "Oh, bloody hell."

"I think it might be working," Susan suggested.

It was difficult to be certain. Cade's appearance had definitely altered -- his hair longer, his clothes more casual -- but that could be a reflection of a job that was no longer so public relations focused. "Perhaps," was all he could give her.

She looked discouraged, then regarded him warily. "Bodie ... if Doyle doesn't ... come back, couldn't you love Cade?"

"I already do," he whispered. It hadn't been difficult. There really wasn't that great a difference between Doyle's and Cade's personalities. And Cade touched him the same way, laughed the same way, even felt the same way about most things.

Now Susan looked genuinely perplexed. "I don't understand," she said unnecessarily. "If you love Cade, why aren't you happy?"

Because Cade couldn't love him. Cade couldn't even really know who Bodie was. Doyle had known all about him and had all but hated him at first. Time: time on the streets, time spent protecting each other's backs no matter what had gained Doyle's respect and acceptance. Friendship, then love had followed. Cade had none of the memories that had led Doyle to love Bodie. And they no longer led the lives that would create new ones. All Bodie could look forward to was discovery and contempt. He couldn't bring himself to say that, but he tried to sum it up, "Alan hates guns. I carry one."

And he used it. Frequently. Technically he'd not had to fire it in the line of duty since returning to London, but situations had forced him to draw it more than once, and he knew it was only a matter of time.

"You think that bothers him?"

"Know it does." But Bodie had little choice in the matter. He was an even more hands on Controller than Cowley had been. It put him in the field when things weren't safe. That was another difference between Cade and Doyle. Ray would have been right out there with Bodie, poking his nose into things. Cade sent Rose, or stood back -- in a flack jacket -- while others went in. It was all very correct police procedure, very by the book, and not at all like Doyle, who Bodie imagined would had to have been restrained to keep him from going in first, let alone going in before the all clear signal was given.

It wasn't even remotely cowardice, but an example of letting the proper experts do their job. Except Bodie was one of the proper experts. As Doyle had been. But Cade wasn't. And he had that edge of barely concealed contempt a man who always sought the peaceful solutions had when dealing with those who used the guns.

Bodie shook his head, then spelled it out to her as best he could. "The part of Doyle that isn't Cade, the part his mind rejected, is the part most like me." When Cade sussed that, their relationship would end.

Cade got his first opportunity to launch his investigation of The Ray Syndrome two days later when he decided he needed to stretch his legs and went to the rest room to get a cup of tea. Anson and Brian Macklin were alone in the bright, spacious room going over a few evaluations. The sight of the two of them huddled together made his muscles hurt, and he had no doubts at all his phantom pains had been shared by anyone else thinking of lounging about. But, unlike everyone else, Cade had no intention of leaving.

Instead, he got his tea, then sat down in a comfortable chair that was just this side of being a polite distance away. Both men glanced at him. Having gone more than a few rounds with Macklin in his quest to make certain no one, especially Bodie, considered him soft, Cade almost flinched beneath the man's gaze, but he fancied he hid it well enough and gave them a smile.

"Morning, gentlemen," he said, raising his cup in a small salute. "Having fun dismantling the lads and lasses?"

Macklin smiled, but Anson chuckled, then said, "Pair of jolly sadists, that's us. And we're picking our next crop of victims."

Cade winced in sympathy for those unfortunates who might make the list. Of course, almost everyone did eventually -- even Cade's people ended up in Macklin's tender clutches. Although only Bodie'd suffered Anson's attentions. While Macklin was in charge of the fitness and training of CI5, Anson had run the special ops training centre since a Jack Crane had left the job in the mid-1980's.

Macklin glanced at his watch, then stood up. "I have a session to get to. You can post the training notices."

"Oh, good, I love making the poor sods' day," Anson answered with a grin. "Catch you later, Brian."

Macklin paused in the doorway. "Oh, Alan, don't forget; we have a session at 2.00"

Cade groaned -- he had managed to forget -- and glared at Anson, who was laughing away like one of Robin Hood's sodding Merry Men.

"You know, Cade, you may be the only one in CI5 history who }{\plain \i asked}{\plain for Macklin's services."

"We all have our moments of insanity."

"Oh, Brian's not so bad. Tough, but fair -- emphasis on the tough. Mind I didn't start thinking that way until the accident."

Cade remembered Susan telling him about it during one of the few times she'd deigned to have a conversation with him. Anson's partner had lost control of the car during a high speed chase and crashed. The partner had been killed and Anson's hip crushed. Replacing most of it with plastic had left the man mobile but unfit for A Squad duties; hence the transfer to Crane's staff and the eventual nod as his replacement.

"Been a lot of changes since those days," Anson went on. "Like this room. Used to be a dingy hole in the old building."

Cade fancied he could almost picture it, but then he'd been in a lot of station houses that fit the description. "Know exactly what you mean. Dark, depressing and the furniture always felt like it must have doubled as torture devices during the Inquisition."

"That's it. Had its tatty charm." He laughed again. "Bodie always said at least it made Doyle's jeans look expensive."

"Doyle?" He'd heard many names from the old days, even met some of the faces that went with them, but Doyle was a new one.

"Yeah, our Raymond certainly knew how to make tatty into a fashion statement."

Raymond. Raymond Doyle. So now he had the name. "Tatty?"

"Yep, favoured tight jeans and t-shirts. Looked a treat next to Bodie in his tailored-slacks and black polonecks. Quite a pair, those two."

"They were partners, then?"

Anson's smile faded, but he nodded. "4.5 and 3.7. Were Cowley's best -- not that any of us would have admitted it at the time. Lost them both in '82."

"What happened?"

He shrugged. "No one's quite certain. But Doyle was never the same after Cookie's death." He gave Cade the bare details. Cook, a young man seconded from the Met Fraud Squad to CI5's B-Squad, had been killed along with two other agents when a group of terrorists had surprised them while they were digging for an arms stash. "Only there wasn't one. It had all been a trick to capture the informant. 's not important anymore, I guess. Anyway, Doyle had recommended Cook for CI5, was a friend of the family. And somehow he ended up telling June Cook the news her husband was dead." With one child and only a few weeks away from giving birth to another, she had not taken the news well. "Neither Bodie or Doyle ever talked about it, but I guess she was pretty rough on Doyle. Put him in one of his moods."


Anson smiled slightly. "Doyle was a good bloke, but he was a stroppy bastard. Went into a 'is it all worth it' depression. How did Bodie used to put it? Oh, yeah, 'Give Ray half a chance, and he'll blame himself for the invention of gunpowder.' Nothing he hadn't done before. No one, not even Bodie was worried about him not coming out of it, but, well, fate didn't give him enough time to do it."

"Doyle's dead then."

"So I've been told." It seemed a trifle flip answer, but, before Cade could question him further, Anson stood up, then stretched. "Got to get back to the centre to see how my current victims are doing. See you around, Cade."

He nodded, and Anson left him to finish his tea.

Cowley was helping Margaret in the rose garden when his cell phone rang. He set aside the pruning sheers, pulled off his glove, then flipped on his phone. "Cowley."

"Anson here, sir. Thought you might like to know that our Mr Cade has finally got interested in CI5 history."

At last. "Excellent. What did you tell him?"

"Bit of general chatter about the old days, Doyle's name and status as Bodie's partner, and about Cook."

"And his reaction?"

"Tried to make it look casual, but he was all ears. If he doesn't head straight for his computer, I'll take one of Brian's refresher courses!"

Cowley smiled. Cade's computer would offer him few answers -- Cowley had seen to that -- but it would give him enough to led him to the next piece of the puzzle. And Cowley would ensure that those pieces were informative enough to move him on from there. The game, as Holmes would put it, was finally afoot.

Doyle. At worst he no longer had to be on a first name basis with the bastard, and at best it would let him get the answers he needed. With that in mind, Cade fairly pounced on his computer the moment he reached his office. An information request almost immediately brought up an 'access denied' notice. "File restricted. CI5," he read. He scowled, then used his clearance to override the security lock.

The computer beeped a few times, almost as if it were considering the matter, then a few sparse lines appeared on the screen. Again he read:

Doyle, Raymond
Operative Code 4.5
Activated: January 4, 1975
Deactivated, January 15, 1982
Reference: Bodie, William Andrew Philip
Files restricted. Access Controller Eyes Only.

Since he was a Controller, it obviously meant only Cowley could gain access. Damn the man, what was he up to now? For the hell of it, he checked Bodie's file, discovered the same restrictions and the same activation date as Doyle's.

But that was all the information he could get. Everything else was locked out to anyone but Cowley. He checked Anson's, Charlie's, and Susan's files and found them all accessible. Only Bodie's and Doyle's files were closed. It was almost like what was available had been left to tease him.

Cade sat back in his chair, seething. Then the light dawned. Tease though it might be, it did give him a place to start. Smiling like a Cheshire cat, he requested a roster of all A Squad members active during the years of 1975 to 1982. The list came up quickly enough. Bodie and Susan were the only ones still roistered as active. An appalling number of the names had the word 'deceased' in the right-hand column, including Jax, the name of Susan's late husband. But, to his surprise, Doyle was not listed as dead as Anson had led him to expect. In fact, he had the same designation as Anson: 'invalided out.'

He'd known survivors to blame the dead, to feel that the death was an abandonment. Which would have helped explain how Bodie felt, except Doyle wasn't dead. Of course, invalided out of the CI5 A Squad could mean anything from a vegetable in a hospital ward to an injury that wouldn't interfere with any other job. Damnit, he needed more answers.

His CI5 clearance was enough to get the last known whereabouts on the men and women who had survived. Not counting Charlie, Susan and Bodie, only two still lived in London. A Lucas and McCabe had opened a successful security consultation firm headquartered only a few blocks from CI5 HQ. He thought of talking to Susan or to Charlie, but Susan had made it plain that she had little time for him, and Charlie might tell her Cade was nosing about. Either way, it might get back to Bodie, and he couldn't imagine the man being too pleased about it. Lucas and McCabe it was, then.

A call informed him that the gentlemen in question were out of town until Friday morning. Cade made an appointment to see them Friday afternoon.

The morning disappeared under the usual mountain of paperwork that kept any organization running, but on the whole things seemed quite. Thinking it might be the same on the terrorist front, he stuck his head into Bodie's office, then laughed at the man sitting behind the desk. Surrounded by stacks of paper, a 'poor me' pout sat fixed on his face though no one had been there to see it.

Bodie gave him a sheepish smile, then hope seemed to brighten his face. "Something I can help you with, Alan?"

"Hope personified, that's you. No, I've come to invite you to lunch."

"My hero," Bodie announced and abandoned his post with all due speed. "Where are we going?"

"Pub down the street. Elena's waiting for us."


"My daughter. Figured it was about time the two of you met, don't you?"

"I guess it is."

December, 1974

Doyle went from the Tube to the market and picked up the things Yvonne had asked him to get on his way home. Yvonne, Christ, what was he going to do about Yvonne?

She hadn't liked the fact that he was a copper. He couldn't imagine she'd fancy the notion of CI5. But since the moment he'd heard about it, Doyle had wanted to be a part of CI5, and now, thanks to the end of a rather flashy Drugs Squad case, he'd finally caught George Cowley's eye. Hoping that things wouldn't go well, and fate would take the choice out of his hands, he'd gone ahead with the interviews and screening process.

For better or worse, he'd passed them all and had liked what he'd seen. He wanted in so badly it was an ache in his belly, but Cowley had been rather up-front about the dangers of serving on the A Squad. It didn't seem the place for a family man. Not that Yvonne would care if he stopped a bullet.

His resemblance to her lost lover had drawn her into his bed, then her pregnancy had kept her dependant on him. Both of them had mistaken that for love. Perhaps for a time it had been love, but now only Elena kept them together. Elena. A beautiful thirteen-month-old bundle of joy in the midst of such misery.

For her sake, Doyle knew he and Yvonne had to go their separate ways. No child could ever find happiness in a house full of bitterness. How ironic then that he was intent on finally convincing Yvonne to marry him. She didn't believe in marriage, had always said she and Alan had never seen a need to have their love sanctioned by a government decree, so why should she want to do it with Doyle?

