Puppets on a String
by Tessa Rae
There are times,
when you've looked at me,
that special smile,
and I knew you cared.
There are times,
when I've been
You've held me close,
and I know you care.
But the little,
when I watch you,
and you've not known.
When I'd give you everything,
I had to give,
though you asked for nothing
The small incidental moments,
of growing close,
within our daily lives,
You'll always be there...'
"Move out all units, and remember I want Losada alive!" the Scott's accent reminded them tartly over the R/T unit. He turned and glared at his driver impatiently as they dodged through the heavy London traffic. He wished they were closer to the docks, but the meeting with the Minister had been of prime importance. He checked his watch and glanced out the window. It was a miserable evening and he shuddered inwardly.
Two dark shapes detached themselves from the alley wall, moving silently with guns drawn. The tall, smooth featured man's mouth was set in an almost permanent sneer as he shoved the R/T in his coat pocket and glanced at the smaller man at his side.
"Do you think he was referring specifically to us?"
"Knowing your trigger finger, sunshine, anything is possible." Doyle grinned, his face half lit by the light from a distant street lamp. He turned away and gestured with his head to the warehouse that awaited them. "This one's ours. Up or down?" He pursed his lips, the smile lingering in his eyes.
Bodie considered the question, knowing his partner's unspoken concern for his healing knee. It was an old injury now, but still a lot of climbing caused him discomfort. He glanced at the building opposite, knowing another team was already in the process of checking it out, and time was of the essence as Cowley wanted the KGB bastard before midnight. His mouth drew into a smirk. "Down."
Nodding, Doyle saluted him briefly with his gun and padded his way slowly along the warehouse's wall, stopping in the shadows to listen.
Moving himself, Bodie kept half an eye on Doyle, making sure he mentally knew where his partner was at all times. They had performed this same task so many times, that it was now second nature and he turned back to glance down the dark alleyway leading to behind the old, disused warehouse. Taking out his lock pick, he cheerfully broke into the ground floor of the storage shed. It was large, but with luck he and Doyle would have it secured within the hour.
Cowley was hunting another Governmental mole and they had learnt the KGB agent's whereabouts from an informer. The man had been reluctant to talk, but eventually divulged the information Cowley had wanted when given the right persuasion. He and Doyle had then spent two boring weeks staking out a Russian diplomat who was supposedly visiting London on medical leave. It all seemed legitimate on the surface and he and Doyle had taken bets on Cowley's motives. They had both been wrong as the old man had obviously been convinced by the authenticity of the informer's information and Cowley had ordered the diplomat picked up immediately. But by then the man had given them the slip, adding insult to injury and so they were now making a sweep of the entire area.
Opening the warehouse door carefully, he stilled, well aware that one mistake could mean either his or Doyle's life. He paused, allowing his senses to sharpen to a new edge of alertness before advancing soundlessly into the ground section.
Doyle saw his partner vanish from view, then headed for the back of the building, noting the possible escape routes as he reached for the fire stairs, swinging himself up effortlessly. Crouching on the cold metal landing, his eyes narrowed as he checked his surroundings again for telltale signs of a laser scope being sighted. Nothing. Squinting over at the building across, he wondered how Murphy and Turner were doing. Subconsciously he clicked the safety off on his Browning, snapping to attention as he heard a faint sound. It was a slight creak above him. Bodie or.... Disliking the feeling of not knowing and leaving his partner vulnerable, he mounted the escape stairs quietly.
He was making his way to the roof, to secure all exits and then work his way down through the warehouse. Hopefully if, and it was a big IF, the KGB agent was in the building, then he and Bodie would trap the man between them. It was a neat plan and had worked well a million times before.
It took five minutes to reach the roof. It was clear with no sign of recent habitation. Using his skeleton keys, he had the roof door open smoothly and he started his careful descent into the dark interior. Briefly he left the door open behind him, waiting until his eyes had adjusted, wondering where Bodie was.
Bodie was on the third level, painfully still with his ear pressed against the side of a wall. He could have sworn he had heard movement from this room from below, but now it seemed as quiet as the grave. Bracing himself, he knew that there was only one sure way to find out and he stepped back a few paces before crashing into the room. He hit the door with his shoulder, vaguely hearing a helicopter approach, but ignoring it as he rolled neatly into the darkened room to land in a contained crouch. He had his flashlight out and gun aimed in preparation but nothing moved as he expertly detailed the darkened area. The place was empty and he straightened, shrugging his shoulders elegantly beneath his styled jacket as he noted the evidence of recent habitation. Whoever had been here had left hastily and he glanced at the ceiling. If it was the KGB agent, and he was starting to get a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, then it could only mean the man had moved upwards. Up towards Doyle. His mouth tightening, he left the room and sprang up the dusty stairs lightly. In the back of his mind, he noted that the chopper was getting closer, then the R/T in his pocket alerted him to the possibility of trouble. He didn't wait, rushing up the wooden stairs.
Doyle had tensed when he had heard the crash half a dozen floors lower. No sound of gunfire killed the silence so he assumed it was just Bodie flexing his muscles. He was on the level below the roof and he frowned as a helicopter seemed to fly in overhead. The sound was almost deafening in the stillness and he glanced compulsively overhead and almost missing the movement off to his left. Only his training saved him and he fired instantly, knowing that it wasn't Bodie.
"Shit!" cursing under his breath, furious with himself as he was slammed backwards against a hard wall by a bullet. He clutched his shoulder and swore angrily again as he tried to pinpoint his attacker. A movement to his left again and he whipped the gun up, firing off a couple of shots before he awkwardly rolled away, hastily reloading his Browning. Waiting a painful moment in silence, he edged upwards to glance in his attacker's direction, listening hard and seeing a figure disappear down the stairs. Mystified as to why the KGB agent had not tried to finish him off, he pushed himself up to stand and froze as a cold gun barrel was pressed behind his right ear. He was dead and he knew it.
Bodie gave up on stealth as he heard the shots overhead. He yelled into his R/T for back up as he rushed up the remaining stairs. The first gun had been a Walther PPK, the second a Browning. The unease in his system increased as he heard another gun fire. It was not a Browning either, and his guts turned to water. Doyle...
It was ahead and he ducked into non-existent cover as the gun discharged a third time, peppering the cold stone behind him. Forced to back pedal, he broke into a disused room, returning fire instinctively. Waiting a long anxious second with held breath for the Walther to sound again, his mind emotionlessly identified the fact that Doyle was not in pursuit. His partner was definitely not in pursuit. That could only mean one thing....
A sound outside his room alerted him and he leapt through the open doorway, firing after the enemy agent as the man ran down the stairs. He could not be sure if he hit the man or not and was about to pursue him when the chopper overhead drew his attention again. It was so close, directly overhead and his mouth dried as an abrupt realization hit him. The retreating figure was a decoy and he sprang up the stairs in cold panic. "Bloody hell! Doyle!"
He reached the roof, breathless, and saw the chopper pull away. A pool of blood was illuminated by the helicopter's search lights. It gleamed white under the strong beam, highlighting the shape of a discarded gun. A Browning... Raising his gun in shock, he fired at the retreating chopper, knowing it was useless, as a rage built inside him. They had Doyle, his partner, and he emptied his clip helplessly into the air. With an angry shout, he yanked his R/T loose and demanded immediate assistance.
In the helicopter, Yuri Losada smiled mirthlessly as he watched the English agent fire his weapon. It posed no threat and he turned his attention to out-smarting the aerial detection Major Cowley would surely launch. Handing over a roughly sketched map to his pilot, he turned back to his hostage. This would be his means of escape, as he ran his gun barrel down the unconscious man's face. He didn't recognize the English agent, but if he was CI5 then he was certain the man would carry invaluable information in his brain. All the security codes would certainly be invalid as CI5 would change them almost instantly and routinely, but other more basic information could prove beneficial to him and fatal for the English. Smiling again, he was glad he had not killed the man out right, his death could wait a short while.
It pleased Losada, but then the aroma of a killing always did.
Racing back down the dark stairs, Bodie continued to swear as he listened to the staticky report via his R/T. Nothing was moving fast enough for him as he burst from the warehouse, seeing Murphy and Turner by Anderson's car. He stopped and breathed in a shuddering breath, feeling totally alone and vulnerable for a shaky second before he resurrected his emotional armor. Murphy was holding up a man against Anderson's car and his teeth clenched as he recognized the man he had shot inside the warehouse. Grim determination and betrayal marked his face as he pushed the taller CI5 agent aside and grabbed the front of the captive's shirt. Turner was talking on the car radio with the air traffic controllers.
"Bodie..." Murphy gripped his arm. "...the Cow wants him whole."
Shrugging him off, Bodie slammed the Russian agent up against the car and shook him. "Now, you are going to be very co-operative and I'll tell you why. If you aren't, I am going to ram your bloody ivories down to your fuckin' knee caps! Do you understand me!?"
"Ahh, mate," Murphy started.
"Bodie!" Cowley's cold command halted any further delicacies Bodie was going to inform the Russian of as Murphy walked over to CI5's Controller in subtle distraction. He knew Bodie and Doyle very well, and wanted to draw Cowley's fire to give the other man some slack.
Releasing the captive, Bodie watched dispassionately as the man slid to the cold ground. He swore violently, muttering a string of curses, as he kicked Anderson's car tyres viciously in useless frustration.
"What's going on here?" Cowley demanded as he limped over to the group of agents, guessing Murphy's ploy as he pushed the tall agent aside.
"Losada got away and..."
"What!" Cowley took off his glasses and glared at Anderson.
"He bloody well shot Doyle!" Bodie jabbed an accusing finger at the man on the ground. The Russian stared up silently, his eyes vacant.
"Where's 4.5 now? Still in the warehouse? You men get up there immediately."
"NO! He's been..."
"Sir, the air traffic controllers say the chopper is headed towards the French coast," Turner interrupted. "And they are having difficulties tracking it."
Cowley leaned in the window and took the R/T off Turner and talked to the traffic controllers himself. Bodie paced the area behind him, brooding, as Murphy watched him worriedly.
Turning away from the car, Cowley looked disgusted. "If it passes the coastline, then we've lost it," he muttered, peeved.
"They took Doyle!" Bodie cut in. "Spirited him away in that bloody chopper! So get those pussy-livered Air Force pansies to block--"
"Bodie," Murphy started, stepping in front of the other man again, knowing Bodie was only going to make the situation worse with his loose tongue. This was one of the reasons he did not want a permanent pairing, as he never wanted to experience what the dark hairdo agent was going through now. The loss, pain and anger he could see mirrored in the vibrant blue eyes. It was like a death sentence...
"What!" Cowley demanded. "Why didn't you say so earlier! Now we've got them." He reached for the R/T a second time and contacted CI5 base. "Get me General Ainsworth of the Royal Air Force."
Murphy gripped Bodie's arm. "Easy mate."
"Anderson, get this man to interrogation room five, and you two come with me," Cowley ordered curtly before limping briskly away.
Murphy waited for Bodie, gripping the other's arm, not surprised when the scowling agent shoved him away. Burying his pity, he gave the other a hard, pointed look, then turned to follow Cowley's energetic figure, seeing the other agent hesitate before following slower. The latter barely contained his temper and worry.
Back in headquarters, Cowley listened as the air traffic controllers turned over the details to the RAF. Unfortunately, neither could find the craft due to air traffic and dense fog, and it became apparent that the chopper had landed somewhere on English soil. It improved their chances and Cowley freely used his authority to involve the Army. He called Ainsworth and thanked him for his co-operation, gleaning all details he could from the General before turning his attention to other prospects. The ground would be searched at first light when he had all reports of any chopper landings within the last twenty four hours relayed to his operations room. It was a large task.
It took a full thirty-six hours for the deserted helicopter to be found and with no clues evident, except the all too obvious blood stains on the metallic floor. Doyle's blood. Cowley was ropeable as he had badly wanted Losada and the information he had locked in his brain regarding the security aspects of the government. He had suspected the presence of a mole for the last six months and had carefully worked toward uncovering the impostor before this case had blown up in their faces.
As always he had his suspicions, but no proof and the Minister was not interested unless he had unshakable evidence. Enough scandals had rocked the ancient British foundations within the last year and all the Ministerial officials were eager to downplay any additional security risks. The entire system stank and Cowley had left the Minister's office in a foul mood.
Turning to other options, he had contacted the Resistance, relying on their information as he passed on Losada's and Doyle's meager details. It was a stab in the dark, but worth a try.
Ten days passed with no further leads on Yuri Losada or Doyle. The Intelligence in France and Russia was limited and the Home Office declared the entire affair a bad misadventure. Not willing yet to drop the operation completely, as so much work had been put in and an agent had been lost, Cowley speculated quietly, playing a dangerous double game.
The Russian agent they had apprehended claimed diplomatic immunity, which surprised no-one and the man had been placed on a plane and flown back to the USSR within hours. The atmosphere within CI5 deteriorated further with Bodie haunting the building like an explosive thunder cloud, refusing sleep and any comfort from even his closest friends. He let Murphy and Turner watch the volatile man, knowing they would stop Bodie from doing anything too stupid.
Not that it surprised Cowley, as the younger man's personality was basically dangerous and wild, only being temporarily tamed in the presence of agent 4.5. That was one of the reasons which made the two men such a good team, and which held them above other members inside CI5. Very few outsiders understood his men, yet he knew them all perfectly, knew what triggered their actions, and also knew how to play them for the benefit of the country. They called him a bastard behind his back, 3.7 calling him that to his face. It amused him mostly, as really they did not know the half of it.
Bidding his time and watching the tensions increase inside his agents, Cowley's patience paid off and he received a coded message three days after Doyle's disappearance.
Hearing the phone ring, Cowley glared at it briefly before picking it up. "Yes!"
"Sir, it's about that coded message which came through half an hour ago."
"Good. About time. I will be right down." Cowley left his office and made his way down to the communication section. The corridors were quiet for once.
"Well, have you decoded it yet?" He went over to the operator, putting his glasses on.
"Yes Sir. But you are not going to like it."
"You're not paid to pass judgments man, just give me the message."
Back in Cowley's office a few hours later, Bodie faced the Chief expressionlessly. He had been on suspended leave following his outburst in the interrogation room where he had punched the KGB agent for telling him how unprofessional his partner had been. He had not regretted the action and would have done it again if Murphy had not pulled him off the man. In fact he would punch Murphy just given half a chance as the other man seemed to crowd him, always lounging somewhere to watch him as he offered support. But he did not want support, he wanted action. He wanted to go out and find the bastards who had done this to him, who had dared shoot and abduct his partner. This was wholly personal now, and he had informed Cowley of that less than a week ago. And so now he was feeling less than charitable towards CI5 and the world in general. He glanced at Cowley and saw the old man looked more haggard and tired than usual.
"Have a drink Bodie and sit down." Cowley sighed and waited for his man to sit.
"Am I back on active duty Sir?"
"That depends," Cowley said dryly as he eyed the younger agent.
"I see." Bodie's expression never softened. "Any news on Doyle?"
"6.2 tells me that you started a fight at the Castle down at St John's Wood."
"Murphy's got a big mouth. Sir." Bodie only said. "Any news on Doyle?"
"Aye." Cowley leaned back in his chair. "We received a message earlier that was intercepted on the wire, stating a British agent had died eleven days ago. The sources are most reliable, therefore we must assume it was Doyle," he ended quietly. "I'm sorry lad."
Bodie clenched his jaw and meet the clear blue eyes of his Commander. "And you are leaving it at that?"
"Doyle knew the risks as does every other agent in this organization."
"It's a lie!" He stood up and glared at the older man. "A damned lie. Ray's not dead. It's just a ruse to throw us off the scent. Can't you see, we must be getting too close for those bastards!"
"3.7 sit down and stop imitating a maniac!" Cowley ordered.
"But surely you can't be blind-"
"I said, sit down!"
Bodie sat and looked over Cowley's shoulder, refusing to meet the icy gaze.
"Now I know you and Doyle were partnered a long time..."
"Six years, three months."
"...a long time." Cowley studied the man over his glasses. "...but I'm sorry lad, I have no choice but to close the case. Ministerial pressure, not to mention the lack of evidence."
"Since when does CI5 follow the Home Office?"
"Since I decree it," Cowley reprimanded. "Now..." Cowley opened another file, his tone becoming businesslike. "...it has come to my notice that you have not taken any leave for fourteen months. I want you to take two weeks, commencing immediately." Cowley watched Bodie's face change and tried not to smile. He could understand the other man's pain of losing a partner, he remembered how he had felt. The way you felt immortal, unstoppable. In his younger day he had left many friends behind, not knowing for certain if they were dead. It had been required, part of his job, as much as he had disliked it. Quinn had been a hard reminder of the fact. Right now, he just prayed Bodie remembered enough of his training.
"No." Bodie stood up again and braced himself. "I am not letting you brush this under the carpet."
"You just said we got a coded message from Europe. USSR? Well if that is the case, why can't someone go in and find out if it is real! And nail this bastard Losada while we're at it!"
"It is out of CI5 jurisdiction."
"Then who got the information?" Bodie demanded.
"Then why can't they go in?"
"It is not their case," Cowley answered patiently. "Bodie, where is all this leading?" He rubbed his eyes, hiding his smile. His plan depended on Bodie making the decision freely and without obvious manipulation.
"Then why can't one of us go to Intelligence and make it our case!" he asked belligerently. "Hell, it wouldn't be the first time..."
Cowley just looked at him over his glasses. "What are you suggesting 3.7?" His manner was deceptive.
"That..." Bodie trailed off and glared at Cowley, realization dawning slowly. He straightened after a long stretched moment and took his gun out, removing the clip. "How do you want me to address my resignation?" he asked sweetly.
Left to his own devises, he cut all ties with CI5 and chose his own undercover disguise, knowing it would have to stand up to stiff investigation. So he consulted the Mortuary and fell upon the list of people recently deceased who were not likely to make a splash in the papers. Someone whose memory he could keep alive for at least another week. There were a number of viable prospects, but on seeing their photographs, there was not much hope of transforming himself into similar identities. He snickered over one, imagining himself adding about 150 extra pounds, bald, red beard and beady little bloodshot eyes. 'An enormous improvement', Ray would have cackled.... breaking that thought, Bodie straightened, sobering quickly. No, he needed to find a more practical identity.
He spent a few more hours laboring over the recently deceased files, shocked at the number of people that had died in the last fortnight that had no known family. Only one character looked promising. As he dwelt on the possibilities, he became more convinced on the prospects of success as he studied the limited information and picture he had of the dead salesman. A seemingly successful businessman, late 50's, well built, running to fat. No outstanding debts or close family members in London. In fact the police were still trying to find the man's relatives. His hair was short, greying fast, as was his beard and mustache. Studying the information, Bodie discovered the man had been living alone, a secluded life and had been found dead by his landlady two days ago. His place of employment had already re-advertised his position without bothering to check the reason for his disappearance.
It was a sick society, Bodie decided. Doyle had been right when he'd said the romance of life had been extinguished in the seventies. No-one seemed to care any more and Bodie shut Mr. Craig Ross' file with a snap.
He cared. Too damn much at times. Cared about his partner and wouldn't accept the idea that Doyle was dead. They were immortal... Ray had always been there, would always be there. He shook his head and signed Ross' file out of the Mortuary as he planned his next move. Cowley had given him his unvoiced consent and he was determined to bring Doyle back to England. One way or another.
Squaring his shoulders, he stopped on the steps looking out into the drizzly, grey day and turned up his collar as he ran to his car. It was 3.18pm in the afternoon and he had a plane to catch in 9 hours.
Arriving in Moscow a number of hours later as the plump, bearded businessman, Bodie went through customs and was given a two week visa to carry out all his business engagements. He smiled stupidly at the officers, bouncing on his toes in an exaggeration of a typical Englishman. He would have loved to have seen Doyle's face regarding his performance. As it was, the Soviet Security Officer just muttered at him disgustedly, allowing him entry through the gate. Bodie heard the words and digested them, understanding the language to a certain extent. Accepting his passport back, he sent a silent prayer to Cowley, glad the old man had railroaded himself and Doyle into the revised language sessions five months ago. At the time, they had both complained bitterly until it had become painfully obvious they were just wasting their breaths. The old bastard never gives an inch. Their only consolation had been in the endless supply of jokes they had started about their ability now to defect to the KGB. At the time it had seemed hilarious. They had been safe and secure... whole. Not this injured half-life he was currently leading.
Pulling himself together with effort he plastered on a vacant look and hurried out of the bleak airport to get a taxi to his hotel.
He settled in and looked out the window of his room. The square outside was grey, matching the clouds and unsmiling faces. Six elite guards marched around the square, reminding him suddenly of caution as he planned his next step. He would need to rent a car and then inform the hotel management of his intentions to travel up to the next major town. He already had a visa that would cover him for limited travel and had made a booking in the next town, which should alleviate suspicion of his movements.
Seeing the hotel management, he had to work hard on his temper as they reluctantly agreed to his movements and he went out to hire a little blue Schoda. It was not a car he liked, but one that suited Ross' image. Besides, he was very conscious of being watched. Putting on an unconcerned and cheerful front, he packed a few necessities and headed out of Moscow.
Once past the check points, his watchers seemed satisfied and left him and he breathed a sigh of relief, knowing he only had a few days at the most before they would start to search for him earnestly a second time. Already they would be running Ross' information through the computers as a matter of course and he just prayed the British were slow on updating their information banks for once.
It took him a day and a half to locate the town Cowley had told him the Intelligence service suspected Losada was working from. The base was known to CI5 and listed in their computers as a KGB training base. On the outside it looked to be no more than a low grade military warehouse.
Stocking up on basic necessities again from a small village, Bodie made out to all observers as if he was intending to travel further. He had discarded the Ross disguise hours ago. He hid the car about ten miles out of the village, Dietskoye Selo, and crept on foot to the barricaded training base. To all outward appearances it looked like an ordinary establishment, with single storey levels and paved courtyards. Presumably, Bodie decided, it must have hidden underground floors, for although he observed very little activity from his vantage point, he would swear the base was heavily populated. Four guard- posts at each corner of the compound overlooked the entire area as well as the surrounding bush and an electrically charged fence about ten foot high surrounded the perimeters.
Definitely not an ordinary warehouse. Bodie's resolve hardened as he studied the area intently though makeshift field glasses. He should be able to get in all right as only the fence would pose a serious problem. Getting out was going to be difficult.
