Flavor of Life


Why he was thinking of Guy Fawkes Night in the middle of a firefight was something he'd have to remember to ask Dr. Ross. But Bodie couldn't escape the thought as flames leapt into the night sky: the result of an errant bullet hitting a gas tank. From his viewpoint -- flush to the ground beside a short stone wall -- he admired the red, orange and yellow flame licking the darkness.

Ray Doyle found himself pondering why he hadn't quit CI5 years ago and gotten a real job as he exchanged bullets with two kids from behind a table. They may have been old enough to be in university, but they were still just kids. Since they'd had the bad planning to make their move twenty minutes before he and his partner were to be relieved, he felt somewhat compelled to show them the error of their ways. He gave a brief thought to his partner -- last seen chasing after the youngsters who'd run. The sudden explosion grabbed the students' attention, and he used the distraction to sneak closer. Between his new position, and Murphy's sudden appearance, the two were quickly overtaken.

After the third explosion, Bodie returned his full attention to the scene, and caught sight of two men headed toward Anson's position. He had no shot, and knew he wouldn't be heard over the roar of the fire so he stood his silhouette stark against the firelight. His shot found its target, giving Anson a chance to get clear. He felt pain flare in his shoulder as he dove for his gun which had somehow ended up on the ground.

After securing their prisoners, Doyle and Murphy headed cautiously out into the large yard, which was lit up like broad daylight. They separated to check the perimeter. Halfway around, he heard his name called and moved to the stone wall. Joining Murphy, he saw Anson gesturing towards the woods. The concern in his fellow agents' eyes stopped him short, and he remained still as Anson told of Bodie's daring move to save him, and of watching him being dragged off into the woods by four men. Doyle was half way across the small open field that separated the yard from the woods before Murphy caught up with him and forced him to wait for torches.

Bodie moved slowly. He'd hit his head when he went down and had come to with a gun in his face. His right shoulder was bleeding and numb which explained why he'd dropped his gun. The men who grabbed him were amateurs -- dangerous amateurs with guns. Having nothing to tie his hands with, they instructed him to keep them in his jacket pockets. He had moved a few yards before recognizing what his left hand was wrapped around. Ducking his head to hide a smile, he pushed one out. He'd leave a trail for Doyle -- and he had no doubt his partner would find him.

Torch in hand, Doyle moved ahead of the others, trying to still his runaway thoughts and concentrate. Another fifteen feet into the woods and he guided his torch back to his right. There was something white -- paper maybe. He reached for it.

Doyle stared at the small package. They'd been living on take away for a fortnight, and he'd complained loudly that the food had no taste. A smile flew across his face as he recalled his prat of a partner showing up with lunch; the pockets of his leather jacket overflowing with salt and pepper packets, guaranteed to add flavor. He'd threatened GBH when Bodie tried to stash the packets in the glove box, before giving into his laughter. From the happy glint in the blue eyes, he knew his partner had gotten the reaction he'd been after. Shaking his head, he took a deep breath, called to the others, and trotted further into the woods.

The captive had no idea how far they'd gone when he heard an owl. Hiding his smile, he stumbled to his knees. One of his captors leaned down and forced his head up, earning a fistful of salt in his eyes. Bodie pushed the screaming man into his mates and scrambled away.

The takedown was quick with only two shots fired. Leaving the cuffing to others, Doyle turned his attention to his partner. He did a quick check of the shoulder and stuffed his clean handkerchief in the hole before helping Bodie up.

The students were headed for a car stashed four miles from the house. With backup on the way, the group set out to complete that journey. Coming out on the road, Ray eased Bodie onto a log and crouched in front, patting the muscular thighs and murmuring softly as he pondered how his partner had remained conscience.

He followed the stretcher to the ambulance before Cowley appeared and pulled him away. Four hours later, driving back, the Controller noticed Doyle tossing a small packet in one hand. A smile lit the tired face, vanishing as he explained how Bodie had dropped one every twenty five feet so there'd be a trail to follow. The Controller knew better then to ask why his operative had picked up each one.

Reassured, after a quick peek at his sleeping partner early that morning, Doyle didn't show up again until evening. He checked with the doctor first and was satisfied with the progress -- two more days in hospital then home and physio. He smiled as he entered the patient's room, tossing over a copy of Hansel and Gretel. Bodie's delighted laugh warmed him, and he spent a moment simply watching the man before handing over a small, brown sack. Blue eyes wide, Bodie reached in for his favorite hospital treat -- grapes -- only to yelp in disappointment as he pulled out a fistful of salt and pepper packets. Forced to throw left handed, he missed his target, so Doyle escaped the room unharmed; his laughter mixing with his partner's dire threats.

-- THE END --

February 2008

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