Walls of Emotion
NOTE: The cemetery where Bodie and Doyle met Plumb in Servant Of Two Masters, is not named specifically. I've named it West-Gate Cemetery for this story.
Ray Doyle sat in the battered armchair, one leg hanging over the armrest the other stretched out in front of him. Through narrowed eyes, he watched his partner. Bodie was fooling around with Murphy, laughing, joking, pulling his leg, and Murph was giving as good as he got - which was quite good.
For some reason it annoyed Doyle, he felt left out. His touchy, feely partner had become very Murphy-oriented the past few weeks, a bit more so than usual. Like now for instance. Doyle's eyebrows rose in astonishment as he noticed Bodie brushing Murphy's bum, just in passing, very casually. Murphy turned round to stare at Bodie, and then, as he caught Ray's eyes upon him, he flushed and turned away again.
"Oi, Doyle, you coming? We're late already for the old man." Bodie jostled Doyle's shoulder, and Doyle rose from the chair, still not quite sure what he had seen. He followed Bodie to Cowley's office, Bodie knocked and a bellow from inside told them they could enter.
Ten minutes later, they stood outside again, each with a file in his hands. Doyle stomped off furiously, leaving a peevish Bodie behind. When he reached the restroom Bodie had caught up with him again.
"What the hell is the matter with you, Doyle? It's not as if it's my idea," he began, while Doyle turned his back on him.
"Isn't it?" furiously Doyle whirled round. "Then how come he suddenly splits us up? Explain that to me than."
"I don't know, Doyle. I haven't asked for a change of partner, and it's only on this case. I think because of his army background, he considers Murphy the better option." Bodie hadn't realised it, but it was the wrong thing to say.
"You bastard!" Doyle spat. "You've got it all nicely arranged, haven't you?" He grabbed his jacket and the file and left.
Doyle walked into the house, where his colleagues were still busy with the clean up, and watched the activity from the door. Two dark haired heads, bent close together, were examining something, and the men were talking softly.
Bodie patted Murphy on the back and leant in closer, and Doyle felt his blood starting to boil. He clenched his fists and took several deep breaths. At that moment, Bodie looked up and saw Doyle watching them. Bodie said something to Murphy, who now also looked his way. Doyle couldn't take it any longer, turning on his heel he fled the house. Once outside, he jumped in his car and drove off as fast as he could.
While driving with no destination in mind, Doyle seethed with anger. Not knowing where to go he just kept on driving. He had to calm down before returning to HQ or he would do something stupid.
When he noticed his surroundings again he found he had taken the route to West-Gate Cemetery. He parked his car and walked through the gates, his hands in his pockets, head bowed not noticing the steady drizzle coming down.
Why was he so angry? Every time he saw Bodie and Murphy together, something happened inside his head and he couldn't control it. Yes, Bodie was his partner, but it wasn't as if he hadn't worked with anyone else, or with Murphy before. Then why did he feel so… So… His head jerked up, not having examined these feelings before, he suddenly realised what he felt, he was jealous!
Releasing a deep breath, Doyle sat down on a bench. He was getting wetter by the minute, but he didn't care. His elbows on his knees, head buried in his hands, Doyle was shocked to admit it to himself. Jealousy! It was the only way he could describe the emotion he felt. This weird feeling in the pit of his stomach, where it burned and made him feel as if he'd lost something without knowing what. Made him want to smash their faces every time he saw them together – Bodie and Murphy. Seeing his tall, dark and handsome partner together with their very tall, dark and handsome friend, elicited deep feelings of jealousy within him.
Doyle clenched his fists, his nails leaving marks in his palms. So what was he going to do about those feelings? Address them? He had to, didn't he? He couldn't go on like this; he had to sort it out.
He stood again, looking around as if he'd forgotten where he was, and looked down the path he had come along. He and Bodie used to run here, but after the business with Plumb, they decided to change their habits. Cowley didn't preach his, 'Be purposely unpredictable' for nothing. If Plumb had known where to find them, so would others; others with more obscure reasons in mind.
He started to walk again, soaked completely but still not paying attention to it.
