Florida Sunshine


The sun was brilliant, the morning was gorgeous, and Ray Doyle was not appreciating it much. For one thing, he was not dressed to take full advantage of the Florida sunshine; winter had already begun in London when Cowley had thrust them onto a plane bound for the United States with instructions not to return until they had Andre Coates in custody. They had permits for their weapons, one small suitcase each and a briefcase of papers when they arrived, yawning and bored, in Washington, D.C. at midnight. By dawn they were in Miami accompanied by a phalanx of FBI, CIA and ghod-knows-what-else.

It had gone as slick as snot. That was the phrase used by one of the FBI men, and Bodie and Doyle had both memorized it for future use, with Doyle going so far as to slip it into their report to Cowley. Cowley had not been amused, but he had been happy with the rest of their account. One extortionist behind bars and his connections to a certain family had been severed. Some stolen items had been recovered, as well as some sensitive papers, and several drug kingpins were in danger of immediate incarceration, all in the space of four days. He had been so pleased that he had authorized three days of leave for both of his agents. Bodie had pointed out to Doyle that it was quite possible that this had something to do with their boss having plunked down the amount of a week's lodging, with the expectation of having to pay for as much as a month's worth before the case was concluded, and then seeing it all wrapped up in one long weekend. Having Bodie and Doyle still in America taking care of any last minute details would save trans-Atlantic phone costs as well, and so he had suggested the two use the rooms.

Now the two CI5 agents basked in what was to them unseasonal sun, appreciating the mid-morning heat as they sat around the pool. The ocean was a stone's throw away, there was a light and refreshing breeze and they had just finished a fruit and pastry brunch of mammoth proportions. They had 69 hours of holiday before them at a nice, but not top-of-the-line hotel in a quiet location. They had ended up here only because Coates had chosen it for his meeting with a Colombian drug lord. If it was an unlikely place for international intrigue, it was also not quite the sort of place the CI5 agents would have chosen for relaxation. It tended to cater to families on vacation and tourists on a moderate budget.

In other words, the place lacked local talent. There were two dozen people scattered around the pool and at the umbrella shaded tables outside the hotel restaurant. None of the tables were occupied by anything remotely resembling a beautiful young woman.

"Want to make an older woman extremely happy?" Bodie asked his companion with amusement as he noticed the three women at the next table looking speculatively at the two of them. Nice looking women, actually, even if the very youngest of them had at least ten years on him. It wasn't that he was prejudiced against older women, either. Some of his most exciting times between the sheets had been with well-matured ladies. However, there was the problem of dividing three by two without awkwardness--the women were plainly a set--and besides, Doyle was obviously not keen. In fact, he was half asleep.

"No thanks. All yours," Doyle had mumbled. His eyes were closed and his face tilted up to catch the sun and he was beautiful. Bodie took the opportunity to look his fill unnoticed. If Bodie could have had his own way, he would have whisked his partner back to the hotel room and done without women entirely. Not that he would dare. Ray Doyle had no inkling at all that his friend wanted him, and it was best to keep it that way.

That didn't stop Bodie from looking. The morning sun caught the reddish highlights in Ray's hair, it outlined every inch of his beautiful body, and Bodie let his imagination free for just a moment. In his mind he knelt beside Ray and feasted his lips, one hand roaming, exploring, while the other tangled in those glorious curls and his other hand....

About the time he realized that the fantasy had developed too many hands, Ray sat up suddenly, his eyes wide with lustful interest.

"'Ello!" Doyle said with enthusiasm. "What have we here?"

Bodie bothered to look, and then straightened his spine a little as well. The couple who had just walked up and taken the table across the pool from them were worth a second look. Or a third.

They were both blond, slim and a little above average height. The woman was perhaps twenty-five, the man, who was undoubtedly her brother, was younger. They were dressed neatly, both wearing white shorts and colourful shirts. They were not at all sophisticated, and yet there was a natural grace to the way they moved.

"Not your usual tourist," Doyle decided, as he catalogued the charms of the lovely lady. She had crossed her legs and had her nose buried in the menu which the waiter had handed her. Her brother was watching the swimmers at the other end of the pool until a word from his sister caused him to hastily pick the menu up.

"She has nice...." Bodie paused as he considered which of her several fine points were worthy of his first appreciation.

"She certainly does. Things are suddenly looking up. Although it does leave us with a problem."

"Oh?" Bodie picked up his drink, still openly studying the pair across the blue water.

"There is," he pointed out, "only one of her. And two of us. And I should hate to wrangle over which of us is the more deserving, but you have Claire back home, while I am currently between birds."


"Wrong?" Doyle was obviously prepared to argue with him, so Bodie made haste to clarify his position.

"Wrong, I don't have Claire. She left me for a chance at a lad with money. At least, I think that's why she gave me my walking papers. It's not too clear, actually."

"Sorry to hear that, mate, but this one's still mine."

Bodie nodded.

A surprised Doyle almost dropped the cup he had picked up. "When did you get kicked in the head?"

"Wasn't. You know very well those worms didn't even give us an argument when we arrested them."

"Mostly because we had a baker's dozen of America's finest behind us. Still doesn't explain your unexpected generosity. You're not known for it, are you? So what's up? What do you know that I don't?"

"Quite a bit, Raymond, quite a bit."

"Berk. I mean, why aren't you trying to toss me into the pool so you can get over there first?" Doyle lifted his cup to his lips again, eyes still on the subject of their conversation.

"I would never resort to such crude tactics, Doyle. And I notice you aren't even suggesting letting the young lady make her choice from between us. Afraid of what her decision might be?" Bodie grinned as he mocked his friend.

"She looks very compassionate. If she chose you, it would only be for the sake of pity." Doyle moved back just a fraction as he spoke, as if he was not entirely sure that Bodie wouldn't retaliate with physical force. "Face it, Bodie. You know I'm right."

"No, my lad, but I'm willing to go along with you--for the moment." Bodie, too, kept his eyes on the other two, his handsome face reflecting his appreciation and speculation.

"Scared of her protector, there, are you?" Doyle made a tiny nod towards the brother, who had ordered, and who was once again watching the teenagers swimming in the deep end of the pool. A young man climbed up the diving board, posed for a moment, either in concentration or to be sure that the ladies were watching, and then flipped himself off the board in a practiced, elegant dive.

Bodie said, "Not exactly," and followed the swimmer with his eyes. Nice build, if a little on the skinny side. Dark tan, dark hair. He checked again. Both blondes were watching the swimmer as he pulled himself out of the water and sat on the edge of the pool a few feet from them.

"Come on, Bodie. I know that expression. You have something up your sleeve!"

"Only my arm. Don't need anything else," Bodie automatically bragged. "The problem with you, Doyle, is you don't let yourself consider all the possibilities. You don't let your imagination take over. You don't...."

"I am not sharing," Doyle interrupted.

"Didn't expect it of you," Bodie said loftily. "I am perfectly content to allow you to make your moves on the pretty lady. I shall try my luck with the beauty to the left of her."

"The brother?" Doyle hooted with laughter, loud enough for the two who were under discussion to look over at them.

Bodie smiled. "He has everything she does, sunshine. Blond hair, long legs and eyes as blue as the sky."

"All that, and one extra thing as well! Or did you forget about that?"

"Oh, I didn't forget. Unlike you, I don't see that as a problem." Bodie smiled again, this time over at the couple. The young lady blushed. The young man looked down at the table. The waiter chose that moment to deliver a fruit platter to the two. Bodie watched as the young man picked up a sliver of melon and slipped it between his lips. "No," he said again, more softly, "I didn't forget."

"Ha, bloody, ha. We're going to have to get you a new sense of humour, Bodie. The one you have has become as warped as your brain."

"I'm not joking, Doyle. You knew I had a murky past. I distinctly remember telling you the high points of it one night when we were both quite drunk. You didn't get upset then."

"Making do with a comrade or two out in the bush in Africa, that's one thing. This is something else."

"Offended, are you?"

"Only that you take me for a fool. You can't possibly want that...that...."

"Man? At least, I hope he is. Wonder what the laws are here. He looks eighteen, doesn't he?" Bodie leaned forward to see a little better. Doyle gave him a hearty kick in the calf. "That hurt!"

"Did it?" Doyle remained unmoved. "Good."

"Just because you aren't able to appreciate the lad doesn't mean you should deprive me! Look, Doyle, I thought we'd go over, chat them up together, but if you find the idea so revolting, let's split up. Meet you back here in two days?"

"You'd do that?" Doyle hitched over in his chair so that he could look directly into Bodie's eyes. "You'd really go off on your own with him for a couple of days?"

"More, if Cowley'd let us stay here a little longer. Hell, Doyle, use your noggin. Sure, I have a taste for the other side upon occasion, but when have you seen me give in to the impulse? Never. I'm not stupid. I know that sort of thing is frowned on, I know it could let me in for blackmail, other problems. So here I am in a foreign country with a chance of a lifetime, and you expect me to pass it by?"

"Yes." Doyle shook his head and added, "How do you even know he'd be interested in what you want to offer? Could get a smashed nose out of the deal, mate. And then his sister would have nothing to do with me, as well. Are you trying to ruin it for us both?"

"Oh, he'll be interested." Bodie looked over at the object of his attention again. "I've been watching him watch the lads in the pool. If he isn't so inclined, then it's because he hasn't faced the truth in himself yet. My biggest problem is, it's not me he looks at when he glances over here. It's you. Quite jealous, I am. I think he likes them slim. I may be too butch for the lad."


"Too much a man, Doyle, too much a man."

"Too much an idiot, Bodie, but never mind. Let's wait until they've finished eating and then play our hand. One of us might get lucky."

Bodie agreed, grinning. Then he turned his eyes back to the couple they were discussing. The two were in earnest conversation, heads bent forward. He enjoyed watching them both. Lean, young, beautiful. It had been so long since he had indulged in that side of his sexuality that he found his blood heating up at the very thought of what he might have the pleasure of knowing again. He hadn't had a man for...well, it was before he joined CI5. He hadn't really wanted anyone since that time. Except for Doyle, and that was one of the impossible dreams, like winning a lottery or being left a fortune by an unknown auntie. His partner was definitely not bent.

"Looks like they're just having the fruit. Shall we time it so we pass the table just as they are getting up?"

"Clever plan, General."

"All of mine are," Doyle said, with artificial modesty. He ignored Bodie's crude laughter.

"If they each have a room, we're set, but if they're sharing, you can go to theirs, and I'll take ours," Bodie said, when he finished snickering.

"We should be so lucky. These two are 'nice,' Bodie. Not the sort to just fall into bed with any stranger."