But, if he passed the training course, he would be in CI5, and the benefits were better for a spousal dependant. Surely, she would see the logic in that? They could live apart, see whoever they wanted, do whatever they wanted; but, if he did die, Cowley would see that she was well taken care of. Then there was Elena.

The very image of her mother, there was nothing in the little girl's appearance of her father, but they both knew she was Doyle's child. She was a month and a half too young to be Cade's, but Doyle had been out on a case when she'd been born. The dispatcher had held his messages until he'd returned to the station. When he'd reached the hospital, he'd discovered he was already a father. Yvonne had been angry with him for not being there with her, and somehow all the anger and pain she'd felt over Cade's loss had come to rest on his shoulders. Cade was the paragon of virtue, Doyle the pale imitation who could never be counted on. And when she wanted to hurt him the most, she'd scream at him that Elena had been overdue -- a medical miracle given the amount of time involved and an unlikely one given her birth weight --, that her darling Alan, not Doyle was Elena's father. A marriage might give him some legal claim to his daughter, some legal recourse if she carried out her frequent threat to take Elena away.

His mind full of arguments and counter arguments, he didn't notice the silence when he first opened the door. But when he saw the envelope in the centre of the kitchen table, his blood turned to ice water. Reaching out with a trembling hand, ripping it open, carrying it over to the light where he could see it better -- all of it was unnecessary. He already knew what it would say, but still he started to read:


By the time you read this, my daughter and I will be halfway across the Atlantic. I have decided to go home to Canada, where I can raise Alan's daughter in peace.


A second sheet of paper, a copy of the birth certificate he'd never seen, was also inside. Here was the final insult, the last word on his unsuitability to raise a child: Alan Cade was listed as her father.

November, 1997

Bodie gave Elena his best smile as they were introduced. He'd been Doyle's partner for three years before Bodie had learned of her existence. Doyle had all but sobbed out the story as Bodie had held him in his arms. Five years after she'd taken his daughter from him, Yvonne had relented a little. She'd begun sending Ray pictures of the child, monthly reports and even letters written in bright crayon from the girl herself. She'd had but one stipulation. Elena thought Alan Cade was the name of her father, and she would not be told otherwise.

And so Doyle had come to open a bank account in another man's name, had sent monthly sums to help look after the girl and had addressed all his letters accordingly. Bodie had several opinions on the matter, but he'd kept his mouth shut, offering nothing more than his shoulder and unquestioning support whenever Doyle had needed it.

Doyle had said the girl was the image of her mother, and now, sitting in a pub chatting with the daughter, Bodie could see how her mother would have attracted Doyle. Pretty, large, dark eyes, and he imagined oh, so vulnerable in her grief. Bodie couldn't be certain he wouldn't have fallen into the same web of pain Doyle had.

Happily, father and daughter seemed very fond of one another, and he thought perhaps it was a good thing that he'd never staged an SAS-type raid on the Belinsky home and brought the girl back to England kicking and screaming all the way. But he'd been tempted. Christ, he'd been tempted.

Bodie's cell phone rang when they were halfway through lunch. With a resigned sigh, he answered it, listened for a moment, then said, "I'll be there in five minutes."

A muttered oath about bleeding politicians followed, so Cade doubted it was serious and offered nothing more than a sympathetic smile when Bodie made his apologies and left.

Elena watched his departure with the same bemusement. "God, he's gorgeous," she sighed when he was safely out the door.

"Yes, he is," Cade answered with calculated honesty.

Dark eyes fixed on him, studying him. "You like him, don't you?"

Cade could feel the warmth of a slight blush and knew that alone had answered her question, but he said, "Very much."

She absorbed the information and studied him for long enough that Cade was fighting the impulse to squirm. Then she asked, "Is he the reason for the changes?"

For a moment he didn't know what she was talking about. "Oh, you mean the hair. I guess he is." Cade had attributed Bodie's reluctance to touch his hair as a lack of something to run his fingers through. While he found this a grand example of bloody cheek given that Bodie's own head was covered with soft dark waves of no more than two or so inches in length, he'd let his own hair grow.

He'd worn it short for so long that he'd forgotten that it had a tendency to curl, and somewhere in the back of his mind he remembered his sister saying he was really Shirley Temple's little brother, not hers. Thankfully, age had relaxed the curls, and it grew in soft waves similar to Bodie's. He held up one of the four-inch long strands and asked, "What do you think?"

"I like it. Makes you look younger, too. But it's not just the hair."


She smiled. "I never thought I'd see the day when my father would go to work in anything less than a suit and tie."

"I'm not in the public eye like I was, sweetheart. It gives me more freedom in how I dress." A nice shirt, trousers and a blazer with a pair of boots. Day in and day out that was all he wore anymore. He leaned forward and in a voice full of conspiracy whispered, "We both keep an assortment of ties in the office closet ... in case the PM wants to see us."

She laughed, and he smiled, enjoying the sound. Still it was odd how after years of wearing them almost every day, he'd suddenly decided he hated ties and avoided them like the plague.

"Then there's your body."

That made him start. One did not expect to hear his daughter commenting on his body. "What about it?" he asked, giving her a suspicious look.

"You were always fit, Dad, but now, well, let's face it, you're a hunk."

He threw back his head and laughed. "What I am is a pathetic old man who can't stand the notion of all those CI5 hotshots running around thinking I'm some office slug. Tell you what, sweetheart, you ever want to get even with someone, recommend the Macklin fitness program. Man's a complete nutter." Though not such a nutter that he didn't have the sense to leave the workouts to younger men.

"And that's the other thing. You even talk more informally now. Honestly, Dad, sometimes I think I'm talking to a completely different person."

He glanced at his hands for a moment, working up his courage, then he asked, "Do you approve of the change?"

She smiled. "I love you, Dad. Long-hair/short-hair, suit/jeans, girlfriend/boyfriend, nothing will ever change that," she assured him, then clasped his hand. "But, yes, I like this version very much."

"Good, because I think it may be who I really am."

Her grip tightened. "Dad?"

It had been hard to tell her the truth, had never been able to do it over the phone or during their infrequent visits, but when she'd come to study at Cambridge and had told him she planned to make England her home, he'd know he'd had to do it. Still he had stalled, and they'd argued.

She'd wanted to know how he could go from a student protester in Paris to the Chief Constable of Eastland, how he could have switched sides so completely. He'd tried to tell her that the line between the two sides had moved, not him. Had told her drugs had been simpler, that back then they'd been a way of changing your point of view. Perhaps he'd believed it, but he didn't remember feeling that way. All he remembered was Yvonne telling him that was how he'd felt.

Odd that. Why had he asked her how}{\plain \i he}{\plain had felt? He couldn't remember that either. Or ever taking drugs. Made him sick to think he'd once done that and it didn't fit at all with the perceptions he had of himself. But then, what did he know? Very little; and, in the end, he'd told her. It had put an end to the fights, leaving them free to discover friendship and mutual respect.

"I think ... I'm starting to remember."

April, 1982

Cade didn't remember the shooting, the doctor's were almost certain he never would, and he couldn't summon up much regret about that. Who wanted to remember being shot in the head?

Investigators had pieced together the bare bones of it. He'd been driving from a conference in Norfolk back to London when his car suffered a puncture. A testament to his skill as a driver, he'd steered the Capri to the side of the road without incident, then had set about changing the damaged tyre He'd got the car jacked up and the spare from the boot, when a vehicle had stopped beside him, the right wheels going off the road onto the soft shoulder enough to leave a partial imprint. Then some bastard had taken out a gun and shot him. It had been a small caliber, and he must have jumped to the side when he saw the gun, but he didn't get clear. The bullet had lodged inside the skull above his hairline. An inch higher and it would have missed him totally. An inch lower and he would have been dead.

No, it did not upset him that he had no memory of that. But that was not the only memory he'd lost.

He saw the odd looks not quite hidden by his doctors as they charted his memory loss. He could remember current events right up to the morning of the shooting. He seemed to have lost nothing of his knowledge about police procedures or his investigative skills. And he remembered much of his work. Commendations, conferences, rather spectacular cases, he could remember them in vivid detail. He even remembered some of his personal life. His mother's face, her saying she was proud of him when he received a promotion, who his sister was, and Elena as a baby. And every letter Elena had ever sent him. He remembered those. But that was all. Before 1974, it was all ghosts and shadows, as if he hadn't existed before working the case that had resulted in his promotion to Detective Chief Inspector. After that, a few weeks a year here and there.

And something else. Something about blue. But he couldn't latch on to it. He thought very seriously about giving up, but his sister and George Cowley refused to let him.

"So, lad, what will it be? A long wallow in self-pity?" Cowley asked one day as Cade sat brooding in his hospital room, fit enough to go home, but not even knowing where that was.

"Aren't I entitled?"

"Aye, perhaps you are, but what good will it do?"

"None, but at least it's something I can do."

"Ach, don't be daft, lad. You still have your wits, your skills. Put them to good use."

Cade gave him a long look. "I have brain damage, Mr Cowley. I'm told the Met takes a dim view of coppers in that condition."

"Then prove them wrong."

"And how am I to do that?"

"First we show that you can function, that your mind is still sharp as ever," Cowley announced, obviously a man with a plan. "You've studied law off and on for years. One more term at University of London should finish it up and prove a thing or two."

"University of London?"

"You're already registered," he said. "Classes start next Thursday."

Cade gave him a long look. "Why are you helping me?"

"I hate waste."

That and the fact that he'd worked with some of Cowley's people from time to time, were all the old man would ever tell him. But with nothing left to lose, Cade went along with the plan, filling the gaps inside himself with a burning desire for justice. By 1984 he was back in the Met and earned a rapid promotion to Detective Chief Superintendent.

November, 1997

Thursday seemed determined to drive Cade round the twist. Paperwork, mountains of it, without so much as the relief of a phone call to interrupt the tedium. Every operation his division had going seemed to be at the sit-and-wait stage. By late afternoon, he'd had enough of both.

"I'm going down to the shooting range," he muttered to Grace as he stalked out of the office.

It was late enough for the fire arms instructor to have gone home to her husband and kids, so Cade had to reactivate the range. He could have gone home with a clear conscience himself, but he had an itch to do something. If Bodie's side of the building hadn't been in the midst of a major operation, he would have happily contented himself with screwing the gorgeous bastard through the floor. He could have gone to the gym, but he wasn't in the mood for a solo workout, or to risk the off chance that Macklin might be lurking about. He wanted to find some way to occupy himself, not increase his collection of colourful bruises. And that left shooting practice.

He used his personal key to open the weapons locker and chose a Smith & Wesson. He hated the very sight of it. Hated the cold weight of it in his hand, but he constantly struggled to grow accustomed to it. Cade was the only non-clerical member of CI5 who did not carry a gun; ironic, as he'd had the right to carry one for years. The person who had shot him was still at large and could still be after him was how the logic went. Cade didn't buy it. His watch and wallet had been taken. He'd been nothing more than some poor sap in the wrong place when a greedy bastard with a gun had happened by. Three other people had met similar fates during the following week, though only Cade had survived. The case had never been closed. Like many acts of random violence, without witnesses, there wasn't a way to even start the hunt.

Cowley had pointed out that it could have all been a clever plan to make Cade think he need not fear further attempts on his life, but such double think to kill the likes of him seemed too fancy. Besides, a pro would have finished the job.

He'd even fought arming his people, but only briefly. There was no way in hell he could hope to disarm Bodie's personnel, and leaving his own people unarmed would have created an imbalance of perceived authority that he did not care for. But he hated guns -- well, he had good cause, didn't he? So he'd absolutely refused to arm himself.

He knew the decision agitated Bodie, made him afraid for him. Unwilling to cause Bodie any distress, Cade had finally started working on his hatred ... oh, hell, his fear of guns. So far his efforts had proven less than successful.

He took up a position in front of the middle alley, loaded his gun, put on his ear defenders, aimed at a black silhouette target the standard distance away, then fired. He cursed in frustration at the hole half on/half off the target's left shoulder. He'd been aiming for the centre of the chest.

