It was dark and quiet. They were lying on their sides, facing each other. Bodie reached out and palmed his buttocks, rubbing in slow massaging circles, his grip firm, possessive.

"Turn over, Ray."

Brushing a fingertip length of Bodie's erection, Doyle shifted to lie on his back. "Not this time."

"Why not?" The dark head lowered as Bodie began to tongue Doyle's left nipple, stiffening the nub immediately.

The knowing mouth sent a shiver through Doyle as it licked and nibbled patterns across his chest.

"Because.. .mmm, because I want it... want it to be different."

"What're you talking about?" Bodie leaned back, head propped on an arm, a trace of the caged tiger showing in his eyes.

Doyle pulled at Bodie's shoulders, urging him down into the pillows. His hand slipped underneath the firm, round arse, fingers teasing the cleft, pressing gently against the puckered opening. "Let me show you--"

He was shoved away as Bodie sat up angrily. "I'm not some fucking little boyhole."

Doyle was sprawled back on his hands where Bodie had pushed him. He straightened slowly and looked Bodie in the eyes. "Meaning, I am?"

Bodie's jaw was set, lips drawn into an unyielding line. He glanced away and didn't answer.

Doyle kicked the sheets aside and left the bed.

Several seconds too late, Bodie called out to him with a voice that wavered slightly. "I didn't mean it like that!"

Doyle pulled on his clothes. "You meant it, all right." He gathered his jacket and turned towards the bed. "Well, this little boyhole is leaving and you can go to hell."

His eyes veiled by lowered lashes, Bodie settled himself against the pillows, his hard-muscled arms crossed over his chest. "I'll wait until you calm down."

Doyle walked out without looking back.

The cold wind was biting, the night starless in the overcast. Doyle zipped up his leather jacket and stuck his fists into the fur-lined pockets. His motor was parked around the corner in an alley, and he quickened his pace.

He was so angry, he could feel his eyes watering.


Damn that bloody, arrogant bastard. Damn him. Sleeping with someone was supposed to bring you closer, not farther apart. Wasn't it? Doyle knew he should have expected Bodie's reaction. Maybe the real question was why, after three months, was he still going to bed with the smug son-of-a-bitch?

He fumbled for his keys as he approached the Escort, dropped them, cursed as he stooped to pick them up.

"Don't bother, you won't need them."

Doyle glanced up at the sound of the woman's voice. His gaze stopped at the gun in her left hand. The barrel of the Walther was pointed at his head.

She was several feet away. It would be very risky. Even if he'd had his Browning, he wouldn't have time to clear the holster.

"I wouldn't try it," she advised coolly, as though reading his mind. "I am an excellent shot, but at this range, that hardly matters. Besides, I'm not alone."

Like a cue, he heard the sound of footsteps behind him. Holding his hands out at his sides, palms open, Doyle started to get up slowly.

"No. Stay down. On your knees. Do it. Now. That's better."

The woman was dark-haired, though it was too dim to be sure. Her features seemed even, pretty perhaps, as far as he could tell. Small, gold loops dangled from her earlobes. She was tall and wore a dark coat and boots.

He turned his attention to the automatic in her gloved hand as his arms were pulled behind him and cuffs clicked shut around his wrists. He was hauled up to a standing position and he chanced a look behind him.

The man was very big, 6'3" at least, with the weight to go with it. A large hand jerked his head forward to face the woman.

She was smiling. He could see her white teeth.

"Who are you? What do you want?" he asked her. It was obviously too complicated for a robbery.

"For a start, I would like to take you for a ride, Mr. Doyle."

He took a step, so he could see her better. He thought he detected a slight accent, but couldn't place it. The big man clamped a hand on his shoulder, making him wince.

"Oh, yes, of course I know who you are," she continued. Again, he saw her gleaming white teeth.

She stepped to one side as Doyle was pushed forward roughly, towards a late model saloon car. He was thrown head first into the back seat. His ankles were grabbed in an iron grip as another pair of cuffs snapped around them. Then he was tugged into a sitting position and the big man sat down next to him.

The man took hold of his jacket collar and pushed him down to the floor of the car, his face pressed into the rug. A heavy boot settled across his back.

The woman came round to the driver s seat a few minutes later and seconds after that, the car moved sedately out of the alleyway and blended with the sparse flow of late night traffic in the area.

At first, Doyle tried to remember the number of turns, but soon gave up the effort. It seemed as though the woman was deliberately driving in an endless maze of circles and turns.

On top of everything else, he'd left his watch on Bodie's nighttable. As much as he could tell, they drove for over an hour before the car finally came to a halt. The woman left briefly, and Doyle heard the sound of a door opening, a garage door he assumed. They drove inside and, once again, he heard the door close behind them.

As he lay on the floor of the car, the big man reached down and drew a black cloth hood over his head. He was dragged out of the car, hoisted onto the man's shoulder like a sack and carried through several doors and finally down a steep set of stairs.

He was dumped on some sort of padding on the floor. The man fiddled with his restraints, removing the cuffs around his ankles. His wrists were wrenched forwards, making him hiss against the pain. The sound of a chain clanging against stone followed, then a sharp click on the short lead between his handcuffs. His hood was removed as he struggled into a sitting position, blinking against the sudden harsh light.

He was in a room with damp brick walls, no windows, one door. It was lit by a bare bulb in the ceiling that swung from its electrical cord. A corner of the room was blocked off by a dingy blue curtain.

He was sitting on a threadbare mattress, against the wall facing the door.

"I regret the spartan conditions, Mr. Doyle, but they are the most practical for my purpose." The woman was standing by the door, gun lowered.

"What is your purpose? Are you going to kill me? Torture me? What the hell do you want?"

She leaned casually against the doorframe, measuring him with an amused expression. "That chain will allow you to move ten feet in any direction. There's a toilet and a small washbasin behind the curtain. You can reach it with at least a foot to spare. However, you are four feet short of reaching this door. Not that it would help you in any case. My colleague will be right upstairs."

"What is this all about?" Doyle asked again. He was incensed enough at being snatched like a rank amateur, his anger well ahead of any fear.

