King of Hearts


Bodie was melting; it must have been about two hundred degrees in the car--at least that's what it felt like to him, as he and Doyle sat there, watching the house. The heat haze was making everything a blur and was having a rather hypnotic affect on Bodie who was becoming more and more drowsy by the minute. Summer in London was hot at the best of times but the humidity was stifling and all Bodie wanted was to get home, get stripped and get himself into a nice cool bath.

He could feel the beads of sweat forming on his forehead, making his hair curl and his skin shine; he swiped his sleeve across his face and reflected again that he was glad that he had listened to his partner that morning when Doyle had insisted that Bodie swap his leather jacket for a shirt. The thin cotton was damp from where it was resting against his t-shirt and if he hadn't had to conceal his weapon he would have taken even it off long ago, he who would never reveal his body if he could help it at all would gladly have stripped bare if it would have cooled him down even slightly. He felt the sweat run down between his shoulder blades and be soaked up by the t-shirt at the small of his back and he thought he had never been as uncomfortable as he shifted again. He sighed and looked at his watch relieved to see that they need wait only another few minutes and their relief would arrive and they could leave.

This was a routine obbo that he and Doyle had been given as punishment for once again not following procedure. Well it was really his punishment for not following a direct order from Cowley but in his defence he reasoned that Doyle didn't know that the men were armed, he hadn't been a party to that snippet of intelligence and he was just about to risk his neck against three gun happy gangsters, Bodie had to act and so this was his punishment, their punishment. Even Doyle hadn't moaned about the fact that they had to do it, he had been sweet really in his appreciation of Bodie's actions and that in itself had given Bodie pause for thought. Doyle was never usually sweet about anything but lately there were a few occasions where Bodie was thrown quite off kilter at how nice and good humoured Doyle had been. Maybe it was spring fever or maybe it was the heat getting to Doyle, Bodie couldn't be sure but he liked Doyle even more, if that were possible, when he was like this. His partner was prickly, Bodie had realised that from the start but in a very short time Bodie had decided that Doyle was worth it, worth taking the barbs, and the temper and the sharp tongue because through all that he realised he had never met anyone quite like Ray Doyle, the good tended to outweigh the bad.

With that thought and a smile on his face Bodie looked over at the sprawled body on the passenger seat. Perfect, he thought as his eyes travelled the length of his partner. He often wondered how Doyle managed to look so bloody relaxed, in this heat, in the passenger seat of a car, when Bodie himself was so uncomfortable. He stared for a long time, first of all in the constant disbelief that his partner seemed to be comfortable but then, ultimately, as was his wont, committing the picture to memory to be perused at his leisure when he was alone. He drank in the detail.

Doyle's boot clad foot and jean clad calf were flush to the dashboard, his knee pointing at Bodie, his lean thighs under tight jeans flexing with any small movement and his full crotch encased in denim, casually, quite innocently, exposed to Bodie. The sage green t-shirt was tight to Doyle's body, clinging to the muscled torso, the thin cotton of his over shirt was damp with sweat, the sleeves of the garment were rolled up to reveal sun kissed forearms, muscled and strong, the veins standing out in the heat. Finally he scanned Doyle's face, framed in curls and damp at his forehead and neck, his face was tanned with a touch of stubble on his cheeks and chin, his full lips were set in a pout and, concealed in aviator sunglasses tinted green to match, his eyes that Bodie knew were alert and watching every move on the street or in the house and certainly able to see Bodie looking at him, Doyle always did. Bodie turned away from the picture then and stared out the window once more, unwilling to give himself away too much. Beside him Doyle moved and Bodie's senses were assaulted by pure 'essence of Ray', a mixture of clean sweat and faint cologne and Bodie was compelled to turn again to look.

"What are you looking at, Bodie?" drawled Doyle, never once taking his eyes off the street, a slight smile on his face and no hint of anger in his voice, sounding more asleep than awake, but Bodie knew better than that for he had been playing this game of cat and mouse with Doyle for what seemed like an eternity, it was part of their routine and he was able to answer smoothly.

"A bloody boneless wonder, that's what. Bloody hell, Ray, how can you manage those contortions in such a small space?"

"Dunno...." Movement then as Doyle sat up and pulled his glasses down so Bodie could see his eyes "...I've been told I'm very flexible," he tipped a wink and a smile Bodie's way and paused briefly, holding Bodie's gaze. Bodie felt the flush of colour in his cheeks, clear for Doyle to see, and for the first time that day he was glad he was already sweating. His reaction was acute, far more revealing than he usually let happen and it may have been the heat or the confines of the car or the sheer boredom of the obbo but he was at once afraid and hopeful that Doyle would finally get a clue and actually call Bodie on the fact of his close and near constant observation; but Bodie couldn't continue the game and turned away. Beside him Doyle did the same, turned away back to the sprawl. Bodie sat, eyes forward, relief and disappointment warring for pole position in his head. This was getting beyond a joke. He sighed heavily.

Their relief was late and after looking at his watch for the third time he was just about to vent his anger when a glance in the rear view mirror alerted Bodie to the fact that Lucas and McCabe had arrived.

"Aye, aye, cavalry's here," he said, motioning behind him with his head as he reached for the radio and Doyle sat up again and turned to give a small wave to the car behind.

"3.7, Central."

"Go ahead, 3.7."

"Relief is here. 3.7 and 4.5 signing off for the night."

"Message received, 3.7. Goodnight. Central out."

"Thank God for that," Bodie said looking at his partner while starting the engine. "Home, a cool beer and a cool bath is what's called for."

"I'll second that, home, James." And Doyle patted his shoulder in an invitation for Bodie to begin to drive, leaving it there for a while, and when he removed his hand Bodie could feel the tingle left behind on his skin.

He dropped Doyle off at his flat. They would usually have spent the rest of the evening together but a combination of the heat and sheer tiredness had made them decide to part company and catch up on some much needed beauty sleep. They both agreed they weren't at their best. Bodie continued home to his own flat, the prospect of a cool beer and the shedding of stale clothing too much of a pull to even mourn the fact that Doyle wasn't with him.

Cowley had moved them again this month but he wasn't complaining as they had both landed decent flats close to each other in South Kensington. He parked the car and took the stairs two at a time.

Gaining entrance to the flat he was relieved that it was slightly cooler inside than it was outside but it was still stuffy. He opened the living room windows wide knowing it would probably make the flat warmer but inviting any breeze to clear the stuffiness, and proceeded into the bedroom, stripping along the way, not caring that he was leaving an untidy trail in his wake.

Padding naked into the bathroom, he decided on a shower instead of a bath. He adjusted the temperature of the water until it was just short of cold and stepped in.

He stood under the spray, eyes closed, head back, enjoying the feel of the cool water cascading down his body soaking him, turning to ensure every inch of flesh was wet.

As he began to soap himself, pictures of his partner came unbidden to his mind; this was not an unusual occurrence after a day like today when they had been in close quarters for long periods of time and also not an unusual occurrence when he was naked.

He had years of images of Doyle to choose from but he found himself thinking of the picture that Doyle had presented to him today sprawled in the car. The shape of his muscles through his clothes, the swell of crotch and the glow of perspiration that made him look sultry and sexy as hell.

Bodie could feel his cock filling and lengthening as the picture unfolded before him. He loved the way Doyle sprawled, the way he walked, the way he dressed, more conservative now, more sports jacket than leather jacket, than when they first teamed up but still as sexy. He smiled as he thought of how Doyle used to dress. Doyle in his cowboy boots, tight jeans, muscle t-shirt, leather jacket and ever present aviator sunglasses was a walking wet dream; his perfectly toned body, like a bronze sculpture, would not have seemed out of place in a Tom of Finland illustration. Sometimes Bodie fancied himself as Kake, dressed all in black and hungry, laying eyes on Doyle for the first time, Doyle standing there, all piss and vinegar and having to have him then and there, in the park, in the car, in the pub, in the fucking high street if he wanted because that's what Kake would do.

He used to feel guilty about the fact that thinking about his partner had this effect on him but by now any guilt had been buried along with the hope that something might come of it.

It wasn't so very unusual for him to think of another man in this way; he had before, not so unusual to think about the person he spent most of his time with in this way, to wonder what it would be like to be with Doyle but he knew in his heart that what he was feeling for his partner was unusual, unusual for him because he had come to the conclusion that being with Doyle in a physical way would never be enough for him, he wanted more than that with Doyle and that fact alone pushed the possibility further and further out of his reach.

He wrapped his hand around his now rock hard cock and began a slow sensual pumping, the soap and the water making the slide of skin on skin easier and he let himself drift away, wishing that the hand he was using to pleasure himself belonged to his partner.

Through a plethora of images assaulting his mind one of them seemed to stand out among the others and so he concentrated on that one particular night when he and Doyle had been on a double date and had ended up back at Doyle's place.

The girls had been very keen and between one thing and another Doyle had forgotten to close his bedroom door properly and so Bodie had been able to surreptitiously watch his partner fuck the girl.

Doyle had been magnificent. Bodie had never seen anything so beautiful, perfect honey coloured skin stretched over bone and muscle flexing with every move and thrust, beautiful arse clenching and releasing and face contorted in a mask of pleasure, eyes firmly shut as if to block out all but the sensations he was feeling, expressions changing as if he were somewhere else entirely and finally the look of sweet release on the beautiful face.

Panting, Doyle had collapsed onto the girl and then, suddenly, opened his eyes, seeming to look right at Bodie who came just from the sight him.

In the shower Bodie's fist tightened around his cock and his head fell back, mouth agape as he felt the first spasms of orgasm then the first pulse as his semen spurted out covering his hand.

He leaned his forehead against the cool, tiled wall and tried to calm his breathing before rinsing himself and stepping out of the cubicle.

Not for the first time he thought that if Doyle only knew the effect he had on him.... Bodie shook his head. But he must know. Bodie was careful if not subtle and didn't give too much away but Doyle always knew when Bodie was watching, he certainly knew when Bodie touched him and if he hadn't made a move or given any hint of interest after all this time Bodie reckoned that it wasn't going to happen. There was a bright side in all of this; he reminded himself, that if Doyle did know, then he must be ok about the fact that his partner was hot for him even if he didn't feel the same. Bodie was grateful for that, grateful for the fact that he still had a partner, grateful that Doyle hadn't gone to Cowley a long time ago. He quickly dried himself and for the millionth time promised himself that this would stop, promised himself that he would get over this and go back to his normal, uncomplicated, free life.

Doyle flopped on to the sofa. He was shattered. It had been a very long day sitting in the car with Bodie but he didn't mind the punishment, after all he would be dead right now if Bodie hadn't come bounding in when he did.

He hadn't noticed the guns before it was too late and he hadn't been carrying in order to keep his cover. Bodie had burst in, like some sort of avenging angel, and given him those much needed seconds to pull himself together and between them they were able to disarm the gang, so he didn't mind the punishment. He didn't mind being anywhere really as long as he was with Bodie. He was getting used to this feeling, not that it was getting easier to cope with, not at all, but since he had stopped fighting it he had had some kind of inner peace, easiness he could never remember feeling before.

In keeping with his newfound or rather newly admitted feelings for Bodie, he had found that his appetite for women had waned. He had laughed at himself, Ray Doyle, serial womaniser and a man who had been keen to settle down and start a family, had no interest anymore.

He remembered the exact moment; the exact moment he had wakened up and realised he was in love with Bodie. Yet another gunfight, yet another dangerous situation and Doyle was amazed that even after all this time he could still be so affected by them. They had used the usual approach and it was Doyle's turn to go in first, Bodie right behind, covering him, watching his back while he, the better shot with a handgun, was looking out for their front, when suddenly, very quickly, they were surrounded. No way out as far as he could see except to shoot and so, through a hail of bullets, they fought for their lives. When he had finally dispensed with the last of the frontal assault he had turned to help Bodie and almost too late they both spotted a gunman they hadn't known was there.

Time seemed to stand still as Bodie looked at him, knowledge in his eyes that this was it, he was dead. Without thinking Doyle fired and the gunman fell. Half a second's delay and he would have been standing over Bodie's dead body. Bodie turned to him, his mouth agape, shock then relief showing on his face, and then Bodie beamed at him, his beautiful blue eyes alight with gratitude and affection, phoenix from the flame, still alive because of him and Doyle knew that he would rather have died than see Bodie's body lifeless before him. He had known from the start that he might have to die for his partner, that's what happened sometimes, but willingness to do it, a wish for it to be you instead of your partner was something else entirely and that was when he knew for sure that this was no momentary aberration, this was love, pure and simple, and the best and worst feeling Doyle had ever had.

He remembered he had felt light-headed, nauseous, off balance. He had allowed Bodie to deal with Cowley and the authorities while he stood back and asked why? Why Bodie? Why now? How long had he felt this way? It had seemed easier when he joined the force to stick to women and although he missed the raw sensuality of male sex, he had been content, for the sake of his career, to go without, and he loved women, he hadn't felt attracted to a man for years but Bodie wasn't just a man, he was Bodie and mere attraction was the least of his worries.

He used to be good at knowing, he used to be good at spotting if a fella was interested, but he couldn't work Bodie out. Maybe they were too close. It had happened again today in the car. Bodie had been looking at him, that look he had seen before and the one that sometimes made him think that things could happen between them, and he had purposely held Bodie's gaze for as long as he could and still have an out. But Bodie had turned away, turned his back on Doyle's clumsy attempt at flirtation, and once again Doyle was back to square one, never knowing if there could be something, never sure that it wasn't just wishful thinking.

After a long hot summer, full of madmen, things seemed to be calming down for CI5. At first, as always, the agents welcomed the change of pace, a chance to recharge and work normal hours, but soon they were chomping at the bit for some action and that was the feeling in HQ as tempers frayed and old paperwork was finally finished. Doyle was definitely feeling the boredom. It had been fine the first week: he and Bodie had been able to go out on the town and eat takeaway and watch the football on the box, but as work was so slow there was nowhere for them to discharge their new-found energy and so they were becoming irritable. Strangely enough Doyle was aware of the fact that he and Bodie had not yet become irritable with each other. It seemed that everyone else on the squad was getting the brunt of their bad moods but they weren't having a go at each other. It was after one such spat with Murphy and McCabe in the rest room that both of them decided that they had to try and make some sort of amends, so when about half the squad had decided that, seeing as Anson had just got engaged, they should commiserate with him down the local, Bodie and Doyle, always up for a pint, had decided to join them. A couple of pints later and they were relaxed and enjoying the company of their fellow agents. Anson was being given a hard time from all sides about his pending nuptials but he seemed to be taking it in the spirit it was meant. Walking back from the loo Doyle spotted his partner in the middle of the group and hanging back a bit took in the scene. Bodie was in the middle of some tall tale that required actions and hand gestures and an audience of gullible agents and he was in fine form. Doyle loved seeing Bodie like this. He loved the way Bodie could entertain. He loved the way Bodie could command the crowd. He loved the way he moved and the accents he put on. He loved that Bodie was his partner and God! He hated not being able to tell him how he felt.

The crowd were practically reduced to tears as Bodie came to the end of his story and Bodie was laughing, one of his full force belly laughs that actually showed his teeth and then when he had stopped laughing he could see Bodie looking around for something, eyes frantically searching the bar until his gaze landed on Doyle and a smile came to his face. Then just as suddenly as he had found Doyle he turned back to the crowd as they patted him on the back and bought him another drink. Doyle shook himself and walked back to the bar but he knew he needed to leave soon because with the booze and Bodie's infectious good mood and his own restlessness and just because he was feeling a bit reckless he was afraid he would say something to Bodie and ruin everything. He made his excuses and left but not before seeing a worried, almost angry expression on Bodie's face.

Bodie left the bar not long after Doyle. His mood had deflated significantly in the absence of his partner. He didn't understand why Doyle had left the way he did and he was pissed off that his partner seemed to have forgotten that they had made plans for the evening. Granted it was only a takeaway and telly but it was the principle of the thing. Angry, Bodie bounded up the stairs to his flat. He was soaked to the skin. The short walk to the door from the car had seemed like a mile in the torrential rain and he was dripping. He found himself wishing for the heat and humidity of the summer; he needed a towel and quick. As he got to his door he noticed a woman standing there, writing something on a piece of paper, ready to post it through his letter box.

"Can I be of any help?" he said politely, a thin smile on his face. but anyone who knew him would have spotted the suspicion in his eyes. The bad guys weren't always men.

"Yes, Mr Bodie I presume?" the woman said and held out her hand for Bodie to shake. Still suspicious Bodie replied with a question of his own.

"And you are?"

"Sorry, I must apologise for my manners. Kate Matthews. I've just moved in upstairs and I'm having a small 'getting to know you' gathering this evening at around 7.00pm."

She handed Bodie the hastily scratched note. "I was just putting an invite through your door."

In the short time it had taken Kate to explain herself Bodie was captivated. Kate was beautiful and he found his suspicious side retreating in the face of this beautiful woman standing in the hall outside his flat. He had even forgotten that he was soaking wet and in a bad mood and lonely for Doyle. He felt himself relax and a genuine smile stretched across his face. "You will come won't you, Mr Bodie."

"I would be honoured, Miss Matthews."

"Please, Mr Bodie, Kate is fine."

"I would be honoured, Kate, and it's just Bodie," he finished giving her another winning smile and waiting for her to ask why it was just Bodie. But she didn't.

"Great. See you tonight then, Bodie."

"Looking forward to it, Kate," he said automatically as she smiled at him and turned to leave. Bodie watched her walk away, hips swaying side to side and he liked the view.

The drinks party was in full swing when Bodie made his way to her flat later. He looked around the place, taking in the layout of the flat, looking at the positions of doors and windows, and only when he was satisfied with his survey did he look for the hostess. She was talking to a small group in the other corner of the living room and she was looking beautiful.

Wearing black trousers and a white top, her long dark hair cascading down her back, her green eyes sparkling, she was every bit the social butterfly and gracious hostess.

Although Bodie had lived here for a few months he had never met any of his neighbours and took the opportunity himself to become acquainted with them. He did however spend the majority of the evening watching their hostess interact with her guests and by the time most of them had left he was smitten. He decided that, apart from spending the evening, any evening, with Doyle, he hadn't enjoyed himself so much in a long time.

Kate was beautiful. Long dark hair, vibrant green eyes, a straight almost aristocratic nose and full lips set against perfect skin that had just a hint of tan and a body to die for.

As the last guest left the flat Bodie decided not to outstay his welcome and made to leave himself. He walked over to Kate and taking her hand kissed her cheek before saying, "Thank you, Kate, I had a lovely evening."

"Thank you for coming, Bodie." As he turned to leave she stopped him by placing a hand on his arm. "Would you like to stay for coffee?" she asked in a soft voice that betrayed that coffee was not the only thing she wanted him to stay for and so Bodie accepted, there was no harm after all in seeking some comfort in the arms of such a beautiful woman.

Lying in bed much later, sated in the afterglow, his arms around Kate's sleeping form, Bodie pondered that he hadn't felt this good in a long, long time; this had been just what he needed. Doyle had been the only thing on his mind for so many years that although he never disappointed any of his girlfriends he was never fully there either. It felt different with Kate, it felt good. He decided that it might be worthwhile for him to invest some time on this one, see where it took him. It couldn't hurt to try, could it?

Over the next few weeks he found that Kate was always there when he got home. Always ready with a meal or the offer of a beer or sex and subsequently they spent most of their free time together. Bodie's free time was limited but Kate always made herself available to him, it seemed to Bodie that this was very easy; he didn't need to work very hard and that suited him fine.

He had discovered practically everything about her in that short time. Kate was a teacher. She taught in a secondary school in north London; originally from Kent she was the only child of a wealthy farmer. She had been engaged before but he had been too possessive of her and she had broken it off and moved up to London in order to get on with her life. Her mother and father still lived on the farm and she seemed very close to them. Bodie was in some ways a little envious of her attachment to her family. It intrigued Bodie to see this type of attachment: after all, neither he nor Doyle were close to their families and he found himself even more interested in her and her easy interaction with people done with a confidence borne out of a stable and close relationship with her parents. After a while she was eager for Bodie to accompany her to meet them and he agreed, more to sate his curiosity than out of a willingness to be put under the microscope of her parent's scrutiny. She had been so agreeable to him so far he thought this small concession wouldn't hurt.

He was unaccountably nervous as he drove to the country that weekend. He had never been in a situation where he felt the need to impress before. He really never had this type of girlfriend before, a girlfriend who was keen to introduce him to her family, and strangely he liked the feeling of being included and he found himself thinking more and more about Kate's feelings and less about his own. He had always done everything on his own terms but now he was thinking about someone else and he didn't want to let her down. It was important to Kate that her family like him and so before he knew it, it became important to him.

Kate's parents were as open and friendly as she was. Her mother was instantly taken with Bodie and her father was friendly in that fatherly 'hurt my daughter and regret it' kind of way and Bodie felt at ease in their company.

He enjoyed their weekend together. They talked a lot. Bodie was always happy to regale ladies with exaggerated stories but he found that along with entertaining Kate with his usual repertoire he opened up to her more than he had with any other person he had dated. The only people who knew him at all were Doyle and to some extent Cowley and he knew no matter what he felt about Kate the same would always be true. He knew that no one in the world would ever know him better than Doyle. What they had together was something that couldn't be learned, it was a natural instinctive knowledge, forged and bonded by the fact that they kept each other alive and no other person on the planet could come close. But Kate was a blessed relief for Bodie, who had been used to demanding girlfriends in the past; she never complained when he cancelled a date or turned up late or was called into work in the small hours or in the middle of dinner, and she was always there when he got home. To Bodie she was the perfect girlfriend and Doyle seemed to like her too, which in Bodie's eyes was a bonus.

He had talked about her incessantly to Doyle and really hoped that he would like her when they met. Doyle was his best friend, the best friend he had ever had regardless of what other feelings he had for his partner; after all it wasn't Doyle's fault he felt the way he did. He was relieved then that Kate and Doyle seemed to get on like a house on fire and so more and more he included Doyle in their plans and Kate never complained.

Doyle remembered thinking that Kate was a really nice girl. It struck him that she seemed a bit of a departure from Bodie's usual type and that alarmed him slightly but at that first meeting he never felt threatened by her or her presence in Bodie's life. Bodie seemed to think she was perfect and his description of her perfect skin and body had Doyle believing he was meeting Miss World.

For Doyle, she didn't seem just as perfect as her description, or maybe that was simply his own sour grapes, but she was certainly pretty, her most striking feature being her eyes. They were a beautiful shade of green that seemed all the more beautiful because of her dark hair. Strangely, it reminded him of another pair of green eyes he had thought beautiful, his mind supplying a picture of Miss Holly for his perusal, but Kate's eyes were definitely more striking than Ann's.

If anything it was her behaviour that put him off. He couldn't quite put his finger on what was bothering him at first thinking that it was his own jealousy of the woman that was colouring his opinion, but then it struck him, she was too unthreatening. She was fawning and giggly and eager to please Bodie. She agreed with everything he said and laughed at his jokes and Doyle had the feeling that she tolerated his presence only because Bodie wanted him there. He knew that she must be intelligent, she was a teacher after all, she must have a mind of her own, have her own opinions, but she never shared them, never questioned, never caused any ripples, agreeing with Bodie at every turn, and that seemed to suit Bodie down to the ground. Doyle believed that Bodie thought he must have struck gold but for Doyle her company was too undemanding. He wasn't worried though, he knew that if Bodie played the game they way he usually did then he would tire of her before long and things would be back to normal in no time. He could never have known that he would come to hate her so much.

Kate Matthews had never met anyone like Bodie before. She had never been made love to the way Bodie made love to her. She hadn't realised that she was so inexperienced but she must have been because Bodie did things to her she had never even dreamed of doing. Sometimes she would be in school or in the supermarket and think about the things they got up to in bed and she would blush like a schoolgirl.

He was so different than any of the men she had dated. There was something about Bodie. Apart from being incredibly good-looking and sexy as hell and having the ability to turn her into a wanton whore in bed, there was something else, an air of mystery perhaps, definitely an air of danger, but when she was with him she felt safe.

Kate had decided that she was serious about Bodie since the first night they spent together and she encouraged him to meet her parents. When he didn't object to the meeting she had a feeling that he was beginning to become serious about her too and she intended to nurture that feeling in Bodie, determined that this was the one that wouldn't get away.

There was only one thing about Bodie that she was slightly unsure of and that was his partner, Ray Doyle. Exasperatingly, they seemed to come as a package. Bodie included him more and more in their plans as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world and something in Kate told her that if she began putting her foot down and objecting to this Bodie would leave. Her hold on him was still too tenuous to begin making demands about his friends and so she decided to grin and bear it but was determined to get to the bottom of Bodie's friendship with his partner in order that she could make an informed decision on how to deal with the problem of Ray Doyle.