He spent the next eighteen hours checking and double- checking the guards' routines within the compound. He knew he was pushing his luck, but his calculations had to be precise otherwise they were all dead, and Cowley would have one hell of an explanation to make to the Home Office. Meticulously he studied all angles as he changed position regularly, leaving nothing to chance. He begrudged the time spent, thinking of it as possibly driving another nail into Doyle, but he had to be sure. Had to know everything precisely so that he could get them both out alive. That was if Doyle was even there. He had to be... Ray just had to be alive. It was just a feeling, but a feeling he did not like to ignore. And if it was true that Ray was dead, then he planned to take as many of the murdering bastards with him as possible. That resolve was crystal clear in his mind. Orders, or no orders.
He had the guard changes down pat. Every 4 hours they rotated position, meaning the guards outside the base needed to return, so the electric fence was cut for 30 seconds every 4 hours. It was a set routine and the guards looked a little lax, so a plan started to form in his devious mind. Doyle was always accusing him of having an evil and twisted humor. He could almost hear his partner's voice, and he pushed the memory aside as a sound next to him startled him. He relaxed as the small creature scurried away.
If he could get into the compound, then he would have four hours to find Doyle and get his partner out. Checking his watch, he decided to wait until the 6pm change so he could have the cover of night. Not that it was ever dark inside the compound.
At 5.57pm Bodie stationed himself at the back of the base. The guards in the two immediate towers were intent on other activities and he mentally willed them to stay looking away. Once he cleared the fence, he estimated it was 100 meters of open ground before he would reach the safety of the compound. It was just on dusk now and the automatic floodlights would be turned on at the 6pm change. He prayed the routine did not change.
He gazed at his watch. The digital changed from 5.59 to 6.00pm and he automatically counted another 5 seconds as a safety margin. With another swift glance at the guards, he silently crouched as the Russians continued to look away. He moved to the fence. 25 seconds was all he had.
Preparing himself for the possible shock, he sprang up the wire monkey-like, vaulting over the fence to drop silently on the other side. All the time counting mentally to himself.
'six one thousand...'
Putting his head down, he sprinted to the shadows of the compound wall, half expecting the splatter of bullets around his feet or to be cut down. Nothing happened and he fought his breath as he continued to count under his breath.
Two more seconds passed and the powerful floodlights were snapped on. He pressed against the wall, half startled by the glare, but nothing happened and he released a sigh as he squinted around. Edging carefully sideways, he found some shadow as he spotted a half-concealed, promising ventilation shaft. Suppressed a twisted grin, he wondered if this was a universal building fault of European installations.
In no time, he had the metal grid loose and free from the wall after he had disconnected the security wiring. Going feet first, he left no trace of his presence as he slid along the shaft and laboriously replaced the grid and repaired the security breach. Stifling a sneeze, he cursed the dust in anguish as his eyes started to itch. Removing his handkerchief, he covered his nose and battled against the urge to blow or sneeze, reciting all the rude jokes he and Ray had made up one evening in Cowley's honor. It worked and he found the irritation passing so that he could move again and he struggled painfully to maintain his silence as he worked along the shaft.
He came to a T-junction and turned around, elbowing his way downwards, praying his luck held. There was no sound around him and all the offices he passed were deserted. Maybe Cowley and Intelligence were wrong, and this was just an ordinary secondary military instillation? He could not be sure so he kept going, searching for activity and sound.
Forty minutes passed and his movements took on the hint of urgency as he stopped himself, lying still and clenching his jaw against the crushing disappointment. He could not puzzle out the discrepancies and decided to keep going. He should find something soon. Shouldn't he?
He heard a sharp sound to his left, like a metallic door shutting, its echo sounding very near. Shuffling towards the noise, Bodie prayed he was going in the right direction as he came to another junction. But this time the ventilation system dropped down with a ladder disappearing into the darkness.
A secret level?
His heart raced and he took out his pencil light, studying the passage quickly. A breeze hit his hand and he smiled wickedly.
Maneuvering around, he climbed down the metal ladder and entered another labyrinth of shafts. He followed his instincts and was rewarded as voices drifted faintly up to him. Russian voices. He tried to make out their words. It was difficult and he moved carefully closer. The sounds got louder and he started peering into the grids dotted along the ventilation system. Seeing empty rooms and the occasional tea room with half asleep guards reclining, he went further until other voices drew him, listening to half snatched conversations.
The shaft angled down at one section and he went with it, being rewarded as he seemed to come across the deeper offices. How far down he was now, he could not tell as he slid silently up to one grid and looked in. The room had two occupants in it, both were dressed in high ranking military uniforms and he held his breath as he concentrated on the thick accents. One man was talking on the phone as the second slowly lit a long cigar, savoring the taste. A knock on the door ended the brief phone conversation and everyone in the room went silent as the new arrival entered the office.
The conversation was fast and clipped and Bodie frowned over his limited knowledge of Russian, only recognizing one name. Yuri Losada. The man who Cowley had wanted was now returning to this base some time that evening. It seemed Losada had gained some... new? information or instructions regarding an Allied agent, and was returning to personally interrogate the man himself.
It was enough for Bodie, and he concentrated harder as the third man left the room, leaving the two Russians looking at each other silently. It seemed they were ... surprised ... by either the new orders or something else the other man had said. Bodie was not sure as he had only gleaned the general gist of the conversation. An Allied agent? An English agent? Or CIA? Unsure as his Russian was not as good as he let Cowley believe, he still felt a small spark of hope grow. Losada was coming here... and if Ray was dead, then so was that bastard. Suppressing a grin Bodie checked his watch.
Then again maybe the Allied agent referred to was Doyle... he let the idea grow, wanting to believe that more than anything else. It just had to be Doyle. His eyebrows darted up to his hairline in an impressed salute. So Ray now warranted Losada's personal attention...
Wriggling backwards, he amused himself by thinking the KGB had finally found out about his partner's steamy sex life and now wanted to wrangle the secrets from him. Those sordid little secrets he was sure Doyle would never part with. He stifled a smile recalling some of their intimate double dates as his sixth sense confirmed his deep inner feelings that Doyle was close. Cowley called it plain stubbornness on his half, but even the old man did not deny his inner sense. He checked his watch again and found he only had 148 minutes left until the guards changed. He was cutting it fine.
It was tedious maneuvering his stocky frame around the innards of the building and he thankfully came to another grid. Peering through the corridor, he found it was empty and decided he'd had enough of crawling around on his stomach and would try another method of attack. Gritting his teeth, he removed the grid and cautiously looked around. No sound could be heard and he started to lower the metallic cover when a door up the corridor opened abruptly. He froze instantly and painstaking raised the grid, holding his breath and praying to every God he had ever heard about for luck, as two tall Commanders left the room. The door remained open and sweat dripped down his face as he waited. It was not long before two other guards marched from the room dragging a disheveled figure between them. He immediately recognized the mop of unruly curls as the guards roughly moved Doyle down the corridor. The guards and prisoner disappeared around a corner and two Russians remained to stand guard outside the vacated room. The door was locked and the key pocketed. Biting down on his acrimony, Bodie held the grid firmly as he checked his watch again.
Eighty four minutes before the fence was cut. Time was starting to run out.
He watched the two guards thoughtfully for a further 20 minutes, thinking hard as they change shifts with two other Russian guards. Unless he did something, he would be trapped and Doyle almost certainly killed by Losada. He had run out of time. If he left his position and tried to find another grid entrance, he might never find this corridor again.
Cursing his tied hands, he watched the new guards for another 23 minutes before he saw his opening. One of the guards said something to his comrade, passed the key over and walked down the corridor. Perhaps nature calls? Perhaps to get coffee... Bodie was not sure just thankful for the break in procedure.
Now was his chance and he did not hesitate. He positioned himself so that his legs were flexed with feet a few inches from the carefully balanced grid plate, he then took out his knife and tapped it on the inner wall three times. He made sure the sound only carried outwards.
The guard frowned and glanced down the corridor, dismissing the noise almost immediately.
The tap repeated.
The guard turned and frowned again as the noise lingered this time and looked towards the grid.
The tap repeated a third time, annoyingly and the guard approached, bending down to investigate.
Bodie suppressed a depraved smirk as he watched the man, his lip curling as the young Russian bent down. Lights out sunshine.... as he prayed the second guard did not return or another patrol suddenly appeared. He slammed his feet into the grid, knocking the guard backwards and slamming him against the far fall, to slide down the stone in unconscious.
The momentum carried Bodie from the ventilation shaft and he cursed as the noise of the grid falling on the polished floor vibrated around him. Checking his surroundings hastily, he replaced the grid in a fluid motion, clipping it into place as he liberated the guard's gun and dragged the unconscious man into the closest vacant room. He leant against the closed door and breathed a sigh of relief, listening for activity.
Not giving himself longer, he checked the guard over, stripped him and started to dress in the Russian garb. Looking down at his attire he noted with amusement that the pants were too short and slightly tight. The shirt would not do up either, but the coat would effectively cover that minor problem. Pulling the cap down determinedly, he felt he would pass in a pinch and slammed the gun down on the back of the guard's head as the young man started to come to. He had the option of killing him, but chose not to as he tied the man up and concealed him in a cupboard before straightening his shoulders and peering into the outside corridor. The second guard still had not returned and he went out, projecting an air of ease as he checked his watch. He had 39 minutes left.
He was pushing it fine, but then he and Doyle always did, and he hid a devilish smile. The borrowed clothing cut in painfully and he regretted discarding his expensive wear. It had been a necessity and one which he hoped to claim on expenses when he returned to England.
Marching down the corridor, imitating the Russian's stance, passing the unguarded door and rounding a corner to follow the way the prisoner had been dragged. He stopped and studied the twenty meters in front of him. Doors on either side of the corridor were closed, probably locked, and he walked by them slowly. Doyle could be behind any one of them and he agonized over his decision to continue forward. Unsure, he approached a T-junction. The left was clear, but the right had two guards posted outside a room. He instinctively took the right, without even thinking and walked confidently down the wide corridor. Neither guard looked up at him and his fists clenched in anticipation. Could this be Doyle's room? He kept walking, getting closer. He could go straight past and double back or.... one of the Russians glanced up, suspicious, and his resolve hardened. He snapped to attention in front of both men debating using his gun. They looked startled at first then hastily saluted at his authoritative manner.
Should he attempt using his poor Russian or revert to baser instincts? "I have come to collect the prisoner for interrogation," he instructed in what he hoped was passable Russian. His accent could give him away if his words did not and his hand strayed to his concealed weapon.
The two guards looked at each other, slowly relaxing. "But the Major is not due to arrive for another 90 minutes."
Bodie hoped he was deciphering this correctly as both guards started to frown.
"Those are my orders." He pinned the first guard with an aggressive snarl. "I do not question their authority." He jutted out his chin.
"I don't recognize you..." the second started to protest as the first paled, and Bodie gripped his gun.
"I am with the Major." Any more questions and he would blast them both.
They both seemed like they would question his authority further and Bodie braced himself, but the first took out a key and unlocked the door, revealing the room's contents.
There was no interior light, just the few slivers of light from outside the room. There was also no furniture, just a wooden bench jutting out from the wall. The prisoner lay face down, one arm hanging over the edge of the bunk.
The two Russians entered the room and roughly dragged the prisoner off the bunk causing the man to inhale sharply. They jeered at him in gutter Russian, words Bodie did not understand and he watched appalled. The man lifted his face and Bodie was relieved and frightened to see that it was Doyle, that his partner was alive if not in good shape. One of the guards pushed a gun under Doyle's chin, sneering words at him as the other laughed and Bodie stepped forwards, clubbing both men over the back of the head. He wanted to kill them, but had no silencer and his main priority was to get Doyle to safety. Checking the corridor hurriedly, he used the guards' belts to bind them, before he lifted his friend and ushered him out of the room. He locked the door and pocketed the key, gripping his partner firmly he glanced around worriedly as Doyle sagged against him.
One good eye opened and glared at him, the green orb very bright. The second eye was swollen shut, bruised horribly from abuse.
"Shh mate," Bodie whispered urgently as he looked down the corridor again, getting the smaller man moving with difficulty. It would be easier to just pick Doyle up and carry him, but if they ran into other guards, it would only cause problems.
"Noooo..." Doyle groaned. "You're goin' to... to get killed--"
"Shut up and play along or we'll both be stuck in here." He juggled his partner's weight, half supporting, half dragging him along as he desperately sought for a way out. He needed to get them to the higher levels. The corridor ahead was clear, but he could hear footsteps faintly. Not wanting to meet anyone just now, he hurried Doyle along as he heard a whine from around a corner. He pressed against a wall and peered in the direction of the noise. A lift of some sort, he assumed as a group of men exited the lift and walked away from him. He breathed a relieved breath as Doyle groaned quietly beside him. His friend was not up to heroics, so he checked the area again, then dragged Doyle around the corner and quickly approached the lifts. He stabbed a finger at the button, praying it did not have a security code as the doors opened automatically. Ushering Doyle inside, the door closed slowly, too slowly for his liking as he heard voices approaching. "Come on, come on..." he muttered as it took an age for the door to seal. The voices were almost on them, then they were lost in the whine of the ancient lift.
Taking out his gun, he clicked the safety off, not knowing what to expect as he pressed the second top button. No doubt the top floor was the helipad and he did not want to deliver himself or Doyle up to the Russians gift wrapped. Glancing at his watch he had 23 minutes. Doyle groaned again and would have slid sideways, but Bodie caught him as the lift stopped and the doors opened. No voices could be heard and he squinted round, tasting the fresh air as he pulled his partner inelegantly from the old elevator.
He rushed along the corridor, an urgency in his stride, only stopping and cautioning Doyle as they approached junctions. More activity was around and the sound of marching feet echoed in the sterile area coming towards them as he tried the door handles along the corridor. If memory served him correctly, most of these offices were empty. But all the doors were locked and the approaching guard's footfalls only got louder. Cursing under his breath, he rested Doyle up against a wall as he searched his pockets for his skeleton keys he had used earlier, positive he had removed them from his other clothing. He raked his pockets frantically as Doyle slid down the wall semi-conscious as the approaching guards seemed almost on top of them. About to give up on that plan as he imagined the confrontation, he went to reach for his stolen rifle as his searching fingers closed over the keys and he yanked them free, opening the door swiftly and dragging Doyle inside. He closed the door soundlessly and held the handle tightly as the guards entered the corridor and marched past to the lifts. No doubt they were assembling in honor for Losada's visit.
Breathing a sigh of relief and locking the door from inside he crouched down and turned to his partner. The other man was a mess. His clothing torn and stained with blood across his shoulder, his face was pale and even his vibrant curls hung lifelessly. Lifting the blood stained clothing, he examined the gunshot, seeing both the entry and exit wounds and noting the infected looking tissue caked with fresh blood. Laying a hand on Doyle's damp forehead, his anxiety only increased. Compressing his lips in worry, Bodie checked his watch again. Only 18 minutes left.
Scanning the room, his eyes rested on a large window and he walked carefully around the desk to look though the venetian blinds. Directly across from him was the fence, no more than 50 meters away, and beyond that freedom. A 100 meters or so up was one of the security towers, with the floodlights illuminating the entire area. Just like the middle of Battersea Park in summer he mused disgustedly, as he looked around to see if the patrolling guards were visible. They did a circuit every ten minutes or so. If luck were still on his side, they should do a circuit in 6 minutes, then there would be nothing until after the change over.
Bordering the window frame deliberately with his fingers, he found the security system and switched it off and then slowly and quietly pushed the window open, checking for the guards continuously. Nothing moved out there and he prayed the men in the towers continued to stare outwards. After opening the window he looked at his watch again. Eleven minutes to go until the change over.
Going back to Doyle, he saw his friend was propped up against the wall, watching him with a disapproving eye.
"Bodie, are you completely out of your mind," Doyle whispered hoarsely. "Has Cowley flipped? This is suicide--"
"Shut up goldilocks and rest your brain for five minutes." Bodie snapped good-naturedly, letting a slow smile caress his mouth.
"This is my idea, okay Ray, now just shut up as we have very little time."
"God... I always knew you were an asylum case. "
"Lucky for you I am." He let the smile grow, noting how the other man was breathing very shallowly as a fine film of perspiration covered the bruised face. "Ray, I reckon we can..."
"I'm dead mate." Doyle breathed seriously. "Don't risk your life for me."
Bodie stopped and glared at his partner. "Are you quiet finished sprouting the self-righteous crap?"
"Neither of us are going to die, especially as I have gone through so much trouble to find you. Think of our expenses rebate."
Raising a hand to hold his ribs as he stifled a grin, Doyle shook his head as he considered his partner gratefully. "The Cow's too tight arsed to allow," he broke off as he coughed, the sound far from encouraging.
Ignoring the wet cough, Bodie plastered on another reassuring smile. "Now just think positive."
"I think they must have scrambled your brains mate, now listen closely," he went on crisply, dropping the banter, very glad to see a tiny smile touch the pale face. "We only have, damn... 8 minutes to get to that fence out there and then 30 seconds to get over it. There should be no further patrols around the inside parameters for at least another ten, eleven minutes so we have a chance to get out. If our luck holds."
"Don't be a defeatist. "
"Someone has to remind you of your limitations. You're not superman." The tone was gentle.
"Come on Lois, I have my bit of kryptonite," Bodie pantomimed quietly as he levered Doyle up.
"God... now I know we're doomed..."
"Only if my x-ray vision fails."
"Over to the window and I'll show you the set up," Bodie went on, noting his partner's trembling muscles. He didn't mention it, instead silently pointing out the towers, fence and the circuit the guards made.
"We'll never make it. Correction, I'll never make it," Doyle breathed.
"Sure you will." Bodie gripped his shoulder. "See that pole, beside the oblong building. It must house the generator and it is the only object that throws a shadow..."
"A very thin shadow."
"... that we could use," Bodie ended. He glanced at his watch. "Let's move outside the window and wait in that shadow by the wall." He pointed again.
"You're clutching at straws mate."
"Please Ray," Bodie said suddenly, seriously. "I won't go without you."
Doyle turned and regarded his partner through one eye and shook his head sadly. "I don't know if I can make it." He replied just as seriously.
They looked at each other silently for a long moment. "Come on," Bodie urged as he lifted the venetian and gazed around. He had no choice and slid out the window as he heard Doyle swearing quietly behind him. He could understand his partner's feelings, but couldn't let the other man see his own doubt. If they were going to make it, they had to believe it, wholeheartedly. No doubt could encroach on their minds, and he had to have enough hope for both of them. The hot floodlight made him feel naked as he helped Doyle clear the window. He expected the alarm to be raised as they were spotted and held his breath as he determinedly grabbed Doyle and ran them bent over to the meager shadow. Nothing moved and he felt Doyle's erratic pulse under his hand.
"The pole mate, we must get to the pole."
"Shut up and trust me." He glanced around, the tower looked deserted and he frowned. "Now!" he hissed, giving his partner no option but to move as they sprinted as one to the narrow pole standing all alone near the security fence. No shots halted them and they both stilled, wondering if they had been caught, or if a trap was being set up. It was an eerie feeling.
Doyle's face was a lather of sweat, drawn and pale, his breathing shallow and uneven. Increasing his hold on his friend, Bodie glanced at his watch. 80 seconds to the power cut.
"Ray, get on my back," Bodie commanded suddenly as he regarded the ten foot fence. Doyle just stared at him blankly. "God damnit Doyle, just do as I say for once!"
"Don't... be... be daft..." Doyle stammered, shaking his head.
42 seconds to the power cut.
Bodie grabbed the front of Doyle's shirt and swung him around, not wanting to argue. "Get on and hold on tight!"
"Shut up and do it!" he hissed, past anger now.
19 seconds to the cut.
He grabbed Doyle's arms and swung his rifle around so he could reach it easily. Not that it would do them much good if it was a trap. What if they didn't cut the power to the fence? He shoved the thought aside, knowing it could be an extremely short trip if his calculations were wrong.
It was five meters to the fence and he looked up at the tower. Guards appeared and looked to be changing over. Sweat beaded on his forehead.
He grabbed Doyle's legs and hoisted his partner's weight. "Grip my waist god damnit!" he ordered harshly and felt his mate comply. He could feel the sharp, hot breath assault his ear as the curly head rested on his shoulder. Adjusting his gun again, he checked his watch and saw it was past 10pm.
6 seconds past.
Time to go. "Hold on goldilocks..." he muttered as he sprang forward. "One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand.." He counted silently as he sprang at the wire, climbing and feeling his progress slowed by Doyle's dead weight. "Eight one thousand, nine one thousand..." He was half way up the fence and already 15 seconds had gone. He wasn't going to make it...
Doyle's legs slipped and he increased his efforts, scared the smaller man would drop from his back, finding the strength to reach the top as he silently hit the 22 second mark.
It was too close. Far too close.
Drawing energy from somewhere in himself, he hurled his body over the wire, almost losing his grip and falling as Doyle moaned quietly, releasing his hold as their time had run out. Not daring to delay any longer, he dropped, landing awkwardly, drawing a cry from his partner. Juggling with the weight and rifle, he hurried for cover as he heard feet running towards them.
Attempting to melt as much as possible into the undergrowth, Bodie clamped a hand over his partner's mouth as the guards stopped a few meters from the fence, glaring outwards. Their automatic machine pistols were cocked and Bodie held his breath, praying they did not spray the bush with fire. Unexpectedly an owl flew out of the tree nearby and all the guards aimed their rifles, stopping as they identified the noise. Two chuckled as they relaxed, glancing around once more before returning to their posts.
Only after the guards had gone, did Bodie bury his face in the grass and breath deeply. It had been too close and he sat like that for a long second. Beside him, Doyle lay unconscious and he considered his options.
Glancing up through the dry grass, he watched the compound for a moment longer, waiting for some evidence that the base was going on alert, but nothing happened. He turned to Doyle and shook his friend, getting no response. Doyle's unconscious state might even prove beneficial in the long run, he decided, as he backed away from the fence and lifted his partner's dead weight, balancing him over his shoulder. He looked back once and then started to make his way quietly back to the hidden Schoda. Hopefully he still had a bit of time before the area was crawling with KGB. His mind worked over, remembering Cowley's orders to try and learn Losada's plans and he discarded the objectives, making their escape priority. No doubt the Russian would eventually show his hand and return to England and then Cowley could pick the agent's mind. Stilling instantly, his senses searched around for the sound and he relaxed, realizing it was nothing dangerous. He increased his pace, his mind alert for traps and guards as he wove through the undergrowth.
