The bullet struck the right front tyre.

Doyle heard it as a blow-out. The car swerved sharply to the right but his Met and CI5 training kicked in automatically. He had the vehicle under control before any other vehicles could be affected. Doyle rolled to a stop and parked it.

He got out and walked around to the front and inspected the blow-out only to discover a perfect hole. A hole he suspected that hadn't been caused by a nail.

He reached back in the Capri through the side window and grabbed his R/T. He checked the only treeline in the distance and generally perused the road both ways. When he was satisfied that there was nothing of note, he clicked on the radio.

"3.7, 4.5."


"I've had a blow-out."

"Shouldn't you be calling the 'Mister Clean man' instead," Bodie clowned.

"I think my tyre was taken out by a rifle," was the quiet rejoinder.

With Doyle's words, Bodie's face lost all trace of animation. He raced to his vehicle, the consummate professional that always lurked just below the surface. He couldn't get to Doyle fast enough.


"Along the shoulder in Farringdon Road between Old Street and Bowling Green."

"Be there in fifteen."

Doyle called headquarters next and requested a CI5 tow. Cowley would begrudge the service charge but Doyle didn't want to trust the bullet retrieval to a standard garage.

Bodie arrived before the tow confirmation from the base operator. He was out and inspecting the tyre before even giving a greeting. Doyle turned and watched as his partner looked under the boot then moved to the front of the motor.

"Where did it happen exactly? Any follow-up shots?" Bodie was bent over the bonnet and didn't see Doyle shake his head.

Bodie stood up and looked at his partner, checking him out thoroughly. He looked ticked off, but otherwise fine. Bodie relaxed. "Well, Sunshine, whose nose did you climb up?"

"I don't..."

Doyle was interrupted by the R/T.

"Base to 4.5." Charlie's voice reached through the box.


"No sniper or gun-associated activity reported in your vicinity. Tow lorry in forty minutes."

"Thanks, Charlie. 4.5 out."

Bodie walked back to the flat tyre. He fingered the tyre's edge, "The hole is smooth and well placed. Either side," he pointed to the areas he was talking about, "And the tyre would have been torn to shreds."

"Someone wanted my attention."

"Looks like. So, who'd you provoke, mate?"

Doyle shrugged, "Too many to choose from."

Bodie took a deep breath, then asked, "Where did the blow-out occur?"

Doyle looked back the way he'd come. "Back there. I'll have to drive it to know for sure."

"Well, come on, mate, let's go." Bodie headed back to his motor.

Doyle got into the passenger side and Bodie whipped an illegal U-turn. He drove well past the indicated area and made another illegal U-turn.

"What speed?"

"About forty."

Bodie increased his speed and drove steadily until Doyle hollered, "There."

Bodie immediately slammed on the anchors in the shoulder area. He slid out and walked back to the approximate area. As the ex-merc scouted for tracks he thought he saw a glint of glass but it was gone before he could be sure. It could be something or just rubbish glass on the hill.

"Suspect you'll find it was a high-powered rifle. Nothing close enough for a standard."

Doyle stood his ground and looked about; he suddenly had a bad feeling about the shooter.

Bodie seemed to echo his thoughts, "Shades of Preston. Should we check the book?"

"Probably should, but doesn't have the same feel."

"It's personal, though." Of this, Bodie was sure.

A reluctant nod was soon followed by, "You watch my back, mate."

"Always do."

Cowley put a rush on the ballistics, but the report didn't yield much information.

"The round was .303 calibre, older stuff, probably left over from a souvenir war rifle." Bodie didn't find anything useful.

"Old grudge." Doyle shrugged it away, wasn't much to get worked up about.

The week concluded without incident and Ray relaxed his guard. He was actually looking forward to the evening's pub-crawl with Bodie. He needed to pull in a bird and forget the week.

Flatmates were almost as good as sisters. The CI5 men wasted no time reeling them in and getting them back to the sister's flat.

Even though his bird was a right raver, Doyle found after she fell asleep he wanted to finish the night in his own bed. He gathered his clothes to slip quietly into the front room. He was surprised to already find his partner there doing the same.

Dressed, they exited the flat and were at the kerb before Doyle put the question on his face.

"Wasn't a cuddlier, was she?" Bodie unlocked his side then reached over to unlock the door for Doyle before starting the motor and heading out.

Doyle felt tired and knew his partner had to be as well. "I'll kip at your flat since it's closer. Give us longer to sleep in," he offered knowing how far his own place was.

A quick nod and Bodie turned the motor in the direction of homr.

After finishing up two back-to-back shifts on stakeout, Ray was ready for some uninterrupted sleep. After a long shower then followed by soup and crisps, the cool sheets were welcome and divine. He had no problem drifting off.

The loud rumble followed by a gurgle and sputtering noise woke him. He rubbed his eyes, listening and identified the sound. The burst pipe had him out of bed and into the kitchen as fast as he could move. He fiddled with the shutoff valve just before reaching for the phone. The call to his partner was automatic.

"There had better death involved or there will be," Bodie answered on the third ring.

"Pipe burst. Kitchen and bedroom already flooded, rest of the flat will be soggy soon. Standing in a half metre as we speak."

"Turn off the water main."

"Already off, mate, but can't stay here now."

"You've got a key." Bodie hung up the phone and rolled back onto his stomach. He only slept lightly until he heard Doyle's key the lock and whisper quietly, "Just me, Bodie."

Bodie's subconscious protect mode stood down automatically as he heard Doyle setting the locks after him. The gollie could make his own bed.


Doyle's first morning call was to accommodations. He endured the lecture on having waited so long to report before he learned there was no interim flat available. When Doyle arrived at headquarters, Cowley passed on the message that he would have to share his partner's flat until all repairs were made.

Bodie scowled for effect but wasn't altogether surprised. It was logical; they were partners, after all.

Debriefing complete, the Bisto Kids were ready to leave the Controller's office.

"Competent work, lads," stopped them in their tracks.

Compliments were few and far between. The partners waited in tandem. When nothing further seemed to be coming, they made it to the door before Cowley spoke again.

"4.5, there's fair enough evidence to suggest your pipes were tampered with." Cowley let his words hang in the air before indicating to his men they should retake their seats.

"Prints?" Doyle asked, not really expecting much.

"No, everything was soaked. If you'd called it in when it happened, our team might have got something." Cowley's tone left no room for doubt at how displeased he was.

Doyle suppressed a sigh, he'd already heard that more than once.

Bodie jumped in to head off another lecture and resulting blow-up. "Should we recheck the book? Anymore of Doyle's shut-ins newly released?"

"None that are worth our notice."

"Sometimes that small wind...." Bodie let his words fall off, meaning clear.

"Och, they've checked from dust bunnies to force ten gales," exasperation clear.

"It's more personal then," Bodie stated, tone completely professional.

"Aye." Cowley nodded.

The hair on Doyle's neck itched. Bodie rubbed at his own neck as if he'd felt the same itch.

Doyle took that special breath of relief that came with a completed op. Four weeks and now he finally had two days off and was actually looking forward to his flat chores. Lost in thought, it took a few moments for him to realise that the motor had stopped. He hopped out.

"Thanks for the ride. We on for tomorrow night?" Doyle bent his head down to the window.

"Yup, six o'clock at the Fox 'n' Hounds. Lucas and McCabe are going down." With a wave to Doyle, Bodie was off.

Doyle made for the entrance but the rubbish bin was blocking the footpath. Ray picked it up and walked it around back. He turned the corner into a plank board and crumpled onto the ground.

Doyle woke with a throbbing head. He remained still, feigning his unconscious state until he could ascertain who was where. He listened for any sounds and found none, save his own breathing. He was alone. He struggled to sit up and was surprised to find himself untied. The only item missing was his gun. He checked his watch, three hours since he had been dropped off.

Ray moved quietly, not willing to assume that he was indeed alone. Using the moonlight, he could see enough to avoid the furniture. He paused, listening intently, before he opened the door a crack to peek out. Another dark room, but this time it was illuminated by street lamps.

He located the phone and dialled a number he knew better than his own.

Bodie answered on the third ring.

"Bodie, come get me," Doyle whispered into the mouthpiece.

"Pissed already?"

"No. I was knocked out and left." Doyle's voice was barely audible.

Alert and worried, Bodie demanded, "Where are you?"

"Don't know, mate," he tilted the phone base back to the light to read the dial. "No address."

"You here in London?"

"Don't know. Can't tell."

"What number are you calling from?"

"77 77 881."

"Okay, I'll get it. Hang in there, mate, I'm coming." Bodie disconnected.

Doyle put the receiver down and held his throbbing head. A noise unmade by Ray shattered the silence and he blinked in discomfort as a light was switched on. A man stood in the shadows, but his gun was plain to see.

"Very predictable, Ray, Mr Bodie is always your first call. Now he will be captured as well, and at your summons." The man laughed.

Ray felt he should know him, but no recognition came.

"You've been lax, Ray, and you, copper trained and all. I expected better."

"Who the fuck are you?" Ray tried to clear his vision so he could see the man better, but the figure stayed in the shadows and all Doyle could make out was a man built much like himself. The silence seemed loud.

The man gave an almost pleasant smile. "Ray, you never had the best of tempers and some things do remain the same." He stepped into the light as he made his way across the room. The man made certain that he stayed well away from the copper. The gun was trained levelly, letting the captive know he would tolerate no tricks.