Damn it! Six weeks worth of daily practice, and he seemed to be getting worse, not better. He couldn't even pass the Course with that shot, and he had passed it three years ago, when everyone had insisted he carry a gun until some nutter making threats against him had been caught. And a hell of a lot of good that had done anyone: the nutter had been caught; a grief-stricken father who had lost his child to a drunk driver and needed someone to vent his rage on. Cade had made a point of never meeting the man face-to-face. But while he had been armed, he'd had cause to use the gun in an unrelated matter.

He closed his eyes against the still painful memory, then pulled himself together and tried another shot. It missed the silhouette completely.

"You're pulling to the left as you fire."

Bodie's voice startled him and that fueled his embarrassment at his pathetic shooting. "I am not," he hissed through clenched teeth.

"Perhaps it's the gun then," Bodie allowed. He held out his hand. "May I?"

Not at all hopeful of the outcome, Cade handed over the weapon.

Bodie considered the target for a moment, then pressed the distance/all button. The targets all quivered, then slid to the very back of the range. Satisfied, Bodie fired, emptying the clip.

By squinting, Cade could make out the happy face now adoring the target's head. He turned a glare of utter outrage on his lover.

Bodie shrugged. "Saw it in a movie. Gun seems fine, Alan. Must be you."

"Do you get some sort of kick out of humiliating me, Bodie?"

"Not at all." He reloaded the weapon, then gave it back to Cade. "Try it again."

Cade reached for the distance button, but Bodie's hand stopped him. "Give me a fucking break, Bodie. I can't hit the bloody thing when it's right in front of me! How do you expect me to hit it when it's hiding back there?"

"Stop pulling to the left."

"I am not --"

"Of course you are!" Bodie snapped back. "Damnit, Alan, you can be such a prat! A gun is a tool, like a hammer or a saw or a screwdriver. You don't throw it away because some bastard misuses it."

"I'm --"

"A bloody moron! Can't you see what you're doing? You've got the eye/hand coordination to be an excellent shot, but you were out of practice the night your driver died. A competent shot couldn't put those two robbers down, and that's all you were."

Cade glared at him, but he could see it happening in his mind. The three men with automatics, as far away from him as the target was now, but standing arrogantly in the open. An easy shot for a man like Bodie, but not for a copper who had only passed the Course three hours earlier. He'd known that, but with one of his officers in danger, he'd had no choice and had

opened fire. He'd missed. He should have been the one who had died that night, but his driver had put the car between Cade and the gunmen. Jack had saved him, but he'd caught a bullet in the neck before they could get clear. He'd died two days later. "You could have saved him."

Bodie nodded. "If it ever happens again, so could you."

Cade shook his head. "No. ..."

"It's not a crime to be out of practice, Alan," Bodie soothed him. "And you won't be betraying Jack if you become a good shot for someone else. Now, shoot!"

Cade aimed and fired. The bullet struck the next target over and neither of them tried to pretend that was where he'd been aiming.

Bodie lost all patience with him. Suddenly Cade found himself confronted with a former-SAS Sergeant in all his glory barking at him to shoot, reload, shoot, reload, shoot.

Finally, Cade reached his limit. "Enough!" he cut off the next command with a shout of his own. "Enough, Bodie, that's enough."

"Maybe," Bodie agreed, stepping closer to him, his manner suddenly switching from drill sergeant to seducer. "We could get cleaned up," he whispered, coming to stand behind Cade. "Go to dinner, maybe even a show. I'd like that. Going out on a date with you."

Cade sighed, relaxing at the press of the warm solid body against his back, the warm breath of the man a purr in his ear.

"Be late, when we head home. Maybe I'll even let you touch me up on the drive back."

Cade reached behind him and stroked Bodie's left thigh. "Sounds wonderful."

"We could go to my place for once. Never told you I have a fireplace, did I? 's got a great soft rug in front of it. Could make love lying on that. Would you like that?"

"God, yes, let's --"

"But there's that case my people are working. Everything seems quiet now, but you never can tell when things might happen. Sometimes things even get personal. Good tactics that, you know. Take out the leader and demoralize the troops. Might try it tonight."

The spell his lover's words and nearness had woven took a lurch, and Cade felt the need to reach for him. "Bodie?"

"Be late when we head home. Driving alone with your hand on my thigh. Might come up on us then, run us off the road. Both good drivers, we'd probably be all right, but do you think they'll give up?"

"Bodie --"

"Shhhh, can't you see it? We'd all bail out of our motors. They'd be armed, but so am I. I'm better with a rifle, but I could outshoot them."


He felt Bodie move, then his lover's arm lifted, raising his Browning into firing position. "Course, sometimes things go wrong." Bodie pulled the trigger and a horrible nothingness followed.

"Had a stoppage more than once. Could happen tonight. Be time for me to die."

Cade might have laughed at the drama, but the way Bodie said 'die' was like a man calling to his lover. "No!" he snapped. "I won't let you!"

"Then shoot. Save me, Alan. Save me, my love."

His own weapon came up, then he fired. The bullet struck dead centre -- precisely where he'd aimed.

"Again," Bodie said, and he obeyed. "Now the shoulder."

The gun boomed with equal success.

"The leg."

Two pulls of the trigger -- Bodie hadn't said which leg.

"Two targets to the right and in the head."

Over and over again he fired, his shots moving from one target to another on command, his reload smooth and cause for only a moment's interruption before the roar began again.

"That's enough," Bodie finally released him. "Check out a shoulder holster, Alan. Play time's over."

Numbly he nodded, set the gun down, then took off the ear defenders. He took a deep breath and looked at Bodie. "Sometimes, I really hate you," Cade whispered, then left Bodie to shut down the firing range.

Trembling, Bodie waited until he heard the door close, then he let himself sink down to the floor. He felt almost sick with relief. Safe, Cade would be safe now. With the constant jeopardy of being on the streets behind him and Doyle's shooting skills to cope with any unexpected threats, Cade would be fine. And the effort to bring it about had almost killed Bodie.

He couldn't seem to stop shaking, his insides quaking with a violence that made him glad he hadn't had time to eat since a quick breakfast. It all made him want to laugh. He was lucky Cade hadn't decided to shoot him. And if anything convinced him that Doyle was gone for good, it was the fact that his jaw remained in one piece.

Bodie had helped resurrect a skill, not a personality trait. In his heart, he had to admit that he'd hoped to do both. But his golli was gone, along with that fiery temper and all the shared memories that would have granted Bodie forgiveness. "Ray," he whispered, needing his lover so badly he thought his heart might not withstand it.

Almost as if to mock him, the door opened, and Cade came back into the room. For a brief moment the years and the pain they'd brought vanished, as he saw Ray standing in front of him. But sanity returned in a heartbeat, along with the pain. The hair, the clothes, even the posing all spoke cruelly of what Bodie had lost.

Cade stooped down beside him. "I'm sorry," he said. "Sometimes I open my mouth and bunch of nonsense spills out."

"Nonsense, like 'I love you'?"

Anger flashed in green again. "You bastard. Telling you I loved you was the most honest thing I ever said in my life."

Bodie wanted to believe him. And, in truth, when he looked into Cade's face he did see as much love as he'd ever seen in Doyle's. But Doyle's eyes had also held acceptance for who and what Bodie was. Cade's never could. It was too much a part of the reason he }{\plain \i was}{\plain Cade. And that left Bodie with a broken heart filled with nothing but terror for what the future would bring.

He tried to look away, but Cade caught hold of his chin, guiding Bodie's lips to his own. When the kiss ended, Cade whispered, "You're trembling."

"Sorry," Bodie muttered. "Didn't know how else to get through to you. I'm --"

"My beautiful love," Cade hushed him. "I know you only did what you had to. Now, let me do what I need to do."

Cade's hands began to soothe him, caress him, while his deep, warm voice murmured words of nonsensical comfort.

Slowly the attentions calmed Bodie, who had been almost certain that what he'd done had ended their affair. His terror receded enough for the touch to begin to arouse him, and he reached for his lover.

Hands moved in loving caresses, pausing every few moments to undo a button here, lower a zip there, until both men lay naked on the cold floor. Should have been bloody uncomfortable, but somehow the harsh light and the smell of cordite made Bodie feel like the room was a part of him -- the worst part of him, and he desperately wanted Cade to see it and still want him. "Alan, please."

Cade seemed to understand, but he shook his head. "There's nothing we can use, and I don't want to hurt you," he said, his hand moving towards Bodie's cock.

Bodie didn't want to come that way, so he turned his hips to block the touch. "There's gun oil in the weapon's locker."

Cade wrinkled his nose. "Make a mess of both of us, that will."

Black, ugly and harsh. Like Bodie's soul. Like the soul that had cost him Doyle. "Please. ..."

With all his being, Bodie willed Cade to understand, and the man did seem to consider the notion, but in the end he shattered Bodie's hopes. "No, love. Can't be certain it wouldn't hurt you, and I won't risk that."

September, 1977

Bodie lifted his Browning, then murdered another two tin cans. The range was great enough that normally he'd have been insufferably smug, but he turned a glare on his partner, who took his turn at keeping London safe from rubbish.

Bodie's face hurt, his split lip throbbed, and his torso ached from the bruising of a dozen powerful blows. He should be home, singing the praises of the strongest pain killer he could get his hands on, but Doyle had dragged him out to CI5's makeshift shooting range.

None of that would normally have bothered him. Humouring Doyle at his own expense often seemed to be Bodie's major pastime. No, going shooting with Doyle when he should be home taking it easy was business as usual. What bothered him, what hurt far more deeply than his abused flesh was the memory of one comment oozing with contempt. Bodie, you're no better than he is.

Did Doyle really see him that way? As no better than that monster Krivas? Did he really think Bodie would put a gun to a girl's face and pull the trigger? Bodie talked a good game, could put the right amount of menace into a situation to unnerve even the toughest bastard, but, of all the things he'd done, he could honestly say that he'd never used his gun unnecessarily. Didn't Doyle know that?

He tried to remind himself that Doyle said things he didn't mean when he was angry, and that the words could have been designed to 'bring Bodie to his senses.' Still, it hurt to think Doyle had thought him 'out of his senses' in the first place. And it wasn't the first time Ray had said something along those lines.

It had actually been a rather common theme for the little sod's snide remarks in the early days of their partnership, but Bodie'd had his own line of nasty remarks to make, coppers never having been a big favourite of his. In the end they'd called a truce, got to be friends and finally lovers. The remarks had stopped. For the most part. But this was the second time in as many months that Doyle had made one.

Last month he'd actually compared Bodie to that nutter Tommy McKay. Nothing was better than a good shootout for an afternoon's entertainment as far as Shotgun Tommy had been concerned -- and the higher the body count the better. Not someone Bodie would have tapped for CI5, but Cowley moved in mysterious ways and Tommy had been on the side of the angels until he'd got himself gunned down. In Bodie's book, Tommy had been nothing but a killer.

And what makes you so different?

Went rather nicely with 'Bodie, you're no different than he is,' didn't it.

Suddenly Bodie didn't want to play shoot-the-cans anymore. Didn't want to hear the guns firing, smell the gunpowder or feel the jerk of the discharge. He flipped on the safety, holstered his gun, then walked over to the nearest bench and sat down, his head bowed.

A few minutes later, the continuing silence penetrated his brooding, and he realized Doyle hadn't continued shooting. He looked up to find the rotten sod sitting on the grass, cleaning and oiling his gun.

Bodie watched the long, graceful fingers move over the metal and felt a surge of envy for the inanimate object that so absorbed his partner's attention. Be nice to be so well cared for}{\plain . Be nice to be treated with such respect, too.

He sighed. Nothing he said had ever seemed to make a difference in how Doyle viewed him, but he had to try. He always had to try. Unfortunately, he could only think of what he'd said when Doyle had asked him what made him different from Tommy. "I'm not a killer, Ray."

If Doyle was surprised by this sudden topic of conversation, he gave no sign of it. He kept on working with his gun and said, "Because you don't enjoy it."

"That's right."

"But the killing doesn't bother you."

