A CUT-BACK TOO FAR
Set in 1996. Doyle is now Controller of CI5 and Bodie is in charge of training, especially in weapons. The Home Secretary is set on making cut-backs to CI5's budgets and comes up with a plan to replace all the cars with the new Ford Ka.
An established relationship story.
Written: March 2012. Word count: 1,445.
"No! No bloody way," Doyle snarled, as he threw the latest missive from the Minister about cut-backs and how CI5 regularly ran over budget across his desk. He'd read some crazy ideas, but this one really took the biscuit.
Not for the first time he began to wonder why he'd taken the bloody job in the first place, why he'd let Cowley talk him into taking over as Controller when it had become clear after Cowley's second heart attack that he would have to retire. Or rather that Elizabeth had put her foot down and had told him in no uncertain terms enough was enough. Of course Cowley never had been above a bit of emotional blackmail, even if he wouldn't have called it that, and he knew exactly what strings to pull and how to manipulate Doyle. Thus, after a couple of meetings Doyle had run out of arguments, well all except one.
He still remembers thinking he had one final trump card, the one that even Cowley couldn't dispute. It was the fact he and Bodie were involved in a relationship and whilst that was okay for a member of CI5, it wouldn't be for the Controller. When every other argument had failed, Doyle played that card and fully showed his hand. He can still remember the look on Cowley's face and hear his soft laugh as he'd said, 'Ach, Doyle, did you and Bodie think the Minister didn't know about you'?
And that had been that. Without any cards left to play, Doyle had found himself saying 'yes' and six years later he was still wondering if he'd made the right decision. Of course what he'd be doing now had he not taken over, he wasn't sure. So now he wore a suit to work each day, even if his tie and collar were undone and his jacket thrown over the arm of a chair ten minutes after he got to his office, played politics, held his temper in a way he'd never done in the past, pushed papers around his desk and grew to respect George Cowley more and more every day.
And Cowley had been very clever, because he'd come up with the perfect position for Bodie too; he was in charge of anything and everything to do with weapons, from ordering them to training people how to use them to making sure people kept their skills up to date and kept their weapons well cleaned. Doyle prided himself on the fact that he could still outshoot everyone, including Bodie, with a handgun, even if Bodie was better than Doyle and almost all of the agents with any other weapon.
He sighed, dragged his hand through his still somewhat overlong for his job curls, pulled the file he'd flung across the desk back towards him and read the Minister's prissy words again. He was about to grab the phone and find someone to take his irritation out on when there was a knock on the door, followed by it opening instantly.
The Minister was temporarily forgotten as he looked up. "Hello, Bodie," he said, smiling up at the man he'd been partnered with in more ways than one for almost twenty years.
"Hello, sunshine." Bodie came in, sat on the edge of Doyle's desk, reached over and ruffled his curls. "You free for lunch?"
Doyle shook his head. "'Fraid not today, Bodie. I have got to go and see the Minister."
"That'll be fun."
Doyle glared at Bodie. "Here," he said, pushing the file into Bodie's hands. "Read that whilst I go to the loo."
He came back, drying his hands on his trousers, that earnt him a headshake and eye-roll from Bodie. "Ray, those are your best trousers," he said.
Doyle shrugged. "So?"
Bodie shook his head again and then nodded to the file. "He's joking, right?"
Doyle laughed, "Have you ever known the Right Honourable Jackson-Smyth to find anything even mildly amusing, let alone make a joke about anything?"
"Now that you mention it, no. So what are you going to do?"
"Tell him he has to be bloody joking, of course. Tell him it isn't practical to except CI5 agents to start chasing the bad guys in bleeding Kas. What does he think we are? A branch of Noddy land?"
Bodie laughed. "A bit more like dinky toys," he said.
Doyle grabbed the file from Bodie and flung it across his desk again "All he sees are figures and how these Ka cars will be cheaper to run and maintain and buy. He doesnít see beyond that. No, Bodie, this is it. I've had to swallow a lot of daft things from him, but this - this is it. And I'm going to tell him so at lunch and if he doesn't like it, I'll tell him where he can stick his blasted job." Doyle had been pacing up and down his office, raking one hand though his hair as he'd ranted.
Bodie simply sat and watched him, a bemused look on his face. "You done?"
Doyle swung around, went back behind his desk, flopped down into his chair and put his head in his hands. "In more ways than one, Bodie, yeah, I'm done."
Bodie put his hand on Doyle's shoulder and squeezed it. "Ah, come on, sunshine. It could be worse?"
Doyle looked up. "It could?"
"Yes, I might not be here." Doyle grinned and shook his head. But Bodie went on. "No, I'm being serious for once. I, Raymond my son, have a solution to the Ka problem."
Doyle looked dubious. "You do?"
"Yes. I do. All you have to do is let the Minister think you are at least happy to consider the cars. Even tell him he's right they will save money. And then suggest a demonstration of what they can do. Just get him to agree to meet you outside Hyde Park at six o'clock tonight."
"And?" Doyle asked.
"And you leave the rest to me."
"To you? What are you going to do, Bodie?"
"I, Raymond, am going to prove to the Right Honourable Jackson-Smyth how impossible his suggestion is. With a bit of luck I can even embarrass him."
"Ah, you don't want to know."
"Yes, I bleeding do."
"No, Ray, you do not. As Controller of CI5 you do not want to know. Trust me."
Doyle stared at Bodie and sighed, then he grabbed his hand and pulled him forward for a fierce kiss. "I've done that for twenty years and I'm still alive, so I guess I can go on doing it."
"That's my boy," Bodie said, ruffling Doyle's hair and then patting him on the head as he stood up and headed for the door.
"Hey, I'm not a bleeding dog, you know," Doyle called, as a laughing Bodie shut the door behind him.
THE NEXT DAY
"Well," Doyle said, putting his feet up on his desk and leaning back in his chair, his hands behind his head; his tie and the top two buttons of his shirt were already undone and his sleeves were turned up to his elbows. "I donít know how you pulled that off, Bodie, and as I said last night, I don't want to you. At least as Controller I don't want to know. But bloody hell, mate, you really did pull it off. Talk about embarrassing him! I'm not sure he knew where to look."
Bodie grinned. He was sitting on the other side of the desk, looked as he always did impeccably dressed in his pristine, well-cut suit and tie; in fact he always looked as smart at the end of the day as he did at the beginning of it. "It's just my natural talent," he said. "Tall, dark, beautiful and bloody good."
Doyle rolled his eyes. "Don't forget 'engagingly modest'," he said, and they both laughed until Doyle had to dig out his handkerchief and wipe his eyes. "Seriously, Bodie," he said, swinging his feet down so he could lean across the desk and squeeze Bodie's hand. "Thanks. Don't know what I'd do without you." All hints of laughter had gone from his tone and he was deadly serious. He was even more serious when he said, "And I hope I never have to find out." As he stared into Bodie's eyes, Bodie met the gaze and held it, turning his hand and entwining his fingers with Doyle's.
They sat in silence just gazing at one another and holding hands until the simultaneous sounds of both telephones on Doyle's desk ringing and a knock on the door started them back to reality. Another day had begun.
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