Bodie wrapped his arms around Doyle and snuggled tighter against the night-time chill. Doyle murmured sleepily, let out a light yawn, and burrowed deeper under the bed covers. Bodie sighed contentedly and closed his eyes, head resting against his lover's shoulder. It had been only one month since their first half-mad, half-drunken sexual encounter, yet now it all seemed so simple, so obvious, and so necessary that Bodie couldn't imagine things ever being different.
He listened to the wind howling outside, a sharp winter wind that had bitten into his face and hands all day long. It was the worst winter in years. But he knew he would always have fond memories of this time, of the night Ray had come home with him after a grueling stakeout, how they had warmed themselves with a bit too much scotch, and had collapsed on Bodie's bed together, exhausted. And then had woken up in the early hours, affectionate, needing each other, wanting something neither had been conscious of until that moment. When they had made love, it seemed like the most natural event in the world.
Yes, the rest of Britain could complain about the traffic tie-ups and the frozen pipes and the bitter cold all they liked--for Bodie, it had been the best winter he'd ever had.
They had been working steadily, and seeing each other in their free time whenever they could. Their new relationship was working out more smoothly than Bodie had anticipated, yet he knew they were far from settled. Problems would come up sooner or later--they always did. Whatever happened, they could would get through it somehow. He had never felt this strongly about anyone before, and he was damn well going to hold on to Doyle, no matter what, and he wasn't going to let go until the entire bloody universe froze over.
At the moment, only the bedroom window was freezing over. Heaving a sigh, Bodie carefully disentangled himself and got out of bed to turn the heater up. When he crawled back in, he was greeted by flailing arms attached to a half-asleep Doyle who muttered incoherently at him.
"Stop that, will you." Bodie none too gently grasped Doyle's arms as he curled around the slim figure. "You'll do me a mischief."
"Umpf," Doyle replied, opening his eyes. "You woke me."
"Sorry. Had to put the heat up." Bodie stroked Doyle's back, easing his restless form. Then he planted a kiss on one shoulder before resting his head on the pillow close to the thick curls of Doyle's hair. "You know, we've got the day off tomorrow," he murmured. "Think we should sleep in, don't you?"
"Mm-hm," Doyle said. "Very, very late...."
"Shouldn't go out at all, in fact. Too cold."
"Mmm," was the only answer he got.
"I've been thinking," Doyle said.
"Always a dangerous prospect," Bodie replied.
They sat propped up against the pillows, bright morning sunlight streaming through the bedroom curtains, ice crystals shimmering on the panes. Doyle had made a quick breakfast of toast and tea; Bodie had finished his toast and was now sipping unenthusiastically at his mug. He preferred coffee, but Doyle insisted on using his huge supply of herbal teas. How he had ever developed a taste for the stuff was beyond Bodie.
He raised an eyebrow at his lover. "Okay, I'll bite," he said. "What fascinating topic has caught your attention this morning?"
"Birds," Doyle replied.
Bodie frowned, suddenly wary. "What about them?" Christ, don't let him say he's been missing them.
"I think it's time we started chatting them up again."
Taking a deep, calming breath, and not sure that he wanted to know the answer, Bodie said, "Why?"
"To keep people from getting suspicious, of course," Doyle replied. He smiled. "Why did you think?"
Bodie sighed and shook his head, relief warring with irritation. "You're a teasing bastard, aren't you?"
"Yeah. Thought maybe I was missing a bit of female company, did you?"
"Are you?" Bodie said pointedly.
Doyle took a large bite of his toast and chewed thoughtfully for a while. He washed it down with tea and said, "No. What about you?"
"Me? Never look twice at 'em."
"Ah, but you do look once sometimes, don't you?"
Bodie shrugged. "Everybody does." He set his half-finished tea aside. "But all I want is you, sunshine." He shifted closer to Doyle and draped an arm around his shoulders, giving him a light squeeze. "So tell me more about this plan of yours."