Bodie's stomach lurched, but he answered honestly, "No, it doesn't." He'd never killed unless another life -- often his own -- was threatened. He knew many blokes who tore themselves up over doing the same thing, but Bodie had never seen the sense of it. He'd chosen this life and the necessity to deal death on occasion was part of it. Did being pragmatic about it instead of appalled make him like Tommy? Or worse, like Krivas? Did monsters like them start out feeling like he did? And even if they had, didn't knowing that was a possibility give him the ability to avoid it?

He didn't know. He could only hope and go on. But that left Doyle's attitude to deal with. "You want a new partner, Doyle? One who bleeds every time he pulls a trigger? If that's what you want, say so, and I'll talk to Cowley."

Doyle set aside his gun and the cleaning supplies. "No, that's not what I want."

"Then what do you want?"

His partner considered that, then answered, "Be nice if you'd remember I have a sharp tongue and don't always say what I mean. Does bother me some that you're so matter-of-fact about the killing, but I know that doesn't make you like Krivas. Or Tommy, for that matter.

"I'd also like it if you'd keep in mind that I'm bloody fond of you, and that I think you're a good man. No one else I'd rather have as a partner or a friend.

"But most of all, I'd rather fancy it if you'd get yourself over here beside me."

That request being something that Bodie not only could do, but wanted to do, he complied quickly, and wasn't at all surprised when Doyle took shameless advantage of their closeness and jumped him.

Wanting the man with a fierce ache, he didn't resist the assault and found himself pinned beneath Doyle. Lips pressed against his, and Bodie opened his mouth, moaning his appreciation as an eager tongue invaded him.

Was crazy. They were outside. Anyone could show up. Not at all uncommon for Cowley to come fetch them here. Yeah, it was utterly crazy, but he made no effort to stop the fingers he'd admired from stripping him off. Worse, when he lay naked on the grass, watching Doyle shuck his own clothes, Bodie wanted the cock jutting up before him buried deep inside his body. Wanted it so badly that he whimpered and pulled his knees back to offer himself.

Doyle's eyes sparkled with desire, but he frowned. "We don't have anything to use, pet," he said, his voice tinged with regret.

The golli was too big to get by on spit, but Bodie already had the solution. "The gun oil," he gasped. "Use the gun oil."

"Bodie, that's brilliant," Doyle answered, snatching up the flask of oil. He poured himself a palm full, then liberally anointed his cock and Bodie's anus.

A single thrust impaled Bodie, while the warm weight of Doyle's body blanketed him. It took nothing more than that to pleasure him, but Doyle began to move with hard, deep strokes, while his hands roamed freely over Bodie, leaving the younger man writhing in ecstasy that swiftly sent him tumbling over the edge into climax.

Doyle froze until Bodie calmed. Then green eyes stared down into blue.

"Go on, sunshine," Bodie whispered. "Take me as long and as hard as you can."

Doyle kissed him on the nose. "Shall do my best," he assured him, then began to thrust again.

Bodie wanted it to go on forever. He always did when Doyle fucked him, but this time felt different. This time it felt like more than just sex. It felt like ... acceptance. And when Doyle's seed finally filled his backside, Bodie knew that Doyle understood him and still wanted him.

November 1997

Bodie came, his release splashing against Cade's belly at almost the same time Cade's erupted over his. But his climax had been of a purely physical nature. Emotionally he felt defeated.

He pulled from Cade's arms, then dressed quickly.

"Damnit, Bodie, can't you even stick around awhile when we aren't in my bed?" Cade snapped, yanking on his own clothes.

Bodie couldn't even look at him. It was over. He'd come to the range knowing that, but when Cade had wanted him after the shooting 'lesson,' he'd been fool enough to allow himself to hope. That masochistic cruelty made it all the more painful to tell him, "I have to get back to my office. 've got a report to write. Things got out of hand this afternoon."

The understatement of the ages, that. Despite the dangerous scene he'd painted for Cade, the threat from the terrorist cell his people had spent the last few weeks chasing was over. Their headquarters had been located and surrounded, but they'd decided to make a fight of it. None had survived, and a final suicide run for freedom had forced Bodie to shoot down two of them before they could reach any hostages. "Always paperwork involved when you kill someone," he explained further and forced himself to look at Cade, to see the horrified expression settle on the handsome face.

Oh, yes. It was over. His heart shattering, Bodie turned away, then left the room, headed back to his office and the job. He had nothing else left.

Cade stared at the door in shock. Somehow he got the distinct impression that Bodie had just told him goodbye. He wanted to go after him. Or at least a part of him did. The other part was appalled by what Bodie had told him. First, it upset him to think of Bodie in danger without Cade to back him up, and that was truly an absurd thought. Despite current opinion, Cade was a highly skilled field commander, but his training told him someone of his position delegated such things, and so he chaffed at the bit and sent Rose to deal with things unless his own presence was essential. That did not, however, make him the best man to guard Bodie's back in a shooting war with terrorists. So why couldn't he shake the notion that he was?

Then there was the fact that he did not approve of killing. Yet he knew that sometimes it was unavoidable, especially in the terrorist half of the building. On the other hand, Bodie had not seemed too upset about the killing part, only in telling him about it.

A chilling thought, that. Could he have missed that Bodie was some callous killing machine? In the months they'd been together, he'd seen much to dismiss such a notion, but instinctively he knew that Bodie did not care much when others forced him to kill them. Cade couldn't approve of it. In fact, it sickened him, made his head hurt and his stomach churn.

On some basic level, he even felt threatened, as if Bodie were some danger to him.

Nonsense, he told himself. Pure nonsense. He loved Bodie with a depth he'd never thought himself capable of, and he trusted him as deeply. And he knew Bodie was a good man, but. ...

He sat on the floor of the range for over an hour, debating with himself and never reaching a satisfactory conclusion. In the end, he sighed heavily, got up, then started shutting down the shooting range. All he really knew was that he loved Bodie and all of this had something to do with Doyle. Hopefully, tomorrow he'd get a few of the answers he needed.

Cade watched the lift indicator and fought not to explode in a fit of temper over how slowly the sodding thing moved from number to number. The offices of Security International, Inc. were on the twelfth floor and, thankfully for the peace and well being of the public at large, the lift stopped on only two floors other than his own destination.

Lucas and McCabe saved their own lives and limbs simply by having him ushered into a conference room precisely at the scheduled time. McCabe, the one with dark hair, introduced them both, then asked, "Now what can we do for you, Mr Cade?"

He came right to the point. "You can tell me about Raymond Doyle."

McCabe glanced at his partner, some silent communication passing between them. Cade wondered if people who witnessed him do the same thing with Bodie found it equally annoying.

The sandy-haired bloke said, "If you could be more specific, we might be able to help you."

Cade grit his teeth in frustration, and his mind did an odd flash to a conversation he'd had with one of his officers a few years ago. The man had been struggling with the dubious joys of trying to tell his son about the facts of life. The officer had said that the trick was in not giving too much or too little information.

Normally Cade would have spared the conversation only polite interest, but it had been a quiet day and the problem had fascinated him. So he'd asked how that was done. His officer had smiled and said, "If they are old enough to ask the question, they're old enough to hear the answer."

Suddenly Cade felt very much like that man's child must have felt. Bristling with the need for information, but knowing he wasn't going to get it unless he stumbled on the right question. It made him want to scream, but instead, he took a calming breath then started to feel his way through things. "He was Bodie's partner."

A nod by Lucas rewarded his cleverness, and Cade vowed that if he ever saw that poor kid's father again, he'd punch the man in the nose. "And they were lovers, too?"

"From almost the beginning," McCabe answered, then tossed him a carrot. "It wasn't exclusive until mid-1980, though everyone but Doyle knew Bodie hadn't wanted anyone else for years before that."

"Bodie told you this?"

Lucas rolled his eyes. "Ah, come on, you've been around Bodie long enough to know what he's like. One minute you wouldn't know if a grenade had gone off inside him, the next his heart's on his sleeve. Everyone could see how he felt."

"Except Doyle," Cade muttered.

"Except Doyle."

Knowing the kind of pain that must have caused Bodie, Cade decided it was a damned good thing Doyle had vanished. Still, "If it was exclusive from mid-'80, and Doyle died in '82, they had almost two years together."

"Yes." Lucas this time. "Seemed right happy, the pair of them."

"So what happened?"

"Doyle died."

"Not according to his file," Cade snapped.

"Death can be a point of view."

"What the hell does that mean?"

The two men merely looked at him.

'The right question,' Cade reminded himself as he slowly counted to ten. "So how did this 'point of view' death occur."

The two men shared an uneasy glance, and Cade feared they wouldn't answer, but Lucas finally said, "I always figured it was the shooting."

"Shooting? You mean Cooks's death?"

Lucas shook his head. "No, this happened a few weeks later. Bodie and Doyle were on opposite ends of London canvasing informers about some case. Can't even remember what it was now. When the call came, they both responded, but Doyle was a lot closer."

McCabe picked up the story. "Some bastard had taken a school room full of kids hostage. Bodie was the best sharp shooter in the outfit, but Doyle was almost as good, and Bodie was twenty minutes away when the man made a break for it.

December, 1981

Doyle pulled the rifle from the boot of his gold Capri, then hurried over to the officer in charge. "What's the situation?"

"Ten kids inside and a teacher. He's flashed a pistol a couple of times, took a shot at some rocks to prove it was loaded."



Doyle's stomach churned. A nutter without something to demand was a dangerous nutter indeed.

"The hostage negotiator's been trying to talk to 'im, but it doesn't look good."

He considered that for a moment, decided to leave the peaceful end of things to the negotiator and began looking around for a good vantage point.

The door chose that moment to open, and a man's voice shouted, "I'm coming out!"

With no time to do a proper setup, Doyle dropped to his knee behind the nearest squad car, did a fast adjustment on his sites, then waited. His gut churned again as a man stepped into the open with a small boy held in front of him like a shield. "Jesus, that's Jake Malloy," he heard the officer mutter.

"Meaning?" Doyle asked.

"Wanted murderer and child molester. We let him get away with that kid, the best the boy can hope for is peritonitis. A couple of his victims bled to death before anyone could find what he left of them."

"So we don't let him get away." Doyle's voice was calm, his hands steady as he lifted the rifle.

"I want a car!" Malloy shouted, the muzzle of his pistol pressed to the boy's head.

That manoeuvre forced Doyle to hold his fire through two good shots at Malloy's own head while a car was brought around. Malloy ordered the driver out of the car, but, in an obvious bid to stall for time, the officer inside acted puzzled, uncertain of what the man wanted him to do.

The pistol shifted from the boy's head to point towards the officer. Doyle pulled his trigger. Text book shot, nothing could go wrong, except something always could.

As he fired, the boy panicked and tried to jerk away. The motion brought him into the bullet's path.

November, 1997

"The boy died instantly. So did Malloy," McCabe said with a sigh. The bullet had passed through the child's body and killed his captor. No one except the boy's distraught parents blamed Doyle. Had been a nasty scene with them, but there wasn't a man or woman on the squad who'd had the slightest doubt that they would have taken the shot. The shooting review board had cleared him with equal assurances that he'd done nothing wrong. "Doyle didn't take much comfort from that. And who could?"

"If not for Bodie, I think Doyle would have gone round the bend," Lucas agreed. But Doyle did have Bodie, and there still had been a good chance that things would be all right.

"Except they weren't," Cade said. "What happened?"

Lucas shrugged, and McCabe said, "He sort of died. Depending on your point of view."

Two hours later, Cade sat in a booth near the back of the Red Lion Bar glaring into a glass of scotch. He still didn't know how he'd managed not to kill those two jokers. Point of view, indeed. He found himself fervently wishing he was the sort of copper who fancied petty revenge. The image of Lucas and McCabe buried under a mountain of traffic citations was too tempting by half. Sometimes scruples were a right pain.

He sighed and took a sip of his drink. Cowley wouldn't approve of such inattention to a glass of pure malt, but the old man could do the other thing. Not a very charitable thought about your dear friend and mentor, my son. Maybe he wasn't being fair, but he couldn't shake the feeling that he was trapped in the middle of one of Cowley's exercises in triple think. But all he really had to go on was two locked out computer files and the itch on the back of his neck he always got when someone was trying to manipulate him.