It took him a further ten minutes to locate the Schoda and he hastily bundled Doyle in the back, throwing a coarse blanket over his friend before starting the small car and pulling out his make-shift map. He needed to make for Sigulda.
It was phase two of the plan that Cowley had devised with the resistance network in Russia. Bodie just prayed their ranks were not infiltrated like everything else these days. By heading towards the city of Sigulda it would hopefully buy them time by diverting the KGB operatives for a short while. His fake identity would be useless now as the computers would have been updated with the knowledge of Ross' death, so Moscow was out. It would be sealed off as would all other major cities and settlements. Their only hope was swiftness and Cowley had promised him a safe passage out. Intelligence was supposed to contact him. A prickle of fear touched him and he glanced in his rear view mirror, slowing his speed as he searched the skies for tell-tail signs of pursuit. Cowley's plan left a lot to be desired as usual, and he would normally have opted to take his own chances, but with Doyle so ill and his bouts of unconsciousness increasing, he did not dare deviate from the set up.
From Dietskoye Selo to Sigulda, Bodie had estimated the trip to take 36 hours on the inside. He would have to be careful not to draw attention to himself and his impatience chaffed under the restraint. As it was, it took two and a half days for him to reach Sigulda and during that time the Schoda had over heated six times and two tyres had blown. His impatience increased especially as Doyle's fever and wet cough got worse, so that his slender partner looked grey and haggard with disorientation marring his waking moments. His sleep was fitful and even though Doyle had said the pain in his right shoulder had gone, his arm felt numb and heavy. A small smile had graced his partner's lips briefly with that slurred comment as the green eyes were dull and vague, and Bodie had just managed to hide his worry. It was not a good sign and he was forced to watch helplessly as his partner's physical condition continued to deteriorate. He cursed the amount of time it took to travel the bad roads, cursed Cowley and his clever plans and cursed the system that had placed his other half in this position in the first place. Sitting grumpily in his Schoda, he wrapped his borrowed clothing tighter around his frame, wishing he had a nice warm leather jacket to keep him warm as he listened to Doyle's half mumbles. Whoever the resistance Intelligence agent was he just hoped they would make contact damn soon.
The man who finally approached him was very casual and Bodie had to study him twice as the Russian was four foot nothing and round and uncharacteristically jolly. Most people never smiled, this one had permanent laughter lines, jet black hair parted in the middle military-style and piercing grey eyes. He gave his name simply as Beria.
He was the Captain of a sea trawler called 'All Seasons' which was very fitting as his trawler and crew had a long- standing reputation for going out in any weather. In casual conversation, like a tour guide explaining the sights, he informed Bodie during his discussion in Russian that the 'Seasons' would be setting sail that evening. He slipped an old map Bodie's way with the direction to the dock on it and left the main square, collecting various supplies. Bodie studied the map casually and destroyed the note. His only problem was getting Doyle to the dock without suspicion.
The Russian patrols around Sigulda increased during the afternoon and he kept out of sight. Ditching the car, praying it would not be found as he hid Doyle and wondered the markets, slipping into shadow. He listened to the conversations around him, only picking up half of what was said but getting the general gist of the town's mood. It seemed more military personnel were expected before night and the town was to be sealed.
Gambling on time, Bodie planned to get Doyle to the trawler by seven as the ship sailed by 8 PM. He retraced his steps and checked his guns before he settled down to rest. He had three hours to wait. Looking briefly at his friend he contemplated his future and wondered where it had all gone wrong and when had he lost control of his life. Was it before Doyle or after? Pulling the semi-conscious man close, he redressed the infected gunshot wound, pushing damp, over-long curls out of the other's face as his fingers came down to rest on Doyle's erratic pulse. Half a dozen years ago, he would not have found himself in such a defenseless position. Gazing down at the troubled sleeper's pale face, he reluctantly admitted to himself, that given the same choices a second time, he would not have chosen differently, even if it meant dying.
Getting Doyle onto the trawler was not difficult, as he had the cover of darkness and it made it easier to avoid the patrols and stay under cover. The difficult part was keeping his partner conscious until they reached the boat. Donning his Soviet uniform once more, since it proved to be the latest and most respected fashion, he bundled Doyle onto the 'Seasons' and into the capable hands of Beria. Then he took himself back to the deck and double-checked that he wasn't followed. Nothing looked out of the ordinary, yet still his nerves were tensed. He really would not be happy until they were back on English soil, but even that seemed so far off. Activity at the end of the dock drew his attention and he swore as he saw the extra guards that had started stopping and searching all the stalls and first few vessels. Glancing at his watch, it was 7.55pm and he squinted up at the man on the platform above. They were cutting it fine and he turned to stare out at the dark blackness of the Baltic sea. He did not know their destination - yet - but anywhere had to be better than the Soviet Union.
Going below deck again, he checked on Doyle and found him resting comfortably, although his partner's features were withdrawn and he hesitantly placed a hand over his friend's damp forehead. Ray was burning with a fever and he undid the makeshift bandage with a sick dread, his spirits sinking even lower. The bullet wound was getting worse, and he touched Doyle's face anxiously as he heard the other mumble his name. What the other man was seeing in his feverish nightmares he did not know, just wishing there was more he could do, before releasing Doyle and going to the cabin door looking for Beria. No one was in sight. Walking back to the unconscious man, he stared down at the small bundle of flesh and blood that had somehow managed to penetrate all his emotional barriers in the years they had known each other. It was a crippling feeling, and he brushed the over-hot forehead a second time. So far, in the last thirty six hours, they had not exchanged more than two lucid words, and he wished now he could tell Doyle how much their last few years together had meant to him. How much the friendship had dragged him down to earth and given him something more than just duty, excitement and danger to think about. How much he needed this man to link him with society. Ray had to make it, had to survive, if he didn't... footsteps behind him cut the thought and he turned, seeing the Russian.
"Away," Beria spoke in English, his Russian accent noticeable. "..and no, as you English say, hitches." He chuckled, regarding the British agent's face critically. "You had better take that uniform off, there are other clothes over there." he indicated the small trunk against the curved hull.
"Thanks," Bodie said absently. "How far are we going?"
"Sweden." Beria walked closer and looked down at injured man, lifting the blood stained bandage. "Your friend needs medical attention, we have nothing on board of value. Maybe when we reach the coast."
Bodie just nodded as he stripped of the constricting uniform. "Is it likely we will be boarded?"
"It doesn't usually occur, but yes, it is possible." Beria pinned him with a hard look. "So stay below deck, one of my men will bring you food and water, so you can redress that wound and clean him up."
Nodding again, Bodie turned back to the unconscious man, his thoughts in disarray.
The hours seemed to stretch as Bodie sat perched on the edge of Doyle's bunk, his eyes fixed intently on his partner's grey features. Ray seemed to drift in and out of hellish nightmares, where he would toss and turn uneasily, muttering incomprehensible undertones. Beria or one of his other men would appear for a second then vanish without a word. Not that Bodie objected, shit, he could hardly keep track of anything lately. He was near physical exhaustion and he knew it. Beria must have realized it as well for the perceptive Russian sent him down a heavily laced coffee with a young Russian lad, plus instructions to rest. Accepting the drink gladly, Bodie pulled his chair closer to Doyle and eyed the youth. He was tall, with thick mousy hair and a crooked grin. Two of his front teeth were missing as he started to soak a rag and wipe Doyle's face. He spoke in badly accented English, only half his words recognizable as he explained where they were in the Baltic Sea and what his name was. It started with 'D' and was unpronounceable, so Bodie nick named the kid Danny. It fitted and he gave up his struggle against sleep as he saw Doyle was in safe hands and slowly let his eyes close.
A little disorientated, Bodie snapped awake as a shot fired above deck. Glancing at his watch, he automatically reached for his gun. Frowning, he could not work out the time or date for a confusing minute and he glared around the closed room. His watch said almost 18 hours had passed and he froze as floor boards over-head creaked. What was happening above? Creeping to the closed door, he listened as he clicked the safety off his gun, his eyes darting anxiously back to Doyle's restless sleep. His partner was drenched in sweat, naked in the rough sheets and Bodie blinked. When he had last observed his friend, Doyle had been dressed, wrapped in a number of blanket which had held him firmly. He was not given the time to work the answers out as floor boards over-head creaked again and he heard raised voices. Leveling his gun at the hatch overhead, he leaned against the wall, next to the closed door. He did not like it as there were too many exits and he did not have the fire power to cover them all adequately. Why was Ray naked..?
The latch to the door turned and he swung around, grabbing the shirt of the man who entered and pressing him face against the wall.
"Danny?" He released his hold, recognizing the young lad Beria had introduced him to earlier. The kid muttered anxiously and Bodie released a tense breath.
The boy turned, wiping blood from his lip, his eyes wide as he started babbling in Russian. Bodie shook his head and gently cupped the smooth face to calm the lad. "Slowly, slowly. What is happening?"
Muttering again, Danny glanced up at the ceiling as the footfalls got louder. "Petrolls," his accent was thick. "Ve stopped about tan mins ago. I do not..." he broke into his own language again and gestured helplessly to the deck above.
"Trouble." Bodie concluded as he glanced up also. He went to the door.
"Ny!" Danny grabbed his arm and whispered urgently. "Maybi, routin umm... " he muttered again exasperatedly. "..chek stop, umm out by Sweedish seas..."
"Inspection check by Swedish Custom officials?" Bodie asked slowly. Danny nodded releasing a breath. "But what if they search us?"
Danny grinned. "Tey vill serrch. Beria had plays...ummm-"
"Beria has a plan?"
"Ya." Danny nodded again.
"I'm going to buy you a dictionary when we get out of here," Bodie muttered as he checked outside the door. Danny pulled him back inside room a second time.
"Nyet. Muist stay."
"Okay kid, what's the plan?"
"Simpkel." Danny pointed to a metal bin pushed in a far corner. It was attached to the top deck by runners and rails that ran over the hatch. Bodie's eyes followed the young boy's fingers. Frowning, he was certain that bin had not been there before. It was also covered in a tarp.
"Ve, ummm... " he screwed up his face and pulled Bodie over towards the bin. "pusss... umm, li--"
"We move the bin under the hatch." Bodie ended, half smile on his face, as he helped the Russian move the bin. It ran smoothly on well oiled runners and he idly wondered how many times Beria and crew had used this maneuver. All they needed now was the fish to fill it.
"Stop." Danny whispered urgently. "Muist hur.. fast." he quickly untied the tarp and pulled the cover free. The smell of fish filled the room and Bodie gagged. "Neu... pusss, ovir... ummm-" he pointed to hatch.
Moving the bin into place, Bodie waited as Danny rushed to the door and locked it with a key. He pressed himself to the old wood and held his breath. Watching him, Bodie rubbed his noise as Doyle groaned and he went to his partner's side. Using the sheet he wiped his friend's face. The high cheeks were flushed now, lips dehydrated and he wondered how long it had been since Ray had swallowed fluids. Biting fingers on his shoulder made Bodie turn and glance up into the Russian's scared face. The kid raised a bony finger to his lips.
A scraping sound above deafened them as the hatch was thrown open and the compartment inspected. The officials above would only see fish and soon Danny was breathing a sigh of relief.
"Ver saff. Good ni?"
"Very good." Bodie sighed as he turned back to study his partner's hot face. "You did this?" Bodie asked as he indicated Doyle's state of undress.
"Sic, no heithy."
"No. Not healthy."
Within minutes Bodie felt the trawler move under way again, the big engines starting their low hum. Danny was muttering quietly, soaking a sponge in sour wine and rubbing Ray's lips with it. Beria appeared and explained what Danny had told him in broken English. They had been searched by the Swedish Custom Officers and would now be arriving in Stockholm in forty-five minutes. Two others would take Bodie from there and get him out of the city. Sweden was neutral territory, and Bodie breathed a sigh of relief.
They docked in one of the less frequented moorings and Bodie thanked Beria and Danny as the trawler and its crew prepared quickly for departure, moving to different moorings. Everything was moving too fast for Bodie and he stared, a little disgruntled as he was rushed off the 'All Seasons' and into the company of two tall, very blond men. Swedish by birth, both men simply gave their names as David and Daniel. Blue eyed and identical, and Bodie started to have misgivings.
Ray was wrapped in a thick woolen blanket, his dreams still feverish, and Bodie cradled his weight as the Swede who looked like Daniel half-dragged him towards a waiting car. It was just before dawn, the air moist and crisp, as activity on the surrounding docks covered their movements. Not liking the idea of feeling exposed, Bodie, tried to slow his breathing as the two blonde guerrillas conversed quietly but rapidly in their own language.
"Here. Quick." The one who had introduced himself as David gestured for Bodie to get in the back seat of the car. Grunting under the cramped conditions, Bodie held his tongue, just, as a cold blanket was thrust at him.
"We were not informed of this complication." The first said again as he eyed the sick man.
"I thought Sweden was neutral territory." Bodie drawled, his temper thinly masked.
"In theory yes, but in reality...." he left the rest unsaid. "Your friend will need some sort of medical aid before the next stage."
"What stage?" Bodie asked suspiciously.
"Hopefully Stevenson will be available." David turned back to his silent partner.
"Stevenson? Hey what the hell is going on?" He asked gruffly, reaching over the seat to grabbed David's tunic. The blond stopped him, capturing his wrist in a vice-like grip.
"We are unable to explain. You must understand this. Now relax, the trip will take an hour."
The feeling of uneasiness did not leave Bodie in the long hour's drive it took for them to reach Stockholm. The two blond Swedes remained close-mouthed about everything and Bodie gave up baiting them, as he slumped back in the narrow back seat and cradled his partner. Doyle was exceedingly pale, lifeless and burning hot. The worry over his condition made Bodie's temper even chancier. Again it was because he was no longer in control of his or his partner's destiny. It was so hard to just sit back and let others take control, and he battled to bury his pride and accept help, not liking the idea that others would aid his partner where he could not.
About 7am the small car pulled off the road and into a country estate west of Stockholm. The two blond Swedes remained silent as they helped Bodie from the car, carrying Doyle's dead weight between them. All Bodie could do was follow, not liking the feeling of releasing his partner into unknown hands.
Stevenson was waiting in the massive house, as blond as the other two men, except he was in his late fifties. His eyes danced nervously as he frowned over the Englishmen, not happy at all with the changed plans. He hovered over Doyle, checking him over and Bodie realized with a start that this apprehensive little man was actually a doctor. He listened intently to the hushed exchange between the three men, not understanding a word of the argument as Stevenson put down his medical instruments hurriedly. It was like observing a badminton match, with the doctor obviously losing the exchange. Straightening abruptly, Stevenson glared at the two younger operatives and left the room. Bodie turned slightly, aggressively, one brow cocked questioningly towards his blue eyed helpers.
"Well!" He demanded.
"The sooner we get your companion to Britain, the better. We will leave immediately."
Bodie grabbed the man's arm with decisive strength, wanting answers. "Now hold on a minute sunshine, that wasn't all that was said in here." The blond man just stared back at him blankly, not offering resistance. "I want to know what else was said."
"The doctor only confirmed what we... what you have already guessed." The second blond answered from behind Bodie. "We can do nothing for him, he needs hospital aid and that can not be risked here. It is vital neither of you are discovered here."
The first Swede pulled his arm free of Bodie's grip. "We leave immediately. The car will be out the back in five minutes. Be ready." Then he glanced at his associate and the two left the room.
Feeling anchorless all of a sudden, Bodie sat on the bunk next to Doyle. How could it have all gone so wrong? He reached out and felt for Doyle's pulse. It was thin and thready. Not liking to admit his helplessness, he gently leant down and tried to rouse the other man. Doyle's lips were grey, his breathing a struggle. "Doyle..... Ray?" He caressed the grey lips gently. "Ray..? Hey sunshine, can you hear me?"
Briefly Doyle's eyes opened, as the other stared up in confusion. He tired to say something, puzzlement touching his pale face, before he fell back into unconsciousness.
Scared by the response, Bodie carefully slid his arms under his partner's shoulders, lifting him up into a sitting position. "Ray.... hang on old son, as I'll soon have you in good hands..."
"Ready?" One of the blondes was back at the door and Bodie wanted to punch him. He was tired, hungry and his sense of humor had deserted him weeks ago. "Hurry as the winds will only be with us for so long."
Clamping his teeth together, Bodie had to remind himself that these people were trying to help. It was like a sick joke. Nodding marginally, he did not meet the direct blue eyes as the Swede helped him get Doyle out to the car. Once there a flask of hot tea was thrust at him with a packet of sandwiches. He gave the blond a half smile, burying his paranoid grievances.
Within ten minutes they reached a remote part of the property and a small twin engine plane came into sight. It was slightly modified and fitted with larger than normal fuel tanks. Inside the plane, all the seats had been removed except for the pilots and he was able to lay Doyle down on the pile of blankets. He grimaced as one of the Swedes climbed into the pilot's seat and quickly went through the pre-flight sequence. It was going to be a rough ride and Bodie made himself comfortable, trying not to think of all the things that could possibly go wrong.
"Jack of all trades, aren't you mate?" He cast a hard eyed look at the big blond. He got no reply and settled back with one hand resting on Doyle's chest. It was his only anchor to the future.
Flying low, they crossed the Swedish coastline, avoiding all populated areas. Bodie watched the changing scenery with disinterest. Doyle never regained consciousness, and he knew with a certainty that his partner and friend of six years would be dead within the next 24 hours. It was a painful acknowledgment and one that was eating away at his soul.
As evening set in they were still flying south-west over the North Sea. The uncommunicative Swede told Bodie in one precise sentence that they would be crossing the English Coast soon, and landing an hour later at the old Padley Airfield.
Digesting that bit of information, he grunted and glanced at Doyle. If anything his partner was slipping further away from him. To be so close, yet so far...
Padley Airstrip came into view some eighty minutes later and the small twin engine plane landed aided only by guider lamps. It smelt of a well oiled operation and Bodie pinned the Swede with a shrewd look before spying a familiar red Rover. He pushed the plane's door open as they taxied over to the waiting cars, noticing Cowley briefly before turning back to get Doyle. His first priority was still to his partner.
Dragging Doyle out of the cabin, he met Cowley's stern expression. Murphy and Anderson's solemn faces appeared beside him, giving him a hand with Doyle's weight.
"Sir..." he stopped as Murphy took Doyle's complete weight. Anderson just gripped his shoulder for a second, before he followed the other agent over to the Rover. He wanted to follow, but Cowley needed a report. "Sir... Doyle needs an ambulance."
"Aye laddie. We'll take care of him." Cowley turned to the Swede as the big man walked around the nose of the plane. He went over to the blond man and shook his hand.
Bodie did not wait to listen to the exchange as he went over to the Rover and saw Murphy strap a oxygen mask to Doyle's sweaty features.
"Difficult time of it 3.7?" Murphy asked conversationally, not liking the possessive look he saw enter the worried blue eyes. "Bodie," he started in warning, knowing this could only mean trouble for them all. "... he'll be fine now mate. So relax..."
At Cowley's voice, Bodie turned. The CI5 Controller was all business as the plane behind them powered up it's engines and taxied towards the hangers. He gave his other two agents only a brief glance before pinning the dark hair man with a stern look.
"In the front with me. 6.2 and 7.1 will take care of 4.5. Right now I want your report." Cowley ordered as he climbed behind the wheel of the powerful Rover.
"Where we going Sir?" Bodie asked as he complied with his boss's instruction. It was dark outside as the Rover left the Airstrip and headed back towards London. "Doyle needs medical attention-" he started again.
"I'm well aware of that fact 3.7." Cowley said tartly. "A CI5 medical officer is currently waiting at the assigned safe house. Now I want your report." It was not a request.
Taking a breath, because it was useless to argue, Bodie related everything that had happened. His only consolation was the fact that he knew he could trust Murphy.
Back in Moscow at 2 Dzerzhinsky Square, unofficially known at the KGB Headquarters, Major Yuri Losada attended an awkward meeting concerning a recent security breach. The sole subject revolving around the compromised security now of their agent Omega One in Great Britain.
It had been a mistake to allow the English CI5 agent to live in the first place, Losada ruefully admitted. The interrogation sessions proving fruitless as the man knew nothing of vital important, not even understanding their language, or so Losada had first believed.
But after having received secret files from their London contact, he had been initially surprised, then angered and finally impressed by the British operative's convincing performance.
Kicking himself for not following his instincts, Losada berated himself for not remembering how cunning Cowley was, and how a man like that would only employ the very best in the secret service. So he now understood the potential threat this operative could pose to their Omega One. For it was possible this Doyle may have overheard a reference to the English double agent, and since his Russian was more than passable, it was also highly likely he overheard more than just snippets of vital information.
Omega One was adamant that Doyle be silenced immediately, already guessing that somehow Cowley had managed to sneak the man back into Britain within days of his escape.
How that had been achieved, Losada would love to know, but he had his orders and was very reluctant to disappoint his superiors a second time.
Closing his suitcase with a snap, he intended to return to London personally and finalize the business concerning Doyle swiftly.
Cowley soon learned, if not actually anticipated the increased interest that would be shown in Doyle's return to Britain by both the Home Office and the Intelligence Department, plus his agent current where-abouts. Trying not to gloat as he watched the officials involved ask delicate questions, he decided to keep his recovering operative under wraps until he was ready to play his ace. All he wanted was confirmation of Losada's arrival on British soil and then he could flush out the mole that was draining their government of resources, information and valuable operatives.
Picking up a report and glancing at both the medical doctor's opinion on agent 4.5's recovery, he glanced also at Dr. Ross professional recommendations. It seems she was more concerned over Bodie's mental fitness to return to active duty than Doyle's.
Not really surprised by that, Cowley closed the folder, knowing he could use that information also to place his cards temptingly in front of the double agent. He did not like using his men as living bait, especially unknowingly, but on some occasions keeping them ignorant was the best policy. Especially when it concerned operatives 3.7 and 4.5.
Within a month, Doyle was showing all the old signs of returning to his normal cheerful, aggressive self. Once the fever had been broken and his shoulder cleaned of infection with an intense course of intravenous treatments, he had regained physical health in almost record time.
