Bodie was out, completely gone, breathing through a tube and wrapped like a mummy. He survived, physically at least, and now it was down to the waiting. When Cowley walked in he saw a shattered Doyle bedside, exhausted and grubby and nearly incoherent. He pulled out his flask and handed it over, but Doyle just stared at him, confused, until Cowley barked out orders for him to take a damn drink. In truth, Cowley rarely raided it much himself, preferring to keep his drinking to civilized quarters (such as his office, his house, and the pub), so mostly the flask was for emergency purposes only -- and Doyle was a bona fide emergency right then. Doyle drank and appeared to wake up a bit, and let himself be forced out of the room. Cowley had his own driver take Doyle to his flat so the boy could wash up and hopefully rest. Cowley cared for his team more deeply than any of them suspected or might even appreciate, and they were welcome to call that bullying if they liked.
Which was only one small part of the reason why Cowley was glad to wait in the room with Bodie until his driver returned. He sat down and stared at the boy, wondering when they ALL became boys to him...probably a long time ago and he just never noticed until now. He took a sip from the flask and tucked it away as a nurse walked in. When she finally left, Cowley waited a couple of seconds, shifted, and placed his hand on top of Bodie's. Almost certainly an unwelcome advance, but Cowley needed reassurance that Bodie was in some way alive. The skin was warm and Cowley was glad for that.
He withdrew his hand inside of a minute, not daring chance discovery. Not daring anything, ever, with anyone. Certainly never with Bodie, despite the ongoing protests of his psyche and his geriatric libido. At least, it was supposed to be a geriatric libido, and in fact had been for years. Until the day he met Bodie. Cowley appreciated the irony from an intellectual standpoint only, because the fact of the matter annoyed him no end. Bodie, physically perfect and brilliant and too damn smug for his own good, just too damn GOOD for his own good, and exactly everything that curled Cowley's gut in many familiar, unwanted ways.
After a while Cowley knew his driver was due to show up again soon. He stood up and stretched and looked down at Bodie, the man adored by many and loved by...one? Two? Surely Doyle's fierce protectiveness and friendship counted for as much as Cowley's own desire. Cowley sighed at the thought of young men, careless and free with their affections, and placed his hand on Bodie's shoulder, his thumb rubbing gentle circles. Then it happened: an instinct decades old and a habit buried by time took over and he leaned down, placing a gentle kiss on Bodie's still, dry lips. He snapped up, shocked, and looked over his shoulder but he was unobserved. It was a dangerous fault line that Cowley was walking and he knew it, furious at giving in to the impulse yet amused that the muscle memory was still there. He shook his head and decided to wait in the hall, not trusting himself alone with another man for the first time in fifteen years.
"Don' worry, my boy, I'll not feed your nightmares." He ran a light hand over Bodie's jaw. "But you're still needed here, by me. Sleep. Wake up. That's an order."
He did not look back at the still form as he walked out.
Two Weeks Later
Doyle curled up in the chair, pleased and relaxed, as Bodie frowned at the standard issue hospital soup. "Eat up, mate, or the Cow will pair me off with Franklin."
"Already picked out your china?"
Doyle laughed, forgoing the banter in exchange for a living, breathing Bodie. He rested quietly while Bodie stirred the soup, listless and disinterested. "Could be worse," Doyle sighed.
"No, bilge water has a higher nutritional value." It was humorous but said with a flat tone of voice, and Doyle stared at him critically for a second. It was to be expected that Bodie was a bit 'off,' after being in a coma for over a week, but he was thirteen days out of waking up and he still seemed bothered by it.
"You remember it? Being...out?"
Bodie looked up at him, surprised. "No."
Bodie frowned. "Someone said that, I think. But they weren't nightmares, much as I can tell."
Doyle stalled, because this was more than Bodie had admitted up to this point. Finally he spoke up again, when it was clear that Bodie was not going to offer.
"No...look, I don't remember. Leave it at that?"
"Could...if it wasn't eatin' at you. And it is." Doyle leaned back in the chair and propped his feet up on the end of the bed.
Bodie bounced his head a bit, then sighed. "Someone told me to wake up. Told me...oh this makes me sound like a girl, talking about dreams..."
"How is that any different than you usually sound?"
Bodie glared at him before cracking a smile. He thought carefully for a second, then assumed a far too practiced expression of indifference. "Someone...ordered me to wake up. So I did." He shrugged as if it was not important, but Doyle's early warning system went off. He stalled, trying to remember if he ever actually said that while Bodie was under. Maybe. Probably. He had asked, pleaded, begged, but he did not remember ordering him to wake up. Since he was not sure, he rolled the dice.
"Just someone, Doyle, give it a rest."
Bodie shook his head angrily, refusing to look at him, and attacked the foul smelling soup.
-- THE END --