"Well, I figure it's time we got back into our old habits, before somebody notices that we haven't been chasing after every bird in sight. Might make the wrong people start talking." He paused to finish his toast, then went on. "We can't risk anyone getting suspicious about us. You know how they are at HQ, anything to loosen the tension is fair game. I don't want them nosing about, wondering why you and me aren't screwing women anymore. What would I tell 'em?"
Bodie hugged him more tightly, and whispered in his ear, "Tell them you fell in love. Just leave out the 'who with' bit."
"Oh, yeah, I'm sure they'd leave me alone after that."
"You really worried about it?" Bodie hadn't been that concerned about what people said or thought about their lack of dating activity, but now it had come up, he had to admit there could be a problem. "You think they'd wonder about us? I mean, there could be other reasons. We could say we're tired of hopping from bed to bed, decided to take it easy for a while."
Doyle shook his head. "How long would that last? And would Cowley believe it for a second? Got eyes in the back, front, and sides of his head, he does. No, we gotta go on the way we've always done. This is the best job I've ever had, mate, and I damn well want to keep it."
Bodie considered this. "There are other things we could do for a living."
"No." Doyle's voice was firm. "It's easy for you to say that. You've done a lot more, had plenty of other work before this. You like moving on."
"Maybe I do," Bodie said. He sighed. Doyle had been a cop, and then a CI5 agent, and that was it. He had a much more stable history than his own. "But you always have to move on, sooner or later, don't you? Can't stay in CI5 forever, Ray."
"Not in the field," Doyle replied. "Could stay on, though. Do training or something. Don't want to risk losing that. And we could, if anyone finds out about us. All we need to do is go on being friendly with the birds, chat 'em up a bit, maybe go on a few dates once in a while."
"And then we ditch 'em before they get serious?"
"'Course we do," Doyle said. "Told you, I'm not missing 'em any. Don't want to sleep with them."
"Gonna be interesting, that." Bodie couldn't recall ever turning a bird down before, not if she was halfway good-looking and willing. "I mean, if they get eager, what do we say? Do we suddenly come down with headaches?"
Doyle grinned. "I can always say I have to do my hair."
Bodie laughed at the image. "Nah, 'fraid we'll have to do better than that. Otherwise we'll spend all this time keeping our fellow CI5 agents from getting suspicious, and wind up instead with a whole pack of suspicious females talking about us left and right."
"Oh, I can come up with believable ways out," Doyle said confidently. "Just takes a certain talent. Never had a problem getting a bird to believe whatever I told her."
Bodie raised an eyebrow. "Is that right? Got the gift of the gab, have you? Convince anybody of anything? Pity that little talent deserts you whenever Cowley's having a go at us, mate."
"That's different," Doyle protested. "I'm talking birds, not bosses." He went quiet for a moment, then said, "What do you think, then? You agree that we have to do this, don't you?"
"Yeah," Bodie said with resignation. "Don't care much for the idea of wasting me free time chatting up birds when I could be with you instead, though. We'll only do as little as we need to, right?"
"Right." Doyle glanced over at Bodie's abandoned tea mug. "You going to drink that?"
Bodie looked into Doyle's own drained mug. "You honestly like this stuff?"
"It's not bad." He leaned across to reach for Bodie's tea. "You should drink it. It's good for you."
"I know what's good for me," Bodie said huskily as he intercepted Doyle's hand, grabbing his wrist. He quickly straddled him, and brought the captured hand downward, holding it against his own cock as he leaned to kiss Doyle fiercely.
"Mm," Doyle murmured as he was released, "before breakfast, during breakfast, and after breakfast, is that the idea?"
"And anytime in between," Bodie replied.
"I can live with that," Doyle said as he kissed Bodie's lips, throat, and began working his way down towards a nipple, "didn't want to get up today, anyway."
And then he proceeded to attack Bodie's body in earnest.
Bodie gave only a fraction of his attention to his date, an animated blonde named Carol who chattered mindlessly between sips on her drink, needing only his occasional "um" and "oh?" to encourage her. His focus was instead on the club's dance floor, where Ray Doyle twisted and turned with abandon to the hard rock beat, keeping in close rhythm to the movements of his partner.