Bodie on the other hand was subdued, trying to put on an unconcerned, arrogant front, not wanting to admit his worry. He struggled to regain the old closeness as his partner just sent him puzzled looks, before the clear green eyes turned away and the conversation was changed. It bothered them both, but neither was willing to discuss the topic inside the safe house, both silently knowing they needed complete privacy to settle the unease.
Refusing to think about what might be troubling his stubborn partner, Doyle shelved the doubts as he buried his nose in the morning paper. He was sitting on a couch in one of the open sitting rooms, waiting for Dr Ross to give him the all-clear so he could return to normal life. He was still a little under weight, and he knew Macklin loomed in his immediate future, but still he was damn glad to be alive. All thanks to Bodie... So why wouldn't the stupid bugger talk to him? Hearing an exaggerated sigh from across the room, he ignored it as he stretched out his legs on the coffee table and pretended to be fascinated by the social scandals on page three of the Times.
Glaring at his obstinate partner, Bodie, returned to the list he was crossing off, marking what items they would need on the CI5 inventory for the following few days. It was baffling, as he had expected to be recalled to CI5 headquarters days ago. Jax, the postman incognito, was waiting down stairs to collect the inventory. Sighing again in annoyance, he eyed the sprawled figure before him.
"Anything else you want to add to this list?" he asked peevishly.
Doyle lowered the paper and looked thoughtful for a prolonged moment. Then his face brightened and he grinned. "Yep, order some beetroot."
Bodied studied him incredulously, eyebrows and voice raising to new heights. "Beetroot?"
Doyle just nodded, hiding his grin, knowing he was exasperating the other man.
"You want beetroot." It was a statement of pure disbelief. He suddenly received a very sunny grin, the sight making him hesitate. He glanced down and added it to the list. "You keep that grin up mate and I'll have to order you a dentist."
"As long as she's tall and blond with great-"
"Oh here speaks the voice of a depraved sex maniac." Bodie cut in.
"...experience." Doyle ended lightly. "Unlike you mate, I like my women to be able to think."
"What ever for?" Bodie asked mockingly. "Since when Raymondo, do we have time for conversation."
"Since when do we have time for anything," Doyle reminded him bluntly. "It's been so long, I think I've forgotten how."
Looking at his partner in mock pity, Bodie raised his pencil. "I can add that request to the inventory, as I'm sure the Cow would be only too happy to pimp for you."
"You do and I'll,"
They were interrupted as Turner entered the room. "Is that list ready yet 3.7, as Jax has other thing to do besides hang around waiting for you rejects of society."
"Do I sense resentment still?" Doyle quipped.
"Almost finished." Bodie replied." Anything you can think of to add 4.5, leaving out your granny's vege patch that is." Bodie gave him an indignant look.
Walking over, Doyle lent over his partner's shoulder, eyeing the list. He stabbed his finger at the extensive list of alcoholic beverages underlined. Each week Bodie had submitted the same requested, and each time it had been ignored. "Don't you think this is a bit subtle?" He asked. "I mean if they haven't got the hint by now, they never will."
"Raymond my boy, I've worked the system out."
"This should be good."
"It's called persistence."
"I see. If you can't abuse them into submission, dazzle them with stubborn politeness." Doyle finished and saw the other man just grin at him evilly. "Besides all this effort is probably wasted-"
"..as the old man veto's it first." He informed him loftily. "But you'd better add a toothbrush to the list," he commented after a beat.
"'Course I sick to death of you using mine, that's why."
"How do you think I feel?"
"I'm sure you've had worse things in your mouth."
"I could comment, but I won't." Bodie replied immodestly.
"I bet you could."
Finishing off the inventory Bodie handed it to the patiently waiting agent.
"Oh by the way Doyle, Cowley arrived about ten minutes ago and he wants to see you upstairs in the study something like," he checked his watch. "... eight minutes ago."
"Thanks Turner." he growled with feeling.
"My pleasure 4.5."
"Maybe the doc reported my finding about you sunshine," Bodie called, wanting to lighten the suddenly tense atmosphere.
Doyle did not turn as he gave his partner a two fingered salute.
Cowley was sitting behind the desk in the study, having overheard the conversation downstairs via the planted microphone. On the surface everything seemed okay, yet still Dr Ross was not happy with either agents' progress. What had happened to them while in Russia, besides the obvious? And would either man be willing to broach the subject?
As Doyle entered the small office, he glanced disapprovingly at the other man and gestured to the chair opposite him. Leaning back, he took off his glasses and swung them lazily as he asked in a mildly interested tone, "Now 4.5, tell me again everything that you saw and heard. But this time leave nothing out."
Fidgeting as a sense of unease entered him, Doyle took a deep breath and started from the beginning again. What was the old fox up to now..?
Leaving there a few hours later, Cowley was inwardly pleased with what Doyle had told him and had not told him. For once it only confirmed all the suspicions and conclusions he had arrived at months earlier. He now knew who the mole was, but just needed irrefutable proof, and he also knew how to get that proof. But on a sourer note, he also knew now he was on the verge of losing one of his best teamings unless something was done fast. Maybe he would be doing everyone a favor by throwing them to the wolves? Dr Ross did not agree, but it was still his decision to make.
Climbing into the passenger side of his Rover, he clipped off an address he wanted to be taken to, knowing the Minister would want a private report on his findings.
Another five days passed before Doyle was declared fit for active, but light duties. Bodie teased him about what the Cow classified as light duties, turning the other agent into a tea lady being the mildest suggestion. It eased the mood a little, yet still they were on edge.
Doyle did not understand why the other man was holding back from him. All he could think of was the fact that something horrible had happened over in Russia which the other was refusing to discuss. Had he done something... or said something in his disorientated state that offended Bodie?
Knowing Doyle was worried about him, Bodie just tried to bury his unease, yet the bald stark facts still remained. The sick certainty that he now was forced to acknowledge. The fear that he could become useless to himself and CI5 without Doyle. That somehow he had become so dependent... It was a scary thought.
Leaving the safe house the following morning, they were both ordered to report to Cowley's office before returning home.
Getting out of the borrowed car, Doyle was in an outrageously happy mood and it showed in his step, expression and cocky comments he made to his partner.
Insulting the man at the door out of habit, they walked side by side down the busy corridors inside CI5 headquarters, heading towards Cowley's office.
Groaning as Doyle had just told him another sick depraved joke, Bodie scowled at his grinning partner's face, for some reason feeling irritated by the other's good mood.
"You keep this up mate, and I'll sell you to the Houses of Parliament as their new mascot."
Tapping lightly on Cowley's door with two fingers, Doyle considered the suggestion in mock speculation. "Now there's a thought, I wonder what the pay would be like?"
"Come!" A voice bellowed bad-temperedly, and Doyle straightened.
They entered the office together and sat immediately as Cowley waved to the seats opposite. Hanging up the phone, he glared at them, weighing them up, before picking up a pencil and writing a quick note. "I have read both Doctor Gordon's and Doctor Ross's assessments, and it seems 4.5 that you have returned to a reasonable level of fitness." He pinned the curly haired man with a critical look.
"Thank you, Sir."
"In body, but not necessarily in mind." Bodie said under his breath, just loud enough for Cowley to turn and glare at him.
"There is just one small detail which I need cleared up 4.5, and that regards your contract with this organization."
"My contract?" Doyle frowned puzzled. Looking at Bodie he saw the other shrug.
"Aye. It was suspended pending confirmation of your reported death. But now in the face of new facts, it is necessary to review your status." Closing the file in front of him, Cowley placed the pencil down and leant back in his seat to watch his agent carefully. Out of both of them Doyle was the more wary. The more suspicious and mistrustful. "That has been done, with your record, files and new background assessments reconsidered. I am sure you can appreciate the delicacies of the matter 4.5?"
Scowling harder Doyle said nothing as he tried to work out where Cowley was going with all this.
"Unfortunately, with the most recent developments, your fitness has been reconsidered, and it has been ultimately decided that for the security of this department you should be retired from the service."
"What?!" Doyle demanded aghast. "Are you saying I am being kicked off the squad?" He asked in disbelief.
"No." Cowley said precisely. "Just retired. With full entitlements of course. But retired."
"But why? I thought CI5 was run by you, and not by a bunch of jumped up politicians!" It was a half shout as Doyle rapidly lost his quick temper.
"It is." Came the plummy reply. "And as it stands, I happen to agree with the Minister on this occasion."
Feeling betrayed, Doyle pushed the chair back hard as he stood, at a loss to understand the old man before him. He had trusted Cowley with his life...
Watching the younger man, Cowley saw the gambit of emotions cross the expressive face. Everything from confusion, loss and hurt to betrayal. Flickering his glance briefly to the silent man still sitting he was shocked to see Bodie's haunted fear.
"Well you, CI5 and the whole bloody organization can go and rot in hell for all I care! Who needs or wants to be part of a department which is run by a group of two-faced double-crossing bastards! The KGB are not our enemies," Stopping before he lost complete control, he took out his ID and Browning, flinging them on Cowley's expensive desk. Then turning he reached for the door.
"Don't try and go far Doyle, as your debriefing is scheduled for 10am in room F8. I would be there if I were you." He let the threat hang in the icy atmosphere, knowing it was not lost on the other man.
Jerking the office door open, Doyle sucked in a shuddering breath, feeling as if his world had just exploded. "Piss off," he hissed before slamming the solid door.
Sitting there frozen in place by what he had just witness, Bodie looked at Cowley trying to read if this was another set-up or if the old man was for real. It just made no sense, as he could not fathom the Controller's motives.
Seeing the darker agent open his mouth, Cowley plunged on with no remorse. "3.7, now about your-"
"You can't do this." "Bodie cut him off, sitting forward and searching the old man's face slowly. He wanted to give the older man the benefit of doubt. "I mean this is some kind of set-up, right? You want Ray to lead us to the mole."
"This is no set-up, as you term the phrase." Cowley answered, pleased despite himself that the other was at least thinking clearly again. He would need Bodie to control Ray Doyle.
"You can't kick Ray off the squad." Bodie said stronger, seeing nothing in the other's closed expression. "Not after all that's happened," he ended in disbelief.
Leaning forward in his chair, Cowley rubbed his eyes tiredly under his glasses, knowing how carefully he would have to play the angry man. If he had read Dr Ross' reports correctly, then Bodie should prove more loyal to his partner than to CI5. It was a worrying conclusion, but one he could utilize in this instant. Ross had tried to warn him years ago about this side effect in close partnerships, but he had been more concerned with productivity. And you only achieved excellent productivity from a well teamed unit. Watching the paling man now in front of him, he hid his compassion, needing Bodie out in the field, close to Doyle so that he could break through that undeniable code of moral ethics which infused the ex- policeman. And if anyone could do that, then 3.7 could with his unscrupulous behavior and open lack of morals. And if Bodie failed, then Doyle was dead. It was as simple as that, as he knew Losada would not miss the other man a second time. Too much depended on it.
Injecting impatience into his tone, Cowley scowled at the blue eyed agent. "None of this concerns you 3.7. CI5 is more important than single individuals, and I am not prepared to risk this organization for one individual. Regardless of who he is. Is that perfectly clear 3.7?" He waited seeing the other man just stared at him speechlessly. "You will be re-teamed with Jackson." He put his glasses back on. "Now regarding this earlier matter-"
"Just hold on!" Bodie cut in, starting to get the picture perfectly. "It bloody well does concern me! Doyle has just been through hell and despite what those inadequate bastards in the Home Office want to believe, he is not a risk, and you damn well know it! Ray would not sell out the squad, as he's almost as tight-arsed about security as you are. So cut this crap and-"
"Bodie!" Cowley's irritated voice vibrated through the small office, silencing the bigger man. "I will have none of your obscenities in this office." He paused, his voice low and hard. "I am still Controller of this department, and I make the ultimate decision. Doyle' security has been compromised, and I am not willing to risk further possible security breaches. If you don't like it, then you can get out also. But for as long as you work for me, you will respect my decisions and keep your opinions to yourself. Now the subject is closed. Is that clear 3.7?!"
"Perfectly." Bodie growled. Getting up he took out his gun and ID, dropping them on the table next to his ex- partner's. "You can file that resignation I wrote a few weeks ago." Turning, he stopped and looked back at his old boss. "Just a word of caution, Cowley. You will regret this, because if you continue to run CI5 through the skirts of the Home Office, you'll end up with a useless squad. Maybe it already is." Lifting a brow in contempt, he opened the office door.
"That is your choice 3.7. If you leave this office now, then you might as well report for debriefing at," he glanced at his watch, "..1pm in room F2." The door slammed shut, but he knew the other man had heard him.
Relaxing back in his comfortable chair, only then did he allow himself a rueful smile. Things were working out very well...
Mr. Cowley's secretary, Paula Smith, looked up startled as agent 3.7 slammed the door to the Controller's Office. His features invited no conversation as he swore viciously, a murderous gleam in his attractive blue eyes. She had never seen him so angry before and wondered what had happened, as firstly 4.5 had stormed away with no comment and now 3.7.
Both men were so normally flirtatious... Jumping in startlement she looked at the intercom as Mr Cowley's voice barked a question at her.
"Has Dr Ross arrived yet?"
"Yes, Sir. She went directly to room F8."
"Tell her I'll be there in a moment."
"Yes, Sir." Puzzled, she bit her lip in thought, knowing enough not to stick her nose into operational matters.
At about 10.15 am Doyle bad temperedly entered room F8, knowing his debriefing had begun. At 1.30pm Bodie arrived in room F2, no less pleased, as he had tried to find Doyle before the other's debriefing, but had failed. Sitting down moodily, he wondered how things could go so quickly from bad to worse...
Both debriefing were conducting in the same cold businesslike, impersonal manner. Open hostility was ignored, as Doyle left CI5 for the last time at 2pm. And Bodie left just after 5.30pm. Neither man saw each other, and both knew as they left that they would be under surveillance.
Returning to his flat, Doyle slumped in an easy chair, at a loss still to understand why Cowley would retire him. God... when things started to go down hill, they didn't just tumble, they raced! Look mum, I've reached the top of the world, and what a bloody rotten sight it is. Hey help... I'm fallin'... Stop! Let me off this merry-go- round...
Dropping his head back on the cold leather chair, Doyle stared at the ceiling. Did he want out of the squad?
Thinking hard about that fact in all honesty, he realized that no, he enjoyed his work. Liked CI5... so why?!? Was he a security risk like Cowley intimated?
Dwelling on that, his resentment rose again, laced with anger and disappointment. Maybe he should just start again and not think of the past. Wipe out all memory of CI5 and the damned Police Force before that... as it only caused pain.
Pain because... hesitating, he lifted his head, to look at the afternoon gloom outside his window. Where was Bodie? He had wanted to talk with Bodie... yet no doubt Cowley would have told the other to stay away. But that would not make a difference to his obstinate partner. Now ex-partner. Of everything, in all honesty... he would miss his annoyingly smug partner the most.
Acknowledging the truth of his thoughts, he admitted that that was what hurt the most. Bodie was now his ex- partner. The other would be teamed with someone else... he would go on to new operations and risks, leaving him behind. Leaving his back unprotected.
Getting up, he paced the small flat furiously, wanting to work his anger out. They would part company... maybe see each other occasionally, but that would not be the same. The feelings would be gone as would the rare understanding of each other. And if he wanted to be fair to the other man, he should break all contact otherwise Cowley would station Bodie out of London. He could just imagine the blue eyed man grumbling about that. Bodie hated the country with a passion...
Burying the thought, he picked up his coat and headed for the door. He was currently free of all obligations, with nowhere to go. Nothing to do, and no one to do it with.
It was a bitter thought.
He definitely wanted to see Bodie again, but he wanted to see the other man when his mind was clearer, when he had worked out some of the resentment. Their partnership needed to be dissolved properly... Hell, who was he kidding? How on earth could he face the other man and keep a civil tongue? How could you break a partnership which was more like a marriage...except they didn't share the same bed. Might as well have for all the intimate situations they had shared...
Opening the door to his flat, he scanned the street and spotted his tail. It looked like Goddard, the little prick who prided himself on technique. Looking away in disgust, he left his car behind and walked down the street. Give the man something to do, he decided as he headed towards the local. Maybe after he had a few beers and chatted up the barmaid, he could put things into better perspective. Glancing down at his watch he saw it was only 4.05pm. There was no rush, as he no longer had anywhere to go... had lost his reason to live.
Leaving CI5, Bodie went immediately to Doyle's flat. Using his spare keys he let himself in, seeing the white Escort but no sign of Doyle. Reflecting momentarily on what must be going through the other's mind, he groaned as he could see all too clearly the torment his partner would put himself through. He knew how his partner's confusing mind worked, and knew how the other man would be feeling lousy and how he would be blaming himself. Ray's whole life had been consumed by his need to be part of something bigger. First he gave up his family for the Police, and then he gave up his life for Cowley. This betrayal would be only one of the things eating at Doyle's soul at the moment.
Re-locking the door behind him, he tried to feel what his own emotions were over the day's events. But what had happened was still too unbelievable. He had always imagined leaving the squad with a bullet through his heart... with Ray next to him, murdering the son of a bitch who dared to shoot him. A romantic notion...
He had never imagined leaving CI5 because Doyle could not be trusted. Never imagined resigning his commission.
Standing on the open pavement as the night descended, he tried to put himself in Doyle's shoes, and suddenly remembered the local down the road. It was a favorite drinking hole of theirs. Getting into the Capri, he pushed it into gear and headed towards the pub.
Parking in their usual place, which was about a block from the actual pub, Bodie got out of the Capri and locked it. He noticed Davis' car pulled out of sight about 100 meters back and suppressed a smile. He would let the CI5 agent follow him for the present.
He and Doyle always parked their cars here, for two reasons. One it was off the main road and less likely to get dented, which was a major priority to consider. And secondly if he or Doyle had drunk too much, then the walk to the car usually sobered them enough to drive. If not, then the car would be safe until they could retrieve it the next day. Either way the car would be safe.
Thinking on all this, Bodie neared the pub and caught sight of Goddard's car. The man's eyes were intent on the pub's immediate vicinity, so he did not see Bodie's approach.
Reaching the driver's window, Bodie bent down and tapped lightly on it with his forefinger. Goddard's face clearly showed his shock and startlement as he faced the other man's smug expression. Smiling charmingly, Bodie looked at the stricken agent and indicated for him to roll the window down. Goddard obliged.
"'Ello." Bodie chirped with false cheerfulness. "Doyle inside?"
Managing to nod, Goddard struggled to recapture his composure as Bodie trotted across the road and up to the pub's entrance. Like all the other agents in CI5, he was shocked to learn that two of their own had left the Squad under suspicious circumstances.
Scanning the interior of the pub, he spotted Doyle almost immediately as the other man shared a laugh with the local's resident drunk, whom they knew as Frank. Making his way over to the other man, he noticed his partner had a full half-pint in his hand, his features alight as he gestured boldly to the barmaid serving them.
Shaking his head he stood behind his friend, listening to the story Doyle was entertaining the old drunk with. Thinking back, he recalled it sounded suspiciously like the last fishing expedition they had gone on.
"Greeeeen," Frank was trying to say as he burped inelegantly. "I've never seen a fish with..." he hiccuped again. "...with green eyes. So what did ya do?"
"Went home and looked in the mirror." Bodie chipped in from behind.
Turning Doyle's brow disappeared up under his curls. "Bodie!" Then he frowned as if remembering something important. "What's ya doin' here? I can't have broken the law already."
"Nah, don't be daft." Bodie said good-naturedly, seeing how Doyle was already three quarters cut, and it had only taken him a few hours. Liberating the beer glass from the other's grasp, he placed it on the bar and took his partners arm. "Come on, let's get out of here."
"Why?" Doyle demanded, refusing to move. "I have nowhere to go-"
"'Cause it's stuffy in here, and we need to talk." He said seriously before giving the other man a quick grin, wondering if it was worth talking to Doyle until he sobered up anyway.
Standing up and sucking in his chest, Doyle tried to imitate his ex-partner's expression. "You 'ave the floor my dear chap, so speak your mind," The word mind being lost as the curly haired man started to giggle.
It was infectious, and Bodie wished he were as drunk just so he could have enjoyed the laugh. Glancing around he heard Doyle order another drink, and he stepped forward, firmly taking the other man's elbow and dragging him away from the bar.
"Come on mate."
Outside the pub, Bodie saw that Goddard had vanished. Probably comparing notes with Davis, he assumed. Looking back at his inebriated companion, he decided to let their two watch dogs tag along for the moment as he propelled the other man down the street towards his parked car.
Watching Bodie moodily as his head pounded, Doyle rested his elbows on the kitchen table and cupped his sore head. It was just after 7pm, yet if felt much later as he glanced around the small kitchenette, the smell of coffee brewing making him want to throw up.
A cup of steaming liquid landed under his nose and he pulled back, scowling at the man across from him. All he had wanted to do was lose himself for a few hours without having to think, but now here he was in front of the last person he wanted to face, or talk to. Pushing the hot drink away he glared up at the other man, trying to ignore the genuine concern he saw reflected in the dark blue eyes. Christ, why did Bodie always have to make him feel so fucking vulnerable...
"Just leave me alone," he snarled, angry with himself as he dropped his head down so he did not have to see Bodie's face any longer.
"Come, on, drink up goldilocks," Bodie said lightly as he pushed the cup back towards his irritable partner. "As there is plenty more where this came from."
Ignoring the pointed comment, he contented himself with looking at the coffee cup in distaste. Getting to his feet, he made his way unsteadily over to the fridge and opened it, before taking out a new beer.
"Uhuh, no." Bodie said firmly, taking the bottle out of his hands. "Ray, listen to me mate, we need to talk, and I need you at least partially alert for that."
Trying to push the hands away which pinned him to the fridge, he muttered a curse, forcing the other man to release him. "What's there... to fuckin' talk about!" he snapped angrily, not believing that Bodie would not leave him alone for at least a single night.
"Nothin'!" he shouted back, releasing some of his pent up frustration as he slammed a fist into the wall. "I am finished! Useless to everyone. I can't even go back to the damn force."
"Would you want to?" Bodie asked, giving the other man room as he watched the play of emotions cross the angry green eyes.
"No." Doyle snapped. "But that's not the point, is it!" he half sneered.
