BUT FEAR ITSELF
Doyle is missing. Can Bodie find him before it's too late?
A first time story.
Written: October 2014. Word count: 3,740.
It was dark.
There was very little air.
His head throbbed.
His wrists were numb.
The skin on his fingers was torn.
His ankles were bruised.
He was filthy.
He was smelly.
He was afraid.
He was deeply afraid.
'There's nothing to fear but fear itself'.
Yeah, right. He was afraid.
He was afraid for once the cavalry was not going to arrive in time.
He was afraid he didn't have much time left.
He was afraid he was going to die.
He was afraid he was going to die before he had said things he should have said.
He faced death every day.
But this was different.
This was out of his control.
None of his skills mattered now.
None of his talents were useful - well he wasn't bloody Houdini!
He was alone.
He was missing.
And no one knew where he was.
There wasn't going to be an eleventh hour rescue.
This was it.
He was going to die here.
Maybe he'd never be found.
'There's nothing to fear but fear itself'.
Well, he was afraid.
He was very afraid.
For a moment he stopped struggling; what was the point anyway? There was no way he was going to get out of the cuffs or get his ankles unbound. He wasn't even able to get the gag out of his mouth. Why should he waste his energy struggling when it was pointless?
'Because there's always a chance, sunshine'.
Yeah, right. Always a chance.
He closed his eyes, tired of the dust and grit that got into them, making them sore, so sore that in order to keep them damp he had to think of something that would bring tears to his eyes so he could moisten them.
Funnily enough, his own impending death didn't bring tears to his eyes. But the thought of things left unsaid. The thought of Bodie's death. The thought of Bodie - The thought of Bodie could bring tears to his eyes.
What would he do?
What was he doing?
Tearing London apart if Doyle knew his partner.
Tearing London apart with or without Cowley's permission.
But it'd be with. The Cow would do anything - anything - to save one of his boys or girls. One of his agents. One of his own. Yeah, Cowley wouldn't be sitting on his backside just watching and co-ordinating. He would be out there too - out there looking for Doyle.
The whole squad would be. One of their own. One of the very first. One of the best - everyone acknowledged Bodie and Doyle were the best. They'd all be out there, chasing down leads, leaning on snitches, banging heads, doing anything and everything within and beyond the law to get some information as to where Doyle was being held.
For a moment the thought gave him some comfort. But that soon fled and the insidious fear once again crept through him.
He wouldn't think about it. He wouldn't let himself think about how scared he was. He wouldn't. He'd think about . . . He'd think about sunsets, days off, birds, painting, his motor-bike, catching the bad guy, mates, booze. Bodie.
It all came back to Bodie. Because when it came down to it the sunsets, the days off, the birds, painting, his motor-bike, catching the bad guys, mates, even booze didn't matter, not really. All that really mattered was Bodie and what he should have told him. What he'd now never be able to tell him.
Fuck. That wasn't what he should be thinking about. He was meant to be thinking about something good. Something to take his mind of the fact he was tied up and minutes; hours; days - God only knew how long he had left - from death.
That's what it all came back to.
He Raymond Doyle was going to die and there was nothing anyone could do to prevent it. Not this time.
He was afraid.
"He's got to be out there somewhere." Bodie drained his mug; how many coffees had he had already that morning? Three? Four? Five? He'd lost count.
"Aye, Bodie. But where? Where?" Cowley sounded weary; as weary as Bodie felt.
Bodie bit his lip and forced himself not to yell at Cowley - it wasn't his fault. He didn't know whose fault it was; he didn't know who'd taken Doyle from him, but it wasn't Cowley's fault. "I don't know, sir," he said, between clenched teeth. "If I knew -"
"You'd be there. I know, Bodie. I know. Damn it! He can't just vanish!" Cowley threw his glasses down onto his desk and began to pace around the room.
Bodie sighed and leant against the desk. "People do." Cowley turned around quickly, far more quickly than was good for him. He stumbled, gasped and clutched his thigh as Bodie pushed himself upright and strode towards him, caught his arm and steadied him. "Steady now, sir," he said.
For a moment he thought Cowley was going to shake his hand off, but after a second's hesitation Cowley seemed willing to accept his help back to his desk. He slumped down in his chair and Bodie headed towards the cupboard where Cowley kept his booze and poured his boss a stiff drink. He brought it back to Cowley and handed it to him.
"Thank you, Bodie. Pour one for yourself."
"Thank you, sir." Bodie did as he was instructed, returned to Cowley's desk and sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the desk.
For a short time they both sat in silence; both drinking; both alone with their thoughts.
Finally Cowley put his glass back down and looked at Bodie. "You know him, Bodie. You're his partner. You know him," he repeated. "You know him better than anyone."
