Well Matched at Christmas
Written for Discovered in the Mistletoe, on the discoveredinalj livejournal community.
Episode references are in transmission order rather than production order. Thank you to Elizabeth O'Shea & Justacat.
By the time Doyle arrived on the scene, the police had blocked off the street and were a watchful presence on the sidelines. Cowley had set up a command centre across from the corner shop where Bodie and the shop owner were being held hostage. Christmas Eve in London; happy Christmas everyone.
"Decided to show up at last, did you?" Anson greeted him as he approached the line of vans and cars that comprised the command centre.
"Yeah, I thought I'd check in." He glanced around at the milling agents and police. "It's quite a party, isn't it?"
"One of Bodie's finest efforts, I'd say."
"He never does anything by halves." Doyle passed Anson and continued on towards Cowley. He'd been summoned from his sister's house in Slough. That hadn't gone down well. He'd been trying to mend some fences there, and leaving in the middle of dinner hadn't helped his cause. What the fuck was Bodie doing in the shop at 9:00 on Christmas Eve anyway? He'd said he was spending the holiday with Diana.
Cowley turned to Doyle as he approached. "Becker has demanded a car and clear passage out of London."
"He must be joking. He's a professional. He knows he won't get far."
"Perhaps he likes those odds better than surrendering to us. He wants the car quickly, before we have any more time to set up road blocks."
"And of course he'll take Bodie with him."
"Aye, for as long as he's useful." Cowley turned away as a police inspector reported to him.
Georg Becker. Bodie never did anything by halves. Becker was wanted throughout Europe for his terrorist activities. Why was he in London? And how had Bodie stumbled upon him? Doyle had been wondering that ever since he'd received the call. The stupid bugger would be lucky to get out of this one alive. Doyle took in a breath, trying to relax muscles that had been tight since Slough. At least he was here now.
The inspector retreated and Cowley turned back to Doyle
"What's the plan?"
Cowley raised his eyebrows. "Give him the car." "With a tracking device? He'll dump the car, and Bodie, at the first chance he gets."
"Then we'll have to make sure Bodie doesn't get into that car with him, won't we?"
Doyle blew out his breath, looking along the street which was lit by lamplight. "Where's Murphy?"
A faint smile appeared on Cowley's face. "Already preparing, and waiting for you." Cowley gestured down the street to another clumping of cars and men. "On your bike lad. We'll get him out of this."
"Yes, sir." Doyle left the command centre but he shared none of Cowley's confidence. Becker would have a gun jammed against Bodie all the way to the car. He would know the transition would be their best opportunity to take him. As long as he could use the threat of Bodie's death against them, he'd stand a chance at survival. The odds were against him, in the long run, but they were even more against Bodie.
Doyle was grimly amused by the covert looks he was receiving from his fellow agents as he made his way towards Murphy. It was always the same when one member of a team was in trouble or dead. The surviving member was watched--with speculation, pity, perhaps even some empathy. Whatever their motivations, Doyle found it impertinent when directed at him. As if any of them could know what it was like between him and Bodie; as if any of them had a fucking clue.
Murphy, thank God, had his expression under control when Doyle found him. He looked up from inspecting a rifle. "What is this fatal attraction Bodie has for German terrorists?"
"Natural charm?" Franz Myer, Werner Dreisinger, and now Georg Becker. Cowley should try sending him out with a bell around his neck and the squad behind him. They'd bloody clean up the continent. "You ready?"
Murphy nodded. Next to Bodie, Murphy was the best shot with a rifle on the squad.
"Do you know where you want to set up?"
"I had an idea about that. Come with me."
Murphy led him to the rooftop of one of the buildings across the street from the corner shop. It was a cold night, but the air was still and clear; a good night for a sniper.
"What do you think?" Murphy's proposed position was at a slant to the doorway of the shop, and not an obvious placement.
"Do we know if Becker is right or left handed?"
"Right, according to the file."
Doyle narrowed his eyes, checking the angle. "You're calculating it with the car in place?"
"Yes. He's likely to be behind Bodie and slightly to his right."
Doyle sucked in his breath. "Tight quarters."
"And the possibility of a reflex reaction."
"Two deaths for the price of one. Becker would like that."
"What do you reckon, then?"
Doyle looked at Murphy for a moment, then out across the street. He could see nothing in the shop. "You'll need a spotter."
"You know what the delay might mean."
"It's Bodie's only chance." He kept his voice level, unemotional.
Murphy nodded. "You'll do it, then?"
"Yeah." Doyle's gaze swept the street and returned to the shop. "Anson can deliver the car. Perhaps he'll provide a distraction."
"He does for us. It seems only fair to spread the wealth."
Doyle left Murphy to set up on the rooftop while he collected binoculars for himself and went to see Cowley and Anson. If Bodie got into the car with Becker, he was as good as dead. He would be gambling for Bodie's life on a hair's-breadth of a chance.
It took just fifteen minutes to get everything and everyone in place. A quarter of an hour's delay, and then events would inexorably unfold to determine Bodie's fate. Doyle positioned himself close to Murphy, kneeling on the rooftop behind a low parapet. They waited in silence. The binoculars were a familiar bulk in his hands, reminding him of duty, of training. Bodie would know they'd try something to save him. Unfortunately, Becker would know that, too. At least Doyle would be the one to call it. The blame would be his.
