Working undercover on a dangerous mission, Bodie will do whatever it takes to save the life of a curly-headed copper. Even if the man hates Bodie afterwards...
Warnings: Angst + some disturbing content + mush
Adult Content-- Rated R
“The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” - Proverbs 12:10
It was after midnight. Bodie was trying not to yawn, sipping coffee and playing cards to stay awake. The talk was desultory, bored. Instead of the excitement of the upcoming bank job, he heard only the grumbling of over-tired men who had little say in what they did next and hated the wait.
The abandoned warehouse was cold, and Bodie could see his breath, even inside near the little fire they’d built. Anyone glancing in would see homeless men in scruffy clothes sleeping or playing cards to pass the night watches. Some of the men grumbled quietly in their sleep. Bodie’s hands, despite the fingerless gloves, were cold. He rubbed them together and blew on them; it would do no good if they were too cold to use. He had been cold in Africa at times, but Bodie was now reminded of just how cold it could get in England.
Footsteps. He whirled around, automatically grabbing his gun. Bodie relaxed slightly when he saw it was one of the outside guards, the first line of defence. He stayed alert when he realised the man was dragging someone with him at gunpoint.
The others had also whirled around and went for their guns at the sound of the footsteps, though slightly less fast. He caught a couple of looks about that, both cautious and impressed, and allowed himself a small, grim smile. It would seem that his reputation had preceded him, but it was good to have backup for your reputation. Especially if you were hoping nobody found out you’d been in the SAS since acquiring that reputation.
Taking the lead, as he’d been trying to do all along, Bodie rose. “What did you catch?”
“A varmint—copper.” The guard, named, infuriatingly enough Brody, flung the man to the ground. He landed on his knees, but immediately scrambled to his feet. He wore a uniform, though he’d lost his hat, and his hair was wild and curly. Slim build, quick reflexes. The man struck out at Bodie with one foot in a karate-like move as he rose, and Bodie dodged it and kicked back, sending the man sprawling back to the floor easily. He might not have countered the move so quickly if he hadn’t had some karate training of his own.
A vicious kick from Brody sent the copper curling on his side in silent agony, clutching his stomach, legs flexing with the pain.
“Did he hear anything?” asked Bodie, looking down at the man whose face twisted in agony. How could he get out of this without having to let someone kill a cop?
“Who cares?” said Lemmuel, the madman. “Let’s gut him.” To illustrate, he pulled his Bowie knife.
“Got a better idea,” said Bodie.
He didn’t care for cops, but he hadn’t gone undercover to let someone kill one in front of him. There’d been enough death already. Too many bank robberies, too many people dead. Cowley wanted it stopped—and he wanted the mastermind as well. Bodie wasn’t here to allow more killing. He was here to stop it—to protect civilians, even coppers.
Before anyone could stop him, he moved forward and wrenched the copper to his feet. “What’s your name, sunshine?” He slapped the man on both sides of his face, hard enough to make him flinch from it automatically, eyelids fluttering, jaw twitching.
Had to make this look good. He jerked the man closer, up against him, hard, so their bodies met and there was no space between them. “Well? Don’t have all night, sunshine.” He ran one finger down the broken cheekbone on one side of the copper’s face, both felt and saw the rising panic in him, the quickening of heaved breaths, the fear and revulsion mixed in his eyes. “Or maybe I do,” he said in a soft, cold voice.
“DC Doyle,” snapped the copper. His gaze was belligerent but frightened, as if he already knew what Bodie planned.
“Good enough for me, DC Doyle.” Hauling the man up by the scruff of his neck, he turned and walked away with him. “Don’t start the party without me, mates.” He gave the men a departing wink. They stared after him, some looking disturbed or disgusted, some smirking. It was obvious to everyone why he was leaving.
As they disappeared into the darkness, the even colder recesses of the building, Doyle tried again to fight him off, slipping around in his grasp like an eel, all wiry limbs and karate moves. Bodie shook him roughly and stuck a gun in his ribs. “Easy sunshine,” he said, his voice soft now. “It’s not what you think. I’m saving your life.”
“So why is it I don’t feel grateful?” asked the voice that held barely sheathed fear and was still heavy with pain.
“I’m undercover,” explained Bodie. “CI5. You’ve heard of that mob, haven’t you? Fairly new. Run by one George Cowley. And he’s put me undercover to stop this mob. Now you think you can cooperate and help me keep you alive, or do you want them to have their way with you?”