"Yes, sir. I know Ray, but I don't know the bastard who snatched him."
"What if someone didn't snatch him?"
Bodie raised an eyebrow. "Sir?"
"What if something else happened to him? What if he - och, I don't know." Cowley picked his glass back up and took a long swallow, before putting it back down and running both hands over his face and head. "What if something's happened to him? What about that Bodie?"
They'd been there before, at least once. Only the other times it had been Bodie asking 'what if' and Cowley dismissing all of his thoughts. Bodie sighed. "We've called all the hospitals, sir. More than once. We've had agents check them out personally. Nothing. Nothing. Ray's not . . . Ray's been snatched, sir. I'd stake my life on it."
"Would you stake Doyle's?" Cowley looked at him.
For just about the first time ever in the years he'd worked for George Cowley and CI5, Bodie saw age, real age, on Cowley's face. He cared; the old bastard cared; he really cared. It was easy to see what the Cow wanted you to see; easy to dismiss him as uncaring, touched by nothing, do anything to get results - and he was all those things. But he cared; he cared about his agents; he cared about his agency. And Bodie knew if Cowley had a favourite then Doyle was it. He knew Cowley had his eye on Doyle as a possible successor to him, when he finally retired. Not that Bodie reckoned he'd ever retire. Nah, he'd have to be carried out in a wooden box before he gave up the reins to CI5.
"Reckon I've already done that, sir," he said; his tone flat. He kept his expression impassive; he didn't want Cowley to see how afraid he was. How scared he was; scared that Ray was dead or as good as. Frightened that he'd never see him again, never work with him, drink with him, mess around with him. There were things he should have said to him; things he'd give anything - anything - to be able to say. Things he vowed if - and it was a big if, a huge one - they found him alive, he would say. To hell with what Ray might do or say; to hell with the fact he just might punch Bodie and walk away from him. At least he'd know. At least he'd be alive.
He glanced around Cowley's office. Every surface, including part of the floor, was covered with files; files dating back to Doyle's time in the Met. Every single case Doyle had ever worked on as a copper or during his days in CI5 was in Cowley's office. Every single one of them. Every single one of them had been scrutinised, read, re-read and re-re-read in an attempt to find a hint, a hint of a hint, as to who had snatched Doyle and where he might be.
Cowley had called in every favour he had been owed and favours he had yet to be owed; had pulled rank; had tried bullying tactics - but all for nothing. No one, it seemed had any idea as to where one Raymond Doyle might be. It was as if he had just vanished; there one moment, gone the next.
Bodie has leant on people, pimps, hookers, small time crooks, people Ray had known when he'd been a copper; people they'd both had dealings with during their time in CI5. Anyone Doyle had had any dealings with, sometimes Bodie thought anyone Doyle had ever spoken to or even nodded at, Bodie had talked too. But still he'd come up with nothing.
Five days had gone by.
Five endless, dragging, draining, energy-sapping days. And they knew as much now as they did the day Bodie had gone to Doyle's flat to pick him up and he hadn't been there.
They knew nothing.
"I'll -" Bodie was interrupted by Cowley's phone ringing.
"Cowley? Who? No, I don't know anyone - Wait a minute, what did he say? Yes, I know him. Yes, yes, I'll see him. Bring him up, Happender." He put the phone down and glanced at Bodie. "Tommy," he said.
"Tommy - I never did know his surname. He was involved in the Klansmen case. You do remember that, don't you, Bodie?"
Bodie nodded. Even a few years on he still occasionally felt a flash of guilt at his behaviour; his attitude during the case. How bigoted he had been; he'd learnt his lesson, the hard way and he'd never behave like that again. But sometimes it still came back to him and he heard himself. "Yes," he said.
"Tommy was -" Cowley broke off and just for a moment a fleeting smile touched his lips. "Doyle's one time 'temporary, honorary, and therefore unpaid assistant'."
Bodie frowned and then he remembered. "Oh, Tommy. Yeah, Ray took a shine to him, took him to a few football matches and tried to keep him out of trouble. Last I heard he'd left London."
"Aye, well, he's back and apparently he thinks he has information about Doyle."
"What are we waiting for?" Bodie leapt to his feet and headed towards the door.
"Sit down, Bodie, he's on his way up. He won't get here any quicker just because you're pacing about. Sit down!"
Bodie sat and stared at the door. A knock caused him to half-stand up, but a look from Cowley made him subside back into his chair.
Happender came in with Tommy behind him. "Thank you, Happender," Cowley said, nodding his dismissal. "Hello, Tommy. It's been a while."