The woman shook her head with a chilly, little smile. "I would not waste time torturing you. It may not even be necessary to kill you." She flipped the safety on her gun. "About two months ago, your superior, George Cowley, took possession of a certain manuscript. The late Thomas Darby's, to be precise. I want it."

Doyle gaped at her as the seconds ticked by. He thought about the recent op, the old, dusty agents and their hatred for the turncoat, Thomas Darby. The memoirs and legacy of a dead traitor. Apparently, the ripples were still spreading from that one.

He smiled back at the woman. "Am I being held for ransom? Is that how the KGB acquires documents nowadays? You are KGB, aren't you?"

"You have a narrow world view, Mr. Doyle."

He considered her cryptic reply for a moment and decided to try another avenue. "You think that Cowley will trade the manuscript for my life?"

The woman chuckled. "On the contrary, I'm sure George Cowley would let you die. It is, after all, a very important document, and worth a great deal to many different parties. Your Mr. Cowley knows its value by now. It is certainly more valuable than your life. No, I would not be so foolish as to pose the proposition directly to your chief. No. Your partner, William Bodie, will get it for me."


The woman sneezed. "This place needs dusting." She turned around and left the room, shutting the door behind her.

Doyle checked his restraints first. The cuffs on his wrists and ankles were more than just standard police issue, specially designed with a double locking system. The long chain attached to his handcuffs was high gauge steel, and the concrete around the loop embedded in the wall was freshly, and firmly, cemented. Just for me, he thought bitterly.

The toilet was old but functional. There was even a roll of paper provided. The hand basin was tiny and there was no soap. No mirror. Nothing to break and use as a weapon.

The chain did indeed stop four feet from the door.

It took him roughly half an hour to ascertain that he didn't have any chance whatsoever of escaping on his own.

That left him nothing more to do but wait, and think.


The steel links of the chain clinked noisily together as he settled himself on the worn mattress and leaned against the cold brick wall.

How much did they know?

He turned his wrists, eyeing the lock of the handcuffs one more time. He didn't think he could pick it open even if he had the tools.

Did the woman know about their affair? God.

He twisted a length of the long chain between his fingers, pulling it taut with a clank.

She couldn't know. No one could know. They were too careful. Bodie was near paranoid about it.

The uneven brick surface dug into his back. He pushed himself away and shifted to lie flat on the mattress. It smelled musty. The chains knocked against his knees and he swore.

What was Bodie going to do?

He stared up at the dirt-mottled ceiling. As he lay there, his anger drained away He didn't want to die in this dismal, little room because of his own stupidity.


It was too late to regret the sex. He didn't anyway, but he knew the fact of it

wouldn't help his present situation and only made the possible consequences a good deal worse. A little knife twisted in his chest when he thought about the way he'd walked out on Bodie. Those ugly, last words between them.

He closed his tired eyes against the dirty yellow light. It was quiet in the room except for the occasional sound of the chain links touching. He could even hear himself breathe.

He remembered the first time... how could he have resisted it?

Going to bed with Bodie occurred to him as an abstract thought, triggered by a few smart remarks from a couple of the solo lads. Restroom suggestions on what the agent teams could do on a dull stakeout. Giving your partner a hand. Putting in a few good licks. Same old stale jokes, directed, for a change of pace, at him and Bodie, rather than Matheson and King or Lucas and McCabe. Bodie had put an end to it with the casual announcement that the lads should fuck themselves before they bored him to death.

Doyle recalled staring at Bodie and suddenly realizing that, unlike the other teammates, Bodie was attractive. Doyle had never really paid attention. Never really noticed.

As the weeks passed, the notion became less abstract and more literal. He began to eye Bodie speculatively and with a certain degree of bemusement. Doyle enjoyed sex, enjoyed the artistry of it. He enjoyed thinking about it. And Bodie suddenly provided him with titillating new possibilities, a fresh canvas upon which to paint his fantasies. Sexual fantasies that excited him in wholly new ways.

Of course, Doyle would never have done anything about it. First and foremost, he didn't think Bodie was interested. So he confined his pleasure to teasing Bodie a little, just a little. Not enough to be obvious, not enough to make him angry, but just enough to maybe puzzle him, to make him look twice. It was enjoyable, acting the subtle flirt with his macho partner. It didn't hurt anyone, not at first. Until Doyle found himself pretending with his girlfriends. Playing mind games when he was in bed with them. Wanting to take them from behind or, more often, having them on top.

It made him feel guilty, and he didn't like that. But it didn't stop the fantasies.

The days passed until, one afternoon, after a particularly bad, unexpected encounter with a couple of IRA bombers, Bodie told him to stop by his flat for a drink before going out for a fancy dinner. "To celebrate the survival of the fittest." The Glenfiddich and the four-star restaurant would be on Bodie.

It was a change from Bodie's usual lay-a-bird habit after a risky op and Doyle couldn't think of an excuse to turn him down. Too often recently, he'd wormed himself out of their usual weekly after-work drink at the local or the evening relaxing at his flat or Bodie's, watching the telly with pizza and lager. On the job, it was easy, and necessary, to concentrate on the op. On their own time, it was getting tougher to keep the guilt at bay.

Ill at ease, his nerves still strung taut, he went back to his flat to change. His clothes were caked with mud and grass and blood. His hair was sticky and there were deep red smudges on his hands and face. If the makeshift bomb had detonated on schedule, it would have been Bodie's blood on him instead of the bombers'.

He squeezed his eyes shut against the thought and let the spray of hot water wash him clean. He stood in the shower for a long time, until a fragile layer of numbness settled inside him, the water turning cool on his skin.

He picked a shirt from his wardrobe without really looking at it. It smelled crisp and fresh. As he pulled on his new blue jeans, he considered calling Bodie and begging off from the evening. He was hardly in the mood for a posh restaurant. He got as far as picking up the phone. The phone cord was moving and he suddenly realized his hand was trembling.