If they are old enough to ask the question, they're old enough to know the answer. It kept coming back to that fatherly advice and the odd smell of conspiracy. Paranoia perhaps? A possibility, but he didn't think so. Everything was too ... something. But he couldn't figure it out. He didn't know these people well enough to feel so certain that they were playing games with him. Hell, Anson had simply been talking about the old days, yet Cade kept thinking he'd told him exactly what the old man had told Anson to tell him. Could almost hear the briefing; Give him a place to start, lad. The name, the time frame, and a mystery to keep him interested.

But why? To teach him not to go nosing about in Bodie's past? Too elaborate for that. A 'sod off, you nosy bastard' would have done that much. He shook his head. No, it didn't make sense, and if he was as smart as he'd always thought he was, he'd give the whole thing up as a mug's game. But he couldn't. Oh, if he sat here long enough, he could convince himself to pack it in, but the decision would last only until Bodie made another one of his exits.

No, he couldn't stop. If he didn't find the answers, he'd lose Bodie, and he knew he couldn't bear that. Not even the issue of 'how Bodie felt about killing' bothered him anymore. Whatever had happened to Raymond Doyle, he knew that unreasonable guilt over the shooting of a child had contributed to it. He wouldn't wish such a burden on anyone, let alone the man he loved.

Besides, when he'd woke up this morning, the whole thing had felt like his surprise over wanting to have sex with Bodie -- like some issue he'd long ago resolved and had merely taken out again for a brief review before dismissing it from any sense of importance.

He sighed again and found his glass empty. Before he could work up the energy to get another, a lager was set in front of him, and Charlie slipped into the opposite side of the booth.

"Looked like you could use another," the man said with the grin that seemed to melt Susan.

'Must be the mustache,' Cade decided and wondered if he should grow one for Bodie. "Thanks, mate," he muttered, though he would have preferred another scotch. Maybe even a bottle or six.

"You waiting for Bodie?"

Cade shook his head. "He has a speech to make tonight." With Stebbings safely retired, the Controllers of CI5 had to assume the public relations duties as well as the tactical. Fortunately, such unpleasant necessities were rare and they could split them between the two of them. Unfortunately, it made for a late night and Bodie wouldn't dare come to him so close to bed time. Could drop off in Cade's arms and the universe might come to an end, or, even worse, he might sleep through the night. Can't have that. Bloody Doyle might not like it.

"Ah, brooding is it then?"

He cast a glare at the cheerful man. "Thinking. 's a difference."

"True enough, mate. Anything I can help with?"

Cade considered that. If he were right, Charlie would have been instructed to give him a piece of the puzzle, and Cade might as well get it over with and let him give it to him. But if he were wrong, the matter might get back to Susan. Especially since Charlie had that happy glow about him that said loud and clear that he was waiting for the lady in question to join him for a drink. Ah, well, faint heart and all that rubbish.

"Ah, quite the puzzle was our Raymond. Good man."

Couldn't prove it by Cade. Seemed like a moody, selfish bastard who'd not deserved Bodie. "So what's your theory?"


"About what happened to him."

Charlie shook his head, and for a moment Cade thought he might be wrong about his conspiracy theory or at least Charlie's place in it. The man's next words reassured him that wasn't the case, "Trying to say one thing killed Doyle is like saying an iceberg sunk the Titanic. True enough on the face of it, but it was really a string of bad decisions and worse luck that caused the collision."

Cade noted another reference to Doyle's death, but opted to spare himself the 'point of view' rhetoric. "So what do you think happened?"

"Seemed to start with Cookie's death, then Doyle shot that kid." Charlie shook his head. "Damned hard thing to live with, but he had Bodie. Made sure we all knew it, too."

"What do you mean?"

"We'd all guessed they were lovers, but after the shooting Doyle needed constant proof he was loved. He started with Bodie." Though a toucher, Bodie had never been much for public displays of affection, but in those final weeks walking into the rest room and finding the two of them ending a kiss became a common occurrence. Looking back on it, everyone had recognized it had been a sign of his desperation, of how far and deep his growing depression reached, but at the time, it hadn't seemed more than the need for some comfort during difficult times.

Charlie shook his head. "But practically raping Bodie in the hallways wasn't enough for Ray. He needed assurances from more than his lover. He needed them from his family."

Doyle's father had died when Ray was a kid, leaving Nuala Doyle to raise her daughter and son alone. "I spent some time with her -- while I was getting over a bullet in the left lung." He'd got shot working an Operation Suzie-style case with Bodie and Doyle. "She figured I'd taken a risk and a bullet Doyle hadn't, so she visited me in hospital several times. Even brought me care packages to save me from the food. Was a lovely woman." Kind, a devote Catholic, she'd done a good job with the kids, though Ray went through a wild stage. "Happens sometimes in the best of families, but he grew out of it. He was always ashamed of how much pain that time had caused his mother, but it was obvious she loved him and was proud of him."

July, 1978

Doyle set on the couch with his mum, the comforting sounds of his sister making tea coming from the kitchen. Been more than one time in the last few weeks that he'd doubted he'd live to enjoy such simple pleasures again

He resisted the urge to sigh, never liking his mum to see how much the job got to him from time to time. Worse, he hated playing Cade. Wasn't so much the undercover part, but that he always had to go it without Bodie, who didn't fit in with all the copper stuff. He glanced to the chair where his partner sat, happily taking in the sights and sounds of the Doyle household.

No, he didn't like going into a situation without Bodie, nor did he like the thought of what sort of trouble the sod could get himself into without Doyle to watch him.

But this time it had worked out, and Cade had ended up with a promotion to Detective Superintendent. But an undercover role reaping the rewards of a job well done did complicate things.

"I'm so proud of you, son," his mum said, then gave him a rueful smile. "But it is a trifle confusing."

He laughed, then gave her a kiss on the cheek. "I know, Mum. Guess you'll have to do what I do and think of it as happening to some other bloke."

Bridget walked in carrying a well laden tea tray. "That's right, Mum. Cade is the knight in shining armour; Ray is the pest."

"Ha bloody ha," he answered, loftily ignoring Bodie's peals of laughter, then stuck his tongue out at both his sister and his partner.

"But that means someone else gets all the recognition!" Nuala said with utter indignation.

"And I get George Cowley." Doyle gave her a woeful look. "Life isn't fair."

They all laughed, but Doyle felt uneasy. His mum had been a copper's wife and saw promotion through the ranks as the mark of a successful career. Was hard getting her to understand that he had more authority in a crisis situation than anyone short of the Home Secretary. So much easier for her to understand his successes as Cade.

He suppressed another sigh and took his cup with a smile. Sometimes he almost envied the bastard.

November, 1997

Charlie shook his head. "Doyle led a complicated life. One of the 'benefits' of being in CI5 in general, compounded by how good he was at undercover work. Hard to explain all that to a mum, especially when you want to keep quiet about the gory details."

Charlie had always got the impression that Nuala had understood, that she'd figured out more than Doyle had ever told her, but it was difficult for mother and son to connect with so much unsaid between them. "But it seemed okay between them."

"So what happened?"

"Doyle decided it was time she learned about his relationship with Bodie."

January, 1982

Bodie stared at his lover. "You can't be serious." Or at least he hoped so, but the stubborn set to Doyle's jaw indicated otherwise.

"Never more so," Doyle answered, dashing any notion of a bad joke.

Damn. He should have expected this, but he'd hoped letting Doyle flaunt their relationship every reasonable chance he had would be enough to get him through the insecure patch he seemed determined to take root in. Unfortunately, it was not.

Bodie slipped his arms around Doyle, then kissed him on the tip of his nose. "I love you, angelfish, but I don't think breaking the news to your mum's a good idea."

Doyle scowled. "Why not?"

"She'll throw a fit."

"Will not."

Bodie rolled his eyes. "Ray, she's Catholic. Worse, she actually believes all that muck coming out of Rome." And that meant she'd see their love as a mortal sin.

"She loves me more than the Pope," Doyle shot back, pulling away from him.

And you're going to make her prove it. "Course she does. That's why I can't see her caring much for the news that you're joining me in the Other Place. Imagine she's always fancied the notion of her kids on the cooler side of the Pearly Gates."

"Cowley accepts us, and he's religious."

"Be serious, Ray. My father can triple think his way around anything, including St. Peter's Rules for Entry. Besides, he's not Catholic. Makes him less inclined to listen to earthbound blokes about spiritual matters."

Doyle tried a different line of attack. "But she likes you."

"Won't once she finds out I'm letting her son have his wicked way with me."

November, 1997

"Bodie said that they argued about it for the better part of two days. He'd honestly thought in the end that he'd made Doyle see reason." Charlie paused and looked at him, almost as if he expected him to know the rest..

"But he hadn't," Cade guessed.

"No. You have to understand, Alan, Doyle felt certain that everyone saw him as a monster after the shooting. He was desperate for proof that he was wrong." Charlie sighed. "Unfortunately, we all underestimated the strength of that desperation."

"He told his mother."


January, 1982

Bodie had tried to decline the post-'mission' pub crawl, but Cowley hadn't chosen any of his people for being faint of heart, and his team had literally dragged him along. Faced with the choice of giving in or committing a few acts of GBH, Bodie had surrendered with a scowl, then made his escape after his round. Despite his best efforts, the sun had set by the time he headed for home.

He'd had an uneasy feeling all day. Jack Crane had taken a few weeks leave to be with his wife and new-born daughter, leaving Anson in charge of the training facility. Before this mess with Doyle had begun, Bodie had agreed to help out with a day of war-games to brush up any eroding commando skills. Doyle had been looking forward to leading the opposition, spending more than a few nights whispering in Bodie's ear all the plans he had for when he'd taken Bodie prisoner. But a child's grave had ended the laughter, and Doyle had opted to stay home, forcing Anson to play the opposition leader instead of chief referee.

Bodie had almost made his own regrets and stayed home as well, but Doyle had kicked him out the door, telling him to go and win the war like a good boy. It would have been better all around if he hadn't bothered.

Worried about Doyle sitting home alone and brooding, Bodie hadn't been able to keep his mind on things and had made a right mess of it. Still, his 'troops' had been good natured enough about it, had seemed more annoyed by his desire to make a fast get away; but he'd needed to get home.

As he parked the Capri, the joke seemed to be on him. He'd let down his mates and lost out on an evening making it up to them to come home to a dark, empty flat. He looked up at the dark window and shook his head, bemused at himself at all the worrying he'd done. ... Or Doyle was too busy brooding to turn on the lights. Damn. Suddenly certain that was it, he picked up his pace as he crossed the street.

Silence greeted him when he opened the door. Glad enough to be wrong, he turned his attention to the locks and alarms. But when he finished, then turned back towards the front room, Doyle was standing in the doorway. He couldn't make out the face, but the body seemed to radiate tension. "Ray?"

"I ... went to Derby this afternoon."

Oh, Christ. "Saw your mum, did you?"

He could just make out the nod of Doyle's head.

Bodie paused a moment, then in the best neutral voice he owned, he asked, "Did you tell her?"


Damnit, Ray. ... "What did she say?"


That didn't seem likely, so Bodie waited, and finally Doyle spoke again. "She sat there staring at me for the longest time. Then she started to cry. Was almost hysterical by the time I left her with Bridget."

Bodie moved over to his lover, took him into his arms, then held the trembling body close. He didn't know what to say, didn't know how to make it better, so he said the only thing he could think of, "I love you. Love you so much."

The hug that bought him almost broke one of his ribs, but he bore it without complaint.

"You knew it would be like this," Doyle whispered, his voice full of tears. "Why didn't I listen to you? Why am I such a --"

Bodie silenced him with a brief kiss. "You're all hurt inside, sunshine. 's keeping you from thinking straight. Otherwise you'd know, your mum will calm down."

"You think so?"

"Know so. She loves you, sunshine. Apple of her eye, you are. Give her some time. She'll come to terms with it."

November, 1997

"But she didn't."

