Out of Faith


WARNING: Rated NC18 for graphic violence and death. No copyright infringement intended. Inspired by Natalie Imbruglia's 'Torn.'

Wasn't it s'posed to go numb after awhile? After a certain threshold of pain was reached, when every nerve in your body was on fire and you hurt in so many different ways, in so many different places, that you couldn't pin it down anymore, couldn't say, that's my hip, that's my shoulder, that's my head, that's my hand, that's my arse, wasn't it supposed to stop hurting?

Bloody lie, that. He could attest to it. No plateau. No respite. No fucking break.

Just more pain.

Hurry, Bodie-mate. I know you'll get here. So, damnit, get here.


It was only twelve hours. Bodie stared at his watch, stared at the papers scattered in precise chaos on Cowley's desk, stared at the floor. Stared anywhere but at the bloody box, and it was literal. Blood soaked through the cardboard onto the newspapers stacked beneath it. The bastards hadn't even wrapped it in plastic. Just tossed it in the box, like garbage, and sent it off home.

Special delivery.

Faceless man, cash up front, less than reputable delivery company, but it had been efficient enough. Now a box lay open on the Cow's desk. Somewhere, they had his partner.

Whoever the fuck they were. And whatever the fuck they wanted.

Bodie didn't look up as a technician bustled in, wrapped the box and its gruesome contents, and hurried out the door. Down to the labs, to wash it up, weigh it, press the cold digits to an ink pad, carefully roll them, analyze the prints. The mental images were too vivid, and his stomach lurched. He barely made it to Cowley's private toilet before losing his breakfast. Behind him, he heard an impatient sigh. At least, it sounded impatient. He couldn't be sure, couldn't hear it too clearly over the beating of his pulse in his ears.

He shook his head, hard, and splashed water over his face, rinsing and spitting, watching the tap water swirl away down the hole. He had to get his head together. Had to find out who, and why, and where, and get Doyle back.

Whatever there was left of Doyle to get back, anyway.

His stomach heaved again at the thought, and he gritted his teeth against the nausea. He could be weak later. Right now, he had a partner to find.

And some butchers to kill.

Autumn in England and the psychos were in full bloom. Provos were gearing up for a full holiday season of explosive fun, homegrown nutcases were crawling out of the woodwork and trailing drugs and guns behind 'em, and the international set was trying their best to bump one another off among the heather and lavender. CI5 were run off their feet. Raymond Doyle was an unhappy lad. Never getting a day of leave was one thing, and breaking date after date with his girlfriends was another, but haring off after a wet-behind-the-ears toddler barely out of his pram while Bodie went out on his own to roust out some old African buddies was not his idea of partnership. He had a very bad feeling about this.

As usual, George-bloody-Cowley could not have cared less about his operatives' opinion.

"It won't kill you to get young Kendall some seasoning. Bodie's a big boy, he can handle this on his own."


"Will be provided, by the B squad, which is after all what they are paid to do. Now on your bike," Cowley barked. Doyle drew in a breath, took another look at Cowley's set face, and swallowed what he'd been about to say. Turning on his heel, he burst out the door as precipitously as he'd burst in. He took at least some consolation in the growl Cowley didn't quite suppress.

Waving a two fingered salute at McCabe on his way past the restroom door, he stopped just long enough to fix Bodie with a warning glare. Come back to me in one piece, clear as day from green eyes to blue, and a reciprocal light in his partner's half-grin reassured him. Then he swept young Matthew Kendall up and headed for the carport.

The youngster was eight years younger chronologically, but on days like today, with nearly forty hours on and too many hot balls to juggle, Doyle felt a century older, at least. One or two conversational gambits came tentatively from the passenger seat, but a growl quickly killed that idea. Doyle was not happy. And Bodie wasn't around to take it out on. So Toddler would do.

They were checking on a grass in Walworth, one of what felt like several dozen that week who claimed to have information on a kill being set up any day now. All cool professional on the outside, eyes going every direction at once, concentrating more on his partner than he was comfortable with but determined to make it through the day without losing or killing the child, Doyle mentally ran down all the things he would like to do to Cowley. Beginning with a nice hot bath in a cauldron of boiling oil. Smiling over the images, he wondered how Bodie was making out, and forcibly pushed back thoughts of what he'd like to do to Bodie. And have Bodie do to him. One of these days he would have to tell Bodie about them. When he was sure he wouldn't get his head handed back to him for doing it.

He'd tell himself later that he should have been paying closer attention, instead of daydreaming about his partner. As it happened, closer attention would have made no difference. On any day, given the right circumstances, the best of the best can be brought down, with enough bad luck and enough determination on the part of the bad guys. Distracted by looking out for his temporary partner, exhausted from too long on alert with too little rest, Doyle was not at his best. It wouldn't stop the guilt, and he never would accept the expiation it might have given him.

There were five of them. No grass, just five heavies with truncheons and guns, coming around a blind corner. Doyle took down two, and Kendall managed to get off one shot, taking down another, but it was too little, too late. No one noticed, or no one looked too closely, but the result was the same. A kick to a groin as Doyle's hand was reaching for his gun, a stinging blow to his shoulder that numbed his right arm, sending him off kilter. Not losing a moment, left hand reaching for the holster as he fought for his balance, head-butting another thug in the belly, then another blow glancing alongside his skull. Not enough to fracture it, but more than enough to send him crashing into oblivion. As the world went dark, he thought he heard a curse, a name, and the world tilted.


