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In the Heart of Darkness

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It was a brilliant English summer day, the air mild and smelling sweetly of flowers when Doyle went into Headquarters. It was unusual for him and Bodie not to be called in together. Since Cowley had partnered them almost a year back, they had been working side by side almost all the time. Doyle smiled to himself. Although Doyle had wondered what the meetings were going to be about, he hadn’t let that stop him enjoying the extra time he had gotten out of this arrangement in the morning. He’d indulged in French coffee and pastries from down the road after enjoying a slow wank in bed. And if he’d thought of Bodie while reaching oblivion, well no one needed to know. It was just that he was seeing the berk’s face day and night at this point; of course it would find its way into his psyche. He decided not to worry about it and find himself a nice girl this night, Cowley permitting.
He was in a good mood when he jumped up the stairs, whistling tunelessly to himself. He smiled at Betty, got a scowl for his troubles and set down in one of the chairs in front of Cowley’s office.
He leaned one of his arms casually over the back of the chair next to him “Bodie still in?” he said to fill the silence. Betty just nodded and continued typing.
Doyle heaved a breath and prepared himself to wait. He let his mind wander. Bodie wasn’t half bad. At first he had thought him to be an arrogant, foolhardy mercenary that would sell his loyalty to the highest bidder. He’d trusted him as far as he could throw him, which was not very far, indeed, as one training session showed him. And from what he could tell the instant dislike had been mutual. But now, after hours of sharing luke-warm tea on long stake outs in the middle of the night in the English countryside and trusting their lives to each other in hot spot situations had mellowed their distrust and had started forging a bond of comradeship between the men.
Raised voices penetrated Doyle’s thoughts and tore him out of his musings. From the way that Betty was patently ignoring the racket and kept on typing Doyle guessed that it wasn’t the first time this morning that Bodie and Cowley were yelling at each other. His mind was racing. What could this be about that could inspire so much emotion from the two normally very stoic men. As if on cue Bodie’s voice rang out loud and clear.

 

“With all due respect, sir. You can’t make me take Doyle on this mission. You know as well as I that he will be completely out of his depth and no amount of undercover experience is going to change that. You are throwing him to the wolves and endangering the whole mission!”

“Last I checked, I was in charge of this operation, Bodie, and that means that when I say jump, you ask how high. I own you, Bodie, mind, body and soul; you’d better remember that! I don’t care if you like it or not, this is the mission and it is exactly how you will do it!”

“Sir!”

“Dismissed! Out! And I don’t want to see you back here until you’ve cooled your temper, is that clear!”

The heavy wooden door banged open and Bodie was out like a flash. He rushed right past Doyle without a glance.
Doyle stared after him open mouthed, his anger rising.
He had jumped up and was running after the bastard to give him a piece of his mind, when he was stopped by Cowley barking his name: “Doyle! I believe we had an appointment!” Doyle hesitated. His every instinct told him to run after his partner and give him a piece of his mind. Quietly seething Doyle turned around and walked into the office.

 

 

 

“Sir…”

“Shut up and sit down Doyle.”

Doyle considered defying that order for a moment. He was still pissed at Bodie and had half a mind to go after him. But the ice in the Controller’s eyes made him change his mind. He sat down and looked at Cowley expectantly.

“We don’t have time for this. Our whole nation might be at risk!”

Doyle’s eyes widened. “Yes sir, I’m listening.”

“You have heard about the case that Jax and Anson are working at the moment?”

“Yes,” Doyle nodded.

“We had a breakthrough last night. One of their suspects, a Russian arms dealer, cracked under interrogation early in the morning and gave us enough information to close the case and then some. If what he says is true, it is most troubling, indeed.”

He wiped his hand over his mouth.

“A new weapon. Biological. A handful of the stuff is enough to wipe out entire cities. Once it is in the wind it’s uncontrollable, no cure, no antidote. And it’s cheap. Forget nuclear bombs, this could be the new warfare.”

“And the Russians have it?”

“No, Doyle, not yet. But they are not the only ones who want it. This weapon is fresh on the market and from what we could find out last night, the whole criminal world is in uproar; everybody wants it.”

Doyle leaned back in his chair and whistled.

“Such a weapon in the wrong hands would be catastrophic.”

“What do we know about the sellers?”

“Not much. But the trail leads to Mr Kruger. Ex mercenary and currently weapons dealer.”

He handed Doyle a manila folder and Doyle opened it. Inside he found a picture of Kruger. He was blond, tall, his handsome face disfigured by a scar which gave him a mean look. He was standing in front of the corpse of an elephant, gun raised into the air. Doyle lifted the picture and skimmed over the record of his deeds.

The data they had on the man was pretty spotty.

Born in South Africa, he’d spent his youth as a petty criminal, dealing with drugs. From there he’d disappeared into the heart of Africa. There was nothing on him for several years, until he emerged as the leader of a particularly nasty mercenary group. He began to terrorise the land wherever he went. The little they knew about the atrocities he had committed were enough to make Doyle’s stomach turn. Never caught, never put to justice.

He looked up at Cowley.

“What do you want us to do?”

“Kruger is an old acquaintance of Bodie’s. I want you both to infiltrate his organisation and find out everything about this weapon, how he makes it, who is interested in it.”

Doyle felt like someone punched him in the throat. He did not know what to say. Of course he’d known about Bodie’s dubious past, but in the last months, he’d somehow thought that Bodie couldn’t have been that bad. He was a loyal, good partner, risking his life to protect the innocent. But this… Bodie and Kruger?

And then another thought dawned on him.

“But it says here that Kruger is still in Africa.”

“Exactly, Doyle. And that’s where you and Bodie will be going first thing tomorrow morning.”

Doyle gaped. Then his brain kicked in again.

“But isn’t that MI6 business?”

“Indeed it is, Doyle, but they have asked for our cooperation. The last agent they sent to the Congo to infiltrate Kruger disappeared and has never been found. There is not enough time to put someone new into place, but Bodie and Kruger were close. He is the only one with half a chance of pulling this off.”

Doyle looked at the picture again and suddenly he could see it in his mind, Bodie, roguish grin on his face, weapon in hand, standing right next to this monster.
It put things in a new perspective and for the first time, he thought maybe Bodie had a point not to want him on this operation.

“Now listen to me, Doyle. This is a joint operation and you report directly to me as well as to Carson from MI6. You are there only to gather information, do you understand me? As soon as we have all we need the MI6 will take over and you pull out.”

Doyle looked up at him dumbly. “I mean it, Doyle, none of your usual bull in a china shop routine! And make sure Bodie doesn’t do anything stupid.”

Doyle threw him a sour look.

“And how do you think… “

“As I said, time is of the essence.” Cowley interrupted. “All the information you need is in this folder. Go through it with Bodie. You will be on a plane from Northolt Air Base at 10.00 tomorrow morning and you should reach Kalemie by tomorrow evening. That should give us time to put all the credentials for your back stories into place. Now out of my office, I have work to do.”

Doyle fought with himself. He had a bad feeling about this. But arguing with the controller when he was in this mood tended to make things worse. He took a deep breath and rose, his chair scraping.

“Yes, Mr. Cowley.”

He left the room, mind in a jumble, manila folder clutched to his chest; and went to find Bodie.

 

 

Bodie paced in the half dark in his apartment; the streetlights shining in through his partly closed blinds drew straight-lined patterns across the room.

He was sweating. Impatiently he wiped his brow and tried to breathe through the panic rising in him. It was almost funny. He, who was not afraid of much, certainly not death, turned into a shivering mess, because of one name. He sneered. Seemed he was a coward after all.

He wiped his hand over his face and poured himself a whiskey. Drink in hand he turned to look at the folder, lying innocuously on his coffee table. Short of joining the mercenaries again for real, there was no way out of this mission, Cowley had made that crystal clear. He sighed.

Bodie would bet his life that Kruger was going to shoot him on sight. He’d tried to tell Cowley that he and Kruger hadn’t exactly parted on friendly terms and that this was going to end in disaster, but Cowley was having none of it.

He told Bodie that he knew exactly how close he and Kruger had been and that he was counting on Bodie to make that work for him. And hadn’t that been a nasty surprise, Cowley willing to whore him out for crown and country.

Bodie wasn’t sure his seduction technique would be enough to keep him alive, but he certainly didn’t want to bet Doyle’s life on a fling that now seemed a lifetime ago. But trying to keep Doyle out of it that had backfired spectacularly. Now he had Doyle mad at him on top of it all!

And everything had been going so well between them, too. His thoughts wandered, turning to the last evening. They’d met for pints in the Stag’s Head, their easy companionship easing an ache that Bodie felt more keenly every day. From the first time they’d met, he was drawn to Doyle. To his grace, his lithe but powerful body, his eyes that seemed to be able to see right through him. He hadn’t known then how to read Doyle, only knew that he was an ex-copper, idealistic and with deeply ingrained morals, that much was obvious from his file. So Bodie had tried to hide his attraction behind the cool façade he’d perfected over the years. But under Doyle’s fire it hadn’t taken him long to melt, and to accept the friendship that was slowly building even if it might be dangerous, even if sometimes he felt like he was too close already, burning up inside.

He took a deep gulp of his whiskey and filled the glass up again. Doyle had made it more than clear during the day what he thought of him. After his own outburst in Cowley’s office, Bodie had expected Doyle to be angry, to come at him swinging, shout him out for being an arrogant bastard. Bodie would have known how to deal with that. But that wasn’t what had happened. Doyle had been cold, distant. He looked at him like he sometimes looked at the vilest scum they put behind bars. He had only spoken about the mission, only what was necessary, had asked him about his time with Kruger with thinly veiled disgust and Bodie got the sense that if it weren’t for the importance of the mission, Doyle would have asked Cowley already to re-partner him. The thought alone pulled at him viciously, like an infected wound.

Well, there was nothing to be done about it now. Doyle’s opinion of him would probably sink even lower before the mission was over, if he ever came to know all that had happened in Africa all those years back.

He sat down on the couch, took another sip of the whiskey and opened the folder. Kruger stared back at him from a grainy picture.