"Ah, but Doyle, you forget! We have the lure of mystery, the appeal of the foreign. We have accents. You'd be surprised how many people can be won over with a few well-chosen, well-accented words!"

Doyle laughed. He knew what Bodie meant. There were certain accents which intrigued him, and he knew Bodie was fascinated by them, too. Bodie liked to try to imitate the ones he liked best, he liked to try them out when he told stories or jokes. The CI5 rest room would be filled with Bodie's version of an American accent for months after they got back home.

"Look, they're almost done." Doyle watched the young man put a whole strawberry in his mouth. Was Bodie really attracted? What was it that caused him to...to want the kid? Sure, he was good looking, and in fairly good shape, but he was no Adonis.

"Ready?" Bodie stood up and waited for his partner to join him. With a twist of his face, Doyle agreed to it all by standing up and following Bodie around the edge of the pool.

Bodie's approach was direct. He stopped by the table and said, "Hello!" in a warm voice. "We're here on a visit and find we've gone away without our bathing trunks. Would you be able to tell us where we might purchase some?"

The accent, Doyle noted, was definitely working its magic. The woman was smiling back at his partner and telling him about the small shops off the main lobby of the motel. Bodie had been well aware of their existence and had not planned to go swimming--until now. Bodie was going to be showing off his body, Doyle decided. And that wasn't such a bad idea, either. He decided to follow Bodie's lead. Red, he decided. Always wanted a pair of red ones.

"It's so warm here. Have you been here before? Perhaps you could tell us about what to see in the area. Be a shame to miss anything," Bodie went on. She fell for it. She told him about a marine display to the north and a good beach to the south and discussed how far away it was to the nearest disco. She introduced herself as Monica Hart and her brother as Michael and as Bodie drew out the details of her life--the bastard was darn good at it, Cowley would be proud--Doyle watched Michael watching Bodie and decided Bodie was right. The younger man was definitely attracted. He looked at Bodie the way Bodie looked at Swiss rolls.

He was also shy, looking away if Bodie happened to glance his way. His sister did all of the talking. Doyle, not wanting Bodie to make all of the running, added his own questions to the conversation, drawing her attention to him. It was easy to do. She was as beautiful up close as she was at a distance. He divided his attention between her and listening to Bodie's technique. He would never admit it, but he admired the way Bodie operated. Bodie spoke a bit about swimming, then he turned to Michael and suggested that the sizes were different in England and asked the young man to go help him pick out the swim wear he wanted. A lift of his eyebrow asked Doyle if he wanted Bodie to get one for him or if he wanted to get his own.

"Red," Doyle ordered, and turned his attention back to Monica.

"Red it is, sunshine. Where will you be?" Bodie asked.

"Would you like to take a walk?" Doyle asked Monica, holding out his arm and giving her his best enticing smile.

"I'd love to. Along the beach?" Monica took his arm, charmed.

"That's where we'll be then," Doyle said, and they walked off together.

"They make a lovely couple, don't they?" Bodie said, watching the two as they circled the pool and headed down the steps which would take them towards the ocean.

"They're just the same height," Michael said, watching his sister and her new friend. "Except, of course, she has on heels. She should have changed before she went. They may not get far."

Just before the two were out of sight, Doyle's arm slid down to encircle Monica's waist. He looked worried at that.

Bodie watched him watching them. "Don't worry, lad. He's trustworthy. For that matter, so am I. Why don't you show me where that shop is?"

"Okay." Michael led the way back into the building, which was almost cold from air conditioning, and then through the lobby and down a side corridor to the row of little shops. There was a beauty parlour, a gift shop, a candy counter and, at the end, a little boutique. The selection wasn't large, but both Bodie and Doyle were easy to fit. Bodie selected the red scrap for Doyle almost at once. Then he pretended to be unable to decide between a black pair and a yellow one, and asked the sales lady if there was a place to try them on. She was eager to show the handsome customer to the row of small cubicles in the back. Two minutes later he stepped out dressed in the yellow one and asked Michael if he thought it was too small.

Michael's eyes went wide and he swallowed, hard, for Bodie had left off his shirt for maximum effect. If he had any doubts before, he had none now. The look on Michael's face was one of awe and appreciation, with honest lust hidden as well as the poor young man could manage. Bodie took pity on him and retired to change into the black pair, well aware that they would be even more flattering to him.

"What do you think?" Bodie turned around, letting Michael get another eyeful. Macklin had managed to insure that both Bodie and Doyle came to this country in fighting trim--which meant Bodie's body was at its best. He flaunted it now, standing with hips thrust forward so that his genitals were outlined to best effect.

"The black is...get the black," Michael said, his voice just a little rough.

"I think so, too," Bodie said. He adjusted the fabric over one hip, keeping Michael's eyes focused below the waist. "I'll get these, then. Be with you in a minute." He retreated to change back, and through the slats of the door, watched Michael. The young American had a slight swelling at his groin, a way of wetting his lips nervously, and he was tapping his foot in time to the piped in music. Bodie grinned to himself. This seduction was going to be good, he could tell already. The kid was going to fall into his arms, panting for it.

So it was time to put the cards on the table. "Let's go for a walk, too," Bodie said. "How about across the road and up the hill? I like to see where I am, sometimes. Get an idea about the lay of the land."

"I.... Yes. Sure." Michael smiled and fell into step on Bodie's left.

"Let me just leave this," Bodie tossed the package up into the air and caught it with careless grace, "in the room."


"So. How old are you, Michael?" Bodie was careful not to make it sound anything other than casual.

"I'm twenty." The younger man looked a bit embarrassed. "I know I look a little younger. At least, I think so. I've been wondering if I ought to grow a moustache."

"You look fine without it. Some people don't like kissing a bloke with a toothbrush under his nose," Bodie said. He was one of them. Wasn't too fond of beards, either.

"But I need to look older!" Michael insisted.

"Maybe. You'll get there soon enough," Bodie assured him.

"How old are you?" Michael asked.

"Thirty one going on one hundred, love. Doyle's two years older than I am, and how about your sister?" Bodie had reached the door to 210 and was unlocking it.

"She's twenty three. But her birthday's next week. She's pretty old for her age." Michael hesitated, then followed Bodie into the room, which was a carbon copy of his own on the floor below.

"Why?" Bodie tossed the package down and then pulled off his polo. This was no weather for high necked shirts, and no one was likely to see them on their little hike. He had on a white T-shirt. He felt naked enough without his gun, so why not strip down a little more and give the youngster something to occupy his mind?

"Why?" Michael asked.

"Why is she mature for her age. It usually comes with adversity, you know. Or pain."

"She's had both. Only...." Michael paused.

"Only you don't want to talk about it with a stranger?" Bodie waved the younger man out of the room and locked up behind. "I can understand that. That's one of the things I'd like to talk about. Let's wait until we're out in the fresh air," Bodie suggested. He led the way down the metal steps and across the parking lot. The hill had a road winding up it, a tree shaded road which divided a small cluster of trailer houses from fancier neighbours up slope. Bodie didn't speak again until they were in the shade.

"I wanted to talk to you about getting to know you better," Bodie began. "In fact, to be honest, I want to get to know you quite well." He turned his head so that he could see Michael, judge his response. When it was obvious that the other had not picked up his meaning, he went on. "I want to get to know you the way Doyle is getting to know your sister. I want," he paused, and decided to say it straight out. "I want to make love to you. I want to take you to bed."

He thought, for just a few seconds, that he had made a mistake. A big one. Michael had gone white, then red, and he turned away.

"Did I guess wrong?" Bodie asked, stopping as well and trying to see the other man's face. "From the way you were watching the swimmers this morning, I gathered that you might like the idea."

"How.... I.... If you...." Michael gave up on all of those beginnings and took a deep breath. "What you want is...." He swallowed and found that his courage and his words had failed him.

"Don't worry about it. I'm not one of your chains and leather boys. Not that I don't have an inventive nature. I'm not looking for the heavy scene. I've got to go home in a few days, don't I? I just want a bit of fun--and I can make it good for you as well."

"I c...can't," the young man stammered, looking away, looking anywhere except at Bodie. "I...."

"So I did guess wrong," Bodie said, not believing it for a moment.

"No. No, only I...I never...have." Red blush crept up the fair skin of the blond as he made that confession. Bodie looked up and down the road, and then drew Michael into the deep shadows of the trees.

"Are you trying to tell me you're a virgin?" Bodie whispered into the soft hair as he wrapped an arm around the broad shoulders.

"You know I am," came the soft answer.

"I know what to do about that, sweet Michael," Bodie whispered, his hand trailing down the bare arm. "I know exactly what to do."

"I'm not sure." Even as he said those words, Michael was turning his face towards the Englishman. He had to tilt his head only a fraction to bring his trembling lips within kissing distance. Bodie leaned the required few inches and placed his lips on Michael's.

One part of Bodie's mind was thinking that Michael was just the height of Doyle, and wondering if it would be like this to kiss his partner. A separate section of his mind delighted in the untutored response of the American. Most of his thoughts were the boil of sexual anticipation. It had been so long since he had a man. Yet he knew he must go slowly. Gently, he took his mouth away.

"Do you know now what you want?" Bodie asked.

Michael nodded.

"Good. Is it me?"

Michael nodded again.

"Are you sharing a room with your sister?" Bodie straightened up and moved out of the shadows as he spoke. The other followed him slowly.


"Then my next question is, is your sister the sort of woman who can be talked into bed by a handsome stranger? Not me," he said as Michael looked at him suddenly. "I mean Doyle, of course."

"I don't know. She's...she's shy, a little. I don't know if she ever...if she...."

A grin formed on Bodie's lips. So it was virgin duty for Doyle as well? That struck his sense of humour and he chuckled. "Doyle can take care of that. If she wants him to." He glanced around. There were no cars, no people within his view. "Let's climb up to the top and work up an appetite," he suggested, taking hold of Michael's hand and giving it a pull before letting go.


"We can talk, get to know each other. For example, why are you on holiday in Florida in November?"

"It's a long story," Michael said, and perhaps he meant he did not want to go into it, but he did not know Bodie, who liked to get all the facts.

"Go back to the beginning. 'I was born...' and all that."

"It starts just about that long ago," Michael confessed. "Clear back when my father married my mother. She died when I was eight. Dad didn't do so well after that. He was hard to get along with."

That was clearly an understatement. "He beat you?" Bodie asked.

