by Anne Higgins
For James who wanted something sentimental.
Raymond Doyle approached the problem as any good former copper would -- he identified it, considered all possible angles, then sought to solve it.
He first realised there was a problem on the last anniversary of the day the Controller of CI5 had assigned Doyle a partner -- one William Andrew Philip Bodie. As he and Bodie had hoisted the customary pint to mark the occasion, Doyle had remembered that it had been Bodie who'd started the ritual. That led to the obvious conclusion that anniversaries were important to the man.
Doyle shook his head fondly as he glanced down at the dark head resting in his lap, Bodie's even breathing indicating that he had fallen asleep. Doyle had wanted the beautiful man from the first moment he'd seen him, but falling in love with him had surprised Ray, and he had been a long time doing it. Now the only reason they weren't married was that two men couldn't marry.
He sighed to himself. A nice big wedding was hardly the stuff his dreams were made of, but it would have given them an obvious date to celebrate. And he knew he needed to arrange some sort of celebration. Bodie was a strong, dangerous man -- macho personified, he was. But Mr Macho was also the biggest softie Doyle had ever met, and he had a romantic streak wider than the Thames. The gorgeous prat would positively glow if Doyle made a fuss over their anniversary. But what day should it be?
One by one, he considered the options. The day they were made partners would work, but they already had a tradition for that. And they hadn't even liked each other back then. The day they first had sex came to mind but, while their first encounter had been full of affection as well as lust, neither had loved the other at the time. Or at least, neither of them had known it.
He smiled as he thought of the night they'd exchanged whispered promises of love and commitment. That lovely memory held a lot of appeal, but he'd had to leave Bodie's bed and return to a flat he was sharing with Ann the next day, while her betrayal and Parker had all been yet to come.
Doyle gently stroked the silk of his lover's hair, absently soothing away the remembered hurts that case had inflicted on both of them. Though the op had ended successfully, Doyle didn't consider using the anniversary of that for an instant. Too much pain and death to celebrate that. So what was left?
Bodie stirred a bit beneath Doyle's hand, snuggling even deeper into the pillow resting on Doyle's lap. It always made Doyle feel annoyingly sloppy when Bodie did that. A nice lazy afternoon with his lover curled up against him for a kip. One of the benefits of living together, that was. Doyle smiled. That was it. The day they'd officially moved in together -- a year ago, five weeks from tomorrow. That should give him enough time to come up with something special.
Doyle finished loosening the last light bulb, then headed for the bedroom.
A quick shower was the final item on his list of things to do, and a glance at the clock assured him everything was on schedule -- provided George Cowley was able to keep Bodie at headquarters until six as they had agreed. Doyle wasn't too worried about that provision. After all, one of the bonuses of living with the boss' son was conspiring with him against Bodie.
Having gotten a lot done in a short amount of time, Doyle let the hot water relax his mind and body. It had turned out that deciding on a day to celebrate had been the easy part of his plan. Bodie was far from Doyle's first male sex partner, but he was the only man he'd ever fallen in love with which made much of their relationship new territory -- including the notion of how to romance a man. If Bodie were a woman, Doyle would have known precisely how to plan the evening, all while making sarky comments to his mates about the useless expense of it all. Those mates would all nod in agreement and mutter their own theories about why birds didn't find football matches and a few pints romantic. Be great fun, that would, but Bodie was far from a woman. Doyle had briefly considered the football match but, while fine for birthdays, he didn't consider it special enough to meet his current requirements. Finally, after weeks of trying to think of something, he'd decided romance was romance and had made his plans accordingly.
Reluctantly Doyle turned off the water, dried himself, then returned to the bedroom while wrapping the towel around his waist. He'd just finished with his hair dryer when he heard the front door open, followed by the click of a light switch. Since Doyle had carefully sabotaged every light, nothing happened. "Think we blew a fuse, pet," he called out.
"Bloody marvellous," Bodie grumbled, the changing volume indicating, as Doyle had hoped, he was coming toward the bedroom. "An afternoon in Records -- and what I did to deserve that, I don't know -- then home to a cold, dark flat."
"'s not cold or dark back here," Doyle promised.
"Can see that," Bodie said, stopping in the doorway, a smile lighting up his face as his glance roved over Doyle's body like a caress.
Doyle shifted his hips a bit, emphasizing his towel-covered groin, and Bodie quickly crossed the room to take him into his arms. "Love it when you're like this," he murmured, the tip of his nose sparring with one of Doyle's curls. "Like some smug moggy, all fresh and warm from napping in a sunbeam."
"You can rub my tum if you like."
"Purr for me, will you?"
"Can guarantee it."
"Well, in that case...." Bodie dropped down to his knees, then his cheek nuzzled the downy fur on Doyle's belly. The towel gave way at a gentle tug, freeing Doyle's erection, and Bodie gave the tip a single lick. Then sitting back on his heels, he took hold of his lover's hips and gave him another long, caressing look. "So gorgeous," he whispered when their eyes met.