Anson drove down the street in a green Cortina. There was a tracking device attached to it, in case Becker escaped their net. Doyle's fingers tightened on the binoculars as he imagined finding the abandoned car, hours and miles later. This had to work, here and now. Anson parked the car in front of the shop, up on the pavement, as per Becker's orders. The angle he parked it at, however, was for Murphy's benefit.
Doyle watched as Anson got out of the car with his hands raised, leaving the driver's door open. As he trained the binoculars on the shop door, Doyle saw movement. He couldn't distinguish individuals in the shadow of the doorway, but orders must have gone out, because Anson closed the door and retreated to the front of the car, hands still raised.
There was a moment's pause, and then Bodie appeared in the doorway, filling Doyle's vision. He seemed so close. Bodie's eyes scanned the roofline, and it was hard to believe he couldn't see Doyle; couldn't connect with him. But his gaze fell away, and the binoculars revealed the gun pressed to Bodie's neck--the barrel right against his carotid artery.
Murphy had been right: Becker was behind Bodie and to his right. His left arm held Bodie's arm, pressed nearly double behind his back. They shuffled towards the car. He suspected Becker was keeping an eye on Anson, and sweeping the rooftops and cars for snipers, or any surprises. Doyle kept his focus on that gun against Bodie's neck. He needed an inch; half an inch.
The roof of the car appeared in the lower edge of Doyle's vision as Bodie neared it. He dipped down and sideways, fumbling for the door handle. The gun barrel shifted--
The rifle shot was deafening, taking away his hearing and his breath. His heart jumped into overdrive; his fingers clamped hard on the binoculars. He was helpless to do anything but watch and witness. The gun next to Bodie's neck jerked upward, and Bodie disappeared from his view. Doyle pulled the binoculars down, blinking at the sudden transition, desperate to see. He focused on the car; saw Anson moving in; saw Becker on the pavement; saw Bodie--.
"We did it." Murphy's voice, quiet, but filled with relief. "We got him."
Bodie rose to his feet, one hand to his ear, and said something to Anson, who was looking at Becker's body. Doyle took in a breath on a gasp, as if his lungs had suddenly started working. He put the binoculars down on the parapet, his hand shaking. "Well done, Murph."
Beside him, Murphy let out a whoosh of air.
For a few moments, Doyle watched the scene unfolding below them. Agents, police, and Cowley converged on the car. He saw Lucas and McCabe heading into the corner shop, presumably in search of the owner. Cowley stopped next to Bodie, who straightened to something close to a parade rest. Everything back to normal. One more disaster averted. One more terrorist dead.
Doyle climbed to his feet. He smiled at Murphy and gave him a light punch on the arm. "See you down there."
"Right." Murphy got to his feet and began collecting the gear he had brought with him.
Doyle turned away and headed for the fire escape at the back of the building. He climbed down the levels. Once on the ground he walked up the alley behind the buildings, but rather than turning towards the street with the corner shop, he headed in the opposite direction. He walked away from the blockade, away from the police. When the sounds faded, when it was all well behind him, he broke into a run.
He ran in a burst of energy, not caring where he went, as long as he kept moving, kept the pounding up. His breath came hard and fast, and he courted collision with cars, avoiding them by instinct rather than plan. He ran like he'd run that day after Bodie--the other time he'd been held hostage by a German terrorist. The memory spurred him on, despite the complaint of muscles, despite the burn in his lungs. He ran to forget.
He was miles away from the scene before he stopped. He stood for a moment, breathing hard, and then he fell into a walk. His R/T sounded--possibly it had been signalling him for some time. He reached into his jacket and switched it off. He kept walking.
He knew where he was, although he made no conscious decision about the path he took. Thoroughly knowing London was an inevitable byproduct of his job--of all the jobs he'd had as an adult. He knew the streets, he knew the neighbourhoods; he knew where to find drugs, and he knew where to find peace and quiet. Yet cities change, and London had changed in his years on the job. It was like an organism, a growing entity. Some parts decayed and died, while other parts experienced rebirth. Burnt bridges were rebuilt--some more easily than others.
Pamela had asked him to Christmas Eve dinner for the first time in five years. The last time he had been there, he'd been called out to a bombing. The year before that, well, he'd been going through a rough patch, then, and had deliberately baited his brother-in-law. He had often wondered how Pamela--as lively a girl as he had ever known--could have come to marry the very proper, very literal-minded Gerald. As disapproving as Gerald was of him now, he wondered what he would have thought of him before he'd joined the police.
He was back in Westminster, and he headed for the river. Perhaps he'd walk along the Embankment, or along the park. As long as he kept moving, it didn't matter, did it?
His mother's funeral was the first sign of a thawing in his relationship with Pamela. For once, CI5 had been quiet, and he had been able to attend, and to share in his family responsibilities. It seemed to mean something to Pam, although he wondered why she thought it could possibly mean anything to his mother, or affect the relationship he'd had with her. Still, funerals were for the living, and Pam had wanted the support of her only brother. He'd known the proper behaviour for funerals--he'd been to enough of them over the years.
Abruptly, he switched direction, heading for Parliament Square. He'd been prepared to be pleasant to Gerald tonight. One night of boredom wasn't too much to bear, was it? Seeing the pleasure in Pam's face had made it worthwhile, giving her the illusion of a real family gathering. There had been a time last year when he had thought he wanted that. Pam would have approved of Ann, but he suspected Ann would have looked down on Pam. He was well out of that, although she had seemed his last hope at the time. It had been a brief moment of insanity, brought about by-- He cut the thought off, not willing to think about Bodie just yet. Instead he made the turning for the Abbey, drawn by the activity he saw there.