"She never had the chance," Charlie answered, his voice sounding heavy with regret. "She died two days later."

"Oh, my God."

A lorry's brakes had failed. Nuala had been in the crosswalk, six paces behind a group of school children. The driver had swerved to avoid the children and struck her head on. "She died instantly."

"So they died unreconciled." Cade shook his head. If he'd learned one thing during his years on the force it was to never let a loved one walk out the door without coming to some understanding. Even if her son was a total prat, he would have thought she would have known better after being a cop's wife. He blinked. Now, how in the hell had he known Doyle's father had been a cop? As had Cade's father. Something slithered through his mind, but Charlie's voice distracted him.

"Worse than that, Doyle convinced himself that she'd not seen the lorry coming in time to evade it because she'd been worrying about him."

January, 1982

Doyle turned away from the grave, the pain like a knife in his heart. Bodie stood close to him, but for once his mate couldn't help. Bodie was the one good thing in his miserable life, and he'd used it to hurt his mum.

His sister took his hand, but he couldn't bring himself to meet her gaze. "Ray," she said, her voice thick from crying, "you've got to stop this. What happened wasn't your fault."

Bridget told him both she and their mother had figured it out already, that it had only been the shock of the confirmation -- the sudden loss of any ability to deny the truth -- that had unnerved the woman. "But she'd already accepted it. Told me so the night before the accident. She was going to ring you as soon as she figured out what to say."

He wanted to believe it, but he couldn't. He'd hurt his mother so badly .... It would have taken more than a day to recover. If she ever would have. He shook his head, grateful for the kind lie, but knowing that's all it was.

Bridget gripped his hand all the harder and tried again, "Oh, Ray, she was our mother. 'React first, then spend a month apologizing.' We got that trait from her. Can't you see that's all it was?"

He tried. Christ, how he tried. Yet, in the end, he could see nothing but all the pain he'd caused. And that night as he lay curled up against Bodie, he could do nothing but wait for everyone else to see his guilt and turn away from him. Even Bodie.

November, 1997

Cade rolled his eyes. "So all the ills of the world were his fault." How could Bodie have loved a dozy bastard like that?

The very notion irritated him enough that he changed the subject, "I assume you're meeting the lovely Susan tonight."

Charlie nodded, his face lighting up at the mention of her name. "Yeah. Tell you a secret, Alan: she's agreed to marry me."

Cade smiled for the first time in days. "Congratulations, mate, but it's not much of a surprise. Obvious she's nuts about you."

"Glad of that. I was terrified she might turn out to be a swan like. ..." Charlie's voice trailed off and an uncomfortable look crossed his face.

A swan like Bodie. Cade's mind filled it the blank easily enough. Swan's mate for life, and Doyle had been Bodie's mate.

Cade stood up abruptly, telling himself the sick feeling in his stomach was too much scotch and not enough to eat. "I'll go and see what I can do to hurry Susan along."

Charlie caught hold of him arm. "Alan, I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything. Babbling, that's all. Been worried about it; Jax is a hard act to follow."

He could tell the remark hadn't been part of The Plan, and that Charlie was genuinely upset that he'd let it slip. Didn't make it any less true. "'s all right, Charlie. Thanks for the drink."

Feeling a strange sort of numb agony, Cade made his way out the front door and headed back up the street towards headquarters. He'd lost. Charlie had made him see it. Bodie was a swan, incapable of loving anyone as he'd loved Doyle and too injured by his loss even to try to find contentment with another. Cade had really never had a chance, and the realization made him want to scream.

Nothing had ever felt so right as having Bodie in his arms, nothing had ever made Cade feel so alive, so whole as being with him. Yet what they had left him hungry for so much more. He'd never have it. The only greater pain he could imagine would be to lose Bodie entirely, but without love to bind them together, what would keep Bodie with him?

Susan nodded a good night to the guard on duty and walked out the front door of HQ, only to find Cade standing on the sidewalk, looking thoroughly miserable, his gaze focused in at least the general direction of Bodie's office window. She couldn't help but feel sorry for him, and, despite herself, asked, "Are you all right, Cade?"

His attention turned to her, and they studied each other for a moment, then he asked, "Is it your turn now?"

"My turn?"

"To give me your theory about Doyle, your allocated piece of the puzzle."

She shook her head. "I thought you were a good copper, Cade. You should have all the pieces by now."

He scowled at her for a moment, then surprised her by asking, "Why don't we get along?"

Because you're only a facade for a man I cared for, and that facade hurts a man I care for even more. "Why should we?"

He shrugged. "We're both victims of the Doyle Syndrome. Friendships have been formed with far less in common."

True enough, and if Cade were really Cade, she imagined that they might have been great friends. As it was, at times, she could barely endure the sight of him. "I don't think we should have this conversation."

He looked at her again. "Do me the courtesy of an honest answer. Why do you hate me?"

An honest answer? Cowley had been very cagey about her part in the great plan, had merely told her to go with her instincts, and they told her that he did deserve an honest answer. "Because you don't make him happy, Cade. You hurt him to his soul every moment he's with you --"

"Because I'm not Doyle," he finished for her. "He can't love anyone else."

"He can't do more than exist with anyone else."

"Damnit!" Cade exploded, the curse muffled by clenched teeth. "It doesn't make any sense! How could he love Doyle --"

"More than you?" This time Susan finished his thought. "I agree it doesn't make any sense. After all you're. ..." she paused reaching for a memory of something Bodie had told her once, something Doyle's sister had said when he and Doyle had been visiting. She caught hold of it, then continued, "you're the knight in shining armour; Doyle the pest. No, it doesn't make sense at all, but then love isn't rational, is it?"

She started along the walkway, headed for the Red Lion Bar and Charlie, but Cade called, "Susan."


"What happened to Doyle? Why isn't he with Bodie now?"

Tired of the games, she again reacted on instinct. "Ask Cowley."

Cade wasn't at all in the mood for a drive in the country, but Cowley now lived at his wife's estate, so into the country Cade went. He arrived at the Grant Estate as they were sitting down to a late supper, forcing him to hold his temper and his questions while they ate. Pleasant food and chatting with the Cowleys made this a fairly painless delay; he found he'd missed the old bastard.

Still, he was not at all displeased when the meal ended and Cowley led him into the study. "You know where the scotch is," the old man said, settling into a comfortable leather chair.

Cade poured them both a drink, handed Cowley his, then sat down in a matching chair. "You know why I'm here."

"Do I?"

"Don't get cute with me. I've bloody well had enough of that!" His earlier temper flared back into life. "Everyone tells me what you told them to. Nothing more."

"Now why would I tell anyone what they can or cannot tell you about Bodie's ex-lover? For that matter, why do you feel anyone owes you answers at all?"

Cade squirmed at that. Why indeed? He couldn't think of a single reason why anyone should tell him anything, yet, here he was, expecting to hear the full story and angry he didn't already have it. "Just tell me what happened after Doyle's mother died."

"I interfered."

"You what?"

Cowley sighed, and Cade saw genuine regret in his eyes. "Doyle had always been a touch moody, but during the week surrounding the funeral, he carried it to an art form. He never opened his mouth unless it was to snap at someone. Usually Bodie. I got tired of the shell shocked look in my son's eyes and decided sending Doyle off on his own for a few days might do them a world of good."

January, 1982

Doyle zipped up his, or rather Cade's suitcase, picked it up then headed for the door. He found Bodie in the front room, staring out the window.

"Ray, I don't think you should go."

"Cow's orders, Bodie," he said, hiding behind a convenient assignment. "Time for the golden boy to make another appearance."

Bodie shook his head. "If I ask, he'll let you stay. There's always another copper conference to attend."

He sighed, set the bag down, then went over to his lover and put his arms around him. "Bodie, I have to go. Your dad's right. I need some time to think, and a nice boring conference is a good place to do that." He kissed Bodie's neck. "You've been so good to me, but I can't stand seeing you flinch whenever I walk into the room."

He felt rather than heard Bode gasp. "I'm sorry, I --"

Doyle hugged him. "'s all right. Been a right bastard the last couple of months. Must have felt like you were living with a rabid dog."

"I love you."

"Know you do. Want to keep it that way. It's why I have to get away for awhile. Get myself sorted out."

"You'll come back?"

"Love you more than anything. Course I'll come back."

"Will you?"


"All right."

Doyle kissed him again, forced himself to let go, snatched up his suitcase, and all but fled to the door. He wanted to stay, wanted to find some way to make it really all right, but hurt so much inside that all he could think of was that if he stayed, he would lose Bodie.

That fear, the one greater than all the other horrors he'd ever known, made him open the door and let him keep walking when he heard Bodie whisper, "Please don't leave me."

Tears he refused to allow to fall almost blinded him as he walked down the stairs. I'll make it up to you, Bodie. I swear it.

November, 1997

Cade stared at him. "You sent him on assignment when he was in a depressed state of mind?" Christ, had the man wanted Doyle to die?

"No, it was an appearance, not an assignment." He paused as if he were carefully considering his words. Cade knew the man well enough to know that the effect was totally for his benefit -- Cowley had obviously thought this out well in advance.

The pause stretched until the point where Cade was about to prompt him, then Cowley said, "Doyle was a master at undercover work and played many roles during his time in both the Met and CI5, but there was one part too well crafted, too valuable for either the Met or myself to allow to end with the assignment that created it. Various operations usually caused him to assume that role once or twice a year, but if work did not require it, I kept the cover alive by sending Doyle out to make an appearance.

"His need for time away from CI5 coincided with an opportunity to make one of those appearances. So I sent him up north for a few days."

North. January, 1982. An appearance, not an assignment. The strain and frustration of the last few days sent a stab of pain flashing through Cade's head with enough force to make him wince, then the ache settled into a steady throb. "Who ... what was that role he was playing?"

"You tell me."

August, 1973

Detective Constable Raymond Doyle walked into the Detective Chief Superintendent's office and discovered that the man was not alone. He didn't know why he'd been called to the office, but somehow he hadn't expected anyone else to be there.

A pretty woman with large dark eyes and a thin, balding man sat in two of the three chairs in front of the DCS's desk. Doyle glanced at each of them, then towards his superior.

DCS Hogan ignored him for the moment and turned his attention to the woman. "Well?"

"I suppose ... that from a distance ... someone might think he was Alan."

The man with her added a more enthusiastic approval, "The weight, build, colouring, even the eye colour are all a perfect match. All will need to do is darken his hair and get the curl out of it. By God, Tom, this might actually work!"

Apparently satisfied by what he'd heard, Hogan said, "Doyle, this is DCS Bevans, No. 9 Regional Crime Squad at the Yard. He has a proposition for you."

Bevans motioned for Doyle to sit down and as he obeyed the man said, "I hear you have a talent for undercover work, Doyle."

"I try, sir."

"I have need of a man like you for an undercover operation that could last several months, but if it you can pull it off we could round up a network of corrupt cops that we suspect of trafficking in drugs and of killing a fellow officer. You interested?"

Drugs, murderers and corrupt coppers. All the things Doyle hated rolled up into one big package. "I'm listening."

"A week ago Detective Inspector Alan Cade was assigned to my command. Cade did his initial training with the Met, but he spent the bulk of his career in the northern counties. He'd gained a reputation of being an excellent officer, even earned a commendation for bravery in '69. And from all reports, he was incorruptible. I needed such a man, so I offered him a job. Two days ago, his car was run off the M1, and he was killed. But I still need Alan Cade."

The woman turned out to be a Yvonne Belinsky, Cade's lover and someone desperate to do anything to avenge her dead love, so she'd agreed to help. Doyle would become Cade, take over his life, his reputation and his job. And along the way Bevans hoped to find a few rats in his nest, especially the ones who had stooped to murdering an outsider to avoid working under his eye.

The risks were tremendous. The real Cade had already been killed, and, though Doyle had not worked recently in Central London, his cheekbone was a distinguishing mark that would be impossible to hide. Cutting out the curls and darkening his hair might fool someone who had known Cade years ago, but it would never fool anyone who had met Doyle before. He could very easily be looking at a choice between being killed because he was Cade or because he wasn't. Charming. But the chance it might work. ...

