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Fic: Any Other World - Part 2/2

Any Other World - Part 1

Part 2

It didn't take long for Bodie to find the name of the reporter who had broken the story of CI5 'mismanagement'. An hour at the British Library, looking through their records, was enough. And armed with a name, he walked immediately down to Fleet Street to track down his quarry. The receptionist at the paper referred Bodie directly to The Harrow, where it was likely that the journalist in question would be found.

Armed with a description charmed from the receptionist, Bodie easily identified the journalist from amongst the various other hacks and sub-editors that made up the early evening crowd in the little pub. Portly and red-faced like so many of his profession, Tom Courtney was sat on his own at a small table, staring into a glass of whisky.

Bodie detoured to the bar and ordered two more of the same before walking over and sliding in to the seat opposite.

"May I join you?" he inquired solicitously, ostentatiously putting the glasses down on the table.

Tom looked up, "I'm sorry," he started before catching sight of the two glasses. "Who are you?"

"Bodie," Bodie replied, pushing one of the drinks towards him.

Tom ignored it for a moment. "And what do you want?"

"Just a little bit of information."

"Difficult, that. I never reveal my sources."

"You don't need to. That is a matter of public record."

"Oh? And which particular story do you want to question me about?"

"The CI5 leaks."

"Oh, that's old news."

"And, as such, it won't matter you answering a couple of questions about it then?"

"You're a bit late, aren't you? I would have thought CI5 would have tried this two years ago."

"And what makes you think I'm CI5?"

"Do me a lemon," Tom snorted. "I know who you are, Mr. Andrew Bodie. I've watched your rising career with interest." He drained his scotch and pulled the one Bodie had placed on the table in front of him.

"Just Bodie, and will you answer a couple of questions?"

"And what's in it for me?"

"Twenty quid?"

Tom snorted.

"Fifty, then. You won't be betraying any deep confidences, you know."

"Okay, but I reserve the right not to answer. If it will compromise my integrity."

Bodie internally rolled his eyes, but nodded. "Fine. Now we know the who and we know the why. What I want to know is how you got hold of the information."

"It was easy enough. The informant told me that he had papers, but couldn't hand them over in person. He was being watched, or something. Said he'd left them in a safe place and that all I had to do was retrieve them. No hassle on my part, just wait until he'd sent the ticket and then go to Kings Cross station and retrieve a case from Left Luggage. It was that easy as well. The chit came through the post, I retrieved the case and the rest is, well, history."

"That easy? Your informant must've been collecting evidence for a while."

"Yes," Tom paused for a moment, running a finger through an old spill on the table. "But, I only got half of it to start with."

"Half?"

"Yeah. He called me up about a month later."

"When was this?"

"About a fortnight after the trial had finished. He said that he had more, if I was interested. Of course I was interested. So we agreed a price, and he made another drop."

"Kings Cross again?"

"Not this time. He said he'd left them in a lock-up in West London. I was to go there and leave the cash agreed in the same place. Said he'd send me a key. The key arrived next morning, and I immediately went up there and picked up the papers."

"Did the key come through the post, like the ticket?"

"No, someone dropped it off at reception. No one saw who did it. Of course, by this time the big CI5 story had broken and we knew who it was, so we reckoned that he'd got a friend to make the drop. Probably didn't even know what he was handing over."

"And your informant never revealed his identity?"

"Nope. Called himself 'Bill', but it was bloody obvious that it was an alias." Tom lit another cigarette. "Good one, though. Water tight. Even the lock-up in Putney had been taken out in that name. We did a bit of digging around, you see. It had been taken out four years before in the name of 'Bill Huskisson'."

"What?!" But that was…

"Yeah, he'd been planning something like this for that long."

"What's the address? We can possibly get more out of it than you could."

"Unlikely," Tom chuckled. "But there's no harm in it. I emptied it when I took the papers. Radcliffe Square. Number Six."

Bodie swallowed. "You took everything?"

"Well, that's all there was. Just the papers in an interdepartmental envelope, sat on the floor in the middle of an old oil stain. Well, that and the usual spiders and rats."

"And nothing else?"

"Nope. You seem surprised."

Bodie shrugged. “Seems a little far-fetched, that's all. All very cloak and dagger.”

Tom looked at Bodie speculatively. “You think there's something fishy going on,” he stated.

“Not at all.”

“Come on, reporter's instincts here. There's definitely something more here. I can feel it. Why else would you be questioning me so long after the event?”

“Call it professional curiosity.”

“Really? Look, I'll do you a deal. You can keep your fifty quid, if you let me in on any follow-up. ”

Bodie stood and reached in his pocket for his wallet. Extracting two twenties and a ten, he placed them on the table. "Sorry Tom, there's no story."

Tom snorted. "Sure there isn't." But he picked up the notes anyway. "You know, that CI5 story was the best I'd ever written. A real coup. Doubt I'll get another one like that."

"Once in a lifetime," Bodie agreed and, turning on his heel, left.

Bodie walked along Fleet Street, deep in thought. Funny that Doyle would be using his lock-up to store official secrets. Especially when Doyle had been in jail for months, having been refused bail, by the time Tom had collected the envelope. And most especially when Bodie knew exactly what had been in that lock-up a fortnight before when he'd emptied it of his own property.

He'd left behind an identical bag; containing gun, ammunition, spare clothes, fake passport and cash that had been meant for Doyle, no longer caring. The storm had already broken over the first set of revelations and George had been stalking round Headquarters like a vengeful ghost while Bodie had still been shell-shocked by the verdict. But the worst was to come, with what Bodie now knew to be the second hand-over of material.

It all made far too much sense. Doyle hadn't had anything to do with the revelations, but someone wanted it to look that way. There was no way he himself would've used the garage to pass on those documents, knowing that Bodie had free access as well. But if someone else believed that Doyle's key was the only one? Then they just might.

