Old Fears and Temptations
Written for the Discovered in Thirty Years Time challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community
American breakfasts were the best part about visiting the States. Bodie watched as the chef added ham, bacon, and mushrooms to the pan. Could he get away with asking for extra cheese?
The voice was surprised, a little uncertain. Bodie turned his head and saw a woman approaching him. She was of medium height and build, well-dressed, and middle-aged. He raised his eyebrows.
"It is you, isn't it? Her eyes searched his face and his body.
It was her perfume that finally triggered the memory. "Ann Holly." He felt the echo of old worries, old fears, as he said her name.
She smiled and it seemed a little self-conscious. "Johnson now."
"Ah. Married a Yank, did you?"
"Yes." She was looking at him if she couldn't quite believe he was there. "Are you visiting?"
"I'm here for a conference. And you?"
"I live in upstate New York. I'm in the city for business and to see my daughter."
He nodded, then turned as the chef put his plate on the counter. "Well, it was--"
"I'm alone for breakfast." He looked back at her. "Are you...?" She trailed off and cocked her head.
For a moment he hesitated, then he smiled. "It would be a pleasure." He picked up his plate. "Are you having an omelette?"
"No, I'll browse the buffet." They moved together to the next station where Bodie happily added potatoes, two of those strange buttermilk biscuits, and three sausage links to his plate. He noticed the waffle iron and was tempted, but he could always come back if there was time. He snagged a banana as well, so he could honestly say he'd had fruit and veg for breakfast. Ann chose yoghurt, wheat toast, and a banana for herself, and Bodie guided them back to his table on the level above the buffet. The pot of tea he had ordered was waiting for them; the waiter soon brought a second cup for Ann.
"A conference you said." Ann peeled open her yoghurt carton. "The international security one?"
"You're well-informed." He cut into his omelette.
"I read the newspaper. Are you still with CI5 then?"
"CI5 was absorbed into SOCA. I'm a consultant these days. Semi-retired, you might say."
She looked at him. "You seem to have done well for yourself."
"I'm not complaining."
"So you don't kill people anymore?"
He smiled. "Once in a while. For old time's sake."
She looked away. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that."
"Why not?" He ate some of the potatoes. "You did seem to think I was little more than a killer."
"These days, I'm not so sure that's a bad thing." She took a sip from her cup and set it down.
"The world has always been dangerous." And she had been thrust into it through no real fault of her own. He had never blamed her for her beliefs, only for the effect she'd had on Doyle.
"Yes. So I've learned. " She picked up her banana. "Do you know...that is.... What happened to Ray?"
And, dammit, he felt his stomach clench even though he'd expected the question. "He's here."
She looked up quickly. "But...you still work together?"
"We're partners." Her surprise was natural, wasn't it? She had never had a clue about them, or what tied them to CI5.
"My God." She stared for a moment, and her eyes grew unfocused. "Here?"
"Attending the conference."
"Yes, of course." Her gaze fell to the banana in her hands. "So he stayed in CI5 as well."
"It's what he was good at." He heard the edge in his own voice. What she thought of him had never mattered; criticism of Ray was another story.
"Yes. He was." Her tone was clipped, and he wondered if she had ever attempted to forgive Doyle for his betrayal. It was a subject they would do better staying away from.
"You said you have a daughter?"
"What? Oh, yes. She's a graduate student at NYU."
"And your husband?"
He looked up from slicing sausage. "Ex."
"He's an investment banker. He decided to invest...elsewhere."
He approved of her composure. But then, she had always had a great deal of pride.
"No need, but thank you. The marriage was over long before we filed for divorce." She picked up her tea cup. "He was never right for me, although we tried for Miranda's sake."
"I see." He put down his fork and picked up his own cup. But something of his thoughts must have bled into his voice, because her eyes narrowed.
"What do you mean?"
He should let it go. He knew that, even as he spoke. "He didn't change enough to suit you, is that it?"
She put her cup down. "How dare you."
"I'm sorry. You're right." He tried a smile, although he knew that she had never responded to his charm.
"You don't know me."
"No, I don't."
