A Widening Gyre
Written for the "Discovered in The Anarchist Cookbook" challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.
Bodie realized he was in trouble the moment he tried to step away from the shelf table attached to the window and almost fell on his face. He'd only had a pint. Not nearly enough to set the bar spinning and make him feel weak at the knees.
And it wasn't true love, either.
Which meant someone had to have slipped something questionable into his drink.
They would be waiting for him. Out front? Maybe. It was hard to think. Bodie braced himself against the table and considered his options. There was a phone in the back. He could call HQ. Get someone to come and pick him up.
Embarrassing as hell, but better than a knife in the ribs.
Mustering all of his focus and control, Bodie pushed off from the table and headed for the back of the pub. He tried very hard not to draw attention to himself, tried to blend into the babble of voices and the clink of glasses. The important thing was to not get himself tossed out on his ear. Outside he'd be twice as vulnerable to his unknown enemy.
His head felt bad. But not the way it should feel if someone had slipped him a mickey. This was different. Colours seemed to be bleeding into each other at the very edge of his vision. Bodie pushed open a door only to find himself standing in the bog. Somehow he'd missed the phone completely.
He stopped and began to turn, one hand on the wall. The door flew open suddenly, colliding with his shoulder and knocking him off his already precarious balance. He stumbled backwards and caught himself on a box fastened to the wall. Oh, hello, he thought, distractedly. Condoms, extra large. The girl on the advert seemed to be smiling right at him. Nice.
He felt a hand grasp his shoulder, and then he was being hauled around. A grinning face took over his field of vision.
"Cost me a pretty penny to bribe that bartender. You must have the constitution of a horse. Remember me?"
To be perfectly honest, he didn't. He rather wished the girl would come back.
The face lost its smile. "You killed my mates!"
Now that doesn't make any sense at all, thought Bodie. He remembered that he needed to get to a phone, but there was a lunatic standing in his way. He was hissing something about red armies and fractions. Fascinated, Bodie stared at the man's face. His eyebrows seemed to be travelling all over the place, independently of each other, like a couple of hairy caterpillars. One moment the right one would be way up his forehead, almost to his receding hairline, and in the next moment it'd be down over his eye and the left one would be hiking its way up.
And now the man was saying something about a trial. And an execution.
Bodie wasn't sure about many things right there and then, including the location of the phone, but he knew beyond any doubt that he did not want to be executed.
The man drew a gun and pointed it at Bodie.
Bodie smiled. This was something he understood. Not just in his mind, which didn't seem to be functioning well at the moment, but in his body, down in the very fibres of his muscles and tendons. He didn't need to think. He watched with detachment as his arm automatically knocked the gun to one side. As the man turned to the left, trying to bring his weapon back around, Bodie caught the side of his head and forced it the other way.
There was a snap. The gun hit the floor first, thudding dully onto linoleum tile. It was followed a moment later by the lunatic, his limbs suddenly unstrung by a broken neck.
Bodie peered down at the twitching body on the floor. He wrinkled his nose as the dying man's bowels emptied. Not good. So, scratch the idea of calling HQ from here.
There were sirens already, playing in his head, but he suspected those were more memory than reality. The coppers wouldn't be onto him yet. The short hall outside the door was empty. All he had to do was walk away, casually. No one had seen him make the kill, no one could connect him to it. The sirens wailed continuously in his mind, trying to make him panic.
There was another door next to the bog. Bodie tried it, and found himself outside in a back alley. The shadows were deep among the bins and boxes, and for a moment he hesitated, half inclined to return to the reassuring light and noise of the pub. He thought of a darker continent where shadows like these hid things with claws and fangs.
But he wasn't there now. He was in London, and safe enough for the moment. He took a deep breath and walked out onto the street, joining the light evening crowd.
The phone box almost smacked him in the nose. One moment it had been all the way down at the other end of the street, and the next it had dashed forward and planted itself right under his feet.
Deeply suspicious, Bodie checked the interior before stepping inside. He wasn't enamoured of trapping himself in a box, but there weren't many other options if he wanted to use the phone.
It turned out to be a more difficult than he'd anticipated. He dropped half his change on the ground, trying to fish it out of his pocket. The numbers on the dial were playing silly buggers, swapping places with each other. Four and five in particular appeared determined not to accept the dictatorship of the Roman numeral system.
