Getting to Know All About You


Second of four parts: follows Getting to Know You; followed by Getting to Like You and Getting to Hope You Like Me, Too

"Ah, Bodie. Come in and shut up before you even start."

Bodie shut his mouth. He'd learned that Cowley was only ever rude when the person he was dealing with was toeing that exquisitely fine line between his enduring patience and his intolerable fury. Bodie ducked his head respectfully and closed the door behind himself.

The Cow was sitting somewhere behind a big pile of official leafs, stamped and printed accordingly - Bodie could just about see the top of his specs through all that paper. He sat down in front of the fluttering wall, and didn't recoil when Cowley suddenly rose like Nessie out from all his paperwork.

"You disobeyed me, Bodie," this sharp statement was accompanied by a jab with the specs, held accusingly in his hand.

"Sir," Bodie said, but he didn't really mean it.

He knew as well as his boss that once this lip-service of a bollocking was over, Cowley would smirk and dismiss him, and that would be that. They'd done it right, they just hadn't done it his way.

"Don't 'sir' me, laddie. I served with your father, and I know when you lot are just pretending, you know."

Bodie shut his mouth a second time, but it was more of an instinct - a mention of his father and he shut up like a book slamming shut.

There was an ominous rustling of paper as Cowley moved closer, looking down on Bodie, who fought hard not to shift in his seat. Why should he squirm? He'd done nothing wrong. But his muscles were trained by the military, and it was to authority that they owed their allegiance, not him. And they twitched unbearably under the inscrutable blue gaze.

A louder volume this time. "You disobeyed me, and what's more, you rubbed salt in the wound by taking an unauthorised leave of absence, without warning - turning up three days later saying it's my fault - and without having taken that partner of yours with you!"

Cowley's frustration caused Bodie to roll his eyes... but only a little. "Am I supposed to be babysitting him as well, now?"

"You were supposed to be babysitting that address I gave you!" Cowley bellowed, making the windows ring - Bodie heard the clatter of Betty's teacup against its saucer.

A stinging silence, then Cowley sighed, deflating somewhat as the hot air left him. He waved a hand dismissively, "But, I can't fault you for your deduction skills... A bit slow, sometimes, but often dead on the nail."

Bodie chose to ignore that, and cleared his throat carefully. "It was Doyle."

Cowley looked round, surprised. "Ey?"

Bodie took a deep breath, and kept his eyes on his hands, concentrating on his flexing fingers. "It was Doyle." A touch of amusement entered his tone without him realising. "Yeah, PC Suspicious Old Toad was on your case before we'd even pulled out of here." His lips quirked, but he didn't know why. "I, on the other hand, fell for it hook, line and sinker." A quick pause, and Bodie wondered why that issue had suddenly become so important.

A quick pause that seemed to suck all the air from the room. "Am I supposed to apologise or something, now, 3.7?"

Bodie looked up in horror. Cowley was looking at him with sceptical amusement, his eyebrows raised in a mocking dare - it was a look Bodie had been familiar with for many years. He allowed himself to smirk, relieved, "No, sir."

Just another tick on that ever-growing list of things Bodie was most assuredly right about. Never touch an old man with his own teeth: chances were his brain was just as sharp.

A glass of malt was pressed into his hand - a quick, no-nonsense apology of the best kind - and Cowley leaned against his desk to drink his own. His too casual, too cordial behaviour setting off alarm bells in Bodie's mind. And, naturally, he was right to worry, as Cowley downed his drink in one.

"The upshot of all this, anyway, is that you and Doyle are off to visit your favourite major. For a refresher course on discipline." Spoken quickly and firmly, but in a light tone meant to escape notice.

Bodie's involuntary groan made him choke on his drink. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand in his haste to protest. "Not Macklin!"

"Absolutely!" Cowley stood. "That man is the greatest assets a man like me can have, Bodie... They do say that those who train the hardest must necessarily be punished the hardest..."

That was that, then. Cowley sniffed and, standing, put his empty glass down. "Go fetch Doyle, you start in an hour." He picked up a file and it was all over.

Bodie, defeated, left the room in a decided glower, trying to work out precisely who 'they' were and how they could have said such a horrible thing.

His bad mood was such that he didn't even realise he'd have to deal with Doyle until he was half-way towards having tom. He felt thoroughly under prepared: they had split up as soon as they'd hit London, each man as keen to put the distance between them as the other. As for the whole Manchester fiasco, well, they'd not really mentioned it. They'd not really mentioned anything, really. They'd ignored one another all the way home.