After a moment, she picked up her cup again. "Perhaps we're both remembering the past too well."
He nodded, a little surprised that she would say that. "Perhaps."
"People do change."
"Yes," he gentled his voice, "they do. If they want to."
"Or need to." He saw a quick flash of something bleak in her expression, and for the first time he felt the weight of the years that had passed. She might have learned something after all. He certainly had, in thirty years with Doyle.
She fell silent as she sliced her banana. The last time they had shared a meal he had tried to question her without Doyle discovering it was for Cowley and a case. It had been an uncomfortable evening, and not solely because of the interrogation. They had represented two incompatible sides of Doyle, or so it had seemed. The quickness of Doyle and Ann's romance had caught him by surprise--stunned him more like. Before he had known it, he'd felt he was fighting Ann for Doyle's future. Bodie had lost the skirmish that night, but he'd won the war--through her default. It had left him feeling vulnerable, even as he'd sought to bind Doyle to him after she had gone.
"Trust you." Bodie looked up to find Doyle standing beside the table.
"Good morning." He watched as Doyle glanced at Ann, and something inside him lurched as he saw the shift in Doyle's expression.
"Hello Ray." Ann's smile was wide and sparkling.
"Ann. My God. How are you?" Doyle moved forward and Ann stood up, holding out her hand. Doyle took it, folding it in his, then kissed her on the cheek.
"Very well, thank you." She sounded composed, but her colour was high.
"Sit down, please. I'm interrupting but Bodie won't mind." Doyle pulled a chair from a nearby table and sat down with them. "It's been..."
"Thirty years. It's hard to believe, isn't it?" Her eyes roamed over Doyle. He was dressed for the conference in dark trousers, white shirt, and dark jacket. The shirt was open at the collar. His grey hair was tamed after a shower, but he wore it longer than was fashionable.
"Have you been here all this time, then? In New York?" Doyle appropriated Bodie's banana.
"You can spare it." Doyle glanced at the remaining sausages on Bodie's plate. Bodie let the banana go.
"In the state, yes, but not the city. I was married for a time."
"Not any longer?" Doyle looked at the waiter who appeared beside him. "Tea, and the buffet for me, please."
"No. We divorced, oh, five years ago now."
"Don't be. I'm not. I'm happier than I was."
Doyle smiled. "You look terrific."
"Thank you. I must say, age agrees with you as well."
"Ah, you're being kind now." The waiter put another pot on the table, along with a cup for Doyle. "Thank you."
"Not at all. Grey suits you."
"That's not what Bodie says."
"Yes, well, he's not looking at you in quite the same way." She arched her eyebrows.
"That's true, mate," Bodie said.
Doyle glanced at him while he poured tea into his cup.
"How long are you here? Bodie mentioned the security conference."
"Yes." Doyle set the tea pot down. "We're here until Thursday."
"Thursday." She smiled again. "I'm here through the weekend."
"Perhaps we can have dinner together one night."
"I'd like that." She glanced at the buffet. "You should get your breakfast."
"Yes, I should." Doyle stood. "Does anyone need anything?" He glanced at Bodie. "Or have you had it?"
"I was very restrained," Bodie said.
"That's a first." Doyle grinned and walked to the stairs leading to the buffet level.
Bodie noticed Ann following Doyle's progress and easily read the speculation in her eyes. "Thinking of trying to change him again, love?"
Her head turned quickly, but she took a moment to respond. "We've just met."
"But you're remembering, aren't you?"
"Is that a surprise?" Her eyes drifted to Doyle, who stood by the omelette station. "I've always--"
"He's still not what you want him to be."
Ann looked at him, and leaned back in her chair. "How would you know what I want?"
Bodie could feel the tightness in his smile. "It's the same as before, isn't it? You like the package, find the aura of danger exciting, but you won't accept his world. He'd have to leave CI5 for you."
"CI5 doesn't exist anymore."
"He's still the man he was."
She lifted her chin. "You said it yourself--people change."
"They change because they want to. Not because you want them to. That's your problem, isn't it? You go into a relationship expecting the man to change to suit you."
"People do change for each other. You grow together."