Doyle studied the man, hoping for a recognition of sorts, but all he could drum up was a vague placement. "School days, I think." His brow was furrowed in true puzzlement.

"Is that the best you can do?"

"What do you want?" He tried again after an interminable silence. He attempted to force strength into his voice but his throbbing head negated all efforts.

"Oh, Ray, you've forgotten me. Another mark against you." The man moved deliberately back into the shadows as he laughed.

The laugh triggered a memory from Doyle's past, but no face or name to go with it. "I've met you before?"

"Oh, Ray, you're only making it worse."

Irritated at the cat-and-mouse tactics, Doyle growled, "Then step into the light again so I can see you."

"You obviously need work on your memory skills."

Time elapsed, seconds, minutes, Doyle wasn't sure as he worked on placing the voice as well as gauging the right moment to affect an escape. The sound of footfalls broke into this silence and alerted both men to the arrival of Bodie.

"One word, a noise of warning, anything and I will shoot him dead. His fate is in your hands." The man stepped out of view.

Bodie didn't charge in as he might have wished to, but entered slowly, gun drawn. He saw his partner crumpled by the window and caution left him. He rushed to Doyle's side never noting the look of warning in his eyes. Before he made it, a dart entered his thigh. Bodie looked down as he turned to confront his attacker but passed out before he completed the turn. His gun hit the floor and slid under the clawfoot cabinet.

Doyle noted where it landed but couldn't reach it without an audience. He moved to Bodie's side and felt for a pulse. A slow but steady beat met his fingers. He kept the tactile connection as he looked over to their attacker.

"Trank dart for a North American grizzly." The man answered the unspoken question.

"It'll kill him." Doyle's gaze snapped back down to double-check the chest movements. He refocused his stare on their captor as he started speaking again.

"It's not as if I gave him that amount, just enough for his body weight."

With that assurance, Doyle let his brain shift through memories. "Art school, second year...I know the face."

"You should know a whole lot more than that." The voice held almost a whine.

Memory triggered a name. "Brad Lipton."

"Bradley," the man snapped.

"Bradley. Why all this?" Doyle relaxed, this artist from his past was not an agent from another power.

"You'll find out." The man fired a tranquilliser dart into Doyle's thigh and watched as he lost consciousness.

Lipton dragged the two bodies to his motor. He stuffed them into the boot of his Vauxhall. He bound their hands, feet and mouths just as a precaution. They should remain out well after they'd reached their destination.

The farm outside Durham was perfect. Because his cousin lived in the States, his uncle had left the place to him and he had let it remain in his uncle's name. Lipton drove into the yard hard and fast but avoided the chickens as he parked close to the side entrance.

Lipton didn't take great care of Mister No-first-name as he dragged him down the cellar stairs and chained him to a bed. In direct contrast, he took great care with Raymond's person. He negotiated the stairs cautiously and carefully bound him to a bed with his comfort in mind.

Bradley remembered the first time he had seen Ray Doyle. He had just entered the classroom as if expecting the stares of adulation he had received, as if it were his right. And it was! The man was better than a Greek god. Even the flaw was perfect, a reminder to all that he was a living, breathing man. Bradley was hard at the memory, same as he had grown hard back then.

Ray had been an enigma, enticing, but an enigma all the same. Ray had hung out, gone to all the wild parties, yet he had always seemed detached. His work was good but not great. Still, he was beautiful and everyone liked being near him.

Only, he, Bradley Lipton, had been allowed close, or so he had thought. Ray had used him badly, then cast him aside. No one, no matter how beautiful, was allowed to do that. So he had waited and watched for the right opportunity. As he studied Ray during his copper years, he realised that Ray denied all that he was, in fact, seemed to be almost unaware. His goal had changed then. He decided to be his first fuck and the recipient of the first fuck. He watched and waited.

Ray's move to CI5 from the Met made it harder, but not impossible.

So much of his life he had been ignored or overlooked and it worked in his favour. Mr Bodie with no first name had been the only obstacle in his plans. Upon more comprehensive viewing he realised that Doyle continued to deny his obvious nature.

It was only in the last few months that his plan changed yet again. Mister no-first-name was more than lust, more than infatuation and Bradley knew that he hated the man. Ray may want mister no first name but he wanted Ray. No longer with love like days past, but with the need to purge and avenge the affront of indifference. Time had changed love to possession and he would be the first to possess Doyle. Besides, Ray Doyle needed a lesson and he knew he was the only one that could teach it.

A noise broke his reverie. Mister no-first-name was restless. He took a syringe from his pocket and plunged it into Bodie's thigh.

Doyle woke, confined to a bed, well below the only window. He knew he was not in the same place he had been last time he'd regained consciousness. He twisted his body as much as he could with both wrists and ankles shackled. He discovered Bodie across the room shackled in much the same way.

"Bodie." His call was met with silence. Doyle tried again, a bit louder, "Bodie."

Again, nothing. Not a stir or response of any kind was observed. Ray hoped Bodie was still out and not gravely injured. He switched mental gears and visually scanned the room for anything that could aid in escape. His second, more detailed perusal of the obvious cellar was cut short by the tread of feet on stairs that sounded close by.

His captor entered the room.

"Ah, my Raymond is awake. I'll have to fix you breakfast." Lipton turned to leave.

"My bladder's goin' to burst."

"Oh, I can help you with that." A delighted anticipation could be heard in Lipton's voice.

"I think not."

"Oh, don't be shy."

"I'd rather do it myself." Doyle was adamant, uncomfortable with what he heard in the man's voice.

"How? You seem a bit tied up at the moment." Bradley smirked, feeling confident he'd won this round.

"Fine, I'll sublimate and when it gets too much, I'll just let loose." Doyle relaxed his body, he 'd done it before, he could do it again.

Lipton sighed, "You are so stubborn." He cocked his head to the side and smiled, "I could come to enjoy it." He left the room.

Doyle heard him go up the stairs.

"Bodie, did you hear that? Bodie? Bodie, come on, wake up." The volume of Doyle's voice rose in hope of rousing his partner.

No reaction was forthcoming from Bodie, even when Lipton burst back into the room, empty water jug in hand.

"For you." Lipton laid the jug on the bed before keying the lock that held Doyle's right arm. "No funny stuff." He left Doyle alone.

Doyle relieved himself and with his immediate discomfort taken care of, his concern re-centred on his partner. Bodie continued to lie still like death and with a palpable fear he frantically searched for any chest movement.

Lipton returned again.

"What else did you do to him?" Doyle struggled against the shackles that held him immobile.

"Just a small amount of curare. I want him incapable of fighting, not unable to hear. I don't know that Mr Bodie denies his nature, but I'm damn sure he needs to discover how you do."

"What? You leave him out of this."

"Me? It was you, Ray, you called him."

"Don't involve Bodie!" Doyle rounded on his captor. His anger put great menace into his tone.

"Mr Bodie is already involved, your very involvement with him is the reason you're here." Lipton pulled Doyle's arm back up above his head and relocked the shackle.

Lipton left with the urine-filled jug and returned, yet again, this time with a bowl of soup.

Bradley stared dreamily at his prize as he took the spoon from his mouth and dabbed the corners of Ray's mouth. He slipped into the pretence that Ray wanted and loved the attention that he could lavish upon him.

Doyle let Lipton feed him only because he knew he had to keep his strength up if he hoped to escape. Doyle wanted information; he reigned in his temper in hopes of getting some. "Why are we here?"

Lipton blinked several times before he stood and took a syringe from his back pocket. He air-checked the contents as he approached Bodie's bed. He looked back to Ray as he paused, needle posed to enter Bodie's skin. "The metamorphosis is about to commence. I have waited so long for you to realise your true nature. I'm the one that waited patiently, continued to love you. It should be me that you turn to, not this....this pretty boy." He pulled the chain along Bodie's shoulder tighter, a minute grimace of pain crossed the pretty face. He rejoiced in that momentary marring of that face. He quickly injected the syringe into the pretty boy. He needed to keep him paralysed.

"True nature? What true nature?"

"You're as queer as I am," Lipton announced proudly.

"Queer? No, Bradley, I'm not. Neither is Bodie there."

"Raymond, denying it doesn't make it true. I've known since art school. You should have, as well."

Doyle shook his head, truly confused, "Bradley, I'm not even bi. I've had offers through the years, but was never interested. I don't swing that way. Never did!"

"Liar!" Bradley paced, clearly agitated. "You don't even know how others have construed your actions. And you always call mister no-first-name over there. Even when it's not logical, you beckon, he comes. My god, you've ditched girlfriends for him."

"You don't know what you're talking about."

"Oh, really? How about the motor biking crash? Called Bodie, didn't you? Even forgot about your bird. I drove her home. She kept making excuses for you, said you were probably concussed. I knew better; just bent." Lipton fussed with the empty syringe.

Doyle was more alarmed at what was indirectly revealed than the accusation. "Just how long have you been watching me?"

"Two years with pictures and inciting test situations, but I'd kept tabs on you for the last ten years." Lipton was proud to have flummoxed the ex-copper.

"Since art school?" Incredulous didn't half describe how astonished Ray Doyle felt.

"Since the day you turned me down." A day he remembered with bitterness and pain.

"I'm not bent. I've never been into guys." Doyle was bewildered; he could not remember any incident that could have amounted to a come-on.