Just as she had never met anyone like Bodie before, she had never met anyone like Ray Doyle before. On first sight she wasn't sure if he was the ugliest man she had ever seen or the most beautiful. It only took a few minutes in his company to decide that it was probably more the latter.

He had a beauty that was all the more alluring because of its imperfections, a halo of curls framing a face of wide green/grey eyes, a broken cheekbone and full rosy lips covering perfect white teeth flawed by one chipped tooth that showed when he smiled or laughed but none of these apparent imperfections diminished a breathtaking beauty. His body was slim and wiry but he oozed a strength that belied his appearance. There was a grace and charm about Ray Doyle that seemed out of place on one more used to killing than preening.

When Bodie and Ray were together it was as though theirs was a relationship that was unbreakable, impenetrable by anyone, but Kate was determined she was not going to be kept out.

She broached the subject a number of times and Bodie was happy to regale her with stories of their CI5 exploits but she felt that she never got to know anything below the surface about either Bodie or Doyle.

They were lying in bed one evening after having made love and Kate decided that now in the afterglow with his defences low Bodie might be more inclined to answer any questions truthfully.


"Hmm," was the sleepy response.

"Tell me about Ray," she felt Bodie's body tense slightly for a few seconds.

"What?" he asked, no longer sounding sleepy.

"Tell me about Ray."

"What do you mean 'tell me about Ray'? What's to tell?"

"Oh I don't know, anything really, I just want to know why you're so close I suppose. What's he really like?"

"What are you on about? Don't tell me you fancy the golli or something," he said, a trace of humour in his responses now. Kate decided to play on the good humour.

"Well, he is very good-looking," she said, looking at Bodie, a smile ghosting her lips.

Bodie grabbed her and wrestled her over, pinning her to the bed before kissing her fiercely then flopping down onto his back again.

"Good-looking, eh?" he said, looking over at her again.

"I only have eyes for you, my sweet, but I would like to know more about Ray. It's just that you two seem so close, I'm curious about him that's all."

Bodie put his arms behind his head and stared up at the ceiling for a long moment before beginning to speak.

"OK," and he took a deep breath gradually letting it out before beginning to speak. "Ray, what can I say about him? We've been together for God, nearly eight years, seems longer though. Cowley put us together from the start...we hated each other, well not hated it was more a strong dislike but it didn't take long for us to get used to each other and then suddenly we were the best."

He stopped and seemed to think for a while before continuing; he seemed to be getting a real feel for the subject now and not once did he look at Kate.

"You should see us together," he said and a smile spread over his face as he continued. "...we're hard to beat. We can anticipate each other in every situation, it happens far too often for it to be chance, it's like we complete each other.... I mean we have our own strengths and weaknesses but we balance each other, you know?"

Another pause as Bodie lost himself in some mental image of Doyle that Kate wasn't a party to, then Bodie was describing the picture that was so obviously in his mind.

"You should see him move.... He's so bloody quick sometimes it's unbelievable and he shoots like an angel, like nobody I've ever seen, never misses...I think I would leave the squad if he wasn't my partner, you get used to the best and I wouldn't trust anyone else to watch his back either."

It was the first time in the speech that he had really mentioned the squad. Kate had never seen him talk with so much feeling about anything before. If she hadn't known he was talking about work it could have sounded as though he was talking about the love of his life. Bodie continued.

"You have to really get to know Ray to understand him though, he's quite complex really. He's prickly. He doesn't let people close. We're alike in that respect, I suppose. He can be so bloody nasty and snarky on the one hand but then he goes and does or says something so bloody soft you can't believe it. I'm very lucky to have him. He's the only real friend I've ever had."

Bodie finished and continued to stare at the ceiling for a long time. Kate thought for a moment that he had forgotten she was even there until he suddenly turned and took her in his arms and said, "There, is that enough for you?"

"Yes, that's enough, Bodie," she said and while Bodie began to fall asleep she pondered what he had said and felt jealous of the closeness of the two men.

For the first time Kate thought that she was glad that Ray Doyle was a man.

Kate sat in the restaurant watching the Bodie and Doyle double act that was currently in full swing. Ray Doyle was charming as ever and he and Bodie were having a fine time regaling her with stories of their exploits.

They were supposed to have been a four but Doyle's date pulled out at the last minute and ignoring Doyle's protests Bodie had insisted that he come along and so here they were as a three.

Kate didn't mind really. She was happy to go along with whatever Bodie wanted and Bodie wanted Doyle to be here with them.

They both included her in the conversation but more often than not she felt that she was outside looking in, surplus to requirements. She knew that it would be no different if Doyle's girlfriend had been here, so she reminded herself that they were from a world she would never understand and would never want to, she was happy to let them talk, content in the knowledge that she would have Bodie to herself all night.

Kate Matthews was a happy girl; she would do nothing to rock the boat on this one because she was charting a course with Bodie that would end in nothing less than the wedding she had always wanted.

He knew that three months wasn't a very long time but it was all going so well. He was happy, happier than he had been in a long time. Kate was easy company. She was beautiful, intelligent, although she seemed to hide it well, and she would do anything for him, he couldn't ask for more.

His romance with Kate had helped, a bit, in his efforts to try to get over his feelings for Doyle and he knew that had to be a good thing.

He had already met her parents and he liked them and they by all accounts liked him but one of the main reasons that he was thinking along these lines was because of Doyle's easy acceptance of her. His partner's opinion meant the world to him; if he couldn't have Doyle he was at least glad that he and Kate seemed to get on with each other and so it wouldn't be difficult to keep his partner in his life afterwards.

So here he was, on a Monday morning, standing outside Cowley's office in order to tell his boss about a possible change of his status.

He knew that if he really questioned himself on why he was so keen to do this that he wouldn't like the answer.

There was no use wishing for Doyle to suddenly announce he was queer and madly in love with him, might as well wish for the moon and stars. He knew that Kate wanted this. She loved him and he liked her a good deal better than any of the other women he had been with and he didn't want to lose her. He felt as though she might be his last chance. He knocked the door and waited.

"Come," Cowley shouted from behind the door.

He found it quite strange that Bodie would request a meeting with him that didn't include his partner and so he was intrigued to hear what one of his top team had to say.


"Yes, 3.7, what is it?"

"Sir, I'm seeing someone and it's serious and so I thought that because it's in the small print that you have to approve potential partners that now might be a good time to start doing whatever you have to do in order that you can smile benevolently at me when you give me your permission."

"Bodie?" Cowley asked a look of confusion plain on his face as he looked at Bodie who was looking just plain embarrassed at having to ask permission to do such a personal thing.

"I'm thinking of getting married, sir," Bodie explained in much clearer terms.

After a long pause Cowley answered:

"So I suppose I was wrong about the small print not affecting you, eh Bodie?"

"Yes, I suppose you were, sir."

Bodie stood in front of the desk. He could see that Cowley was struggling a bit with the news and so he stood patiently letting his boss come to grips with the information.

For his part Cowley was very, very confused. When Doyle had had his dalliance with Ann Holly and he had told Bodie about the small print and commented that it was never likely to affect Bodie, he had made that remark with, he thought, very good reason.

George Cowley was not a stupid man, there was very little that could get past him and he had really believed in his heart of hearts that Bodie's feelings for Doyle, which were plain to Cowley and even to Kate Ross, would never let him get to this point.

George Cowley, as far a possible, tried not to crowd or pry into his agents' love lives. The only time it became necessary for him to do so was in times like these when he had to approve of a marriage but he admitted to himself that he was interested in the lives of his top team. He took something of a fatherly interest in them.

It had taken him some time to come to terms with how Bodie felt about Doyle and it had caused him the loss of more than one night's sleep. He had fought against prejudice all his life and he knew that although frowned upon within security circles, Bodie's leanings were as much a threat to national security as any strictly heterosexual leanings were; the Profumo affair had proved that. So he hadn't drawn attention to the fact he knew anything and he had let Bodie have his feelings: after all it took 'two to tango' and it seemed that Doyle wasn't interested. It was only then, after he had stopped worrying about Bodie, that he saw how wrong he was. Doyle was just as stuck on Bodie, as Bodie was on him; he was just better at denying it to himself than Bodie had been. Cowley again decided to let it go, decided not to confront them, and he knew they hadn't confronted each other. They were his best team and in the long run he hoped everything would work out for the best.

He never for one minute thought that Bodie would be the one to throw a spanner in the works and not now of all times when he could see Doyle's resistance to his feelings wearing down day by day. He took off his spectacles and pinched the bridge of his nose before walking round the desk to stand in front of Bodie. Offering his hand he said:

"Very well, Bodie, I'll have her checked out and hopefully I will be able to smile benevolently. Dismissed."

As Bodie turned to walk out of the office he added, almost as an afterthought,

"3.7...Bodie, congratulations."

"Thank you, sir," Bodie replied smiling.

As the door closed George Cowley sank to his chair. He was flummoxed. For the first time ever he hoped that his security sweep did uncover some dodgy dealings this new girl was involved in because if she was clean and this proposed marriage went ahead, he had a feeling that it would all end in tears for them and more importantly the loss of his top team for him.

Doyle was walking past the Cow's office when he nearly ran into Bodie who was on his way out looking very pleased with himself.

"Bodie, what did the cow want with you?" Doyle asked a worried look coming to settle on his face.

"Don't worry, Doyle, nothing's wrong, just informing Cowley of something he needed to know about."

"Oh, what's that then?" he asked, curiosity piqued.

Bodie was feeling happy, there was no reason for him to think telling Doyle would have any sort of detrimental effect on his partner and so he just blurted it.

"I was going to tell you before I told the old man but you've been off on that assignment and, well, I had to let Cowley know so he can do whatever he has to do to give his permission...."

Bodie was babbling and Doyle didn't remember the last time he had heard his partner babble and suddenly looking at Bodie's smiling face and sparkling eyes he knew what was coming next: "...I'm going to ask Kate to marry me!"

Bodie was beaming and faced with his happiness Doyle could do nothing but mask the shock and disappointment he was feeling and congratulate his friend.

"Congratulations mate. 'Bout time someone made an honest man of you." And he pulled Bodie into a hug and was able to hide his face from his friend, never wanting Bodie to see the hurt and sadness that was clear on it.

They were hugging and Doyle felt so warm and alive and smelled so good in Bodie's arms that for a minute Bodie's heart ached for what it could never have and for a split second he was tempted to forget about Kate and tell Doyle everything he felt about him but then he remembered that for years he had yearned for Doyle and nothing had come from it but loneliness and frustration and so he shook the thoughts out of his head as he felt Doyle move away from him.

As soon as Bodie had said it Doyle had felt his stomach hit the floor. His heart was pounding in his chest and he didn't know what to do so he said something bland and folded Bodie into a hug in order to buy some time. Doyle pulled himself together and broke the contact trying for some light-hearted banter, some humour to get them back on level ground.

"You just better not get your hopes up though..." Bodie raised his eyebrow in question to Doyle as he continued, "...she might not say yes."

"Well why wouldn't she, I'm irresistible to the fairer sex what with my good looks and charm..." Bodie said incredulously.

"Course you are and you're engagingly modest..." Doyle interrupted Bodie's flow and moved in close to his partner before continuing in a conspiratorial whisper "...but my son, I asked her last week and she's just waiting for the right time to break the news to you."

Doyle winked at Bodie and took off down the corridor Bodie chasing him as he registered what Doyle had said.

Doyle entered his flat and headed straight to the drinks cupboard where he proceeded to pour himself a rather large scotch. He quaffed it down in one and relished the feeling of it burning his throat. He poured himself another and took it with him to the bedroom. Taking off his clothes, he had a quick shower before lying on his bed. He couldn't even face television tonight so instead he had turned on the stereo and the strains of Mahler filled the flat. He finished off his second drink, lay on his back on the bed and threw his arm over his face unwilling even to see the last of the daylight fade to black. He felt lost and in a kind of pain he had never felt before, needing to sleep but his brain wouldn't switch off.

Bodie would probably be asking Kate right now, over a fancy dinner, all hearts and flowers and lashings of Bodie charm, and the jealousy the picture conjured seemed to squeeze his heart till he thought it would explode.

Cowley had given Bodie the all clear in record time and he had shared his plans for the perfect proposal with Doyle that whole day, why wouldn't he? Tonight was the night.

There were numerous times today when Doyle had wanted to lay his cards on the table, to tell Bodie how he felt, but he was loath to risk his relationship with the man, he wanted Bodie in his life in any way he could and to tell Bodie about how he felt may have cost their friendship as well and to top it all off, while Doyle was miserable, Bodie had been so happy, he couldn't do it.

It was his own fault really; it wasn't anything to do with Bodie. He had buried his feelings for Bodie deep, so deep he really believed that he could have gotten married himself a couple of times but something had stopped him, something had held him back and he now knew that something had been Bodie.

He had grabbed on to girl after girl and fell 'in love' with them in order to push Bodie away, in order to make sure Bodie never noticed the affect he had on him, in order to be 'normal'.

The funny thing was that in all the times he had fallen in love and entertained the idea of marriage to one of those girls, Bodie had always been in the picture as well. He never realised at the time that the only thing that he was always sure about was Bodie.

He always thought he would have time. He always thought there would be time for him and Bodie. He always thought he would have time to get his feelings in order and find out if Bodie felt the same; he used to be a detective after all.

His attraction to his partner had obviously been simmering for years but he for his part had been unable or unwilling to confront it.

After all their years as friends he had learned to read Bodie to some degree at least. There were times when Bodie looked at him and he was sure that he could see something in the blue eyes, something that went beyond mere friendship or curiosity. Had he been wrong? He must have been, it must have been wishful thinking on his part.

He groaned as he turned over in the bed. His head was throbbing but he couldn't switch off.

Bodie looked so happy and as a friend he was trying to be happy for him but it was so hard to pretend. For about the tenth time since Bodie had told Doyle about his getting married, Doyle thought about the alternatives to smiling and wishing his best friend happiness. He had thought of two options.

The first was to just do it, tell Bodie how he was feeling and face the consequences, and that option was not attractive for any number of reasons. Not least the fact that anything Doyle may have counted as an overture from Bodie had now been neutralised, in the face of Bodie's impending engagement, as nothing more that his own feverish imaginings.

The second option was that he would leave. Leave the squad, leave London, and leave Bodie. He didn't know how long he would last anyway after the wedding. He had a feeling that Kate would not be happy to have married Bodie but ended up with two for the price of one and he knew he wouldn't feel comfortable in her home competing for Bodie's time and attention. Leaving was looking more and more attractive.

He was exhausted; he looked at the clock by the bed and saw that it was 3.00am and overcome by tiredness he succumbed to sleep.

"She said yes! Not that I was worried mind, but she said yes!" Those were the words that greeted Doyle when he opened his door to his partner the next morning.

For his part Doyle was bleary-eyed and not very bushy-tailed after a restless night and he was wholly unprepared for his partner's exuberance as he felt himself lifted up and swung round by Bodie, happiness dripping from every pore.

When Bodie let him down Doyle tried to compose himself but he was finding it very difficult to look happy for his friend. He tried to put on a good show as he congratulated Bodie but he was struggling.

"Congratulations, Bodie, you're a lucky man," he said and smiled at Bodie who was smiling back, eyes sparkling, and he had to add, "She's a lucky woman," before looking away as he felt a sting in the back of his eyes. He needed to get away.

"I'll go and get dressed," he said as he started to walk away from Bodie leaving him standing in the hallway and he heard Bodie say something about tea before he locked his bedroom door and let himself crumple, he felt a single tear escape and roll down his cheek.

Bodie watched as Doyle walked away from him.

"I'll make tea," he said to the retreating figure.

Not getting an answer he shrugged and moved into the kitchen to start making breakfast. He was slightly puzzled by Doyle's behaviour. He had seemed happy enough about the news and had congratulated him straight away with some quip about him being lucky. That was as much as he expected but Doyle had said that Kate was a lucky girl and his face had been very serious. It didn't mean anything because that was the type of thing that friends say to each other at times like these but something in Doyle's look had unbalanced him for a minute and he had tried to scrutinize Doyle's face; but whatever the look had said it was fleeting and Bodie could not hold on to it long enough to work out what it meant.

Bodie was now betrothed and he thought that when he got to this point it would be easier to be with Doyle and not long for him but it wasn't. Bodie found that although he wasn't as lonely as he had been before he met Kate his appetite for his partner had not waned at all. There were some occasions when he was making love to Kate, that he would close his eyes and picture Doyle and wonder what it would be like if it were Doyle under him, and he didn't push the images away, he used them and then he would bite his lip to make sure that he didn't shout out Doyle's name as he came.

He felt guilty about it but reminded himself that he must love Kate, he would never have let it go this far if he didn't, but he couldn't get Doyle off his mind. He hoped the feeling would fade as he settled down to married life.

Naturally he had asked Doyle to be his best man and Doyle had accepted but he had noticed that Doyle had been acting strangely for a while and Bodie didn't know how to pull him out of his funk.

When Bodie asked him about it he always said there was nothing wrong with him but as the wedding day grew closer Doyle seemed to retreat more and more into himself. Bodie tried again.

"Come on, Ray, smile, if the wind changes direction your face will stay like that and it's not a pretty sight," Bodie said humour lacing his voice, and when that didn't raise even a smile from Doyle he right out pleaded.

"Please Ray, what's wrong? Have I done something? You've been so quiet the past couple of weeks, I just want to help."

Doyle looked at him then and his face softened as he looked into the concerned eyes of his partner and he smiled.

"Nothing's wrong, Bodie." Doyle had to make Bodie think everything was fine. He didn't want Bodie to be worried about him. This was Bodie's time to be happy. "It's just with the wedding and all I've just been thinking about my life and where it's going. It's weird to think that next week you'll be a married man. It makes me think. That's all it is. I'm just feeling a bit introspective."

Bodie hadn't expected so seemingly honest an answer from Doyle and so he didn't push any further but Doyle was feeling reckless and for a minute he hoped Bodie would push him just a little because it was on the tip of Doyle's tongue to beg Bodie not to marry Kate, to tell him how he felt about him, but Bodie only answered:

"Yeah, I suppose it is a little weird. I'm still getting used to it myself." And he smiled at Doyle a small smile and then his face became serious and Doyle started:

"Bodie,'s just...I mean...never mind," and he stopped himself from going any further.

"What? What is it, Ray? Tell me," he asked.

"Nothing, it doesn't matter."

Nothing else was said on the matter.

As best man Doyle was required to stay with Bodie on the eve of the wedding. He had been fretting about this the whole week and decided to organise an impromptu stag night. The real stag night had taken place the weekend before and most of the squad had turned up to ensure that it was a great send off for the perpetual bachelor. No one on the squad really believed that Bodie had turned over a new leaf and would really tie the knot but Bodie had proved them all wrong and Lucas had been the one to go home with the stripper. Bodie had, in his inebriated state, gone home with Doyle who had dutifully stripped him and put him to bed, forcing himself not to linger as Bodie's beautiful body was revealed to him bit by bit. He pulled the covers over his sleeping friend and with one last longing look had retreated to the safety of the living room to spend the night on the sofa. The next day Bodie had a terrible hangover and spent most of the day in bed. Doyle had cleaned the flat and was able to do some shopping, glad that Bodie was not fit for company as he was finding it harder and harder to be with his partner the closer it came to the wedding. So here he was the night before, still petrified of being alone with Bodie, still petrified that he would do something that would push Bodie away forever. The safest option was a trip to the pub with Jax, Lucas, McCabe, Anson and Cowley who made a guest appearance at the last minute and flamboyantly bought several rounds for his favourite agent. It wasn't a late night and Bodie and Doyle made it back to the flat at around 1.30am. They chatted as they would have on any other night and anyone would have been surprised to learn that Bodie was getting married the next day. For his part Doyle made sure that he kept the conversation well clear of the subject of marriage because he didn't know if he would be able to handle Bodie going on about Kate and her attributes and how lucky he was to have her. After one more whiskey they turned in for the night. It was only as he was leaving the room that Bodie made any reference to what was happening the next day. He stopped at the door and turned round.


"Yeah?" Doyle had replied, beginning to feel the emotional burden.

"Just...thanks, you know? Thanks for being here, for being my best man, it means a lot." Bodie's voice was full of emotion and his face seemed to suggest he had something more to say but he thought better of it and kept his mouth shut.

"Anytime, sunshine, that's what best mates are for, isn't it? I'll expect you to do the same for me when it's my turn, eh." His voice broke on the last statement and Doyle could feel the pull of the emotional connection between them as they looked at each other across the room. Bodie nodded his head and turned to leave the room but stopped again and turned quickly his face solemn and determined.

"Ray, I...."

"Bodie? Are you OK?" Doyle was taken by surprise by both the look on Bodie's face and the words quickly spoken then just as quickly stopped.

"Yeah. Yeah I'm fine, goodnight."

Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck! Doyle thought as he threw himself on to the sofa. That had been his chance to say something and coward that he was he just stood there looking stupid, hoping that Bodie was going to say or do something to make it all better but he hadn't he had just wanted to thank his best friend for being there. Some best friend he was when he was secretly wishing that something would happen to cancel the wedding. That Bodie would get sick, not very sick, just sick enough for him not to be fit to be married, or Kate could get sick and Doyle really didn't care how bloody sick she got, or she would get cold feet and call it off, or Bodie would, or Cowley would have to call them in for some sort of national emergency, anything, anything to prevent this from happening but it was all going smoothly and according to plan.

On the day of the wedding Bodie felt uneasy. He hadn't managed to get to the bottom of Doyle's mood and last night he had almost given in and told Doyle how he felt but he hadn't seen anything in Doyle's attitude or actions that changed anything and much as he wanted to just blurt it all out and get it off his chest when the time came he couldn't do it, couldn't risk his best mate, the mate who expected him to be best man at a wedding in the future, a wedding that he didn't want to think anything about. They had got dressed in silence this morning and Doyle had complimented him on his wedding suit but Bodie could see that Doyle was hiding something. He couldn't figure it out. What would Doyle be hiding from him? Was he ill, was he jealous? And then it struck him, DOYLE HATED KATE. How could he have been so blind? Doyle had started to act differently after Kate had come on the scene. Had he just been pretending to like her all along, pretending for Bodie's sake that he liked her? Bodie couldn't think about this now, he was about to get married and he had to get himself ready for the ceremony. Try as he might, after his revelation about Doyle, he just couldn't get excited about the ceremony; he felt as though he was just going along with it and somewhere in the back of his mind a nagging voice was telling him that this wasn't supposed to be the way you feel on your wedding day, it shouldn't matter that you thought that your best friend hated your future wife.

For Kate's sake he tried to be happy and content and people who didn't know him well would have no way of telling that he was unsettled. As Kate walked into the church Bodie was taken aback. She looked beautiful, he turned to smile at the man beside him and noticed that Doyle had his back to the aisle, away from Kate, but when he saw Bodie looking at him he turned again and smiled as Kate made her way up the aisle. The ceremony began and afterwards Bodie would remember very little of it, it was mostly a blur.

"Do you, William Andrew Phillip Bodie, take this woman, Katherine Anna Matthews, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold in sickness and in health and forsaking all others keep you only on to her, for as long as you both shall live."

"I do," he had replied after only a moment's hesitation and Kate replied in kind to the question directed at her. Doyle gave the rings to the priest and in what seemed to Bodie to be in the blink of an eye they were married, it was done.

So, after the 'I do's' had been done and the rings fitted he had looked across at his best man and saw the same look on Doyle's face that he had seen many times since he announced his plans to get married, the same look that had haunted him, the same look he had tried and failed to understand, he understood it perfectly now.

Desolation and sadness in the green eyes but beneath that, he could see what he had been missing all those times, he could see what Doyle really felt and it took his breath away. He had been right on the money about Doyle. He was jealous and he really did hate Kate but for entirely different reasons than Bodie had even considered. In reality it was only then that he realised he had made the biggest mistake of his life and as he kissed his new wife on the instructions of the minister he could feel his heart breaking.

The rest of the day passed in something of a haze for him. He was angry. He was angry with himself for rushing headlong into a marriage hoping it would cure him of his feelings for his partner and he was angry with Doyle for letting him do it. One word from Doyle was all it would have taken and Kate would have been history like all the others. Just one word.

But Bodie knew it wasn't all Doyle's fault, he had known how he felt and that should have been enough to stop him, he just never expected for Doyle to confirm that he felt the same, in the church, on his wedding day.

He knew that Doyle hadn't meant for him to see, but he knew things would never be the same.

Bodie was afraid, he couldn't believe that he had to be married to this beautiful woman and not love her.

Doyle couldn't believe it was over. Bodie was married. It was too late to go back now.

