Lune de Miel
Part 3 of the Eliot Trilogy. Parts 1 and 2 are A Handful of Dust and What the Thunder Said
The sharp edge of a dream pricked at Bodie's consciousness, goading him awake with a quiver of tired muscles. He rolled over, his eyes opening slowly to an odd slant of light. A frisson of old danger surged along his nerves and quickly faded - the light was low and non-threatening, laying on the bedroom's threshold in a pool of pale gold. He blinked at it sleepily, trying to define why it should seem out of place - and then his mind cleared with a pleasant jolt as he remembered that he'd gone to sleep in total darkness.
Ray was home.
He shoved aside the covers and rolled to his feet, stifling a nascent call of welcome as he realized there was no sound coming from the other room. Some Doyle-driven intuition had him stepping lightly into the room as he pulled on his robe, a slight suspicion that this late-night reunion required silence.
Therefore he wasn't surprised to see his partner curled into a tight ball in the one comfortable chair in the room. Doyle'd fallen asleep in the midst of removing his boots - one sock-clad foot was folded beneath him, the other still encased in leather and planted on the carpet. His arms were wrapped tightly about his chest and his head was snuggled into the padded wing of the chair. To Bodie it looked damned uncomfortable but being well-acquainted with Ray's dexterity, he knew his partner was perfectly content as he was. The low light in the room was kind to Doyle's sleep-creased face and Bodie felt his body respond to Doyle's proximity - not the pull of lust but the warm swell of completion that Ray's nearness created in him now. Taking a seat on the scratchy sofa, content for the moment to watch Ray sleep, Bodie slipped willingly into the memories that made nights like this possible.
Bodie knew himself to be an uncomplicated man. Simple pleasures delighted him; the world changed from black or white on a whim of the gods and he preferred it that way. Predictability led to complacency in a job that could ill-afford it - but there was one thing that Bodie knew to be true beyond all others, one truth that could not be denied.
He loved Ray Doyle.
Giving Ray Doyle his heart had been a simple thing, done almost without him knowing. Once privately acknowledged, coming as a shock in the midst of a dull investigation made bearable only by Doyle's outrageous commentary, Bodie had laid down a very personal set of rules. Those rules were also simple - guard Doyle's back, never let Doyle know how he felt, and devote the rest of his life to extinguishing that love. His goal was to have nothing left to give Ray on the day they parted, for some day they surely would. A bullet, a woman, an illness caught too late - Bodie told himself to guard against that day, knowing he'd only survive it if he was prepared, played out. Empty.
But in a life spent in a wide variety of pursuits, Bodie was forced to admit almost daily that all attempts to erase his feelings for Ray had resulted in spectacular failure.
Things may have stayed that way forever if Bodie hadn't started noticing something different about Doyle. Not in the way he did his job; Ray was still the consummate professional, his many years in the service of CI-5 only adding depth and perspective to the way he approached his work.
It was something deeper than that, a different light that shone in his eyes. Ray spoke rarely of women any more and even then, there were no raves, no dangling of salacious details - no attachments. Any teasing inquiries on Bodie's part were met with a mysterious smile and an airy wave of his hand, but Ray's silence on the subject continued. When even requests for double dates were turned down, Bodie was forced to admit that something had changed in Doyle's inner life, and he wasn't going to let Bodie be a part of it.
He couldn't have been more wrong.
It was on a late night like this, the world quiet and the job done, when Ray had finally let on what had led to his altered behaviour. They hadn't seen each other for a few days and Bodie had used the time once again to try - unsuccessfully - to find a cure for Ray Doyle. He'd gone to sleep in his own bed, alone, but had been awakened to a soft but insistent pounding on his door.
Bodie could tell instantly that Ray was tense - all he received in return for his grumbles about beauty sleep and respectable citizens being in bed was a tight smile before Doyle had moved to stare out into the darkness from Bodie's dining room window. That night the light had not been so kind - Ray hadn't shaved for at least a day and there were shadows beneath his eyes. He stood with his hands stuffed in the back pockets of his jeans, the stance pulling the green shirt taut across his chest and straining the buttons. Bodie came to stand next to him, instinctively understanding that he was there to listen, his heart thudding with fear as Doyle began to speak in tones of dire confession.
