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Fic - Flowers Never Bend (2a/3) Pros

Title: Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall – Part Two
Author: Andromeda
Proslib / Circuit Archive: Yes
Pairing and/or characters: Bodie/Doyle, everyone.
Rating: Definitely Adult
Warnings: More angst. Sorry!
Word Count: 11,300 / 33,000
Notes: With massive thanks to cuvalwen who has been doing sterling work as both a beta and ideas bouncer. This seriously wouldn't have been written if not for her. Also thanks to my other beta reader, Ian (WOLJ), who discovered the gaping plot hole without, quite, falling in it.
Summary: In the aftermath of Doyle's disappearance and death, Bodie has gone missing and Cowley would dearly love to find out what just the hell is going on. So he calls on an old friend for help.
Disclaimer: The Professionals are the property of Mark 1 Productions and London Weekend Television. All Rights Reserved. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.

Flowers Never Bend With the Rainfall

Part One

Part Two

The mirror on my wall
Casts an image dark and small
But I'm not sure at all it's my reflection.
I am blinded by the light, of God and truth and right
And I wander in the night without direction.
Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall - Simon and Garfunkel


Sunday 17th June

When Elizabeth Walsh answered the summons of the doorbell, she knew who was calling on her on such a beautiful summer's day. George Cowley had impeccable enough manners to announce beforehand his desire to call on her. What she didn't quite expect was the changes the intervening time since she last set eyes on him had wrought. George Cowley looked old.

So she ignored the tea already brewing in the pot as firmly as she ignored the polite chit-chat already nestling on her tongue. Instead she installed her visitor in one of her comfortable armchairs with a fine single malt and waited until the latter was a good halfway down before breaking the silence.

"George," she began. "What's wrong?"

Cowley didn't answer at first, instead watching the amber liquid swirl in the cut crystal glass. Finally he sighed and looked up and Elizabeth, again, was secretly shocked.

"You know, my dear Elizabeth, for once I have no clue where to begin."

"Well, then," she replied, "if you have a mind to tell me, why don't you start at the beginning?"

George nodded, but remained silent for a few more minutes, as if marshalling his thoughts. "You remember the help you gave me over the Dawson affair?"

"Yes?"

"Well, one of the recommendations I made to the Minister at the time was a purge of all other at risk personnel. He didn't think the plan had merit. He deemed it too costly and not politically viable. But I thought it was the only way. So, to that end, I started the job within the sphere I control."

"CI5."

Cowley nodded. "I wasn't expecting much. Except one or two operations had gone sour in the past few months. I had, perhaps naively, assumed they weren't related. But they were. A routine audit of accesses to our new database threw up a surprising correlation. We did a little more investigating and there was no doubt. One of my own was selling information on."

"You were surprised?"

"Yes. Very. Raymond Doyle, one half of my best team, was the mole. I mounted an op, but he escaped before we could bring him in."

"So where is he now?"

"Dead. Or, at least, I thought so. There had been one or two tentative sightings after his death, but nothing conclusive. But his partner attempted to resign a few weeks ago. I had categorised him as on long-term sick leave. And now he's vanished."

"You think he's part of it?"

Cowley shrugged. "I would have thought of Doyle as being the last man on earth to be part of this. Bodie a close second. Now I'm not sure."

"What does logic tell you?"

Cowley closed his eyes for a few seconds, deep in thought. "Bodie was surprised as anyone that Doyle had been turned. I saw him when Doyle was killed; he felt as betrayed by all this as I had. I saw his face. He'd have to be a damn good actor to have been faking that. No. Logic dictates that Bodie is innocent in all this."

"Bodie. I've met him, haven't I? He's that charming young psychopath who put a bullet in my lawn. He does seem very loyal to you. But the bond of loyalty can be very fragile."

"Aye, very true. And I've had my boys out on the front line where those bonds can and do break. Bodie, now Bodie I could understand. If he were to feel betrayed by me, then there's no telling what he would do. But Doyle? That's a whole different kettle of fish. And it is one that is baffling me most."

"So tell me."

"Doyle was, is, an idealist. His loyalty is to a cause, not necessarily to an individual. I could leave him to hang a million times over and, if the cause behind it was just, then he would take it. Therefore to break that loyalty would mean that the cause is no longer something he felt he could be part of. CI5 hadn't changed, so Doyle had. I don't know. It's the information that was sold. An eclectic mix, all. There's not a single higher cause among them and, indeed, the failure of those operations, in the main, could only benefit the criminals and other lowlifes. How could such a man, a man who, as a young copper, brought his own corrupt bosses to justice, betray me with corruption?"