"And other things. He finally had a kind of a breakdown and had to be hospitalized. Monica and I were put in separate foster homes. I didn't see her much after a few years. She had good foster parents. So did I, for that matter, but it was still hard. Then, last month, Dad died. Monica and I hadn't seen either for over a year. We found out there was a trust fund for us which we got either when we were 25 or when Dad died. So...well, we didn't really know what to do to celebrate. We know what we'll do with the money. We both want to go to school. Monica wants to be a lawyer. I'm working at a furniture store, in shipping. Some sales, when the floor gets busy. I take night classes. Monica is a legal secretary. We...we decided to take a vacation here because we both remember Mother talking about going to Florida some day."

"You wanted to take a holiday, just to talk?" Bodie asked quietly.

"Yes. It's been strange, getting to know my own sister. We had so much in common, but we didn't know each other at all." Michael looked up. "I told her about me, on the way down. I talked about what I wanted in life, she talked about what she wanted. I said I wanted to meet a man. She won't be surprised when.... I mean, I think she won't mind. I...uh, I'm talking too much about us. What about you? What do you do?"

Bodie trotted out the old 'civil servants' story, and his best tale about having met President Carter once. It was perfectly true, if edited somewhat. By the time it was all told, they were back at the hotel.

"Shall we go find Doyle and your sister?" Bodie asked. The mild exercise had Bodie's blood going--or maybe it was the blond. He wanted to get into his new swimsuit, and he wanted to see Doyle in that little red number as well. As a bonus, Mike and Monica would look fantastic on a beach wearing almost nothing. Monica and Ray were not hard to find, for Monica's footwear had proved treacherous and they were sitting on a tumble of rock within sight of the motel. As soon as Bodie and Michael came up, Bodie suggested a swim and all of them went back to change. They parted at the door, promising to meet there in half an hour.

"How's the chat up progressing?" Bodie asked as he stripped down. He was past master at getting an eyeful of Doyle's best assets while pretending that his attention was on his own disrobing. Doyle, naked, was the stuff of wet dreams, of the most delightful fantasy. Doyle in the tiny shred of red stretch fabric which Bodie had bought for him was almost as marvellous.

"Could you have bought one a little smaller?" Doyle asked, half amused, half exasperated, as he pulled it on. His genitals were outlined clearly, and his arse as well. He had dark hair arrowing down to the waistband, which drew the eye. Bodie had to work hard not to let more than his eyes be drawn.

"Did you a favour, mate. Keep her interested, mate."

"She's interested," Doyle said with a snort.

"Looking for a cherry-picker, is she?" Bodie asked, with a wink.

"What made you say that!" Doyle straightened abruptly.

"Something her brother said."

"He is?"

"What, a virgin? Yes. Interested in me? Yes."

"Berk. She's...?"

"They've been raised apart, so he probably doesn't know. Does she seem interested?" Bodie, dressed now in his new black suit, stretched and then settled himself more firmly within the fabric.

"We've only just talked, Bodie! But she's flirting, a bit. Do you know how mad I'm going to be if you score and I don't?" Ray put his hands on his hips and glared at his partner.

"Worried? A little raver like you?" Bodie laughed.

"I feel naked," Doyle complained as they collected hotel towels.

"Almost are," Bodie said, cheerfully.

"I mean without my gun and ID."

"Know what you mean," Bodie admitted. "But it's as safe here as back home. Safer."

Doyle made an inelegant sound and held up the room key. "And where are we going to keep this?"

"We give it to Monica, of course. She'll carry some sort of bag. Women always do, even to the beach."

"Too bad she can't hold our shooters, then, isn't it?" Doyle paused. "One more thing."


"Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that your easily burned lily white skin I see so much of?"

"So we take along a couple of dollars and get some stuff at the gift shop." Bodie flicked his towel at Doyle, glad on one level that Doyle was thinking of him, that Doyle had at least looked at him. On another level, he wondered if the comment about seeing so much skin was criticism of his weight.

He fell back a pace as they left the room. Walking behind Doyle was a pleasure almost any time, but at this moment it had even more allure. He managed, after they met Monica and Michael, to linger behind just enough to appreciate the sight of two fine masculine arses, one on either side of Monica's delightful, rounder one. They kept calling him to catch up, teasing him, calling him a slowpoke and a laggard, and he just laughed and claimed he was enjoying the fresh air.

Which he was. On the beach, they found a place to spread out the towels, and Monica rubbed the sun tan oil first on Bodie, then Doyle, and finally, her brother. They all joined in on returning the favour for her, causing her to giggle and shriek with delight. They lazed in the sun, talked, fell silent, dozed, and then went down to the water.

Same ocean, Bodie thought, but it was so different here. Different colour, different sand, different feel. Tasted the same. They had a good time swimming and chasing each other. Like returning to childhood, Bodie thought as he scrubbed his face with his towel and watched the other three gather up their scattered possessions. It had been a good afternoon, and he had almost completely managed to forget that he was a CI5 agent. Almost.

He did take a look inside Monica's bag when he put in his sun tan oil. Nothing there, no hidden guns or knives. Once, there had been screams up the beach which had brought he and Doyle to their feet, but that had proved to be only a beach umbrella which had collapsed onto its owner.

"I have an idea," Doyle said. "Why don't we take your motor," he said to Monica, "and Bodie and I will buy you the best supper we can find. After that we can go find a disco. Do you dance?" He turned that last question to Monica.

"Yes. I love it!" She turned to Michael, who nodded enthusiastically, and then she said, "But we don't have anything really fancy with us, so it can't be too posh."

"We don't either," Doyle told her. Basic black suits and casual wear, and little in between. "Let's make it informal." He hated wearing ties.

"Let's ask at the desk where a good place would be," Michael suggested. He was looking at Bodie in a slightly questioning manner, though.

Bodie winked, and as the other two walked ahead, he leaned down and whispered in the younger man's ear.

"I'll teach you a few tricks!" Bodie said, and then he glanced around, made sure no one was watching and pinched the blond's butt, just hard enough so that he had to fight back a shout.

"Bastard," Michael said, using just the words and tone that Doyle had used when Bodie had caused Doyle to lose his balance and fall into the water earlier.

"Not I. Knew my mum quite well, and she assured me it wasn't so."

This caused Michael to laugh, and Doyle looked behind him and called for them to hurry up.

Back in their room Bodie managed to get to the shower first, but made a quick job of it and let Doyle have the shower while he shaved again. He was running his hand along his jaw, checking the job, when Doyle stepped out of the shower.

Michael. Bodie made an effort to think about Michael, not Ray's water slick body. Thank ghod there was Michael, and that he was interested, because Bodie needed a nice long session between the sheets soon.

"Guess what I forgot to get when I got the sun tan oil?" Bodie said as he followed Doyle out into the room. Doyle, who was bent over his luggage, made a sound to indicate he was listening, even though his attention was clearly on something else.

"French letters."

Doyle came up laughing. "What, afraid you'll make him pregnant?"

"Your worry, mate. I always use them. Learned in Africa how many diseases there are out there. Besides, you could wrap your socks in them, along with anything else you wanted to keep dry. Matches, for example."

"Fresh ones, or did you keep the used ones?" Doyle wanted to know.

Bodie threw a pillow at him.

"Suppose they have them down at that little over-priced shop, or do we need to make a special stop?" Bodie speculated. He had been dressing as he spoke. "Guess I'll go see if I can pick up a box," he added as he tied his last shoe lace. "Shall I get one for you?"

"A whole box, just for you?" Doyle asked, grinning. "Think a lot of your abilities, don't you?"

Bodie pretended modesty, then had to laugh. "There's two of us, mate. Only one of you. Monica can't return the favour!"

Doyle sobered. "You'd really let him do that to you?"

"If he wants. Because I certainly want to do it to him! Besides, it has its charms," Bodie told him, checking his wallet. The foreign money looked strange mixed in with good old British pounds.

"Being buggered?" Doyle snorted his disbelief.

"Don't knock it until you've tried it. Best time I ever had in bed was when I was nineteen and a mate and I went to a whorehouse in Hong Kong. I was just sliding into this lovely lady, when my mate hit the target from behind, pushed me right into her, while he filled me up to his balls. Most incredible sensation I ever had, getting it from both sides like that."

Doyle repeated his snort. He didn't believe half of the things Bodie told him.

"Every word true. I'll get a box for you, then." Bodie ducked out the door. The little shop did have all that he needed, although the elderly lady behind the counter frowned as she rang up the KY, the condoms, the cough drops. Her expression cleared as he said a polite thank you as he scooped up his purchases. He could almost hear her thoughts. She wasn't sure what he wanted it all for, but without a doubt it was for no good reason. He was from another country and that added to her suspicions.

Back in the room, Doyle was dressed and ready to go. He looked wonderful. In contrast to Bodie's basic black, Doyle wore white trousers and a new green shirt Bodie had never seen before. Not quite the colour of his eyes. Greener. Looked magnificent. Bodie had to swallow hard before he could speak.

"Take what you want," Bodie said, dumping the lot onto the bed.

"Colours?" Doyle raised an eyebrow. "Naughty boy."

"Too right. I want the black ones. Don't remember ever having those before."

Doyle put on a superior air. "Just makes it grey. Only looks black in the box. I want pink and yellow. And green." He scooped up three. "Give the lady a choice."

"Ah, but if she had her choice," Bodie said, sadly shaking his head, "she'd pick me, and you'd be all alone tonight."

"You wish. You're just jealous because I have the sister and you have the brother!" Doyle was tucking his prizes away in his wallet as he spoke. Bodie stashed a few in his as well, and put the rest of his purchases in the top drawer of the dresser.

"Are you ready?" Bodie asked, patiently, not deigning to reply to the accusation.

"Yes. Lead on."

Bodie went first, for once, and he wondered if Doyle was studying his partner's backside as he followed him out of the room. Not bloody likely.

Down at the desk, Doyle was leaning on the counter, chatting with the pretty lady who was on duty.

Bodie let Doyle ask about restaurants and discos, while he sat in one of the comfortable chairs in the lobby and looked at the local paper. Nothing of interest caught his eye--until he looked up and saw Michael and Monica coming towards him. He drew in a deep breath. They looked great.

Monica was in a vibrant blue dress which hugged her curves, and Michael was wearing a red shirt over dark pants. Bodie scrambled to his feet and whistled. Monica grinned, but as Bodie was looking at Michael, that young man knew that it was not only his sister who had Bodie's approval. Michael blushed.

Doyle joined them, and they went out to the car, with Monica driving and Doyle beside her, and the other two in the back seat. It was, it turned out, Monica's car. Bodie made a comment about the traffic being on the wrong side of the street as they started off, and that turned the conversation to the differences between their countries, a subject which lasted until they reached the restaurant. The food was good. So was the company. The sun was almost down as they finished, and they headed for the disco.