Doyle cleared his throat. “W-what do I have to do?”
He led Doyle around a piling and some old boxes. It was dark here, out of range but not hearing for the men. A good place for a quick fumble. Doyle turned to him, still breathing hard, heart thudding hard in his chest. Bodie could feel it, because he was keeping the man close. For all his talk about cooperation, he knew the copper was unlikely to trust him and would rather make a run for it than risk Bodie’s doubtful mercies. He couldn’t blame the man, but he just couldn’t let it happen. If Doyle got away, they’d either kill him or abort the mission: neither was acceptable to Bodie.
“Help me make it sound like I’m having my wicked way with you. Brutal as possible.” He slid his gun into the back of his waistband and put both arms around Doyle. “Unless you can’t act and need some help getting started—” He felt the slim body jerk away from him, breath quickening even further, and the trembling all through the man’s body.
“I can act, I can act.”
“There you go, sunshine,” said Bodie, petting his arms. “Now scream for me.”
“H-how? Afraid or—or hurt?”
“Your choice, sunshine. But we gotta go the whole way. You can beg or not, your choice.” He squeezed the man’s arms, hard, trying to push back the impulse to comfort. “I’m not gonna hurt you—unless you make me.” He wasn’t the least bit uneasy about slapping a cop around a little to make it realistic. But he didn’t say that, leaving the threat to hang ugly and vague in the air between them.
Immediately, Doyle began to act. He was pretty good, groaning, crying out, whimpering, and then falling abruptly silent. Bodie took up his part, with a few grunts and finally an orgasmic sound of twisted pleasure from low in his throat. Doyle was still trembling, his whole body stressed.
“You did well,” said Bodie. “It’s all right. Now we go back. Keep your eyes down. Muss your clothes. Wait—let’s get rid of your belt and jacket.”
“Can’t I just go? I could fetch help. Pretend to shoot me and I’ll sneak out,” said Doyle.
“No. They won’t believe that. They’ll need to see a body and if they don’t, I’m busted. Now come on. This is the hard part.” He pulled Doyle after him, back towards the light, gun at his side. Doyle moved unwillingly, haltingly, his whole body reluctant, his gaze down. Without his discarded jacket, he shivered even harder. He’d begun to sniffle a little as well.
Bodie stopped to run a hand down Doyle’s side and chest just before they reached the fire, and Doyle reacted the way he wanted, shivering and flinching away from his touch as though repulsed. Bodie leaned in and spoke quietly in Doyle’s ear. “Good, sunshine. Make it look good.”
The men around the fire saw, and waited stiffly for his arrival. They looked at Bodie. They looked at Doyle. Their eyes held the knowledge of what he’d supposedly done, and the various ways they took it. Some looked repulsed and tried to hide it. Some looked savagely glad to see a copper hurt. Some managed to almost show no expression at all.
“Any more coffee?” asked Bodie brightly. “I’m fucked out.” And he gave his most cherubic and sweet smile. Anyone looking at his face abruptly averted their gaze. Someone gave a hoarse laugh.
“Er, think you should finish him off?” asked Brody, with a lot more respect in his voice than he’d had earlier when talking to Bodie. He sounded as though he almost said ‘sir.’
“Nah, he’s mine,” said Bodie casually. He sat on a crate and pulled Doyle down next to him. The policeman crumpled awkwardly on the floor, pulled against Bodie’s side. He was still shaking. Bodie could feel the anger and fear rolling off him in equal measures. He slid his gun into the front of his jeans and kept at least one hand casually on the cop. That hand alternately gripped, caressed, fondled, and controlled. He kept Doyle in that crouching position uncomfortably for long minutes, the man sitting like a crumpled spider, his muscles probably crying out for relief. Whether from good acting or actual need, the cop began to hiccup. Bodie slapped him for it, and he jumped, and trembled visibly.
“Want to let someone else have a turn?” asked Lemmuel, far too casually, his eyes bright with dark intent.
“Nah. He’s mine now,” said Bodie. “Aren’t you sunshine?” He tugged Doyle’s hair up so the man’s eyes would meet his. They were green, and showed every emotion running through him. Bodie kept his face blank to keep from trying to reassure the man, as he suddenly longed to.
“I’m yours now,” said Doyle in a flat, cracking voice that trembled.