Christmas Eve--of course the Abbey would be full. There would be carols and a midnight mass, with everyone welcome. He stepped inside, keeping to the back and to the shadows, drawn by the music and the warmth. Hundreds of voices were raised in song, joined in the familiar words and music. It washed over him, reminding him, taking him back. He'd loved Christmas as a kid. Not only the anticipation of presents, but the whole unique spirit of it. Christmas was a time when the world was magic, full of possibilities. His mum cooked foods that they only had once a year, and filled the house with smells of baking. Relatives would come around with presents, and stories of exotic places and past glories. His gran would let him taste the mince pies straight out of the oven, to see if they were acceptable. His uncle Jim introduced him to rum and whisky. For those few days the house was filled with light and laughter and excitement. And then it was gone, the decorations tucked away for another year, the baking finished. His mum retreated into her own world, and his father to work.
It had never been the same after his grandmother died, and gradually he had stopped bothering with much of a celebration. Most of the time, he had volunteered to work while he was with the police. That first year, Sid had invited him to his house, but he hadn't gone. He'd regretted that later. Bodie, it seemed, felt the same way he did about it--they often worked part of the holiday together. This year, Bodie had had plans with Diana. But then, a lot of things had changed this year, hadn't they?
He sensed movement nearby and looked up to see a verger making his way towards him, no doubt to help him find a proper seat. Doyle smiled his thanks, but indicated he'd be leaving soon. This wasn't his place. He waited a few minutes, then eased away from the wall and out of the Abbey, away from the celebration of a miracle. The belief in Christmas magic was something he'd given up long ago. He hadn't belonged anywhere for longer than that.
Back on the street again he hesitated. There was no excuse for this; he should at least check in, make sure he wasn't wanted somewhere. But he left his R/T off, and headed for Westminster Bridge.
He'd been a fool with Ann, but he'd wanted that sense of belonging. He'd have ended up like Pam, stuck in the semblance of happiness. Making do. Was that really better than being alone? He paused on the bridge, looking out over the dark water and the ever-changing patterns of reflected light.
The truth was he never felt more himself than when he was with Bodie. It was impossible for him to see himself with anyone else when he felt most content, most alive, with Bodie. In the pub, on the job, watching the telly--he enjoyed it all more when Bodie was there with him. It didn't make sense. Christ, half the time they fought, sometimes in earnest. But his life had changed the moment Cowley had made them a team. And tonight the dozy bastard had nearly got himself killed.
Typical that Bodie had run into trouble off the job. He'd been out with that bird--with his bloody hand bandaged, for God's sake--when he'd tried to tackle Myer by himself. He'd torn a strip off Bodie when he'd finally got him alone. "Sorry, mate. Won't happen again," Bodie had said. But it bloody well had happened again. He'd gone off on his own with Marikka, with King Billy--whenever it was personal, he'd gone off alone. What place had Doyle in that? Where Doyle could see no boundaries between the personal and the professional, Bodie saw nothing but electrified fences, barricaded gates, and trip wires.
He'd grown used to it--had learned to read the signs and to push when necessary. The important thing was to keep him alive. Sometimes Bodie seemed to have no sense of self-preservation--rushing in like a bull in a china shop, treating his life like a giant game played with tin soldiers. And then he had the gall to yell at Doyle when he thought he'd been reckless. Sodding pot and kettle, that was.
The bloody maniac had even tried to stop him from following when he had a bleeding bomb strapped round his chest. What would that have accomplished? He'd had to run him down, tackle him, rip the explosives off him and fling the pack away. All while Bodie was yelling some rot about keeping away, and not letting it take the two of them. Blooming cheek, when you thought about it.
Bodie had been angry after that op, still hurting from the beating he'd received. Doyle hadn't tried to defend himself, once the whole story had come out. His actions had blown Bodie's cover it didn't matter that it couldn't have been anticipated, or that it could have happened to anyone. They had been lucky that Dreisinger had been in charge, and had wanted Christina as much as Doyle had wanted Bodie. Doyle closed his eyes for a moment and gripped the cold guard rail. He'd saved Bodie, but he'd lost as well.
He'd gambled on winning it all. But his carefully orchestrated campaign to win Bodie had failed miserably. It wasn't because of the Herzog-Dreisinger op, but they were inextricably linked in his mind. He'd tried to get through one of those barricaded gates, and he'd found a trip wire.
At first it had all been so much easier than he had thought it would be. He remembered the first time he'd touched Bodie with a lover's hand--although he'd never have called it that. Bodie wasn't to know what it had meant to him. It'd been the night before an op, and for once, it had been Bodie who'd been keyed up, needing to let off a little energy. They'd kept the chatter up and, as was their habit, they'd started comparing birds and experiences. He had judged the moment and the mood, and had offered to prove that a hand job could be good as a blow job.
He'd probably failed in the proof, but it hadn't mattered. He'd made Bodie come. He'd watched his face as the ecstasy had taken him; he'd been responsible for it. Soon after, the call-out had come and they'd been off. Had he imagined how perfectly in sync they'd been? Probably. But he'd been high on the gamble and hope.
