Disclaimer: Characters from The Professionals are © Mark-1 Productions Ltd
and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.


"Isn't that Lynne?"

Bodie looked where Doyle was pointing. The girl just vanishing around the corner had blonde bobbed hair, and he nodded. "Think so." Inching the car forward as the lights turned green, he pushed the nose of the Capri right, ignoring the 'straight ahead' arrows, and with waves and gestures from the oncoming drivers - some of them less than polite - he managed the U-turn he was attempting, and crossed the two lanes to turn left into East Street.

There was no sign of the girl now, and Bodie squeezed the car into the only available gap at the kerb, Doyle pushing the door open before it had stopped moving. He was getting a bad feeling about this...

The flat was quiet as they approached, the door slightly ajar. With a deepening sense of foreboding, Doyle drew his pistol and took up position one side, Bodie echoing his movements on the other side of the doorway.

Doyle pushed the door further open, and they checked the short corridor into the flat - nothing. Silently, they slid towards the lounge area, Doyle reaching it first.

Lynne was standing motionless in the centre of the room and initially the partners couldn't see why. A couple of steps forward, they followed the direction of her gaze...

Anderson had been nailed to the wall. Crucified. Long masonry nails had been hammered through his wrists, and judging by the blood he'd still been alive when they'd done it.

It wasn't a sure-fire way of killing someone, so before they'd left Anderson had been put out of his misery. One bullet, to the forehead. The exit path had spread his brains across the wall behind him.

Doyle felt the bile rising in the back of his throat. Glancing at Bodie, he saw his partner swallowing hard, reaching automatically for his R/T.

Still staring, Lynne seemed unaware of their presence, not even acknowledging Doyle as he slid his arms around her and gently turned her away. Not that it would make much difference. The horror of what he could see would stay with him; it would be that much worse for Lynne, loving Rick as she had.

He led her away to the kitchen, leaving Bodie to call in. "3.7 to Control."

"Go ahead, 3.7."

"Anderson's dead." Bodie swallowed again. He'd seen some things in his life, but the cold calculation behind this killing was something else. He couldn't bring himself to report the exact circumstances. "Get a team out here. Ask Cowley to come himself, will you? Out."

Tearing his eyes away from the body, Bodie glanced around the flat. There wasn't much mess. Whoever had done this had taken Rick by surprise, and they'd come with one intention only: to kill him. Connors' accident could have been just that, but not now. This was no coincidence.

Doyle returned alone. "Wish we could get him down."

"Yeah." Bodie nodded uncomfortably. They both knew that was impossible; they had to wait for the team from Forensics, for photos to be taken as evidence. "Go back to Lynne. I'll stay here."

"Sure?" Little as Doyle wanted to stay it didn't seem fair to leave Bodie. His partner nodded.

"Yeah, go on. She should have one of us with her."

Lynne was still sitting where he'd left her; eyes wide and horrified and still focused inwardly. Finding a glass, Doyle poured some of the whisky from the bottle he'd picked up in the lounge, and pressed it into her hand, lifting it to her mouth.

She took an awkward sip, giving a sudden gasp as the alcohol stung her lips and jerked her back to the present.

Face crumpling with pain and shock, Lynne thrust the glass back at him and got to her feet, stumbling towards the door, perhaps to verify it was just a nightmare... Doyle caught her before she could get there. The reality of his restraining grip was enough to convince her she hadn't been dreaming, and Lynne began to weep brokenly, whispering her lover's name over and over.

It was dark. The VIP Lounge was unusually crowded for that time of evening; agents solemn and unnaturally quiet.

Doyle sighed. "Just wish we'd got there sooner."

"He'd still be dead." Anson wasn't renowned for his tact, and Doyle rounded on him angrily.

"Maybe, but his girlfriend didn't have to see what happened to him! We could've prevented that, at least..."

"Ray..." Bodie spoke softly, but his calming tones defused Doyle's guilty temper, and the moment of tension was broken as Cowley looked in.

"Don't you lot have homes to go to?" But the caustic words were spoken without the usual bite; the Old Man had lost two good agents that day and the tacit support the rest of the team was showing by hanging about wasn't lost on him.

With barely a conscious glance between them, the partners rose simultaneously and followed their boss to his office, Doyle heading straight for the cabinet where the bottle of scotch resided, an action which would normally have drawn a sarcastic comment.

Cowley hardly noticed. They'd had an emergency debriefing earlier; now the conversation continued as if without break. "Did you manage to talk to Lynne?"

"The doctor put her under sedation. She's at her sister's; we'll try tomorrow."

"But it's unlikely she'll be able to tell us anything," Bodie added. "We know she left for work just after eight this morning. What the coroner's told us so far is that Rick died early today, so it probably happened not long after she left."

If there was anything to be thankful for in this sorry mess, that was one thing Bodie was pleased about. He knew the manner of Anderson's death was preying on his partner's mind. Connors had been victim to a hit and run just after lunchtime, but it seemed no matter how quickly they'd reached the flat they couldn't have saved Anderson.

And at first, there hadn't been any reason to worry. Anderson was off-duty. He hadn't answered his phone or R/T when Control was trying to contact him to let him know about his partner's accident, but no one was unduly alarmed. Until the time he was supposed to have reported in to HQ, but hadn't.

Control had despatched the partners to Anderson's flat; the lack of contact taking on a sudden worrying significance. In the rush-hour traffic, Lynne had got there before them.

Wordlessly, Doyle obliged as Cowley held out his tumbler for a refill. "What we've got to think about now is why. Why were they killed?"

Doyle slumped onto the edge of the desk. "Can't be personal. Not for both of them to die. Got to be something to do with one of their cases. Or CI5."

"That's the question though. Which is it?" Cowley rubbed his eyes. It had been a long, tiring day; the sort of day that brought his increasing age home to him, and made the thought of retirement reasonable...

Bodie saw the movement, and sent an imperceptible signal to Doyle. "The overnight team are checking their cases. We'll check things out tomorrow. Can we give you a lift home?"

"No, there are things I still need to do. I'll see you both in the morning."

Reluctantly, the partners took their dismissal. It had crossed both their minds that if the murders of Anderson and Connors were to do with CI5 as opposed to just one of their cases, then Cowley could well be a target. And neither of them needed any detective skills to see the Old Man was tired.

Outside, they paused, Doyle glancing back at the closed door. "Think we should hang around? Follow him home?"

Bodie considered it. "Nah. Knowing him, he won't go home; he'll stay here all night, which means we'll end up staying all night. Dunno about you, but I'd rather go home to bed."

"Yeah. But..." Doyle glanced towards Cowley's office again, and Bodie shrugged.

"Look, everyone's already on alert. Let's see who's on standby; we'll get someone detailed to tail him if he does decide to go home. Then we'll go home, and get some sleep..."

Subconsciously anticipating a call-out, Doyle didn't sleep well. When he did close his eyes, images of Anderson replayed in his mind. He was up, showered and ready by the time Bodie arrived to collect him, but not exactly fit and raring to go.

Bodie, on the other hand, looked as if he'd had a full eight hours without any interruptions. "How do you do it?" Doyle was only half-joking. It sometimes seemed as if nothing could break through Bodie's defensive shell.

The small grimace Bodie gave revealed that appearances were deceptive, but being Bodie that was as much as Doyle was going to get. He settled back into the passenger seat. "All quiet? Did Cowley go home?"

"Nope. Just as we thought. Slept in his office. I spoke to Betty earlier; got her to send out for some breakfast. Might still be some left when we get in."

"Not if Murphy beats you to it..." Doyle grinned at Bodie's look of alarm and the sudden increase in car speed.

Fortunately Murphy wasn't in, and Bodie managed to grab a croissant, two Danish pastries and a doughnut before they made their way to the filing room, much to Doyle's amusement. "You're not really going to eat all them?"

"'m a growin' lad..." Bodie's reply was only just intelligible through the croissant.

"Yeah, growing outwards..." He was spared any retort from Bodie as they turned into the filing room, to find Cowley there ahead of them.

"Mornin', sir." Cowley frowned at Bodie's slightly mumbled greeting, but refrained from comment, turning back to Sally. "And these are all the cases Anderson and Connors worked on in the last six months?"

"Yes, sir. Other than full team call-outs, that is." She pointed to the larger of the two piles of buff files. "Those are cases which involved more than one team; the smaller pile represents those handled almost exclusively by Anderson and Connors."