You are a very good actor, son, thought Bodie, and let him shift position finally, pulling him to huddle against Bodie’s side a little and stroking his side. At length the others began to ignore Doyle’s presence and go back to their cards and sleep or talk and coffee. But Bodie could feel an awareness in the air, a charged atmosphere. It sobered everyone, frightening some while exciting others, and disgusting most of the men who tried to hide it. None of them was about to even think of crossing Bodie.
After a while he turned and hauled Doyle up by the scruff of his neck. “Come on. Round two,” he said with a leer.
“No—not again!” protested Doyle, and received another slap for it, though not as hard as it looked.
“Cooperate and I’ll go easier this time,” said Bodie, and led his captive away into the darkness.
He kept a firm hold on Doyle, who tried once again to run away in the darkness. “Please let me go.”
“Can’t. Sorry, sunshine.” He held Doyle close to him till the copper stopped struggling. “I told you why. Think about it. Now I’ve got to seem fond of you to keep you alive and keep anyone else from touching you. I’ll have you tied up for the job, but I’ll make them as loose as I can. Get free if you’re able and call George Cowley. Can you remember a phone number? Good.” Bodie gave it to him. “If you can’t get free, sit tight and I’ll be back to spring you. Now give them some fireworks.”
“W-what sort?” asked Doyle miserably.
“Up to you. Am I falling in love with you after my own twisted way, or am I still a sadist?”
“Suppose I’d rather the former, if you’d just quit fondling me!” He was trembling with anger this time.
“Easy, sunshine. You’ve never done undercover before?”
“Not as a rape victim—with a supposed CI5 man,” he hissed. “Your mob is supposed to be the good guys.”
“Not really. We get the job done, that’s all. A lot of folks would call us villains. Should hear the press scream. Can be part of it later, if you want.” He began stroking curls deliberately. “Now make it good, sunshine, or I’ll give you some incentive,” he said in a steely voice.
“Just stop touching me,” said Doyle in a kind of undertone of teeth-grinding agony.
“Then I’ll hold a gun on you. Make it good.” He pulled his gun, held Doyle by the arm, and stood away from him, aiming at his heart.
Doyle made it good.
Bodie woke on the cold, hard ground feeling warmer than he had any right to expect. The man in his arms was still, but awake. Bodie wondered if he’d slept at all. Bodie stirred, nudged Doyle, and sat up. He got a cup of coffee, drank half and held the rest to Doyle’s mouth, feeding it to him carefully but pushing his hands down when he tried to take it for himself. Then Bodie got up, taking the other man’s arm and pulling him after him without a word. The others watched him go. It was nearly dawn. Wouldn’t be dark for much longer.
“Take a slash if you need it. But run and I’ll have to shoot you. I gave you enough warnings.” Bodie released him and emptied his own bladder. Shortly he heard Doyle doing the same.
He brought Doyle back and proceeded to tie him up with a sort of tender attention. He felt as dirty as Doyle’s haggard face made him seem, but all the same he gave the copper a parting caress. “I’ll be back for you, sunshine,” he said in an intimate voice. Then he was all business, hard man turning to his mob, wanting to know the details and his part in it.
They told him, and he could almost hear the copper’s ears flapping, soaking it all in. Wondered if he’d tied the ropes loose enough, if Doyle would get free. If Doyle would call Cowley as asked.
Shortly they left, armed to the teeth, leaving Doyle behind with only a couple of glances back at him. How wilted he looked, and rumpled and slender and vulnerable. Bodie hoped his plan had worked—both parts of it. That Doyle would get free from his bindings, and if he couldn’t that nobody else would dare touch him if Bodie wasn’t the first one back.
The white van thundered to the bank. The men pulled ski masks over their faces and looked at one another, carrying large weapons. Bodie’s heart speeded up. Memories of jobs in the past came back to him—not bank jobs, but mercenary jobs and soldier jobs. Not all had ended well. Each had this mixture of euphoria and fear when it was finally time for action. He needed to keep control of the situation. He needed to make sure no life was lost during this robbery.
Cowley wanted to be able to follow the money. He wanted to trace it to the top man, the one in charge. He also wanted to crack their plans. And he didn’t know where they’d be hitting next. The robbers had proved remarkably adaptable and able to outthink even Cowley himself. So Cowley had sent Bodie undercover to go along and find out how.
“I want him,” said Cowley, smacking a fist against a palm. “You’re to get him for me, Bodie. Follow that money!”