Bodie's praise of his charms always pleased, but surprised Doyle a bit. While Doyle had been slower to fall in love, it had been Bodie who had been reluctant to enter into a physical relationship in the first place. For three weeks he'd hated Bodie, then he'd taken a second look and decided he wanted to fuck the gorgeous, arrogant bastard through the floor. Another two weeks of hard work had finally got the man seduced, but the necessary effort had left Doyle all too aware that, for Bodie, it had definitely not been lust at first sight. Or even second sight. "So are you," he answered, stroking the silk of Bodie's hair. "So are you."
Doing his own imitation of a cat, Bodie turned his attention to Doyle's cock, his tongue doing a slow, lazy exploration that soon had Doyle writhing against the hands holding him in place.
Loudly voicing his enthusiasm, Doyle came, spurting his passion while Bodie lapped up every last drop.
When he'd finished, Bodie sighed. "I need to change my trousers."
Doyle chuckled. "Came in your pants again, did you?"
That earned him a Bodie scowl. "'s all your fault, yowling away like that. How's a man supposed to control himself?"
"Dunno, pet, but I rather like it when you come when I do." He gave the dark head another caress, then said, "Now into the shower with you. Got plans for tonight, and I want you all squeaky clean."
"Why? What're we doing?"
"It's a surprise."
Bodie gave him a curious look, then trotted off to the loo. When he returned, he glanced at the clothes Doyle had laid out for him, then frowned. "Why am I putting on my dinner jacket?" he asked.
"Special occasion, pet," Doyle answered, pulling his own dinner jacket out of the closet. "Besides, you look a treat when you're all togged up in that."
The younger man couldn't help preening a bit at the compliment, but he still looked a bit suspicious. "What special occasion?"
"It's a surprise," came the unhelpful answer.
"Oh." Bodie gave Doyle another suspicious look, but started dressing.
Having spent the time Bodie was in the shower providing some light in the front room, Doyle rushed a bit as he dressed, wanting to finish before Bodie. As usual the sodding tie frustrated him, but with an amused chuckle his lover came to his rescue.
"Some day, Raymond my love, you are going to learn how to tie one of these properly," Bodie said, doing an expert job on the annoying scrap of black silk.
"No need, is there? Got you to do it," he said, reaching for his new pair of black boots. The sarky comment he was expecting quickly followed.
"Boots with evening dress?" Bodie said, feigning shock. "Tut tut, Raymond, have you no fashion sense at all?"
"None," Doyle announced rather proudly, then stood up. "'sides, I think they look fine."
"You just like being taller than me," Bodie snorted, pulling on his dress shoes.
Exactly. Doyle gave his mate a kiss on the top of the head to reward his cleverness, then went into the living room to take care of the last little detail. He switched on the stereo and stood back to wait.
"So, where are we going?" Bodie asked, coming out of the bedroom himself, just as the slow piano movement from Bodie's favourite, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, began. The young man's reaction was everything Doyle had hoped for -- Bodie froze in the doorway, his jaw dropping open just a touch as he took in the results of Doyle's labours.
The furniture had been cleared from the centre of the room, creating a makeshift dance floor, while the dining table they usually ignored in favour of the sofa and coffee table was set with china plates and crystal wine glasses. Two elegant tapered candles lit the table, while a dozen other candles scattered around the place cast a golden glow over everything.
"I wanted to take you out for dinner and dancing," Doyle explained, crossing the room to join his stunned lover. "But nothing was quite good enough for you." A gentle joke to get over the only unpleasant aspect of the evening -- two men in love weren't welcome in most public places, and the need for two men in CI5 to be discreet eliminated the other options.
"It's beautiful," Bodie whispered, "but why?"
"Our anniversary, isn't it?" Doyle told him, his hands caressing Bodie's arms. "Deserves something special."
Bodie stared at him for a moment, then his whole face lit up in a grin of clear delight. "Moved in together a year ago today. Didn't think you'd remember," he said, snuggling up against Doyle, clearly pleased that he had remembered. "Never thought you'd want to celebrate it."
"Gorgeous, but dumb," Doyle whispered into the nearest ear. "Best thing in my life deserves a day of celebration. Make it a national holiday if I could."
A soft little sound came from Bodie's throat -- not quite a sigh, nor a sob -- but the sound of a man too overwhelmed to find any words.
Doyle kissed him, then led him over to the table. Smoked salmon started things off and by the time Doyle served up a plate of fine cheeses for afters, he figured he could light all of London with the shine from Bodie's eyes.
The classical music had given way to an album of mushy, slow songs tailor-made for long cuddles on the dance floor, so Doyle stood up and opened his arms. "Come dance with me, my beautiful man?"