At the reception Doyle behaved impeccably, given a good speech and had tried to be seen to be enjoying himself, thinking that if all else failed he might be able to start a new career as an actor. He was the perfect best man. He danced with Ruth and Susan and Sally and of course the beautiful bride. But Bodie had seemed a little distant. They hardly had any opportunity to talk at the reception and when they had Doyle had found it strained. He needed to get away from the party for a while and so he began to make his way out of the function room.

Bodie had been waiting to get Doyle on his own the whole day but they both had been busy. He was so angry with Doyle and with himself he couldn't think straight.

Kate was busy chatting with everyone and the guests seemed to be having a good time so Bodie scanned the room to try and locate his partner. He saw Doyle nearing the door and knew that this was his only chance to talk to Doyle so he followed him. Catching up with Doyle in the reception area of the hotel he called to his partner.

"Doyle, stop."

Doyle spun round to face him and smiled a fake smile like the ones he had been using all day and Bodie wanted to punch him.

"Bodie mate, I've hardly seen you all day. Enjoying being an old married man are we?" he asked, trying for humour ending up with something more like sarcasm.

"No, I'm not enjoying it one bit, and you know why, don't you? We, sunshine, need to talk, now," Bodie said and grabbed onto Doyle's elbow leading him to an empty sitting room off the hotel lobby.

Bodie shoved Doyle into the room in front of him and shut the door with a bang. Doyle could see the tension in Bodie as he breathed deeply before turning to face him. When he turned round his eyes were flashing anger.

Doyle spoke first, he didn't know what had happened, but Bodie, angry, was never a nice thing to be faced with.

"Bodie? What's wrong? What's happened?" he asked.

"What's wrong? What's wrong? Jesus, Ray, it's my bloody wedding day for Christ's sake, how could you not have told me before eh? Why did you let me find out like this, today, in the bloody church of all places? Why, Ray?" Bodie was becoming more and more agitated.

Doyle swallowed hard, not liking the direction that this conversation was taking.

"What? Find out what?" Doyle asked, feeling lost, having no idea where Bodie was going with this.

Bodie just looked at him, a look of disbelief aimed at Doyle before continuing.

"That look you gave me in the church after everything had happened, that look that you've been giving me more and more often since Kate arrived on the scene..." He was pacing now back and forth across the floor, building up momentum. Doyle knew what was coming, he thought he had covered it in time but obviously not and he could do nothing but wait for the bombshell. "...You see I couldn't work out what it meant, you know? You were moody and a bit distant and I thought you were a little depressed, even tried to get you to talk about it, but nothing, you said nothing and then I thought that you must hate Kate and you just didn't want to tell me but really until today I had no idea..." Bodie started laughing then, a mocking laugh, a cruel laugh but Doyle knew Bodie was laughing at himself and all he could do was wait for the final blow. "...In the church you looked at me, that same look and it finally clicked what it meant. Jesus, it should have been so familiar to me, it's the same bloody look I've been firing at you for years..." Bodie hung his head. Most of the anger had disappeared and was being replaced by a sadness that radiated from Bodie. Doyle could feel his heart constrict in his chest as Bodie raised his head and looked him straight in the eyes.

"...You love're in love with me."

It was a simple statement of fact and Doyle couldn't deny it. As much as he never wanted to ruin this for Bodie he knew it was already ruined and there had been too many lies and half-truths between them to last a lifetime.

"Yes..." he replied, his gaze never leaving Bodie and then he dropped his head and he began to try and explain. "...God, Bodie, I'm sorry, I never meant for it to be like this. I thought about telling you but I didn't know how you'd take it and then you met Kate and my question was answered because you were so happy. I'm sorry, look it'll be fine, I'll ask Cowley for a new partner, you won't have to deal with this, it's my problem Bodie, just don't hate me please, just...." Then he stopped, a little of what Bodie had said floating back to him, he felt a little sick before continuing. "What do you mean 'the same look you've been firing me'? What does that mean Bodie?" he practically shouted the last question at his partner, needing to know but feeling sick as the implications sank in. Doyle held his breath. This couldn't be happening. Not today of all days.

"Bloody hell, Ray, for a copper you're a crap detective. How could you not have known? It's only been the best part of eight years that I've been running around after you like a lovesick schoolboy."

Doyle felt as though he had had the stuffing knocked out of him. When Bodie had called him on being in love with him Doyle thought he had ruined their friendship, that Bodie was disgusted at him and his feelings, but this was exactly what he had wished for for months, that Bodie felt the same but my God, to find out here and now, the nausea returned, threatening to overwhelm him. He needed to sit down.

All Bodie's anger had left him now and he sat on the sofa and put his head in his hands. Doyle walked over and sat beside him feeling just as shocked and numb as Bodie evidently felt. He put a hand on Bodie's shoulder and gently but distractedly rubbed back and forth trying to soothe Bodie, unable to think of another occasion when he had seen his partner like this, unable to think of another occasion on which he had felt like this. Bodie raised his head, a slight redness in his eyes and he turned to Doyle and continued speaking, his voice softer now than it had been.

"I had to watch while you fell in love with woman after woman. Linda, Debbie, Yvonne, Claire and not forgetting Ann bloody Holly and all the time I wanted you. I wanted to tell you so many times but I couldn't and then there were times when I was convinced that you knew." Bodie let go a sigh before continuing. "I came so close you know, after you were shot, I thought that maybe, maybe you felt something too but you never picked up on any hints and you never made any moves. I suppose I gave up."

"What hints, Bodie? I can't ever remember anything like that," Doyle replied, disbelief colouring his voice, hoping beyond hope that the hints had been subtle and easy to miss, but he knew what Bodie was going to say and Bodie was right, he was a crap detective.

"Jesus, Ray, you can be so bloody thick sometimes." For the first time since the start of this conversation a note of humour began to creep into Bodie's voice.

"Firstly, I've never been able to keep my hands off you. How many other men do you know grab your arse as often as I do, if at all, not only your arse Ray, all of you, I can't help it? Secondly, I never, ever follow Cowley's orders when it comes to you. Thirdly, I can often be found gazin' lovingly at you when you're not looking. Should I continue? The list goes on and on."

"God Bodie, I never realised...I mean there were times that I thought that could this have happened?" Doyle was dumfounded as he realised everything Bodie had said was true. How could he have been so blind?

Bodie suddenly got up from the sofa and began to pace again. Doyle could see that some of the anger was beginning to return.

"I suppose that I really did try to hide from you. I mean it's true all those things that I do, the way I touch you, the way I look at you are all because of the way I feel but I can see how you didn't know. I mean there was no real change in my behaviour that you could have seen because I've done it right from the beginning but I've felt this way from the beginning so I suppose that I was hiding in plain sight. I don't know, maybe we were just too close to see the signs." Doyle could see that Bodie was trying very hard to find an explanation for their situation but Doyle knew that there was no explanation. Bodie continued. "One word Ray, just one word from either of us and we wouldn't be sitting here today. God! I was such a fool to think that getting married would fix everything but now I've dragged a perfectly innocent woman into all this and..." Bodie was shaking his head his face a mixture of disbelief and despair. "...Christ, Ray, I don't love her. How could I have ever thought I could?"

"Oh Bodie. I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Doyle said as he rose from the sofa and approached his partner.

He didn't think about what he was doing he just embraced Bodie. Bodie wrapped his arms around him in return and turned his face into Doyle's neck. They stood there in the middle of the room for some time and Doyle felt Bodie begin to gently nuzzle him, placing small kisses where neck met shoulder and Doyle found himself tilting his head to give Bodie more access. He felt Bodie's tongue snake out making him shiver as Bodie laved him from shoulder to ear leaving a moist trail of fire along the column of his neck and then they pushed away, gently, at the same time and Doyle knew that this was it, they were going to kiss for the first time and he was ready, more than ready as he looked into Bodie's beautiful blue eyes.

The door opened and they pulled apart quickly, somewhat relieved to see that it was only Murphy, Doyle had completely forgotten for those few brief moments where they were or why they were here, he remembered all too vividly now.

"Bodie, your beautiful bride is rounding up a search party to look for you. You better get back to the party before divorce papers are served and who else would have you eh? You might end up with Doyle here," he finished with aplomb, laughing hard at his terrible joke.

"Yeah, yeah Murph we'll be there in a minute," Doyle said, turning to face Bodie.

Murphy closed the door and they were alone again.

"What are we going to do Ray?" Bodie asked the confusion and fear and sadness and anger and strain all clear on his face.

"Christ, Bodie, I don't know. We've really fucked it up this time," Doyle said shaking his head in a mixture of frustration and disbelief.

He walked towards Bodie taking hold of his shoulders, in a gesture that was supposed to both comfort him and shake him out of his trance.

"Come on, we have to get back before people start asking questions. We'll talk more later."

Bodie nodded his agreement and the two men made their way back out to the party.

Bodie needed to think. It was his wedding day. Friends and family, all enjoying the trappings of the day, surrounded him. His new wife was resplendent in her dress and he should have been the happiest man on the planet but he was in the middle of his worst nightmare. He should have listened to his instincts. There had always been a question hanging over him about the wedding, when had he decided to settle? When had he decided to take the easy way out, to grasp on to normality? In his whole life he had never been tempted by the easy route, he had always been determined to follow the path his instincts led him to even it was the harder way. He knew that he had become sick of waiting, sick of hanging around and wishing for something that could never be and now he was faced with the reality that his wish could have been fulfilled, he could have had all he wanted but it was too late.

He considered the scenarios.

Finish the party, get rid of all the guests then inform his new wife that he had made a terrible mistake and that he wanted out, that the love of his life had finally declared himself and he wanted a divorce. Not tempting. How could he do that to Kate? She was an innocent in all this. He had led her to believe he loved her. He had married her.

The only other option open to him was to be married. To continue with the marriage as if he didn't know about Doyle. To stay with Kate and try to be a good husband, to try and make this marriage work. The thought of having to pretend for the rest of his life was the most depressing thing he could think off but then he thought again of telling Kate the truth and he knew he just couldn't be that man. He was going to have to stay with his wife, he had been without Doyle's love for years and had coped and so was going to have to continue to cope. He and Doyle would not be walking into the sunset together, he had to stay.

Doyle had wandered outside. He needed some time to himself in order to keep his composure. What he had really wanted was to go home, curl up in bed and wish that the wedding had been a bad dream and that tomorrow Bodie and he would be back at work as if nothing had happened.

He loosened his bowtie leaving it hanging round his neck before unbuttoning the first few buttons of his dress shirt. He really hated being dressed up like this.

Bodie always suited a tuxedo, Bodie always looked great in a tuxedo but then Doyle reckoned that Bodie would look great in a bin liner. Doyle leaned over the railings, breathing the fresh air deeply in order to calm himself down.

He couldn't believe what had just happened. How could he have let Bodie find out like this? He berated himself again for not saying anything to Bodie before things got this far and now they were stuck in this nightmare, both equally to blame for their cowardice. Bodie had seemed a broken man in the sitting room earlier but there was nothing they could do about any of this. Not today anyway. Doyle wasn't naive; he knew that Bodie couldn't just leave.

He jumped slightly when he felt a light touch on his shoulder. He knew it was Bodie before he turned around and then Bodie leaned over the railing beside him, leaving his arm around Doyle's shoulders. Doyle closed his eyes and took a deep breath steeling him for anything his partner needed to say but Bodie didn't say anything he just stayed there, beside Doyle.

After a while Doyle looked at him and he could see that Bodie was deep in thought, staring out into the distance, seemingly unaware that Doyle was even there so Doyle drank in the sight of him. Bodie looked perfect. He was still as fresh looking as he had been that morning, his tuxedo sitting perfectly, no hair out of place, but now, instead of the happiness shining out of his eyes, there was nothing but a deep melancholy.

Bodie turned to him then and smiled a soft smile and bringing his hand up to Doyle's face he very softly cupped his cheek and gently traced along Doyle's bottom lip with his thumb. Doyle leaned into the touch but before things got any further Bodie seemed to snap back to reality and he dropped his hand from Doyle's face and cleared his throat before saying;

"Ray, I have to continue with this you know that don't you?"

Doyle turned his face away from Bodie, he couldn't watch while Bodie broke his heart. He knew it was killing Bodie to say this but he knew there was nothing that could be done. Bodie continued talking his voice soft, calm, nearly monotonous.

"It's not her fault and I made her a promise 'for better, for worse' I can't do this to her, she doesn't deserve it."

"Bodie...please don't say this. There has to be another way, isn't there?" Doyle stopped; looking at Bodie he saw the determination and pain in Bodie's face. He dropped his head down and sighed before continuing. "Fine then, tell me you don't love me and we'll forget about all of this, go back to the way we were before but I have to hear you say it Bodie," he looked up at his partner, eyes pleading, hoping that Bodie would change his mind even though he knew he wouldn't. Doyle needed to hear Bodie say this, even if it was a lie he needed to hear it from Bodie's lips, in a perverse kind of way he thought it might help him cope that he might be able to force himself to believe it.

"Ray...I..." he turned away and Doyle could see he was trying to get himself back under control before continuing. When he turned back Doyle could see the steely determination in his eyes. "I...I don't love you Ray. It's too late, we left it too late." And with that he turned away and walked back to the party and his new bride.

Doyle stood in shock. Even though he had asked for it, he hadn't really been ready for it, he felt as though he had the wind kicked out of him. What the hell had just happened? He knew that it was wrong of him to expect Bodie to do anything else, to expect Bodie to leave Kate but he had hoped something could be done. He couldn't believe that they could be happy with the status quo now that they knew how they felt but he was determined to play along with Bodie's plan. Bodie had told him he didn't love him and all he had to do was believe the lie. He was determined not to lose the only relationship that meant anything at all to him.

One thing he was sure of though, no-matter what Bodie thought now, no-matter what had driven him to make his decision, this wasn't over, not by a long shot and Doyle had his own choices to make. He was momentarily startled by a voice behind him.

"Enjoying the day, Doyle?"

It was Cowley and so he plastered on a smile and turned to face his boss.

"Yeah, great. It was a nice ceremony," he replied, his voice bland.

"Aye. She seems a nice girl. Bodie looked happy."

Cowley had stopped in front of Doyle and handed him a glass of scotch. Doyle drank it down, grateful for the alcohol, ready to drink himself to oblivion, not prepared for Cowley's next statement.

"You left it too late." A statement of fact and Doyle knew exactly what he meant but he played dumb.


"You and Bodie. You left it too late."

Doyle was too tired to either fight the old man or deny it and he just nodded his head in response.

"I'm sorry Doyle. I'm sorry for the both of you." Cowley took a sip of his drink before continuing. "I want you to go on special assignment. You'll be away a couple of months at the least. It's undercover and it's risky but it's your decision."

The old man was giving him something of a way out. He knew he needed time away to make a decision about whether he should stay or go but he didn't want to be on holiday with nothing to do but think. This was a perfect opportunity.

"Yes, I'll go. When?"

"You'll leave in two days. I need you in HQ tomorrow for your briefing." Cowley turned and walked back into the building.

Doyle rejoined the party and saw the happy couple off on their honeymoon feeling even more confused than before.

Since he had gotten back from honeymoon he hadn't seen Doyle. The Cow had chosen to send Doyle up to Newcastle on an undercover assignment. He hadn't even been in contact because no personal messages were allowed. Bodie knew he was alive and well because the boys at HQ kept him abreast of the situation but it had been just over two months and he needed to see Doyle.

Sometimes during those two months he had tried to see the separation as a good thing. He knew that it was probably for the best that he had some time without Doyle but it didn't feel that it was for the best. He felt himself becoming more and more depressed about his situation and Kate was beginning to notice that something was wrong with him but he wasn't stupid he knew that the presence of his partner would have one of two affects on him. Either it would plunge him into the depths of despair knowing they wouldn't be together or it would pick him up and make him realise that he had the best of both worlds, a best friend and a beautiful wife. He hoped it was the latter but he doubted it. All he wanted now was for the two of them to be able to work together like they could before. He didn't know if he could stay in the squad if Doyle wasn't his partner.

He walked into HQ on Monday morning and headed straight for the restroom and the chance of a cuppa. As he approached the room he heard his partner's unmistakeable laugh and found his pace quickening in order to get there faster. When he got to the door he stopped and looked around the room until his eyes landed on Doyle. He looked incredible to Bodie and so Bodie stood there, in the doorway, just looking at Doyle before his partner spotted him.

Their sense of each other as intuitive as always it didn't take long for Doyle to turn towards the doorway and see his partner there. A smile that was full of genuine happiness in seeing Bodie spread across his face as he moved off his chair and towards the door. Bodie returned the smile with the same pleasure and walked to meet Doyle half way. Bodie was shocked to find himself pulled into a hug, his normally non-demonstrative partner put his arms around him and;

"It's good to see you mate..." said aloud and for the benefit of the other agents in the room but then; "...I missed you." Said quietly and for Bodie alone.

Doyle released Bodie from the embrace and stepped back. Bodie's body was tingling from the press of Doyle's body against him and he felt slightly light headed at his reception but he noticed Doyle eyes stray to his left hand and then Doyle turned away before continuing;

"So how's married life treating you Bodie? How is the lovely Kate?"

"Fine. She's fine Doyle. When did you get back?" He asked keen to steer the conversation away from his marriage disaster and onto safer ground, ground that held him and Doyle alone.

"'Bout two this morning. Went straight for a kip and then here. Wanted to get in early, get the paperwork out of the way, make sure you hadn't got yourself killed without me and make sure the old man hadn't given you a new partner," he finished, sounding to Bodie as if he was slightly nervous at seeing him again.

Bodie replied then, his voice serious, belying the humour of the answer.

"Not many would put up with me Ray. Looks as though I'm all yours, sorry."

He was smiling as he said it but the smile did not reach his eyes and when he looked at Doyle smiling back he knew it had been a stupid thing to say because he wasn't all Doyle's and the hurt in his partners eyes as he turned away twisted the knife in his heart a little more.

"3.7, 4.5. My office now!" The unmistakeable sound of Cowley's voice floated down the corridor and then Bodie and Doyle were back at work.

Doyle was on the phone talking to their informant, one hand on the wall in that unconsciously sexy way he had. Bodie was drawn to him as always, he stood behind his partner, head close to Doyle's, listening in on the conversation. It was something that he'd done a hundred times before but suddenly it felt different, it felt charged, the heat of Doyle's body beginning to seep into his own and he pulled away needing to put some space between them, hoping that Doyle hadn't noticed the change. The last thing either of them needed was a constant reminder of what they couldn't have. He began to walk down the corridor as Doyle finished the conversation unaware that his partner, looking slightly flushed was watching him walk away, his eyes devouring the sight of Bodie, his tongue snaking out to wet his lips, his mouth suddenly parched. He hung up the phone and followed his partner to the car park.

Fuck! He's going to run. Bodie thought as he neared the lock up. He thought that maybe Moran had spotted him but couldn't really be sure until he actually did run. "Stupid bastard," Bodie muttered. They weren't even after him, not really, they just needed to know what he knew. Moran opened the lock up and searched around in a drawer until he found what he was looking for. Bodie saw the glint of steel as Moran removed the knife from the drawer, and then he made a break for it.

"Fuck!" Bodie said before reaching for the RT and starting to run after the suspect. "4.5, the bastard's made a break for it, he's heading your way, sunshine and he has a knife so be careful, I'm right behind him."

There was no reply on the RT and for a moment Bodie was worried but as he rounded the corner he found Moran on the ground, disarmed with a very pissed off Ray Doyle standing over him sporting a five inch slice in his favourite camel shirt. He looked up when he saw Bodie approaching and began pointing at the gash.

"Look at my bloody shirt, it's ruined that is." Bodie started to laugh relieved to see that the shirt was the only thing that had been slashed. "Don't push your luck Bodie. It's not funny, this was my favourite shirt," he reached down grabbing Moran and hauling him to his feet. "You're nicked my son and you'd better tell us all we need to know or I'll be taking the price of this shirt out on your arse."

Moran was more than willing to spill the beans on his associates back at HQ, Bodie didn't blame him, when faced with a pissed off Doyle it was better to fess up, criminals didn't stand a chance. Bodie was happy that he and Doyle seemed to have found their groove again regardless of the incident this morning at HQ. It seemed that they had almost been able to put everything behind them, move on, maintain the status quo, and Bodie knew he should be over the moon but he couldn't seem to settle, he kept waiting for the bubble to burst.

As the weeks went by it seemed to get easier to cope with. Things were better. He and Doyle had fallen into some sort of routine at work. He felt he was as happy as he had any right to be since he had fucked up three lives and so he was trying to deal with it. He tried as much as possible to keep his work and home life separate without making Doyle or Kate feel as though they were being cut out. He knew that it was hard for Doyle to come over to his flat for dinner and watch Kate fuss over him and act like newly weds do and so he didn't invite Doyle very often but then Doyle began seeing a woman. Bodie wasn't prepared for the jealousy he felt when Doyle told him about Louise.

When Kate discovered that Doyle was seeing someone she insisted that Bodie begin to invite them to the flat for dinner and that the four of them start spending time together. Kate had noticed that during the honeymoon and afterwards Bodie had been quiet and down. The only glaring change in his life was that he was seeing less and less of Doyle and she was afraid that he was beginning to feel trapped, missing his bachelor life and so in order to try and keep him happy she encouraged him to include Doyle and his new girlfriend in their plans. They had days out and dinners and went to the cinema and the pub together. Bodie felt that it was kind of like old times when he and Doyle would double date but now he always had to go home with Kate. There was no way that he and Doyle could make excuses and slink off on their own the way they used to and he began to miss those times even more acutely than before.

He hated Louise. He hated the way she draped herself over Doyle. He hated the fact that she went home with Doyle. He could only imagine how Doyle felt about the way Kate acted over him and the fact that he went home with her. The introduction of Louise into the mix had made the situation worse, instead of it becoming easier the situation was quickly becoming unbearable.

He began to put Kate off when she was keen to invite Doyle and Louise to dinner. Of course he wanted to see his partner, he wanted to see him all the time, he just wanted to see him alone and because he couldn't he didn't want have to look at some random bird having what he wanted. He knew Doyle had noticed that the invitations were becoming fewer and that he turned down more invites from Doyle than he took up. He couldn't even bear to be in the pub alone with Doyle for a lads night out, couldn't bear to look into Doyle's eyes and see the sadness and longing he knew was reflected in his own it only hurt both of them more to be in those situations.

Doyle had spent the time in Newcastle trying to come to terms with the road his life had taken. When he reflected on it he knew it had been a good decision to go. He didn't have time during the day to wallow in his own self-pity and found that he could think more clearly with some time and space between him and Bodie. He had thought about leaving and in fact that had been top of his agenda for the first couple of weeks. He had planned to resign and possibly, with Cowley's help, go back to the MET but the more he thought about it the less appealing it sounded, if he was going to run away he would need to go much further than that to forget Bodie. By the third week he had resigned himself to the fact that the thought of never seeing Bodie again was just too much for him to bear. Try as he might he couldn't think of being anywhere Bodie wasn't, they had worked too hard on their friendship to throw it all away and so he was determined to try his best to maintain the friendship and working relationship, after all he had had these feelings for Bodie for a long time and had coped, he could just continue to do so. Once he had decided on his course of action he felt better and it was with great relief that he returned to London after successfully wrapping up the op.

It was only when he saw Bodie that his good intentions went to pot. Bodie's wedding ring seemed to taunt him. No matter where they were or what they were doing the ring seemed like a beacon to him underlining again and again what he could never have.

Things became slightly more bearable when he began dating Louise. She was a nice girl, not too demanding, not at all the type he would usually be interested in but the only type he knew he could handle in his emotional state. He was now able to put himself in Bodie's shoes. He could now see the attraction of a girl like Kate or Louise, one who would fit in, one who would take what was offered without demanding anything more. He could see why Bodie had decided to jump at this chance because if he had been feeling half as low as Doyle was now it would be easy to apply this balm.

Even with the lifeline that was Louise, he would feel himself flinch in pain every time Kate kissed Bodie or touched him or made plans for the two of them and now that they were spending so much time in each other's company he didn't know how much longer he could take it. He hated her. Bodie had already begun to pull back from him, knowing the reason for it didn't make it any easier.

It was the Monday, just after Kate's over the top, six month anniversary celebration dinner, that the old man decided to send them to Manchester. Bodie was relieved to be away from Kate. She was smothering him. She didn't realise she was, she was acting like a woman who was in love with her husband. The problem was her husband wasn't in love with her.

With all that was going on in his head he had forgotten that they had been married for six months and he had forgotten the fact that women seemed to place an inordinate amount of importance on dates, so he had agreed to invite Doyle and Louise over for dinner.

It was just before desert that she presented him with an exquisite watch as his present. He was embarrassed that he hadn't gotten her anything, he was embarrassed that Doyle was here to see the emotional gush and he was embarrassed that she didn't care that he had forgotten, he was embarrassed that she expected nothing more from him. He had wanted to leave that night but he couldn't.

