Bodie’s world falls apart in April.
“We don’t know,” the doctor says. Her eyes are the exact pastel blue of the spring sky. “We’ll just have to wait.”
Outside the window, daffodils bend in the gentle breeze, swaying like girls at a school dance. Bodie swallows back bile and doesn’t ask ‘how long’ because he doesn’t want to hear the answer.
“He’s stable enough,” the doctor continues, “if you want to see him.”
Bodie does. And doesn’t.
He wants to see Ray but the man lying the hospital bed is like a bad wax figurine of his partner, too silent and still and pale. All the quicksilver sunshine trigger-happy energy of him his missing and Bodie doesn’t know how to even be in the same room, much less what to say or do.
He goes to find someone to hit instead.
May brings lilacs and magnolias and countless other blooming things that Bodie doesn’t know the name of. His skin has taken on a permanent hue of some of the flowers; purple, pink, yellow marring his face, knuckles, torso, new bruises providing vivid colour as soon as the old ones are starting to fade.
“I’m benching you,” Cowley says, his face creased with disapproval. Maybe even genuine worry. “You’re becoming a liability, three-seven. No one is willing to put up with you.”
Bodie shrugs, eyes fixed on the wall behind Cowley’s shoulder.
“This isn’t helping anyone,” the director continues, more softly now. “Not you. Certainly not Doyle.”
“If that’s all then?” Bodie interrupts. He pulls his warrant card out of his pocket, placing it gently on Cowley’s desk. Any other time he would’ve slammed it down but now… he just doesn’t care enough.
He’s almost out of the door when Cowley gets in the last word after all. “If you get yourself killed,” he calls, “who’s he got to come back to?”
“Murphy tattled on you.” Doyle’s voice is still rough from disuse. It startles Bodie away from the half-doze he’s fallen into.
“Whassat?” He blinks, cracking his back. The visitor’s chair is more ergonomic than a pile of rocks but not by much.
Doyle grimaces in sympathy from his bed. In the five days he’s been conscious, he’s already told Bodie to go home to sleep no less than twenty-three times. He has also
• Fallen asleep (not coma) twelve (12) times
• Woken up thirteen (13) times
• Called Bodie an idiot six (6) times
• Squeezed his hand four (4) times,
• Two (2) of which occurred during the same prolonged episode of what could be called hand-holding from Doyle’s part and desperate clinging from Bodie’s
Not that he’s counting.
For a moment it looks like Doyle is gearing up for the twenty-fourth rendition of ‘for god’s sake, go sleep in your own bed’ but then he visibly shoves it down the priority list.
“Murphy. Tattled,” he repeats, eyes piercing in the low light of the room. “About you haring off, taking unnecessary risks, using unnecessary force.”
“Murphy said that?” Bodie quirks a disbelieving eyebrow.
Doyle huffs a sigh. “No. He said, quote, ‘glad to have you back, don’t think London would’ve survived your partner much longer’, end quote, but I can read between the lines. I know you.”
Inexplicably, that simple statement hits harder than even the news of Doyle regaining consciousness had. For a second it feels like he can’t breathe, throat closing, lungs seizing painfully, and Bodie doubles over, right there on the orange hospital chair, his forehead coming to rest against the warm metal railing of Doyle’s bed.
The sob that finally breaks free, after weeks of gritted teeth, split knuckles, empty bottles, is an ugly, raw thing. The terrible truth of what losing everything sounds like.
“I know,” Doyle says and his hand comes down on Bodie’s bent head, fingers carding through his hair in a slow, rhythmic movement. “I know. I’m sorry.”
Bodie fists the blanket, his fingers bumping against Doyle’s bony knee underneath, clamping down on it like an anchor.
“I came back,” Doyle says. “It’s okay. I came back.” The thin plastic tube of his IV drip drags across Bodie’s wet cheek. Something in his chest shakes loose, gently, like petals falling to the ground.
In June, Bodie’s world remakes itself anew.
Much later, when Doyle has fallen asleep (#13) and extracted a promise that his partner would go do the same, Bodie walks out into the summer evening full of golden light. Behind him, the old brick wall is a riot of colour, wisteria and creeping rose turning the hospital gates into something almost welcoming. A place in bloom with hope and second chances.