"Goddamned, sneaky, underhanded bastard!!", Doyle roared at the now empty living room. "'spects you to jump every time he snaps 'is fingers, does he? What does he think you are, a bleedin' trained dog!?"

Right on cue! Bodie smiled to himself. He had been expecting this ever since Cowley's departure. Dinner had been a strained affair, despite his best efforts at lightening the mood. "C'mon, love", he replied from the kitchen (Considering Doyle's present mood, he had decided to do the clean-up). "Why are you surprised?", he continued. "Cowley's Cowley and will be until we bury him or he buries us; and, with our luck, it'll be the latter."

Doyle laughed - a hallow sound devoid of all mirth. "Of course; and you simply stood there and accepted whatever he said. I mean, it's only our holiday he's ruined. Nothing important."

The vehemence and pain in the well-loved voice washed over Bodie. Realizing this was no mere tantrum over a lost day off, he went to stand beside his lover, not touching, but hoping his presence would lend emotional support. "Ray, please; be reasonable. You know what would have happened if he knew I told you."

Doyle moved away, keeping his back to Bodie. "He said we had two weeks! Christ, tomorrow is only our fifth anniversary! You only promised to be here with me." An indifferent shrug. "But, as I said, no big deal."

Bodie sighed; this was going to be a long night. ""Downing Street.....", he began.

Doyle whirled; blazing green eyes regarded him from beneath narrowed eyebrows, willing the blue ones to meet their gaze and see the fury there. "Fuck Downing Street, and the Prime Minister, too! You and I know that CI5 security is strictly internal!! There are other agencies she could've gone to." He paused for a moment, a sneer twisted the perfect lips. "Know what I think, Bodie. I don't think there is a meeting. This is between you and Cowley; always has been, always will be. I'm just a third wheel!"

The accusation grated on Bodie's nerves; he fought hard to remain calm. Reaching out with one hand, he pulled the other man into an inescapable embrace. "Now listen to me; I'm going to put the kettle on, then we are going to sit down and talk. Agreed?"

Tense silence.

Taking that for acquiescence, Bodie released Doyle and headed back to the kitchen. "This, I think, five tea bag problem," he muttered in his best Holmesian fashion.

"Better?" A nod. "Wanna talk about it?" A negative shake of the head. Bodie took a deep breathe, counted to ten, and continued. "We'll work it out; you'll see. Nothing and no one is worth losing you over."

Doyle didn't respond, but reached across the table, where they now sat, and took his lover's hands in his own. If anyone had told him, in his early life, that one day he would be partnered, fall in love, and settle down in this wondrous state of contentment with this magnificent, self-centered merc, he'd've probably shot the person for insanity.

Bodie accepted the intimacy. "Ray, why all the fuss? I mean, Cowley has done this before....."

"Precisely!", Doyle exclaimed, interrupting his partner, triumph in his voice. "I'll make a detective out of you yet!" When there was no reply, he continued. "He loves you!"

For several seconds, Bodie merely stared at Doyle as if he were some weird species, before dissolving into laughter, not caring what the consequences were. Minutes later, his composure finally restored, and finding their fingers were still entwined, he spoke. "You're daft! Cowley might be a bastard at times, but....." He paused, then, shook his head in firm disagreement, "No. There's got to be another reason."

"Good, God! I think I know what it is", Doyle gasped; a memory formed in his mind with the brilliance of a new sun. "Just hear me out. All right?", he added, before Bodie could argue.

Silence; then, the hard set of the jaw. "I'm listening."

Despite himself, Doyle had to smile. Short and to the point, that was Bodie. Taking a deep breath and carefully choosing his words, he plunged ahead. "Point one: who gets away with anything short of murder on the Squad?"

Bodie fidgeted. "What.....", he began.

"You hear well enough. If any one of us - me, Murph, Jax, even Macklin, any of us, had defied Cowley as often as you, our arses would've been right sore from landing on the concrete. But not you. At best, you get a good verbal thumping and sent on your way. Didn't make you too popular with the newcomers; some of the old-timers still aren't too thrilled with you, either."

"Ha! You seem to have forgotten about that little incident with those Hell's Angels. As I recall, I stood with Cowley's gun to my head, the trigger cocked, and his threat to shoot me ringing in my ears."

"Didn't go through with it, thought, did he?"

"Only because I did as I was told and released the bastard!"

"Uh-huh", Doyle replied. "And, as I recall, all you got was another verbal lashing."

A thoughtful silence; then. "So, what you're saying is, I' m sort of a teacher's pet?"

"Well, that's what I thought at first; then I began to observe you two....." Doyle paused, letting out a deep sigh. "The rapport you shared; noticed it from the beginning. Two prime incidences spring to mind: the incidence with that gas; he gave oxygen to you, twice, while I had to manage on my own. I even saw him caress you cheek. Oh, and let us not forget your siege of the water tower doing the Marikka incident. You felt I'd set you up.

In each case you and Cowley talked it out. I, who was only your partner, and friend, according to you, was left out."

Once again Doyle paused; this time on purpose, letting Bodie digest these revelations.

Bodie, for his part, was stunned by the admission. Reaching out, he caressed the damaged cheek. "I'm sorry, Ray. I had no idea", he confessed. "Please, go on."

Doyle swallowed hard. "Never had that with anyone before. Made me wonder who you really loved - me or Cowley."