So now he and Doyle were going to Manchester. It was their first assignment away together since the wedding and Bodie was on eggshells not knowing how he was going to cope with nearly two full days alone with Doyle.

It was a miserable English winter day. The rain was bouncing off the road as they headed out. They were on the motorway heading towards the city, Bodie was driving and Doyle was sprawled, as always, across the passenger seat. They had spoken very little since they had started out from London but that in its-self was not unusual. He and Doyle were comfortable with silence. It was Doyle who decided then to speak.

"Why were you embarrassed?"

"What? When?" Bodie replied taken by surprise.

"Saturday at dinner. Why were you embarrassed?"

"I wasn't embarrassed. Leave it Ray."

"Bodie." Doyle sang his name in the way only he could and the meaning was clear. Doyle knew him and knew when he was lying and wasn't going to leave it like this.

"I forgot about the six month thing. I didn't get her anything and you and Louise were there so I was embarrassed about it okay," he finished hoping that Doyle would buy the half-truth he had given. Saturday night had been an absolute nightmare for him. He had been lying in bed, unable to sleep, just thinking. They couldn't go on like this but he couldn't bring himself to leave Kate. The other solution that was becoming more and more appealing was for him to leave the squad. For him and Kate make a fresh start somewhere else, somewhere away from Doyle.

When Doyle didn't reply he thought for a second he had gotten away with it but then Doyle continued.

"Why do you always talk about Kate in such an abstract way?"

"What? Doyle what the hell are you on about now?"

Doyle waited for a while before continuing he knew that he wanted to push Bodie, he wanted a reaction, he wanted a true reaction, some emotion even if it was anger, he wanted the old Bodie back. He knew he was being selfish, putting Bodie under pressure like this but he believed at this point that anything would be better than feeling the way he had been feeling over the past months.

"You never use her name when you talk about her with me. Then again you never really talk about her with me at all. Every time I ask after her or mention her to you, you get off the subject as fast as possible stopped talking but Bodie knew he was he had more to say. "Look Bodie I know it's hard on both of us, trying to cope with everything but we have to really want to try and I am but you keep pushing me further and further away to the point where I don't think you want me around. I'll leave if that's what you want Bodie. I don't want to make this any harder than it is. Do you want me to leave?"

Doyle finished with the hardest question of all but Bodie knew that he couldn't answer Doyle's question now. Not here in the car on the way to Manchester with the rain pissing down and the sadness in Doyle's voice tearing at his insides.

"Ray I do talk about Kate with you. Look we're nearly there. We'll talk more when we get to the hotel," he knew it was a piss poor response to what Doyle had asked but it was all he could give. He hoped Doyle would settle, at least until they had checked into the hotel but Doyle sighed as if he had given up and said in a very soft voice.

"It's just that before all this I always thought that if one of us ever did tie the knot, although I never thought we would," he added and paused to emphasise the point "that we'd be able to speak to each other about our wives. I know that we're in the worst situation but I thought we'd still be close no-matter what, I knew it would take time and that it would mean a change but I just didn't think it would change us so bloody much Bodie."

Doyle stopped and turned his head away towards the window looking out at the road and the rain and Bodie gripped the steering wheel so tight his knuckles turned white and he knew they couldn't go on like this for much longer not when it made them so unhappy.

By the time they had checked in, Doyle seemed nearly his old self again. He whistled when they walked into the hotel lobby.

"Jesus, Bodie, look at this place. Are you sure this is the hotel Cowley booked."

Bodie took the slip of paper from his pocket and checked the name and address.

"Yeah. This is it," he rubbed his hands together and he and Doyle smiled at each other unused to such surroundings while working.

Doyle left Bodie to carry the luggage to their room as usual. Loaded down with baggage he followed his partner, he rolled his eyes but in reality he had never minded being Doyle's pack animal, he was glad some thing's never changed.

The room was far and away better than the ones they were used to. It had one double bed and one single, a table and two chairs and a television. Cowley had really given them a break this time.

They set about unpacking and investigating the room, they found that they even had their own bathroom and Bodie thought that he could get used to this.

This was a waiting job. They were to collect an informant for Cowley and he wasn't expected till the next evening. Cowley was to let them know the arrangements for the collection the following morning so they were to make themselves at home until then.

Bodie took the single bed because Doyle had already made himself at home on the double. He flopped on the bed and turned towards his partner.

"What do you want to do for dinner then?" He asked his partner who was lying on his back, hands behind his head, staring at the ceiling. Doyle gave a small shrug and replied.

"Don't care. 'm not very hungry."

"You might be hungry later Ray. Tell you what, you have a think and let me know if you decide that you might get hungry," Bodie said to him, humour lacing his voice.

Doyle turned to him then eyes bright, looking at him quite intensely and Bodie knew what was coming.

"You never answered my question Bodie." Anger or was it frustration coloured his voice and Bodie swallowed and had to look away.

"Don't Doyle. Don't push this." The use of his partner's surname was intended to show Doyle that he was serious about this but Doyle pushed.

"Oh for God's sake Bodie. If you can't answer the most straightforward question. Can you answer this one then? Are we still friends? Are we still real friends?"

"Oh bloody hell Ray, of course we're still friends. We're best mates."

"It doesn't feel like it anymore. You've changed towards me. If my feelings are too hard for you to cope with please just tell me and I'm gone."

Bodie looked at his partner and tried to really picture his life without Doyle as a part of it and he couldn't. It was much easier to picture that scenario while lying in his own bed, Doyle safely tucked up in his own flat, out of sight but he wasn't out of sight now and he had never been out of mind.

"No Ray I don't want you to go. I definitely don't want you to go. It's nothing like that. I didn't think I'd changed," he lied and then tried to smooth Doyle's worry, which was a big mistake. He had misread Doyle. Doyle wanted a resolution. Doyle wanted the truth. Doyle was about to explode in frustration and anger and platitudes were not what he needed.

"Look I'm sorry, I'll do better. I'll try harder. It'll be fine. We're still the same you and me, that'll never change," Bodie said like he had rehearsed this a thousand times but he was lost, if he couldn't convince himself he had no chance of convincing Doyle. He didn't know what to do to make it better he just wanted it all to stop, he just wanted them to be back to normal and he didn't know how to do it. He looked at Doyle and smiled a tight smile, trying for a Bodie special and ending up with what was close to a grimace at the web of lies he had just spun to Doyle.

It was the last straw for Doyle. "Christ! Bodie, we are not still the same and you know it so stop lying to me and stop lying to yourself."

He was off the bed and out the door before Bodie knew what was happening. Bodie thought about going after him but decided that Doyle needed time alone and he needed to decide what to do next. Doyle was right he wasn't coping, he didn't like to talk about Kate, he really didn't like to even think about Louise or anyone else Doyle may be sleeping with and he was effectively pushing Doyle away. It was obvious that something had to be done or he would end up losing Doyle more than he already had and he couldn't let that happen. He knew what he had to do.

He must have dosed off because he was wakened but the sound of a key in the door. It was dark in the room so he surmised that it was early evening and Doyle had been gone for at least two hours.

"Doyle?" He asked to the dark room.


Bodie turned on his bedside lamp and when his eyes adjusted to the light he could see that Doyle was standing in the middle of the room soaked to the skin, clothes clinging to his body, hair wet and hanging in ringlets, drops of water dripping from the ends and snaking in rivulets down his face and clothes and he looked lost and sad and beautiful and Bodie wanted him more than he had ever wanted anything in his life and then Doyle spoke.

"I'm sorry Bodie. I just can't do this anymore; I'm not a bloody masochist. It was different before, when I didn't know, when we didn't know but I can't forget about it even if you can, even if you don't feel the same about me my feelings haven't changed and it's just too hard. When we get back I'm resigning. I'm leaving; I've made up my mind."

Bodie got off the bed and in a few steps was beside Doyle. He raised his hand up to Doyle's face and cupped his cheek and jaw in an action that mirrored what had happened at the wedding reception after their world had fallen apart. Slowly he brushed his thumb over Doyle's lips and as he felt Doyle lean into his hand as he moved his other arm around him and pulled Doyle close against him.

"My feelings haven't changed Ray. Please, don't leave me."

They were staring at each other Doyle's eyes full of questions that he couldn't answer now and so he leaned in and captured the full lips with his own.

The kiss was tentative at first but gradually they sank into it, having been starved of one another for so long they tried to devour, Doyle wrapping his arms around Bodie to pull him closer and Bodie let a small sigh escape his mouth opening it for Doyle's exploration. The first touch of Doyle's tongue sent a bolt of arousal straight to Bodie's groin and he felt an answering hardness in Doyle as Doyle pulled them closer. He wanted to climb into his partner, be completely consumed by him. Even in all his imaginings he had never thought it would be as good as this. He had never kissed or been kissed so thoroughly before. It was as though they knew what to do for each other they knew instinctively what the other liked, like they were made for this.

Bodie allowed his hand to creep between their bodies, he was overcome with lust and need for Doyle. He cupped Doyle's erection with his hand and pressed and rubbed Doyle's cock through the denim of his jeans with the heel of his hand. Doyle was panting and gasping and kissing Bodie, his tongue delving into the moist cavern of Bodie's mouth, his hips tilting and pressing his crotch harder and harder into Bodie's hand.

"Jesus, Bodie...yes...fuck...yes," Doyle panted as Bodie moved them slowly towards the double bed, awkwardly trying to shed clothes along the way. Bodie couldn't say a thing, he was finding it hard to breath and he knew that in this state neither of them would last long and he didn't care. There would be time enough later to draw things out because all he wanted now was a naked Ray Doyle lying in his arms.

They were clumsy in their eagerness to be together, pulling at shirts and trousers until finally they were naked and Bodie couldn't believe it, as he looked at Doyle, naked beneath him, that his wish had finally come true. They settled on the bed, arms tight around each other, still kissing but now thrusting against each other trying to meld together, their hard shafts rubbing as they struggled to the peak of pleasure and Bodie found his voice and was saying Doyle's name over and over unable to believe that this was real, unable to believe that this wasn't just another of his fantasies but Doyle was kissing him and thrusting against him, holding him tighter and tighter and pulling him closer and closer, Doyle's hand on his arse, his fingers dipping into the cleft lightly brushing the puckered hole and Bodie couldn't hold back any longer and suddenly, they were there, seconds apart, their come spurted between them, mingling together, covering their bellies in satin warmth. Bodie cradled Doyle against him as he had so many times in fantasy and brushing his curls off his forehead, dropped small kisses there until he felt Doyle shaking. He put a finger under Doyle's chin and tilted his face up, unsure whether Doyle was laughing or crying. He was laughing but the laughter didn't reach his eyes.

"Ray, are you all right?" Bodie asked puzzled but Doyle raised his own hand to touch Bodie's and Bodie felt him trace the plain gold band before replying his voice low but panicky.

"No, I'm not. Bloody hell, how can I be all right? I'm the other woman Bodie!" and he laughed again a little more hysterically. "I'm the other bloody woman!!"

With that he got up from the bed and went into the bathroom closing the door behind him. Bodie lay abandoned on the bed, his breathing still slightly laboured, the sweat beginning to dry on his skin, contemplating what had happened and what they were going to do next.

Doyle leaned back against the closed door. He couldn't believe what had just happened. He was near to hysteria after months of strain. His heart's desire was lying naked on the bed in the next room waiting for him but he couldn't face him. He pushed himself away from the door, walked over to the wash hand basin and looked at himself in the mirror above it. Leaning over the sink he dropped his head trying to come to terms with everything. He thought back over how his life had changed in the past months and mentally kicked him self for the hundredth time for not taking steps to prevent it all from happening. He had pushed and pushed Bodie to this point and now that he had him here he didn't know what to do.

Bodie was the only person he had ever loved unconditionally but he had sat back and let him marry a girl he hardly even knew. He sure as hell hadn't pictured being the third person in Bodie's marriage, but then he had never actually pictured Bodie with anyone but him. He was bone tired. His hand drifted down to his belly and he felt it still wet with their semen. He brought his hand toward his mouth and tasted them, they tasted good together. He looked at himself in the mirror once more before turning on the shower and stepping in.

Bodie was lying on the bed. He felt strangely content like a weight had been lifted off his shoulders. He felt as though this was where he was supposed to be but Doyle was supposed to be here beside him. Doyle had been in the bathroom for some time before Bodie heard the shower running, he got off the bed and started into the bathroom determined that Doyle wouldn't begin to worry this to death, if there was worrying to be done they would do it together.

Doyle was standing under the spray letting the warm water relax him when he heard the shower door open and felt Bodie climb in behind him. Although he was still tied in knots about what was happening, his body responded to Bodie's proximity immediately as his cock began to come to life. Bodie wrapped his arms around Doyle and drew him back tight against his chest kissing the side of Doyle's neck and moving his hand up to caress his nipples. Doyle's head fell back onto Bodie's shoulder and he could feel the swell of Bodie's hardness nestling in the cleft between his buttocks. The feel of Bodie there was so erotic and he felt himself pushing back against Bodie in order to generate some friction against his anus, which was beginning to twitch under the sensations.

Bodie's hand moved over Doyle's stomach and came to rest on his cock; he moved his hand down cupping Doyle's balls, rolling them around and separating them before taking hold of the velvet shaft and slowly beginning to pump. Doyle canted his hips back and forth keeping Bodie's rhythm and causing Bodie's cock to slide up and down the cleft of his arse driving them both crazy with desire.

Doyle wanted Bodie to fuck him; he was never so sure of anything in his life and he felt like he would die if he didn't have Bodie in him soon. He turned to face Bodie and the picture before him was breathtaking. The water was running down Bodie's body, his smooth skin glistening from it. Doyle had seen Bodie naked in the shower before but never like this. The same broad shoulders and chest leading to beautifully muscled stomach, Bodie was in good shape at the moment, strong thighs and calves, what was different this time was the huge hard cock jutting proudly from his body and Doyle couldn't believe it was all for him and he wanted it so badly. He drank his fill of the sight before he kissed Bodie passionately, moving his mouth to Bodie's ear before making his demand.

"Fuck me Bodie."

A low growl escaped from Bodie's throat and he pulled Doyle tighter against him and kissed him hard.

"Are you sure Ray? Be very sure. We can't go back after this."

"Do you want to go back?"

"No chance. I want you. I love you," he said the urgency clear in his voice and he felt Doyle relax against him as if he'd said the magic words.

Doyle kissed him again and like before it was as if the edge had never been taken off, they were trying to devour each other and the desire to just go for broke again was nearly too tempting. Doyle broke the kiss and turned round in Bodie's arms before bracing himself against the wall of the shower. Bodie used the shower oil to ease the way into Doyle's body. He probed the hidden opening with one slick finger first, loosening the muscle, willing Doyle's body to relax. When Doyle was ready he added a second finger and moved them in and out of the gripping hole feeling the tight muscle relax with every pump. He removed his fingers and replaced them with his cock. Doyle could feel himself tensing up, anticipating the pain and then Bodie was plastered to his back whispering in his ear and soothing him and he felt Bodie's cock begin to slide into him inch by inch. It was impossibly painful; it had been so long since he had felt this. He could feel his body trying to reject the invader but he fought against it and pushed himself back, pushing his body open and taking the rest of Bodie in.

"Ray?" Bodie wasn't moving. Doyle knew he was giving him time to get used to the feeling but he knew he needed Bodie to move.

"Start moving Bodie. Now!" He forced out between gritted teeth and with every thrust and retreat the pain subsided until his whole body was tingling with pleasure.

Bodie reached round in order to grasp Doyle's cock which was already beginning to fill again after the shock of penetration and began to pump Doyle in time with his own thrusts. Doyle loved the feeling of Bodie inside him and wondered why they had been so stupid, why they had waited so long to be together. The dual sensations of being filled and pumped were overwhelming and he knew he couldn't last much longer as the assault on his senses continued with every thrust of Bodie's hips and every pump of Bodie's fist and suddenly, with a cry, he came his seed flowing over Bodie's gripping hand. He felt his bowels fluttering and his anal muscle contracting and suddenly he felt Bodie still and heard a growl from his partner as liquid heat filled his guts leaving him warm inside. His head was pressed against the tiles and Bodie was still draped over him, panting into his ear. He could feel Bodie's cock softening and slipping from him and as it did he gasped at the loss of contact and the small amount of pain. Bodie turned him round and softly kissed him all over his face.

"I love you," Bodie said simply.

"I know. I love you too," Doyle replied and they stood like that, looking at each other for a few moments before Doyle said. "Come on let's get out of here."

They rinsed themselves clean and stepped out of the shower drying quickly before returning to the bedroom.

They had to talk about all of this. They had to decide what they were going to do.

Doyle pulled on a pair of jogging bottoms while Bodie went to the mini bar and poured them both a large scotch before pulling on his own bathrobe. Doyle took a sip and felt warmed as the amber liquid slipped down his throat. He looked then at Bodie and waited for him to say something. Bodie was looking down at the floor but Doyle heard him take a deep breath and Bodie looked up at him.

"I try to deny her to you, you know, pretend she doesn't exist."

Doyle knew that Bodie was trying to answer his question from hours before in the car. It was what they did. Sometimes it would take days for one or both of them to open up, to tell the truth to a question asked.

"Why Bodie? I know you're married for God's sake. I was your best man remember."

"I know, I fucking know. I'm so fucking stupid. I should never have married her."

Doyle sighed shaking his head. "But you did Bodie and no you're not stupid, at least you're not stupid on your own. It doesn't change the fact that you're married though."

"I know," Bodie said raising his head.

They stared at each other for a long time, neither one knowing what to say, how to fix the problem.

"Let's go to bed eh?" Doyle said as he began to undress.

They lay there in each other's arms for sometime before they spoke again. Tomorrow they would have to have their minds on the job but tonight they had each other.


"Hmm," he responded

"What the hell are we going to do?"

"I don't know Ray. I really don't know."

Emotionally drained they fell asleep.

Bodie woke the next morning and for a moment he was disorientated not fully aware of where he was, when he remembered the events of the previous evening a smile spread across his face and he tightened his grip round Doyle pulling him closer. Beside him Doyle mumbled and cuddled up against him. He was happy that they didn't have to collect the informer until that evening; he and Doyle still had a lot to talk about.

Bodie thought about Kate for the first time since the previous night. He knew he should feel guilty about what had happened but try as he might he couldn't.

He had loved Doyle for years and to finally have him after all this time was, for Bodie, a dream come true and he was determined that he wouldn't let anything or anybody come between them now. He couldn't believe that he had been stupid enough to think that getting married would have stopped him from loving Doyle. The question was what was he going to do about Kate?

Doyle moved again and looking down at his partner's face where it was cushioned on his chest Bodie could see that Doyle was waking.

"Mornin'," Doyle croaked voice still rough with sleep.

"Mornin' yourself," Bodie replied beaming a smile at Doyle and leaned down and kissed him soundly for a few moments.

When they broke apart Doyle moved off him and sat up on the bed stretching his arms above his head. Bodie watched him. Doyle looked deliciously rumpled. As he stretched Bodie had to pinch himself again to make sure it was true. Doyle was a vision, gloriously naked as the day he was born, Bodie wanted nothing more than to take him again or be taken but he needed the bathroom first.

He began to get up but was prevented by Doyle who pulled him down again unwilling to let go.

"Call of nature, sunshine."

"Hurry up then, I have plans for you." Replied Doyle and released him.

When he came out of the bathroom a few minutes later he was struck by the sight that greeted him. Doyle was stretched across the bed, eyes closed, obviously dosing, his body draped like a bolt of honey satin against the white sheets, he looked good enough to eat.

Bodie walked over to the bed and gently straddled Doyle, the green eyes opening, the full lips smiling; he canted his hips cock fully hard against Bodie's as they began a slow sensuous loving of each other, taking their time, making it different than the night before.

Bodie began working his way down Doyle's body, mapping every inch of flesh, kissing and licking and enjoying the journey after so many years of wanting to make it. Under him, Doyle was squirming with pleasure, gasping and making noises that spoke of blissful enjoyment as he let Bodie take his time.

When he arrived at his destination Bodie stopped for a moment to take in the sight of this Doyle quivering with pleasure, cock hard arching up over his stomach, breathing shallow and hard between parted lips.

"Please Bodie," Doyle pleaded breathily and Bodie complied.

Doyle felt his cock encased in the wet warmth of Bodie's mouth, the feeling was sensational. Bodie had brought him to the brink of orgasm even before touching his cock and now Doyle knew that it wouldn't take much more stimulation to push him over the edge.

Bodie was taking him in deep, sucking and licking, his tongue swirling around the head of Doyle's cock and dipping into the slit, driving him on and on to the point of no return and then suddenly Bodie took him impossibly deeper, the head of his cock touching the back of Bodie's throat and then he was coming, pulse after pulse of semen pouring into Bodie's mouth.

Doyle was completely wiped out. He felt Bodie move up the bed and settle beside him, he opened his eyes and smiled. He knew Bodie would need release so he began to move in order to reciprocate for the pleasure Bodie had given him but Bodie stopped him.

"It's alright Ray, I came when you did," Bodie said smiling at him and gesturing down to his crotch.

"Randy sod, I didn't even touch you," Doyle said in disbelief.

Bodie ran his hand through Doyle's hair, scrutinizing his face before replying.

"I know, I've wanted this for so long, I've waited for you for so long I nearly came from just looking at you lying here on the bed."

They lay there for a while both knowing that they had to really address what had happened and how they were going to go forward with this. Bodie spoke first, startling Doyle by what he said.

"I'm leaving Kate. When we get back I'm going to tell her it's not working and leave," Bodie said determinedly

"Bodie, are you sure?" Doyle replied the note of shock clear in his voice but Bodie could also detect happiness and excitement.

"I told you last night that there was no going back and I meant it. It's not fair on her or us if I stay. Don't you want us to be together?" He asked a little unsure now worried that it wasn't what Doyle had in mind.

"Yes, you know I do but fuck Bodie what a mess! This will kill her, she loves you," Doyle said.

"I don't love her. I made such a stupid mistake, first by marrying her and then by trying to stay to make it work and now after this, I can't possibly stay with her and sleep with her and touch her when I only want to do those things with you. It was hard enough being in bed with her with the thought of you always in my head and now I know the reality I just won't be able to cope," Bodie said his face serious as he thought about that scenario.

"You thought about me, when you were in bed with her?" Doyle asked amazed at Bodie's openness.

"Christ, Ray, it was hard enough before I even met Kate to be with anyone and not be thinking about you but after the wedding, after I knew you wanted it too, I could barely think of anything else at any time."

"Oh Bodie, I'm sorry, I'm sorry I didn't tell you. I could have saved us both a whole lot of bloody misery," Doyle replied, berating himself again for his cowardice.

"It's not down to you, Ray. I'm the one who got married, even though I was in love with someone else."

"I hope that's me you're talking about, mate," Doyle replied, nudging Bodie in the ribs, trying to lighten the conversation a bit. Bodie laughed.

They were both stupidly happy. This was the way it was meant to be but Doyle knew it wasn't going to be as easy as Bodie hoped. He knew they would have to plan this properly if they were to be together. There were things to be considered.



"You can't just go home and leave Kate. We have to plan this. We have to really know what we want to do. We have to consider everything. Our jobs, whether we want to live together, are we going to tell people or do we keep it a secret. It's not as easy as we think. This situation, here, now, in this hotel, it isn't real."

"I know," Bodie said through a sigh and continued surprising Doyle with what he said next. "But I've had years to plan what I would want if this ever happened and yes I do want us to live together and I want to be able to tell our friends and I want to tell the cow even if it costs us our jobs. There are other things we could do if he kicks us out."

"Jesus, you're very sure of things," Doyle said and then a smile came to his face as he continued with an idea for alternative employment. "Well, I've been considering a career on the stage with all the acting we've had to do the last few months I think I could make it," Doyle said confidently but secretly relieved that Bodie wanted everything too.

They both laughed before Doyle continued.

"Don't worry about the old man, he knows."

"What?" asked Bodie, the shock and disbelief clear on his face.

"Cowley knows," Doyle explained more clearly.

"Christ, Doyle, don't tell me he bugged the room or something," Bodie exclaimed as he raised himself up and began to scan the room for likely places the cow could have put the bug. Doyle pulled him back down before continuing.

"No, nothing like that. He told me at the wedding right before he offered me the assignment in Newcastle. Said that I had left it too late and that he was sorry for us both. Knocked me for six I can tell you but I didn't deny it. He knows."

"Fuck me!" said Bodie the astonishment clear in his voice.

"Give us a chance mate; I'm not a teenager anymore you know," Doyle replied laughing and Bodie joined in, both overjoyed to be so happy. It felt as though they hadn't really laughed in months and the past day or so had been so intense they needed the release.

