by Ice Bear
Ray Doyle smiled as he looked at the tousled dark hair peeking out from the comforter. He ran a hand tenderly through it, his smile softening. "Bodie, love," he whispered, not wanting to wake his bedmate, "can't believe it took us so long to figure all this out. We have a lot of time to make up for." He found it hard to believe that after eight years of working together, he'd only realized how he felt when he though Bodie was lost to him for good.
His partner had been sent undercover, partnered with a member of the French intelligence service, to take out an arms dealer the French had been chasing for two years. The French agent, Andre LeFleur, had been undercover for almost a year and needed a British connection now that the group wanted to shop on the other side of the Channel.
Bodie's history as a merc gave him just the background the French needed in a British connection. Doyle had been vocally unhappy about sending his partner off with a stranger, but George Cowley silenced him with an order to vacate his office.
His partner seemed subdued. Normally Bodie took on undercover assignments with a certain amount of glee. But his demeanor this time was quiet, closed off. "Don't like it, Doyle," the younger man said as he slipped the car into gear.
"Neither do I, Bodie. We don't know anything about this guy or the mob they're throwing you into."
They were silent until stopped at a light. "Won't be there to watch your back, Sunshine," the blue eyes were almost grim and showed far more emotion then he normally allowed. "Promise me, you'll be careful, Ray."
"I promise Bodie. You're the one I'm worried about. Watching your back is my job." The light changed, and Bodie returned his attention to the road.
Five and a half weeks later, Doyle speed up to a battered stone farm house wreathed in smoke -- the air smelling of gunfire -- with CI5's Controller in the passenger seat. A quick reconnaissance of the area did not turn up his partner. The agents who'd beaten them to the scene hadn't found him either. Just as he was ready to mount a full search, Lefleur staggered out of a stand of trees to the East of the house. Cowley beat him to the question. "3-7?"
"Last I saw he was in the west field, near a tool shed."
"He alright?" Doyle demanded. He got a shrug in response, and his right hand curved into a tight fist. He had to stop himself from decking the man.
He was about to say something in lieu of a punch, when Cowley interrupted. "Your partner, 4-5," he ordered.
Doyle moved swiftly through the fields, alert for any sign. When he spied a weary looking shed he broke into a run, gun out as he weaved cautiously between the little available cover. He stopped to brace himself before kicking the door in. Going in low, he found himself face to face with his partner's gun. "Bodie! You alright?" The gun in his face did not waiver. "Bodie?" He asked again.
"Ray?" The response was tentative, just above a whisper.
"It's me, Sunshine, in the flesh. Are you alright?" Receiving no response, he slipped his hand around the back of his partner's head, only to encounter something wet. A closer examination showed a large lump, still bleeding. "Can you walk, mate?"
"Help me up," Bodie responded as he struggled to his feet. Ray steadied him as he rose and held him close as he rode out a dizzy spell.
They made it no more than 15 yards from the shed, before the bigger man collapsed. Doyle hadn't released his hold and eased his path to the ground. "Ah Bodie, mate, why didn't you just tell me?" He asked as he caught sight of the growing blood stain on the black polo neck in the vicinity of his partner's gut. He fumbled for his RT after pulling out his handkerchief and using it to put pressure on the wound.
"Wait," Bodie pleaded breathlessly, "Doyle, wait!" Doyle looked in to the pained blue eyes and nodded to show the man had his attention. "LeFleur."
"He's fine," Ray snorted.
"Rat." The one word sent a shiver down 4-5's spine. "Bodie, are you sure?"
"Jumped me, left me out here to die. Father knows, been feeding him the information."
"I still need to get some help. I can't carry you out of here by myself."
"Tell Cowley...I'm unconscious, in a bad way. Need to play along." Ray did as his partner asked, his anger at the situation warring for dominance with his genuine concern for his partner's health. He insisted on riding with his partner to hospital and held onto him until he was taken into surgery -- using security as an excuse to stay close.
When the Controller joined him in the waiting room, the anger won out. "Why the hell didn't you tell me?" He yelled.
"Remember where we are, 4-5, and to whom you are speaking," the Controller responded just as strongly. "I will tell you what I want you to know, when I want you to know it."
"You sent Bodie out there knowing that LaFleur was dirty! And you didn't even have the decency to tell him, did you? You set him up to get killed, you bloody bastard." His volume was softer, but his words were just as intense.
"We will not discuss this here, 4-5. Right now, our focus is on keeping 3-7 alive." That got the operative's attention. "If LaFleur thinks your partner has any chance of regaining consciousness, he'll kill him -- he's got two million good reasons. You'll stay with 3-7 and the rest of A Squad will take turns on guard duty."
"He trusted you."
"Aye, and I, him, which is why he was given the assignment."
"The French picked him!"
"With a bit of prodding, yes."
"Damn you," Ray muttered before he caught sight of the doctor, and he turned his attention back to his partner.
It seemed to him that Bodie was following Cowley's game plan, when he remained unconscious into the third day. LaFleur had spoken with Cowley several times, inquiring after the British agent's health.
It was difficult to sit and watch the pain play across the closed face. He wanted -- no he needed -- to see the blue eyes; to hear another bad joke; he needed Bodie to be alright. His emotions were all scrambled. He wasn't sure why he felt so mixed up; so confused. The man in the bed had been assigned as his partner; had become his best mate; his family. He loved this man -- god help, him, he did, and he needed to tell him. He had known his partner held him and his life above all others; had since the beginning. He was pretty confident of the response he'd get to his confession, but he was beginning to worry that he would never get the chance to make it.
As though sensing the emotional turmoil, the blue eyes opened just as Doyle returned from the extra bed -- where he had tried unsuccessfully to sleep. He reached over to brush back a lock of dark hair and found himself staring into confused blue eyes.
"Hey, Sunshine," he whispered, his hand dropping down to cup a cheek. He smiled as he felt the face press into it. "Good thing you woke up, mate. Was afraid I was going to have to find a frog to kiss you awake." At the puzzled look he received, his smile widened. "Well I couldn't get a Prince -- don't think old Charlie would buy your Sleeping Beauty routine."
