QUIET NIGHTS WERE THE WORST
Doyle is in a coma from which he might never wake up. Bodie can cope with the days, but it's the long, quiet nights which are the hardest.
An established relationship story.
Written; April 2015. Word count: 2,530.
Bodie slipped inside the room and closed the door behind him. His gaze came to rest firstly on the bed where Doyle lay, still, quiet, oxygen being fed to him, pale, dull, thin, silent. That wasn't Doyle; Doyle wasn't silent and still. But he was now and he had been for three months. Bodie sighed and dropped down into the chair next to the bed and took Doyle's hand in his, just as he had done for the past three months.
It had been three months since Doyle had taken the bullet meant for Bodie. Three months since Bodie had felt himself pushed out of the way as his gun had jammed. Three months since he had hit the floor and had got up cursing Doyle for pushing him out of the way rather than firing his gun. Three months since he had learnt why Doyle hadn't fired his gun. Three months since he'd stood up only to find Doyle crumpled on the floor, blood pouring from his head and back. Three months since he realised he had let the shooter get away.
Three months since he had dropped to his knees and put his hand on Doyle's pulse and the other on his mouth. Three months since he had realised Doyle wasn't breathing. Three months since, by some force of will he didn't know he possessed, he somehow got Doyle breathing again and kept him alive until the ambulance arrived on screaming tires, its siren blaring and cutting through the otherwise quiet evening.
Three months since he had stood by Cowley's side and heard the doctor give Doyle very little chance. Three months since he had slammed his gun and ID down onto Cowley's desk and told exactly him what he could do with his job. Three months since Cowley had calmly poured him a large whisky and handed the items back. Three months.
For three months he had been coming to the hospital at every possible opportunity; he hadn't missed a day, not a single day. It had been three months since he had last spoken to Doyle and got a reply. Three months since he had last kissed him. Three months since he had shared a bed with him. Three months since he had been inside him. Three months - and if the doctors were right he would never get to do any of those things again.
Three months; Doyle's curls where they'd had to cut them away had even started to grow back. Three months; he knew Doyle's hospital room as well as he knew their flat, in fact he thought he knew it better. Three months; the hospital staff had given up telling him he couldn't be there outside of visiting hours. Three months; three months; how much longer would it be? How much longer would he just go on watching, waiting, hoping, even at times praying, that the doctors would be proved wrong and Doyle would open his eyes?
It was hard; it was so bloody hard. The days he could cope with. The days Cowley kept filled, even if he hadn't allowed Bodie back onto the streets for the first few weeks and even now kept him on limited active duty. A lot of the time Bodie worked directly for Cowley at CI5's HQ. The days were easy, during the days he could tell himself that Doyle was on holiday or sick or working undercover. During the days he could tell himself all kinds of lies and even believe them. During the days the hours went by quickly, even when he was stuck doing paperwork. During the days he didn't think about Doyle; didn't think about how still and silent he was. Oh, yeah, the days were easy.
But the nights. Oh, God. The nights. The quiet nights. The long quiet nights. They were almost unbearable. Each hour seemed five times longer than an hour spent in daylight. Time seemed to stand still, even seemed to go backwards. As the noise from the hospital dulled down leaving little more than the odd door slamming and the beep, beep, beep of machines, machines keeping Doyle alive, that was when Bodie suffered.
That was when he believed the doctors. Doyle wasn't ever going to wake up. He wasn't going to smile at Bodie. He wasn't going to kiss him or touch him or cry his name as Bodie made him come. He wasn't going to laugh his dirty laugh. He wasn't going to hog the bed covers. He wasn't going to look at Bodie in the oh-so-innocent, oh-so-knowing way; the way that always made Bodie grab him and kiss him senseless.
"Oh, sunshine," he murmured, as he squeezed Doyle's hand just a little harder. "When are you going to wake up and come back to me?" He spoke to Doyle often, the doctors and nurses had said it was a good thing to do. The only problem was that every time he spoke to Doyle he told himself Doyle would reply. He never did.