"I have one word that will set your mind at rest - you", he whispered, overcome with a sudden overwhelming tenderness for this man dearer to him than life.

"I swear, when this is all over, I'll make a proper apology for ignoring you."

The words had the desired effect. The emerald green eyes turned to sultry smoke, the full lips set in a sexy pout. "Well, if you promise to be a good, I'll consider it," came the husky reply.

Nodding, Bodie reached under the table and patted his slowly bulging crotch. "Won't be much longer, mate," he declared solemnly. "Hang on," he added..

That last statement destroyed them both, easing some of the tension. When they were finally in control of their senses, Bodie, his handsome face thoughtful, returned to the discussion at hand. "Ray, why do you think Cowley loves me?"

Again, Doyle considered the question carefully. "You remind him of a lost love," he replied. There, it is said; and, if I know my Bodie, the reaction should come. Five....four.....

"Your proof", Bodie demanded.

The skepticism in his partner's voice reminded Doyle of his own reaction after being told. "I vowed never to reveal his identity, Bodie, but I do have physical proof."

"I'm waiting."

"Right." Rising, Doyle went over to the large bookshelf. After a moment of searching, he returned with a thick novel. "It's in here."

Bodie rubbed his hands and chuckled with glee. "Ooh! The old 'love letters hidden in the novel' trick, eh? Clever! Cle-e-e-ever!"

"Close, but no cigar." Opening the novel, which proved to be hollow, Doyle withdrew an ornate, silver medallion; on it's V shaped crest was mounted a lion's head. He held it up for Bodie to see.


"The son of the man in question gave it to me. He and I were in the Met together; we were close. Anyway, the night I received official confirmation that I'd been accepted by 'The Squad', he invited me over the his townhouse for dinner.

The food was excellent, wine flowed, and his tongue wagged. You see, he always wore the medallion, I asked him why. He told me its history, including why his father never objected to him being queer."

Bodie nodded. "Which means Cowley gave it to the man."

Doyle smiled in approval of his friend's deductive reasoning; then continued. "Right. Hand crafted, too. A month later, my friend died in the line of duty. With his last breathe, he made me swear I'd keep it."

"Whoa!", Bodie interrupted. "Doesn't make sense, Ray. Medallion from Cowley to the man, from the man to his son. Should've gone back to the man."

Doyle nodded. "True. However, like the man himself, his parents are also still alive. When they found out about him and Cowley, they threatened to disinherit him and expose Cowley.

By mutual consent they parted, vowing that nothing would dampen their ardor for each other, also, hoping to remain friends. His parents took care of that, however; they had their son watched."

Bodie gave a low whistle. "So, the man had to hide the medallion until he had someone to pass it on to."

"Right! When his parents found out about their only grandson's preferences, they threatened him with disinheritance, as well. The man put his foot down and told his parents to go screw themselves. They carried out their threat.

Fortunately, the man had married into big money. The mother, and the maternal grandparents, made one will, naming my friend their sole heir.

When he died, he gave back 95% back to his parents for their love and support; the remaining 5% - well, let's just say if we ever decided to leave CI5, we won't starve. Need I say more?"

Bodie snickered. "A pretty story, Ray; you should get into the romance novel business."

Bodie's continued disbelief came as no surprise to Doyle. The ex-SAS sergeant took a lot of convincing. "Tell me, when you asked Cowley for permission to change our living arrangements, did he argue much?"

Bodie snorted. "The old bastard had no choice! He knew if he chucked you out, I'd follow."

"I rest my case," Doyle replied, with just the slightest hint of smugness.

"All right, I remind Cowley of this man", Bodie conceded, reluctantly. "Why are you suddenly so defensive of him when, a while ago, you were ready to lynch him?"

"I told you, when I saw the two of you together. I felt like the outsider. I know how he feels, watching us grow closer. The Cow may be many things, but blind isn't one of them. He saw you slipping right through his fingers, just as his friend did...."

Bodie held up his hand to interrupt, a sudden thought flashing through his mind. " 'alf a mo, mate. Are you saying Cowley wants to.....???"

"Can't speak for him, can I? But, I bet you a year's pay, if I weren't in the picture, you'd find out just how quickly Cowley could forget the supposed sin of sleeping with the same sex."

"Christ, Ray," Bodie whispered, a faraway look in his eyes. "I really had no idea how much I meant...uh...mean to him." A deep breath to still his racing heart. "Very well, I go with him. What about us?"

Doyle leaned across the table and planted a soft kiss on that incredible mouth. "You go with him. I'll be here when you return."

Bodie was moved by Doyle's declaration of love. "Okay. You know, I wish there were some way to feel him out; you know, make him 'fess up without really asking....."

Mischief took full control of Doyle at that statement. The cat-green eyes fairly gleamed with amusement. "You'll think of something, I'm sure. 'Sides, we're CI5, the creme de la creme....."


Doyle ignored his lover, standing now, stretching his arms in a dramatic gesture. ".....the elite of the Service....."


".....the Action Squad; the Big.....!"

That did it! In one fluid motion, Bodie rose, circled the table, and swept Doyle into his arms. "We've only got seven hours until I have to leave. Don't you know that actions speak louder than words?"

Doyle smiled, slyly "Guess I'm thick in more places than one, eh? You'll just have to teach me all over again."

They had reached the bedroom. Bodie stepped inside, kicking the door shut. "Right. School's now in session."

-- THE END --

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