He made his decision.

November, 1997

Cade's the knight in shining armour; Ray's the pest. Oddly enough he heard his sister's voice, not Susan's, say the words, then discovered that he'd repeated them out loud when Cowley spoke.

"Simplistic, but an apt enough description given a certain point of view."

Point of view. It all seemed to come down to that. For some reason Cade heard himself say, "I have a daughter."

"Doyle could never acknowledge his."

Doyle had a daughter? Yes, of course he did. "My mother loved me; was proud of me."

"Doyle wasn't always certain of that. He even felt his need for proof of it was what killed her."

Crazy. It was all crazy. He should get up, walk out of here, hand in his resignation and put as much distance between himself and CI5 as he could. Bodie. He couldn't leave Bodie, but Bodie went with. ... "I hate guns."

"Doyle shot and killed a seven-year-old boy. His name was Peter Williams. He'd hoped to be a copper one day, like in his favourite television program, Starsky & Hutch."

Get out of here. Had to get out of here. But his head hurt too much to move. "I didn't even know Cook ... Cookie."

"Doyle recommended him for the job that cost him his life."

"Was worse than a pest. He was a menace. A rat-tempered bastard not even other coppers liked." He blurted out the words, not even knowing how he could have even begun to guess they were accurate, but Cowley did not contradict him.

"Yes, he helped convict a few corrupt officers. He told me once that after that even honest policemen treated him with caution -- as if he were a dog who had turned on his master and could never be trusted again."

Unreasonable attitude. Had never understood why good coppers reacted that way to someone who helped stamp out corruption. Any copper who goes over the line, any detective who brings the force into disrepute, offends me, personally. He could remember saying that to his predecessor as Chief Constable of Eastland. But he wanted to deny it. He did not want to have anything in common with Doyle. With "A rat-tempered, self-centred, moody son of a bitch."

"Yes, Doyle was all of those things, but he was one thing more. He was the man Bodie loved with all his heart and soul."

And Cade envied him that. Christ, how he envied him that. Despite everything he felt towards Doyle, it made him wish, made him want ... to be ... Doyle.

He blinked at the sudden absence of pain, then he glowered at Cowley. "You're a scheming, manipulative old bastard."

"A little less of the 'old,' sonny," came the answer and oblivion closed in.

Cowley watched his guest topple from the chair to the carpeted floor, downed the last of his scotch, then stood up and rang the bell for the servants.

Timothy responded immediately. An ex-Royal Marine with a build that could put many an American football player to shame, he filled the doorway of the study and turned a dispassionate gaze on, for what all he knew, was a body on the floor. But, then, he was paid to serve as Cowley's valet/bodyguard, not to look after guests. "Had a bit much, has he?"

"Something like that. Would you mind putting him to bed? I'll look in on him later."

"Very good, sir," Timothy answered, tossed the body over his shoulder with all the difficulty of a child lifting a rag doll, then headed upstairs.

He must have passed Margaret along the way, for she walked into the room, her eyes wide with concern. "Oh, dear, George, what have you done?"

"What needed to be done."

"And damn the consequences?"

Cowley shook his head and walked over to his desk. He tapped Cade's file. "Even at Eastland, the line had been blurring between the two of them. His dissatisfaction with a job he'd wanted all his career, his inability to forge a lasting relationship were signs of Doyle waking up. I merely gave him the final push."

"Then you think it worked."

He nodded. "But we'll know for certain in the morning."

They talked for a while longer, then headed up for bed, Cowley stopping to look in on their guest. The man seemed to be sleeping peacefully enough, his breathing deep and even, his face serene. All encouraging signs.

Just one last thing. A touch theatrical, but sometimes he couldn't resist the impulse.

In the morning the sleeper would awaken, shower, then want clean clothes. Cowley opened a drawer and provided some.

He walked into the office at a quarter past seven in the evening and wasn't surprised to find Grace had gone home for the night. Bodie's office was also empty. As he'd hoped. All he'd come for was the key. He spared a moment to glare at the name on his own office door, then went inside and got the key to Bodie's flat. He'd promised never to use it for anything less than an emergency, but in a tribute to the old man's training, he had decided that 1) he plain hadn't actually made the promise and 2) this was an emergency.

Slipping the key into his front pocket, he went out the door. On his way to the lift, he noticed the light coming from beneath Rose's office door and decided he really should check in with her. He knocked, opened the door, then found she wasn't alone.

Susan sat in the chair across from Rose's desk, but she turned towards him as he walked in. For a long minute she stared at him, then her glance shifted to his boots, then slowly moved up his body. Tight jeans, the green silk t-shirt and his leather jacket were all carefully studied. Then she looked at his face. "My God, it worked," she whispered. "It actually worked."

He gave her a look of his own. "Have you ever known one of the old man's schemes to fail?"

She shook her head.

That seemed to be all the comment she had, so he shifted his attention to a very puzzled looking Rose. He opened his mouth to tell his second-in-command his plans, but Susan suddenly jumped up, ran across the room, then threw herself into his arms. He returned the strong hug she gave him and the kiss, but refrained from returning the slap that nearly split his lip.

"You bastard!" she snapped, her eyes full of fury and tears. "You complete, utter, self-centred, moody bastard! I could kill you!"

Instead she kissed him again. The touch was deep and full of the passion only an ex-lover who'd remained a friend could give, and of course, that's who she was. The fact that he could finally remember that they'd had an affair before she'd taken up with Jax made him kiss her all the harder, made her all the more precious to him. And he had a few tears of his own in his eyes, when she drew back enough to look at him again.

"Damnit, I should hate you, but I'm so bloody glad to see you, I can't seem to manage it."

"Not too thrilled with myself, pretty lady. Seems I've made a right mess of things."

"That you have," she assured him.

He smiled. "Thank you ... for taking care of him. Helps to know he wasn't all alone."

A sadness touched her eyes. "I did the best I could for him, but. ..."

He kissed her on the cheek. "He's at home?"

She nodded. "Left about twenty minutes ago. Said I could reach him at his flat."

"I'm off then." He gave a nod towards Rose, whose puzzlement had given over to open-mouthed astonishment. "See what you can do about explaining things and feel free to spread the word to any and all of your fellow conspirators." He started to leave, then paused in the doorway. "Oh, and get my fucking office door fixed!"

"Will do."

He got two steps down the hallway, when she called, "Ray."

"Yes?" he asked, glancing at her.

"Welcome back."

Doyle smiled, then headed for the lift. At the car park door, he nodded to acknowledge the security guard's, "Good evening, Mr Cade," and sincerely hoped he'd never hear that miserable name again.

As far as Raymond Doyle was concerned, Alan Cade had died some time last night, may the bastard rest in peace. Though absorbed was a more accurate description of what had happened. He had retained all the memories of his life as Cade, but it had been Doyle who had woke up in the guest room, showered, dressed in the clean clothes that had been laid out for him, then gone down to join the Cowley's for breakfast. No more pleased about being manipulated -- even when it was for his own good -- than he'd ever been, he'd launched right into it.

Earlier That Morning

"Why didn't you just tell me and have done with it? Why all the bloody games?" he demanded, before he even sat down at the table.

"And when did telling you something do any good, lad?" Cowley asked with that discreet, but utterly insufferable smugness he often displayed when he'd pulled one off. "You've always insisted on finding things out on your own."

Knowing that was more in reference to his ignoring all the reassurances during those last few months before he'd been shot in the head, Doyle glared at him, but couldn't deny the truth of it.

"Ach, use your head, 4.5. The doctors told us you stopped being Doyle because you wanted to. The only way to bring you back was to make you want to come back."

He protested that notion. He hadn't wanted to stop being Cade, he'd merely started investigating Doyle and found himself manipulated into a situation where he had to chose between a fantasy and Bodie. He'd never had a choice at all.

Cowley gave him a look usually reserved for adults who seemed unwilling to see that one plus one did indeed equal two. "Did someone force you to start that investigation?"


"Did someone tell you to do it?"


"Did anyone insist you see it through to the end?"


"Did --?"

"All right, I take the point!"

Despite that near petulant beginning, Cowley gave him the rest of the story, allowing Doyle to get a firmer grip on his shifting reality. As he'd expected even as Cade, Cowley's string pulling had allowed him to return to the Met and work in areas where he'd always been known as Cade. Those who had known otherwise and were likely to encounter him had been briefed. It had all been that simple. "Naturally, we had to do some fleshing out of the Cade background, give him conference visits or case assignments that explained the knowledge that you'd gained in CI5, but there was really little else that had to be done."

"And Bodie went along with all of this?" That was the one thing he didn't understand. If Bodie had loved him, why had he left him for so many years?

"The doctors were certain the very sight of him might cause enough emotional trauma to render you insane. He had no choice."

"Oh, my God, Bodie." Grief stricken for what his love had gone through, Doyle's head dropped into his hands.

To his surprise, he felt Cowley's hand on his shoulder, the touch comforting, reassuring. He'd all but destroyed the man's son, yet he obviously cared for Doyle.

"I promised him I'd come back," he whispered.

"And so you have."

"Christ, George, how do I make this up to him?"

"You'll find a way."


You'll find a way. Doyle had spent the entire day driving around the countryside trying to think of the answer, but he'd failed. With the sun threatening to set, he'd conceded defeat, at least temporarily, and had headed for the office. As he parked in front of Bodie's flat, he still didn't know what to do or say, but he needed to see Bodie, to hold him, to make love to him. And he hoped, maybe somewhere in all of that, he'd find his answers.

He tried it the easy way first, pressing the security buzzer and answering, "It's me," when Bodie responded.

There was a silence, and he could almost hear Bodie thinking away. Was one thing to get dressed and make his polite goodbyes in someone else's flat. Was another thing entirely to ask a lover to leave, so Bodie had taken care to keep Cade away from here whenever possible. Finally, the expected excuse came, "I'm tired, Alan. Thought I'd turn in early. I'll see you in the morning."

"Suit yourself," Doyle answered and pulled the key from his pocket.

Bodie bit his lip against the urge to call out to Cade and forced himself to step away from the intercom. He wasn't up to dealing with the man tonight, or, more accurately, he didn't feel up to dealing with him and any pronouncements inspired by their encounter in the shooting range. Nothing more than base cowardice. Should let Cade tell him it was over and be done with it, but he couldn't handle it yet. He moved towards the front room and thought seriously about indulging in an overly generous glass of scotch, but froze at a scraping sound.

For a heartbeat, he absolutely refused to recognize what it was, but the last click of the lock snapping open made it undeniably clear. The bastard had used the key!

Furious at the violation of both his trust and their agreement, Bodie whirled towards the door, almost glad to have a reason to vent his frustrations on Cade, but the sight of the man robbed him of his voice. All he could do was stare as his visitor entered, shut the door, then reset the locks and alarms.

That dealt with, his lover turned to face him. "'Thought I'd turn in early,'" the deep voice mocked him. "Who the hell are you trying to kid, Bodie? You haven't gone to bed before midnight since you were in short trousers."

The clothes, the stance, the reference to shared memory, and most of all the sarky barb all added up to one thing. "Ray?"

"Yeah, pet, it's me."

"Oh." Bodie's mind shut down. He couldn't think, didn't want to even if he could; he simply stood there. His heart continued to beat, his lungs to rise and fall, but not even his eyes seemed to function, for he had no awareness of anything until the heat of pure malt scotch flowed down his throat.

He blinked and found himself sitting on the settee, Doyle holding a glass to Bodie's lips. The glass tipped, scotch flowed into his mouth, and Bodie swallowed a second time.

"Better now?" Doyle asked.

Bodie nodded and was rewarded with a kiss.

"I love you, Bodie," Doyle said when their lips parted. He put the glass down, took Bodie's hands in his, then sat down on the coffee table. "Wanted you to know that right up front. I love you, and I want us to be together for the rest of our lives."

Bodie stared into green eyes glowing with love and didn't know what to do. He'd so completely resigned himself to the idea that he'd lost even Cade that he couldn't take in the possibility that Doyle, his Doyle, sat in front of him declaring himself. And, in truth, he'd wanted this so much that receiving his heart's desire made things seem unreal, leaving him wondering if he might have finally gone round the twist. "Angelfish?"