He had not changed much. Blond hair, handsome until you looked at his eyes. They betrayed him, their blue ice cold. Bodie shuddered. His last memory of those eyes staring at him rose up unbidden, and he could smell the stink of blood, feel the pain… he forced it all down. He brought the glass up to his mouth, only realizing half way that it was empty. He put it aside and grabbed the bottle instead. The burn of the alcohol down his throat anchored him in the here and now.

He started reading. Kruger had been a mercenary for almost all his life. Active in Africa, mostly Congo and Angola. He was said to have built himself a minor empire through illegal diamond trade and weapon smuggling. Sources had him based in the Katanga Province, close to the Tanzanian border.

Originally hailing from South Africa, he’d had to leave the country when he was just of age, because he’d killed someone. Bodie went through the file that detailed Kruger’s career, or at least what was know of it, like he was in a haze. Unbidden memories of his own time in the bush rose to the surface, drenched in blood and accompanied by desperate cries of pain and death. He clenched his teeth and went on reading, memorising everything bit of information in the file. Dawn was breaking when he fell into a fitful doze on the couch.

 

 

 

The shrill beep of the alarm clock slowly seeped into Bodie’s mind. He opened bleary eyes and after a moment of disorientation and after remembering that he’d basically just fallen asleep, he grabbed his shoe and threw it at the offending object. He missed and the alarm blared on merrily. With a sigh he got up, turned it off and went into the bathroom to freshen himself up. The tiles were cold under his naked feet and he grimaced when he saw in the half-broken mirror that he looked almost as bad as he felt. His skin was grey, his eyes bloodshot and he had creases in his face. The sour taste of whiskey lingered in his mouth. He quickly turned on the shower and brushed his teeth while he waited for the water to warm up.
They were going to meet in the HQ to be driven out to the military base, for their transfer to Africa.
He packed mechanically and drove to the HQ. The building was half empty when he arrived. He rushed to the armoury to stock up on guns and ammo and then rushed to the backyard car park, where he was going to meet Doyle and Cowley.

He found Cowley waiting impatiently, while Susan had the motor of his car running. It was only September but there was a distinct, wintery chill in the air.

“Bodie.”

“Sir.”

“Where is Doyle?”

Bodie had just opened his mouth to answer that he did not know, when his partner came running around the corner.

“Sorry sir, traffic.”

Cowley’s sharp eyes mustered them both for a moment, then he turned towards the car abruptly.

“Och, just get in.”

Bodie and Doyle hastened to comply and squeezed into the backseat.

The drive passed in a blur. Cowley went through the back story they had set up for them, while Susan expertly wove them through the early morning traffic.

“Bodie, since Kruger knows you, we decided to stick with the truth for most of your story. After your time with Kruger you went to Angola, Jordan, then Biafra. You returned to England to join the Army and went on to the SAS and Paratroopers. We decided that you were dishonourably discharged from the Paras because of your violent behaviour and insubordination.”

Doyle snorted. “Sounds exactly like him,” he muttered under his breath.

Bodie shot him a dark look and turned back to Cowley.

“Threats of an investigation into your violent conduct are hanging over your head. You are faced with the possibility of a court martial, time in jail, so you run back to Africa and try to get back into the mercenary game.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

Cowley gave him a cold look and Bodie remembered that the controller didn’t like sarcasm; at least not when it was directed at him. He bent his head and studied his fingers.

“For you Doyle, on the other hand we had to alter the facts a bit more to avoid suspicion. You will be Robert Dawson, a low grade black market dealer, fingers in any business that will get you the money, weapons, drugs, trafficking. Here.”

He handed them each a pack with documents with the details of their back story and papers that had been crafted for them overnight to cement it, and an envelope each containing the local currency.

“Go through the details now. You’ll have to give them back to me before you board the plane. We don’t want these getting into the wrong hands.“

For the rest of the drive they studied, memorising everything, and silence descended on the car. Bodie was grateful; it gave him more time to think about how to deal with Doyle.

When they arrived at Northolt base it was bustling with activity, their transport carrier ready for take-off.

Bodie and Doyle got out of the car and lumped their belongings into the big hold. They turned around to Cowley.

“Your first stop will be Wadi Haifa in Sudan. A smaller plane will be ready to take you to Burundi. You will take a boat over Tanganyika Lake to cross the border into the Congo unseen. From there you’re on your own. I trust, Master Bodie, that your previous experience in that country will come in handy at that point.”

Bodie tried very hard not to roll his eyes and nodded. “Yes, sir.”

Doyle threw him a dirty look.

“Gentlemen, I mean it” Cowley said, his voice deep. “I count on you, don’t disappoint me.”

Bodie and Doyle straightened up and gave the controller a sharp nod, their “Yes, sir!” almost in chorus.

Cowley allowed himself a small smile and an uncommon softness entered his eyes.

“Good luck.”

Bodie and Doyle threw each other a disturbed look as Cowley walked away. They’d never heard Cowley wish anyone luck on a mission.

Smiling at each other grimly, they turned and hopped into the plane.

 

 

 

The hours dragged by while they were flying over Europe and into Africa, the sound of the motors a constant drone. They didn’t speak much, it was almost too loud to hear your own words.
Doyle took the time to study Bodie who was sitting across from him, leaning against the metal wall of the carrier. He was pale and even though the plane was cold there was the sheen of sweat on his face. His eyes were cold and distant, miles away. Doyle wondered what was going on behind his impenetrable mask. Who was he? His partner who he trusted with his life? A mercenary who was willing to sell his loyalty to the highest bidder, who wouldn’t mind making others suffer if it was for his own benefit? Just two days ago he’d have laid his hand in the fire for him. Now he wasn’t so sure any more.
According to his file Kruger had killed countless people. That was to be expected of someone who’d been a mercenary as long as he. What really made Doyle’s blood boil with rage was how many he’d killed outside of battle. There were so many accounts of villages raided, of women and girls raped and brutally slaughtered that even just looking at Kruger’s picture in the file, made Doyle want to rip his throat out.
Also according to the files, Bodie had spent almost a year with Kruger. Doyle couldn’t help but wonder what atrocities he’d helped commit during that time and it turned his stomach.
Suddenly he found Bodie’s piercing blue eyes boring into his and in pure reflex he looked away, not wanting to be caught staring. Sometime later he saw that Bodie had fallen asleep. Doyle smiled despite himself. The army skill Bodie prided himself most on, being able to fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
When they approached the base and the pane started losing height, Doyle gave his leg a lazy kick to wake him up.

“Come on, we’re almost there.”

Bodie flinched awake and grumbled, but righted himself and prepared for the landing.

Their transit in Sudan was well prepared and they landed in Burundi in the middle of the night in a small, unused airbase. The pilot didn’t even stop the motors, while Bodie and Doyle jumped out. As soon as they had cleared the runway he accelerated the plane and was off.
Doyle felt instantly alert as soon as he stepped out of the plane. It was between midnight and morning and the sky was pitch-black, no stars, no moon giving them light. The air was hot and damp, almost suffocating. Doyle felt like there were eyes on them and it made his skin crawl. When he turned to Bodie to warn him, he was already moving soundlessly past him and towards the line of trees in front of them. Doyle cursed silently, but before his partner became just another shadow in the dark, Doyle rushed to catch up with him. When they had almost reached the treeline a dark shape detached itself and came closer. Doyle wished he had his gun at hand, but he’d put it into his bag for the flight.

A deep voice addressed Bodie in broken English. Doyle couldn’t quite catch what was being said and then the person turned around and waved at them with his arm

“Come….come.” They were led through a tangle of shrubbery towards a Jeep half hidden by the bushes. Another man sat behind the wheel of the open car. When he saw them, he gestured for them to get in. Bodie stowed his bag in the footrest in the back and hopped into the rear of the car. Doyle hesitated, but then followed Bodie’s example anyway. If those guys would have wanted to kill them, they could have done it already the moment they landed.

They drove towards the west along bad roads until the first rays of dawn revealed a glimmering water-mass of the Lake Tanganyika in front of them. A rickety motorboat took them across while the sun rose behind them and the day got warmer. Doyle moved to stand next to Bodie, who was watching the coastline of the Republic of Congo approach with his hands gripping the railing so tight, the white of his bones showed.

“You’ve been silent all night, Bodie. Aren’t you looking forward to meeting your old friend?”

Bodie shot him a look that might have felled lesser men but Doyle didn’t scare easy.

“The Cow told me that you and Kruger were close. Is that why you didn’t want me along? So you could relive the good old times?”

“Fuck off, Doyle.”

“Scared I won’t measure up to your old friend’s standards?” Doyle said, his voice menacing.

Bodie turned away, looking out over the water.

“Leave it, Doyle.”

“You know you’ll have to tell me sooner or later.” Bodie threw him a questioning glance. “About your time with Kruger.”

In the second before Bodie turned away, Doyle thought he saw fear in his eyes. But that couldn’t be. In all his time as Bodie’s partner he hadn’t seen the man truly afraid of anything. The rest of the journey passed in silence.

 

 

 

The midday heat was burning down on them when they arrived in the Port of Kalemie. It was only a small town but it lay along one of the main smuggling routes form the Congo to Tanzania. It was a hotspot for mercenaries looking for new jobs and their sources based one of Kruger’s operation points here.
They walked the dusty streets into the old part of the city to find a place to stay. Bodie felt beads of sweat running down his back and his heart beat quicken as they walked along streets he’d walked before, familiar smells bringing back the past. The city had changed in the intervening years, but he had no trouble finding his way through the maze. He stopped briefly in front of one of the seedier houses advertising rooms and automatically checked it for escape routes and defensibility. He checked himself and Doyle in with the bits of French he had, while Doyle looked around, taking everything in. He paid extra for a double room with a view of the street and was content, once he inspected it, that it provided a decent view of all the access points of the street below.

“Now what.”

Bodie turned towards Doyle, who’d dumped his bag on one of the rickety beds and stood leaning against the wall, arms folded across his chest.

