by Anne Carr
"Dark They Were And Golden...." Bodie turned astonished eyes to his partner. "What the bloody hell is this place?"
"It's a bookstore."
"Bookstore?" Bodie mouthed silently. Then.... "Raymate, I know you won the toss, and that we agreed to do whatever you want to do...but...."
"Me?" The dark haired man's look was a study of wounded innocence. "I have chauffeured you to three health food stores just so you could find a single box of pretend eggs..."
"Full of protein..."
"...to the zoo..."
"That episode with the baboon was not my fault. Can I help it if she found you gorgeous?"
Bodie ignored him. "Then to lunch at a place that specializes in bean sprouts...."
Doyle grinned as his partner's stomach growled in audible sympathy.
"And now you want me to go into some kinky bookstore...."
"S'not kinky. It's science fiction. There's a book I want to get." He looked at Bodie, just a little wide-eyed. "You did say...."
"All right," Bodie rolled his eyes, thinking nothing could be worse than that damn randy baboon. "You go ahead, I'll find a place to park."
Barely waiting until the car had come to its brief halt, Ray slid out and away. He was pushing Bodie and he knew it. Better to let him have a bit of time to himself. He'd be along in a while, equanimity restored when he'd had a pint at some nearby pub.
Besides, it would give Ray a chance to browse. The store was quiet, not that many people inside on a sunny Monday afternoon. Doyle wandered down the aisle, glancing at the colourful book jackets, occasionally pausing to pick one up. Pleasantly occupied, he never noticed when the young woman entered the store.
She was not tall, not over pretty, or in any way remarkable--if one didn't look into her eyes. They were large, a light amber colour, surrounded with an odd darker shade, and veiled by thick long lashes.
The clerk behind the counter saw her immediately and swallowed, then smiled nervously.
The girl smiled back. "Not too crowded today, Jimmy?"
She went on by and he sighed with relief, barely able to keep from crossing himself in an age old gesture of self protection.
Bethan Early was a witch.
Doyle's ambling had taken him to the occult section of the shop. He was eyeing a bright red paperback with a gilt gold pentagram on the cover when someone bumped into him. He turned in time to see a young woman step away, directly into a tall display of hardcover volumes. The books teetered and began to fall.
"Watch out!" He reached for her and yanked, pulling her safely against his body as the pile toppled. During the resulting melee she huddled against him, and his arms tightened automatically. "You all right, luv?"
"Yes, thank you," she straightened slowly and met his eyes.
It was like an electrical shock. Ray opened his mouth, closed it and blinked. When he looked again she was gone.
But there was no one there except the clerk restacking the fallen books. Doyle shrugged and picked up another book at random, a black heavy volume, at the same time noting Bodie had entered the shop.
He was speaking quietly to a leggy blonde, flirting out of habit, using his own brand of confident charm. Ray opened the book unthinkingly, not looking at the print, as he watched his partner. The girl blushed, laughed a little, and Ray half smiled. Bodie had a real way about him. He wished suddenly his hearing were better, that his ears were sharper and he could hear what Bodie was saying to the girl.
His fingers tingled and he flexed them absently, smoothing the book's surface. Bodie had caught sight of him now and came forward, stepping carefully over the fallen volumes.
"Hey, mate. What 'appened?"
"They fell over."
"Always one for stating the obvious, eh? What's this then?" Bodie looked around, bright eyed and curious.
I was right, Ray thought. He is in a better mood. Pleased, he answered, "Flights of fancy, sunshine."
"Where no man has gone before?"
"Yeh, something like that."
"Nah, I know you, mate," Bodie winked. "You're just lookin' for some new erotic fantasy, aren't you?"
"Not me, sunshine. I've still got a couple of old erotic fantasies I wish I could act out, don't I? Oooww!" He dropped the book and stared at it, astonished.
"Oi, mate--you're gettin' clumsy in your old age," Bodie laughed and bent to pick up the book.
"Don't!" Doyle stopped him, grabbing firmly at his arm. "It shocked me!"
"Don't be ridiculous, it's just the static electricity or something. See?" Bodie shook off his partner's grip and picked up the volume. Setting it gently on the shelf, with an attitude of one who respects the written word (even if it was kinky SF), he motioned away. "Did you find the book you were looking for?"
"No," Ray shook his hands, then rubbed them briskly on his jeans, willing the feeling back into the numbed digits. "It doesn't matter. Come on, let's get out of here."
He brushed past his partner and strode out of the store, not looking back.
And therefore he didn't see Bethan Early pick up the book from the shelf where Bodie had left it and run her fingers lightly over the raised title letters.
