No Such Thing As an Easy Op


AUTHOR'S NOTE: In O'Yardley's We Three Kings (Unprofessional Conduct 8, Gryphon Press) a sheik with designs on Bodie says, "I have only to call in my servants, you know, and you will be given no choice in the matter." It's a throw away line in O'Yardley's tale, but I couldn't stop thinking about it. I apologize to her and to the reader for the similarity of the hotel set up.

Raymond Doyle stalked over to his closet, yanked open the door and glowered at the contents. A sodding jacket and tie. Not only had he lost the promise of the first free weekend in two months to a bloody minder's job, he had to wear a jacket and tie, too. If ever he'd wanted proof life was not fair. ...

He glanced wistfully at the jeans he'd hoped to pour himself into this morning. The pair with the blue patch resting against the back seam. He didn't wear them often, considering it a case of flaunting the obvious, but desperate times called for drastic measures. And he was a desperate man.

Six weeks! Six long, miserable weeks since he'd had it off with anything besides his own right hand. All because of his fool partner. Six weeks and one day ago, Doyle had been happily dating a pretty blonde nurse. The next day his partner had picked him up for work, greeting him with a sunny smile, and bam! it had hit him -- Bodie was beautiful.

Thoughts of screwing that beautiful body had swiftly followed; then, to his utter disgust, by the time they'd reached CI5 Headquarters, he'd also discovered he was in love. Of all the stupid, ridiculous, impossible, moronic. ...

Doyle sighed. Despite all hopes to the contrary, common sense had failed to assert itself, and, if anything, his feeling Bodie was the one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with had grown even stronger. As had the suspicion suffering from unrequited love was not his destined fate. He was ninety-nine percent certain Bodie wanted and loved him too, but the remaining one percent had kept him from acting.

Far better to drive Bodie mad with lust and let him pounce. Hence the jeans; but Cowley had buggered that plan. Doyle hated the way he looked in a suit! Was why he avoided the fucking things. Well, that and the ties. Choke a man to death, they could. Bloody difficult to look sexy when a bloke was certain each strained breath would be his last.

Showing what he considered an admirable amount of fortitude, Doyle managed to pull on the shirt, trousers, shoulder holster and jacket that made up his only decent pseudo-suit. As this job would last for three days, he'd thrown two more white shirts into his bag so he could rewear a clean version of today's gear each day. Had Cowley seen fit to sign off on the two-month-old expense chit covering the destruction of his other nice jacket, he could have put a little variety into things, but he did find it fitting the last time he'd worn this get up had been when he and Bodie had drawn guard duty for President Parsali. Though their current charge was from roughly the same part of the world, Mustafa Ali ibn Ibrahim did not require the same heavy security that Parsali had warranted. This one was nothing more than the spoiled third son of the second son of the emir of Kadyr. The bleeding country was oil rich, but so small it took a magnifying glass to find the damned thing. Mustafa wasn't by any stretch of the imagination in the running to one day rule the country, the danger to him being no more than that faced by any other member of the rich and obnoxious class.

Doyle picked up his tie, holding it by two fingers as if it were a snake that could bite him. This was bloody ridiculous, he thought, glaring at the offensive strip of cloth. CI5 shouldn't be pulling this job, so why the hell had Cowley agreed to the high-handed request the same men who had guarded Parsali look after this prat? Seemed like the perfect time for one of Cowley's infamous polite, but firm, no thank yous.

Instead, Doyle had to put this damned thing on when he should be strutting about in his most indecent pair of jeans. Bloody Cowley.

The sound of the door buzzer interrupted yet another lengthy rundown of his boss' failings as a human being. Draping the hated tie around his neck, he stalked over to the intercom, pushed the button, then snapped, "You're early."

"Good afternoon to you, too," Bodie answered in a disgustingly cheerful voice. "Thought it'd take me awhile to wrestle you into your fancy dress."

Now there was a thought. Only he wanted Bodie getting him out of his clothes, not into them. Have to do some serious work on the lad's sense of direction. "Get up here, you prat," Doyle said, pushing the door release button.

He got his own front door open as Bodie arrived on the second floor landing. His partner breezed past him, Doyle reset the locks and alarms, then turned to find himself alone in the entry way. Visions of his best bottle of scotch being raided sent him swiftly into the front room, only to find Bodie standing artfully in front of the window, well away from the cabinet where Doyle stored the booze.

Doyle's mouth went dry at the sight of him. It seemed he hadn't been the only one with the notion of driving a partner wild with sexy clothes. And this little op had played right into Bodie's sense of style. Dressed all in black -- shoes, trousers, silk shirt, tie and jacket -- he'd have looked devastating anywhere, but with the glow from the afternoon sun behind him, he was a walking fantasy come true. "Bastard," Doyle sighed, feeling weak with lust.

How the pillock managed the trick of looking both shy and conniving at the same time, Doyle didn't know, but Bodie did it as he walked towards Doyle. "See you managed the trousers and jacket without my help," he said, stopping only a few inches away. "Just need to fasten the bow on the package."

Slowly Doyle lifted his chin to allow Bodie to work on the tie. He tried to tell himself it was possible Bodie had not dressed to kill for his benefit. That he was about to make a miserable fool out of himself. But he opted not to listen. Instead, he leaned forward and gave Bodie a quick kiss on the nose.

The nose wrinkled, the mouth below it smiled, and Doyle scowled. "If we didn't have to go to work. ..."

Dark blue eyes regarded him. "What would you do, sunshine?" he asked, his voice calm, but the hands finishing up with Doyle's tie trembled ever so slightly. "Rip me knickers off?"