"LaFleur?" The question was soft and hoarse.
"Very interested in your well being is our Andre. If I were you, I'd be flattered."
"Ray?" "You're going to be alright, Bodie. But it will be awhile before you chase any bad guys."
"LaFleur gets his shot at you."
"I take you home. Once you're up to it we get a fortnight holiday somewhere peaceful, and then we get shipped off to Macklin."
Blue eyes closed briefly. "He won't try with you here."
"Not leaving you, Bodie." That earned him a smile. Cowley solved the problem for them. He sent Doyle back to HQ to spread the good word and announce he was going back to his flat to sleep. Instead he returned to the hospital and took the bed next to his partner, complete with IVs, a bandage to hide his trademark hair, and the accompanying tubes and wires.
They didn't have to wait for long. Between lunch and tea, the nurse generally didn't check patients on the ward. So LaFleur walked brazenly in - Bodie's blue eyes catching his as he approached the bed. Even without looking, Bodie knew his partner was braced to pounce. His own hand held tightly to his gun.
"Too bad you didn't die when you were supposed to, mon ami. It would have allowed you to go out with honor. Now, you'll just be another hospital statistic. You should have taken the money, Monsieur Bodie."
"Maybe, La Fleur, but at least I won't spend the rest of my life in a jail cell -- unless of course, treason still rates the death penalty in your piss ant country." He pulled the gun smoothly and aimed directly between the Frenchmen's eyes.
LaFleur's efforts to escape were cut off immediately. As he turned, he found himself looking down the barrel of Ray Doyle's gun. The CI5 operative landed a punch that laid the French operative out cold. He then reached down and took the syringe the man held. George Cowley flashed a scowl at 4-5 before motioning Murphy and McCabe to take care of the unconscious man.
"Sir?" Doyle had moved to stand next to his partner. Cowley correctly judged the message flashing in the angry green eyes -- 'hurt him again and you'll deal with me.'
"The Home Secretary is very pleased. Once your doctor releases you, you have a month to recuperate before starting in Records. Doyle will be with you, as your doctor tells me you'll need help for a while."
"LaFleur?" Doyle asked.
"Will be thoroughly debriefed before being sent back across the Channel. If you're interested, 4-5, I'd like you to sit in after you've read 3-7's notes." Without waiting for a reply, the old man left.
"You alright, Bodie?"
"Need a kip, mate. What would you say to some time by the sea? I've got an old Army mate with a cottage up in Cornwall. He's offered me the use of it anytime."
"I know, Sunshine. We'll have plenty of time to talk once we get you out of here. Now be good to the nurses while I go try and decipher your scratching."
"Raymond, LaFleur is a right bastard and he'll do his damnedest to get your goat. Don't let him. He's not worth it."
"Ah, but you are, Bodie," he said finally, a smile playing across his face.
Doyle was drunk -- plowed was a more apt description, Murphy decided as he poured him into his car. "The Cow set him up. Wouldn't let me with him. Let him get hurt; tried to take him from me. He's mine." He whispered.
"Who?" Murphy asked, having understood only every other word of the drunken monologue.
"Bodie, he's mine."
Murphy helped Bodie onto his sofa before putting his bag in the bedroom. The older agent had been very quiet on the ride home; a drive he usually enjoyed as it meant freedom. Murphy had told his friend that his partner was working. Truth was after the amount of alcohol he'd guzzled, Doyle was in no shape to get out of bed, let alone drive. Murphy wondered if 3-7 knew how his partner felt, but knew it wasn't his place to ask.
"Bloody hell," Bodie cursed as he tried to get himself up off the sofa. He'd kicked 6-2 out hours ago so he could brood in peace. Now he needed the loo but he couldn't get the leverage necessary -- without ripping his stitches -- to stand up. He managed to complete his chore in a less then graceful manner, and collapsed on the bed deciding he wasn't hungry enough to fight to get up again. "What was it I did, Doyle?" He muttered as he stared at the ceiling. "Was sure you'd finally figured it out..." Yet Murphy had picked him up -- a chore Doyle had always performed unless he'd been in the bed next to him. In fact he'd had no Doyle sighting since he'd followed LaFleur from his hospital room. "Don't know if I can keep this up," he thought as he gingerly kicked off his shoes before slipping the polo neck off and throwing it in the general direction of the stuffed chair. He was so tired of hiding his feelings.
He startled awake sometime later to find the room dark despite the open blinds. His right hand reached under his pillow but there was no gun. He cursed to himself. He wasn't in any shape to get up, and there was nothing handy to use to defend himself.
As the bedroom door opened, letting in light, he closed his eyes to feign sleep. When the figure got next to the bed and within his reach, he struck out -- knocking the intruder onto the ground and landing awkwardly on top of him.
"Bodie! Geroof!" Hands pushed him hard to the floor, where he lay on his back, panting.
"Bloody hell, Doyle," he huffed out, "What you trying to do? Near gave me a heart attack."
Ray rolled onto his side, facing his partner. He looked him over carefully. It had been more than a week since he'd last seen him. "Sorry mate thought you were asleep, and I didn't want to wake you."
"Yeah, well..." He started to roll over, forgetting his wound. The pain stopped him halfway; his eyes closed, face locked in a grimace.
"Easy old son, easy. Just breathe," Ray murmured as he gently pushed the man back. "That's it. Got to remember you're not ready for Aintree quite yet."
The pale sweaty face slowly relaxed, and Doyle took advantage of the closed eyes to drink his fill of the muscular chest. Blue eyes opened to find green ones at close range. "Better?" Bodie nodded, mesmerized, "Good. Let me know when you're ready, and I'll help you up."
The two men engaged in an intricate dance that brought them both upright; Bodie taking the liberty of leaning against the slender body. He snuggled his face against the neck, blowing gently at the curls that got in his way. He sighed as the two hands holding him, let go; only to enfold him. He returned the gesture, and they stood in silence for several minutes. Doyle pulled away first, his eyes on the floor. "Come on now, into bed with you."
"Me pants, can't get them off by myself." Ray's eyes focused on the shaking hands as they undid the button and pulled the zipper down. The hands pushed the waist just past the hips, carefully pulling it away from the bandages. "Far as I can get them."
