For Carol, as per her wishes. May her ankle heal, may her car recover, and may she always remember to wear the damn seatbelt.

It was the voice that woke him the first time. Not the words, just the timbre that reached him wherever it was he had gone. The necessity of responding to that voice was unquestioned and undeniable.

"...Doyle, wake up. Doyle. For Chrissake Ray...Doyle...."

His eyes seemed to be uncooperative, but he managed to move a finger, he thought. And the barest whisper: "Bodie--"

"Ray?" Fingers stroked his cheek, a brief brush. "Ray? You awake, mate?"

He forced his eyes to open. Bodie was leaning over him, his face white, blood--blood running from a gash in his forehead, sliding down his face. Blood....

"Bodie." Why was his voice so weak? "You're hurt--" He tried to move, struggling to shift so that he could see more clearly--and the pain crashed into him, dragged at him like an anchor, pulling him down, down down....

From a distance he heard: "Doyle. Ray! Stay with--" and then nothing.

The second time, his eyes opened first. Mere slits to begin with, a crescent of light to invade the darkness that seemed his lot. He felt compelled to turn to that light; there was an urgent reason to do so, he thought, but he was tired, so tired. Movement, close by him, sent a message of danger through his system, enough to overcome the resisting weight of his eyelids.

It was Bodie, settling down beside him, wherever they were--inside it seemed. But it didn't matter much. Not when compared with the grim set to Bodie's face.

"Bodie?" He thought he said it normally, but it came out a hoarse croak.

Bodie's head turned quickly, and then he was bending over him, a smile replacing the grim look. A smile that didn't alter the expression in his eyes.

"Ray. Don't move. You'll be all right, just...don't move."

Doyle frowned as he searched Bodie's face, tracking the line of dried blood with his eyes.

"Blood--" he tried to move his hand up, but stopped, gasping, as a wave of pain washed over him.

"Bloody fool!" Bodie was yelling at him, strangely distant. "I told you not to-- Come on, Ray, this is getting old. Want some company, don't I? Doyle?"

He held on to the light. "What's--?" he could get no more out.

Bodie relaxed next to him, the urgency gone from his voice. "We've been in an accident." His finger lightly brushed Doyle's cheek, and for the first time Doyle began worrying about his own condition.

"I think you're stuck, sunshine," Bodie said calmly, reading his mind. "We need help to get you out, anyway."

Doyle looked down, and saw that he was pinned by the collapsed dash of the Capri. Yes, he wouldn't be getting out of this on his own.

"They're on the way to us, but it'll take time," Bodie went on in a controlled voice.

Doyle turned his gaze back to Bodie, and read the expression in darkened blue eyes. "I'm okay," he lied to them.

"'Course you are." They lied right back at him.

"What about you?" Doyle asked.

"In agony," Bodie told him. "Here," he laid his jacket across Doyle's chest, tucking it gently around him. Needing the warmth, Doyle didn't object.

Bodie was silent now, and Doyle concentrated on breathing. The pain radiating through his body was making it difficult to breathe, and he felt an almost uncontrollable urge to move. He resisted. To distract himself, he thought back, trying to remember what had happened. They had been driving back to London, on their way from--

"What about Harris?" he asked.

"Never mind him," Bodie said, avoiding his eyes.


"Just don't ask, Ray," Bodie said tightly.

Doyle stared at him for a moment, then closed his eyes. "Christ."

He felt Bodie's hands straighten the jacket, though it didn't need it.

"How'd you get help?" Doyle asked, changing the topic.

Bodie paused in smoothing the jacket. "Had to leave you. Flagged down a motor eventually. He said he'd call it in, the next phone he came to." Bodie's eyes lifted to Doyle's. "We're a long way from anywhere out here."

"Yeah," Doyle agreed. "Not much traffic. Good thing with the sleet--" he broke off, realization flashing through him. He looked at Bodie. "I was drivin', wasn't I?"