There was a light tap on the door before it opened and Mary, the night nurse, came in carrying a tray with a mug of hot chocolate and a plate of biscuits on it. Hot chocolate had reminded Bodie of growing up and how when he'd been sick his mum would make him hot chocolate and it always seemed to make him feel better. So when Mary had offered him a hot drink all those nights ago he'd asked for a mug of hot chocolate and that's what she'd brought him every night she'd been on duty since.
She smiled at him as she put the tray down onto the bedside locker. "Hello, Bodie," she said, resting her hand on his shoulder for a moment. "How are you tonight?" She was a lovely woman, in her early fifties Bodie reckoned, who had given up nursing to raise a family, but now they were all grown and flown the nest had returned to what she'd loved. She was no stunning beauty, just attractive in a quiet, almost nondescript way. But she had a reassuring voice and manner; she'd make any patient feel better. As she couldn't play the nurse beyond checking various outputs and inputs to Doyle, she had taken it upon herself to play nurse to Bodie. It was the one thing that made the long, quiet nights slightly better.
"Hello, Mary love," he said, managing to smile at her; actually despite everything it didn't take too much effort to smile at her. She was the kind of person who made you want to smile. "I'm okay, thanks. How are you? Looking forward to a quiet night?"
She laughed. "I'm fine, love. Fine. I'd like to say I was, but we're expecting a new patient around midnight, so that's the whole ward disturbed. I don't know why they can't wait until the morning, but apparently they can't."
"Bloody bureaucrats," Bodie said, and they both laughed.
"Your Mr. Cowley was here again this afternoon," she said. "Jayne told me. He comes every day, you know." Bodie nodded; he did know. That was Cowley through and through; if any one of his boys and girls were hurt and in hospital he visited them, even if it was only for a minute or two, every day. Even at weekends. Even if they didn't know he was there.
"Yeah," he said. "I know he does. It's what he does."
"It's nice to see a boss who actually cares about his staff."
Bodie stared at her. Oddly enough he had never really thought about it in those terms. "You know what, love?" he said. "It is."
"Well, I better get started on giving my patients their tablets and bedpans and settling them down for the night. I'll pop back later for the mug and plate. You take care now, Bodie."
"I will. And thanks, Mary."
"My pleasure, love." She patted his shoulder and went out.
He ate a biscuit, cramming it into his mouth in one go. As he chewed, mouth more open than closed, he wished that Doyle would tell him off; tell him to get some manners; tell him - Tell him anything. Anything. God, Bodie would do anything, give anything, for Doyle to yell at him even. For them to have one of their occasional blazing, short-lived rows that inevitably led to them having the most fantastic make up sex wherever they happened to be in their flat.
He really would give anything. "Even give you up, sunshine," he murmured, swallowing hard around the rush of tears as he said the words. "I would, you know," he went on. "If it'd mean you'd be alive and would look at me, speak to me, even if only to tell me to bugger off, I'd give you up. I'd let you go. I'd - Damn it, Ray! Why won't you wake up?" His voice was harsh and loud. He dashed the back of his hand over his eyes, took a long swallow of the hot chocolate and waited for it to do its magic and calm him down; make him feel better.
The hot chocolate did indeed work its magic and he took a second deep swallow before he settled back in the chair, Doyle's hand still in his, and prepared for another long, quiet, dreadful night.
The night passed as it always did. Bodie slept for an hour or two, but spent most of the time just watching Doyle, just watching to see if there was any change, no matter how small, in him. Watching; waiting; hoping. By the time dawn had broken he felt as he always did: drained, exhausted and as if he had run a marathon.
He stood up, stretched, winced as his back clicked before bending over Doyle and kissing him lightly. It was the only time he kissed him, when he was leaving him. He limited himself to one kiss per visit, knowing that if he kissed him more often, it would make things even harder.
"Love you, Ray," he murmured, brushing his hand over Doyle's forehead, pushing his curls back from his head. "Never actually told you. But you wake up and I will. That's a promise." He hesitated, swallowed hard and made himself say in a much lighter, far less serious tone, "Be good for the nurses and I'll be back tonight."