CELTIC CRAFT--BOOK OF SPELLS
She smiled a knowing, secret sort of smile, and an eery light gleamed in her amber eyes. "Thank you, Raymond Doyle...."
Ray stepped out of the shower and reached for the nearby towel. It was still early, but he was tired, almost bone weary, and he was looking forward to a good night's sleep.
Nonetheless he lingered in the bathroom, toweling himself dry, running the rough terry over his body, liking the way the cloth felt on his skin.
He paused there in front of the half misted mirror, trying to decide whether or not to shave now or wait until morning. Absently he began to rub the water from his curling hair.
It had been a good day right down to the cheese and mushroom and broccoli quiche he'd made Bodie for dinner. It was a gesture of recompense, him doing the cooking, because his partner had really gone all out to keep up his end of the deal: one day off, toss to see how it was spent.
And despite his stated reluctance to eat what he called 'monkey fodder', Bodie had gobbled up the quiche, even asked for seconds, though he griped about washing up after.
Ray lathered his face and began to shave, the razor strokes quick and efficient--do it fast, get it over, more time to sleep. He was uncommonly tired, the bed drawing him like a siren.
He rinsed and added a little scented lotion out of habit, then peered into the mirror, locking gazes with himself. His eyes looked a little funny, sort of extra green. Christ, he hoped he wasn't coming down with anything. He yawned and padded barefoot and assed into his bedroom. It wasn't like him to be so bloody sleepy...he'd sent Bodie off straight after the dishes were done instead of following his original plan of a movie and drinks.
Not that Bodie hadn't been eager to go. Probably had a tentative date with the blonde from the bookshop, Ray thought as he sank down on the mattress.
"I'd know if my hearing were better," he muttered and ran a finger lightly over one ear. He shook his head slightly--it felt odd. Oh great, water from the shower stuck somewhere inside.
But he was too tired to do anything about it now. He rolled to the side, thinking that maybe the droplets would come out of their own accord if he slept with that ear to the pillow...he was asleep before he finished the thought.
Night dark and warm. Ray opened his eyes and looked around, a little confused. This wasn't his room; it wasn't a room at all. Instead of walls there were trees, sweet scented and hung with mistletoe, the spreading branches forming a lattice work ceiling overhead. An almost full moon spread a golden shifting glow through the leaves like a shaded lamp.
He sat up and ran a hand over his bed--no, not a bed, a pallet of soft dry moss, springy to touch, comfortable.
Was he dreaming? He always knew when he was on that subconscious plane, and this didn't seem the same. The sights, the scents, the feel of it was real, real and peaceful. Here he was safe. Nothing, no one could hurt him in this little glade.
Sound--he could hear everything from the spring singing far away to the single brush of leaf on leaf overhead. Forest symphony played for him alone.
It was too good, this feeling, not to be shared.
And then he was no longer alone--he could hear the quiet breath of someone else, the rustle of footsteps on the moss carpet, long before he caught the scent of his companion. On the other side of the glen a figure stepped out from between the trees and was bathed in momentary gold.
"Bodie?" Ray smiled. Yes, Bodie. "What're you doing here?"
"I don't know," his partner stepped closer. "You called--I came. Where are we?"
Ray waved a hand. "Somewhere safe. Can't you feel it?"
Bodie nodded. "Warm, too." He glanced down at his nude body, then to Doyle's. "Forgot our fig leaves."
They smiled at each other then Bodie was beside him, eyes blue and wide. "Ray! What the...."
"What's happened to your ears?"
"Well, I can hear better, but...." Doyle touched the shell of his ear, followed the curve and found it no longer arced, but instead grew to a gentle point. "Christ!"
"More like Mr. Spock." There was a trace of humour in Bodie's voice, mixed with something that sounded remarkably like awe. "Suits you, mate." He brushed Ray's hands aside and traced the ears to their points and back.
Doyle sucked a deep breath and shuddered, "Bodie!"
"Sorry, did I hurt?"
"No--do it again...." There was almost a pleading note in Doyle's voice, an urgency that found an answer in Bodie.
"Turns you on, does it?" Bodie whispered, and he stroked the soft skin over cartilage again. "You like that?"
"Christ, Bodie!" Ray arched, reaching for his partner's shoulders, pulling him down. They collapsed in a wild tangle of arms and legs, and Doyle rolled on top of Bodie, breathing heavily.
A little stunned at the furious response, Bodie lay still.
"I can feel you," Ray whispered, "feel your heart. It's pounding...."
"Has my hair gone grey along with it?"