"Whattawe do with 'em?"

"Bring 'em along. Liam'll want to know. Can't leave 'em here, anyway."

"Why not?"

"Coppers, arsehole. Toss 'em in the lorry."

"3.7 to base. Any word from 4.5?" Bodie was bored. A little back chat with his partner might be just what he needed to get himself jacked back up for the game inside the filthy pub.

"He's in the field, 3.7," came Cowley's dry voice. Not what he'd been hoping to hear. "As are you. Anything to report?"

He didn't add the "If not, why are you calling?" He didn't need to. Bodie grimaced at the r/t. "No, sir, nothing yet." Wincing, he waited for the response.

"Then find me something, 3.7. Get to it." A sharp crackle and the link was broken. Sighing, he tucked the small transceiver back in his jacket and took a deep lung-full of evening air. It was going to be a very long night without Doyle beside him. It always was.

Liam O'Connell surveyed the sprawled forms of two of CI5's finest, nudging one with an ungentle foot. "Where'd you pick up this lot, then? And why bring 'em back here?" They had a politician to kill, no time to be fooling with coppers, even glorified coppers like these. "And where's the rest of you?" Timothy was missing, as was Padriac and Ross. He didn't like this, didn't like it at all. "What the hell's going on with you?" Morons. The biggest job of his life and he was stuck with imbeciles.

"Shot," Terry volunteered. The curly headed one picked that moment to come back to life. Not that Liam would have noticed, if he hadn't been looking at the man's face.

"Shot, eh? All of 'em?" He crouched down to get a closer look at the ugly beggar. The closed eyes never flickered. He grinned, grabbed hold of a handful of curls, and rapped the head sharply against the cracked tile floor. That got a satisfactory grunt out of him. "This one?"

"Dunno, really," Terry answered again. Didn't surprise Liam. If there was action, Terry was always the one cowering in the back taking notes. Was how he managed to survive so long on the streets. "Know he kicked Paddy in the balls, and Tim whacked him a good one, then, I think it was the other one shot Timmy."

"Good for the child," Liam thought he heard mumbled from behind the split lip of the man he still held by the hair. His temper flared.

"CI5, eh? Well, you're not so scary now, tough man. And you shouldn't've shot our boys. Be the last one you ever shoot." He pulled his hand from the thick hair, letting the heavy head drop. "Sit on his back, Terry." Wrenching the thin wrist straight out from the agent's body, he reached for the machete he carried on a strap between his shoulder blades. Teach the rotten English bugger to mess with his men. He heard a horrified gasp behind him, and smiled nastily over his shoulder down into the big brown eyes of the other CI5 agent staring up at him. "Hope your mate's ambidextrous, son, cuz he's about to be out a hand." He turned back to the skinny beggar, and lifted the blade. Before it could fall, a calm voice ordered, "Stop."

A tall figure in tan slacks and a casual sports shirt, highlighting the dark skin and heavy musculature, stood at the agent's feet. He was staring, not at the blade poised to maim the man, but at the length of the agent's legs spread out before him. "He is now part of my price."

Liam glared up at him. "You've been paid, and well paid at that. What do you want with this bugger?"

A small smile creased the still face. "Interesting choice of words. That is not your concern. But I will have him." The Arab paused, then nodded once. "You may have ten per cent of my price in return for his life."

The machete blade wavered. "Five thousand quid? You must really want him." It was more a question than a statement, and Sadegh Barzan answered softly, "Yes."

"But they can't get away with killing my men." O'Connell wasn't going to give up his bloodlust easily. Sadegh nodded at the still figure of the other agent, still lying there shaking.

"Do what you will with the other one." One elegantly shod foot slid along the inseam of Doyle's jeans. "This one is mine."

Twisting the arm he held until it was at the small of the agent's back, he watched as Sadegh unlooped his belt from his slacks and, quickly pulling the other arm around to join its mate, efficiently looped the leather strap around Doyle's wrists. Terry's weight on the man's shoulders, and Sadegh's on the back of his knees, kept him from so much as breathing hard. Terry then shuffled off to the side, and the Arab hoisted his purchase up by one arm.

Before anyone could move, the captive suddenly kicked out with one foot, catching O'Connell alongside the ribs and squirming like an eel to get away from his captor. With a barely perceptible hesitation, the agent on the floor also moved, but his reaction came a fraction of a second too late. Sadegh clipped the side of Doyle's knee with his foot, knocking his anchor leg out from under him, and had a cocked Browning at the base of his skull before he could recover his balance. Liam, one arm wrapped around his bruised ribs and gasping for breath, had his own .45 covering the younger agent.

As Sadegh backed toward the other room, he allowed Doyle to see exactly what he had been saved from, sparing him nothing of Kendall's fate. Terry straddled the young man's back, settling down firmly, keeping him from moving. Liam, smiling the while, stretched out his arm and brought his machete down. He started at the wrist.