Bodie was very well aware that he might fail. Cowley might have to settle for simply catching the people involved in the actual robbery and recovering the money. But he also knew there must be no life lost in this venture. That was his job, his responsibility.
When it all went wrong, he had the sinking feeling it was going to wind up on his head.
Inside the bank, Lemmuel, the madman, started waving his gun around, then fired into the ceiling.
“No shooting! That’s an order!” Bodie grabbed his gun and gave him a shove, glaring at him, lips compressing in anger. At the first shot, one of the tellers started screaming. Bodie knew the men had hair-trigger nerves at this point, and he worried what they would do about it.
“Let’s take the money and go!” he ordered.
“Or what, you’ll rape us? Come on, man, you’ve had all the fun so far!” Without his gun, Lemmuel seemed to have nothing to hold him back. He headed towards the counter and vaulted it. The teller screamed louder.
“I said, that’s enough!” said Bodie. Lemmuel ignored him. Heart hammering with adrenaline, anger and fear, Bodie aimed his gun at the man. “Get out of it.”
Lemmuel was yanking at the shirt of the teller, a blond woman who seemed to be going into shock. “Leave it!” said Bodie. With the sick feeling that this was all his fault, something he’d started, he aimed and fired at Lemmuel’s shoulder. A clean shot, the bullet going through him into an expensive wooden desk.
Then everything seemed to happen at once. Civilians screamed. People burst into the building, shouting “MI5! Lay down your weapons!” The shooting... or something... had drawn them.
“Don’t shoot!” shouted Bodie in exasperation, both to the robbers and to the officers. But it was too late...
Flinging himself down, he barely missed a hail of bullets. Bloody amateurs.... CI5 wouldn’t go bursting in like this for a bank job! But the whole country was on edge from these robberies. They must be overzealous to stop them. He heard a shriek as Brody fell, and another body hit the floor near him. The civilians had all had the sense to duck down behind the doubtful safety of the grille, but Bodie had nothing.
“I give up!” he shouted.
“Throw your gun away!” shouted a man with a gun. Scowling horribly, Bodie did. It had all gone wrong. Cowley would have his head! But he’d had to shoot Lemmuel. And really, these men were probably on their way already.
A gun barked, and something shoved Bodie back, like a hard punch in the arm. He looked down, and saw he’d been shot. “I bloody gave up already!”
Then the shooting was over, and officers swarmed forward. Someone shoved the dead man next to him, then moved to him, dragged Bodie’s hands behind his back and cuffed him. He didn’t bother saying anything about being in CI5. He didn’t have his ID with him, of course. He just scowled horribly, and grimaced at the pain in his arm. It was really starting to hurt.
He glimpsed a slim man bounding forward, curls bouncing, searching the bodies, his face anxious.
“You idiot. I told you to call Cowley!” barked Bodie.
The copper’s gaze snapped to his. “I did, then I reported in!” shouted the angry copper. He dashed forward, anxiety springing to his face, as Bodie felt the world going black. He was quite disappointed; he hadn’t finished shouting at Doyle.
Bodie was having a dream. It was a nice dream. He felt something warm and hot trickling, and then he was cold and someone was slapping his face, telling him sharply to wake up, wake up!
Bodie opened his eyes. It seemed to take far too much effort. There was the copper, sprung as if from his dream. He looked harried and anxious. “Wake up!” he repeated, and then drew back. He yanked on something, and there was a tight scream of pain around Bodie’s upper arm. He blinked and looked down. A tourniquet. He was bleeding hard. Doyle had uncuffed him and propped him up against a bullet-scarred wall.
“Stay there and wait for the ambulance,” growled Doyle, and gave him a quick slap on the other arm and then stepped over him, long-legged and scruffier than ever.
Bodie closed his eyes, remembering: the dash into the bank, ski masks on. The failure.
Now as if from a dream, he heard Cowley’s voice close by, an angry, rasping burr telling everyone where to go and what to do. It was a very reassuring sound when not aimed at him. He closed his eyes and went to sleep.
He woke next time in hospital, pleasantly full of painkillers, relaxed and at peace with the world. He smiled woozily up at Cowley while being alternately scolded and grudgingly praised for his quick thinking, until Cowley gave both up and told him gruffly to get his rest, lad. The small, dry, surprisingly strong hand reached out and gripped his forearm, and then Cowley went away.
The next time he woke up, he was more lucid, in more pain, and Cowley’s voice, with exactly the same lectures, was far less welcome. Bodie endured it like a good soldier, trying to look a bit pathetic to shorten the flow of his boss’s words. Cowley was not taken in.