"Who's on this morning? Other than this pair?"

"Lucas and McCabe, but they're going to be following up on Jarvis. Baine and Wesley are on stand-by."

"Get them in. They can make a start on these files." Cowley spun and motioned to the partners to follow him back to his office, beginning to talk before he reached it. "I want you two to talk to Lynne. See if she can tell us any more; did Anderson get any strange calls, was he worried about anything."

Doyle had something else to ask. The last time anyone had tried to knock out members of CI5 it had gone back further than the last couple of cases. "Have we checked on Wakeman and Catrell?"

"I did it last night. They're still behind bars. That's not to say they couldn't have put out a contract but that pair seemed to favour the hands-on approach. The attacks on Anderson and Connors seemed focused; start with them first."

The blonde woman who answered the door could only be Lynne's sister. She inspected Bodie's ID card closely before allowing them into the hall. "I'm Deborah. I don't think Lynne will be able to help you; she's still in shock."

"We just want a few words. She might know something without realising it."

Deborah reluctantly waved them into the flat, leading them towards the balcony where Lynne was sitting. "Lynne, two of Rick's - colleagues - are here."

Lynne turned slowly to greet them. Her eyes were haunted and desolate; still shocked and possibly still bearing the effects of whatever tranquillizer the doctor had used, she nonetheless made the effort to remember their names. "Ray, and - "

"Bodie," he supplied. Neither of them knew Lynne well; they'd only met once or twice at the pub. Doyle slid onto the bench next to her. "We want you to know how sorry we are."

An empty platitude. He heard Deborah give an impatient grunt behind him. "Lynne, if you don't want to talk about it - "

"No, it's OK, Deb." Her voice was as fragile as she looked. "I have to talk about him sometime."

Doyle shot Bodie a look. They wouldn't get far if Deborah was going to interfere. Bodie took the hint immediately and turned on the charm. "What about making us some coffee? We had an early start."

Deborah allowed herself to be distracted by Bodie's smile, and he followed her to the kitchen.

Doyle turned back to the girl beside him. "I need to ask you a few questions, Lynne." For what she'd seen, she was holding together pretty well. "Can you tell me what happened yesterday morning? What time did you leave the flat?"

"Rick had only just come in, he'd been working..." Doyle nodded. Anderson and Connors had been on the overnight stakeout on Jarvis. "I got him a coffee, he said he was going to take a shower, then go to bed..."

Her eyes filled with tears at the memory of the routine; the normal, every-day things that would never happen again. "The news was on the radio. I suppose I left just after eight, I usually do."

"And Rick hadn't seemed worried about anything? He didn't mention anyone following him, or odd phone calls?"

"No." She shook her head. "He didn't tell me much about your work. If I asked, he'd quote the Official Secrets Act but I think most of the time he didn't want to scare me. I always knew if he was worried or upset though, and I didn't notice anything..."

Her voice tailed off as she considered the implications of someone following Rick. "Do you think they followed him home...? When... what time... did he... die?"

Doyle took her hand and squeezed it, feeling her shaking. "I don't know exactly. But early." He saw a memory flash across her face.

"He was still wearing the same clothes... he hadn't even showered..."

They'd probably struck as soon as Lynne had left, then. Knock on the door; Anderson, unsuspecting, thinking Lynne had forgotten something, had probably opened the door without any of the normal caution.

Deborah returned with a tray of mugs, Bodie still chatting to her. She seemed to have relaxed in his company, although she glared suspiciously at Doyle holding Lynne's hand. "All right, sis?"

Lynne managed a small smile. "All right, sis." The repeat of Deborah's words sounded like a ritual, and Doyle glanced at his partner as he removed his hand from Lynne's grip and stood up.

They stayed for the coffee out of politeness, although there was nothing further to be learnt and they were keen to move onto the next task; that of talking to the main witness of Connors' hit and run.

Doyle waved to the girls on the balcony as he settled into the car. "Deborah seems a bit prickly. Over-protective, too."

"Couple of reasons for that. She told me why, in the kitchen." Pulling away, Bodie recounted his conversation with Deborah. "She was going out with Anderson, then he met Lynne and they fell head over heels."

"And she was OK with that? They must be a close family."

"They are, by the sounds of it. There's just the two of them; their parents died in a house-fire a few years ago. Anyway, it's obvious he still meant a bit more to her than just being her sister's boyfriend. So it's a shared grief, if you like."

"At least Lynne's got someone to lean on. She's going to need that, for a bit."

"Yeah. Where exactly am I heading for?"

"Vestry Road. Should be just down here on the right." Doyle was reading through the witness statement. "I don't know why the local boys didn't pick up on this being a deliberate attack straight away. The witness is quite clear: whoever was in the car drove straight at Connors."

"Can't see further than the end of their noses, half of them." In spite of Doyle's previous profession, Bodie still didn't have a lot of respect for the police.

"They apparently put more effort into it when they checked Connors' ID, but it still took them another hour before they found the car. Abandoned barely a mile away, as well. Stolen, of course."

Bodie turned into the street; not wide to start with, parked cars reduced it to a single lane down the centre. He drove slowly as Doyle scanned doorways looking for the number. "Number 28, we need."

"This is it, then." Bodie pulled into the only space at the kerb and grinned at Doyle's expression as he registered that Bodie was right, and they were outside Number 28. "Only one parking space; s'got to be where we're going."

"You'll have to tell me the secret."

"No secret. Just part of being tall, dark and - "

"Engagingly modest. Yeah, so you've said..."

Mrs Leeson was a middle-aged, bored housewife, and she insisted on making them tea before she'd sit down and talk. Once she started, however, they couldn't get a word in edgeways. Bodie, happily munching on a packet of chocolate digestives, was suppressing his amusement at Doyle's valiant efforts to question her.

"So, you saw the car, and driver?"

"It's like I'm telling you. I was just coming out of the supermarket, I can't get the vegetables I need there, so I was heading for the market and I heard this car, revving loud, and I looked round to see it shoot forwards, and sent this poor man flying, right up in the air and over the top of the car..."

"And you're sure it was deliberate. It wasn't just an accident, the driver didn't lose control?"

"Oh, no. He knew what he was doing. He took off like the Devil himself was after him, headed towards Peckham Rye."

"Did you get a clear look at the driver?"

"As clearly as I can see you. And so I told the police yesterday. They had me look through dozens of books, but I couldn't see him. I gave them as good a description as I could though."

"Yes, we've got a copy of that." Not that it was much use; early 20's, fair hair (she thought), couldn't tell how tall he was because of him sitting in the car. Still, she seemed like a reliable witness. If they did manage to pick anyone up she'd probably be positive enough for an identification parade.

They managed to extricate themselves eventually, having left the phone number with her in case she remembered anything else. With half the packet of biscuits inside him, and the rest in his pocket, Bodie was in a good mood. "Where next, Sherlock?"

"Check in, I suppose. See if anyone's found anything in the files."

Baine and Wesley had somehow escaped from the file-checking task; Susan was the agent sitting at the desk, scanning papers. Doyle was surprised to see her. "Thought you were off today."

"Baine and Wesley got a call-out."

"So you got a call-in?"

"No, I was here anyway. I volunteered."

Bodie gave a short laugh. "Never volunteer, sweetheart. You'll get yourself a reputation, and Cowley'll have you in here 24 hours, 7 days a week."

"I don't mind. Special circumstances; whoever it is could be after any of us."

"Have you come up with anything?"

"I started with the most recent cases. I've gone back about eight months so far, but the most likely is that terrorist cell Simon and Rick were dealing with. You remember, some of the cell were killed, and the others got away with the busload of hostages?"

The partners nodded. They remembered; Cowley had been furious but there had been too many lives at stake. The escaped terrorists had apparently vowed revenge for their lost colleagues, and it was only a couple of months ago.

Propping himself on the corner of the desk, Doyle opened the file Susan had indicated. They had names and faces for some of the group; he flicked through them trying to match the description of the car driver, but no one seemed likely. Maybe he'd get someone to show them to Mrs Leeson.

"Did Connors or Anderson follow up on the group? Or anyone else?"

"No. We'd taken out the leaders of the cell, and Cowley pulled them out to work with me and Ruth on the Ambassador's visit. Then they went straight onto the Jarvis case."

"We'll pick it up then, and go and check out a few contacts." Doyle passed the file to Bodie as Susan nodded her assent, returning to the files. "Are you all right, Sue?"