He ended at the throat.

It was only in the resulting silence that they realized the young agent hadn't been the only one screaming.

Liam ignored the sound of Terry vomiting and reached for an empty box. After all, CI5 had been kind enough to send them a present. It was only right they return the favor. Then the bastards would know to leave them alone. Or they'd send the next ones back in pieces, too.

Sadegh Barzan ignored the protesting screams from the man in his arms as he backed him into the private room he'd demanded. As he kicked the door shut behind them, he applied just enough pressure to the agent's windpipe to cut off the air, not enough to permanently damage the tissue. There were no further screams from the side room, and he assumed the other agent had either fainted from shock and blood loss or was dead. He didn't care which. He had fourteen more hours in this godforsaken country, then he would be back on a private jet to his home. With a new toy.

The struggling had stopped when the noise had, and he leaned forward over his captive's shoulder. "You are a lucky man," he spoke softly, his breath ruffling the curls lying along the man's neck. "You could have been the one hacked to pieces. But I have other plans for you." Gently loosening his grip, he nodded at his bodyguard. Harun was his right hand man, and would know precisely what he required of his new acquisition. It was not the first time he had prepared an unwilling bedmate.

He stepped around the agent, keeping his gun trained on the man at all times. The narrowed eyes were open, now, and he could see their color clearly, a deep jade, spitting hatred at him. He nodded. Hatred was good, in its place. It added fire, a challenge that he enjoyed. The man jumped as Harun's large hands slid over him, slipping the buttons from their holes, lowering the zip. "Kick him and I will put a bullet in your kneecap." He saw comprehension, and still watchfulness, in the feral eyes. He lifted one foot, then the other, not interfering with Harun's task. He was quickly stripped.

"Back up." The eyes had left the gun, and were staring into his own. A well trained agent, this one. How very satisfying. Intelligent, skilled, passionate. Not a youth, but beautiful. He would have enjoyed taking the time to truly meet the challenge the agent provided, but he was working under a deadline. And his blood was singing. He wanted to taste, to mark, to blood the man. Then he would complete his task, collect the rest of his money. Return home, and take the time to do it thoroughly. Until then, he would make do. "Harun, prepare him."

Carefully staying out of the line of fire, Harun tied the man's ankles to each end of a short pipe, connected by a chain to the floor. Sadegh didn't know the pipe's original purpose, and didn't care to guess. Finally uncocking the pistol, he placed it out of his captive's reach on a table in the far corner of the room, and fetched a small bag from his luggage. Taking a pill from the lining of the bag, he moved to crouch next to his new plaything. "Bite me and I will break your jaw. It is not necessary for you to have a working mouth for me to fuck your throat."

Bright green eyes glared up at him, and he smiled into them. Then he dug his fingertips into the joint and forced the clenched jaws open. He popped the pill into the man's throat with his other hand, then clamped the jaw shut to prevent it being spit in his face. Lowering his free hand over the stretched length of throat, he massaged gently until the man stopped gagging. Then he opened the jaw again, slid the rebellious tongue out of the way, and smeared the melting pill along the underside of the man's tongue. Clamping the jaw shut again, he waited calmly for the struggles to cease.

"If you vomit you will probably strangle on it. Then I will get my money back, and the gentlemen in the other room will have another body to cut into parts and return to your masters." This time when he checked, the remnants of the pill were gone. "While I would much prefer that you retain full sensitivity during this evening's entertainment, I haven't the time to fight you. I am a trifle pushed. We can experience the full range of your responses when we are back home, and I have the time to devote to you that you deserve." He ran his hand along the line of throat, over the lightly furred chest, down to the lax weight of genitals lying against one slender thigh. His anticipation heightened. This one would be a challenge. He was looking forward to it.

Bodie'd forgotten just how one dimensional most of his old mates really were. Birds, money, and guns. He guessed it could pass for three dimensions, but they only talked about one at a time, so it was more of a rotation of a single dimension.

He wasn't getting the information he needed, the hair on the back of his neck was standing up, and he missed his partner. It was making him surly. Which just made him fit in all the better.

Four hours of knocking back cheap whiskey and listening to windbags, and he was ready to cut his own throat. He was supposed to be tracing a gun shipment, a very special shipment of a very special gun. But the men he'd been trying to track down were being very cagey indeed, and his patience was wearing thin. Too much more of this and he was going to crack open a skull or two just to see if there really was nothing but air inside them. Then he heard it.


Why the hell was the Home Secretary's name being bandied about in a merc bar? Doing his best to blend into the wood panelling, and doing a damned fine job of it, he heard more snatches of conversation.

"-in the afternoon. Before the signing."

"Got a ringer in?"

"Yeah. Arab. Good'un." Two of them, neither known to him, speaking with faint Ulster accents.

"When do we get our share?" They were shuffling toward the entrance.

"When it's all good and done, and the boys are away."

Now, that was more like it. Consigning his previous drinking partners to oblivion, he slid into the shadows, kept his eyes and ears open, and followed the men out into the night.

Doyle was in the middle of a nightmare, and he couldn't seem to wake up. He was watching things happening to his body, but he was somewhere up above, floating, watching, until a sharp pain would pull him back, and it would all be happening to him again. He couldn't move. Couldn't escape.