It would have to be someone who wanted to discredit CI5, bring it down. And it was an inside job. Well, they'd known all that to start with. That's why it made so much sense for it to be Doyle. He was, after all, the one who had made all the noises about being thrown to the wolves; obviously shocked and appalled that the law still applied even to killers such as themselves. It was the sheer foresight of it that had blown Bodie away at the time. He'd obviously been keeping a record of some of the more controversial incidents, ready to dump on a willing journalist at any time. Except that now, knowing that there were two drops and that the second one had been impossible for Doyle to make, well. It was almost inconceivable that there were two people wanting to bring down CI5 round its ears at the same time. Was this a man who had merely taken advantage of Doyle's actions or was this a man who had, perhaps, had more of a hands-on approach to the problem?

Doyle hadn't betrayed CI5 out of spite. He hadn't handed across those so damaging secrets. He hadn't shot Willis and he hadn't set up Marrika. Yet George had insisted all those things were true. His whole world had been turned upside down.


* * * * *


Early next morning, Bodie set off for Cambridge again. He needed to see Ray, even if he couldn't speak to him. Somehow, he felt, he could pull the truth from this web of lies if he only could see Ray.

Presenting himself once again at reception, he was, almost immediately waylaid by Doctor Hunter, who pulled him aside into one of the small private waiting rooms.

“It's bad news, I'm afraid. Mr. Doyle isn't responding to the medication at all. We've had no response whatsoever.”

“So what does that mean? Is there no hope at all?”

“No, there is hope, but it's extreme. Do you think that your friend would consent to electro-convulsive therapy, if it were offered and he were in a state to consent?”

Electroconvulsive... "Isn't that rather ... Victorian?" Barbaric Bodie's mind supplemented.

"Not at all. Quite cutting edge in fact. It certainly has its place in modern psychiatric treatment."

"How soon would you want to perform the procedure?" Bodie whispered.

"Well, we still need to run some tests. We are now fairly sure that there is no physical element to Mr. Doyle's illness, but we need to be sure. And there are Mr. Doyle's physical injuries to consider. ECT can be quite demanding on the body."

Images of Doyle writhing in pain as electricity passed through his body filled Bodie's mind. "How soon?" he repeated.

"Two or three days. May be a week, depending on how his knee is healing. And depending on anything else we find. Oh, and on Inspector Taylor's plans, of course."

“Inspector Taylor? What has he got to do with Ray's treatment?”

“Mr. Doyle is still in police custody. So any requests he has with regards to that need to be taken in to consideration when looking at long-term treatment plans.”

“But what is he proposing?”

“I'm afraid you'll need to discuss that with him.”

“I will. Now. Where is he?”

“He was speaking to the constable on Mr. Doyle's door not ten minutes ago. You might catch him there.”

“Thanks,” Bodie said, already opening the waiting room door.

Remembering the route the medical student had taken last time, Bodie only managed a couple of wrong turns and dead-ends before finding the right room. Inspector Taylor was still talking to his constable outside as he strode down the corridor.

“Inspector Taylor,” Bodie called as he drew near, just what are you planning?”

The inspector turned and glared at Bodie. “I don't think it is any of your business.”

“Yes it is. I'm his next-of-kin. And his friend. I need to know.”

Taylor sighed. “We're moving him.”

“Where to?”

“Broadmoor Hospital. As soon as we can get the transfer papers signed.”

"Broadmoor? But that's high security. Ray's not a danger to anyone like this."

"He's still in my custody. Or had you forgotten he's broken parole? If he were mentally capable, he'd be back inside by now."

"But you can't. You'll never get sign-off."

"I will if I have a couple of friendly doctors willing to sign off the recommendation."

Two? Well, there was Doctor Hunter of course. And... "Kate," he breathed.

"It's what your Mister Cowley was going to do, wasn't it? Some nice, secure place under his wing? At least Ray will be safe from CI5 at Broadmoor."

"Safe? But…"

"Don't be so bloody naïve. Don't you think that, if you obey your master now and take Ray with you, he won't be dead within a week? Shot during some escape attempt, perhaps. Or another suicide attempt. This one, unfortunately, successful. He's a liability, Mr. Bodie."

"Cowley wouldn't do that. He's just worried about Ray." 
 
"So am I. And I owe Ray too much to turn him over to you without a fight."

“Why?” At Taylor's questioning frown, Bodie clarified. “Why are you so determined to protect Doyle from CI5?”

'”I've seen what happens when men do the decent thing and try to take down their corrupt bosses. For their decency and honour they deserve protection from the retribution that is sure to follow.”

“You worked with Doyle on the Force,” Bodie hazarded.

Taylor nodded choppily. “We were in CID together. Stepney. Ray'd only transferred a few months before. He spotted that there was something dodgy going on almost straight away and he finally persuaded me to tell him the little I knew. I couldn't testify against my bosses. I had a wife and a new baby. Ray understood and took it all on himself, left me out of it. Got the conviction as well.”

Bodie grimaced. He remembered Preston well. “But?”

“But I saw the way that the rest of the squad treated Ray after that. He was never afterwards quite one of the lads. I backed him up as much as possible. Ray had saved my family, but it wasn't enough. He transferred to the Drugs Squad quite quickly after that and, sick of the hypocrisy of the squad, I found myself a nice little country station to hide away in.” He sighed. “Ray's a good man. Whatever he did, he did it for the good of the country, not for selfish reasons. I stood by and watched him vilified for his actions all those years ago and I won't stand idly by and watch him brought down this time. I've been given a second chance and I have to take it.”

Bodie gripped Taylor's shoulder. “I know. And thank you, for what it's worth. We were partners for two years before this all happened and I know what kind of man he really is. It's just taken me time to work out exactly what has been going on. I still don't know completely, but I will make sure I get to the bottom of this. I think, I know that Ray didn't do those things he was accused of and I will prove it. But it's going to take time. It's good to know that there's someone else looking out for him.”

Taylor unbent a little. “Good luck with that.”

"But Ray needs to stay here. If he goes back inside, he'll never come out."

"It's not like that, Mr. Bodie. And he will get better treatment at a specialist hospital."

Bodie conceded that, ruthlessly stamping on his misgivings for the moment. “Then I need to see Ray now. Just five minutes.” He took in Taylor's sudden stiffened stance. “You can come in if you want. Make sure I don't stab him through the heart or anything. I've spoken to the Doc. We've agreed that electroconvulsive therapy is his best chance.”

“Oh God,” Taylor whispered.

