For Taverymate, winner of the 2006 Noble Sentiments Prosfic Alphabetical Quotes Challenge for Discovered in the Mistletoe, on the discoveredinalj livejournal community.
Graphics by Josey; drabbles by Slantedlight
There were carols playing somewhere, young voices triumphant in the night, and when he opened his eyes the first thing he saw was a reindeer. Reindeer? He searched blurrily left… snow… right… three dark kings, supplicant with their gifts.
And there he was, behind the cards, asleep in the chair. Come to call him back – again – from the grave. Back to pain, back to blood, back to death.
He closed his eyes, tried to will it all away. If he was good, if he was quiet, if Bodie didn't see him – maybe he could choose the peace this time…
Darkest myrrh, its bitter perfume
Breathes a life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying…
Sealed in a stone cold tomb…
Bodie dreamed. He dreamed of empty beaches, and clouded skies, of seas turning to blood, and of days without Doyle. No hospital, no city, no CI5. The world was grey and dark and it had been a long time since he wanted to do it all on his own.
When he woke, it wasn't much different. Somewhere there were carols playing, low and sonorous. People came and went, bustled around them: they were their own ocean of silence.
He stood to stretch, found himself by the bed. What to say this time? This once again time?
Come back to me?
A song, a song high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea,
With a voice as big as the sea.
The dark was gone, and everything was bright. Too bright - garish. Glarish. He screwed his eyes against it, and a soothing shadow moved across them. Peace and quiet again.
But there was something else now, too. What was it?
Warmth. There was warmth, and he relaxed his face to it, took a deeper breath.
Bodie, there beside him.
Pain and blood and death and… so how could Bodie be peace as well? They lived in the rush of fear, not …
It's alright, sunshine. It's going to be alright.
Someone, somewhere, hummed a carol.
Fingers brushed his cheek.
Mark my footsteps, good my page;
Tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
Freeze thy blood less coldly.
He felt the moment Doyle opened his eyes, felt the moment Doyle knew it was him, and he reached out with his hand anyway, smoothed it down the pale cheek just once… twice… He paused. Doyle's gaze was pain-filled, but clear. What did he see?
Bodie knew who he was. He knew what he did. He knew that there was blood and mud and pain bound tight to it. He was a soldier, he was a fighter and there was nothing that would change that.
There had been other times too.
Song and wine and laughter.
God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
Dark outside, but morning.
"'Bout time you woke up."
He didn't want to wake up. Did he?
"Y'know it's supposed to be reindeer?"
"Eh?" His head hurt.
"You. Reindeer for Christmas, not pandas."
"Oh. Bad is it?" He closed his eyes.
"Could be worse." Somewhere a radio burst tinnily to life, and they listened for a moment.
"Least you've got your two front teeth."
It hurt to smile.
It'd hurt not to.
Bodie was always smiling.
"No, the nurses still don't come with the pills."
"They're just not big enough…"
It really hurt to smile.
"Get us home?"
Fast away the old year passes.
Hail the new ye lads and lasses
Thin December light streamed through windows, washing into the living room and falling weakly into corners, through doorways. The flat felt abandoned, despite the scatter of books and cushions and knick-knacks. Empty of Doyle.
Bodie'd made sure the heating was on, that there was food in the fridge. All he had to do now was go back and fetch him and they could get on with their lives, with the fight. Couldn't they?
He turned a circle in the middle of the room. Nothing here to make Doyle laugh.
To hold him here?
Outside, a car was playing Christmas music.
Shall I play for you
pa rum pum pum
on my drum.
Doyle had once dreamed of Christmas like this. A tree, tall and real, and hung heavy with glitter and shine. Tinsel along every wall, every bookcase, streamers across the ceiling, snow stencilled over the windows. There were Christmas carols on the stereo, and candles on the mantelpiece. Piles of presents, wrapped garishly in red and green and christmas-fairy. The smell of pine needles, and of roast chicken in the kitchen.
And, if he was not mistaken, chips. Trust Bodie.
Bodie was there when he turned around, close behind him. Wearing a Santa hat and red nose.
Looking up at mistletoe.
Oh, the weather outside is frightful,
But the fire is so delightful,
And since we've no place to go,
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.
There were carols playing somewhere, young voices hushed in the night, and when he opened his eyes the first thing he saw was Ray. The sofa was soft and warm beneath him, he was pleasantly full of all things good, and Ray was reading, drinking brandy, close by. His eyelids drifted down again…
He dreamed. He dreamed of Doyle, and laughter, and a world far away…
Woke again. Something was different. Out of place.
The sofa was soft, the room was warm, candles burning low. And there was Doyle, on the floor nearby, reading.
He tasted brandy on his lips.
O the rising of the sun,
And the running of the deer,
The playing of the merry organ,
Sweet singing in the choir.
He'd kissed him. He'd kissed him. How? Why? One minute there was just Bodie in the candlelight, in the warm, dim candlelight, the strains of Christmas ringing through the air, and then…
How had he ever thought to kiss Bodie? Bodie was his partner, the man he worked with…
Bodie was the man who always made him laugh, the man who watched his back, villains or no.
Bodie was the man stretched across his sofa, legs long, face turned towards him, lashes dark against shadowed skin. The man with soft lips, that tasted of just Bodie, with warm breath that…
A star there was seen of such glorious light.
If I told you a secret Doyle… if I told you my secret, would you do it again? Would you come and kneel beside me, and lean down, and kiss me again?
The room was filled with whispers, with the sputtering of candles, and the hum of the heating and the hushed voices of a choir in the background. And over it all, Bodie would have sworn he could hear Doyle breathing, and his own heart pounding.
The world waited.
Bodie opened his eyes wide, and stretched out a hand.
After a moment, Doyle came and knelt beside him.
Love and joy come to you,
And to your wassail too…
Doyle chose peace and warmth and the world and more. He chose to undo Bodie's shirt, buttons and touches intermingling. He chose to let Bodie kiss him, to let Bodie's fingers tangle in his hair while his lips and tongue did marvellous things. He chose to unbutton Bodie's trousers, to slowly open the zip, to slide his hands around to smooth skin, and the trousers down… just enough… He chose to lie beside Bodie, naked on the sofa and to move in just the right way…
And afterwards, with bells cheering and angels screaming joy, he held Bodie and smiled.
Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
-- THE END --