"Find yourself a nice girl to dance with," Bodie whispered into Michael's ear as they settled into the back seat for the drive. "I'll find one as well. We'll dance. Not too close to each other. I want to look at you when you dance. I want to see you move. You," he said softly, "will look at me. Won't you." It wasn't a question. It was a demand. Michael inhaled sharply. "Maybe I'll dance with your sister, too, but it will be you I'm thinking about," Bodie promised. Michael. And Ray Doyle. But why tell the kid that?

"Later, we'll sit a few out in the quietest corner we can find, while Doyle gets it all out of his system. Likes to dance, Ray does. And maybe we won't stay out too late?"

Michael was blushing again. Doyle was looking back at them, openly trying to hear what Bodie was saying, but Bodie grinned at him and made sure his curiosity went unsatisfied.

The disco was rather unsophisticated, and not what Bodie and Doyle had been used to, but the music was loud and the crowd a cheerful one. They drank a lot of cheap booze and danced, and generally had a good time, leaving just after eleven. Early--unless you had other plans for the evening.

Doyle drove because Monica had gone giggly. She curled up next to him and the two in the back seat could hear her saying soft things to Doyle, but could not make out the exact words. In the back seat, Bodie boldly slid an arm around Michael and pulled him close. The night slid by outside the windows, and Bodie tried to remember how long it had been since he had been in the back with nothing to worry about except if it was too soon to make his move.

It wasn't. Very hesitantly, Michael had wormed his arm around Bodie's waist. The warmth of Michael came through the cloth, and he could sense under the shirt the dampness of sweat and he could smell the scent of Old Spice and masculinity. Turning his head, he nuzzled the exposed neck, pulling Michael close. Under his hands he could feel the heart rate accelerate, the breath come more quickly. Bodie accidentally brushed one of Michael's ribs in a way that caused the younger man to begin to laugh, which he stifled at once with a glance up front towards his sister.

"Shy?" Bodie whispered.

"Don't want her jealous," Michael whispered back.

"Or Doyle, either," Bodie whispered, knowing Michael would like to hear that. Bodie wanted Doyle as jealous as hell, and sadly, he knew Doyle wasn't, would never be.

It was a twenty minute drive back to the hotel, and for the first part of it, Bodie explored the sweet secrets of his new lover. Although he kept his hands on the top of the clothing, he still enjoyed touching, teasing. He went from the neck to the broad chest with its tiny pointed nipples, and from there to the waist band and then lower. Michael copied as well as he could, and things were just getting interesting when Doyle pulled into the parking lot--unfortunately under a bright street lamp.

As they untangled themselves and climbed out, Bodie's eyes caught Doyle's and asked a question. Doyle's predatory grin told Bodie where Doyle would be spending the night.

"I'll see you for breakfast," he told his partner, and then turned away so that he wouldn't see his friend go off with the lovely Monica. He had his own night to plan. Michael was nervous as he followed the Englishman up the stairs. Bodie could hear his breathing, hard and short, behind him. Bodie turned the key in the lock and stepped aside to let Michael in.

Bodie couldn't help himself, he had to do a check of the room, corners and windows and bath and locks, before he could turn to the puzzled blond.

"Seen too many American movies," Bodie explained, grinning, and Michael grinned back. Bodie reached out a hand and hooked a finger in Michael's shirt, pulling him forward gently. "Gangsters everywhere, according to the telly."

"It's not like that," Michael said, looking down at Bodie's finger.

"Sweet lad," Bodie said. "You have on too many clothes."

"Do I?" Michael lifted his hands and started to unbutton his shirt.

"So do I," Bodie pointed out, pulling his shirt loose and tugging it off over his head. When he looked up, his young friend was staring openly and had paused, hands on the last button. Michael swallowed, hard.

"Second thoughts?" Bodie asked. It would be just his luck!

"No.... No! Just a...admiring." Michael recovered himself and finished his task, tossing his own shirt aside. His chest was as hairless as Bodie's, but not so broad. It was, however, slightly pink from their afternoon in the sun. Bodie kept his eye on Michael as they stripped. The kid was well worth looking at.

He obviously thought the same of Bodie.

"Like that?" Bodie laughed, seeing where Michael was staring.

"Yes," Michael answered frankly.

"Then...." Bodie moved forward, "Let's see what we can do with it." His big hand caught the back of Michael's head, drawing it forward. Lips met lips. It was fierce and short. Bodie drew back. "Lights on or off?"


Bodie broke away long enough to turn off the light, and then he led the young man to the bed and began his education. It was wonderful. A willing, loving partner was something he never stopped appreciating. Kisses, touches, bolder and bolder, until Bodie was kneeling beside the bed, leaning over the supine young man, sucking on his cock while the youth twitched and kicked and moaned and finally thrust up and came like a new volcano.

Bodie swallowed, eyes closed, remembering steaming nights and Shanner and Edwards and the kid from South Africa who never gave anyone his name. Remembering kind hands, pulling on him, and other hands, not so kind, trying to take what he didn't want to offer. It had been years. Seven? Or eight? It didn't matter. All that mattered was that the best of it could be his, again. He groaned aloud once or twice, and he kept his eyes closed as Michael explored him, touched him, loved him, and when the lad stopped, Bodie at last opened his eyes and asked for the same thing he had given Michael.

And Michael nodded his head and bent over Bodie and took the straining, weeping flesh into his warm red mouth.

It was all of heaven and all of hell, because it felt good, so good, and with his eyes closed it was ever so easy to imagine it was Doyle who was so kind, and Bodie forced himself to open his eyes and watch the bobbing head of the man who was learning with every touch of hand and mouth. Watching was exciting, too, and Bodie thrust up and gave a fortnight's savings into Michael's keeping. Michael, who was a natural at this kind of loving, swallowed and sighed and collapsed beside Bodie in a panting heap.

They both must have slept, because when he finally moved, Bodie caught sight of the glowing hands of the hotel clock. It said 3:05.

"Bodie?" A tentative word, a searching hand. Bodie caught it, kissed it and pulled Michael over on top of him, his legs spreading to give the other a comfortable place.

"What, sweets?" Bodie's hand swept the warm sides.

"Are we going to...."

"We are. But not now. At dawn. If you really want it."

"I want it. I've dreamed about it and worried about it and...."

Bodie kissed him, deeply. Kisses weren't part of his memories, were not part of the jungle and yet Bodie wanted kisses and took them. Michael gave them back with growing skill. The shyness he had at the beginning of the evening was being lost in growing ardour, in strokes and caresses that he practiced over and over.

They didn't talk, but lay in the dark and touched, and Michael slept again, but Bodie lay on his back and was glad he was leaving in a few days. There was the potential for disaster here. It would be so easy to fall into a relationship with Michael. Get into the habit of finding his way to Michael's bed whenever he had an evening free. Bodie was grateful for the ocean between them, because it would be easy to break the kid's heart, too. Or his own.

At dawn, Michael's hand fell onto his shoulder, and only memory kept Bodie from twisting, fighting. Memory and an ache in his belly which wasn't hunger.

They touched, basic, simple stroking and rubbing, and Bodie, knowing the younger man was a bit quick on the trigger, pulled the KY out of the drawer and showed the lad where to put it. There was a lot to be said for youthful enthusiasm, he thought as he felt the blunt nudge of the circumcised cock. He relaxed, taking it in. It hurt. Been a bloody long time, Bodie remembered. Too long, maybe. It hurt. Not a lot. Enough to wilt his own desire, enough to cause him to clench his teeth and set his jaw.

He didn't let it show on his face, and he didn't let Michael know. Just let it happen, let the young passion beat itself out against the resilient walls of his rectum while he sighed for dark russet hair and wicked green eyes. It was over too quickly, and Bodie savoured the feeling of his sore anus as he rolled over and began the leisurely process of making Michael's body ready for the same treatment. A long time with restless fingers, a long gentle time of in and out and playing and probing. He put Michael over, onto his knees, for the first time. Arm hooked over waist, he held the American steady, and then he murmured kind words into the blond hair and began the British invasion.

Michael cried out, and Bodie stopped.

"You'll bring the bloody coppers, luv, if you can't keep mum. Shall I pull out? Too much?"


"Has to. Don't think of the pain. There's pleasure underneath the pain. Find that." As Bodie spoke, he was fondling the half erect flesh of his partner, rolling, thumbing, pulling until he felt it rise a little, lift and fill. "Better?" He made a small move, pulling a bit out, pushing in again.

"Yeah." It was a laboured reply, but a definite one, and Bodie went ahead because he had delayed as long as he could. Need drove him, and he let himself go.

In one way, it was like making love to a woman; he was used to making love to someone who did not happen to be the real focus of his passion. It was still good, bringing back so many memories that he felt swamped in his mind, lost in them. The release, when it came freed both his body from the passion and his mind from the memories. It all poured out of him with a silent roar that left his head ringing and his lungs working overtime to get enough air.

He had the strength to pull out of the lax body and fall beside it. Bodie drifted off to sleep again, and only the ringing of the telephone by the bedside woke him up again.

"3.7," he said groggily, only remembering a second too late that he was not alone.

"Berk. Do you want to go eat with Monica and me?" Doyle asked, without identifying himself.

"What time is it?" Bodie asked, peering at the clock even as he asked the question.

"Gone ten, sleepy-head." There was a voice in the background. Doyle turned back to the phone and said, "Monica and I are going down to the pool for brunch. Will we see your smiling faces?"

"Eventually," Bodie said, and hung up. He met Michael's shy gaze, grinned, and reached down to tweak the young man's penis. "What do you say? Breakfast, or shall we have another go?"

Michael seriously considered it, while Bodie, whose stomach had suddenly come awake, groaned to himself. He hoped he could rise to the occasion, should the other decide he wanted another tumble in the sheets.

He was in luck, Michael was starving, and with flattering reluctance confessed that he needed food. They got up, took turns in the shower, and then separated, Bodie to make some phone calls and Michael to go to his room for fresh clothing.

After calling several of the agencies they had worked with during the week and learning that there had been few changes over the last 24 hours, Bodie next spent almost half an hour on the phone to London. Things were much more lively there, and Bodie almost, but not quite, volunteered to cut their holiday short and come home right away. He wasn't that stupid. It had been months since they had some proper time off.

Bodie blessed the time differences which insured that Cowley was not in the office to suggest they hop a plane immediately, and he decided then and there to spend the day away from the hotel, and the telephone. He put the finishing touches on his hair and went down to the too-long postponed meal.