“There's a life waiting for him, if he just would come back to us. And I intend to try my hardest to make that happen.”

Taylor finally capitulated. “Okay, but five minutes only. Or I'll come in.” He stepped aside.

“Thank you,” Bodie replied and pushed the door open.

To the casual observer everything seemed normal in the room. An empty bed on one side of the room, a table and armchair to the other, sat under a window. The occupant of the chair was angled towards that window, ostensibly gazing out of it, looking at the flat, open countryside spread below.

But on closer examination, the unnatural stillness of the man in the chair gave a lie to the semblance of normalcy in the room. His hands clutched tightly at the ends of the armrests and his fixed gaze was of such intensity that whatever he was staring at was obviously not of this world.

Bodie crouched down next to the chair and tentatively put a hand on Ray's arm. There was no reaction and this, if nothing else, would've convinced Bodie that all was not well with the man.

“Ray,” he started. “I don't know if you can hear me, but I wanted, I needed to say that I'm sorry.” He took a deep breath. “I'm sorry I didn't believe you enough at the trial, I'm sorry that I turned away from you afterwards and I'm sorry that I treated you so badly when you came to see me that day. I loved you, you see and I couldn't bear...” He broke off. This was not the time for recriminations, this was not a time to be understood. This was a time to understand. “I know that I can't make everything right between us, but I can clear your name, fight for you in a way I should've done three years ago. You just do your bit and hang in there, eh?” He stood in one fluid move and bent over the silent man, pressing his lips to Ray's forehead. “I'm so sorry, Ray,” he whispered. “I love you.”

And with that Bodie turned and strode out of the room, desperate to get away from the place before he broke down completely.


* * * * *



Dinner that night was a fairly sombre affair. Bodie brooded on the day, yet was loathe to talk to George about it. But any topic that was brought up failed to grasp his interest and he picked at the meal, ignoring the growing concerned looks on the other man.

Finally, after retiring to the sitting room with whiskies after dinner, George broached the topic.

“What's wrong, Andrew? Has something happened to Doyle?”

Bodie heaved a sigh. "Taylor's moving Ray. Says now he's awake, he needs to be in a more secure unit."
 
"Oh? Where's he moving him to?"

"Broadmoor."

"Broadmoor? He really thinks Doyle is that much of a risk, then."

"Don't know. He could just be a jobsworth. By all rights, Ray should be back inside after breaking his parole. Catatonia is classified as an acute mental condition, it's perfectly within his rights to do so, even if it does seem a bit extreme."

"Aye. Well, perhaps we could do something for him. I'll see if I can get him moved to Repton instead. They'll take better care of him there."

"Repton?"

"Doyle was CI5, Andrew. Who knows what he'll say or do while he's away with the fairies. No, for CI5's sake, not that he hasn't already spilled a lot of what he knows, to the papers no less. The wrong person might be listening. It could compromise any future operations we, or MI6, might run."

'Why not put a bullet through his brain and have done,' thought Bodie, bitterly. And he thought again about Taylor's reasoning for the move.

He took a deep breath and asked the question that had been running around his head for days. "What really happened that night?"

"Which night?"

"The night Willis was killed."

"We went through all this at the trial." George sighed, but went on. "Doyle apparently waited until Willis got home, and then fired a rifle through his bedroom window, killing him instantly. He managed to get away, but was apprehended at his own place next day."

"He couldn't have done."

George smiled. "Now I know that you're the better sniper, Bodie. But it was an easy enough shot. I probably could've done it. Willis was careless."
 
"I didn't mean that. Doyle could've have done it sober, no problem. But dead drunk?"

"Doyle had been drinking, yes. That's probably what motivated him to make such a foolish decision."

"That's not what I meant. There's a witness to say that he was close to passing out."

George sighed. "Brian Macklin. True, Brian did find him in the Red Lion, angry and bitter. Drinking far too much. Especially for a man who was due on duty next day. Brian took him home for his own good. Doyle must've have gone over to Willis's place after he left."

"Nice answer, George. But Macklin stayed over. Was worried, you see. Thought Doyle would do something stupid, so made sure he didn't. He was still there when Willis was shot and he was there for hours afterwards." He lent over, resting his hands on the arms of the chair. "Doyle didn't set up Marikka and he certainly didn't kill Willis. What really happened, George?"

George looked up at Bodie. There was a touch of the look of a cornered animal about him. He sighed and the look faded. "You're right, Bodie. But you don't want to hear what really happened."

"Humour me, George."

"You're right. Doyle didn't do either of those things. It was a set up. But Doyle agreed to it all at the time. It was only later when he realised what it all meant and decided to fight it. He wanted assurances, you see. And more money."

"Ray was paid to take the fall?"
 
"Aye, and very well, I might add."

"I don't believe it."

"MI6 had me over a barrel. After Willis was shot, most likely by one of his own men, Nigel Dawson came to see me. Said that they might not have been able to stitch you up for the killing of Biermann, but they could certainly make Willis's murder fit. And they could as well. They had… well, it doesn't matter now. But it looked black, Andrew, very black. I discussed it with Doyle and we agreed that he would be arrested instead. The original plan was to muddy the waters. MI6 were gunning for you. If I gave them Doyle, whom they didn't want, they might make enough of a mistake to save you both."

"Except?"

"Except, they decided that Doyle was good enough. And we'd stitched up the case so tight at that point, in an effort to be convincing, that it was impossible to do anything else."

"And the leaks?"

"Doyle was very angry by that point. He thought I'd betrayed him. I don't blame him for that. I had miscalculated and he was paying the price for my error. But it was a foolish, foolish thing to do and I won't forgive him easily."

Bodie frowned. So George still didn't know that the leaks had come from elsewhere. He considered mentioning it, then something else struck him. "You asked me to ask him if he had enough money. When he came round before."

"I was just trying to remind him of the bargain we had struck."
 
"Why didn't anyone tell me? I was his partner. I was involved. He did it for me!"

"I didn't want anyone to know. And when MI6 settled on Doyle, he didn't want you to know. Said you'd do something idiotic."

"Damn right, I would've." Then Bodie sighed. "God, what a mess."

"That's why we need to do right by Doyle now. See him safe and comfortable at Repton, where he can be cared for properly.”

