Counter Move


An Alternative Sequel to "Endgame" by Chris Power

The moon shone brightly through the uncurtained window, falling in pools across the bed and setting Bodie's skin glowing palely as he moved restlessly in his sleep. The quilt had long since slipped to the floor as he had tossed and turned on the bed. Gradually, the movements slowed and stopped, but muscles weren't relaxed, they were tense, held taut, quivering. His breathing came in shallow gasps, rising to a crescendo as if some terrible cataclysm was approaching and he could do nothing to stop it.

Suddenly, with a long, rapid inhalation, he came awake, jerking bolt upright in the bed, breath held, eyes wide open. Still caught in his nightmare he held motionless, reliving the last few seconds of the terrible vision, unable to understand why it was a dark, moonlight night when a moment ago the sun had been blazing down on his head and shoulders.

Awareness returned slowly. He was in his own bedroom in his own flat. Alone. There were no bars at the window. He was in his own bed, not lying on some stinking pallet in a cell somewhere in Iran. His muscles ached with tension and he raised a shaking hand to his neck - nothing - no silver chain he'd been sure he'd find. The vividness of the dream slowly faded and became less real. His shoulders slumped and he was suddenly conscious of the sweat running down his face and in rivulets down his back. He sank back on the bed, feeling it soak into the already damp sheet.

Breath still coming quickly, he rolled onto his stomach with a stifled moan and buried his face in the pillow. How many more times would this dream return to plague him - breaking his nights so often with Doyle because the blissful nights spent in his company didn't keep the hideous nightmare away. If anything, it worsened, became more real, more terrifying and he'd wake trembling in his partner's arms, panting and sweat- soaked. It worried Doyle very much and he wanted to know what was wrong, wouldn't be put off much longer with prevarifications, excuses and vague explanations.

How could he explain to his friend... lover... that he'd dreamed his death? Even now, Bodie could feel the numb agony spread across his chest at the vivid reality of that part of his dreams. A bomb, under the floorboards of an empty house, set off by a trembler when the door had slammed in a draught... with Doyle inside. And he, Bodie, hadn't been there. An unseen enemy, no gunmen for Bodie to guard his partner from. A sneaky, hidden killer that couldn't be fought. Unbidden, the vision of Ray's pale, composed features rose in front of his eyes. His blank, relaxed face as he lay stretched out on the cold mortuary slab.

No! With stiff, jerky movements, Bodie hauled himself upright, fumbling for his bathrobe at the end of the bed. Dragging it on, he shuffled out into the kitchen in an effort to lose the haunting details of his dream in more mundane, everyday activities. He filled the kettle and plugged it in, took a mug down and spooned in coffee and sugar. As he carried the steaming cup back through the sitting room, he turned and went to his drinks cabinet, poured a generous slug of brandy into the hot, fragrant liquid.

He sank down onto the settee. Maybe it was time he thought about the nightmare properly, faced up to it, listened to the message it might be trying to give him - which he wasn't sure he wanted to hear.

Fact: he and Ray had been lovers in his dream. Nothing odd in that - they were lovers in reality. Fact: each time the dream came to him it unravelled a little more. The first time it had shown him Ray's death he'd woken in his arms, so pathetically relieved to feel the man's warmth, hear the even heartbeat and slow breathing. The next time it had happened he hadn't woken and his world had fallen in on him. A nightmare within a nightmare. In the dreams he'd left CI5 almost immediately, had wanted to get far away from it, from London from anything reminding him of his last five and a half - happy? - yes, happy years. He'd made contact with Tarquin - a mercenary leader Bodie had known years ago - wanting action, a war to hold his attention on keeping himself alive from minute to minute before the pain flooded in wholly, to make him wish for death. He had been hired by unknown Iraqi agents to take part in the long- running offensive against Iran. His first job of sabotage had been successful. He'd gone about his work as well as ever but had felt his companions' amazement at his single-minded ruthlessness. A determination to succeed at whatever cost to himself - as if his own life was worthless. His second job had also been accomplished but they hadn't got away.

Bodie was amazed at his total recall, the clarity of it. This was no normal dream - they usually faded within minutes, making it difficult to remember anything about them. Not this time.