"Yeah," Bodie acknowledged, warily.

"I killed Harris."

"No," Bodie said sharply. "Don't start, Ray. It was the other bastard--he came over into your lane, for Chrissake."

"Could've avoided--"

"No." Bodie's hands gripped his face, forced him to meet his eyes. "No. You did what you could to avoid it. You listen to me, Ray. You did what you could. Think it's by chance you're the one pinned in, while I--" he broke off. Doyle noticed that the fingers on his face were trembling.

"You had nothing to do with it," Doyle said with as much indignation as he could manufacture. He needed to stop the trembling of those fingers. "Made sense to veer left, that's all."

"Yeah, 'course it did."

Ignoring Bodie's disbelief, Doyle struggled to remember the accident. "What happened to the lorry?"

"Drove on."

Doyle's eyes met Bodie's. "Was it an accident?"

Bodie shrugged.

"They might come back," Doyle fretted.

"Let them." Bodie's voice was hard, and there was a glitter to his eyes that Doyle had only rarely seen.

"Don't be stupid. You can't handle them all on your own--dammit--" he tried to move, to see if there was any chance, and the blackness rolled in on him like the ocean tide.

He heard Bodie answering him, "They haven't come back, if they were after Harris. We don't know--Doyle? Ray? Fuck it. Doyle, don't move! I told you--Ray--"

Fingers rubbing gently through his hair, stroking soothingly, woke him. He absorbed the touch, knowing who it was immediately. How long had he wanted Bodie to do this to him? In bed, caresses were a given; on the job, often enough, Bodie would touch him fleetingly, maybe even work in an inconvenient grope. But never would he do this. Doyle smiled.

"You awake then?" Bodie's deep voice was very close to his ear.

Doyle opened his eyes, and found his partner. With strength he wasn't sure he still had, he moved his right hand, shakily, to Bodie's face. He noted the blood on his hand, absently, more interested in tracing the planes of the face so close to his. His fingers found the trail of dried blood, running from forehead to chin.

"This hurt any?" he asked, softly. His voice seemed unable to manage anything else.

A half-laugh, that dislodged his fingers. Bodie caught his hand in his own. "Nah," he said. "Just gives me a dashing look, don't you agree?"

"Oh yeah," Doyle said sardonically. "Always was into blood, didn't you know?"

Bodie's thumb rubbed gently up and down the back of Doyle's hand. His other hand still cradled Doyle's head. "How are you feeling?"

Doyle's thoughts were increasingly focused inward. Something odd was happening, he knew that. "Can't feel much of anything," he replied to Bodie. "'Cept for where you're touchin' me."

Bodie's eyes dropped. He looked terrible--the dried blood the least of it. His face was pale, eyes sunk deep within bruised sockets. Beard stubble had begun to come out on his jaw, giving him a dissolute look, complemented by the redness in his eyes. Yet, he was still remarkably good-looking. To Doyle's eyes, anyway.

"I'm glad," Doyle whispered.

"About what?"

"That we went to bed." He watched Bodie's face close, and was affected by it even now. "Know you don't want to talk about it, mate--sorry."

Bodie shook his head. "It's not that." His hand gripped Doyle's more tightly. "I'm glad too."

"Then what is it?" Doyle asked, knowing he could ask now.

Bodie hesitated, then answered: "Three times. We've only done it three times. Want to do it a lot more."

"But you never--keep it light, you said--"

"I'm a coward, aren't I?" Bodie admitted.

Doyle stared at him. "Ahh, Bodie. We're both bloody fools."

"That's why you gotta stay with me, Doyle," Bodie told him.

"So I can fuck you?" Doyle asked with a hint of a laugh.

"Yeah. And so I can fuck you. Seems only fair, right?"


They were silent for several minutes, and Doyle was thinking that there were worse ways to die. Many worse ways. The numbness that had taken away the pain in his legs, seemed to be moving upward.


