Marshmallows with Chocolate Sauce
(During "Discovered in a Graveyard")
The urgency in the voice claimed the instant attention of the three men talking quietly by a set of double doors. They looked around for the source and saw a couple, in their late thirties, well-dressed, heading their way at almost break-neck speed Thinking the couple wanted to go through the doors, the men politely stepped aside. It was to their amazement therefore, when the couple literally barged into the middle of them.
"Might I help you, madam?" the elder of the three inquired.
The husband merely stood, arms numb at his side. The young woman, however, was clearly distraught, and had no such reservations. Grabbing the elder man by the collar, she screamed, "Please, doctor, please! Our little girl is dying!! Help her!!!"
George Cowley, Controller of CI5, was slightly taken aback by the woman's actions. No one had to tell him this was the mother. Gently reaching down, he disentangled her hands and held them in his. "Madam, I am truly sorry; but I --" he began, by way of apology.
"Please! Money is no object! Please ..." the woman continued, her voice getting louder with each syllable.
"Madam ... " Cowley tried again.
It was now the father's turn to get a word in. He put a comforting, not to mention restraining, arm around his wife. "It's like this, Doc. Our little girl's very sick, and the pediatrician said she needed an operation ... right now ..."
"What's the matter?" This from one of the younger men.
The couple thought a moment; then the father answered. "Something about her appendix?"
"They're about to rupture," the mother added, her voice barely a whisper.
The father came in again. "She's afraid, Doc. You know how children are."
Cowley smiled to himself. "Aye." He cast a teasing glance at his young companions. "I also know how some adults are, as well," he added, receiving flashes of deep blue fire from two pairs of eyes. "But," Cowley continued, "as I tried to explain, I am not a doctor." His heart went out to the couple as their shoulders slumped in utter defeat. "I know several fine ones ..."
"Mr and Mrs Brennan," a new voice intruded, "you really must stop bothering people. I have told you that we are doing all we can."
All eyes turned to the newcomer, appraising her. She was 6'1" in height; thin, almost lanky; she looked to be in her early thirties (they would discover, later, that she was 51). Her still blond hair was tied back, neatly; the silver-plated badge, pinned correctly above one full breast, proclaimed her as Dr Geraldine Palaski, pediatrics.
The father rounded on the woman. "Then why isn't our girl getting better!?," he raged.
Totally unperturbed by Brendan's outburst, Palaski smiled, sweetly. "Now we both know the answer to that, don't we, Mr. Brendan. If you'd let us do our job ..."
"Do your job!!??," screamed Mrs. Brendan. "Is that what you call it?? Telling a wee child that if she doesn't behave, she's going to die; then, to make matters worse, to tell her it will be her own fault!"
Palaski still remained unmoved. "Precisely. It will be. All she has to do is be a ..."
"... big girl about it," Brendan finished. "Christ, woman, she's only ten years old!"
The doctor stiffened, pulling herself up to her full height. "When I was ten years old, I helped out ..."
"Stupid bitch!!," Brendan roared, and began to move on the woman.
"Jesse!," his wife breathed, trying, desperately, to fight the urge to follow her husband's lead.
Before she could act on her impulse, however, one of the young men, his eyes the bluest she'd ever seen, stepped between her and the doctor. "Dr Palaski, may I try to calm her?"
The elder woman studied this young buck. If there had been any doctors with his looks, I'd show this hospital how fast I could get sick! she mused, wistfully. Instead, she asked, "Who are you?"
The young man smiled. "Name's Bodie. My partner, Ray Doyle, is recovering in Intensive Care. We have special permission to remain in hospital until he wakes up."
She let out what sounded like a very unprofessional snort. "I see. You're a long way from that part of the hospital, Mr Bodie. Might I inquire, who gave you this 'special permission'?"
"I did," interrupted another new voice.
Once again, all turned toward a newcomer. This time it was a distinguished man, in his early seventies; his shock of nearly snow-white curls made Cowley think of Ray Doyle, the other half of his 'Bistro Kids', 3.7 and 4.5. This was Robin Metcaff, Chief Resident.
Cowley stepped forward and greeted his old friend. "Ah, there you are, Robin. It is good to see you again."
