Images False and True


Written for the "Discovered in The Anarchist Cookbook" challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community

"Talk to me, you bastard!"

Doyle absorbed the blow, no longer struggling against the tape that bound his hands. Bettis' frustration was tangible. He wouldn't be surprised if Bettis lost it soon and killed him. Doyle could think about it now from a distance. He had retreated to the ice at his core.

"Do you want to end up like her, Doyle?" Bettis grabbed him by his hair and wrenched his head up. "Do you? Look at her!"

He didn't have to. He remembered with perfect clarity what Lisa looked like. They'd allowed her to bleed out. There were worse ways to die.

"Tell us where you put the drugs. Tell us!" There was a pause and then Doyle felt the chill of a handgun's barrel pressed to his temple. "It'd be so easy."

Bettis was an amateur. He should have killed him within the first half hour. Staying in the warehouse increased the risk of discovery. There wasn't time for Bettis to break him. He wondered when Bettis would get that idea through his thick head. If it took long enough, Bodie might find them. Doyle reckoned he'd be killed when CI5 arrived, but at least Bettis and his gang would be stopped. Lisa would have some justice. That thought brought a smile.

"You think I'm joking?" Bettis slapped him, and Doyle would have fallen from the chair if Hartz hadn't grabbed him. He couldn't suppress a gasp as Hartz shoved him back into the chair. He must have a cracked rib, maybe worse. The only defence he had was the cold control that kept him from speaking. It was frighteningly easy to not care. It was familiar.

"Or maybe I'll shoot your kneecap out."

The man had watched too many films. What was the point of that threat? It made him irritable.

Donnor spoke up from behind Bettis. "So cut him in on the deal. A small percent." Doyle glanced at Donnor with something akin to interest. Donnor was older than the others, and he'd kept his head when they'd realised the drugs were gone.

"Are you insane?" Bettis stood straight, glaring at Doyle, his hand tight on the gun.

"What good does it do us if you kill him before we find the drugs?" Donnor turned to Doyle. "What about it, eh?"

Doyle looked at them, alternatives flitting through his mind. "What makes you think I'm on your side of the law?" He saw the shock that swept through the three of them and nearly laughed.

"You're lying," Bettis said, but there was doubt in his tone.

"Right. We cut our losses and get out of here." Donnor put a hand on Bettis' arm.


"For Chrissake--"

Bettis leaned in to Doyle. "You're a fucking copper?"

Doyle met his eyes and hid none of the malice he felt. This time Bettis hit him with the gun, and no one kept him from falling to the floor.

"Where're my drugs?" Bettis snarled the words.

Doyle spat blood.

"You bastard. Where--"

He was interrupted by a shout from outside the office. All three of the men turned as a fourth man came skidding through the doorway. It was the punk kid--Gary, Doyle thought his name was.

Bettis took a step towards the door. "What the fuck's--"

"Harry's down." Gary sounded frightened. None of them had guns except for Bettis. "And Kelly isn't answering."

Bettis swung back to Doyle.

"CI5," Doyle said, and watched as the words struck home.

Bettis took a step towards Doyle, his face twisting, but Donnor stopped him. "Kill him and let's get out of here. Now!"

"No." Bettis walked over to Doyle and hauled him to his feet. He towed Doyle to the doorway, jammed the gun into his neck, and shouted out into the warehouse: "I've got this fucking bastard here! Doyle, the bitch said his name was. Show yourselves or he buys it. Now!"

"That's not going to--" Doyle choked as Bettis pressed the gun harder into his neck.

"Do you fucking hear me?" Bettis shouted the words.

"All right." It was Bodie's voice.

The warehouse was lit by security lights only--pools of brightness in an otherwise dark space. Bodie slowly emerged into the light just beyond the office doorway. He was dressed in black, a gun in one gloved hand. His face was pale by contrast, and expressionless.

"Who else is here?" Bettis demanded.

"Give it up." Bodie's voice was cool. "We're CI5, mate."

"No sirens," Donnor said. "CI5 work in pairs. Maybe he's Doyle's?"

Bettis narrowed his eyes. "Yeah, they'd've hit us already if there were more. Hartz, get his gun." Hartz moved forward and took Bodie's automatic. "Check out the warehouse." Hartz hesitated only a moment, then disappeared into the darkness.