"Alright then, we'll do it your way," Bodie said when they had calmed down. "We'll tell Cowley first--if he accepts it and doesn't insist we resign then we'll start planning, laying the groundwork, and then when everything's in order I'll leave Kate. If he does insist we resign then it won't matter when I leave her, the sooner the better but I'd rather the old man allowed us to stay in the squad." Bodie paused then, thinking about everything he had said and continued his voice very serious. "It might mean sneaking around a fair bit, Ray, to get some time together because if you think that I can wait until I leave her to be with you again then I have to tell you that you're barking mad."

"I'll sneak around for a while, I don't mind," Doyle replied knowing that there was as much chance of hell freezing over as there was him being able to keep away from Bodie.

With that settled they got ready to go back to work, both feeling much more in control of their own lives than they had felt since this nightmare had started and both optimistic that things would work out for them in the end.

When they got back to London after the assignment just as they had planned they went straight to Cowley to tell him what they intended to do. Although Cowley knew how they felt about each other they were fairly certain that he wouldn't be expecting their announcement and so they were extremely nervous about telling him. Cowley was unpredictable and even Bodie, who knew him better than anyone in CI5, wasn't able to predict what his reaction would be to the fact that his top team were in love and intended to be together come hell or high water. So it was with trepidation that they walked into the controller's office the next morning.

George Cowley was curious. Doyle and Bodie asking for a meeting with him; it could only mean one of two things.

Cowley groaned. He had spent a great deal of time ensuring that CI5 would be safe in the hands of these two agents after he had retired. They were his best team. No man was an island and George Cowley relied on them a great deal, whether they we aware of it or not. Alone they were exceptional agents with great potential for advancement but together they were dynamite. Doyle was promising to become excellent at the double think needed to run a branch of Her Majesty's security services and Bodie was a superb tactician. George Cowley was determined that no political appointment be made over their heads and had ensured that it was in the small print that he, with his Minister's approval, appoint his successor to the job and he intended to see that happen.

So if Doyle and Bodie were coming to see him together then the options were, either, the pressure of Bodie's marriage was finally getting to the pair of them and they could no longer work as a team or, they had decided to be together regardless of Bodie's marital status.

He dearly hoped it was the former because although he would lose his best team he would keep his best agents in CI5. The latter would be far more difficult to deal with.

He would need time to think it through, decide if he could keep them on without fear of blackmail or bad press for the department. It may be 1983 but homosexuality, although not the taboo it once was, was still frowned upon by the majority of this 'Christian' society who believed every word in the good book as long as it suited them. He couldn't abide prejudice in whatever form it took and he would never abide it directed at these two men. Then there would be Kate Matthews to deal with and George Cowley, not hitherto a gambling man, was willing to lay odds that she would most definitely be a loose cannon.

He heard the rap at the door and summoned his men into the office, braced for whatever they had to say.

"Come," he called and the two agents opened the door and walked into his office. Cowley had decided to let them sweat for a while and so never looked up at them, preferring instead to keep reading his reports as if they were not there. He was, however, surreptitiously observing them in order to best gauge their mood.

Bodie was, as always, standing to attention but Cowley noticed the tension in the shoulders and although the face was a perfect mask, no emotions displayed, Cowley could see tightness in the mouth. Doyle on the other hand was not as good as Bodie at masking his emotions and although he was standing in the casual way he always did Cowley could see the temper and strain close to the surface ready to explode if he so much as looked at them the wrong way. He closed the files and looked up at his agents.

"Well, Doyle, Bodie, it can only be one of two things, re-teaming or re-housing, so which is it?" he asked and waited as his top team were struck dumb by his foresight. "Och, don't look so surprised, you do both remember what I, we, do for a living and I've had much harder cases than the two of you," he finished and looked at Bodie.

"Re-housing, sir," Bodie said without further prompting and Cowley looked from Bodie to Doyle before taking off his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. He noticed Bodie and Doyle looking at each other, a gesture of both reassurance and determination between them, and Cowley knew an ultimatum from him would mean the loss of both. He would have to switch to plan B.

"So, 3.7, you've left your wife? She knows about this?" Cowley asked gesturing between Bodie and Doyle.

"No, sir. She doesn't know about it yet. Doyle and I agreed it would be best to tell you first," Bodie explained, still standing to attention.

"Och, for God's sake, Bodie, stand at ease, you're not on the parade ground now nor are you in the headmaster's office, but with you two," he said looking between the two of them again before continuing, "...there are times you behave just like schoolboys." He could see Doyle's temper barely in check and just before he exploded Cowley poured cold water on the anger. "4.5, we're not here to fight, it would cloud the issue and it's just about as clouded as it could be." Doyle relaxed as Cowley continued. "You both realise the position you have put me and the department in?" They nodded their understanding, neither of them stupid enough to believe that their relationship wouldn't be a problem to some people, both in CI5 and in everyday life. Cowley continued. "You've broken the non-fraternisation rule, bad enough with agents of the opposite sex but you've brought a new spin to that as well." He walked around the desk and brought out the scotch and three glasses. He poured himself a liberal measure and gestured for Bodie and Doyle to do likewise before picking up where he left off. "If you are to stay in CI5 the minister will need to be informed of the situation but I'm sure you know that. If he approves my plan to let you stay, then and only then will I sanction your living together." He drank from the glass before continuing. "As a team, your performance will be reviewed quarterly until I am satisfied the change in your relationship does not affect your work and finally, gentlemen, you will take this no further until I am confident that your wife, Bodie, poses no threat to you or this department. Do you understand?"

"Yes, sir," Doyle said the relief evident in his voice.

"Yes, sir." A second later as Bodie replied but he continued, "She's not a threat, sir. You vetted her before the marriage, nothing's changed, and she isn't capable of anything like that."

"Never underestimate a woman scorned, laddie. She could do some damage. You two know enough to know that anyone is capable of anything given the right circumstances and this could be exactly the right circumstance." He took a large mouthful of his scotch and poured himself another. "I'm disappointed in the two of you. This could have been avoided, there was time, years in fact to prevent this but the two of you were too blind or proud or scared to do it and now we're in a mess. I only hope we can fix it." He walked around the desk and sat on his chair, picking up the reports in order to get back to work. "Alright, 3.7, 4.5, on yer bikes." Bodie and Doyle turned to leave but just as they reached the door he decided he had one last thing to add. "Doyle, Bodie, I don't have to tell you that, until this is sorted out one way or the other, discretion will be the better part of valour."

"Yes, sir." They answered together and finally left the room closing the door and leaving him alone with his thoughts and a puzzle to sort out.

So he had been right. They had decided to do it. It was a headache for him but there was a part of him that hoped they would find the happiness together that they had both sought without success for so long. It was that part of him that was willing to do this, to go to the wall for them, to keep them on the squad as a team and as his choice of successors, to stand up against any prejudice and he was determined that his efforts would bear fruit.

All hell had broken loose with a case they were working on and so it was all hands on deck in CI5. When they weren't working they were sleeping and sometimes Bodie was working days and Doyle was working nights.

In the few hours they had together it was enough to just lie in bed, in each other's arms, planning their next move, and the sex, when they did have time, just got better and better.

They were in a good position, all told, to carry on their affair with very little chance of discovery. It seemed that Kate was still at the 'I'll do anything to keep Bodie happy stage' and never questioned that Bodie had to work late or had to be out all night so they spent their time together at Doyle's flat.

Bodie was the happiest he had ever been. Doyle was all he had imagined and more. They had both been through the mill when it came to relationships and so were being very careful not to make the same mistakes. They had laid only one ground rule at the beginning: neither of them ever wanting a lack of communication to be the cause of any more heartache, they had agreed to talk about their feelings and not bottle things up. This was difficult for Bodie who had never been the type to analyse or articulate his feelings before but he knew that the next few months were going to be hard enough and he never wanted one iota of suspicion or unhappiness to cloud his relationship with Doyle.

He thought about the irony of his situation more than once.

He remembered, as a young man, when he harboured the romantic notion of finding 'the one', the one woman in all the world whom he would fall in love with and they would complete each other, two halves of the same soul and they would marry and have a family and live happily ever after, he had a misspent youth in which he read poetry and literature and developed a rose tinted view of love and happiness in an attempt to block out all that was wrong with his own family life. When he eventually escaped, his years overseas had firstly morphed his fantasy of finding 'the one' woman, into finding 'the one' person but even that notion was knocked out of him when he was witness to Ishma's death at Krivas' hand and then Marikka who betrayed him, and so he had separated sex and feelings and indulged purely for pleasure, one warm body being as good as the next in his opinion.

When he returned to England he never let anyone close, preferring still to settle for the physical side, no emotion involved, and where better to get just that than by pursuing his no strings sexual peccadillo in the underground gay clubs of Soho, male libido winning out over sentiment. It was some time before he began to date again but by the time he was accepted to CI5 he decided that he needed to be discreet and so he stuck nearly exclusively to women and was firmly back on his heterosexual track, just in time for the gods to throw Ray Doyle his way.

He felt the attraction immediately and so turned it round into hostility for a few shaky weeks before Doyle saved his life for the first time, the first of many, just as he had saved Doyle, and from then the hostility melted away leaving a respect for his partner. The feeling of respect, quickly changed to friendship, to a deeper link between the two and for Bodie not long afterwards to love, a feeling he was reluctant to name and a feeling so strong he realised he had never felt it before.

Gradually he had let himself admit that the romantic notions he had had as a youth had not been wrong in their sentiment. He had finally found 'the one', his other half, but there would be no family and at the time he believed no happily ever after, at least that was then. Now he had reason to believe that there would be a happily ever after, they had hurt each other and made everything harder by not talking to each other but there was light at the end of the tunnel and they just had to get over this last hurdle.

Kate had decided to go and visit her parents and Bodie had encouraged her. She had been reluctant to go without him but he had excused himself, telling her he was on duty all weekend and probably wouldn't be home very much so it would do her some good to have her parents for company, but in reality he felt he needed her not to be in London. He needed some time to be with Doyle alone, without having to make up excuses about where he was going and when he'd be back. When he told Doyle that Kate was going away he was over the moon and immediately started making plans about what they were going to do on their first whole weekend together. Bodie had hoped that they wouldn't do very much that involved getting out of bed but he indulged Doyle and let him make plans. Kate left on Friday morning and Bodie packed a small bag and headed for Doyle's flat. They had to work that day but because it had been quiet for the past week he was confident that they wouldn't be disturbed for the whole weekend and Kate wasn't due back until Monday night.

The weekend was perfect.

They spent Friday night at Doyle's flat eating Doyle's home cooking and watching a film on television, not seeing the end of it as they made love beside the fire, taking it slowly, re-learning every piece of the other's body, luxuriating in the time and freedom. On Saturday they decided to take the bikes for a spin and ended up in the country, eating lunch in a small riverside pub, getting a glimpse of what life could be like if they didn't have to hide all the time. By the time they got back to London it was late and after eating a Chinese takeaway and watching some of Match of the Day they went to bed.

Sunday morning consisted of a Bodie special fry up, eaten in bed, and then for the rest of the morning they alternated slow easy fucking and reading the Sunday papers just like any normal couple.

On Sunday afternoon, Bodie, having run out of clothes, decided to make a pit stop at his flat. He trailed Doyle along not willing to be parted from him for more than a minute of this precious weekend and Doyle went willingly, feeling exactly the same thing.

The flat was cold when they arrived and Bodie made sure to put the heating back on before leaving Doyle with the TV as he went to the bedroom to pack clothes for work the next day. He threw his dirty clothes into the laundry basket, creating the appearance that he had been using the flat while Kate was away. He hated the duplicity but the knowledge that it wasn't for much longer kept him going. More and more he was feeling guilty about Kate. He always thought that when the time came that he settled down that he would be faithful and hated the fact that he hadn't been. It would be different with Doyle though, he was already faithful; he hadn't slept with Kate since before Manchester and had no intentions of doing so ever again.

He had never needed anyone in the way he needed Doyle and sometimes he wanted him so much it hurt. Once his thoughts had turned to his want for Doyle he couldn't turn them off, he needed him right then, he guessed that there was some primal need in him to have Doyle then and there, in his own bed, in his own flat and he called to him.

"Ray." His voice sounded rough as Doyle appeared at the door, a questioning look on his face.

"Yeah? You need help?" Doyle asked innocently and Bodie looked down at his crotch knowing that Doyle was following his eyes to the prominent bulge in his cords.

"Bodie," Doyle said in a playful warning tone, "we really shouldn't you know, not here."

Bodie walked towards him and pulled him into a breathtaking kiss, melding their bodies together, feeling Doyle's arousal as blatantly as his own. He pressed Doyle's hand to his crotch and as the kiss ended he spoke quietly into his partner's ear.

"I want you, Ray, now. I need you." He heard a small groan escape Doyle as they came together for another kiss proceeding to tear each other's clothes off before making it to the bed.

Kate sneaked into the flat. It had taken her quite some time to get used to the security locks that were required when you lived with a CI5 agent but she had finally prevailed over the dreaded technology and had stealthy entrances down to a fine art.

She had really enjoyed herself in Kent. She loved seeing her parents but had found that she missed Bodie terribly. He had been in such good temper the last few months she believed he must have banished his demons and finally become used to married life. The only cloud on her horizon was the ever-present Ray Doyle. He seemed to be there all the time. Sometimes she felt embarrassed because he would try and leave and Bodie would insist he stay for dinner or a drink but she was determined that he wouldn't be included tonight because she intended to cook a romantic dinner for two and finally open that expensive bottle of wine her father had given her on their engagement.

Dusk was creeping up fast and she knew that Bodie would probably be in the bath or in bed depending on what his schedule had been the last few days.

She crept quietly along the hall leading to the bedroom, unwilling to disturb Bodie and put him in a bad mood. The door was ajar but she could see a crack of light coming from the room. He wasn't expecting her till tomorrow night so she knew he would be very surprised. It was only when she neared the door she heard the noise.

At first it sounded like a series of grunts that could have come from someone who was sleeping but the sounds gradually changed to soft sighs and something that sounded like words. Gently and quietly she pushed the door back a little, and then she heard Bodie's voice.

"Oh God yes!"

She froze. Bodie was having sex. Bodie had a woman here in her house in her bed--she couldn't believe he would do such a thing. In a haze of anger at the thought of another woman, in her bed with her husband, her first instinct was to rush in and catch them in the act but something made her hold back until she was able to see further into the room.

She could finally just see the bed and could quite clearly see her husband, naked and sweaty and beneath him an equally naked and just as sweaty Ray Doyle.

She felt sick.

Doyle's voice drifted to her ears then and he was saying her husband's name over and over again, like a mantra, interspersed with 'fuck' and 'yes' and 'more'. She wanted to leave, to disappear, but she couldn't tear herself away, the sight was strangely compelling.

Bodie was fucking Ray Doyle in their flat and on their bed and he was kissing him and touching him, his hand around the other man's erection, his own erection buried in Doyle's arse, and she couldn't believe this was happening to her.

Suddenly the action on the bed seemed to intensify and she saw Bodie's muscles tense and he stilled for a moment and called out Ray's name and she knew he had come and she could see that Doyle had as well, and then Bodie flopped down on top of him and they were still.

Kate Bodie couldn't move. She was in a state of shock. She was sure she had witnessed the worst thing a wife could, but boy was she wrong; there was more to come.

Bodie and Doyle were lying twined together, they were touching and kissing each other and looking into each other's eyes adoringly and she knew it was more than just a fuck, and then she heard her husband's voice again.

"God, Ray, I can't wait much longer, I need you here, where you belong, every night," Bodie said, never taking his eyes off Doyle for a minute, his hand petting Doyle's face, his fingers moving lightly over Doyle's lips.

Then Doyle moved and Kate squeezed herself flat to the wall, praying hard that he hadn't seen her, but he continued to move, oblivious to her presence, the sheet falling away to expose his nakedness as he straddled Bodie, his back to the door, arse glistening where her husband's cock had been minutes before. Doyle took Bodie's face in his hands and kissed his eyes and nose and cheeks and finally a slow sensuous kiss on the lips.

"Don't worry, Bodie, we'll be together soon, it won't be much longer, I promise." Another kiss and then, "I love you..." Another and then teasingly, "...and if you give me a few minutes I'm going to fuck you through this mattress..." She heard Bodie gasp at that statement and Doyle continued to kiss him and tease him but then Doyle's voice was more serious, " that tomorrow when she's back and I'm not here you'll be able to feel me inside you, making sure you remember who you belong to and how much I love you and that we'll be together soon," he finished and he began to move down Bodie's body, dropping kisses, nipping and licking until some time later his head was buried between Bodie's thighs and he was doing something she didn't even want to imagine and then Bodie was offering himself, hooking his legs over Doyle's shoulders as Doyle began to sink into his willing body, his eyes were closing in ecstasy and then Bodie was talking again, practically shouting as Kate, finally able to move again, turned to leave unwilling to see her husband being fucked by a man, by Ray Doyle.

"Love you Ray, love you so much...." It was the last thing she heard as she tried to make her way quietly down the corridor to the hall and through the front door fixing the locks, leaving no trace of her presence, the door clicked shut.

In the bedroom Doyle paused.

"You hear something?" he asked Bodie who was too far-gone to hear anything.

"Umm. No. You?" he asked knowing that Doyle had a very acute sense of hearing.

Doyle cocked his head to the side as if straining to hear something or someone in the flat but he couldn't.

"Nah." Doyle shook his head. "Must be outside." With that Doyle got back to the job in hand.

Kate felt as though a ten-ton truck had hit her. She got into her car and the tears began to fall. Her whole world had fallen apart. She didn't know what to do, where to go. Her gut instinct was telling her to march straight back into the flat and into the bedroom and have this out with Bodie and the bastard who was with him in her bed but she couldn't face it, she couldn't face them, she knew she would lose. She felt sick, a wave of nausea swept over her and she opened the car door just in time as her lunch came back up to say Hello. She needed a plan, she needed to think.

Kate drove around aimlessly for some time, tears in her eyes and the din in her head driving her crazy. She found herself outside a hotel and booked in for the night, grateful that she had her clothes and wash bag with her in the car.

Kate threw her bag on the bed. She was numb. She went into the en-suite bathroom and splashed cold water onto her face. Lifting her head she looked into the mirror and found that she hardly recognised the person looking back at her. How could her life have become such a shambles in so short a time? She felt dirty. Stripping off her clothes she turned on the shower and stepped in, scrubbing herself until her skin was glowing red, trying to wash away the knowledge of what she had seen but no matter how hard she scrubbed it was still there. She closed her eyes, letting the water run down her body, but she was assaulted by images of Bodie and Ray, talking and kissing and licking and fucking, and she couldn't stop the tears from falling and being washed down the drain along with her happiness. As the water began to cool she stepped out of the shower drying herself, determined to face the mess her life had become. She was exhausted. Dried and wrapped in her bathrobe she lay on her bed and thought about her next move.

She had pulled out all the stops in her determination to bag Bodie. She had done everything right. She had facilitated his every whim and desire; she shuddered now, knowing where some of his bedroom ideas had obviously come from. Oh God, she thought, had he been pretending she was Doyle? The wave of nausea hit her with force and she barely made it to the bathroom. When the sickness finally subsided she made her way back to the bed, curled herself into a ball and cried herself to sleep. She woke a couple of hours later. The room was in darkness and she was momentarily disorientated, not knowing where she was, before reality came in on hobnail boots and kicked her in the gut.

Her mind started to mull over what she had seen in the flat. She still had trouble believing it. Her husband, her beautiful, macho husband was queer. No, she refused to believe it. He couldn't be a bloody queer or how could he have made love with her at all? Not that he had done much of that in the last...God! She couldn't remember how long, a couple of months at least, maybe longer. He must like both men and women then, she thought. Strangely she found that option easier to take. She knew she should just leave but she loved Bodie and she believed him when he told her he loved her. He must love her, he married her after all, and that meant that Ray Doyle had obviously seduced him, used their bond to force Bodie into bed with him and now her husband thought that he was in love with Doyle. But he couldn't be; it was a lie. With that thought Kate made her decision. She was sure of only one thing; she wasn't going to give Bodie up without a fight. It was obvious to her that Ray Doyle loved her husband and had somehow coerced him and now Bodie thought he was in love with Doyle but she wouldn't let it continue, she was determined to make Ray Doyle as miserable as he had made her. She knew she could never win this battle clean so she would fight dirty. She would keep Bodie in any way she could and at this point it didn't matter if he thought he didn't love her anymore. If he couldn't love her she was determined he wouldn't get the opportunity to love Doyle. She would find a way to drive Ray Doyle out of their lives.

"Bodie, I'm home." Her voice sounded cheerful to her own ears and she believed that she could fool her husband into thinking that everything was normal. She walked into the living room and saw that Ray Doyle was sitting in the armchair watching the TV. She tensed, the sight of him here, looking so comfortable and at home making her feel nauseous but she couldn't afford to show her discomfort.

"Hello, Ray," she said voice as neutral as she could make it.

"Hello, Kate, didn't hear you come in," Doyle replied as if talking to her was an effort. She hated him.

"Where's my husband?" she asked knowing using that title for Bodie was her own juvenile way of asserting her ownership.

"Bathroom. He's having a shower," Doyle said and went back to watching the television, not seeing the look of disgust that passed over Kate's face as she pictured all the ways that her husband may have become dirty enough that he would need a shower at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

"Working were you?" she asked, not knowing why she needed to hear the excuses but she did.

"No, day off, touch wood anyway, you know Cowley, might be called in any time," Doyle replied as if to prepare her that they might be called away. At any other time she would have thought nothing of this comment but now, her suspicions were aroused and she would no longer take anything at face value.

She walked out of the room leaving Doyle with the television and made her way to the bedroom. She noticed that there were two bags full of laundry in the kitchen as she passed and sure enough the bed linen had been changed, confirmation if she needed any that last night had been real and not the nightmare that she had hoped it was. She was reluctant to even sit on the bed but she forced herself to do it. She sat down and toed her shoes off before stripping the rest of her clothes and proceeding to the bathroom clothed only in her robe. Bodie was in the shower and she decided to surprise him. He had his eyes closed as he washed his hair and quietly she climbed in behind him and began rubbing his shoulders and back and running her palms down his sides to his arse. He was beginning to respond to her ministrations, groaning deep in his throat as she massaged him but she was no fool and was careful not to let him feel her nails, to let him carry on thinking that it was Ray Doyle in the shower with him. She needed to do this, she needed this last piece of confirmation. She watched as the last of the soap was rinsed from his face and felt him begin to turn.

"Naughty R.... Kate!" he said, clearly startled by the person he came face to face with but he managed to cover up his shock and that was all the confirmation she needed. She noticed that his cock, which not two seconds before was standing to attention, was now lying lax between her husband's legs. She bit back tears, thankful that her face was already wet with the spray from the shower.

"Hello, darling," she said to her stunned husband. "...Ray told me you were in here, thought I'd surprise you. Well, don't I get a kiss?" she said surprising herself with this new ability as an actress. Bodie bent his head and kissed her very briefly on the lips before beginning to climb out of the bath. He quickly draped himself in a towel visibly composing himself in a way she had seen him do many times before, but now, watching him through knowing eyes, she could see the practised ease with which he could fool the unsuspecting but not her, not anymore.

"I'll go get dressed while you shower," he said and flashed a Bodie patented smile that once would have had her weak at the knees, and even now it was only her seething anger that prevented her from forgiving him everything and giving him anything he wanted. He left the bathroom and Kate scrubbed her skin, in the same way she had the night before, her skin was crawling.

Bodie dressed quickly and went to the living room where Doyle was waiting. Doyle was already standing, coat on, and ready to leave.

"I'm going home," he said bluntly his voice betraying the fact that he was upset.

"Don't, Ray. I need you," Bodie pleaded.

"It's getting harder, Bodie; the closer we get it's getting harder. I can't stand the thought of her touching you at all and you and I both know that if she plays true to form she'll be all over you like a rash and God help me, Bodie, I won't be able to stand it." Doyle's eyes were bright. Bodie could see he was on the edge and the slightest thing would push him over and Bodie wasn't that far behind him.

"Okay, Ray. You leave but phone within the hour, we'll say we've been called in and I'll come over to yours." With that he walked over to Doyle and taking him by the shoulders kissed him briefly but passionately, and when they broke apart: "It's just as hard for me Ray."

"I know. Later then?" Doyle asked and Bodie nodded. Doyle made his way to the door and out of the flat.

They had spent an awkward hour together, Bodie asking about her parents and Kate asking him about his weekend. She could see that he was on tenterhooks, waiting for something to happen. She knew that whatever plan she decided on would have to be put into action soon because Bodie was growing more and more impatient. Just as she took the teacups into the kitchen the phone rang and Bodie sprang up from the sofa to answer it. She continued to the kitchen and heard the one-sided conversation.