Even now he could barely believe it. Bodie was a mystery to him in so many ways. He still had no idea if Bodie had had any other male sexual encounters before, but he suspected not. They'd never discussed the sex they'd shared. Doyle hadn't referred to the hand job--hadn't by so much as a wink betrayed that they'd behaved in any way out of the ordinary. Giving Bodie time had seemed to be the best plan. And, indeed, Bodie had been the one to make the next move, turning a routine obbo into something else altogether. After that it had been a matter of slow escalation: mutual wanking, hand jobs, and Doyle sucking him off. No discussion, no kissing, no bed--yet he'd never felt closer to Bodie. He'd hoped they were building to something. And then, a couple of nights before they'd been set to pick up Christina Herzog, Bodie had gone down on him.
God, it had been all he'd wanted Maybe it had been just a blow job, but it had meant everything to him. Doyle had sucked Bodie off first, taking all he'd give him. He had expected Bodie to give him a wank, as he'd done before. But this time, Bodie had reached for him, and had gone down on him, his hands on Doyle's bum, his mouth.... Doyle closed his eyes, his cock stirring at the memory. Warmth and giving; sharing. He'd held Bodie's head in his hands, his fingers sliding through his hair. He'd wanted to kiss him afterwards, to gather him close, but he hadn't. Too fearful to risk it, he'd let his hands slide from him, and he'd grinned at Bodie, and made him laugh. He'd kept it light; no big deal; nothing to prompt retreat.
He'd gone home with a mixture of hope and regret. The job had kept them on the hop for a few days, and then Dreisinger had taken Bodie hostage. One of the worst days of Doyle's life. Followed shortly by the realisation that Bodie regretted what he'd done--what they'd done. Maybe Bodie had crossed some internal line of his own with the blow job. Whatever it was, Bodie had slammed the door in his face. The sex had ended there.
Doyle looked out across the water, the chill in his bones finally registering. He turned and walked the rest of the way across the bridge. He'd go to Tommy's and see if he could get a cuppa. Christmas Eve in a hospital canteen--somehow, that seemed appropriate.
The area around St Thomas's was a little more subdued than usual, but there were always stupid buggers who managed to injure themselves even on Christmas Eve. Or the unlucky who fell ill, or were involved in accidents. Bodie might have ended up here, if it had gone differently tonight. The canteen was open, although sparsely populated. Doyle bought himself tea and settled at a table by the wall.
He supposed it had all come bubbling up because Bodie had been taken hostage again. Better to deal with it now, on his own. He'd be better prepared next time--however many bloody other next times there'd be. He still wasn't ready to chuck it all in; would still rather be with Bodie, as his friend and partner, than not at all.
For a while he'd feared he'd have nothing. He still didn't know what had happened, why Bodie had shut him out so completely, but it hadn't been difficult to get the message. At least he'd kept his dignity. He hadn't begged or questioned him. He'd trod warily for a few weeks, and then he'd used Ann to get him out of his system. The familiar guilt washed over him, that he always felt when he thought about her. He had loved her--or thought he did--but she had been an escape. Unfair of him to have used her like that, yet he couldn't regret it. After Ann, he and Bodie had got back to normal. The only differences were they didn't have sex and there was nothing they were growing towards. And he flirted more closely than ever with despair.
He looked up, startled, to see Claire at his side. He smiled, genuinely pleased to see her. "Working Christmas Eve, love? Surely you could think of better things to do?"
She smiled back, and he saw the relief in her eyes. "Yes, but at least I do have tomorrow off." She had a tray in her hands, and he gestured for her to join him. "What are you doing here?" She sat at the table and unwrapped her sandwich.
"Just passing by."
"They have you on tonight, too, eh?"
He shrugged. She was looking very fetching, her dark hair framing her face, the blue in her eyes a nice contrast. He'd made his mistake with Ann, and he'd kept his affair with Claire more casual than serious. They'd understood each other--nurse and copper--and it had been good while it lasted. Even Bodie had liked her. They'd split without any recrimination, but he hadn't seen her since.
He looked quickly at her, then relaxed. "He's fine. Spending Christmas with Diana--you remember her, don't you?"
"Hm, redhead, very fashion conscious?"
"That's the one."
"I didn't think they'd last."
"I'd call it more off than on, but they seem to get together every few months."
"What about you?" She bit into her sandwich.
"Well, since you threw me over and crushed my heart...."
She grinned at him, and he remembered why they had got along so well.
"And what about you, you heartless woman?"
"I am dating...wait for it...a civil servant!"
"What, a real one?"
She nodded. "With regular hours, even."
He took a sip from his tea. "And what does he think of your hours, then?"
She waggled her hand. "But he copes."
"He'd better, if he knows what's good for him."
"You're the one who dumped me, in case you've forgotten."
"Oh, that's right." She shook her head. "I still can't believe I did that."
He smiled. "Is it serious with him?"
She shrugged. "Maybe." But there was a soft curve on her lips, and a far away look in her eyes.
He felt a tug of something inside--jealousy? No, envy. "I hope it works out for you, then."
Her smile was for him now, and filled with the warmth that he remembered. She ate her sandwich while he drank his tea. "You were looking grim when I first saw you. Is everything all right?"
He looked at her. She knew he couldn't tell her anything about the job, but she always had been a good listener. He remembered thinking he had confided too much in her. "Just a touch of seasonal melancholy, I suspect."
"Ah, yes. Did you volunteer to work, then?"
"I was at my sister's, but got called in."
"I know what that's like." She was looking at him searchingly, and he kept his face bland. She would understand if he told her about Bodie. He could keep the specifics out of it, get her opinion. But his relationship with Bodie was private--it was for them alone. He swallowed the rest of his tea. "I reckon I had better get back." He stood.