Bodie almost dropped the phone. He'd been expecting to hear the mechanical click and whirr of HQ's switchboard.
"If you're another sad bastard who gets his jollies breathing heavily into phones..."
"Ray?" asked Bodie. He wondered what Doyle was doing answering phones for CI5.
Bodie nodded. Wasn't Angela supposed to be on duty tonight, he wondered. That was why she couldn't go out. Or so she'd said. Maybe she was dating Doyle.
Why did Doyle keep saying his name? Bodie could hear sirens in the distance. Real ones this time.
"Where are you? Are you hurt?"
Now Ray was shouting. Hair-trigger temper, that one had. Always getting shirty over nothing. "M'right here."
"Bodie, where are you?"
"Come pick me up?" There were lights now. Flashing blue and red down at the end of the road. Bodie let his forehead rest against the Plexiglas, and watched the shadows dance. "I think I killed someone."
"Bodie," said Ray, now using that immensely appealing 'talking to morons' voice. "Where. Are. You?"
"Phone box," said Bodie, annoyed. "Bateman Street. West End. London."
"England, Earth, and Milky Way," snapped Doyle. "Where on Bateman Street, Bodie?"
"Jus' look for flashing lights." Bodie's tongue felt strangely numb. He closed his eyes, and then opened them quickly just in case the shadows took his momentary lapse of attention as an invitation to sneak up on him.
There was an oddly monotonous sound in his ear, and it took him a moment to realize it was a dial tone. He dropped the handset and let it dangle by the cord.
Stay put. Keep moving. Keep clear of the cops. Find help. Can't trust anyone.
I don't feel good, Bodie thought as he pushed the door open.
Doyle didn't know what to think. Since answering the phone, he'd gone from half asleep, to irritated, to outright panicked in a matter of mere moments. And then sense had reasserted itself. Bodie sounded confused, not seriously injured. If he was taking the piss...
Best to find him, first. Then he could decide if Bodie needed murdering.
Bodie had been right about one thing, though. The flashing lights on Bateman Street were impossible to miss.
Doyle's identification card got him past the line of coppers keeping patrons out of the pub. A sergeant stopped him at the door and filled him in on the situation. A man had been murdered in the toilets, no witnesses.
Doyle asked for a description of the victim, whose body had already been removed from the scene. Dark hair, tall, beefy build, thick eyebrows, Slavic-looking.
Not Bodie then, thought Doyle, whose heart had taken something of a plunge when the sergeant had started his description with 'dark hair and tall'.
After a brief look at the crime scene, Doyle took his leave of the sergeant and walked outside. Pushing past the crowd, he looked up and down the street. There was a phone box on the corner, but it was empty.
Firmly tamping down his anxiety, Doyle walked toward the phone box. Bodie was more than capable of looking after himself. On the other hand, he wasn't prone to leaving dead bodies in pub bathrooms.
Bodie was just around the corner, leaning up against a street light, his arms crossed over his chest. He appeared to be deep in thought, studying the ground. He did not appear to be injured in any way.
Drunk, thought Doyle, his anxiety turning to anger. The rules were clear. No fighting off duty. If Bodie had gone and killed someone, he would be kicked off the squad. Or worse.
He planted himself in front of Bodie, his hands on his hips. "You'd better have a good explanation for all this, sunshine!"
Bodie looked up, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Hello, Ray."
"Don't you 'hello, Ray' me! What happened back there?"
A line appeared between Bodie's eyebrows. "I tried to call HQ. What were you...?" He stopped, frowning. "I think I called the wrong number."
There was something odd about Bodie's eyes. Doyle stepped closer and took hold of his chin, tilting his head back into the light. Bodie's pupils were enormous and black. "You're high!"
Bodie nodded, his chin scraping against Doyle's hand. "Feels like LSD. I thought maybe PCP at first, but... Stupid git. LSD doesn't put anyone out. Suppose it was his recreational stash."
Doyle felt a giddy sense of relief. Bodie hadn't been fighting after all. It was a clear case of self-defence.
"Who was he?" Doyle slid his fingers down the side of Bodie's neck. His pulse was trip hammering and his skin was cold. Bodie had looked relaxed leaning against the lamppost, but Doyle realized now that it was all for show. He was holding himself rigidly still, every muscle tense.