The walls were bleeding.

Kendall was dead. Had to be, he'd heard the screams, drowning out his own, cutting off in a rattling gurgle he'd heard before. Should have been him. Might still be.

Looking down at his feet, he could see them jerking against the thin ropes that bound his ankles. The big one, Harun, had stripped him down then tied him up. He was lying on the buckle of the belt holding his wrists, and he knew it should hurt. Once in awhile, it did.

He could hear the watch on the other man's arm. He thought he recognized him, but he couldn't quite pin the face down. His mind was wandering, fixating on odd things. The rush of blood in his veins. Goosebumps rising on his skin. Each individual hair as it stood at the tip of the contracted skin. Fingers running over him, mapping his features, his muscles, an elbow, a kneecap. Turning him, the pole between his ankles like a huge spatula, taking the pressure off his wrists and transferring it to his knees and his chin. A hand clasping between his thighs, and he spasmed, feeling the fingers as if they were the legs of a tarantula, crawling along his prick, canting his arse up in the air. He could feel the air flowing between his arsecheeks, and it frightened him.

Then he was floating again. The Arab had one hell of a hard-on, pointed at his opening like a bleeding missile. Too big, much too big. And the other one, the big one, was playing with a fire pit along the side. Then the missile impacted, and he was blown apart, torn to pieces. Too fucking small. He landed in himself with a shriek, jolted on his face and his knees, taking the weight of the bastard at the small of his back. The pressure ripped at him, up into his guts, clear up to his throat, felt like, pressing in, pulling out, pressing in again. The walls were bleeding again, only this time the floor was bleeding as well, and the blood was moving. It was pumping slowly up along his shins, creeping over the backs of his knees, sending tendrils along his thighs to his arse. The watch was ticking next to his ear, the tarantula had let go of his prick and was on his shoulder now. He couldn't move, couldn't shake it off. Could only kneel there, arse in the air, face scraped against the floor, as he was torn apart, as the blood flowed up from the dirty tile onto his cheek, up his legs, along his knees. Blood everywhere. Kendall's blood. His blood.

The walls were heaving, back and forth, in time with the missile splitting him apart. He started to float again, in rhythm with the pain, sliding along the trails of blood. A shadow blocked out the dim light, and the big man was back again, something long, black, red, gray in his hands. He heard a hissing sound, and the missile was gone, heard a sucking noise as the blood and the fluids retreated down his legs. The absence of immediate pain made him float freely, until a second shadow joined the first. The black thing moved, a snake, a cobra, biting him, and he was shockingly seated back in his body, screaming as it bit into his flesh. He couldn't move, held tightly in ham-like fists, as the first man grunted, his hand moving on his own flesh, back arching as he climaxed. The snake was gone, and the come was splashing against the bite, cooling it, and he could hear the skin bubble as the warm liquid hit the burns, embedded itself in the scar.

He wanted to faint, prayed to pass out, but as usual, no one was listening. Then the big man was behind him, and he was split open again, and this time he couldn't escape, couldn't float. The Arab stood in front of him, and he tasted semen and shit as the bastard's prick was forced down his throat. His hip was on fire, and his mind, divorcing itself from the rape of his body, began to pick out details with a policeman's automatic thoroughness. No snake. A metal rod of some sort. His throat hurt, his jaw, already bruised from being force-fed the pill earlier, now protesting being stretched around the fleshy bulk, his split lip bleeding again, adding coppery lubricant to the rape of his mouth.

Doyle closed his eyes, and red blood swirled behind his eyelids. His partner would come. Bodie would come to the rescue, like he always did. A little late, but he'd be there, he knew his partner would be there. Would kill these bastards.

When he opened his eyes again, the walls were bleeding.

Liam closed the front door behind him, happy with the messenger he'd found. No questions, some loyalty to a cause, and a lot of money, and his threat would be known. He still wanted to do the other one, the one with the snotty attitude, who'd killed his men. Being a buttboy wasn't punishment enough.

His thoughts were cut off by an agonized cry from behind the closed door of the assassin's room. For a moment he couldn't think what would make that sort of sound, then his mind supplied him with a vivid image of a soul in hell, conjured from his earliest Church sermons. He smiled at the thought.

On second thought, maybe it would be. Surely didn't sound like he was enjoying it much.

The package was delivered to the front desk of CI5 at ten o'clock on the night Doyle and Kendall went missing. The controller didn't know that the men had gone missing yet, but he soon would.

Once a scan by the X ray machine confirmed that there was no bomb in the box, it was put on Mr. Cowley's desk. It was just then beginning to leak. The controller took one look, then one sniff, then barked over the intercom for an evidence kit and some newspapers. By half past ten, when Bodie reported in with the outline of a plot to assassinate the Home Secretary, the box had been opened, the contents identified as one hand and part of a wrist (detached), and a call-around of r/ts had confirmed which agents were, indeed, missing.

Cowley didn't give Bodie time to ponder the ramifications.