Ray's hands seemed to have a mind of their own as they pulled the slacks down, unveiling heavily muscled thighs covered with soft, fine hair. Bodie leaned heavily on him as he lifted first one foot and then the other to step out of the pants. The silk boxers did nothing to hide their prize. Wrenching his eyes away from the sight, he found his partner watching him through hooded eyes. He stood up, gracefully, hands landing on the other man's hips. He licked his lips in a desperate effort to provide moisture. Bodie moved slowly, lowering his head until his forehead rested on Doyle's.
"Raymond, there is a lot we need to talk about, but right now, I need to lie down." Neither man seemed willing to separate until Ray felt the other man begin to tremble.
"Come on, pet," he urged, "let's get you horizontal."
"You don't know how long I've waited to hear you say that," was the breathy response, which was ruined by the grimace that chased across the face; but the sentiment earned him a chaste kiss on the forehead. "Your timing needs some work, pet."
"I plan to work on it during our holiday. Now did you get anything to eat? Didn't think so. Stay here, I'll be right back with some tea and toast." He straightened out the sheets and comforter before turning away.
"Stay with me," Bodie asked softly, long black lashes hiding his eyes, leaving Doyle at a disadvantage because he couldn't read his emotions.
"Sunshine, you need your rest."
"Sleep better when you're around," was the barely audible response as a long pale arm moved up to cover the blue eyes.
Ray stripped off his t-shirt and jeans, smiling to himself as he realized that the other man thought he'd left. Turning off the light, he slid in, carefully aware for the first time, of the physical fragility of the man. He settled his head on the left shoulder and slid a hand over the taut stomach. "Sleep well, Bodie," he whispered.
Doyle woke to find himself wrapped around a body. He settled quickly when he remembered where he was. "Everything okay, Sunshine?" Bodie asked into the curly hair under his chin.
"Good morning, love. Sleep well?"
"Yeah, never could sleep in hospital."
"Best sleep I've had since the Cow sent you under," Ray admitted. That earned him a hug.
A fortnight later, the two men walked slowly along the beach; joined only by an occasional wheeling sea bird. Doyle's curly hair bounced merrily in the wind as he shoved his hands deeper into his coat pocket. "Come on, Sunshine, it's too cold to be out here."
"Been inside for weeks, Doyle, need some fresh air. Go ahead back if you're cold."
"And leave you all by yourself to get into trouble; I don't think so mate. Besides, I thought you hated the cold."
"Bodie, what's wrong?" The man had been silent; withdrawn for days. A sad sigh drew his attention.
"Nothing Raymond. Just tired of being tired. Seems the older I get, the longer it takes to heal. Hate it."
"You're not getting old, pet. The assignments are just getting tougher."
"Not sure I can come back." Doyle stopped abruptly as the ramifications of the verbal bomb hit him. Bodie turned around several yards later when he realized he was alone. "What?"
"What? What the bloody hell are you talking about?" Doyle demanded; hands planted firmly on slim hips.
"Doctors aren't sure I'll heal well enough to get past Macklin."
They stood staring at each other. Doyle made the first move, quickly erasing the distance. He reached out to grab hold of the man. "Okay," he said shakily, "we'll do everything we can to get you ready for Brian and his chamber of horrors. That will be Plan A, and if that doesn't work, we'll move on to Plan B." A slight cocking of his head, asked the question Bodie couldn't. "Plan B -- we decide what we want to do next."
"We. I realize we still need to have that talk, but assuming it goes well, we'll still be partners whether it's at CI5 or elsewhere."
"I think I like your plan," Bodie whispered.
"I have a whole alphabet of plans for you, love. A life time's worth."
"Maybe it's time to go back to the cottage and work on those plans," Bodie suggested; his eye brow quirked in a question.
"Good idea, mate, because the Cow would not be pleased if I carried out my plans for you, here. Seems several of them are illegal -- at least if performed in public."
"Lead on, McScruff," Bodie responded, his smile wide and warm.
Back at the cottage, Bodie settled on the sofa, stretching out to ease the cramp in his gut. Ray came in with tea and biscuits, and took a seat on the edge; one hand resting on the polo neck covered chest. "Everything alright, Sunshine?" He rubbed a gentle circle along the collarbone.
"Just a cramp, Ray; it'll pass in a minute."
"Anything I can do to help?"
"Give me something else to think about."
"With pleasure." Ray leaned over and placed a soft kiss on the bowed lips. Both men sucked in deep breaths and stared at each other. "Did that help?"
"Need another before I can answer the question." When they broke for air several minutes later, Bodie ran a hand through the curly hair. "Know we haven't talked about it, Ray, but I love you. Have for ages. Can't imagine ever loving anyone else. Scared, though. Relationships have never been my strong suit."
"I know -- they're not mine either. But we can learn together, love. We learned how to be partners; how to be the best; and we learned how to keep each other alive. How much harder then all that can marriage be?"
"Are you proposing, Raymond Doyle?"
"Yes. I love you, William Andrew Philip Bodie. Never knew just how much until LaFleur tried to take you away from me. Want you with me, love, for as long as we have."
"I do. And I will love and protect you, Raymond, and do all within my power to make you happy."
"And the Cow?"
"He'll deal with it, or he won't, but he doesn't have a say in this -- in us." Ray nodded solemnly before meeting his soon to be lover's lips. Bodie's willingness to face down Cowley over their relationship had been the final piece he needed to know. His partner respected the old man -- gave him deference he would never give anyone else, and as far as Ray knew, was the only other person Bodie trusted. If he was willing to take on the old man, he was deadly serious about them.
They ate dinner and partook in some heavy petting before going to bed. There they cuddled, each enjoying the warmth and love they harvested from the other. Much as Doyle wanted to go further, he knew his partner wasn't ready -- physically - and he wouldn't risk his health. Bodie wanted to do everything and have everything, in turn, done to him, but he wouldn't until he could do it all and a severe cramp in his gut reminded him he wasn't ready.