"And bend you over the back of the sofa."

Bodie's lips nuzzled his cheek. "Time enough to do that now."

"Oh, no. You don't get off that easily, you rotten pricktease," Doyle told him between a few nuzzles of his own. "When I finally get you all stripped off, I'm gonna eat you alive, then do it all over again."

"No quick tumble?"

"No quick tumble," Doyle confirmed. "Want to take my time with you."

Pleased was the only way to describe the look on Bodie's face and the tone of his voice. "Sounds kind of mushy, Ray."

"'s 'cause I feel kind of mushy about you." It wasn't quite a declaration of love, but it was as far as Doyle was prepared to go until they got the damned op out of the way.

Bodie gave him a quick kiss. "Me, too. Now go get your gear, and let's get this bloody job over with."

Grumbling all the way, Doyle obeyed.

Bodie dropped Doyle off at the Savoy to do a final security check, while he headed to Heathrow to collect Mustafa and his entourage. This was all bloody ridiculous, and, if it hadn't been for knowing their pulling this duty had been all Bodie's fault, he'd have joined Doyle in his anti-Cowley rants. Christ, his father could be such a bastard.

Not that Doyle would have stayed properly focused on that if he had found out the reason the old man had canceled their weekend off. You see, sunshine, I over-indulged in the scotch and admitted. ... Bodie sighed. A fast assignment where they'd work opposite shifts and have to keep their hands to themselves while Cowley re-evaluated the status of their partnership had been the response to his drunken slip.

He'd pleaded, shouted and threatened to resign, but Cowley had remained firm in his pronouncement, had insisted it was all standard procedure, and Bodie couldn't possibly be suggesting that he treat his son differently? Bodie had snorted, strongly suspecting this was a time when the Controller of CI5 also being his father had resulted in an artificial adherence to 'standard procedure.' Yeah, he knew the rules. He also knew he wasn't the first sod to fall in love with a partner, and those rules were only applied when the growing attraction caused problems with the working team. He'd forced an admission from Cowley not so much as a hint of trouble marred his relationship with Doyle. But they were still on babysitting duty and could find themselves being introduced to their new partners when they reported to Cowley's office at the end of the op.

That happened and Ray would be more inclined to break his nose than kiss it. Bodie couldn't quite stop the smile as he remembered the feel of Doyle's perfect mouth touching him with affection. He'd liked that. Liked it a lot. It had also surprised him. Of course, he would have had to have been blind not to notice Doyle had decided he fancied him. And not before time, too. Had sometimes wondered if the stroppy bastard would ever come to his senses and see they were made for each other. But eyes bulging with lust were not necessarily a guarantee of anything more than a quick tumble.

Bodie wanted far more than that, so he'd played dumb. Had flirted back when flirted with, but he'd pretended not to understand Doyle's subtle suggestions paradise was his for the asking. Vain little bastard, he thought with affection as he steered the Capri onto the airport exit ramp.

Unfortunately, knowing his affections were in all likelihood returned had made Bodie a mite careless with a small part of the secret he'd kept from almost the day he'd met Doyle. Hence the offer of too much scotch and a subtle interrogation by his father. So subtle, so careful Bodie hadn't even realized he'd admitted he fancied his partner until the next morning when Cowley had dropped the news about the Mustafa assignment.

Could tell the old man wasn't pleased about having CI5's time wasted on something like this, but the timing had suited his purpose, so he'd made a great show of doing the Foreign Office a favor and agreed to the request. Afraid of what might happen -- or not happen -- if he waited until after the op and the meeting with Cowley, Bodie had decided to drive his partner so crazy with wanting over the weekend Doyle would at least fuck him once before he killed him.

He smiled to himself. Doyle had reacted to his carefully chosen wardrobe with the expected lust, but the affection. ... Though he still dreaded his father's decision and its effect on his professional life, Bodie felt reasonably certain whatever else happened, he would be sleeping in Doyle's bed for many a night to come.

His smile faded abruptly as he turned the corner into the security car park. No less than eight stretch limos were already there. He glanced at the heavens and made what he considered a very polite request that most of them be waiting for visiting VIPs he knew nothing about.

Twenty minutes later he got the expected results as he watched nineteen people file off Mustafa's chartered 747. Shit. That wasn't an entourage. It was a fucking circus! Damn good thing this bloody op was punishment for his sins and not a real security problem, he thought, walking forward to greet the scrawny, acne-spotted, eighteen-year-old prat fate had inflicted upon him.

Two man mountains moved to block his way, but not before he'd got well within shooting distance of the boy. Not good. He gave them his best diplomatic smile and held up his CI5 credentials. Life was such a bugger.

Mustafa had booked an entire floor of the Savoy for his own use -- a good part of which was the hotel's largest suite -- plus the floor above and below it. Doyle was not pleased.

He knew this was some sort of bizarre punishment duty, that the kid was in no real danger, but he took his job seriously. With a lot of luck, they might -- might -- be able to keep a crazed maniac delivering room service from running amok over a lousy tip, but anything more premeditated than that was going to be a problem.

The room he and Bodie had been assigned by Mustafa's private secretary -- and just what a kid with no responsibilities other than spending granddad's money needed with one of those, Doyle didn't know -- was outside of the suite. It had the advantage of being near enough to the lifts and main staircase to pick up on problems erupting from either, but was too well insulated from the suite to hear trouble coming from that direction. He didn't like being that cut off from either his partner or their charge.