"Hello, Mr. Cowley. Yeah, it has been. How's things?"
"Oh, I can't complain, Tommy, at least not -"
"What do you know about Ray?" Bodie ignored the look Cowley shot him and stared at Tommy.
Tommy looked at him. "I know you. You're Bodie, ain't you?" Bodie nodded. "Ray Doyle's partner?" Bodie nodded again and forced himself to get a grip on his desire to shake the young man.
Tommy looked away from him. "Ray's all right," he said, looking at Cowley. "Heard he was missing."
"Did you lad?"
"Yeah. I came back to London last night to see me mum. I heard about it. Did some digging, you know, asked around, pulled in a few favours like."
"You have favours to pull in?" Bodie was incredulous.
"Bodie," Cowley spoke firmly.
"Yeah, I do, Mr. Bodie. I know people who won't talk to you or anyone you know. Know what I mean?"
"Aye, Tommy," Cowley said. "So what do you know?"
"There's this house - well it ain't there no more."
"What do you mean it isn't there?"
"It's been pulled down. No, don't look like that Mr. Bodie. See there's a cellar under the house a reinforced one."
"Reinforced?" Cowley asked.
Tommy nodded. "Yeah. Some rich bloke had it built in case on an atom bomb going off. Reckoned he could live there."
"And Doyle's there?"
Tommy shifted his feet. "I don't know it's Ray for sure, Mr. Cowley. I just heard 'a cop who ain't a cop'."
"That's Ray, it has to be."
"Aye, Bodie. It could be."
"It has to be, sir. A cop who isn't a cop. Where's the house, Tommy?" Bodie was again on his feet and was now looming over Tommy.
Tommy shifted his feet again and looked back at Cowley. "Those favours I called in," he said.
"How much?" Cowley asked, already opening one of his desk drawers.
Bodie blinked. "That's not much."
Tommy shrugged. "It is to the people I know. Especially when . . ."
"Drugs?" Cowley asked, his tone grim as he counted out a hundred pounds.
"I didn't say that, Mr. Cowley."
"Out of their heads, were they? Your 'sources'?" Bodie snarled. "Thought they'd -"
"Bodie! If you can't say something constructive, say nothing."
Bodie glanced at Cowley "I only meant -"
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir."
"Mr. Bodie could be right, Mr. Cowley. But I don't think so. I know these people. I know 'em," he repeated.
"Aye, Tommy, I'm sure you do. Here you are." Cowley handed the notes over to Tommy who quickly stuffed them into an inside pocket. In turn he handed Cowley a piece of paper.
"That's the address of the house," he said. He glanced at Bodie. "I hope you find him," he said. "Ray Doyle's all right."
The anger faded and Bodie nodded. "Yeah, Tommy. He is. And," he paused before saying softly, "You're all right too, Tommy."
Tommy grinned. "Thanks, Mr. Bodie." He turned to Cowley and held out his hand. "Bye then, Mr. Cowley. If you do find Ray, tell him Tommy said 'hello'."
"I'll do that, Tommy."
"I better go. Mum needs to go shopping and I promised I'd take her." He fell silent, glanced at Bodie and then back to Cowley, before nodding and hurrying towards the door.
Bodie held out his hand as Cowley handed over the piece of paper. He glanced at the address and pushed it into his pocket.
"Take Murphy and Jax with you. I'll order back-up and follow behind. And Bodie?"
"You know it could be a trap, don't you?"
Bodie nodded. "It could be, sir. But Ray trusted Tommy. He's all right," he added.
Cowley gave him a grim smile. "Aye, Bodie. Tommy is all right."
Bodie nodded again, turned on his heel and strode out of Cowley's office.
Doyle opened his eyes and blinked several times in an attempt to clear the dust from them. He was still alive; for a moment he felt a wave of disappointment wash over him. He'd been certain, when he'd heard the sounds from above him, that this was it; that the hell he'd been suffering for the last how ever long it had been, was about to be over. But apparently it wasn't.
Apparently rather than what surely would have been fairly quick death by being crushed, he was going to starve to death. Technically he supposed it gave Bodie and Cowley longer to find him, but that thought no longer comforted him - instead it frightened him.
He shifted slightly and again wished he'd found the courage to say certain things before it was too late.
He eyes fell shut.
Bodie, Murphy and Jax stood looking at the pile of rubble. Bodie knew neither of his colleagues was going to voice what he was thinking: nothing could have survived that. Bomb shelter or not, surely that amount of rubble crashing down would have taken the roof of the shelter out? Surely anyone beneath it would now be dead.