"What, love?" Bodie asked, close by his ear.

Doyle, startled, turned his head a few inches to glare at his partner. "Damn you," he hissed.

Bodie raised his eyebrows.

"Oh, your timing's perfect, mate." Doyle was irate.

"What's wrong?" Bodie demanded.

"I can't move. I can't touch you, properly. I'm dying, you berk!"

"You're not dying," Bodie told him strongly.

"Bodie--my legs--"

"We'll deal with that when we get you to hospital."

"Invalided out--"

"We'll deal with it."

"Unable to walk--"

"We'll deal with it."

"No sex life to speak of--"


Doyle longed for the ability to thump him.

Bodie grinned and dropped a quick kiss on Doyle's lips. "We'll deal with it," he told him. "Together."

"You can't want--"

"I do," Bodie said firmly. "Don't be stupid."

Doyle smiled, and looked at his partner, wanting desperately to hold him. Wishing that they had had a longer time together. His smile faded.

"Ray?" Bodie was quick to read his expression.

"I love you, Bodie. You've been a good mate, partner, everything to me."

"Don't you start," Bodie warned him.

"I'm sorry, love," Doyle whispered, feeling the numbness crawling up his chest, clogging his throat.

"No!" Bodie's hand gripped his, hard. His other hand tightened on Doyle's hair. "Don't you dare, Ray. Don't you leave me like the others. Not you. I'm not lettin' you go, you hear me? Ray! You're not going to die on me, you bastard! You're not! No...."

Something soft, gentle, warm was invading his dreams. There was a good reason why he should respond, but he couldn't think what it was. Then he realized the softness was a pair of lips, and they were on his. And he knew them.

Doyle opened his eyes. Twinkling blue eyes looked at him from a white, ravaged face. Something was missing, something important--oh, the blood--

"Bodie?" his voice was no more than a croak.

"Sleeping beauty, that's what you are," Bodie told him with a truly fatuous smile.

Doyle groaned. "Just wait 'til I can move, I'll thump you--"

"Or kick me," Bodie suggested, settling into a chair close to Doyle.

Hospital. They had to be in hospital. And he was alive.

"Yeah, we made it mate," Bodie told him.

"My legs?"

"Broken. You've a long road ahead of you, sunshine."

"I'll be invalided out," Doyle concluded, surprised at the hurt it caused him.

"Yeah. Me too," Bodie said calmly.

"What?" Doyle twisted in surprise, then caught his breath as pain flared in his abdomen.

"Teach you to move like that." Bodie's voice was dry, but his hands were gentle as they soothed him. "You've been in surgery, mate. They'll give you something for the pain--" he broke off as Doyle made a rude noise. "Well, don't complain to me then, sunshine," Bodie said, grinning.

Doyle managed to get his breathing under control and fixed his eyes on Bodie once more. "What do you mean, you too?" he asked levelly.

"Knee's gone," Bodie explained succinctly. "Think I was lyin' there with you like that voluntarily?"

"But you went for help," Doyle objected, unable to accept this.

"Yeah. Twenty feet--was all I could manage. Barely got myself back to the car as it was."

"I didn't know...."

"Didn't want you to know. No point in it."

"I might've liked to have known," Doyle pointed out irritably.

Bodie rolled his eyes. "You're going to bring it up every fight we have for the next forty years, aren't you?"

"Likely," Doyle agreed, but his eyes had opened wide on Bodie's words.

"Haven't forgotten what I said, have you?" Bodie asked intensely.

"No." Doyle, to his own annoyance, could only whisper the word.

Bodie leaned closer. "'No' you didn't forget? Or 'no' you don't want--"

"Dumb crud," Doyle said. "Kiss me before I try to move again."

Bodie complied readily, and Doyle felt the promise of the future in Bodie's touch. Lots of things for two injured ex-agents to do, he thought hazily. As long as they were together. Lots--he was sure of it. But he'd think about it later--

-- THE END --

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