Astoundingly, the back end of the Capri didn't hit anything as it slid viciously to the left. Bodie snatched at the gear stick, and punched the accelerator pedal with a snarl.

"Cowley. Damn his miserable, up-tight, officious bloody scehdule. Even he must sleep a few hours in a bloody week..."

"For fuck's sake Bodie, where's the bloody fire?"

Gunning the engine, Bodie glanced across at the rumpled face of his partner. Hardly awake, Doyle was struggling to sit up in the passsenger seat, arms and legs at awkward, half asleep angles, his eyes slitted with grumpy concentration as he attempted to untangle his legs from the dashboard.

"It's Cowley, the bastard. Just around the corner from home, a shower and some food, and the Cow radios to tell us to get back to HQ."

Keeping his hand on the gearstick, Bodie swerved the car around a pedestrian who had had the temerity to step onto a zebra crossing, and sighed extravagantly. Looking at the sleep-tousled man beside him, he allowed a tiny smile to lighten the scowl, as his partner spoke.

"Maybe he wants to give us a medal, mate."

"Nah. Old man wouldn't want us getting soft. Proabably wants to give us a bollocking for killing the hit-man. Quite how he expected me to save your life without killing the little shit is beyond my understanding."

Rather than let Doyle see how badly his hands shook at the memory of that little incident, Bodie gripped the gearstick until his knuckles were white. Suddenly the space inside the car was filled with the repressed energy of two men who couldn't tell each other anything important. Taking a deep, harsh breath, Bodie pushed the car on, blinking furiously.

"Understand this, Bodie."

Very slowly, Bodie felt the heat of Doyle's hand penetrate his death grip on the cold metal gearstick. Warmth stroked his skin until he let his fingers relax and tangle with Doyle's, until he didn't know where his hand ended, and Doyle's began.

"You need to watch your driving Bodie, if you're so keen to keep me alive. Zebra crossings and traffic-lights - there are laws you know...."

Astoundingly, Bodie just smiled.


July 2000