Metcaff's lined face lit up with delight at the sight of his friend. "George!" he nearly shouted, forgetting he was in a hospital. Recovering his dignity, he met Cowley halfway, and the two men embraced. "Geraldine," Metclaf began, releasing Cowley and turning toward the still-waiting doctor. "I am taking over this case. You may continue the rest of your rounds," he finished. The command tone was unmistakable.
"But ..." she stammered.
"You have your orders, Doctor."
"Yes, Doctor," was her only reply. Without another word, she turned on her heels and, head held high, walked away.
Metclaf turned back to the waiting group. "Now, to business. Mr and Mrs Brendan," he addressed the couple, "you have heard Mr Bodie's offer of assistance. Have you any objections?"
Mrs Brendan let out a shaky laugh. "Can't be all bad, can he? Not with those baby blues." She turned to Bodie. "It's up to you, Mr Bodie."
Bodie smiled down at her. "It'll be my pleasure," he replied, giving her a gallant bow.
"Then, if you'll follow me."
Metclaff turned and started down the hall in the opposite direction. Bodie followed in his wake.
Kayla Tamara Brendan knew she had to be dreaming when she opened her eyes to find the most handsome man she had ever seen in all her ten years standing by her bedside. Long had she dreamed of a ‘Knight In Shining Armor' to come and fight for her and carry her off to his castle. Now, it seemed, as if that dearest wish had come true.
With guileless eyes she studied him. Certainly he was tall enough; he had big muscles; his hair was the color of last year's Easter Bunny; but, most important of all, were those wondrous blue eyes.
Kayla smiled, shyly, falling in love with his deep, gentle voice. " 'ullo," she replied, a little hoarse. "What's your name?"
"My name is Bodie," he replied. "Bo-dee," he repeated, pronouncing it in syllables. "Can you say that?"
She thought about it for a few moments, turning the sounds over in her mind. "Bodie," she finally replied, triumphant.
He smiled. "Excellent!"
"Are you a doctor?"
"No. I'm here visiting a very dear friend of mine."
"Is he very sick?"
Bodie nodded, his smile fading slightly. "He was; but, you know what, the doctors made him all better."
Kayla's violet eyes grew wide with wonder. "They did?," she squeaked.
"Uh-huh." Bodie nodded with certainly. "Do you know how they did that?"
"No," she replied, honestly.
"He had to have an operation."
Kayla understood that word. She had heard the grown-ups, who always came to see her, use it lots of times. "He got cut open, too?" she asked.
She made a face, deliberately crossing her eyes. "Yeech!"
Bodie laughed, understanding her reaction perfectly. "Know what you mean, Princess, but it had to be done."
"It's their job," Bodie answered, simple and to the point.
She shivered. "I know; but ... well ..." She let her voice trail off and, unable to go on, she turned her face, reluctantly, away from him.
"What troubles you, my princess?"
His voice -- deep, yet so gentle and filled with care, gave her the courage to face him once more. Again, those eyes captured her; she knew she couldn't lie. "I'm scared," she whispered.
"So am I," he admitted, without hesitation.
Kayla's eyes, once again, widened in awe. A grown-up? Scared?? Wow! Wait 'til she told that mean Dr Palaski about this! "Why are you scared?" she asked, deciding she wanted to hear him speak again.
"Because I didn't know if the doctors could make my friend better. He's my very best friend in all the world."
Her mind absorbed this, mulled over it. "They want to cut me open, too."
"But, it'll hurt!," she whined.
He smiled again, and shook his head. "Not so, my princess," he replied reassuringly. "Not so. If that's what is bothering you, don't give it another thought."
"But, Dr. Palaski said ..."
"Ah! Pay no attention to her. Trust me, your humble servant, you won't feel a thing."
Kayla stared at him, suspicious now. "How do you know?"
"You got to go in?"
"No. There is a place where I could watch. Want to know what they do?"
Rising, Bodie went over to where the oxygen tank stood. "Do you know what this is?" he asked, enunciating slowly.
"Uh-huh. It's got a thingie that they put over your nose to help you breathe. My uncle uses one all the time."
"Right! Well, in the operating room, they have one just like it. But, instead of breathing in, to wake up, it puts you, and your body, to sleep."
"My body!!??," she gasped.
"Yes; and when that happens, I can take a pin, stick it in your finger, and you wouldn't feel it."
She grimaced; an involuntary reaction. "Really?"