Two little piggies went wee-wee-wee, thought Bodie absently as he pulled into a car space to the left of the flat. He noted with dismay that Doyle's car was there: no escape, then. He'd have to do some quick thinking.

He rang the doorbell and tried to put his face on, but the door opened before he was ready.

"Morning," he said, for lack of anything better to say. He swore silently at his brain, perpetually one step behind his body.

But Doyle didn't seem to be listening; he made an obscure gesture, and then turned back inside, leaving Bodie on his doorstep.

Bodie felt his spirits hit the floor - this was going to be a bloody battle, and Doyle would make him work for every inch of ground. How on earth one man could be so highly-strung, Bodie didn't know.

"Morning, Bodie, how are you?" he muttered darkly to himself as he stepped over the threshold and into the weird and wonderful clutter, the million and one questions, that was his irritating enigma of a partner.

The smell of fresh coffee hit him full-whack in the face, making his tongue moisten and his skin zing. There was a crash of crockery from the Guiness-fronted kitchen, and he followed it. Doyle was bending over the hob in the small kitchen, peering critically at the grill, having just hit the plate he was holding on the cooker top - the plate was emblazoned with a quizzical looking Yorkshire terrier, and looked like something you'd find in a pensioner's kitchen cabinet. Still Bodie's mouth watered as he smelt hot cheese and heard the bubbles popping tantalisingly.

He came closer and had a peek himself, and was surprised. "Hey, you're doing that wrong."

Doyle straightened fiercely, his angry passion in life apparently even extending to the precise method of creating the piece of art that was cheese on toast. "No I ain't. This makes the best cheese on toast this side of Wales."

Bodie frowned, unwilling to believe this for a second. He scoffed, "What's that you've got under the cheese, anyway?"

Unexpectedly, there was a proud smile waiting for him. "Tomato sauce."

No man should look that smug about cheese on toast, Bodie decided immediately. "That's daft, that. How you gonna taste the bread?"

"The bread's not important. Oi, and my old mum thought this up, mate, and it's ingenius. You wait, you can have a bit." He waved the plate dangerously, jabbing it at Bodie, "Then you'll see." And he turned back to the grill. "Philistine," he added over his shoulder, just for good measure.

Then he straightened suddenly, and whirled on Bodie with a scowl, plate still in hand, "What're you doing here, anyway? Thought you'd fucked off. Left me to get a bleeding bus across London, by the way."

"I had fucked off," Bodie said lightly, his tone daring any challenge of this, any questioning of it. He straightened up and cleared his throat. "Get your stuff: Macklin wants our blood."

Doyle all but exploded. "What?! Why?" He rounded on Bodie. "What did you do?"

"I didn't do anything!" Bodie exclaimed, uncommonly put-out by the constant accusations and suspicion. "We were just too clever, is all, and Cowley wasn't expecting it."

Doyle's frown deepened, and he turned back to his grill with hunched shoulders. His darkened mood filled the small kitchen at once as he moodily poked at the toast with his fork. That was the thing about Doyle, Bodie had realised: once he snapped, he remained snapped for the next couple of hours. The only problem was that it didn't take that much to push him to breaking point.

One wrong look was all it took on some days.

Well, fuck him, Bodie thought charitably. If he wanted to throw a paddy over something so small, let him.

Doyle clearly still didn't understand the way the mob worked. Like all pigs, he was fundamentally opposed to the sort of set-up Cowley had going. Doyle wanted recognition for his training and hard work - he wanted a big party like the Academy graduation ball and his name constantly on the Good Service list - he didn't want anonymity or constant effort, didn't want any of the hard stuff.

No, goody two-shoes wanted people to know exactly what a good job he was doing changing the world, and he'd sulk his arse off if he didn't get praise from all corners while doing it.

No wonder they didn't get along.

"Well, how could he expect cleverness from you?"

No fucking wonder.

They were bundled into the car, driving to Greenwich and towards their almost certain doom.

"Can't say it was the best cheese toastie I've ever tasted," Bodie said, and his sly tone niggled at Doyle.

They were the first words of the entire car journey - twenty minutes too late - and they were designed to get Doyle irritated enough to fight back and so keep him company. Doyle knew all too well that Bodie often simply wound him up for his own entertainment. And it pissed him off that he almost always fell for it.