So he was jealous, he had that figured out. Who was he jealous of? There was this little voice in his head that yelled: 'DOYLE ARE YOU REALLY THAT STUPID?' Yes, he probably was. Was he jealous of Murphy for fooling around with his partner?
Bodie his partner of four years, always there when Doyle needed him. What were his feelings for Bodie? Bodie was his friend, his best friend, comrade in arms, best mate to watch the footie with, best pub crawling mate, Bodie was his best everything.
That was clear, no surprises there then. Then what?
He walked on, not noticing the puddles. His trainers were soaked, so were his socks. The drizzle was becoming more serious rain, and still Doyle walked on.
So how did he feel about Murphy? After Bodie, Murphy was the finest friend and colleague he had. Friendly, straight forward, competent good old Murph. When Bodie couldn't back him up then Doyle was perfectly happy to have Murphy there. He trusted Murphy as he trusted Bodie, he didn't have the same rapport with Murphy that he had with Bodie, but that could only grow when you were long time partners.
Okay, that was sorted too, what next?
'You are really thick, Doyle.' Oh, that not so little voice was back again.
Doyle sighed and stepped in an exceptionally deep puddle, for the first time really noticing the rain. His day was getting better and better, not…
So he had established Bodie was his best friend and Murphy was his second best friend, then where did the jealousy bit come in?
Suddenly Bodie brushing Murphy's bum that morning appeared before his eyes and he felt that hopeless feeling in his stomach again. Did he want Bodie to brush his bum? Nothing… no gut reaction. But Bodie touching Murph and it was back with a vengeance.
Murphy? Doyle imagined his hand brushing Murphy's bum and … he flushed bright red. Oh Christ, no, MURPHY?
The next bench was close, which was a good thing, because he felt his legs were starting to waver. He sat down rather hard, completely baffled by the outcome of his musings.
And which outcome was that? Running his hand through his in the meantime completely drenched curls, Doyle had a hard time admitting exactly what this meant.
He was jealous when Bodie touched Murphy, because… because he wanted to be the one touching Murphy. Did that mean that he was…?
He shook his head. No. No way. This was not happening. This couldn't be true, could it?
Doyle looked at his hands; they were trembling – nothing strange about that! It wasn't everyday you found out you had fallen in love with a male colleague.
Hell, falling in love period. So yeah, he was allowed to tremble a bit. Then the enormity of his discovery hit him. He had fallen in love with Murphy! Of all the bloody stupid things to do. It's not as if he could walk over to Murphy and say 'Hey Murph, I fancy you, wanna go on a date?'
A gust of wind hit him squarely in the face and he blinked his eyes. He suddenly realised he was soaked to the skin and started to shiver. He looked at his watch and was shocked to see that he had been wandering around the cemetery for almost three hours. It had taken him quite some time to figure things out.
He had to radio in, to let headquarters know where he was and that he was okay. He remembered driving off without leaving a message for anyone. Bloody hell, he was in for one hell of a dressing down. He fumbled for his RT and then remembered leaving it on the passenger seat in his car.
He got up from the bench and had to steady himself, he was cold through and through and was shivering violently. Well done Doyle, he said to himself, get yourself sorted out by catching pneumonia. He wrapped his arms around his chest and started to walk back to the cemetery entrance.
In the distance he could hear cars and sirens - an ambulance? Perhaps an accident in the road? Running feet made him alert and he started to pull his gun when suddenly he was surrounded by people.
"Doyle? Doyle? Are you okay?" Bodie. A worried sounding Bodie. "Damn it, Doyle, say something. Are you okay? What happened? Where have you been?" The questions were fired rapidly in his direction.
"Sssorry, forgot the tttime," Doyle stammered; violent shivers were now controlling his body. Something warm was placed around his shoulders, a coat. He looked up to see where it came from and looked directly in warm grey green eyes. Murphy, of course. Murphy looked down at him, a tiny smile lifting the corners of his mouth. A long arm was placed around his shoulders and he was gently pushed in the direction of the entrance.
"Did you finally figure it out?" A soft voice asked close to his ear.
His eyes widening with shock he lifted his head to look at Murphy again. "Wwhat?" he asked confused.
"Never mind, Ray, we'll talk later." Murphy gave him a small push and they continued to the entrance.