"Fine. Bit tired, that's all." She gave him a wan smile. There had been a rumour circulating about her and Connors, that they'd got it together during the Ambassador's visit, and Doyle dropped the subject. "We'll see you later then. Maybe go to the pub."

By early evening the partners were ready for a drink. They'd started with the original leads recorded by Anderson and Connors, and backtracked the locations and contacts. Although it was unlikely that the terrorists would have returned to those haunts there still might be a lead to follow. But after several hours of dead-ends they'd got nowhere. The only nibble involved tracking down an arms dealer and although they'd put out feelers nothing was going to happen until the next day.

After checking in and updating Cowley, the pair rounded up those agents who were able to leave the building and it was a group of seven who headed for the pub. After discovering Susan still hadn't gone home, Doyle had made sure she was with them.

As they started down the street, Doyle suddenly paused, and Bodie stopped with him. "What?"

He pointed across the road. "Lynne." Bodie followed the direction of his finger. She was alone, just standing, staring at the large grey building of HQ. Doyle started forward. "I'll catch you up."

He approached Lynne slowly, making sure she could see who he was. "Lynne? Are you all right?" She was shivering slightly; her jacket inadequate for the still chilly evenings. "Is Deborah with you?" As far as Doyle could see she was alone.

"No..." With some difficulty she focused on him. "Ray... I came to meet Rick..." she shook her head. "But he's not here, is he?"

"No," Doyle agreed gently. "He's not." Her expression bore the spaced-out look he'd always associated with drugs; in her case probably tranquillizers. He put his arm around her. "Come on, I'll take you home."

Settling her into the Escort, Doyle pulled out the R/T. "4.5 to 3.7." He had to repeat the call before Bodie answered, obviously already in the noisy backdrop of the bar. "Doyle?"

"Yeah. I'm taking Lynne home. Dunno how long I'll be, but I'll come back. And Bodie, look after Susan."

"Susan?" Bodie sounded puzzled; he could be so obtuse at times. Doyle sighed. "Her and Connors? You remember?"

"Oh. Yeah. I'll get her another drink."

Not exactly the sort of looking after Doyle had meant, but at least Bodie would be there if Susan needed him. He slid into the car beside Lynne. "I'm sorry." He could barely hear her. "I don't know why I came. I'm tired..."

"It doesn't matter, Lynne." He would have a few words to say to Deborah; Lynne wasn't in any state to be left on her own.

Deborah was in the street as he pulled up, worried and obviously looking for Lynne. Wrenching the passenger door open she ignored Doyle, bombarding Lynne with questions. "Where on earth have you been? You knew I wouldn't be long, I'd've taken you in the car..."

Moving her firmly to one side, Doyle helped Lynne out and turned her towards the flat. She didn't seem to be taking any of Deborah's questions in, let alone be capable of replying, and Doyle ignored Deborah in his turn until they were upstairs.

"Where was she?" Since she was getting no reply from Lynne, Deborah turned to him for information and Doyle answered her bluntly. "Outside CI5 HQ. Alone. I thought you were looking after her."

Deborah flushed angrily. "I am! I had to go to my office. I can work at home but I needed some files. Lynne knew I'd only be an hour, I can't think why - "

"At a guess, she's taken too many tranquillizers." He relinquished his grip on Lynne as they reached the sofa. "Can you check?"

Lynne still seemed confused, but focused on Deborah as she returned with the bottle of pills. "I took some..."

Deborah looked resigned. "She had some not long before I left; she was nearly asleep, that's why I thought she'd be OK."

"She probably didn't remember." Doyle squeezed Lynne's hand to get her attention. "Lynne, how many did you take? Do you know?"

"A couple. I wanted to sleep... I thought they might help. Then I was dreaming about Rick... and he wanted me to meet him... I had to go." She was drowsy and confused but it didn't look like she'd actually overdosed; shock and distress were probably having as much effect as the pills.

"It's all right, Lynne." Deborah's words had an unexpected result. Lynne stared at her, eyes filling with tears as she got unsteadily to her feet.

"No, it's not all right. You keep saying that. It's not all right; Rick's dead and nothing will ever be right again..."

Bodie was standing alone in the crowded pub when Doyle got back, silently surveying the other punters enjoying their drinks. Ordering a pint, Doyle glanced round. "The others gone?"

"Yeah. No party spirit." Bodie ordered another whisky. "Lynne OK?"

"I suppose so. I wanted Deborah to call the doctor in to make sure, but she was insistent she could cope. Had to leave them to it."

"Never get between sisters, mate." Bodie grinned suddenly as a thought occurred to him. "Unless they both want to take you to bed."

"You should be so lucky." Doyle swiftly pre-empted any tale of sexploit from Bodie. "Was Susan all right?"

Reluctantly, Bodie left the tale for another, more appropriate, time. "Quiet. Seemed tired. She had one drink, then Murphy took her home; Cowley's apparently shuffled the rotas so she's off-duty tomorrow."

"Did he know about her and Connors?"

"I reckon he knows what we have for breakfast." Bodie shrugged. "Possibly. They were keeping it fairly discreet."

"Susan's not a show-off." Connors hadn't been either; he'd been quiet, not particularly communicative, unlike his partner. Anderson had been gregarious, completely extrovert, always the life and soul of the party. It had been an unusual partnership, but as was typical with Cowley's pairings, one that had worked well.

Anderson had been the one who had conversations with them over coffee, the one who suggested a quick drink after work, always ready with a joke. Connors was sociable enough, but you didn't learn anything about him he didn't want you to know. It was only today Doyle had learnt where Connors lived.

"D'you think there was really something between them?"

Doyle shrugged. "I don't suppose Susan's picked out the wedding dress. But I got the feeling it was more than just a right time, right place fling." He drained his pint. "You ready to go?"

Bodie arrived early the next morning, announcing his presence with several sharp taps on the horn, and Doyle hurried down to the car. "What's the rush?"

"We got a meet. Don't want to miss our sailing."

"Our what?"

Bodie grinned, already turning east. "Got a call from Marty. Wants to meet us in his office."

Ah. The Woolwich ferry. Doyle settled back into the seat, stifling a yawn. "Couldn't he make it a more reasonable time? I didn't even get breakfast."

"You'll have to wait; we'll get something later. Marty's got a message for us."

Martell was waiting for them on the lower deck; the office. "Bodie, Doyle. Good of you to come."

"What's the score?" Bodie joined Martell at the rail.

"You were asking around about Seymour. He's nervous; asked me to act as an intermediary..."

"It's not Seymour we're after. We wanted to talk to him about that terrorist group he was supplying a few months back."

"So you don't want to pull him?"

Doyle joined them. "We'd prefer it if he wasn't supplying extremists with the means to make our lives uncomfortable; but no, on this occasion we're more interested in tracking down the terrorists."

"We lost a couple of our guys on Tuesday," Bodie added. "We think that cell are responsible."

"I heard about that. Nasty. Not really terrorist tactics, though?"

The partners exchanged a glance. "Maybe not. But Anderson and Connors were directly responsible for the elimination of the cell leaders."

"Terrorists out for revenge? Well, you know your business." Martell seemed unconvinced. "When we dock, I'll phone Seymour and see if he'll agree to meet you."

Martell left the phone box, smiling. "Ten o'clock, by the fountain in Victoria Park. You wait for him; he won't approach until he's checked out the area."

"Another open space without ears?" Doyle grinned. "Are all arms dealers paranoid?"

"We're cautious. For reasons I'm sure you can appreciate, being in a similar line of business..."

Back across the river, and into the car, and Doyle was thinking about breakfast again. "I can't believe you've lasted this long without food," he joked.

"Ah, well - " Bodie looked sheepish, and Doyle pounced on it immediately.

"You had breakfast? You drag me out without even giving me chance to get a coffee, and you've already had breakfast?"

"Well, I wouldn't call it breakfast, exactly."

"What would you call it?"

"A bacon sarnie... It was just a snack, to keep me going."

"Well, you can keep going now. Head for Bow Road; I'll show you what a proper breakfast looks like."

An hour later, suitably replete after a stop at Akim's greasy spoon, Bodie drew to a halt alongside the railings of Victoria Park.

Getting out of the Capri, Bodie stretched and gazed around him. "Where's the fountain?"