“I suppose you are right.”

“Well, I'll get the transfer approved tomorrow.” George leaned over and patted Bodie's hand. “It'll be all right, Andrew. Trust me.”


* * * * *


But next morning, Bodie regretted trusting so blindly. Inspector Taylor's warnings came back to him at every opportunity and the more he thought of it, the more he was sure he was missing something. So he started to stall any attempts to get Ray moved. Inspector Taylor proved surprisingly adept at this, once Bodie had given him names and information to block George's increasingly impolite requests.

And in the meantime, he started to plan how he would confront Nigel Dawson.

It took nearly a week, but breaking into a security chief's home was easier than it should have been and Bodie was immediately suspicious. But it was the only way to talk to the man without it getting back to George, at least immediately. And he had to talk to the man.

Nigel Dawson, the current head of MI6, had arrived home an hour ago, Bodie had watched him climb the steps to the mansion block that his flat was located in alone. He gave him some time to settle in and night to fall before pulling on a black balaclava and gloves and following.

Mrs. Blackburn at number 36 happily buzzed Bodie in on his report that there was a leak in the flat next door and he was here to fix it. He swung on to the fire escape from the stairwell's first floor window, climbing up the next two floors that way, until he was outside what he knew to be the bedroom. Although it was a chill night, the window was cracked ajar and Bodie was glad that he didn't have to contend with a working alarm system. He eased the sash up slowly, wincing every time it made a slight sound and then gently swung into the darkened room.

He didn't dare risk a torch, knowing that Dawson was somewhere on the other side of the door, so he let his eyes adjust to the gloom, gently lit by sodium street lamps the other side of a small park that backed onto the property.

A faint sound made him jerk round, pulling his gun from his holster as the room was flooded with light.

Half-blinded, it took a few moments to realise there were two figures in the doorway to what he now realised was a small study. The second man must have entered the flats after Bodie had started his move. The two men stood there, the companion ably backing up his chief, Brownings trained competently on the intruder.

“Well, well,” Dawson's voice was full of humour, “what have we here? The second in command of CI5 breaking and entering. And I thought you chaps had given up the spying game.”

Bodie bit back his instinctive reply and took a deep breath. “I just need to talk to you, Dawson.”

“And breaking into a man's home was your preferred method, I see. You could have just set up an appointment with my secretary, you know. I'm always happy to speak to other members of the same profession.”

“I needed to talk to you privately. About Raymond Doyle.”

Dawson chuckled. It was a mirthless sound and made Bodie's blood run cold. “Charles,” he addressed his companion, “it seems you've lost your bet. Charles here,” he smiled at Bodie “was convinced you'd never figure out what was going on. I had more faith in your abilities. Although you did take your time. I expected you, oh, about three years ago?”

Bodie winced. “I just need a few minutes of your time. Clear up a few things.”

“Why certainly, my dear boy. Now if you just put your gun down on the floor in front of you slowly, then we can sit down and chat like old friends.”

Bodie, realising he had no other option at this time, did so and Charles stepped forwards, picking up the gun, keeping his own trained on Bodie all the time.

“Charles, you can leave us now. Mr. Bodie here isn't going to make a fuss.” And, as Charles moved past his boss and stepped out of the room, Dawson motioned to a desk in one corner. “Take a seat, Mr. Bodie, make yourself comfortable. I'll even let you have your weapon back when you leave.”

Bodie stepped across the room and sat down stiffly on the indicated chair. Dawson slid behind the desk into his own, rather more plush, chair and unlocked a small drawer, sliding the gun into it and closing it.

“Now that's a little more civilised, don't you think? Although I would caution you against doing anything rash. Charles is no more than a raised voice away. Drink?”

“No thanks.”

“Now, what can I do for you?”

“What happened the night Willis was killed?”

“Direct. I like that in a man. Nothing, really. Willis was shot by a sniper from a roof opposite his bedroom window. It was a daring shot, quite remarkable, actually. The sniper got away and we had to track him down later.”

“No, I mean what happened between you and George?”

Dawson smiled, shark-like. “You mean, my version of events. Ah. Well, we agreed that in exchange for certain favours, certain concessions could be made.”

“You mean that in exchange for me, you'd take Doyle?”

Dawson's smile grew wider. “Not quite, dear boy. Not quite. Are you sure you don't want a drink?”

“Positive,” Bodie ground out.

“Well, you won't mind if I do?” He stood and walked over to a small sideboard and poured himself a small scotch and soda. Sitting down again, he took a sip. “Let's try a different tack here. What did your George tell you of our arrangement?”

“Just that you went to see him and threatened him. You wanted me to take the fall, George gave you Doyle. All nicely stitched up.”

Dawson threw his head back and laughed. “My, my. George Cowley really has fed you a line. For the record, dear boy, I didn't go to see him, he came to see me. Before Willis was murdered,” he added at Bodie's disbelieving stare.

“I don't believe you.”

“It doesn't matter. It's the truth. Said if I could arrange a little... accident for Willis, he would supply the fall guy. Naturally, I jumped at the chance at restoring MI6's standing and consolidating my place within it.”

“George... Why would he do that? What had he any hope to gain out of it?”

“My unswerving loyalty, perhaps? Well, may be not. He has always been such an astute fellow. Of course, I did ask him what advantage it gave him at the time and he said... What was the phrase he used? Hmm. He said it helped him get rid of a 'long standing problem'.”

“'Long standing problem'? What on earth does that mean?”

“I'm not quite sure,” Dawson said in tones which clearly indicated he did. “Perhaps dear George was as keen to get rid of Willis as we were. Who knows? His reasons could've been a lot more... personal. Your guess is as good as mine.”

“There's no proof of this. You can say what you want, it's just your word against George's.”

“And that's where you're wrong.” Dawson reached into one of the drawers in the desk and drew out a cassette tape. “A little insurance.”

Bodie drew a breath. “Tapes can be doctored.”

“So they can. But I'm sure you've got methods to prove to yourself that this one isn't. Here.” and he slid it across the desk.

Bodie pointedly didn't take it.

“Why are you giving this to me now?”

“I've been slandered. I have the right to defend myself from accusations, haven't I?”