He looked beautiful, the afternoon light turning his skin into gold, his eyes sharp like green diamonds, and Bodie felt the old familiar longing pulling at his gut. Sick of himself, Bodie pushed the thought aside.

“Nothing. Might as well get some rest. Tonight we’ll go looking for contacts that can lead us to Kruger.”

Doyle unfolded from the wall taking a step towards Bodie and suddenly there was a tangible tension in the room and for a brief, mad moment Bodie thought Doyle had seen what he so desperately tried to hide and he tensed, preparing for a fight.

But Doyle went past him into the tiny bathroom and after a minute Bodie heard the shower running.

He released the breath he’d been holding and relaxed against the windowsill. Stupid to get so worked up. The whole situation was getting to him and he needed to find his cool, before he messed it all up.

He thought about lying down, but he felt too restless, even after traveling through the night. Instead he grabbed his bag, shuffled through it for his weapons and laid them out on the small table. When Doyle came out of the shower he kept his eyes firmly on his hands as they performed the familiar motions of cleaning his Browning Hi-Power in the light of the small window. He heard clothes rustling in the background and the thought of Doyle, naked, changing into clean clothes played in his mind. He wiped his suddenly sweaty hands on his pants and continued taking apart the gun. After a while the familiar task cleared his mind and eliminated all other thoughts.

When dusk fell and the light became dim inside the little room, Bodie cleared away his weapons, stood up and stretched. He looked over his shoulder and saw Doyle lying on the covers of his bed, sleeping.

Bodie grabbed a change of clothes out of his bag and went to get a shower himself to wash off the day’s sweat.

When he walked back into the room, Doyle was awake.

“Better get ready, it’s time to go.”

Doyle nodded and followed his example as Bodie put on his shoulder holster, checked his Browning again and put a light jacket over it.

It was still warm outside, but the night air carried with it a refreshing coolness. Bodie led the way as they ambled through the streets back towards the docks. They had some peppered fish baked in banana leaves on the way and by the time they came into the rougher parts of town it was completely dark.

Bodie stopped in front of one of the bars that used to be a meeting point for mercs. He couldn’t know if that was still the case now, after so many years, but the presence of a couple of unwashed, hard looking white men in front of the bar let him think he might be lucky.

He pushed open the door and went into the dimly lit room, trusting Doyle to follow behind.
As soon as he entered he felt a prickle between his shoulder blades and he had the distinct sensation that they were being watched. It made him uncomfortable, but was actually a good sign, for who had more reason to be wary of newcomers than mercenaries. He went straight to the bar and ordered two beers. He handed one of the bottles to Doyle who took it with a sceptical look and made his way towards a table in the far corner with a good view of the room. Doyle sat down next to him with a sigh. He let his eyes wander around the assorted patrons of the bar.

“I can see why you missed it, cheerful bunch, this lot.”

They were hard around the edges, more than one had scars across his face and from the way they held themselves Bodie guessed that they were carrying weapons, too. Seemed they had come to just the right place. Bodie took a sip of his beer and continued his surveillance, trying to make out the right people to get the word around that he and Doyle were looking for jobs and contacts in the mercenary world.

He needn’t have worried; before he’d had even half of his beer, one of the men was already on his way over to their table. He was heavy set, pockmarks mottled his white skin and his black hair fell into his face in dirty strands.

He sat down in the free chair across from them both and set his beer gingerly on the table.

“You are new here,” he said with a heavy French accent.

He looked at them from beady black eyes and Doyle grinned,

“How did you guess?”

The man gave a humourless laugh.

“You smell like roses.”

Doyle drew his brows together menacingly and leaned forward, but Bodies hand on his shoulder held him back.

When he looked at Bodie he just shook his head. Doyle leaned back again with a dark look on his face.

The man turned to Bodie.

“Tell your friend here, I’m just trying to be friendly. This is not the right place for you. You better leave before something happens to your lily white hands.”

Doyle seemed about ready to belt the man one so Bodie dug his fingers into his partner’s shoulder harder. Doyle huffed, but otherwise remained silent.

“We’re looking for work and we heard this was the right place to come looking.” Bodie said with a clear voice.

The man mustered him head to toe.

“I’ve been in this game before,” Bodie continued. ”I know how it works and Dawson here is a quick learner.“

At the man’s sceptical look, Bodie reached into his pocked and pushed a couple of notes over the table in the hollow of his hand.

“Of course we would show our gratitude for anyone who would be able to set us up with a job.”

“Do you have credentials?”

“I used to work with Kruger some years back. I heard that name still means something here.”

The man looked at Bodie calculatingly.

“Bodie, by the way,” Bodie said and lifted his bottle for a toast. Recognition flitted over the man’s face briefly, before he turned it into a blank mask.

“I will see what I can do, Mr. Bodie. Come back here tomorrow. Same time. Ask for Francois.”

Bodie inclined his head in acknowledgement.

The chair scratched over the floor when pushed back and ‘Francois’ stood up and left without another word.

Bodie leaned back and took another deep sip of his beer.

“Very smooth Bodie, I am impressed.” Doyle’ voice was dripping with sarcasm. “Almost as if you never left.”

All of a sudden Bodie was close to exploding. Doyle had been taunting him ever since his ties to Kruger had been revealed to him. He banged his bottle down on the table and just barely managed not to shout at Doyle.

“What the hell do you want me to say, Doyle!”

Doyle put his hand on Bodies neck and dragged him closer until his lips almost touched Bodies ear.

“I want the truth, Bodie, how about you give me the truth.”

Bodie tore himself away from his grip and stood up so quickly that his chair toppled to the ground.

Suddenly every eye in the room was on them. Bodie took a couple of deep breaths to calm himself, then he righted his chair and sat back down.

Under his breath he whispered,

“Quit playing around, Doyle, this is not the time.”

Doyle was careful not to let his voice carry over the din in the place when he answered.

“Who’s playing around! You’ve closed up like a clam right from the beginning of this… this operation, although every bit of information could be crucial to our success, as you well know! Whose side are you even on!”

At those words Bodie turned as white as a sheet.

His voice was devoid of any emotion when he answered.

“If you think that, then what are you doing here? I certainly didn’t ask for your presence.“

“Yeah, and why is that, what are you hiding, Bodie!”

“Piss off, Doyle, I don’t need you.”

Doyle smiled mirthlessly, “Yeah, you made that clear right from the beginning, didn’t you.”

He finished his beer and stood, making his way slowly through the crowd and out of the bar.

Bodie exhaled deeply and put his head in his hand. He was disgusted by himself, by the fact that he’d let himself be goaded like that. In the middle of an operation, in enemy territory, no less. What the hell was Doyle thinking anyway, he should have more sense than to act like that, he almost blew their fucking cover. He’d been right from the start, Doyle was not cut out for this, he was too straight, too righteous. Fucking ex-copper, thought the world revolved around his ideas of right and wrong. Anger sat like lead in his stomach, fizzing under his skin. If he went after Doyle like this, chances were he’d kill the little shit. He finished his beer with a couple of swallows and went to the bar for something stronger.

 

 

 

Doyle woke when Bodie stumbled in in the early hours of the morning, bumping against the bed and swearing. After a while he heard gentle snoring from the other side of the room. He himself wasn’t so lucky, and couldn’t fall back asleep.

He lay in bed thinking about the evening. He had felt like unwanted luggage most of the evening, bumbling after Bodie. Basically being told to shut his mouth in front of that guy Francois, it had burned and gotten his hackles up. Now in the sober light of day he could appreciate how bloody stupid he had been to vent his anger at Bodie like he did. He was accusing Bodie of being unprofessional when it was Doyle who might have jeopardized the mission beyond salvation before it had even started. He wiped his hand over his eyes and sat up. How could he have been so careless? He looked over at Bodie lying still, eyes closed, one arm hanging from the bed, hair sticking up in spikes, and remembered the morning not so long ago where he had gotten himself off to an image not unlike this. Doyle didn’t much care whether he sought his pleasure with men or with women, but his job made the former more dangerous and so he’d banned all thoughts of men from his head. But somehow, in the last weeks, Bodie had crept under his skin and now he couldn’t shake him loose. He felt like there were hooks under his skin, drawing him ever closer to him, and in the light of what he’d learned about Bodie this made him furious. He just couldn’t let that cloud his mind during this mission, or he might as well shoot himself now.

Doyle got up and stepped over to the window. He pushed the light cotton curtain aside with one finger and glanced up and down the street. It had rained during the night and now everything was gleaming in the early morning light. The streets were quiet, only solitary figures stumbling along. Even though it was still early the heat was already building up. He let the curtain fall and headed into the bathroom and stood in front of the sink. He let the water run, until it looked less brownish and drank from his hand.

Suddenly a high, keening sound breached the quiet and Doyle felt a cold shudder race down his back. He stepped back into the room and realized that it was coming from Bodie. He had twisted his hands into the sheets and was throwing his head from side to side. His hair was sweat soaked and his face fever red.

“Please…” Bodie’s voice broke on the single word.

Doyle’s heart constricted. He took a step towards the bed but then he hesitated. Bodie’s reflexes were deadly; maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to risk life and limb trying to wake him up.

But his shout of “Bodie” didn’t seem to penetrate the deep sleep of his partner. When another high keening sound tore itself from Bodie’s throat, he was by the bed with two quick steps and gripped Bodie by the shoulders. He shook him gently, calling his name again.

“Bodie!”

“No.. please… no…”

Doyle shuddered again with the sheer desperation in his normally so stoic partners voice.

He gripped his damp face and stroked his hair out of his forehead.

“Bodie,” he called again as loud as he dared in this thin-walled place and Bodie flinched, his hands instinctively gripping Doyle’s arms. He blinked and looked at Doyle with such a lost expression, that Doyle was speechless for a second.

“It’s ok, just a dream, mate, just a dream.”

“Doyle?”

“Yeah.”

“What… where?”

“It’s all good, you were just dreaming. Here, let me get you some water.”

Bodie nodded and struggled to sit up.

Doyle returned with some water in a cup he’d found in the bathroom and pressed it into his shaking hand.