"Down there," Doyle pointed. "I can see why he chose this place." Spotting a phone box, he checked his watch before heading for it. "I'm just going to phone Deborah, and see how Lynne is."

Bodie had spotted a newspaper kiosk further back. "OK. I'll meet you by the fountain; I'll throw a few coins in and make a wish..."

Bodie was firmly engrossed in his paper by the time Doyle joined him. "Any sign of Seymour?"

"Not so far. He'll be wary. But he'll come; he knows we'll track him down if he doesn't." He glanced up at Doyle. "Did you get through?"

"Yeah, I talked to Lynne. She's much better; apologised for causing me any trouble and asked if we'd call in later." Doyle was casually scanning faces as he spoke. "This looks like him."

Bodie folded his paper and stood up as Seymour joined them. In contrast to Marty, whose dress and demeanour always resembled the successful businessman he was, Seymour was small, shifty and scruffy. "Bodie?" he asked nervously.

"That's me."

"Marty said you just wanted a word..." So far he hadn't met their eyes, and was perpetually turning, checking how safe he was. It was making Doyle dizzy.

"Yeah. Would you be happier walking?" The partners didn't wait for his response but set off along the path, Seymour uneasily between them. "About three months ago one of our teams traced some weapons you supplied to the IRA cell that was knocking over the banks. We know you gave them some leads as to where the cell might be hiding. We've checked out those locations and drawn a blank, so what we want to know is whether you've been contacted by the cell since."

They paused while Seymour stopped and turned to check behind him again. "Could get me head blowed off, talkin' to you."

"You can get run over crossing the street," Doyle told him laconically. "You helped Anderson and Connors; you can tell us if you know anything."

The small man faced Doyle and looked shiftier than ever. "Yeah, and I 'eard what happened to them. You think the organisation are responsible, so where does that leave me, if they figure who talked?"

Bodie spun Seymour to face him. "And where will it leave you, if they are the ones responsible, and they have figured out who talked? If you don't talk to us, so that we can find them, they'll still be running around looking for you. I don't see you've got a lot of choice, Seymour."

In the face of Bodie's irrefutable logic, Seymour had caved in. The cell hadn't been back in touch with him - the last, abortive bank raid had left them with more than enough weaponry - but there were people who knew people, who knew where they might be. Within half an hour the partners were heading for the first of the three possible addresses he'd given them, a house just off Commercial Road.

Murphy and Jax had already arrived in Sutton Street, and Cowley was on his way with another back-up team. Six terrorists had got away from the bank; there was no telling how many - if any - were in the house, but it never hurt to have as many agents as possible on the ground. Besides, everyone had a personal interest in catching Connors and Anderson's murderers.

Parking further down the road, the partners strolled up to the beat-up transit. Murphy had the bonnet up, pretending to be checking the engine, and they paused behind him. "Sounds rough," Bodie commented. Jax turned the ignition, the engine whirred and died again.

"Had to find a good excuse for sitting here," Murphy grinned at them. "Pulled the rotor arm."

"Any movement from the house?" Doyle peered into the engine bay, as if to give advice.

"Nothing. Jax took a look round the back; all the gardens back onto the gardens from the road on the other side. If they go out that way they'll have to scale the fences. But it also means we'll have trouble covering the back."

Bodie had spotted Cowley's car turning into the end of the street, and moved out of sight of the house behind the transit to use his R/T. "3.7 to Alpha. No sign of anything so far. Do you want us to move in?"

"You and Doyle cover the back. Radio when you're in position and we'll move in straightaway."

Tucking the R/T away, he and Doyle casually carried on up the road towards the railway line, counting the houses as they went.

Alongside the perimeter wall to the final house, they stopped, and Bodie cupped his hands to give Doyle a leg up to the top of the wall. He dropped back down after a few seconds. "Eight houses, eight gardens to cross. Full of washing lines, children and dogs. I'd like to see Cowley doing this."

The R/T crackled, as if he'd heard them. "Are you in position yet?"

Pulling his own R/T out, Doyle answered. "Not yet, sir, there's no proper rear access. I think we might need a bit of cover with this one; anyone might see us and call the locals in. Can we put a call through to the local station to warn them?"

"Will do. We'll give you five minutes, then move in."

"Five minutes." The partners launched themselves at the wall, Doyle still grumbling. "He's got no idea..." Over the next fence, dodging a washing line; another wall, and Doyle narrowly avoided landing on a rabbit hutch. "This is ridiculous!"

"What's up, doc?" Bodie was grinning. Each garden was the same width, the walls or fences the same height; it was a bit like doing the hurdles. Over the next wall it was Bodie's turn to complain as he landed in a compost heap, and Doyle's turn to grin. "Don't worry, you always come up smelling of roses."

Bodie brushed the mulch and grass cuttings off his trousers, hoping they wouldn't stain, and followed Doyle to the next wall, deciding that only five minutes or not the proverb was a good one and he was looking before he leapt the next wall. It was just as well he did; the alsation in the next garden had them both precariously balanced, before the owner - a young, delicate-looking woman - appeared to call the dog to heel. Doyle flashed his ID at her, deciding that reassuring words weren't needed - with those fangs at her side she was anything but scared. "CI5 - we're just taking a short-cut."

With the dog under control, they let themselves down and hastily traversed the lawn, scaling the fence on the other side and leaving the dog barking behind them. Bodie had lost count of the gardens. "Aren't we there yet?"

"Two more." Doyle checked his watch. "Couple of minutes to go."

The seventh garden had an elderly woman weeding her dahlia bed; fortunately for the partners she seemed to be deaf, and they sped across her small strip of lawn without her even realising they were there, and jumped the fence to crouch in the overgrown garden of the eighth property.

Bodie checked his Browning as Doyle lifted his R/T. "4.5 to Alpha. In position now." Tucking the radio away, Doyle slid his Walther out and flicked off the safety, following Bodie's stealthy movements towards the rear of the house. Coming to a halt behind the ramshackle shed, they waited for the signal to move in.

Barely thirty seconds passed before they heard the shouts and crashes from the front, and they burst from cover to positions on either side of the back door, pausing briefly before Bodie moved square on and lifted his leg to kick at the door. It wasn't locked and flew easily open under the assault, smashing back into the small kitchen. Inside they could see straight through to the hall, where Murphy and Jax had just broken through the front door; Cowley, Ruth, Lucas and McCabe close behind them.

Alerted by the joint onslaught on the entrances, two men burst from the room at the front. Confronted by the array of CI5 handguns they sensibly surrendered...

The partners followed Cowley into his office. They'd spent the afternoon and evening questioning the two terrorists; to little avail. With the evidence of weapons and explosives found at the house Craig Douglas and Lee Hadley had admitted to being members of an IRA cell. They'd held their hands up for the bank raids, the hostage-taking and even boasted about causing recent explosions at two Tube stations. But although they'd sweated under interrogation, from the outset they denied any knowledge or involvement in the murders of Anderson and Connors.

Cowley let himself into the chair slowly; it had been another hard, long day. He glanced over his top two agents. "Well? What do you two think?"

Doyle shook his head. "I dunno. They had the means and the motive. They know they'll go down for the deaths of the people who died in the Tube blast. So why deny it?"

"Unless they're not the ones responsible." Bodie shrugged as the other two stared at him. "They won't give us any information on the rest of the cell. It could be some of them, and Douglas and Hadley are none the wiser. That pair aren't far enough up the tree to be told anything; they're just baby-sitting the weapons."

"True." Doyle leant against the filing cabinet. "Leaves us back at square one, though." They'd searched the other addresses Seymour had given them, although obviously IRA safehouses they were deserted.

"It could be someone else entirely." Cowley handed Bodie a sheet of paper. "Ballistics report on the bullet that killed Anderson."

Bodie scanned the text before handing the document to Doyle. "Fired from his own gun?"

"Doesn't prove much. On one hand it could mean it's not the IRA because they wouldn't need to use his gun. On the other whoever it was might just have appreciated the irony of using Anderson's own weapon to kill him, regardless of whatever firepower they were carrying." Doyle couldn't prevent a yawn. It had been an early start. "We should show photos of Douglas and Hadley to the witness, Mrs Leeson. She might recognise one of them."

"I'll get someone round there tomorrow." Cowley leaned back in his chair. "What other avenues can we try? Did we turn anything else up from the files?"

"Nothing that looked as likely. I still think we should talk to Catrell and Wakeman."

