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It’s the little things that Bodie finds himself having to remember now.

Phone chats and R/T’s are relics of the past. Jokes have to be said face-to-face. Films have to have subtitles. He can’t catch Ray’s attention with a snide remark, can’t turn away when speaking to hide a smirk. It’s all in the open now.

Instead of a simple finger flick to emphasise a point; it’s now a full-blown production of signing, facial expressions, and – occasionally – words scribbled on a handy pad of paper. They both learned sign language: Bodie picked it up quicker than Ray did.  

They’re both out of the field now; Bodie trains new recruits while Doyle keeps notes and sometimes helps demonstrate a difficult move. Bodie finds the moment that they first square up against each other unnerving because he can’t quite bring himself to hurt Doyle any more than he already was. Doyle chews him out for it afterwards every time, using his deafness to ignore Bodie’s protests when he gets so jittery that he forgets the correct hand movements. But he’s the one who posts the ‘signs of the week’ on the CI5 noticeboard so Doyle won’t be trapped in his little well of silence.

The only good thing to come out of this tragedy (and it is a tragedy), is that touch has become their main method of communication and their affection has become accepted in public. Bodie doesn’t care now about being outed, the world is changing and, for once, he’s going to change with it. He plays with Doyle’s hair, taps his arm to let him know where the joke is, stroke his back to just let him know he’s there. It’s tough, but they’re working through it.

After all, the first thing he ever learned to sign was ‘I love you.’