"I don't know," said Bodie. "He remembered me, though."
Death by misadventure, thought Doyle. The bastard should never have spiked Bodie's drink. "Come on. I'm glad you waited for me."
"I didn't think you were coming," said Bodie as Doyle steered him toward the car. "I was just waiting for the drug to wear off so I could walk home."
Bodie could hear Doyle talking to someone on the car radio. Something about getting an ID on the body and a hospital...
That last word stood out from the others in black and red spikes. It hurt his skin.
"No hospital," said Bodie, sharply.
"No, I don't need. Nothing they can do, is there? Just have to wait." Bodie closed his eyes, not wanting to feel the passing lights hitting his face. A day, maybe two, and all this would stop.
Unless it didn't.
"Just take me home, Ray." He tried not to think about permanent brain damage. Those stories weren't real. Just lies made up to scare kids away from drugs. He wasn't a kid, and he didn't believe in scary stories. All it took was a little self control, and the strength of will to know that none of the sensations buffeting him were real.
Doyle got back on the radio again. Bodie let his eyes open a crack and watched. He liked Doyle's voice. It tangled and curled, coiling in on itself. He thought about reaching out to touch Doyle's words, wondering if they'd feel as springy and soft as his hair.
He folded his hands tightly together in his lap instead.
Looking was okay. Touching was not.
A finger prodded his shoulder. Bodie nearly jumped out of his skin. He glanced over to find Doyle staring at him with an amused smile. "You're clear. The dead bloke is Hans Mettler."
"Cowley won't be happy. Dead men don't talk." He wondered when the car had stopped. He'd been so distracted watching Doyle that he hadn't noticed him turn off the engine.
"Can't even stop in at your local without tangling with terrorists, can you?" asked Doyle. "You're a walking disaster, mate."
Bodie was having trouble keeping up. Somehow between the first sentence and the last, Doyle had teleported from the driver's seat to the street outside the passenger side door. He opened it, and Bodie felt the night air turn liquid and pour into the car, soaking him. "Come on, out you get."
He had been okay as long as the car was moving, but now that it was stopped he felt as if it had begun pitching wildly on high seas. The air was sloshing and eddying around him, and there was a roaring in his ears.
Shoving Doyle back, he folded forward and promptly lost his dinner on the road.
Doyle wanted to be sympathetic, but there was only so much a man could be expected to endure.
It was four in the morning, and Bodie was showing no signs of slowing down. He'd vomited once on the road and twice in the kitchen sink. When Doyle suggested he clean himself up, Bodie had flatly refused to enter the bathroom, explaining that it was a "bad place".
What Bodie intended to do when he had to relieve himself, Doyle didn't know, but he drew the line at letting him water old Mrs. McGillicuddy's begonias.
"Why don't you sleep?" asked Doyle, who very much wanted to be unconscious himself.
Bodie was staring intently at the test card girl on the TV, as if expecting her to reveal all the secrets of the universe. "I told you. I can't sleep."
"You haven't tried!" Doyle had offered to get him pillows, a blanket -- had even offered him his own bed, in a fit of desperation. Unfortunately, Bodie appeared to have invisible toothpicks stuck into his eyelids.
"No point," said Bodie, still staring at the TV, his fingers digging into his knee. "For every hit of acid, you need about twice that in weed to bring you down." He straightened and looked at Doyle, inquiringly. "You don't have any weed, do you?"
Doyle was finding Bodie's black-eyed stare deeply unnerving. "No, of course not!"
"Didn't think so." Bodie's attention turned back to the TV.
Doyle groaned and slouched back in his chair, rubbing his face. He should have taken Bodie to the hospital. Let professionals handle this.
But Bodie hated exposure of any kind. He clung fiercely to his dignity and his independence. The idea of abandoning him in the hospital while he was out of his head felt to Doyle like a betrayal of trust. Even if it would have been the sensible thing to do.
"Scrabble?" Doyle suggested. Anything was better than staring at the bloody test card girl.
"Sex," said Bodie.
"What?" Doyle wasn't sure he'd heard right.
Bodie got up and snapped the TV off. "I don't trust that kid. She knows too much."
"Bodie!" Doyle glared at him. "I asked you if you wanted to play Scrabble!"