He knew there was no way to get a sleeping room inside the main suite, and a check of the other rooms proved they'd lose the proximity to the lifts and gain nothing. He shook his head, hoping no one in MI6 or the Foreign Office had blown it and this kid turned out to be a target for more than a mugger with ideas above his station.

Discovering he'd done what little he could do, twice, he went back to their room and unpacked first his stuff, then Bodie's. Bastard, he thought with a rueful smile as he pulled dark blue and smoky grey shirts and jackets to match from his partner's garment bag. Adding insult to injury were the cream trousers that left nothing of Bodie's anatomy to the imagination. He resigned himself to a weekend of cold showers, finished putting away the clothes, then made one last circuit through the floor. He found things exceedingly posh, unsecured against anything serious, and utterly unacceptable. He guessed it had been too much to hope some miracle would have occurred while he'd run his sweaty palms over Bodie's togs.

Knowing there was fuck all he could do about the situation without at least two more men and some heavy ordinance, he planted himself in the main hallway and trained his best intimidating scowl at the steady parade of staff moving about. If it was the last thing he ever did, he'd get Cowley for this.

That resolve only deepened minutes later when the lifts started to open and half the population of the Arab world arrived. Bodie was no where in sight, and Doyle had the sick feeling this lot was only the tip of the sodding iceberg. He flashed his ID at the musclebound louts doing bodyguard duty, then introduced himself to his sheikness.

Mustafa gave him a long look, followed by a dismissive sniff, then he disappeared into the suite. Pleased to discover he would not have to revise his pre-op assessment that the prat was a pampered waste of space not worth wasting the price of a bullet on, Doyle waited for the next wave to arrive. To his relief, this consisted of enough luggage to sink a ship, only two more members of Mustafa's party and Bodie.

He shared a long look with his partner, then asked, "Bodie, how would you fancy being an orphan?"

Bodie sighed. "Only if I get to help off him."

"Selfish sod," Doyle complained and began revising his plans for Cowley's painful demise.

It took an hour for everyone to get settled in, then the party began. First the music started up -- loud, obnoxious, and obviously the reason for the empty floors between the party and the rest of the Savoy's clientele -- then the food and drinks arrived. Far as Bodie could tell, if it were pretentious and over-priced, it was on the menu. He couldn't even identify some of it. The wilder half of the social register came next, along with some controlled substances of an illegal nature.

He and Doyle protested. Loudly -- well, what choice did they have given the volume of the music? Mustafa gave them another one of his looks. Doyle glared back, told him to pack it in or a few mates in the Drug Squad were getting a call.

The stuff disappeared. At least from the front room, which was visible from the alcove where they'd posted themselves. Neither was fool enough to think it had gone any farther than the other rooms, but at least it wasn't being flaunted in their faces. Beyond that, the incident would go into their report to Cowley, who would protest to the Foreign Office, who wouldn't bother to do anything, because by the time they could be bothered to post the paper work, this little weekend bash would have returned to Kadyr. It might all end up in Mustafa being told not to return to Britain, but Bodie figured the oil money would win out.

"Oh, bloody hell," Doyle spat as the doors opened to admit some local talent. Like the booze, the food, and no doubt the drugs, they were the pricy version.

Long-legged, beautifully made up visions to delight the eye and tempt the wallet, Bodie found the most alluring thing about them was the way they made his partner's green eyes flash with anger. Good job that was a lovely sight -- as long as the anger wasn't directed his way -- for it didn't take a genius to know it would be Doyle's natural state for the rest of the weekend.

"That's it, mate," Doyle growled. "I'm turning in before I do something that will get me deported."

Bodie chuckled, leaned close and whispered, "Dream about me."

Doyle's look of disgust took on a more good tempered cast. "Pricktease," he muttered, Bodie figuring out what he said more by reading his lips than actually hearing the word. He gave Bodie's hand a quick squeeze, then headed off to their room, leaving Bodie alone with the rabble.

Bodie wasn't tired. Having drawn the short straw for the late shift, he'd slept well into the day to prepare for what he'd assumed would be a long, quiet night. Well, at least he'd got the long part right.

Settling into a chair that put his back to the party, he passed the time watching the comings and goings through the door. With a near riot behind him, the word uneventful seemed a poor choice, but it accurately described the time between the moment Doyle left him until an hour before dawn when one of Mustafa's bodyguards informed him the boy wanted to see him.

Manfully suppressing a sigh, Bodie followed the hulk into the master bedroom, then felt his jaw drop open. The bed seemed alive with naked bodies writhing together. Six, maybe seven? He couldn't be certain with all the contortions going on; then one body detached itself.

Mustafa sat up and held out his hand to Bodie in an unmistakable invitation.

For a moment Bodie couldn't speak, then he managed to shake his head. "No, I'm sorry," he rejected the offer, trying for a polite refusal despite the disgust twisting his stomach and the near shout he had to use to be heard over the music.

The kid frowned and gestured again. Not an invitation, but a command.

"No, I'm on duty," he said more formally, then was irritated enough to add, "which doesn't include servicing you."

Outrage added more color to the spotty face, but a gesture of dismissal followed, then the pathetic piece of shit returned to his orgy.

Bodie moved carefully around the bodyguard, who made no move to stop him, but the contempt in the big man's eyes almost gave Bodie a chill. Was it because he'd insulted the hulk's master, or was the master himself the target? He wasn't certain, but odds were he'd made an enemy or two tonight. With that in mind, he positioned his chair to give himself a view of both the front door and the party rooms. Be almost funny if it weren't so disgusting. Cowley had sent him on this miserable excuse for a job to keep him out of Doyle's bed, and he'd ended up defending his virtue from a sex-crazed teenager. How daft could one lifetime get?