"You didn't stand by a wall, you posed. You didn't sit on the desks; you draped yourself across them. You were advertising goods, your goods, goods that you had no intention of selling."

Doyle shook his head. "At the most that would make me a tease."

"I carried your brushes, cleaned you up when you were too pissed to find the loo." His voice was almost a whine.

"I don't recall asking."

"I did it all because I loved you."

"I wasn't bent then, I'm not bent now. You got your signals crossed somewhere." Doyle was still hoping that he was talking to a man capable of rational thought, but he didn't think so.

"Oh, you are so wrong, Ray Doyle. You are bent, and have always been. You've been in denial a long time but you've finally shown signs of awakening. It should be me that you turn to, not this Bodie character, in your quest of that final knowledge. I'm good with new blooms just on the cusp of blossoming."

"Brad, you..."

"Bradley," he snapped the reminder.

A frustrated, heartfelt sigh escaped, "Bradley, I have not sought out any homosexual liaisons."

"You say the word like it's a disease." Lipton shook his head. "You think me blind? Mr Bodie, man of one name, your very male partner is the one you've fallen for. It should be me, but I will show you the error of your ways."

"Bodie? Yeah, like I told you, he's my partner....my work partner."

"Oh, Ray, you are living in Egypt." Bradley Lipton shook his head, "In the last two years, no matter what happened, you called Bodie first. Out of thirty days, you spent at least twenty of them at each other's place. Last four holidays you spent together, oh please." His voice implied only a moron wouldn't understand.

"We're partners. Our work doesn't make for outside mates, or keeping steady birds."

"Denial and excuses."

"We're not involved, we're partners." Doyle's voice was emphatic.

"Partners. That's one word for it. You call him, you date him, you stay at his flat or he stays at yours."

"Double dates with birds and sharing a flat doesn't mean sharing a bed."

"You call him first, all the time."

Doyle growled, "We're partners! Partners back each other. We watch each other's back. Have a problem, we help each other, get it through your thick head, that doesn't make us queer."

"Maybe not all men, but you two certainly are." Lipton looked over at his captive, marvelling at how obtuse he was being, "Other partners don't touch each other the way you two do. Mr Bodie's hands are all over you and nary a twitch to dislodge it. The others don't dare touch you, but Bodie gropes you and you smile."

"That's just Bodie's way. You've misconstrued everything."

"And I thought the Nile was only a river in Egypt."

"Funny, ha, ha."

"Obviously, you're not paying attention to your own life."

"Bloody hell, Bodie and I double date. We fuck birds, not each other."

A squeal pierced the silence of the room. "Virgins! Oh, this is too good, I can be your first."

"It'd be rape, whatever you call it. I'm not into men."

"Not yet," Lipton muttered under his breath. "I'll just have to prove it to you."

"Prove what?"

"You are most definitely bent for your Mister Bodie." Bradley most certainly wanted Doyle for himself and the possibility of a virgin Doyle was almost too wonderful. On the other hand, it had become equally important to prove to Raymond that he was indeed bent. He would need the man with no first name for that. Decisions, decisions, he would wait and see how this would play out. He had time. No one knew where they were.

"And you've never even thought about it?" Lipton whipped around to face the man tied to the bed. "And you, Mister Bodie, have you ever thought about it?"

Lipton now needed Mister No-First-Name involved. He tapped his chin several times with his index finger, "Hum, you can't keep your hands to yourself. They are all over my Raymond." Turning back to Doyle, "Surely Mister No-First-Name has thought about it. A lot!"

Ray watched his partner's face for any sign and saw the same as their captor, a blank expression. Drugged as he was, he knew there wouldn't be and Doyle knew that usually the blank expression hid whatever true feelings Bodie had, but Lipton did not. Ray knew that underneath the immobility there was frustration and anger. He knew it as well as he knew his own feelings.

The Controller rubbed his temple just as his private phone rang. "Cowley," he answered, almost impatiently, frowning at the stack of papers that still needed to be dealt with.

"Lucas, here, sir. Bodie and Doyle were supposed to meet us for darts, neither showed. We checked both their places. No trace."

"Check with Control. Why bother me with this? Those two could be anywhere." The impatience was now in his voice.

Lucas refused to be put off. "Control hasn't heard a word since they went off duty, yesterday. Two things, sir. First, the match tonight was very important, ah, lots of money was riding on this one and, Bodie's flat, sir, none of the locks were set. We just walked in."

Cowley paused, "Aye, laddie, that does merit concern. I'll send a team round to Doyle's. You two thoroughly check out Bodie's."

The CI 5 controller knew that both halves of the Bodie/Doyle team could easily forget to inform control of their off-duty whereabouts, but Bodie always set his locks and Doyle wouldn't lose a bet through default. He made the call to Murphy, he would be thorough as well.

Two hours later the news was rather more disturbing.

Murphy stood to the right of Lucas as he started with his report. McCabe was slouched in the chair; his alert eyes spoiled the relaxed look.

"Just a spot of blood by the rubbish heap, but it matched Doyle's."

"We found an impression of a number at Bodie's. We ran a reverse trace and found Bodie's motor outside. His gun was under a piece of furniture and another spot of blood. Doyle's again." Lucas looked at his notes, "House is owned by Winchester Dorset. He's out of country. The residence is between occupants currently."

"Hundreds of prints, Bodie's and Doyle's were only in one concentrated area. Did find fresh Vauxhall tracks. Collected mould of track and surrounding dirt samples, maybe it'll tell us something," McCabe added.

'Yes, yes, bring me the reports as soon as you get them." Cowley looked for the report regarding Doyle's pipes.

The men knew they were dismissed.

Cowley picked up his phone as the door clicked closed. "Betty, bring me all the reports that deal with all the mishaps surrounding Doyle for the past year." He put the phone down and looked out the window. He shook his head. Those two could find more trouble off duty than the B Squad could on duty.

Ray woke with a fuzzy, muddle-headed feeling and knew that his soup must have been drugged. He couldn't figure the why until he heard a car engine draw closer and stop. Lipton had wanted to make sure that they couldn't escape. Doyle pulled at the shackles and wondered what Lipton had worried about.

Lipton. Doyle knew that the man wasn't rational. So a reasonable discourse wouldn't get them out of this situation. Rescue from the outside was unrealistic so escape was the only answer. He was sure that Lipton hadn't left much in the way of clues behind. Insane he might be, but he was smart as well. No way he could have maintained such a long-term surveillance otherwise.

His mind was amazed and creeped out at the same time.

Lipton's assertions were further proof of his insanity. Queer? How did he come up with that one?

He had bedded more women than he could ever count. For that matter, so had Bodie. So why had Lipton misconstrued his relationship with Bodie?

He was insane.

Why even when he and Bodie camped it up for the lads, they were never poofters about it.

Why would Lipton think that? Because he was insane and queer, himself.

Yeah, that made sense in a weird kind of way.

Ray looked over at his partner, watching the steady rise and fall of his chest with relief. Bodie didn't deserve this. He would have to do whatever he could to protect him from this insanity.

Footfalls on the stairs alerted Doyle to another encounter with his captor. Joy.

Lipton entered the room with high expectations of needling Raymond. His steadfast denial of his true nature was an enigma to be explored and Bradley was looking forward to it. Today, he would play, tease and arouse the ostrich-man, then see what excuses he would concoct.

"Good morning, dear Raymond. Fully rested, I hope."

"Like I had a choice," Ray replied placidly.

"I needed you rested for your first foray into male sex."

"So you are into rape?" Doyle's tone that of an idle question.

"No, no rape. You will beg for it." Lipton was confident. He checked Bodie and found him still completely unresponsive

Bradley Lipton left without looking back at Ray.

He left the door ajar and Doyle could hear water running close by, probably a loo or possibly just a sink. He blocked out that sound and listened for the ambient noise, only to realise they were not in the city; no sound of motors of any sort. He then listened for any recognisable sounds but found none.

Bradley entered with a wash basin of sudsy water. Doyle suppressed his groan of dismay.

"Raymond, you must feel grimy. I will wash you; you'll want to be clean for your first time."

Doyle hid his revulsion behind his mask of indifference, finely honed through his years of training.

Bradley found himself disappointed in Ray's easy acceptance. He had been expecting some fight with more anticipation than he realised. "You might be playing a game of acceptance right now, but you'll come to look forward to our time. You'll see. First let's get rid of these clothes."

Ray was thinking this could provide an opportunity to escape until he saw the pair of shears in Lipton's hand. "Wouldn't it be easier to undress me with the shackles off?" Doyle suggested reasonably.

"Probably, but I can't trust you yet to not try to get away. Anyway, don't you think this is more like an erotic dream, having someone cut your clothes off?"

Matching task to words, Lipton cut up the left trouser leg, all the way to the waistband. He did the same to the right and pulled the now tattered trousers off in the same manner that a magician pulls a tablecloth off a table without disturbing the contents resting on top.

Doyle was angry at the loss of a good pair of jeans and equally stunned at the audacity of his captor. He lost his shirt in the same way. Then Lipton started on the pants.

Doyle flinched, then forced himself to relax. He closed his eyes to block out the image of Lipton.

Bradley relished the single flinch that he had elicited as he tapped the marred cheekbone. "Eyes open," he commanded. "Your education begins."

Doyle opened his eyes and worked furiously to keep a bland and bored expression in them.