He shook his head. "No. It doesn't work like that."
She flushed. "And what would you know about it? I don't see a ring on your finger--or Ray's."
He looked at her. "That should tell the tale."
"That's he's married to his job?" She shook her head. "That's not enough for anyone--certainly not him. Look, I'm sorry for what happened last time. We both made mistakes." She glanced towards the buffet and back. "But maybe...."
He laughed, and wondered at how weak it sounded to his own ears. He didn't have any doubts about Ray. Where the fuck was that hollow feeling coming from? "He's taken."
She turned back to him. "Wha--" She broke off as her eyes met his, and he held her gaze. "You're joking." A disbelieving smile crossed her face.
He stood. "Ask him. And while you're at it, tell him I've gone back to the room." He left the table, resolutely not looking at Doyle as he walked out of the restaurant. Hadn't he won the war? Why then was he abandoning the sodding field now? What the fuck was wrong with him?
He took the stairs to their room. It was only after the door closed behind him that he realised he shouldn't have gone to the room. Doyle was going to kill him. He could just imagine...no, better not. Bodie crossed the room to the window and pressed his forehead against the cool glass. Thirty fucking years. How could she have that effect on him after all this time? How could he have fucked it up quite so badly?
He remembered it so clearly, even though he hadn't thought about those few days in years. It was the only time he had truly feared Doyle would quit CI5. Would quit him. Cowley had known, even then: it's not ever likely to affect you, is it?. Ta, sir. But he'd been right, the old bastard. It had been Doyle for him all along, and it had only just begun to dawn on him when it had all gone pear shaped.
You. Checking up. Did you tail us? Eh? Did you bug my bedroom? Doyle hadn't known. He hadn't noticed anything about Bodie. He'd been head over heels in love--or in love with the idea of being in love. In love with the idea of being normal. But there was a reason why Ray Doyle had been in CI5. He'd never been meant for a normal life. After Ann Holly, he'd never really looked for anything else. Within the year he'd begun sleeping regularly with Bodie. They'd been together ever since. But was that Doyle's choice--or had it been a lack of choices?
Whatever had led to it, the partnership had worked. They'd been happy--were happy. He knew Ray loved him. And yet, with Ann's gaze on Doyle, he'd felt a panic deep inside that he hadn't felt in years. Christ. All because of the bloody smell of perfume.
He heard the key card at the door and the lock sliding open. Bodie closed his eyes. He stayed by the window and didn't turn around, even when he knew Doyle was standing behind him. A few breaths later and he felt Doyle's hands on his shoulders. Bodie gave in to the pressure and turned. Doyle's mouth fastened on his.
Taken by surprise, he gasped, and Doyle pressed the advantage, taking complete control of the kiss. Bodie gave in to his urgency, settled his hands on Doyle's waist, and leant back against the window. Ray was solid and warm in his hands--utterly familiar and yet all the more treasured for that. After a while Doyle pulled back, but he immediately began to unbutton Bodie's shirt.
"We're going to miss the first session." Yet Bodie followed Doyle's lead, stripping him just as efficiently.
"Don't care." Doyle pulled Bodie's jacket and shirt off. His own shirt was undone, but he stopped a moment to run a hand across Bodie's chest, and down his stomach, grinning when Bodie sucked in his breath. "We're going to put all that protein you ate to good use."
"How are we going to do that?" Bodie tugged at Doyle's shirt, bringing him closer, chest-to-chest. He nuzzled Doyle's ear, then kissed along his jaw to his mouth.
Doyle sighed when Bodie broke the kiss, and took his hand to lead him to the bed. "Come on. You're going to fuck me." And he sent Bodie a glance that still, after all these years, spoke directly to his cock.
Bodie found the lube while Doyle finished undressing, and then he joined him on the bed. "I hope," he said, as gathered Doyle to him, "you put up the do not disturb sign."
"Might have done." Doyle closed his eyes as Bodie kissed the hollow of his neck. "Or I might not."
"Live dangerously." Doyle grinned at him, and took his cock in a sure and knowing hand.
