Slightly the worse for wear, they'd stumbled untidily from the taxi that Cowley had put them in at the Red Lion at closing time. For all his intent of getting his money back, Cowley had been buying the drinks fairly liberally all evening.
Bodie had no reason not to get drunk. Signed off on sick leave for another two weeks, just when his hand was getting better. Not that he wouldn't do it all again.
And Doyle, well, his partner had unwound enough to get drunk as well. And Bodie knew the reason for that; had seen it before. It was the reaction to relief; relief that they'd got there in time, that his partner was alive.
When he'd brought out his keys on the stairs, Doyle had taken them off him. "Better let me. Spend all night fumblin' with them hands, you would ..." Even then, it had taken Doyle three attempts to get the key into the lock, causing Bodie no little amusement. "Thought you said ..."
"s'not me hands. Door keeps moving ..." Finally the key slid into the barrel and Doyle opened the door with a flourish, which movement nearly unbalanced him and he grabbed at Bodie to prevent himself falling over.
Laughing, Bodie had slumped into the armchair. "Fetch's 'nother drink, mate?" Already heading for the bottles, Doyle laughed again. "Can't hold your drink, you can't." The pun seemed hilarious to him, and Doyle repeated it for Bodie's benefit. "Your hands - can't hold your drink ..."
"Yeah, yeah, I get it." Bodie took the offered glass awkwardly in his left hand, and stared gloomily at the bandages. "'nother two weeks ..."
"Soon pass. Hey, maybe Julia will get some more time off?"
Bodie cast a sour glare at his grinning partner. "And you think I should ask her out again? After what happened today? Be lucky if she ever speaks to me again."
"Won't be that bad." Doyle sounded sleepy.
"Dunno, Ray. Julia said that I was the same as Myer. Both violent ... y'know, it makes me wonder - why do we do it?
I mean, Myer said I was stupid to be a hero - a dead hero, he said. All I knew was that I was responsible for those people; the Vicar, Sara and Julia. And all I could think was that you were coming. You had to be. I had to keep them going until then.
Then the Vicar was killed, and for some reason that seemed to strengthen the girls. Myer was trying to wear them down; they didn't understand his politics, but death - the Vicar's death - they understood that. They wanted justice ...
But you were such a long time coming - that's what Sara said. And you were. And when they drove us up into the attic rooms was when it got really hard.
They started asking me 'Why'. Why couldn't we hand Myer over? If they were going to die, why? And I couldn't tell them. Not really. I came out with something about stopping Myer and his kind, not liking to lose - I even came out with something about Cowley - but it all came down to me in the end - I was the one holding the gun.
And that's when Julia said I was the same as Myer, violent. I told her it was the job - but the arguments suddenly didn't make a whole lot of sense, it didn't seem right that people like her and Sara might die.
Then I saw Cowley's car, and knew we had just one last chance. So I fired those shots, but had no idea whether I hit the car or not ... there was no way you'd hear them - not a chance ...
I tried to reassure the girls, but I was really beginning to think my number was up, that this was it ... and then Myer kicked me down. I've stared death in the face a few times, but all I could think of as I stared at Inge was that it wasn't fair that Julia and Sara had to die ...
Then Julia had my gun and was screaming at Inge - I wonder whether she would've done it - pulled the trigger? Somehow, I'm glad she didn't have to.
I don't know when I've been so pleased to see your ugly mug. But I'm glad you were there, sunshine, watching my back ..."
Doyle gave a gentle snore, and Bodie peered at the still form on the sofa, before levering himself to his feet to fetch a blanket to throw haphazardly over his slumbering partner.
Making his way unsteadily to the bedroom door, Bodie paused as he turned the light off, smiling back at Doyle. "... just like always..."