Bradley just smiled as he removed the last of Doyle's clothing. He fingered the flaccid penis and cupped the balls. Lipton almost lost it there and then, so long he had waited for this opportunity to touch, but no reaction from the lax genitals pushed his fantasy to the back of his mind.

"Now, Raymond, stop denying your nature, but never fear, I do have your education well in hand." He cradled the pliant sacs. "Male sex has some inherent easiness because you and your partner are male and well aware of what pleases yourself. You can almost be sure that it will be just as pleasing to another male." He cupped and fondled Ray as he would himself and was greatly dismayed at the lack of response.

He stared at Ray, Ray stared back.

"Males will respond eventually, you know." The statement was almost a whine and almost a request.

The continued lack of physical response irritated Bradley Lipton and he yanked on the limp member a bit harder than he intended. He actually regretted the flash of pain that crossed Ray's face. So he turned to his tub of water and began the body wash with extra care to make up for the pain.

Ray endured the touching by concentrating on the reality that it would be better to be clean and tried to adapt to the fact that he would have to withstand the upcoming violation. It might be the only chance to create an opportunity to escape. He redoubled his efforts to keep a blank expression on his face. He was successful if his captor's mood was anything to go by.

By the end of the spot bath Bradley didn't care if the water was less than tepid; he was annoyed with Raymond. Gaining a reaction from his beloved prick-tease was fast becoming his all-consuming goal. His lust abated in the face of indifference. He would just have to find the right buttons to twist...humm, that gave him an idea, maybe pain.

Bodie interrupted both men's thoughts. He moved and mumbled and two sets of eyes fastened on the waking man.

"Bodie!" Ray called out so his partner would know he was close by. He knew that would matter from past experience.

Blue eyes opened, moved about the room and stopped on the naked figure of his partner.

The genuine worry in Raymond's eyes gave Lipton an idea. Current task forgotten, he focused his attention on the man in the other bed. He kept his eyes locked with the blue eyes as he spoke to the man he wished to provoke. "Well, Raymond, you are most uncooperative. You seem almost bent," Lipton chuckled at his own choice of words, "On denying me any reaction. So, I think I've come up with a way to ensure some sort of reaction. I will play with Mister no-first-name, here." He moved over to Ray's partner and ran his hand up his thigh.

"God dammit, Lipton. Stop it, you madman. You can't defile Bodie that way." Urgency lent more emotion to his words than Doyle would have wished but it got Lipton to still his hand and he deemed it worth it.

Bradley Lipton smiled in a very satisfied manner and Doyle knew in that moment that he had let too much emotion show.

Lipton let his hands run all over Bodie's body, relishing the gasps behind him. "You won't play with me, so I will find my fun elsewhere."

Doyle knew real fear in that moment. "Leave Bodie out of this, your quarrel is with me. Do with me what you will." Doyle knew in his heart that he meant it. He could withstand even this to protect his partner.

Lipton turned back to the other bed. "Oh, Raymond, self-sacrifice, how sweet, but I think that," pointing to the flaccid organ, "Will just remain limp for now and I want to play with one that will respond." He sashayed to the door, acting as queer as he knew how. "I'll return with the proper accoutrements."

Bradley returned, not with accoutrements but with food for both men. He fed Raymond efficiently but with a distracted air. He made sure that his eyes drifted to the man in the other bed enough times that Ray had to notice. Let him think he wanted mister no-first-name more than him. He would grow jealous. Raymond always needed to be the centre of attention.

He took great time feeding Mr Bodie. He would have soup only until he was sure that all the curare had left his system. When the bowl was completely empty, he dabbed the corners of Bodie's mouth then unbuttoned his shirt. He ran his hands up and down the smooth chest.

"I just know when the drugs are gone I will finally have my plaything." Bradley's head whipped around to pin Doyle with his stare. "That's all you can ever be now, my dear Raymond, a plaything. You lost your chance at my love with your indifference." He turned back to the sturdy body beneath his fingers, "But maybe I can create a new love, here." He stared at Bodie, his eyes unfocused as he was caught up in his daydream.

A twitch of stomach muscles brought his attention back to said area. "You need a spot bath, as well." Bradley left in search of supplies.

As soon as he heard feet on the stairway, Bodie moved and twisted his body in more movement than he had let his captor knew he was capable of. His throat managed a whispered, "Ray?"

Ray Doyle met his partner's confused gaze with mute apology. He knew he had but a few minutes to fill him in, and he had no real idea of what Bodie had understood up until now.

"Lipton is a deranged man from my ancient past. The short version, he's queer and he thinks we're both queer but denying it. He wanted to fuck me into awareness and when that didn't happen, well, he has set his sights on you to hurt me. I think."

Bodie closed his eyes halfway through the explanation and Doyle wasn't sure, yet again, how much Bodie had understood.

Or, maybe he was horrified.

Doyle knew then that he had to absolutely be ready to submit to anything. He owed that to Bodie.

When he had first thought of escape, Doyle knew he had planned to seek help for Lipton. Now, with the threat of rape over Bodie, he knew he would kill Lipton without remorse. He didn't feel guilty when the choice was Bodie's well being.

That's how it was with them; they were each in charge of the other's well being. It's what partners do. Felt good knowing that.

Next morning, Bradley ignored Raymond completely as he carried in the fresh tub of water. He set it down carefully next to his current distraction. The man appeared to be asleep but his eyes flew open at the first touch.

He took the shears from his pocket and proceeded to cut off Bodie's clothes in the same way he had Raymond's. This body was too smooth and heavy to be to his liking, but Raymond didn't have to know that. He washed "The Partner" with great care. The nipples were tended to over and over again. Lipton felt a strong flush of arousal wash over him as the nipples beneath his finger began responding. He worked them to prominent, sturdy peaks before he placed his lips on them and sucked hard.

The groans, one of dismay and one of pain, fuelled Lipton's desire. He had abstained since setting his plan into motion and he needed release. He undid his own zipper and folded back the edges of his jeans, proudly displaying his huge erection. He handled himself as he liked best and shot his wad over Bodie's abdomen.

The grimace of revulsion that crossed Bodie's face stole his post-coital bliss. The man now deserved punishment for spoiling his enjoyment and for the affront to his attentions. He finished the bath quickly, planning his retaliation as he scrubbed.

Murphy, Anson and McCabe made their way to the controller's office with meagre findings. Murphy knew it wasn't a pro, but he was stymied by the lack of evidence. He hated telling Cowley that even worse.

It became immaterial because George Cowley had already drawn the same conclusion.

"We didn't know when to start gathering evidence. The motorbiking crash, the frozen pipes, flooded kitchen, the latest type blow-out, these have all been done by the same hand."

"We didn't take reports on most of those incidents. I remember he just told us about bike crash." Murphy relayed his memory of that occasion.

"Many were innocuous, inconvenient at most," Cowley agreed, relieving his men from the responsibility of not having put it together. "Didn't Doyle have a girlfriend at the time of the bike crash?"

"When doesn't he," snickered McCabe.

"Yes, sir, but I don't recall her name." Murphy answered as he rolled his eyes at McCabe.

"No matter, the police report would contain that," Cowley reminded his men.

"Police report?" Anson parroted.

"Och, of course, all vehicle altercations are required to have them." He paused as he sorted the various reports on his desk. "This is related to Doyle's past not CI5. Most likely before his Met days as well." Cowley shared his summation with his men.

"Does this mean we stop looking?" Anson wondered aloud.

The head of CI5 took off his glasses, as he glared at his man, "Of course not. We protect our own same as we do the public."

"Not all the time, we don't," Anson said under his breath, remembering the Truitt matter.

Cowley hid his surprise that his men thought him that callous. "Get that report. Interview the girl."

"The soil samples can be picked up from the lab this afternoon," McCabe reminded his boss.

"On your bikes, lads, they have an assignment come Monday." It would never do to be considered soft.

"I've brought some big boy toys!" Lipton held up a square container. He opened it and smiled as his hand closed on an object.

"Some use these for sexual pleasure." He held up a pair of nipple clamps. "For some, they just cause pain. Do you want to know which group your Mr Bodie will fall into? We both know he liked the sucking."

Doyle stared, unmoving, afraid that a sign either way would only cause his partner more pain.

"Today, I aim for pain. He needs to be punished, he lied to himself. His body loved my attentions but his face showed his distaste." He ran his hands over Bodie's groin and squeezed his balls a little harder than was comfortable.

This time, Bodie let nothing show on his face. He needed to get a message to Ray to do the same.

"Once I start on your partner, here, he may not want your ineffectual attempts at pleasing him. Oh, that's right, you're not queer. You won't be trying this. Well, keep telling yourself that, the longer you do, the more time I will have to play with Bodie, here."

Doyle made a sound, he hadn't meant to, but it slipped out. He knew the man was a lunatic, but he kept changing what he wanted. He was fast losing track of what it would take to appease him. He either wanted to fuck him, or Bodie, or have him fuck Bodie. He would much rather fuck Bodie than have Lipton's hands on him...wait, what was he thinking...fuck Bodie?

"One should always know the limitations of his lover, or in your case, soon to be lover...or mine, if you decide you're too much of a coward." Lipton moved to the far side of Bodie, as he didn't want to block Ray's view.