Fifteen minutes went by before Cowley, followed by four other cars, pulled up. Cowley got out of his car and with a folded piece of paper in his hand hurried over to Bodie. "I have the plans," he said, opening the paper and showing it to Bodie. "If Doyle was down there when the place was pulled down he won't have been crushed. The roof of the shelter was build to withstand more than just this amount of rubble. He could still be alive."
"If he's down there," Bodie said.
"Aye, Bodie. Well, standing around staring isn't going to find that out, is it?"
"No, sir. But how -"
"The man who had this built was canny, Bodie. He wasn't going to only have one entrance now, was he?"
"Wasn't he, sir?"
"Och, what do I teach you?" Cowley went on without waiting for an answer. "Of course he wasn't. There's a second entrance, through a tunnel, a tunnel, Bodie, the entrance of which is in those woods." He turned and nodded in the direction of a small wooded area. "Well, what are you waiting for? Get on with it, Bodie."
Bodie didn't need telling twice.
TWENTY-FOUR HOURS LATER
Bodie sat by Doyle's hospital bed as he'd been sitting from the moment he'd been allowed into the room. Doyle had been unconscious and barely breathing when they had finally reached him; close to death; so close to death Bodie had even tried praying.
Dehydrated; starving; wrists, fingers and ankles torn to shreds; possible infection from untreated wounds, Doyle was now hooked up to more drips and machines than Bodie had ever seen a person hooked up to.
The doctors had said luck had been on his side. Thankfully the room he'd been in had been so well insulated it had kept the temperature cool, keeping out the beating sun. That and only that had allowed him to survive for as long as he had survived without water.
"Almost didn't find you, Ray," Bodie said, wishing he could hold or even dare to touch one of Doyle's hands, but they had been treated and bandaged and he didn't want to risk hurting Doyle. "We wouldn't have done if it hadn't been for Tommy. You remember Tommy, don't you? Yeah, of course you do; your copper's brain remembers everyone. He saved you, Ray. He pulled in favours - imagine a kid like him having favours to pull in. He saved you; whereas I -"
"Did everything you possibly could have done, Bodie." Bodie started at the sound of Cowley's voice and automatically began to stand up. Cowley waved him back to his seat. "Sit down, laddie," he said, going around the other side of the bed and pulling up a chair.
"With respect, sir, I -"
"Couldn't have done anything more. Och, Bodie, don't you think I don't blame myself as well? Don't you think I keep asking myself 'what more could I have done'? Don't you think - We did everything we could have done, Bodie. Aye and a lot more than most would have done. Do you think there was anything else I could have done? Well, do you?"
Bodie glanced from Doyle to Cowley and shook his head. "No, sir," he said, realising as he said the words he wasn't just saying them because he felt he should. There hadn't been anything else Cowley could have done; there hadn't been anything else he could have done. "But I should have been there. I should have known. I should have . . ."
Cowley stared at him for a moment, then glanced at Doyle and sighed. "That reminds me, Bodie," he said. "It's time you and Doyle were moved to different flats. You know department policy."
"Well, Doyle is likely to need someone to keep an eye on him for a while after he gets out of hospital. You know how quickly doctors push people out these days. He's going to be weak for a while, Bodie, and we know Doyle won't like that. He's not going to be able to do everything for himself - which he'll like even less. He's your partner; he's your responsibility."
"Sir?" Bodie watched Cowley carefully.
"Someone has to keep an eye on him, make sure the stubborn fool doesn't try to overdo it. The more he rests and follows medical advice, the quicker he'll be back at work. And I need him back at work, Bodie. As soon as possible."
"He's your partner; so the someone is you. You, Bodie. I've assigned a two-bedroom flat for you and Doyle. Keep an eye on your partner, Bodie. Make sure he follows medical advice. I need him back at work. And I expect you back in my office in ten day's time."
Cowley stood up. "Ten days, Bodie. No more; no less. Ten days. Understood?"
Bodie stood up and stared at his boss. "Understood, sir," he said, and swallowed. "Thank you, sir," he added.
"Don't thank me yet, Bodie. See how you feel after living with Doyle for a few weeks. I'll be back tomorrow." And with a nod to Bodie and a brief touch to Doyle's shoulder, he turned and limped his way across the room.
EIGHT DAYS LATER
"You sure this is what Cowley intended when he assigned us a two-bedroom flat, Bodie?" Doyle lay on his back and stared up at Bodie.
"He told me to keep an eye on you. Can't do that if you're in one room and I'm in the other now can I, sunshine?" Bodie bent his head and lightly kissed Doyle.
He hadn't actually got around to telling Doyle all the things he'd planned to tell him; all the things he'd vowed he would tell him if they found Doyle alive. Well, it hadn't been necessary, had it? And when had they needed words?
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