Written for the Discovered in Thirty Years Time challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community
The church service went well, as funerals go. CI5 always sent representatives when it was one of their own, former or current, and the recently deceased had been a popular choice as Controller of CI5, so many tried to make it to pay their last respects.
For Mark Daniels, the new Acting Controller, it was a logistics nightmare. All of these current and former operatives under one roof, not to mention the heads of various security departments, could be a terrorist's dream come true. He pulled in help from the police force and the SAS, and made sure that operatives in the church were armed.
Nothing was going to turn this send off into a circus.
The service over, Bodie stood apart from the other mourners filing out of the church, waiting for the car that would take him to the crematorium. The cremation was to be a family and close friends' affair, in accordance with CI5 procedure.
He felt every one of his sixty one years that day, saying goodbye to another valued and trusted friend.
It had been another funeral much like this one that had made Bodie aware of his own mortality. Eighteen years ago, George Cowley, Head of CI5, was killed with a single sniper's bullet when he stepped out of his front door to pick up his morning milk. A simple act and a clean kill. He was dead when his body hit the ground, his blood pooling and staining the concrete that his housekeeper worked so tirelessly to keep clean.
"I've had enough, Ray."
Ray looked up, his green eyes showing concern. "We haven't been here long, mate. We ought to stay a bit longer, don't you think? For the Old Man and all that?"
Bodie put his glass down, exasperated. "I don't mean of this," he elaborated, sweeping his hand through the air, indicating the other mourners gathered at Cowley's wake. "I mean, I've had enough of CI5. Let's get out, while we still have all our body parts. While we still have--"
They were interrupted then by Murphy, insisting on topping up everyone's glass to drink a toast. Doyle met Bodie's eyes after a rousing roar of "The Cow!" and Bodie knew that Doyle was aware of what was left unsaid.
Doyle always knew.
Younger members of CI5 eyed Bodie speculatively as they passed. His hearing was still acute enough that he could hear the whispers. He and Doyle were a legend in 'A' squad. The best teaming ever, some said, and they all wanted to take a look at this half of the partnership, to see what was so special about him, what was so special about them.
He still cut an imposing figure dressed in his habitual black, and his face betrayed none of the emotion he felt. There was time enough later to mourn in private. After the goodbyes had been said and platitudes voiced. When the curtains were drawn and the world shut out.
"They've offered me the position of Controller."
Bodie carried on spooning the coffee into mugs. "Knew they would, sunshine. You're the best candidate for the job. Did you tell them you're resigning?"
"Yeah. But they're giving me time to think it over."
"What is there to think over? We're both getting out."
There was no answer from Doyle, no confirmation. Bodie ground out through clenched teeth, "We are, aren't we?" He switched the boiling kettle off automatically, but made no attempt to finish making the drinks.
Murphy entered the VIP lounge and clapped Doyle on the shoulder. "Congratulations, mate. I hear you're gonna be our new boss."
"I haven't accepted it yet, Murph."
"Are you going to?"
Doyle looked at Bodie and Bodie looked at Doyle.
Bodie knew. Bodie always knew.
A black Rover screeched up the driveway, and skidded to a halt, throwing up dust and gravel and stopping with the passenger door just two inches away from Bodie. With the first smile of the day tugging at his lips he opened the door and got in, admonishing the driver.
"You should have a bit more respect for the dead, sunshine. Is that the way for a sexagenarian to drive?"
Doyle turned twinkling eyes his way. "You looked it up," he crowed, grinning. "Did it mean what you thought? Anyway," he went on, placing a gloved hand on Bodie's thigh and squeezing, reassuringly, "Murph would've appreciated it. You okay?"
"It could've been you we're burning today," Bodie answered, returning the gaze.
Doyle shook his head. "Nah. Cowley didn't realise it, but Murph was always the better man."
"How do you work that out?" Bodie sounded indignant on his partner's behalf.
"Murph was like Cowley. There was no-one at home to worry about. No-one to distract him and get in the way of the job. Whereas I always had you."
Bodie covered Doyle's hand briefly before buckling up ostentatiously and winking outrageously.
"Come on then. We've got a mate to say goodbye to."
-- THE END --