"Did Cowley send you?" Doyle interrupted nastily. "Does he get his kicks out of watchin' you pull my corpse back from hell, so he can sack me 'cause I heard too damn much!"
Lifting a brow curiously, Bodie wondered what Doyle had heard. They'd never discussed why Losada had wanted Doyle. Or why he had been kept alive.
"Or do you just want to know how God damn broken I feel! I never took ya for the gloating kind mate, but maybe I was wrong... maybe you enjoy Cowley's games, enjoy manipulating peoples lives and feelin's."
"Doyle, stop this!" Bodie cut him off, grabbing his shirt and pushing him roughly against the dented wall behind them.
"So why did ya do it?! What happened over there, Bodie? At least you owe me the truth!"
"What are you prattin' on about now?" Bodie asked genuinely lost as he saw the green eyes cloud over in pain.
"Why do that, then cut me cold-"
"Cut you..." Bodie repeated as he tightened his hold on the other man.
"But then I'm justa pawn." Doyle went on, hardly seeing Bodie's concern. "A fuckin' pawn in one of you're-"
"Did I say somethin', or do somethin' which you won't talk about?"
"Christ, I hate it when you're drunk."
"Or don't ya care? At least I had thought you cared," Doyle continued, not even seeing the other man as all his emotions over the last few months spilled out. "...you really had me fooled." His head still hurt and he just wished the room would stop spinning.
"Idiot!" Bodie snapped. "Of course I fucking well care! Or do you think I chased after your skinny arse across Europe for the fun of it?!?" Sucking in a sharp breath Bodie tried to suppress the sudden fear he had felt when he remembered how close he had come to losing this man completely. "Christ, Ray! Do you think I would have resigned if I didn't care!"
"Wha..." He tried to blink up as the angry words partially sank into his fogged brain.
"I care too bloody much," Bodie shouted, seeing the other man blink owlishly at him as the other's hands gripped his own. Shaking Doyle a second time in irritation, he could only see in his mind how the other had almost died and he abruptly closed the short distance between them to savagely taste the alcoholic laced breath.
The dry touch lasted a stunned second, before he felt Doyle wriggle as the other opened his mouth, moving incredibly closer. Prolonging the brutal kiss, the warm contact deepened seductively losing them both in the addictive sensations of mixed emotions before Bodie pulled back startled. Releasing the other man completely, he backed away not believing they had just done that.
Sucking in a deep breath, Doyle tried to focus on the other's face, sensing concern and apprehension. Lifting a hand he rubbed his bruised lips. "I think I need to sit down."
Accepting that, Bodie stepped back further, not aiding the other man, as Doyle staggered past him, to leave the kitchen and fall heavily into one of the lounge chairs.
"I don't know what's going on any more," Doyle muttered, at a loss to explain the last few minutes. "You have me so confused."
Perching on the low table in front of his partner, he spied a look at the expressive face. Doyle just met his gaze wide-eyed, confusion warring with vulnerability. It reminded him of a time just over a year ago, when Doyle had torn himself apart because he believed he had killed Paul Coogan. Then too, he had looked just as lost and confused and Bodie had fought the urge to either shake the man, or comfort him. Now he met those wide green eyes scared, balling his hands at his side, praying that the other man looked away. No longer sure he had the strength to walk away a second time. "Ray-"
"I've never kissed a bloke before," It was said without judgment as Doyle leaned back and eyed the other man warily. He wished his senses were clearer and that his head did not hurt so much as he tried to work out how he felt. Tried to work out how to ease the tension radiating out of Bodie's contained figure. "Have you?"
Not liking the question, Bodie scowled. "Doyle, we need to talk about CI5."
"Well have you..." he repeated, trailing off as his alcohol fogged mind homed in on the evasion. "You have, haven't ya?"
"It was a long time ago."
Nodding, Doyle stopped the action as his headache increased. "Oh yeah, I remember... Angola." Opening his eyes, he glanced around, not seeing the other man. Had he fallen asleep and just imagined the...
"Here, drink this."
Jumping as the warm hands touched his wrist, he just stopped himself from pulling away as he saw his ex- partner's pinched expression. Nope, it was no dream. "Wha' is it?"
"Aspirin." Bodie informed him, opening the packet. How things had got so out of control, he would never know. The flat felt suddenly stuffy and hot around him.
"So..." Doyle breathed as he threw the tablets back, grimacing as the taste caught at the back of his throat.
"Bodie." he returned and then grinned, wanting to relieve the tension.
"I don't think that is actually the wackiest thing we 'ave ever done," He added, making light of the situation. Hell, but he could hardly remember the situation...
Meeting the warm green eyes, Bodie released a tight breath. "Definitely not the dumbest either..." he trailed off.
Settling back against the soft chair, Doyle studied his friend, missing the last few words as he tried to sort out his spinning mind. "So what did ya have to talk to me 'bout, that was so urgent it couldn't wait 'till mornin'? Don't forget I'm out of it now mate." A touch of bitterness entering his tone again.
"That's just it, so am I." Bodie replied, relieved to have the subject changed and back on safe ground. Doyle might be able to discuss relationships to death, but he couldn't.
"What the hell are you talkin' about now?" Every word was precisely emphasized.
"After you stormed out of Cowley's office, I resigned."
Leaning forward, Bodie grinned at his startled partner, feeling better. "Clean your ears, Doyle, I said I resigned."
"But... why?" He asked, getting lost again.
"I don't want to work for an organization that treats its operatives like shit." He said very slowly.
"Oh God, Bodie, you idiot." Doyle sighed, yet the realization of what the other had done warmed him also. "The last thing I wanted was for you to resign,"
"I know that." Bodie cut back. "The old man wanted to team me with Jackson and I-"
"You know the blond with the permanent sneer and cork screw up his arse." Bodie described, seeing the other nod.
"I don't know how he got a position on the active list."
"Maybe he's sleeping with the old bastard." Bodie said without thinking, then stopped and relaxed as he saw Doyle laugh in that disgusted tone of his. Only now it sounded inviting.
"I'm sure you could 'ave asked for another partner." Doyle put in after a strained moment. "The Smurf would jump at the chance to team with you."
"Nah, as he's often stated that he would prefer to work with you as you have the better looking..." Stopping abruptly as he realized what he had just been about to say, Bodie coughed to cover his action.
"Better lookin' what?"
Did he dare say it? Yet an hour ago he would have said it and used it to make Doyle squirm.
"Ray, it's just that I didn't want another partner." Bodie said simply, covering the moment smoothly as he pinned the other man with a sincere look. "The whole idea of staying in CI5 paled after what Cowley said to you. And I just don't buy it."
Biting his lip in thought also, he rubbed a finger over his temple, wishing that the pounding would cease, as he was certain he was missing of lot of what wasn't being verbalized. Trust Bodie to want and have a deep and meaningful when he was hung over... "You think he's setting me up?"
"I don't know." Bodie admitted worriedly. "But I've never known him to go this far before."
"Neither have I." Doyle mused. "He gave me a week to move, and they will impound my car tomorrow mornin'."
Confirming he was in the same situation, Bodie lifted a questioning brow, hearing the slurred tones as Doyle tried to smile at him. "So we need to find a job."
Resurrecting another grin, Doyle shook his head. "Oh God, do I 'ave to think of this now? My head is killin' me, and I think I need to go to the bathroom before I pass out."
"You always did have a weak bladder."
Letting his eyes turn serious, Doyle gazed at the other man as Bodie stood up and stretched. "Thanks mate."
Lifting a superior brow, Bodie reached down and pulled Doyle to his feet. "For what?"
"For being an annoyin' pain in the arse, but also for being the best partner anyone could ask for. I never did thank you for getting' me out of Russia, did I?'
"No need, as I know you would have done the same for me." He squinted closer at the wide green eyes, seeing them glisten. He could still smell beer on Doyle's breath and he tightened his hold. "Don't you dare cry on me, Doyle-"
"I'm not, you daft sod." Doyle assured him, as he turned away, hiding his face.
Letting the subject drop, Bodie frog marched him to the toilet and pushed him inside, glad when he heard the other start in on the rude jokes he had heard down at the local. "Shut up, Doyle, or you'll scare the rats away."
Ambling out, the other man just gave him an unrepentant smile.
"Go crash on the bed and I'll bring you some fresh coffee."
"I hate coffee," it was mournful.
"I don't care." Bodie called back, as he went back into the kitchen. Once there he leaned against the sink and closed his eyes. He still could not believe they had actually kissed, nor could he believe the fact that Doyle had taken it so well. Thank God he was drunk! Yet was he as drunk as he seemed?
Dismissing that thought, he refilled the coffee pot and turned it on. So where did this leave them both? They would have to find accommodation, and before tonight he was going to suggest they share a flat for a while... but now? He would still like to share a flat on a short term basis, as it was practical. Not to mention the need to find a new set of reliable wheels. He would really miss the Capri. Bloody Cowley!
Pouring the coffee, he mulled over the numerous problems, carrying the fresh cup into the bedroom. Doyle was stretched out fast asleep on the double bed like he owned it. His jacket was off and on the floor, shirt undone and jeans top button open. Even his shoes were still on.
Putting the coffee down on the bedside table, Bodie breathed a sigh of relief as he stared wide eyed at the sprawled figure before him, privately admitting to himself that he had enjoyed the open mouthed kiss. Not that anything would ever come of it... but acknowledging it had occurred went a long way to sorting out his mixed feeling and thoughts.
Picking up a blanket, he threw it over the sleeping man, thinking how young the other looked when the stress of the day had been stripped away. Grabbing another blanket he went back out into the living room and settled on the lounge. Turning on the telly, he prepared himself for a long night.
"Mornin'," Doyle whispered as he placed a cup of hot tea down on the low table.
Rubbing his eyes, Bodie glanced around disgruntledly, wondering why he was so stiff and sore. Then memory fell into place and he remembered why he had slept on the lounge.
"You didn't have to sleep out here," Doyle continued as if reading his mind before he placed a plate down next to the tea.
Two pieces of toast half burnt stared back at him, and Bodie craned his neck to see where the other man had disappeared to a second time.
"No one has ever complained of my snoring before." Doyle went on as he sat opposite his grumpy partner. Bodie's hair was standing on end, his blue eyes puffy and blood shot as he glared around the flat.
"Yeah well," Bodie mumbled as he picked up his tea. He squinted up, disgusted that Doyle looked so clear eyed and alert this morning. "You felling better?"
"Like my old self."
Putting his cup down Bodie stood and went to the bathroom, splashing water on his face. He needed the space, knowing Doyle as he did, he just knew he would have to be careful of what was actually said for the next few days. When he came back out, Doyle was still sitting in the same position, watching him with an unreadable expression.
"So," Bodie started.
"I've been thinking-"
"This should be interesting." Bodie mumbled as he tasted his tea. Pulling a face he held up his cup. As usual Doyle had forgotten to put sugar in. "Doyle!"
"I thought you'd cut back?" he said innocently.
Getting up again he went to get the sugar. "So what has your brain been working over time on?"
Running fingers through his hair, Doyle gave him an amused glance. "I've been thinking about the prospects out there, and how most of the really interesting ones are on the shady side of things."
"So?" Bodie intoned.
"So, we can't very well change sides!" Doyle cut back, thinking that had been obvious.
"I know this man who umm, would employ people like us, with no questions asked."
"You know most of the low lives in London, so what's your point?"
"My point is, Doyle, that we will need money before long. And this man is a respected business man on the posher side of town." He ended with a knowing grin.
"He might be respectable, but what of his business, ah?" Doyle said, guessing at what sort of work his partner was angling at.
"Well he employs men for all events. Bodyguards, security and so on."
"Yeah, sure. Bodyguards and security to protect his illegal dealings. Maybe involving smuggling and a kill along the way. Bloody hell, Bodie, use your head as you know Cowley would have our necks before we could walk three paces." He ended firmly.
Regarding his partner for a long moment, Bodie gave an impatient sigh. "He may just have something straight up front. We'll never know unless we inquire. Besides, why the hell are you so bent on upholding Cowley's standards? What do you... do we, owe him and the rest of those bastards? He kicked you out remember! He gave you your marching orders waving 'sorry Doyle, it would have been better if you had died'. Think Ray, they don't give a damn about you. It is up to us to make our own future." He finished acidly.
"I know, it's just... I don't know." Glancing up at Bodie's uncompromising expression, he went on. "You're probably right, what would it hurt to inquire?"
"That's it sunshine, we'll go pay a friend of mine a visit after we-"
"After we ditch our watchdogs." Doyle finished for him.
CI5 lost track of the two men that morning. Cowley was only too aware of their abilities, but still he laid into Davis and Goddard for incompetence. The atmosphere around CI5 was electric to say the least, with mixed feelings ranging from acceptance to disbelief over the dismissals. Keeping a close watch on certain other older agents, he sent Murphy, Turner and Jax out on a country assignment until after things settled down.
Ultimately his only consolation would be the fact that they would finger another mole which was draining them of top level secrets. Plus the fact, that if CI5 had lost the two men, then so to had the KGB.
Acting swiftly, he put another APB out on the two men, wanting them located fast.
Losada also berated his agents for losing the two ex- operatives. He had been surprised to learn that both the Home Office and the Intelligence departments had backed Cowley on retiring Doyle from the elite squad. He had also been relieved to learn that Doyle remembered very little of his ordeal in the secret training base in Russia, as Omega One's position remained solid and secure.
So if Doyle had been retired because he was now considered a dangerous security risk due to his capture and hypnotic torturing, then he would be a man with a grudge. A grudge against his own kind. And what of his partner? As he had voluntarily resigned to follow Doyle. Interesting...
The circumstances surrounding the two men offered a rare opportunity, and one he would like to seize. Of course he would have to receive Omega One's consent to proceed, but that should not be long in coming.
Exiting the posh Country Club, Doyle suspiciously glanced around the stately gardens. Mr Roberts had seen them both briefly, only informing them that he would be in touch. Bodie had given the man's assistant a phone number where they could be reached. It was a third rate Hotel, one which Bodie had picked and which he stated would suit them until they found other suitable accommodation. The prospect of living out of a suitcase did not bother Doyle, but Bodie for some reason was decidedly unhappy, consoling himself with the idea that at least they had lost their shadows.
They had also ditched their cars behind the CI5 workshop, knowing that the vehicles would be discovered eventually, and then Cowley would have a fit as he reviewed the time lapse monitors and saw Bodie's obscene salute. Smiling privately to himself about that, Doyle glanced around the lawns, a prickling of unease touching him.
Watching his partner, Bodie straightened the collar of his leather jacket. He had been amused when the Doorman of the Country Club had almost refused Doyle entry on the basis of his clothing, as he was wearing those faded jeans again which left little to the imagination. The ones with the patch on his... Breaking the thought off, he remembered how Murphy had teased him when he had offered to pimp for his partner after the blind run fiasco. Now the memory took on a whole new meaning... Glancing again at Doyle, he kept his gaze above the distracting patch as the other man turned full circle, scanning the gardens around them. "What's bugging you?"
"I keep expecting to see Cowley," Doyle muttered with distaste.
"Nah, this place is not posh enough for him. He likes the old military establishments, where men are men and-"
"Boys are replaceable." Doyle finished, used to hearing the joke. He took out his sun glasses and squinted around the grounds again, before pushing them up his nose.
Picking up on the other's edginess, Bodie looked around also, reaching for his keys to the ford they had rented, feeling naked without his hand gun. "Nothing here, Doyle," he decided in a business like tone. "So move your carcass, as my throat's getting dry."
Looking over his glasses at Bodie's closed expression, Doyle sighed, wondering if they were ever going to regain the relaxed atmosphere. Somehow he doubted it, as the other seemed to retreat behind a wall of indifference. And it could not be just because of the events of the previous night... could it? Shaking his head minutely as he opened the car door, he dismissed the idea. Sliding into his seat, he slammed the door as Bodie revved the engine to life. They were both too liberal minded and impulsive to let such a small occurrence destroy a six year partnership. And it had been an insignificant event compared to all the other things they had done or seen within the job. Yet still something niggled at the back of his mind. Like he was missing a vital clue to the entire puzzle and a nightmarish image came back to him. He remembered waking up once after Bodie had somehow smuggled him out of the camp... the memory distorted as he had been feverish. But he did remember hearing Bodie's anxious voice calling him, the words were indistinct, but the tone was filled with suppressed pain and he had struggled to wake only to find the other man leaning over him. The blue eyes had been filled with a fearful desperation, but of what he could not tell... and he never found out either as he had lost his hold on reality.
Considering the memory now, he reached for the seat belt, as Bodie drove them with a maniac's speed around a corner. If he kept this up, they would not have to worry about Cowley finding them, as the police would lock them away.
"What's the rush?" Doyle asked, miffed as he looked over at the other man's set face. "The pubs won't close for another," he paused, checking his watch. "...eight hours at least." He received no answer, so he let the silence stretch.
By evening they were back in the small rented room, feeling acutely uncomfortable with each other as Bodie turned on the small television set.
Watching him, Doyle was at a loss to understand the problem, worried that this insidious awkwardness could do what CI5 had failed to do and break the friendship. Was it him? Or the... Falling onto the large bed as Bodie sat moodily in the only armchair in the room, he forced himself to re-think the previous night. To seriously consider all that had been said. But the harder he tried to concentrate the more his mind went traitorously back to the scene with Bodie leaning over him. Had something terrible happened and had Bodie needed his help? Had he failed his partner in some way?
"Bodie?" he received only a grunt in reply. "What happened?"
"What?" Glancing back over his shoulder, Bodie tensed, praying Ray did not raise the subject of the previous night again. Not now when they were forced to share a room. Share a bed...
"Over in the Soviet?" Doyle elaborated, seeing his partner's uncommunicative scowl lighten with his words. Relief??? But relief over what?
"You read my report."
"Yeah, I know, but it didn't really tell me anything."
"What more would you want?" Bodie demanded, getting a little annoyed, wanting to shelve the experience.
"Why'd you do it?"
Doyle sat up and watched the other man carefully. "Why did you go over to the Soviet. For all you knew I was dead." He carried on in a serious voice, not wanting Bodie to give him a flippant reply. "Cowley showed me the resistance's coded messages."
"For Christ sakes, Ray, what do you want me to say?" Bodie shot back angrily. "You were not dead, end of story!"
Getting to his feet, Bodie avoided meeting the questioning eyes he could feel on him. "Look, Doyle, that's over, it is a past event. Just accept the fact that some sixth sense told me you were alive so that what happened... happened." He stopped for a breath as he grabbed his coat. "Now, I'm starving, so I'll head down to the corner shop we saw and get us something, okay?"
Not answering, Doyle just watched the other man walk away, knowing then that the partnership was all but over.
Cursing himself as he shut the door to their room, Bodie unclenched his fist as he tried to block out the sight of the other man's shocked expression. He had not missed the sharp intake of breath as Doyle covered his emotions swiftly, knowing that the curly haired man would never ask the same question again. The realization of what he had just done was like a nail going into his soul, and he wished he had the courage to just explain his fears. But the moment was now lost... all because of his stupid carelessness.
Two days later Bodie heard back from Robert's agent. He was told they would be given a trial run at an establishment west of the docks called 'Alfies'. The night-club dealt mainly in a discotheque, a strip show and some legalized gambling... on the surface. It was only for a week, or until the manager terminated their contracts, as Roberts was still not sure they could be trusted.
Slamming the phone down in disgust, Bodie glared at the address he was give, wishing he could run the information through the CI5 data banks to learn what else 'Alfies' was a front for. But still it was a job, and would give them something to do, other than sit in the local all night and pretend everything was fine between them.
Checking his watch, he saw it was 10am, with luck Doyle would be back soon from his run and they could go and check out the place.
Parking outside the address given, they stared in disbelief at the sign hanging over the large doors. It read 'Alfies Night-club and Bar' in big neon letters which were currently switched off. Lifting an eyebrow in amusement, Doyle turned to eye his partner. "Is this it?"
"Yep." Bodie nodded as he checked the address again.
"How have we missed seeing this little gem before now?"
"It probably doesn't smell bad enough for Cowley to take any interest in."
"Well, let's hope it stays that way for a while longer."
The side door was unlocked and Bodie led the way in, finding the entrance foyer as he pushed aside some hanging beads. It was a spacious area, expensively decorated with oak grained wood paneling on the walls and a chandler hanging form the ceiling.
Behind him he heard Doyle whistle through his teeth.
"I smell money," Bodie said in an aside.
"I smell a cover-up. They probably use this joint to launder money or shift drugs." Doyle said quietly. "I wonder if-"
"Can it, mate." Bodie cut him off. "Were here for a job, not to spy out the place."
Turning away Doyle went to study the notice board, seeing numerous photographs of past events decorating half the wall. Raising a brow in amused disbelief at was he saw, he decided not to draw Bodie's attention to it. At least not while the other man was in such an odd frame of mind.
Moving out of the foyer and into the next huge room, Bodie gazed around impressed as he saw a magnificently set up bar bordering the dance floor and stage. At the bar was a man intent on some ledgers and Bodie made his way past the tables and chair to speak with him.
Approaching the bar, the other sat up and Bodie could see he was in his late forties, with greying hair and a neat trim mow, wearing a blue silk shirt. A handsome man of trim build, and searching dark eyes as his gaze swept up Bodie's frame approvingly.
"You must be the new security man Mr Roberts informed me about. I thought there was supposed to be two of you?"
Hearing the cultured accent, Bodie plastered on a friendly smile. "I'm Bodie. Doyle will be along in a minute."
Pursing his lips, the man frowned as he closed the books he had been working on. "Stuart Harwood. Manager of this... night-club." He stopped as he saw the second man quietly approach the bar and his eyes lit up even more.
Seeing the expression and the way Harwood's eyes swept down Doyle's frame, Bodie just jerked a thumb at the other man. "Doyle."
"I see," Harwood intoned, letting his dark eyes narrow as he regarded the first man again speculatively.
"We were informed that you might have some work for us?" Bodie went on, not taking his eyes off Harwood as he felt Doyle stop at his side.
"Temporary only as two of our regular staff are umm... off sick, shall we say." Harwood explained. "It will be a week's work, maybe two, depending on how you do. Six hundred pounds a week and you can even sleep here if you need accommodation. The hours are from 6pm to 6am six days a week." He cast his glance between the two men, stopping to settle his eyes on Doyle. "Are you interested?"