Cowley considered Doyle's comment, then nodded. "Perhaps you're right. Catrell's serving his sentence on the island: pay him a visit tomorrow."

Wanting nothing more than to go home, Doyle glanced wearily at his watch as they reached the Capri. "I told Lynne I'd call in."

"Do it tomorrow?"

"Nah. We don't know how long we'll be at the prison. And it's not that late, and practically on the way to my place anyway."

"You've convinced me. Tell you what, we'll get a take-away afterwards. My shout."

Doyle was quiet over the meal; Bodie suffered the brooding until he'd finished eating before attempting to pry the reason from his partner. "All right, what's up?"

"Mmm? Oh, I was just wondering about Lynne; how she's going to cope."

"Well, considering what's happened, no one would expect her to be floating on cloud nine. She seemed OK though. Didn't she say she'd stayed off the pills today?"

"Yeah. And while you were chatting with Deb, she told me why." Doyle cast a glance over Bodie. "She's pregnant. She thought she might be last week, and just had it confirmed today."

"Wow." Bodie let the news sink in. "Did Rick know?"

"Yeah. She said he was thrilled." They fell silent, both reflecting again on the loss of their colleague, and what that loss meant to Lynne. Without discussing it, each knew what the other was thinking: it could happen to either of them, at any time. The lack of permanent partners wasn't all to do with the antisocial hours.

After a few minutes, Bodie stood up. "Still, she's got her sister. Deb'll look after her."

"Yeah. You want to stop the night?"

"Nah. Prefer my own bed to your sofa any night. I'll pick you up about 8.30; we'll hit Portsmouth by 10, grab a ferry, and get stuck into Catrell..."

"Sir?" Doyle stuck his head around Cowley's door but the office was empty. He headed for Betty's office. "Where's the Old Man?"

"Mr Cowley," Betty told him pointedly, "has gone to see Lisa Wakeman."

"He'll enjoy that." Doyle grinned. "We'll be in the Lounge if you want us."

"Now, why should I want you two, a pair of jumped-up schoolboys?"

Doyle blew her a kiss. "But you love us really."

Betty sighed. "Oh, go away. But don't get too comfy. I'm expecting Mr Cowley back any minute."

Chuckling to himself, Doyle headed for the VIP Lounge, delighted to see that Bodie had made the coffee. "Cowley's gone to see Wakeman. Wonder if he'll get anything out of her."

"Probably as much as Catrell told us. Big fat zero." He handed Doyle a mug, and cleared some papers to stretch out on the sofa. "We haven't got to write a report for this morning? Complete waste of time."

"I'll do it. Won't take long; we don't have much to put in it."

Bodie was dozing, and Doyle had only just finished when Betty came looking for them. "Mr Cowley's back." She glanced at Bodie. "Better wake Rip Van Winkle."

"Oi." Bodie spoke without opening his eyes. "I 'eard that..."

Betty winked at Doyle, tossing a comment back over her shoulder as she left. "You were supposed to..."

"Catrell told you nothing?"

Bodie leaned wearily against the edge of the desk. "Oh, he had plenty to say for himself. Just nothing of any interest to us."

"We don't think he's involved, sir," Doyle reluctantly admitted. "He made a lot of noises about you, and what he'd do to CI5 when he got out. But we didn't tell him why we were there, and we couldn't detect anything in his manner or what he said that indicated he knew."

"What about Wakeman?"

"Lisa Wakeman refused to talk to me." Cowley clearly didn't like being ignored. "She declared she wouldn't see me, and when she was brought to the interview room anyway, she sat without speaking. I questioned her, but there was no reaction to anything I said."

There was a pause, while all three considered the position. "What do we try next?" Doyle asked finally.

"D'you know, I keep coming back to what Marty said," Bodie commented. "When we said we thought the terrorists were responsible, he said that the murderers' method made it unlikely. I'm beginning to think he might be right."

He warmed to his theme. "Look, Anderson was killed first. Whoever nailed him to that wall wanted him to suffer before he died. Like it was personal, revenge for something? We should take another, closer look at his cases - and maybe his private life."

"Where does Connors' death fit in, though?" Doyle found it hard to believe Anderson had been hiding anything. "Was that revenge as well? And if it was, why was his death so - ordinary?" That wasn't quite what he meant, but a hit and run didn't compare to the cold-blooded elimination of Anderson.

Bodie shrugged. "Dunno. Perhaps he'd been lined up for some of the same, but hadn't been home, or gone out, and they couldn't wait. Maybe he just knew something he shouldn't."

"Back to the files. The answer has to be there somewhere." Cowley watched them leave the office, a worried frown on his face. There hadn't been attacks on any of the other agents in the last three days; a fact that seemed to support the theory that there was only a connection to Anderson and Connors. Unless the killer was just biding their time...

"Ray, come in!" Lynne was pleased to see him.

They'd spent the afternoon checking the files again and still nothing. Bodie had disappeared early; it was Friday night and he had a date lined up. Doyle had worked on for another hour before coming to the conclusion that he was getting nowhere. The decision to call on Lynne again had been spontaneous; generated by the thought of returning to his empty flat alone.

"I've just boiled the kettle; can I get you a drink? Deb's not home from work yet, but she shouldn't be long."

"Coffee would be great." Doyle followed Lynne into the small kitchen, noting with approval the positive movements. "White, no sugar."

"Just like..." her voice trailed away, and Lynne paused, before completing the sentence. "Just like Rick used to take it."

Doyle gave her arm a light, encouraging squeeze, and she managed a smile. "I'll be OK, because that's what Rick would want. He worried about me, because he was strong and I'm not. But I'll get through this." Handing him the mug of coffee, she led the way into the lounge, still talking.

"I'm going to have to be strong for our child." She ran a hand over her still-flat stomach. "It's all I've got left, and I'm going to take good care of that remaining piece of Rick. I owe it to him."

"And I'll be here to take care of you both." Neither of them had heard Deborah come in, and Lynne greeted her statement with a smile. "I know you will. You've always looked after me."

She turned to include Doyle in her smile. "She looks after me too well. Deb thinks I should give up my job to concentrate on the baby. But I called them today, and I'm going back next week, after - after the funeral."

Deborah didn't look too happy, and sensing a power struggle going on, Doyle kept his comment general. "That's good. As long as you're ready."

Lynne nodded, then asked the question Doyle had been hoping to avoid. "Do you know - have you found out who did it...?"

He hated having to let her down. "Not yet. We've been chasing up some leads, but so far there's nothing. But we've plenty more things left to try. We will get them, Lynne. Believe me. You'll see Rick's murderer in court."

As he drove away, Doyle felt relieved to be leaving. He couldn't pinpoint it, but there was something slightly claustrophobic about the way Deborah looked after Lynne. He'd known a few sisters but none as close as those two...

Following his highly successful date Bodie was suffering from a hangover and lack of sleep, and didn't raise any objections to another morning poring over the files, although Doyle had his doubts about how closely his partner scrutinised the paperwork.

By midday, now recovering and getting bored, Bodie was keen to get out. "We've found nothing in here. What if it's something to do with Anderson's past? We've not even started looking at that yet."

Doyle shut the file he was reading for the third time. "I'm starting to think you might be right. I can't see anything else in our files. He came from one of the provincial forces, didn't he?"

"Yeah. A yokel from Kent."

"Wonder if Cowley's checked out those files yet?" Doyle mused.

"Ray!" Having grabbed his partner's attention, Bodie attempted to reason with him. "I'm trying to get us out of here. Away from the files? Into the fresh air? Come on, take pity on me..."

"It would get us out of here. It'd make a nice drive into the country. C'mon, I'll find out exactly where he was based and let Betty know where we're going, and you get the car. Meet you downstairs."

The trip to Maidstone took under an hour; Doyle had asked Betty to phone a request ahead that they be given access to the files, and they were met on arrival by the desk sergeant.

"John Dale," he introduced himself. "I worked with Gerry all the time he was here."

The partners were baffled. "Gerry? You mean Rick."

"Yeah, sorry. Gerry was his nickname; came all the way through training with it, and it stuck." Seeing from their faces that they still didn't understand, Dale added, "Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet? All those weird puppet shows for kids?"

Gerry Anderson, of course. Bodie nudged Doyle. "We missed an angle there."

"Anyway, of course you can look at the files, but it'll probably be quicker if you ask me what you need to know."

