Title: One Can Only See - posted August 6, 2005
Author: Lacey McBain
Rating: Gen (although could be read as pre-slash, I guess)
Warnings: None
Summary: A missing scene of sorts for "Discovered in a Graveyard."
Disclaimer: I do not own Bodie, Doyle, or Cowley. Just playing.
Notes: Written for the Quotation Challenge on The Safehouse.

One Can Only See

"One can only see what one observes, and one observes only things which are already in the mind." - Alphonse Bertillon

Doyle looks down at himself. White t-shirt. Two red stains from where the bullets entered his body. He doesn’t know where his jacket has gone, wonders why his shirt isn’t wet from the milk that sprayed over him when the first bullet struck. He can’t see the bloody fingerprints where Bodie touched him trying to stop the bleeding with a towel, saying his name in a voice Doyle doesn’t think he’s ever heard before. Not from Bodie. Soft. Frightened.

Ah, but this is a dream, he supposes. Or if not a dream, something else. That space between living and dying. He’s been here before, although not quite like this. It was only a moment he’d forgotten until now. A glimpse of darkness and white light and shadow, forgotten like a dream.

He fades in and out between the steady beeps of the heart monitor, the whispered commands of doctors and nurses. He thinks he hears Bodie and Cowley talking in the background, but he could be imagining it just because he wants them to be here. They’re not so much talking as arguing. Typical. Bodie’s always been Cowley’s man—“Yes, sir. Running all the way, sir.”—except when Doyle’s in trouble. Then he’s dark as the jungle and just as determined. Would run right over the orders and the rules if it meant Doyle’s life.

This time, maybe it does.

Doyle wants to smile, but he’s forgotten how to move the muscles on his face. His body feels like someone else’s, something he can only look at and never touch again. He tries to focus on Bodie’s voice, crashing against Cowley’s Scottish brogue with the force of the ocean against the rocky cliffs. It’s fear disguised as anger. He knows it well. He wants to tell Bodie not to be afraid, but he can’t. Bodie wouldn’t listen to him anyway. Never does.

The man argues with him for the sheer joy of hearing his own voice, Doyle’s sure of it. Bodie likes to tease, make him squirm, ruffle his feathers and ruffle his hair, and although there was a time Doyle would’ve broken a man’s arm for touching his curls, he can’t stay mad at Bodie when he does it. Who can be angry with a bloke who’s just a big kid wanting to play? Doyle’s noticed he never stays mad at Bodie very long. Even when he wants to. Even when Bodie deserves it.

Doyle thinks of where he wants to be. Not here. Not in this hospital, maybe not even on this earth. He’s tired of getting beat up and tied up and shot up. Tired of time off that never gives him time to relax. He hasn’t turned the job off in years. Not really. Every car backfire has him reaching for his gun. Every vehicle that slows down in front of his house makes him think about escape. The postman has stopped asking if he should leave packages for him. If he’s honest, Doyle doesn’t like the packages any more than the postman does—they make both of them nervous.

There are days he wishes he could leave CI5. Go back to being a cop, but he knows he wouldn’t be happy. He hated the uniform, the rules, the ordinariness of it. Far more ordinary days than exciting ones, and that’s what he’d really craved—excitement. And he’d gotten it. In spades. Teamed with an ex-Merc, he’d known his days were going to get a lot more exciting.

He hadn’t known how much.

Nothing really could’ve prepared him for Bodie. The man had annoyed him from the first moment they’d met sizing each other up in Cowley’s office, then again at the pub over a less than friendly drink. Bodie’d pulled his file. Figured he knew him inside and out. He hadn’t been that far wrong, and that pissed off Doyle more than anything. He didn’t like someone having an advantage over him. Bodie had him in height and weight and sheer in-your-face attitude most of the time, although Doyle had learned how to get what he needed by being offensive. When required.

Leaving the job would mean leaving Bodie, and that’s the thing he can’t face. He knows it. Bodie’s got questionable taste in art and worse taste in women, but Doyle can’t imagine not seeing him every day. Even their time off is spent together now. No one else understands the schedule, the demands. Too many birds they’ve had to dump off in the middle of the street or halfway through a meal—too many birds who twitter to their friends. Doyle wonders how either of them gets dates anymore. Half of London seems to know dating them is poison.

So they have each other, and most days it’s enough. Doyle would rather have Bodie at his side than a bird in his bed. Bodie doesn’t need him to talk everything out or explain what he’s feeling. Bodie knows. He always has. Bodie’s part of him.

Doyle thinks about leaving, really leaving. He’s put in his time, done his bit for Queen and country. Saved more than a few folks. Killed more than he likes to think about. It might be nice to look down on Bodie from above, watch over him sort of. He thinks maybe he’d do more good that way. A whisper in his ear to keep him going. A nudge to send a villain’s bullet in another direction. Doyle wonders if an angel-body will stop a bullet.

Dying wouldn’t be the same as quitting. Not really. But he doesn’t think Bodie would see it that way.