"What does the work entail?" Doyle asked and Bodie, groaned inwardly, just knowing his obstinate partner was going to ask that question.
"Basically you keep the peace. Some patrons get a little distressed after losing at the tables, you will escort them out with no fuss. The same goes for the dancers who work here. If a patron get overly friendly and refuses to pay for the service, you intervene. Plus help out in the foyer and bar as directed." He studied them seriously, weighing them up. "Joe controls the Bar area of a night and I expect you to follow his instructions without question. Any queries?"
"When do we start?" Bodie answered before Doyle could open his mouth again.
"Tonight." Harwood said in a clipped tone. "David's out back and he will have your contracts." He gestured with a hand towards the door behind the bar. "Just follow the corridor and he is in the last room on the right. He will also show you around." He glanced at them again, eyeing them from head to foot. "Do you by chance own tuxedos?"
"No." Bodie said flatly, not liking the way the manager looked them over.
"Tell David and he'll fix you up." He said in dismissal.
Following Doyle towards the back of the bar, Bodie waited until they were in the poorly lit corridor before leaning forward and whispering in his partner's ear. "David will fix you up," he said in an outrageously mocking tone.
"Just shove it, Bodie." Was all Doyle snapped back.
Returning to the night-club at 5.30pm, both men were dressed in elegant tuxedos and were separated immediately, given individual tasks. Bodie on the top floor with Charles, to watch over the gambling tables and Doyle downstairs to help Peter and Jim with the main clientele.
The first two nights passed smoothly, with both men opting to return to the Hotel during the day for rest.
Bodie had observed all the games upstairs, guessing that both cards and dice were marked and loaded accordingly, as large amounts of money exchanged hands. And of course it was always in the night-club's favor. A few patrons reacted badly, and he and Charles had removed them to the quiet offices for interviews with Harwood and his own bodyguard, as a way was found for the debt to be paid off.
Recognizing the scam instantly, Bodie just continued to watch, wondering why MI6 had not closed the place down as yet. Briefly he had been asked to go down stairs to help Joe bring up more supplies for the small bar servicing the games room, and he had spied Doyle through the crowd of dancers and strippers.
He had been shocked at first to realize that the shows contained both female and male strippers and that the audience was a mixture of wealth, elite and eccentric patrons, and he watched in calm interest the mingling of sexes and staff from the stage shows alike.
Oddly concerned that Doyle had not complained about the atmosphere, he had questioned him about it after the second night when they had returned to the Hotel.
"Weird mob downstairs last night," Bodie started.
"Quieter than Monday night's crowd." Doyle yawned, the movement almost cracking his jaw. "What's it like upstairs?"
"Boring." Bodie said without hesitation as he saw his partner fall into bed gratefully. "How you finding it?"
Lifting his head off the pillow, Doyle cast the other man a puzzled look. "Why?"
Shrugging, Bodie refused to look away as he meet the assessing green eyes. "It's not exactly what we're used to."
Hearing the 'we're', Doyle translated that into 'you're', knowing the other man wasn't happy with the job either. "I just treat it like an undercover assignment." He replied honestly.
"Just don't lose yourself in the part." Bodie quipped having witnessed the other security men working with Doyle. They were as bent as the Home Office's budget report.
"Who knows, we may even stumble on something useful,"
"Turning snitch on me. Doyle?"
"Nah," Doyle shook his head closing his eyes again. "If they haven't been busted yet, then it's probably for a good reason,"
"Like MI6 is too bloody stupid to find their own backsides, let alone daylight."
Hiding his smile at that, Doyle turned over to face the wall. "You get no argument from me," he yawned again. "But I can tell you I'm starting to over hear some interesting facts from Joe and David."
"All buddy buddy are you?"
It was almost a sneer and Doyle tensed, telling himself to ignore the comment. "Well one of has to try and fit in," he cut back mildly, turning over to glance at the other man. Bodie had not even started to undress and he frowned worriedly.
Listening to the sleepy voice, Bodie decided he would try and get downstairs the following night, just to see what really was going on. Not that he didn't trust the other man...
Checking the description again on his note pad of the two men he had just seen enter the questionable establishment called 'Alfies', Constable Bruce Hartly radioed in, telling his desk sergeant that he had a 90% positive ID on the two men wanted by CI5. Waiting until he received further instruction the constable dismissed the matter as he was directed to continue on to his original destination.
Receiving the report about an hour later, Cowley was only mildly surprised to learn that his two men had accepted employment in an establishment run by Jeffrey Roberts. The millionaire business man had a finger in almost every shady deal which occurred north of the river, as well as having the legal ability to hide his dealings. It made him a hard man to catch as he kept his operations just low enough not to draw the eye of MI6, running the local police ragged instead.
Still he was amazed either man would jump into the deep end so soon, concluding it had probably been Bodie's idea, as Doyle's sense of ethics would have normally made him avoid such a place. Depressing the intercom button, Cowley ordered Paula to locate operatives Campbell and Morgan.
The feelers Losada put out also paid off, and he located the two men within days. Having done a background check on both Doyle and his partner now he was mildly excited to think how valuable these two men could be, especially if they were now giving Cowley a hard time.
But before he could swing his operatives into motion, he still needed to wait for Omega One to give him clearance. And it should not be long in coming as the man was doing his own careful assessment of the situation.
Reading the reports in front of him, Cowley was still displeased as he realized there were at least three other known KGB agents in London which his men had been unable to locate yet. He wanted to know were all the pieces were before he swung the plan into action. Only then could he be positive of the safety of his agents and the success of the mission.
Escaping from the room upstairs about 2am on the third night as the boredom of the game was making him more irritable than usual, Bodie offered to help Joe restock the fridges in the private rooms. Going into the crowded bar near the dance floor he automatically scanned the room for his other half, seeing Doyle turn to look at him as if on instinct. He lifted a brow in silent communication, pleased when the other man ambled over to him slowly, stopping a few times to speak with one or two patrons who approached him.
Never liking being forced to wait, wanting action, Bodie found these new circumstances restrictive, wishing that this were a CI5 assignment and not the cold reality of his life now. He needed the adrenaline surge of doing something dangerous, of taking risks and busting open this joint for what it really was. Instead he was forced to play it legit...
Scowling as the gentle words touched him, Bodie just checked his temper in time, not sure if he wanted to punch Doyle or Harwood... or preferably Cowley.
"My, I can see you are just thrilling company tonight. What happened, did Harwood sack you for putting all the patrons off their losing streaks?"
"Very funny, Doyle." He growled, unamused, as he tried to relax tense muscles. "How are things here?" "Same mate." Doyle sounded unconcerned by the atmosphere as he turned and smiled at a tall woman who touched his shoulder in passing.
Not understanding why the other man was accepting the job so easily and willingly, he felt his temper and impatience rise another notch. "We're out of here after this week," he growled, not inviting an argument.
Looking back at the angry face, Doyle buried his amusement, reading Bodie's underlying mood easily. He also found the place restrictive, but as long as he treated it like an undercover job, he found it bearable and even enjoyable. Especially as it was getting up Bodie's nose to such an extent. Smiling up innocently, he glanced away as he saw the blue eyes darken further in unleashed annoyance.
A voice intruded from behind them, and they both turned to see Joe glide up to them. "I believe Dex is requesting your assistance again."
About to protest, he stopped seeing Bodie look questioningly at the barman. Deciding to deliberately bait his partner further, he sighed, pretending interest. "What does Dexter want?" he asked.
"Something about how you are ignoring requests. You have to learn to mingle more Ray." Joe informed him as he cast his eyes dismissively over Bodie. "And what are you doing down here? I thought you had finished in the private rooms."
"I have." Bodie growled.
"Then you had better get back upstairs." He ended as he grabbed Doyle's arm, motioning for him to get moving also.
Watching his partner walk away, he contemptuously ignored Joe's pointed glare as he followed the curly haired man's progress across the floor. Doyle stopped at a corner table and was immediately ushered into a group of grossly overdressed... men.
Frowning harder, he realized his first impressions had been correct.
Just holding his temper, he glared at the barman wondering where the other had learned of his birth name. Bloody Doyle. "I answer to Bodie only." He snapped.
Unperturbed by the open hostility he saw in the remarkable blue eyes, Joe only shrugged. "Mr Harwood needs you upstairs immediately."
"Who's this Dexter character?" He asked instead, not moving an inch as he glared across the smoke haze in the room at Doyle's elegant figure. His partner was laughing at some joke or another.
"He is a valued paying client, and none of your concern. Now go!"
Muttering under his breath, Bodie sent his partner one final scowl seeing someone throw an arm around the other man's shoulders, before he angrily left the dance area. Why Doyle was playing games he didn't know. Nor did he understand why he was so angry... so unhappy and discontent...
Muttering under his breath as the new man, Bodie, walked away, Joe turned back to the bar and found and old friend waiting. "Giles, what are you doing,"
"Shhh," The other man said as he glanced around nervously.
"Christ, Giles!" Joe said in exasperation. "Does Stuart know you're out?"
"'course!" Giles Granger snapped before he downed his scotch. Letting his eyes scan the crowded club he indicated with his head the far corner. "Did you say that new man's name was Ray?"
Frowning, Joe nodded slightly. He hated it when Giles turned up as it usually meant they were going to get raided by the local beat cops down the road. Nothing but bloody trouble... why Stuart put up with the man...
"Ray as in Raymond Doyle?" Giles asked as a nasty edge tainted his tone.
"I believe so. Why?" Joe asked.
"Because he looks suspiciously like a bastard I used to know."
"A fucking pig!" Giles clarified.
Stopping what he was going to say, Joe frowned.
"Mind you, it was eight years ago." Giles said reflectively. "But I never forget a name. Nor a face. Especially not one that so cold bloodedly killed my kid brother."
"Christ." Joe breathed. "Are you sure?" he asked. In his mind all he could see was the possibility that they might be staked out again. Yet Mr Roberts had recommend the new men... and Stuart trusted Roberts. Implicitly.
Not answering, Giles slipped off his chair. "Think I'll go and have a word with Stuart."
Three hours later, Bodie had convinced Charles that he would go and fetch them some fresh coffee. The other security man had just nodded, his eyes never leaving table three.
Sneaking down stairs, he just stopped himself from going into the corridor as he sensed movement close by. Stopping he automatically reached for his gun that was not there, hearing voices. Four voices, as throaty male laughter reached his ears. About to dismiss it as one of the valued clients leaving the club via the back door with one of the stage performers again, he froze as he heard Doyle's voice intermingled with the others.
Edging closer, he concentrated on what was being said.
"Oh, come on Ray, Stuart's an understanding boss as I'm sure he'd let you leave with us. Besides you finish in an hour,"
"Maybe so, but I've only been here a few nights, and I don't-"
"Ray, Ray... I'm willing to pay you..." It was seductive and quiet. "It's just I'm having a private party, just a few friends, and I could use your expertise, so to speak."
"I'm flattered but-"
"A thousand pounds? How does that sound? Can I tempt you just a little?"
Bodie heard Doyle sigh and say something which was lost as staff exited the dance area into the corridor also.
One male voice called, and Bodie chanced a glance around the wall to see the far end of the narrow corridor. Doyle was half turned away as a tall man leaned against the wall next to him. Another handsome long haired male was still talking to Doyle as a fourth chatted with passing staff members, trying to attract the Managers attention.
"Hello Dex, enjoying the new floor shows?" Harwood asked in a pleasant tone as he went over to the group.
"Delighted by the new talent." The other said in amusement. "Stu, can you help me to convince Ray to extend his services for just one night. I've been trying to tell him that I have a healthy tab and that you really wouldn't mind."
"Sure, go ahead. Say 10%?"
"Fine," Dex agreed as he patted Harwood cheek in thanks. "See Ray?"
"Bodie!" It was a furious whisper from behind, and Bodie turned to see Charles glare at him. "Things are winding down at table three and Harwood will want the bait, so come on."
Gritting his teeth, Bodie shouldered his way past the older security man, heading back upstairs, very conscious of the fact that the other man glanced around the corner also at the raised voices. He did not like what he was seeing, but what could he do as Doyle was a grown man...
Re-entering the smoky room, he let his eyes pick out the occupants of table three as he felt Charles stand next to him. "Forget about downstairs, is my advice. That is another world, and one I don't think either you or I would tolerate for long."
Surprised by the quiet comment, Bodie gave the other man a speaking glance. "You used to work down there?"
"Briefly." Charles nodded, before looking at Bodie in curiosity. "I hear your friend fits right in. You known him long?"
"A while." Bodie said non committal.
"Yeah, I had a good friend like that once. Didn't know what was going down until Joe told me. Was very educational."
"Doyle isn't like that." Bodie defended.
"Neither was my friend until Dexter and his group got his claws in. If they dangle a carrot big enough, and if the House pushes... then your friend will go. And before you know it, he's no longer your friend."
Digesting those facts, Bodie tried to dismiss the concern he felt, knowing how his partner reacted to given situations. But was this the same? They were no longer communicating... nor where they part of CI5... so maybe Charles had a valid point. "We're only here a week," he started, wondering why the excuse sounded so lame even to his own ears. "By then your other regular security team will be back."
"Maybe." Charles shrugged. "But I doubt if Jon or Marcus will return." he said as he stepped forward seeing one of the men at table three start to complain about the dealer.
"Why?" Bodie caught his arm, feeling suddenly scared.
"Because they were found floating face down near the docks last Sunday morning."
Reacting slowly, Bodie's mind easily pieced two and two together, not liking the picture. Somehow he would have to warn Doyle...
Slamming the car door as they arrived back at the Hotel, it was almost 7am and the clear dawn morning was lost completely on Bodie.
They had not spoken during the long drive back to the Hotel, and Bodie was tired and irritable as Doyle just walked away from him without a single word.
Closing the door to their room, he glared at the other's uncommunicative back as Doyle dropped his coat over the back of a chair and heeled off his shoes.
"I'm wrecked," Doyle mumbled, too tired to deal with the other's moody irritation. He would be glad when the week was over and they could go back to a semi normal life. God!... normal, who was he kidding. They were out of the squad, yet if Bodie wanted he was sure Cowley would take the other man back. In fact he was positive Cowley was just waiting for Bodie to stuff up so he could drag him back into the fold and reprimand the stupid sod. Cowley wouldn't let an agent like Bodie run free for too long... He was too damn valuable. So where would that leave him? Back at his original conclusions. The partnership was over and he just had to make Bodie accept the fact so they could dissolve the friendship before it was too late. Somehow he would talk Bodie into returning to the squad, knowing the other would not be completely happy until he was back in the harness. Rubbing his smoke sore eyes, he yawned, sitting down to remove his socks as he felt an angry glare cut into his back. "You want the bathroom first?"
"So why didn't you take it?"
"Huh?" Doyle looked up mystified, seeing that the other was spoiling for a fight. That was all he needed now. He'd had enough for one day. What with Dex and then Stuart Harwoods' strange looks... If he wasn't out of CI5 and honestly working for himself now, he would have been damn suspicious that he'd blown his cover. Yet...
"The offer." Bodie said concisely, not having heard the end of the seductive conversation.
"What offer?" Doyle asked mystified as he refocused on the other man.
"Don't give me that shit, Doyle! You know what bloody offer I'm talking about!"
Standing up, Doyle scowled at the furious man opposite him. "I wouldn't ask if I knew."
"Dex bloody 'I want your services' offer!" He mimicked, his tone turning nasty.
Feeling his own temper rise, Doyle just studied the other man's demanding stance. "That's none of your business," he said slowly, not wanting another argument.
"The fuck it isn't!" Bodie cut back, as he just stopped the shout. He paced forward and glared at Doyle from the space of a heart beat. "He'll screw you in more ways than just the obvious, and you'll end up like the last two security guards who are, surprise, surprise... not really on sick leave!"
Frowning Doyle, studied the other man, confused by the venom behind the words. "What the hell are you talking about?"
"You and that human leech!" Bodie spat, getting more infuriated as Doyle refused to answer him properly. "I would never have believed it possible, but after the other night, I'm not so sure."
Biting down on his own anger, Doyle tried to control his tone as he breathed out slowly. Somehow he knew Bodie had been stewing about that night when he had gotten drunk. "I don't think we should discuss this at the moment,"
"Well we bloody well are!" Bodie injected, not bothering to keep his voice down that time. He jabbed Doyle hard in the shoulder. "What's going on, Doyle? What aren't you telling me?"
"You tell me, since you seem to know everything already!" Doyle hissed back, trying to keep control of the volatile situation.
"You were all over that creep in the corridor-"
"You spied on me?!" Doyle broke in incredulously.
"You spied." Doyle concluded, not believing this. "What right have you got to dictate my life to me? You're not my God damn mother! You're not even Cowley!"
"Christ, Doyle, one of us has to keep our heads, and you've lost your!"
"Me!" Doyle drowned him out, roughly pushing the hand away which jabbed at him again in emphasis. "You've been barely civil for days-"
"Oh great, blame me!"
"And now you're pulling a heavy because you feel your masculinity has been compromised!"
Locking his jaw, Bodie almost slammed the other man into the far wall.
"Well I hate to break it to you sunshine, but you're the one with the problems! You're the one who has the hang-up, not me! I can cope with bastards like Dexter Luthin, and don't ever think I can't!' He took a steadying breath, trying to inject some sense into the other man. "And don't ever spy on me again."
"Or what?!" Bodie sneered, not liking the feeling of vulnerability. Not liking the fact that Doyle had worked him out so quickly. Yet he should have known he would...
"Or we part company here and now." Doyle answered in a quieter tone, dead seriousness reflecting in his expression.
"The fuck we will!" Bodie exploded, his anger far from settling. This only confirmed his worst fears. "I'm not giving up on this partnership just because you have!"
Looking away, Doyle swore under his breath, feeling Bodie's finger bite into his healing shoulder as the other man tried to swing him back around. It hurt.
"I never took you for a quitter."
"Me?" Doyle shook his head, not knowing any more what Bodie wanted him to say. Not knowing how to correct the wrong. Shrugging the bruising fingers aside, he tried to reach for his coat.
"And stop bloody running all the time!" Bodie demanded.
"Then be honest with me for once!" Doyle yelled back just as strongly, glaring at the furious man. "Cut this crap and tell me what really is going on in that crazy head of yours, because mate I can tell you, I've had it up to here." He gestured angrily, his face mirroring that anger. "Firstly you risk your life for me in Russia and then resign, and you won't tell me why! So now I'm starting to wonder if this is a set up,"
"Fine!" Doyle stepped around the other man, heading for the door. "Then I'll end it for both of us here and now so you can go back to your real life. Go back to Cowley, and let me get on with mine!"
"For Christ sakes!" Slamming the door shut as the other pulled it open, Bodie crashed into the other man as Doyle turned, taking a wild swing at him. It missed and they ended up falling over the armchair beside the door, carried by the momentum.
Grunting out a painful breath as Bodie's elbow slammed into his ribs, Doyle twisted around, feeling his shoulder pull and finding they were nose to nose before either could disentangle themselves.
"Damn," Doyle breath, wincing in real pain as he saw Bodie hesitate above him, a look of utter desperation clouding his blue eyes... an image of Bodie leaning over him, calling his name as he battled to stay conscious... before the other leant down and covered his mouth brutally.
Amazed at his own stupidity, as the clear memory of a night of five nights ago assaulted his mind, Bodie never the less could not stop himself as he touched the dry lips of his partner, knowing they had nothing left to lose now. Doyle was right, the partnership was over and it was all because of his own stubbornness. He felt Doyle grunt as the other tried to move, expecting an angry rejection. But it never came, and he increased the pressure, tasting hot breath before the other opened his mouth slowly.
Mildly shocked, Doyle attempted to understand what was driving Bodie, not scared of the physical contact as he had seen, read and witnessed too much in his short life already to be surprised by anything. Oddly, he was the more liberal minded of the two, but still he had never imagined Bodie trying something like this, even with his harsh mercenary back ground. Give Bodie enough rope and he'll eventually hang himself... Believing the other man would come to his senses soon enough, then there would be hell to pay. Thank God they were off the squad... or Cowley would kill them himself for being so stupid... Wondering where this would lead, and how it would effect the friendship, he decided to wait and see what the other would do, as he closed his eyes and opened his mouth further. It was not that much different from kissing that Irish gym instructor he had dated six months ago, before Bodie has tricked her into a double date and left him with the other's reject. Not that it bothered him... as neither could hold down a serious relationship with the kind of job they did. Had done... he reminded himself bitterly. Feeling his mouth besieged, he raised his hand to touch the other's short cropped hair.
Startled that Doyle had not protested, Bodie started to imagine what else his partner of six years might be into that he was not aware of. What might he have said and done with that Dex character from the club... It was a maddening thought. Tasting the hot mouth, he reluctantly broke the contact and lifted his head to stare down into shrewd green eyes, seeing no judgment, just patience and concern as the other waited for an explanation.
"Bodie, what is going on?"
Dropping his head down into the other's warm neck, he tried to sort out his jumbled thoughts, suddenly seeing in his mind the KGB's secret base again and Doyle's broken and dying body. He strengthened his grip on the hot body. "I... " Feeling the erratic pulse beat under his mouth, he bit the damp skin gently, not wanting to lose this comforting feeling of closeness. Scared of what would happen if Doyle walked out of his life for good. He felt the other wriggle, trying to move away and he bit the skin harder, tasting the other's aftershave and sweat as the erratic pulse beat quickened.
"Bodie?" It was almost husky, yet questioning just the same.
Ignoring it, Bodie worked his way around the damp skin, just waiting for the ax to fall, not meeting the wide eyes as he reclaimed the open mouth in a deeper sharing. How could he possibly start to explain his fears?
Getting extremely worried now, Doyle broke the second kiss, realizing what would happen next as his own body welcomed the seductive caresses. This was not happening... was it? And why now? They had shared many beds over the last few years and had joked quite intimately with each other, so why was this a surprise? Was it because they were both out of CI5, and that the restrictions were gone? Or was it because they needed something to fill the void? "Bodie?" He felt a hand skim down his flank and he almost panicked. "For God sakes... Bodie!"
"Shut up," Bodie said almost absently as he closed his eyes and just concentrated on the sensations, thinking about how the other had almost died and how he had been useless in protecting his partner. That had never happened before to him... he had always been in control, achieved the impossible until seven weeks ago.