Laura, Doyle's date, was a sensual, non-talkative brunette who let her eyes and hands do her communicating. And it looked to Bodie as if she were being heard loud and clear. Doyle smiled at her, grasped her by the waist at every chance. His eyes lit up each time she moved in close to blatantly rub up against his body. He certainly didn't look at all unhappy about this contact.
Bodie forced himself to stop staring, and took a long drink of his whisky. He smiled briefly at Carol, who rattled on about her nasty boss and wretched coworkers. When she paused to catch her breath, he said smoothly, "That's absolutely fascinating. Do go on."
She did, at length. Bodie gazed back at the dance floor. The driving music stopped, replaced by a slow number, and Doyle took Laura into a tight clutch as they drifted about to the languid melody.
An act, of course, Bodie forcefully reminded himself. A good one, but an act nonetheless, a pose to put off any suspicious minds. At least, that was what it was supposed to be. Would be nice, though, if Doyle could appear a bit less pleased with his role.
"And so I told her," Carol said loudly over the music, "one more two-hour lunch and I'm going straight to Mr. Dean, and that shut her up all right. So then the next day--"
Bodie nodded and smiled, wishing Carol would shut up as well, and go away. He didn't want to be here, not with this empty-headed bird. He wanted to be home with Doyle in bed, screwing him through the mattress. But first he had to pry him loose from Laura, who was practically plastered to Doyle's body.
He considered some of the methods they had used in the past month or so. It had grown into a kind of competition, to see who could come up with the best getting-out-of-a-date excuse. Relatives suddenly at death's door had been used until they'd nearly wiped out their entire families. Pretending to get called in to HQ was a standard, as was the "old friend in need of a lift to the airport" emergency. Doyle had invented the allergic-response-to-perfume ruse, erupting into uncontrollable sneezing fits that required hasty exits. Bodie was rather proud of his own contribution to the list, even if he had crimped it from an old movie: his brother Roland. When an evening approached the moment of decision and his date appeared eager to accompany him home, Bodie would explain that a night together would be delightful, but first he would need to attend to his poor brother Roland's needs. Roland, you see, lived in Bodie's flat, and absolutely had to have his medication promptly at eleven, otherwise he tended to set things on fire, break all the crockery, and piss on the drapes. However, provided they got home by eleven, everything should be just fine, and Roland usually didn't mind company, unless, of course, he took one of his inexplicable instant hatreds to a person.
It was amazing how rapidly his dates developed raging migraines after his little explanation.
But that wouldn't do any good tonight. He could use Roland to get rid of Carol, but it wouldn't stop Laura trying to go home with Doyle. And she looked determined to do so.
There was a break in the music, and Doyle and Laura wove their way through the crowd to the table, laughing over some private joke as they sat down close together.
Bodie did his best to ignore them, and smiled warmly at Carol. "Maybe we should have a go when they start up again. What do you say, love?"
"Me?" Carol shook her head. "Oh, no, I'm not much of a dancer. Not like Laura is."
"Yeah, she's quite a mover," Doyle said admiringly.
"Is she?" Bodie asked coldly.
Doyle started to reply, but Laura cut in. "I think it's getting late." She put her hand on Doyle's forearm and gave him an openly sensual look. "Wouldn't it be nice to go somewhere quiet for coffee?"
Like your flat. Bodie knew she expected Doyle to propose going there, especially as it was only around the corner. Very convenient. Maybe they should start taking their dates a bit farther afield. Except that wasn't the idea. The idea was to be seen out and about in their own neighborhood.
They were saved by the arrival of a waitress. "Excuse me, is one of you Mr. Doyle?"
Doyle turned. "Yeah, what is it?"
"There's an urgent phone call, you can take it in the lobby."
Bodie sighed with relief as Doyle left. Doyle must have set it up beforehand; he had probably bribed the waitress to make a fake announcement at precisely the right moment. They'd used this tactic many times. Doyle would pretend the call had come from HQ, ordering them in to work. He was very glad Doyle had thought of using it this evening. Bodie looked at Laura, striving to appear unhappy. "Sorry, but this could mean an early end to the festivities."
