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Three Times Is Either Enemy Action or Cowley

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Bodie'd always assumed that Cowley knew that he wasn't straight because the old man knew everything, but after the 4th case, one after the other, of a queer being targeted for blackmail purposes, he wonders if he should make sure his boss knows, just so it's never an issue.

He'd definitely noticed a pattern. Twice in a row could just be one of those things, they'd once had a whole winter of nothing but chasing down gun runners, but a run of four cases like this was pushing that idea to its limits.

The first one had been an MP, not an important one; Bodie doubted if his own constituents would know who he was. But the man was still a Member of her Majesty's parliament and if he was being blackmailed, then Cowley was going to put a stop to it.

They'd got the pimp who'd decided to extort money from one of his boys's clients. Easy case all told.

It was the next assignment that took a turn for the worse. They were half-way up Scotland, miles away from the nearest back-up, with their radios on the blink - bloody mountains - and some maniac loose with a gun. What it turned out to be, after far too many bullets flew, some businessman who was trying to destroy all evidence of a fling twenty years ago.

Bodie wasn’t sure he ought to count the next one, because it was a corruption case really, but the policewoman in the Carter case, she probably didn’t lie for the money. And alright, it was legal now, but a WPC in her place might still be tempted, like Doyle said. Even so, there was no way that Cowley could have known that she was that way inclined in advance.

But there was a link starting to appear. And there was definitely a link the next one, where the funnies - CI5 were not funnies, no matter what people said - decided to have one of their purges, and got CI5 in to do the dirty work. It was Doyle that said it, but Bodie had to agree, that it seemed wrong that they chucked out the bloke with the male bit on the side, who hadn't been passing anything on to anyone, but not the one with the bird that was also shagging a journalist on the Morning Star, and you never knew what Johnny Comrade might be giving to the Russians.

He supposed that was the thing though, being queer was what they could blackmail you with, any man could have an affair, but being a poof was a sacking offence. At least it was with most organisations, but it wasn't in CI5's rules, and Cowley didn’t miss details like that.

That made it three cases and a maybe. Which was two too many.

So Bodie went to tell Cowley. He would have felt awkward going to the Old Man's office anyway, he only really went to Cowley's office when he was being given his orders, when he was telling Cowley how the mission was going or being debriefed after mission. This being for something private just made the feeling worse.

He stood at parade rest and waited for Cowley to finish reading whatever report he was presently peering at. Eventually Cowley’s beady eyes raised themselves from the endless file.

"You asked for a meeting." Cowley sounded like he was no more comfortable with this than Bodie was.

"Yes, sir."

"Well, get on with it."

"CI5 hasn't got a standing policy against queers. So I've not broken any rule." Bodie wasn't going to lower himself by making excuses, that he'd been young, bored and on a boat that first time, because he probably would have done it anyway without those reasons, and he’d done it since. Cowley motioned him to continue. Bodie was going to start saying something, and was thinking it through when the realisation hit him. "And you wanted me to tell you so I'd know for sure that you knew so no one could ever blackmail me." That was too complicated for last thing on a Thursday. He kept forgetting the old man's mind was as twisted as a corkscrew. "You could've asked, sir."

"No, I couldn't, and you know full well why."

"Because I would have lied, sir."

"Exactly, Bodie. I know you, remember that." With that, Bodie knew he'd been dismissed. He supposed the awkwardness had been worth it, for Cowley at least. And maybe for him, because Bodie now knew where he stood, where CI5 stood and what was what with Cowley. It meant it really was pointless to blackmail Bodie. He wouldn't have betrayed CI5 for any reason anyway, disobeyed maybe, and done his own thing to get a result, but not giving in to blackmail, but this meant he didn't have to worry what would happen after he told whoever to go and stick it. He wouldn't have worried about what Cowley thought anyway, but Cowley's hands, when it came to CI5, were sometimes tied by higher powers, but he thinks Cowley being able to know this - and he does mean knowing and not kenning - meant that they weren't when it came to this. Which was a comfort at least.

Even if he suspected it'd be back to those sodding warehouses again after this.