“Well, we’ve lost him,” said Cowley at last, his mouth thinning. “I hope you’re happy, Bodie! If you’d been a bit quicker and fetched the money away before those... idiots encroached on my bank job, we’d have caught the man responsible!”
“Yes sir. At least we caught the robbers, sir.”
“Yes, with their hands in the till—literally—and the mastermind still safely hidden! You’re lucky to be alive, Bodie. Only one other man is.”
Bodie thought he would feel much luckier if Cowley would end the lecture and leave.
“I’ll interrogate Brody,” continued Cowley, “but Five got him first, and the man’s a pro. I might need another method.”
“Suppose we’ll catch the big man next time, sir?”
Cowley glared at him. “No. I suspect he’s far too canny for us, and he’ll not hit the Home Counties again! As for you... och, get well quickly, Bodie! We’ve a lot of work to do.”
Cowley stopped as he was about to leave the room.
“By the way, that was a brutal but effective way to handle the policeman. Apparently quite effective. For the record, what did you think of him?”
His voice was mild and casual, which meant this was important. Bodie shrugged his uninjured shoulder. “Little hard to tell in the circumstances, but he seemed capable and on the ball—better than most, would like to see him under less volatile circumstances, how he’d handle himself. I think he’d be easy to underestimate.”
“I suppose that means you won’t do it,” said Cowley in silky tones that were pleased. “I’ve taken him on at CI5 on a provisional basis.”
His gape was all that Cowley could possibly have wished. Bodie got his face under control at last. “If you think best, sir,” he said sulkily. You obviously didn’t want my opinion after all.
“I predict he’ll be through with his training before you’re ready for working on the street again.”
“Yes sir,” said Bodie miserably. He could almost tell what was coming next. For his sins, he would be assigned the angry copper to ease into CI5. He’d have to play the good guy this time and test the copper at the same time. He almost groaned aloud.
“Yes, Bodie. I can see you understand. You’ll be his partner—to begin with, at least.” He smiled, gentler this time. “It will do you good, Bodie, and him as well, perhaps.”
“Yes sir,” said Bodie. He compressed his lips. “Sir, may I ask why you chose him?”
“Can’t you answer your own question, Bodie?” asked Cowley very mildly. He smiled a wintery smile. “He was able to work undercover with you without warning or preparation. He handled himself in a situation he could not but find humiliating and retained enough sense to get loose, then call me as instructed—and enough humanity to come back and help you.”
Bodie blinked, offended. It was not so much what Cowley said as his tone—dry, acerbic, seeming to indicate that Bodie hadn’t handled it right. Had somehow lacked ‘humanity.’
“I had to intimidate him a little bit, sir. You can always act better if it’s realistic.”
“I should think it was realistic enough with the dangerous situation. However, I’ll say no more about it. Working with Doyle will be your reward or punishment. Get well soon, Bodie.”
Smirking into his lips, the canny Scot! Thinks he’s so funny...
Bodie settled back down to rest and recover, not best pleased.
While not of a naturally introspective nature, Bodie had had a few crossroads in his life where he really needed to stop and take stock of the situation, and himself. He had not lost that ability and the boring, lengthy recovery left him plenty of time to do so once again. Had he gone too far? Had he secretly enjoyed intimidating a policeman—never his fondest of allies—and done more than he needed?
It was a surprise that Doyle had come as backup, and he had to admit to himself that he hadn’t even expected to have his call made to Cowley as instructed. Perhaps he’d underestimated the copper after all.
By the time he was ready to return to desk duty, he’d figured out that the pairing was a test for both of them. Cowley wanted to see if he could win his way back to a place of trust from his heavy handed tactics, if indeed they had been, and to see if Doyle could get past the humiliating experience to work with someone he was bound to feel some antagonism and distrust towards.
Cowley always did like to get extra for his pound’s worth.
Knowing what his co-workers were like, it didn’t come as a surprise to Bodie to find out that his new nickname was ‘the Rapist.’ It pissed him off, but it didn’t surprise him. He decided to ignore it and it would go away; they just wanted a reaction from him. He wondered if anyone else had suffered such an ignoble fate for saving a policeman’s life.
It took him two days to figure out that ‘Vicky’ was short for Victim, the new nickname for Doyle. Not, however, to his face. He was referred to a fair amount around the restroom, how was Vicky doing in his training, that sort of thing, full of humour and the natural curiosity about a new agent. Bodie wished they’d leave it alone with the nicknames, but said nothing.