Ray raised up a little and wound his fingers into the short soft hair. "'S all gold in this light. Lover." He bent his head and pressed a long hard kiss to Bodie's mouth. "Bodie, please..." he spoke against the closed lips. His partner wasn't fighting him--more like waiting to see what would happen next. His own heart was thudding as his heightened senses fed him sight, sound, smell, taste...touch. Oh god, the feel of the hot body beneath his....
Bodie's mouth opened, accepting the invading tongue, encouraging entrance. Ray tasted the tangy essence of his partner, savoured it, sucked at Bodie's tongue, inviting him to return the gesture.
This was it--the dark fantasy he'd had for so long. To be held by Bodie, kissed, and caressed by his large hands--to have Bodie want him. A secret desire, never to be even thought of by day, brought out and embellished at night...but this was real, solid, and better than any of his dreams had ever been.
He drew back a little, wanting to look at his partner, to be sure that Bodie too wanted this--because that was part of the fantasy. He got his answer in the expression on Bodie's face, the soft murmur of encouragement that came clearly to his new, acute hearing. "Yes," Bodie said. "God, yes...."
No longer passive, Bodie's fingers tangled in his hair, slipping through the curls that were somehow longer than before, and Doyle turned his head, seeking the touch. Every nerve felt the caress and as Bodie brought his hand to Ray's face he licked at the palm.
"Tickles," Bodie murmured and traced the line of the full lips.
Ray bit gently then sucked at the long finger, liking the flavour. He wanted more--to taste his partner's every inch. "Hold still," he commanded and wiggled lower. The glide of body on hard body fascinated him and he moved again. "Fantastic...."
The beat of Bodie's pulse sounded clearly to his new ears, showed strong in Bodie's throat. Ray tasted it too, sucked at the soft skin and felt/heard Bodie's moan.
"Tell me what you want," Doyle said thickly. "Tell me what to do...." He rubbed one hand over Bodie's puckered nipple, then down to waist and hip, and back.
"Yes," Bodie twisted, panting. "More...."
Ray laughed and slid lower still, nuzzling the hard chest, tracing the lines of rib with his tongue, driving Bodie into mindless need and reveling in the sound of incoherent encouragement.
Bodie's cock was fully engorged in his hand, slick with lubricating drops of semen. The scent of musk was strong, intoxicating, and Bodie's cry almost painful as he took the hard length into his mouth.
Had anything ever tasted this good? Bodie arched and Ray fought to ride the thrusts, spreading his partner's thighs farther apart as the movement became erratic. Fuzzily he realized that it was too soon--that Bodie was too close...he lifted his head, licked once up the hot shaft, then set about soothing him down from the near high. "Relax," he whispered. "Take your time...."
"Damn you," Bodie gasped and tried to push against him, but Ray held him still and gradually the tense body quieted beneath him. "You do that again," Bodie told him finally, "and I'll either kill you or go crazy."
"I just don't want it over too soon." Ray smiled at him, the golden light making him almost unearthly. Bodie looked at him for a long minute.
"See how you like it then," he said and ran his fingers over the pointed ears.
Ray groaned and when Bodie lifted him, turned him, he went with it, laying on his back in the soft moss, eager to let Bodie explore him. "I want you," he said, and when Bodie hesitated, went on, "I've wanted you for so long...Bodie, please...touch me...."
Bodie leaned closer, ran his hands over Ray's chest, swirling the soft hair there backwards, then smoothing it back into place, rubbing the nipples into hard buds. He bent, rimmed Doyle's navel with his tongue before plunging it deep inside, and Ray moaned.
Long calloused fingers played over his belly, causing the muscles to ripple, then moved to stroke his inner thighs, down to his knees and back, cupping his taut balls.
Bodie paused then and looked at his lover. "Now," he whispered, "You tell me what you want." Ray lifted and his shaft rubbed against Bodie's cheek. "I want you inside me...love me...fuck me...."
Bodie moved his finger over the tip of Ray's cock, spread the moisture there, then traced the cleft of his partner's body from groin to ass with the wet finger. "You sure?"
"Damn it, Bodie! Do it! Oh Christ...yes...."
There was no pain, only pressure and unbelievable pleasure. Doyle squirmed, wanting more, and a second finger slipped easily into him, entering and almost withdrawing, over and over. Then the pressure was gone and Bodie was lifting his legs and a new, more firm presence was there, filling him in one stroke. Bodie paused and Ray wrapped his legs around his partner's waist.
"Hard Bodie...make it hard...do me...."
He reached for his own shaft only to have Bodie brush his hand away and grip the length himself. Ray followed his partner's double rhythm, overloading on sensation, bucking and thrusting until suddenly there was an incredible warmth flowing inside him, expanding him until he burst. The hand on his throbbing cock, the prick still flowing inside, all seemed part of him, as if he and Bodie had become one person in that minute. He reached for his lover, pulled him close and kissed him almost savagely. "Tell me," he said against Bodie's lips. "Tell me...."