"Not corruption then. Blackmail?"

"No, nothing."

"You're very certain."

"I'd would know, damn it."

"What aren't you telling me, George?"

"It's hardly pertinent."

"Which means it is. Tell me if you really want my help."

Cowley stood, putting his empty glass on the table. "You have to remember that CI5 partnerships aren't your run of the mill teamings. These boys are matched to compliment each other, support each other in everything they might encounter."

"That sounds not unlike a marriage, George."

"Aye, that's the problem."

"Ah."

Cowley stopped pacing. "But I can hardly see why that is the issue,"

"A hero of this country who was also a good friend of mine committed suicide over just that issue."

Cowley nodded regretfully. "But these are different circumstances."

"In what way are they different?"

"For a start, I knew about it."

"And that makes a difference?"

"Because if that was the problem, Doyle would've resigned rather than risk exposure and damage to CI5."

"Okay, we'll leave blackmail as a motive aside for a moment. Money then?"

"We've been through Doyle's finances. We've not seen any evidence of any unexpected deposits."

"There's more than one way to cover up financial dealings."

"Very true. I've had CI5's accountants going over every piece of documentation recovered and they've found nothing so far. But I agree it's not conclusive. And it's not Doyle." Cowley slammed a fist into open palm. "None of this makes any sense. Doyle, at least the Doyle I knew, wouldn't consciously betray CI5 for anything. Not money, not under threat, not because he had become disillusioned. Not with what has been betrayed."

"And your conclusion?"

"The 'Doyle' I knew was just an act. The idealist never did exist, he was merely a cover for a despicable, immoral sociopath. Of course, if I'd known, I'd've been able to utilise that. But he completely fooled me. That's what hurts."

"So that's it? It's just a case of wounded pride?"

Cowley finished off his whisky and frowned. "No. It's information and the lack of it. Two years Doyle had been leaking CI5's secrets, at the very least. That's as far back as our database goes and the old file system didn't have a robust audit trail. That's why we got someone in to develop the new computerised system in the first place. It's certainly proven its worth already.

"But we won't be able to prove how far back this goes. When was Doyle turned and how? If we can find that out, perhaps we can find out by whom. Certainly the current evidence so far does not point to any particular group. And, in fact, rules out many. For all we know, he was recruited long before he became a policeman. In fact, the cover indicates a long time has to have passed in order for Doyle to assimilate his cover story. Yet all background checks so far haven't been able to pull up any kind of contact with known agencies."

Elizabeth nodded, her mind already cataloguing and filing the information flows and apparent missing data, even as she refilled Cowley's glass.

"And of course," Cowley continued, "Why did it take two years to discover this, when a basic routine check pulled the pattern out straight away?"

"Something is very strange about this, I agree. There's a lot of questions still unanswered."

Cowley obviously picked up on her speculative tone of voice, as his tone of voice changed also. "You know, I could do with you right now. Seems to me you could get this case sorted out in no time."

"Oh, I doubt that, George," Elizabeth smiled. But the case was most definitely intriguing and there was a very distinct whiff of something very nasty somewhere hidden in all this.

"Well, may be not immediately. But you could solve it. How do you feel about helping me out?"

Elizabeth thought for a moment. Now she was retired, her biggest daily challenge was the Times Crossword. And besides, she'd had quite a bit of fun last time. She smiled back at Cowley. "I thought you'd never ask."


* * * * *


Monday 26th June

The sun was hot overhead and barely a breeze stirred the dust to bring relief to the inhabitants of the city. Cairo was a hell of a place to take a holiday in June. Indeed, it was much better avoided at all in the summer months. But Bodie wasn't here on holiday. He'd heard a whisper, a mere breath on the wind, and so had been led here to the largest city in Africa.

Bodie wandered in the old town on the Eastern banks, trying place after place, contact after contact, though none so far had given any further clue. He was moderately sure that Cowley knew he had left the country. Hell, he knew for certain that he'd been continually under surveillance since he had handed in his resignation a month earlier.

