(Written for the Drabble Day "line" challenge on the_safehouse livejournal community: use the line "Have I ever broken a promise to you? Have I ever once said I'd be somewhere and not shown up?" (Slaughtery, 25th Hour))

His worst nightmares were like this: Ray Doyle leaving CI5, leaving him. Doyle dropping a letter on Cowley's desk and strolling out of HQ as if it were any other day. No explanation, no goodbye.

Or there would have been no goodbye, if Betty hadn't warned Bodie. Bodie had run out of CI5's hallowed halls barely in time to catch Doyle's arm as he stepped into a cab.


Green eyes turn toward him, shuttered and cold. "Let go, Bodie."

"Not bloody likely. Not until you explain."

"Nothing to explain."

"Six years as partners, as friends, and I don't rate an explanation? I don't even rate a goodbye?"

"Goodbye, Bodie." Green eyes dismissed him and turned back to the cab.

"You're not fucking leaving. Not like this." Bodie tried to pull Doyle away from the waiting car. But he'd acted in anger, acted without considering the speed, the temper, of his opponent. Before he could think, Bodie was laying on his arse on the pavement, the taste of his own blood on his tongue.

The cab driver picked that moment to pull quickly away, wisely deciding not to get mixed up in the affairs of crazy CI5 agents.

Furious green eyes stared down at him. He could see Doyle's chest heaving as he drew in quick, angry breaths. Oddly, Bodie felt his own anger evaporate like a thin mist in a morning breeze. With the anger gone, he could feel the loneliness that remained. The sadness.

"Why, Ray?" he asked, not worrying about the naked emotion in his own voice.

Doyle shook his head mutely.

"Was it me, Ray? Something I did? Something I didn't do?" Bodie frantically searched his memory for some wrong committed, some sin unforgiven.

Doyle's head shook again.

"Have I ever broken a promise to you? Have I ever once said I'd be somewhere and not shown up?"

"No, Bodie." Doyle's voice cracked on his name. "It's not you. It's ..." Doyle stopped and clenched his eyes tightly shut. "It's too much blood. Too much hate. Too much death." Green eyes opened again, drained of all fury. In its place was a sorrow greater than any Bodie had ever seen in those orbs.

"Yesterday was ..." Doyle stopped and his eyes showed he had gone somewhere else, and Bodie knew where: a place with dead hostages and dead villains. A place where the smell of cordite merged with the stench of spilled blood.

"I've got to leave, Bodie." Doyle's voice had dropped to a whisper. "Got to leave before it kills me." Doyle blinked several times, and then those green eyes were looking down at Bodie, piercing him to the heart. "I've got to leave before I watch it kill you."

Bodie was back on his feet before he knew it, his arms enfolding the man he suddenly knew meant his life.

"You don't leave alone, you stupid bastard." Bodie pulled back and looked into those green eyes now gone bright with tears. "We leave together."

-- THE END --

June 2005

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