Chapter 32

They had agreed that Duncan would come to the hotel at ten. The Controller had decided to allow himself a longer sleep, and also he knew that it was better to wait until the morning rounds before contacting the hospitals. That was all right for Duncan, as he also had promised to call the vet-station.

Duncan was waiting downstairs in the lobby, reading the morning paper when the older Scot arrived, and got on his feet immediately. "Good morning, sir. You seem to be feeling better. I take it that there have been no setbacks with the agents then?"

Mr Cowley was again astonished for the extremely quick perception the young man showed. "Good morning, Lennox. Aye, no setbacks. They had just finished Doyle's operation, and he wasn't yet awake but the surgeon didn't sound too unhappy. They have removed the pressure against his spinal cord, and stabilized the spine. And Bodie has been awake on and off this morning, and had appeared quite lucid. They said it's all right to go see him. What about the smallest patient?"

Lennox frowned. "Not quite as good, I'm afraid, sir. They were not sure if they could save the leg. It's very badly fractured, and also the kitty is so young and small that it makes the operation even trickier. Besides, he refuses to eat and drink so they have needed to rehydrate him by injections. And the vets at the station are arguing whether to try to save the leg, or amputate it, or put the little one down. I told them that they are to do nothing before I call them again."

The Scot sighed. "Dammit. Well, we talk with Bodie if he's perky enough. He is very fond of the kitten. But we'd better get going so that we catch the doctor." Duncan nodded and they were on their way towards the main entrance.

Duncan went to see his grandfather while mr Cowley waited to talk with the neurosurgeon who had met Bodie in the morning. The 20 minute wait felt at least two times longer, but when the doctor arrived, mr Cowley was happy to hear that Bodie would probably be moved to an ordinary room later during the day, and after a few days, if all went well, he could be moved to London. He knew his agent well enough to know that worry for Doyle wouldn't really subside before Bodie was nearer to his mate, and the same went with Doyle.

Bodie's head was in heavy bandages when the Scot entered his room, his arm was in a sling, and the agent was sleeping. The monitors beeped around him, and the bruises on his face looked even more striking than before, against the white pillow and bandages, and it would take a while before the hair would grow back. Mr Cowley couldn't see if they had shaved the whole head or only around the wound, anyway the agent would look quite funny for a while. The Scot sighed again. The surgeon had said that what came to the head, Bodie could be in working condition in a few weeks, but there was now also the matter of the shoulder. But anyway, if Bodie recuperated decently from the head operation, the orthopedics would have a look at the shoulder in a couple of days and then they would be wiser. No use worrying before that. Or rather, no use worrying about that. There was enough to worry about as it was already.

Like, what he would do about Doyle. The neurosurgeon he had talked with at NHNN was quite confident Doyle would eventually be able to walk if there came no complications, but even that would take physiotherapy and weeks of sick leave. Would he have use for an agent not able to return to the field, and even if he had, would Doyle agree to join the "penpushers" he despised? He had been a good policeman, and despite his flaws, a very good agent, and it would be a shame to throw that experience away. But knowing Doyle's temper, his chief wondered whether it only would be torture to the agent, and everyone around him.

But there would be time to talk with Doyle about it. Och... and with Bodie. If Doyle wouldn't be able to return to the field, what the hell would he do about Bodie if his shoulder would allow him to return to field duty? Bodie was ambidextrous so his chances were decent even if the other shoulder would need some operation. But to find him a new partner... good lord. That would be a project indeed, even if Bodie had mellowed.

Maybe he should start thinking about the future on a larger scale.