"You've heard what happened to Rick? We've checked out the most likely possibilities to do with his CI5 cases, and thought we'd better track back a bit further. Is there anyone you can think of, that might have had a personal vengeance against him?"

Dale led the way into the small police canteen. "There could be several. Just because we're not in London doesn't mean we don't get our fair share of nutters and villains." He ordered them coffees, and they moved to a table.

Stirring three sugars into his coffee, Dale sat in silence for a couple of minutes. "Well, two names spring to mind. First is Kennedy; Alf Kennedy. He was running some fairly heavy protection rackets, here in Maidstone and as far north as Chatham and Gravesend. CID weren't able to pin anything on him, so they sent Anderson in undercover. He got quite close to Kennedy and collected enough evidence to get Kennedy sent down. As far as I know he's still locked up, though."

Doyle was jotting down notes. "We can check things like that. Who's the other name?"

"Pearce. Eddie Pearce. Small time thug, and well-known local nutter. He doesn't exactly get on with the police. Not long before Anderson transferred to your mob, he arrested Pearce after a pub brawl, and with the cumulative effect of previous convictions and the fact that one of his victims ended up in a coma, we charged Pearce with GBH and he went down. I wouldn't credit Pearce with the sense to have good behaviour, but if he has managed it, he could be out by now."

Dale sipped his cooling coffee. "Both of them vowed vengeance on Anderson from the dock. There are probably others, but those are the only two I think are capable of killing that way. Kennedy because he runs a crowd of thugs, and Pearce because he's crazy enough to think he'd get away with it."

"Crazy, or organised? Which do you think?"

Doyle slid into the car and lifted the R/T. "Let's find out who had the opportunity. 4.5 to Control."

Bodie tapped impatiently on the steering wheel as Doyle passed the names and information to Betty so that she could check the prison records. It took her only 15 minutes. "They were both jailed at Maidstone, Ray. Kennedy is still doing time, but Pearce was released on parole five weeks ago."

"Do we have an address for Pearce?"

"Flat Three, 59 Kingsley Road. But it's unlikely he'll be there. He broke parole; hasn't reported in for the last three weeks."

"We'll check them out anyway. 4.5 out." Bodie had already started the car, and Doyle wound down the window to call to a constable. "Kingsley Road - which way?"

It was after six when the partners tapped on Cowley's door. "Ah, good, come in. Betty said you were following up some leads - anything interesting?"

"We interviewed Kennedy at the prison; he wanted Anderson dead, but he would have waited until he could be there. His need for revenge was too personal to let others do it. And Pearce has done a vanishing act; he hasn't been seen at his flat or in the area for nearly three weeks. There's already a warrant out for his arrest."

"Gut reactions?"

The partners exchanged a glance; they'd already discussed this, and Doyle gestured for Bodie to reply. "Pearce is a possible. It still doesn't feel entirely right though. Pearce has motive, and possibly opportunity, to kill Anderson. But why Connors?"

"You said it yourself, Bodie. Maybe he just saw or knew something he shouldn't." Cowley flicked over the papers on his desk. "You know the funerals are on Monday? I'd like both of you to go."

"You're not going, sir?" Doyle was surprised. Cowley rarely let his team down.

He grimaced. "Budget meetings with the Ministerial team. Unavoidable. I've spoken to Anderson's parents, and arranged to go and see them later in the week. So you will be our official representation. And I've given Susan permission to attend; she can travel with you."

They nodded, exchanging another glance. Cowley obviously had known about Susan and Connors. "There's not much that I miss," their boss added, also proving adept at reading their own brand of telepathy. "You've put out a watch for Pearce? Well, call it a day for now. Take a break, and I'll see you both in the morning."

As usual, Bodie had suggested a drink, which had turned into several, and it was nearing ten before he dropped Doyle at his flat.

Flicking the lightswitches at the front door as he let himself in, Doyle realised that the light on the ground floor wasn't working; the bulb had probably blown. Making a mental note to mention it to the landlord if it wasn't fixed quickly, he made his way towards the stairs, and the light from the upper landing.

Mind running idly on, it was as he reached the last step that he suddenly heard the harsh rustle of material, and glanced back to see a dark shape near the front door, arms outstretched in classic aiming pose... Instinct threw Doyle onwards and down, and he heard two shots crash into the wall behind where he'd been standing. Hauling on his own gun, hearing the door bang open below, Doyle leapt to his feet and sprinted down the stairs in pursuit of his assailant...

Outside, the street was quiet, empty. Pausing at the gateway, Doyle listened. There were no sounds of feet running, or cars revving away. Whoever it was, they had to be hiding; and were probably watching him.

Feeling horribly exposed, Doyle reached for his R/T. Bodie wouldn't have got far; he'd call his partner back, and they could scour the area together.

His plan was ruined as a police car screeched around the corner, sirens and lights going, and the deserted street came swiftly to life as neighbours emerged to see what was happening. Sighing, Doyle slid his Walther away and reached for his ID instead. The attacker would have no problem getting away now...

"Tell you what," Bodie watched the forensic man digging the bullets out of the plaster, "bet you a fiver they were fired from Anderson's gun."

"That's one bet I'm not making." Doyle was still trying to piece things together, and unlikely though it seemed he was sure there had to be a connection to the murders.

Cowley, when he arrived, agreed. "You didn't see who it was?"

"I've no idea. It's pitch black down there without the light; I'd been looking upwards and I only got a glimpse, my eyes didn't adjust fast enough. But there's no doubt he'd been lying in wait for me; the lightbulb had been taken out."

"Could it have been Pearce? No one saw anything outside?"

"Once the local car turned up, there were too many people around. And they don't know each other; it's not that sort of street. Strangers wouldn't stand out."

"How would Pearce know about Doyle though? Or know where he lived? It just doesn't make sense, unless he'd seen us this afternoon, and followed us ever since - and there's no way that could've happened. We'd have spotted him." Bodie shook his head. "It's not Pearce. It's got to be someone else; someone closer to home."

Doyle was nodding. "Bodie's right. I didn't see enough for a positive identification, but from the description we have of Pearce, he's nearly six foot. Whoever it was, wasn't that tall."

They followed Cowley to the bottom of the stairs. Bodie paused, looking up to the landing. "You know something else? I don't think we're looking for a marksman. Look at the angle. The first shot was aimed at you, would probably have given you a neat parting if you hadn't ducked. But the second - it's way off, high and to the right."

"Almost as if the force of the first shot took them by surprise, and they jerked the gun and fired a second by mistake? It's possible."

"You two get back on the files tomorrow." Cowley ignored the simultaneous groans. "You said it, Bodie, it's closer to home. Someone wanted Anderson, Connors, and now Doyle, dead. I'll reinforce the general alert - you keep your eyes open."

He turned and swept out of the building, leaving the partners alone. Doyle glanced back up the stairs to where the forensics man was just tidying up his equipment. "Well, this place is clear - do you think we should check your flat, in case there are any nasty surprises lurking for you?"

"Got a better idea. I'll sleep on your sofa. If they're waiting at my place it'll be a long, cold wait; if they come back here, there'll be two of us to handle it."

"You're on." Doyle started back up the stairs, then paused. "Just one snag - the fridge is empty..."

They solved the problem of breakfast by eating out, and made good time into HQ through the deserted Sunday-morning streets.

Early as they were, Susan was already in the fileroom. "How about I get the coffee?" Bodie immediately vanished without waiting for an answer.

Doyle grinned. "Anything to get out of reading files." Susan nodded absently, and shoved a pile of papers towards him. "Mr Cowley asked me to check the cases again, looking for anything you had a connection with. So far, it's a blank."

"We don't know there is a connection." Doyle flicked open the first file. "I checked this one yesterday. I couldn't see anything then."

"That was before someone took a shot at you, sunshine." Bodie nudged the door open, somehow managing not to spill hot liquid from any of the three cups he was carrying. "That changes things."

"It doesn't make it any easier to figure out what's going on, that's for sure. I don't think any of the cases where we've been teamed with Anderson and Connors could have any bearing on this - there've been too few of them. So why me? Why not some of the others who have worked closely with them?" He was struck by a nasty thought. "No one's been after you, Sue?"

She shook her head, a slightly bitter smile touching her lips. "Why do you think Mr Cowley has me shut up in here?"

"I did warn you not to volunteer," Bodie offered. Susan gave him a disillusioned glare. Doyle shot him a glare of his own, from which Bodie had no trouble realising he'd put his foot in it again.