If his hearing had not been so acute he wouldn't have heard, but as Bodie slipped from him and drew him into a warm embrace the words were there between them. Soft and sweet, part of the forest symphony, it might almost have been the trees whispering instead of his lover.
Doyle rested his head on Bodie's shoulder and smiled. Three words that meant everything. Whatever happened now, he'd never be alone again. Bodie's hands, still shaking, pulled him closer and Ray went eagerly, giving and drawing warmth...sharing. Bodie was asleep before Ray remembered he hadn't told him how he felt. It didn't matter--they had plenty of time--he'd tell him in the morning, as many times as Bodie could stand to hear it. Doyle rubbed his ear thoughtfully and closed his eyes.
Morning. Doyle rolled over and yawned, blinking sleepily at his clock. One minute before the alarm was set to go off. Good thing. With his hearing this acute the sound was liable to deafen him. He pushed the button to turn it off and smiled, lifting his other hand to the point of his ear.
It was gone.
"No!" he shouted and rolled off the bed, stumbling into the loo.
The mirror reflected his image clearly. Ray Doyle. Nothing new, no change from the man who had gazed back at him all these years. No pointed ears, or brilliant green eyes or longer hair. Just Doyle. Ordinary. Plain.
"No..." he pleaded to the face in the looking glass. "It wasn't a dream...it was real...I know it was...."
The reflection crumpled and blurred and Ray turned away. Admit it. Otherwheres, otherwhens, and shared peace were for storybook heroes. Not for CI5 men. Not for him and Bodie.
He blinked and his vision cleared. "Grow up," he told the reflection in a harsh voice. "Fantasies are for children."
But it was so real....
When the door buzzed a half hour later, he was ready, shoulder holster on, gun firmly in place. "Come on in," he said into the intercom and opened the security lock.
Peace of mind. What a laugh.
Bodie entered, yawning despite wide awake eyes, rubbing a hand over his newly shaved face. "Morning, mate. You ready?"
"Yeh. Fancy a coffee?" Ray kept his voice light with an effort. Too see Bodie now after last night...the strength, the hard muscle and soft skin...the mouth that had met his and shared....
"Sure. Hey, you all right?"
Blue eyes met his for an instant, then dropped. But not before Ray had seen the sudden flare in the depths. Had that expression ever been there before? Surely not....
He busied himself in the kitchen, making small talk, discussing the day ahead while every sense was trained on the man beside him. Real and solid--hardly the stuff of which dreams were made. But last night Bodie had made his darkest fantasy come true, and this morning there was something...a sort of gruff tenderness that was new.
They lingered over the coffee, each reluctant to get on with the day, to let others intrude on their time. Conversation had dwindled unnoticed into a half-comfortable silence.
Ray risked another glance at his partner. He'd have to learn to cope with these new feelings for Bodie--put them into their proper place and shut the door firmly. But one last look through a lover's eyes.
Dark and light. Dark hair, dark eyes, pale skin. Such...almost beauty. As he watched, Bodie raised a hand to rub lightly over his neck, pushing aside the polo neck sweater for a brief instant. Ray caught a glimpse of the bruise there and without thinking reached to cover Bodie's hand with his own. "Mate?"
Bodie blinked, coming out of his own reverie. "What?"
"This bruise...where'd you get it?" Ray drew the sweater back to trace the livid mark. "You didn't have it at dinner last night."
In his mind's eye Doyle again was gasping, pouring his life essence out, sucking at his lover's throat as he willed him to join in the moment--burying his triumphant cry into Bodie's neck.... "No," he said softly, "you didn't."
Bodie shrugged, not meeting his eyes. "Must have got it later then."
Doyle smiled, patting the sweater back into place. A feeling of almost silly happiness was spreading through him, making him feel like a kid again. Fantasy or reality--maybe he could make them one and the same. "I had a funny dream last night," he said.
"Yeh? You can tell me about it in the car." Bodie got up swiftly. "Was it a good dream?"
"You tell me," Ray said under his breath, and added aloud, "Yeh. It was."
They passed out into the London sunshine, talking easily, wrapped up in each other. Neither man noticed the unremarkable girl on the corner. She watched them walk by with strange amber eyes and stroked the black clad book of spells.
"Two wishes for an act of kindness," she said softly. "From there you must build on your own."
The sound of shared laughter echoed back from the carpark. Bethan Early closed the volume, smiled, and walked away.
-- THE END --