They all stood still, waiting. Doyle looked at Bodie and knew he'd come alone. The question was whether he'd called for backup before going in.

Hartz's voice carried to them: "All clear, so far. No one out front!"

Bettis looked at Gary. "Bring him into the office." Donnor went ahead of them as Bettis dragged Doyle backwards with him. Bodie followed them through the doorway, with Gary behind him. Gary had a knife in his hand. Bodie's eyes were fastened on Bettis.

"One more time, Doyle," Bettis said. "Where are my drugs?"

"In the river."

"No one would throw that much money away. No one."

"I would." Doyle smiled.

"Me too," Bodie said.

"Shut up!" Bettis turned the gun towards Bodie, and Doyle shoved his shoulder into him, hoping to push him off-balance. Bodie was next to Gary. If Bodie could grab the knife--

A shot rang out, and Doyle caught a glimpse of Hartz in the doorway, with Bodie's gun in his hand. Fear stabbed through him, like a hot poker. Bodie. He cried out as Bettis pounded a fist into his ribs, and then his kidney. Doyle fell to the floor, a great roaring in his ears, pain lancing through him. For a moment it was all he could do to breathe.

He had to get back to the fight, but his fucking hands were still bound behind his back. He rolled and raised his head. He saw Bodie grappling with Hartz, landing a vicious blow to the man's neck. Donnor was edging around to Bodie's unprotected back, but Doyle was more concerned about Bettis and the gun. Bettis was aiming at the group, waiting for an opening. Doyle pushed himself towards Bettis, hoping he could trip him, anything.... Bettis fired--but it was Hartz who fell to the ground, struck in the back by the bullet as Bodie held him. Bettis yelled and Donnor jumped Bodie from behind. The roaring was still there--Doyle suddenly realised it was coming from Bodie. Donnor went down, and Bodie rushed Bettis even as the man fired again. Bodie never slowed, although Doyle saw the bullet strike, and within seconds it was over--Bettis dead on the floor, his neck broken.

Bodie's eyes swept the room as he turned in a tight circle. Doyle stayed still, knowing that Bodie wouldn't recognise him at that moment. Berserker rage. He'd never witnessed it before, but there was no mistaking it. Bodie was lost to everything except the need to kill. Blood spread from the wound in Bodie's right shoulder, but Doyle doubted he felt it. Maybe it was a sign of returning control that he was quiet now, but his expression was fierce and his stance aggressive. Words floated through Doyle's brain--Bodie's voice from long ago: That's the main thing, staying cool. No wonder.

A noise broke the silence, and Doyle saw Gary struggling to get to his feet, the knife back in his hands. Bodie pounced on him.

"Bodie!" Doyle jerked himself to his knees, hampered by his bound hands, and gasped as his ribs protested the movement.

Bodie stopped. One of his hands was tight on Gary's arm, the other now held Gary's knife, and he was poised to strike.

"Let him go." He could hear sirens in the distance, but the only sound in the office was Gary's panicked breathing. "It's done." Doyle kept his voice quiet. After a moment, Bodie released Gary and stepped back.

Bodie turned his head and Doyle met his eyes, withstanding the heat of the rage he saw there. Bodie didn't move, even when Gary scuttled through the doorway. Gary wouldn't get far, and they had more important things to deal with here.

He glanced at the carnage around them, then back at Bodie. The rage was dissipating, and in its place was...fear? Something twisted tight in Doyle's gut--a feeling as unexpectedly sharp as his own fear for Bodie had been. He caught his breath in sudden realisation. An instant later, Bodie blinked, and the look was gone. His face was expressionless again--the emotion sealed over. Keep it cool, always cool, and in control. Except when he wasn't.

Mercenary. Killer. How many times had he dug at Bodie with those words? Trying to break through Bodie's control just for the challenge of it? Only now did he understand the fire he'd played with; what it was that Bodie hid behind the self-discipline. But then, they all had secrets, didn't they?

After a brief hesitation, Bodie moved to Hartz's body, picked up and holstered his gun, then walked to Doyle. He slid the knife through the tape around Doyle's hands and helped him to his feet. Doyle winced as the blood flowed freely through his arms and hands again.