They walked the beach for hours, talking about family; about where to live and what to do if Plan B was required. They laughed and Doyle shed tears as he finally learned the whole story behind why his mate had escaped home at 14 and heard the truth about his time in Africa. Bodie held his partner close as he told him what happened to his cheek.
The next to the last night at the cottage, Ray made a huge meal and plied his love with all his favorites; including a chocolate gateau. After dinner, he led Bodie into the lounge and settled him on a nest of pillows and blankets spread in front of the gas fire. "If you'd told me you were planning a seduction, Angelfish, I wouldn't have eaten quite so much."
"Figured you might need your energy," was the response, followed by a searing kiss.
Bodie's fingers nimbly unbuttoned Ray's shirt, and skimmed over the soft furry hair that covered the muscular chest. If his partner had been a cat, he'd be purring Bodie thought as his mouth began to follow the path blazed by his fingers. Ray arched into the wet, warm tongue, incoherently urging his lover on. As those delightful fingers found his belt, he did his best not to arch up hoping it would hurry the process along. The sound of his zipper was loud and the first breath of warm air that ghosted over his freed cock had him almost off the pillows. When the tongue twirled over his crown, he fisted his hands in the dark hair but fought the urge to force it further down.
As though reading his mind, his lover stroked his tongue up, under and around the pulsing cock before reverently taking it into his mouth. He found a rhythm quickly and smiled as his lover pulsed into his mouth, shouting his name. Bodie kissed his way back up the chest til he rested by his partner's side. His hands moved gently as the sated body trembled through the aftermath. The two lay snug together for a while, fingers roaming; learning their new territory. A soft kiss turned into a passionate one as Doyle found the mixed taste of himself and his lover intoxicating.
Ray busied his own hands pulling off the cashmere polo neck -- the only reason he broke the kiss. The sight of the pale chest caused a twitch in his deflated cock. He let his tongue find its own away across the broad expanse of muscle to learn the shape, taste and texture of one nipple before turning his attention to the other. He'd been amazed and amused to learn how sensitive his partner's nipples were. Not wanting to push the man over the edge just yet, he moved lower, placing a kiss on the bandage that still protected the slowly healing wound. Returning his attention to the business at hand, he skipped a hand under the track bottoms waist and traced the outline of the large cock. He eased the bottoms off, along with the boxers before moving between the heavily muscled thighs. He took delight in holding the cock -- long, strong and heavy - as his artist's eye took in its form. He couldn't resist the precum and bent down to take his first taste. "God, Bodie," he whispered as he pulled back to take a breath.
His lover's body was strained, arms fisted in the blanket, head thrown back, neck taut. "So beautiful," he whispered. He kept up a steady motion as he moved himself up to rest on the strong thighs. He laughed when his partner protested the loss of his hand. It was returned a moment later along with a warm oil, eliciting a heavy moan. Blue eyes snapped open as his cock was pressed up against a small hole. "Ray?" Strong arms reached out to stop him.
"Want this, love. Need this. Need you."
"Won't hurt you, Ray."
"S'okay Bodie. I, ah, I prepared myself earlier. Please." The hands released their hold but didn't let go. Their eyes met and held as their bodies were joined. Bodie was sure that if he lived ten lifetimes he'd never see a more erotic sight then Doyle, sweaty, every muscle strained, head thrown back, body undulating as he took him in. As Ray settled on him, he stopped for a moment, green eyes glittering and bent over to share a kiss.
"God Ray, what you do to me," Bodie whispered. "Love you." They began moving, as in sync in this ancient dance as they were in all else. Bodie's hand spread the leaking cum around Ray's cock. The added friction pushed Doyle into overdrive, and they came together, bodies stretched to the limit; Bodie's hips off the floor.
Strong arms encircled him, holding him tightly as Ray collapsed on the broad chest. He felt the comforter being pulled up, and he fell asleep in the warm cocoon created by his lover. He woke 20 minutes later and reluctantly moved; a sigh of loss escaping as his partner's cock slipped out of his passage. He smiled at the sleeping man under him. His lover looked well and thoroughly shagged. His snort of laughter brought the blue eyes open. "I trust that is not in response to my performance." Bodie's attempt at an intimidating glare failed as his own laughter escaped.
"Not at all, love. You were amazing."
Bodie framed the face tenderly with his hands. "You, love, are the amazing one," he whispered. "I've never..." He finished unable to put his feelings into words. But Ray could read all those emotions in the blue eyes.
"S'okay love, I know, I know."
"Want you in me."
"I want it too, but not tonight. Not sure I could get it up again if my life depended on it." The fact he'd come twice -- explosively - within an hour was a wonder to him.
"You let me worry about that, Angelfish," Bodie said as he deftly repositioned them so he was on top. He used his mouth and hands to explore the entire body beneath him: fingers, toes, back of the knees, everything and every place, but one. Doyle found to his amazement that he was hard again, and about to lose control.
Sensing he had brought his partner to the edge, Bodie got on his knees and used the oil Ray had put on the coffee table earlier and began to loosen himself. Ray stopped him with a harsh hand. "Wait, god mate if you only could see how you look!"
Bodie waited patiently until the hand was removed, and then continued. When his third finger disappeared, "Enough! Need you now!" Doyle demanded. Bodie settled on his hands and knees, only to be tugged upright. "Want to see you."
"Can't this time, pet...too much strain right now."
Ray surged to his knees and pulled the man back against his chest, resting his head on a broad shoulder. "Sorry, lov."
"Don't be. We'll save it for another time, but now, I need you," and he shoved back to emphasize his point. Doyle took the hint, running oil over his cock before settling between the creamy white buttocks. He pushed in slowly -- cognizant on some level of every breath, every minute tension. When he was fully in, he pulled Bodie back against him again, hands running freely over the magnificent chest.
They moved together almost silently. "Come for me, now!" Doyle ordered as his hand encompassed the leaking cock. "Now!" He felt the hard body tense, every muscle strained before Bodie came explosively. Ray bit down where the neck joined the collar bone at that precise moment. The faint taste of blood together with the muscles clamping on his own cock sent him over the edge. They stayed in position, Ray draped across Bodie's back until they recovered. Ray ran a hand gently up the drying chest, bringing it back to taste before offering it to his mate. "Go on, taste yourself," he whispered before his tongue swept along the neck.
