Double Take

By Gil Hale —

Disclaimer: Characters from The Professionals belong to Mark-1 Productions Ltd and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.

Spoilers: Fall Girl and Involvement

Author’s Notes: Written for the PROSFanFic List Lyric Wheel #2. Thanks to Amanda for the lyrics (which follow the story). I used the spelling ‘Benni’ for the Italian boy to distinguish him from Benny the agent. I also attributed a quote from MS to Doyle because I’ve always thought it was exactly what Doyle would have said.

Take 1

Doyle felt the cold-and-hot weight of the gun in his arms. He turned away from the blood spreading gently out onto the ground from Marikka’s body and he watched Bodie… watched Bodie walk away.

“Do you still want me to follow him?” he asked bitterly.

He resented Cowley’s peremptory order to put his own house in order while Cowley limped hastily in pursuit of Bodie, but he wasn’t sure that he had any right to go himself. Maybe Bodie would listen more readily to Cowley. He decided to do as he was told. He’d fucked this one up by the book, might as well see it through by the book to the bitter end.

He wasn’t sure who he felt angriest with. Well, he was—Willis. Willis was a cold, amoral bastard and stood for all those aspects of national security Doyle had the most trouble with. But at least Willis was acting in character. The fury he felt with Willis was something clean and bright compared with the dark confusion when he thought of Cowley and of his own behaviour.

Oh, he’d done it the ‘professional’ way. Technically he’d done right. Technically letting a partner down… hurting a friend… was all part of the job. Bodie would know that. He wondered if that’s how he’d stand now in Bodie’s judgement, that old cliche of the courts, ‘got off on a technicality.’

Even if it was, maybe he was getting off more lightly than he deserved.

He didn’t blame Cowley, who manoeuvred through this world of dirty shades of grey and kept a hell of a lot cleaner than the rest of the players. Cowley had fought for Bodie in his own way, and although he hadn’t managed to save Marikka, at least Bodie had walked away from the scene alive and freed from Willis’ scheming. He hoped Cowley would get through to Bodie. Watching the agents deal impersonally with Marikka’s corpse, he wondered if Bodie would just keep on walking.

He turned to go and noticed again the weight of the gun. Bodie’s face had been clenched and angry when he thrust it at him, but looking at it Doyle felt a vague shred of hope. Bodie valued his weapons. Maybe that gesture, furious though it had been, had held a hint of an acknowledgement: Doyle still existed for him; he’d be back to collect it. Or maybe that was just wishful thinking.

There were still details to deal with before Willis regrouped. Doyle went and put his house in order, covering the paper trail to the evidence he’d removed and eliminating the records of Bodie’s arrest. He didn’t report to Cowley how he’d gone about it and Cowley didn’t ask. He just called him into the office and poured him a drink.

Doyle tried to read Cowley’s unreadable face. “How was Bodie?”

“Angry. As he has a right to be. But he listened.”

Doyle drained his glass. “Where is he?”

“I don’t know, Doyle. I said he listened, not that he shared any confidences about where he was going. He’ll think about it, and he’ll come back in his own time.” He looked at Doyle, no doubt reading him in turn without much trouble at all. “Leave it alone, lad. Let him lick his wounds in peace. He’s not happy with you or with me; you’ll only make matters worse if you try to push him.”

Doyle nodded. What else was there to do?

Then he drove home, parked the car, failed to get out of it, sat for a long time drumming his fingers on the steering wheel, cursed aloud, and drove to Bodie’s apartment. He felt no confidence at all that he was doing the right thing. Cowley was probably right, and he was just going to make bad worse. But he felt he hadn’t been there for his partner before, even if part of that had been Bodie’s choice, and he was going to be there now whatever came of it.

Bodie hadn’t been back. There were traces of some recent woman’s presence, a lipstick, small tissues—tiny reminders of someone who’d been vital and warm, as Marikka had been until a few hours ago. Uncertainly, Doyle cleared them away, cleared everything away until the room was bare and clean and lifeless. He thought Bodie might prefer that when he came back.

If he came back.

Doyle sat there and waited, and while he was waiting he slowly and meticulously cleaned and checked the rifle. When he’d finished, he began again. It kept him from thinking about where Bodie was, or what Bodie had thought about being followed. He finished a second time, and laid the rifle down on a table. Idle, his mind turned to wondering how Bodie had known where Marikka was. It hit him with a force that made him jump. Bodie had, even after everything else, come to his flat. He had seen Marikka there. It was the only explanation that made sense. He couldn’t think about what Bodie must have imagined then. He reached out and picked up the now-perfect rifle, and began again.

Evening became night, midnight passed. Doyle gave up glancing outside when he heard a car. He wondered if Bodie had seen the car, or the lighted room, and simply gone on by. But some time in the early hours of the morning, when he was half asleep, Bodie came back.

Bodie’s face was stiffly emotionless, and though the anger was obviously still there it was banked down and smouldering under a sort of rigid control. He was moving with an unnatural precision which Doyle could guess meant he’d had a great deal to drink.

Doyle was held still and silent by the certainty that it might only take a word to send this whole structure of control crashing into chaos. While he was wondering what to do and wishing he’d had the sense to listen to Cowley, Bodie went like an automaton into the kitchen and made two cups of coffee, the only sign he gave that he’d even noticed Doyle’s presence.

He set one down in front of Doyle; the tiny noise as he very slightly misjudged the distance made Doyle jump and the liquid sloshed slightly over the rim. He looked up and met Bodie’s eyes, and wondered how he could ever say the jumble of things in his head.