She frowned. "Why?"
"Urgent calls generally mean that duty calls."
"But I thought you were off," Carol put in.
"Technically, yes. In reality, we're never off."
"But what about us?"
Bodie shrugged. "Just have to take up where we left off some other time." He had no intention, however, of calling either one of them again.
Doyle returned, with a downcast expression. He leaned in to kiss Laura on the cheek. "Sorry, love. We've got to go to work. We'll see you get a taxi home." He fished for his wallet.
"A taxi?" Laura stared at him.
"I'm really sorry. When the boss says now, he means ten minutes ago." He continued making apologies as he and Bodie paid the tab and then bustled them from the club. They quickly got a less-than-pleased Laura and Carol off in their cab, then headed for Doyle's car.
As Bodie climbed into the passenger seat, he said, "Thought we'd never get rid of 'em."
Doyle got in and turned the engine on. He pulled the car out into traffic. "I was having fun," he replied sullenly. "Haven't been dancing in a long time."
Bodie glanced sharply at him. "Yeah, well dancing is one thing, inviting birds to your place for coffee afterwards is quite another, isn't it?"
"You're right there," Doyle said flatly.
Bodie couldn't figure out Doyle's mood at all. He couldn't possibly have wanted the evening to go on any further, couldn't have wanted to go back to his flat with the birds. Yet he seemed disappointed that it had ended when it had. But Doyle was the one who had set up the fake phone call. Hell, it was never easy to follow Doyle's mental processes. "That was quite the act you put on," he said casually.
"Hm?" Doyle pulled up to a red light.
"On the dance floor. Looked convincing, that did, all those close moves and touching. Good act."
Doyle remained silent a fraction too long.
"Yeah," Doyle said as the light changed. "I can put on a good act." The car shot forward.
Bodie sat pondering this statement for at least ten blocks, unable to think of anything to say until it belatedly occurred to him that Doyle was not heading towards either of their flats. "Where are you going?"
"HQ," Doyle said.
"We got called in, remember?"
"But I thought--" Bodie stared at him. "Are you serious? We really did get a call?" He couldn't believe it. "I thought you set that up."
"No. There's a big hostage situation, Cowley's hauling everyone in. Honest."
"Bloody hell." Another night off ruined. Then it hit him. If the call had been real, then Doyle hadn't had anything set up, no ruse for getting out of the date. Just how long had he been planning to let it go on?
"Bloody hell is right," Doyle muttered.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Bodie snapped, fed up with Doyle's peculiar mood. "Did you want to stay? Fancied another spin on the dance floor so you could feel up that slut of a bird of yours?"
Doyle hit the brakes hard and spun to face him. "What the fuck are you on about?"
"What do you think?" Bodie let the anger he'd been holding in fly. "You were all over that little bitch, you looked like you were screwing each other right on the bloody dance floor!"
Doyle gaped at him. "It wasn't like that at all!"
"I've got eyes, mate. What were you going to do if we hadn't been called in? It would've been damn hard to pry her off, not that you wanted to."
"Shut the fuck up." A car horn honked behind them. Doyle swore again, then threw the car into gear and roared off. "You've got one hell of a jealous streak, mate. I was having fun, Bodie. You understand that word, don't you? I like to go dancing. Do you know how long it's been since I've had a chance to? It was fun, dammit, and that's all. So I got caught up in the music and the beat and the feel of it--didn't realize having a good time once in a while was a crime." He whipped the car round a corner and pulled into the CI5 car park. He jumped out, slamming the door behind him, and strode briskly towards the building.
"Ray!" Bodie caught him up, grabbing his jacket sleeve to stop him.
Doyle stood to face him, hands on hips. "You want to argue out here? In front of the whole of CI5?"
"No." Bodie let go the sleeve. He took a calming breath. "Later."
They walked on into HQ.
Doyle pulled the car to a halt outside his building. He nudged Bodie's shoulder. Bodie rubbed his eyes and said groggily, "We home?"
