"Put your right foot in front of your left foot, Ray," Doyle instructed himself under his breath. Following that command should have been be a piece of cake, but the various aches and pains tormenting him made moving an excruciating mission. Almost every part of his body hurt and sent a message to his brain: "Stop moving! Lie down!" His brain wasn't up to par either. There was a guy with a trip hammer working on overtime inside his head and his brain seemed to have been replaced by cotton wool. At least, that enabled his sturdy mind to overrule the order his body screamed to his brain and he resisted the wish to lie down. Finally, he managed to put his right foot in front of his left foot.
He felt like cheering, but when his blurry vision allowed him to focus on the telephone placed on a small table in the hall for a split second, he realised that the progress he had made towards it was only marginal. A moan of agony escaped his lips and he berated himself for having told Bodie that he'd call himself an ambulance. Staying put and waiting for Bodie to make that call after dealing with the baddies would have been the wiser choice. Only his bloody partner hadn't exactly proven himself overly diligent when it came to rushing to his rescue. Bodie's dogged determination to put the cuffs on the people responsible for Claire lying in a bed in the intensive care ward, fighting for her life, was commendable, but Doyle would have been more than grateful if Bodie had spent the odd thought about his whereabouts. At least, he had come back to move the kitchen cupboard out of the way, enabling Doyle to start his march to the phone in the hall.
"Ta muchly for leaving me to pull my sorry ass out of the shite all by myself, Bodie," he thought grimly. "I'll thump you for that as soon as I feel up to it." The adrenaline rush released by these angry thoughts gave him the strength to take a couple of more steps towards the telephone.
He had to pause for a bit as he was running out of breath, he needed more oxygen to continue, but breathing hurt so much. "Easy," he admonished his lungs about to pump in the required amount of oxygen in convulsive movements. Surprisingly, they obeyed and he gulped in small amounts of air.
Blimey, this wasn't any easier than the agonising, slow crawl towards another telephone he had accomplished not so long ago, yet the time elapsed since then seemed like an eternity to him. According to a saying, time flies when you're having fun, in contrast, hurting in a myriad of places obviously slowed down time in an almost unbearable way. That nutter Pendle, Forrest and all the other baddies involved in the bombings had surely done their best to keep him occupied though, but the entertainment they had provided had only added more pain and had forced him to draw on his final reserves to stay alive.
Not only time seemed to behave strangely that day in that particular flat, somebody must have fiddled with gravity as well, turning up its level considerably. That would have explained why staying upright became increasingly difficult. Or maybe the fact that the muscles in his legs felt like jelly were to blame for that.
"Don't think, thinking saps energy and you don't have any to spare. Just keep walking."
His lips clamped, he staggered on. Finally, the telephone was in his reach and he picked up the receiver. With trembling fingers, he dialled the number of the CI5 headquarters. When the voice of the girl who had answered his call earlier could be heard, he told her that he needed an ambulance. This time, he didn't end his message with an ear-splitting yell. The last sound the girl heard Doyle make this time was a dull thud when his body lost its battle against gravity and fell in a heap. He was unconscious before he hit the ground, the blissful oblivion being more than welcome to him.
When a familiar voice tried to reach him through the blackness surrounding him and a hand patted his shoulder lightly, he merely grunted and feebly swiped at the hand. There was no way he would be coaxed out of the blackness mercifully surrounding him...being fully conscious brought along pain and he had had more of his share of pain that day. So, he ignored all the "wakey, wakey, Ray" shouts from Bodie. Then there was a voice he didn't know and probing hands ran the length of him. "Good, the paramedics are here," he thought. "Now it's going to be all right." When the hands of the paramedic reached his ribs, the sharp pain made him yell out and he woke up, batting the paramedic's hands away with all the energy his weakened body could muster.
"Doyle, it's okay, that's just the paramedic. He's only trying to help you," Bodie said in a reassuring tone of voice.
"That's a bloody funny way of helping," Doyle thought. He didn't have enough strength to give voice to that thought. All he managed to say was "it hurts". The pitiful croak hurt Bodie's ears and he gave the paramedic, who was busy attaching an iv line to Doyle's left hand, a pleading look. The paramedic nodded, set up an iv drip and handed the bag to Bodie. When that was done, he gave Doyle an injection with morphine.
"What happened to him?" The paramedic's voice again. "He looks like he's been run over by a tank."
Bodie shrugged his shoulders and answered: "I haven't got a clue. He looks terrible, it's painful just to look at him."
They were interrupted by a weak laugh from Doyle. Then he said with a raspy voice: "Run over by a tank's a good guess. I'll have you know that I've been run over by a bloody car and that nutter Pendle used me to do some soccer practice." Uttering these words drained all the energy from him and he let blackness wash over him again.
When he woke up again, he found himself tucked up safely in a hospital bed. The pain in his body was bearable now, probably because of a pain killer administered with the help of the iv line, which was still attached to his left hand. He felt as weak as a newborn kitten and his brain was still filled with cotton wool. Deciding to get another kip, he was just about to close his eyes again when Bodie's head came into the field of his vision. He must have been looking at something at the side of the bed and was now sitting up again in his chair. Noticing that Ray was awake, he asked: "Back to the land of the living finally, are you?"
Not yet trusting his voice, Doyle just nodded. After clearing his throat, he asked: "What are you looking at, Bodie?"
"My pee?" Doyle's voice wasn't exactly strong, but there was no way of mistaking the exasperated tone in it.
"Yep, that's right!"
Doyle thought his partner had gone nuts. He was not in the bath room, taking a leak, was he? Drugs could mess up your mind, so he poked the mattress to check his surroundings. Yes, he was in a bed, so what was Bodie talking about? He felt very much like thumping his partner, but when he tried to move, he noticed a funny feeling in his prick and realized that there was a catheter inside him. Hoo-bloody-ray. Bodie must have had an eye on the urine bag then.
Doyle felt anger rising inside him like boiling milk rising in a pan. "Why are you suddenly so interested in my body functions? You weren't exactly concerned about my well-being after I got run over by a car and kidnapped. Had to save my own hide as you were so noticeably absent," he said loudly, ignoring the lancets of pain his outburst of temper sent through his body.
"I'm sorry for that Ray, I really am. I was so focused on nailing those bastards, there was hardly room for thinking about anything else, apart from being concerned about Claire."
"How is she?"
"She's on the mend. The doctors say she'll recover fully."
"That's fantastic! Now, why are you so interested in my pee?"
Bodie heaved a sigh before answering. "Because your kidneys were damaged either when Crabbe hit you with his big flash car or when Pendle kicked you. They were bleeding and that had me and the quacks very worried. We all kept an eye on your pee ever since you got here, almost 24 hours ago, hoping the bleeding would stop."
Doyle's eyes were round with fear and Bodie hastened to add: "Don't worry, the bleeding stopped a couple of hours ago, just when the surgeons were getting ready to lay their hands on you. Saved by the bell, you were, mate! Apart from the damage to your kidneys, you've got three broken ribs, concussion and extensive bruising all over your body. The docs say you'll be right as rain eventually, but you won't be fit enough to step in front of cars again for a while."
"Aha," was all that Doyle could say because his mind was distinctively fuzzy again Yet a clear thought emerged from the fog in his brain and he asked: "So, you've spent the last 24 hours keeping vigil over me and my pee?"
Bodie nodded before answering: "Over you, your pee and Claire."
Doyle yawned, thinking that this made up for Bodie's earlier carelessness. Before his eyes slid shut, he said: "Thank you, Bodie!"
"Anytime, sunshine, anytime," Bodie answered.