"Yeah OK, Ray. I'll be right there. I'll pick you up," he said trying to make the conversation as normal as possible and then his voice lowered slightly as he said. "Yeah, I know, me too." A completely innocent remark that might mean anything but she knew it was a response to some endearment and she squeezed her eyes shut against the prick of tears before she heard Bodie come into the room.

"Duty calls, Kate. I don't know when I'll be home. Mightn't be until tomorrow. I'll phone. OK?" He finished and she nodded. She felt him come up behind her and thought that she would break down as he placed his hands on the tops of her arm before turning her round. She saw the pain clearly visible on his face and then he bent towards her and placed a light kiss on her forehead before leaving her and walking out of their flat and into the arms of his lover.

"I think she knows."

"What? How could she know? We've been careful, Bodie. More careful than I'd like to be sometimes." Doyle finished trying to soothe his partner whose nerves had been frayed from the minute he had walked in that evening.

"She suspects something then. I have a bad feeling, Ray," Bodie explained.

"What do you mean? Has she said something, done something?" Doyle asked beginning to panic slightly. The were trained to rely on gut instinct and something told Doyle that if Bodie had a feeling about this then there must be something amiss.

"She's just seems too quiet. I don't know, it's hard to explain. She looks at me differently or something." He paused before sighing and continuing. "Maybe it's just me, Ray, maybe it's just the guilt kicking in the closer we get to being us. I mean, none of this is her fault. I feel like a right bastard."

"So do I, Bodie, I know it's not her fault," Doyle replied just before panic struck. "You're not having second thoughts, Bodie? I mean you're not having second thoughts about us?"

Bodie pulled Doyle on top of him and kissed the already passion-swollen mouth thoroughly before answering. "Nothing could keep me away from you, Ray. Do you understand? Nothing and no one. I love you, only you." And he kissed Doyle again, inflaming the passion that had only been satisfied a short time before, but this time it was Bodie who offered himself to Doyle to reassure him and make his words concrete.

She had rehearsed this for days. She knew that Doyle would be there and that was exactly what she wanted. She couldn't leave it any longer because she knew that Bodie was getting ready to leave. Whatever obstacle had been preventing them had been removed, she could feel it. She steeled herself in the car and then prepared herself for the biggest role of her life. She got out and walked into her home.

"Bodie, I'm home."

Bodie was sitting on the sofa with Doyle. They looked tense and she knew what was coming but not before she told them her news, no, not before then. She continued the charade.

"Darling, I have the most exciting news. Just wait till you hear," she gushed and bent to kiss Bodie's forehead, noticing how Doyle's body tensed at the contact and hoping she didn't lose her resolve, not now.

"Kate, I have to talk to you," Bodie said quietly his voice betraying his uncharacteristic nervousness.

"Of course, darling, but first my news, ok?" she asked knowing that as a gentleman he would let her continue, even though she could see he was coiled like a spring. "Ray, I'm glad you're here too, it will save the cost of a phone call." She saw the men look at each other with puzzled expressions before going on. "Bodie, I'm pregnant," she blurted and watched as Bodie's mouth fell open with shock and Doyle seemed to wince as if in pain and she knew she had delivered the fatal blow. "Well, Daddy, don't I get a kiss? We're having a baby, Bodie, isn't it exciting?"

Bodie got up off the sofa suddenly and crossed the room to the window. She could see the tension coming off him in waves before he began to address what she had said.

"Are you sure, Kate? I mean it seems sudden, we hadn't even discussed children," Bodie asked feeling more than a little at sea, not knowing what to do or where this piece of news left himself and Doyle.

"Bodie? What is it? Aren't you happy, don't you want to be a father?" When he didn't turn round she decided to up the ante and appeal to his sense of duty. "Bodie, it's our child, a child we made together, a child created from our love." She knew she was pouring on the sickly, sweet, romantic crap pretty thick but she knew she would have to. With that Bodie turned around and smiled at her before looking at Doyle as if to ask him a question and she felt sick with that thought as Doyle give Bodie permission to do what ever it was he had asked for.

And then: "I know. I'm sorry Kate." Bodie crossed the room and kissed her cheek as she wrapped her arms around him. From the corner of her eye she saw Doyle get up from the couch, face like thunder, eyes overly bright, excellent.

"I think I'll leave you two alone to celebrate, eh? See you tomorrow, Bodie, I'll let myself out," Doyle said glancing at Bodie once before turning to leave.

The front door clicked shut and she felt Bodie move back away from her and go to the window. She could see he was watching Doyle get into his car and drive off. Bodie didn't take his eyes off him until the car was a speck at the end of the street. When it was finally out of sight he turned back to face her. His face was closed. She couldn't tell what he was feeling but she knew he wasn't happy and she steeled herself for the explosion. She was determined to see her plan through to the end. Determined to get Ray Doyle out of her and Bodie's life and if she needed this lie to make that happen then she would see it through to the bitter end. She had convinced herself that it would be easy, after Doyle was gone, or at least gone from her husband's bed, to tell Bodie she'd had a miscarriage and use the tragedy of the loss of their non-existent child to bring them together. Surely even Bodie wasn't hard-hearted enough to leave her after that, or even now, in her condition, but she couldn't be sure and that was why she would need to convince Doyle directly that it was in Bodie's best interest to be with his family and not in some sick queer relationship with him.

"We should have talked about this, Kate. I didn't want kids. I would have liked you to ask me how I felt about this before going ahead and letting it happen." His voice was slightly raised and Kate was smiling inside because she knew that when she played the miscarriage card he would feel so guilty about everything he was saying now that he'd never leave her. She looked down and forced the tears to start.

"I'm sorry, Bodie, but it was an accident really it was..." She looked up at him, tears trickling down her face and readied herself to deliver another blow. "...I mean we haven't slept together in so long, I mean you're always so tired, working so hard and I just didn't realise it had happened but I was happy about it and I really thought you would be too." She paused, judging the timing so her next statement would hit home. "Bodie? Please talk to me." Bodie just stared at her; she could see that he was about to blow so she took the wind out of his sails. "Bodie, do you wish it wasn't happening?" Bodie started to answer but only got as far as her name and then, "God, Bodie, do you want me to get rid of it? Do you want me to kill our child? Please Bodie, tell me it isn't true." Through her fake tears she could see the guilt chase across his face as he digested all she had said and finally she saw the exact moment when he let himself admit to wanting this baby.

"I'm sorry, Kate. Of course I want this child. I don't want you to get rid of it." He crossed the room and swept her into an embrace before continuing. "I'm sorry; I was shocked, that's all. Everything's going to be fine. I didn't mean to upset you, Kate, you have to believe that, and I never meant to hurt you." The immediate crisis had passed but with those last words Bodie had warned her that the danger that was Ray Doyle was still here and she would have to take care of him next.

Kate was in the bathroom. She felt she needed a bath once the performance was over and that's where Bodie found her half an hour later.

"Kate, I have to go out. Been called into work, I should be home tonight at some point." She nodded and he bent down and kissed her forehead gently and smiled at her before leaving. She realised he would be going straight to Doyle's, they needed to talk about this and Bodie wasn't one to let the grass grow under his feet but she was fairly content that phase one of her plan had gone flawlessly. There would be soul searching and a wailing and gnashing of teeth going on in Doyle's and that meant she had bought herself a little more time.

He felt dizzy and was relieved when he arrived at Doyle's. He leaned forward and rested his head against the steering wheel. Tonight was supposed to go very differently than it had. He was going to tell Kate that he was leaving, that things weren't working out. He and Doyle had been discussing just how much he should tell her when she had arrived home early. It had been a close call; any earlier and she would have walked in on a floorshow that he really didn't want her to see. Doyle had asked him if he wanted him to be there when he told her but he had decided that Doyle's presence would only make things worse. They had decided, with Cowley's, blessing that they wouldn't disclose their relationship to her. Bodie was to tell her he was leaving, that things weren't working out, that he was sorry and that he would be staying with Doyle until he was allocated a new flat. Cowley was hoping that this would be enough. Bodie was planning to be generous with the divorce settlement. He had a tidy sum saved from his time in the mercs and he was happy to share it with Kate, after all she was the innocent party in all this. Everything had seemed to be going in the right direction. He and Doyle, together, finally. God, he couldn't believe how much he loved Doyle, he couldn't believe it had taken them so long, he couldn't believe that they were so good together but mostly he couldn't believe how lucky he was to have found the one for him and that his love for Doyle grew every single day. But now, after tonight, the dream seemed to be just slightly out of his reach again. The bombshell that Kate had dropped was the last thing that he would have expected to happen. He had never even thought about himself as a father, not really, not seriously but he was going to be one and he didn't know how to feel about that. He got out of the car and made his way to Doyle's flat.

The flat was in darkness as Bodie entered but he could sense that Doyle was here.

"Doyle?" he asked, waiting for his partner to answer.

"In the living room, Bodie." Doyle's disembodied voice floated to him through the darkness, voice flat and emotionless and Bodie made his way to the room, turning on a lamp before looking at his partner.

Doyle was lying on the sofa, eyes closed, and glass of scotch unfinished in his hand. He was upset naturally, and Bodie had expected nothing less. He sat on the coffee table facing where Doyle lay.

"Sorry." It was all he could think to say to Doyle although he didn't really know what exactly he was apologising for; there was so much for him to be sorry for. Keeping his feelings to himself for so long, getting married all the while loving Doyle, sleeping with his wife and getting her pregnant. Doyle opened his eyes, they were red rimmed and Bodie felt his stomach contract at the sight. Doyle sat up and swung his legs off the sofa and faced Bodie before speaking.

"You said you weren't sleeping with her." A simple statement and Bodie was glad he hadn't lied to Doyle as he replied.

"I haven't been. It seems that she's at least a few months along. I'd never lie to you about something like that, Ray." A nod of the head as Doyle accepted his word without question.

"What are we going to do now, Bodie? You're going to be a dad. Where does that leave us?" Doyle asked eyes pleading with Bodie to make things better. "I'm sorry. I sound so bloody selfish. I suppose I should be congratulating you."

"No, Ray, no congratulations. Nothing's changed. We are still going to be together. I'm still leaving Kate. I'll support the baby and Kate but I'm not staying. It wouldn't do the child any good growing up in a house without love and that's what it would be, Ray. This is where the love is as far as I'm concerned and when the baby grows up I want he or she to be able to see that," he finished believing every word he was saying and hoping to convince an ever guilty Ray Doyle of it too.

"Are you sure, Bodie? I mean you're going to be a dad, that's a life changing thing and Kate'll probably never let you see the child after she finds out about us." He paused and took Bodie hands. "Strange as it may seem, Bodie, not everyone is going to be as accepting of our relationship as Cowley has been and I'm guessing that the wife you left for me will be one of those who doesn't take it well."

"I know, I know, but Kate's not a bad person and eventually she is bound to come round. It's not as if the kid will be the only one ever to have a weekend father, had one myself and I turned out alright," Bodie said trying to put a good spin on things but deliberately leaving out the obvious.

"Bodie, you ran away from home at fifteen and most of the reason for that was because of your crappy home life, because of your dad, and even he didn't have the added baggage of a male lover." Doyle sighed and dropped his head before continuing. "Kate may be a good person, Bodie..." he looked up at Bodie then knowing that he had to drive home the gravity of the situation. "...But you are going to leave her literally holding the baby, you're going to divorce her, leave her a single parent and set up home with me. No matter how good or nice a person she is now this might completely change her and not for the better." Doyle knew that Kate would never take this lying down. He had suspected all along that she was too good to be true. Too nice, too good, too accepting, just too easy. He had been waiting for the other shoe to drop but he never thought it would be this.

Bodie was looking at him now with a mixture of worry and pain on his face; he knew what was going through his mind but Bodie had to think this through.

"Sounds like you think I should change my mind about leaving, Ray. Do you think I should stay with her? Do you want me to stay with her?" he asked, the confusion clear in his voice.

"No.... Yes.... God! Bodie I don't know, it's just that this is a big thing. You're going to be a father and I think, no, I know you'd be a great dad and I don't want to be the person who took that away from you. Down the line I don't want you resenting me for it. I love you and I want you to be happy and if that means giving up what I want most in the world then that's what I'll do but you have to be honest with me and yourself, you have to really think about this, you have to really think about what you would be giving up; this is your one chance to be a father," Doyle finished. His eyes held Bodie's for a long moment before he had to turn away. He could feel the sting of tears in his eyes and he didn't want to charge the already emotional atmosphere with his crying. Bodie's voice broke the silence. It was rough with emotion and Doyle thought he might go to pieces at any minute.

"No, no way, Ray. I'm leaving Kate. I'll make it clear to her that I'll support her but I'm leaving. I know this is my only chance to be a father but that's something that shouldn't make a person miserable and if it meant giving you up it would make me miserable." Bodie shifted then and took Doyle into his arms and he felt him let go of the pent up emotion, his body shuddering as he let the tears flow. "It's OK, Ray. I love you. We'll make this work, I promise."

They decided to let things calm down a bit before Bodie would tell Kate he was leaving her and they tried to carry on as normal, but Doyle was anxious that they get it done before his guilt got the better of him or Bodie changed his mind. Even after all the reassurances Bodie had given him he was still nervous but he wasn't sure why, he wasn't even sure if it was Bodie who was making him feel anxious. He had a bad feeling about this from when Kate had made her announcement but he couldn't put his finger on why. He tried as far as possible not to be in her company but he and Bodie were running out of excuses as to why he couldn't come over for a celebratory dinner. The situation was becoming ridiculous and so a week after the announcement he capitulated and accepted her invitation to dinner. Both he and Bodie were filled with dread as the evening approached.

"Jesus, Bodie, I fucking hate this." He could hold it in no longer and as it was just the two of them in the rest room he felt that he could speak his mind.

"I know Ray. I do too. After the check-up at the hospital it'll be all over. Once I'm sure that everything's alright then I'm telling her," Bodie said reassuringly.

"When's that then?" he asked.

"Umm," Bodie replied around his mug of tea.

"When's the check-up?" Doyle clarified.

"Don't know. It's supposed to be after three months, isn't it?" Bodie asked him and Doyle thought back to when his sister Brenda was pregnant and agreed.

"Yeah," he replied and Bodie went back to reading the paper. The cogs in his brain were turning. He and Bodie had been together for nearly four months and Bodie hadn't slept with Kate since they got together so she must be at least four months pregnant, so why hadn't she been to the hospital before now? he asked himself. Then he asked Bodie.

"Kate's about four months gone Bodie, how come she hasn't been before now?"

"Say's she couldn't get an appointment," Bodie answered.

"Oh," Doyle said in response but he noticed that anxious feeling was back, the one that told him something wasn't right.

Well this was it. Kate Bodie had insisted that her rival come to dinner and finally he had accepted. She need to do this part quickly before Bodie noticed that she was not getting any bigger in belly or chest. she knew men were usually oblivious but neither Bodie nor Doyle were stupid and she realised that questions would be asked sooner rather than later. She would need to talk to Doyle alone and this seemed the least obvious way to do it rather than go to his flat and possibly find her husband there.

She heard the door unlock and voices coming from the hall as they arrived at the flat.

"Kate," Bodie shouted.

"In the kitchen, darling. I'll I be out in a minute," she called back, knowing that any term of endearment would serve to sicken Doyle.

She made her way to the lounge and saw Bodie standing very close to Doyle beside the bar, so shoulders back she performed striding into the room and straight to Bodie, kissing him soundly on the mouth and beaming a charming smile at Doyle when she was finished. She fancied that she could see him practically turning green with jealousy.

"Hello, Ray, we're glad you could come tonight and help us celebrate our wonderful news, aren't we, Bodie?" And she paused briefly before continuing. "Knowing you you're probably far too busy breaking the ladies' hearts than wanting to spend a boring evening in with an old married couple like us."

Doyle smiled thinly before replying. "Not me, Kate, just busy with work, you know the old man, bloody slave driver he is." It was forced and strained and the atmosphere was oppressive but it was exactly the way she wanted it. This was exactly the way she wanted him to feel.

Dinner was similar in feeling. She did everything to keep Doyle on edge. She fawned over Bodie and touched him frequently knowing Bodie could do nothing about it and knowing that every minute drove Doyle further and further into himself. She knew eventually that Bodie would need to move away from her and when he offered to clear the table and make coffee, refusing Doyle's offer of help, that her moment had come. They were far enough away from the kitchen not to be over heard when she started in on Doyle.

"It's wonderful, isn't it, Ray?" she asked.

"What? Sorry, Kate, I was somewhere else," he replied, wrong-footed.

"Its wonderful news about the baby, isn't it?" she asked again.

"Yes, congratulations," Doyle replied not knowing what else to say. He had thought about saying 'no, it's the worse news I have ever heard in my entire life and I wish that Bodie had never laid eyes on you because then he could be with the person he really loves instead of playing this bloody charade with you, bitch!' but he decided that it would only make a bad situation worse than it already was and then she was talking again.

"He'll make a fantastic father don't you think?" She didn't wait for him to agree, just continued on as if talking to herself. "We'll be a family and Bodie's never really had a family, he's never really belonged. Oh I know he has CI5 and you, Ray," and she looked at him then. "But that's not really the same is it? You can't give him what he really needs, what he really wants, can you?" and Doyle knew that she knew everything. "I can, I can give him it all, home, family, a stable, normal life, a place where he belongs for the first time in his life. Don't you want that for him, Ray? Don't you want him to be happy?"

He answered, his voice rough. "Of course I want him to be happy but you're wrong, he already has somewhere he belongs, he already has a family."

"You, Ray?" and she laughed quietly, thinly, forcedly. "I can give him a child, can you? I can make a home for him. I can do all the things I said I could do but I can also take all those things away from him." Her eyes were cold as she looked at him. "If you continue your affair with my husband, not only will he never, ever see his child but I will make sure that both you and he lose your careers. I will see to it that the entire world knows that CI5 is a hotbed of queers and perverts, a den of iniquity, where men leave their wives and children for their male partners and if Cowley is able to ride out the bad press it will only be because he will have thrown you both to the wolves. So Doyle..." This was the only time he could remember her calling him Doyle and it unnerved him. "'s your choice, you leave his bed and preferably London and I won't ruin his life. If you don't then things are going to get very ugly, very quickly."

Doyle was in shock. He knew there was something about her he didn't like but he never realised that she would turn out to be so vicious. He got up from the table and grabbed his coat, practically running through the flat to the door and out into the night.

Bodie came out of the kitchen as soon as he heard the door slam and went straight to the table where he found Kate alone.

"Where's Ray?" he asked, his tone puzzled.

Kate shrugged her shoulders. "He said he had forgotten to do something and left," she lied smoothly. "I expect you'll see him tomorrow, darling. I think I'll call it a night, Bodie, I'm quite tired." She stood from the table and kissed him once before continuing to the bedroom, leaving Bodie standing there none the wiser as to why Doyle had run out.

As she walked to the bedroom Kate realised that she had played her ace. She felt sick. She couldn't face Bodie at the moment and that's why she decided to go to bed. Over the last few weeks she had begun to realise that she didn't want Bodie anymore. She could barely look at him. At first she had wanted him back, she wanted the Bodie she had fallen in love with, but now she realised that he was gone forever and all that was left to her was revenge. She hadn't meant a word when she talked about giving Bodie a family, she could never do that now, but she still wanted him to be as hurt and unhappy as he had made her. She would tell him about the miscarriage in a couple of weeks, or maybe she would just tell him the truth, that there was no child, there would never be, not with him and then she would leave. The thought of that liberated her, made it easy for her to carry on with her plan. If everything went well Bodie would be left without Doyle and without the fallback option of a wife. She hoped his heart would break in two. It would be up to Doyle from here on, his next move would dictate hers and she was determined to follow through on her threats. If he still had Doyle beside him she was resolute that the rest of his life would fall apart. Nobody messed with Kate Matthews and got away with it, certainly not the likes of Ray Doyle or William Bodie. She wished it was all over and she would know soon enough if it were.

Bodie waited for the bedroom door to close before heading straight for the phone. Doyle would be home by now and he needed to talk to him about what had happened. He dialled the number and waited, no answer. He dialled the emergency number knowing that if Doyle were there he would answer. Again nothing. He decided to try the RT.

"3.7, 4.5." Nothing. He tried again. "3.7, 4.5." Another long silence, then:


"What the bloody hell happened to you?" he asked and Doyle could tell he was really pissed off.

"I just forgot about something I had...."

"Don't give me that, Doyle," Bodie cut him off before he could continue.

"OK," he replied, resignation clear in his voice as he chose his words carefully, they were using the RT's after all. "I just needed to get away from it, Bodie, it was too hard, I'm sorry but you must know how I feel," he finished and waited for Bodie to reply.

"Yeah, I suppose I do. Sorry, Ray." Bodie thought he understood perfectly what Doyle had felt and couldn't blame him for wanting to leave; he only wished that he could have left with him.

"I know, me too," Doyle said.

"See you tomorrow then?" Bodie asked, striving for normality, his voice lighter and happier as if he had just realised the conversation was being monitored by central.

"Yeah," Doyle replied automatically but suddenly he needed to tell Bodie he loved him regardless of who could hear and he began. "Bodie, I...."

"Ray?" Bodie asked.

"...I...doesn't matter. Goodbye, Bodie," he finished hoping that Bodie would leave it alone; he held his breath and waited...nothing. He breathed a sigh of relief and knew what his next move had to be.

Doyle had been sitting in his car on Bodie's street since he had left the flat. He was numb, in shock. How could this have happened? He couldn't comprehend the last half hour in any way but he knew that Kate had been serious. He couldn't let her ruin Bodie. He couldn't let her deprive him of his child and his career and reputation. Attitudes may have changed for the better but they hadn't changed so much that either the courts, in the case of a custody battle or the government, the Tories were once again in charge and their back to basics family values polices were anything but gay friendly, or the media, the tabloids forever looking for sensational stories about the establishment, would support his and Bodie's choice of lifestyle. He couldn't bear the fact that George Cowley would be dragged into it especially after he had been so supportive of them. Cowley had been grooming them both to take over from him as head of the organisation when he left, he had told them as much and Doyle couldn't bear Bodie being hurt or Cowley being forced to fire them, he couldn't be that selfish, he knew what he had to do.

It wasn't late but George Cowley was suspicious of a rap at his door whatever the time of day or night. He looked through the spy hole and saw that it was Doyle on his doorstep looking very much worse for the wear. He opened the door quickly.

"Something wrong, Doyle?" he asked and it was then he could see that Doyle was very shaken indeed. "You'd better come in, 4.5."

"Thank you, sir," Doyle replied before making his way into Cowley's flat.

Cowley poured two glasses of whiskey, surreptitiously regarding his visitor as he did so. He could count on one hand the number of times any of his agents had been to his flat and on one finger the amount of times they had come of their own volition--this was that time.

He could already feel a sense of loss seeping into him as he motioned Doyle to sit and handed him an obviously well needed drink.

"Well?" he asked knowing that Doyle was there to ask him something.

"I need you to do something for me," Doyle said finally looking at his boss. Cowley motioned him to continue. "I need you to send me away, deep undercover, months, years, it doesn't matter, I just need to go."

Cowley appeared calm in spite of that shock he was feeling from Doyle's request.

"I don't have anything at the moment, Doyle. Nothing new anyway and there are already agents committed to the old operations, there is nothing undercover," he stopped as he thought of an alternative, knowing Doyle would reject it but believing that Doyle would find it easier to tell him why after he had. "You could always head up the new office in Glasgow. I had given it to Hastings but would much rather you...."

"No, no, he'd find me then. I need him not to be able to find me for a while," Doyle said in such a defeated, regret-filled tone that Cowley knew this was no lovers' tiff. Doyle would have known better than to come to him with that anyway.

"What happened, Doyle?" he asked.

"Kate's pregnant," Doyle said and took a deep breath before expanding on this statement. "Bodie still wants to leave her but I know he would regret it and I don't want that. I don't want to be the reason he can't be a dad, I don't want him to resent me and I don't want her to be able to hold this over his head for the rest of his life. So I have to leave." He looked a Cowley and awaited the old man's reaction.

"So, he doesn't know you're leaving. I take it you'll leave regardless of what I can and cannot do for you." Doyle nodded and Cowley continued. "Don't you think it should be Bodie's choice?"

"No! It's not as simple as that. Really, sir, I can't leave this one up to Bodie. There is more at stake than our relationship." He was shaking his head from side to side before he asked, "Can you help me?"