I’m so sorry, for Marikka, for you, for the whole mess—why the hell did you shut me out—you really cared about her, didn’t you?—I shouldn’t have needed to be sure—I should have been there…

Bodie glanced down, picked up the rifle, and let his fingers run across the metal. Then he looked back and Doyle realised he didn’t actually need to say anything at all. Bodie knew it all as readily as he knew where Doyle would be when they went into action. Words caused them trouble; this silence made communication easy. Bodie nodded very slightly, put the rifle lovingly away, moved with that unnatural, stiff precision to his bed, and dropped there.

Doyle blinked angrily and swiped his arm across his face to wipe away his reaction to Bodie’s pain and Bodie’s acceptance, but he felt as if some huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders and he settled back in his chair. He hadn’t been able to think of anything beyond the gut-deep need to be here, but maybe just being here had been enough.

Take 2

“Bodie.” Cowley’s voice carried a note of warning rather than the usual bark of authority. That—and the fact he actually believed the old man meant well—made Bodie pause and answer.

“I know—never come between a man and his woman. How about a man on his own who looks as if he’s taken a bit of stick? Have you got a proverb for that?”

He’d watched Doyle through the slats of the blind, ignoring the ongoing interrogation, and it was fairly obvious that Anne Holly had told him some home truths and ditched him. It was obvious to Bodie, anyway. He’d been expecting something like this from the moment he set eyes on her. Instead of his normal response to a pretty girl, all his instincts had screamed trouble.

He wasn’t sure even now what it was about her he’d reacted to so negatively. As he raced down the stairs, his thoughts moved faster. It was… there was something fake about her. She hadn’t been real with Doyle, she hadn’t given a damn about who and what he really was. To be fair, he didn’t think she’d done it consciously, but it had been as artificial a relationship as he’d ever seen, a pretty play in which Doyle was her co-star. And now that he’d stopped playing his allocated part, she didn’t want to know.

Doyle was on the other side of the carpark standing there as if he’d forgotten where he was. Bodie hesitated very briefly. He hadn’t exactly handled this one well so far, and it wasn’t going to help matters one little bit that he was inwardly rejoicing that she was gone. He rubbed reflectively at the still-sore bruise on his jaw, and wondered if he was going to get another one to match. No. Not from the way Doyle was standing. He looked as if all the fight, and all the spark, had gone out of him.

“Ray,” he said quietly as he came up.

No response. He’d hoped Doyle would be angry. With Anne, with him, with the whole of CI5, it didn’t matter, anything was better than that lifelessness he’d seen from the window. But Doyle simply stood and stared into the traffic. Every line of his body was defeated.

It wasn’t just Anne, Bodie realised, reaching out. She’d caught Doyle when he was vulnerable. They’d had a lousy run, and then Benni’s death… The despair he could feel in Doyle chilled him, and wrapping his arm round the slight shoulders he tried to offer some warmth of human contact, but Doyle pulled roughly away.

Bodie didn’t go after him. If he pushed Doyle now, he would drive him further away. He had never in his life found it harder to keep still, but instinct told him to wait. A little voice nagging at the back of his mind adopted Cowley’s tone and told him he should have left well alone, but he crushed the thought. Then, for no apparent reason, Doyle stopped and turned round.

This was it, Bodie thought. Say the right thing now, and they were home and dry, or at least home and heading for a drink. The trouble was, what was he going to say out of all those things that came to mind, and which all sounded entirely wrong somehow.

I’m sorry, mate… well, I’m not sorry she’s gone, except that you are—you could tell how I felt about her—but I tried, believe me—and watching you hand in your resignation is not going to be one of those memories I want to keep—but you knew it yourself, didn’t you?—being a professional is part of what you are, and even if we can’t always save kids like Benni at least we show them an option…

Not a syllable made it as far as his lips. He realised it didn’t matter. Doyle stood there, and he understood it all as clearly as he understood the slight gestures that Bodie would have used to direct their movements in action. The words themselves would have only clouded things.

Bodie walked slowly up to him. Doyle still looked shell-shocked, as if the hurt was only just beginning to make itself felt through the numbness. To Bodie’s heart-wrenching relief and surprise though, Doyle turned to him and flung an arm loosely round his shoulders. The light weight there seemed to lift a much heavier burden. He no longer tried to find anything to say. The one thing he could offer Doyle was being here, and being here seemed to be enough.

~ End ~

Careless Memories

by Duran, Duran

So soon just after you’ve gone my senses sharpend
But it always takes so damn long before I feel how much my eyes have darkened

Fear hangs a plane of gunsmoke drifting in our room
So easy to disturb, with a thought with a whisper
With a careless memory with a careless memory

On the table signs of love lies scattered
And the walls break with a crashing within
It’s not as though as though you really mattered
But being close how could I let you go without some feeling
Some precious sympathy following

Fear hangs a plane of gunsmoke drifting in our room
So easy to disturb, with a thought with a whisper
With a careless memory with a careless memory
With a careless memory with a careless memory

Oh I walk out into the sun I tried to find a new day
But the whole place it just screams in my eyes
Where are you now cause I don’t want to meet you
I think I’d die I think I’d laugh at you I know I’d cry
What am I supposed to do follow you
Outside the thoughts come flooding back now I was trying to forget you

So easy to disturb with a thought with a whisper
With a careless memory with a careless memory
With a careless memory with a careless memory
With a careless memory

Look out look out look out look out