What was worse was that such a reason made all the genuine bad feeling Doyle harboured for Bodie seem petty and ridiculously immature in comparison to the man who couldn't care less, but did it anyway.

This irked him, and he felt a growl rolling about in his chest. But, instead, he ignored him - nothing made Bodie crosser than Doyle not giving him recognition, and Doyle wasn't in the mood to talk to the man, anyway.

The atmosphere thickened - he felt rather than saw Bodie glance at him, and then back at the road. But Doyle was feeling rather reckless with himself: he was buggered no matter what he did - stay with the mob, stay with Bodie; leave and possibly miss out on the only chance to make a real difference. He hadn't had a lot of chances in life, and this was one in a million. He'd worked bloody hard to get to where he was, and this man - this awkward fucking man - was making him feel like none of it was worth it. He faced an eternity of silence and confusion, peppered with anger and bile, and he just felt like throwing it all in the sea.

Sod it.

His muscles still ached with the memory of Macklin - the barrel-chested nutter who'd put him, kicking and cursing, through his first A-squad paces. He'd been told by some imposingly tall, mop-topped chap in the on-call room that Macklin only ever got worse as you climbed the ranks - the longer you spent there, the harder he trained you - and Doyle's mind was filling with every gloomy image it could find. His smashed cheekbone hummed with the ghost of pain, and he felt a familiar dark cloud begin to descend on him, and he sighed without really meaning to.

"You'll have the window out, all that gusting," Bodie murmured, and Doyle looked up. He'd sounded ever so slightly concerned, if that was even possible. But it was just Doyle's imagination - just his over-active, under-nourished imagination - because Bodie didn't speak again. Should have known; his Super had always said Doyle was a soft touch.

He wasn't soft, he knew he wasn't - knew all too well, mostly - he just wasn't a heartless bastard, either. He thought some people had it in them to change. But Bodie didn't speak again, and Doyle reclined in his own empty victory.

They pulled up to the warehouse and Bodie, switching off the engine, starting singing, "Here we are again, happy as can be... We're all friends and jolly good company!" He slapped his thighs soundly and then bounded up and out of the car before anything could be said.

Doyle laughed, then coughed, then followed him. There was a side-door to the warehouse, lit by a flickering over-light, and they pushed through it into an empty room - a sort of glass-partitioned office. The warehouse beyond was dark and exceedingly uninviting.

Doyle moaned, his worries getting the better of him. "I can't believe we have to spend the rest of the week, here. Getting the snot kicked out of us."

"It's not my fault," Bodie said absently, looking distractedly around at his surroundings.

"I think you'll find it is," Doyle muttered darkly. "You're the one who ran off and had a little holiday on his onesie."

"It wasn't a holiday," Bodie looked round at him straight, eyes all of a sudden very, very blue.

"What was it then?" Doyle was persistent; he was not about to let this one slide. Things always fucking slid for Bodie.

Bodie shrugged, and lit the blue touch paper.

"See, this is exactly what I was talking about before, you never give anything away ever, do you? All you do is be sneaky and secretive to make yourself seem more interesting and I'll tell you what, son, it doesn't fool-- "

Doyle had very suddenly been felled by a great, steaming blonde-and-blue hulk, landing on top of him from what seemed to be a very great height. Bodie, unbalanced but not unseated by the proceedings, laughed as he saw Doyle instinctively hit out at Macklin, his limbs working like a snapping jack-trap, striking anywhere he could. It was a bizarre fighting style - scrappy and inconsistent, but damn effective - one which seemed to be born from desperation rather than any actual technique. And Bodie knew now from experience that it hurt.

But Macklin struggled on for a second, before doing something mysterious and interesting with his elbow which sent a searing pain imploding through Doyle's insides, rendering him helpless and gasping and very possibly in three separate bits.

Satisfied with the destruction, Macklin stood up straight, swung around and knocked Bodie off his feet in a move so quick Bodie was on his back before anyone noticed. Bodie, winded beyond belief, could do nothing but laugh silently up at the ceiling. Doyle, curled up in a ball, clutching his stomach, glared at him. Macklin wasn't even out of breath.

"I've missed this," Bodie grinned as he finally managed to pick himself up.

"Clearly," Macklin said harshly, looking pointedly at Bodie's tummy, but there was a warmth to his tone that irritated Doyle. Bodie, instead of ripping his face off, grinned and patted his stomach lightly. Oh, another big old pal of Bodie's from those shady, glory-ridden old days?

Let joy be unconfined.