He eased out of the bigger body as he felt it start to tremble, and pulled it gently back on the pillows. He pulled the comforter up, and wrapped himself around his lover. Bodie offered up a chaste kiss before closing his eyes. They woke in the same position a few hours before dawn.
"Shower then bed," Ray announced, helping him up. Despite the vigor with which he had made love, he could tell the younger man was hurting, so he took the flannel and soap and washed the long legs and broad back before turning him around. He was surprised to have the items taken and to find himself pushed against the shower stall. Large hands soaped his back and chest then down his legs. A soapy finger worked its way gently into his hole and he found himself pushing back -- as a second finger joined the first, a slippery hand claimed his cock, and he was brought to climax. "God, Bodie, you're going to be the death of me, yet," he uttered, eyes closed as he slumped against the wall. He was washed off, dried and tucked into bed gently and efficiently.
When he woke again, he figured it must be near noon. A tray with muffins, butter and a bowl of fresh fruit were beside the bed. Realizing he was starving, he dove in. Bodie came in ten minutes later with a tray of tea and more muffins. After a mumbled good morning and a kiss, Ray dove into the additional food. Bodie left him alone to finish, and after another shower he pulled on a pair of jeans and went looking for his other half. He noticed the lounge had been put to rights and the kitchen was spotless. He found Bodie in a lounge chair in the small garden. He wiggled himself some room and lay beside him.
"Ta for breakfast, pet. Everything alright?"
"Better then alright, Ray, just never felt this way before."
Ray's smile lit his entire face. "S'good feeling, isn't it?" He didn't wait for a reply, simply planted a kiss on the mouth still swollen from the previous nights' activities. "It's alright to feel this way, Bodie. It's called love. And I don't know about you, but I like it."
"I do, Ray, I do. It's just...never thought it would happen to me. What I felt for Marikka -- it wasn't love -- not like this anyway. This is...this is all encompassing," blue eyes warm with love and some other emotion that Ray realized was fear looked at him.
"I know, its' scary Sunshine, but remember, you're not in this alone." He reached for Bodie's hand.
"I know, just promise me, if you decide you want out, you tell me: no cheating, no lies." Bodie's heart was there in the blue eyes.
"Read the small print, love, this is a life time contract. No backing out. I love you, and you are officially and forever stuck with me." He smiled brilliantly at the look of wonder on his beloved's face.
Suddenly he was hugged tightly. "I do love you, Raymond Doyle. I'll do my best by you. You have my word."
Ray relaxed into the hug. "Up for a walk, Sunshine?" He asked knowing his mate needed time to process all that had happened.
Two months later, 3-7 stood in the Controller's office looking grim. He'd completed his physical retesting and Kate Ross's mental games. He was waiting to find out his status and swore that Cowley was delaying giving him the results on purpose.
"Rest room, sir. Shall I fetch him?"
"No, Betty will." He buzzed and made the request before returning his attention to the file on his desk. The operative, like the good solider he had once been, remained at parade rest. His posture did not change when his partner entered the room.
"Minimal scores, 3-7. I'm disappointed," Cowley watched the angry scowl grow on 4-5's face, and didn't miss the look from 3-7 that kept him silent.
"Yes, well, it's enough to pass -- barely -- but it's not enough to keep you on A Squad." Doyle's fists clenched.
Bodie straightened, blue eyes boring into the old man's, "Then you'll take my resignation, sir." He reached into his jacket and pulled out a white envelope, laying it on the desk.
"Too good for B Squad, Bodie?"
"No, sir. But my worth to you and this mob is on A. If I'm not, then I'm no good to you, sir." Ray Doyle was fighting the urge to strangle George Cowley. How dare he treat Bodie this way.
"I'll decide what's good for this Squad, 3-7."
"Do you have anything you'd like to add, 4-5?"
"How dare you treat him this way! For eight years he's been the best -- and the only reason his scores aren't up to your standards is because you sent him on an Operation Suzie, but forgot to tell him!"
"Ray," Bodie whispered softly.
"Sorry, Sunshine, but he's wrong and you know it."
"Is that all, Mr. Cowley?"
"Thirty days, 3-7 or did you forget the small print?"
"I'm due 45 days of holiday sir, I'll start them today." He pivoted smartly and left.
"What the hell did you just do?" Doyle demanded. "All he's ever done is give you his all, and stick with you through hell and high water. He's defended you against all comers. He respects you -- why I'll never know. And you can file my paperwork along with his," he finished, his voice lower. "I can't believe you, throwing him away like that. He deserves better, and you know it. And don't think the next time the hounds of hell are pounding at your door that he'll come save you're sorry arse because he won't."
George Cowley lowered his chin to his chest as the second member of his top team slammed the door shut. He knew the wounded look in 3-7's blue eyes would haunt him. William Bodie had scored well -- better than anyone expected after his career threatening injury. In fact, his score put him in the top 1% - right where he always had been. But the Controller had learned 3-7 and 4-5 had begun a physical relationship and that could not be allowed to stand. If he tried to break them up, he knew he'd fail. Sending them off on their own, he figured, was the best way to break them both and ensure they came crawling back.
Doyle found Bodie angrily stuffing items into his duffel in the locker room. He opened his own and followed suit. They worked in silence for 15 minutes. Once done, they walked down the stairs to the front desk; deposited their weapons; and IDs before leaving. Out on the sidewalk, they stopped. "Taxi or tube?" Doyle asked. The shrug he received in response had him hailing a cab. They went to his flat, where all of Bodie's belongs were. They packed efficiently; there was something to be said for moving every six months.
Once done, Bodie left the flat, returning 45 minutes later with a car. They packed it, tying several boxes and a trunk on top. They arrived at the cottage in Cornwall, late that afternoon, and taking only a bag each, entered. In bed an hour later, they lay curled together. Running a hand down the soft flank, Ray smiled, "It'll work out, Sunshine."
"I know , love. I've got you, that's all I need."