"Back on duty?"
"No, I...." He trailed off, suddenly realising where he'd left his car.
"What is it?"
He sighed. "I just remembered my car is miles from here."
She stood up, leaving the remains of her sandwich. "Fortunately for you, I've finished my shift."
"Are you sure?"
"It's good luck to help someone at Christmas, right?"
He smiled at her. "May you find many presents under your tree this year."
He followed her to the hospital car park. They were quiet on the drive to his flat--the contented silence of friends. When she pulled up on his street, she touched his arm, stopping him as he was about to get out. "Ray."
He looked back at her.
"You seem...you've changed. I wish--"
He cut her off. "So do I, love." He leant across and kissed her. "Take care of yourself. I hope he deserves you."
She smiled and touched his face. "And you. I hope you find a little Christmas joy this year."
He climbed out of the car, and waved as she drove away. Christmas joy. That would require the magic he'd stopped believing in. Christmas miracles weren't for the likes of him. He jammed his hands into his jacket pockets. Still, he was glad he'd run into Claire, and glad to find that she was happy. She reminded him of possibilities...and some of the reasons why he was in CI5. He looked up at the sky, seeing only the brightest of stars that shone through to the city. He had no faith in magic--but she did. He closed his eyes for a moment, and thought of Bodie. When he opened his eyes, he was ready to go home.
Walking to the front door of his block, his muscles protested each step, even more strongly than they had before. He reached into the pocket of his jeans for his keys. Something large and solid hit him, turning him and pushing his back against the door. He reacted instantly, but was blocked and held, and a mouth fastened on his. Bodie. There was no doubt this was Bodie. But before he could get his stunned brain to react to the assault, to the kiss, Bodie lifted his head. "Where the fuck were you?"
Bodie again covered his mouth with his own, his tongue pushing in to his mouth, as if possessing him. As if claiming his rights. A bit of anger stirred deep inside Doyle.
Bodie broke the kiss. "Out with a bint, when--"
Doyle hit him. It wasn't a hard punch--the angle was all wrong--but it sent Bodie sprawling. "That was Claire."
Bodie felt his jaw. "Claire?"
Doyle turned back to the door, inserted his key and opened the lock.
He opened the door, paused, and looked back at Bodie. He had climbed to his feet, but he hadn't come any closer. He looked...uncertain. Doyle sighed. "You'd better come inside," he said, and led the way.
His flat was up four flights, so he took the lift. Bodie stood next to him, neither of them speaking. As far as he could see, Bodie was unaffected from his hours as a hostage. Doyle closed his eyes for a moment. He was on a thin edge, his emotions not fully under control. The last thing he wanted was to deal with Bodie tonight.
He entered his flat and went through to the lounge, switching on a lamp. He took off his jacket and turned to find Bodie doing the same.
"You think you're staying then?"
Bodie paused a moment, then put his jacket on a chair by the doorway. He straightened and looked at Doyle. "I'm staying."
They had kissed. He had actually felt Bodie's mouth on his. "What was that all about?"
"Where were you?"
"I was there." Doyle couldn't hold his gaze.
He bit his lip. "I went for a walk."
Bodie crossed the floor to him. "A walk." He nodded. "You just walked off."
Doyle moved away from him, towards the window. "Becker was dead. It was over."
"Was too busy to be bothering with me. What the fuck was all that about at the door?"
Bodie look at him, hard-eyed. "It's obvious isn't it?"
"No. It's not."
"It's you and me, all right? That's it."
Doyle folded his arms. "You want sex."
"And where were you the last seven months?"
Bodie looked down for a moment. "I'm sorry about that."
Doyle nodded. "Sorry." He turned away, and moved closer to the window. He could feel the chill of the night through the glass.
"Ray." Bodie must have followed him; his voice was close.
Doyle swung around. "Right. Let me see if I have this down now. I suck you off and you clear off, is that it?"
"No. I'm not leaving you again. I'm all you need." Bodie put his hands on his shoulders. "Why'd you walk away?"
"Fuck this. Who're you to--"
Bodie's mouth covered his, cutting off the words. After a few moments he pulled back.
Bodie kissed him again, taking his breath away. This wasn't the hard anger at the door. This was seductive and sweet, and far more dangerous. He could feel his resolve weakening, his own anger fading and turning towards desire. Bodie again broke the kiss.
"Bodie." He heard the weakness in his protest. His hands were on Bodie's sides.
He blinked at him, caught in his gaze, his breathing erratic. "I was there. On the roof."
"Cowley told me. Murphy shot Becker."
"I--" His hands tightened on Bodie.
"You told him when to shoot."
He shuddered, reliving the sound of the rifle firing; the waiting between the handgun's movement and Becker's death. "Did Becker's gun go off?" His voice sounded remote, even to his own ears.
Closing his eyes, he didn't resist as Bodie pulled him close.
"But he missed me; it didn't even nick my ear. Mind you, the ringing didn't go away for ages."
His face was in Bodie's neck. It was stupid to be feeling this way. It was over. It had worked. He was revealing too much, even to Bodie.
"I thought I'd had it. I thought you were in Slough. But you were there. I always make it when you're there."
Doyle tried to pull back, to distance himself, but Bodie only let him go a few inches. His hands were tight on Doyle's shoulders. "I watch your back, the same as you watch mine."
"It's more than that. You ran because it was all too much, didn't you?"
Doyle looked down, feeling raw.