He sat down and let the agent sleep, there was no hurry as Lennox would anyway come to join them. For goodness' sake, Bodie had to be exhausted, after all that had happened and all he had done, and to top that, his skull had been opened. Even if they had considered it to be quite a routine operation, which it probably was in modern days, still the thought of somebody poking at somebody else's brain felt sickening. He hadn't asked whether there would be pains or headaches, but maybe he could trust them to keep Bodie – aye, both lads - relatively painless. He probably could fly to London this evening, and maybe could meet Doyle already in the evening, or then tomorrow morning. He should ask the hospitals whether it would be all right for the lads to have bedside telephones, so that they could talk with each other, when and if they were in condition to speak or listen. The two wouldn't be driving everybody around them crazy if they could keep each other up to date on what was happening and how they were doing. Once Doyle got his head clear, he most probably would be a pain in everyone's flesh anyway.

And he could hardly be blamed for that.

And then there also was the matter of the little cat. Georgie... The old Scot couldn't help a little smile. Och those two... damned busters. But something had to be done about the kitten too... and the Controller stayed in his thoughts until he heard Bodie wail softly in his dream.

"It's all right, lad... everything will be all right..." he spoke softly, until the agent calmed down in his sleep again. And neither of them knew about the pair of grey thoughtful eyes which quietly watched them through a corridor window for a long while, before PC Lennox finally decided to enter the room.

A few minutes later a nurse popped in. "Everything all right in here?" She went to check the drips and had a look at the monitors.

"He did wail a little in his sleep, maybe he should have a wee bit more painkillers?"

The nurse frowned a little. "That is something I need to talk about with the head nurse. His dose is quite heavy already. But maybe he simply had a nightmare. It's best to look at the matter when he wakes up again."

And although they had spoken quietly, when the nurse was out from the door, as if on cue Bodie started to stir and move restlessly. "Easy lad, take it easy... nothing to worry about. Easy now, Bodie. Stay put, lad." The older Scot had stood up and he held gently but firmly Bodie's arms so that he couldn't accidentally pull out the IV.

"Sir?" The agent fought his eye open.

"Aye, lad. And young Duncan is here too. We came to see how you are doing."

Duncan, again startled by the use of his first name, moved their chairs to the bedside and they both sat down when Bodie was well awake. "Good morning, agent Bodie. Still feeling groggy?"

The agent managed something that did sound like yeah.

"Me mom, she used to be that the first whole day after any op they did to her. You do look perkier. But then again, you are like four times her size."

Bodie managed to turn his head a little to try and focus on Duncan. "Well you're the biggest half-midget I've ever seen." His voice was hoarse, but yes, the corner of his mouth did make a little move upwards and Duncan smiled back at him and winked an eye.

"Too bad that the inside of me skull hasn't grown in same proportions, at least that's what everybody keeps telling me."

The Controller felt extremely relieved to hear what resembled a chuckle. At least Bodie's head's inside seemed to be working, and Controller's fondness for the young Aberdeen copper only grew.

"Now, Bodie, are you otherwise comfortable? Are you having pains?"

Bodie had closed his eyes again and seemed to be very uncomfortable. "Dunno... feeling weird... sick... or something." Duncan was on his feet instantly and out of the door to fetch a nurse.

"How's Ray?" Bodie again had forced his one eye open, the other one being swollen nearly closed.

"I called the hospital in the morning, they had just finished his operation so he was still not awake. So far so good, and the surgeon seemed to think that if everything goes as he expects, Doyle should get back on his feet after rehabilitation."

Bodie's face was very serious. "On his feet... but will he make it to the field?"

The Controller sighed. "Lad, it's far too early to tell, you know that just as well as I do. Try to not worry too much about that yet. It will be a long road for him even to get back walking, you know that. But all we can do is to wait and take a day at the time, and try to keep his spirits up so that he'll make through the rehabilitation."

Bodie sighed. "Yeah, even if he gets back walking, that's bloody marvellous." Bodie closed his eye again, looking more peaceful.

"Did you talk there at the house, you and Doyle? I mean, did you talk about the... damage?" For a moment the Controller wondered if Bodie had fallen asleep again.

"Yeah... we did. About that and other things." But before Bodie got to continue, Duncan returned with the nurse.