"Hhow, how did you find me?" Doyle asked, his teeth chattering with the cold.
"After you drove off in a frenzy things got rather hectic at headquarters and they have been trying to contact you all afternoon. When they couldn't contact you for over two hours, Cowley issued an APB. Then about twenty minutes or so ago, a PC spotted your car in front of the cemetery and called it in," Bodie explained. Then he added, "Damn it, Doyle, what's wrong with you? What were you doing here?"
Doyle shook his head, "I'm sorry…" He trailed of, what was he going to say to Bodie?
"It's okay, Ray. Leave it for now." Murphy patted his shoulder. "Stop pushing Bodie, we've got to get him somewhere warm and dry first." Murphy looked at Bodie over Ray's head, and Doyle noticed a warning flashing in Murphy's eyes, directed at his partner.
"Oh, yeah, right." Bodie looked rather sheepish. "Come on, sunshine, I'll take you home. Murph can you take Doyle's car back to HQ?"
"I think it's better if I take him home and you can take his car back to HQ. You can fill Cowley in on what happened." Murphy calmly settled Doyle in his own car and held out his hand for Doyle's car keys.
When Doyle had handed over his keys, Murphy closed the door; he exchanged a few more words with Bodie, while he handed him Doyle's car keys, and then walked round to the other side of the car and got in.
Bodie made a thumbs up signal at Doyle and then walked over to Doyle's car and drove off.
Murphy turned on the engine and put the heater on full blast. Doyle gratefully sank back in his seat and let the heat envelop him. He looked sideways at Murphy and sighed, this was going to be very awkward.
Just then Murphy looked at him, put his hand on Doyle's and said, "It's going to be okay, Ray, don't worry. Now close your eyes for a bit."
Then Murphy started the car. Doyle closed his eyes and thought about these new feelings. He'd never fallen for a guy before, so why now? And why Murphy? Not prepared to start thinking about it all over again, he let his tiredness take over and dozed all the way home.
Murphy drove quick and competent through the rush hour traffic. He kept glancing at Doyle. He wondered if the silly sod had finally cottoned on. Falling in love with the sexy bastard months ago had made working with him very difficult, he'd had one hell of a time keeping his hands to himself, and it looked as if Ray would never notice anything.
Then Bodie, who got fed up with his partner's moods had suggested helping him out. If Doyle did feel anything for Murphy, then making him jealous would be the best way to draw him out.
The outcome of today's little charade, however, had been a bit more than they had bargained for. When Bodie had made Murphy aware of Doyle's presence at the house, he was certain there was going to be a big explosion. When Doyle had run out however, it had been totally unexpected, and after a couple of hours both he and Bodie had been worried sick.
Arriving at Doyle's flat, Murphy parked the car and shook Doyle awake. It was now or never.
Doyle came awake with a start; he was relieved to see he was at his own place. Peeling off Murph's coat he returned it with a, "Ta, mate, I'll see you in the morning." And started to get out of the car.
"Oh, no, mate, not this time, you're not fit to be left on your own, I'm coming with you," with clear determination, Murphy got out of the car too.
Doyle sighed. There was going to be no chance of a reprieve. "Okay, you'd better come up then." Wearily Doyle dragged himself from the car. The cold outside hit him with full force and he started to sneeze.
"See, that's just what I mean." Murphy grinned. "Nobody in his right mind would take a three hour walk in the rain and the cold, except for Ray Doyle."
Annoyed Doyle looked up at him, only now realising how much taller Murphy was, especially when he stood so close. "I'm sure you're the sensible one in this outfit," he grumbled, while opening the door.
As soon as they were inside and the locks were set, he felt a hand on his shoulder and a soft voice said, "I'd like to be."
Turning round to face Murphy, Doyle didn't feel up to explaining or discussing anything right now. Something must have shown on his face, because Murphy pushed him in the direction of the bedroom.
"Strip," he ordered, "and I'll run you a hot bath. Then I'm going to make a pot of tea and you're going to drink all of it."
"Bossy sod, aren't you?" Doyle muttered, but headed for the bedroom and started to take off his wet clothes. After struggling for a few moments with the sodden laces of his trainers, he gave up and toed them off, flinging them across the bedroom for good measure, and nearly hitting Murphy on the head who emerged from the bathroom.