He watched him drink deeply and saw the shivers that passed through his body in spite of the heat.

“Sorry,” Bodie’s voice sounded rough, “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“I was awake already.”

Bodie nodded, wiped his hand over his face and stared at the empty glass in his lap. Doyle had never seen him this shaken.

“What was it? Do you remember?”

For a second there was pure anguish in his blue eyes, but then his face closed down, hiding all emotion.

“No… No, I don’t remember.”

Yeah, don’t you wish, Doyle thought. There was no doubt in his mind, that Bodie remembered every gory detail of what he’d seen. For a second he wanted to press him on it, take advantage of his weakened state and ask him again about his time with Kruger. Because the nightmare, whatever it was, had to be related to that. Anything else would just be too much of a coincidence. But then he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“Try to go back to sleep, it’s still early.”

Bodie nodded and although Doyle could see from the expression on his face that he doubted he would be able to sleep again, he was out like a light with in a couple of breaths.

 

 

When Bodie woke up again, the room was filled with the light of late morning. The air was unbearably hot and his clothes and the sheets were stuck to his body with stale sweat. His head felt huge and heavy, his eyelids swollen and his throat uncomfortably dry. He felt disoriented until he remembered the night and the dreams it had brought. Bile rose up in his throat. He untangled himself from the sheets, stumbled into the bathroom and just about managed to empty the contents of his stomach into the toilet bowl. When his finally his stomach stopped heaving he slid down the wall, shivering, trying to dispel the images that bombarded his mind. Images he had kept under lock and key for so long he had almost managed to forget. Eyes clenched shut, he forced them down, forced himself to think about anything but the sound of hoarse voices begging, screaming. He was glad that Doyle wasn’t there to see him like this; it was enough that he had seen him so weak last night. Then a sliver of worry lodged in his mind. He’d better go find Doyle before he got himself into trouble. He heaved himself off the floor and clumsily got out of his clothes, dropping them to the floor. He turned the water to cold and stood directly under the spray, hoping it would clear his head, but the sun had already heated up the day and the water was lukewarm as it trickled down his skin. He washed himself down quickly, toweled himself dry and went to his bag to look for clean clothes. He’d just put on his pants when Doyle burst through the door, carrying a brown paper bag.

“Hey! Brought you breakfast, thought you might be hungry.”

He put the bag on the table and flopped onto the bed.

Bodie quickly slipped into his shirt and then eyed the contents of the bag. He wasn’t really hungry, but thought that he should probably try to eat, at least a little bit.

“Thank you, Doyle.”

He winced a little at the gravelly sound of his own voice.

“No worries, mate.”

Doyle’s voice was so serious that Bodie wasn’t sure if he was referring to the bag full of food, or his help last night. Either way, he seemed to have lost some of his anger and Bodie cursed himself again for being weak when he realized how much that relieved him.

There was a knock at the door.

They looked at each other. Doyle moved towards the door silently, while Bodie hastily grabbed for his gun and put in his waistband at the small of his back. Doyle looked back at him and he nodded that he was ready. He opened the door cautiously. Two heavily muscled men, clad in black para-military gear and armed to the teeth, stood in the dark hallway.

“We are here to see Mr. Bodie.”

“Who are you?”

“Kruger sent us. May we come in?”

Doyle exchanged a look with Bodie and then opened the door further, letting them in.

“Thank you.”

The two men came in, and quickly checked the room for threats.

Then one of them turned towards the window and made a sign with his hand.

Bodie felt fresh sweat prickle between his shoulder blades. He saw Doyle tense as there were steps on the stairs and everyone turned to face the door. When the figure stepped from the half dark of the corridor into the brightly lit room, Bodie’s heart stopped for a moment, then it beat hard against his chest, like it wanted to escape. Kruger himself stood in front of him. Older, but no less imposing; if anything the years had made him look more menacing.

“Bodie, it really is you.”

Bodie’s skin crawled as he felt those ice blue eyes rove over every inch of his body. Kruger’s voice was smooth when he spoke again.

“I didn’t believe it when I heard the news that you were in the country looking for me. I just had to come and see for myself A smile played around his lips. It did nothing to soften his expression.

Bodie wildly thought that this was the biggest mistake he ever made in his whole life, that he should have never come back here, and least of all brought Doyle with him. He kicked his paralyzed brain into gear and tried to smile.

“Yes. It is good to see you again.” His face burned with the lie and Kruger’s sardonic smile showed that he looked right through it.

“Won’t you introduce me to your friend?” He examined Doyle like something dirty he’d stepped in.

“That’s Dawson, we did some jobs together.”

Kruger inclined his head.

“Nice to meet you Mr. Dawson, any friend of Bodie’s…”

Doyle grinned mirthlessly.

“Very kind.” His voice was like a knife’s edge. “Bodie told me you might be able to set us up with some jobs?”

“Indeed, we’ll see about that. But first, we must catch up with Bodie, it has been such a long time. Why don’t you and Mr. Dawson here accompany me to my humble abode and we’ll talk. Pleasure first, business later, yes?”

Everything in Bodie shouted to try to shoot his way out and run and never turn back, but he forced himself to remain calm and answer for them, even though it cost him dearly.

“Thank you. I appreciate it.”

Kruger smiled.

“Splendid. I will see you outside.”

He turned and left. Under the watchful eyes of Kruger’s men, Bodie and Doyle packed their things and went downstairs. Two black cars stood in front of their little hotel. Kruger sat in the one in the front, but Bodie and Doyle were ushered into the other one, accompanied by the two burly men.

Doyle raised his brow at Bodie,

“Your name certainly seems to carry a lot of weight with the big man.”

Bodie could feel himself turning red. If only Doyle knew why Kruger was so keen on seeing him again.

He could feel Doyle’s breath on his neck as he leaned towards him and muttered in his ear,

“I don’t like this.”

Bodie agreed, but there was nothing they could do. This was exactly what they’d come here to do, there was no going back now, even if he felt like a prisoner being escorted to his own execution.

“It’ll be fine,” he said, more to reassure himself than Doyle.

They drove out of the small streets of the old city and onto a wider road leading into richer areas. Villas bordered the streets instead of the shabby little houses in town. Then they left the city and drove on for miles through the green wilderness. The road became rougher and was lined by high palm trees and dense ferns. At last, they turned into a well-groomed private drive way. Tropical flowers nodded their heads at them as they passed and the light was turned green by the big leaves that hung over the road. They drove on for ten more minutes, before the road ended in front of a big iron-mesh gate that was framed by watchtowers. Heavily armed guards opened the gates for them and the cars passed through. The inside of the compound was immense. There were several large warehouses, military vehicles lined the roads and armed guards were patrolling everywhere. They drove on until they reached a beautiful, colonial style villa. The walls where whitewashed and ornate ironwork lined the many balconies and high windows. The cars stopped in front of the main entrance. Bodie reached out to open the door, but it wouldn’t budge. He saw Kruger get out of his car and walk inside as the heavy ebony doors were opened for him by two servants wearing black suits and white gloves despite the heat. The two men who’d accompanied them for the short journey opened their doors for them and taking their luggage led them inside the building. They entered a big hall with white marble floors, arched stairwells led to balustrades on the first and second floor. Delicate ebony furniture lined the walls and the head of a snow leopard was mounted over the main door on the other side of the hall.

Kruger stood in the middle of the hall, waiting for them.

“Welcome. My home is your home. When you’ve made yourselves comfortable, I would be delighted if you’d join me for a light lunch. Michel will show you to your rooms now.”

And with a nod towards one of the servants he left them. Bodie and Doyle took their bags from the guards and followed Michel up to the first floor and to adjacent rooms that were connected by a door. They overlooked the inner courtyard of the building which was bursting with flowers in bloom, sending their sweet scent up through the windows. A fountain was splashing merrily in the middle. The rooms were equally lavish as the entrance hall, the wooden floors covered with silken carpets, the beds and cupboards made from the finest ebony that displayed their owner’s wealth.

When the doors had closed behind their guards and they were finally alone Doyle turned to Bodie.

“You never told me that being a mercenary pays this well.”

Bodie rolled his eyes.

“Careful, Dawson, don’t set your expectations too high.”

At the same time he pointed at the walls and gestured towards his ear. Doyle nodded.

“No kidding, mate. Let’s unpack, shall we, I am starting to get hungry.”

He joined Bodie in searching both rooms for bugs. When they didn’t find any they met again in Bodie’s room.

“Arrogant bastard. Was he always like that?”

Bodie huffed.

“Yeah, you could say that.”

“We have to be careful, I don’t like this whole set up.”

Bodie looked at Doyle and clenched his fist.

“I don’t like it either. Doyle, whatever happens, whatever he says, you have to know that you can’t trust him!”

Doyle laughed.

“Scared he’ll spill your secrets?”

He turned away from Bodie before he could reply and went back to his room.

Bodie sighed. Great. This was going to be just great.

 

 

 

Doyle unpacked his clothes and hid some of his weapons strategically around the room. He tied one of his smaller knives to his lower leg, so it would be concealed by his trousers and put his small Smith and Wesson in his jacket pocket. He hated having to wear it in this heat, but going without weapons was out of the question. He was on high alert since Kruger first walked in the door and he couldn’t shake the feeling that they were being played.
Although what his knife and gun would be able to achieve against the army that was loitering outside, he didn’t know. Fucking Cowley, always putting them in these situations. How were they supposed to find out anything about illegal, hidden super weapons, if the whole area was better guarded than the fucking Crown Jewels!

He went to the delicate porcelain sink in one corner of the room and turned the gilded faucet on. He splashed some cold water in his face and around his neck and drank a handful.

“You ready?” he called out to Bodie.

“Yeah.”

When he turned he saw Bodie standing in his doorway, looking pale and tired and anything but ready. Nothing he could do about that.

“Good. Let’s go.”