Bodie returned to her bedside and reseated himself. Reaching out, he took her small hands in his big ones. "I promise, my princess. Before you know it, you'll be back in this room as if nothing had happened."
Kayla was silent for some time; however, before she could question him further, pain shot through her abdomen, causing her to cry out.
Deftly transferring her hands to one of his, Bodie immediately pushed the button that summoned help with his free one; then, bending down, he whispered in her ear. "Hang on, Princess; you'll be all right in a few hours."
Just then, Dr Metclaf, followed by several nurses, entered the room. The doctor smiled down at her. "Would you like your friend to walk with you as far as he can?" he asked gently, realizing Bodie had not let go of her hands.
Kayla nodded. "May he go in, too?"
Metclaff shook his head. "Sorry, sweetheart; but I promise, when you can have visitors, he will be your first one. Is that okay?"
"Yes. I guess so," she whispered back, pain evident in her voice.
"No 'guess' about it, milady. On the way to your room, your mother told me you had a birthday coming up two weeks from now. You and I have a date; and, if you think I'm good looking, wait'll you see my friend!"
Kayla tried to giggle, but the movement caused the pain to intensify.
"Sorry to cut you short, Mr Bodie, but it's time," one of the nurses informed him.
Bodie stood as the gurney began to move. The trip was made in complete silence, the doctors busy making preparation. Too soon they reached the double doors through which he could not pass. He was unaware that Cowley and Murphy had joined him, his eyes riveted on those doors. "See you later, Princess," he whispered; then turned his eyes heavenward. "Count on it," he added, with great conviction.
"Come on, lad," Cowley spoke up, cutting into his revery. "Doyle's about to wake up."
Bodie seemed to visibly relax and gather strength all at once. "Be with you in ten, sir; I've got a stop to make first."
Without waiting for permission, he headed for the nearest elevator.
Ray Doyle stood in a field of flowers, as far as the eye could see, hugging a teddy bear almost as tall as he. To make matters even more strange, the teddy was hugging him back!
He was a beautiful teddy: ebony fur, the paws and feet trimmed in white; around its neck was a large white bow tie. But, it was the face that finally convinced Doyle he had not died, but was merely having a wonderful, if rather strange, dream ... the face was that of his partner, Bodie, blue eyes and all.
"Bodie?," he whispered, somewhere in the region of the bear's chest. "What's going on?"
"It's time to come back, Ray," the bear replied, in that familiar deep voice.
Doyle's brow furrowed in confusion. "Why ...?" he began.
"We have a promise to keep," the bear continued, as if Doyle hadn't spoken.
"To whom?" Doyle answered, wanting nothing more than to snuggle deeper into the all-enveloping embrace.
"Our latest girlfriend."
"She's ten years old, has just been through a traumatic surgery, and will be waking up very soon. I promised I'd be there and, in two weeks, we will help her celebrate her eleventh birthday."
Doyle sighed. He was so warm and cozy ... Yet, a promise was a promise and, like his partner, he could not resist the plight of a child. "Okay. I'm ready."
"Welcome back, laddie."
"Yeah. It's about time you stopped loafing while the rest of us slave away," a second voice chirped in.
Doyle turned his head very carefully until his eyes fell on the figure of Murphy standing on his left. They promised a fond retribution.
"'ullo, Ray," came the third voice.
This came from his right and the sound of it was like a balm to his soul. Always at my side ... "Where's me teddy, then?," he croaked.
Bodie sauntered into the room and replaced Cowley at the foot of the bed. Nestled securely in the crook of his left arm was the same bear that, unknown to him, Doyle had seen in his dream; in his right arm was nestled a large bouquet of mixed blooms. "How'd you know?" Bodie asked, his brows narrowing in mock indignation that his surprise had been spoiled.
"Psychic!" Doyle whispered. Then his eyes fell on the flowers. "What's all the rest then?"
Bodie looked down at the flowers as if to see them for the first time. "Oh. These? Well, you see, there's this little girl ..." he began.
"Oh. Right. Tell her we'll see her in two weeks."
With that Doyle drifted into the first healing sleep he'd had since this whole thing began. He did not see the stunned expression on his partner's face, nor hear the soft chuckles of Cowley and Murphy.
No. He concentrated on getting well; his mind planning their itinerary ...
-- THE END --