Doyle woke with a smile on his face and the front of his pajama trousers in a damp, sticky mess. Knowing future versions of said damp stickiness would go inside one rather gorgeous bum kept the smile on his face as he made fast work of his morning routine. Not even the vague, dull roar telling him the party was still in full swing or the hated tie dampened his mood. If anything, it actually brightened as he walked into the suite and got his first look of the morning at the man who'd so sweetly haunted his dreams.

Bodie greeted him with a smile of his own, but there was a strained quality to it. "Rough night, sunshine?" Doyle asked.

A shrug, then, "Boring."

And Bodie hated being bored. Doyle gave him a sympathetic pat, foreseeing nothing but an odd combination of aggravation and boredom characterizing the next two days. "Any nosh left?" he asked. "I'm starved."

Bodie rolled his eyes and led the way to the tables groaning under the weight of the delicacies the hotel staff made certain remained well stocked. Nothing looked particularly appealing, but trying to get something as mundane as coffee and bacon seemed more trouble than it was worth, so they made do with caviar on toast, then washed it down with orange juice from the bar.

They sat together in a bemused silence for an hour or so until Bodie failed to stifle a yawn.

Doyle nudged him with his shoulder. "Off to bed with you. I'll guard his pratness."

Bodie's smile flashed again. "That's what I love about you, Doyle -- you never let your personal opinions influence your work."

Doyle gave the retreating posterior a swat, then settled in for a day of mind- numbing boredom.

Fully dressed, Bodie flopped down on his bed, then lay staring up at the ceiling for quite some time. Twice he almost got up and went to warn Doyle to guard his backside, but, no, he'd seen the looks Mustafa had directed towards Doyle. They'd said very clearly the boy was unimpressed, while, as he thought back on it, the few looks directed towards himself had been ones of careful scrutiny. Irritated him to no end he'd been so blind the unwelcome proposition had surprised him. Should have seen it coming, you great moron.

Certain Doyle would not face the same indignity and preferring not to have the subject become the target of his partner's dreadful sense of humor for the next decade or six, he opted to stay put. But he did have another aspect of the problem to consider. He'd picked his wardrobe for Doyle's benefit, not thinking for a second another party might show interest as well. The kid was a disgusting, loathsome little pervert, but it didn't seem wise to rub his nose in it either.

Borrowing Doyle's gear would hardly help the situation, but he couldn't exactly go off shopping when he was on duty. A solution occurred to him; he rejected it, then reconsidered. Finally, he sighed and picked up the phone.

By noon Doyle was seriously considering saying to hell with appearances and fetching a book, when Mustafa and his bodyguards walked into the alcove. "I wish to tour the shops," Mustafa said.

As the party showed no sign of letting up, this surprised Doyle, but he rose and led the way to the street.

Given Mustafa had never visited London before, Doyle had expected the day shift to include the usual tourist bits, and Cowley had agreed there was no reason Bodie couldn't be allowed to sleep as long as Doyle stayed with their charge. Yet another indicator no one gave a fuck about this assignment, so why the hell where they pulling it?

That question had occupied his thoughts since he'd run out of creative, yet agonizing ways to kill the Cow. A frustrating mental exercise as he could think of absolutely nothing he and Bodie had done wrong for weeks. Didn't make any sense. He had that same out of control feeling he always got when dropped into the middle of one of Cowley's studies in triple-think. Only he couldn't even find the reason for the ... single think, so he couldn't puzzle it out.

He opted to sit in the front with the limo's driver, who was instructed to drive to the most expensive jewelry store in London. One of the ladies must have earned herself an extra tip, Doyle decided, keeping a careful eye on the streets.

Away from the noise and crowd of the party, he felt more in control, more like he could actually earn his salary. As if any self-respecting kidnapper would want to get saddled with this pillock.

Once at the jewelers, Doyle took up a position that allowed him a good view of both the storeroom and the street beyond. At least until the flash of light near his charge caught his eye. He tensed, then relaxed when he saw the sunlight once again glint on the largest diamond he'd ever seen outside of a museum. A ring? Mustafa turned the piece in his hand, and Doyle got a better look at it. A tie tack. A few rent boys must have joined the party after he'd turned in.

Mustafa nodded his acceptance, and the clerk went to ring up the sale. Apparently some lucky lad was going to get a gift worth more than triple Doyle's annual salary. Not bad for a night's work. Even if it was the gaudiest damned thing Doyle had ever laid eyes on.

His purchase in hand, Mustafa insisted they all return to the hotel, then refused Doyle's suggestion to put his new trinket in the hotel safe, thus confirming every low opinion Doyle had of the idiot's intelligence. Might have to use his damn gun on this op after all if the fucking moron was going to leave things like that laying about.

He glowered after the boy in disgust as Mustafa disappeared into a crowd of party goers who'd probably never noticed their host had vanished for an hour. With ill grace, Doyle sank back into his chair and returned to his why-us puzzle.

Bodie rejoined him at four, the sight of him quickly leaving Doyle fighting a frown. What the hell was Bodie wearing? Not only did he know his partner had not brought a brown suit with him, it wasn't up to Bodie's usual standards in any way. The bright yellow shirt made him look sick, while the jacket and trousers almost hung on him. "Where did you get that get up?"

"Borrowed it from Anson."

Anson? Well, that explained the fit. Anson was the only agent on the squad both taller and broader in the shoulder than Bodie. Not by much, but enough that swapping wardrobes came under the heading of a bad idea. "What'd you go and do that for?"