While Doyle worked him, Bodie set about lighting Doyle up. He lavished attention on Doyle's nipples, knowing very well the signals that would send to Doyle's cock. But he rubbed his shoulders and arms as well, and kissed his chest, and the old, old scar on his side, where they'd cracked him open. There wasn't an inch of Doyle's skin that he didn't know, that he hadn't explored. This was his territory, and he'd marked each change of the seasons. No one else knew Doyle this way, and no one ever would. He bit at the juncture of neck and shoulder, then sucked.
"Ah, fuck. Bodie!" Doyle's voice was a little slurred. "Now I'll have to wear a different shirt.
"Let 'em see." Bodie smiled. "Live dangerously."
"I wouldn't provoke me just now." Bodie jerked as Doyle's hand twisted on his balls.
"Ah...Ray. Be careful."
Doyle leaned forward and kissed Bodie. "Then get on with it, 3.7."
Bodie pushed him back. "Bossy sod."
"What was that?"
"Turn over 4.5. Show us your best asset." Bodie ran his hands down Doyle's torso, then reached for the lube.
"No, this way." Doyle reached out a hand to stroke Bodie's arm. "Face-to-face."
Bodie looked at him. "What are you...?"
"I want to see you, that's all." Doyle smiled. "Suspicious sod."
Bodie kissed him. "With bloody good reason. All right then, let's be having you." Bodie uncapped the tube.
"Romance is dead."
"After thirty years--"
Bodie paused and looked at Doyle's heavy-lidded eyes. "Eh?"
"I count it from the first day we were partnered."
"You never have before!"
"Would you bloody get on with it!" Doyle's hands urged him up, and they slid easily into position. It had been a while since they had done it this way. Bodie watched Doyle's face as he pushed into him, loving the shifting, fluid expressions as Doyle concentrated inward. It was almost as if he could feel it himself, so well did he know Doyle. And when Doyle's eyes opened and met his, the understanding flowed both ways. Then Bodie pushed forward and revelled in Doyle's gasp. Slower to rise now he might be, but he could make this possession last. There was nothing better than feeling Ray pressing around him, hearing his breaths and moans, seeing him surrender. It was like a live wire between them, connecting them, and heat built in his stomach, like a slow fuse towards detonation.
"Enjoying yourself, sunshine?" There was laughter in Doyle's voice, under the passion.
Bodie looked at him. "It's all right." Doyle shifted, and Bodie failed to contain a groan. "Yes, dammit." He took Doyle's cock in his hand, feeling it pulse. "And so are you."
"Yeah." Doyle drew out the word. "Wouldn't want to be anywhere else."
Bodie sighed. "All right. No need to go on." He pushed harder and felt some satisfaction when Doyle grunted.
"Just in case you were wondering, you know. Having left me with my former lover."
"Shut up, Doyle."
"Encouraging me, really..."
"Fuck you!" He picked up his pace, his hand tightening on Doyle.
"That's right." Doyle arched, then relaxed and looked at Bodie. "I told her she'd lost thirty years ago."
"You didn't." He was breathing heavily.
"Well--God!" Doyle's head pushed back and he quivered beneath Bodie. "No. But I did...Christ...say...thirty-four.... Harder, mate!"
Bodie thrust into him and squeezed his cock, well aware what that glazed look meant. "You told her you're mine, didn't you?"
"Yeah." Doyle panted, his eyes squeezed shut. "And that you...are..." He heard Doyle's breath catch, and a few moments later, Doyle came.
Bodie lowered his head to Doyle's chest. He was closer than he'd thought, and a sob escaped from him as he kept thrusting, seeking the release he craved. Seeking to join Doyle.
"Mine. I told her. You're mine, you--" He felt Doyle's hand on his on his back--warm and familiar, callused still, though they only used guns for target shooting.
"Fuck. Ray!" He came as he said the name--an explosion from the inside out, pouring himself into Doyle. He loved him, dammit. And Doyle would take it all--everything he was, insecurities or not. Doyle would catch him as he fell, would hold him close, and would call him a stupid bastard. Mine, yours, ours. Bodie closed his eyes and trusted in Doyle, as he always had done.
