Bodie took a second to breathe a deep sigh of relief as Doyle came barrelling round the side of the house, gun drawn. The sight of his partner reassured him, and he put aside the fear that had been plaguing him ever since he'd seen Parker drag Doyle out of the car. For the next few minutes he focused completely on the gun battle, and with Doyle’s help, quickly managed to deal with the opposition.
The shooting was all over when Bodie again turned his attention to his partner, who was walking, a little unsteadily Bodie thought, towards him. Before he could make sure that Doyle was alright, Cowley swept into the car park, and Bodie could see the storm cloud brewing even before the head of CI5 got out of the car. Bodie was well aware of the consequences of disobeying Cowley, having experienced them first hand more times than he could remember, although usually he had Doyle to stand beside him when the tirade began. This time Cowley’s anger was all for him, and Bodie quickly drew himself up to his full height and stood to attention, his normal reaction to Cowley’s temper.
But Bodie didn’t regret disobeying his boss’ orders. As always, his first loyalty was to Doyle, not CI5. Bodie respected Cowley, and felt that by working for CI5 he was really accomplishing something, perhaps for the first time in his life. Nevertheless, he knew with absolute certainty that whenever he was forced to choose between orders and his partner's safety, he'd choose Doyle every time. Just like today…
"What if they move? That’s Doyle in there…"
"I’ll have no heroics on Doyle’s behalf."
Initially Bodie had swallowed his fears, despite seeing Parker dragging his partner roughly into Avery’s farmhouse with his hands bound behind him. But as time passed, Bodie’s imagination was whirling on what could be happening to Doyle while he sat outside and did nothing. As soon as he saw Avery arrive he knew with certainty that if Doyle was still alive, he wouldn’t be for long. The thought of hearing the gunshot that killed his partner, and having to live with the knowledge that he had done nothing to save him made Bodie’s stomach roll. Determined, Bodie had made the decision and radioed Cowley before his mind had caught up with his actions.
Despite hearing Cowley order him to stay put, Bodie knew that Cowley was fighting himself as much as Bodie, so now, as Cowley stormed over to him, Bodie was not overly concerned.
"You disobeyed an order, Bodie. I told you to stay put." The anger was there, but Bodie had heard worse from the Scotsman.
"Yes, sir." Bodie glanced over at Doyle as he stood talking to Ojuka, and nodded in his direction. "Couldn’t let them get away with it, though, could I?" As Cowley glanced in Doyle’s direction, Doyle turned and walked towards them. "Think how you’d feel if we’d lost him…"
Cowley frowned. "My concern for Ojuka has nothing to do with insubordination, Bodie."
Doyle moved within earshot of his partner, and Bodie lowered his voice slightly, suddenly embarrassed at letting Doyle see his concern as he quietly replied. "Who said anything about Ojuka, sir?"
Momentarily thrown by his answer, Cowley hadn’t replied by the time Ojuka approached the pair, and effectively ended the conversation. Dismissing Bodie, Cowley left to escort Ojuka to the conference. Saved a lecture for the moment, Bodie took the opportunity to check on Doyle, to reassure himself that his partner really was unhurt.
Searching out his partner, who was leaning against one of the cars watching the other agents as they bustled around the farmhouse, Bodie stayed silent as he approached and stood by his partner. After a moment Doyle looked over to him, and grinned. Bodie smiled back, but privately thought the man looked exhausted.
"Well, there goes my violin practice for a couple of weeks." As Doyle held out his wrists, Bodie frowned slightly at the mass of rope and what looked like real burns that he saw on his partners skin. But, seeing that Doyle seemed to want to make a joke of it, Bodie just grinned a little and replied, "Too bad." Nevertheless, Bodie stood that little bit closer to his partner.
It never took long to deal with the clean-up of an operation such as this, and soon Bodie thought everything was finished. Doyle had disappeared for a few minutes, but returned just as Bodie began to look for him, walking alongside a stretcher carried by two Paramedics. Curious, Bodie approached, and was surprised to see Parker on the stretcher, his face just recognisable underneath the mass of bruising all over his face, or, at least, what of his face could be seen above the blanket.