 

 

 

Doyle had thought that they were going to be lunching with Kruger alone and was thoroughly surprised when they reached the dining room and saw that they weren’t the only guests Kruger was entertaining. The room was big and airy, a fan spreading around the cooler air that came in through the high open doors from the shaded inner courtyard. More then ten people were milling about comfortably in the space around the massive oaken table that was laid out with the finest porcelain and silver cutlery. Doyle’s fingers itched when he realized that he recognized some of those faces from the CI5’s wanted list. He forced himself to stay calm and appear unconcerned. He scanned the crowd for Kruger and found him, dressed in an impeccable, white suit, chatting to another guest. When Kruger saw Bodie his weirdly pale eyes lit up. He excused himself immediately from the heavyset man he had been talking to and made his way over to them.

He made a great show of welcoming him, opening his arms wide and enveloping him in a hug. Then he turned around to his other guests, keeping one arm proprietarily around Bodie’s shoulders,

“Gentlemen, may I introduce to you my old friend, Mr. William Bodie. I had the honor of teaching him the finer points of our trade when he was a fresh faced kid, just off the boat from England.”

He grinned jovially at Bodie, who stood staring at the floor, shoulders tense.

“And now, after years apart, my old friend has come to see me again. I beg you, gentlemen, give him your warmest welcome.”

Doyle could hear his own teeth grinding together at the patronizing tone, even more so, because Bodie seemed content to just play Kruger's lapdog, smiling uncomfortably at the assembled group as they clapped.

They were saved from any more embarrassing outbreaks by the light bell that announced that dinner was ready to be served. While Kruger made sure that Bodie was seated next to him, Doyle only got a place several spaces away and it irked him. It was as if Kruger was deliberately trying to separate him and Bodie, though he could not think why, and called himself an idiot for giving the seating arrangement so much thought. The food they were served was excellent and accompanied by very expensive tasting wine but to Doyle it all tasted like ash. Kruger began to entertain his guests with anecdotes of his and Bodie’s shared time, Bodie giving his approval to whatever Kruger said with a quiet voice. Doyle forced himself to relax the death-like grip he had on his fork and took a deep draught of his wine.

The whole day passed with meaningless talk, more food and more drink while Kruger was entertaining his guests. Doyle noticed that they were constantly if discreetly surrounded by Kruger's armed guards and from the snippets of conversation he picked up here and there he gathered that this was the first day of a week of intense business negotiations. Among talk about the usual trading topics like weapons and drugs, there was also some excitement about an announcement that Kruger was going to make in a few days.

Doyle was sure they were talking about the super weapon, anything else would be too big a coincidence and he didn’t believe in coincidence.

He got an ugly feeling in his gut. He’d hoped they’d have more time, but it seemed that they had arrived just days before the weapon was to be sold to anyone who paid the right price! If that was the case they were fucked. There was not enough time, no way to contact Cowley or MI 6.

He tried to catch Bodie’s eye, to tell him about what he’d heard, but whenever he looked, Bodie was deep in conversation with Kruger, listening avidly to every word the man was saying. And the more Doyle looked, the more he realized that Kruger was almost constantly touching Bodie, laying his arm across his shoulders, his hand in the small of his back - and Bodie did nothing against it. Bodie, infamous lady-killer, admired throughout the CI5 for his legendary cool, was soaking up the grabby attention of this psycho.

Doyle felt sick. He felt like he didn’t know Bodie at all and suddenly that thought hurt more than he could bear. Red hot rage coursed through his body and he clenched his fist to refrain from just going over and punching his partner.

Instead he brusquely made his way through the crowd and into the courtyard for some fresh air. The sun had set some hours ago, but it was still hot and sticky and Doyle cursed this place, and stupid mercenaries, and Cowley who’d sent him here in the first place.

He excused himself not long after and went back to his room. He readied himself for bed, although he didn’t think he’d be able to sleep, but after much tossing and turning he fell into a light doze. When he woke again it was still dark. For a moment he wondered what had woken him. Then he heard it again. Through the open door connecting his and Bodie’s room, half swallowed moans and sobs drifted through the night. Bodie was having another nightmare. Doyle was still angry. Served him right, he thought and decided against waking him this time. After a while, Doyle had almost changed his mind, the sounds stopped and Bodie’s breathing returned to a more regular rhythm.

Doyle lay awake for a long time afterwards. He hated this, hated that he didn’t know what was going on with his partner, that he felt they’d lost the connection he’d worked hard to build over the last year. Even if they made it out of this mess alive, he didn’t know if he’d be able to work with Bodie ever again.

 

 

 

Bodie hadn’t noticed when Doyle had left, but suddenly everyone was gone and he was alone with Kruger. Kruger smiled at him, his eyes gleaming.

“Come sit with me, Bodie, we have so much to talk about.”

Bodie hesitated but then turned and followed Kruger to a small, delicately carved table at the edge of the courtyard. The sound of the water lent the atmosphere a peace that he didn’t feel. His nerves were fluttering and he gratefully took the fine crystal glass full of red wine that Kruger held out to him. He knew that he’d already had more to drink than he’d planned and that he should really be keeping his wits about him, but when Kruger raised his own glass for a toast he raised his too, and let the red liquid fill his mouth and run down his throat.

“Why are you here, Bodie? After all these years.”

“I …”

Bodie gulped nervously.

“I told you, I needed to get out of England, it wasn’t safe for me anymore. And you were the only one I know who could still get me into the game. “

Kruger’s voice was like syrup when he said, “Do you really want me to believe that that is all? You disappoint me Bodie.”

He laid his hand on Bodie’s forearm and stroked it gently.

Bodie swallowed down his first response and forced himself to remain still. Heat travelled up and down his body with each stroke and he could feel himself blushing. He new he should say something, anything. But he was afraid that he’d kill Kruger if he said anything at all and he remained silent for too long.

Kruger withdrew his hand and leaned back.

“Why don’t we talk more tomorrow? You must be tired after all your travels to get here.”

Bodie nodded. He rose and in his haste to get away he banged his leg against the table. He felt Kruger’s eyes on him and when he looked up he was smiling coldly.

“Good night,” he croaked.

“Good night, Bodie.”

Bodie closed the door to his room behind him and leaned against it out of breath even though he’d paced himself coming back to his room. Sweat was dripping into his eyes and he wiped it away with a shaking hand. The wine sat heavily in his stomach and he felt sick. He stumbled to the window, opened it and took a couple of deep breaths. The clean night air calmed his nerves and he lay down to get some much-needed sleep.

…He is lying on the jungle floor, his blood seeping into the ground, the earth drinking it greedily, leaves and twigs and roots, slowly, torturously penetrating his flesh, winding through his body to drink more. A butterfly lands on his face, so beautiful, so pretty and Bodie is deathly afraid that the draft of his breath will harm the fragile wings that are hovering lightly over his mouth and he tries to breathe more gently as more and more butterflies land on his face, on his mouth, on his eyes, their wings closing over his nose and he can’t breathe and they are crawling into his mouth searching for his blood and he is choking, his ears are roaring and blackness is coming closer from all sides….

He woke with a scream caught in his throat. He drew in a rasping breath and when he wiped his eyes with his hands, they came away wet. He couldn’t go on like this. This had to end one way or another.

 

 

 

The next day the air was heavy with the promise of a thunderstorm. They were going to meet Kruger in the afternoon to talk about business and Bodie and Doyle agreed to spend their free time exploring as much of the estate as they were able to. They didn’t come up with much since their every step seemed to be watched and as soon as they neared any areas of interest guards would block their way. They gave it up after a while because they couldn’t afford to draw too much attention to themselves. They agreed to each go their own way till their meeting. Throughout the whole morning and lunchtime Doyle was sullen and withdrawn. Bodie was puzzled by his sudden change of behaviour. Quiet seething was usually not Doyle’s style; he liked people to know that he was mad at them. Bodie had half a mind of confronting him about it, but he was still too rattled by the events of the night to be sorting out Doyle’s issues, too.

Bodie was not surprised when he was approached by one of the servants around lunchtime and invited to dine with Kruger. He thought about telling Doyle where he was going, or about declining the offer, but then he chided himself for his fears. This was his chance to find out more about the weapon. If he gained Kruger’s trust back, he might just tell him. He followed the servant into Kruger's private quarters and to a small room where a table was already laid for two. The servant drew out the chair for him and he sat down. Kruger came in absently looking at some papers in his hand. After a few moments he put them aside, stepped towards the table and sat down.

“So good of you to join me, Bodie. I trust you slept well?”

Bodies breath stopped for a second as Kruger's eyes looked at him knowingly.

“Here, have some water.”

He poured them both water from a crystal tumbler and handed one glass to Bodie. The water was cool and Bodie drank it all. When Bodie sat his empty glass down Kruger smiled, eyes hungry.

Dread coursed through Bodie as he realized his mistake. He reached for his gun and tried to rise, as Kruger’s face became a blur, all the colours blended into each other and the room started to spin. Before he could even aim, he crashed into the table, taking glasses and plates down with him as he fell to the floor, loosing the grip on his gun. He tried to crawl away to, reach for it, but his limbs weren’t working. Kruger stepped around the table and kicked the gun out of his reach. Then he bent down until his face hovered above Bodie’s and he felt his fingers gently stroking his cheek.

“You were always so naïve, Bodie. Did you really think you could just waltz in here and ask me for a job without giving me something in return?”

Bodie felt hands grab him under his shoulders and drag him along the floor, while Kruger’s voice stayed with him.

“Well I am not going to wait for you to understand and I am not going to let you slip through my fingers again.”

Bodie was lifted up and laid onto something soft. Rough rope wound around his wrists. He tried to fight, to scream, anything, but he couldn’t get his body to work. He was spread out across the bed and tied down.

The sound of heavy doors closing and the following rustle of clothes being taken off sent an overwhelming sense of dread through him.

“I am going to have so much fun with you, Bodie. You see, I had this drug specifically designed for me. You won’t be able to move at all for the next few hours, but you’ll still be here with me, awake.”

Suddenly there were hands on him, unbuttoning his shirt and opening his fly, pulling his trousers down. Bodie closed his eyes, hoping, praying for oblivion.

“God, look at you. Still as beautiful as the day we met.”