Bodie put a hand on his face, cupping it. "We're starting over, Ray. I know I fucked it up. You can hold that over me for the rest of our lives, if you want, but we're starting over."
"Just like that?"
"It's been seven bloody months."
Bodie leant in and kissed him, coaxing a response. "Please, Ray. Let me show you."
It was post-op nerves. Gratitude, maybe. It wasn't real; it couldn't be. "Tonight, then," he said. One night. Christmas Eve. Bodie would cross the line with him, and then he'd retreat, like he had before. He was too tired to resist, and too heart-sore.
Bodie led him to his bedroom, his hand warm on Doyle's wrist. It seemed he would be generous tonight, would give Doyle all that he so clearly needed. He must have betrayed himself, because Bodie kissed him again, and gave him a lover's attention. There was no fervent hurry, no apparent urge to get it over and done with. They shared in the undressing. He let his hand roam over Bodie's skin, over the curve of pectorals, as Bodie undid his jeans for him and sucked on his neck. His senses were filled with Bodie: his skin, his musk, the rumble of his voice. They'd never taken the time to savour before, and he was heady with the onslaught, completely lost. Such powerful muscles, the skills of a fighter, all gentled for him. He bit the top of Bodie's shoulder, and smiled at the reaction: not completely tamed.
They tumbled into bed, free of clothing, and free of restraint. If Bodie was giving him this, then he'd take it and give back equally. So he kissed him, exploring his taste with his tongue, his cock hard and sliding against Bodie. Bodie groaned and his fingers found Doyle's cock, stroking the length of him, then rubbing his balls. Doyle gasped, breaking the kiss, and Bodie took over, sliding down his chest to his stomach, tasting and lapping as he went. Doyle closed his eyes, arching, his whole body sparking like a live wire.
But Bodie, it seemed, had other plans than a simple blow job. He turned them, and made them a circle, and Doyle gladly took Bodie's cock in his mouth as Bodie took his. Ah, the sweet joy of it! They fell into a rhythm, into a cycle--opposites paired, as always. What Bodie did to him, he did to Bodie, and then it turned the other way, and Bodie followed him. Bodie's cock was hard and hot; leaking fluid. Alive. He sucked and pulled, one hand on the base of his cock, the other free to roam to his balls, to his bum, and to that other place of sensation he'd never dared approach before.
At the same time, his own cock was swelling, his body shivering with the need to let go. As Bodie's tongue swirled around him again, he pulled back, releasing Bodie, and he shouted as he came, pouring into Bodie's throat. He clutched Bodie to him as every drop was taken from him, one surge merging with another into a long, slow continuum. He lay for a moment after, panting, but a twitch of Bodie's cock made him smile. He swallowed him, consumed him in one movement, and he heard Bodie swear, the words turning to a long groan. And he was drinking Bodie, the pure essence of him, the proof of his life.
With a final lick, he released Bodie, sliding off to the side. He felt the separation like a wound. For a rare moment, he'd had a place of his own.
"Christ, Doyle." Bodie's voice was rough, the timbre burred.
Doyle smiled to himself. Bodie wouldn't forget. He might deny, but he wouldn't forget. He closed his eyes, exhaustion sweeping over him. He felt Bodie kiss the corner of his mouth.
"Go to sleep, Ray." Another kiss. He felt movement as Bodie turned in the bed, and then left it altogether. He kept his eyes closed, but his stomach clenched. Too much, too much, don't expect too much. A duvet settled over him, and then a few minutes later the light went off. Moments after that, the bed dipped, and Bodie was there beside him again, under the duvet.
Bodie was alive. Whatever price he had to pay, it was worth it.
Slowly, he relaxed, feeling the warmth radiating from Bodie's body. There was a gentle glide of fingers on his arm and a soft voice in his ear: "Never going to leave you, Ray." It was a promise in the dark, as insubstantial as a dream. But he took the words with him into sleep.
He woke to the delicious aroma of frying bacon. He rolled over on his back, stretched, and wondered whose life he'd stolen. The memories of the night before crowded into his brain: the op; his run; his one night. He sat up, the duvet slipping to his waist. No, this was his bedroom, so it must be his flat, so it must be his life. And Bodie was still here.
Climbing out of bed, his eye fell on a sock neatly laid out at the foot of the bed. There was a bulge in the sock. He eyed it a moment, then picked it up. Inside the sock he found a cracker--a slightly battered Christmas cracker. Bloody hell.
The cracker came with him to the bathroom, and he pondered it as he showered. Once clean, he pulled on jeans and a sweatshirt, collected the cracker, and headed for the kitchen.
Bodie stood at the stove, dressed in cords and a black polo neck. He looked around as Doyle entered the kitchen. "Morning."
"Happy Christmas, more like." He held up the cracker.
"Yeah, well, you needed something festive around here. Very bleak, mate."
Doyle grunted and looked around.
"Coffee's on the table."
He looked at the table and saw two places set, with two cups of coffee. Next to one cup was a second Christmas cracker; beside the other was a green, plastic water pistol. Doyle sat down at the table. He picked up the water pistol and noticed it was empty.
"Christmas pressie," Bodie said, from behind Doyle. He leant down and kissed Doyle quickly, then placed a plate in front of him loaded with eggs, bacon, and fried bread. He retrieved another plate from the oven, and sat down with it across from Doyle.
Doyle looked at the plate, then transferred his gaze to Bodie. "What the fuck is this?" He put the water pistol down.
"Bloody hell, Doyle, it's Christmas."