He smiled. "Thought I'd made you suffer enough."

The smile seemed genuine, the answer sincere, but Doyle didn't buy it for a second. He would have questioned Bodie further, but someone upped the volume of the stereo a notch for a particularly obnoxious disco tune, and he had to give it up. But he was beginning to have the strong suspicion Cowley and Bodie had joined up in some bizarre plot to drive him mad.

Despite the constant suspicious looks Doyle directed his way, it was with real regret Bodie watched him head off for bed. He hoped if being turned down last night had not quashed Mustafa's ardor, the tatty suit would do the trick, but Doyle's presence would have kept things nice and aboveboard.

He smiled to himself at the notion of his sex-mad partner cast in the role of chaperone and once again congratulated himself on resisting the idea of telling Doyle what had happened. Maybe when they were in their dotage, he'd break down and admit it, but probably not. Some things were best left unsaid.

Unfortunately, it became obvious a few hours later he was going to have to add another encounter to the list of unsaid things. This time Mustafa sent one of his female servants to ask Bodie to come to his bedroom.

Knowing none of this was the girl's fault, he gave her his best smile. "I'm sorry, sweetheart, but tell him I'm on duty and can't leave my post."

She nodded and left him.

Bodie found himself giving more serious thought to the notion of collecting Doyle and getting them both out of here. But in four more hours Doyle would join him again. In another seven they'd see this lot to the airport, and, after what Cowley had put him through, Bodie would have some leverage with his father should the old man threaten to do anything but give them his blessing.

With that in mind, he calmed himself and settled back into his chair to wait out the rest of this miserable night, then sighed heavily when the girl returned.

She held out a small, white box. "He bid me give you this and asks once more for you to attend him."

Frowning, he took the box, opened it and failed to suppress a whistle. He reckoned he could retire on the profits if he sold the thing. But not even a diamond was worth a night with the toad. "Tell him I'm flattered, but I'm not allowed to accept gifts."

Her eyes widened when he returned it to her. "How could you reject such a beautiful thing?" She asked, lifting the jewelry from the box.

Beautiful? It was a lumpy diamond on top of a gold straight pin. "I'm not allowed to accept gifts," he repeated, not wanting to offend her.

"Do you fear I will tell? It would be worth my life," she assured him.

"I'm certain you can be discreet, sweetheart, but it's not something I want to do."

She nodded, moved the tie tack towards the box, then suddenly jabbed down with it.

The pin point went through his trousers and into his thigh. He cried out at the sharp pain -- a sound lost in the roar of the music -- tried to stand, then a wave of dizziness sent him falling back into his chair.

"I am sorry," the girl said. "But you should have accepted his gift." She stepped aside as the two bodyguards approached. Each took an arm, then carted Bodie off to Mustafa's bedroom.

Men who relished violence had raped Bodie in his past, so whatever this pathetic little boy had in mind held no real terror for him, but disgust and rage set his heart pounding and adrenaline pumping through his system. It gave some life to his limbs, and he struggled feebly against the hands stripping him.

The two men laughed, then tossed him onto the bed. Taunting him, one of them held up a hypo filled with a pale blue fluid. A second later, Bodie flinched as the needle pierced his arm, the liquid burning as it entered his blood stream. With another burst of laughter, they left.

He couldn't move at all now and felt very light-headed, but he noticed no other effects of the drug as the minutes ticked by. A few minutes later? An hour? A day? He'd lost his perception of time, so he couldn't say how long he'd lain there when Mustafa joined him.

"You brought this on yourself, " the boy scolded him as he approached.

It was so like what Krivas had said to him before that final near-fatal rape that reality seemed to fall away, and suddenly he felt dirt beneath his naked body. Felt the pain of ribs broken during the first part of his punishment. Felt fingers dig with bruising force as they pulled his buttocks apart.

No! His mind screamed in rejection, and in an instant he once more lay on silk sheets, while the fingers caressing his arse had a nearly gentle touch. That's when he knew he could escape.

Doyle woke a few minutes before his alarm was set to go off, an uneasiness stirring within him. Frowning, he sat up in his bed, trying to pin point what was bothering him, then he shook his head in amusement.

It was quiet. Though not loud enough to keep him awake, the music had been a constant presence since the party began, but it had finally stopped. Thank God for that. One more disco tune and he might have gone barmy.

Doyle showered, shaved, dressed, then finished packing up what he hadn't taken care of last night. Just a few more hours, and he'd have Bodie all to himself. Well, a few hours more and one meeting with the Cow. And Doyle was determined he would leave that meeting with some answers. Then he'd get Bodie out of that miserable suit and have the answer for it as well.

Satisfied with his plans, he left the room and headed for the suite. He opened the door, and the silence nearly knocked him flat. It seemed almost unnatural after all the noise, and Doyle felt the hair on the back of his neck rise. He told himself not to be such a prat. A suggestion he repeated when he found Bodie's chair empty. "Raiding the food trays again, mate?" he asked, walking into the main room.

His stomach lurched at the sight of the room. It looked abandoned. Like a disaster area given up as a dead loss. "Bodie?"


"Bodie! Answer me!" He called again, this time louder, not caring if he woke anyone.

Not a sound.

His hand actually shook as he opened the door to the nearest bedroom. It did not surprise him to find it empty. Though he knew now they would all be that way, he moved swiftly from room to room. Then he opened the door to the master suite. "Oh, my God."

His naked partner lay face down on the bed and did not move at the sound of Doyle's voice. For the few terrible seconds it took Doyle to cross the room, he thought Bodie was dead. But he touched warm flesh and calmed enough to see the other man was breathing.