"And I asked you if you wanted to have sex." Bodie's eyes abruptly widened, alarm crossing his face. "Shouldn't have said that."
"It's okay," said Doyle, slowly. "I'm pretty sure I can't order in girls this time of night anyway."
Bodie nodded, very deliberately. He sat back down on the sofa, still looking spooked.
Doyle didn't want to do anything to further shred Bodie's composure, but his curiosity had been piqued. I asked you if you wanted to have sex. Not quite the same thing as, "Be a good mate and find me a willing bird?" He nudged Bodie's knee with his foot.
Bodie moved his leg out of reach. He was gripping his knees so tightly that Doyle would have put down money on finding fingertip sized bruises there by morning.
Doyle was torn between wanting to help the poor bastard relax, and wanting to commit a murder of his own. It wasn't Bodie's fault, but the fact remained that, as long as he was sitting there on the sofa, strung as tight as piano wire, there was no way Doyle would be sleeping tonight. Or possibly tomorrow night, either.
And Bodie was not an entertaining companion. He was, in fact, far less entertaining than even a Bodie shaped monolith. And not much more of a conversationalist, either.
Something evil took possession of Doyle. "Did you ever make it with a bloke?"
"Yeah," said Bodie. Then his mouth clamped shut, and he regarded Doyle with open horror.
Oh, this is rich, thought Doyle, gleefully. He knew he shouldn't take advantage of Bodie in this condition, but the temptation was too much to resist. "When? Was it in the merchant marines? In Africa? I always thought those paras were a bit on the swishy side."
Bodie's hands came up, his palms pressing into his temples. "Bugger off, Doyle."
"Hah," said Doyle. "It's not 'Ray' now, is it? How do you like your men, anyway? Big and butch?"
"Skinny and mean," said Bodie. "With a face like a train wreck."
Doyle started to laugh, and then stopped abruptly. Bodie's tone had been light, but his expression was desolate. All of the amusement value abruptly went out of the game.
You're a git, Doyle told himself. He stood up, feeling the stiffness that came with sitting too long in one place. "Do you want more tea?"
Bodie shook his head, not looking at him.
Doyle went to make some more anyway. He needed the distraction. Imagine Bodie fancying him. That would be an enormous joke. But Bodie hadn't looked like he was joking.
LSD could make a man think some funny things. Especially if he was the kind of man who had done a thing or two with his mates in the past, under the cover of night. Doyle supposed he could see Bodie being that sort, making do with whoever was available. There weren't many birds to be had out in the jungle, and all cats were gray in the dark.
He couldn't imagine that it had ever gone any further than a blowjob or a quick screw up against a tree, with Bodie getting all the head and doing the screwing himself. Much too butch, that one, to ever take it up the arse. And you'd never see him in the clubs or loitering in parks. Not so long as there were birds handy.
Interesting to think of him that way, though.
Shaking off a disturbingly vivid image of Bodie on his knees, pale white arse in the air, Doyle collected his cup and returned to the living room. He was tired. Beyond tired. Exhausted and hallucinating, more like. That was the only explanation for it, because he certainly didn't have any unsavoury designs on his mate.
Bodie seemed to have recovered his composure while Doyle was in the kitchen. He was now staring at the ceiling, still tense, the tendons standing out on the sides of his neck. "I hate LSD."
"It's not your first time, then?" Doyle settled back into his chair, holding his cup.
Doyle waited for more, but Bodie seemed to have used up his capacity for conversation. Doyle sipped his tea and wished there was something he could do to help the man unwind.
Bodie brought his hand up to his face and watched the air move around his fingers, ripples of rainbow colour bleeding into the cream walls. He knew he should stop, knew none of this was real. He probably looked a right fool.
On the other hand, the only person watching was Doyle. He wouldn't mind.
Never should have brought up the sex, though. Doyle had reacted just the way Bodie had expected, laughing at him and acting like it was all one big joke. Probably was, to him. Still, he'd left off teasing before it got to be too much. That was decent of him. It was nice to know he could trust Doyle not to take things too far.
Sex. Bodie could feel his groin tighten in reaction to his thoughts. He shifted, trying to make room. He wondered what sex would feel like right now. What colour would Doyle's words turn if he was aroused? He shifted again, uncomfortably.