He wanted to see Bodie. Needed to see him alive and whole, to drink in the sight until it dispelled the day's lurking spectres. The feeling drummed inside him like a heartbeat as he rummaged absently in his closet for one of the two ties he owned. He twisted it into a semblance of a knot, images from the morning still flickering in gruesome splendour before his eyes.

Doyle didn't have a lot to lose, but what he had, he wanted to keep.

The sun was setting when he arrived at Bodie's flat. The windless day combined with a layer of pollution to change the sun's last rays into ribbons of gold and lavender. Doyle turned his face up to the rare display, oddly captivated by the shifting colors. The sky seemed to be bursting. For a moment, he couldn't tell if it was twilight or dawn. The sun seemed poised for both beginning and end.

Bodie's voice through the intercom jolted him back. He opened the front door and made his way up the flight of stairs to his partner's flat. The door was slightly ajar and he let himself in.

"Pour yourself a drink if you want one, he heard Bodie call from the other room.

"Yeh, okay," he answered. Glancing down at himself, he realized he was wearing his green sports jacket and tie and his striped green shirt. He grimaced, wishing he'd paid attention. He couldn't understand why he ever bought the stupid things. Bodie always had something snide to say on the few occasions he'd ever worn them.

He snaked a hand through his curls, rolling his head back as he worked a knot of muscle in his neck. He started to walk towards the drinks cabinet, but found himself drawn to the window instead.

The golden ribbons had disappeared, leaving the sky swathed in amethyst and violet. A purple cloak was wrapping itself around the city. Everything seemed bathed in strange, exotic light. The color of passion. He grinned at his own musing.

It was warm in the room, and he loosened his tie and opened several buttons on his shirt. As he turned, his thoughts drifted in a cocooning lethargy

Bodie was standing naked in the bedroom doorway.

Doyle blinked to clear away the vision. His mouth dropped open.

Bodie's eyes were gleaming, his lips stretching in a feral smile. "Come here," he said.

Violet light caressed the room, yet Bodie seemed untouched by it, his body standing in stark, vibrant relief, flesh tones sharp and beautiful. His cock hung long and thick between his balls, black pubic hair framing his groin and contrasting against the fair skin and dusky pink genitals.

"Come here," Bodie told him again.

Doyle couldn't understand why the vision wouldn't go away. He felt lightheaded. One foot stepped before the other until he found himself standing before the naked man. Temptation gazed into his eyes and smiled with arrogant confidence.

This is actually happening, his rational mind shouted. But the air seemed to be lit by passion, as wild and enticing as a wet dream. He looked Bodie up and down, trying to mesh his mind with his senses, wishing he didn't feel so.. .displaced.

Bodie was alive and beautiful. That was right, comforting. But why was he like this? What was he doing? The questions began to form, his mouth working to make the sound.

Hypnotic, sapphire eyes met his gaze and held it. He could smell Bodie's freshly soaped skin. He could feel the waves of heat from his body He sensed Bodie's arm circling his waist and then the sudden tug as Bodie grabbed his tie and brought him flat against naked skin.

His hand rose automatically, fingers feeling the warm, smooth flesh of a muscular shoulder, anchoring around Bodie's neck. He couldn't stop himself.

His throat was dry, his cock throbbing, blood racing through his veins. "Wh-what are you doing?" he managed to whisper. Despite the fact that Bodie was nude and he was fully clothed, he felt the vulnerable one, the one exposed. He had to look away from the burning, blue stare.

"I'm giving you what you want, and taking what's mine.

The words were like a snap of fingers, a magician breaking his spell. Doyle looked at Bodie and frowned. He started to pull away, the shock of Bodie's appearance fully registering on him, but the strong arms held him immobile. Bodie's lips curled into the same knowing, self-satisfied smile.

"No more teasing, Ray No more pretending." He leaned closer, the words breathing into Doyle's mouth. "It's time for you to deliver."

His shirt was ripped open, buttons flying, his tie unknotted and thrown to the floor. "You know I never liked this jacket," Bodie told him smoothly as he tore it off his body, following it with the remains of the shirt.

Doyle was too shaken to react. A part of him frantically hoped that this was all just some grand joke. He's going to laugh now. He was going to say 'I really had you going, Doyle. You really thought I was serious.' But Bodie only hooked a hand through his belt and pulled him like a rag doll into the bedroom. He felt Bodie's knuckles against his navel, long square fingers pressing against his belly as he was yanked and thrown onto the bed.

Before he knew it, Bodie was tossing his boots and socks to the floor and reaching for his belt again. Everything sharpened into focus, and he clamped his hand over Bodie's fingers.

They were both stock still, only Doyle's eyes lowering to stare pointedly at Bodie's fully erect penis. It was formidable and elegant, as perfect as his fantasies had envisioned. He looked up quickly into his partner's blue eyes. They gave nothing away, as cool as a seasoned gambler's.

Doyle's erection strained against his jeans. "All right, I-I'll do it," he said softly He raised his hand for a moment and Bodie moved to stand beside the bed.

Bodie's feral half-smile returned. "Slowly Do it slowly."

Nodding, Doyle unbuckled his belt and inched the zip down. He raised his hips and slowly wriggled out of his jeans. His cock made an even more prominent bulge against his skimpy underpants.

"I'm glad you wore white."

Momentarily puzzled, Doyle frowned at Bodie 's amused comment, until he glanced down at his snowy, cotton y-fronts.

"Appropriate?" One scar-knitted eyebrow rose as Bodie made the word a question.

He raked his lower lip with his teeth, heart thudding wildly in his chest. "More or less," he answered tauntingly

Bodie's expression turned instantly cold. "Don't ever talk to me about any other man. Not ever.

Doyle nodded once, quickly. The way Bodie looked, every word he spoke, every move, was turning him on, arousal burning through his body Before he could begin to remove his last scrap of clothing, Bodie reached down and grabbed the waistband of his underpants and pulled them off. He held the bit of material up to his face, sniffed it like a crushed flower, leisurely rubbed it along his cheek, down over his nipples, to the base of his cock. Then he grinned and tossed it to the floor. Doyle tried to sit up. Bodie pushed him back into the pillows and climbed into the bed.

"You really mean to go through with this," murmured Doyle, even as he knew he desperately did not want Bodie to stop.