As they slowly got out of the car and headed inside and on up the stairs to Doyle's flat, Doyle felt the tension begin to ease. It had been a very rough night. They had only been at the hostage site for a quarter hour, still in the process of getting information, when all hell broke loose. One of the hostages had panicked and tried to run; the terrorists had responded by opening fire on anyone and everyone. The ten CI5 agents present were forced to move in before they were prepared to, straight into the thick of it, and to make life-or-death decisions with no time to get a real grasp on the situation. The interior of the warehouse the terrorists had chosen resembled a bombed-out war zone when it was finished, and the body count was high: eight dead, including three of the six hostages. At least none of their own men had died, although it had been close--two injured, one seriously. A long night that had stretched into a longer morning as they cleared up the mess and wrote up preliminary reports. It was three a.m. before they'd been able to leave and head home.
They hadn't spoken; Doyle had felt so tired and so stressed he'd barely been able to get in the car and drive, and he hadn't bothered to ask if Bodie wanted to be taken to his own place. No, they needed to be together now.
He opened the door to his flat, held it while Bodie half-walked, half-stumbled inside. After carefully locking up, Doyle tossed the keys wherever they might land and followed Bodie to the bedroom, where he undressed quickly, scattering his clothing about the place. Bodie had already slumped onto the bed, and was tugging at his pants in a sleep-deprived, uncoordinated way; Doyle climbed onto the bed to help him. Silently he helped work the rest of Bodie's clothes off, then lay down, bringing Bodie with him. He found enough energy to kiss him once, briefly, then held Bodie in a tight embrace, stroking the tight muscles of his back. Bodie nuzzled his neck, and murmured, "Didn't mean to argue...I need you."
"Don't want to talk now," Doyle replied. "Too tired." He kissed Bodie again, and then fell asleep in his arms.
Doyle awoke to the sound of the toilet flushing.
He stretched and yawned, glancing at the bedside clock. Eight in the morning. Well, five hours of sleep was better than none. He got out of bed and went into the bathroom, where Bodie was searching through the cabinet above the sink. "What are you looking for?"
"The extra toothbrush. Wanna have a shower, too. I feel gritty."
Doyle rummaged about and found the toothbrush. "You don't have to clean up for me, you know. I'll take you any way I can get you."
"Oh, are you planning on taking me?"
"Mm-hmm." Doyle leaned in close for an open-mouthed kiss, then wrinkled his nose at the odor of morning breath. "On the other hand, maybe a bit of mouthwash wouldn't hurt."
"Ta very much. You're no better, mate." Bodie set about brushing his teeth vigorously.
Doyle made use of the toilet, then snatched up his own brush. "I don't remember much about last night, but one thing sticks in my mind. Didn't Cowley give us the day off?"
"He did, indeed." Bodie gargled with Doyle's mouthwash. Then he began fiddling with the shower adjustments. "And I've got plans."
"What sort of plans?" Doyle mumbled between toothbrush strokes.
"The sort of plans that involve going right back to bed."
"Good. You sure you don't need some help with that?"
"I can manage." Bodie stopped playing with the taps and stepped under the shower. "Unless you want to scrub my back, of course."
When Doyle returned to the bed, he felt almost awake. Bodie slipped in beside him, smelling freshly clean. "Much better," Doyle said, brushing his fingers through the short, still-damp hair. "What do you fancy doin'?"
"I want to talk."
"There was a definite edge to Bodie's voice, one that surprised Doyle after their earlier camaraderie. "Why?"
"Because we haven't sorted it out yet, and because you're trying to pretend nothing ever happened."
Doyle rolled onto his back. He let out a long sigh. "You mean last night."
"Of course I bloody well mean last night." Bodie propped himself up on one elbow to gaze down on him. "Maybe I overreacted. Maybe I'm too jealous. But just tell me one thing: what would you have done if we hadn't gotten that call?"