Ray didn't want to watch, but felt inexplicably drawn. He met Bodie's stare. The mute apology in his eyes was met with a plea not to lose his rag in Bodie's defence. This madman wanted reaction, Doyle's reaction, and Ray didn't really know how long he could remain silent in the face of Bodie's torture. Bodie knew him well.

Lipton picked up a tube, "I could put cream on first, but I don't want to." He threw the tube onto the floor. "I want to hear him scream."

Lipton snapped the nipple clamps on hard and fast and Bodie yelped in spite of his sincere effort to remain silent. The mad man was not satisfied with the meagre sound; he twisted the clamps while squeezing and did not relent until a full-bodied scream was torn from Bodie's throat.

Ray thrashed against his bindings; he must get to Bodie. His partner's eyes begged him to do nothing even as another scream was ripped from him. This was not duty to country, where their life was forfeit in the greater good, this was personal and Ray felt no such compulsion to remain professional.

"Stop! You insane bastard, what do you want?" Doyle yelled as he lunged fully against his shackles. He wanted to distract Lipton enough to halt his next twist of the clamp.

"Want?" Lipton rushed at Doyle, "At the moment, all I want is for you to suffer in silence. I find I like playing with Bodie. I can see what you see in him." He stuffed a ball gag ball in Doyle's mouth to all but stifle most sounds. "Perfect white skin, with just the hint of danger in the scars. I think I can cause more pain by taking Bodie myself. I know how to make men want me, he will and you will, as well. You'll see."

A toot-toot of a bicycle bell interrupted Lipton's scenario. He stuffed a gag in Bodie's mouth before he left the room and went up the stairs, all without a word to either man.

Thinking fast and furious, Doyle knew he could not let this happen. Bodie was his. If he agreed to take Bodie, maybe there would be some way for him to loosen the bindings. Bodie was innocent in this. Now he lay there naked and exposed. Even though his own state was the same it didn't bother him the same way it bothered Bodie. No lubricant? Lipton would hurt him. He wouldn't, couldn't allow this madman to defile his partner in that way. Doyle knew he would make it hurt less, would take great care to do him as little injury as possible. Now all he had to do was make Lipton believe that he would still have some advantage to gain.

He worked at the ball gag, biting the edge that he could feel with his tongue. It was slightly frayed and he worked it with a frenzied intent. He looked to Bodie and he could him see working on his gag as well. Bodie's eyes commanded that Ray do nothing, but Ray knew he would ignore the silent plea. Bodie didn't understand that Lipton was really nuts. He worked at his own gag harder; he had to be able to talk to Lipton.

It was well over a half an hour before Lipton returned. He took up just where he left off, fondling Bodie's balls. He caressed the flaccid penis, willing it to respond.

Doyle could take no more. His tongue forced the ball aside enough that he could speak. "No, my first should be with him. If you go first, well then..." Doyle hung his head and mumbled, letting the ball fall back into place..

Lipton whipped around; he could hardly contain the stab of joy. Raymond Doyle was worried that he would be found wanting after the likes of Bradley Lipton. It would be the final, perfect humiliation. He could watch the fumbling attempts. It would ultimately serve as Bodie's foreplay. He laughed aloud. Then, he would watch Raymond be crushed under the knowledge that his partner was flying high under Bradley Lipton's ministrations.

"Yes, Ray, I can see where you wouldn't want to follow me. I applaud that you will finally face the truth about yourself, even if you don't think you are. I know you think you are doing this to appease me, but you will see. This will be like your coming out party. We'll have champagne after."

Ray could only hope that Bodie understood why he had volunteered. He looked to the bed that Bodie was confined to and Bodie locked eyes with him and Doyle met them head on. Prepared for possible reproach and condemnation, he saw neither. In the blue eyes he saw only trust. Bodie conveyed permission and compliance, and with that innate communication skill, Doyle knew that once again his partner gave over the care of his life into his safekeeping.

A feeling blossomed in his chest and tightened his throat but he managed a nod. His resolve strengthened by his partner's faith, Doyle spoke to Lipton. "My shackles make it impossible."

"Your legs will be anchored to his bed, but I will allow your hands to be free. You need to explore and you will make him come. Any trick and I will not hesitate to rape him." The anguished look only confirmed that the partner was Raymond's Achilles' heel.

With that threat over Bodie's person, Ray did nothing to rile Lipton as he was unlocked and led to Bodie's bed. Oddly, instead of feeling like the lamb to the slaughter, he felt more like a hero doing what he must to save lives.

Lipton locked Ray's ankles into place. He was still undecided as to what he was feeling. He wanted Doyle himself, and Bodie, and where he hated denying himself, he knew that Doyle was suffering. A true feeling of triumph came with that knowledge of suffering and he knew that being a voyeur to the suffering and the sex acts causing it would guarantee an extremely high level of excitement. He grew hard with the anticipation.

Ray twisted his body to lie alongside Bodie instead of being pressed on top. Remarkably, now that he was here he didn't want it to just be a mindless sexual encounter. He wanted to work at it slowly. Ray tried to forget that Lipton was watching. This first time -- he knew Lipton would demand more in the future -- he planned on concentrating on just Bodie and try nothing to escape. They would have to allay their captor's fears on that account so as to create an opportunity for later.

He started with rubbing Bodie's chest, something he had done in the past when Bodie had hurt his hands, and usually with liniment. Now, his fingers felt the smooth skin and actually noted the difference from his own chest. The muscles just beneath the surface were easy to distinguish unlike most females that he had been with.

The abdomen rippled under his touch and a slight gasp accompanied it. Doyle felt his own thrill at the response. He let his fingers work out the distance between the nipples as if he were interested in the science rather than the delight with the reaction of pebbled peaks that had resulted from the manipulation.

His hand drifted downward in constant exploration. A check of Bodie's face confirmed the pleasure he was hearing. Doyle had heard the soft groans and low throat growls in conjunction with birds on their double dates in the past, but now they were because of him, his hands, his caresses.

He paused a moment or two to look his fill. In the shower or in action across the room, Doyle had seen Bodie fully exposed, but never quite like this. He found he was filled with a desperate longing to touch and somehow claim it for his own.

Ray let his fingers stretch out, gliding over the taut skin. The texture was much like himself, but nicer in a way. He was surprised at how good it felt to explore something so private of Bodie's. He recognised immediately that it was just because it was Bodie that it was special in a way that touching another male would never be.

That Bodie opened his legs a bit was testament to his trust. Bodie was already half hard with just that small of amount of touching and yet he'd displayed no reaction under all of Lipton's manipulations.

Ray smiled to himself, rather pleased by this. He handled the half-hard shaft, exploring its differences and similarities to his own. He found he was fascinated as the organ grew in size and girth within his hand. How many thousands of times had he held his own, pumping it to hardness and beyond, but this was different, oh so different.

This was Bodie.

He might be another male, but he was his mate, the closest mate he'd ever had and one that he trusted more than anyone before. Was that why it felt okay to touch him? His mind scoffed at the word okay. Okay, an inadequate word, that. Fantastic was more like.

He gripped Bodie's organ tighter. He was suddenly eager to discover more, elicit more. In fact, he very much wanted Bodie to come, come for him, because of him.

Ray got serious, he held it like he would his own, pumped it the way he liked it. His other hand curved around the ball sacs, squeezing and releasing as he would himself. So focused on Bodie, he could feel his build up. He increased speed and pressure to be rewarded with forceful pulses of white fluid. Bodie's come hit him on the face and chest.

Odd, he wasn't repulsed, instead he was greatly satisfied and curious. He licked the bit that stilled on his lip and memorised the taste. The stab of curled heat in his groin told him he would want more in the future.

Doyle climbed up astride Bodie's hips, exposing his own hard shaft. In a wanton gesture, he leaned forward and rubbed Bodie's come off his chest and onto Bodie's stomach, then pressed his own weeping shaft in it. He rocked, but it was when he felt Bodie press up closer that he shot his own release to mix with Bodie's already there.

Feeling a tug at his hair, Doyle lifted his head, again prepared for possible disgust, but all he found was warm acceptance and a sated look that he had always associated with Bodie getting his end away. He rested his head on Bodie's chest and slept.

Bradley Lipton was in heaven; his own come sprinkled his knees and feet. Raymond may have been inexperienced but he had become an eager debauchee. What a delicious memory, one he could use again. Bodie's prick was memorable as well. Fully erect, it was wider, thicker than his own; more pressure and more pain in a virgin hole. Watching his dear, sweet Raymond fuck himself on Bodie's prick will provide orgasmic ecstasy, well, possibly for him alone, but that made it even better. Both men still needed punishment.

Looking at his captives, naked, entwined in a sated slumber, Lipton laughed to himself. He didn't think either man was feeling very punished right now. He'd keep them both until he tired of them. He'd have to get in more food. First, his camera, he needed a picture.

Waking, the euphoric morning-after feeling was quickly dissipated by the stark reality of the shackles binding his ankles. Dried semen adhered his skin to Bodie's and his pulling away woke his partner.

"I feel like I've had a good dream within a bad one." Bodie's soft comment summed up his reaction as well.

More discussion was denied them as their captor entered with another tub of water.

Doyle knew exactly what Lipton planned and he wanted no part of it, especially Lipton's hands on Bodie's naked body. Right now he was feeling very territorial about that and whatever the reason he would not allow this sexual predator to defile Bodie anymore than he had.

