A group of agents got together that evening to celebrate a major victory in their own private war. They couldn't say too much overtly in a packed restaurant, but they all knew why they were there at the table and relished it. They hadn't lost a man, either. Admittedly a couple of agents were absent from the table because the medics decided that their health was too frail for riotous celebrations, but they'd both be home by the end of the week. And a few of the agents at the table were nursing bruises and stitches but, on the whole and all things considered, it had been a master stroke. They didn't often get days like these. It made it all worth it - perhaps! Their general chatter was interrupted by the arrival of the restaurant's top act, a singer on the verge of a break big time; a black singer with a voice like smoked honey. There was a huge surge of cheers and a standing ovation before she'd even opened her mouth. As the melody started an expectant hush fell over the restaurant.
Falling in love again, never wanted to. What am I do to? I can't help it.
Sugary lyrics, but the diners and staff were all in the mood for it. It's what most of the customers had come for. They stood or sat with rapt attention. Doyle turned to say something to Bodie during a brief interlude in the song. As he turned he noticed Ryan to the left of him sliding his hand onto his neighbour's knee, Davies. Davies slid his hand on top of Ryan's. Both men stared straight ahead so as not to draw attention to themselves. Doyle pretended not to notice and reached instead for the carafe of wine as though that had been his intention all along. The singer got into the second half of the song.
Love's always been my game. Play it how I may. I was made that way. I can't help it.
By the end of the song, the singer bowed and the restaurant went wild. It was only the promise of an encore that allowed her to leave the tiny stage at all. She was the restaurant's greatest asset. The excited audience settled down once more to food and chat until the encore - whenever that may be. Doyle kept a furtive eye on Davies and Ryan throughout the evening. They were very easy with each other; but then most partnerships were. You couldn't go accusing everyone of having an affair with their partner just because they worked and played together. The harsh nature of their job threw agents together more closely than any other profession. The wine continued to flow as the evening wore happily on. However, Doyle noticed one or other hand of the pair disappearing under the table now and then and glances exchanged. No-one else at the table seemed to have noticed. Later, the chanteuse treated them all to a couple of songs from 'Porgy and Bess' to round up a successful evening and finally she was allowed to leave to great cheers and applause. Most of the restaurant customers decided that the best of the evening had been had and made to leave, gathering up coats and bags.
At that point of inattention, a group of armed men blasted their way in. The doorman and a waiter got hit first with automatic gun fire. "Down!" someone at the CI5 table screamed to the general assembly. Some were too stunned to react. Doyle and a few other agents threw themselves bodily on top of the nearest diners and staff to get them to the floor while their colleagues exchanged gun fire. The agents not directly involved in the fire fight grappled other diners and waiters to the ground out of the line of fire. Then, just as suddenly, it was over. The silence was as deafening as the fight. The agents got tentatively to their feet to assess the damage and to ensure that no further shots were going to come flying. It was not of great surprise that the agents recognised some of the gunmen as belonging to the gang they'd been tackling earlier that day. They'd obviously made their escape when it was clear that they were on the losing end of the battle and had regrouped, bringing a few mercenaries in with them.
Sirens were heard above the screaming of the shocked and injured. The CI5 agents moved methodically through the restaurant, assessing the casualties quickly, giving first aid to those most badly injured. CI5 weren't immune. As the emergency services arrived Bodie ran out to meet them, assuring them that there'd be no further shots and it was safe to come in to administer to the needy. Re-entering the restaurant, Bodie saw that his colleagues were still working their way through the carnage. The agents' guilt would come later that they had brought hell to the door of this popular venue. But, for the moment, they had to concentrate on the casalties and put any feelings to one side. Doyle had moved back to their table and was sorting out his colleagues. He applied a quick tourniquet to Roberts' arm and an improvised dressing to a hole in Street's leg. The dead he could do nothing about. He moved to the back of the table to look for any more casualties, and discovered Davies cradling Ryan on his lap. He was rocking his friend gently, watering his face with his tears. He didn't care any more who saw his heart. Doyle approached carefully, and gently pushed Davies' arm out of the way so he could assess his friend. Davies looked at him, his eyes pleading with Doyle to make bad things go away. There was a hell of a lot of blood blossoming across Ryan's chest. Doyle tugged off the tie and tore at the shirt to assess the damage. Ironically the bullet seemed to have ricocheted off Davies' gun, still in its holster, and the bullet had missed the heart - just. He pressed his fingers against the jugular and could feel a faint flutter.