"I don't know. I wouldn't have brought Laura back to my flat, you needn't have worried about that." Doyle tried to remember the way he had felt, the way he had lost himself in the rhythm of the music on that dance floor. "Yeah, I got carried away a bit. But it felt good--being out there, the lights and the music--didn't realize it would bother you. I liked being with Laura out there. It's not something I can do with you, is it? Not in public, anyway. Didn't realize I'd missed it 'til then." He paused. "I'm sorry, Bodie. Wasn't sexual. Just a bit of fun."
Bodie lay his palm on Doyle's chest. "You still like being with birds, don't you?"
"I was only being friendly."
"Your idea of 'friendly' is a little different than mine."
"Yeah, I figured that out." Doyle put his own hand on top of Bodie's. "Let's just skip the dance clubs from now on, okay?"
Bodie frowned. "But you said you missed it. Dammit, Ray, I don't want you to resent me for this."
"I won't. Promise." Doyle smiled and brought Bodie's hand to his lips, then turned into an embrace and kissed Bodie on the mouth, plunging inside, savoring the taste of him. As he pulled away, he ran his tongue around his own lips. "Mm...nice." He moved on to Bodie's throat, licking and sucking as he made his way downward.
Bodie responded in kind, then traced one finger up and down Doyle's chest, drawing a circle round each nipple and pinching him lightly there. Then he smiled and rolled onto his side, his back to Doyle, raising one knee. "I'm all yours, mate. Do your worst."
"Oh, ta very much." Doyle smiled back, even though Bodie couldn't see his face. "Fond of my technique, are you?" He shifted close to Bodie and let a warm breath out, to tickle the wisps of hair along his neck. Then he began stroking Bodie's back, rhythmically moving farther and farther down his spine.
Bodie let out a tiny moan. "Oh, yeah...keep goin'...ah...."
Doyle paused long enough to reach over to the night stand; he grabbed the lube and rubbed some on his hardening cock. Then he resumed his massage, working ever further down Bodie's back until he reached the tantalizingly smooth buttocks. He paused to quickly dab more lube on his fingers before gently probing within.
"More...." Bodie shifted his hips, thrusting them up to meet him. "More, Ray...get it in there. I want you."
Doyle pushed his hard cock inside the tight passage, slowly at first, then harder and deeper as Bodie's moaning demands increased. It felt so good, so hot, with all that strength pushing back at him. He and Bodie moved together in a heated rhythm, passion and fire building, the tension between them dissolving in a haze of sheer love. No one else, Doyle thought as he clutched at the strong flesh beneath him, never anyone else, and then he was there climaxing, spilling into Bodie in long shuddering waves, and he heard Bodie cry out, his body trembling violently, then stilling as Doyle stilled.
"God...." Doyle slid out and flopped onto his back, utterly relaxed and content. He turned to gaze at the very happy-looking man beside him. "You okay?"
"Yeah. Came right after you did." Bodie shifted onto his side, snuggling up to Doyle. He draped his arm across his chest. "Was wonderful. As always...." He yawned.
Doyle kissed him on the forehead, then his nose, then ran his tongue over Bodie's lips before plunging inside for a leisurely exploration. He gently nibbled Bodie's lower lip as he pulled away. "I love you. Don't ever doubt that."
"I don't." Bodie nestled against Doyle's shoulder. "Not always going to go smoothly, though, is it, loving someone. Bound to be rough patches along the way. We'll get through 'em. All we have to do is talk to each other, don't hold things back."
"You mean," Doyle said drowsily, "if I wanted to have fun with a bird on the dance floor, I should tell you first, sort of give you advance warning."
"Yeah." Bodie tucked the covers around them. "Do you want to? Go out to the clubs again? You can if you really want that."
"Don't honestly know." Doyle truly had enjoyed the feeling of being out on the dance floor, had liked the excitement of the music, the lights, the pulsing rhythm. But it wasn't something he needed, wasn't something he couldn't live without. "Maybe once in a great while. Like you said, just have to work things out as they come up from now on."
"Together," Bodie murmured.
"Together," Doyle agreed.
He kissed Bodie's forehead again before closing his eyes to sleep.
-- THE END --
Originally published in Leather and Blue Jeans 2, PAL Press, 1995