"Clean-up should really be done immediately, but you novices fell asleep so quickly you'll have to endure the discomfort the delay in cleaning causes." Bradley smiled; punishment did come in all sorts of modes.

"I'll wash Bodie," Doyle dictated, his tone declaring the statement was not open for discussion.

Lipton conceded without a word. He left the tub and urine jar on the mattress. His thoughts were smug, let him win this small skirmish; he'd win the war. He sat down to watch.

Doyle took care to wash both their bodies clinically, without dallying about. The offhand manner was one they'd both employed when tending to each other's injuries and this time it would deny Lipton one more voyeuristic pleasure.

He could tell Lipton was not satisfied when he dropped the flannel into the tub, capped the urine jars and laid back.

"Any chance for a rug or some clothes?" Ray asked as he watched Lipton fix up the other bed to be occupied again.

"Are you cold? I'll turn up the heat. I thought it quite comfortable in here." Coverings would only force him to do without the visual candy, which was unacceptable. He left, taking the jar and tub with him.

Bodie watched the man leave the room, then whispered, "Ray, do whatever it takes. I'm working at breaking off a piece of mattress spring to use as a pick."

"But, Bodie, he's going to want..."

"We're partners. We've had to do worse to escape. Don't lose your rag, sunshine." Bodie heard returning footsteps and shushed his partner.

Lipton returned, gun in hand.

"I turned up the heat for you pansy boys." He tossed a shackle key to Doyle. "Unlock your shackles. Walk back to your bed and relock them there. No funny stuff. I'll have this cocked gun at your partner's head."

Bodie's words in his ears and the gun to his partner's temple, Doyle acquiesced with deliberate movements, demonstrating his compliance.

Bound once more to the bed, Doyle couldn't help but feel that he'd let a prime opportunity for escape pass. The conspiratorial look from Bodie went a long way to easing the guilt and quelling the disappointment.

Lipton gagged both men. "Don't want you planning." He giggled, "Oh, don't look like that, my Raymond, it's only temporary. I'll fetch along some food and remove them then." He left with a satisfied air about him.

With no recourse, Doyle closed his eyes and counted the ways he could kill Bradley Lipton.

True to his word, Lipton reappeared within the hour toting sandwiches and soup containers. He freed one arm for each man and removed the gag.

Bodie uttered his first words directed at their captor. "Have to use the bog."

Lipton nodded, "After you eat." He had a stripped down cubicle set up for just this purpose. Sterile, nothing inside that could aid one's escape.

Food and ablutions later, Lipton sat in the only chair placed in the room. He could see both men at the same time, he was looking forward to their reactions.

"This afternoon, the initiation will begin. We must have penetration, intercourse, if you will. It's an essential sensual experience and once experienced, you, my dear Raymond, will finally understand what you are and what you've been missing." Lipton chuckled; the expressions were all he could have hoped for and more. He opened a book and read, ignoring the restless sounds from both beds.

Doyle closed his eyes, thoughts of the upcoming event, for the lack of a better term, consumed him. He wished he could talk with Bodie first, but that was not to be. He hated admitting it to himself but he was looking forward to the act, actually feeling ripples of arousal. His two real fears we're hurting Bodie and Lipton's watching. He really wished he could talk to Bodie.

An hour later, with the forced inaction, both men dozed off. Bradley watched the naked bodies in repose. He knew Doyle thought his sacrifice was saving Bodie. What he was actually counting on was once sweet Raymond had a taste of male sex he would crave more. How could he not? It was hotter than any cunt hole.

Lipton knew Ray couldn't help but respond when he, himself, eventually filled him. He was hard thinking about the upcoming metamorphosis. He came with the thought that after he wore Raymond out, he'd start on mister no name. His post- coital bliss went uninterrupted this time.

Upon waking, Doyle could smell drying spunk. His eyes flew to Bodie's bed, afraid that Lipton had taken Bodie while he slept. He couldn't find any additional marks on his partner's sleeping form so he studied the room instead. He located the drying semen by the vacated chair in the room centre. A primal relief flooded his body. No one was taking Bodie but himself. His self-analysis was interrupted by Lipton's noisy arrival.

"You've had your rest, now it's time for play. My dear Raymond, your final education begins here and now."

Doyle sucked in a quiet breath and looked at his partner. Bodie's nod signalled his acceptance and trust in him. He had to make sure that this madman understood that under duress or not, he was not about to hurt Bodie. "I need lube. I won't hurt Bodie."

"Oh no, my dear Raymond, you won't be fucking Bodie, he will be fucking you." He looked over at Bodie and his eyes widened, "Oh, look, Bodie likes the idea, his prick is as stiff as a board. My, my, Bodie, you seem to be embracing this new sexual style." Lipton noticed a faint red stain coloured Bodie's cheek, "Or, maybe it's not so new." Lipton laughed in delight. "Our little Raymond is surrounded by queers."

Doyle kept his eyes on Lipton, afraid if he saw the evidence referred to, his own desires would become apparent. Either way, it was a declaring of sorts and Lipton would know he was the loser.

Lipton produced his gun again. He threw the shackle key at Doyle before placing the muzzle of the weapon against Bodie's temple. "Shackle yourself so you can sit on Bodie. Any funny stuff and I will blow his brains out. Your choice."

Doyle complied without hesitation. He believed that Lipton was capable of whatever he threatened. He shackled one leg to the centre of the bed frame. He climbed atop his partner and straddled him before locking the other leg in place. Lipton's lascivious eyes seem to rake both bodies.

"My queer, Bodie," Lipton didn't see the malevolent stare Bodie directed at him. His eyes were on Raymond, "For you, this will be like poking a female, only much tighter. Easily addictive. This time, Raymond will be getting the powerful pleasure. You will have to wait your turn." He stroked Bodie's chest. "Since you may not know what to aim for, Raymond here will be doing all the moving." His emphasis on the word may, coupled with the overall tone, suggested he didn't believe Bodie was the novice he first thought.

"Sweet Raymond, the key is to relax. You will hurt if you do not take it slow." Lipton was counting on some pain as punishment, a topic never far from his thoughts. He wasn't having Raymond prepare himself, he could have been taught by a master but he had refused. He could learn the hard way.

"Put lots of lube on Bodie's prick. You need to get his prick hard, very hard. You can do it, like before." He smirked with self-enjoyment, "Bodie, just think about where it's going." Lipton stepped back, out of Ray's line of sight. He pulled out his own semi-hard shaft and mimicked Doyle's movements.

The lubricant made it easy to stroke Bodie's smooth organ and Doyle felt no reluctance to do so. Bodie was his and he'd show Lipton that. He cupped the ball sacs and squeezed gently. Immediately, he felt them react in his hand. He looked to Bodie's face and his expression mirrored his own enjoyment. He stopped thinking and gave himself to the pleasure building.

Lipton's voice was a rude interruption. "That's one hefty cock in your hand, Raymond, isn't it?" Lipton's voice was openly admiring; he stroked his own hardness as he watched. "You'll want to sit on it slowly. Keep it well lubed. It will be a tight fit. There will be pain. Quitting is not an option. After the pain the pleasure will start. When doubts assail, remember, men have been doing this since the beginning of man, they can't all be wrong. Relax your muscles." Lipton spread his legs, then hooked one foot around the chair leg. He stroked his own erection more aggressively and fingered his own hole.

Doyle blocked out Lipton's presence as he prepared to start. He saw the drop of pearly white fluid at the top of Bodie's hefty organ and knew he was ready as well. He positioned himself and felt the tip of Bodie at his entrance and had to wonder how it could fit. Trusting that his body would adjust, he pushed down and the pain was indeed noteworthy. He knew that Lipton had recommended slow, and past idle reading confirmed that suggestion. But, Ray knew that fear of the unknown would be greater than the actual so he elected to ignore advice and sat quickly.

The pain was unimaginable and the howl of Ray's agony filled the room. The sound was so satisfying it set Lipton off and his come hit the base of the bed. The two in the bed were oblivious of Lipton's doings.

"Freeze, Ray, don't move. Let the pain subside." Bodie's voice broke through the wall of pain and he followed it past the memory. The actual pain was fading.

Ray's own erection had wilted, but he was still filled by Bodie. That thought alone rekindled his desire.

Lipton's voice invaded once more. "Move slowly. Slide up and down...that's it. Control yourself, Bodie," Lipton commanded as Bodie's hips arched upward. "Raymond, angle yourself differently on the downward stroke until you note a difference...aahh." Lipton recognised the change in Ray's expression.

Lipton's voice faded from Ray's thoughts as he realised that he and Bodie were fucking. His body absentmindedly followed the tutoring and angled the down thrusts accordingly.


He seemed to be filled with mini explosions of extreme sensation, like multiple orgasms that kept building. His downward thrusts became the focus of his universe; harder faster, until he was the universe unfolding. His spasms triggered Bodie's release and Ray fell into oblivion feeling Bodie's essence within.

A short time later, Doyle woke, legs cramped, but he could tell that Bodie was still inside, half-hard. He knew instinctively that they were alone in the room and he was tempted to see if he could get Bodie going again. His hips seemed to move of their own accord and he felt an answering twitch from within. He rocked carefully to keep the partial erection where it was.

Bodie's eyes opened slowly, not wishing to lose the last vestiges of the dream-like feeling surrounding his groin. Open at last, he encountered reality and desire flared. His semi-hard erection solidified like it hadn't just had a mind-blowing release.