Watching closely until the agent had finished cleaning himself up after losing his dinner, he concentrated sharply on getting his man back on task. Grief would come later, when all the facts were known. For now, they had a job to do. And if he was to keep Bodie from going off half-cocked and tearing London apart looking for his partner, he had to act fast.

Spitting commands with the ease of long practice, Cowley had the last known location of Kendall and Doyle parceled out to Malcolm and Jax, the arms smugglers assigned to Lucas and McCabe, the grass with the information on the IRA cell movements to O'Hara and Pennington, and Murphy, Fisher and Bodie working on the kill planned for the Home Secretary. Bodie hadn't said a word. It bothered Cowley at the time, but he had more pressing concerns on his mind. Bodie would do as he was told, for once, or he'd throw him in a holding tank and keep him there until he was nothing but bones, and he told him so.

Bodie's stared at him, something dark and a little frightening moving at the back of the blue eyes, then nodded. "Yes, sir."

No, sir, three bags full, sir, Cowley thought, but he nodded and took it at face value. Murphy and Fisher would keep him intact long enough to get the job done.

No one heard the sigh of mingled sadness and relief he gave at the word that the hand belonged to young Kendall. He gave permission to pass the information on to 3.7, believing it would help keep the young man in check until they could muster the resources to find Doyle and Kendall, if they were still alive.

He didn't hold out much hope for either.

Sadegh slid one hand from the side of the man's mouth, where it was working at his cock, to the freshly raised brand on his hip. The protein in his seed would speed the healing and raise the welt nicely. A stylized falcon, symbol of his power, mark of his possession. Traces of blood, spittle and sperm eased the way for his passage into the lax throat before him, and he was careful not to accidentally choke his new toy. He'd enjoyed taking him, would enjoy it again, and soon. They had the whole night ahead of them. While he couldn't take the time he wanted to truly break in his new mount, he could at least learn more of him, test his limits. Blood him further. He thrust deeply, holding the rounded chin up against his pelvic bone, enjoying the sight of generous lips stretched to their limits around the base of his erection. Before the lack of air could cause unconsciousness, he pulled back out.

"Finish, Harun. I would explore the rest. The mark has set." Grimacing with effort, the bodyguard nodded acquiescence and rammed deeply into the lean ass, three times, four, pouring himself into the tight channel. He pulled out slowly, wringing the last of his pleasure out of the act, then shook the worst of the blood and other fluids off his penis. Stepping back, he rolled the agent over, carefully ensuring that he didn't stretch the brand. Sadegh waved toward the head of the bed, and Harun hurried to bring the small black bag over to him. The tinkling sound of bells, the slither of chain links sliding against one another, caused a shiver to run down the captive's frame. Sadegh smiled down into the wide green eyes. "What is your name?"

"Fuck you." The voice was rusty from screams, but the defiance, while slurred, was understandable. Sadegh's smile widened.

Without warning, he pulled a small, barbed flail from the bag and snapped it down across the man's chest, catching both nipples with the ends. Blood drew up in beads from one nipple to the other, and a welt immediately sprang up across the skin, visible through the soft curls of chest hair. The man screamed, and jerked, but couldn't move from his splayed position.

"Your name." Infinite patience in the voice. Discipline was a skill, an art form. Sadegh was a master in his own mind, although whether of discipline or inflicting pain, even he couldn't say.

"D-doyle," his captive stammered, breath catching in his throat. Sadegh leaned over him and licked from one nipple to the other, savoring the droplets of blood, soothing the tiny cuts in the skin.

"Very good, Doyle." He nodded at Harun, who fetched a small bolster. Sadegh carefully turned Doyle until his head was six inches from the iron bedstead behind him. He motioned to Harun, who placed the cushion at the small of Doyle's back. For an instant, he was suspended over the bolster, and his hands clenched spasmodically at having the weight of his body off them. Then one beefy hand grasped the bar between Doyle's ankles and lifted it until his knees were at his shoulders and his ankles were by his ears. The bolster kept his back from breaking, but he was wide open to anything they wanted to do to him. Sadegh ran one hand from Doyle's Achilles tendon to the crease of his hip, over his testicles and up his sternum, dabbling in the blood still dripping from the cuts the flail had made. "Beautiful," he whispered.

So very beautiful. And so very vulnerable. He rested one hand at the base of Doyle's penis, stretching his sac slightly, and reached for his bag.

There was no rest for the combined talents of CI5 that night. Mr. Russell had been warned, and security had been beefed up at the official residence, but they all knew that if a man was truly targeted by a professional, unless that professional was stopped, that man was dead. And much as they might debate his politics, CI5 was there to make sure the Home Secretary signed his documents and returned home the next night, and the night after that, and the night after that. Bodie swept like a dark storm through the East end of London, rousting every contact he knew, driven on by visions in his head of his partner hacked to pieces. By mid-morning, they had a place, and they had a time.

From his position on the floor, Doyle could see a sliver of sky through a high, small window. It was dark, and he thought he could see a star, or perhaps it was the edges of his sight, graying out to silver white. He hadn't floated in too long, the drug completely out of his system, but something else had been forced down his throat, and the walls were bending again. Whatever it was had made his skin incredibly sensitive, and he was crying continuously.