A MONTH LATER
Another month, another four weeks, another thirty days had gone by and still Doyle was in a coma. He was still silent, unmoving, pale, thin, oxygen was still being fed to him and Bodie was still spending his days mostly pushing papers and his nights sitting by Doyle's side just watching and waiting and hoping.
The days were still easy; the nights still so very hard. If only they weren't so bloody quiet. Why was the hospital so quiet? Did they dose everyone up with sleeping pills so that the nurses had a quiet time of it? Or was it just because Doyle's room was well out of the way of the main ward? Bodie didn't know; he just knew he wasn't honestly certain how many more quiet nights he could stand. It was getting harder and harder. Each night cost him more and more. He was even starting to get angry with Doyle for doing nothing other than just lying there - still and silent.
"Couldn't you moan a bit, Doyle? You know just to break up the monotony. Or move, even twitch an eyelid. Something. Anything!" He sighed and for a moment closed his eyes. What was he doing? Why was he getting snippy with Doyle? It wasn't his fault he was in a coma; it wasn't his fault. Maybe it was the weather; there was a storm brewing. It was making him feel twitchy; the night was going to be even longer - but maybe not as quiet.
"Do you remember the first time we made love, Ray?" he said, turning back to look at Doyle. "It was during a storm. Always liked storms. Used to plead with mum to let me stay up and watch them when I was a kid. Never scared me. Oh, bloody hell, Ray. Say something, please. I'm getting tired of the sound of my own voice."
"Never thought the day'd come when I'd hear you say that, sunshine."
Bodie started, leapt to his feet and stared down at Doyle. His eyes were still shut, but they did seem to be twitching slightly. "Ray?" He dared to shake Doyle, not hard, but just enough. "Ray! Ray! Ray!"
"Stop bleedin' shouting at me, Bodie. I'm trying to sleep."
Bodie sat down on the bed and took Ray's shoulders and gently shook them. "You've been bloody sleeping for four months, four months, Ray. It's time you woke up! Just open your eyes for a minute even. Open your eyes and look at me."
Doyle sighed. "All right. Better?" He opened his eyes and blinked owlishly up at Bodie. Then he frowned and moved his head slightly. "What's up, Bodie?" Slowly and lacking in coordination he lifted a hand; it seemed to be almost too heavy for him to control as he put it on Bodie's cheek. "You look awful," he said. "Has the Cow been working you too hard? Or did you back the wrong dog?"
Bodie shook his head and blinked frantically. He wasn't the one who cried; that was Doyle. He couldn't cry; he wouldn't cry. "I've been worried about you, you bloody idiot," he said, his voice harsh.
Doyle blinked. "Me? Why?" He looked and sounded confused.
Bodie took a deep breath. "Because, sunshine, you've been in a coma for four months. Four months, Ray. Four months. Four months I - Oh, fuck it! I love you, Ray. I love you, Raymond Doyle! I love you," he said again, for good measure. There he'd said it; he'd kept his promise.
"I love you too, Bodie. Now can I go back to sleep? I'm tired."
"How can you - Yeah, go on. You go back to sleep, sunshine." Even as he said the words, Doyle's eyelashes fluttered shut again. He felt guilty because he knew he had to go and tell the nurse that Doyle had woken up, had come out of the coma. And Bodie knew that now Doyle was simply asleep. He should know; he'd seen him asleep many times. In fact he'd never told him, but sometimes he would actually stay awake for a bit and watch Doyle sleep. Soppy bastard, he told himself.
Yeah, Doyle was just asleep. He knew that. Maybe he could wait a few minutes before he went and told Mary that Doyle had regained consciousness. What would ten minutes hurt? Besides, a tired Doyle was not a Doyle anyone wanted to be around. He would be doing Mary a favour by waiting just a bit.
He settled back down onto the chair, Doyle's hand once more in his and knew that the night would be anything but quiet. He grinned; he wasn't going to mind that at all; not at all. Quiet nights were the worst.
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