Doyle felt an innate satisfaction at having Bodie ready again with little effort. The memory of the heady feeling from last time beckoned and he moved as he had before. This time Bodie matched the down thrust with his upward movements.

They blended like everything else in the partnership. This time Bodie released first, cascading Ray into his own heaven. It seemed better than the last, maybe because they were alone. Ray needed sleep but Bodie didn't appear ready to surrender his current position. Ray ignored the minor discomfort and fell asleep atop Bodie's chest.

Warm flannels thrown on naked skin startled both men awake.

"Clean yourselves. You gave me such great joy, I couldn't allow you to be stuck together come morning." Lipton examined the degree of wetness and was surprised. "My, my, Bodie, the amount of semen I see is evidence of how much you enjoyed the experience. Oh, and look at Bodie's chest, you, too, Raymond, must have truly enjoyed it. You'll soon both admit I was right about a great many things."

Ray Doyle was too tired to argue any point just then. After an expeditious cleanup, Ray fell asleep once more atop his partner, who hadn't woken at all. The secret satisfaction that their captor had no clue about their second coupling paved the way for good dreams.

George Cowley entered the CI5 building at six a.m. to find a whirlwind of activity. Betty wasn't at her desk, but Anson was.

His agent followed him into his office with an expectant air.

"What have you found?" Cowley didn't waste time with morning preambles.

"We got a print from the phone cord. It matched someone 4.5 went to school with. Bradley Lipton. Murphy's at his place now, just waiting for you to call him." Anson didn't sit down.

"Good work, lad." He reached for his R/T. "6.2, Alpha One."

"6.2. Morning, sir. I'm sure this Lipton has 3.7 and 4.5. He's obsessed with them. Thousands of pictures line his wall. Boxes full of them. All Bodie and Doyle."

"I'll send a team..."

Murphy interrupted, "No, sir. You. You alone should come."

Something in 6.2's voice alerted the Controller that this wasn't an empty request. "I'll get the address from Anson."

5.7 handed his boss a slip of paper with Lipton's address.

Murphy wasn't surprised at how quickly Alpha One arrived. They were all worried about Bodie and Doyle.

Cowley cased the flat before speaking with his agent. "He's quite obsessed with Doyle."

"Yes." Murphy thought it an understatement. "The photos go back before 4.5 was a copper. His interest shifted to both 4.5 and 3.7 with Doyle's entrance to CI5. Sir, the pictures, though innocent, could be construed to suggest something quite else if one wanted to do a smear campaign."

Cowley studied the section of wall that 6.2 indicated and he saw what could be seen. What could possibly be in the future, but wasn't, yet. It would be better to contain this nonetheless.

"You handle this," encompassing the flat with his wave, "Alone. However innocent, this could still be damaging. Do we know where to start looking?"

"A seed in the dirt from the track places the tyre in the North, recently; Durham, between Spennymoor and Hexham. We're checking if Lipton owns any properties." Murphy had counted on Cowley's discretion. "Anson and Lucas are ready to move as soon as we have a location."


"He was with me, sir. He saw the room filled with photos and thought it best to canvass the neighbours before they left for work."

"I have a meeting with the minister at nine. Keep me posted. Interrupt if you deem it necessary."

Murphy understood.

Doyle woke, snuggled up against his partner's side, Bodie's head resting on his arm. Ray turned his head to stare at the closed eyes, noting the long, curled lashes. He'd heard the birds in the typing pool go on and on about them and he realised they were right. They were quite lovely. Doyle wasn't sure what that meant, probably only noticed now because he'd never been this close before.

His eyes travelled down the nose and settled on lips that appeared soft and smooth. But...he didn't know firsthand. They had done what many would have considered the most intimate of acts, but they had never kissed and for Doyle, it felt as if kissing had become the more personal of acts because he was electing to do this and not commanded. He ran his fingers through Bodie's hair, waking him and getting his attention first, then smiled.

The kiss was hesitant, shy almost, then Bodie's lips parted as if inviting him in and Ray followed his instinct. His exploration was tentative at first but grew bolder as sounds of enjoyment emerged. He wasn't altogether sure if it was his or Bodie's, but it didn't matter as the kiss took on a life of its own.

Tongues met and yielded, no power struggle, no need to dominate. Seemed even here, an equal partnership existed. Doyle was wooed. The kiss was intoxicating. He felt Bodie's organ swell against his hip and twisted to press his own engorged penis against Bodie. The duel sensation of kissing and rocking against Bodie sent him flying. Instincts as ancient as time itself took over and both built up to a sweet release.

Lipton entered with breakfast, waking the men for the second time that morning. Immediately, he noticed the drying come on both groins.

"I knew you'd be quick studies, but you're excelling even faster than I dreamed." He scooped some of the sticky remnants up with his finger and sucked it clean. "This will be for me, next round. This afternoon will be even better than yesterday." His organ swelled as both men watched, the outline now taut against the tight material.

Lipton moved Doyle back to his bed the same way as before. Gags placed, he left them alone.

Doyle brooded. He had to prevent Lipton's hands on Bodie. He focused on plans to escape during the upcoming sexual encounter with Lipton. His eyes flew open as he heard a shackle hit the floor.

One arm free, Bodie took the gag from his mouth. "Spring finally broke free. I'll have us unlocked, here, shortly."

True to his word, Doyle watched Bodie pick the locks of both legs and remaining arm. He stretched out kinked muscles before making his way to Doyle's bed. He unlocked his arms and legs. Ray took the gag from his mouth.

Bodie pushed Doyle down when he made to get up. "He can see your bed when he first walks in. You lie with the appearance of shackles and I'll wait behind the door."

Doyle nodded, the plan was sound. He was just impatient to be out of here with freedom so close.

Apparently Bodie was as well. "I've got to piss like a racehorse."

They shared a smile as they waited for their captor to return.

Time passage was moot, each was so focused on listening for Lipton's return that neither cared how long the wait was, this ordeal was almost over. The finish was fairly anticlimactic in comparison.

Bodie grabbed Lipton from behind as he cleared the door. He had his arms pinned securely when Doyle reached them. He had Lipton down on his back and a knee at his throat faster than Bodie could blink.

Bodie knew that Ray would kill him if he didn't interfere. "Ray, this isn't the answer right now. He's Broadmoor bound. I promise, though, if he should evade prosecution, we will seek him out together and put an end to his life."

Ray Doyle gave Bodie's words some thought as Lipton's face turned a bluish tint, then removed his knee and let Bodie resume confining him.

Boyle shackled him to the bed and removed the key from his pocket as Doyle went in search of a phone. He located one on the second floor.

He dialled CI5 headquarters. "Control, this is 4.5, patch me through to Alpha One or 6.2."

"4.5, you're okay? 3.7 with you? There is a full search for you and 3.7."

Fred was more animated than Doyle could remember. "Yes, we just broke free. The boss around, then?"

"He's still with the minister, but I've got 6.2 here now."

Murphy grabbed the handset and demanded, "Where are you? Do you need medical aid?"

"We're fine. I don't know where we are. Somewhere way north of London, on a farm. Murph, we need clothes. Ours were destroyed."

"This Lipton fella have you?" 6.2 figured he was correct, but just thought it wise to confirm.

"Yes. We have him restrained. We need clothes. Come pick us up."

"Leave the phone open and we can trace it. Soon as we have a location we'll head out. The old man has authorised a helicopter. Want to keep the locals out of it."

Ray read that Murphy already understood most of the situation. "Thanks. I'll go tell Bodie. I'm leaving the phone." He placed the cradle on the desk and went to inform his partner.

The helicopter with Murphy arrived about an hour and a half later. He had a bag of clothes and a bag of sandwiches. Bodie didn't know which he wanted first.

Neither Murphy nor the pilot asked why the prisoner had a gag in his mouth as he was settled into the transport. Bodie sat next to him, afraid that his partner might be tempted to shove him out the door when they were high above the ground.

Doyle watched Cowley interrogate Lipton. He was amazed that Lipton remained so sane sounding as he answered questions and justified his actions. The man that they'd spent six days with was a real nutter. Doyle knew that Lipton was only in that room alive because Bodie had stopped him from ending his pathetic life.

Though, ironically, he could thank Lipton. He was standing at a crossroads and yearned to explore this new facet of sexual encounters. Not so oddly, Bodie was the only one he was contemplating relations with. But first they had to talk about it. He hadn't been alone with Bodie since their escape.

He watched Cowley; Alpha One seemed more interested in how he maintained surveillance undetected for so long. His questions never returned to Lipton's most recent transgressions. He pushed the intercom button to listen in again.

"You shot at my men."

"I'm not without my talents; being queer doesn't exclude one from shooting a gun."

"You can do a lot more than that. A crack shot."

Lipton gave a single nod of his head. "My father didn't much like having a queer for a son, but had I an uncle who believed that everyone should know how to shoot. I excelled better than my cousins."

"It's a shame that you didn't put your talents to a better use."

"I can still protect Raymond. Just let me fuck him and we can be bonded forever."

"CI5 has alternative means of protection."

Doyle turned off the sound. 'Bodie really should have let me kill him,' he thought to himself. He got a cup of coffee before going to Cowley's office to wait. He just wanted his boss to complete the interrogation and send Lipton to be remanded. He did appreciate that Cowley handled it all himself. The details were not something either of them wanted for public consumption.