Yeah, Cowley had to know he'd skipped the country, but Bodie was as sure the canny old goat didn't know where he currently was or why. Come to think of it, Bodie himself wasn't completely sure why, save that through a network of contacts, old friends and enemies alike, he'd heard a rumour that Ray Doyle was still alive. He was here to prove that rumour true or false, if he could. If false, he hoped to lay the ghost of his former partner to rest once and for all. If true, well. He would cross that bridge when he came to it.

Mopping the sweat from his brow, Bodie finally paused in front of a tavern, at once familiar; the owner had once called Bodie ‘family' and held a three day party in his honour after saving him from a fate worse than death. If anyone was likely to know what was going on, it was Dai Jones. He pushed his way into the dimly lit and dusty interior, his eyes taking some time to adjust as his gaze swept the place, assessing potential threats, potential problems, potential escape routes before he finally settled, back against a pillar, looking out onto the street, but enough awareness of the bar behind him, if necessary.

The tavern was busy, and it was several minutes before he was approached. The waitress was young, very young, yet her eyes told of experience well beyond her years. He ordered beer and asked for Dai by name. She promised to send him over when he returned and Bodie sat back to wait.

He gazed out onto the street, taking stock of the comings and goings of the place. A market, common enough in the area, with stallholders haggling with the locals and with tourists that had strayed off the beaten path, always looking for their mark, always looking for their next easy buck.

His neck prickled, someone was watching him. The feeling became more urgent, his instincts screaming at him to turn around.

As he did so, he immediately knew he was too late.

An oh-so familiar breath ghosted across the back of his neck carrying with it that familiar voice to his ear, just as the familiar touch of cold metal caressed his ribs.

"Hello, Sunshine."

Bodie froze for a second, his aborted attempt to move stifled by a quick jab in the side with the revolver.

"Now, now," the other man breathed in his ear, "no need for that, after all, we're all friends here."

Bodie slowly put his empty hands on the table, and took a deep breath, the better to speak the truth.

"Hello, Doyle."

"Nice to know you still recognise me," Doyle's voice said and Bodie had to fight an uncontrollable urge to turn around. While the cold steel of the revolver never left its position, Ray's other hand quickly divested Bodie of his weapons: a gun of course, plus a second, and two concealed knives. "Anything else you wish to declare?" Doyle asked, amused.

Bodie shook his head and Doyle moved the gun round to nestle in the small of Bodie's back. "Good. Let's go somewhere more private."

'Somewhere more private' turned out to be a filthy, out-of-the way one-room hovel, round the back of the tavern. There were few furnishings, a small iron bedstead, a chair and a cracked bowl for holding water. Doyle made short work of securing Bodie to the former, armed and dangerous winning out against unarmed and bewildered. Then Doyle sat on the chair opposite, gun dangling from one hand, casual, but obviously wary; a bottle of cheap whisky in the other and Bodie finally got a good look at the man he used to call 'friend'.

Doyle was changed too much in five months for it to be natural. He wore the persona of soft American tourist well, loud shirt clashing with the sunburn and both clashing with the ginger hair. An obvious dangling camera that might, or might not, be exactly what it seemed hung round his neck.

Doyle took a long pull of the scotch then set the bottle down. "Well, I can't say it's a pleasure, Bodie," he said. "But it is certainly a surprise. It's been a long time. I was starting to think I'd been given up for dead."

The voice was flat, unemotional, and Bodie cursed himself for the thousandth time for holding on to a spark of hope that everything had not been as it seemed. That spark had caused him to give up without a fight to the one person he should have resisted.

With effort, he matched Doyle's tone. "Well, the explosion was enough to convince Cowley, that's true. But me? Your demise was a little too convenient. So I asked around."

Doyle raised an eyebrow. "Well, I always said you always were a suspicious sod. What are you doing here, Bodie?"

"Came to see you, didn't I?"

"To catch up on old times? A little tripping down memory lane?"

Bodie closed his eyes, unwilling to see the other man's face. "Something like that, yeah. Why, Doyle? Why?"

"Why what?" Doyle asked.


"Why did you betray us? Betray me?"

"Why? Why not?"

"I don't believe you, Ray."

"You don't believe any of it. You never did, did you?" Doyle sneered. "A man so unwilling to trust anyone except himself. And you trusted me over the evidence of your own eyes."

And that was so true it hurt. For all Bodie seemed to live by the ideal of trusting no-one, breaking that rule with Doyle had been pathetically easy.

"How could I? For years I trusted you to guard my back. And you did. Every day until the day you stuck a knife in it."