"If you need to wank, use the bathroom," said Doyle.
Bodie looked up to find Doyle looking at him neutrally. He wondered if Doyle could read every one of his thoughts and desires. The idea didn't seem as implausible as it should. "The bathroom's bad."
"You can have my bedroom, then. Just don't make a mess."
Bodie shook his head. "I'm okay," he lied. And then he added, "Rather not be alone," which was the truth. His cock felt like it was trying to drill right through his zip. Good thing evolution hadn't given cocks opposable thumbs, or they'd be ruling the earth. He considered telling Doyle about that, and then decided he'd better not.
Better to just watch the colours and wait. Just had to keep it together until the drug wore off.
An immeasurable time later, he was almost ready to crack and admit that he wasn't okay. Not in the slightest. Doyle was curled up comfortably in his chair, reading. Bodie, meanwhile, was still sitting on the sofa, wide awake, and with a hard on that wouldn't quit.
Christ, what if it never went away?
Cowley wouldn't approve of one of his top agents walking around like that, frightening old ladies and small dogs.
Bodie wondered if he'd somehow died without noticing and ended up in hell, doomed to an eternity of sitting on Doyle's sofa watching the walls melt. With a hard on.
It just wasn't fair.
"You look miserable, mate."
He did? His control must be slipping. He schooled his expression to what he hoped was neutral before looking up. Doyle was gazing at him over the top of his book, his eyes speculative.
"Look," said Doyle. "It's not as if I don't do it myself, right? Might relax you. I'll just sit here and read my book."
"Read to me?" asked Bodie.
"What, out loud?"
Doyle shrugged and began to read. Bodie didn't know what the book was, and he didn't care. A warm russet colour tinged the edges of Doyle's words, and they were curling more loosely than they had in the car, like ivy in the autumn.
He let a long breath out and tried to relax, leaning back on the sofa. The room was filling with Doyle's voice. It brushed lightly against his skin, warm and reassuring. His hand started to drift down to his crotch, and then he froze. He waited to see if Doyle would react.
Doyle continued reading, never looking up from his book.
Bodie thought of fire flickering in the hearth and the smell of wood smoke. Memory was almost indistinguishable from reality. He lowered his zip and discovered that it sounded like the crackle of flame. His fingers brushed his briefs and he gasped.
All of his nerves ignited at once. It was too much. He felt a moment of raw terror. He couldn't see, couldn't defend himself, couldn't feel anything but this...
Then Doyle's voice wove its way into his awareness, forcing calm words into the snarled knots of his panic. As his fear dissipated, Bodie was able to breathe again.
He realized that it was really all right. He could let go. He didn't have to watch his back; Doyle would do it for him.
Doyle turned the page on his book, somehow managing to continue to read aloud even as his attention was entirely focussed on Bodie. He'd picked the book up on a whim, and it had sat unread on his shelf for weeks. After tonight, he knew he'd never be able to think about the art of falconry the same way again.
"The captive did not know that he was being kept awake by an act of will," read Doyle. He blinked at the page, noticing the words for the first time in several minutes. Kept awake? "But only that it was awake, and in the end, becoming too sleepy to mind what happened..."
He doesn't look very sleepy, thought Doyle, sneaking a quick peek at Bodie. But the drug did have him captive, in a way.
Bodie was leaning back against the cushions of the sofa, his cock in his fist, seemingly oblivious to everything about him.
Doyle felt a slow heat begin to build in his own groin. Sympathy arousal, no doubt. "It would droop its head and wings and go to sleep on the fist."
Christ, he thought. Fists were the last thing he needed to think about now. Fists and things clenched in them, and the knuckles turning white. Bodie's hand was moving quicker now, his breath harsh in the sudden silence.
Doyle looked down at the page. "It would say, 'I am so tired that I will accept this curious perch, repose my trust in this curious creature, anything so I may rest.'"
As he paused again, Bodie's head turned blindly toward him. He was listening to the book, then. Doyle felt his own cock stir again at that thought, and he groaned under his breath. This was not a good chapter to read aloud. Flipping ahead randomly, he tried a different section.
"When he was like this it was possible to calm him down by slipping the bare hand over his crop, down his breast and under his stomach."