Abruptly, he remembered the silver chain. It had kept Ray with him. When it was stolen from him the insanity had crept a little closer and he'd killed with a savage, unfeeling cruelty, aweing his captors with his cool viciousness. The restoration of the chain had returned Ray to his side. He'd looked into the feline green eyes and remembered forcefully how their relationship had developed, the immediate, physical need growing, crystallizing slowly into something deeper, stirring his feelings, committing him, making him need his partner in a way he'd never needed anyone before. But Bodie had refused to acknowledge that emotional need, using their relationship purely as a convenience, consciously letting it mean nothing more to him. He'd seen Doyle's hurt at his lack of acceptance, seen it but hadn't let it penetrate.

His thoughts slowed their headlong dash through his mind as pieces began to click together. During the last four months of their new relationship, he had refused to let himself be drawn deeply into emotional commitment, had held a part of himself aloof from his partner and Ray had known, known there was a side of Bodie he'd probably never see. Even though he'd given himself whole-heartedly to Bodie, hoping for some small, unspoken promise, he hadn't received it. Bodie recognised that pain now, afflicted by his own need to protect himself. Selfish bastard! Selfish, unthinking, cruel bastard. Last night, for example, they'd gone to one of the local pubs for a few pints and had met two pretty girls obviously on the lookout for new talent. Bodie wasn't about to pass up an opportunity like that and they'd stayed together all evening then split up - Bodie going off with one girl, leaving Ray in the pub with the other. He'd felt his partner's eyes following him out of the bar but had refused to notice the bleak look in them as once again Doyle had sat back and let Bodie deliberately diminish their growing bond. As much as Ray wanted that commitment, as much as he was willing to commit himself, he wouldn't ask it of Bodie if he thought it wasn't in his make-up to give it.

Bodie leant his head back against the settee and groaned anew. He'd always been afraid of letting people too close, letting them mean too much to him. That way he got hurt, unbearably. You can't trust anyone. Yet he knew he could trust Ray. It was the job he couldn't trust. It could take Ray away from him. But was that a reason to stand away, to hold himself off from completion, a joy he knew he could be his if he could let his feelings flow, open his heart for once? In a job where death could come any time, wasn't it better to grasp what joy there was rather than refuse it simply because you were scared what would happen if it was taken from you? You can trust Ray. Let him know what your true feelings are. You know what his are, what's in his heart, don't you?

More relaxed now, after the laced coffee, he peered at his watch, 1.30. Was that all? It felt as though the nightmare had lasted all night, let alone his examination of it. He wanted to see Ray. Now. Before anything happened to part them for ever. Did he dare? For all he knew, Ray could have taken that girl back to his own flat. She could still be there, unlike his own girl, who'd taken herself off home after one mildly interesting hour. Except I know he won't have taken her home, Bodie thought morosely. He only wants me, he's made that quietly but obviously clear over the last few months. Was he really ready to give himself into Ray's hands? The question was really no longer necessary. The dream had shown him what it would be like to lose Ray without letting him know what he meant to Bodie. He had to tell him before anything happened to either of them.

Decision made, he went back into the bedroom and got dressed. Swiftly, he locked up the flat, got into his car and drove off along the familiar route to his partner's flat.

Drawing up outside the flat he killed the engine quickly and looked up at the windows. No lights. Had he brought his duplicate key with him? Yes. Good, he didn't want to have to get Doyle out of bed to the front door. Didn't want him to be too sharply alert when he confessed his feelings to him. With any luck, his actions might do that for him, although he knew he'd have to talk about it soon, he owed Doyle that.

He got out of the car, shut the door quietly and sprinted eagerly up the steps. Letting himself into the dark and silent flat, he stood still for a moment, feeling his heart start to pound, hearing the thud of it through the night stillness.

Better check, just in case... He walked cat-footed through to the bedroom and peered round the door. Doyle was alone. Breathing a sigh of relief, he withdrew to the sitting room to undress.

