After the Fall


Post-Fall Girl


"3-7!" He ordered as soon as they were out of sight of Willis and his thugs. Receiving no response, only a tightening of already tense shoulders, he tried again. "Bodie, wait," he paused but his prey's angry stride didn't. "Please." That did the trick. The man came to an abrupt stop, but did not turn. Taking a deep breath, Cowley continued, "My mistake, lad. I should never have trusted Willis. I had no idea what he was planning. He'll pay for what he did, mark my words...I'll see you Thursday at 9 a.m. in my office, we'll talk then."

With a curt nod, the dark haired man took three steps and jumped for the top of the stone wall, strong arms pulling him up, over, and out of sight.

Releasing a sigh, Cowley pivoted on his good leg and headed back to the mess awaiting him, though his mind remained on 3-7. That woman had been a member of a very exclusive club -- individuals for whom William Bodie cared deeply. As far as he knew, in addition to the actress, there had been a young lady in Africa he'd learned about after the mess with Krivas; his partner, Ray Doyle, for whom Bodie would willingly lay down his life; and himself. He was not sure what he'd done to deserve the honor, but was realistic enough to know it was the only reason the ex-merc would appear on Thursday.

He was worried about that meeting. Three of the few people Bodie trusted had betrayed him -- or at least that was how his operative saw it. He'd made his feelings about Marikka clear "You framed me." And the Controller was sure it was true, especially after Willis' confident statement, "They'll be no trouble proving she was one of mine."

Doyle, well, he'd been ordered to follow his partner. And that was the only reason 3-7 was still breathing, but he knew 4-5's role would be the most difficult of the three for Bodie to accept.

As for himself, Bodie had forgiven him more than once for his deceptions -- including their last assignment which had been a colossal Operation Susie. But this...most believed William Bodie to be a callous man who stormed blithely through life, uncaring of the carnage left in his wake. But they were wrong. Bodie's feelings were kept well-hidden beneath a strong coat of armor; a devil may care attitude; and a bored expression.

Cowley had reconfirmed that impression when the operative showed up at his house a few days after Barry Martin's death. It had been clear the former SAS man was concerned over how he was handling the betrayal of a man who had been an old friend and an employee. He'd been deeply touched, though he hid that from his visitor.

When he caught sight of the red blanket covered body he shook himself slightly, stood up straight, and turned his mind to the matter at hand -- cleaning up MI6's mess. He'd deal with 3-7 Thursday.


Cowley's parting words "You make sure your own house is in order, 4-5" still angered Doyle as he finished his report. But he let the words run to avoid the image of the pain and emptiness in those familiar blue eyes. Dropping the report on Betty's desk, he hurried out, not wishing to discuss the op with his colleagues, and most especially, not with the Controller.

He was angry, mad, exhausted, and unsure of where he stood with the one person who mattered. He'd known, of course, when he'd been ordered to follow 3-7 that he'd have trouble explaining his actions. Truth be told, he'd thought it was a lark. Even if the bird was a spy, his partner was far more interested in bedding her then in spilling HMG's secrets. To be honest, if he hadn't seen the op play out with his own eyes, he wouldn't have believed it.

He wasn't surprised to find himself parking near Bodie's flat. Using his keys on the front entrance - sure if he gave his partner the option, he wouldn't open the door -- he started up the stairs, running a hand through his hair in agitation. Of course, even if he managed to get into the flat, there was no guarantee he'd be allowed to stay -- or live for that matter.

There was no light under the door. Maybe the man wasn't even home -- maybe he'd already taken off. That sent a shiver up his spine as he turned the key. When no word or movement greeted him, he set the locks...not as much for security as to give himself a minute to think through what he was about to do.

He moved through the flat, finding both the kitchen and lounge empty. The door to the bedroom was partially opened so he slipped inside. A hint of light through the window showed his partner curled in a ball; pillow clutched to his chest.

A sigh escaped. It had never been his intention to betray this man, and, in hindsight, he wished he'd simply told him Willis' mob was on to his romantic rendezvous and to back off. Sod Cowley, he'd rather be kicked off the squad then forfeit his best mate.

He inched the overstuffed chair to the door, ensuring his partner couldn't escape undetected. As long as Bodie was here, he could fix this: just how was another story. He didn't know what would happen in the morning, but he was not letting his partner go without a fight. He'd just have to be very convincing. A homemade breakfast perhaps...Bodie always claimed the quickest way to his heart was via his stomach, and it was his heart he needed to win. Content with his plan, he leaned back and closed his eyes.

Doyle woke to sleepy blue eyes. "Sunshine, what's wrong," Bodie whispered hoarsely.

"Everything, Bodie-mate...we need to talk."

Bodie came to his feet as realization dawned. "Get out!"

"Not til you've heard me out...not til you've forgiven me."


He drove a random route back to his bolt hole, unworried about being followed. He'd need a new hiding place anyway, as well as a new car since it had been seen. Driving gave him something to do; allowing him to stave off the unhappy thoughts waiting for him. A voice -- his own -- loudly suggested he just keep driving: out of London, out of CI5, and out of his life. Another voice, sounding remarkably like his tatty partner, ordered him to go home, take a shower and a kip; promising things would look better tomorrow -- ironic advice considering the source. The third voice -- complete with a Scottish burr -- muttered something about the small print and 30 days.

After dropping off the car, he walked the four miles back to his flat, hoping it would add enough to the physical exhaustion already weighing on him so he could sleep. He paused briefly outside a pub, but knew if he went in he'd get pissed, and he wasn't up for another visit to the local jail.

He carefully surveyed the area before entering his building. A recon of the flat found nothing out of place, which meant the Cow had sealed it once he caught onto Willis' game. Grabbing a bottle of scotch, he headed for the bathroom. Turning on the shower, he took several generous slugs before moving under the pounding water; staying until it ran cold. Drying off, he headed for bed, the bottle under one arm.

Not sure how long he'd slept, he blinked several times before catching sight of his partner's still form in the chair. "Sunshine, what's wrong?" He croaked; voice hoarse.

"Everything, Bodie-mate...we need to talk."

The events of the last two days came roaring back, and he bolted upright. "Get out!"

"Not til you've heard me out...not til you've forgiven me."

"Don't care to listen."

"Bodie, what happened...Cowley didn't know what Willis was up to. If he had, he would never have gone along with it. You know Cowley, you know that!"

"And you couldn't be bothered to tell me." The blue eyes were dark with the pain of betrayal.

"Should have Sunshine, for that I'm sorry. And I'm sorry about...about her. She didn't deserve that." He paused, green eyes bright. "But I'm not sorry for following you. If I hadn't, you'd be dead." The two men stared at each other for a long moment before Bodie collapsed back onto the bed. "Bodie-mate, there was nothing you could have done. It was you or her."

"She set me up."

Not sure if that was a question or a statement, Doyle responded. "Afraid so. But I don't believe she knew Willis was planning to off you."

A kaleidoscope of scenes ran through this head and he shook them off. "Go home, Doyle." He saw doubt in the green eyes. "We'll talk Thursday...after I see the Cow at 9."

"Bodie, I..."

"We'll talk, my word on it. Just not now, Sunshine."

"Thursday, then?"

"Thursday, mate."

-- THE END --

June-July 2008

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