"He's still there Henry," Doyle said, but kept his face and voice neutral. He didn't want to give Davies any false dawns.
Henry nodded, willing his friend to hold on. A medic dropped to Doyle's side and they quickly got him onto a stretcher.
"I'll come with you," Doyle said. It was an order. Henry needed a friend, and there was nothing more he could do here.
Doyle met Bodie by the door as he was leaving. He was helping with casualties there.
"I'll ride to the hospital," Doyle said, coming between Davies and his partner. He didn't want Bodie or anyone else to see Davies in this condition.
The hospital was a scene of organised chaos with medical staff rushing with contained haste from one casualty to another. Doyle knew that if Ryan survived the surgery, he'd be transferred to intensive care, so Doyle led Henry to the relatives' room there. He was still in pieces. Doyle thought back to his own journey to the hospital with bullets in his chest not that long ago. Although he didn't remember anything from being gunned down in the living room to waking up at the hospital, he knew that Bodie must have gone through hell and back; first on discovering him dying and secondly having to wait - as they were waiting now - for news and any sign or hope of an improvement. Looking at Davies' pain was like witnessing through another's eyes Bodie's pain at that time, though Doyle knew that Bodie would have held up much better than this. It was only now that he realised the other side of the waiting game - the friends who were left to pace the corridors for any scrap of news or hope. He sent a mental apology to his mate for putting him through this. Now was not the time to ask Davies about his relationship with Ryan. It was none of his business. He was here as friend and supporter. As time dragged on, Bodie eventually tracked Doyle down and motioned for him to step out into the corridor.
"What's going on?" Bodie asked.
Doyle could tell him what he'd seen, but it was no-one's business. "Ryan's still in surgery. It's not looking good. What's the score?"
"Two dead - neither ours - ten injured - some of them ours."
"Two, like our mate here, critical. The others should be home sometime between now and the end of the month."
The 'score' was better than Doyle had hoped. From the amount of fire power and the amount of civilians in the crossfire, it could have been a hell of a lot worse. Doyle wasn't sure that 'lucky' was the right word.
It was some hours before Ryan was wheeled through to an intensive care bed. At least he'd made it through surgery. The consultant came into the relatives' room to pass on the very cautious news that, since Ryan had made it thus far against the odds, there was a chance that he may see another Christmas. The men nodded and the consultant said that one of them could stay quietly by the bedside if he wanted. They nodded again and the consultant left for another crisis. The men stared at the door for a few moments. Then Doyle was about to suggest that he leave Davies to it while he contacted Cowley, when Davies suddenly broke down again and flung himself against Doyle's chest. Doyle was used to cradling the female side of shock and bereavement, but he was ill-equipped to comfort and console a bloke he hardly knew. However he knew what was required of him and tentatively and awkwardly put his arms around his colleague and hoped that the gesture wouldn't be misinterpreted. Henry was holding him so tightly he could barely breathe. Doyle was just very relieved that Bodie wasn't here to witness this! He wouldn't tell Henry that everything would be all right when no-one knew that it would be. He kept his silence and waited patiently for Henry's storm to pass. Eventually he pulled away, to Doyle's secret relief, and apologised.
"You know that song?" Henry asked shakily.
Doyle looked blank.
After a lot of nose-blowing and wiping of tears, Henry continued, "The one Angelina was singing tonight?"
"Oh yeah," Doyle said, as the penny dropped.
"Well, it was our song; that restaurant, our place. I can tell you cos I saw you looking at us tonight. You saw, didn't you?"
"It's none of my business. Now go and look after George. If you're wondering and don't know how to put it diplomatically, I'll tell you now - I'm not going to say anything to anyone. Your business is your business, Henry, but remember what Cowley tells us all - there's nothing personal when you joined CI5. So make damn sure the Cow knows. That's the only advice I can give you. Ok?" Doyle looked sternly into Davies' eyes and he smiled back tentatively. There was a shadow of a nod. The message had been received.
It seemed clear to the shrewd Doyle that Davies hadn't told Cowley everything when he joined the service; there were certain very private parts that Cowley may be unaware of. Doyle, however, had been in the service a lot longer than Davies and knew that Cowley would be almost certainly aware of every agent's leanings. He'd just be waiting, like a spider, to see how long it took Davies and Ryan to step out of the closet and into the daylight.
Falling in love again, never wanted to. What am I to do? I can't help it.