"Ah, Bodie." Doyle smiled, reached up and caressed Bodie's cheek. "Big, macho, super-soldier still out terrorizing the villains, and inside still my great, big softie. Love you so bloody much."

You know your trouble, don't you? Underneath that hard shell, you're just a great big softie. Bodie remembered Doyle's words from years ago, but even more than the reminder of their shared past, the fact that the man before him had known that Bodie needed such an assurance convinced him of the truth. "Oh, Christ, Ray," he gasped, pulling Doyle up into a bruising hug.

The kiss that quickly followed had an equal strength behind it, and left Bodie with only enough reason to kick the coffee table out of the way before they went tumbling to the floor together. Once there, consumed by the need to touch and be touched, Bodie tore at Doyle's clothing, only vaguely aware that his own poloneck and trousers were meeting a similar fate beneath Doyle's busy hands.

Making love to Cade had always left him feeling like a starving man at a banquet table, but denied more than a few scraps. He'd wanted the body writhing against him for so many years, but how could he explain such a hunger to a man who did not remember they'd even met before? It had made him want to weep in frustration, and, not being a man for tears nor able to explain them should they fall, he'd fled instead.

But Ray would understand, had even seen his tears the few times life had tried to take Doyle from him, so he abandoned caution and allowed himself to feast.

Mouth, eyelids, neck, ears, Bodie didn't care what he encountered, if it were part of Doyle he nuzzled it, kissed it, then moved on to the next tempting bit, all the while moaning his protests whenever Ray's own explorations interfered with his progress.

Finally, he merely eliminated the problem by shifting his weight and pinning Doyle beneath him.

Ray struggled briefly, then surrendered. "Big dumb crud," he murmured, his green eyes glowing with love. "Get on with it then."

Bodie kissed him, his tongue probing deeply as it danced with Ray's, a delight he abandoned only at the call of a tempting nipple, then the other. Need and want held him tightly in their grip, so he moved quickly up and down the gorgeous body, trying to leave nothing untouched however fleeting the caress.

Doyle groaned loudly as Bodie nibbled the back of his knees. "Pet, I can't last much longer."

Heeding the warning, Bodie abandoned the knee, then straddled his lover's hips. He reached behind himself to take Doyle's cock in hand, the touch making Ray groan loudly. "Easy, sunshine," Bodie soothed him, shifting into position.

"Bodie, no," Doyle gasped. "You'll hurt yourself. Get something first."

"No, I don't want anything between us. Not this time." Before Doyle could protest again, Bodie pushed back against the engorged cock. The entry eased only by Doyle's pre-come, it did hurt. But experience had taught Bodie how to relax the muscle and the pain quickly transformed into pleasure. "Ray," he sighed when he felt the press of Doyle's balls against his arse.

Green eyes locked with blue. "I love you, Bodie."

"You're ... my life, Ray," he whispered, leaning over to kiss him. The movement caused a few inches of the cock to pull free of his body, inches he quickly reclaimed when their lips parted.

"Then move, you beautiful bastard," Doyle moaned, gripping Bodie's hips. "Move."

Bodie rose, then lowered himself on the flesh impaling him, his slow strokes taking him from the balls almost up to the head before lowering him again. He wanted it to last forever, this lazy penetration that made him feel like Doyle filled him to his very soul, and his lover seemed to understand, for he did nothing to hurry along Bodie's climax.

Instead, Doyle's hands caressed Bodie's chest, rubbing his nipples with a gentle touch that soothed rather than aroused. "So beautiful," he murmured. "Only beautiful man I've ever known."

Yes, Doyle understood, but through the growing haze of his own pleasure, Bodie could see the strain on Doyle's face, and knew the man was long past the moment when he'd wanted to come. It was time to end it. "Touch me, angelfish," he begged. "Make me come."

The long fingers shifted from his nipples, down to his cock and balls. Not having realized how close he was to the edge himself, Bodie cried out in surprise as he felt his groin instantly tighten in final warning, then moaned his lover's name while his seed spilled across Doyle's belly.

The contractions of Bodie's climax had the usual effect on Ray, and with his own cry of release, he spurted up into him.

Doyle's shout of "Bodie!" ringing in his ears, Bodie collapsed against him, twisting as much to the side as he could to spare the man the brunt of his greater weight. He sighed as his lover's arms came around him, holding him even as the spent cock fell from his body. His arse was leaking and sore; he could suddenly feel the mild aches of a dozen bruises Doyle's rougher attentions had left behind, yet he felt marvelous, wonderful and ... happy.

Christ, it had been so long, he'd almost forgotten what it felt like, but, yes, he was happy. It almost hurt, it felt so glorious ... and familiar. Yes, he could remember feeling this way in the past, back in the days before Doyle was taken from him. And suddenly he understood how little he'd allowed himself to feel since he'd lost him. Lost him, and learned that to feel so much joy begged an answering pain -- one he knew he could not survive a second time.

Doyle snuggled up against the hard warmth of his lover's body and thought seriously about spending the rest of the night on the floor, but Bodie stiffened and pulled from his arms. For a heartbeat he didn't understand, then to his horror he saw Bodie pick up his trousers and knew the man was about to go into his disappearing act.

Wailing in despair crossed his mind, but he decided that while that prat Cade might put up with such nonsense from Bodie, Raymond Doyle would not. In a flash he was on his feet, across the room and filling the doorway that led to the only way out of the flat. Confident that Bodie would not resort to the acts of extreme GBH that would be necessary to prise him out of the way, he launched his attack, "Just what the bleeding hell do you thing you're doing?"

Bodie, his face paler than normal and his eyes full of a look Doyle could only describe as haunted, muttered, "I have to go --"

"Unless the rest of that sentence is 'to the loo,' you can forget it, mate. You try to leave, and I swear I'll handcuff you to the radiator. Besides, it's your flat."

"Oh." Bodie dropped the trousers, then sank back down to the floor, looking like some lost little boy.

Unable to endure that, Doyle hurried to his side, then took him into his arms.

Bodie buried his face in the hollow of Doyle's neck. "Ray," he whispered and starting to shake.

It took Bodie almost an hour to stop trembling, his tears flowing over his lover's skin, and Doyle held him every minute of it. And truth be told, he did a bit of trembling himself. So many emotions crashing through him -- relief, anger, fear -- Doyle felt as if he were trapped in the middle of a hurricane, but the love he felt for Bodie kept him anchored. Kept him on rational feet, let him whisper soothing words and gave him the courage to speak again when the storm seemed to have passed.

"I promised I'd come back, pet. Did I leave it until too late? Will you take me back or have I lost everything?"

He held his breath waiting for the answer. If Bodie sent him away, if they couldn't find a way to recaptured what they'd lost, Doyle would want to die. But he'd find a way to stay alive. Somehow. For Elena. But he couldn't imagine ever drawing another breath without hoping it were his last.

Bodie's voice was so choked it took him a moment to understand. "Can't ... live without you, sunshine. But ... I'm afraid."

"Tell me why. Tell me how I can help."

He lifted his head and looked at him with eyes full of tears. "You left me," he whispered. "Damn, you, you left me."

"I know, pet, and I know it hurt. But you had to know I didn't want to."

Bodie shook his head a denial of any such knowledge. "The doctors said --"

"Cowley told me. Oh, Bodie, I'm so sorry." Tears welled in Doyle's own eyes, but didn't spill. He knew that in his head Bodie did understand, but his heart had hurt so much and for so long that he was begging for reassurances, and Doyle was determined to give them to him. "Wasn't that I didn't love you or wanted to leave you. Was that I hated myself so much I wanted to die."

Bodie's gaze shifted away from him. "And I had to let you."

"I know." He sighed. "I think I wish I really had died. Been easier on --"

"No!" Bodie shouted, his hands seizing Doyle's upper arms, gripping them with a strength that left his own knuckles white. "Don't you ever say that! " Bodie gave him a hard shake to emphasize his order. "Only thing that let me keep going was knowing you were alive and happy."

"Happy?" Doyle said the word as if repeating something from an obscure foreign language. "I guess I thought I was, but. ... Nothing but another delusion, that was. Knew that the first time Cade got you in my arms."

He eased himself from Bodie's grasp, then wrapped his arms around him in a gentler touch. He'd spent most of the day thinking of what he'd say to Bodie, how he could explain how he'd lost them both the last fifteen years, and it kept coming back to something his sister had said to tease him. 'Cade's the knight in shining armour; Ray's the pest.' Was just a joke, but sometimes it was how it felt.

"Cade was just another assignment that first time. Had to be him for nearly eighteen months before the case cracked. Thought that was the end of it, but the arrests went down in a way that kept me from having to break cover. My superiors decided they might have cause to use him again, so Cade was transferred to a made-up division in the Yard and sent overseas. I went back to being Ray Doyle, and was glad of it, only I'd got Cade's bird preggers. When she took Elena away was the first time I wished I was Cade.

"But there other things, too. Yvonne had told me all about Cade, so I played 'im like she saw him. Came off as more even-tempered, thought things through more before opening his mouth, Alan did. Didn't care for injustice any more than me, but he knew how to make the system work, instead of fighting it. All made him more popular with the higher ups."

Step by step, he went through it all: the distrust of his fellow officers, the promotions Doyle never got, the freedom to be his daughter's father. He went over everything he'd figured out.

Doyle caressed Bodie's arm. "See what I'm trying to say, pet? Cade had the daughter, I didn't; Cade got the promotions, not me; Cade didn't know Cookie, I recommended him to CI5; Cade didn't carry a gun, I shot that poor kid; and Cade knew when to keep his mouth shut."

He shook his head. "Even now that's the hardest thing to forgive myself for. You're the best thing in my life, Bodie, but I cheapened what we had by using it to hurt Mum."

Bodie kissed his cheek. "You didn't kill her, sunshine."

Doyle managed a smile. "Know that. 've got enough of Cade left in me to be feed up with all the times I blamed myself for things I couldn't control. Hurts though. Might not have been my fault, but she went to her grave terrified for my soul."

Bodie snuggled closer to him. "You think that's why you never let Cade go for blokes?"

Though the real Alan Cade had been exclusively heterosexual, Doyle had been bisexual since he'd discovered sex. Cowley had told him that the trick cyclists hadn't been able to figure out why something as basic as his sexuality would have been changed by the shooting, no matter who Doyle had believed he was. "Suspect so," he muttered, nuzzling the dark silk of his lover's hair. "Or maybe was my way of being faithful to you."


"Gave my heart to you. Didn't want to give out bits of it to other blokes."

"Oh." Bodie considered this, then Doyle felt him frown. "But you fell in love with that Frenchwoman."

"Did I?" He'd thought so at the time, but it hadn't taken more than a few days and a smile from a pretty public relations specialist to get over Marie-Pierre. Not the greatest testimony to love he'd ever heard. "No, I don't think I did. Was another Ann Holly, and all the time I was accusing her of not wanting a commitment, it was me holding back. Can see that now. I'm a swan, too, my love. Even when I don't know who I am, I'm a swan."

Doyle kissed his forehead, the tip of his nose, then his mouth. "Nothing less than a bullet in my brain took me from you, Bodie. And we still found our way back here. Is destiny, that is. Can't fight that, can we?"

Bodie looked up at him. "Guess not," he said with a smile. "I love you, Ray."

They sat together on the floor, kissing and nuzzling one another in silent reassurance that they were together and very much in love. But soon yawns began to interrupt them, and finally Bodie gave up.

"I'm tired, Ray," he said, getting to his feet and pulling Doyle with him. "Can ... we go to sleep?"

The tears Doyle had been fighting most of the evening began to fall, the joy he felt sending a cold tingle through his nerves. "Oh, yes, we can do that. Hold each other all night, shall we?"

"Yes." Bodie hugged him. "We'll be all right, sunshine. We'll be all right."

"Know we will," Doyle answered, then guided the only man both he and Alan Cade had ever loved out of the room and into the warmth of their bed.

-- THE END --

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