"Oh come on. It wasn't that bad."

"That bad? Of course it was that 'bad'. Your betrayals directly caused the deaths of many good men and women. The Ray Doyle I knew would never have done such a thing."

A flicker of something passed across Doyle's face. But it was gone before Bodie could put a name to it. Then Doyle laughed, an unpleasant sound, and the fear curled in Bodie's gut. "The Ray Doyle you 'knew' never existed, sweetheart. For your information, I didn't betray anyone. If anything, CI5 betrayed me."

"Oh, really? And just what do you mean by that?"

"I, I… It's hard to explain at the moment. But, trust me, all will be revealed in time."

"Trust you? Look where that got me last time," Bodie shot back, the bitterness of the last few months colouring his every thought.

Doyle half-turned away in silence.

Bodie carried on. "The thing is, I understand. Caught between two differing loyalties, trying to do the best you could to stop it all unravelling. Was it blackmail or just an offer you couldn't refuse? How long, Doyle? How long?"

But nothing but silence came back from the hunched figure standing in the middle of the poorly lit room.

It needled at Bodie. Got under his skin. "Or have I got it wrong? Information is easy. You don't even have to get blood on your hands. I know you're a ruthless killer when you want to be. Did you take it up close and personal? And what about me, eh? I'm a hell of a loose end to leave, sunshine..."

"It was the job, Bodie. I was just doing the job I had been paid to do."

Bodie shook his head at Doyle's callousness. "And was the sex just you doing your job as well?"

A sigh, then and Doyle took another long pull of the scotch before speaking. "Of course. It's not as if we ever let fickle things, like emotions, enter in to it. Sex is only ever a way of getting what you want, whether it's compliance or unconsciousness. And I was damn good at it." He turned back, his voice hardening, " Of course, there are other ways of achieving the same thing, especially if you don't need to be on civil terms with your partner in the morning."

He raised his right arm, gun barrel pointing straight at Bodie. "I'm afraid to say, sunshine, you are in the way. I've a little surprise present for CI5 and I can't have you blundering about spoiling it, especially after I've taken so long in wrapping it up. Sorry."

And Bodie could only watch as, at that, Doyle pulled the trigger.


* * * * *


An undefined amount of time later Bodie awoke, and that was surprising in itself.

Movement brought both feelings of nausea and freedom. The ropes tying him to the bed were gone, as was Doyle. In fact there wasn't much left in the little room. Not that there was much to start with.

Bodie was as confused as he was sick. What point was there in luring him out in to Africa only to drug him and leave him? And Bodie was certain that was exactly what Doyle had done. It was still light outside, or light again, Bodie wasn't entirely sure how long he'd spent unconscious. What kind of game was Doyle playing?

Swinging his legs up and off the bed, his foot knocked against something hard and metallic. The camera, seemingly abandoned, yet beckoned with deliberate invitation, gilt-edged, hand-scripted, no-need-to-RSVP. A million shared memories, yet that one did not need to be retrieved from long-term storage. The promises of a happier time had been lingered over, even as they seemed ground into dust. Except one.

It seemed a nice time of year for a Nile cruise.


* * * * *


Monday 9th July

Elizabeth had started her latest challenge in the comfort of her own home. There was precious little to go on, save a lot of questions, and she started to despair that the matter would ever be solved to George's satisfaction. Ray Doyle's records were pored over word by word. But while his life was rather ambiguous for such a once trusted man, it could hardly be more transparent. Facing the divorce of his parents, and the subsequent death of his mother, in his early teens had sent the young Ray Doyle into a spiral of crime and violence until he had been rescued by a kindly Inspector's widow. Set back on the path of righteousness, Ray worked in a local shop, gaining the qualifications he needed to enter the police force. Constable, Detective Constable and then CI5. Nothing there to hint of a contact that had started him on the road to high treason.

So Elizabeth waited and, in the meantime, compiled a complete profile of the man that had caused George Cowley to look old.

The beginning of July was heralded by storms and, as their discharging fury changed the summer, so did a new piece of the jigsaw puzzle, landing on Cowley's desk innocuously on the Monday morning. Now armed with something a little more tangible than mere shadows and rumour, Cowley had Elizabeth driven straight over to CI5 Headquarters and installed into her own small office, rather hastily acquired. And this was where she was, a week later, when the Controller of CI5 came to call.

