There's No Place
Clashing chains. The swallowed tears of men driven beyond bearing. The echoing slam of steel doors. These are the sounds that haunt Bodie's dreams.
Remembered heat, the searing sun glaring off whitewashed walls. Snow-blinded in a place that never froze. An empty belly clenched with desperation. Lips cracked and tongue thick from want. Sensations he would happily suffer a million shifts of paperwork to avoid feeling again.
The stench of fifty bodies packed into a cell. Shit, blood and vomit. When he got home, he showered twice a day and could still smell himself. Even now undercover work makes him crawl as though the lice are only in remission, somehow concealed under his skin, waiting for their chance to emerge.
Two years of spit and polish, three of mud and cold, damp Irish nights helped; but not enough. The dreams still came. He still woke haunted by memories of bars as thick as his forearm and suffering the perpetual claustrophobia of the imprisoned.
They came in waves, the dreams, set off by who knew what and lasting until, in desperation, he tracked down the only cure.
Clashing chains. The swallowed moans of men driven beyond bearing. Lips swollen and tongue thick from want.
Just to break the cycle.
Walking into the place, he knows that tonight will be special. Somewhere amongst the scent of five hundred men packed into a single room, amongst the smart, the casual and the downright scruffy, is the one that's waiting just for him.
He doesn't seek him out. There's no point. He's expected.
He stalks to the bar, throws a fiver down next to a shallow puddle of sticky fluid, blinks in the strobe lights. The drink arrives and he takes a sip without a word passing between him and the barman. There's no need. What need is there of words when every sinew in his body screams his reason for being here?
The touch of a hand on his arm. He turns but cannot bring himself to raise his eyes. Not yet. There's too much needs purging. Memories, dreams. Filth.
He follows, weaving a complex path between bodies gyrating to bass-heavy music. His heart echoes the rhythm, searching for a camouflage whatever the cost. He pays it in sweat, in cold hands, in shivers that track his spine as the music fades into the background and the lights dim.
Darkness closes around him. Deep velvet. Flickering candle-light, musky, warm. Full of sex and safety.
The slam of the wooden door makes him shake and he drops to his knees. Carpet cushions his fall. There are no hard surfaces here. All is gentleness. All is silence but for his breath and the whisper of silk across skin. Later there will be noise, but only his own.
Fingers draw a complex shape down his arm. He's no genius, and doesn't have to be. This is an old arrangement. It implants a word in his head, a word that, once spoken, will bring an end to this cocoon of unreality. Should he want it.
It's the furthest thing from his thoughts.
At a touch on his shoulder he stands and strips, folds his clothes - black slacks, black polo, everyday clothes - and places them neatly in a pile by the door. Then he returns to his knees, head bowed, hands clasped behind his back, waiting.
Silence crawls across him, starts at his toes, slides slowly up his legs, his stomach, his chest. It slips into his throat until the need to speak stings behind his eyes. But silence is required. It's one of the few things required. Silence and obedience and submission, and an emptiness of mind that eludes him everywhere but here.
Here there is nothing but what is. No pressure except the ache in his balls. No demands except lust. No decisions, split-second or over-chewed. No expectations but his own.
Deft fingers wrap and fasten leather straps around his cock and balls. Long fingers. Competent. Trusted. One nail drags along his length and he clamps his lips tight around an emergent sound. Too early. Not yet.
Cuffs - leather again, lined and padded. They cover scars - real and metaphorical - replacing long-gone steel with something far stronger. He tests them and finds them secure. It makes him want to weep, this gentleness. This softness. This strength.
Another touch and he leans forward, brow to the floor, raising his haunches high. From this angle he could, if he wanted, see the other. He closes his eyes. Chooses to remain in darkness, in the illusion of ignorance.
No. Not illusion. The suspension of knowledge. The reinstating of the fourth wall by will alone.
The lube is warm, eased into him as he opens, welcoming the fingers. On his back, soothing circles are rubbed to encourage movement. So easy to follow the simple commands. So easy to drift on the currents of arousal, to feel nipples tighten, breath hitch and pant, to see nothing but stars.
His dick paints a wet stripe on his thigh. Already committed. And when the fingers leave him hollow and wanting, he imagines that it's a tear that's shed. More poetic somehow than the gross anatomy of musculature and glands.
A tug on his hair - sharp enough that his eyes shed real tears - and he's back on his knees, a cock against his lips. He flicks out his tongue, stealing a taste of desire, of need, of want.
Risking all, he opens his eyes. And has to smile. Wants to greet this visitor like the old friend it is and yet…
Black cloth - cool rubberised silk - descends across his face, blotting out all but his own lashes and then even those vanish. He's torn, acknowledging the necessity while mourning the chance to watch. Grieving for his own private belly dance, the shimmer of sweat, the flex and jump of muscles brought to uncontrollable delight.
But once his mouth is filled, there's no thought for regrets. No thought for anything except that hot heavy flesh, the strain of jaw muscles, the buzz of friction-numb lips, the ache in his tongue as it traces and cups, sucks and strokes.
A single thrust, deeper than usual, and his throat balks. Automatically he pulls his head back and yanks on the cuffs, the seeds of genuine panic shooting in his gut.
"Sorry, sorry." Whispered, accompanied by apologetic fingers carding though his hair.
He coughs, swallows, coughs again. A glass is brought to his lips and he swallows gratefully. Water - fresh, clean, cool.
He kisses the fingers, but this time receives no reply except a touch on his cheek that contains more words than any sonnet.
Now he's urged to his feet - staggers a little, unbalanced by blindfold and cuffs. Hands steady him, tight round his biceps, holding him straight and true. He lifts his head, searching.