All three were there, and Doyle had ordered for him, so that only seconds after he sat down, a well-filled plate was placed before him. Bodie said his thanks to Doyle, but his attention was on Michael, who was positively animated this morning. Most of the meal was given over to a discussion of what to do that day. Monica wanted to go up the coast to some shops, Michael wanted the beach, and so the party split up after deciding to return at six for dinner.

Bodie was back in the small black trunks and on the beach enjoying the hot sun only a few minutes after Monica and Ray drove north. After a lively swim, they settled down on the warm sand. The beach was not deserted, but it was a weekday, and the crowds were nothing like they would be on Saturday. They had a small nook behind a sea-worn tumble of rock where they were cut off from the rest of the people, and so they could turn the mutual application of the sun lotion into a sensual and drawn out experience. Then they stretched out on the towels and drowsed, trading lazy words as the impulse moved them.

"I'm glad it was you," Michael said, eventually.

Bodie didn't pretend to misunderstand. "Always glad to be of service, mate." His head was still buried in his arms. He wanted enough of a tan to make the lads back home green with envy.

"We were heading down to Key West. Still are, I guess. I hear it's a place...where there are a lot of men like us."

Bodie lifted his head a bit. "Oh?" he asked. "Devastatingly handsome, are they?"

Michael grinned and nodded. "And gay. I was going to see what was there. Monica wanted to see all the historical places. I just wanted to...to...."

"Get laid."

"Hell, I was hoping just to get touched. Or a blow job. I'm glad I learned it from you, though." Michael hiked himself up on one elbow to look down at Bodie.

"From a tall, dark stranger?" Bodie asked.

"From somebody who's looking to share, not to, y'know. Dominate."

"Not your scene?" Bodie asked.

"I don't think so."

"Like to be on top?" Bodie asked.

"Yes. I liked it the other way around, too."

"It's a world of tops and bottoms out there, old son. You might have to state a preference at some point. Not everybody's as thoughtful as me. Do I have to tell you to be careful?"


"Good. Learn karate." With that advice Bodie stretched and yawned.

Michael laughed, not realizing Bodie was serious.

"Bodie? Why do you answer the phone with a number?"

The switch of topic left Bodie silent a few seconds too long. "That's the way we do it in England," he lied.

"Bodie! That's not even a good lie," Michael complained.

"Oh? Truth is, I'm James Bond's illegitimate younger brother." Bodie was wary, wondering where this was going.

"Right," the young man said shortly. "Won't you tell me?" Michael asked.

"Nothing to tell."

"That means you don't want to tell me much about you. When you leave, you won't want to stay in touch," Michael decided.

"Why should we? I'm not likely to come back. Only a fluke the job sent me here this time. Best to keep it a golden memory and move on." Bodie hoped to hell he was convincing the kid. He'd had this happen with some of the birds he'd dated. Felt funny having this conversation with a bloke. "Be different if we were in the same country."

Bodie remembered that an international arms conference was scheduled for Washington, D.C. in the spring. He just might have to go along. He just might be in the country again. But why mention it? Why try to keep this affair going?

"Bodie?" Michael had something on his mind, and Bodie was determined to beat him to the punch. Bodie did not approve of anyone who was so clumsy with an affair that they broke hearts.

"Look, sweets, I'm going to make your introduction to this evil practice as fantastic as I can, both for your benefit and mine. I want to look back on this time with absolute awe. But not with regret. Not wondering what might have been. I'm going to show you heaven tonight. I'm going to suck your balls, and fuck your mouth and show you a few tricks you never even heard of, and the day after that, I'm going home. That's the way it is. It's enough, Mike. I know I'm a hard act to follow," he said, with a grin and a leer, "but it will break your feller's heart if he thinks you're pining for a bit of British arse."

"I don't have a feller," Michael reminded him.

"Oh, you will. Tasty thing like you? Bound to, eventually. Unless you just like variety."

"Do you?" Michael asked.

"Me? With the birds, yes." Bodie decided to end this conversation the best way he knew how. "We're talking too much. I need a beer and a bonk."

"A what?"

"A beer."

"No," Michael protested. "The other."

"More or less what we had this morning. Interested?" Bodie asked as he stood up.

"Yes," Michael said, scrambling up with flattering speed. They went up to Bodie's room, showered, went to the bar for a beer, which Bodie found cold and insipid and Michael found liberating. Then they retired to Bodie's bed for three hours of love.

Bodie was walking stiffly when he dressed for their evening meal. It was only a little bit of satisfaction that Michael was as well. Been too long since he'd had something up there, and Michael wasn't a small lad. Came of trying to pack too much loving into a couple of days. Or pack too much cock up a small arse. Michael was fun, though, so eager to try everything.

But he wasn't Doyle. Reminders of this came every so often. Having to explain a joke took the fun out of it in short order. 'Bonk,' for example. Doyle would have known at once what was on offer. Which didn't mean that he and Michael weren't communicating well on another level. Too well.

Bodie was remembering how much he liked it, wondering how he could go back to the ladies and put all of this behind him. Wondering if he dared to find a little on the side and what he would do when Cowley found out about it.

Not if. When.

He stopped worrying about it when they went down to the lounge for a drink and to wait for Monica and Ray. They were late. Half an hour after six they breezed in, windblown and laughing. After a bit of settling down and another drink it was decided to go out for pizza. This time, Michael drove and Monica and Doyle chatted in the back seat, playing teasing games with their hands and feet. Bodie, past master of deceptions of all kinds, didn't let it show that it bothered him. He just enjoyed the scenery and breeze on his face from the open window and fiddled with the radio, trying to find a station he liked.

The pizza was good and they lingered over it and a pitcher of beer. They were in the midst of a college crowd celebrating the arrival of Friday night, and it was a lively bunch. They played video games and spent a good deal of time just having fun. Bodie loved it, loved the times when he could forget the job and just let go. Monica called it "being a goof" and teased him about it, and Bodie could tell that with just a little effort, she could be induced to give him a little of what Doyle had enjoyed last night. Bodie found it hard to come up with the interest; Monica's brother had made sure he was fucked out that afternoon. The kid would be lucky to get more than a kiss tonight.

But Bodie knew, as he watched Doyle bend over a balky pong game in the corner, that if Doyle had been the one to ask him to bed, he'd manage to get it up for him in an instant. They could write songs about Doyle's buttocks, Bodie decided. Poetry. Nothing on earth was more provocative. Alluring.

Bodie decided that Michael might be lucky tonight after all. Watching Ray Doyle was having a profound effect on his hormones.

They went back to the hotel, Ray and Monica giggling in the back seat again, to Bodie's secret annoyance. After deciding to go to their own rooms to collect clothing for the morning, the group split up. Monica and her brother went off, leaving Bodie and Doyle alone together for the first time that day.

"So you got his cherry, did you?' Doyle asked as soon as they were alone.

"A gentleman never kisses and tells, Doyle. Didn't you know that?"

"You're no gentleman. Never were," Doyle informed him.

Bodie grinned. "I shall only say that the problem is satisfactorily taken care of--and he'll never forget it, either!" With a confiding expression he leaned forward. "How about it then? Is the lovely Monica without hers as well?"

Doyle grinned over his shoulder at Bodie as he entered their room.

"The lovely Monica hasn't had the item under discussion for years. One of her foster brothers lured her into bed straight off. He seems to have battered her heart a bit. She thought it was love, but it was just convenience on his part. She's had a few lovers since then, too. One of the reasons she's on this trip is that the man she's been dating has been making hints about wedding bells. She's trying to see if she wants to marry him."

"By hitting the sack with the first bloke who happens along? Or is she trying out a man at every stop?" Bodie asked.

"And you say I have a nasty tongue. Nothing on you, mate. She's a nice girl." Doyle was pulling clothing out of the drawer. Bodie admired the view.

"I didn't say she wasn't."

"Sour grapes. You'd rather have had her than the brother. Admit it." Doyle straightened to make that accusation.

"Can't. It would be a lie. I am having the time of my life. Wondering if I can stand to give it up, in fact. Might have to find me a young man at home, for those nights the birds aren't coming across."

"That'd be stupid," Doyle said.

Bodie already knew that. "Ah, well. Maybe I'll just buy me one of those vibrators that were on sale in that catalogue Anson was passing around the rest room last month. Came in three sizes, it did."

"Fool. I should know by now when you're having me on." Doyle changed the subject. "You called this morning. Nothing on?"

"The locals are still interrogating the scum we scooped up here. They don't think they'll need anything else from us after all. Couple of the hard boys aren't so hard. Singing like canaries. I called HQ. Myerson escaped from his kidnappers, and he led them to the place he was held before they even knew he was gone. Nabbed the whole lot. Wish I could have been there. Almost. Susan was on duty, said the old man might send for us tomorrow. Better take advantage of this last night, mate. We might be busy once we're home."

Doyle made a sound of annoyance. He, too, had wanted to be in on getting the men who had killed one of their own agents. But those men would be in CI5 custody for quite a long time. They would have their chance.

"If this is the last night, I guess I'll make the most of it," Doyle said, gathering up all he had collected and putting it into the bag the swimsuits had come in.

"You do that," Bodie said, and watched his partner let himself out.

Michael arrived soon afterwards. They lounged on the bed, watching TV, touching, occasionally talking. When they went to bed, they were lazy, playing at it. Bodie showed his young lover a trick with a shoe lace, and one with a cough drop, and they ended with a lazy 69 and a long, hot shower. They were asleep before midnight.

Bodie woke at dawn. He pulled on his running togs and let himself out into the cool dawn. He fancied a long run up the beach. He was not at all surprised when Doyle joined him a few minutes later as he was doing a few warm up exercises down by the water. It wasn't only that they were on the same wavelength, but that they both knew they had been lazy for several days. He'd seen the track suit in the clothing Doyle had pulled out the night before. It was all a matter of being observant.

And of wanting to be with Ray, even if all they were doing was a five mile run. They started off. The air was sweet, the sea birds were calling, and it was a fine morning. They started off slowly, careful of their footing, pacing each other. Running on the sand was a bit harder than running on turf and it was different enough to keep them alert. Eventually, without a word being exchanged, they increased their speed. All at once, Doyle sprinted ahead, running fast and free. Bodie could not help himself, he put on a burst of speed as well, chasing his partner, who was as elusive in this as in all things. Bodie only caught up to him because Doyle slowed down.

They rounded a lifeguard station and headed back, slowly now, building endurance. Hearts thudding, lungs working hard, they let their bodies recover from their race until they were back to normal. Both men knew when to slow down even more, when to stop. They continued along the beach, walking, enjoying the morning.

"What are you going to do today?" Bodie asked when their hotel came in sight.