He got up, wincing without really meaning to, something which earned him a roll of the eyes from Bodie. He felt his hackles rise, and would have said something, but Macklin turned round and looked at him critically.

"Doyle, I thought I told you to put on some weight?"

Doyle's scalp began to tingle and he grinded his teeth together - he knew Macklin was just trying to provoke him, but to do so in front of Bodie, who Doyle just knew, just fucking knew was smirking away somewhere in the background, was almost too much to bear.

"I can't," he said, and his voice quivered with barely-controlled ire. He had tried, to be fair, but no matter how much he ate, it never seemed to do anything. It wasn't like it was affecting anything - he'd been like that forever. His mum used to called him 'hollow-legs'. Used to...

Macklin looked distinctly unimpressed, and turned away with a snuff of disgust, like he was handling some spotty, gangly army cadet and not a mature, fully-trained operative. "You'll never get anywhere if you don't get the bulk behind your body. Quick, you may be; effective... I doubt it very much."

Doyle put his head down. He was still unable to defend himself against the man who had ground him so hopelessly into the dirt only a month ago. It still hurt, and the humiliation, for once, didn't galvanise him into action: he didn't even need to concentrated on not blowing his top, so defeated he already felt by the whole affair. And he refused to give Bodie any more joke fodder, which is what always happened when Doyle got upset. Which was always.

Doyle didn't notice Bodie looking at him strangely, an odd look on his face...

But Macklin did.

It had been a long, painful day.

Bodie had been trying hard to show off - to prove to both Macklin and Doyle that he didn't need a refresher course in anything - but even he was under no illusions about how exceedingly unimpressive he looked at that precise moment.

He was about as impressive as a puddle of piss on the floor.

A groan slipped past him as he shifted his legs in an attempt to soothe the burning ache in them... But this did nothing but set up a chain reaction of pain and death in every single muscle his body contained, one after another after another. And he groaned again.

"Stop whining," Doyle said viciously from the pile of cardboard boxes he'd collapsed in, somewhere over to Bodie's right.

"I might be good but I'm not fucking Batman!" Bodie snarled back through the muscle cramps.

He was all too aware that Doyle, instead of moaning and complaining for the entirety of the ten-mile run they'd just endured - which had been precisely what Bodie had been expecting him to do - Doyle had completed the whole thing in solemn silence, compounding the sadistic monotony of the whole affair. He was clearly trying to show Bodie up, and Bodie was having none of it.

"Didn't say you were, did I?" Doyle shouted back across at him, but the yell was cut off by a sharp yelp, as something cramped in Doyle's thick hide.

Bodie immediately burst out laughing - it was all he could do. He laughed so hard tears rolled down his face, and the exhaustion in his limbs thrummed as a dim euphoria in his head and chest. It was fatigue shellshock, and he was well-acquainted with it - he just had to laugh until it passed.

There was a rustle of cardboard, and Doyle arose meekly, holding his side like some injured knight. A reluctant, wry smile was on his face, and his eyes pierced Bodie.

"Well, I'm glad I could amuse you," the drawl simply dripped with sarcasm, but it was a nice sarcasm, sarcasm which slipped through Bodie - ever perceptive to slights of his pride - entirely unnoticed. Bodie was still chuckling as Doyle untangled himself from the cardboard boxes, and half-limped across the room.

"Right," Doyle said, still as grouchy as a miffed moggy, the smile fading quick. "Gonna put the sup on - I've earned it, is all I can say."

Bodie hoisted himself upright, wiping his face free of the exhausted tears which had mingled with a hard day's sweat. "I reckon so... 10 miles and two punch-ups. Not bad, is it?" He jabbed at the air with a couple of rabbit-punches, and then winced as something popped in his shoulder.

"Yeah, well, enough of your gloating," Doyle said distractedly, fiddling with the battered-looking gas cooker in the corner of the warehouse. "Got to get this bugger working, first... I hate these things, they never bloody work."

"Piece of piss," Bodie said with confidence, getting to his feet to help.

Doyle went silent, his hands slowing as they pressed buttons in a continued effort to get the hob-spark to catch. He rubbed awkwardly at the five o'clock shadow which dusted his jaw, and Bodie saw his teeth clamp down on themselves. All of his previous humour winked out as abruptly as it had appeared.

After a moment's careful thought - what could he have possibly done wrong this time - Bodie closed his eyes as he realised suddenly, and without really knowing how, what the problem was.