And is found. Lips crush together. A tongue, hot, wet, insistent, pushes inside. First kiss, last kiss. Comfort, arousal and more. It's enough to carry him the few fear-encrusted feet to the wall.
Even this, solid though it is, is gentle on his skin. But the clash of chains makes him shudder.
Yet for all his dread, he welcomes it. Why this? Even in his most profound moments of self-exploration - and they are a pitiful handful - the answer eludes him. Just that it works. It breaks the cycle.
His hands are raised, are secured and he stands spread-eagled, face pressed against the soft, padded wall.
Leather again. Is it ever anything else? This time kissing the tender skin of his thighs, teasing across his balls, his cheeks, his lower back. Promise.
A pause. The universe holds its breath.
He remembers the word and rejects it. Closes his useless eyes and inclines his head the tiniest amount.
The first blow cuts across his thigh. No harder than a wet towel flicked during bath-time horseplay. Still it makes him gasp. A second lands beside it. Then a third. None do more than sting, but even that, layered sting upon sting, is enough. A catalyst.
Trapped in darkness, existing within a shell of pain, he feels the ice inside begin to crack. Emotions, ruthlessly suppressed during months of duty until they fester into nightmares and impotent wakeful hours, writhe to break free. Living tentacles of pain, guilt and remorse wrapped in filth and memories. Only here, in safe-blinded darkness, can he let them out. Only here, surrounded by strength and gentleness, supported by trust and understanding, can he allow himself to let them go.
They erupt in a howl. Back arched, bow-tight. Mouth agape and head back, he screams. Words. Foul words. Hateful things like 'no' and 'stop' and 'please'. And 'sorry' and 'oh Christ, I didn't mean it.' They burst out in an uncontrolled flood, drawing poison with them, purging his mind of everything, permitting everything, forgiving everything.
He loses all sense of time. Of space. Of anything except this ripping, purging expulsion. It seems to last an eternity and yet is over before he can draw breath to scream again.
When he finds himself once more, the cuffs and chains are gone - real and remembered. He's on the floor, held in strong arms and shedding tears against soft hair. Beneath his cheek a heart thumps in unison with his own and a voice is whispering, "S'alright, mate. I've got you. S'alright."
For a long moment, he rests. The emptiness never lasts long but while it does, god it's the most beautiful feeling in the world. Then he sniffs, laughs and sits up. Doyle hands him a tissue with a rueful grin, which just makes Bodie laugh more.
"Never ceases to amaze me," says Doyle. "I've seen someone thump the living daylights out of you and you never so much as twitch. And yet this…" He lifts the soft suede flogger and shrugs in bemusement.
If Bodie could explain it, he would. All he knows is that it works. The flogger, the darkness, the security. Doyle. That's the crucial ingredient. The one that was always missing before.
He answers the shrug with one of his own and leans over to kiss his partner. Doyle responds, tugging him closer until they're lying entwined on the soft carpet, hands seeking and soothing as much as arousing.
"Wanna carry on?" Doyle asks as his fingers close round Bodie's still encumbered cock.
"Nah, I thought we could go down the chippy instead. Could really go a chip buttie."
He gets a playful punch in the guts for his trouble and while he's laughing and fighting for breath, Doyle rolls him over and pounces, pinning him to the floor and demonstrating that he's far from disinterested. As flesh collides with flesh, Bodie's chuckles become gasps and he digs his fingers into Doyle's back, pulling them closer. In this position they can kiss and fuck and do anything, and Bodie knows what he wants.
Lifting his legs, he encourages Doyle lower until there's a thick pressure nudging against his hole.
No answer is assertive enough, so he uses his heels and drags Doyle down for another kiss, using his partner's mouth to catch his groan as he's stretched wide and long and deep. But now there's space. And the only thing he wants inside of him is Doyle. Emptied, he's now filled by choice. By pleasure. By mutual respect and maybe, just maybe, by love.
Doyle moans, breaks the kiss and rests his head on Bodie's shoulder. His arms are locked, shoulder blades prominent as he takes his weight on his hands. His back is taut, every muscle strung tight. "Christ, I love this."
"You and me both, now bloody move."
In finding his voice, Bodie finds the rest of himself. The part that isn't a flippant humorous mask or empty husk. From long practice, Doyle hits the right angle and this time when Bodie's blinded, it's purely with lust. His cock throbs, needy, demanding. The leather's gone in two swift movements and he's free. Free to fuck and god, it's good. Free to rediscover Doyle's mouth and give him his gratitude, his passion, his sheer bloody relief. Free to touch, to feel, to experience.
Free to hold his lover tight and taste the salt sweat on his skin. Free to moan when he slips deeper and takes him harder, when he sobs in pleasure and his hips stutter. Free to let go and come so hard that for a second the world drops away again, only to return in a rush of white that has nothing to do with whitewashed walls and everything to do with now.
Holding Doyle close, it takes a few moments for what he's seeing to sink in. A flashing light. On the ceiling.
"Light's on," he says, still panting.
Doyle groans and rolls over, landing with a thump on the carpet, covering his eyes with his arm. "Bastards. Should've booked it for two hours."
Glancing over at the four-poster they've yet to use, Bodie thinks about it. They're knackered, sticky and sweaty. His arse is sore enough that a car ride'll hurt like the blazes.
Doyle's looking in the same direction and when their eyes meet, they both grin.
Because not even the lap of luxury beats waking up together, in their own bed, the centre of each others' lives.
Once the cycle's broken and he can truly go home.
-- THE END --