For a declaration of love, it was a muddled, self-incriminating speech that Doyle directed to an uncaring night instead of his slack-jawed partner. Apologies for inappropriate feelings and heartsick yearnings were intertwined with belligerent claims that it was all Bodie's fault for simply being Bodie.
How long Ray would've gone on, Bodie couldn't guess. Once he'd put together enough of Ray's rambling soliloquy to understand the gist of his intent, the rapid beating of his heart tripled, only now in ecstasy, not fear. Seeing through a sudden haze of immense happiness to notice that Doyle was winding himself tighter and tighter in response to Bodie's silence, he knew it was time to take action.
With his own hands firmly planted in the spacious pockets of his robe, he leaned forward and placed his mouth on Ray's.
The tirade stopped mid-word. Doyle's mouth beneath his was warm and firm with shock. Bodie waited patiently, unsure of the outcome of his manoeuvre. Eyes closed to avoid immediate rejection - for Doyle was no doubt as unpredictable in love as he was in everything else - Bodie's first indication that things were all right was a soft, hesitant touch to his cheek. With that slight but significant encouragement, he deepened the kiss for a brief span of seconds before pulling away.
Ray's fingertips still rested lightly on Bodie's cheek he raised his gaze to look into green eyes gone wide in wonderment. He held still as the touch traveled downward, ghosting across his chin and stroking his lips with a feather-light caress. A shallow breath caught in his throat as Ray leaned toward him to replace his fingers with his mouth - and then the world had caught fire. . .
Bodie shifted deeper into the couch as more memories of that night drifted through his relaxed mind. It was so typical of Ray - while Bodie had been trying to destroy his feelings for his partner, Doyle had been nursing his, no matter what torment those emotions brought on. But there was nothing of torture in their first night together, only lessons lovingly taught and eagerly learned - and words neither of them ever thought to hear, let alone say. A new future had opened up for them, one seen as inevitable, perfect, and far beyond what they'd ever imagined.
Bodie's smile of remembrance faded as he recalled what happened so soon after. An op gone sour, Bodie caught unawares, and everything seemed lost in one horrifying instant. For himself, Bodie didn't mind much - pain and death had been part of his life so long he scarcely noticed. But as he'd come around in his hospital bed to see a ravaged and grief-stricken Doyle, recent tears scrubbed from his cheeks, Bodie had realized that this one had been too close - and the cost of being a source of such pain to Ray was too high.
Exactly as Cowley had said.
A mumble from the chair opposite him brought Bodie back to the present. Ray was still asleep, nudging his head into the chair as if it were the soft pillow waiting for him in the room beyond. Bodie rose with a yawn before falling to one knee beside Doyle, allowing himself the luxury of just looking for a minute before running the back of his knuckles down one bristly cheek. He watched as Ray awakened slowly, easily, no rough jerks in the sinewy stretch of long limbs. Drowsy eyes drew upward and blinked heavily before settling on Bodie with sleepy affection.
"'Ullo, Bodie," he rasped. "I'm home."
"Can see that," Bodie replied. "Paid to be observant, aren't I."
He rose to his feet and held out his hands. Ray unfurled his tucked leg with a grimace and placed his fingers in Bodie's grasp. Bodie gave an easy tug and pulled Ray up into his arms, unsurprised to find Ray as desperate for the touch of reconnection as he was. Time had only sharpened their need for each other, and as Bodie slipped his tongue into the welcoming heat of Ray's mouth in a hungry caress, he knew with complete certainty that edge would never grow dull.
It wouldn't be until the next morning that Bodie would tell Ray of Cowley's offer. They'd discuss it over breakfast, argue about it over lunch and have the matter settled by dinner. Cowley would receive their acceptance with a grunt and an admonition to keep it to themselves until he'd processed the paperwork. They would agree and then push their luck by requesting a week's leave.
Given the circumstances, Cowley could hardly say no.
-- THE END --