They started working on the cottage. Bodie's old SAS mate was letting them stay for free in exchange for fixing up the place. So they sanded, painted, plastered, built a patio and put on a new roof. The residents of the town noticed the work ,and they began receiving inquiries as to their availability for other jobs. Their next door neighbor asked if they could build her some shelves. Ray drew a design for her and Bodie made it. It was a hit.
They were busy, productive and happy. Their hard work earned them the approval of many in the community. They also showed up three Saturdays in a row to help clean up the local park and upgrade the children's area.
It felt funny to them both to belong -- to be welcomed by name at their local. All their years in CI5, they had to remain outside the circle of community. As a former copper, Doyle easily made the switch. The ex-merc hung back -- convinced he would be shunned if they learned of his past.
Three months into their new life they were working on a roof when Ray slipped and fell. Bodie made a barely controlled climb down the ladder. "Ray!" His hands shook as he searched for a pulse.
"S'okay, mate," Ray huffed. "Just had the wind knocked out of me."
"Stay still, I'm calling the ambulance. Don't move."
At A & E, Bodie waited silently, alone, in the far corner of the waiting room. He was allowed into the treatment room 90 minutes later. "Sunshine, come 'ere," Ray called as the younger man hesitated in the doorway. Bodie obediently moved to the bedside.
"Bruised," the doctor responded. "I'm waiting for the returns on one more test, than he can go home as long as he has someone to keep an eye on him tonight. He'll be stiff and sore for a bit, but no lasting damage." Bodie nodded hesitantly, his eyes locked on his partner.
Back in the waiting room, he was startled to hear his name. The people who owned the house they were working on asked after Ray and offered to bring their car around. He smiled shyly as he handed over the keys. He got Ray home, cleaned up, fed, and after a gentle massage, mindful of the bruises, sent him to bed.
Ray wandered out to get some water two hours later. He stopped in the doorway of the kitchen. Bodie was hunched over the table, head resting in his hands. "Love?"
The head shot up, and the blue eyes shuttered quickly. "What's wrong, Angelfish?"
"That's what I want to know." He moved behind his mate, hands resting on strong shoulders.
"Tired is all."
"Scared me today. Thought for sure I'd lost you." Bodie responded, his voice barely at a whisper.
"I'm alright. You heard the doctor. I'm not going anywhere. Look at me, love. I have no intention of leaving you. You have to believe me."
"I do," he whispered, as he rose to his face his mate. "I know. It's just...you were so still."
"Had the breath knocked out of me. Couldn't move. Doctor told you I was going to be alright."
"I know," he shouted. "Jesus I know. It's just..." He turned to face the window. "I thought we'd left all that behind," he whispered.
"Idiot," Ray said softly, pulling him into a hug. "Come to bed, and I'll show you just how alive I am!"
George Cowley took the call he'd told his secretary to always put through. "Sgt. Winslow."
"Sir." The local constable explained the incident and the outcome. "Sir, it doesn't feel right, spying like this on Mr. Bodie and Mr. Doyle."
"It isn't spying, Winslow."
"Feels like it, sir. Can't see how this helps Queen and country."
"Just keep an eye on them, Sgt."
The next morning Bodie fixed breakfast, made sure his partner ate, and then admonished him to take it easy before heading off to work. Mrs. Thompson, whose roof they had been working on, arrived just before tea time with a casserole for dinner.
When Bodie arrived home, he didn't see his partner in the lounge so he figured he was asleep. He grabbed a drink before heading to the bathroom. He had just removed his shirt and vest when he was startled. "You big, bloody idiot!" Ray yelled as he spied the sunburn on the broad back. He'd made a point of slathering lotion on his partner's pale back every day as he didn't tan beyond a light café au lait color regardless of how long he was in the sun. "Bath," he ordered, "the pressure from the shower will hurt too much."
Bodie nodded, head down. "I'll get dinner ready soon as I've cleaned up."
"No need, Mrs. Thompson brought dinner by. She figured between my being laid up, and you working like a nutter, we might need some help."
"Finished all but the part over the kitchen," Bodie said as he pulled off his boots.
"Jesus, Bodie that was at least two days of work."
"I'll finish up tomorrow," he continued completely ignoring the comment. "Then we can start on the Robins' porch. And I've decided no more roofs."
"Oh, you've decided have you? Thought this was a partnership. If I'd wanted a dictatorship, I'd have stayed with Cowley's mob. We will decide when you have screwed that empty head of your back on straight, what jobs we'll take -- assuming you want this partnership to continue."
Bodie collapsed onto the toilet seat, head bowed, shoulders slumped. "Sorry...didn't mean it the way it sounded. It's just..." Blue eyes begged for understanding. "Just don't want to go through that again."
The pleading eyes, the sunburn, the tired slump of the long body wouldn't allow him to keep his anger. "Sunshine," he started shaking his head fondly, "we'll sit down on the weekend and figure out our schedule and see what jobs we can fit in. Right now hop in that bath and I'll go find the cream to help with your sunburn." He lifted the bowed head and placed a quick kiss on the forehead. "Go on now, I'll heat up supper.
Bodie fell asleep before Ray finished massaging cream into the burn. He smiled fondly and quickly followed his partner into sleep.
The next afternoon Bodie was on the roof finishing the last three feet of work while Ray scoured the ground, picking up stray nails and tiles. "Raymond Doyle?" He straightened slowly, his body still stiff from the fall.
"Yes," he turned to face a woman -- in her mid 50s, well dressed, very elegant looking.
"I'm Margaret Twitchell. My family owns Sky Manor."
I've heard of it."
"Is William Bodie with you?"
"Yes ma'am," Bodie responded, appearing silently from around the back of the house.
"Good, I want you to come to the Manor on Saturday. There's a trophy case I need built, and I've heard you two are very good."
"Ma'am, we'd be happy to take a look and come up with a design. Ray's near genius in that area. But this Saturday we're committed to a work day at the park. We could come out sometime next week." Bodie answered.
Ray wanted to punch his partner. Designing a piece for the Manor would get them more design and build jobs which would mean fewer handyman jobs. But he'd been the one to talk his partner into the park work, and Bodie was committed to finishing it -- especially the children's play area. "Is there another day that would work?" Ray asked.