Once naked, he tiptoed back to Doyle's bedside and stood looking down at his lover. Ray was sprawled on his back with the sheet tangled round his hips. Another restless sleeper? Bodie wondered. An arm was flung up above the curly head and there was a wistful droop to the sensual mouth, as if he'd fallen asleep on unhappy thoughts. Bodie's heart contracted at the sight. He wanted to relieve that unhappiness.

He knelt on the floor by the bedside and bent his head to lay a soft and gentle kiss on the sleeping mouth. Doyle stirred slightly but didn't wake. Bodie slid a hand along the side of his face, cupping an ear and gliding fingertips into soft, tumbled hair. He let the kiss deepen slightly and slipped his tongue carefully into Ray's mouth. His partner started to respond before he was properly awake, hooking an arm round Bodie's back to draw him closer. Then Bodie felt the muscle tense under his hand as Ray awoke and realised what was happening.

"Bodie... What... what are you doing?"

"Isn't it obvious?" Accompanied as it was by a long caress over shoulders and chest, it felt obvious to Bodie.

"Yes, but... What time is it?"

The nipples hardened under Bodie's circling palms, encouraging him. "Never mind the time, sunshine. D'you want me?" His voice was muffled, his face buried in Ray's neck.

"Mmmm, yes, I always..." A pause, then abruptly, "What brought this on after last night?"

"No more talking... explain later. I need you, Ray." And Doyle found his mouth taken in a kiss that had new depths to it. A tenderness, a willingness to follow his own need instead of only Bodie's lust.

The new Bodie was so close to his secret dreams and wishes that his objections faded and he surrendered himself completely, pulling Bodie onto the bed and stretching sensuously against him. His own arousal was growing quickly, the sweet ache was never far away from him when he was in Bodie's arms. But he was surprised to feel a full erection already pressing into his belly as Bodie moulded his body against every inch of his.

The situation was so desperately wanted but so surprising that he let Bodie take the lead, let him indicate his own needs.

Bodie reluctantly released the soft lips and pressed a kiss onto the tender skin beneath Ray's ear, trailing a line down his neck and over his chest, following the lie of the silky body hair. His tongue swept over the hardened nipples and sped on down over the quivering belly muscles. He glanced up at his partner's face. Ray's eyes were shut and his lips still parted from Bodie's kiss, the breath coming quickly between them. Suddenly his eyes opened and Bodie held his gaze as he slithered further down the slim body and took the hardened shaft into his mouth, cupping the soft sacs in gentle fingers, feeling them tighten in his hand. He saw Ray's eyes close slowly in rapturous anguish and his head rolled from side to side on the pillow, back arching as he demanded more of the exquisite pleasure.

Bodie continued worshipping the delicious object for a few moments more then, feeling the quivering in Doyle's body increase, he drew gently away and moved back up the bed, aware of Doyle's lips, clearly expecting a kiss. Bodie flicked out his tongue and traced the shape of the full mouth.

Hazily appreciating the tenderness, Doyle reached out his own tongue to duel softly with Bodie's. He pulled the dark head closer, expecting his mouth to be taken, probed, but no such dominance was forthcoming. Instead, Bodie pressed an open mouth against his, inviting exploration. Doyle complied, hearing his lover's deep-throated moan of pleasure with increasing joy. He didn't understand what had wrought the change but this new tender, loving Bodie was what he'd longed for. He wanted to lose himself in that sweet, wet darkness and started to undulate gently against the body lying over his. But Bodie drew away, pressed another light kiss on the swollen lips then turned to lie on his stomach, head tucked into a folded arm.

"Bodie...?" an unsure whisper. All their previous lovemaking in this fashion had been completed at the height of lust and desperation. Apart from trying not to hurt each other, there'd not been much tenderness in the act, for either of them. Now, Bodie was offering himself wholly, for Doyle to do as he would with him. His arms ached with the sweet need building in him. But he had to make sure Bodie really wanted this.

"Bodie, are you sure...?"

"Yes..." a long sigh. He heard Doyle whisper his name again then felt his mouth begin to trace its way across his shoulder blades and down his back.