Cowley needed to think for a while. The last thing he wanted was to lose Doyle from CI5 after all the time and effort it had taken him to lick both him and Bodie into shape but short of creating a new position out of thin air he didn't have anywhere to put him in the squad. Doyle was never one to run away from his problems and Cowley realised that the problem must not be as simple as Doyle had made it sound. Then it came to him. A secondment to MI5. Douglas Henderson had approached him over a month ago asking if he would be willing to lend him either Bodie or Doyle on secondment for six months. Henderson, looking to score brownie points with the cabinet, was vocally in favour of a plan to develop interdepartmental cooperation between the security services and liked to be seen to be pushing the initiative forward making approaches to both Cowley and Walker of MI6. For once Cowley and Walker were in agreement, they wanted no part of this policy because neither one expected that anything would come of it and both hated to waste time. Cowley now reflected that it would be the perfect solution to his problem. Doyle would be able to use his time away to sort out his personal life and on a more selfish note he would gain experience of the other security service that would help him when the time came for him to take over. He would make sure that Henderson was aware that this was a secondment only and that he expected his agent to be returned to CI5 once the six months were up. He could see that Doyle was waiting patiently for his answer.

"You will be seconded to MI5 for six months 4.5," he said, startling Doyle.

"MI5, but..." He started in shock.

"No buts, Doyle." Cowley cut him off. "Take it or leave it. It's the only thing I can do for you in order that you remain in the services." Doyle nodded and he continued. "You will be seconded as part of an interdepartmental cooperation policy. You will be given a position on a level with the one you have in CI5. They work differently and you may find that you enjoy the luxury that a senior position in that organisation entails but don't get comfortable because I will expect you to come back here and do the job I trained you for."

"Thank you, sir," Doyle said, head still reeling with what was happening.

"You will take one week's leave before you take up your position. I will have the removers clear your flat and organise for your MI5 flat to be available when you return. I suppose you'd better go and pack a bag."

"Thank you, sir," Doyle said before standing and moving to the door. Cowley spoke again.

"Doyle, I shall expect you to use this time both this week and in MI5 to sort out your personal life. I cannot let my agents' private lives affect the running of the organisation in this way. Use your time in MI5 to hone your skills and I trust that when you return you and Bodie will be able to work together," Cowley finished and Doyle could hear the note of concern in his voice. He hoped he would be able to live up to Cowley's expectations.

"Understood, sir," Doyle said and left the flat.

The flat was cold when he got in. He decided not to put the heating on; he would simply go about his business, pack and leave for the coast right away. After writing a short note to Bodie, he headed for the bedroom and stopped in the doorway looking at his rumpled bed, the one he had shared with Bodie only yesterday, and the pain in his heart grew as he thought of that. They were so sure that they could work through this, so sure that everything would work out for the best even if Bodie was a father but neither of them had even imagined that Kate knew anything about their affair.

He tried to think about how she could have found out and then it struck him. The weekend that Kate was meant to be at her parents and they had, against his better judgement, ended up in Bodie's bed. He was sure he had heard something in the flat but had dismissed it and continued to make love to Bodie but now he was sure that Kate must have come home early and had seen or heard them together. He shook his head, it really didn't matter now, how or when she found out, she knew and that was that. He walked to the bed and began to strip it of the bed linen. There was no point leaving his personal life open to the scrutiny of the removals men. He picked up a pillow and suddenly he was struck by Bodie's scent. He buried his face in the pillow and inhaled, his heart breaking a little more knowing that it would be some time before he would be able to see Bodie again, never mind get close enough to smell him. He stuffed the bed linen into a laundry bag.

He needed to get away before he lost his nerve and so he grabbed his holdall and began to pack everything he would need for a week away. He had left his RT with Cowley and had promised to let him know where he was when he arrived at the coast. Cowley would not tell Bodie his location, of that he was sure. He grabbed his weapon and his ID and turned to leave the room. Suddenly he stopped and found himself retrieving the Bodie scented pillowcase from the laundry bag and stuffing it in his holdall, and then leaving the letter on top of the TV he left the flat.

Bodie hadn't slept a wink all night. He didn't go to bed, deciding to spend the night on the sofa rather than disturb Kate, but he tossed and turned all night knowing in his gut that something wasn't right, that something was wrong. Doyle had seemed distant on the RT as if he really didn't want to speak to Bodie and Bodie found that he sympathised, knowing that if he was in Doyle's position he may need space sometimes in order to deal with it all and that was the only reason that Bodie hadn't gone round to his flat. Now he wished he had, he knew he was being selfish but he needed Doyle, he wanted him and that meant all the time even when Doyle was feeling low, especially then.

He looked at his watch and saw that it was just past five o'clock but he couldn't wait any longer; he decided to get dressed and go over to Doyle's.

As soon as he opened the door he could sense that the flat was empty. He flicked on the lights and walked straight to the bedroom knowing, somehow that he would find Doyle's clothes gone. The bed had been stripped and he noticed that Doyle's holdall was gone along with some of his clothes. Bodie was worried and angry. Doyle had left and not told him he was going. Making his way back to the living room he spotted the envelope on top of the TV and as he got closer saw his name printed on it.

His hand was shaking as he opened the note and read the contents. I'm sorry Bodie.
I love you

The letter blurred and Bodie realised that his eyes had filled with tears. Doyle was gone. Doyle had left him but Doyle loved him so why would he leave? He needed to speak to Cowley because he knew that the cow would know where Doyle was.

He headed straight to HQ knowing he wouldn't have to wait very long; the old man was always early.

He spotted Bodie's car as soon as he pulled into the car park. He had known it wouldn't take Bodie long to find out that Doyle was gone and he braced himself for the confrontation as he sat behind his desk in his office.

"Where is he?" Bodie asked as he burst through the door to the controller's office, waving a piece of paper that Cowley assumed was some sort of note left to Bodie from Doyle.

"That's classified, 3.7," he answered voice even and all business.

"Don't give me that, just bloody tell me," Bodie spat, forgetting where he was and whom he was talking to. Cowley stood suddenly then and glared at him before speaking again.

"Sit down and shut up, 3.7."

Bodie wanted to protest but he did what he was told and sat down, his anger draining, slowly being replaced by hurt and pain.

"Doyle is on special assignment for the next six months," Cowley began to explain, his voice even. "He will be unable to contact anyone and I will be unable to reveal his whereabouts. It's out of my hands, Bodie," he finished truthfully because for the next six months Doyle was no longer his or CI5's concern.

"Why did you do this? Why choose Ray for this assignment?" Bodie asked needing answers.

"Och, Bodie. He came to me last night and requested a new assignment. He was insistent, either I give him this or he resign. For selfish reasons as well as for the good of CI5 I didn't want to lose him so I gave him an assignment," Cowley explained, his sympathy for Bodie's plight beginning to show in his attitude.

"Did he tell you why he needed to go?" Bodie asked.

"Yes, he told me about your wife's pregnancy." Cowley answered.

"But it doesn't make any sense; we had discussed it and agreed that it wouldn't change anything. He agreed that it was my decision," Bodie said, talking as much to himself as to Cowley.

"He told me as much, Bodie, but he also mentioned that he didn't want you to resent him, that he didn't want to be the cause of you being unable to be a father to the child," Cowley responded, wondering when he had become a marriage guidance counsellor for his agents and then wondering whether he would be as indulgent were it any of his other agents. He supposed that he wouldn't, 3.7 and 4.5 always had special status when it came to his attentions. Bodie's head was bowed, he looked a broken man and this alone spurred Cowley to put voice to something that was niggling him from the time Doyle had said it to him. "Bodie, before I agreed to this new assignment I told Doyle that surely any decision about this would be best left up to you, he implied that things weren't all that simple, that there was more at stake than your relationship. I never pushed him on it because I believe he would have resigned but I believe that there is more to this than you think. You and I both know that Ray Doyle is not one to turn away from a fight, especially a fight he believes in."

Bodie stood up.He was becoming agitated, worried, he began to pace. "Do you think someone is after him? Do you think he's been threatened?" He turned worried eyes to Cowley before asking, "Is he safe where he is?"

"Yes Bodie, he's quite safe. I cannot answer your other questions with any certainty but I cannot rule anything out. He's safe where he is. I plan on leaving you solo until he returns. I will need you to work with me a lot of the time but I won't need you to start until tomorrow. Go home, 3.7, get some rest, I'll see you first thing tomorrow." Cowley motioned that the conversation was over and a despondent Bodie left the office.

It had been eating at him since his conversation with Doyle and now he kicked himself for not having pushed for an explanation. What was important to Doyle apart from his relationship with Bodie, Cowley mused. Bodie himself? Cowley thought that it was much more likely that some threat had been made against Bodie and from someone close to home. He also knew that he couldn't interfere any more than he already had, he had stepped over his bounds as boss, and they would have to work this one out for themselves.

Bodie was a complete wreck. He couldn't talk to Kate, he didn't want to and she seemed less than enthusiastic about having any contact with him. He was happy that Cowley had allocated him a two bed flat after his marriage because he now slept in the spare room and it was easier than pretending any affection for Kate. He missed Doyle terribly. It felt as though his heart had been ripped from his body and it amazed him sometimes that he was able to function at all. It felt as though he had lost a limb. He knew that Cowley was going easy on him and not for the first time he felt honoured that this man cared about him. The first week without Doyle was the hardest but true to form Cowley made sure that his mind was as busy elsewhere as he could manage and for that he was grateful.

Douglas Henderson had decided from the start that he would do everything in his power to assure that Doyle would never want to go back to CI5. He needed good agents and he acknowledged, begrudgingly, that George Cowley trained his agents to an outstanding level. He was, he admitted to himself, jealous of George Cowley. Yes, his post had the same if not higher status than that of the head of CI5 but somehow, whether it was because Cowley had founded the department and written the rules or because he had helped to write the rules for MI5 and MI6, he always felt that George Cowley was held in much higher regard than he and he didn't like it one bit.

He decided that this interdepartmental cooperation programme would be the best opportunity to raise his profile to the powers that be and if he played his cards right he would be able to poach Cowley's heir apparent, or one of them at least, and weaken Cowley's hold somewhat.

Doyle was used to action and Henderson was determined that he would see plenty, that he would never have time to be bored and that he would come to enjoy the perks of the job enough to stay and then Doyle would show Henderson just how George Cowley's mind worked. He decided that Doyle would head up or be involved in operations that some of his existing agents would have given their eye-teeth to work on.

Doyle couldn't believe the flat he had been assigned--it was pure luxury, like nothing they could ever hope to have in CI5, but for all that it was, it wasn't home and he didn't mean any flat that CI5 allocated him, he meant because Bodie wouldn't be there to share it with him as a friend or as anything else. He took Bodie's pillowcase from his holdall and held it to his face inhaling the scent as deeply as he could. It hadn't been long since Bodie had used it but the smell was already beginning to fade. He missed Bodie more than he could ever imagine missing anyone. There was an ache in his heart that was constant, he fancied that he could even feel the pain when he was asleep and that would account for the fitful, restless nights he had experienced since he had left Bodie. He had left Bodie and that thought disturbed him more than he could ever have known. He had broken all the promises he had ever made to the man but he hoped that in time Bodie would forgive him. In his head he pictured that when he returned to CI5 Bodie would already be a father and that he and Kate would be the family that Bodie always wanted and had thought he had found with Doyle. It broke him up to think that Bodie would have to live with that woman, in order that she not reveal his love for Doyle and take away everything that Bodie cared about. How could they have read her so wrong, easy-going, nice, innocent Kate Matthews, how could he ever have thought that she would take losing Bodie well. He wouldn't...but then he had lost him. He had walked away from Bodie without a fight; he had walked away from Bodie without even an explanation. For the first time he began to question just what he had done.

Henderson put him to work straight away on what seemed to Doyle to be all the big cases. So from day one it was all business, all busy, this is what he was used to and he had to concede the fact that MI5 had all the latest gadgets. Glad that he was occupied he settled in to what he believed was going to be a very long six months.

She wasn't getting any bigger. Always very trim, Bodie put it down to genes. Maybe her mother had been the same with her, but now it had begun to bother him. She had told him that she had a doctor's appointment today and he was determined that he be with her. She had brushed him off saying that he was too busy with work to be concerned with a silly appointment but she had mentioned something about it being at four o'clock and Bodie decided to go anyway.

Driving to the surgery in the car he contemplated the last three weeks. He couldn't believe that it had only been three weeks without Doyle, it felt like a lifetime and he still couldn't work out why Doyle had left. Bodie had already decided that he couldn't stay with Kate and that was true with or without Doyle at his side, but he had really believed that it would be with him, Doyle had promised him he'd be there. It hurt too much to think about and after the bouts of anger had simmered down he reminded himself of everything that Doyle had to go through and tried to put himself in Doyle's shoes. How would he have behaved if Doyle had been the one who was married with a baby on the way? He tried to imagine that he would leave Doyle but he really didn't think that he would have and then the anger would start again. There must have been something else, something else must have happened.

He was thankful that work was keeping him busy. He had less time to really think about Doyle and how much he was missing him. Bodie found suddenly that he was outside the surgery and parking the car looked around for Kate's motor. It wasn't here, maybe he had got the time wrong or the day. He decided to check with the receptionist.

The receptionist had checked her appointment book three times at Bodie's insistence and found no appointment for Kate. Something must be wrong. Maybe she had meant a hospital appointment. The receptionist had recommended that Bodie wait for a while in order that he see the doctor and ask any questions that were on his mind.

Ten minutes later he was called into the office.

"Mr Bodie?" The doctor asked and offered his hand. Bodie nodded and shook the man's hand before sitting. "Have you come to register with us? Kate told me that your employer provided medical cover."

"Yes they do, I haven't come to register. I've come to ask you about my wife's pregnancy," Bodie said, happy for Kate that her doctor seemed so friendly.

"Well, congratulations, Mr Bodie. This is good news, be sure to tell Kate congratulations from us and you must get her to make an appointment as soon as possible so that we can do the confirmation test and set the wheels in motion with the hospital."

Bodie was a little confused and convinced that the doctor had somehow got mixed up about all this and so he repeated, "You don't understand doctor. She's pregnant and she has already been to see you about it. Are you sure your talking about Kate Bodie?" Bodie asked wanting the doctor to be totally clear.

"Well, yes, of course, Mr Bodie, Kate Bodie formally Kate Matthews, she's been my patient for years and I can assure you that she wasn't pregnant two weeks ago when she had her yearly check-up. I'm sorry, Mr Bodie, if there has been some sort of misunderstanding," the doctor finished, clearly embarrassed as he realised that Bodie's wife had been leading him a merry dance. Bodie was on his feet and out the door in a flash.

Bodie got into the car and pointed it in the direction of his flat. He was so angry he couldn't see straight. What the hell was going on? Kate's own doctor hadn't known anything about the pregnancy--she had lied to him about being pregnant. Why? He couldn't even begin to think about this, he needed to see her now. Pulling up at the flat he quickly parked and abandoning the car bounded up the stairs to the flat and through the door. Kate was sitting in the living room reading a book and looked up at him as he came in.

"Hello, darling. You're home early. Did Mr Cowley let you off so you could come home and look after your pregnant wife?" she said smiling, an amused tone to her voice.

"No, he didn't. In fact I took the afternoon off so that I could meet you at your doctor's appointment, only when I got there you were nowhere to be seen," he answered barely reining in his anger but willing her to dig herself a deeper hole.

"Oh, darling, how very sweet of you, but my appointment was this morning," she answered smoothly and Bodie began to realise just how good an actress he was married to.

"And? What did the doctor say?" ee asked, he was very used to acting himself.

"Fine, everything is fine. The baby is healthy and so am I," she said smiling. Bodie couldn't believe the lies that were tripping so easily off her tongue. He knew that a lot of his job involved lies and deceit and he was used to being in a role, undercover, requiring a new identity and playing the part. He wasn't perfect and was guilty of mendacity throughout his affair with Doyle but to willingly hurt someone, he tried as far as possible not to do that.

"You're a liar. I saw Doctor Moore, asked him about the pregnancy and he was very happy for us, asked me to pass on his congratulations to you and to remind you to make an appointment to get the ball rolling. Well as you can imagine I was quite taken aback that he didn't know anything about the baby and so I want you to tell me what the hell is going on," Bodie said. Surprisingly he felt calm, nearly as if a weight had been lifted off his shoulders, and so he waited patiently for Kate to respond.

Kate got up from the sofa and stood facing Bodie. Bodie was so handsome and she remembered how much she had loved him once, not now though, she looked at him and she hated him. She was relieved that things had finally come to a head; it was to be the truth then and nothing less.

"Yes, I lied; there is no baby, Bodie, there never was." She waited, needing him to ask, to plead for an explanation.

Bodie sank down onto the armchair. He looked vulnerable, she had never seen him look as lost as this and she was delighted. He looked up at her, eyes pleading, asking her to make him understand. "Why? Why, Kate? What did you think you were doing?"

She was going to enjoy this, she had waited too long for it but after this she would be free to begin again and Bodie would be lost and broken just as he deserved to be.

"Why?" she exclaimed and laughed her laugh thin and devoid of humour. "Christ, Bodie, can't you guess? No, well let me paint you a picture." She began to pace up and down in front of the window and a feeling of dread descended on Bodie and he knew that she knew about Doyle. She continued. "Imagine a young wife comes home early from the country, head full of romantic ideas that she would spend the extra time with her loving husband, planning a special meal, enjoyed with wine and for dessert, her hopes are, that after months of going without so much as a touch from her husband that tonight would be different," she glared at Bodie. "She is quiet as she enters the flat, her husband works long hours and may be in bed so she doesn't want to waken him but as she gets closer to the bedroom she hears noises and realises that her husband is in bed and having sex with someone else. She is beside herself with anger but needs to see the woman her husband wants, who it is that her husband is sleeping with because it sure as hell hasn't been her for a while and finally when the door opens enough for her to see into the room all the questions are answered." She looked at Bodie again and by this time his head was hung. "I saw you and Ray, Bodie. I saw him under you, you in him, and afterward you lay there in each other's arms and you looked at him in a way you have never looked at me..." she trailed off, her voice cracking with emotion. "...I heard everything you said, all the plans you were making and I just had to get away, so I left, went to a hotel and came back the next day. Remember? You were having a shower. I joined you. Remember Bodie?" She looked at him waiting for a reply, he only nodded his head.

"So I decided to get Doyle out of your life, to get you back and so I told you I was pregnant. I thought your sense of duty would keep you with me and if it didn't, I decided to play on Ray Doyle's guilt complex. Both approaches worked rather well actually and now Ray Doyle is gone. You are alone and I hope you feel as low as you made me feel. I don't want you anymore, Bodie, even if I could have you, I don't want you but I had to make sure that you couldn't have Ray Doyle either. It was all worth it just for that."

Bodie was incensed. At first when Kate began to speak he felt guilty about what he had done to her but suddenly, now that she was talking about having manipulated Doyle, he was becoming more and more angry with her.

"What did you say to him Kate? What the hell did you do?" he practically shouted at her.

"Why don't you ask Doyle, oh, that's right, he left you didn't he. So much for him loving you--he couldn't even stay when things got a little rough," she goaded seeing how far she could push him.

Bodie jumped up from the chair he was so angry; how dare she talk about Doyle that way? She knew nothing about him, and Doyle was no coward. He felt as though he would burst as he stalked towards Kate barely holding himself in check, barely able to stop himself from lashing out and striking her and she knew it, she could see it in his eyes.

"Are you going to hit me, Bodie? Would that make you feel better, would that make you feel more like a man? You're nothing but a bloody queer, Bodie, and you disgust me, my butch, manly husband, what a joke. I'm leaving you, just like Doyle did. I hope you're a miserable as you've made me, you have no-one now," she spat with venom Bodie didn't believe she was capable of but Bodie backed down. He pulled himself away from the confrontation and sat down on the sofa.

"I've been miserable and alone from the night Ray left. Your leaving will make absolutely no difference." Bodie knew that it was a cruel thing to say but it was the truth and Kate Matthews, as Bodie had just discovered, was no angel herself.

With that Kate walked away from him and to the bedroom where she proceeded to pack the remainder of her clothes.

As Bodie looked around the flat he was suddenly struck by the fact that most of Kate's things were gone. Pictures, books and ornaments gone. Everything that made this flat Kate's had been removed and he hadn't even noticed, no wonder she was so angry. Kate really had won, he was a shell, an empty vessel, and nothing was left of the man he had been before this. Nothing was left of the man he was when he had Doyle in his life.

Doyle lay prone on the bed, a thin sheen of sweat covering his body as he was kissed and licked. His bed mate started at his feet and was working his way up licking and kissing ankle and calf, spending time on the surprisingly sensitive skin on the back of his knee, leaving a trail of liquid fire along his thighs and buttocks. His companion paused, lapping at the sweat pooled on his lower back before moving up and dropping kisses on each vertebra of his spine, reducing him to a quivering wreck, turning him on more than he had ever been turned on in his life. The friction of the sheet against his achingly hard cock wasn't enough to relieve him and he felt his hands fisted in the sheet, twisting the fabric hard, trying to move but immobilised by the weight along his back. His breath was coming in shallow bursts and pants as he turned his face to capture the lips of his lover who kissed him slow and deep before leaving him to begin the return journey down his body with as much painstaking care as before. Doyle was in heaven. He never knew it could be like this, he had never felt so much as every nerve in his body was caressed and soothed and by the same token set on fire, he couldn't believe he had finally found this. He gasped as his lover's fingers dipped into the cleft between his buttocks, as he felt a kiss on the small of his back and another pressed onto his tailbone and then a warm wet tongue replacing his lover's fingers and he was lost. Doyle moaned as he felt his lover's tongue pass across his anus, his nerves erupting with the sensation as it happened again and again, the saliva making it wet and the attention opening him up to the sensations. He tried to move to get some relief but strong hands on his hips held him down, preventing him from coming, preventing him from stopping this assault on his body. He felt the hands move from his hips to his arse, gently parting the cheeks to give more access to the probing tongue. At once he felt exposed and yet completely wanton, craving what his lover was giving and then suddenly he felt himself breached as his lover began to slowly fuck him with his tongue, in and out and round and he felt like he would explode with this feeling. After what seemed like an age he felt his lover withdraw and then he felt the tongue replaced by one slippery finger as his lover began another slow journey up his back, kissing and biting and adding a second finger to the first. He was shaking as both fingers stroked him gently, brushing his prostate with every stroke, making him see stars of pleasure and making him moan in a way he never thought himself capable of as his lover captured his lips and added a third finger, making sure he was ready and God, was he ready. As the kiss finished he felt the words pulled from him as his lover removed his fingers and gently coaxed him to his knees and he felt the snub lance of cock against his hole ready to push in.

"God, Bodie...please, I need you now...please," he moaned and then he was being filled as Bodie pushed slowly into him, filling him and groaning as he pulled out and pushed in once more in one slow stroke until he was fully sheathed and he kissed Doyle again before speaking low into his ear, his voice hoarse with emotion and rough with lust.

"I'm inside you now, Ray, all the way, feel me, it's all for you," And he began a slow rhythm, still covering Doyle's back, kissing every inch he could reach. "God you're so hot, so tight." He reached round and took Doyle's weeping cock in his fist and began to pump in sync with his own thrusts which were coming faster and harder and Doyle knew that neither of them were going to last much longer, and then urgently, roughly in his ear: "Jesus, Ray, I love you, I fucking love you." Repeated again and again and suddenly Doyle was there spilling over Bodie's fist, coming and coming clamping down on Bodie who growled and came, flooding Doyle with the warmth of his seed.

Doyle awakened abruptly, panting, covered in sweat and semen. He sat up in the bed rubbing his face, shaking his head, wondering when it would end, when would he be able to sleep a night through without dreaming of Bodie, without remembering what they were like together, how right it had been, how he felt as though he belonged. He was adrift now. He didn't belong here and he knew for certain that he couldn't go back to CI5, he couldn't bear to see Bodie the husband and father for fear that he would throw himself at the man's feet and beg him to give it all up, give up a family, a child, for what? What could Doyle offer him that would in any way compensate for a wife and child? He came to a decision then that he would stay only until he had enough money together to leave England for good. He got up, knowing that he wouldn't be able to sleep now anyway and he had to read the files Henderson had given him for his next assignment. He padded to the bathroom and quickly washed away the remnants of his dream before pulling on his sweatpants and heading into the living room.

Molovich was a tricky one. Henderson was convinced that the KGB had reactivated him but Doyle wasn't so sure. He had been with MI5 for nearly five months and had begun to notice that agents tended to feed Henderson the type of information they thought he wanted to hear. It would be a coup indeed for MI5 to turn Molovich. They had left him alone for years with only token surveillance, any information he had was outdated, he had been useless to them but now what they had hoped would happen was, in Henderson's' eyes, happening. If he was reactivated and he co-operated they would have an invaluable resource inside the KGB something that had been lacking after the death of Kordsky. Doyle had handed Henderson some good results in the months he had been with the service and more and more Henderson was bringing him into the inner circle. Doyle wasn't stupid though even if Henderson thought himself good at doublethink. Doyle had been learning the art of triple think at the knee of the master and he understood what Henderson was up to. Henderson wanted Doyle to stay. Henderson wanted access to Cowley's way of thinking, he wanted one over on Cowley, and he wanted to poach an heir apparent.