At least, he thought he was. He couldn't be sure. He was tasting sounds and hearing colors. Pain radiated from clamps on his nipples, blood trickling down over his ribs from tiny punctures in the soft flesh. Even when he'd been shot, had his ribs wracked open and his heart operated on, he'd not felt pain like this. Tiny arrows of it, shot through his chest. Lines of fire running crisscross from the curve of his buttocks to the backs of his knees, on the tender flesh between his thighs, across his balls and onto his prick. The flail had been busy.

His tormentor stood between Doyle's legs, snapping the flail with delicate precision across the tip of his prick, tiny spurs catching the slit and slicing at it, then nipping down the column, leaving a trail of blood droplets over the purpling skin. A vibrator was inserted up his rear channel, positioned to batter at his prostate at irregular intervals, confusing pleasure with pain that radiated throughout his body. Occasionally, Sadegh would stop the pain, reaching down with one hand and caressing him, or jerking off over him, bathing him in warm semen. The salty sweet cream was on his mouth, in his hair, spattered over the myriad tiny wounds peppering his torso and groin. His throat hurt. His legs had long gone numb, and his hips were cramping, but the pain didn't stop.

Sadegh leaned forward, pressing against his bent-back hips, and he screamed in agony. The scream was swallowed as Sadegh kissed him, and he nearly bit the bastard's tongue, nearly hurt him back, nearly ... nearly ... the pressure was gone, and he gasped in air, only to lose it as teeth snapped down hard over the tip of his penis. His eyes flew down to see a clamp similar to the ones chewing on his nipples only much, much larger. Blood was beginning to trickle where the teeth were embedded in his skin, and he spared a grateful thought that he wasn't erect, or surely it would have sawed him into pieces. The pain was incredible, soaking into his mind, drowning him.

A searing jolt ripped through his chest, and he whimpered, looking down to see Sadegh's hand, flicking at first one nipple clamp, then the other, drawing abstract designs on Doyle's chest with the resulting trails of blood. The finger-painting continued, down across his stomach, then over his penis and his balls, with the blood seeping there. Without warning, a finger would brush against a clamp, and his mind would contract into a ball of fiery pain, centered in his nipple or his cock. When he thought the pain could get no worse, Sadegh surprised him.

Reaching down between his thighs, Sadegh twisted the vibrator out of him in one harsh wrench. If he'd had the breath he would have screamed again, feeling as if he was being disemboweled. Before he could recover, still spasming from the abrupt removal, Sadegh shoved his erection up inside him, and began a fast, hard pumping that jolted every clamp and ripped at every cut on his body. The sweat on the other man's stomach was like acid eating at the tiny cuts on his perineum, and the screaming began again.

Inside his head.

Where no one could hear him.

A small part of his mind, not screaming in agony or denying what was happening to him, wondered where Bodie was. Why he didn't come. How long he would have to endure this pain before his partner came through for him.

Several hours later, watching a perfect sunrise breaking through the tiny window with eyes blurred from unremitting pain, he knew the truth. Bodie wasn't coming. Staring down at the blood, semen and sweat covering his body, writhing from the muscle cramps and becoming lost in the psychedelic pattern of bloody bruises covering his naked flesh, he realized he didn't want Bodie to come. Didn't want anyone to see him like this. Didn't want anything except for the pain to end.

Knew it never would.

It had been a very good night, and Sadegh felt energized as he waited for the target to come into range. Doyle was a rewarding treat, and he looked forward to playing with him further, in the comfort of his own home. In the private room, where the screams would not disturb the household. He had been encouraged by the fortitude and strength his new toy had shown so far. He was interested in seeing just how far that strength would stretch before it broke, and if the mind would break before the body. Dwelling on the pleasant thought, he didn't hear the footsteps on the other side of the door until it was too late.

They came through the door in perfect sync, Murphy going high, Fisher going low, Bodie providing backup fire. There was more resistance than they'd expected, and Fisher took a bullet high in the arm from the man at the window before putting him down permanently with a bullet in the neck. Murphy fired across her at a hulking man coming out of the shadows a heartbeat before the enemy could put a bullet in Bodie. Before they could catch their breath, Bodie leapt on the prone body of the assassin with a muffled curse.

"Bleedin' hell, Susan! Why the fuck did you have to kill him?" He rounded on her, and she took a step back at the fury in his face. Looking down, she saw a thin pool of silver in his palm.

Doyle's necklace. He'd ripped it from the dead man's neck.

"I'm ... he ... goddamnit, Bodie, I didn't have any choice!"

Before Bodie could take her up on it, or strangle her, it was hard to tell which, Murphy broke in. "You okay to go, Fisher? Because we've got a live one!" He pointed out the window at the retreating back of a man in full flight.

Susan nodded curtly at him, padding the graze with knotted fabric from the dead man's shirt. "You and 3.7 take him. I'll call base and get a clean up crew out here."

Murphy took time to smile reassuringly at her before setting out after Bodie. The other man never even paused. She reached for her r/t and wearily called it in.