"Bodie." He tried to shake him awake with no result, then spotted the syringe. Cursing, he yanked his r/t from his jacket pocket. He ordered an ambulance, then a find and detain order on Mustafa, but knew the bastard would be airborne by now.

His duty done, help on its way, he dropped the small radio and sank down onto the bed beside his mate. He gathered Bodie into his arms, wrapping his limbs around the heart-breakingly still form. "Oh, Bodie," he whispered, cradling the dark head against his shoulder. "What did they do to you?"

But he already knew. The remnants of some sort of lube and dried semen made it all too clear. That miserable bastard had drugged then raped his Bodie.

Bodie drifted in and out of consciousness, but he couldn't manage to find the strength to so much as open his eyes. At first he felt only a near terrifying disorientation, his mind struggling to understand what had happened to him, why the all too familiar scents and sounds of a hospital assaulted him. But a strong, long-fingered hand gripped his, the thumb caressing his palm soothing him and keeping the fear at bay.

He wished he could speak, could at least nudge the comforting hand. Instead he slept.

A different hand taking his other hand woke him. Smaller, not as strong, but a reassuring touch all the same.

"It's my fault." Doyle's voice. "Slept through the whole thing. I should have noticed. ..."

How, my love? Bodie mourned his inability to voice his thoughts. You never saw how he looked at me when you weren't around. And I never told you.

Did he sleep again or did the effort to speak deafen him to the rest of what Doyle said? He couldn't be certain. The next thing he heard was, "No, if anyone is to blame, I am."

His father.

"I never should have assigned you to this job."

Well, no, Bodie couldn't argue with that. But if he'd been honest with his father, if he'd not made him prise the truth out of him like some dark, guilty secret, perhaps he would have seen no need to protect his son from acting impulsively. He didn't know how deeply Bodie loved or that he'd loved Doyle for years. Bodie hadn't told him. My fault. Not yours. Mine.

He hurt for the pain he heard in their voices, but neither grip on his hands faltered, and his awareness faded into peace.

"... some sort of hallucinogenic compound mixed with a muscle relaxant." It took a moment to place the voice. Not one he liked hearing, but an unfortunately familiar one. Dr Mahoney. "It is an herbal derivative, not a synthetic." A sigh. "A mid-Eastern colleague once told me of something similar having an historic use in the harems, but neither of us thought it still existed."

Both hands tightened on his at the assurance Bodie should be fine by the next morning. "He merely needs to sleep it off."

Deciding that was a grand idea, Bodie allowed himself to drift off.

"And that's all the bastards had to say?" Doyle again. Obviously angry, though his grip remained gentle. "That they'd lodge an unofficial protest with the Kadyr government?"

"Anything more would require proof. Documentation. Do you want him put through that sort of public display?" His father. Ever the voice of reason.

"So he gets away with it."

"Oh, no, laddie. I was content to leave Krivas to British justice, but I'm not adverse to lending a hand when someone is beyond the reach of Her Majesty's courts."

A chill swept through Bodie's body, and he knew if he could open his eyes he'd see a cold, unforgiving look on his father's face. George Cowley had dangerous friends all over the world.

Doyle seemed to have come to the same conclusion. "A fatal accident in his future?"

"I prefer a more fitting form of retribution. He'll not go unpunished. I can promise you that."

More familiar with his father's behind the scenes maneuvering than he ever let on, Bodie knew after a prudent lapse of time a box would arrive with two small pieces of Mustafa's anatomy. He almost felt sorry for the little bastard. Almost.

He lost track of the conversation again. Slept some more. When awareness returned, he found he could open his eyes.

"Bodie?" Doyle leaned into his field of vision, while his father's grip tightened on his hand. "Sunshine, can you hear me?"

"My fault," he forced out the words. "Was my fault. Should have told you both. Close-mouthed bastard. My fault."

"Bodie, that's enough," Cowley commanded, his voice firm. "I'll not have you upsetting yourself."

Upset? He wasn't upset, merely concerned that they understand who was to blame for all of this. "'m all right," he assured them. "Love you both. So much."

"Love you, too, Bodie," Doyle told him, his free hand caressing Bodie's face. "Now rest."

He was tired, the effort to see and speak having drained the reserves he'd built up. "You'll stay with me?"

"Only for the rest of my life."

Content, Bodie slept.

Doyle opened the door to Bodie's flat and ushered his charge inside. "Here you are, mate, home safe and sound," he said, turning to deal with the locks and alarms, but he noted what direction the prat was headed. "And stay away from the liquor cabinet. You know what the doctor said."

"Bleeding mother hen, that's what you are," Bodie grumbled, but the sound of his voice indicated he'd altered his course to go to the kitchen.

"Damned right I am," Doyle answered, following him. "You need someone to look after you, and the old man's not got the stamina for it."

"Hmpf," Bodie grunted, his attention on the contents of his cupboards. "Doyle, there's nothing but healthy stuff in here."

Doyle almost laughed at his partner's disgusted look. "'bout time you started taking better care of yourself," he answered and had done the shopping earlier with that in mind. He wasn't about to let Bodie eat himself into an early heart attack. Not having it. He had plans for the lad, and they included having him around for many a decade to come.

A pout settled onto the beautiful face. "Thought you loved me."

Doyle's heart melted, but he had a reputation to uphold, so he scowled. "That's not gonna work, mate," he said. "More to life than fried foods and Swiss rolls."

The pout deepened. "But I'm starving."