Hands roamed freely across his naked body and Bodie felt unbidden tears escape his eyes.

A slick finger breached his entrance as Kruger’s voice continued with his monologue.

“You are so tight! Must have been a long time. And here I thought you and Dawson…”

Bodie’s sluggish brain took a moment to remember who Dawson was but then fear sent adrenaline pumping through his heart at the thought of Doyle.

Sweat broke out all over his body and his breathing quickened, but still he could do nothing.

Two fingers entered him and he felt himself being opened. He tried to struggle but managed nothing more than a feeble shaking of his head.

“Shh, just let me show you how good it could be between us if you just let me.”

Kruger entered him slowly, inch by inch and Bodie felt like he couldn’t breathe. Kruger started a slow rhythm in and out in and out, stroking Bodies chest, his nipples, kissing his unresponsive lips.

“It’s a shame really. I would prefer not to have to use the drugs, give you pleasure, too. But that’ll have to wait some time, won’t it.”

He sped up his thrusts slightly.

“But don’t you worry, we’ll get there in the end. You will be mine again.”

Bodie felt like he was suffocating, memories from the past and the present blending together in his mind into an endless stream of horror and he begged a god he didn’t believe in to make it end.

Kruger moaned loudly and started fucking him in hard. It felt like aeons had passed when he finally came. The warm spread of Kruger’s come inside him made Bodie sob and fresh tears escape his eyes. Kruger lay down on him, still inside him and kissed the tears from Bodie’s face.

“You are so beautiful when you cry.”

Bodie tried to turn his face away, but Kruger held it tight between his hands and kissed his mouth brutally until he tasted blood. Bodie’s vision had turned to grey and sparks were flying behind his closed eyelids, when Kruger finally let him go. He gasped.

Kruger got up and out of Bodie’s field of vision. From the sounds of it, he was getting dressed.

“It’s a pity I have to leave you now,” he said, his voice disgustingly jovial, “but business must come first.”

He came back to look down at Bodie.

“Talking about business, do you think Dawson might make a fuss if you don’t return to him? My guards tell me he is awfully curious. You know, I might have to kill him if he makes any trouble. It would be very inconvenient though. Today is going to be a big day and I can’t have my clients upset.”

His words sent tendrils of pure dread through Bodie. He watched helplessly as Kruger left and closed the heavy door behind him, wishing they’d never met, wishing he’d killed him when he’d first set foot into their little hotel room and laid his eyes on Doyle.

 

 

 

Doyle was restless. He hadn’t seen Bodie since they parted that morning. It was already past lunch and fast approaching their date with Kruger. He’d assumed that they’d meet beforehand, discuss their findings and how to approach the meeting. But the idiot was nowhere to be found, probably chumming it up with his old mercenary buddy. The whole morning had been a waste really. Doyle hadn’t managed to get closer to anything of any importance and he’d hoped that Bodie had made more progress. He looked at his wrist watch and was just about to head out of his room to go meet the two, assuming that Bodie might be already there, when he heard someone knock at his door.

Quickly he grabbed his handgun from under the table, where he’d strapped it and hid it behind his back. He opened the door a fraction.

The face of one of Kruger’s servants appeared in the slit.

“Yes?”

“Master Bodie sent me to tell you that your presence at his meeting with Kruger today will not be required.”

“Did he now,” Doyle muttered under his breath as the servant turned without another word and went down the stairs. Doyle let the door slide shut. He was seething with rage. The bio weapon was being sold right now, directly under their noses and they were losing time with Bodie hanging off of Kruger’s arm like some long lost love. It was sickening. They were supposed to be in this together, but Bodie seemed to have forgotten that he even existed! Doyle wondered if he’d forgotten about their mission as well. He paced the room, thinking what to do, thinking about his options if that really was the case. He had half a mind to get out, try to contact Cowley and let him handle the whole mess! How was he alone supposed to stop a whole army of mercenaries and his partner from dealing with the deadliest weapon the world had ever seen!

 

 

 

It took the drug a couple of hours to work through his system. By the time he could move, the sun was already setting. Mindlessly, he rubbed his wrists bloody trying to get out of the ties until finally one of the ropes gave. As quickly as he could he untied the knots binding his other wrist. He pulled his trousers up over the stickiness between his legs and buttoned his shirt.

Soundlessly, he opened the door. The guard that stood in front of it never heard him and with a deft movement Bodie broke his neck. He dragged the body inside the room and took a Heckler & Koch MP5 from it and closed the door behind him as he left. He looked for his own weapon, but someone had taken it away. Everything was quiet. Bodie slipped from room to room until he found Kruger’s office. In the light of dusk he rifled through the files on Kruger’s desk. He couldn’t believe his luck when he found scientific documents about the creation of the new bio-weapon and schematics for factories for their production. He hid them under his shirt and made for the door.

He wanted to run up to Doyle’s room, make sure, that he was unharmed, but he forced himself to be cautious. He glided through corridors that were half-lit by greyish light spilling in through the windows and managed to get out of Kruger’s private quarters without being seen.

Light and laughter spilled from the dining room, Kruger voice could be heard loudly, telling anecdotes to his guests. Just the sound of his voice made Bodie’s stomach turn.

He rushed up the stairs and slipped into his room. Quickly, he went to his duffle, and took out his Bowie knife, his second hand-gun, and a couple of the grenades he’d smuggled out of their weapons hold in CI5. He strapped them on with quick movements of his hands and went to listen at Doyle’s door. It seemed quiet, but that could mean anything, a trap waiting on the other side, Doyle already … he didn’t let himself think about that option and slowly, quietly opened the door. There was Doyle, unharmed and alone. Bodie felt his knees go weak with relief.

“Bodie!! What the hell…” Doyle jumped up from where he had been sitting on the bed, and fists balled, looked like he wanted to punch him.

“Shhh!” With one step he stood right in front of Doyle and he put his hand on his mouth to shut him up. Doyle hit his hand away with his arm and stepped back.

“What is going on! Have you forgotten who you are working for?” he whispered, rage distorting his voice. Then his eyes snagged on the blood on Bodies wrists and the expression in his face changed.

“Christ! What happened to you?”

“Not now, Doyle. I promise, I will tell you everything you want to know. But we need to get out first, before Kruger notices that I’m gone, or we are both dead.”

“We can’t just run, we are on a mission, remember?”

“I’ve got what we need; we just need to stay alive, so that we can tell Cowley.”

Doyle raked his hands through his hair.

“Ok….ok. How do we get out then if Kruger doesn’t want us to? This whole place is like an army base.”

“Just trust me Doyle, I have a plan.”

Doyle’s look would have made lesser men crumble, but then he got his weapons, keeping his gun loosely in his hand and gestured for Bodie to go ahead.

It was their luck that Kruger was whiling the night away with his guests and hadn’t gone to check up on Bodie yet. Everything was quiet around them as they jumped from shadow to shadow. They headed towards one of the military style open-top jeeps that stood half hidden in the shadows of one of the warehouses. While Doyle hotwired the car, Bodie set himself up with the submachine gun he’d taken from the guard he’d killed.
The car sprang to life under Doyle’s hands. He looked back at Bodie, and Bodie nodded back at him, signalling that he was ready.

Doyle gripped the steering wheel tight. He let the car roll slowly, keeping the lights off while they were in the shadow. Bodie, hid himself lying flat on the seat, gun held ready. As soon as they hit the driveway Doyle turned on the lights and started to accelerate. They had a good way to go towards the gate and he tried to keep his driving inconspicuous. Suddenly one of the soldiers realised that the man driving the car was actually not one of theirs. He yelled at them to stop, pointing his gun at them. Doyle put his foot down on the accelerator. The man shouted and fired shots at them and more soldiers began running towards them, trying to stop them. Bodie rose up and fired back. He tried to cover them as best as he could, but still the sound of shots hitting the metal chassis was heard over the roar of the motor and gunfire.

Doyle cursed and the jeep swerved for a second. Bodie resisted the urge to check on him and kept his eyes on the sight of the gun, firing round after round into the approaching figures. The gate appeared before them and Doyle put his foot down hard. Clenching his fingers around the steering wheel he made right for it. The soldiers guarding it, alerted by the shots ran to stand in front of it, guns at their shoulders, firing straight at them. Doyle took one hand of the wheel, closed it around one of the grenades Bodie had given him, pulled the pin with his teeth and hurled it as hard as he could right at them. Shouting wildly, they threw themselves to the sides of the road, trying to take cover. The grenade exploded as it touched the ground and threw up dirt and stones. Doyle drove them right through the carnage, keeping his foot glued to the gas pedal and finally there was the gate and he drove right at it, wood splintering and metal screeching as they ploughed through. He could still hear shots behind them, but their noise was fading. He drove them along the long, bumpy road like a madman, hoping to put as much distance as possible between them and the soldiers before they started following them.

Keeping the high speed he looked into the rear-view mirror, Bodie met his eyes and a slow grin spread over his face. Doyle suddenly felt all the tension from the last couple of days lift from him and he answered the grin with a wild laugh.

Suddenly the car stuttered and coughed and when Doyle put his foot down on the gas nothing happened.

“Shit!”

He hit the steering wheel hard with his hand when the car crawled to a stop. He tried turning the ignition again and again, the motor gave a wheezing sound but remained dead. From the distance the sound of other motors howling could be heard and it was getting closer.

Bodie jumped out of the car. “Come on, we need to get it off the road.”

Doyle got out as well and keeping a hand on the steering wheel helped Bodie push the heavy jeep off the road into the dense vegetation to their right. They went far enough that the car was well hidden from the road. Bodie ran back and pushed the plants they’d rolled over back in place as best as he could to hide their tracks.

The night was dark and sweltering as they made their way through high ferns and palm trees, Bodie leading the way towards the town. They kept their ears primed for the sound of pursuit, but soon all that could be heard was the nightlife in the rain forest around them.

They had been walking in silence for the better part of an hour when Doyle broke the silence.

“So what happened?”

