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The Fall Guy - a Pros ficlet

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  • The Fall Guy - a Pros ficlet

    Disclaimer: these characters and all else connected to The Professionals belong to those lucky souls at Mark 1 Productions. I have borrowed them for this story and am making no profit from this.

    Spoilers for Fall Girl, in which Bodie was set up by Special Branch and ended the episode in bitterness and anger, feeling betrayed by everyone, including Cowley and Doyle.



    The Fall Guy



    Bodie turned up at work the next day as if nothing had happened, grunted something that could probably be interpreted as 'Morning', and then slung himself into a chair in the VIP Lounge and disappeared behind a newspaper.

    Doyle, who, having found himself completely unable to sleep, had been in since the crack of dawn attempting to create something that might possibly pass muster as an official report, wasn't convinced. He also wasn't sure how to approach his partner on the subject of, well, the weekend, and so bent his head over the damned report once more.

    It was no use. Everything he wrote came out sounding bitter and angry, which might be valid in terms of how he felt about the whole sorry saga, but in an official report it was hardly going to get past Cowley in the mood he was in.

    The clock on the wall ticked louder and louder, or so it seemed. Clock aside, the silence in the room stretched and deepened. Bodie stared at his newspaper; Doyle stared down at his notes and tried crossing out every adjective in the hope of making it sound more unbiased and detached. Impersonal.

    That didn't work. Now it just looked an even bigger mess than before. Doyle sighed, tore out the page and screwed it up into a tight little ball, and tried again. The wad of paper, tossed carelessly in the direction of the bin, bounced off the edge and landed on the floor near to several more just like it. It had been a long and frustrating morning, and the day had barely even started yet. His pen scratched across the paper, stopped and started in fits and starts, punctuated by brief periods of chewing at the end of it and staring into space.

    How had this happened? They'd been off-duty, for Christ's sake. Off-duty and enjoying a free weekend, for once. Two whole days that were a Saturday and Sunday, all to themselves ? and to the girls, of course. Mustn't forget them. Except that he had, now that he came to think about it. He'd forgotten them completely when it all blew up, and Christine wasn't going to be at all happy about that, which was a damn shame, really, and? How the hell had it all turned into such a god-awful mess?

    Bloody Special bloody Branch, setting his partner up as their fall guy just because they could and he was convenient, and ? why, exactly? Why the hell had they chosen Bodie? Had it been sheer random chance? Or because he had a history with Marikka? Had they even known that? Because Doyle sure as hell hadn't. Bodie was so damn tight-lipped about his past and, now that Doyle came to think about it, had been even more close-mouthed than usual over the weekend before it all exploded. And Doyle had been too caught up in the delights of Christine and her mate Frankie to notice?

    Stupid idiot, messing about with a married woman ? that was playing with fire, even if she wasn't married to a German double agent. No wonder he'd been quiet. Bloody Bodie ? only he could get himself into a mess like that.

    Bloody Cowley, too: setting Doyle onto his own partner and sowing seeds of mistrust on both sides in the process. How the hell were they supposed to work together, trust each other, now? With all this hanging between them?

    Such a mess, such an enormous bloody mess, and this report wasn't going to write itself.

    Throwing his pen down in disgust, Doyle sighed as he stood up and wandered over to the sink unit to busy himself in other ways, filling the kettle, clattering about with mugs and milk, and filling the silence with meaningless activity rather than words. Could cure anything with a nice cuppa tea, his Mum had always believed. He really wished it could be that simple as he risked a quick glance at Bodie, who'd been staring at the same page of that damn paper since he sat down. From this angle he could see more of his partner's face ? set like stone, brow furrowed, with lines of tension around eyes that glittered furiously, dark and unfathomable.

    He could usually read Bodie like a book, and knew that the reverse was also true. But right now that book was closed to him, shut tight and strictly off-limits, and there was so much that he wanted to say but had no idea how to begin.

    He wanted to say, "I'm sorry this happened."

    He wanted to say, "Are you all right?" and "I was just doing my job," and "I never doubted you, not really."

    He wanted Bodie to say ? what exactly? That he understood? That he'd never doubted, either, not really?

    He wanted to know that they could get past this, put it behind them and move on. That things could be how they had been once more, even if it took time.

    He wanted to say all that, and a whole lot more. But, as he waved a steaming mug of tea in front of Bodie's nose, what came out was, "Bet you wish you'd stuck with me and the girls now, eh?"

    Startled out of his reverie, Bodie glanced up at him, and that closed book was suddenly open once more, and he could read in those fierce dark eyes a tumult of emotions: from hurt and anger, to bitter disappointment, to resignation. But then, eventually, there was also just a hint of acceptance, and maybe even the tiniest glimmer of understanding. And Doyle wondered what Bodie was reading in his own eyes. Sincerity, he hoped, if nothing else.

    "Ah, well ? you know me," Bodie remarked, as cheerfully as if nothing had happened, accepting the mug and letting his newspaper drop to the floor. "Like to do things the hard way."

    He grinned, and although it was a rather strained version of his usual carefree grin, although the hurt and tension was still visible in his eyes and posture, Doyle grinned back, feeling a huge weight suddenly lift. They could work through this. They could talk about it ? maybe not now, but someday ? and work out exactly what had happened for both of them and why. Their partnership could be salvaged. They were a team.



    ~end~



    ? J. Browning, June 2006

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