Never one to deny pleasure, Doyle still struggled with the concept of what was happening as his shirt was pulled from his trousers and experienced fingers caressed his abdomen. "Bodie!" He gripped the broad shoulders and tried to force the other man's head up.
Lost in the dark memories, Bodie latched on to the damp skin under his mouth and bit the flesh hard enough to mark it. He felt the other gasp, before strong hands were pushing him away.
"Bloody hell, mate!" Doyle complained as he finally got Bodie's attention, trying to control his erratic breathing as he met the clouded blue eyes.
"You don't like it?" Bodie asked bluntly, already guessing the answer.
Thrown by the directness, Doyle hesitated. "It's not that. It's just-"
"What?" He pushed. "You were willing to let Dexter touch you a little while ago."
"That was all show," he started to protest.
"Yes, and you know it!" He said, attempting to frown.
"And now?" Bodie let his grin grow evilly as his fingers slid up the warm skin he touched, liking the idea of getting Doyle off balance.
Not wanting to admit to the effects Bodie's touch was causing, Doyle tried to glare at the unrepentant man. "Bodie, I'm warning you-"
"And I'm sick of hearing your threats about leaving me." He pressed his advantage, letting some of his own anger resurface. "You want to know why I disregarded the coded message Cowley received? Well, I'll tell you. It was because I could not let myself believe you were dead. I couldn't let that happen. I was out of CI5 regardless of what Cowley wanted, and he just turned it to his advantage as usual, by arranging for me to meet his contacts in the USSR. I had to find you, Ray, and one way or another I was going to bring you back to English soil."
Stunned by the emotion-laden words, Doyle could only blink up speechless as the image of Bodie leaning over him in haunted his memory again. He now started to realize that the fear and desperation he'd seen was not from any outside dangers, but rather from the mental anguish and turmoil that the other was going through. "I didn't know,"
"Obviously." Bodie snapped, then softened the remark with a mischievous smirk. "Then when Cowley threw you off the squad I felt..."
"Anchorless..." Doyle offered, starting to understand as he admitted to his own feelings and frustrations over the de-activation.
"Exactly," Bodie whispered as he leaned in close again, seeing a slight wariness enter the green eyes. "Then you took off before I could find you."
"I needed a drink-"
"You got drunk, and I couldn't talk with you." He admitted ruefully. "Then you got me angry and we..."
"I remember the rest." Doyle told him quickly. "Only the next morning you clamed up on me."
"You remember it all?" Bodie asked, latching on to the first part of the statement.
"I wasn't that drunk, you over grown idiot." Doyle snorted indignantly.
"You little shit," he muttered, seeing the other resurrect a typical grin. "And now?" He asked.
"And now what?" Doyle sobered fast.
"Now that you're sober..." Bodie left the rest unsaid as he hid his grin, seeing the green eyes darken in worry. Moving his hand again, he knew exactly what to do to get the other man distracted. Having had seen him in enough positions over the last six years together, Bodie probably knew him better than his own mother did.
Sucking in a breath, Doyle reached for the persuasive hand that skimmed over his abdomen, knowing how Bodie could tease him. He held no illusion regarding Bodie's numerous sexual conquests as they had shared enough double dates, and even swapped girlfriends on too many occasions. "Bodie-"
"I bet I could make you enjoy it."
"No arguments, but I don't think we should-"
"Christ mate, will you shut up!" He snapped before claiming the open mouth, enjoying himself now as he pushed the advantage. This was a new twist on their normally active and often varied sexual encounters, and now he wondered why they had not tried it before. God knows how close they had come to it on countless occasions. Suddenly Murphy and Turner's lewd comments regarding their relationship were starting to make sense. He felt Doyle squirm, as he bit at the other man's soft lips, drawing blood. At least in this he already knew Doyle. Knew what made him tick, and knew what to expect from his exasperating partner, as there would be no illusions or pretences. Just friendship and trust.
Dragging in a breath, Doyle gasped as his mouth was released. "Bodie..?" Despite himself, he could not deny the pleasure of it as he felt his partner's hands undo his zip and cup his genitals hotly. Whether is was from stress, exhaustion or confusion... he no longer cared as he surrendered to the sensation, tangling his fingers in Bodie's dress shirt and pulling the other man closer. "Bastard."
Hearing the whisper, Bodie buried his smile as he let Doyle devour his mouth in a hungry kiss, swamping his senses with instant lust as the man under him came alive to his touch. It was gratifying and powerful to be given something he had not known he had wanted or needed. Needed so badly and he savored the taste and feel of the warm body under his hands. Feeling Doyle shiver he lifted his head and heard Doyle curse. "What..." Doyle would not back away now, would he? Would not give him a sample of heaven and then withdraw the willingness?
"Don't know about you, mate, but it's bloody freezin' on the floor." Doyle said lightly as he saw the blue eyes darken with that strange fear again. "Bloody drafty," he got no further as he was abruptly hauled up and shoved towards the bed. Thank God it was a small room, he mused as he stumbled on to the hard mattress, other wise he would have ended up on the floor again. Typical Bodie... Then hands were on him and he sighed as he felt his shirt roughly pulled off his shoulder. "Bodie-"
"Shut up." Bodie growled, ignoring the few buttons that hamper his progress as he threw Doyle's shirt on the floor. Shoving the other man flat again he studied him in minute detail, almost seeing him for the first time.
"Bodie..?" Doyle question as he held his breath and let his mind start to work again. In all reality this was definitely not a good idea. Adding the volitiles of sex to their already strained relationship would not help matter. Quite apart from the small, yet not insignificant fact that he was not that way inclined... well at least not normally. Yet Bodie had inspired a sense of arousal in him that was frightening. "Bodie? Maybe we should just stop and think..." Doyle tried again and he lifted himself up on his elbows. But instead of getting an answer he found himself speechless again as the tall man slowly started to undress. It set a nest of butterflies off in his abdomen.
"Think, sunshine?" Bodie asked suggestively as he eyed the sprawled figure. Ray was deceptively lean and undeniably desirable as he lay semi naked across the bed. "Can you think?" Bodie whispered as he heeled off his shoes and let his trousers slid to the floor. He gave a half smile as Doyle swallowed as his eyes lowered to center on his proud erection.
"Well..." Doyle swallowed again. Christ... Bodie was a work of art. He'd always known that, yet now it made more sense. Now it impacted on him especially as he saw how aroused the other man was. Never before had his partner's full heated attention been so blatently leveled at him and it was flattering. Terribly exciting in a very dangerous way. Licking his lips he blinked and then looked up, just in time to see the other man reach down and pull off his shoes. "Bodie-"
"Christ, Ray, can't you think of anything else to say?" Bodie laughed softly, feeling oddly in control as he crawled up his partner's frame and homed in on the open mouth without invitation. Delving into the hot expanse, he sort out every corner of his partners mouth, tasting him intimately before grabbing his hands and pushing him flat. It was erotic. Utterly satisfying and welcoming as he absorbed Doyle's soft grunt of compliance before he pushed his knees between the slender thighs. Remarkably Doyle gave in and he lapped up the unusual willingness, knowing that as soon as Ray got over his shock then the struggles would begin. He looked forward to it, later. But now he just wanted the gentleness of acceptance. The taste and feel of having control, of being able to protect... Breaking the deep open mouth kiss, Bodie looked down into his partner's dazed face, enjoying the vulnerability he glimpsed before he latched onto the extended neck and marked the skin lovingly.
"Bloody hell, Bodie-"
Hearing the hoarse whisper, Bodie tried not to laugh. Pressing down into the heat under him, Bode let his urgency answer the other man. Releasing the trapped wrists he mouthed his way down the naked chest to leave a trail of hot, moist desire until he came to the open waist band of his partner's trousers. Stopping there he crouched between spread legs and lightly caressed up the inside of Doyle's thigh. He watched mesmerized as Ray arced up slightly, bending one leg in silent and unconscious encouragement. Laughing gently he crawled up Doyle's body until he was leaning over him. "You, sunshine, are a fuckin' tease."
"Yeah?" Doyle lifted one brow in challenge.
"Oh, definitely." Bodie decided. Reaching down he unceremoniously dragged Doyle's trousers and underwear off the squirming man.
Feeling the mood lighten between them slightly, Ray reached up and turned them over. He was still not sure what he should do. If they should follow this dangerous situation to its conclusion, or end it now with a bit of light hearted wrestling and then shelve the last twenty minutes into the realms of 'best forgotten experience'. Going for a three quarter hold on the other man, he grunted as he was suddenly and expertly flipped over only to have Bodie gaze down at him with smug understanding.
"Not this time, Ray."
"Listen you over grown lunatic-"
"This is not a game."
Sobering immediately, Doyle let himself meet the shrewd blue eyes. "No." He admitted after a long pause. "But that's why,"
"That's why it is so important." Bodie finished for him. Sliding a thigh over his partner's hip, he saw Doyle suck in a breath and grinned mischievously. "You also like this, if I'm not mistaken."
"I thought I was a bastard."
"Oh, that you are mate. Trust me,"
Halting the words, Bodie initiated another kiss, thrilled when he got an instant response that was neither hesitant nor shy. He knew that getting past Doyle's ethical objections was the hardest part so set about to distract his partner. He also briefly wondered how much experience Ray had. He would have thought none... yet... "Ray?"
"Have you ever done this before?"
"Don't play dumb."
"I'm not." Doyle growled. "Christ, Bodie! What do you think!?"
"I wouldn't ask-"
"You've read my file. And unlike yours it is complete."
Strangely pleased by that, Bodie ignored the questioning look aimed at him as he dropped down the lean body and abruptly took Doyle's aroused shaft in his mouth. Leaving a hand on the flat abdomen, he restrained his partner as he felt the other man cry out and arch up.
"Christ!" Doyle gasped, not having expected this. In fact he was not sure what he had expected. He was consumed in a heat that tore at his control. It devoured him as Bodie's mouth expertly drove him to a fast desperate state of need and arousal. His entire existence narrowed to that damning mouth as the soft tongue tantalized him while one strong hand pressed him to the bed and the other large hand caressed up inside of his thighs. It was maddeningly mind blowing as he insides turned to a molten jelly that drove all rational thought from his head. He struggled to breathe, his hands gripping the bedding as he strained to let go and come, but he was deprived of release as the hot suction let him gasping.
Lifting his head, Bodie shook his head at the sight of his partner stretched out in such wantonness. Perspiration covered his body as the green eyes blinked around dazed, an expression of disbelief and wonder fighting for supremacy. Moving to lie next to Doyle, Bodie trailed his hand up the damp body, letting his own urgent need brush Doyle's hip. "Ray?"
Smiling, Bodie, turned his lover's head with a finger under chin, liking the look of such openness and claimed the panting mouth. Releasing him, he licked his lips seductively. "Want more?"
"Be mad not to," Ray said the first thing that came into his head and then stopped the words as he focused a little more on his partner. He could read now the banked down sexual need that burned in the blue eyes. "You want me to-"
"Later." Bodie said as he continued to stare at Doyle.
"So..?" A little confused again, Doyle tried to re-gather his erratic thoughts as he felt Bodie caress down his heated flesh. "Damnit, mate, I'm not a mind reader."
"No," Bodie said reflectively. "Ray, how would you feel about-"
"What?" Ray asked a little too harshly as Bodie's simple touch re-ignited all his over sensitive nerves again. He was so aroused it almost hurt now.
Licking his lips again, Bodie debated what to say or do.
"Oh," Ray said with sudden insight as he saw the long lashes sweep down to hide his partner's true thoughts. He was not that naive, even if Bodie believed he was. "You wanna fuck me, is that it?" Abruptly he was pinned by a very hot stare as Bodie's lashes lifted and the blue eyes seared into him with undisguised hunger and desire. It was enough to almost push him over the edge.
"Yeah," Bodie just breathed the word as he held himself very still. Logically he knew it was too soon to ask this of Ray. Way too soon, but Christ he wanted it. Needed it. Had needed this since he'd first lost it after Ray had been taken by Losada. To gain control. To find the direction in his life and lose the irrational fear. To bind this man to him. To hold him at his side indefinitely...
"'s okay, sunshine." Bodie coaxed. "I'll take it slow."
A little thrown, Doyle just nodded blindly, cursing softly as he was rewarded with a swift deep kiss that left his senses reeling before he was abandoned. Lifting his head off the bed, he blinked, just catching sight of Bodie striding out of the small bathroom they had. The tall agent was magnificent to look at. All pale skin and well defined muscles. A sleekness that implied strength and power. Dropping his head down, Doyle closed his eyes not believing any of this. Maybe it was another weird dream... Hell, but if Dr. Ross ever got hold of this little warped fantasy Cowley would certainly kick him off the squad. But wasn't he off the squad anyway..?
"Wake up goldilocks," Bodie whispered as he ran a hand up his partner's damp chest.
"Bodie," Ray breathed and tried to lick his lips.
"Turn over mate."
Hesitating, Doyle didn't move until he saw his partner's face swim closer. Then without thought he instinctively opened his mouth wanting the kiss. A response which both shocked and frightened him because of its intensity. Then he was turning, feeling his engorged shaft rub against the rough bed sheets and muffling his gasp of need. Hands at his hip pulled him to his knees, and he let Bodie do it, no longer sure of his own mind as his body seemed to have other ideas. Doubts would come later. Much later. But right now he wanted this. Wanted to feel the depth of his partner's desire. To experience this irrational craving that ate into him every time Bodie touched him.
Studying the body presented, Bodie's hands shook, not believing Ray's willingness. The openness that had pushed him over the edge of longing as he tipped some of his gun oil on his fingers and gently started to prepare his lover. He rimmed the tight entrance, slipping one finger into the smooth heat, then using a second to stretch the resistant muscle. He hear Doyle mutter something, but ignored it as he searched with his fingers for the spot which would deaden any pain and make the smaller man under him fly. Finding it abruptly he had to use his other arm to grip Ray around the waist and pull he back, gratified when the tight muscle relaxed. It was all the encouragement he needed. Knowing that the state they were both in, neither of them would last much longer. Positioning himself, he gently thrush in.
Crying out, Ray was not sure if he wanted to push Bodie away or drag him closer. The sensations were incredible. His body had exploded with sensations he'd never felt before as Bodie's fingers had fucked him, but now the pleasure had changed into a sharp pain that was worryingly lustful. Only he couldn't have said why and he gasped feeling himself filled. It was utter madness... Then strong hands were at his hips, sliding up his flank, to his chest, caressing and reaffirming who he was before he was dragged back to sit in Bodie's lap. "Fuck..!" Breathy laughter in his ear was his only answer.
"Christ your bloody hot... and tight," Bodie said on a labored breath, turning his mouth into the flesh presented. He bit the back of Ray's neck, his hand running urgently over the lean body plastered against him as he felt his lover shudder. Then Ray arched, tilting his head back and giving himself over completely to the pleasure and experience as he pushed down. Sliding hands over damp skin, Bode lifted his lover slightly, then dragged him down again, his fingers biting into narrow hips even as his teeth sank into a tempting shoulder.
Gasping out at the over stimulus, Ray climaxed hard, barely noticing when he was shoved forward and then covered by a demanding heat. He felt Bodie tense as he was pressed into the ungiving mattress, letting his partner control him in utter trust as he was swamped by his friend and lovers release.
What seemed like an eternity later, Bodie rolled off the seductive heat and dragged Doyle over with him. The sharing had surpassed all his other encounters, making him even more determined to fight for the partnership. The friendship. The trust. The love..? "Ray?"
Forcing himself to look at the other man, Bodie pushed over long curls out of his partner's face. Lover... "That was..."
"Fuckin' fantastic." Doyle said sleepily, not even bothering to open his eyes. He was tired and he really didn't felt up to dissecting the emotions of the situation just yet. His mind was too confused...
Seeing how Doyle was ignoring him, Bodie sighed. Leaning over he chastely kissed the corner of his lover's mouth, silently vowing not to let Ray dismiss what happened that easily. But later in the day would do. It had been a long night. Reaching down he dragged up the blankets at the foot of the bed and covered them both. Moving closer to the dozing man, he snuggled in, deciding the best form of defense was offense...
Losada quickly learned of CI5's interest in the ex-agents, and he was intrigued as reports filtered down about Cowley's displeasure over where both men were working. Indeed, it was a change as he had heard of Roberts and his shady business deals. But Cowley was a devious old fox, already having out-smarted him once and tarnishing his excellent record, not to mention his professional ego. And he did not like being made a fool of, so this time he wanted to bring Cowley down as well as destroy CI5's credibility. All his agents were in place, as he just waited now for Omega One's nod of approval. It could come as early as that evening...
A security meeting was held on Thursday afternoon and attended by the Minister, the Head of MI6, Special Branch and MI5 Divisions, plus the various Home Office watch dogs. Cowley and the Home Secretary also attended. A number of grievances were sorted out, usually over Cowley's broad jurisdiction which upset cases by MI6 agents. The budgets were also negotiated, as each Head was ordered to cut back on useless stake-out operations and over-use of expensive surveillance equipment on diplomatic visitors.
When it came to Cowley's report, all eyes turned intently on him, knowing he was the biggest abuser of the current system as he tried to control his squad of 'savages'. And no matter how many times he stressed the point that neither he nor his agents wasted tax payers' money, no-one believed him. Everything his organization was involved in was a necessity and he himself would be the first to put an end to the squad if they were not needed by society. But shelving that topic, he turned to the arguments of the day, carefully laying down the ground work for his plan so he could reel in his two young hot headed operatives before they disgraced themselves completely.
Glancing coldly between the Heads of MI6 and MI5, Cowley opened his folder. "CI5 is already running within your delicate margins, as you know, Minister."
The Minister nodded and looked at Cowley tiredly. He was not a happy man, especially as he knew what Cowley was trying to prove. "Yes, George, I know. I have read your somewhat brief reports. But George, what we want to know here is if you have been able to cut down on the number of agents involved in an assignment at one time?"
"Sir," Cowley stated flatly, only a slight annoyance marring his speech. "Every man I use is necessary. If I took so much as one man off each case, the case would then become a potential risk, not only to my department but also to the public we serve."
"Yes, George, we understand that, but surely there are some cases which do not require all your operatives working around the clock seven days a week. That sort of abuse just destroys the budget." This was from Anderson, the Head of MI6, with his deputy, Alex Hart nodding in agreement.
Cowley looked at the man like a snake looked at a rat. "I am not aware of any such cases, Ron."
"Come off it, George," Hart started, backing his superior. "What about the case dealing with your two rogue agents?"
Disliking being addressed by his first name, especially by jumped up governmental weeds, Cowley turned to look at the skinny man, injecting just enough genuine curiosity into his tone as he framed his question. "And which case is that, Hart, as I did not think MI6 concerned itself with CI5 business."
Knowing he had backed himself into a corner, Hart went on the defensive and met Cowley's challenge. "Everyone knows that you have assigned half your operatives to finding and containing two volatile madmen whom you dismissed. Now we are not questioning their dismissal, just the fact of wasted tax payers' funds spent on trailing them."
Cowley settled a deadly smile on the other man before replying. "That, Alex, is CI5 business. And no, if you want my opinion, I think I do not have enough men assigned to the case. Because the two you speak of have just taken up with Roberts and have the possibility of becoming a dangerous security risk."
"Good God, George!" The Minister exclaimed. "I hope you plan to correct this problem and soon."
"Yes, Minister. The details for the operation are not up for discussion here, but if you like I can bring the relevant files around to your office tomorrow morning, say 11am to discuss it."
"Yes, George, I would appreciate that." The Minister agreed before turning to the other men in the room. "Well gentlemen, that about closes the meeting for this week..."
On the same afternoon Cowley was leaving the Minister's office, Bodie was leaning against the railings over looking the Thames river. Doyle had taken off about an hour ago, stating he needed to go for a run and Bodie had not argued, needing some space himself. They each had a lot to think about.
Remembering the events of the early morning, he groaned, not believing that they had had finally made it to bed... after how long? Six years. And waking up at 2pm and being faced with a slumbering Doyle in his arms had not damped his desire one bit. Nothing like this had happened to him since school and he was both embarrassed and amused by the idea and level of hunger involved. It had not even been the most planned seduction he had ever experienced, the most memorable... definitely, and he smiled despite himself. And it had seemed to clear the air between them and relieved a lot of the past few weeks' tension. It would be interesting to see what Doyle would do the following morning when they returned from the club, as the Hotel room still only sported one bed. Letting his smile turn into a predatory grin, Bodie allowed his imagination free reign, knowing Doyle as he did. Besides, in the end the main thing still was the partnership, and it would now survive.
"You still standing here?"
Turning at the soft voice, he was not surprised to see the other man as Doyle looked hot and sweaty in his runners. He was also carrying a sandwich wrapped in plastic, which he held out. "It's quiet and peaceful," Bodie answered, accepting the food.
"It's also open." Doyle replied with emphasis.
"You still jumping at shadows?"
"Only when they jump back." Doyle quipped as he leaned on the railing a few paces away.
Seeing the action, Bodie hid his smile, opening his sandwich. "It's tuna!"
"I know, ruddy expensive too. I hope you're worth it."
"Oh, I am sunshine." He assured, seeing how Doyle was attempting to distance himself. That ploy wouldn't work for long. "But I hate tuna."
"They're quite cute I thought-"
"Who? Me or the fish?" He asked, trying to raise a smile out of the other man and almost succeeding.
Turning Doyle gave him an innocent look, all eyes and hair. He still was not sure how he felt as the run had failed the help him focus. There was no doubt that the morning's activities had felt good at the time... but what about now? In the cold light of day things often appeared different.
"Have you ever been force fed?"
"I'm trying to kick the habit."
Releasing a breath, Bodie moved closer to the other man, almost touching him. "Ray,"
"What?" It was said with no teasing or amusement as the green eyes returned the other man's look. "I honestly think that this morning was the stupidest thing we have ever done."
"Nah," Bodie said with the same level of gravity. "I think it was always going to happen, just the timing was unknown."
Stunned, Doyle just stared at him. "You can't be serious."
"Perfectly." Bodie assured him. "Think about it Ray, we work very well together, live in each others' pockets constantly until we know each other better than we know ourselves. We've shared beds, clothing, cars, tooth brushes and girlfriends. Do you really think any of that is going to change?"
