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Bodie had left without a word. Just left, no note, no verbal message, nothing. Doyle couldn't understand it. Their partnership had sometimes been split up when one of them had had to go undercover or help out another team like when Jax had been injured but never without a word.

Of course like any other mates, they'd had their disagreements; over their respective football teams or a girl, which had resulted in one of them storming out of the flat for an hour or two but then coming back mumbling an apology.

He'd never known what partners did when their other half left but now he was beginning to. He'd gone to Cowley to try to find out what was happening but Cowley had just told him to take two weeks off and wouldn't be drawn on Bodie's whereabouts. That worried him because normally trying to get leave from him, however well deserved, was like pulling teeth.

He'd made good use of the time, getting up to date with the laundry, cleaning the flat, catching up with his reading, tinkering with the bike, buying some new albums and playing them at full blast in the empty flat but it wasn't the same.

He couldn't avoid noticing the men tailing him; not very well, he thought. He'd gone up to them and challenged them but they'd just stood there, silent and still as statues and then disappeared. Cowley had denied having anything to do with it but he had his suspicions.

When he'd got back to work Cowley told him he wouldn't have another partner, so he'd been Coxing and Boxing with Jax, Lucas and McCabe. Sometimes he thought he heard Bodie joining in but that was impossible because he'd left, hadn't he? The background buzzing didn't help either. Then Macklin had joined in, telling him what he thought about his level of fitness and Anson kept smoking his awful cheroots which made him cough and then suddenly he couldn't breathe.

Then he felt someone touch his arm and say, "Ray, come on sunshine, breathe slowly."

It couldn't be Bodie, he'd left.

"You're back then. You took a bullet to the arm and you've been pretty much out of it ever since, what with the fever and everything. You were talking about me disappearing, asking Cowley where I was. I never left."

"No, laddie, he's been by your side ever since you were injured. He certainly never left you."