Bodie had been expecting the question. And he felt that Doyle deserved the truth, all of it. No more hiding. Didn’t mean it was easy to start talking and he was glad that the dark hid his face from Doyle’s sharp eyes. He took a deep breath.

“I met Kruger a couple of months after I had jumped ship in Dakar. I was working as a bouncer for this nightclub and one night there he was, going in with some of his men to have a good time. We got talking and he offered me a job. I wasn’t earning much as a bouncer, so I went. I ran with his gang for almost a year. He taught me how to be a mercenary and we were … close.”

“You mean you fucked. I saw the way he was looking at you!”

He could feel anger radiating from Doyle at those words, even in the dark. Well, there was no way back now. “Yeah.”

“Christ!” Silence stretched between them, as heavy as the heat pressing down on them.

“Well...then what happened?”

Bodie took a deep breath.

“Then I realized that Kruger was insane. He got more and more reckless and he… enjoyed it too much.”

Doyle snorted. “No kidding”

“I was planning to get out. But it wasn’t easy, not in the middle of an assignment. Kruger depended too much on me and he seemed to watch my every step. Then one night…”

Bodie had found the little village after days of tramping through the bush with Kruger and his men. They were in desperate need of supplies and when he had reported back to Kruger he had thought that they would just go in to trade for their needs. But the men were like wild beasts, the whole place was awash in the blood of the innocent, their blood on Bodie’s hands too, when the villagers had tried to fight back, and Bodie had thought only to survive. Eventually, all resistance was broken and Bodie stood breathing hard. He could hear the screams of pain and the sound of flesh slapping flesh as his comrades were on the women like rabid dogs. The lifeless eyes of a baby stared up at him, and he felt warm and sticky blood on his hands. He turned and stumbled to the edge of the little clearing, fell to his knees and heaved and heaved until there was nothing left but bile. He whirled around, with streaks of it still clinging to his lips when he heard an unearthly shriek and then a wiry creature was on him, clinging to him with its legs as Bodie desperately tried to get it of him, fearing to feel the sting of a knife at any second. The creature spat in his face, brandished a wooden cross and spewed guttural words at him that sounded like a curse, punctured by screams of “Demon! Demon!” A shot rang out and suddenly the body slumped over him, lifeless. Bodie knew a brief second of paralyzing numbness before he scrambled out from under the body. Kruger grabbed his arm, laughing, slapping his back. And Bodie knew then that he was crazy, utterly insane.

He didn’t remember anymore what happened immediately afterwards. He remembered standing in the middle of the gang of mercenaries and screaming at Kruger, calling him a monster, feeling Kruger’s fist split his lip, Kruger standing over him, sneering as he tasted his own blood, gripping him, whispering in his ear “Bodie, Bodie, and I thought we were of the same mind. I thought we were so good together. Turns out I’m wrong.” Kruger beat him near senseless. Then he tore his clothes of and took him while everyone else was watching.

When Bodie regained consciousness, it was dawn, the camp was quiet and everyone passed out on alcohol and violence and sex. Bodie got up, slowly, unsteadily and pulled up his trousers. Slowly he set step before step and walked out of the camp into the green oblivion, leaving everything behind, his meager belongings, his weapons, everything.

When Bodie was finished, Doyle was silent for a long time. Bodie was afraid he’d messed it up, that he never should have told him, not everything…

Doyle stepped in front of him, stopped him with a hand on his chest.

“He did it again, didn’t he? Yesterday?” Doyle’s voice was soft.

Bodie’s heart stuttered; he nodded and then remembered that Doyle probably couldn’t see it in the dark.

“Tell me, Bodie!”

“Yeah….” His voice was hoarse, barely a whisper.

Doyle started to walk back the way they’d come.

“Son of a … I’m going to kill the bastard!”

Bodie stepped into his way, grabbing Doyle.

“Stop! Christ, Doyle, we can’t go back!”

He felt Doyle in his arms, breathing rapidly, taut like a live wire, vibrating with rage.

Slowly he calmed down and he put his forehead against Bodie’s, wrapped his arms around him and held on tight. They stood for a while just breathing in each other and it felt just right, felt like home to Bodie.

He drew away from Doyle reluctantly.

“We should keep going.”

“Yeah, we should.”

After a couple of steps Doyle turned towards him.

“Why didn’t you tell Cowley? Surely he wouldn’t have sent you back…”

“He knew.”

“Fucking Cowley.”

Bodie huffed.

“Yeah, fucking Cowley.”

 

 

 

Tendrils of dawn were sliding through the undergrowth when they reached the edge of the wilderness and saw the town sprawled out before them.

They made their way into town, stumbling through the streets in the early morning light. They found a telephone booth and while Doyle went to the nearest shop to change a good amount of money into coins, Bodie studied the plans he’d stolen from Kruger’s desk. They outlined a factory with adjacent warehouse, a sprawling complex.

According to the map it seemed to be hidden in the jungle, miles from the city as well as Kruger’s estate. The plan included a detailed outline of the bio-weapon’s capabilities and requirements for its storage. Bodie’s eyes flew over the data so that he would be able to relate it quickly to Cowley once he got him on the phone.

Doyle jogged back across the street, his mop of curls gleaming in the sunlight and Bodie was struck by how beautiful he was. It had been an unspeakable relief to share his past with the man he trusted most in his life and it was a grace he hadn’t allowed himself to hope for that said man did not despise him for it, for any of it.

He smiled as he took the money and dialled the contact number Cowley had given them. He was passed through several operators while he steadily fed coins into the machine. Finally the Controler’s unmistakeable voice came through the speakers, sounding far away.

“3.7”

“Sir!”

“It was about time.”

“We know where he keeps it, sir. Even better, we know how to destroy it. The stuff is highly flammable and it loses it’s effect completely if it reaches a certain temperature before it is airborne.”

“Yes, Bodie. Very good.”

Bodie’s brows furrowed. Something wasn’t right.

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“Awaiting further orders, sir!”

A weary sigh could be heard through the phone.

“MI 6 has pulled out of the operation. Apparently it is no longer a threat to our country. I was just waiting for you to contact me Bodie, you can come home now.”

Bodie clenched his fist until the receiver in his hand creaked. His voice was hoarse with suppressed anger when he spoke,

“With all due respect, sir, you must be joking!”

“I don’t like it anymore than you do, Bodie. But the orders came from high up. Nothing I can do.”

There was a clicking sound and suddenly the phone was dead. Bodie stared at it in disbelief. His face turned into a grimace and he punched the wall of the tiny cabin so hard that small cracks appeared in the now blood smeared glass.

“Bodie!”

Doyle took his arms and shook him until he looked at him.

“What did he say? Tell me!”

“The mission is over, we’re to go back to England.”

 

 

 

They’d moved away from the little cabin when they saw that Bodie’s outburst had drawn the attention of some onlookers. They were still in danger of being found by Kruger’s men and so they decided to find a hideout to calm down and think about what to do next.

The room they’d found was in the seedy part of town, poorly furnished with just one rickety, narrow bed, a small table and a chair. They’d paid the owner double in the hopes that that would keep his mouth shut.

“Must be because they are thinking about buying it themselves.”

Bodie looked at Doyle unbelievingly.

Doyle stared back, steel in his eyes, “Come on Bodie! Think about it. Why else would they suddenly stop the mission? They are actually thinking about doing business with the filthy bastard!”

 

Bodie looked at him glumly. Then turned his back to him to look out of the tiny, dirt streaked window.

“Yeah? So what! What difference does it make why they did it, fact is they did it.”

“No difference.” He waited for a second until he continued, “But we are not going to let them, are we?”

At that Bodie turned around again and looked at him mouth open.

Doyle grinned until he thought his face might split. Finally the spark returned to Bodie’s eyes.

He grinned back. “You are insane.” he said and he sounded admiring.

“No more than you, sunshine!”

They agreed to wait for nightfall, and pored over the plan for the rest of the morning, looking for weak points in their security, thinking about the best way to destroy the bio-weapon and make it out alive. Then they cleaned and catalogued their weapons and packed them back in the bags. After a late breakfast they decided to rest a bit, but neither could sleep. Tension was too high. No matter their bravado, this might be the day they died. They didn’t dare go out for fear of being recognized and so they waited in the small room and watched the beams of sunlight wander across the bare walls.

It was almost unbearably hot and Doyle could feel single drops of sweat run down his back. He was sitting on the bed, back leaning against the wall and watched as Bodie cleaned his gun for the third time that day. His fingers were sure and quick on the dark metal and Doyle felt himself get even hotter. Who would have thought that Bodie would ever give himself to another man willingly. Doyle had dreamed about it, had sometimes longed to reach out and touch that alabaster skin, claim that pouting mouth, but he would have bet his life that any such advances would have ended with broken bones or worse.

Now, as he let his gaze wander over Bodies face, calm in its focus on the task he’d set himself, white shirt clinging to his muscular form with sweat, hair sticking up in spikes, he felt the old longings return and the thought that nothing was forbidden, that anything was possible, burned in his mind.

But how could he, after last night, after what Bodie had told him? He sighed and pushed himself away from the wall, wiping the sweat from his face. When he looked up again he caught Bodie’s eyes lingering on him and when their gaze met, red bloomed across Bodie’s cheeks but he didn’t look away. Abruptly Doyle got up and stood before Bodie. He reached out his hand, traced his fingers across his cheek and almost flinched back when Bodie turned his head and pressed a kiss into his palm.

“Bodie…”

But what was he going to say… are you sure? Is this what you want? It all sounded trite to his own ears.

He needn’t have worried, because suddenly Bodie’s mouth was inches from his, their bodies pressed against each other.

It was as if a dam had burst; Doyle suddenly lost all control. He gripped Bodie tight and kissed back as if his life depended on it. He pressed him back against the small table and it scratched over the floor, creaking under the force, and bumped into the wall, he bent Bodie further back until he felt him moan into his mouth, and pressed his thigh between Bodies. He felt Bodie’s blunt fingernails scratch down his back, drawing him even closer, no space, no air between them, and he tasted blood, he couldn’t say if his or Bodie’s and he had to break apart for a breath or he would have come right there on the spot.