'Pathos personified, that's what you are,' Doyle thought fondly, but gave his partner a stern look, stalked over to the refrigerator, then proceeded to pull out the makings of a couple of cold chicken breast sandwiches.

"Rather have fish and chips," Bodie muttered, but set about helping assemble, then eat the sandwiches.

Once he'd finished, he turned an expectant, trusting look on Doyle, who lasted a whole miserable five seconds. "Oh, all right," he sighed and pulled a fat Swiss roll out from where he'd hidden it behind the cleaning supplies stored in the cabinet beneath the sink.

Bodie did not squeal with delight, but Doyle bet it was a near thing as he set a slice of the disgustingly sweet cake in front of him. 'How a grown man could fancy rubbish like this,' he grumbled to himself as he swiped a bite from Bodie's plate. After he did it a third time, Bodie grabbed his plate and retreated to the far side of the room.

Doyle laughed and found himself wondering why it had taken so many years for him to realize how very much he loved the big lump.

Bodie gave him a suspicious look, then gobbled up the rest of his treat. Absurdly, it was one of the sexiest things Doyle had ever seen, and when Bodie gave the cake remaining in the package a calculating look, Doyle decided he couldn't take it anymore.

"Come here," he commanded, raking Bodie with his best smoldering gaze.

Bodie brightened, thus reassuring Doyle his charms did rank at least above a second piece of Swiss roll, and walked over to him.

He bent down for a kiss, and Doyle enjoyed a few moments of a mutual exploration of mouths, then his arms went around Bodie.

The touch sent a shudder through the powerful body, and Doyle leapt back. "Oh, love, I'm sorry, I forgot."

Bodie looked mystified and a touch hurt. "Ray? I thought you wanted me."

"I do, but. ..." His voice trailed off, unable to say 'you were just raped.' It was almost as if he'd convinced himself if he didn't speak the word, it hadn't happened.

The dark blue eyes filled with hurt. "But I'm damaged goods?" he asked softly, then slipped from the room.

Doyle caught up with him before he reached the front door, his arms going around Bodie to restrain and reassure. "No! Christ, no, that's not what I meant," he shouted to stop his partner's struggles.

Bodie went still, but tension radiated from him. "Then what did you mean?"

"Just figured you could do without me pawing you so soon after he ... raped you."

A sigh answered him, then, "Was like that after Krivas finished with me. Long time before I could stand to have anyone touch me for any reason. Even Dad. But. ..."


"Mustafa didn't rape me, Ray. I stopped him."

Doyle tightened his grip, alarmed. Everyone had been confused and amazed at how well Bodie had handled what Mustafa had done to him -- in the past he'd expressed more anger over a mild pounding. They'd all come to the conclusion he was in denial, but the storm would break eventually. "Bodie ... love."

Another sigh. "I know what he did to me, Ray, but I ... wasn't aware of it."

"You were unconscious?"

"No ... the doctor said it was an hallucinogen, but that's not the half of it. Been given drugs before to make me cooperate, some even made me think the sky was pink and the grass purple, but this one. ... It made everything seem so completely real."

"Made what seem real?"

"You. I turned him into you."

Doyle's stomach clenched. "You imagined it was me raping you?"

"No. Know you'd never do that ... but. ... Look, it's not important." He eased himself from Doyle's arms. "'m tired. Think I'll put my head down for a while."

Doyle hesitated, not at all certain he wanted to hear this. Most everyone thought of him as a selfish bastard, but he'd always figured ... hoped Bodie could see beneath his temper and moods. Nearly gutted him to think that Bodie could put him in the place of a rapist, even one who hadn't caused any physical injury. He and Cowley had figured the lack of trauma had far less to do with consideration for Bodie than the fact violent anal sex could cause the rapist pain as well as the victim.

But Bodie needed to tell him. That much was obvious. He took a deep breath, then went to the bedroom and found Bodie curled up in the bed, staring at the far wall with a look of dumb misery.

Oh, Bodie. Doyle rid himself of his trainers, then lay down on the bed, snuggling up against the broad back. "You imagined it was me."

"Was easy," Bodie answered, confirming Doyle's worst fears. "Know you so well, sunshine. Your scent, feel of your body, even seen you starkers and interested on some of our wilder double dates. Spent so bloody many nights dreaming about what it would be like if you held me when we weren't wrestling for Macklin's benefit."

The loneliness of those words brought tears to Doyle's eyes, and he nuzzled the soft strands of dark hair at the back of Bodie's neck. "Go on."

"Might have been able to do it without the drug, but with it ... was wonderful, Ray."

Hope stirred within him. Wonderful and what Doyle feared did not suit each other. "Tell me."

"He had me face down on the bed, was groping me ... and ... you kicked the door open. All flashing eyes and temper you were. My golliwog in shining armor."

"Dealt with the villain, did I?" Oh, God, if only he had.

"Thumped him good, you did, then tossed him out on his pathetic, naked arse."

Been more likely to have deballed the bastard on the spot, a pleasure one of Cowley's pals would be having any day now. It would happen. Of that Doyle hadn't the slightest doubt. "Then what did I do?"

"Told me I was yours, and it was time you proved it." Bodie turned in Doyle's arms, then snuggled up against him. "Very masterful you were. Made me hard just watching you walk over to me."

Doyle knew Bodie hadn't come during the rape -- the bed had told the tale even before the doctor had told them that particular piece of Bodie would have been as paralyzed as the rest of his limbs. Apparently the mind could be sexy all on its own. He kissed Bodie's forehead to encourage him to keep talking.

