Bete Noire


(Written for the_safehouse livejournal community "Missing Scene" challenge (Missing Scene: "In the Public Interest"-- when the boys go back the second time with their 'gay youth' ploy, they spend a night in the hotel before they let the police rumble them ... what happened that night?))

NOTE: Oh boy. This gave me a headache for four days, talk about a screaming bitch. ITPI is one of my favourite episodes, and playing around with it - especially in the middle of the plot - was really tricky. But it made me work, which is not a bad thing :)

"I didn't like the look of that lot, Ray."

Doyle turned away from the window to regard his partner in silent query. Bodie was stretched full length on one of the twin beds, arms folded behind his head as he glowered at the ceiling. He'd been very quiet since they'd got back from the shop, apart from another brief (and unsuccessful) attempt at breaking down the desk clerk's cool faade. But something other than failure of a chat-up routine was going on here, Ray was convinced of it... and it looked like he was about to find out what.

"Nor me," he agreed mildly. "Six bruisers like that against two unarmed pansies? Overkill, I call it. Emphasis on 'kill'. We might not be able to do this without blood after all."

"As long as it's theirs," growled Bodie. "I don't -- " His head turned suddenly, eyes narrowing. "Oi, who are you calling a pansy?"

Ray grinned hugely, relieved at the predictable reaction to his veiled insult.

"Well, that's what we want them to think, isn't it? That we're helpless? A pair of soft big-city boys? Fair game?"

Bodie grunted noncommittally and returned to his inspection of the ceiling, and Ray frowned. If anyone should be bitter and twisted about a bunch of cops going rogue, it should be him, Doyle, ex-Detective-Constable. Given Bodie's mysterious and apparently anarchy-fomenting background, he'd have thought he was more likely to be on the side of the vigilantes...

He stalked over to plonk down on the bed beside his partner, rapping him hard on one knee with his knuckles and ignoring the dirty look it got him as he said bluntly,

"This is really getting to you, isn't it? Why?"

"I don't like bullies," ground out Bodie. "I got enough of that rubbish at school."

"You were bullied? YOU?" Ray bit back a hoot of laughter at the warning gleam in dark blue eyes.

"Yes, me, Doyle," was the sarcastic retort. "I was monumentally unlucky enough to be the only kid in my year who didn't get acne when puberty hit."

Understanding dawned with a rush, and Ray swallowed his amusement as he fought to keep his face straight. With his flawless skin and those bloody incredible eyes, a thirteen-year-old Bodie would have been almost too pretty to be a boy. It must have been absolute hell for him... still, it wasn't often he talked about his past, and Ray wasn't about to let any chance slip by to find out more about what made his partner tick.

"Oh... um, so was that why you left school so early?"

"Something like that." God, it was like getting blood out of a stone.

"Couldn't have been much better in the army," Ray dared, half-expecting a snarled order to mind his own damn business; but Bodie just quirked an eyebrow in rueful acknowledgement.

"Wasn't. But I was a damn sight tougher by then. It stopped soon enough."

"So what happened?"

Bodie turned the full force of his midnight gaze on him, and Ray half-held his breath as he stared steadily into the depths, waiting for the eruption; but finally, his partner just blinked and looked away, back at the ceiling.

"What makes you think something did?"

"It would have had to," Ray said with quiet certainty, suddenly not amused any more. The thought of a younger, less cynical and battle-hardened Bodie having to defend himself against God-knows-what made his stomach knot. "To make it all just... stop."

There was silence for a long moment, and Ray was about to say never mind, mate, it doesn't matter, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to -- when Bodie sighed deeply, closing his eyes.

"One day, it just all got too much. I lost it. Put someone in hospital for six months... fractured skull, amongst other things, they told me later. I don't remember much about it. No-one bothered me after that."

"Remind me not to piss you off any time soon," Ray finally managed to say lightly, but his throat was tight. Bodie could be utterly ruthless, yes, but it was always a cold, practical, and efficient thing; to think of him losing control to that extent was -- quite honestly -- frightening. Please God he'd be able to keep him in check tomorrow if things went west, because Cowley wouldn't forgive a lapse like that. Not ever...

"Too late," was the half-purred reply, "you do that every damn day." Bodie yawned hugely, wriggling deeper into his pillow. "What time do we have to be at that shop in the morning?"

And aha, thought Ray wryly, that's all you're getting, Raymond... but, it was enough.

"Mid-morning'll do. Just remember, no matter what they think, they're not as tough as us -- okay? We let the Old Man and the law deal with them."

One eye opened and regarded him sleepily.

"I won't harm a hair on their ugly heads, I promise."

It was enough.

For now.

-- THE END --

July 2005

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