"Are you all right?" Bodie's voice was as colourless as his face.

"No." Bodie's hand tightened on his arm. "But I'll heal. How's your shoulder?"

Bodie looked surprised for a moment, then he looked down at the wound. He released Doyle. "Oh."

"The hospital for both of us, eh?"

"It looks like it." Bodie examined his wound. "I'll live."

"Lisa won't." Doyle gestured to the far corner of the office as Bodie looked up. "Killed in the line of duty, they'll say." They'd put a notation on her record before they closed it. He couldn't muster any outrage over the needlessness of her death. He should be feeling more, shouldn't he? It was too easy to stay distant.

"Not your fault."

And Doyle smiled at the image Bodie had of him. The guilt would come later.

Bodie turned away, and Doyle could almost see the cloak of cool efficiency he pulled around himself. "The lads must be here--or soon will be. Cowley will probably be with them." Doyle saw that Bodie's gaze stayed above floor level as he glanced around. He should follow Bodie's lead, he knew. Let him rebuild his image. Pretend he'd never witnessed all that Bodie wanted to hide. Could they so easily slip back to normalcy? Did he want that?

"Bodie." He put his hand on Bodie's arm. Bodie swung around, and one of his hands clamped on Doyle's shoulder. Doyle caught a glimpse of Bodie's eyes--saw the control slip--and then Bodie's mouth covered his.

Shock kept Doyle still for a moment, then he put his hands on Bodie's back and opened his mouth to Bodie's tongue. Heat seared him, coiling through his veins and arteries and burning out every reserve he had. He didn't give a fuck about anything--except to meet Bodie's need, Bodie's urgency, Bodie's fears. He knew what had broken Bodie's control at last, and why he'd stopped when Doyle had called to him. Every inch of Doyle blazed with the light that Bodie sparked in him, and he marvelled at it.

Too soon, Bodie pulled back, breaking the kiss. "Ray." He seemed dazed, but his eyes were clear, and his hand gripped Doyle's shoulder hard enough to bruise.

They needed time, but-- "The lads will be here any moment. Later, eh?"

The blank expression that slid across Bodie's face hit Doyle like a punch to the gut. He nearly smiled in his amazement, but Bodie's need took precedence. He put his hand on the back of Bodie's neck, bracing him. "It's all right. You're safe."

Bodie stared at him, and Doyle saw wariness in his eyes.

He slid his thumb over Bodie's skin. "I want you. All of you."


"We all make choices, mate. Every fucking day. To be what we are, or to make us what we want to be. You and me both." He felt the tension in Bodie's neck. "I know why you lost it." His hand tightened as Bodie tried to pull away. "Listen to me! I know. And it's okay. You're not alone." He hesitated a moment. "If you want me."

"You bloody well know I do." Bodie's voice was a fierce whisper.

Doyle took in a breath. They had to be equal in this. "You're the only one who can hurt me, Bodie. The only fucking one. Do you understand?"

Bodie's eyes flickered, and then his hand came up and he put his fingers on Doyle's cheek. "Are you sure about this?"

Doyle let out a quick laugh. "Yeah." But his smile faded as he looked at Bodie. Doyle wasn't the only one who could be hurt. "I'm not what you think--"

Bodie kissed him. A quick but firm kiss. "You are. You just don't know it."


"You choose it, sunshine. Just like me. Every day." Doyle stared at him.

Bodie pushed him gently but inexorably towards the door. "Come on, that's the lads out there." And, indeed, it was apparent that CI5 had finally arrived.

Doyle narrowed his eyes. "We shall have a talk later."

"Is that what you think?" They went through the doorway and into the warehouse, moving slowly.

"That's what I know."

"Ah, but it's a day for surprises, isn't it?"

He sounded happy. Doyle stopped and glared at him.

Bodie grinned. "First we'll report to Cowley, then we'll go to hospital, then we'll go home, then we'll go to bed. Then we'll talk, eh?"

"Optimist. You've got a bullet wound and I've got a cracked rib."

"We'll improvise."

There was, perhaps, a proper time and place to try to break through Bodie's cool image. Bed, for one. He slanted a smile at Bodie, thinking of the possibilities. "Maybe."

He hadn't reckoned on Bodie returning the favour.

-- THE END --

October 2007

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