"You did a slow strip for me -- like to flaunt it, you do -- then you kissed me. Got me going something awful."

Deciding it sounded like a good idea, he interrupted long enough to capture Bodie's lips in a long, deep kiss. He kept the pressure light, but made certain to explore every delectable bit of Bodie's mouth carefully. "Then what did I do?" he asked when he reluctantly drew back.

"Went for my nipples," he answered, pushing his chest against Doyle's to suggest another practical demonstration might be in order.

Doyle pulled Bodie's cream poloneck off, then kissed the right nipple. It hardened instantly, proving his long held theory Bodie wore his shirts loose to hide sensitive flesh. He sucked and nipped at the tit until he had his lover writhing beneath him. He paused only long enough to shift his attentions to the left nipple.

"Ray," Bodie groaned. "I'll come in my pants."

A treat for another day, he told himself and gave the nipple one last reluctant lick before asking, "What next?" But he knew. "Tongued your navel, didn't I?"

"Yes," Bodie gasped. The lad had apparently been paying very close attention to Doyle's wicked ways on all those double dates. "Please, Ray."

His hands moving to the zip of Bodie's trousers, Doyle kissed his way down the smooth chest, then stuck his tongue into Bodie's bellybutton at the same moment he tugged the trousers down.

Bodie shouted his lover's name, arching off the bed as he came in shuddering waves of pleasure before Doyle could do more than get his hand to Bodie's cock.

Not one to waste a gift of love, Doyle lapped the musky cream from his fingers while Bodie watched. When he finished, he leaned up, then kissed the tip of Bodie's nose. "Want me to cuddle you until you go to sleep or leave you to it?"

"Are you daft?" Bodie demanded, clearly astonished. His hand cupped the swell of Doyle's erection. "I want you to fuck me."

His cock twitched eagerly, but Doyle frowned. "Bodie, I don't think --"

Bodie shut him up by kissing him. "Need you to make that part real, too, Ray. Need that most of all."

Doyle searched Bodie's face for a long moment, looking for the slightest sign of doubt or fear, but found only desire and wanting. "All right."

He got the tube of lubricant he kept in the bedside table drawer, a simple act made difficult, but interesting, by the hands eagerly stripping him of his jeans and pants. He gave Bodie a stern look, but the unrepentant bastard kissed him on the tip of his nose.

Doyle approved and couldn't help but smile, providing no assistance at all as Bodie squirmed the rest of the way out of his own trousers. But Doyle's heart leapt into his throat as the now bare legs parted, eloquently demanding his attentions.

He swallowed to steady himself, squeezed some of the gel onto his fingers, then began lavishing attention on the entrance to Bodie's body. As had the face and eyes, the small muscle revealed no reluctance, relaxing quickly to accept the probe of his fingers.

Still he found himself unable to refrain from asking, "You're certain you want this, love?"

Bodie gave him a disgusted look, then did his best to impale himself of Doyle's cock.

"All right, I take the point," he muttered, lifting Bodie's legs up and out of the way. He entered slowly, giving his lover ample time to change his mind, but Bodie expressed his displeasure with this by thrusting downward and taking Doyle's entire length into him.

Doyle froze. "You dumb crud," he scolded. "Have you hurt yourself?"

"No, but I'm giving serious thought to murdering you." He gave another thrust. "Get on with it."

His common sense defeated by a wanton Bodie, Doyle began to do some thrusting of his own. Oh, Christ, it felt good. Snug heat greedily gripped his cock while strong arms clung to him and a loving voice whispered in his ear how fantastic he was and how much he was loved, all while he gazed into blue eyes dark with pleasure.

That near blissful pleasure took his breath away more than anything else. Bodie'd had his sexual release, a second orgasm beyond him now, but he looked like a man on the brink of a climax that would lift the roof. To be loved that much, to mean that much to another person. ... Please God, let him be worthy of it. "I love you," Doyle moaned, then repeated it again and again. He shouted it as he came, pumping his seed deep into his lover's body and for the first time understanding an animal's need to mark its territory.

Mine! his mind screamed, then he slumped into Bodie's embrace.

"Mine now," Bodie whispered, echoing his thoughts. "All mine."

"Yes." Doyle found his voice. "Yours forever."

Bodie smiled and together they found the strength to manage another kiss, then shift around until both lay comfortably on the bed, their limbs entwined.

"Sleep now, my love," Doyle told him, brushing his lips against a sweat-damp face.

Bodie snuggled even closer, whispered, "I love you," then fell asleep.

Doyle held him as he slept. Fantasy and a side effect of a powerful mind-altering drug had combined to spare Bodie the trauma of what had happened to him. This time. The next, Doyle vowed, he would be there himself. A knight in shining armor, a slayer of Bodie's dragons. A man determined to protect the man who had won his heart against all who would harm him. But for now, he thanked God for that drug and a love so strong it had allowed him to protect Bodie, even while Doyle slept, unaware. Let him be there for his Bodie.

-- THE END --

AUTHOR'S COMMENT: This is probably my least favorite Pros story, and, even though it was published in No Holds Barred, and Power of Suggestion has not seen print, this is the last Pros story I wrote.

I was burning out on the fandom big time when I did this, and have never recovered my interest even as a reader, so I've never known how to judge it. I was told the Lads come off as stupid, which I hope is not true. I do know I was never able to get it as far enough away from the story by O'Yardley which gave me the idea for me to be comfortable with it, hence the note at the beginning of the story.

I do think this has some good things in it, and I've decided to post it, which means I don't hate it despite what it might seem like. I just wish it was ... better.

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