Reflecting on all that Doyle had to admit the other had a valid point. "I'd still like my own tooth brush back, if that's okay."
"Idiot." Bodie shook his head. "Seriously Ray, nothing's really changed. Except maybe our perspective."
Pursing his lips Doyle considered that, glad they were finally having a serious conversation for once. "So where do we go from here?"
"Where ever we want to go," he said, tossing some of his sandwich to the pigeons.
Wanting to believe that, Doyle instinctively tensed as he scanned the area. "I think we have a tail," He stated casually.
"Who, the green Vauxhall?" Bodie asked pleasantly as he instantly braced himself, turning unobtrusively away.
"Yeah, I saw him earlier down by the bridge."
"Were you playing cops and robbers again without me?" He joked lightly as he casually followed Doyle as the other headed back towards the park.
"Had to do something as I was getting lonely."
"You should have just told me, and we could have stayed in doors." He replied straight faced, trying to suppress his laughter as he saw Doyle's shocked then disbelieving look.
"I wasn't that lonely."
"Now I'm hurt."
"You'll survive." He said without heat. "Doesn't look like one of ours."
"No." Bodie agreed. "Could be MI6 or MI5..."
"You think we've accidentally blundered into one of their operations again at the club?"
"Wouldn't be the first time."
"I don't buy it." Doyle decided. "Shit, look at the plate."
Coolly glancing over, Bodie swore. "Diplomatic plates..."
"KGB?" Doyle ventured as he quickened his pace slightly, not liking the look of this.
"Could be." Bodie agreed. "Looks like they want you back, sunshine," His words greatly contrasting his tone.
"You know, I've just had another thought," Doyle mused, ignoring the way Bodie had said that. It had sounded dangerous.
"What? Like if they're watching us, then-"
"The Cow's watching them watching us." Doyle finished.
"Christ, it was a God damn set-up." He said with feeling. "That old bastard..."
"We're about to get thrown into the shit again."
"Without a shovel." Doyle agreed. "You carrying? I'm not."
Reaching the center of the park, Bodie just shook his head, indicating he'd left his spare in the room also. "I'll go around the oak and head for the west alley way." Bodie said low and urgently as he briefly touched his partner's arm in silent warning.
"Yeah, I'll meet you around the other side. Maybe we'll get lucky."
Going down to the workshop to meet the two agents waiting for him, Cowley checked his watch as Campbell and Morgan walked over. He ignored them both as he turned to the CI5 head mechanic and asked for Bodie's car keys to the Capri. Both cars were still sitting at the back of the shop untouched just like Cowley had ordered.
Taking the keys he limped over to Campbell and tossed them at him. "You're driving."
Staring at the CI5 controller in wary disbelief, Campbell checked the tag on the key ring before going to retrieve the car. If he was surprised by which car the boss wanted then he covered it well as he pulled to a stop beside his partner and the Chief of CI5.
Climbing in the passenger seat, Cowley eyed his two men, knowing they were up to the task he was going to ask of them. In fact he was very pleased with himself having just learned that Bodie and Doyle had rumbled two KGB agents, hopefully upsetting Losada even more. Just one more day and it should all be over, then all he would have to do is drag both men back into CI5. He did not think it would be too hard.
"Where to, Sir?"
"Oh, to the Minister's private home will be fine."
"This time of night?" Morgan asked, knowing it was well past 9pm.
"Aye," Was all Cowley said. "Take the back route if you will."
Complying, Campbell started the car moving, navigating the traffic expertly.
About half way to their destination, Cowley took out a file and eyed both men. "I have an assignment for you both."
Neither answered, both just looking at him in mild interest.
"Tomorrow morning at precisely 10.30 am I will leave CI5 Headquarters with a briefcase and make my way over to the Minister' Office in town. Somewhere between the two Offices I expect to get stopped. It will probably be in the Home Office car park."
"Probably..." Morgan started.
"Aye, in fact I'm counting on it." Cowley looked back at the man and smiled. "Now this is what I want you two to do..."
Having settled his problems with Doyle, Bodie positively beamed as he watched the three games in progress up on the first floor of 'Alfies'. After scaring their tails, they had spent some time getting lost in the dock area before heading back to the Hotel to change. It had given them barely an hour to reach the club, and they had almost been late. It was actually a pity they had to work, because for the first time in weeks he felt comfortable in the partnership again and would have liked a quiet night. Oh well, it would have to wait until the morning now...
Everyone was commenting on his changed personality, and he had just grinned, refusing to comment as he carried out his duties mechanically. He didn't even worry about Doyle downstairs, knowing the other man was perfectly capable for handling Harwood or even the over-amorous Dexter. It was no longer a concern as he waited with anticipation. Cowley was up to something, and he knew that before long both he and Doyle would be neck deep in action. It was an encouraging thought.
What was puzzling him was the idea as to why Cowley had set them up without telling them. Why he had let them think they were out of the squad... Surely he should know by now that they could have acted the part convincingly? They could have baited the Russians even better... So why the deception?
Letting the puzzling thought go, he just concentrated on the task of not buggering up the scam Cowley had set in place, which would mean continuing working for Harwood until Cowley contacted them. Or until the Russians showed their hand... Or they got themselves killed... The only consolation was the fact that if Cowley were setting them up then that would indicate that Losada was back in London. And Bodie wanted him for what he had done to Doyle...
Rolling his shoulder and shifting the expensive coat marginally, he felt dressed for the first time in days as the gun nestled snugly under his left arm. Let Losada come, as he would just love a second chance at blowing the man away. Case or no case... Because if Cowley could keep them in the dark then he really could pretend that he and Doyle had not worked out the old man's ploy and act as free agents. Meaning he would take Losada out... And it would be on Cowley's head.
Seeing a confrontation brewing at table one, he walked over and placed a restraining hand on the elderly gentleman's shoulder. "Sir, could you please accompany me over to the bar?' he asked pleasantly.
The next morning, Campbell and Morgan gave Cowley a two minute head start before leaving CI5 Headquarters anonymously. They did not approve of the risks the shrewd Controller was taking, but respected his wishes, not even really understanding what he hoped to gain by setting himself up as bait.
Reaching for a switch on the tracking device, Morgan flicked it on, hearing the dull bleep as the radar lit up in front of them. They both considered the bright green light thoughtfully for a couple of seconds.
"Well, at least that is working," Morgan exclaimed. The radar indicated Cowley was still on course for the Home Office.
Pulling up outside the security gates of the Home Office, Cowley showed his ID before being allowed in to park. He picked a parking slot away from the gates as he figured his assailant would be one of three KGB agents Losada liked to use. In fact he was counting on it.
Getting out of the Rover, he locked it slowly and then turned to limp towards the car park elevators. Depressing the button he waited impatiently as the old lifts whined into life. Around him there was no movement and he glanced around casually into the dimly lit area. The high pitched grind of the old lift shattered the silence as it ground to a stop on his level and he sighed, thinking that maybe he had miscalculated with the other man. He had been so positive that the files would be taken that he had not even formulated a concrete back up plan.
Watching the door of the old lift open, he was startled as a figure leaped at him from the right, knocking him off balance hard. Stumbling backwards, he just caught himself, pretending to be injured as he watched the assailant. The man scooped up his brief case and pulled out his gun aiming it at him, just forestalling the action as voices could be heard approaching. Without hesitation the thief darted away back into the shadows.
Waiting another few seconds to make sure he was alone, Cowley stood and brushed himself off as he walked back towards his Rover.
Two security guards walked around the corner and gave him a wave before moving on and he dismissed them as window dressing only.
Driving out of the car park, he phoned the Minister and told him of the snatch, then pulled up outside a News Stand to pick up Goddard and Davis who were waiting as ordered.
"Alpha one to 9.2, come in." He barked into the R/T.
"9.2, Sir. We have the object on radar... heading north about six miles from our current position."
"Good. Keep with him, but not too close, as I don't want to scare him off now."
"Yes Sir." Came the staticky reply. "We have just turned into Victoria Road..."
"Right. Keep me informed. Out."
Replacing the R/T, Morgan eyed his partner. "He sounded cheerful."
"This geezer doesn't believe in speed limits," Campbell complained as the green light traveled to the edge of the radar swiftly.
"Yeah... just don't lose him, okay?"
"I'll try not to." He said indignantly.
"'Cause I don't wanta be the one to tell the old man we stuffed up. Again."
"And you think I do?"
The black triumph pulled up outside a stately home and the man quickly entered the house going up the massive flight of stairs. He knocked on a closed door and after a brief mumble was admitted immediately.
"You were not seen or followed?"
"No." The man shook his head. "I checked carefully."
"Good." The other man said as he walked around a magnificent cedar table. "And the case?"
"Here." The thief lifted the black briefcase, giving it to the other man.
Placing the case gently on the table, the man turned to the other occupant in the room. "Now, Losada, unlock this combination and we will see if your theories are correct. We will see if these two men are worth all the fuss."
"Yes." Losada nodded. "By knowing Cowley's plan, I will close in behind CI5 and snatch them both away. General Andropov will be well pleased with our achievements." He grinned fleetingly. "To quote Cowley's words, 'Those two would be invaluable in the wrong hands.'"
"Don't get too excited just yet, Losada. They may be worthless and if not, Cowley will probably move immediately to silence them." His voice held very little interest in the proposed venture, unhappy with Losada's idea. Yet orders had come from a higher authority that he should aid the intelligent Russian.
With two sharp clicks the case was opened and all looked on as Losada checked for booby traps. But the leather was clear. Opening the case wide he picked up a manila folder and thumbed through it, seeing nothing but blank pages stare back at him. First disbelief and then panic gripped him as he grabbed another folder, seeing the same thing.
"You fool, it is a trap!" The man snapped as he shoved the brief case off the table in Losada's direction.
"I do not understand..." Losada could only say, not understanding how his careful plans could be destroyed so easily.
Turning to the door the man stopped dead in his tracks as he saw Cowley watching him with two goons who he called agents flanking his side.
"Going somewhere, Ron?" Cowley asked pleasantly.
Knowing he was dead either way Ronald Anderson leapt at the older man in rage, going for his throat. Davis pulled him off the Chief as Goddard held a gun on the two other men in the room. Be-hind them Morgan and Campbell entered, reporting that the house was secured.
"Good. Very good." Was all Cowley said.
By late afternoon, forensics had been through the house as Cowley ambled down stairs to meet the Minister.
"Horrible work this, George." The Minister stated flatly as he looked around the beautiful house.
"Our mole, Minister. Ronald Anderson, former Head of MI6. How long he's been draining our organizations of information, we will never know. Even after the experts have finished interrogating him, we still may never know the entire truth."
"I had thought it was Hart." The Minister said looking at Cowley before sighing. "But you knew it was Anderson all along, didn't you, George."
Cowley just gave him a half grin, not answering. "I have ordered my men to pick up the other known KGB operatives who have moved into powerful positions within the government over the last few years. We'll clean out the nest good and proper, at least for a while."
"Good Lord, George! Do you know what the paper will make of all this... of this scandal?"
"Aye." Cowley nodded. "They will say that we lost a good man. They deceive the public as usual to the real truth, making the people who live here feel safe and warm. But at least I will know we have evicted a dangerous man. Until the next one appears." He looked past the Minister to his men who were escorting Losada from the premises. "Now if you'll excuse me, Minister."
"By all means." The Minister said as he continued to look around, wondering how he was going to cover this mess up.
Arriving back at Headquarters, Cowley smiled pleased as two of his men escorted Losada to the airport where he was to be deported. He would be followed home, and once there Cowley was sure General Andropov would have a lot to say to the disgraced agent.
Calling Morgan and Campbell into his office, he eyed them both. "Where's 3.7 and 4.5 at the moment?"
If they were surprised to hear the two men referred to by their unit numbers, Morgan and Campbell hid it well as they glanced at each other before replying. "8.9 reported that they entered the establishment on 159 North Road about three hours ago Sir."
"'Alfies'," Cowley muttered thoughtfully. "Right, I want you two to go and pick them up before they get into any more trouble."
Both agents looked at Cowley in puzzled astonishment. "You want them here? Now? Sir?"
"That is what I said, isn't it?" Cowley asked pointedly. "Well, what are you both waiting for, a royal escort! Now move as I want to go home sometime tonight!"
Beating a hasty retreat out of the Chief office Morgan scratched his head, confused. "What's going on now?"
"Beats me, but I can tell you I'd hate to be in Doyle or Bodie's shoes."
"Yeah, but didn't you think it strange that Cowley referred to them as 3.7 and 4.5?"
"An old habit I suppose."
"You're probably right." Morgan sighed as he checked his watch. "It'll take us a good hour to get through the traffic as it is! God we'll be here all night at this rate."
Helping Joe lift more crates, Bodie spied a look into the packed dance room, before returning upstairs to the small stock room. The nose from the discotheque below was deafening as a show took center stage and he wondered where Doyle was. After getting home the previous morning, he had expected Doyle to agonize over the sleeping arrangements, but had been relieved and surprised as his partner had just climbed into bed too tired to argue about anything. It was the waking six hours later that caused a few arguments and concerns.
Smiling as he remembered the half hearted protests from his partner, he was just about to go back downstairs when he felt the unmistakable hard coldness of a gun placed below his left ear. Raising his hands slowly he turned and saw Morgan's smiling face and groaned.
"If it isn't Bubble and Squeak. What do you two arseholes want?"
"Just a chat."
"Yeah, down at HQ."
"I can't," he said with false regret, not really surprised to see the agents. Only thing was he had expected Murphy or Turner...
"Think again." Morgan said sweetly. "The gun is just a precaution mate, but unless you have forgotten, I do know how to use it."
"Oh very droll," Bodie said sarcastically.
"So where's wonder boy?" Campbell asked as they got Bodie moving before the other staff member returned.
"Down stairs." He looked over at Campbell as he saw the other agent peer out the door cautiously. "Why don't you let me get him?"
"As if!" Morgan scoffed, as he took out a set of hand cuffs and forced them on the ex-agent.
"Will you be right with him?" Campbell asked as he re- sheathed his gun.
"Sure." Morgan nodded, ignoring Bodie's graphic swearing. "Hay Taff, just be careful of Doyle. I hear he has a rotten temper."
"No problem," The other grinned as he left the room silently.
"You two will pay for this," Bodie growled.
"Save it for the Cow." Morgan advised as he shoved Bodie forward. "Now move."
Slipping into the crowded dance area, Campbell gave the female behind the bar a courteous smile as he scanned the room for his target. It did not take him long to locate Doyle over by the archway leading to the foyer. Approaching the man, he felt for his gun, plastering on a reassuring smile as he saw the ex-agent spot him.
"What the fuck do you want?" Doyle didn't bother to contain his dislike of the man, keeping his voice down as another patron walked past them.
"Just dropped in for a chat," Campbell started.
"Then you can just drop out again." Doyle snapped back, turning away.
Following him into the less crowded open foyer, Campbell grabbed the other man's arm, feeling the muscles tense under his hand. "I will after I get what I came for."
"And what's that?" It was a hissed sneer, green eyes flashing subdued violence.
"Cowley wants you pronto."
"You know the score as well as I do, Doyle. Cowley wants a chat so you can either come quietly or I'll pull out my ID and cause a scene." He threatened coldly. "Besides, we already have Bodie, so you might as well just accept the inevitable."
Biting his lip, Doyle scowled at the blond agent, knowing that the man was not really his enemy. "Damn him..."
"I take that to mean a yes?"
Given little choice, he preceded Campbell to the door and stopped abruptly as he came face to face with Giles Granger. Abruptly the stockier man pulled and gun and aimed it at him.
"Shit!" Doyle exclaimed as he ducked to the side and shoved two patrons out of the way. He heard the gun discharge and felt the rush of air near his left ear. Hitting the floor he rolled away reaching for his own weapon that he no longer had.
"Drop the gun!" Campbell shouted, as he raised his own gun and targeted the insane gunman.
But Granger paid him barely a glance as he charged Doyle firing his gun a second time, just missing the swearing curly haired man. Then a bullet slammed into his shoulder, spinning him around and he collapsed back against the far wall. But his eyes never left Doyle as he raised his gun a third time.
Knowing he was vulnerable, Doyle sucked in a breath, desperately searching for a way to disarm the other man, when Campbell fired again, but this time killing the gunman.
Around them people started to scream and Campbell took out his ID and shoved it arrogantly under Stuart Harwood's nose as the manger appeared.
"CI5?" Harwood blinked as he glanced around at the destroyed entrance parlor.
"Yes." Campbell said with confidence. He took out his RT and told his partner to contact base, then grabbed Doyle.
"But..." Harwood was at a loss, especially as he saw the CI5 agent slap a set of cuff on Doyle. He had been told the man was a policeman... rather ex-policeman... but now to have CI5 here was too much. He'd kill Giles himself if the man wasn't already dead.
"What the fuck are you doing?" Doyle demanded.
"Shut up!" Campbell snapped. "Don't touch the body!" He ordered as another of the club's security bodyguards appeared. "Get everyone back into the main room as they will need to answer some questions."
"Is this strictly necessary?" Harwood asked.
"You can take it up with my superior." Campbell said sweetly before he shoved Doyle out the door. Swearing under his breath he just knew this was going to turn into a long night. Damn! Also he doubted Cowley would be pleased.
Staring at the CI5 Controller in outrage, both Bodie and Doyle sat themselves warily as Morgan and Campbell left the office. But not before Cowley had ordered the cuff removed from both agents wrists.
"Trouble, Doyle?" Cowley asked mildly as he digested the brief report from Campbell.
"Nothing you need concern yourself with. Sir." Doyle added as an after thought. He was still miffed at how it had all turned out. Nor was he ready to play the old man's games just yet.
"I see." Cowley said slowly and in a voice that implied he understood perfectly. "Well gentlemen, I think it's about time I filled you in on some of the other facts." Cowley started, then proceeded to relate the events which had followed their departure.
"You crafty old fox," Bodie muttered in admiration as the other finished telling them of Losada's deportation. Then his voice abruptly changed to one of hurt with appropriate expression to match. "But Sir, why couldn't you at least have told us. Trusted us enough."
"No, lad. For I wasn't sure when Losada would move against Doyle. I just had my suspicions and it was a risk I could not afford. I had to have Doyle believe he was out of the squad as well as have Losada convinced by Doyle's actions. I also knew he would be watching other agents, and they needed to believe you were both out also." He said gently, seeing the man in question regard him suspiciously. And by the looks of it the partnership was still intact, so maybe he had solved two problems...
"Then where did Bodie's dismissal fit in, if it was me you were using as bait?" Doyle asked quietly.
"I didn't dismiss him. He resigned." Cowley said simply.
"But you provoked me beyond the limits of endurance... Sir." Bodie pointed out, getting genuinely hurt now.
"Then I suggest a month at a training camp 3.7, if your endurance levels are so low." Cowley advised him, hiding his smile.
"Sir, what if Losada hadn't fallen for your ploy, I mean where would that have left me... us?" Doyle asked, still not comfortable with what he had heard.
Sitting back in his chair, Cowley regarded the cautious man honestly, seeing some of the betrayal still in the clear green eyes. "There was no doubt in my mind Doyle, that Losada would take the bait, especially considering what he would gain. Namely you."
"But what if he didn't?" Doyle persisted.
"Then I had you both covered from the beginning, knowing exactly how much time I had to play with before pulling you both back in." He smiled in satisfaction, seeing Bodie's delight as he realized the scam and Doyle's continued scowl of irritation and mistrust. He would have to work hard on the latter agent over the next few weeks. Get him in to see Ross again...
"Sir," Bodie cleared his throat. "May I say that-"
"No you may not." Cowley cut him off as he looked at his watch. "I have to finish up here and I want to get home before midnight, as I have a very early meeting with the Heads of departments in the morning." He waved them both away. "I do expect you both here tomorrow at 9am sharp, with a full typed report detailing your activities in the Roberts affair."
"What?" Doyle muttered.
"You can treat it as an undercover assignment," Cowley told them as he looked over his glasses at both men. "That is if you want to get paid for the week." Bodie appeared resigned to the idea, while Doyle's frown didn't ease. Something vital has shaken Doyle... and he narrowed his gaze. "You can both move back into your flats anytime. Your cars are in the pool also. Now get out of here."
Moving Doyle before Cowley could tell them again to leave, Bodie grinned at his partner ruefully.
"Oh and Doyle?" Cowley called, watching the way the smaller agent turned to him in suspicion again. "A full report on a one," he consulted the report Campbell had given him. "..Giles Granger, would also be advisable."
Doyle just blinked at him in disbelief.
"Dismissed." Cowley added for emphases.
Grabbing his partner's arm, Bodie closed Cowley's door behind them and started them walking away. "Ray?"
"So it was all a set-up from beginning to end." Doyle muttered unhappily. "He probably started the set up when he lost Losada the first time, manipulating you into wanting to go to Russia."
"Uhah." Bodie shook his head negatively, seeing where this conversation was going instantly. "I was going with or without Cowley's permission. And don't ever think otherwise."
Turning that thought over in his head, Doyle just walked away.
Watching him, Bodie still grinned, feeling good about his life. Even if a training camp was looming. He knew Doyle's over active imagination would eventually cause another fight, but that didn't worry him either. Not now that he understood the partnership better and understood how to talk Ray out of his dark moods. Then another thought hit him. "Ray..."
Waiting for the other man to catch him up, Doyle scowled at the grey walls feeling decidedly angry and betrayed still. "What?"
"Do you realize, we have just kissed good-bye to 600 quid each... EACH!" He repeated as the full implications hit him.
"Strewth," Doyle groaned, running fingers through his curls. "Maybe we could go 'round and see Harwood tonight and get something,"
"Nah, wouldn't work. Especially not after Campbell hauled your arse out of there so openly after he shot Granger. Probably had us checked out by now."
"Yeah," Doyle agreed, mirroring his partner's expression, hoping life started to make sense again soon. "I didn't believe that much money existed anyway..."
"So your place or mine?" Bodie continued, seeing the expressive green eyes darken again.
"What for?" Doyle asked suspiciously, not really wanting a repeat of the last two days. At least not until he had worked the confusion out of his mind.
"To write these bloody reports of course. Hell Doyle, use your head," Bodie moaned, hiding his grin as he saw the other relax. It was a start.
A definite start...
It would just take persistence and patience.
-- THE END --