Cowley sat in the rather uncomfortable chair provided for guests and got straight to the point. "So what have you got for me on the name Doyle so thoughtfully provided us with?"

"Sir Henry Beech, noted industrialist." Elizabeth nodded towards the small postcard, the postmark on the envelope plainly showing its origins in Egypt. "He made his money originally in construction of chemical plants back in the late fifties. He then started investing in the companies themselves. And his new major preoccupation is computing. He's added a couple of small microchip companies to his portfolio in the last couple of years."

She handed Cowley the file and he flicked through it.

"I've heard of him, of course. Do we have anything between Doyle and Sir Henry? Aside from the postcard, that is?"

Elizabeth shook her head. "On the face of it, there's no known connection between Doyle and Beech. But if you throw Sir Stephen Chase into the mix, then you start to see the threads. We have a positive ID of Doyle at Caxted Hall, it is certain now that he escaped the fire fight. But we don't know how. The interesting part is that there was a scribbled note from Beech found amongst Sir Stephen's papers. Part of it was missing, and it is certain it should have been destroyed. It talks about a package and Sir Stephen taking charge of it, usual channels. It was dated two weeks before the raid."

"The arms?"

"Purely conjecture at this time; but it's certain that whatever Sir Stephen and Ray Doyle were mixed up in, Sir Henry was also."

"So we can add gun-running to go with his more legitimate interests. What still baffles me is why did Doyle send us this name and nothing else? Or at all, for that matter. And why did that note arrive less than three days after the man was murdered?"

Elizabeth shrugged. "I have no idea. And if you factor in Sir Henry having been shot less than a day after arriving back from the Far East, where he had been for six weeks, it gets even more baffling. If Doyle is behind the assassination, how did he know? Did he do the shooting himself or does he have someone acting for him? Moreover, why? With both Sir Henry Beech and Sir Stephen Chase dead, I suspect you are going to need to ask Doyle that directly."

"Hmph." George Cowley looked frustrated. "Anything more, or are we at the end of our list of conundrums?"

"It's just a query, really. How did Doyle get access to the protected files?"

"Again, unknown. There's no record of him ever being assigned the access he had, except that he definitely did have those accesses when we pulled up his profile."

"That's strange."

"Aye, it is. But Agnes did say it could just be an error, either in the recording or the assignment."

"Agnes?"

"She was the girl in charge of the database. Agnes Penfold was her name. She left here a couple of months ago. She was to help install the hardware and then spend time on training our agents to use it. Once everyone was adequately trained, she passed on her expertise to one of our own."

"A heavy responsibility," Elizabeth remarked, frowning.

"She came highly recommended."

"You spoke to her at the time?"

"Yes, but she didn't know anything. She couldn't see how this could've happened."

"Hmm. I'd still like to talk to her again. May be she can shed some more light over this."

Cowley nodded. "You could be right." He picked up the receiver of the phone on Elizabeth's desk, dialling an internal number from memory. "Susan? Yes. Can you find me the current address of one of our ex-staff... Agnes Penfold… Yes, the computer girl… No, call me straight back." He put the phone down again and turned back to Elizabeth. "I'll let you know as soon as Susan gets the details to me."

Elizabeth poured another glass of whisky for both of them and sat back in her chair. "How did your meeting with the Home Secretary go?"

"Not too good. He's been jumpy since Bodie vanished and we exhumed the unknown man from the helicopter. When I gave him the news that it definitely wasn't Doyle, he was rather upset. A political hot potato, he called it. It took a lot of convincing to persuade him not to send a hit squad out for Doyle. The strings I can pull there are becoming rather thin, I'm afraid."

"You think he might still do so?"

"Aye. But perhaps we have a little amount of time to finesse him. If I can get Doyle back here and in my custody in time, then perhaps it will calm him down. More so if I can finally get some answers."

"And who would you trust for such a mission?"

Cowley looked thoughtful for a moment. "I suppose I should get some use out of Bodie. After all, he seems to be the one person Doyle trusts enough to keep in contact with."

"Hmm, while we're on the subject, what contact did Doyle have with Agnes Penfold?"

"None at all. Which is rather strange on the face of it…" Cowley trailed off.

Elizabeth smiled. "Despite knowing about at least some of his proclivities, I've heard the gossip, so you don't have to be coy about it. A roving pair of womanisers is the nicest description I've heard. And there have been many."

