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


Fade away

The trees rustled above his head, a few leaves fluttering loose from their branches and swirling gently down past the bench where he sat.

It was late September. The leaves were just turning that gorgeous reddish-gold colour, and Doyle dropped his head back to stare up at the splendid array, sun shining and glinting through the foliage. Beyond the trees, the sky was blue; it had all the appearance of a fine day but it was cold, the first bitter chills of winter wouldn't be long in following.

Bringing his head back down, Doyle slowly took in the vista around him. The park wasn't busy; it was the wrong time of day and year to be crowded, but a few solitary figures were enjoying what was probably the end of that beautiful summer. An elderly couple were walking their dog; he responded to their murmured greeting with a half-smile, not wanting to get into conversation.

A bit further away a man in his thirties was playing football with a boy; his son, probably. As he saw the man caress the boy's head in affection, Doyle felt once again a chill of jealous regret; that he'd never had a son, or daughter; that things hadn't worked out with Lorna.

From the moment he met her, he'd known she was the one. Their hasty marriage had met with disbelief from everyone, particularly Bodie, but they'd been so sure of each other. But they'd met both too early, and too late. Too early, because he was still out in the field and she worried about him, and in his concern for her, he hadn't been able to share the things he needed to share. And too late, because they were both into their forties; too independent and unable to change, to adapt their lives - even for someone they loved.

And so they'd parted. Not in acrimony; just with a great sadness. It was nearly 10 years ago; at least Lorna was happy with someone else now. Doyle had never found - never sought - that sort of happiness again.

A teenager drifted past, wearing those trousers that made the younger generation look like rejects from the Army, which was the latest fashion. The headphones clamped to her head provided audible input from a personal CD player, and she was uninhibitedly singing along, not loudly, but sweetly…

"Autumn leaves are falling round us, time to gather all those many thoughts, of all the things that might have been, or gained at such a cost…"

Strangely, it was a song Doyle knew; which was something of an achievement for someone his age with the current music scene. But while passing through the large music store in search of something else the track had been playing, and it had drawn him to buy the CD.

"All the things that might have been." How many things might have been, if he'd left CI5 sooner, when he met Lorna? Or earlier? If he'd never joined at all? His whole life could've been completely different; children, maybe even grandchildren by now. Instead of this emptiness, loneliness…

"Gained at such a cost." It had been almost too high a cost. The job had nearly taken his life on more than one occasion; the very nature of the work leaving him distrustful of strangers, solitary…

The words flowed on through his head … "Those trees will tumble down, on a stormy day, and those leaves will fade away, fade away…"

Doyle caught sight of the figure he'd been waiting for; the tall man, hair now greying, yet still fit, striding towards him, and he stood up, glancing around him into the trees again.

The leaves might fade away, but nothing would change their friendship, the feeling of being whole with Bodie, his partner. There had to be a gain in life. This was it.


© Carol Good - April 2000


One of my favourite songs, which added to my inspiration for the story.

Autumn leaves are falling 'round us
Time to gather all those many thoughts
Of all the things that might have been
Or gained at such a cost

For some of us there's endless hoping
For some of us craziness too
Holding on to better reasons
Works for me and you, you know it's true

And when the stars are higher
Never play with fire
Leave it alone

I wandered through a country churchyard
And wondered what kind of life they led
Walked into a castle ruin
Of gentry that had fled

For some of them had endless hoping
Some of them crazy too
Holding on to better reasons
We'll never truly know

Those trees will tumble down
On a stormy day
And those leaves will fade away, fade away

The autumn leaves are falling 'round us
I'm here to gather all my many thoughts
Of all the things that might have been
As the ground has turned to frost

Leaves are falling ... autumn leaves are falling ...

© Clannad/C Brennan 1998
Lyrics reproduced without permission but with no intention to defraud