"You're cooking. Buying me presents."
"I don't need your p--"
"You don't listen, do you?" Bodie's voice drowned him out.
Doyle glared at him.
Bodie laughed, a quick sound. "It wasn't just 'tonight'. It's permanent."
"Yes, you disbelieving sod. The 'rest of our lives', I said. Permanent."
"That won't be very long, in your case."
"Ah, now, don't be like that. And eat your eggs before they're cold."
Doyle picked up his fork and knife. A small part of him was starting to believe Bodie. It made him edgy. Across from him, Bodie tucked into his eggs as if he hadn't a care in the world.
They ate in silence for a few minutes.
"Did Cowley notice I was gone?"
"Yeah, but Murphy made an excuse for you."
"Nice of him."
"I reckon we owe him a drink or two down at the pub."
Doyle nodded, slicing into the bacon. "How did you meet Becker, anyway?"
"Pure chance. He was at the shop, and we saw each other at the same time. He got the drop on me and that was it, really."
"Careless of you."
"That's what Cowley said."
"I was enjoying a nice evening with me relatives."
"I'll bet you were."
Doyle finished the bacon. "What happened to Diana?"
Bodie stopped chewing. "Long gone," he said, a little thickly.
Doyle went back to his breakfast. After a bit, he nudged the water pistol with his free hand. "You bought that last night, did you?"
Bodie nodded. "Along with the Christmas crackers."
"Almost got yourself killed doing that."
"You saved me."
Doyle put his fork and knife down. "I don't want your sodding gratitude."
"It's fortunate that's not what this is, then."
Another silence. "Murphy saved you. He's the one--"
"I'm not leaving, Ray."
"You keep bloody saying that!" He got up, taking his plate with him. He dumped the remains of his breakfast in the bin, then put his plate into the sink, running water over it. He wasn't surprised when a second plate joined his, and Bodie's arms came around him.
"They all leave you. Claire, Judy, Sally, Ann. I won't."
"I was wrong."
Doyle did his best to shrug. "It's not like it was serious."
Doyle stayed silent.
"Can't you just believe?" The wistful note in Bodie's voice sliced right through him.
He closed his eyes, feeling Bodie all along his back. "Maybe I can try."
Bodie's arms tightened around him, and he heard a sigh. "I fucked this up so badly."
Doyle turned in his arms. "I thought you didn't want it."
"I wanted more than I thought you were willing to give me. Then, last night, you ran. I thought...."
"What?" Doyle broke away from his hold, walking towards the table.
"That you had the same revelation I had, when I ran out on you."
Doyle turned. "And what was that?"
"The way you feel about me. That it is serious." Bodie blew out a breath. "Christ, Ray, it bloody took you long enough! I've been--"
"What the fuck are you on about?"
Bodie looked at him, and frowned. "You're not going to deny it. Not after last night. Oh, no."
Doyle folded his arms. "Suppose you explain it to me."
"Look, I'm just saying I understand. It must have hit you last night--"
"I've bloody well loved you for years, you prick!"
"You did not! You took up with Ann right after we--"
"To get you out of my system so we could go on working together! And it didn't sodding work, did it?"
Bodie stared at him. "You almost married her! You're saying it was rebound? Why didn't you just...you thought.... Shit. Shit, shit, fuck."
"Oh, very eloquent. Why the hell do you think I started us off that night?"
"Start us off." He looked so guilty that Doyle narrowed his eyes.
"What are you on about now?"
Bodie shuffled. "Think back to that night."
"I gave you a wank."
"Yeah. Your brain was in your balls by that point."
"Because you got us talking about sex! Like you always--" He broke off.
Bodie nodded, his face scrunched. "Yeah."
"Now, Ray...." Bodie edged towards the door.
Doyle followed him. "You fucking little.... Come back here!" Bodie bolted through the doorway and Doyle followed, finally tackling him in the lounge. He took him to the floor with a low grab around his hips. They wrestled for a moment, then Bodie rolled onto his back, with Doyle on top of him. He stroked down Doyle's sides, as if to calm him.
"This is more fun than killing me, isn't it?"
"Hm. But you might have just forfeited your pressie."
Bodie brightened. "You have something for me?"
Doyle gave him a look, then pushed himself up to his feet, making Bodie grunt. He went to the drinks cabinet, rummaged in the back and pulled out a box of Cadbury's Milk Tray. He held it up.
Bodie smiled and rolled to his feet.
"First, you have to re-earn it." Doyle set the box down on the coffee table. "You and your bloody electrified fences, barricaded gates and trip wires. So, you wanted me, then."
"Yeah." There was wariness in Bodie's voice.
"But you wanted me to make the first move."
Bodie winced. "That was the general idea."
"In fact, you wanted me to make all the moves."
"Don't make me get that water pistol." He tilted his head. "Mind you, if I had known, I wouldn't have given you just a hand job."
Bodie grinned. "It suited me." He moved forward and cupped Doyle's face in his hand. "Not a patch on your blow jobs, though. Sorry, sunshine."
Doyle pulled away from him. "Just how much fucking experience have you had?"
Bodie looked at the ceiling for a moment, then back at Doyle. "Some."
"What does that mean? I'm not putting up with this decent reticence business any more."
"It's not just me!" After a moment, Bodie grimaced. "I knew what I was doing, all right?"
"You were bloody taking the mickey." He thought back to the way it had been, how careful he'd been to go slow.
"No!" Bodie reached out, but didn't touch him. His hand fell. "No."