"Hmm. Well, then. The other agents were running one of their usual betting pools. The one on how long it would take for Doyle to, ahem, 'take Agnes out' wasn't collected before he absconded."

"They seemed pretty sure that she would capitulate." Elizabeth was rather irritated by the notion that a woman would automatically say yes.

"To be fair, the betting pool on 'Doyle asks and gets slapped' was still running too."

"And what about Bodie?"

"My sources have it that the pot was won within three weeks."

"Would Doyle poach?"

"Yes, but Bodie wouldn't mind. They share, shared, everything. Except the propensity for betrayal, that is." Cowley's voice became flat.

Not knowing how to answer that, Elizabeth was rather grateful that the phone rang at that moment. Cowley picked it up and listened for a few moments in silence before replacing the receiver.

He turned to look at Elizabeth with solemn eyes. "Agnes is dead. She was killed in a traffic accident three weeks ago. Hit and run."


* * * * *


Saturday 4th August

By the time his plane landed at Kai Tak Airport, Bodie was feeling rather optimistic. He had been steadily gaining on Doyle in the last couple of weeks, indeed the final note, written on the back of a bill from the same cafe Bodie had dined in that day, seemed proof that he was only a few hours behind.

In the six weeks he had been stalking Doyle he had been led on by cryptic personal messages, each one designed to call up a conversation or confidence between just the two of them. An old teddy bear, complete with label, had sent him to Peru; a scribbled note requesting a suitcase stuffed with notes to Geneva airport. The camera of course, reminiscent of Doyle's yearning to capture the pyramids. And other conversations had been called into play in the weeks they had been playing this cat and mouse game. And Bodie was still confused as to where it was all going.

He had never even thought about what he would do with Doyle even if he had caught up with him.

But he was sure he could think of something.

Passing through security, Bodie noted that the airport was very busy. Of course the main airport that served Hong Kong was large and filled to over-capacity, but the sheer mass of humanity threatened to overwhelm him. Bodie hoped to ease his way quickly outside and head on down to the main city, where, he was hoping, a message, or perhaps the man himself, would be waiting.

As he was shouldering his way through the congregated masses, a message came over the tannoy system. It was rather indistinct, in the usual manner of tannoy messages the world over, but on second repeat Bodie was able to decipher what was said.

"Would Mr. Raymond Doyle please come to the information desk on the main concourse."

Bodie's heart skipped a beat. Was it possible that Ray was actually here? In the same place Bodie was for the first time in months? Then reason reasserted itself. It was more likely to be a message left by Ray for him.

He quickly changed direction, heading towards the large desk in the middle of the main concourse. It wouldn't do to be too obvious about this. Finally picking a pillar to lean across, Bodie was able command a fair view of the whole desk.

Nothing happened. He didn't recognise anyone milling around the area, even taking into account some disguise Doyle might wear. No further announcements were made and Bodie finally had to concede that either the message was for him or that he'd imagined the entire thing.

As he stepped away from the pillar, a security guard came up beside him.

"Mr. William Bodie?"

Bodie immediately shied away, straight into the arms of another guard, who grabbed at his arm. The first guard took his bag and his other arm.

If you'd come with us, please." And, brooking no argument, they frogmarched him towards the security suite.

Bodie had time to curse himself several times soundly for getting trapped so easily before the trio stopped in front of an anonymous grey door.

The first guard handed back his bag. "If you'll wait in there, please."

"I don't have much choice in the matter, do I?" Bodie muttered, as the second guard swung the door open and pushed him through.

The door closed behind him and Bodie realised he wasn't alone. Sat at a metal table was George Cowley. A vaguely familiar agent lounged against one wall.

"Sit down, 3.7," Cowley said, in lieu of a greeting. "8.4, you can wait outside."

The unnamed, but numbered, agent pushed off the wall and sauntered outside, no doubt to lounge against the wall next to the door. Bodie, with no other options left to him, dumped his bag on the floor and sat in the indicated chair.

"If it escaped your notice, Mr Cowley, I'm just plain Bodie now. You have my resignation letter."

"Do I?" mused Cowley. "Oh, you mean this?" and he reached into his pocket, pulling out the white envelope Bodie had left on Cowley's desk months before and sliding it across the table. It was still sealed.

"Yes, sir," and the sir fell out automatically. "That's the letter I was referring to."

Cowley ignored it. "Well then, it's quite handy us running into you like this. I've got a job for you."