For a long time they lay together, after Bodie withdrew from Doyle's body. Doyle's arms held him close, and Bodie listened to the heartbeat beneath his ear. He could hear nothing from the outside world. But finally he sighed and broke the silence. "I'm sorry."
"Idiot." Doyle slid a hand along Bodie's back and side.
"Was she very...um...."
"Shocked? Angry? Embarrassed?"
"She actually took it pretty well."
"Good." Bodie spread his hand on Doyle's stomach.
"After I convinced her I wasn't going to change my mind."
"She invited us," Doyle lifted his head, "both of us," he lay down again, "to dinner."
There was a long silence. "I said thank you but that we had plans for tonight." Doyle's voice was amused.
Bodie pursed his lips. "Why aren't you mad at me?"
"Who said I'm not?" Bodie ran a finger along Doyle's spent cock. "That was punishment," Doyle said quickly.
Doyle sighed. "Yes, all right." He appeared to ponder for a bit. "Maybe I should've fucked you."
"It wouldn't have been any different."
"Shorter." Bodie nipped Doyle's skin with his teeth.
"Ow! We'll time it. Tonight."
"Optimist." Bodie rubbed his cheek on Doyle's chest. "Go on, what's the real reason you're being so understanding about me being a berk?"
Doyle's hand settled on Bodie's side. "Do you remember when you had lunch with Murphy awhile back?"
"Yeah." He thought about it a moment, then pushed up on his elbow to look at Doyle. He grinned. "You never thought I fancied Murph?"
"No, of course not. Well, yes, actually, because you do--but I'm used to your roving eye. No, that's not it."
Doyle's gaze slid away from his. And suddenly it was like coming in for a parachute landing. The ground felt solid beneath his feet once more. He knew that look of Doyle's. "Confession, my son..."
"Murphy's living the glamorous life, isn't he? And don't tell me he hasn't asked you to join in with him."
Bodie stared at him, then let his delight show in a slow smile. "You stupid bastard."
Bodie laughed. He leaned forward to kiss Doyle. "We're a right pair of twats, aren't we?"
Doyle rubbed his shoulder. "At least it's mutual. I'm still afraid you'll hanker for your wandering days. Lived in fear for years, you know."
"I found I like being tethered--as long as you're part of the deal." He ducked his head for a moment. "She reminded me that sometimes I'm afraid you'll trade me for a normal life--one where you don't have to kill. Or be killed.
"I made that choice a long time ago. I've never regretted it."
He left it too long. He knew it when he saw Doyle cock his head.
"What is it, Bodie?"
He shrugged. "When you made that choice. What other...she was gone. You'd put the job first...." He closed his eyes.
Doyle rapped him with his knuckles. "I didn't put the job first, but she couldn't see that. I mishandled it, yeah, but she never gave me a chance to explain."
"She wanted you to change."
"Which you never did. Bloody fool that you are."
Bodie finally looked at him.
Doyle rubbed Bodie's mouth with his thumb. "I chose it because you were part of the deal. I wouldn't trade a minute with you for thirty years with her or anyone else. Not one minute."
"Thirty-four years." Bodie kissed him and sat up.
"Who's counting? It seems like yesterday, doesn't it?"
"When you glared at me across Cowley' office?"
"You were being a--"
"But I made you laugh."
"There is that."
"Do you really count it from that moment?"
Doyle smiled. "I do. Come here." He pulled Bodie towards him.
"We'll miss the second session." Bodie stretched out on top of him.
"It's only the pre-conference."
"It's paid for."
"Are you saying we should live--" Doyle's mouth took his, cutting off his words.
It suited him to spend the rest of the morning in bed, even if all they did was kiss and argue. They could both fit in the monsoon shower. That would be fun. Then go out for lunch, and explore the city. He thought of Ann, somewhere in the hotel, or maybe the city by now. They could ring her about dinner later in the week. Maybe. He'd been wrong--blinded by old fears. There'd been no skirmish to fight today. The war was over long ago. Hell, it had been over that first day in Cowley's office, thirty-four years ago, when a glare had shifted to surprised laughter, and his heart had tumbled willy-nilly into love.
-- THE END --