Bodie's laughter was silky as he blanketed Doyle in hard muscle and heat. "Stop pretending it's such a shock, Ray Less of the startled virgin and more of the prick-teasing tramp, if you please."

"I--I didn't--" But he didn't bother to protest his innocence. It was too obviously and undeniably a lie. Besides, his mind was rapidly surrendering to his senses as Bodie licked a wet line from his collarbone to his ear. Hands traced his ribs, his hipbones, burrowed under to grip his buttocks, fingers delving into his cleft.

It was so very like his fantasies. Doyle strained upward, jostling the heavy body that covered him.

The hands moved away and began to play over his chest and shoulders. Bodie sucked his earlobe and tongued inside, warm breath tickling erotically.

"W-why--now?" Doyle managed through a gasp of delight.

"Because I feel like having you now.

"You're not queer," murmured Doyle.

There was a smile in the reply "Oh, well, of course not. No more than you." Bodie shifted to straddle his hips, his fingers raking through Doyle's pubic hair. "I'm fed up with acting dumb and crotchless while you strut in front of me like a stripper down a runway" The fingers skimmed lower to caress the soft skin of his inner thigh. "Too many close calls lately" Doyle tried to listen but couldn't keep from squirming as his own erection throbbed for attention. But Bodie kept talking. "I'd hate to miss the chance of pushing my cock into that hot, little hole of yours because of some well-aimed bullet or a bomb that went off properly"

It was at that moment that Bodie's eyes gave away a flash of emotion, a feeling that was totally at odds with the glibness of his words. "Shut up and kiss me." Doyle held out his arms. "Take me, fuck me, but kiss me first."

For just an instant, Bodie looked surprised, his expression revealing something akin to reluctance before it was immediately masked. Then he was lowering himself into Doyle's open arms, their lips touching for the first time, melting into each other.

When they broke apart for air, Doyle moved to taste the full lips again, but Bodie rolled tight against him, head turned to suck a sensitive spot between his neck and shoulder. Doyle moaned as a tingle spread through his body, intensifying as Bodie's hands rubbed skillfully over his skin. He returned the caresses with an almost frantic need as the breath caught in his throat and his pulse raced with desire.

When Bodie took his cock into his mouth, Doyle thought he would explode, the room turning into brilliant white light around him. But Bodie pulled him back, squeezing his cock and balls, applying a steady pressure to hold off his release.

Doyle groaned in frustration. "L-let me c-come, damn--"

"When I'm in you and not before." Bodie reached over to the bedside table, flung open a drawer and drew out a tube of lubricant.

As Bodie moved away from him, Doyle took hold of his own erection. It felt like his balls would burst.

A moment later, Bodie slapped his hands away and flipped him roughly onto his stomach. A pillow was pushed under his hips.

A sliver of fear coiled through his need, jarring him. Here was his fantasy come to life, but pain was something he never imagined. His daydreams dwelt on Bodie's sexual power and on his own acquiescence, his artful submission, all in a kind of hazy frenzy of pumping cocks and monumental orgasms. He felt Bodie's palm flat against the base of his spine.

"I-I never...Bodie, I've never-- "

"Had a prick shoved inside you?" finished Bodie.

Despite his apprehension, the words excited him, his penis throbbing at the crudeness. It was just like he had imagined. He nodded his head, face hidden in the white cotton sheets.

"That's good, that's very, very good. I like that."

He could hear the smile in Bodie's voice.

"I'm not going to let you tear me to shreds, Bodie. Understand that." Even with the blood pounding through every vein like fire and his cock leaking cum, he meant every word.

"That'd be stupid, wouldn't it? Nah, like I said, I'm going to give you what you want." Bodie gripped his waist and pulled him up to his knees, arse in the air.

The small part of his brain that could still think rationally marveled at Bodie's control, at the steadiness of his voice.

"Have to make sure you're nice and wet for me. Can't damage this sweet virgin hole. I'm planning on using it as often as I please from now on." Bodie's voice sounded a little more breathless. "Pull your cheeks apart for me, Ray"

Swallowing his nervousness, Doyle reached back and slowly parted his buttocks, exposing his anus.

"Dark little rosebud, yeh. Hold yourself open for me, flower."

"Damn you, Bodie, just do it!"

He heard Bodie's breathy laughter and flinched as cold, slick cream smeared his entrance. He tried to keep his hands from trembling and to remain in position. It was what he wanted, just as he had dreamed it.

Bodie's fingers touched him, working carefully into his body. He felt a hard cock nudge his thigh, its moist tip brushing against his skin.

He squirmed against the pressure and the strange discomfort as the fingers burrowed deeper. Instinctively, he tried to pull away and sank into the bed.

Bodie followed him down. "Too late, now, Ray No stopping now" The words blew hot breath along his spine. "You'll love it. I know you will."

He tried to shake his head in negation, but Bodie's hand was slipping under him to stroke his straining penis.

"Yeh, you'll love it, all right. It's what you've wanted all along, isn't it Rayboy?"

Doyle turned his head to look at the other man. Bodie was...wild. Skin glistening from sweat and arousal, dark hair tousled and eyes that seemed to gleam in the new night. He looked beautiful.

As Bodie settled between his legs and pulled his buttocks apart, Doyle gasped. He was appalled at himself for what he was allowing himself to become, yet at the same time, he couldn't remember desiring anything quite so much.

He cried out when Bodie's cock entered him, the sudden pain of the invasion shocking him. The pain seemed to grow and grow and grow as the hardness pushed deeper and deeper, until he had to scream for Bodie to stop. And the movement stilled.

"You can take it. Always hurts... the... first... time." Bodie's voice was ragged, unsteady

Doyle's vision was blurry with tears. Clawing and twisting at the sheets with his fingers, he gulped in air until, finally, the agonizing fullness seemed bearable. And the iron cock pushed deeper into him.

Bodie fucked him long and hard. He fucked him into a kind of exquisite pleasure that had him begging with his arse for more. It was his fantasy come true.