Desire built slowly for them, the fire gradually licking higher. Wanting to keep the new gentleness for as long as possible, Doyle softly employed hands and mouth, although his self- control almost broke when Bodie pushed himself onto hands and knees, wordlessly demanding action. Instead of their usual, desperate, lustful couplings, this time it was willing submission and a tender giving, which boosted the sensations unbelievably. Groans filled the air as the pinnacle was reached and they hung suspended before beginning the slow spiral down.

Totally spent by the physical and emotional sharing, Doyle dropped back on the bed, gathering his lover into his arms. Bodie clung tightly to the panting body, tucking his head under Doyle's chin and listening to the thundering heart gradually slowing. He lay quietly, basking in the warm afterglow, fulfillment seeping into every cell of his exhausted body. A deep wave of... something... spread through him. He struggled to define it... contentment, peace, joy, protectiveness, affection... No, there's another word that sums it all up...

"Ray," he lifted his head to meet Doyle's smiling, sleepy eyes. "I love you."

He watched the hazy green eyes widen and glow with delight, then to his dismay the sparkle of tears approached in them. He felt his own breath catch at the intensity of emotion flooding through him and reached up to pull Ray into a gentle, prolonged kiss that held a wealth of promise and commitment...

Luxuriating in a feeling of flawless completion, wholeness and belonging, they slept.

A persistent bleeping woke them to early morning light and a warm tingle of entwined limbs.

Doyle sighed and reached for his R/T. "4.5," he said, stroking the dark head nestled on his chest.

Bodie stretched, cat-like against him, pressed a kiss on the shoulder and enjoyed the soft caress over his hair.

A minute later Doyle shook his shoulder. "Come on. Gotta go."

"Huh? Where? still half asleep.

"Fitzalan Street. Cowley's meeting us there."

"What's going on?"

"Something nasty in a basement flat. Could be the start of another London bombing campaign."

Ten minutes and they were on their way in Doyle's car. When they arrived, Cowley was impatiently pacing the pavement.

"The neighbours have reported strange comings and goings during the last two or three nights," he growled. "Two men carrying a lot of equipment in and out and all hours of the night. But it looks very much like the birds have already flown - the place is empty." He looked at Doyle. "I want you to check it out from the front, 4.5. Bodie, take the back."

Bodie ran along the alleyway leading to the back of the terrace, not wanting Doyle to get into the basement before he did.

Suddenly, memory clicked. Fitzalan Street... empty basement flat... Doyle going in without him... There was a horrible parallel already in his mind.

No, it can't be, can't be... "Ray!" He swung on his heel, yelling for his partner at the top of his voice, shattering the Sunday morning peace.

Cowley met him at the alleyway entrance. "Bodie, what the hell d'you thing you're doing, man?"

Bodie pushed him aside. "Get Doyle out! There's a bomb! Ray!" He reached the railings that opened onto the basement and to his profound relief saw his partner poised on the window ledge ready to climb inside. "Ray, get back up here, quickly," he ordered, ignoring a wrathful Cowley at his elbow.

"Bodie, are you crazy? There's nothing in there." But Doyle climbed back up the steps anyway.

"It's booby-trapped. Don't ask me how I know but there's a bomb planted under the floorboards" He drew in a shaking breath, willing Cowley to take him seriously but determined not to let Doyle go in there, no matter what.

"I will be asking... later, and you'd better not be wasting our time." Cowley stalked away to summon the necessary assistance.

Doyle turned to his partner, puzzled. "Bodie? How...?"

"Don't ask yet, Ray. I'll tell you all about it later."

Looking into Bodie's dark blue eyes, Doyle could read horror and fright. He gave his partner's arm a comforting squeeze.

Half an hour later the bomb disposal man was down in the basement, stealthily taking up the floorboards. Bodie and Doyle could hear his report to Cowley over the R/T.

"There are explosives here, all right, sir, attached to a trembler device. A heavy footfall on the boards would have set it off."

Doyle turned a pale face to Bodie as Cowley came across to them.

"Well, lad, you were right. Care to tell me how you knew?"

Bodie held Ray's eyes, a dawning relief showing in his own. He wasn't about to question it but he'd listened to the messages and with a combination of guts and luck had blocked off one path their lives could have taken.

He smiled at Ray, "A dream..."

-- THE END --

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