X MARKS THE SPOT
Bodie and Doyle have been sent a map.
An established relationship story.
Warning: Major character death.
Written: February 2008. Word count: 826.
They stood side by side looking down at the ground.
"Damn," Bodie said quietly.
Doyle glanced at his partner. He'd been expecting a far harsher expletive. But then, as he thought about it, he realised that the relative softness of the term gave it far more power and meaning than any harsher one would have done.
"Do you reckon it was quick?"
Doyle turned his attention back to Cowley's body, letting his gaze flicker over his face. For a moment he wondered how Bodie could ask the question. Whatever else it had been, Cowley's death had not been quick. Nor pleasant. But deep down he knew why Bodie was asking the question. For the same reason as he now gave his answer. "Let's hope so."
Doyle watched as Bodie crumpled the piece of paper they'd been sent. The paper that had guided them to this spot. The paper that had been tauntingly marked with a big X. A big X that did indeed mark the spot where Cowley now lay.
"If I ever get my hands on the bastards . . ."
"Yeah, I know, Bodie. Me too."
"What do you think'll happen now?"
Doyle shrugged. "The Home Secretary will appoint someone else."
"Won't be the same."
"I don't know if I want to stay, Ray. Not without Cowley."
Doyle nodded. "Yeah," was all he said.
"Never worked for anyone as long as I worked for Cowley. Never wanted to."
"Yeah. I know."
"Let's get out, Ray. Now."
Doyle looked at his partner. Bodie meant it. He could see that. "Cowley'd tell us not to make hasty decisions. Besides, if we stay we have more chances of catching the bastards who did this."
"And then what? We hand them over to the cops and what'll they do? Lock 'em up for a few years? It's not enough."
"Didn't say we had to hand them over, did I? Least not immediately."
Bodie stared at Doyle, his eyes wide with surprise.
Doyle couldn't blame him. After all, he was the 'softer' one; the one who did more by the book; the 'bleeding heart', as Bodie had called him once. He shrugged. "I liked the old bugger too," he said softly.
"I'm not giving you up. Never. You hear me, Ray. Never. I won't."
"Who said you had to?"
"Come on, Ray. Think about it. The new bloke isn't likely to be prepared to turn a blind eye like Cowley did."
Doyle shrugged. "Maybe not."
"So we get out?"
Doyle looked at his lover.
Then he looked back down at the ravished body of his boss.
And as he looked he heard Cowley saying 'But that's the price they have, and we have, to pay to keep this island clean and smelling, even if ever so faintly, of roses and lavender'. He heard it so clearly, so plainly, that for a split second he thought it was all some dreadful joke. That Cowley wasn't dead. That the body he was gazing at was just a dummy. That it was some horrible test the Old Man had devised.
But it wasn't. He knew that.
He tore his gaze away from the sight of just about the only person in authority he'd ever respected. "No," he said, gritting his teeth and speaking with determination. He put his hand on Bodie's arm and squeezed it tightly, so tightly, he actually saw Bodie wince slightly. "No," he repeated, taking a step nearer to Bodie so that they were nose to nose. "No," he said for a third time. "No. We bleeding well stay. We stay, Bodie. We stay because that's what Cowley would have wanted. We stay and we go on doing what he wanted us to do. We go on helping 'to keep this island clean and smelling, even if ever so faintly, of roses and lavender'. Do you hear me, Bodie? Do you? That's what we'll do. If we don't, the lousy bastards who did this will have won. And we don't let their kind win."
The shock was back on Bodie's pale face. He was looking at Doyle almost as if he didn't know him. "But what if -?"
Doyle cut into his words. "Then we give him a choice: we stay together, as we are, or we get out. He'd be a bloody fool to let his two best, his two longest standing, agents walk away just because they're sleeping together. And don't forget, Bodie, the Home Secretary knows. Cowley made sure of that. He really was one canny old bugger. He covered all bases. So, deal?"
For a moment or two Bodie was quiet.
Then he nodded once. "Deal," he said, his tone grim.
Doyle nodded. "Right. Now let's get Cowley's body dealt with. And then –"
"Then we go home."
"Yeah. We go home and do what we do best."
"After we've drunk a toast to Cowley."
"After, before, during. He deserves more than one."
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