Doyle changed that night. He felt it the moment Bodie came inside him and his own semen splashed across his belly He knew it as Bodie's limp cock slipped from his body and he turned and looked into his partner's eyes.

"Are you happy now?" Bodie had whispered to him as they lay in each other s arms.

Nodding silently, Doyle wondered why the question sounded so wrong. He hooked his hand behind Bodie's neck to pull him close for a kiss, but Bodie buried his face against his shoulder. As they fell into a doze, Doyle realized why the question had bothered him; Bodie hadn't said 'too'.

The chain clinked against his handcuffs. He gathered a fistful of the steel links and pressed them to his forehead. They were cold, like the room, like the air.

Remembering the beginning of the sex with Bodie gave him no solace, only another kind of cold that was very, very lonely.

There was so much unfinished, so much that was... wrong... about their new relationship. How could so much passion and desire and utter satisfaction have so much... wrong... with it?

Boyhole. Angry words and disillusionment. Was that to be the last memory they had of each other? He gazed up at the dusty ceiling and wondered what Bodie would do about the kidnappers' demand. Immediately, he knew, with complete conviction, that Bodie would do whatever he could to try and rescue him. He was sure of that. Bodie would do it for their friendship, for all they were to each other before the sex. The sex was a thing apart, a secret playing-out of fantasies. His fantasies, not Bodie's. He didn't know if Bodie bothered with such things. He had never asked.

The thought striking him like a physical blow, Doyle sat up on the old, faded mattress, the chain slipping through his fingers. He covered his face with his hands

'Are you happy now?' The question floated back from his memory accusingly.

He took a deep breath and squared his shoulders. He'd have to fix it up with Bodie. Somehow. Which meant he couldn't afford to die beforehand. He yanked impotently at the chain, his teeth gritting in frustration.

The hours passed as he thought and thought of what could be happening with Bodie, the nameless, smiling woman and her hulking colleague. And George Cowley. None of the possibilities reassured him. He had no idea how much time was passing. The windowless room gave him no clue. Despite the worry, he felt very tired and sleepy. He hadn't slept at Bodie's; they never slept together. It was another thing he wanted to change.

He dozed off and woke to the smell of dust and cobwebs. He shook his head and staggered to his feet, chain rattling between his wrists. The grimy yellow lightbulb glared down from its dirty black cord. He gazed at the door and wondered if there was really anyone 'upstairs.

He screamed for help at the top of his lungs. Then he yelled 'fire' until his voice was hoarse.

Nothing happened. No one came.

He shuffled over to the toilet and relieved himself. He drank some water from the tap in the washbasin. It was very cold and he splashed some on his face. His stomach rumbled and he realized he was hungry.

How long had it been? Ten hours? Twenty? He stared hard at the door. Was Bodie all right? What if everything went wrong? If the woman never came back, not even to kill him? If no one came?

He took several deep breaths to calm himself. It wouldn't be over until he was dead. Carefully, he again surveyed every inch of the room that he could reach. There had to be a way to break the chain. The pipe that curved beneath the washbasin into the wall was a possibility, if he could loosen the nuts without benefit of a wrench. He could use the pipe to try and chip away at the cement that fixed the chain to the wall.

At least it gave him something to do.

He was very hungry. He smelled of sweat and rust. His hands were raw, scraped and blistered from trying to release the pipe. One of the metal nuts was loose, but the other wouldn't budge. His head ached. He rubbed the back of his hand against the stubble along his jaw and sank down onto the mattress, eyes closing wearily He'd try again in a little while.

When he opened his eyes, the room was pitch black. Panic seized him, steel jangling in the darkness as he twisted to sit up. For a split second, he thought he was blind. "Oh, god!" he cried out. He turned from side to side, hands reaching out wildly. His throat made a choking sound, his heart pounding in his ears. Then his eyes found the faint lines of light beneath and along one side of the door. He scanned the darkness above his head, realizing that the bulb had burned out.

He crawled towards the door, as far as the chain would allow Sagging back on his heels, he held out his hands. Vision adjusting, he could just make out the darker shadow of his body against the floor and the shape of the chain, like a black snake between his wrists. He looked towards the blue curtain but couldn't distinguish it from the room's darkness. The dark closed in on him from all sides leaving only the slender threads of light around the door, beyond his reach.

"Don't let me die here. Bodie, Bodie, don't let me die here!" He pressed his knuckles against his mouth, struggling to push back his fear. "Have to hold myself together," he whispered. "Can't fall apart. Damn it, it's my own damn fault. All of it." He rocked back and forth on his knees. "My fault.. .my fault..."

When he finally staggered to his feet, his eyes were gritty and hot, his face wet, his muscles knotted with cramp. He stared for a long time at the thin lines of light around the door, and wiped away the moisture from his eyes with unsteady fingers. Then he turned towards the darkness and made his way towards the curtained alcove. He drank some water from the basin, hearing the dripping sound from the loosened pipe underneath. The cold water stung his scraped hands. With measured care, he settled himself on the floor and began working on the pipe again.

He slept on and off, he wasn't sure of how long each time. He never felt rested. The feeling of hunger became a permanent, blunt ache in his stomach. The pipe was almost free but his hands were painfully swollen and cut from the effort. Water pooled around the floor of the basin where it poured down from the open drain whenever he used the taps. It added a damp, moldy smell to the cold room.

He deliberately tried to focus on the physical details of the room. He didn't want to think about why no one had come for him. When he started to think about that, he'd crawl to the pipe, his legs wet from the pooling water, and he would clutch and pull at the metal, his chain rattling in the darkness, until the pain in his hands blotted out everything else in his mind.

When the curved pipe finally came loose, he almost didn't believe it. He hugged it to his chest as if it would vanish in the next instant. Fatigue seemed to overwhelm him then and he made his way back to the flimsy mattress and curled into a ball, the pipe held tight against him, the chain weaving around his legs.

Sleep pulled him down. When he woke, he didn't feel like moving. His eyes searched anxiously for the lines of light around the door, finding them with a wave of relief. His hands burned with pain and they felt sticky, his fingers stiff and cramped. He knew he had to start working on breaking the chainloop from the wall, but it seemed so much easier to lie there, to close his eyes and sleep. He would rest, for just a little while longer...

