On Such a Night


Written for the picfor1000 livejournal challenge: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words. Writers were given a picture based on one of the four seasons - and had to write 1000 words exactly! The season I chose was spring, and the picture is [of a baby bear in a grassy field]. Thanks to P.R. Zed for the beta and for pointing me to the challenge in the first place!

Bodie lies on the grass, and he can smell it fresh and green around him, which is pleasant, but he's not sure why he's there. A cool breeze whispers across his face, and he's almost content. There is something wet though, something dripping past his eyes, and something else trickling down his leg. There's a fire in his leg too, but it isn't warming him up at all.

Then he opens his eyes, and he remembers. Disturbingly it's still dark, but shapes and memories run bright against the black.

Sitting beside Doyle in the Capri, the night air rushes across his fingers as he grips the doorframe through the half-open window. Doyle's taken the corner too fast as usual and they're sliding, but he's caught it and they're straight and it's alright. Bodie's Browning is warm in his other hand. He's looking over his shoulder at the car behind them, while Doyle is watching the car ahead and trying to navigate the twists and turns. Country roads. It's all too fast, headlights barely touching hedges, trees, gates, as they desperately try to keep up with a set of tail lights, a number plate... and suddenly the world is fractured, a thousand thousand minute cracks and shapes, frosted white. The bastards are shooting at them. He knocks the windscreen through with the grip of his gun, but it's too late and they're skewing across the road, curving where there isn't a curve but the car in front should have curved and didn't and there's the blinding yellow of an explosion and they're sliding across the grass like ice, and he wants to laugh for the rush and for being alive on such a night.

The Capri spins once and stops, and then he's out of the car and across the bonnet to give Doyle cover as the vehicle behind them catches up. Finally Doyle reaches the trees, and Bodie's attention is half with him even as he aims, as much for distraction as in hope of hitting anything. There should be four of them. He can see three, and one drops even as he thinks it, backlit by the bright flames of the burning car.

Doyle is nearly there, nearly where he needs to be to get in a clean shot at the two of them left. And then everything slows for just a minute as he realizes that they're not shooting at him anymore, they're shooting at the car, they're trying to hit the bloody fuel tanks probably - it's what he'd do - and he has the sense to turn and run straight back rather than expose himself by heading for the woods and he hears shots and another great explosion that must be the Capri going up, but he's far away and then there's a burning in his leg and more shots and he's sliding on slick grass and...

The black, he realizes, is the night sky and it's brilliant with stars. The ground is damp and cold, and he's lying on his back because he's been shot in the leg. He's pretty sure he hit his head on something hard going down. It hurts. There is a vague crackling somewhere to one side, but it seems a long way away. He's surprised he can't smell the smoke, but the wind must be blowing it away from him.

Someone's shouting. Doyle, Doyle is shouting for him. He tries to shout back, but not much happens except that he coughs. Doesn't matter because the voice moves in his direction anyway, and then there's a shadow across the sky, a weight against his side, hands on his chest and a mouthful of curls as Ray puts his head to Bodie's heart.

He manages to creak out a name at last, raises an arm and lets it fall against Doyle just to let him know.

"Doyle. Oi Ray, I'm alright..."

"'Course you are, you pillock, you spend half your life with blood pouring out'f your skull." Doyle sits back on his haunches, and Bodie can feel his gaze, even though he's nothing more than dark against dark, haloed by the pinpoint stars and constellations.

"No," he coughs again, feels fingers stroke aside his hair as Doyle assesses the damage. "'S alright. Just a bit cold. They got my leg."

The shadow that is Doyle gives his forehead a final caress, and turns its attention elsewhere. Hands slide the length of each leg, thigh to ankle, and despite the cold and the dull ache of his head, Bodie feels his cock twitch. His lips twist in amusement, and the stars laugh with him, jumping up and down in front of his eyes even when he closes them. He feels light-headed, as though he's dancing somewhere above himself, watching everything from afar.

"What did you do?" Doyle's voice is asking, "Find the only rock in the field to knock yourself senseless? Some people'll do anything to get out of writing a report."

The report. He remembers to ask. "What happened to Stuart and his mates? You got them, right?" He knows Doyle got them. He wouldn't be lying here in the peaceful night if he hadn't. It is peaceful. And Doyle is here.

"With brightest sunshine round me spread, of spring's unclouded weather." Who wrote that? No clouds tonight. The Plough is there. Not really the Plough though. Ursa Major, that's it. The stars begin to dim.

"Don't sleep, Bodie." Movement, and Doyle is warmth down his side, an arm around him. "Talk to me Bodie. Tell me..." Doyle's voice cracks. Why? He's alright. "Talk to me, Bodie. Don't leave me, okay? They'll be here soon, just... hang on."

And so Bodie speaks. He tells him about the stars, about Casseopiea and Draco, about sunshine and how warm he feels and how it's okay. And he feels Doyle's arm tighten around him, and he hears the sirens rising in the distance, and above them the Great Bear wheels across the clear spring sky.

-- THE END --

February 2006

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