In all his life, after all his experience, nothing had prepared him for this intensity. He breathed heavily against Bodie’s throat.

“Oh God.”

“Doyle…”

He looked up and was drowning in the blue of Bodie’s eyes.

“Doyle…please… don’t stop.”

Doyle kissed him, more gently than before, revelling in the feeling of tasting Bodie, feeling his lush lips against his and he groaned. Bodie buried his hands in his curls, drawing him into a more desperate kiss. Heat travelled through his body, pooling in his groin and he pressed against Bodie, rubbing against his hardness through their clothes and he felt like a teenager again, all urgency, burning from every inch of his body that touched Bodie.

They broke apart long enough to rip of their shirts. Doyle bent his head down to the milky expanse of Bodie’s chest and bit him hard across it, across his neck, leaving his mark everywhere he could reach, while his hand fumbled open his own and Bodie’s flies, clumsily pushing down their trousers.

And finally, Bodie’s cock was in his hand, hot and already leaking and if Doyle still had had any doubts that Bodie wanted this, they were dispelled with this touch. Bodie groaned and pushed up against him and Doyle gripped him tightly, loving that he could draw the most obscene noises from his normally stoic partner. His mouth found Bodie’s mouth again to draw those moans into himself but Bodie pushed him away after a moment, looking at him with feverish eyes, red spots high on his cheeks,

“Please fuck me, Doyle, I want you to fuck me.”

At those words Doyle grew impossibly harder and he gripped his own cock at the base to stave off imminent disaster. In the back of his mind he though, maybe he shouldn’t, not so soon after what Bodie had gone through, but then the thought that someone else touched Bodie transformed into a possessive rage that didn’t leave a clear thought in its wake.

He growled and blindly grabbed for the little container of gun oil Bodie had used earlier. His hand banged against it and the oil spilled onto the table, Doyle scooped some up as best as he could and pushed his fingers into Bodie hard and fast. Bodie keened, writhing against him, drawing him deeper and leaving scratch marks on his back. With clumsy fingers he opened him up. After a few heartbeats he pulled his fingers out of the tight and clenching heat and coated his own cock with the gun oil. He pushed in with a wild thrust. It was impossibly tight and so hot that his own breath caught on a sob. He leaned his head against Bodie’s, dripping sweat all over him and with clenched eyes tried to regain some control.

Bodie, one hand at his neck, pulled him into another kiss and pushed himself down on his cock until he was gripped entirely by the silken heat. Doyle groaned. He grabbed Bodie’s thigh, hoisted him up on the table and winced as Bodie banged his head on the wall, their teeth clashing together and Bodie’s hand like a steel-band on his neck keeping him right there. Doyle felt like he couldn’t breathe, like his heart was going to beat out of his chest if he didn’t move. He pulled out and thrust back in again hard, the rickety table creaking under them and he fucked him hard and deep. He knew that he had to be hurting him, and he wanted him to hurt, wanted him to feel who he belonged to and never let him forget.

 

He pushed his hand between their writhing bodies and gripped Bodie’s cock tight and stroked it in time with his thrusts. Not long after he felt hot liquid coat his fingers and Bodie’s muscles clench so tight around him that he almost blacked out for a moment and then helplessly, a moan stuck in his throat, he came.

He slumped down over his lover’s inert form and tried to get his breath back. Bodie’s hand lazily stroked up an down his back and his breath tickled his ear on every exhale and Doyle thought that he wanted to stay in this moment for ever.

 

 

 

Darkness had descended when they set out toward the weapons factory, set deep in the jungle on the edge of the Lake Tanganyika. Bodie had stolen a robust open top jeep for them and they enjoyed the caress of the cooler night breezes. They didn’t talk much, both men deep in their own thoughts while driving towards what might be their last battle. They had loaded up the trunk with canisters full of petrol and had their weapons loaded and ready between them on the seat.

When they were close to the factory Bodie veered off the road driving towards the lakeshore in the cover of the bushes. As soon as they reached the shore, he turned off the headlights and let the car roll gently along it to get closer to the enclosed factory grounds. He got as close as he dared and stopped the car. They looked at each other and nodded. Silently they got out of their seats, leaving the car doors open, to avoid the noise, strapped on their weapons and loaded their pockets with grenades.

Then Bodie vanished into the night, quickly scouting the perimeter to get an idea about their security. Looking at the plans he’d thought that their best bet would be to go in via the water, because the rest of the factory was surrounded by a high, electrified steel mesh fence, lined with guard posts.

 

Luck was with them and the waterline close to them was only guarded by three guards, while the rest seemed to be busy loading and unloading crates in a well lit area further towards the inland. He went back to Doyle and signalled that they were good to go. Then they went to the trunk, took two canisters of petrol each and glided gently into the lukewarm water. They moved slowly to avoid making waves on the still lake surface, the black canisters with petrol gliding gently beside them.

They made it to shore without anyone noticing. Bodie surfaced closer to the two guards that were talking to each other while Doyle made his way over to the third one standing alone at the shore and smoking a cigarette. Both men drew their knives and attacked at the same time. Bodie slit the throat of the one closest to him clean through and the man was dead before he even hit the ground. While the other one stared at Bodie in shock he rammed his knife into his throat till it crashed through bone and he too dropped dead without a sound. He looked over at Doyle and saw him standing above another crumpled form.

They picked up the canisters and ran across the open space between them and the shore, both men feeling relief when they made it to the shadows of the factory wall unseen. They inched along the wall, Bodie taking the lead until they reached the corner leading to the factory entrance. He flinched back when he saw that the entrance was busy with guards. He waved at Doyle to stay back. One hand on his machine gun, he took one of the grenades out of his pocket with the other, he drew the pin with his teeth and drawing his arm back hurled it with all his strength towards the fence. It exploded seconds after it hit the ground. The guards at the gate broke out into shouts and ran expecting someone to come through the gate ran over to investigate. Bodie and Doyle ran around the corner and into the big hall containing the bio-weapon.

They weren’t alone inside though, and suddenly more people were shouting and shots were fired at them. Bodie and Doyle dove for cover behind a pile of wooden crates, dropping the petrol, fired back. Since they couldn’t carry the canisters and fire at the same time, they were stuck while it rained bullets around them and the wood of the crates was starting to splinter under the force of the onslaught. Doyle cursed and quickly reloaded his gun. Then he stepped in front of Bodie.

“Right, I’m going to draw their fire, you take the long way round.”

And before Bodie could say anything to stop him, Doyle broke his cover and ran across the wide open space towards the other side of the building.

Bodie quickly slung his gun across hi back, grabbed two canisters and towards the other side, closer to the back of the building where he could see a production belt and big vats with skulls on them, signalling their deadly content.

He was halfway there when he felt a burning pain at his shoulder; he ducked but kept running, praying that they wouldn’t hit the petrol and let him go up in flames. He skidded behind another tower of crates, closer to the vats and taking out his handgun, he took careful aim at the guard running towards him. He fired and the man fell to the ground, red blooming across his body. From his vantage point he could see the other guards approaching Doyle, who was drawing them away from Bodie. They had their backs to him. He unslung his machine gun and fired at them in a straight line, mowing them down. There was sudden silence and Doyle came out of his cover. He looked at Bodie and raised his own gun in salute.

Then he ran back to the entrance to get the remaining two canisters of petrol. Bodie went back, grabbed his and made for the vats. Bodie sprinkled the liquid liberally over the vats and saw Doyle do the same. He kept an eye for the door, knowing that their shooting must have attracted the attention of the other guards. If they shot at them now they would set off the petrol, and Doyle and he would be in the middle of the blaze.

As soon as they were done they ran towards the exit. They could see droves of guards approaching fast, Kruger among them. Looking at each other Bodie and Doyle veered towards the right and the front of windows lining the side of the building. Just before they reached them, they turned around, fired at the vats and jumped through the windows, rolling into a crouch among the splinters of glass and breaking into a run.

The sound of an explosion boomed behind them and within seconds the shockwave pushed them to the ground. They covered their heads for the worst of it, then stood up and continued running. When they reached the hole in the fence that Bodie had blown earlier and were safely out of the zone of falling debris, they turned and looked back. The whole area was illuminated by the shine of the fire and in it they could see Kruger, his light hair gleaming in the reflection of the orange glow. His face was distorted with rage and disbelief as he saw his super weapon go up in flames.

Doyle cocked his gun, ready to go back and kill him, but Bodie grabbed his arm and pointed towards Kruger, who stood, wandering aimlessly in the midst of the carnage, not minding the bits and pieces of debris that were falling down around him. Suddenly he let loose an inhuman howl, grabbed a machine gun form his nearest guard and started shooting wildly into the fray. Bodie stood transfixed, as finally some of the mercenaries realized that he had gone mad and shot back. Blood bloomed on his white suit at his chest and his back and he crumpled to the ground.

 

Bodie and Doyle looked at each other, Bodie grinned. Doyle put a hand on his shoulder, and they turned their backs to the fire and slid into the jungle unseen.

 

 

Cowley was not amused. He raked the two agents who stood before him, like scolded schoolboys with an angry gaze. Bodie’s hands were clenched behind his back, and even Doyle had forgone his usual slouch for a more respectful position.

“I believe my orders were very clear, gentlemen!”

“Yes, sir!” Bodie and Doyle replied in chorus.

“And my orders were not ‘go in and cause havoc’!”

“No, sir.”

“The ministry is in turmoil, MI6 is at my heels and it will take me weeks to clean up this mess!”

“Yes, sir.”

Cowley looked at them disapprovingly then sighed. He went to his cabinet, got out three glasses and his whiskey and poured them each a generous amount.

“But you did destroy major weapons trafficking network and all traces of the weapon. And while the Ministry might not approve, I think the world is better for it. Thank you, gentlemen.”

Bodie and Doyle grinned at each other over their glasses and when Doyle saw Bodie’s smile, his expression free of the brooding darkness that had plagued him since the beginning of the mission, he thought if blowing things up made Bodie smile like this, he’d have to make sure they did it more often.