Bodie glanced over at his partner, who was watching the unconscious man with a hard, stony expression on his face. Bodie was well aware that Doyle had a temper, and could turn vicious suddenly when provoked, but violence to this extent was something he had rarely seen from his generally more compassionate partner.
"What did he do to deserve that?" Bodie asked quietly.
Doyle said nothing, just gestured silently to the vivid bruise marking the misshapen cheekbone, and as Bodie looked more carefully, he saw a black eye and split lip starting to swell on his partner's face. He didn’t reply, and silently the partner's left and walked over to Bodie’s car, hidden just down the lane out of sight of the house and it's watchful eyes.
Bodie took the wheel and Doyle settled into the passenger seat, saying nothing.
"Where to?" Bodie began. "Do you want to get checked out?"
"No, I’m okay. Home sounds good."
Bodie nodded and swung the car into gear. "Fine. We can leave the reports until later."
As Doyle said nothing and stared out of the window, Bodie turned his attention completely to his partner. More than five years as partners and the two men could read each other without words. Bodie realised that something had been wrong ever since Doyle appeared from the farmhouse. The tension radiating from his partner was different to the adrenaline rush that was normal after a shoot-out, and Bodie began to study him. It was a good hour’s drive back into the city, along quiet, straight roads that meant Bodie could focus more on his partner than on his driving, and it didn’t take long for him to work out what was wrong.
For a start, Doyle was sitting strangely. Instead of curling into the seat as was usual, Doyle was sitting ramrod straight, as if he were sitting on a wooden backed chair instead of a soft car seat. One arm was wound protectively around his rib cage and his head was back against the seat rest, eyes closed, seemingly asleep. But the short, laboured, uneven breathing and slight shaking of his fingers made Bodie realise that Doyle was more hurt than he had said.
That, of course, would explain why Doyle had beaten Parker so badly, Bodie realised with a sigh. Even when angry, Doyle didn’t hurt people without good reason, and in their line of work a bruised cheekbone came so often that it shouldn't land the opponent on a stretcher. Taking the first left hand turn possible, Bodie changed direction and headed straight for CI5. He knew the adrenaline rush that had carried Doyle through the gun battle would have faded, and he was probably beginning to feel all the bruising that his strange position was suggesting. Pulling into the CI5 car park, Bodie got out of the car without a word, walked round and opened the passenger door, and it was only then that Doyle opened his eyes.
Bodie saw the tight lines around Doyle’s eyes and was sure he had made the right decision, but he swallowed an angry remark at Doyle’s stubbornness to admit he needed a doctor and simply waited.
"Bodie?" Doyle’s voice was tired and a little confused, but he got out of the car with his arm still curled protectively around his ribs. "What are we doing here?"
"I forgot something." Bodie said as he locked the car. "Come on."
Doyle followed his partner slowly into the building, his laboured breathing becoming more obvious until finally Bodie put one arm around his partner's shoulder and began supporting him.
"Next time, Ray," he snapped angrily. "You say if you need a doctor."
"I’m fine." Doyle began grumpily, but, seeing the concern behind the anger flashing in Bodie’s eyes, sighed and nodded. "Well, since we’re here."
Bodie smiled slightly as the pair walked through the building. As they passed Cowley's office, he called to them through the open door.
"Bodie, a word please."
Stopping in the corridor, Bodie removed his arm from Doyle's shoulder and sighed. Walking into the office he silently protested at the delay, as annoyed at Cowley now as he had been at the Farmhouse, where the man had shown no interest in checking to see if Doyle was unhurt. Cowley made no effort to look up as Bodie entered.
"I want your report on my desk by this afternoon. Then you can explain to me exactly why you felt it necessary to countermand my express orders."