He thought he was dreaming when he heard the voice. Bodie's voice. It was mixed up with other sounds, a hammer beating, another voice. They were indistinct, muffled. He didn't want to open his eyes to the darkness. He wanted to hear Bodie's voice. He strained to bring it closer, hold on to it, wrap himself in it. Incoherent murmurs became clear as the voices rose to shouts.

"Move it, c'mon! Damn it, break it down, or fuckin' let me do it!"

"Okay, okay. Take it easy, Bodie!"

Doyle squeezed his eyes shut tighter. Murphy The other voice sounded like Murphy.

Heavy thudding sounds, wood cracking. And then a crash like thunder.

His eyes popped open and closed tight again as blinding light poured in through the doorway.

"Ray! Ray! Where are you!?" Footsteps rushed into the room.

"Strewth, it's like pitch in here. Damn light switch doesn't work."

"Ray? There he is! Over there."

Footsteps raced to where he lay. He felt hands on his shoulders, his face. He started to shake. The hands felt like Bodie.

"Ray? Ray? It's me, mate. How bad are you hurt? Ray?" Fingers stroked his hair. "Murph, call in for an ambulance. And get a torch from the car. Go on!"

He heard someone rushing away and dared to open his eyes again. He had to squint. The light from the door seemed too bright. Bodie's face looked a pale blur above him.


"It's okay, Ray. You'll be fine. It's all over now."

All over? All?

The words tumbled from him, welling up from fear, deprivation, and exhaustion, his voice a hoarse whisper. "My fault, Bodie. My fault. I'll be your boyhole if that's what you want. Wouldn't mind. I'll try and understand, okay? Okay, Bodie? Don't leave me. I won't ask you for... for... anything. I promise. Please believe me, Bodie?"

Bodie seemed frozen for a moment and then he drew Doyle up in a desperate hug. "Dear god, Ray, don't talk like that. Don't." The arms were warm and familiar, telling him he was safe.

He shuddered, suddenly aware of how icy cold he was, and angled his head to look into the dark, gleaming eyes. "You-you're really here."

"We'll get you to hospital. Can you move? What's that you're holding?"

Doyle pressed the pipe tighter against his chest, the chain jangling.

"What in hell--" Bodie felt along his arms, to the handcuffs around his wrists, following the chain to the bolt in the wall. "Fucking bastards." The words were low and full of rage. Bodie moved to take the pipe.

"No!" he croaked. "Need it to break-- to break the chain away."

"Ray--" Bodie's voice faltered. Doyle felt the other man's hand pat his shoulder awkwardly before it moved to gently brush the heavy curls back from his eyes. "Won't need the pipe, Ray. You're not trapped anymore. We'll get you out of this in a few minutes."

Murphy was back with the torch and he heard him gasp as the light shone on his hands. Bodie swore under his breath and told Murphy to bring the tools for the cuffs and chain.

Doyle felt so dizzy. The lights hurt his eyes. He was so very, very tired. Everything in him ached. But Bodie was with him. Bodie had come for him. He tried to pull his thoughts together, hold himself together. "The woman, Darby's manuscript?" he whispered, not realizing he was still clutching the pipe, refusing to let go, his hands dripping red with blood. Suddenly there were so many questions. And so much he had to tell Bodie, to try and explain. "Bodie, you didn't--you didn't--"

"Shh, shh, it's all right, don't worry. We're getting you the hell out of this stinking place. Oh god, Ray I thought I'd be too late. I would have--"

Doyle tried desperately to listen, but he felt like everything was draining out of him, as though he was a sieve, all his energy flowing out of him. The light faded as he struggled to listen...

The air was violet, shimmering with anticipation and promise. Doyle gazed down at himself, his body nude, his cock erect. With a smile, he felt eyes watching him and looked up at the black-clad figure standing a few feet away. Black leather boots, black trousers, thick black polo. Bodie stared at him through lowered lashes, enticing and dangerous.

Doyle moved towards him, reaching out to grip the hard biceps. He pulled Bodie down into the violet air, the black clothing shredding in his fingers like tissue, fading, melting into the purple glow that surrounded them. He ran his hands along the smooth, fair skin, playing with the aureole of a nipple, tracing the curve of a rib, feeling the warmth of flesh all the way down to even warmer genitals. His mouth and tongue followed the trail of his hands until he was rewarded with a lush moan that seemed to linger in the shimmery air.

He raised his head to meet Bodie's deep blue eyes. Pleased with the desire he saw there, Doyle stretched out on top of him, their erections pressing against each other, fitting his body to the other's angles and planes, sealing them together. Only then did he move to touch his mouth to Bodie's, stealing a kiss. And Bodie let him. When he finally drew back, Bodie's lips were wet and passion-bruised.

Doyle stroked the dark, shiny hair, the porcelain clear skin of forehead and cheek. Bodie's expression was soft and agreeable, his moist mouth forming a shy, young smile. Unable to resist, Doyle kissed him, again and again. A newborn feeling rose in Doyle that seemed even stronger than his physical need. As much as he wanted Bodie, he also wanted to make him happy.

With a gentle shove, he turned Bodie over, exhilarated at the other man's relaxed acceptance. Pushing the strong thighs apart with his knees, he cupped the pale, round buttocks. He parted them to see the tight bud of muscle, grazing the small opening with the edge of his thumb. "I want to know you, Bodie," he murmured, emotion thickening his voice. "I want to be your lover."

He pressed himself against the smooth, strong body, his cock sliding hot between Bodie's firm mounds.

And the air exploded. Incandescent bolts sliced through the violet air, purple light crackling and breaking with electric sparks.

He was flung away by a force he couldn't see. They were standing, facing each other, still naked, still hard. Bodie raised his hand, a finger pointing at him in judgment. "You're the boyhole, Ray. You, not me.

Doyle looked down and saw cuffs around his wrists, attached to a long, steel chain that glimmered like silver ice. He followed it with his eyes. To cuffs that bound Bodie's wrists, locking them together.