It was a total cock up. Running until his lungs felt like they were going to burst, Terry made it back to the dump they were living in for the duration and fell through the door. Liam looked up from his place at the radio, staring at him, waiting for an explanation. Terry had to lean against the doorjamb for a few moments while he got his breath back before he could say anything. Even then, he wasn't quite sure what to say. He knew as sure as he was standing there Liam would find a way to make it his fault. Before he could get his tongue wrapped around a word, Liam spoke.

"Fucked it up, did he? Knew better than to trust that Arab bastard." Terry just nodded. Liam sighed, then nodded at the bomb paraphernalia scattered around the room.

"Looks like phase two will have to wait awhile then, too. Clean this up. I've got to go take care of the ... prisoner. I take it they're not coming back?"

Terry shook his head no, happy this was turning out so that he didn't have to actually say anything. He got into less trouble that way. Liam sighed again, and took out his machete. Terry gulped and shrank back against the door. To his relief, Liam simply turned and went into the other room.

One step into the room, the door flew open behind him, propelled by one hell of a kick from the opposite side. The edge caught him and knocked him flat on his face, saving his life, because the men behind him simply opened fire right over the top of his prone body. The bullets tore through the room, ripping into Liam's back as he leaned over the bound CI5 agent in the back room. The machete, poised above his head for a killing strike, fell harmlessly against the metal bed frame, and he slumped on top of the prisoner, dead before he landed.

Terry stayed exactly where he'd fallen and tried not to throw up on himself.

Twelve hours with his ankles tied up over his shoulders should have left them dead to the touch, but when the weight of the terrorist landed atop him, Doyle found that he still had enough voice left to scream. His legs felt like they were one solid mass of pain, and his back was breaking.

Then the weight was gone, and two horrified faces were staring down at him. The walls weren't bleeding anymore, but he knew he was still hallucinating. Because one of the faces was Bodie's, and Bodie wasn't coming.

Strong hands yanked at the chain, and he screamed again. The pole was gently moved downward, and the bolster taken from behind him, as other hands quickly unlatched the belt around his wrists. Muscle cramps shook his entire body, and he whimpered, twitching uncontrollably. He was cold, so cold he would have thought he was dead, except being dead couldn't hurt this much. Then hands reached out and gently unclamped the teeth digging into his nipples and cockhead, and as the skin tore and the blood rushed out, he finally got his wish and passed out from the pain.

When his eyes opened again, all he saw was white. Bandages swathed his body, and he was floating again, only this time he could see the IV in his arm, and knew it was supposed to be that way. Bodie sat beside his bed, face like uncooked dough, eyes like pee holes in the snow. Reaching out for him, he was startled to see Bodie flinch away. That's when he knew it wasn't an hallucination.

A product of his imagination would not have turned away from him.

The muscles around his chest spasmed, and staring at his open hand, inches from his partner, he stopped breathing.

A crash cart hit the door at the same moment Bodie reached out to take the cold hand lying so close to his. He didn't realize what was happening until the doctors had literally shoved him out of the room, then he hovered in the background as they worked on him. Snatches of rushed information flowed out to him. He was barely aware of Cowley coming up behind him, all his attention focused on his partner.

Eight hours of cold coffee later, he found out that the Ketamine and LSD Sadegh had dosed Doyle with and the strain of the hours of torture had triggered a heart attack. The damage from May Li's bullets so long ago and the resultant surgery had left him with a potential for trouble, and the drugs his tormentor had chosen were some of the worst he could have picked. Doyle's heart stopped twice more on the operating table, but in the end, he pulled through.

"Too tough to die," Lucas offered, handing him yet another cup of cold coffee. Bodie wasn't sure. Doyle hadn't looked very tough, hand outstretched, asking without words for comfort. Comfort Bodie hadn't been able to give him. Would never be able to give him.

Doyle wanted something Bodie didn't think he had to give. As far as Bodie knew, his heart had dried up a long time ago, and he didn't care to resuscitate it. Too much pain that way, and he'd gone on too long without it to ask for it back. Oh, he might go through the motions, but Doyle knew him too well. And Doyle would see right through him. So he'd be truthful, as honest as he knew how to be. It would be all right. When Doyle was well again, was healed, back on his feet, away from the pain. It would be okay then.

It had to be. Because Bodie didn't have anything else to offer.

Everything was murky, slow moving, eerily lit. People were talking but their mouths weren't moving. There was a sense of urgency, but it was damped down, swamped by fire that covered his skin, doubled him over. His hands reached out, grasping for hope, fighting to find his anchor. For a moment, he saw him. Bodie turned to him, held him in return, and he closed his eyes and thanked a god he'd forgotten for those strong hands holding him closely. Then the hands dropped away, and he heard a screaming at the back of his mind, muted but growing closer. He opened his eyes, and found not the blue he'd expected, but brown, with teardrops of deep crimson blood flowing from the corners. He found death in those eyes, and he ran, stumbling, crying out. Alone. All around him, he saw faces. People he had killed, either directly or indirectly, by not being able to protect them as he should. Mouths stretched wide in screams, blank eyes staring up at him, accusing him. Accepting him. One of them.

He ran.

Eventually the faces disappeared, but he could feel their eyes on him, just out of sight. He looked further, searching for his place, searching for his mates. Searching for his partner.

Nothing but backs turned toward him.