"Christ, Doyle, you're lethal, even in the bedroom," he said, while ducking to avoid the second trainer.
This time Doyle grinned, "You'd better believe it. Now where's me tea?"
Murphy sighed and strolled past, ruffling Doyle's curls and waved in the direction of the bathroom. "Your bath is ready and waiting, milord, I'll bring your tea in a minute."
Getting out of skin-tight, extremely wet jeans, was a whole exercise on its own. Murphy, who must have heard the curses in the kitchen, came back to the bedroom and watched from the door how the jeans were winning this round. Finally Doyle looked up, exhausted and mumbled a bit embarrassed, "Would you mind pulling the legs?"
Kneeling at Doyle's feet, Murphy grabbed the jeans, while Doyle sat on the edge of the bed, and pulled hard, throwing Doyle backwards on the bed. "Bloody hell, Murph, you don't know your own strength." Doyle crawled from the bed clad only in a pair of skimpy, bright yellow briefs. He started moving towards the bathroom when he heard Murphy whistle.
"What?" he asked belligerently.
"Nothing really," Murphy sniggered. "Just thought I should have brought my sunglasses!" Then he ducked as Doyle picked up one of his trainers, aimed and threw.
Doyle stripped off his briefs and threw them in the hamper, then with a sigh he lowered himself in the comfortably-hot bath. His toes curled with delight, while he put his head on the towel on the back of the bath. He closed his eyes and let his body soak up the warmth of the water.
He must have dozed off because he suddenly came awake when two strong hands dragged him upright just as he started to slip under.
"Damn it, Ray, you definitely do need a keeper, try to stay awake a little longer." Murphy's voice sounded a bit distressed.
Doyle stared up at Murphy; the look of concern on Murphy’s face made him feel guilty. "Sorry, mate, didn't plan on offing myself, you know."
Murphy just nodded and handed him a mug of steaming hot tea. "Just drink this, and then I can haul your sorry arse out of here."
"Can do that meself," Ray muttered.
"Oh, no, you can't, I'm not letting you sit in here alone. If you don't want me to get you out I'll pull the plug." Murphy put his mug down with a thud and scowled at Doyle, the look daring him to make something of it.
"Yeah, okay, I suppose, if you really insist." Hoping that Murphy wouldn’t insist on staying, he looked up at his friend; Murphy just met his gaze and held it, unblinkingly. Sighing Doyle drank his tea, feeling it warming his insides very nicely. "Could you hand me the towel, please?" he asked, while he pulled the plug. Taking the towel from Murphy he started on his hair, suddenly feeling very self-conscious while the water drained from the bath. When Murphy left the bathroom he sighed and stood up in the tub, only to start when Murphy returned carrying his robe. He briskly dried his arms and chest, all the time very aware of Murphy's presence. "Do you mind?" He asked when he wanted to start on his nether regions.
"No, not at all, please continue, I'm not embarrassed." Murphy grinned. Doyle bit his lip and felt himself flush. He turned his back on Murphy and started to dry his belly, groin and thighs, feeling ridiculous because he'd done that a hundred times in the CI5 locker room without paying attention to anyone.
"It's okay, Ray, you're in no danger of drowning now, so I'll make us a couple of sandwiches." Murphy briefly touched his shoulder, Doyle turned his head and even standing in the tub found he had to look up at Murphy. He gave a small smile, "Thanks, mate, I think there's a tin of soup in the larder, we can have that as well."
Doyle stepped out of the tub, dried his legs and feet, pulled on his robe and walked into the bedroom, when realisation hit him: Murphy KNEW. Dropping onto the bed as if the wind was knocked out of him, Doyle groaned, how the hell had Murphy found out? Vigorously drying his hair, he remembered the first thing Murphy had said to him 'Did you finally figure it out?' Without conscious thought, he pulled out a clean pair of briefs, his tracksuit and a pair of socks, and automatically dressed himself.
Draping the towel over his shoulders to catch any water dripping from his hair, Doyle made his way to the living room. The living room was nice and warm, and from the kitchen came the tantalising smell of chicken soup. "You need any help, mate?" he called out to Murphy.