"Look," he said, trying to get it over with as quickly as possible - he was far too tired to provoke Doyle, and he didn't want to spend another evening in angry silence. For purely survival purposes, this was the wise thing to do - sod personal taste. "I didn't mean anything by it, alright, I just meant I'd give you a hand," but his voice had an edge of frustration to it, as if he actually cared what Doyle thought he meant.

Doyle looked round at him, surprised, and then back at the hob. "Yeah," he said, quietly, and twisted a knob with a jerk of his hand. After a moment, he added, somewhat crossly, "Look, I know, okay."

Intrigued, Bodie drifted closer to the strange, strange man. "Why do you always do that?"

"Do what?"

"Automatically go on the defensive all the time." At Doyle's confused look, Bodie let out a noise of disbelief, "I mean, someone so much as sniffs near you and it's like a flick of the Vs in your face."

Doyle shrugged, his thin shoulders hefting up through his damp sweatshirt. He rubbed at the back of his neck, and pushed the gas on again. "It's more... offensive, really. Stops anyone taking the piss with me."

Bodie nodded, understanding much more than he imagined he would.

All was quiet but, after a moment's hesitation, Bodie gently moved Doyle's hands out the way. Realising the possible faux pas with his very touchy, very tired partner, he froze and raised his eyebrows at Doyle in question - this had to be played very, very carefully. Upon receiving a nod, he flicked the correct order of switches and turned the gas up until it caught the sparking fuse. He smiled, pleased with himself, and looked up.

Doyle was looking at him carefully, and Bodie could practically see the set of weights and scales balancing in his mind. There was suspicion, disbelief, relief, gratitude - every feeling under the sun - in Doyle's still-guarded gaze, and Bodie realised with a start that no one had ever looked at him quite that way before: as if all the skin and sin had been stripped away.

"Ta," Doyle said, and looked as if he meant it. Then he looked away, blinking, and the moment shattered.

Bodie cleared his throat, and strode quickly back over to the other side of the room, seating himself in the crumpled cardboard boxes which would - knowing Macklin as well as he did - no doubt be their bed for the evening.

He had a very odd feeling in the pit of his stomach, one that could not be put down to stress or near-starvation. It felt far too warm and comfortable to be a good thing. It was... pleasure. The smallest inkling of pleasure - pleasure for making Doyle less angry for a bit, pleasure that Doyle said thank you, pleasure that they were sitting here, alone together.

He decided to push his luck, putting the strange, lilting feeling down to intense - but purely scientific - curiosity. Curiosity killed the Celt, his grandma used to say... But, then again, he had never understood much of what she'd said, the mad old cow.

A building sadness in his chest forced his voice, and the distraction was just waiting to be snared.

"Why is that, then?"

Doyle turned. "Ey?"

"Why're you so..." Bodie felt his nose wrinkle as he suppressed a smile. "Offensive?"

Green eyes narrowed suspiciously, but Bodie appeared to have gained half-an-inch in Doyle's esteem, because there was no spitfire reaction. Instead, Doyle shrugged again, his movements tightening ever so slightly as he sorted out the tins of food they'd been rationed. He looked sullen and sad, like a moody teenager, and Bodie's anger surged.

"Oh, what... You're not gonna talk to me now, is tha'dit?" he goaded, impossibly annoyed all of a sudden. He cleared his throat, folded his arms and tried to stop the Scouse bleeding through again. "... Oh, well, I suppose I shall just have to talk to myself all evening..."

"It's what you're good at," Doyle muttered to himself, attacking the tin with his penknife.

"I'm good at anything I put my mind to, sunshine," Bodie said smugly, knowing full well his arrogance was only slightly misplaced. He leaned forward, uncrossing his arms to rest his hands on the nearest cardboard box, "It's what I choose to put my mind to, that's what counts, mate... And I've chosen to put my mind to you."

Well, that just hadn't sounded good at all.

Doyle barked a laugh at Bodie's words. A sudden shout of amusement, up and out from the very soles of his boots. He looked around at Bodie, still laughing. His face always looks so different when he's smiling; the thought drifted into Bodie's mind out of nowhere.

He shifted again, always uncomfortable in his own mind, and focused his attention back on a still-chuckling Doyle, ignoring all the other thoughts that were beginning to drift.

"So, come on, then," Bodie said, a high laugh slipping from him as Doyle's laugh returned in a slightly haphazard, strangled way. Amused beyond belief, Bodie slipped into a camper tone with a limp wave of his hand, pressing it to his chest, "You know I don't take rejection well, boyo."