"We'll have to go home today. Just a question of Cowley wanting us soon or immediately. How long do you think we can put off calling in?" Doyle asked.

"Not a question of putting it off. He'll call us. Five says it happens before noon."

Doyle sighed and didn't take the bet. Instead he said, "I'm ready to go home."

"Tired of the sun, the good food, sleeping in? Or of the delightful Monica?"

"Monica, if you must know. She's...." He shrugged and did not finish the sentence.

"She clings a bit, I noticed," Bodie said, lightly.

"How about you? Tired of Michael's charms?" Doyle asked.

"Other way around. Getting too fond of them by far. He's...." Bodie shrugged as Doyle had, but grinned.

"You like it."

"I like it. Like him. But it doesn't matter. We're going home."

"Cowley will probably be sending us with Allerson to the arms conference. You could see him again."

"Dangerous to see him again. For both of us." Bodie stopped to pry a wedge of shell out of the tread of his running shoe.

"For all of us, mate!" Doyle said. At Bodie's inquiring look, he said, "Guess what Monica wanted to do last night?" He did not wait for an answer. "She wanted to see what it was like."

"What?" Bodie was intrigued. Doyle was looking out over the blue water. It was just a shade of grey this morning. Storm coming? Maybe.

"She wanted me to do her from the back. Like you were doing to Michael, she said. Wanted to know what that was like."

"So did you?" Bodie asked, his interest sharp in his face. Inside, his gut twisted as his mind supplied images of how that would look.

"I'd never done that before. Told her so." Doyle was still not looking at Bodie. He stooped down and dug a small shell out of the sand. It was a delicate pink on the inside, a strong sand colour on the outside, and it was perfect. He held it in his hand, turning it over and over.

Bodie got impatient and nudged Doyle with his elbow. "But did you?"


Bodie couldn't tell much from that one word. "How did it go? Not an easy thing to do, is it?"

"She...enjoyed what I did to get her ready. We used plenty of Vaseline. We used the skins, even though we obviously couldn't get her pregnant that way. She said she wanted to be sure I didn't have to get anything on me."

Bodie grinned. That sort of thing had never bothered him. He just used them to avoid disease. He'd had the clap once and that was all he ever intended to have.

"And?" Bodie encouraged.

"And I got into her, though it took awhile, and we did it."

"Did she like it?" Bodie wanted to know.

"She liked it while she was all hot. I reached under her, made sure she stayed on the boil while I did it. Afterwards, though, she was sore, scared she'd hurt something inside because there was a bit of blood. So I cuddled her close. She liked that."

"And how did you like it?" Bodie asked. He wasn't even allowing himself to hope.

"Cuddling? Always did," Doyle teased.

"Fool. The other thing!" Bodie used his elbow again, causing Doyle to dance away and take a mock punch at him.

"It was...different. Tight."

"But did you like it?" Bodie wanted to know.

"I haven't decided yet," Doyle told him.

Bodie was aware of a sense of keen disappointment. Doyle couldn't have liked it over much. Until that moment, Bodie had not realized he was hoping that Doyle had loved it, would want it, perhaps even with a man. To have Doyle, Bodie would even play bottom man. He knew he would always want more, but he was also fairly sure that if he ever got Doyle to bed, kept him happy, then eventually Doyle's natural curiosity and sense of fair play would insure that Doyle would offer his body.

Doyle finally tucked the shell he held into a pocket. "Souvenir," he said, when Bodie looked at him, eyebrow up.

Bodie nodded. Doyle kept things. Had boxes and boxes of such things which he hauled from flat to flat. Bodie had helped move them often enough to have mixed feelings about them.

"Breakfast?" Bodie asked.

"One of your better ideas," Doyle agreed. "Let's wake up the siblings and have a proper meal."

"Right. Meet you down at the pool in an hour," Bodie said.

"An hour? Running make you horny?" Doyle laughed.

"Last chance, mate. Going to lure him into the shower and have some good clean fun."

Doyle laughed and they separated as soon as they reached the building. The air conditioning was on, and it felt cold against Bodie's sweaty body. He went up to the room, woke Michael with a kiss, and lured him into the water without difficulty. They used their hands on each other, coming under the warm spray, pressed tight against the wall and warm human flesh.

"You're packing," Michael realized as he dressed. Bodie had started to put his things in his suitcase while Michael shaved. Now he stopped to do his own face.

"Have to go today," Bodie said.

"Guess we will, too," Michael said. "Might as well. Won't be the same without you here." Frowning, he paused, staring at himself in the mirror.

"Of course not," Bodie said with that kind of superiority which caused Michael to laugh. He ducked in to shave.

They met Doyle and Monica at the pool, ordered a huge breakfast, and chatted. Everyone was well aware of the parting. They had to be out of their rooms by one unless they wanted to pay for another day. By mutual agreement, they separated after the meal to pack and get ready to go.

Sure enough, the call came from London at ten in the morning. Cowley wanted them back. It was a working trip, as well. They would be escorting two prisoners.

Bodie, his one bag in hand, went with Michael to meet Doyle and Monica in the other room. There was the awkwardness of leave-taking. Doyle and Bodie helped take Monica and Michael's bags down to the car, and then they all returned to the room, where there was nothing left to say.

Bodie filled in the silence with an outrageous suggestion.

"Right, now, kisses all around. You first, luv," he said to Monica, and swept her into a passionate deep kiss. She pretended to protest and then gave in to his expert mouth. He broke the kiss and set her upright with a flourish, winking at Doyle, daring him. So Doyle did the same to Michael, to the young man's very obvious delight. Then Bodie handed Monica back to Doyle, took hold of Michael and gave him an even more enchanting kiss than he had presented to the young man's sister. Doyle took Monica in his arms and made his own farewell.

With firm kindness, Bodie then bustled them all out of the room and down to the desk for checkout. In fifteen minutes he had the luggage in the car and, with one last quick caress to Michael's arse, he sent them on their way. He turned at once to go back to the room and get their bags. It was Doyle who stood and watched the car until it was out of sight.

Doyle was mad. It was a simmering rage, quite unlike his usual quick temper. He held it in check, but anyone looking closely could have seen it in his green eyes. He made a point of keeping his gaze on the departing car so that what he felt would not be plain to his all too astute partner.

Cowley said the state of Florida was sending a car to take them to the airport where their prisoners would be handed over to them. Bodie and Doyle had nothing to do but sit around and wait for their transportation to arrive. It was a nice day. They sat by the pool, soft drinks in hand, and relaxed. Or rather, Bodie relaxed, leaning back in the chair, letting the sun hit his face. Still working on the tan with which he planned to seriously annoy the other members of the squad.

Doyle, glass in hand, watched his partner. Bloody sod. Damn fool. Only Doyle was not sure which of them he was branding with these names. He damned Bodie for his unconcern, for stretching out in the sun like some sleek panther, while Doyle nursed this bubbling pot of anger.

Only it wasn't all anger. It was jealousy, it was impatience, it was confusion and fear. All hidden, he hoped. It had to stay hidden until he understood what was going on, until it was clear. Either he was going out of his mind, or he was changing. In either case he had to wait to find out if the state was temporary or permanent. No way was he going to open his mouth before he had it all figured out.

So he sat and brooded while the breeze played with his curls and the pool filled up with nubile young things of both sexes.

This was where it all started, Doyle said to himself. This is where I found out that I didn't know Bodie at all. Years of partnership, friendship, and I never knew he liked boys as well as girls. He'd watched Bodie with Michael, convinced at first it was all a joke, that at any minute Bodie would pull out of it, laugh and turn to try to take Monica away from him. But he had not done that. He had gone off eagerly that first night, and he'd shown up the next morning with that canary fed look on his face and that arrogant well satisfied swagger in his walk. Which wasn't nearly as bad as this morning, when he arrived with a way of walking which suggested to Doyle that his friend had been nailed the night before.

Snakes coiled in Doyle's intestines at the very thought. Damn him.

Or damn Monica. Monica and her bright ideas. Let's do it like they do it. Do it up my back door, Ray. I want to know what it feels like for Michael. She almost always called her younger brother Michael, and only once in awhile Mike.

So he'd done it. He'd been uncertain about it. This was an act which seemed to him a little too earthy to be called exotic, and it was nothing he had ever felt the need to try before. He was good at the standard version of the sex act. Women had been happy enough with his usual attentions. Ray Doyle was an excellent lover.

He knew it; he'd made himself into an experience which could never be forgotten. In his younger days he had worried a great deal that his cock was small. It wasn't. Dead average, he had discovered eventually. But he'd heard a woman tell another that it was not the size, it was what you could do with it, and he had vowed to become extremely good at what he could do with it.

Bodie, he'd always figured, had been big and naturally talented, but not educated in the matter of love. He had always felt just a little bit superior to his well-hung partner. Doyle knew a great many positions, a lot of techniques, and he had a way with words as well.

But he hadn't known some of the secrets Bodie knew. Bodie had once mentioned a few kinky little facts about mercenary life, admitted to making do with a mate in the jungle on more than one occasion. But that had never translated to making love to a man in Doyle's mind. Not until now. Not until Monica begged him to try something new.

He'd been interested, of course. It had been one of those things he had always had in mind to try if the right moment ever came along. Well, the moment had come, and he had given it a try. It had been...different. Nastier, in a seductive sort of way. Touching her there, putting his fingers in to make it bigger, make it ready. Kneeling behind her, with her pink bottom raised to him, her flushed face looking back at him, begging him to do it, he'd been hot for it. He'd pushed in slowly, having to stop when she cried out.

Holding steady, waiting for her body to get used to him, he had rubbed her belly. That's what he did when he took a woman from the back in the regular way. He loved to be in a thin woman from the back, to reach under and feel the shape of his cock beneath her skin, to rub it there, through all the layers of her flesh.

This had been...different. Brief, awkward, not the best fuck of his life, but he could feel things he had never experienced before, all sorts of new sensations. She had been tight. A virgin, he reminded himself. He did have her cherry, in a way. As much as Bodie had had Michael's. There'd been blood, after all. He felt guilty about that blood, although it had proved to be nothing. She had been fine the next morning. Even mentioned wanting to do it again.

Doyle had been glad there wasn't enough time for that. Once had been bad enough. Because he had thought about it as he had done it. Thought about it as he fucked the warm slick depths of her. It had felt good. Very good. And the thought had come to him that this is what Bodie was doing to Michael. For a split second, he had imagined it was Michael under him. Around him. It had been an idle, erotic thought. In the next moment he had imagined it was Bodie under him.