Doyle raised his eyebrows.
The corner of Bodie's mouth twitched. "Well, it did have its humorous aspects. But, honestly, Ray--"
"Why'd you stop it? After your great revelation?"
Bodie's lashes swept down, hiding his eyes.
"I thought it was because you felt you'd gone too far. Getting sucked was okay, but for you to do it...."
"No." Bodie looked up at Doyle. "That wasn't it." He shook his head. "I might have had experience, but not enough to prepare me for you. I was head over heels, Ray, and I didn't know it."
Doyle regarded him through narrowed eyes, and folded his arms.
"Bloody hell, you're going to make me say it all, aren't you?" Bodie sighed. "I might have known. I've wanted you for a long time. But I didn't know what it meant until Dreisinger had me."
"He said: 'You know what happened to the man you shot?' He had no idea what that did to me. He thought it was just to show me I'd been found out. But all I could think was that, somehow, he'd killed you. That you were gone--had been all the time I'd been driving with Karen." He clenched his jaw.
"I've been in trouble before. I've been in trouble since then. What--"
"I know!" Bodie turned away, moving quickly to the window and back. "I bloody know that. It's what we live with. Maybe it was just at the right time; maybe it was because I wasn't with you, but hearing him say that...it was like a bleeding bolt of lightning. I've been afraid before, but not like that. In an instant." He looked at Doyle. "And suddenly it wasn't a game any more. It wasn't just for fun. I reckon it never had been."
"But you backed off."
"Yeah, well, I didn't know what you thought."
"You didn't even check with me!"
"You went right on to Ann Holly!"
Doyle looked at him. "You made it very clear, sunshine. It was over."
Bodie lowered his head a moment, then straightened and looked at Doyle, like a soldier. "I was wrong."
Doyle shook his head, his eyes on Bodie. "And you ran away from me with those sodding explosives around your neck."
Bodie frowned. "There was no sense in it taking both--"
"Bloody hell, Bodie. Turn it around! What if it had been me?"
Bodie's jaw was tight. "It wasn't you."
"Do you believe what you said to me last night? You said you always make it when I'm there."
"Then you bloody well better let me be there!" He stalked up to Bodie. "You are not the only one who understands loyalty, or what it means to have a partner."
Bodie looked at him, and Doyle held his gaze fiercely. "All right." Bodie nodded. "All right."
"And you had damn well better be certain now. When you called it off between us...."
"I didn't know."
"What does it take? Great flaming letters in the sky?"
"It wouldn't have hurt! Christ, Doyle, you treated it all like it was some dirty joke!"
"I was afraid you'd do a runner!"
"You never kissed me."
"Until last night."
"Yes! And I had to...." He stopped speaking, staring at Doyle.
Doyle grinned at his expression. "I wish I could take credit for the triple think, but no, I didn't know. It seems fitting, though, doesn't it?"
Bodie put his hands on his shoulders. "Yeah, all right. You made the first move; I made the last."
Doyle leant in and kissed him. "Now we're even."
"Starting fresh." Bodie smiled. "Can I have my chocolates now?"
"In a minute." He ignored Bodie's groan. "What was last night all about?"
Bodie looked at him as if he were crazy.
"Not that, you berk. At the door."
And that damn mask came down over Bodie's face, hiding his emotions. "I reckoned you'd come home eventually. I wasn't happy that you'd left."
Doyle tilted his head, looking at him. "You said you knew why I ran. It made you angry?"
"Yeah." Bodie looked away.
"Bollocks. That's what made you decide to risk telling me."
"I'd already decided to risk that."
"When I went to that bloody shop in the first place." He walked away a couple of steps and turned back. "I was on my way to find you. Even if I had to go to bloody Slough. But I reckoned I should have a pressie, and the only thing open...."
"Bloody hell, how much had you had to drink?"
"I was getting desperate, all right?"
"By the time you would have got to Slough...."
"All right! It wasn't the best plan I'd ever had!"
Doyle shook his head. "And then you assaulted me at my front door."
"It had been a bloody long night."
"Yeah." Doyle walked to him, and kissed him. "You never do anything by halves, do you? You saw me with Claire."
Bodie sighed. "I didn't know it was Claire." He rubbed his hands up and down Doyle's back. "I'd screwed up my courage to go after you--twice--and then...there you were."
Bodie kissed him, with an echo of the fierceness from last night, but this time it was passion, not anger. Doyle broke the kiss and stroked Bodie's cheek with his fingers.
"I'll send a thank you to Claire, shall I?"
Bodie gave him a wry look. "I might have lost my bottle without her, yeah."
Bodie's arms tightened around him. "Maybe so, but I'm not the only one who's good at hiding what he's feeling."
"Not between us. Not any longer." Doyle kissed him, wanting to make up for lost time. "I won't."
"I won't either." And Bodie grinned at him, with such a light in his eyes that it felt like his heart had been pierced. Bodie's hand found his.
Belonging. He had his place, and his piece of Christmas joy, too--thanks in part to Claire. He just might have to start believing again. He and Bodie both.
"C'mon." He tugged on Bodie's hand. "Let's celebrate."
"What about my chocolate?"
Doyle detoured to the coffee table, snagged the box of chocolates, and continued towards the door. "It's Christmas, you can have both." He leered at Bodie.
Bodie stopped them at the door, wrapping his arms around Doyle, pushing him against the wall while he kissed him. He smiled into Doyle's eyes. "Happy Christmas, Ray."
-- THE END --