Doyle was in pieces, now, bracing himself on the cooker and laughing for all he was worth - it was a good, earthy roar of laughter that Bodie liked very much indeed, and which tickled him extremely pink. He laughed again at the silliness of the whole thing - shellshock strikes again - and his face began to ache with his helpless grin.

After a moment, they began to calm down. Doyle wiped his eyes and took hold of the swiss army knife with a shake of his curls and a giggled cough. "You're fucking bonkers," he said, amusement thick in the grim words.

Bodie nodded even though he knew Doyle couldn't see him. "Too right. Now, where's my conversation?"

Doyle shoved the beans into the saucepan, swiped the saucepan across the cooker top, and turned round.

He leaned back on the stove and crossed his arms defensively on his chest. He looked down at Bodie with a slightly superior, slightly judging look through his lashes - lashes which were still wet from laughter. He smiled sideways, and then said, "Alright, then. Try me. But you're not getting starry eyes or violins, alright?"

Bodie sat a bit straighter, the sudden flippancy astounding him - he might only get one shot at this.

"Where are you from?"


"Did you enjoy being a policeman?"

"Much more than I enjoy being your partner."

Ouch. But, then again, Bodie wanted answers - and nobody liked answers. Which was partly why Bodie wasn't prepared to give them any. It had turned into something of a competition, though. Bodie versus the world. Certainly versus Doyle.

"What were your parents called?"

"Katie O'Connell and Patrick Doyle."

Bodie's eyebrows rose before he could help it, and Doyle's eyes flickered dangerously. Bodie dipped his head, and the threat in the air simmered down. Bodie was on very dangerous ground, though, and one false move could literally kill him.

But there was a small part of him - a small, fiendishly reckless part of him - which urged him further.

"What was your dad like?"

"A bastard."

Oh, nice one.

"Your mum?"


"I'm not asking for a rating."

"Not giving you one. She was good. Too good."

There was an uncomfortable pause. Doyle was getting that look back into his eyes - that harassed one he got right before he broke your nose - and so Bodie pretty much had no choice to push it even further, because he already knew the answer.

"Did he hit you?"

A swallow. "Yes."

Bodie stopped, unsure; unsure of his footing, unsure of what he was doing; unsure of way. But, yet again, he bulldozed onwards.

"Me, too," he said.

Doyle nodded - a short, sharp jolt of the head, and that was that. Communication. He hadn't looked surprised.

Bodie swallowed, feeling more nervous than he had ever felt under fire, and revelling in this bright, exciting emotion. He needed to finish this, because he knew Doyle better than to think none of this had made him how he was. Bodie wanted, more than anything, to know how and why and where and who, and he was willing to interrogate to find out.

"He fucked things up for you and your mum." But, his questions weren't so rapid-fire, now. They were quiet and plain and absolutely honest. Barely even questions at all. Just a man, sitting on his arse in a pile of cardboard, wondering aloud.

"Yep," there was the smallest hint of a crack. Doyle's arms were twisting further and further in on themselves, and his shoulders were rising, higher and higher.

"Is he what happened to your face?"

Doyle was staring at him, and Bodie couldn't look away: the scar did just look enormous, sometimes - he wondered suddenly what Doyle's face would be like without it. What would Doyle be like without his anger? Doyle nodded tightly.

There was another silence, and Bodie was so close to the edge he was already falling. So he decided to jump.

"Is he why your brother isn't around anymore?"

He actually saw the clench in Doyle's throat from the other side of the room. Doyle kicked angrily at the stove behind him, the pan was launched from the cooker, landing with a messy splatter on the floor.

Bodie took that as a yes.

He opened his mouth to say something - to say anything, anything at all - but Doyle was already leaving. Leaving it all behind him to swirl in the dark warehouse and keep Bodie company through the night. Just as he had done the week before, Doyle had escaped - a frighteningly tenacious soul with anyone, except himself.

The door to the warehouse swung lazily in the twilight breeze, revealing the sky beyond as a dusky line of smoke and smog and cloud behind the buildings and factories. But beyond the heavy fug of the city was a small sun, settling pink under the weight of the approaching night.

As he gazed out at the sky, forgotting himself for just a moment, two things crossed Bodie's otherwise blank mind in the settling dust of the aftermath: not only was Cowley was going to kill him, but he no longer had any supper.

-- THE END --

May 2008

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