Bodie raised an eyebrow, not believing a word.

“George Cowley is becoming more and more erratic. And he still holds considerable political power. His increasing use of that for his own, personal, ends is becoming embarrassing to the service and something must be done.”

“But why now? You could've used this,” Bodie jabbed at the accusing tape with a forefinger, scraping it along the desk “at any time.”

“I am implicated also, remember. No, for this to come out openly would not do either myself or the wider security community any favours. Better that it is used as leverage. Get old George to step aside, perhaps for someone younger,” here Dawson saluted Bodie with his glass, “He would surely keep his mouth shut to keep his most loyal... servant highly placed.”

“And if I don't use it?”

“You came to see me, remember. You wanted the truth. And here it is, in one very neat package. If you don't want to use it, well. That's your business. But George Cowley is only going to get worse from here on. Do you want to stand idly by as he pisses away every advantage until, at last, he makes a mistake that cannot be ignored? And mark my words, Mr. Bodie, he will. It is only a matter of time.”

“Why me?”

“You have the ability to do this. George Cowley doesn't listen to many men. He … listens to you. You have the best chance to actually use this and succeed.”

“I don't want his job.”

“Your personal loyalty does you credit. If you don't want to take over, you can instead share George's retirement with him.”

The insinuations and snide comments were setting Bodie's teeth on edge. But his curiosity over what, exactly, was on the tape was increasing. If it had the proof of Ray's innocence...

“I'll take it,” Bodie declared, snatching the tape up from where it lay on the desk as if Dawson might wrestle it back any moment. “But I can't make any promises that I'll use it.”

“That is as you wish. I can't expect any more. Charles will see you out.” The last bit was said only slightly louder than the preceding conversation, but it was enough to summon the other agent immediately. The man had probably heard every word.

Bodie stood and turned, ignoring Dawson's proffered hand.

“It's a pleasure doing business with you,” Dawson called after him. “And Mr. Bodie...”

Bodie stopped at the door and turned to face the other man.

“It is only a copy. Good night.”

Face hard, Bodie stalked out into the night.


* * * * *


Bodie wandered down to the Embankment in a daze. He already knew and accepted that Doyle hadn't assassinated Willis, that he had been set up. George had laid the blame at Dawson's door and Dawson, in his turn, had accused George.

As a CI5 man and as George's lover, Bodie knew whom he should believe. But there was something, something he couldn't put his finger on, that gave him pause.

He ran a finger over the cassette tape in his pocket. Dawson said he had proof and had given Bodie that proof.

Tapes can be doctored...

The phrase echoed in his head, in Ray's voice as he had spoken it that afternoon. Of course tapes could be faked. Whatever was on that tape, it didn't have to be true. Cowley had faked the tapes Ray had made. Of course Dawson could fake that one to incriminate Cowley and CI5. The sensible thing would be to ignore it.

But what if it were true?

The insidious thought curled through his mind and took root there. He had to know.

Bodie glanced around him, surprised to find himself not five minutes walk from Headquarters. The sky was lightening as he turned in that direction and walked the short distance.

The building was quiet at this hour. While agents came and went at all hours, and some support staff were on call twenty-four hours a day, it was a quiet time at the moment. He bypassed the agents' lounge, instinctively avoiding anyone in there, and instead headed straight to his small office.

He switched on the light and closed the door in one swift move, shrugging out of his jacket as he crossed the floor to his desk. In the bottom drawer was a cassette recorder and he dug for that, putting it on his desk as he sat down in the chair. He slid the tape from its box and into the deck with shaking hands, still not quite believing he would hear anything other than a blank hissing or, if he were very unlucky, a selection of some composer's greatest hits.

He took a deep breath and pressed play. The voices came over the tinny speakers clearly.

“Major Cowley, it's a pleasure to see you again. What can I do for you?”

“Nigel, it is indeed a pleasure. And it's more what I can do for you. I have a proposition for you.


It was undoubtedly George's distinctive Scottish burr on the tape. And it was as Dawson suggested, George had gone to him with the plan, not the other way round. No names were mentioned, but it was clear what the two of them were talking about.

”I'm listening.”

”We have a common interest, I believe, Nigel. One that we could both work towards, if you are amenable.”

“I see. And what would you have me do?”

“Well, for your part, if you could arrange a simple solution to our mutual problem, I can supply the sacrificial goat with very little trouble.”


Bodie listened with increasing horror as the full plan was agreed between the two men.

“And what do you get out of, it Cowley? This could see CI5 finished, if you don't play it the right way.”

“Removing our mutual thorn in the side would be reward enough. But, for the sake of it, let's just say it helps me get rid of a long standing problem.”


Bodie stopped the tape and rubbed at his temples. Long standing problem, that was the phrase Dawson had used. But what was George's long standing problem that could only be solved by setting up Ray in such a way? Something that was much more important to the old man than CI5? And how did the leaks tie in with this? Bodie was unconvinced they were mere coincidence. Had Dawson done a little undermining of his own?

But no. The leaks had to have come from inside CI5 itself. The revelations had been so specific when they had been published and the reporter had made it clear that he'd had to do very little research over and above publishing the most juicy bits of the documents that had been handed to him.

He rewound the tape.

But, for the sake of it, let's just say it helps me get rid of a long standing problem.”

Well, for the sake of it, assume that the problem had been solved by the actions agreed in that room. Or had been soon afterwards. What had George got now that he hadn't, and couldn't have before?

The answer, as it presented itself was at once both shocking in its simplicity and devastating in its personal horror.

Bodie himself.

He shook his head, trying to dislodge the thought. That wasn't possible. But it stayed there, the implications of what had actually been done unwinding in his brain. When Doyle had been arrested, Bodie hadn't believed it. He had worked ceaselessly to try and uncover the truth, desperate to clear the name of the man he loved. Cowley had finally suspended him, deeming him not fit for duty and advised that he use the time to support Ray at the trial. The mass of evidence sowed seeds of doubt every day as he sat there in the gallery, in a way that mere reading about it hadn't. Kate's evidence had been damning in particular, though he now believed it kindly meant; surely that's why she had felt so guilty at the conference. But it had certainly meant the difference between five years, with parole possible in two, and a full life sentence.