It had been like an explosion in his mind. He had gasped, gone harder, and started to fuck. He could not have stopped himself even if the idea had occurred to him. Monica's gasps and squeals had told him he was doing a good job of it, and they fuelled the incredible fantasy which sped through his stunned brain with every thrust, every stroke which he made.

Bodie under him. Around him. In Bodie, who heaved and bucked and made those sounds. His partner holding him inside. He'd forgotten all about Monica in the dream of it, and he had known at that moment that he wanted Bodie that way, more than he had ever wanted anything sexual. He wanted Bodie under him, wanted to hold onto Bodie's cock, hold him still, force himself inside so deep that his cock would drive right into Bodie's heart, his throat, his brain.

He'd come like an Italian fountain, spraying into the condom with enough force to ruin the thing. When he peeled it off, however, it was intact. It had only been an illusion. There had been nothing on it, either, except a tiny red thread of blood.

Monica had been happy with it, moaning both about the pleasure and about the pain. He had found a cloth and cleaned them both, and then held her tight as she drifted off to sleep. His own sleep had been held at bay by the whirling confusion of his thoughts. He let them chase each other, one after another, while he tried to sort it all out.

There was jealousy in him, a fresh dish of it, sour and tart. Michael. He wanted to go down to the room, his room, and toss the kid out of it. Right into the hall, naked. Because he knew the younger man was naked. He was with Bodie in bed. Of course he was. Bodie was holding him. Bodie was fucking him. In his mind, Doyle could see Bodie, bent over Michael's blond body, a body coloured as Monica's was, pink and gold. Bodie, arms wrapped around Michael, fucking him slowly, slowly, while Michael moaned and sighed.

And then things got even more confusing, because Doyle could not make up his mind. Which did he want, to mount Bodie himself, to claim that big snow white body with his cock or to crawl under Bodie and have that big thick cock driven into his body again and again?

It was a warm day, but Doyle shivered with the memory. Have Bodie's prick up him? What was he thinking of? It would be bloody stupid. Would hurt, and it might give Bodie the wrong ideas. He wasn't that sort of person, not gay. How could he be thinking of that? Was just jealousy talking. It must have bothered him more than he knew that Bodie would take up with Michael.

With another man. With any other man?

And taking Bodie? It was an exciting thought, but did he really want him?

Well, that, at least, was an easy question to answer. Damn right he wanted the stupid sod. Right where Bodie belonged, heaving under Doyle, letting Doyle use all his techniques to make it happen for both of them. Only...he knew that Bodie was Bodie. Hard man, a dominant type. Always making things a competition, always wanting to be in the lead. On top. Bodie would want to have him. Hell, he'd be lucky if Bodie would give him a fair share at all. Bodie might want to do all the fucking. Doyle didn't like that. Wasn't sure he wanted to be fucked at all, really. But his sense of fairness insisted that if he had Bodie, then Bodie would have a right to take him. Besides, that's the way their partnership worked. They were equals. They would have to be equals in this, too.

Which brought up the thought again. Could he let Bodie do that to him? Would it feel good enough to make the discomfort worthwhile?

Bodie's voice broke into his reverie.

"Car's here."

Doyle looked up. A dour American in a dark suit was standing at the edge of the patio, and there was no doubt what he was.

"Cheerful sort," Doyle commented, picking up his bag.

"CIA, do you suppose? Or something nastier?" Bodie had scooped up his own luggage and was leading the way. Doyle found himself watching Bodie's shoulders. Nice broad ones. Built to take a lot of weight, a lot of pressure. Bodie's whole body was built to take punishment.

Was his arse the same way? Could you slam into him, fuck him as hard as you could, and not move him an inch? Doyle clenched his jaw and slid into the back seat. It was hot there, all plastic.

"Can't afford air conditioning, mate?" Bodie asked as their guide slid in the front with the driver.

"Don't need it for the little jobs," the man replied in kind. "Mason and DeClemmens. We're to take you to the airport, where your little packages await. We'll give you the cuff keys and the paperwork when we get there. I have to follow procedure here, so try not to show how boring you find it. Please be advised that the prisoners you are to take into custody are dangerous and known as habitual criminals." Then in an aside, he confessed cheerfully, "We're only giving them to you to clear out two spaces in the jail."

He pretended to consider, "And because they're British citizens, too. Under other circumstances, they'd be in prison and would never see the light of day. They will try any trick to try to gain their freedom. Please keep them cuffed and under restraint at all times. Please be aware that there are elements which would like to either free or eliminate the bastards. What else is there, Charlie?" He turned to his partner.

"The part about returning them," the driver said in a slow drawl.

"Oh, yeah. We don't want them back. They will not be allowed to return. Unless they're coming back to face charges. Which I understand won't happen, because they're going to rot in a damp dungeon somewhere. Which is what they deserve. Vogel can slip cuffs--he's the dark one with the bruise under his eye. Don't give into a kind impulse with him; he'll turn on you every time. We have Kingston cuffs on him. Barlow is a dope dealer who likes his own stuff. He'll be coming down in about six hours. The doctor gave him some temporary help, but it will be wearing off. It's all in the paperwork."

"I told you we'd have to pay for those two days off," Doyle said sourly. It was going to be a lovely trip home. He knew he'd have to set aside his personal problems as soon as they got out of the car. Work was work.

"Was worth it," Bodie said, with a reminiscent and pleased gleam in his eye. Doyle fought back the impulse to kick him and just scowled. Bodie would think it was the assignment, if he noticed. It was actually a plain garden variety of jealousy.

"At least you won't have to wait around the airport. They're holding up a military flight for you," Mason said.

"Air Force One, is it?" Bodie inquired.

"Naw. Nuclear waste disposal unit. Hope you've already had your children, mister." That was from the driver. Doyle decided the man had a terrible sense of humour. He didn't think it was the truth, although you never knew about the Yanks.

"When do we get there?" Doyle asked, before Bodie could come up with any witty repartee.

"Five minutes, if the local fuzz manage to ignore the fact that I'm going about fifteen miles over the speed limit." Charlie was extremely cheerful about the opportunity to speed.

"He drives like you do," Doyle commented, ignoring Bodie's wounded expression. "What's the weather like in London?"

"Couldn't tell you." Charlie sounded not at all concerned.

Doyle kept silent the rest of the ride. He had little to say while they took charge of the prisoners and boarded the plane. There wasn't much difference between this and a commercial flight except the woman who brought them lunch wore a military uniform and they were not offered alcohol. Bodie flirted with the young woman, which Doyle tried to ignore.

The prisoners were sullen and quiet for the most part. They were not allowed to even go to the bathroom alone. Doyle found himself staring at a most unattractive penis as Mr Vogel shook it dry, and found himself wondering how he could ever think of doing anything with another man's privates.

"You queer or something?" asked Vogel when he caught the direction of Doyle's stare. "Let ya have some. What'd ya want, want to be sucked off? I can do it for ya, man."

Doyle gave him a poisonous look. Oh, I bet you can, he thought. And when I had my pants around my ankles and my attention on my balls, you'd try to knock me out. Take a hostage and try to take over the plane. With a jerk of his chin he indicated that Mr Vogel should shut up and get out.

The last half of the trip was a nightmare, with Barlow screaming and shaking and inventing new curses, and Vogel's darting eyes and nervous chattering. Bodie remained cool throughout the trip, keeping his aura of menace, even when he seemed to be dozing.

Once, he slapped Vogel viciously as that fool tried to get Bodie's gun. The dark side of Bodie began to show at that point, and even Vogel backed off at the glitter in Bodie's eyes.

But Doyle found he was not at all threatened by Bodie's air. He didn't make the assumption that it was all show. Bodie was as bad as he appeared to be, if not worse. For Doyle, however, that was not only acceptable, it was necessary. Bodie was tough and mean and strong, and he was Doyle's partner.

They slept in snatches that night, taking turns. Landing in the dark, they were kept waiting by the officials for hours as the paperwork was checked and found wanting. Finally the men in blue came for their prisoners and they were free to go.

London, they found, was in the midst of the first really nasty bit of weather of the winter season. It was snowing, the sort which falls continually, but only wets the pavement. The roads were just becoming icy and the driver of the taxi they found was the type who moaned every inch of the way while driving so carefully that one suspected he went slow for the purpose of driving up the fee. They reached Doyle's place first, and he offered to put Bodie up for the night, but his partner elected to go on to his own place.

Tired, annoyed, somewhat confused and cold, Doyle let himself into a flat which was freezing. He saw to the heat at once, but knew it would be hours before it warmed up. Tea helped, but in the end he bypassed a shower in favour of the bed.

Welcome home, Doyle said to himself as he slid between freezing sheets. He imagined Bodie crawling into his own huge bed, pulling that absurd fake fur cover up over his ears. Imagined someone else under the bedding. A woman. Bodie had said he had never had a man in England. Isn't that what he said? To his horror, Doyle, who prided himself on his accurate policeman memory, couldn't recall the exact words. He was still working on it, exercising his sluggish recollection, when he drifted off to sleep.

The morning was hell. The weather was worse, the streets were worse and there was paperwork galore greeting him when he arrived. Bodie, who had arrived after Doyle and quite late, was swept up at once to substitute for a colleague who had come down with the flu, leaving Doyle to do it all alone, bemoaning the luck that punished his promptness and rewarded Bodie's tardiness. Still, paperwork might be dull, but it was at least warm inside. Bodie would be tearing around in that miserable mess.

So he did his reports and some of Bodie's as well, and eventually a sodden and vocal Bodie returned to at last do his share. Doyle suggested a meal, but Bodie already had plans, and Doyle found himself both glad and angry, as well as annoyed at himself for his reactions. Why should he care where Bodie went, what he did? There was, after all, plenty to do. Doyle needed to replenish his larder, wash a Mt. Everest of laundry, plus household tasks to tackle. So he did, and made an early night of it as well. Jet lag ensured that he crawled into bed and fell into sleep immediately.

He woke to a day even nastier than the day before. It took him three times as long as usual to drive to work. The streets were a horror, and the pedestrians were as much in danger from the ice as the automobiles. It was sleeting when it wasn't snowing or raining.

He warmed his back by the old fashioned radiator in the rest room and waited, along with a half dozen of Cowley's finest, for a call which did not come. He had to listen to Bodie tell highly altered versions of what they had done in Florida. According to the tale Bodie told, the two of them had met a pair of twins, Michelle and Monica, with whom they had gone to a fantastic disco, and with whom they had sported on a fantastic sunny beach, and with whom they had fucked almost continuously. Bodie added just enough truth to his inventions to make them believable. It added a great deal to Doyle's comprehension; he now knew how much of some of Bodie's other tales to believe. It also made him angry.