Bodie rose, then eyed the way Doyle was holding his arms. "Why do you get to lead?" he asked, his tone teasing rather than argumentative.
"Works best if the taller one does it," Doyle assured him with a grin.
His lover laughed, then moved into his arms. "Rotten sod. But I love you anyway."
"Hoped you did." At first, while Bodie got used to moving backwards, they held the proper form and distance, but slowly, Doyle drew him closer. It felt so good -- the warmth and power of Bodie pressed against him. Such a strong body, such a mushy heart; it always awed Doyle to have all of it given over to his care.
When the last song ended, Doyle just held his love for a long time. Only one last thing to do, and he had to admit to himself he was a bit nervous about it. Bodie had seemed to delight in everything he had done, but he knew all too well it could have just been because he had done something. Ah, well, no one ever got into CI5 for being faint of heart.
God, it was hard to let go of him, but he managed it, despite Bodie's sounds of protest. "I'll be right back, pet," Doyle told him, then darted into the bedroom. He retrieved a small package from the inside of his tattiest pair of trainers, considered the possible reactions to the box's contents, then pocketed a second item before returning to the front room.
"Gonna dance with me some more, sunshine?" Bodie asked, a hopeful look on his handsome face.
Doyle gathered him back into his arms. "Liked that, did you?"
"I've got a present for you."
Bodie straightened up, drawing away from him with a frown. "But I don't have anything for you," he protested.
"You can get me one tomorrow...if you want to."
He pulled the small box from his pocket and flipped it open to reveal a platinum band set with a sapphire that Doyle thought perfectly matched Bodie's eyes. "I can't make what we have legal, pet, but I'd like it if you'd wear this anyway."
Bodie lifted the ring from the box, holding it as if it were something fragile. "D-did you get it inscribed?"
Doyle nodded. "It says 'forever'."
"Oh, Christ." Only twice before had Doyle ever seen Bodie cry and never because he was happy, but as Bodie stared at the ring a tear spilled from first one eye, then the other. "You'll wear one, too?"
Doyle nodded, his thumbs brushing away the precious tears. "Can wait to put yours on until I have mine if you'd like."
Bodie shook his head. "No, want to wear it now." He gave the ring back to Doyle, then held out his left hand. "I love you, Ray."
"And I love you, Bodie," he answered, slipping the wedding ring onto the other man's finger.
Bodie kissed him, a fleeting gentle touch, then whispered, "Take me, my love. Take me here in this room you created for me. Please."
"Oh, God." His hands were shaking so badly that Doyle didn't know quite how he managed to get them both out of their clothing, then down to the floor -- especially with Bodie nibbling on various bits throughout -- but he finally got it done. And a rewarding sight it was -- Bodie all stripped down, his eyes and ring sparkling in the candlelight, his legs spread wide in a rather demanding invitation.
"Too wound up to play, pet?" Doyle asked, pulling out the tube of KY he'd had the foresight to pocket earlier.
"Won't last," Bodie gasped. "Please."
"All right, but I shall want lots of kisses." He spread the lube on himself, then knelt between Bodie's legs. The body he loved so well opened to receive him, and one smooth push buried him deep inside his lover's arse. Heaven, it was. Having claimed one part of his lover, he shifted a bit and leaned down to let his tongue explore Bodie's mouth. Another bit of heaven, and Doyle moaned his appreciation.
At another time, he might have given in to the impulse to plunder Bodie, but he kept his movements slow and gentle, conveying his love with every brush of skin against skin. When Bodie came, he carried them both over the edge, but the actual sexual release made them only pause for a moment, then they went back to the serious business of kissing, caressing, touching.
Bodie would have happily spent the night on the floor, but Doyle knew they'd both be cold and stiff in the morning, so he coaxed Bodie to his feet, then laughed as his lover pouted when Doyle took the time to snuff out all the candles. "Fires are only romantic when you have a fireplace, pet," he told Bodie, drawing him into the warm comfort of first their bedroom, then their bed.
"Hmpf," Bodie answered, obviously unimpressed by Doyle's reasoning, but seemed mollified when they cuddled back up under the duvet.
A long day and a feeling of blissful contentment began to lull Doyle toward sleep, but before it could claim him, Bodie whispered, "I can't decide."
"What stone to put in your ring. Your eyes are jade when you're all loving like this, but they get an emerald hue when you lose your temper."
That surprised Doyle a bit. "Would have thought you wouldn't care for emeralds then."
"Nah, love you even when you're all ratty."
Doyle felt a wave of love flood through him that made even his toes tingle.
"Mmmm. Maybe love you even more then. Anyone can love you when you're the other way, but I'm the one who loves the stroppy bastard."
"Oh God, Bodie, I love you. So bloody much."
"Love you too, sunshine." He held up his left hand, letting a bit of moonlight glitter on it. "Forever, Ray?"
-- THE END --