It certainly hadn't driven him into Cowley's bed at that time. Not for want of Cowley trying, he remembered now. All those late suppers, those shared bottles of scotch. He had thought at the time that the man was just being supportive, kind. And it had been his own turn to be supportive weeks later when the first newspaper articles hit the stands.

What if Cowley had leaked them himself?

It was certainly possible. Cowley had ordered Doyle's flat cleared himself, at the time refusing Bodie's help. He would have found Doyle's key to the lock-up. He had the resources to find out which particular garage it fitted. And he certainly had the opportunity to organise the drops.

Did he over-extend himself with the second drop because Bodie wasn't sticking to the timetable?

Bodie ran his hands through his hair. It was all so fantastic, so Machiavellian.

Ray had always commented that Cowley was a master at triple-think.

Bodie rewound the tape again.

"A long standing problem.”

Ray had stood between Cowley and his heart's desire. Once Ray had been removed, Cowley had played a masterful game to get Bodie exactly where he wanted him. In his bed.

And he had all but sacrificed CI5 for it.

No wonder Ray had tried to kill himself when he had realised the depth of Cowley's deception. And Bodie's own deceit. No wonder he didn't want to come back from whatever recess of his mind he was hiding in.

Bodie wiped his hands across his face, shocked to find it was wet.

How could he make this right?

Vague voices from the outer office percolated through his thoughts. George was here early with Betty.

Go away, he thought savagely. I can't cope with you now.

There was a knock on the frosted glass and then Cowley himself opened the door.

“Ah, Andrew. I wondered if I would see you here. You didn't come home at all last night.” The tone was faintly accusing and Bodie, with his new perspective, could hear the possessive and domineering tone in the other man's voice. It, more than anything, shook him up.

“I had to see a man about a case I'm working on at the moment.”

“Oh, is the one you've been so secretive about for the last few weeks?” Cowley enquired solicitously, sitting himself down in the chair opposite without waiting for any kind of permission.

“Yes,” Bodie said, curtly.

“Did you get what you wanted from him?”

“And more besides,” Bodie chuckled without humour.

“So, are you ready to share?”

Bodie didn't say a single word, but pressed rewind on the deck for a second before pressing play.

”We have a common interest, I believe, Nigel. One that we could both work towards, if you are amenable.”

“I see. And what would you have me do?”

“Well, for your part, if you could arrange a simple solution to our mutual problem, I can supply the sacrificial goat with very little trouble.”


Cowley stared at Bodie for a few seconds, a look of surprise on his face. Then it was gone and he laughed.

“My, that man sounds rather like me doesn't he?”

“Yes, he does,” Bodie quietly agreed.

“You really don't think...?”

“Yes, I do.”

Cowley stared at him for a moment. “Don't be stupid, man. Dawson is obviously pulling your leg. Or, of course, it could be a plan to destroy CI5 once and for all. You're not going to fall for this, are you?”

Bodie stared back, impassively.

“This is ridiculous. Why would I set the whole thing up?”

“To get rid of Willis. He had almost pulled one over you, that must have rankled. And, ah, what was it, it helped you 'get rid of a long standing problem'. That was the phrase, wasn't it?”

Cowley shifted in his seat. "Well, it had something to do with Willis, of course. The man had stood in my way once too often. He needed taking down a peg or two, for the good of the country."

"And Ray?" Bodie's voice was hard.

"Doyle?" Cowley sighed heavily. "I did that for you, Andrew."

"For me?"

"Aye. I could see what was going on. Your infatuation, his encouragement of the same. He never loved you, you know. Not like I love you. It was inevitable that he would use your feelings, twist them to his own ends. And then, before long, you would be making mistakes, thinking more of him than the job. You would be killed or worse, he would persuade you to leave CI5. Leave me."

Bodie laughed bitterly. "So you set him up."

"Removed his influence for your own good, Andrew. You can see that, can't you?"

"All I can see," Bodie said angrily, "Is a bitter, twisted old man who believes his obsessions are so important that he is willing to sacrifice anything for them."

Cowley straightened up in his chair and sat forward. Like a switch had been thrown in him, the mask of integrity and competence fell away. “This is what you get when you're a fool and act on compassion," he snarled. "If I'd sent you North on a long operation instead of letting you stay close to Doyle, then you'd never have questioned me like this.”

Bodie shivered at the utter hate etched on the other man's face. "Give it up, George, it's over."

Cowley stood up, straight and unwavering and Bodie had a flash thought that Cowley could easily have been lying about the extent of his disability as well as everything else.

Bodie rose as well.

"It's not over until I say so." Cowley whipped out a gun and pointed it straight at Bodie. "You're going to leave aren't you? Go back to him. Well, I won't let you, Andrew. I won't. And if I can't have you, nobody can...”

It was all happening so fast, he saw Cowley's finger start to tighten on the trigger as he dived for the only cover in the room, behind the desk.

Too late, too late, his mind chanted as he heard the bang of the gun going off.

It took several seconds before Bodie finally realised it wasn't him who had been hit and that Cowley hadn't, actually followed up the shot. The smell of cordite and blood was heavy in the air as he peered over the desk at the room.

Cowley was lying face down on the floor, a spreading pool of blood around his head while in the doorway, no longer obscured by the other man, Betty stood frozen, her gun still pointed at the space Cowley had been standing.

Bodie hiccoughed. "Good shot, Betty."

She turned her wide-eyed gaze towards him, rigid arms starting to shake.

Bodie picked himself up off the floor quickly and, stepping over the still-warm corpse, put his arm around Betty, supporting her and took the gun out of her hands.

She sagged against him. "I heard everything," she confessed. "The door was ajar and I heard everything. I couldn't let him..." she stopped, gulping in air as tears began to flow down her cheeks. "I couldn't believe what was happening... George Cowley..."

"Hey," Bodie spoke softly, pulling her close. "It's okay. It'll be okay."

He glanced back down at his former lover as he heard the sound of running feet coming from the direction of the agents lounge and spoke his thoughts aloud.

"Suicide, I rather think."


