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Roses in Winter

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At least the weather was decent for February, Bodie thought, above freezing and not even raining for a change. They were on day three of staking out Rosie's Posies, the flower shop on the corner of Clifton and Church Roads. He and Doyle were set up in the Capri across the street where they could see both the front and back entrances whilst not being too obvious to their targets.

"Good thing some of the employees are parking here, too. Otherwise, someone's going to take one look at us loitering about and we'll be in the nick filling some plod's arrest quota," Bodie pointed out on the first day. "Cowley definitely wouldn't love us then."

"Yeah, but at least they'd let us out in the yard for exercise once a day," Doyle said. "Although if we have to be cooped up in the car, at least we're trapped together. Had enough of being sent off in different directions."

The previous op had seen them working two different angles with Bodie undercover as a degenerate gambler. Bodie was glad that was over; he'd missed going home with Doyle in the evenings and being able to talk to him during the day.

"There goes the last of the staff," Doyle said, as a very tired looking woman left carrying an armful of flowers. "Figured they'd stay open late tonight." He looked at his watch. "It's almost nine."

Cowley'd caught wind via one of his sources that the shop was delivering drugs along with the bouquets. CI5 was more interested in what the proceeds were being used for than the drugs themselves. As Bodie put it during the briefing, "Makes sense. Cheaper to acquire drugs than guns, especially if you're in the back refining and cutting them before you sell them."

"Glad they're closed for the day," Doyle said. "I've got writer's cramp from logging all of the comings and goings."

"Tomorrow's going to be worse," Bodie said.

"Oh, thanks a lot, mate. Shouldn't we be taking turns?" Doyle asked, "Being partners and all."

"Not with my handwriting. What did you say, that I had the handwriting of a serial killer? Most people say doctor, you know." Bodie groaned and leaned forward to stretch his back. They'd been sitting here since noon.

"It's terrible no matter how you describe it," Doyle replied, shaking out his wrist and hand whilst keeping an eye on the shop at the same time.

"Oi, there's Mick, at least." Bodie took pictures from the driver's side of the car as Doyle made more notes.

"Finally," said Doyle. Now if his brother would just show up, we might actually get some movement on this case."

"They're idiots, absolute idiots to be meeting here like this," Bodie said, having had plenty of exposure to dumb villains during his time in CI5.

"Stupider they are, the easier to catch," said Doyle, and Bodie couldn't help himself.

"Motto of the Met?" Bodie asked, with a grin.

"At least we caught them instead of recruiting 'em like your old mob," Doyle shot back, but there was laughter in his voice. They were so far from those first early days when the jabs had real venom behind them. "Maybe we'll get lucky and Brian will show up. He's gotta come by at some point. You know they're raking in the money with Valentine's Day tomorrow and all," Doyle said.

"We're never going to get that lucky, Ray," Bodie told him, quickly swapping out the film for a new roll. "Next you'll be saying we'll have this wrapped up by tomorrow night."

"Good bottle of wine says we do," Ray said.

"You're on." Winning this bet sounded like close to a sure thing to Bodie. Even though Valentine's Day was tomorrow, they hadn't been crazy enough to make any plans. Not that they could really celebrate in public, most people tended to get all moralistic about two blokes holding hands where anyone could see. Just as well, since the odds were high they'd still be sitting in this car come tomorrow, waiting for Brian Shaughnessy to show up. While they had enough evidence to bust Mick on the drug dealing, they wanted Brian as well, since he had the contacts to obtain the weapons.

"Just remember I like a nice red, maybe a Sangiovese. Or a Malbec." Bodie rubbed his hands together in anticipation.

"Well, I'm in the mood for some champagne," Ray said. "You're not going to believe this. He's here, mate. Just snuck in the back."

"Buy you the champers and a lottery ticket on the way home," Bodie promised, stowing the camera in the glove box as Doyle called in.

"What's the word?"

"Get closer and wait for Murphy and Susan to cover the front. About ten minutes," Doyle said, checking his gun as Bodie did the same, eyes never leaving the building. They'd never hear the end of it if the Shaughnessy brothers got away.

"Then we get to go in and nab them?" Bodie asked, seeing the answering smile on Doyle's face.

Doyle headed for the back, Bodie to the front. They'd barely gotten across the street when the back of the building exploded.

Bodie threw himself down on the street and hoped with everything he had that Doyle had been able to do the same.

"Ray! Ray, where are you?" he called frantically as he picked himself up. He felt a hand on his arm pulling him the rest of the way to his feet and found himself engulfed in a quick but fierce hug.

"Right here, Bodie, I'm right here. You okay?" Doyle asked, moving back a bit but still staying close enough to touch.

"Yeah, fine, just wasn't quite expecting that." He'd just gotten the words out when the second explosion hit, and they both jumped back a few steps, Bodie's hand still tightly gripping Doyle's shoulder.

It was obvious that the front door had been blown out this time, along with the side window and a good chunk of the walls. No one came running out and neither Bodie nor Doyle were about to go into the unstable building.

Recovering first, Doyle said, "Usually it's the mad bombers who blow themselves up."

"Yeah, this lot certainly proved their intelligence, didn't they?" Still not completely convinced that he and his partner were really okay, Bodie reached over and picked a piece of baby's breath out of Doyle's hair.

Strewn about them amidst the glass, wood, and brick fragments were carnations and lilies and other flowers Bodie didn't recognise, although he'd bet Doyle would know. And what looked like hundreds and hundreds of roses.

Doyle picked up an intact yellow rose and gently twirled it around in his hands by the stem. He looked up at Bodie, who was still standing close to him. "Remember the promise I made you when we started this?"

"We made a lot of promises to each other, Ray. Kept 'em all, too," Bodie said, daring to reach over and stroke Doyle's face. No one was paying any attention to them, now that the op had blown up. The rest of CI5 would be there any minute and the civilian onlookers were busy gawking at the remains of the shop. For now, they were in their own world.

"I know," Doyle said. "This was the first one, before we even went to bed together. You were so worried that you'd lose me, that we'd lose us… lose everything… if we took the chance. I was scared, too, but remember that I promised you that no matter what we'd always be friends. And you said the same. And somehow, in the heat of the moment, as badly as we wanted each other just then, we meant it. Love you Bodie, love you in all the ways there are, and you're my best mate, too."

The declaration took Bodie's breath away for a moment, but Doyle was patient with him. A patience that only Bodie seemed to see.

"No one else I'd rather be laughing with, Ray, or fighting with either. Somehow we've figured out how to do that, too, without killing each other. Or be trapped in a car with for days on end," Bodie said, once he'd figured out how to put some of his overwhelming emotions into words. "And then I get to go home with you at the end of it all and love you."

Doyle solemnly handed the rose to Bodie, who held it for a minute before carefully tucking it in the inside pocket of his jacket.

"Bodie, Doyle, you guys all right? The Cow's on his way," Murphy called as he jogged towards them.

"Come on, sunshine, back to work we go," Doyle said, accompanied with the smile that he saved only for Bodie. And together… they went.