When he was handed the files to the Molovich case he knew that Henderson believed it to be the sweetener, that if Doyle turned Molovich the accolades he would receive and the requests for him to stay would appeal to any vanity he might have and would go a big way to persuading him to stay. That wasn't going to happen. The pain in his heart had not diminished in any way since he had left Bodie. If anything he believed it was getting worse. He had tried a number of times to get back into the dating scene but all his trials had been disastrous, his dates, he knew, had been left with a sense that he hadn't really been there and really he hadn't been because his mind brought him back to his Kensington flat and the safe cocoon of his bed that smelled of him and Bodie as they held each other in the afterglow of their lovemaking making plans and promises that he couldn't keep. He shook himself out of his reverie and started to read the files he had been given.

It only took him a few moments to come to the conclusion that Molovich had not in fact been reactivated but was pursuing his own agenda, his own criminal agenda, and if that were the case then this belonged to CI5 and not MI5. He wondered idly if he should let Henderson know that it was much more likely Molovich was playing the criminal game instead of the spy one. He dismissed the thought nearly as soon as it crossed his mind. It would probably be a waste of time since Henderson believed only what he wanted to believe. It still amazed him, even after five months, that some of the agents in this particular branch of the secret service were so inept that they couldn't tell a criminal from a spy. Maybe Cowley was simply better at training his operatives--yes, they made mistakes but this was glaringly obvious to him. He decided to play along with Henderson's agenda and take over surveillance of the subject. Feeling tired again, he decided to call it a night, hoping that he would be able to sleep if only for a couple of hours.

Bodie went to the fridge and took out a beer. He walked back out to the living room, threw his jacket onto the chair and sank onto the sofa. He was bone tired, he was weary, he was depressed and he was angry. In the months since Kate left he had time to mull over everything she had said. He had been driving himself crazy trying to piece together the reason why Doyle had left him. He knew that everything Kate had said about Doyle had been said out of anger and disgust but he couldn't help dwelling on the fact that Doyle had left him. They had talked about it and they had agreed to stay together but then Doyle had still left. He wanted to know why. He wanted to ask Doyle to explain himself. He wanted to ask Doyle why he had taken it upon himself to make Bodie's decisions for him. He wanted to know if Doyle simply thought that Bodie and his baggage were just too much trouble. But most of all he wanted to know if Doyle still loved him. He was going mad turning things over and over in his head, dissecting every conversation for clues but he couldn't find an answer. All he knew was that his love for Doyle was stronger than ever and he missed him too much to keep going.

He didn't want to let Cowley down but he knew that after this case he was going to leave the squad. He couldn't do it without Doyle, he didn't want to. Five months without his partner and it felt like years. He had resisted all Cowley's attempts to re-partner him; he couldn't trust anyone else to watch his back, he was used to having the best.

At least this latest job was keeping him occupied. He and Cowley had intercepted information that Molovich, a former KGB agent, was getting into the gun running trade and was not too selective about his clientele. He had already been responsible for supplying guns to rebel elements in certain African countries, rebels, whose politics were not those with which the British government agreed and it was happening on their own soil. Even the more traditional arms dealers, men who didn't always put principles before profit, knew that this new player was going to make life more and difficult for them. Molovich had approached Bodie's old friend Marty Martell looking for some 'specialist equipment' and Marty had contacted Bodie and given him a way in. Marty had told Molovich that he couldn't help but instead had given him Bodie's name as an associate who could. Cowley ensured that all his credentials as a notorious, nefarious, gunrunner had checked out and Molovich had contacted him. The trap was set and all Bodie had to do now was wait for Molovich to contact him with a time and place for the drop. It was a waiting game. Bodie opened another beer, drinking it quickly before thinking vaguely that he should eat something. He couldn't remember the last time he had an actual meal. He opened the fridge and quickly closed it again when he remembered he hadn't been shopping in weeks, he had been living on CI5 coffee, the occasional Chinese takeaway and alcohol, plenty of alcohol. He used it to dull the pain, to put him in a place where he could at least sleep for a while without images of Doyle, beside him, under him, in him, invading his head and preventing any rest. He stalked back to the living room and poured himself a large scotch, downing it in one go, willing the images away as he poured himself another.

Cowley knew he was about to lose them both. This was exactly what he had wanted to avoid. For the millionth time he wondered how two such clever men had been so stupid. He had had no contact with Doyle since he went to MI5 and his attempts to contact his agent had been thwarted by Henderson at every turn. He was only too aware that Doyle did not know that Bodie and Kate had split and that the promised baby had all been a ploy by Bodie's wife to get back at him. Cowley knew that Doyle would have come back in an instant had he known what had happened and been able to see how miserable Bodie was without him. He only hoped it wasn't too late for them.

If he knew Henderson at all Cowley knew that he would be taking an interest in Molovich and if Henderson had any brains at all he would bring Doyle in on the investigation. Bodie had told him that he had been aware of being watched during his meetings with the Russian and Cowley knew that it must be MI5 doing the surveillance, he was also sure that so far it hadn't been Doyle, he had trained him better than to be spotted. Cowley knew that this case would either bring his best team back together or send them both scurrying for cover and in that case he would lose them both forever.

What the hell was Bodie doing here? He might have known that Cowley would put his best man on the job but he wasn't prepared for Bodie. It looked as though Bodie was undercover. He had been accepted by the group like an old friend. Doyle wondered why the other MI5 agents hadn't included the fact that CI5 were on the case in the files he had been given. It was just as he had predicted then, it was a criminal matter.

He had placed a bug in the warehouse and could very clearly hear the discussion. They were arranging a drop with Bodie in less than an hour, just after dark. Bodie was assuring them that he had the merchandise and that everything would run smoothly and Molovich was assuring Bodie that it better or he would regret it. Hearing Bodie's voice was tougher that he had thought it would be--it was the usual Bodie timbre, low and so fucking incredibly sexy and as ever he was handling the meeting like the pro he was. He seemed to have them eating out of the palm of his hand.

Doyle shook himself away from the hypnotising tone of Bodie voice and concentrated on the conversation, already prepared to report to Henderson that this was a criminal matter and that CI5 were handling it fine without MI5 interference. Doyle knew that the old man would have the sting ready when Bodie reported back the time and place for the drop; he was relieved that he hadn't lost his instincts when it came to the criminal element.

Seeing Bodie had really knocked him for six. Bodie looked tired but he looked good, if a little thin, but that wasn't unusual, Bodie's weight fluctuated from one year to the next, sometimes from one month to the next, Doyle thought it must be fatherhood. The baby would be a few weeks old by now and lack of sleep and no time to himself were definitely showing on his partner. He stopped himself on that thought. He was no longer Bodie's partner and knew that he could never be again, it would be too difficult, it was too difficult just seeing him from a distance never mind being in close proximity to him day in day out. He was leaving London, he was leaving England and he was going to do it as soon as was humanly possible.

The meeting finished and Bodie left the warehouse, stopping briefly in the doorway to light a cigarette. Doyle smiled. Bodie always used undercover work as his excuse to smoke and boy could Bodie make smoking look sexy. Doyle couldn't help but look appreciatively. Bodie was all in black, wearing one of his bum freezer jackets, one he hadn't worn in a long time; his soft cords hugged his ass and thighs and his t-shirt was stretched tight over his chest; his hair, longer than Doyle had ever seen it, was ruffled by the breeze. Suddenly Bodie stopped and looked around, scanning the area as if looking for something, his eyes drifted to the building that Doyle was secreted in and Doyle almost gasped as Bodie's blue eyes seemed to see through the brick and concrete and straight into his own. Then, just as suddenly, Bodie turned and walked away towards his car. Doyle let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. They both did that, they always checked the vicinity before and after a meeting. Bodie had no idea he was there. He could feel the now familiar dull ache in his heart become sharper as if his heart was about to break again--he couldn't take this. He threw the headset on to the bed and sat down, head in hands, and rubbed his eyes. Fox, the other agent in the room, tapped him on the shoulder forcing him out of his reverie and motioned urgently for Doyle to put his headset on.


"Yes, Mr Molovich."

"You must follow our Mr Bodie and kill him. It has come to my attention that he is in fact an agent of CI5. Once you have completed your task go to ground in the usual place and we will send for you when the coast is clear. The rest of you will accompany me to Headly, we are leaving tonight."

The group around Molovich murmured their agreement before Molovich began to talk again.

"Do not fail me, Ivan. I want no loose ends and I want to send a message to Morris. No one can trick Molovich and get away with it. Go."

Doyle's heart was in his mouth, he looked out the window in time to see Ivan leave the warehouse in the direction that Bodie had taken. He immediately sprang into action. There was no time to follow procedure, Bodie was in danger and Cowley would have his men deployed already to the drop location, Bodie was in danger and Doyle would die himself before he would let anything happen to Bodie. He threw down the headset and barked orders to Fox telling him of his intention to go after Ivan and Bodie and giving him instructions to contact George Cowley before he reported in to his own headquarters. Fox nodded his agreement and Doyle was out the door heading after Ivan and Bodie.

God, he was so tired of this. All the things he used to enjoy about the job had ceased to be enjoyable when he had to do them alone. He used to love going undercover, pulling the wool over the bad guys' eyes, knowing all the time that Doyle had his back but there was no Doyle, there was no enjoyment to be taken from the job or from almost anything now. He needed a break.

He had a couple of hours before the drop and he needed some peace, he needed to get his head together so he went to the only place where he was able to think nowadays, Doyle's old flat.

Cowley had left the flat empty and that fact alone caused Bodie to view the place as one of hope. If Cowley was keeping it free in case Doyle came back then Bodie could let himself have hope when he was there. He let himself in and made his way to the living room, where he proceeded to flop on to the sofa, hoping to catch forty winks before show time with the Russian. He hadn't set the locks.

As Doyle turned into his old street it was just in time to see Ivan get out of the car and start into the mansion block. Doyle wondered whether Cowley had moved Bodie into his old place. If he had it was a pretty cruel thing for the old man to do and Doyle dismissed the thought knowing that Cowley would never have done something like that to Bodie, especially now that the baby was here, Kate would never have stood for it knowing that every part of the place would remind Bodie of Doyle and of what they had together. He shook his head to clear his thoughts as he parked the car and decided that Bodie was probably using the flat as a cover for the op. He jumped out of the car and followed Ivan into the mansion block. Taking the stairs two at a time he reached the third floor landing just in time to see Ivan, gun drawn, kick in the door. He ran towards it hearing scuffling as Bodie, having had warning of the attack, tackled Ivan to the floor. Doyle ran into the living room, gun drawn, ready to shoot Ivan at any time but he couldn't get a clear shot. He couldn't warn Bodie he was there for fear of distracting him but he was relieved to see that Bodie seemed to be getting the upper hand in the fight. It was then that Bodie spotted him in the doorway and it was then that Bodie lost the advantage. Ivan sensed a change in his enemy and quickly took advantage of the situation by throwing Bodie off him and headfirst into the corner of Doyle's bookshelf. Bodie sank to the ground, out cold.

"Bodie!" The exclamation was out before he could stop himself and Ivan spun round; the gun that had been pointed at Bodie's head ready to finish the job was now pointed at him. He had no time to do anything but shoot and he did, realising too late that before the bullet had ploughed into Ivan's chest, Ivan had managed to squeeze out one last shot.

Bodie heard his name and knew that he hadn't been seeing things, that it had been Doyle standing in the room. He struggled to get up, shaking his head in an attempt to clear the fuzziness, looking up towards Doyle as he heard the first shot quickly followed by the second. Ivan fell, then Doyle collapsed onto the floor. He heard someone yell and it took a few moments to realise that it was him.

Bodie scrambled over to Ivan all the while talking into the RT.

"3.7 central. Priority A3, Agent down, I need an ambulance to Doyle's old place in Kensington. NOW!" He made sure that Ivan was dead and no longer a threat and then he went to Doyle. Blood was beginning to pool at the side of Doyle's head coming from a wound just above his temple and immediately Bodie thought the worst as he stared at the beloved face of his partner, thinking of the time not so long ago when they were in a similar position. The thought broke him apart. Tears began to fall unchecked from his eyes as he cradled Doyle's head, fingers going to Doyle's neck to check for a pulse. He found one, strong, slow, and steady; he could feel that there was still life thrumming through his partner and he was overjoyed. He felt for the wound and could see that the bullet had grazed Doyle and the nature of any head wound was such that the blood loss was far greater than the wound itself. He hastily pulled off his t-shirt and pressed it to the wound to stem the flow of blood, glad to see that Doyle's body was already beginning to take care of it, the flow was slowing down on its own.

"Ray? Ray, please, open your eyes, come on, love, it's me, Bodie. For God's sake, Ray, open your bloody eyes, you're scaring me...." Doyle could hear Bodie talking to him, he could feel the pain in his head but listening to Bodie's voice was soothing the pain and he struggled to open his eyes. Doyle blinked. "Ray?" Bodie said, his face and voice full of concern and Doyle missed him so much and was so happy to see him and he smiled at Bodie through the pain before he let it take over again.

"Bodie, I'm sorry," he said, his voice betraying the melancholy that was taking him over. The initial happiness of waking in Bodie's arms, of being cradled into Bodie's naked and muscled torso just like he used to, being transplanted by the sadness of the fact that it was temporary. The blood loss had made him dizzy and he could feel himself begin to pass out, he couldn't hold on any longer.

The ambulance arrived shortly after, followed by Murphy. Doyle was lifted into the back of the vehicle, the paramedics assuring Bodie that he was fine and it was just the shock and blood loss that accounted for him being unconscious. In the ambulance Bodie held on tightly to Doyle's hand determined that now he had found him again he was never going to let go. The paramedics took Doyle into casualty and Bodie was left in the waiting room anxious for news of his partner's injuries, worried by the fact that Doyle had remained unconscious though out the journey to the hospital. Murph found Bodie in the waiting room and brought him up to speed. The MI5 agent who had been working with Doyle had phoned Cowley immediately after Doyle had left the stakeout to follow Ivan. Cowley, knowing that Molovich had decided to skip the country had redeployed all his agents to the airfield and detained Molovich and his men before they knew what was going on. Cowley had also dispatched Murphy to Doyle's flat, knowing that was where Bodie was headed. Bodie was relieved to know that the operation was wrapped up but he couldn't concentrate he couldn't keep his mind off Doyle and that, he supposed, had been the problem with this operation all along. Cowley walked into the waiting room then and Murphy left to go back to HQ to help with the interrogations.

"Sir," Bodie said looking up at the old man.

"Bodie," Cowley acknowledged before asking, "How is he?"

"He's fine, sir. Lost some blood so he'll be a little weak for a day or so but other than that fine. Doctor said he'd come and get me after they dress the wound."

"You were lucky, you both were. Your minds were on each other and not the operation and that could have messed things up badly." Bodie nodded acknowledging the truth of the statement. "I won't allow it to happen again, 3.7, sort yourselves out. You have a week off. I have informed MI5 that starting now Doyle is no longer in their employ." With that Cowley turned on his heel and walked out the door. A nurse came in then and told Bodie that Doyle was awake and that he could go and see him and so he made his way to Doyle's room, his happiness giving way to apprehension, questions about why Doyle had left him still playing on his mind.

Doyle regained consciousness as the doctor was examining him. He answered all the doctor's questions and finally the doctor was satisfied that there was no permanent damage done. The doctor dressed the wound and informed Doyle that he was to be kept in overnight for observation.

"No way, doc. I'm not staying in. Look, just give me the pain killers and I'll go home, I'll be fine really," he pleaded. He'd had enough of hospitals in the last few years to last him a lifetime.

"I think I'll be the judge of that, Mr Doyle. Do you have anyone at home to look after you?" the doctor asked before making his decision.

"No," he started but suddenly the door opened and Bodie was there.

"Yes, doctor, he has someone at home," Bodie said, never taking his eyes off Doyle who looked confused at this turn of events.

"Very well then, Mr Doyle, I'll leave you in the care of Mr...."


"I'll leave you in Mr Bodie's care but be sure to take the medication as directed and change the dressing on the wound once a day. Good day, gentlemen," the doctor finished and made his way out of the room leaving him and Bodie alone.

"Come on, sunshine, let's get you home," Bodie said to him motioning towards the door. Doyle was confused. Where was Bodie going to take him? He couldn't very well arrive on Kate's doorstep. He couldn't cope with it and he was sure as hell that Kate wouldn't put up with it for a minute. He began to protest.

"Bodie, wait I can't...." Bodie cut him off before he could go any further.

"Not here, Ray, we'll talk at home, okay?" Trusting that Bodie knew what he was doing Doyle acquiesced with a nod of his head and they left the hospital.

They didn't talk at all in the car. Bodie could see that Doyle was anxious and he was worried about what would be revealed when they got home but he had to do this, he had to see if they had a future together but he didn't want a fight, he had no anger left.

Bodie parked the car in front of his flat and started to get out; he looked at Doyle and saw that his partner was looking up at the windows of the flat his face full of apprehension.

"She's not there, Ray. It's okay. Come on, let's go in." Doyle nodded and got out of the car. Bodie was at his side in an instant, putting a hand on his elbow, Doyle leaning slightly on him as they made their way into the building.

Bodie opened the door and motioned Doyle into the flat. Doyle walked into the living room and scanned it. They room had barely changed from the last time he was there but Doyle noticed that something was definitely different. He looked again and noticed that there was nothing of Kate in the room. All her books, soft furnishings, ornaments all gone, there was nothing of Kate in the room.

He heard Bodie come up behind him and felt Bodie's arms stealing around him and he relaxed back into the strength that he missed all these months, bringing his own hands up to cover Bodie's.

"God, I missed you," he sighed, the words barely audible but Bodie heard him.

"I missed you too Ray, so fucking much." And tightening his arms around Doyle, bracing himself for what Doyle might say, he asked the question that he had been burning to ask Doyle for five long months. "Why did you leave me Ray? I thought we had agreed that everything would be alright. Why did you leave me?" Doyle's body tensed and then relaxed as if defeated and he hung his head and began to extricate himself from Bodie's embrace. He felt the reluctance in Bodie to let him go but eventually Bodie gave up and his hands dropped to his sides as Doyle turned to face him.

"Where is she?" Doyle asked. "Where's the baby?"

"She's gone, Ray; there is no baby, there never was."

"What? I don't understand, Bodie. What happened?" Doyle asked, confusion warring with anger in his voice as he made his way to the sofa, needing to sit down as Bodie began to tell him the story.

"She saw us, that weekend she was at her parents, she came home early and she saw us." Bodie sat down beside him. "She decided to get her own back; she wanted you out of my life so she said she was pregnant. She played us, Ray, she played both of us." He could see Doyle trying to take in the information but he had to know. "Why did you leave, Ray?" Bodie finished taking Doyle's hands in his own, the question and the contact startling Doyle who was still trying to absorb the news that the bitch had lied about being pregnant, that she had played on his and Bodie's weaknesses--but then of course they had lied to her, had been lying to her for months.

Doyle got up from the sofa and began to pace, he was worried, here, now, seeing Bodie again made him realise that he should never have left. No threat in the world should have been enough to make him leave Bodie but at the time it seemed the only thing he could do. He began to try and explain everything to Bodie still unable to believe that Kate had set them up so thoroughly.

"The night of the dinner, when you were in the kitchen, Kate told me that she knew about us but really at that point I didn't care. She was talking about the fact that she could give you what you needed, a family, stability, somewhere to belong but I told her in no uncertain terms that you already had that, with me," he looked at Bodie who was listening intently so he continued. "She told me that if I didn't leave, that not only would she make sure that you never saw your child but she would make sure that she ruined you, us, that she would make sure the press knew all about the debauchery of CI5, that it was a hotbed of queers and home breakers, she even threatened Cowley." He paused for a while, shaking his head trying to see the urgency, trying to see now why he left. "It seems fucking silly now but at the time it seemed like it was the worst threat in the world. I'm sorry, Bodie, but I was so angry, I was so fucking upset and I never wanted you to be put through everything she had threatened. It just seemed like too much for you to sacrifice for me. I love you too much to have put you through that," Doyle finished, his reasons now, even to his own ears, seemed small in the great scheme of things, and he wondered if Bodie would ever forgive him for leaving.

Bodie was on his feet now, his anger was showing but he held it in check obviously trying to put himself in Doyle's shoes, but shaking his head he said, "It was never any sacrifice Ray; it would never have been a sacrifice if I could be with you. I love you. Don't you understand that?" He voice was raised as he spoke looking at Doyle as he said every word. "You should have come to me, you should have told me, we agreed, we promised each other that there would be no more secrets between us, she really and truly won, Ray, can't you see? Being outed to the whole bloody world would have been a cakewalk compared to the last five months." Doyle was speechless, he felt so stupid.

"I know Bodie, I'm sorry. The last five months have been hell for me too. I missed you so much, I thought I was going bloody mad." He looked at Bodie, his eyes pleading for understanding, filled with love for Bodie. "I know it's a lot to ask but can you forgive me?"

Bodie sighed. There had never been a question of him forgiving Doyle, they had been put into an extraordinary situation and Bodie had been surprised that the stress and pressure hadn't gotten to them sooner. As soon as he'd seen Doyle lying there in the flat he had promised himself that if Doyle still wanted him then the past five months would be consigned to history, forgotten like a bad dream.

"Look, Ray, I don't care anymore about why you left or about Kate or anything. I just need you to promise me you'll never leave again. I need you to promise, Ray."

Doyle turned to him then and cupped Bodie's cheek and jaw, running his thumb over Bodie's lip as Bodie leaned in to his touch. "I promise, Bodie, I'll never leave again." And with that Doyle and Bodie kissed for the first time in long months, sealing the vow.

"Let's go to bed, Ray." Doyle nodded and they walked toward the bedroom ready to put to rest the ghost of Kate Matthews and the last five months.

"Come," George Cowley shouted. The door opened. Bodie and Doyle walked in and stood in front of his desk.

As always he had files open in front of him. He liked the ploy, he knew his agents knew what he was doing but he did it anyway. He observed his top team. They looked good, rested, positively glowing if truth be told. The week off had done them both good. A sense of peace spread through him. He may well be an old curmudgeon but he enjoyed a happy ending as much as the next man and it looked as though these two were finally going to get theirs.

"4.5, 3.7, I am taking you off active duty," he began. He always enjoyed shocking his men--he was a man of simple pleasures.

"But, sir..." both Bodie and Doyle began but he lifted his hand cutting them off before beginning to explain his decision.

"It's time, you aren't getting any younger and neither am I. From today you will be working a stint in every department of CI5. Once you have completed this three month timetable you will be working with me, full time. Och, don't look so surprised, this was the plan all along and you both know it." He walked to the cabinet and took out the scotch and three glasses; pouring all three drinks, he handed them to his shocked-looking men. "In five years I intend to retire and you two need to be ready so we're going to start now." He looked between the both of them knowing that he had made the right decision. It had been a hard sell to the minister but he finally got it in writing and his choice of successor was secured. Theirs were the most capable hands to leave CI5 in and Cowley was happy in the knowledge that his department would be safe. He raised his glass in a toast. "Well, here's to my five year plan." He downed the drink. "Any questions?"

Bodie and Doyle looked at each other. Their fates had been in his hands for so long now neither one of them had anything to question, they trusted him implicitly.

"No, sir," Bodie said. Doyle just shook his head.

"We're ready," Doyle added.

"Yes, you are. Right, on yer bikes," he said handing them a piece of paper. "Your itinerary, Macklin first," he said, a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. "You'll need this too." Another piece of paper and Bodie and Doyle were finally dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Outside the office they stopped in the corridor, still in shock but relieved with it.

"Just didn't think it would be so soon," said Bodie as he looked at his partner.

"Yeah, I suppose we shouldn't be shocked. I'm looking forward to it, Bodie, we can't let him down." Bodie nodded, agreeing, as Doyle continued. "Can't say I'm looking forward to Macklin though," Doyle said bringing them back to reality with a bang, both of them grimacing with the thought of a fortnight with their favourite torturer. As they began to walk down the corridor Doyle remembered the second piece of paper. "Bodie, what else did he give you? The other piece of paper," he added motioning towards Bodie's hand.

Bodie read the form, a smile growing on his face as he turned to look at his partner.

"Wedding present from father," he said as he handed Doyle the requisition for a two bedroom flat, both their names on the top of the paper.

-- THE END --

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