He was burning up.

The walls were bleeding.

And Bodie was looking right through him.

It was a long three weeks of fever, close calls and late nights, but Doyle was finally able to come home. Bodie was anxious to get him there, antsy to get him away from the hospital, back home and back to normal. Doyle wasn't talking, which was unusual, and Bodie couldn't read him at all. It made him wary. Taking the elevator, waiting on the stairs until Doyle got his strength up, Bodie wracked his brain to come up with something, anything to say to break the tension. He wanted his partner back, not this stranger wearing Doyle's face. He wanted to forget the way Doyle had looked when he'd found him, the way he'd screamed.

The way Doyle was watching him.

"Want to watch the match? Liverpool's playing tonight," he offered.

Doyle stared at him. "Nah. Tired, think I'll go to bed. Thanks for bringing me home. 'Night, Bodie."

He glared at his partner, standing at the door, patently throwing him out. Enough was enough.

"C'mon, Ray, what the hell's the matter with you?" It wasn't the most tactful of openings, but it was the best he could come up with, and he hoped it worked.

It didn't. Doyle looked at him for the longest moment, then latched the door, set the locks, walked across the room, and kissed him.

Bodie clipped him on the chin and knocked him flat on his back.

"Oh, shit, mate, what'd'ya go and do that for?" he asked anxiously, crouching beside his partner and easing a hand under Doyle's shoulder to help him sit upright.

"Nothing ventured, nothing gained?" Doyle quipped, with forced lightness.

Bodie breathed a quick sigh of relief. It was going to be okay. Doyle had asked, he'd said no. End of story. "Not that you're not gorgeous, mate," he replied lightly, "but you're just not my type." You'd want me to care, and I'm not about to take that risk, he thought. He helped Doyle up, got him over to the couch, and settled gingerly on the other end of the cushions. "Prefer slightly different equipment on my bedmates." He watched carefully, a little taken aback by Doyle's calm face.

"I understand. Is that why you shied away from me? In hospital?" Doyle leaned forward a little, and Bodie instinctively drew back. Superimposed over the neat slacks and shirt was a nightmare image of blood and bruises. It brought back too many bad memories, too many long-buried impulses. Doyle could never be part of that, must never be touched by it. Never.

It dawned on him that he hadn't answered, but too long had gone by, and he felt uncomfortable breaking the silence. A door had been opened, and he wanted to slam it shut. Wanted to ignore it, and have it all go away. Doyle seemed to understand, for he nodded slowly.

"Really am tired, Bodie. I just want to put my head down. It'll be okay."

Bodie looked at him searchingly. There was a peace in Doyle's eyes that he'd never seen, and he smiled back, reassured. "Call me if you need anything?"

Doyle laughed. Bodie didn't understand the reaction, but he kept his smile. It was good to see Doyle getting back to normal. He thumped his partner gently on one shoulder, automatically pulling his hand away when Doyle inclined his head toward it. "See you in the morning."

"Goodbye, Bodie. Thanks, mate." Soft words, quietly spoken. Unsure how to react, he nodded shortly and headed toward home.

Doyle stared after the door, then rose and efficiently set the locks. He'd asked, and he'd been answered. In spades. Bodie had given all he could give.

It wasn't nearly enough.

Sitting on the edge of the bath, watching the steam rise gently from the water, he saw the faces again. They were telling him things, truthful things, hurtful things. So much death, too much death. Should have been him. Movement caught the corner of his eye, and he looked over to see that the walls were bleeding again. He nodded. They always would, now. He knew what he needed to know.

He reached over the sink and took what he needed down off the shelf. Stripping off, he ignored the healing welts and bruises and settled into the steaming water. It felt wonderful. He felt light, as if he were floating again, and he smiled at the thought. With a fleeting appreciation for his ambidexterity, he palmed the razor and pressed firmly, slitting each vein in turn, wrist to elbow. Oddly enough, it didn't even hurt.

In very little time, he was floating again.

Bodie was on the doorstep bright and early the next morning, half expecting Doyle to be waiting for him. He knew there was a lot of work left to go before Doyle was certified fit for the A squad again, with at least one round with Macklin and god only knew how many with Ross, but Doyle was a determined little bugger. He'd make it. Bodie leaned on the bell, then pressed his ear to the thin wooden door.

No movement. No music. Nothing.

The hair on the back of his neck stood up, and he fumbled for his spare key, not understanding the urgency that goaded his movements. Pushing open the door, he noted the still-set alarm and punched in the code before base could be alerted. "Doyle? Get your lazy arse out of bed, my son, we have a full ... "

The rug was wet beneath his feet. He followed the trail of water into the bath.

The floor was soaked. The water was red.

He looked down into the eyes of his partner. They were half open. They were completely at peace.

Staring into the empty green eyes, he pulled his r/t from his jacket pocket. "There's been an accident at 4.5's flat," he reported, then thumbed off the set before anyone could answer. Crouching beside the tub, inches from the whitened fingertips streaked with blood, lay a straight razor. He picked it up, careful of the sharp blade, and stared down at the edge, staring into the reflection of his own eyes.

There was no peace there.

Only death.

-- THE END --

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