An hour later, Cowley motioned Doyle into his office. "The man's mad as a hatter. He'll be remanded to Broadmoor for an indefinite stay. Much better than a public trial."

Doyle nodded, relieved that he wouldn't have to make public all the events that took place last week.

George Cowley took his glasses off as he sat back in his chair. "Is it possible for you and 3.7 to go off duty and not encounter any other terrorists and the like?"

"I think so, sir." Doyle smiled, hoping his boss wasn't actually serious.

"Four days. Then you and 3.7 report to Crane. A brush-up of skills can't go amiss." Cowley sat forward, dismissing Doyle.

Ray Doyle left with haste. He was grateful that he didn't have to discuss the details with his boss again. By not bringing it up, he had to surmise that this wasn't going to Ross as well. Bodie would be relieved. He knew that when they finished with Crane, Ross would want to tinker with their heads, but this last week wasn't on the menu.

With that on his mind, he went searching for his partner. The silver Capri was no where to be found. Doyle checked out and headed to Bodie's flat.

Bodie pulled into a parking slot close to his flat. As he locked the door, he saw Ray's Triumph out front. Bodie's step faltered for just a second. He had hoped to avoid this discussion but he should have known better, bloody Doyle. He straightened his shoulders, blanked his face and greeted his mate. "Chinese take away -- more than enough to fortify."

Doyle took up half of the containers and followed Bodie up the stairs. As he helped get down the plates, he asked, "Get enough?"

Bodie shrugged, "Expected you, didn't I?"

"Expected me?"

"Yeah. For the inquest."

"Not an inquest, did that with Cowley. Just think we should talk about it."

"Why? It happened, we survived, it's over."

Ray watched his partner eat, not sure if he was glad or disappointed. He didn't seem at all perturbed as he packed it in, but he'd seen Bodie eat even under the most dire of circumstances, so that wasn't a good tell.

"Did you see all the pictures? Can't be too good at our jobs if we never noticed. Christ, Bodie, it was well over ten years."

"Exactly. You didn't notice because he was always there."

"Should have picked him up at least once in all that time."

"How many times have we walked into a room, or a meet and known there was something wrong?"

"Countless times," Doyle agreed.

"Exactly. With Lipton, he was always there. After you finished your Met training you'd have noticed but he'd already been stalking you. You noticed nothing out of the ordinary because he was part of the ordinary."

"What about you?"

"Same. When I met you I didn't know what was or wasn't normal around you. If he was always there, then for me, there was nothing amiss. Hell of a thing, if he had gone, we'd have noticed. Something to check out now."

"So that's it? No matter what we had to do, it's past now?" Doyle just didn't see how to do that.

Bodie had absolutely no idea what Doyle wanted from him. His self-preservation instinctively kicked in and demanded he say nothing, either way. He returned Doyle's look without changing his own.

Frustrated, Doyle exploded, "Damnit, Bodie, I can't get the bloody kiss out of my head."

Bodie didn't blink, didn't move any part of his body. There was no sense guessing, it was a smarter move to let Doyle talk this out before reacting.

"You were so into it, same as me, did it mean nothing?" Doyle's voice, harsher, rose an octave.

Bodie sighed, "What do you want, Ray?" His quiet tone stopped Doyle's rising hysteria.

"I want to know what happened back there." Doyle's confusion was clear.

Bodie asked quietly, "Are you worried that you're queer?" He thought that might be at the heart of the issue.

"I don't know, are we?"

Bodie went to the kitchen, opened lagers for the two of them and carried them along to the living room. He put Ray's drink down in front of him before he answered. "I've read that all men have the capability to go both ways if the mind is willing."

"Is that all it was, the mind was willing?" Doyle grabbed his bottle but didn't drink.

"We were forced into a situation; our lives depended on our performing. I know that man was capable of great cruelty if you hadn't intervened. I'm grateful, Ray." Bodie hoped that by alleviating that particular guilt, his partner might let the topic rest.

His hopes were in vain.

"The kiss wasn't forced." Doyle said it as if the words were a revelation.

Bodie sighed again, bloody Doyle. Talking seemed the only way out of this; he hoped he could survive it. "Huh?"

Doyle chugged down half the bottle's contents before pacing to and fro within the livingroom.

Bodie just waited.

"He was from my past. I didn't want him to hurt you. It was my responsibility to keep you out of it. But when he threatened to rape you, I couldn't allow that. I didn't like his hands on you. I thought it was because I was afraid he'd hurt you, but if I'm honest...I just didn't want his hands, any hands on you...except mine." Ray stopped at the window, looked out and saw nothing. After a bit, he cleared his throat and continued.

"When Lipton handled my prick, nothing. It was like it wasn't even part of me. But, when I touched you I got turned on and I wanted you to get turned on as well. What does that make me? Huh, Bodie?"

"A survivor. It was when my prick didn't respond to him that he forced you into the role of lover." Bodie reminded his partner.

"Don't you even try putting the blame on you. I wanted to kill Lipton, almost did, but it stopped being about being held captive. It was about you. I didn't want him to have the chance to do anything to you, Bodie. Damn, maybe he was right."

Bodie said nothing. Ray needed to work out for himself where this was going. For himself, the solution was simple, he just wanted to kiss Ray again.

"That first time with you, it was just touching you that got to me. Christ, Bodie, you reacted to my touch, not Lipton's, it sent me flying." Doyle started pacing again, "And Bodie, the act of fucking's never going to be the same, everything's different. It jumbled, Bodie, it's all jumbled. I gotta make sense of all this." Doyle sat down heavily on the chair across from his partner. He dropped his head into his hands, "Maybe I am queer."

Bodie knew his own survival was in silence. He looked at Ray encouragingly.

"All those years ago, I never looked, never thought about it. Birds were nice. Thought I'd get married, have one point two kids and a dog. After my years as a copper, I rethought the kids and with CI5, I rethought the marriage thing. We've shared birds, I didn't care, wasn't possessive. But, Bodie, one thing I learned this week, I am possessive about you. I don't want anyone messing with you."

"We're partners, Ray, 'tis normal."

"You're missing my drift, Bodie. If you went and shagged a bird, the way I'm feeling right now, I'd want to kill her."

"Survival again, we've just come off an intensely emotional week. Residual possessiveness comes from the protect mode we've been in. You did your best to rescue me the whole time."

"Damnit, Bodie, you're the one that got us free."

"Ray, you were rescuing me from a cruel rape." Bodie knew what could've happened.

Doyle nodded, he knew as well.

Bodie moved back into the kitchen. He wanted another beer. Doyle followed.

Ray watched Bodie reach in the fridge to grab another bottle. Him bum was luscious, no other word and his fingers itched to palm it. Bodie had done it to him enough times, turnabout was fair play. He needed to do it now.

Bodie straightened up immediately, narrowly missing hitting his head on the fridge opening, but didn't slap the hand away.

Ray locked eyes with Bodie and held them, hoping he had answers to the questions that eluded him. He saw the beauty and elegance that his partner kept hidden and his body was on fire with need. He pushed his mate back against the table and kept Bodie mesmerised with his eyes, never wavering in his need to be vigilant. His hand went wild. He undid the fastener and zip and pushed it aside. He pulled the undergarment down, exposing the groin, then used the elastic to frame it. It pushed the ball sac up and tight as if guarding the swelling cock.

Doyle had to know firsthand, this might be his only chance, he had to have Bodie's taste straight from the source. An act that he had never thought of before became what he wanted to do the most. He enclosed the fully hard erection within his mouth and sucked.

The startled arching of Bodie's hips gagged him, but let him know he was on the right track. He used his right arm to pin Bodie's hips to the table and his left to fondle the balls as he sucked away on the shaft. He was lost in the sensations and the flooding of his mouth was unexpected but rewarding.

He had the flavour of Bodie direct and his hand flew to his own zip. It was batted away by Bodie's hand. Bodie turned Ray back against the table. He matched the attentions Ray had lavished on him exactly. Bodie might have felt short changed as Ray released rather quickly when the scent of sex filled his senses, but he didn't, instead he felt rather smug.

"Oh, god, Bodie, that was...oh, god," he took several deep breaths to steady his breathing. "Christ, Bodie, you didn't have to do that."

"Know that. Wanted to." Bodie committed himself.

"Not what I meant, Bodie, I know it was in a sense of fairness, just, well, you didn't have to do that to make us even."

"Didn't. Wanted to." Bodie took a deep breath and broke his own rule of self-preservation, "I can match you in possessiveness."

Doyle turned to answer, but paused as Bodie's words sunk in. Did Bodie mean...? Did that mean that...? Doyle's world was ass backwards.

Bodie went for broke, "I love you, Ray."

"Like partners, like brothers-in-arms." Doyle's heart was racing, but he wasn't sure why.

"Yes. And no. Damnit, sunshine." Bodie hated feeling so stripped down. "The sex was never forced or just for survival. I memorised every touch in case it had to last me a lifetime. And the kiss...the kiss was the best." He grabbed Doyle to him, lost his fingers in the unruly curls and kissed him like he wanted to an hour ago.

Ray matched the kiss with the same vigour and his fears melted away. Bodie was his equal. He whispered when his mouth was freed, "God, I love you, too." He was crushed against Bodie's chest and it felt right. Comfortable at last with his thoughts and feelings, and content in the knowledge that Bodie was his.

-- THE END --

August 2006

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