"Oh, no you don't. I've resigned. I don't have to do any job for you ever again."

"You haven't resigned until I say so," Cowley snapped. He closed his eyes for a moment, rubbing at his temples and Bodie was quite shocked to see quite how tired the old man was. Then Cowley opened his eyes and fixed him with a stare. It would be a mistake to underestimate his old boss.

"As I said, 3.7, I have a job for you. One I think even you will be willing to take."

Bodie lounged back in the hard metal chair. "Okay, I'm listening."

"Are you indeed?"

"Not much else I can do, is there? Until I hear you out, I'm not getting out of here."

Cowley acknowledged this with a nod of his head. "Well, it's not the wholehearted agreement I was hoping for, but that will do. You may wonder why I've engineered this meeting. It's about Doyle."

Well, that was not a surprise. Bodie stared back impassively.

"I want you to find Doyle for me and bring him back home. Alive, at all costs."

"Well, that's going to be a bit difficult, seeing as the last contact I had with him was over a week ago and you diverted me before I could pick up the next clue to his whereabouts."

"That's not important. I have the message you were supposed to pick up. We've tried to decipher it ourselves of course, but the meaning is lost. I believe only you, or Doyle of course, can know what the note means. Which is why I need you."

A great hope surged in Bodie's breast. The trail was still alive. He had to get his hands on that message. Then the meaning of Cowley's words filtered through Bodie's brain. "You want Doyle brought back. Alive?"

"That's the idea, aye."

"But why? Why not just a general order to shoot on sight?"

"You know why as well as I do. Doyle is the only link we have to his masters, whoever they are. We need to know who they are and what they know."

Bodie frowned. Perhaps this wasn't all it seemed. "So this isn't the end of some giant sting operation where your undercover operative comes in from the cold?"

But Cowley's next words crushed that.

"No. Everything is as it was. I'm sorry Bodie, but there is still no doubt as to Doyle's guilt. But it will help his cause immeasurably if we can get him to confess everything he knows."

"The difference between private firing squad and doing 'the honourable thing', no doubt," Bodie said in despair.

Cowley made no comment on that. Indeed Bodie acknowledged to himself that there was probably no answer to that.

Bodie thought for a few minutes. Accepting the job would mean working once again for CI5, but it was the best chance Bodie had of finding Doyle. Resigned to accepting the deal, Bodie nodded. "Okay, I'll do it. But this is the last job I'll ever do for you. Don't rip up that resignation letter, you're going to need it."

Cowley stared back at Bodie impassively for a few moments before taking a small postcard out of his pocket. He pushed it across the table and Bodie snatched at it, greedily absorbing its hidden message. Yeah, he could understand why The Cow hadn't been able to decipher this note. Even he himself had a pause for a moment as he took in the picture of a house on the front and its simple, trite message: Wish you were here! on the back. But Bodie still had a vast store of shared memories to call on and, in the end, it wasn't too difficult to recall that particular drunken conversation.

"Did'ya know, he lives in Morocco?"

"Who?"

"'Im. Ole Reagan."

"Nah. He lives on the moon. Most of the time."

"S'true. Definitely Morocco."

"How do you work that one out then?"

"S'what Casablanca means, dun't it? White House."


That particular conversation had then rapidly descended and a good night had been had by all.

"So Washington is your next stop, then?" Cowley's voice cut across the painful memory.

"Something like that," Bodie replied noncommittally, already planning his route and acknowledging that Washington would now be part of it, if he had any chance of shaking off any tail that Cowley might put on him. "So why the whole charade of dragging me halfway across the world? If you knew where to pick up Ray's message and post one of your own, you could just have followed us. Grabbed Doyle easily."

"Not that easily, I'd wager," Cowley countered. "I believe it is critical to the success of this mission that you're on our side. Hence this so-called charade. And besides, why waste a number of agents on a job that is, as some might argue, outside our purview? I had a devil of a time convincing the Home Secretary not to put either Interpol or MI6 onto this as it was. No, believe it or not, the quickest way to get this dealt with was to convince you to play by our rules."

"I'm not, necessarily, going to play by your rules," Bodie warned. "I'm only doing this for you because it's convenient for me at this time."

"Exactly." Cowley nodded. "Well, then. Don't let me detain you, 3.7. I'm sure you've new travel plans to make."

Unable to think of a polite thing to say, Bodie picked up his bag and left without another word.

* * * * *


Part Two B