"Sunday after church. We finish dinner at 1:30 so I'll expect you at 2. Thank you." Sunday was the one day they always took off, and he knew they both needed a day after the week they'd had. But Bodie had nodded before heading back up to the roof.
They arrived at the park Saturday at 9 a.m. sharp. Bodie cautioned his partner to take it easy before taking the horse and dragon swings he'd made over to the children's area. His partner had a soft spot a mile wide when it came to kids, and he'd spent hours making the new swings and several more hours sweet talking Ray into painting them.
Sunday they slept late, and Ray made a big breakfast before they headed for the Manor. Bodie seemed a little uptight, but he never had liked hanging with the rich, and the entire place screamed money. They were shown into a room, a large office/den filled with trophies and ribbons from the family's stable of steeple chasers. Mrs. Twitchell met them and spent some time explaining what she had in mind -- specifically a case to cover one whole wall, glass on the top four shelves and doors for the bottom three with enough room on top to place additional trophies. Bodie measured the room and a number of the trophies. He also asked specific questions about the type of wood she wanted. This kept her busy while his partner sketched the room. They left at 3:45 pm and headed home, stopping to pick up takeaway. They still needed to go over their schedule for the next two weeks as well as sorting out what new jobs to take.
They ate in the lounge with a football game on for entertainment. Bodie cleaned up and brought their workbook, a calendar, two pads of paper, newly sharpened pencils, and two glasses of Scotch to the table. By 10:15 pm they had worked out the next two weeks and sketched out the following two. Given the number of jobs they were looking at, they would be busy for three months without anything new. They smiled as they closed the workbook. For two men who'd left their last job without a clue as to what they'd do next, they were doing okay.
It took two weeks for Ray to complete a design he liked for the Manor. Bodie sketched out the measurements so Ray could do a final drawing to scale, as well as drawing it into his sketch of the room. Mrs. Twitchell was thrilled with it, and with Bodie's choice of wood. They had discussed the price for a good week, with both doing some research. They went high, on Bodie's insistence since the 'Doyle' design was going to be worth a lot of money some day. Margaret agreed to the price without blinking.
They were happy and they reveled in it and each other. They were busy, making decent money and were living in a community that made them feel welcome. Bodie had received several requests for animal swings once the children had discovered the horse and dragon in the park. They even started talking about taking a holiday and eventually finding their own place -- maybe a fixer upper.
The first weekend in October, the town held its annual harvest celebration at the park. The two men helped set up tables, chairs, tents and a dance floor on Friday night. Saturday morning they arrived at 7:30 a.m. to help carry food and sound equipment. Ray had teased his mate about the need to wear his loosest trousers given all the food he was planning on eating.
When Mrs. Nickerson expressed distress that her coconut cake had been left in the car, Bodie volunteered to fetch it. Ray volunteered to protect the cake from his partner. Laughing, they jogged back toward the street. Ray was stopped by the local accountant just before the sidewalk. Bodie crossed the street to the car and opened the boot.
Ray Doyle would never forget what happened next. A group of children were laughing and calling to each other as they played a pickup game of football. The ball got by seven year old Rachel James and she chased it into the street. The squeal of tires around a curve brought Bodie's head up.
Instinct, honed by years of training, took over and Bodie sprinted toward the girl, grabbing her up and throwing her to where he knew Doyle would be. Ray caught her and held her tightly to his chest as he watched his partner bounce up and over the hood of the speeding car -- Bodie's efforts to ensure the girl's safety doomed his own. The silence that ascended was deafening. Ray Doyle carefully deposited the scared child into the hands of the nearest adult before running to his downed partner. He dropped to his knees, hands moving almost helplessly in the air for a moment before seeking a pulse.
The unconscious man lay face down on the road. Ray screamed for an ambulance as Dr. Thomas, the local g.p., knelt beside him, "Ray?"
"He's...he's got a pulse and he's breathing. Don't dare move him, I..." he looked at the doctor desperate for reassurance.
At the hospital he waited for close to two hours before a doctor approached him. His partner needed surgery to repair a ruptured spleen and a tear in his liver. He had several broken ribs and was badly bruised all over. He was able to see him for a few minutes before he was taken to the operating theatre. "Bodie?" he whispered softly as he ran a gentle hand down a bruised cheek.
"Sunshine," was the hoarse reply.
"They're getting you ready for surgery. Need to rearrange a few things, luv."
"I know, but you're going to be fine."
"Easy, Bodie, stay still. She's just fine, thanks to you."
"Don't worry, Angelfish, I'll be fine." Bodie said, blue eyes locking for a moment on jade green eyes.
"I know, just thinking about how much fun I'll have playing doctor once I get you home."
"Might need a physical."
"Oh, you'll get a physical and then some, love. Don't you worry. They're here to take you up, Bodie. I'll be here when you wake up."
"Ray," the whisper was even softer so he leaned closer, "love you, Sunshine, always."
"Love you too, Bodie. See you soon."
Sgt Winslow, after checking in at the hospital, called CI5. "Sir, William Bodie is hospitalized -- hit and run -- his condition is stable and Dr. Dean Wilson is the presiding doctor. Mr. Doyle is with Mr. Bodie."
The next day Ray arrived at the hospital right after breakfast and was given 30 minutes with his partner. The patient woke briefly -- called him by name and asked when he could go home before falling back to sleep. Doyle thought he was dreaming when the door to his partner's room opened and George Cowley walked in.
"Doyle, how is your partner?"
"What the hell are you doing here?" He'd risen and taken a protective stance between the bed and the intruder.
"I was in the area and stopped by to visit with the locals. When I heard one of my operatives..."
"Former operative. How is he?"
"Sorry you came up here for nothing, sir, but whatever it is you want from Bodie, he's in no position to help you." Angry, scared and confused, Ray Doyle was looking for something, for someone to lash out at and who better then the man who had wounded his partner so badly. "And if you think I buy the 'I was just in the area' bit, you're sadly mistaken."
"Locals say it was a hit and run."