Bodie stared down at his hands with an expression of shock and disgust. He stumbled back, yanking helplessly at the chain. With each backward step, the chain lengthened and the air around them darkened, changing from lavender to a murky, deepening grey.

"No!" Doyle cried as Bodie was swallowed by the growing dark, leaving only the heavy silvery chain snaking into the black emptiness...

"No!" Doyle sat up in the bed, sweat beading his forehead. He blinked as his mind registered the reality of his hospital room, the dim light above his bed, the faint sounds of staff talking through the half-open door. The blinds on the window were slitted open. It was night outside.

He threw off the sheets and stood unsteadily as a wave of dizziness passed. Carefully, he walked over to the mirror in the small bathroom and looked down at his hands. Bandages swathed them from wrists to fingertips. The stabbing pain was fading to a low, fiery throb across his upper palms. He gazed into the mirror and frowned at the gauntness of his face. His eyes, large and bleak, looked like they belonged to someone he didn't know.

He moved away and slowly returned to the bed, easing himself down into the clean-smelling, cotton sheets. Almost three days in hospital and he had yet to see Bodie.

He slept for a little while, thankfully without dreams. When he woke, he knew he had to leave. He still felt weak and the bandages on his hands would be a bother, but he had to get out. A change of clothes lay on a chair, waiting for him. Murphy had brought them earlier that day Since he was admitted, Jax had been by to see him, Susan Fischer, Anson, even the redoubtable Betty. All bringing a good word from the rest of the squad. And Cowley. Cowley had come to see him, too, even before the others.

It took him a frustratingly long time to pull on his trousers, and he was grateful to Murphy for bringing a sweatshirt and boots that freed him from dealing with buttons and laces.

"Mr. Doyle, what do you think you're doing?!" A middle-aged nurse in a starched white uniform was glaring at him from the doorway.

"I'm going home," he replied calmly

"You're not to be discharged until tomorrow morning."

"I'm leaving now. "

"Why don't you just get back into bed and I'll help you off with your clothes. You need your rest."

"I'll get plenty of rest in my own flat." He fumbled with his jacket, deciding to carry it instead.

"You're being very unreasonable, Mr. Doyle. Must I call the doctor?"

"You just do that, Sister." He started for the door and froze, oblivious to the nurse's stern expression.

Bodie was standing behind her.

The jacket dropped out of Doyle's hands, bunching at his feet.

Seeing the direction of his stare, the nurse whirled around. "What--sir, visiting hours are over."

Bodie drew out his I.D., his eyes never leaving Doyle's. "If I could have a few minutes with Mr. Doyle, Sister."

The nurse frowned at his identification, then gave each man a sharp look. "This is highly irregular. I shall call Dr. Stansfield at once." She shouldered passed Bodie and headed down the corridor.

"You'd do better to stay here tonight. I thought I'd find you fast asleep as it is." Bodie put his I.D. back in his pocket and leaned casually against a wall.

Blinking away a surge of emotion, Doyle stooped to gather up his jacket. "I want to leave now," he insisted, hearing the frantic edge in his own voice with some surprise. "They can't make me stay here!"

"Okay, take it easy I'll talk with the doctor and explain. I'll be right back and then I'll drive you home."

Doyle answered him through gritted teeth, his head down. "Hurry up. I want to

He had to sign a small stack of papers, in triplicate, endure a lecture and warning from the doctor, as well as the obligatory ride in a wheelchair to the exit, but he was out of the hospital within a half hour.

Only when he was sitting in the passenger seat of the silver Capri, watching the streetlights flickering by, did he speak to Bodie again, asking the question that gnawed at him since he woke in hospital. "Where were you?"

"Didn't Cowley tell you?" Bodie's voice was tired. He kept his eyes on the road.

"He told me a little when I woke up in hospital." And asked for you. But he didn't say it.

"What did he tell you?"

"He said you were cleaning up a botched job."

"That all?"

"He said I should have been alert and then I wouldn't have been snatched. He's scheduling me for a refresher course."

Bodie snorted derisively

"Where the hell have you been?" Doyle asked again, his voice strained.

"Had to get the manuscript back."

Doyle felt a chill run through him. "You gave them Darby's manuscript?"

"Only the part they wanted. Ever so carefully altered, of course."

"A fake?"

"Cowley had several at hand."

"Then why try and get it back?"

Bodie only sighed.

Doyle didn't have to read Bodie's expression to understand. He answered his own question. "So they'll be more inclined to believe it's genuine." He gazed out at the traffic, at the lights in the streets. "How far did you have to go?"


Doyle rolled his head back and then turned to stare at Bodie. "How far did you have to go?"

Changing lanes, Bodie kept his eyes on the road. "The woman managed to pass the manuscript to her contact before she died."

"You killed her."

"She was very good. I think she knew it was a fake all along. Probably didn't care as long as she was paid. It was her or me."

"And the goon with her?"

"No longer a problem."

Doyle shook his head. "Damn Cowley and his fucking games."

Their conversation faded into silence until the Capri finally pulled up in front of his block of flats. The two men looked at each other. "Cowley said I was in that room for eight days. Seemed longer." Doyle saw Bodie's jaw clench.

Bodie reached for the door handle. "I don't think you should stay by yourself tonight. I can call Murph or Jax."

As Bodie left the car and came round to open his door, he felt an incredible surge of loneliness. And fear. What was happening to them? On the surface, the conversation seemed ordinary. That was the wrongness of it.

Bodie opened the car door and walked away from him to stand by the steps, staring down into the street.

Something important was slipping away from him. Doyle suddenly felt like he was chained and in the dark again. This isn't the way I thought it would be. He took a deep breath and got out of the car, walking up to Bodie. "I don't want you to go.

A moment passed before Bodie nodded slowly, the night shadows obscuring his expression. He reached into his pocket and pulled out Doyle's ring of keys. "How were you going to get in, eh?" he asked mildly, with a ghost of a grin. Doyle had forgotten that the woman had taken them. Opening the door, Bodie gestured for him to go ahead. He felt the somber blue eyes on his back as he dragged himself into his flat, quickly snapping on the lights as he entered.