"Nah, you take a seat, I'll bring it in." Balancing a tray with soup, sandwiches and more tea, Murphy emerged from the kitchen.
Doyle sighed contentedly. "You'll make someone a lovely wife someday," he teased.
Murphy put the tray down and looked into Ray's eyes, "Not just someone, I hope." he replied with a wink. Then he sat down and offered Doyle the plate of sandwiches, the gesture preventing things from getting awkward.
They ate in silence, and Doyle felt himself starting to relax. With his mug in his hands and his elbows resting on the table, his eyes started to droop.
"We still have to talk, you know." Murphy said softly.
Doyle's head jerked up; the motion made the tea slosh over the rim of his mug onto his hand and made him hiss with pain. He slammed the mug down and made his way to the kitchen turning on the cold tap to ease the burning.
Murphy came up behind him. "Sorry, didn't mean to startle you. But we do need to talk this over, Ray."
"Talk about what?" Doyle didn't know if he was ready for this.
Murphy reached over Doyle's shoulder and turned off the tap. Then he grabbed Doyle's bare shoulders and turned him round. He put two fingers under Doyle's chin and tipped his head up. "This," Murphy said, he lowered his head and captured Doyle's lips with his own.
Doyle's first reaction was to pull away, but two strong arms went around him and he was pulled even closer. Slowly his mouth was coaxed open and with a strangled groan, Doyle gave in to Murphy's insistent tongue.
Was it this simple? Just giving in like that, without any objections?
Before he could answer his own questions, Murphy pulled away, and with a slight moan of protest Doyle looked up, bewildered at Murphy's actions.
"We do need to talk, sunshine." Murphy explained, and he pushed Doyle in the direction of the living room again. Once there, he arranged them on the sofa. "You are very confused, aren't you, Ray?" Murphy asked softly.
Doyle, cornered on the sofa, saw no way out, it was time for honesty, but he didn't know how to voice his feelings. He nodded at Murphy's question, but was still unable to speak.
"You only figured things out today, didn't you?" Again Murphy gave him an opening.
Doyle nodded again, then cleared his throat and said in a voice he didn't recognise as his own, "Yes, I think I have. I've… I kept running away from addressing my feelings. I knew there was something, but didn't want to stand still long enough to find out what. It was quite a revelation when I finally did and…" Suddenly he lost his nerve again.
"Ray, if I tell you that I fell in love with you months ago, would that help?" Murphy looked at him, and Doyle knew Murphy could see his confusion.
"You… you love me?" Doyle looked in bewilderment at his friend, how could he have missed that?
"Ray," Murphy sighed, "I'm not in the habit of kissing blokes just for the heck of it, you know. Yes, I love you, I'm in love with you and have been for some time. Unfortunately you didn't pick up on any of my subtle hints and Bodie decided to help out."
Doyle held up his hand, "Hints, what hints? I never noticed anything. And what do you mean, Bodie decided to help out?"
This time Murphy looked uneasy, Doyle noticed a flush in his face that hadn't been there earlier. "Well, you see, umm… Bodie did pick up on my hints, and said the only way to make you see sense would be to make you jealous," Murphy muttered.
"What!" Doyle didn't know if he should be angry or laugh, then deciding, he grinned. "I guess he had a point. I did notice the two of you fooling around this morning and I didn't like it a bit. Then when I came at the house… Damn it, Murph, I felt so rotten, as if I'd been punched in the gut and I just didn't know why."
"You found out why?" Murphy asked intently.
Feeling embarrassed, Doyle nodded. "Oh yeah, I found that I can be very jealous, and I don't like the feeling one bit." He looked up now at Murphy, and said angrily, "Don't you ever do that to me again, Patrick Murphy, or I'll flatten you."
Murphy held up his hands in surrender. "No problem, he's not my type. You are. Don't worry Ray, I've told Bodie that we would work it out. He was blaming himself this afternoon, for having you run out on us, not knowing where you had gone to. I'm sorry, it seemed a good idea at the time"
"Bodie was right though, it did work. So are you going to make it up to me?" Doyle asked mischievously, and shifted closer to his mate.
Two long arms pulled Doyle close and a voice in his ear mumbled, "Try and stop me, sunshine."
-- THE END --