* * * * *


Epilogue – Three months later

Bodie stepped into the small room and glanced around. An empty bed, covered with a colourful bedspread, stood to one side of the room. To the other side a table and two armchairs sat under a large picture window. The late afternoon sunshine streamed in through that window, casting its red-gold glow over the room. A gentle breeze followed in its wake, billowing the curtains and scenting the air with the faint perfume of the roses and other summer flowers blooming beneath.

One of the chairs was angled towards that window and the occupant ostensibly gazed out of it, looking at the open countryside and rolling hills beyond the small convalescent home.

“'Lo, Sunshine,” Bodie said as he walked towards the table, carrying two cups of tea. He put one in front of the occupied chair and sat down, uninvited, in the other.

“Tea?” inquired Doyle, mildly, sitting forward and reaching for the cup and saucer.

Bodie shrugged. “You know how Belinda is. 'If you're going to see that nice Mr. Doyle, make sure you take a cup of tea with you.'” He imitated her high-pitched nasal whine almost perfectly.

“Any biscuits?”

“Do you think Belinda would let me get away without bringing some up? Bourbon or Custard Cream?”

Doyle thought for a moment. “Custard Cream.”

Bodie dug into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a small packet. He slid them across the table. “There you go, mate. Just what the doctor ordered.”

“Then he's not a very good doctor,” Doyle replied mock-sternly. “All that sugar and fat. Not good for you at all.” But he still picked up the packet and opened it, pulling out one of the pale biscuits and crunching down on it with evident satisfaction.

Bodie pulled a second packet, this time of chocolate flavoured Bourbons, out of his other jacket pocket and placed it on the table between them. He sat back.

“I met with the Minister this morning,” he said carefully.

“So that's why you're late,” Doyle replied without heat.

“Yeah.”

The two men lapsed into silence for a few moments. Doyle picked up his tea and sipped at it slowly.

“So what did he say?”

“Who?”

“The Minister, of course.”

“It's all done and dusted.” Bodie's voice became sneering. “George Cowley, distraught over the failure of the operation he had set up so carefully, and with the loss, to all intents and purposes, of the operative he'd sent in, committed suicide rather than admit to that failure.”

They had discussed the cover story of course. Bodie had been quite willing to confess to the lot, and more besides, if it had kept Betty in the clear. Had done so, in fact, to the Minister. But the official story had the advantage of doing more good than that.

“They'll never buy it,” Doyle shook his head.

“'They' did, as a matter of fact. The oversight committee were quite disgusted with the way Cowley had pulled the wool over their eyes. And were rather upset with the way they had been taken in, I rather suspect. They signed it off, quick as you please.”

“Everything?”

“Up to, and including, your back pay. And twice the same again, in way of a little compensation.”

“Twice the same again?” Doyle looked surprised. As he should have been. Bodie hadn't told him about that bit.

“Yup, Sunshine. Of course, it's not that much in light of what happened. But it's enough to tide you over. You're out of a job now, remember.”

Doyle grimaced. “Have been for years. But twice as much again. That's over eight years worth. How on earth did you get the committee to agree to that?”

“They signed everything in sight, just to be rid of it of it all.” Bodie paused. “They also voted to disband CI5. Told you, you're out of a job.”

“We're both out of a job,” Doyle countered.

“We all are. Most of the lads that were left will probably get snapped up by one of the other security services. Or one of the private firms.”

“And you?”

Bodie shrugged. “Rather lost the taste for it, in the last couple of years. I'll find something. Might even become a proper civil servant.”

Doyle laughed at that and it was a welcome sound. There had been precious little laughter for either of them in the last couple of months.

“What about you?” Bodie asked, seriously. “Your record has been expunged. Taylor's cleared up the little business with the Porsche. You'll be out of here soon. Have you got any thoughts about what to do next?”

Doyle shook his head. “It's not that I haven't thought about it. Have had to, in session. Part of the moving on process, you know. But I've not reached any conclusions yet.” He gazed back out of the window.

Bodie perused the profile of the man sat beside him, the profile of the man he loved. “I've been thinking,” he started.

“You have?”

“First time for anything, I know. But what if... what if we look for something together?” Bodie's heart thumped wildly as he finally gave voice to those myriad questions, layered with meaning and intent and pleas for forgiveness, he had been yearning to ask. What if Ray didn't want to? What if he didn't understand.

Doyle answered them all.

“Sounds like a plan,” he said with a smile and took Bodie's hand, entangling those blunt capable fingers with his own. He leaned towards him.

Bodie met him halfway and sealed the pact with a kiss.

The End


In any other world
You could tell the difference
And let it all unfurl
Into broken remnants
Smile like you mean it
And let yourself let go
Cos it's all in the hands of a bitter, bitter man
Say goodbye to the world you thought you lived in.
Mika – Any Other World


Any Other World – Master Post
See link for all warnings and information on the fic


Master Post of all 2010 Pros Big Bang Stories

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
greengerbil
Sep. 14th, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC)
Wow! Brilliant piece of plotting! and interesting to see an evil!Cowley, there's not enough fics featuring him!

Great story, and I loved the way you included people like Macklin and Betty, and the way they all had their suspicions but never dared do anything about it until Bodie started pushing.

Loved the way you tied it in to Fall Girl,too - Bodie is so angry at the end of that, it's quite possible to see evil!Cowley exploiting that to drive a wedge between the lads.

Thank you for a great story!
m31andy
Sep. 14th, 2010 04:54 pm (UTC)
Thank *you* for the initial idea. I can't believe it was all those months ago we discussed it!

I hope it's gone a little way to satisfying your request for a The Pillory sequel.
msmoat
Sep. 14th, 2010 05:18 pm (UTC)
Well! I really haven't time to read stories right now, and I've always detested "The Pillory" (It's well done--Kitty Fisher is a good writer and I love other stories of hers, but...ouch), so why am I here commenting? Because...I started reading it. I've needed an explanation of "The Pillory" since my first year in Pros fandom. *g* And it seemed like it was going to end in such a way as to make me happy. *g* And it did! Thank you! Okay, I don't really believe in an evil!Cowley, but...I'd rather believe in evil!Cowley than betrayer!Bodie.*g* And the plot was suitably Machiavellian, and I could see why Bodie had come to believe Doyle had done it. And of course I love it that the bond between them survived even this. *g*
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
Kitty Fisher is a fantastic writer and the ending to The Pillory is such an *ouch*.