He reached the sofa and sank down into it with a sigh. "Open the curtains.

There was a brief rustle of material as Bodie slid the curtains back, revealing the glow of streetlamps and lighted windows.

Doyle looked up into Bodie's face and saw what he'd missed before. Bodie looked worn out, haggard, his clothes rumpled. There were dark circles under his eyes. He seemed thinner, too. "You look awful."

The other man shrugged. "Makes two of us." He turned towards the kitchen. "I'll put a kettle on. I'll leave the tablets the doctor gave you on the table." He fished two plastic prescription bottles out of his jacket and read the labels. "You should take two of these tonight." He started walking away. "Murph has a spare key from Cowley. He and Susan stocked up your kitchen for you. They were going to bring you home tomorrow. I should call him and let them know--"

"Fuck the bloody tea, fuck the call!" Doyle sat up, ignoring a jolt of pain through his hand as he propped himself up. Why won't you touch me? They were both too tired for sex. There was no reason to touch. It would mean something else. Was that what Bodie was thinking? "How did you know where to find me?" he asked instead.

"They left a few clues scattered around the city, enough to make it look like they were keeping their end of the bargain and give them plenty of time to get away We found you faster then they expected. Cowley wanted me to tail them right away"

"Instead of looking for me? Is that how you botched it?"

Bodie turned around slowly "I had to leave as soon as we found you."

"Let's go to bed," Doyle said it, even though he didn't have the strength or the interest. He just wanted Bodie to hold him.

When Bodie made no move except to glance away, Doyle couldn't stand it. He looked down at his bandaged hands, knowing he couldn't keep his voice steady anymore. "I'm a m-mess, Bodie, a fucking mess. I don't want it to be the way it was before but I-I don't know what to say to you."

Bodie crossed the room and crouched down in front of him. "I would've given them the real manuscript if I had to. I would've given them anything."

Haltingly, Doyle reached forward to touch the leather-clad shoulders, slowly raising one bandaged hand to brush the side of Bodie's face, wishing he could feel the warmth of his skin. "Because we re partners?"

Agonizing seconds ticked by until Bodie shook his head and answered him. "No, not only for that." The dark head lowered. "You may not want it to be... different between us, Ray. You're tired, you've been through a lot--"

"And you haven't?" Doyle pulled Bodie against him and wrapped his arms around him. For the first time in weeks, he thought he could actually smile. "Had a lot of time to think lately. There's nothing like a little solitary confinement for sorting out your priorities. I just wish I didn't have to keep learning the hard way." He moved back just far enough to look into Bodie's eyes, searching the face he had thought he knew so well. "Every time we went to bed together, you never wanted to kiss me. Why?"

After a moment's surprise, Bodie glanced away guiltily.

"Lovers kiss and that's not what we are," Doyle said into the silence. "I set it up that way from the beginning, didn't I?" He looked at Bodie's profile and recognized the truth. He drew a deep breath. "You were right, you know. I did like acting the boyhole."

Blue eyes flashed up at him. "I never meant--"

"But you were right, just the same. Maybe that's why it made me so angry when you said it. I never put a name to it." Doyle smiled and locked his wrists around Bodie's neck. "I enjoyed a lot of fantasies about you and you lived them out for me. You were what I wanted you to be. But that's all I wanted. If you had let me take you, you would've been my boyhole and nothing more. You knew that."

"Don't make me out the martyr, Ray It was hardly a burden taking you to bed."

Doyle lifted his head defiantly "Does that mean you'll be my boyhole now?" He watched as Bodie hid his eyes behind lowered lids. He felt warm hands grip his waist as if he might fade away

"You don't want it to be different then."

He shook Bodie until the blue eyes looked up again. "Damn you, you'd let me get away with anything, wouldn't you?"

"I don't believe in fantasies, Ray. We can't trade yours for mine. I just don't have any. I take you on your terms and gladly." Bodie paused as if he hesitated to go on, his expression uncommonly defenseless. "I don't want to lose you," he said.

Doyle gazed back with a tenderness that came from something new inside him. "No more fantasies, Bodie. Just you, just me. Real life, not dreams." He paused. "Partners, in everything. Okay?"

He was afraid to wake up to the dark. As his mind climbed from sleep to consciousness, he began to toss and turn, fighting it. He reached out to pull at the chain, his eyelids squeezed tight, but then he felt a warm touch brush over his arms and shoulders, hands cupping his face, pushing the darkness away Doyle opened his eyes to see Bodie leaning over him. "You're here with me, Ray Everything's all right."

The nightmare fear dwindled away and he managed to grin weakly into the worried blue eyes. "Remind me never to stay in small dark rooms again, will you?"

"I'll make a point of it."

He touched his hands to Bodie's t-shirt, one bandaged finger pressing against the bump of a nipple, and shook his head wistfully "We finally spend a whole night together and all we did was sleep.

"I couldn't have raised an eyebrow last night, let alone anything else. And you're more exhausted than I am."

Doyle curved his arms around Bodie's neck. "I plan to get my strength back in a hurry." He turned his head towards the windows. The light was growing brighter, filling the room and tinting it a warm golden hue.

"It's going to be a clear day, lots of sunshine from the look of it." Bodie's voice was close by his ear as he settled against the pillows beside him.

"I like this, Bodie. Just being together like this. It's damn good." He turned back and met Bodie's steady gaze. "We've got a lot to talk about." He chewed his lip, a small frown growing over his face. "My luck's been pretty lousy when it comes to the real thing, you know."

Bodie's mouth twitched into a grin. "Your luck's been lousy, period."

Doyle rolled his eyes, but wound up smiling anyway "I want this to work, I really mean it and I'll try my best. I promise you that. We've both had one hell of a long night."

Bodie glanced towards the windows. "Night's over, Ray. Day's just beginning." He shifted up on an elbow and faced Doyle with an expression of longing and hope. "Can I kiss you, Ray?"

As Doyle slowly pulled his lover down into his arms, his smile was as brilliant as the morning sun that spilled in through the wide windows.

-- THE END --

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