He saw Doyle the first week he was back on desk duty with his arm still healing. Doyle happened to go through the rest room area. He was wearing tight jeans and a green t-shirt that fit his body snugly. He looked quite different than he had in a uniform. He didn’t look at all like a cop. His hair was wildly curly, and quite clean. And his green eyes still showed every emotion on his face. He saw Bodie, and stopped.
“Hullo,” said Bodie, and tried a smile. “How you getting on?”
Before the shutters came down over Doyle’s eyes Bodie glimpsed distrust, hurt and bitter anger. “Okay,” said Doyle’s deep voice.
While the restroom was empty of other agents, Bodie needed to say this. He smiled again, quite nicely. “Come on. I didn’t hurt you, did I? I was saving your life.” He tried sticking a hand out to shake.
Doyle looked at him coldly, and walked away. Bodie sighed. So, he held a grudge, the little toad. Nice way to start a partnership. Stupid Cowley. Stupid Doyle.
He thought again of the little blows, tugs, caresses and intimidations. Of pulling his gun on the man. It had all been necessary—or had seemed so at the time. But he supposed it would be difficult to get over it if it had happened to him. Doyle probably thought he was a pig.
Have to show you different, sunshine.
He’d go out of his way. Be a good partner, at least till he’d helped Cowley prove if Doyle was fit for CI5.
He closed his eyes again and replayed the scene from the beginning, this time with Doyle dressed in his informal jeans and t-shirt. It made him wince a little, to realise some of his viciousness had been, not just from necessity or fear and being undercover, but may have been directed at the uniform. He’d despised policemen for a long time as crooked, jumped-up fascists. But he’d read Doyle’s file and Doyle wasn’t. He was a good, straight copper. He would go places even without CI5. Bodie couldn’t be absolutely sure, but he thought he’d have gone easier on Doyle if he weren’t a cop.
But either way, the others would probably have tried to kill him. Perhaps it really had been necessary, his heavy-handed tactics. He found himself hoping so, and that the cop would come round to see it.
Bodie made an effort to be friends, but the copper didn’t give him an inch. For one thing, he wasn’t in much: always off training with Macklin or going to one of Cowley’s lectures. Then he was working on real cases, and Bodie was still in a sling, chained to his desk. It made him fume inside. Hated to be kept out of things, and to see Doyle walking off talking animatedly with Jax and Anson was almost more than he could stand. As if Doyle were a real agent already! Maybe Cowley hadn’t needed his help with Doyle after all. Maybe he just wanted to punish Bodie....
At last—at last!—the day came when Bodie was certified fit for active duty...and sent right back to Macklin.
Partway through his training Doyle returned, ragged and irritable, for more training as well. Macklin was being quite rough on Bodie (expectedly so), and running him through a variety of drills. Not content with simply testing his arm and aim, he tested Bodie thoroughly in every area.
While holding a stopwatch and timing him tackling an assault course, Macklin frequently derided Bodie as too slow, losing his edge, which Bodie knew he wasn’t. Bodie was hoping that Doyle would take some of the brunt off him, dividing Macklin’s tender attentions in two, but of course, Macklin began to pair them for his tests.
He had them both fighting each other and completing courses side by side. And two man team fighting. For all Doyle’s cold disdain of Bodie, he always performed adequately. He was a ferocious fighter, deceptively slim-looking for the punch he packed, and well-versed in karate moves. Bodie couldn’t get out of a punch-up with him without getting some pretty good lumps and bruises.
The green in Doyle’s eyes burned fiercely with a fire that said no one was ever going to have him at a disadvantage, he would never be completely powerless again. Bodie didn’t think it all had to do with him, but he knew some of it did. It seemed to make Doyle stronger. He should be grateful, really, for whatever small part Bodie had played in making him strong.
He wasn’t, of course. Never spoke to Bodie unless it couldn’t be helped, for their teamwork. Avoided him, didn’t look at him unless necessary and then not for long. Or else he glared straight into his eyes, showing no signs of backing down. He was a shirty customer, and Bodie didn’t know how the others had managed to get along with him so well.