Oh dear God, what kind of book was this? Doyle checked the front cover. The Goshawk, by T.H. White. Nice picture of a bird. Nothing to indicate the kind of erotica contained within the pages.
Of course, he might be reading too much into the words. It was just a man and his hawk, after all.
"Then, with four fingers between his legs..."
Bodie's legs were quite lovely, elegant even, stretched halfway across the living room rug like that.
Doyle shook his head sharply. He did not just think that.
"One could hold up the beating heart which seemed to fill the whole of his body."
If Doyle had known this was a love story, he'd never have picked up the book in the first place. He gritted his teeth and kept reading, even as Bodie's back arched right up off the sofa, and white liquid spilled over his knuckles.
A towel landed in Bodie's lap, startling him badly. He'd been occupied with trying to figure out how he had managed to turn inside out without his internal organs actually ending up all over the carpet.
He looked up to see Doyle standing over him, his customary scowl in place.
"Clean yourself up," said Doyle. "I'll not have you making a mess of my sofa." He looked irritated, but his voice was still coloured with warm shades of red. Bodie glanced down at Doyle's crotch and found himself suddenly quite sure what that colour meant.
He was even more certain a moment later when Doyle abruptly excused himself and headed for the bathroom.
Bodie concentrated on wiping himself clean. One of Doyle's paintings was trying to slide down the wall, but since it didn't seem to be making much progress, he decided he could ignore it.
He dropped the towel and stood up. The floor rippled, massaging the soles of his feet in a way that wasn't entirely unpleasant as he made his way over to the bathroom door.
Raising his fist, he knocked and then settled back on his heels to watch the sound waves move out from the point of impact.
"What!" Doyle's voice was full of sharp edges, but it was also gloriously red, glowing with frustrated desire.
"Got to take a slash," said Bodie, pushing the door open. He watched, amused, as Doyle leapt up, trying to cover himself.
Bodie casually pushed past him, positioning himself in front of the toilet.
"What the hell are you doing?" demanded Doyle.
"You were having a wank." Bodie lowered his zip and aimed for the toilet. The mirror gleamed threateningly, but as long as Doyle was here, he was sure he could handle it.
Doyle yanked his pants up. "I'm leaving!"
"Wait!" Bodie tried to grab him.
Doyle howled and shoved him back at the toilet. "Bloody hell! Watch where you're pissing!"
Bodie began to laugh. "Sorry," he managed, as he zipped himself back up.
"You can go back to your wank now," said Bodie helpfully.
"I've gone off," said Doyle, sourly.
Bodie slung an arm over his shoulder. "I could help you with that."
"No thanks." Doyle shook his arm off. "Go wash your hands."
Bodie glanced at the mirror and shuddered. "Not here. I'll use the sink in the kitchen."
"What is it with you and that mirror?" demanded Doyle, impatiently.
Bodie shoved him back against the wall, pinning him with a hand on his chest. He patted Doyle's cheek with rough affection. "I trust you." He pointed at the mirror. "I don't trust that."
Bodie was asleep, finally. Doyle could feel his own fatigue dragging him down. He'd been barely coherent on the phone with Cowley, and he was looking forward to collapsing into bed.
Still, he paused by the sofa to look down at Bodie, who had one arm flung over his head, while the other was dragging on the carpet. There was something strangely endearing about the sight.
White had described the goshawk as the perfect assassin, one moment a remorseless killer, the next a clown. Tonight Bodie was rumpled and bedraggled, his face lined with exhaustion. Doyle imagined a dusty bird asleep in the mews, broken tail feathers drooping. Come morning, he'd comb his feathers back into place, and he'd look as sleek and deadly as ever.
Doyle was looking forward to having his partner back. It had been a long night and a longer day, and Bodie's continuing ham-handed attempts at seduction hadn't made things go any faster. It was all perfectly ridiculous. Doyle was not much taken with the idea of being the nearest warm body, and Bodie was in no shape to consent to anything anyway.
The last thing he'd said before falling asleep was, "I've made a fool of myself, haven't I?"
"It wasn't you," said Doyle, feeling unaccountably like he was taking the coward's way out. "It was the drug."
Bodie's smile was slightly crooked. "I knew you'd say that."
Still, Doyle rather liked the idea that there was a connection between them. Not sex, something better than that.
-- THE END --