"The Old Man said you're going to the funerals tomorrow?" Doyle asked the question sympathetically, but Susan's head shot up, her response defensive.

"Why shouldn't I? Simon didn't have any family, that's why Mr Cowley has arranged for him to be buried at Maidstone as well..."

"Hey, it was just a question. He's asked us to attend, I was just going to suggest we picked you up in the morning."

"Oh god. Sorry." She managed a twisted smile. "I just - miss him..."

And couldn't show it. Bodie squeezed her shoulder. "s'OK, sweetheart." Their mute sympathy was more than she could bear, and Susan brushed away the sudden tears and dropped her head back to the file.

Pushing a handful of files at Bodie, Doyle flipped open the next buff cover.

It was a sombre trip the following morning. Soberly dressed in dark suits, with Susan in the car the partners had to temper the black humour that would usually have been flying between them. In itself, that put more of a strain on them than a funeral, even of colleagues, normally would. Inappropriate though the humour usually was, it helped deflect the depression that would threaten to swamp them, particularly Doyle.

Susan was silent, and they left her alone with her thoughts, passing only a few desultory comments between them. They'd scanned the files the previous day until their eyes crossed; nothing. Bodie harked back to it again. "We're missing something. It's got to be something right under our noses."

"Yeah." If Bodie had said it once, he'd said it a hundred times. But without any other leads, Doyle was fast coming to agree with him. "Let's hope we get lucky and fall over it, then."

The cemetery was to the south of Maidstone; Bodie pulled into the secluded car park and followed a cream Allegro into a lined bay. Deborah emerged from the driving seat, barely acknowledging them as she led Lynne towards the small chapel.

The partners followed, Doyle noticing with a glimmer of amusement that for all Bodie's apparent insensitivity to Susan's feelings, he was walking with an arm protectively around her shoulders. More surprising, given her usual fierce independence, was the fact that Susan was accepting the comfort.

At the chapel entrance they could see Sergeant Dale, speaking with a couple who had to be Anderson's parents. Deborah and Lynne scarcely paused to greet them, the elder sister urging the younger into the shadowed recesses. The Andersons followed them, while Dale waited for the partners.

"Thought you might be here," Doyle commented.

"Official representation. And he was a good mate." Dale gestured towards the chapel. "His parents are devastated."

"Not surprised." They continued the drift towards the door, the oppressive mood within subduing any further conversation.

There were only eight mourners present but the intensity of grief was almost generating a form of electricity.

Standing at the double graveside, letting the cleric's words wash over them, the partners paid their own respects to Anderson and Connors. Holding Susan close, giving her physical as well as moral support, Bodie found himself more affected than he normally was by funerals.

It was a disparate group of people who eventually moved away to the path; only the loss providing any link between them. Anderson's parents turned to speak to Lynne; his mother obviously making an effort. "We're sorry, my dear. I know Richard loved you so much. I hope you'll stay in touch with us, come and see us..."

Still sniffing, Lynne nodded. "I will. I'll bring the baby to see you."

"Baby?" Everyone could see that was news to Anderson's parents.

"Yes." Deborah spoke smoothly into the pause. "Lynne is carrying Rick's baby. She's only just had it confirmed."

Mrs Anderson began to weep again. "Then we haven't lost him completely..."

As the gathering dispersed, Doyle looked over Susan's head to Bodie. "Pub?"

"Pub." Generally able to shrug off the gloom of funerals, this one had got to Bodie, and a drink would definitely help.

Leaving the Capri where it was, they walked the short distance to the quiet, just open and consequently deserted, pub. Doyle went to the bar, returning with three glasses of scotch. Setting them down, he lifted one in a macabre toast. "Rick and Simon."

Bodie lifted his glass, and after a moment's hesitation, Susan followed suit; clinking her glass lightly to the others. They drank, and Bodie squeezed her free hand. "He's only lost if you forget him."

Seeing her tears threatening again, Doyle diverted the conversation. "I was surprised that Lynne hadn't called Anderson's parents about the baby. Did you notice Deb's face when Lynne suddenly blurted it out?"

Bodie nodded. "She didn't look too pleased. Maybe she thinks they'll try and take over; you said yourself she's protective of Lynne."

"It's more than that."


"I said, it's a bit more than that." Susan repeated herself patiently. "From what I heard, Deb was still hung up on Rick, even when Lynne moved in with him, she'd keep going round. Rick had discussed it with Simon; he told me."

She took a large gulp of her drink, perhaps relieved that she could talk about Simon. "Rick asked Simon to go on a foursome with them, in the hope that Deb would get the message, but Simon said she wasn't interested in anyone else. It was all very friendly, but he could see what Rick meant - Deb wouldn't leave him alone with Lynne. It was getting to Rick, but he didn't know what he could do. Apparently Lynne couldn't see it at all - she's always relied on her sister for everything, since their parents died."

Draining the glass, Susan stood up. "I want to go over there, on my own, just for a few minutes."

They watched her go. "She'll be OK," Bodie said. "Want another?"

Cowley had put them onto stand-by for the afternoon, and after dropping Susan off, Doyle lifted the R/T to call in. Betty had some information for them. "We've just received confirmation from the Manchester Police that Eddie Pearce was positively identified from a security tape during a building society robbery last Tuesday. There's no way he could've been in London."

"That rules him out, then."

"And we've had the ballistics report back; whoever shot at you, Ray, was definitely using Anderson's weapon."

"OK, thanks Betty. We'll see you tomorrow." He replaced the R/T, and glanced at Bodie. "So we're still looking. I almost wish they'd try again. Maybe we could catch them red-handed."

"I always knew you'd lose it one day." Bodie grinned at him. "You actually want someone to come gunning for you..."

The R/T bleeped, and Betty interrupted them. "Ray, there's a phone call coming in. A Mrs Leeson, she says it's important."

"Patch her through, Betty."

"Mr Doyle? I think you should come straight away. I've seen him, the driver."

Bodie was already swinging the car around. "Where are you?"

"In a phone box in Lyndhurst Grove. I spotted him going into The Bickleigh."

"Stay put. We're on our way..."

"Along here... there's the car park." Following Doyle's directions, Bodie stopped sharply outside the pub, and they got out, looking around. Bodie pointed. "Phone box, over there."

Sure enough, Mrs Leeson was waiting for them on the blind side. "Are you sure it was him?" She frowned at Bodie. "Oh, it was him. I told you I'd know him again. He went in there with three others, all about his age."

Doyle took her arm. "OK. Right, what we'll do is all go in for a drink. While we're there, you look round, and point him out to us. Then either we'll wait until he comes out, or call in some reinforcements to help pick him up. Either way, once you've pointed him out, I want you to go home and stay there." They started towards the pub, but Mrs Leeson stopped as the door opened and a youth emerged. "That's him."

Perhaps because of their respectable attire, the youth didn't recognise them as trouble until it was too late. A glimpse of Bodie's Browning convinced him not to make a fuss, and they bundled him swiftly into the car...

"We already know you did it. Doesn't matter how long it takes, we'll find out why." They needed a break, and with final, menacing glares, they left him to his own imagination.

After establishing his name, the partners had begun to lean on Tom Prescott. Tucked away in one of the dingier interrogation rooms, out of sight and sound of any possible assistance, Prescott had swiftly exchanged 'knowing nothing' for a confession of being the hit-and-run driver. But that was it; so far they'd been unable to crack him further. For the last hour and a half, Prescott had repeated his accident story.

Cowley joined them in the corridor. "Well?"

"Maintains it was an accident. He showed no recognition of Connors' name."

"There's no possibility it was a genuine accident?" Cowley asked the question thoughtfully, but received a simultaneous negative from his men.

"Not a chance. He's exactly the sort someone would use to line up an anonymous hit; he's got an assault record as long as your arm. He's guilty." Doyle slammed a fist into the wall. "We can do him for the hit and run, but proving it was murder..."

"There must be something we can do. We haven't tackled him about Anderson yet." Bodie had followed his partner's lead in the questioning, but it wasn't getting them anywhere, and he was in favour of stepping up the intensity of their approach.

"Even if we manage to prove anything against him, we still won't know who's behind it. He must've been well paid, to protect whoever hired him." Cowley frowned. "There had to be more than just the one - it would've taken at least two of them to deal with Anderson. Keep on at him. I'll check out his record, and known associates."