"Yeah. Drunk driver. They caught him last night." The two men looked at each other warily.
"Fine, give your partner my regards, Doyle." And with that George Cowley left.
Later that day, Ray went to lunch in the hospital cafeteria with Mrs. Thompson -- who had essentially adopted the two men. George Cowley entered the patient's room. Bodie woke up sensing something wasn't right.
"Bodie," Cowley said, walking up to the bed.
Blue eyes honed in on the older man. "Ray? What happened to Ray?"
"He's fine, Bodie. I came to see you..."
"Doyle! Ray! Tell me what happened!" He was yelling, trying to sit up. "Stay still, 3-7!"
"Tell me you bastard, tell me where Ray is."
"Sir, you need to leave, please. Mr. Bodie, you need to calm down." The day nurse said entering the room.
"Ray! Ray!" His languid pace turned into a run as Doyle turned the corner and heard his partner yelling his name.
"Bodie-mate, what is going on in here? You keep this up, and they won't let you home. Come on, Sunshine, everything's fine."
"Ray? Don't go, please don't. Cow wants you -- don't go. Need me to watch your back."
"Bodie, I'm not going anywhere without you. You know that. The only place I'm going is home with you, but you need to settle down okay. I'm right here." Between his partner's presence and the heavy sedative that had been slipped into his IV, he finally fell asleep.
"Who was in his room?" Doyle demanded as he stalked into the corridor.
"I was, 4-5," George Cowley.
"Happy now? Get out! Leave him alone, leave us alone. He wasn't good enough, remember? You didn't need him anymore, so leave him alone."
"It's Mr. Doyle, I left that number on your desk, along with any need to ever talk with you again." He turned to the doctor. "This man is not allowed in to see Bodie -- no matter what he says." He spun and stalked back into the room.
Bodie had been home for four days. He was walking, albeit slowly, and he had made his partner a promise that he would take it easy. He worked on making dinner -- salad and chicken -- before lying down for a nap. A knock at the door woke him half an hour later.
He took an involuntary step back when he opened the door to George Cowley. The two men stared at each other for a long minute. "May I come in?" Bodie shrugged, turned and headed for the lounge. Cowley followed.
Bodie took a stance by the window, his blue eyes following the older man, who took a seat on the sofa. "How are you feeling, Bodie?"
"You didn't come all this way to chat about me health. What is it you want?"
"I wanted to see for myself how you were doing."
That was met with a derisive snort. "You didn't want me in your mob, why would you care?"
"A cow looks out for its calf -- that's what they say in the rest room."
"Ah, but I'm not your calf anymore - haven't been for awhile. Whatever it is you want, the answer is no."
"I wanted to explain."
"That would be a first! Look, I don't get paid to put up with your triple think anymore, so don't waste your breath."
"You and Doyle, you were my best."
"Who is it you want me to kill?"
"Beware of cows offering platitudes - they say that in the rest room, too. The answer is still no."
"No. We gave you everything we had for eight years. I don't know what else you want or expect from us. You're the one told me I wasn't good enough for your mob. And I know I passed -- know I was at or above my usual score. Done it so many times I know exactly what it takes -- and I passed!" Anger radiated off the younger man. "Obviously whatever game you were playing, isn't working out the way you wanted, but that's your problem, not mine."
"Bodie, you alright?" Ray Doyle asked as he entered the room; eyes fixed on his partner.
"Fine, Sunshine. Seems Mr. Cowley has something he wants from us, but I haven't been able to get it out of him just yet."
"Doesn't matter, mate, whatever he wants the answer is no." Ray turned to face his former boss, green eyes flashing his displeasure.
"The IRA are putting together a group to begin a new bombing campaign. Doyle, you're the best undercover man we have."
"Had," Ray spit out angrily.
"Had," the Cow admitted.
"We respectively decline." Ray answered. "Now if you'll excuse us, we have some work to do before dinner."
"This is ridiculous!" George Cowley finally lost his temper. "I need you, 4-5. Bodie will be fine on his own. Never needed anyone before."
Blue eyes darkened as they iced over. "Doyle doesn't go without me to watch his back. You made it quite clear you didn't need me. The answer is no."
"I would have thought you two would have come to your senses months ago. I can't have a pair of practicing homosexuals destroy the reputation of CI5!"
"Figured that was it," Bodie said softly, turning to face his partner. "I passed all the tests -- Macklin told me when we finished cause he knew I was worried about it. My scores were fine. He just figured I was the weaker link, and he could get rid of me and keep you."
"Well," Doyle said with a wicked smile, "looks like all that triple think just bit you in the arse, Mr. Cowley. Now, unless you'd prefer to be physically removed from the house, I suggest you leave."
"You had your chance, and you blew it. Could have kept us both. None of the other teams ever came close to what we could do -- and we both know it -- so do you. Good bye, Mr. Cowley."
"I could have you arrested!"
"For what?" Bodie challenged, finally losing his patience. "We have jobs; pay our taxes -- which help pay your salary I might add - and we have standing in the community. The fact we sleep with each other is no longer a crime and as long as we do it in the privacy of our own house, is nobody's business."
"I'll make it their business."
"Fine, as long you can handle Whitehall reading about every Operation Susie we ever ran for you on the front page of the Times," the ex-merc responded, blue eyes blazing. "Don't think I'm kidding because I'm not. I have fail safes in place. You try and mess with us, and you will rue the day, George Cowley."
Cowley didn't doubt it, seeing the truth and determination in the angry blue eyes. He should have figured that Bodie would have made arrangements long ago to protect himself and his partner from CI5.
The old man left quietly, Doyle following him out to lock the door. Back in the lounge, Bodie collapsed carefully onto the sofa. "Is it true?" Ray asked.
"Yes. Figured it was in our best interest years ago. Never could trust the old man any further then I could throw him. He'd have sold out his own mother if he thought it would get him what he wanted. What chance did we have?"
"You've been looking out for me for a long time, haven't you Sunshine."
"Tis my job, Ray. And in case you haven't noticed, I take my job very seriously."
"Maybe I'd better have a reminder, love. Bedroom, now!"
-- THE END --