As Cowley finally looked up, Doyle walked into the office and leant heavily on the filing cabinet. Bodie's anxious glance at his partner caught Cowley's attention and his voice softened slightly, losing some of it's clipped anger.
"Are you alright, Doyle?"
Before Doyle could respond with his usual 'fine', Bodie jumped in. "I was just taking him down to the medic, sir."
"Aye lad, you do look a bit pale." Cowley stood up and walked around his desk. "Come on, we'll talk on the way."
Cowley's obvious concern raised him in Bodie's estimation, and he ushered Doyle out of the door before he could protest again. The partners followed Cowley to the medic's office. Once there, Doctor Fielding took one look at Doyle and quickly took over, directing him to a bench and beginning an examination.
Bodie and Cowley talked quietly at one side of the room as the doctor worked, though Bodie’s attention was only half on the man’s conversation. He broke off completely when Doyle removed his shirt to reveal the livid purpling bruises that stretched across half of his ribs. Silently he cursed Parker, though he now knew exactly why Doyle had put the man in hospital, and agreed completely with the result. He just wished he could have prevented it in the first place, and berated himself for not going in as soon as he had seen Doyle dragged into the farmhouse.
"…the conference is still going on. Murphy and Jax are keeping an eye on Ojuka, but I doubt there'll be any trouble now Avery's been…" Cowley also broke off when he saw the bruising, turning in his seat to address Doyle. "What happened?"
Doyle scowled. "Parker. Wanted something to pass the time, didn't he." As Fielding pressed his hands against his ribs, Doyle winced, and reflex made him try to push the man's hand away. "Shit! Careful!"
At that the doctor smiled in sympathy and then straightened up, handing Doyle his shirt.
"Nothing's broken. Bruised, and painful I expect, but not broken. I'll give you some painkillers to help, but they're going to make you pretty drowsy." Fielding picked up a bottle from the collection on the shelf and turned back to Doyle. "Then again, the sleep will probably do you good."
Fielding handed Doyle two pills which he quickly swallowed. "I'm going to put you on sick leave for a couple of days." He turned to Cowley at that, and waited for the Scot to nod before continuing. "As for your wrists, the burns will heal faster in the open air, so I won't bandage them, but put some antiseptic cream on them to help."
Cowley stood up from the bench he had sat on. "Alright, 4.5, you're off duty until Thursday morning. Take him home, 3.7. And keep an eye on him."
"Yes, sir. I'll cook him a meal. Full of protein like his mother used to make."
The two men stood to leave, and Doyle muttered something about junk food to Bodie, who grinned. As they walked out of the room, Cowley called Bodie back, and Doyle carried on down the corridor.
"Good work today, 3.7."
Bodie smiled, pleased that Cowley seemed to have forgotten that he'd disobeyed orders. About to comment, Cowley cut him off.
"But disobey my orders again…"
Bodie forced himself into a straight face. "Yes, sir. No, sir."
Cowley sighed, also trying to maintain a stern manner. "Take 4.5 home, Bodie."
"Running all the way, sir."
Bodie left and quickly caught up to his partner, who was leaning against the wall waiting for him. They walked to the car, and Bodie smiled. Although still pale, Doyle was breathing a little easier as he sat in the passenger seat, and began to dose off as Bodie drove him home. Relieved that Doyle wasn't seriously hurt, Bodie was content to drive home in silence. Thinking back over Cowley’s words in Fielding’s office, he grinned happily to himself. Cowley praised him, a rare occurrence indeed, and something not to be taken lightly. More importantly, he saw his boss’ words as a grudging acceptance that Bodie would always put Doyle’s safety first, just like Doyle always put his partner’s safety above his own.
They relied on each other, were strong where the other was weak, and complimented each other to form CI5's best team. Bodie knew he'd spend the next few days taking care of his partner, and that Doyle would complain about being mollycoddled the whole time. But Bodie also knew that when the roles were reversed and Bodie was hurt, Doyle would fuss around him just the same. It was just the way things were, and always would be.