Prescott eyed them warily as the door closed behind them. "When do I get to call my lawyer?"

"You don't get it, do you?" Bodie paced slowly round behind Prescott's chair. "You don't get a lawyer. You don't get out of here. You don't get anything, until we say so." He placed a hand gently on Prescott's shoulder, and the man jumped as the squeeze became a tight grip. "Now, when you start helping us, maybe we'll consider listening to some of your requests."

"It was an accident."

"Tell us again." Doyle was using the police method of interrogation, hoping that repetition would cause Prescott to slip up and give something away.

"This guy stepped out in front of me, I didn't stand a chance of missing him. The car was nicked, so I drove off and dumped it."

The same as he'd said a dozen times before. It was all too perfect, he had the words off pat. Doyle left it, and changed tack. "Where were you at eight o'clock that morning?"

"Which morning?"

"Last Tuesday morning. The morning of the day you stole a car, and killed someone." Still behind Prescott, his voice betrayed that Bodie was fast running out of patience.

"Oh, that morning. What time, did you say?"


"Eight. In the morning? I'm never up much before ten. Last Tuesday..." Prescott considered. "I was at a club Monday night. Didn't get home until five, I'd've been at home, in bed."

"Anyone with you who could verify that?"

"Gave my girl the push. I was alone."

"Know anyone called Richard Anderson?"

It didn't throw him, there was no reaction to Doyle's question. "Anderson? I know a lot of people, but I don't think I know him. Should I?"

Cocky bastard; he had to be laughing at them. Bodie moved around to face him. "D'you enjoy DIY?"

The abrupt change of subject caught him. "Eh?"

"DIY. You know, painting, decorating, fixing things up?"

Apparently baffled, Prescott shook his head. "Nah. Never been much good at that sort of stuff. Leave it those who know what they're doing."

"Doesn't take much skill to bang in a few nails..." This time, there was a shift, a reaction, but it was fleeting, gone before the partners could pounce.

"Maybe not." Prescott's voice was smooth. "Why, thinking of offering me a job...?"

Checking in the following morning, Doyle found Bodie already in the Lounge. "You're in early."

Bodie splashed milk into the mug of coffee he'd just made. "I thought I'd have another go at Prescott. He just needs softening up a little..."

"We'll see if Cowley came up with anything first. He might've found us a lever, something to hit him with - metaphorically, of course..."

"Oh, of course..." Bodie grinned, maliciously.

Cowley met them at the door to the Lounge, looking grim. "Let's get back to questioning Prescott." Puzzled, the partners followed the boss downstairs.

Cowley took a seat at the table, opposite Prescott; keen to watch their suspect's reactions, Bodie and Doyle stationed themselves slightly behind Cowley's chair. "Mr Prescott, my men have searched your flat. We have found an envelope containing five thousand pounds hidden behind a bookcase. Can you explain to us where it came from?"

Prescott shrugged. "Savings. I get paid in cash, mostly."

"That's a lot of money to keep lying around."

"That's why it was hidden behind the bookcase..."

Bodie shifted impatiently from foot to foot. Verbal fencing. He glanced at Doyle. They should persuade Cowley to leave them to it; he'd soon convince Prescott to tell them the truth.

"What do you get paid for?"

"Bit of this and that."

"Bit of GBH, persuading, debt-collecting..." Doyle added. Cowley ignored him.

"How much did you get paid last Tuesday?" He didn't give Prescott a chance to reply. "I'm very interested, Mr Prescott. How much do you charge for wielding a hammer, in order to bang four-inch long masonry nails through someone's wrists?"

Silence. Unbroken for several seconds, while Prescott held Cowley's intense gaze, lulled by the apparent stillness of the two standing men. "Dunno what you're talking about..."

"We have the hammer, found in your car, with your fingerprints and traces of blood on it..."

Cowley got no further. Bodie had pounced, seizing Prescott by the neck of his shirt and lifting, slamming him back against the wall, holding him there, choking him. "You bastard..." Doyle was beside him, for once making no attempt to restrain his partner.

"Lads..." At Cowley's quiet voice of reason, Bodie relaxed his grip and let Prescott slide down, though still holding him against the wall. "I'm sure Mr Prescott will want to help us - if you let him speak."

He moved closer. "Well, Mr Prescott? Who paid you? Who wanted Anderson and Connors dead?"

Clearing his throat, Prescott smiled, slowly. "No idea... She didn't give me a name..."

Doyle was pacing. "Who is she?"

They were in Cowley's office; Bodie was simply standing, in contrast to Doyle's furious pacing, his own anger was restrained, held tightly in check. "Someone from Anderson's past. Got to be - jilted girlfriend..."

Doyle had no chance to reply as Susan burst in without knocking. "Mr Cowley..." As she put a file on his desk, they had no difficulty in reading the distress on her face. "I was clearing out their lockers... I found this in Rick's."

"What is it, Sue?" Doyle flicked open the file, scanning the all-too-familiar police report, taking in the pertinent details. Dated 1968, reporting on a house-fire, family name of Moss, two adults died, two teenagers survived... "What is this? Why would Rick have a police report from twelve-odd years ago?"

"Moss, Ray." Susan pointed out the surname to him. "Lynne and Deborah. This is the report on the fire which killed their parents."

Bodie's brow was furrowed. "But why...?"

"There's a letter too, from an inspector who originally worked on the case. He says - off the record - that he'd always believed it was arson, not an accident."

"That was years ago - what's it got to do with Anderson?" Bodie still didn't understand.

Doyle was catching on, and twitched the letter from Susan's fingers. "'No evidence, but always thought the eldest girl was involved...'. Deborah? He thinks Deborah killed her parents?"

Bodie continued the thought. "And if she's capable of killing her parents..."

They rang the bell. The flat seemed quiet, empty. "Both out?" Bodie was getting ready to pick the lock when they heard footsteps behind them, and Lynne appeared, with a supermarket carrier.

"Hello. I didn't expect to see you two." Producing her key she opened the door leaving them to follow. "Deb's here, but she's probably on the phone."

Inside, Deborah was just putting the handset down. Her smile welcoming Lynne back faded slightly as she caught sight of the partners, and she retreated onto the balcony where she'd obviously been working.

Lynne tossed her coat over the sofa and picked up the carrier again. "I'll put the kettle on."

The partners barely acknowledged her, moving to the doorway to the balcony. Deborah was back against the railing, facing them. "You know, don't you."

Doyle nodded, and took another step forward. Deborah slipped a gun - Anderson's gun - from her bag on the bench. "No, stay there. I've used this before."

"Deb - "

"I suppose you want to know why?" Without taking her eyes off them, she scrambled backwards up onto the edge of the railing, her face dark. "It's quite simple. As if it wasn't bad enough that he led me on, and then decided that he preferred Lynne... He was taking Lynne away from me. He had her under his spell, you see. He would tell her, and I would lose her."

"Tell Lynne what?"

"Rick came to see me. He wanted me to let Lynne go - those were his words. 'Let her go'. He didn't seem to understand the bond we have. I tried to explain it to him, that we couldn't be separated, that I wouldn't allow anything to come between us. I told him that even our parents couldn't split us up..."

Inside, Lynne had emerged from the kitchen, and was listening...

"I said too much. He went then, but when he came back, he said he'd got the file and knew everything. And he told me that Lynne was having their baby, and he'd be taking her away, and that I wouldn't see her. And if I tried, he would tell her the truth about the fire..."

Lynne tried to push past Bodie, who held her away. "The truth? Deb, what are you talking about?"

"I couldn't let him do that, Lynne. I couldn't let him come between us..."

"How did you do it, Deb?" Doyle slid forward half a pace. He could see quite clearly the mania in her eyes; if she didn't try to kill them, she would kill herself.

"I work in a solicitor's office. It was easy to find the address of someone to help... Poor, dear Rick, he didn't suspect a thing when he saw me at the door. So easy."

"And Connors? What did he do to you?"

"He saw me leaving the building. Rick had left his jacket in the car, and Simon was dropping it off. I told him there was no one in, and he left, but I realised that once Rick was found, Simon would remember seeing me..."

"You did it, Deb? You killed them?"

"I'm sorry, Lynnie. I was just trying to look after you, just like I've always done. But I suppose you don't need me anymore..."

Her movement was swift. Flicking the weapon at Doyle, the only one close enough to make a grab for her, Deborah leant backwards, and was gone...


© Carol Good - April 2001

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