It wasn't the lie that upset him. He'd known from the first that Bodie could lie like a rug upon occasion, and it was a useful skill in their profession. It was the enthusiasm with which Bodie went on and on about Michelle. To hear him tell it, his companion for those few days had been not only beautiful, but some kind of paragon. A wonderful, understanding lover.

Bodie managed to include some reference to Florida, sun, tans, swimming and beautiful blondes in every conversation he had for the next week. In the process, he was, all unknowingly, hacking away at Doyle's temper and his self control. It was as if the sturdy rope which held Doyle's baser instincts in check was severed strand by strand.

One thread of it separated when Bodie told Murphy how 'Michelle' had helped him pick out swimming trunks. Another gave way when he suggested that Monica had wanted to join Bodie and Michelle one night. There was some truth in that. Monica had been interested in what Bodie and her brother had been doing. Yet another frazzled hank disintegrated during Bodie's overly detailed description of a blow job he had been given.

It didn't help to remind himself that Michael meant no more to Bodie than Monica had meant to him. That wasn't quite right. Michael had been a milestone. Bodie's first man in years. Bodie's lover.

Bodie's lover. Gone, but obviously not forgotten.

Everything Bodie did seemed to grate on Doyle's nerves. It seemed to him that Bodie looked at men now. He would watch a man walk down the street with the same smile on his face which was there when he eyed a lady. The last shred of Doyle's control gave way for no particular reason at all. Bodie whistled when Jax came in wearing a new suit.

Doyle hit him, hit him harder than the occasion or manly good spirits required. Hit him hard enough so that Bodie turned and looked squarely at him. It seemed to Doyle that Bodie had not looked at him, really looked, ever since they had gone to Florida. Bodie's attention was always somewhere else. Doyle was tired of it, tired of cheerful references to sunny clime and tired of trying to understand his own feelings. It was time to clear the air.

"Wha' did you do that for?" Bodie asked, struggling for breath. It was clear he had been caught entirely by surprise.

"We're going to go talk. In the car. Now."

"We're on duty," Bodie pointed out, rubbing the spot on his arm which Doyle had so unexpectedly abused.

"We're on standby. We can do it just as well out there. We'll tell Jack at the desk where we are and he can contact us by r/t if we're needed."

"Cowley won't..." Jax began.

Doyle made a physically impossible suggestion as to what Cowley could do and grabbed Bodie by his elbow and urged him towards the door.

"Doyle," Bodie began as they took the creaking, clanking lift down.

"You can talk all you want once we're in the car," Doyle interrupted.

"What's got up your nose?" Bodie asked, ignoring Doyle with the ease of long practice. It just made his partner more surly.

They climbed into the white car assigned to Doyle, with Doyle making sure that he was on the driver's side. The position of power, the driver's seat. He needed all the psychological help he could get, especially as his temper had cooled down about five minutes after he stepped out into the wicked wind. They had left their coats, and although both were wearing several layers of clothing, they were quickly chilled.

"So what is going on inside your addled head?" Bodie demanded as soon as the car doors had slammed shut. "And make it bloody fast, too. I'm too young to die."

"I'm sick of you going on and on about Florida. I don't want to hear anything else about Florida. If I never hear of the place again as long as I live, I'll be happy. Is that clear enough for you?" Doyle turned towards Bodie as he spoke, and his face showed his fury.

"And Sir might also like?" Bodie mocked. In his own voice he demanded, "Where do you get off speaking to me like that! I plan on talking about whatever I damn please!"

"No you won't." Doyle said it almost calmly.

"Oh? Are you going to stop me?"

Doyle shook his head. "No, you're going to stop yourself. One of these days, Bodie, either you or I will slip and say Michael instead of Michelle. I don't like being reminded of your little walk on the wild side every time you open your mouth, but I suppose I could live with it. But I hate having to guard my tongue and I hate listening to you spin your bloody yarns. I've put up with it for days and I am fucking tired of it!" With a deep breath he turned his attention ahead. Almost all of the windscreen was blocked by the build-up of soggy flakes. The wind rose. He could feel the gusts push against his side of the car.

"You're afraid you'll make a mistake and say Michael instead of Michelle? Thought you were made of stronger stuff," Bodie said, and he was mocking again.

"Actually, I'm afraid I'll hit you again. Only this time I won't aim for your shoulder. Hope you know a good dentist, mate." Doyle hunched down a bit as he spoke. It was too cold to be out here. Too damn cold.

"Petty," Bodie offered.

"Petty," Doyle agreed. "Hope your teeth think so."

"Only a fool puts his fist into somebody's mouth, Doyle. Don't you ever listen to Macklin?" Bodie said it lightly. Doyle knew his partner was trying to change the tone of the conversation. Doyle decided he didn't want it changed.

"So maybe it won't be your teeth I aim at. What kind of doctor works on damaged balls?"

"I'm going in," Bodie told him, and reached for the door. Doyle stopped him.

"Bodie? Are you going to pack it in? Stop talking about Michael and Monica?"

"You haven't given me a good reason, Doyle. I'm not afraid of you."

"Fine. Will you just do it? Do it because I asked you to?" Doyle asked.

"It really bothers you, doesn't it?" Bodie said, as if just now realizing it. "Why?"

"I don't like thinking about you and Michael. It bothers me. Every time you talk about him, I remember what you did with him. I keep wondering...."

"Wondering about what?" Bodie asked, encouragingly.

Doyle sighed. "About if you miss him. About what I'll do if you find some man here in London to take up with. You don't realize it, mate, but you've changed. I'm used to how you look at birds; I do it, too, don't I? But do you know you look at men in that way now? When you whistled at Jax it was only the latest in a long line of minor sins. You can't go on that way if you expect to keep your little secrets, Bodie. I wonder if you'll make a pass at some man right under my nose one day."

"No chance of that," Bodie assured him, but he wore a faint worried frown. "It's not as bad as you paint it," he added.

"Oh? It wasn't me who pinched Murphy's arse the other day, was it?"

There wasn't much Bodie could say to that, Doyle noticed. It was the perfect example of what he was talking about.

"So I'll be more careful," Bodie said.

"Will you?" Doyle asked, doubting.

"Yes. Now can we go in? I'm freezing the family jewels off out here." Bodie wrapped his arms around himself to emphasize his point.

"No. I'm not done," Doyle growled. His voice was tight, not only from the cold, which was starting to make him shiver a bit, but from fear. He didn't want to say the next words for fear that Bodie would laugh, but he felt compelled to say them.

"Bodie, if you can't stand it and have to have a man, you'd better have me."

Bodie looked at him with a totally stunned expression.

"Don't look at me like that. It won't be a secret if you go and pick up one night stands in the gay community. You'll get kicked out of CI5, and what would I do for a partner? Did you see the latest lot? They share one brain cell amongst them. If you need a man, come to me, do you understand?"

It was a solution, of sorts. At least, if Bodie came to him when he needed sex with a man, Doyle wouldn't have to be jealous.

"You? Not only are you straight as an arrow, but you don't know what you're asking! I couldn't go to bed with you!"

"Of course you could. You went with Mike, didn't you?" He used the diminutive form of the name deliberately, as if to remind Bodie of Michael's shortcomings, his youth.

"Michael knew what he was getting into. Michael...."

Doyle shouted, "Michael was a bloody virgin! Well, so am I! It won't be much different, Bodie. Close your eyes if you have to, and pretend it's him!"

"Don't be stupid, Ray!" That was as far as Bodie got. The last strand of the rope which held Doyle's temper and his passion in check, parted with a snap. With an inarticulate sound he launched himself across the cramped car, grabbing hold of Bodie with hands of steel. He hauled the dark-haired man to him and, with a vicious pleasure, he planted his mouth over Bodie's.

As kisses go it was something on the order of an erupting volcano combined with an earthquake. For a good long time neither of them had a thought in his head which had to do with anything other than the press of lips and tongue, and the rush of heated, tingling blood.

When they fell apart it was because lack of air had become critical.

"Hell, Doyle! Ray!" Bodie got his voice back first.

"What?" Doyle managed to choke out.

"It's not cold in here anymore. And thank Christ for the snow on the windows." He sat up, hands firmly in front of him. Doyle knew Bodie was fighting the effort to take him into his arms again.

"After work tonight, we're going to my place for a meal. And then you're going to pluck my cherry, Bodie. You're going to give me everything you gave Michael. And more. Do you hear me, Bodie?"

Bodie made a sound between pain and joy and grabbed his groin with one hand while reaching out towards Doyle. His hand fell on his partner's leg just as he twisted, groaned and came in his pants.

Doyle watched with awe, his mouth slightly open and his expression stunned. "Bodie?"

Bodie was in no shape to reply. Doyle waited with as much patience as he could muster, until Bodie straightened in his seat.

"It's a benefit, those dark slacks," Doyle said at last. Then he asked, soberly, "Bodie? Did you just...."

"Yeah. I came just from listening to you, Ray. I always did.... I mean, it's...."

Doyle grinned, enjoying seeing Bodie almost at a loss for words. "You always..." he prompted. "Always what?"

"Always wanted you," Bodie admitted softly.

"Always?" Doyle wanted to know. He started out teasing, but something in Bodie's face caused him to get serious.

"Always," Bodie confessed.

"Tell you what. You give up other men and women as well and we'll see about making that always into forever."

"You're joking." Bodie sat up straighter, the shock of Doyle's words helping him recover.

"No, I'm not."

"You'd really go to bed with me? And if it's good, keep on with it?"

Doyle nodded. "That's right. Are you going to make it good, Bodie?"

"I'm going to make it great, Ray. But I notice you didn't make any promises. If it's nobody else for me, then it's nobody else for you."

"Deal," Doyle said swiftly.

A sharp rap on the window startled them both, causing Doyle to jump and Bodie to curse roundly. Doyle opened the window a tiny crack.

"Cowley is sending us all home except the on duty team!" Jax shouted, to be heard above the rising wind. "Go in, sign out, go home!"

Doyle waved to show he heard and quickly closed the window.

"You heard the man!" Bodie said, reaching for his door handle. Then he paused and turned back to Doyle before he opened it. "If you're sure?"

"I'm sure," Doyle answered. Bodie's smile stunned him. He had never seen the other man look so happy. Even his face looked different. Doyle was almost certain it was love he saw on Bodie's face, and his own heart lifted. "I'm very sure," he said again. He got out of the car. Together, he and Bodie dashed for the building, head down against the raging storm, matching each other stride for stride.

--THE END --

Originally published in Fruit Cocktail -- Again!?, Rainbow Dragon Press, 1993

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