I was a bit nervous, writing a sequel to such a well-known story, but I always wanted to give Bodie and Doyle a happy ending.

Thanks!
starlite876
Sep. 14th, 2010 07:55 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful sequel to "The Pillory".

I have always hated how "The Pillory" ended and I'm so glad you have written an incredible sequel to the original story, and giving Doyle a better ending.

So now we have the humorous "Seven New Endings to The Pillory", and your wonderful and fantastic sequel.

Thank you so much for sharing the story.
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I've always been charmed by "Seven Endings..."
lukadreaming
Sep. 14th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
This is fabulously plotty and dark and twisted. I have to admit to a weakness for dark!Cowley stories and for ones with one or more of the lads adapting to life outside of CI5. I really like the way you riff off Fall Girl and The Pillory and take your story in its own distinctive direction. And it's great to see Betty, Kate Ross and Macklin getting a look-in.
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Dark!Cowley is pretty frightening. All that power just waiting to be turned evil...
1moreirene
Sep. 15th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Andromeda and Anja, thank you for another big bang!
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
And thank you for the comment!

I'm enjoying all the Big Bang stories. So many new long-fic to read and enjoy!
mysteriousaliwz
Sep. 15th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
Cowley being the master of triple-think, and having all the power he had, if he went bad he would do it in a big way.

The Pillory was heart-wrenching - I'm glad you found a way of making ti a better ending for Doyle.
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:07 pm (UTC)
If Cowley went bad, it would be terrifying, definitely!

Thank you!
sc_fossil
Sep. 17th, 2010 12:24 am (UTC)
I went into your story with trepidation because of the B/C, a major squick for me, not to mention that original story being not very pleasant to say the least, but... It was really good! I felt so sorry for Doyle! Three years in prison. How sad. I'm so happy Bodie finally found the courage to figure this out. And I'm glad Betty did away with that particular version of Cowley. Thanks! You gave me a few nail biting bits but in the end, all was well.
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
I'm not really a B/C shipper, so it was quite difficult to write!

But I'm glad you stuck with it. And thank you for your very kind rec!
garettgal
Sep. 17th, 2010 11:50 pm (UTC)
Here by way of a rec from sc_fossil.

I always hated the ending of The Pillory and very much enjoyed your take on the story.

A most enjoyable read. Thank you.
m31andy
Sep. 19th, 2010 06:02 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 23rd, 2010 12:34 pm (UTC)
Sequel to The Pillory
Wow. At last. Wonderful. I have wanted a sequel (serious not funny) to The Pillory from the first day I read it years and years ago. Thank you so much for writing such a long and full sequel and a happy ending. Now each time I am reading through my collected Pros stories I will not shirk re-reading The Pillory any more.
Karen-Leigh
m31andy
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:06 pm (UTC)
Re: Sequel to The Pillory
Thank you! I'm glad I've given you a reason to re-read The Pillory. It really is a great fic.
margaret_r
Oct. 24th, 2010 11:44 pm (UTC)
That was a very tense read! I hope the lads can come to terms with all that happened to them and Cowley's betrayal. Thank you for such an interesting story:)
m31andy
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

And I'm sure the lads will be fine. They've got each other, after all.
shooting2kill
Oct. 26th, 2010 02:43 pm (UTC)
Hurrah for Betty! I really enjoyed this story, full of question marks, intrigue and the (almost) unimaginable from George Cowley. I say 'almost' because in my fondness for Cowley, I tend to forget that he's capable of a lot of things (has to be) among which is shooting people in the back, so yes, I *can* believe he's capable of betrayal.

Thanks so much for sharing your time and work.
m31andy
Nov. 10th, 2010 01:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you for commenting!

And Betty is wonderful!
beauregard
Nov. 28th, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
Any Other World
That was so good and so welcome. I have been relatively speaking desperate for a happy ending to The Pillory for years and years. Warms the cockles and all that. Thank you so very much. You covered all the bases and stitched everything up so very well.
Karen-Leigh
snailbones
Feb. 2nd, 2011 11:18 pm (UTC)


Thank you! I love what you've done and that you've done it so cleverly that I wouldn't have needed to read The Pillory to understand what had happened before your story began to enjoy reading it as a stand alone fic.

All the twisty thinking and plotting, the multiple possibilities, all of it goes to make a thoroughly intriguing read, and to top it all, you let the lads go off into the sunset together. I had a slight worry that you wouldn't, but I was good and didn't cheat by peeping at the ending - but it was close!

Thank you for a really fun read, and apologies for being so late to comment.

m31andy
Mar. 16th, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Hah - you're apologising for commenting late and here's me not replying for over a month!

Many thanks for reading. It was rather fun to plot out, making sure all the threads in the original were neatly tied together.

I had been specified a happy ending for this one, so there was never any doubt this end that it would all come out okay in the end! I'm sorry for causing any worry...
snailbones
Mar. 16th, 2011 11:53 am (UTC)


there was never any doubt this end that it would all come out okay in the end! I'm sorry for causing any worry...

LOL - nah, it's me, I'm a right nervous Nellie sometimes - a little tension is good for me *hg*

etain_antrim
Mar. 16th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)
This is a horrid rendition of Cowley, but a believable one in a twisted universe. Well done!
m31andy
Mar. 16th, 2011 11:39 am (UTC)
Many thanks for reading! And yes, it is a particularly nasty version of Cowley!
moonlightmead
Jun. 17th, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
Since I have just been recommending this elsewhere, it occurs to me that I ought to say wow and thanks to you.

I very much liked the Pillory as a story, on its own. When I read it, I didn't know that anyone had written any responses to it at all. But I very very much like this, too: lots of deep complicated plotting, all bound up with references to the programmes, and to the Pillory itself. I love how everyone has a piece of the puzzle. If Bodie will only listen.

I'm always prepared to believe the worst of Cowley (I'm really not sure he was joking with his threats of making a dealer an addict in Private Madness Public Danger, and I definitely don't think he was joking about the war story he tells directly before that) so just as I could go with the Pillory, I found this only too plausible too.

Thanks for a really good read which stands on its own.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )