Endgame: An Epilogue - of Sorts
Through devious channels of his own, George Cowley saw to it that Bodie was brought back to England and buried beside Doyle. A handful of operatives who had worked with the legendary partners were in attendance, along with a smattering of the new and the curious who had only heard the many stories about the near infamous Bodie and Doyle.
Tarquin had amused himself by eluding British security with what he liked to think of as his usual ease, in order to be present. After all, Bodie had been an exceptional lieutenant, and it was all such a pity. A curious sense of detachment gripped Cowley through it all, but behind the barriers was a wave of feeling, compounded mostly of regret, guilt, anger. And grief. All firmly put on hold, as usual.
He looked at Tarquin, reflecting with more than his ordinary cynicism that the man would never realize the only reason he'd eluded security was because he, Cowley had ordered it. George owed him that much for arranging to have what was left of Bodie transported back to Britain. The terrorist would never know Cowley had been the one behind that little maneuver, either.
It didn't really matter. He wondered, briefly, what Murphy and the ever faithful Betty would think of his instructions that they put him here, next to the terrible twins....
Resolutely, Cowley turned his thoughts back to Bodie. Remembered the shock of recognition that had gone through him when Murphy walked into this office and handed him a slender chain of silver. Doyle's chain.
"It was on... Bodie, sir. They sent it up."
Cowley'd taken it without comment, kicked Murphy out of the office, and stared at the chain for a very long time, thinking. Then he'd made quietly sure that the chain was tucked securely in Bodie's hand before they buried him. It wasn't much, but somehow he felt it was important.
In the end, he stayed while they filled in the grave, stayed until he had the entire cemetery to himself. A final goodbye didn't require curious onlookers. He studied the matching graves carefully. If the spirits had truly flown, then he silently wished that they were together, just as the cast off bodies now lay side by side. 'As in life, as in death'. The quote came to him from some forgotten corner of memory. He knew a moment of sudden, sheer amusement picturing those two giving God the same kind of hard time they'd always given him...
Well, enough. Time to say goodbye and go. Back to reports and files, and trying to stretch out the time before Murphy had to take his place.
He began to walk away.
Whether it was the almost soundless "thud" that caught his attention, or something else which he preferred not to think about, Cowley never quite decided. Whatever it was made him stop and turn around. He didn't catch sight of it at first, but then a finger of dull, sullen sunlight struggled through the clouds overhead and singled it out from where it lay in the grass. he bent and picked it up, handling it gingerly, as though it was made from the most fragile of materials.
It was a chain. A plain, silver chain.
-- THE END --