One day Jax stopped by to give a message to Macklin. He also stopped and talked with Doyle briefly. Bodie watched from afar, incredulous to see the smiles they gave each other, Doyle’s big and white and cheesy, lighting up his whole face, Jax’s slow and warm as his laughter. Doyle returned at a half-run to complete the obstacle course with Bodie, the smile dying off his face as he approached till he was cold and hard, all business.
Doyle saw Bodie watching rather sarcastically, and said in his deep grumpy voice, “What?”
“Do you hold a grudge forever, sunshine?” asked Bodie.
Doyle winced, and raised a finger at him threateningly. “Call me sunshine just once more, mate, just once more.”
Bodie raised his hands, backing away mockingly. “Fine—petal. I saved your life, you know.” He realised he wanted Doyle to acknowledge that. Wanted him to say the violence and intimidation that had been required were no big deal, hadn’t mattered.
“I’m not sulking, if that’s what you think,” said Doyle crisply, in a cold voice. “I know you did. I simply don’t want to have anything to do with you again.”
“Tell Cowley then,” said Bodie, abruptly, and realised that his speed of reply and tone made it obvious he felt the same way. Probably sounded as though he despised Doyle. He made an effort to soften his words. “Look, we’re never going to make a great team, so let’s get out of it as soon as possible.”
“Fine with me. Cowley made it pretty clear that I have no choice right now. I want to be in this mob, so I’m stuck with you.”
He brushed past Bodie, his curls bouncing a little, his steps very firm and his back very straight. He bumped Bodie’s shoulder out of the way, arrogantly dismissive.
“Look, you! I’ve have it up to here with your battered virgin routine.” Bodie caught his arm and swung him round.
The effect was immediate, Doyle moving so fast Bodie couldn’t even see what he did, pain blossoming in his arm as it was twisted away from Doyle and shoved around behind Bodie’s back, high and painful, all in one swift movement. He’d thought he was too good to fall for a move like that, but Doyle was fast.
Bodie moved forward and down, dropping to his knees to escape the grip, and whirled to retaliate. But Doyle released him and snapped back, looking down at Bodie with a cold-eyed sneer. “Keep your hands to yourself, petal,” said Doyle, his voice dripping with distain, and walked away.
Blood rushed to Bodie’s head. His first urge was to run after Doyle, beat him, and put his hands round that arrogant neck and squeeze. His second was like a rush of cold water, a painful realisation of how it felt when someone hurt you and you couldn’t fight back properly.
He’d experienced it before, of course, but not often. It hadn’t occurred to him to associate this raging, helpless feeling with Doyle. To him it had been undercover work, to Doyle it had been ... this feeling.
He scrambled to his feet and started after Doyle, his steps long and angry, his face hard. “I’d take it back if I could. Maybe even let them kill you,” he snapped. “Like that, would you?”
“You’re telling me that’s the only thing you could do? You didn’t have any options here?” Doyle whirled to snarl at him. “You just had to go through all that, and make it quite obvious that if I didn’t play along, you’d do it for real?”
“I wouldn’t have.” Bodie felt his mouth turning down in something like a sulk. “Just helping you act, that’s all.”
Doyle laughed sarcastically. “Yeah, well, thanks a ton, mate. Not like it haunts my dreams or anything.” Then he looked as though he hadn’t meant to say that.
Bodie took a deep breath. “Look. I said I’d take it back if I could. What more do you want?”
“You could say you’re fucking sorry,” snapped Doyle, his voice cracking, and he turned and walked quickly away, probably before he could embarrass himself further.
Bodie compressed his lips. He’d have said sorry—guilt making you do strange things—if Doyle had stayed one moment longer.
He went in the opposite direction, feeling rotten and angry. Doyle was an arse, and far too sensitive. Doyle was a whiny little girl.
And then Bodie thought that if it had been a girl who’d stumbled on the warehouse, he’d have treated her differently, even if he did the exact same bluff. He’d have talked to her and comforted her, getting her to understand and cooperate, using the least possible bodily intimidation at every point, and not the most. That made him feel worse than ever, and angrier of course, as well.
It should be different for a man. Of course it should. But it wasn’t; in some ways it would be worse for a straight man (which as far as he could tell, Doyle was) to have to endure the touching and intimate intimidations.
Girls weren’t likely to complain about Bodie at any point, especially if he turned on the charm. But he hadn’t even tried to make Doyle less frightened.
He thought of slapping Doyle for hiccupping. Such a small thing. In character, he’d thought. Necessary. But had he perhaps just wanted to slap a cop, and found that slim, frightened man in his power too hard to resist?