Doyle’s walking through the hospital now. It’s the dead of night, and the only people about are the nurses in their sensible shoes and the people waiting for someone to die. Their faces are pale and hung with grief. He watches them slump against cracked plastic seats in empty waiting rooms. Sit beside beds that will soon be empty. Some of them hold onto hands that are already cold, and tears slip down their faces.

There’s a gentle squeeze on his arm from the blood pressure sleeve. The beeps from the machines echo in his ears, but they’re far away. He’s not needed there at the moment. He has more important things to do. Decisions to make.

He comes to a crossroads. The corridor to his left is brightly lit, warm, inviting. There are sounds of laughter, unadulterated joy. He can hear people calling his name. There’s love and acceptance in their voices. To the right, he hears swearing. Bodie’s fighting with the coffee machine. It’s given him coffee and no cup. Bodie looks like he wants to shoot it, but settles for a closed fist against its metal side. The merchant navy taught Bodie a great many ways to express his dissatisfaction with uncooperative machines and he’s using every one.

The clink of more coins, and Bodie’s running on faith tonight. This time the machine delivers two cups stuck together, but the coffee finds its mark. A splash of cream, the grainy fall of sugar like sand through an hourglass. Bodie blows on it once, although there’s no steam rising from the cup. He swirls his finger in the liquid and pops the finger in his mouth.

Doyle shakes his head, and follows him down the hall. He pushes through a pair of glass doors, and Doyle remembers this place. Small and dark, the hospital chapel is never really closed, but tonight it feels like God is absent. Doyle wonders if he should be worried about that. Perhaps He was needed elsewhere. He isn’t sure how these things work.

Bodie juggles his coffee to his other hand, and pulls a lighter from his back pocket. A candle flares to life. Doyle watches to see if he’ll light another, chase the shadows away, but Bodie seems content with one. He settles in the first wooden pew with his coffee and stares at the flickering flame. Doyle sits on the steps beside the altar where he can see Bodie’s face shifting between shadow and the dancing orange light. He looks tired.

There is nothing but the sound of Bodie drinking coffee. Doyle thinks he hears footsteps, a light flashes briefly in his eyes. He thinks he still has time.

He waits.

Bodie’s waiting too. For something to happen, something to change, and Doyle can read the fear on the lines of Bodie’s face. He’s never this silent. Never this … still. Doyle can see every breath he takes, the slow rise of his chest beneath his leather jacket. He’s measuring out time. Thinking. About Doyle.

“What are you thinking, Bodie?”

Doyle doesn’t expect a reply. If they were in the Capri, he might get an answer. Something smug and smart and totally Bodie. Or if they were waiting out an op, just the two of them, he might get something a little more serious. Bodie doesn’t like to let it get too deep. Too close. It scares him.

This scares him. Doyle watches Bodie crumple the empty paper cup. He doesn’t seem to know what to do with it, so he tosses it onto the seat beside him. Stares at it, then shoves it in his pocket. Shakes his head. A hand disturbs his hair, rubs at tired eyes. He leans forward, elbows on his knees and lets his head drop into his hands. Doyle leans in to catch his whisper.

“Not Doyle. Not like this. Jesus Christ, not like this. I never even had a chance to save him.”

Doyle feels something inside him break. When they’d lost the gun—when he’d lost the gun with the laser sight—he’d told Bodie he wasn’t worried. “You’ll save me,” he’d said. He hadn’t realized it then, but it defined their partnership. They saved each other—every day if they had to, and they did it willingly. Without thought.

And here was Bodie, angry and desolate because he hadn’t even been given a chance to get a shot off, or step in front of him, or push him out of the way. If Doyle died, the unfairness of it would haunt Bodie forever.

Doyle finds himself sitting beside Bodie. He can’t touch him, isn’t even sure if this is happening or just something constructed in his fevered brain. It doesn’t really matter. Bodie isn’t a praying man, won’t fall to his knees and beg a God he doesn’t believe in, but he’s still here, staring at the flickering candle and trying to come to terms with what already feels like absence. He’s trying to find hope, but it isn’t easy. For either of them.

Bodie gets up to leave. Doyle knows where he’s going, feels his body tugging him back. He can feel the heaviness in his chest, the pain beyond the medication, and he knows it’s time. Decisions, decisions.

The candle’s burned low in the small glass container. The shadows are longer now, the room less bright. Bodie stands beside the flame and stares at it. He doesn’t blow it out.

Doyle opens his eyes and the world has changed. He knows it, but he isn’t sure how. Bodie’s sitting beside his bed, holding his hand.

“Hey, Sunshine. Thought we’d lost you.” Bodie’s smile is strained, and Doyle thinks he looks as if he’s going to break with the responsibility of holding that smile in place.

“Not that easy to get rid of me,” Doyle whispers, and Bodie leans his head down. Dark hair tickles Doyle’s face, and he wrinkles his nose, but doesn’t really want Bodie to go anywhere. If he could lift his hand, he would stroke Bodie’s hair, let him know the worst is over. Doyle doesn’t know how he knows, but he does.

He isn’t going anywhere. At least, not for awhile.

And not without Bodie.


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