She started to check on the patient, quickly testing his responses to both mental and physical stimulation, writing everything down. "Are you in pain, mister Bodie? I can now give you a little more for the pain, but that would maybe make you feel more groggy and disoriented."

Bodie frowned. "I can manage. Don't want to feel any sicker."

The nurse looked thoughtful, giving him a long pondering glance. "Just don't be a macho then, and do ask for more if you start to hurt more. Do you need water or anything else?"

Bodie moistened his lip instinctively. "My mouth is dry, yeah."

The nurse fetched a glass, and when she returned and started to lift the end of the bed, Duncan carefully lifted and supported Bodie's upper body as if it was the most natural thing for him to do. The nurse arranged the pillows and gave Duncan a grateful smile before leaving the room.

"Now listen Duncan, she's mine. Comes with the pills as Ray would say." Bodie had noticed the smile.

"Sorry Bodie, you'll be soon off to the ward and get new ones. Here, let me... take just a little at the time. Whoa, enough for now..." Duncan secured the glass when Bodie took greedy swallows through a straw. "More in a few minutes. Better first make sure it stays inside you." He seemed to be very experienced in taking care of patients, both mr Cowley and Bodie thought.

"Oi Duncan, how's Georgie? They have treated his leg, right? And he's gonna be fine?"

Duncan exchanged a quick look with the Controller. "Och, aye, well, Bodie, they haven't yet decided what to do. We meant to talk with you about it so that I can let them know your opinion."

Bodie swallowed and stared at Duncan. "My opinion, opinion on what?"

The Controller quickly patted his shoulder. "Bodie, they only want to know what they should do with the leg. You know already that the leg is very bad, and as he's so tiny it will be very tricky to try and set the bones. Also the operation itself is risky as he's so young and they need to be very careful with anaesthesia. So they need to know, whether they try to save the leg, or take it away?" Duncan noticed that the older man had conveniently forgotten the third alternative. "You know, Bodie, cats do well with three legs. Even if he survived the operation to set the bones, they can't promise it would heal perfectly. And as said, it's somewhat risky to even sedate him."

Bodie closed his eye again and thought for a moment. "Well they have to do something anyway, don't they? I don't know about cats. Can you talk with the vet, sir? I want Georgie to be happy and I trust you to be able to tell what is best for him."

The Controller definitely didn't need anything more on his mind, but he didn't have the heart to say that to Bodie – not now, not when the man was at the ITU still. "All right, we go there once we are out from here. I talk with the vets. By the way, the little villain refuses to eat there. Looks like he's not happy with the service there and prefers your pampering."

Bodie gave a shy little grin.

Duncan got an idea. "Sir, what if we take there some piece of clothing with Bodie's scent in it? Maybe that would make him feel a bit better. Shirt or vest or something?" Bodie agreed immediately. "I go and ask the nurses about Bodie's clothes and then go wait for you in the main lobby, sir. I'm sure you want to talk with mr Bodie in peace." He said goodbye to Bodie and left the room.

The two CI5s talked for a while about Bodie's condition and situation and the agent seemed to relax when things started to settle in his mind and his practical side took over.

Mr Cowley offered him more water. "You're in good hands here, lad, and things seem to be under control. I thought that I could leave for London today. I might be able to visit Doyle's hospital this evening, or tomorrow morning, if I catch some convenient flight."

Bodie looked delighted even under his bruises and swelling. "That would be great, sir. Don't let me hold you up then, so that you have time to see Georgie too before you leave. But could you only arrange that I would get news from Ray and Georgie until I get the hell out of here?"

The Scot patted Bodie's shoulder again. "Aye, I'm sure I manage to arrange that. I suppose Lennox is on sick-leave for a couple of days more, and his grandfather is in this same hospital, so he maybe doesn't mind if he comes to update you on the kitten when he visits his grandfather. And you'll hear of Doyle also, unless I manage to arrange something else between the two of you." After a few minutes he took his leave, and Bodie, his mind at ease, fell asleep again.