Noises at Dawn
by Fanny Adams
Noises at dawn will bring
Freedom for some, but not this peace
No bird can contradict: passing, but is sufficient now
For something fulfilled this hour, loved or endured.
- W.H.Auden, 1928
Doyle's long, luxurious stretch was interrupted by a low whistle. "Oh, very nice," Richardson said as he came up behind and put his hands on Doyle's backside.
"Gerroff." This was all he needed now.
"Come on, why don't you try being friendly?" the big man asked as his fingers stroked the tight denim. Richardson had been trying it on since Doyle had been hired almost a week before, and Ray was running out of both patience and excuses.
"Because I don't like being touched up without my permission. Now bugger off before I make a scene." He could, he reflected sadly, have easily broken a few of those fingers, or perhaps an arm, and made his point a good deal faster. Undercover assignments were so inhibiting.
The hands withdrew and Ray turned to face his admirer. "You certainly are hard to get," Richardson remarked. "Whatever else you are." The odd emphasis on the last made Ray uncomfortable. He decided to brazen it out.
"I smell sour grapes," Ray said nastily as he began to work, setting the liquor bottles on the bar like little sentinels. He wisely kept his face to Richardson as he bent over the cases on the floor. "Why don't you just hang it up, Richie? I don't fancy you."
"You don't seem to fancy anyone do you?"
"Who I fancy is my own business, isn't it? Not part of the job description to sleep with the assistant manager, is it? Or should I ask the boss?"
Richardson didn't look at all put off. To Ray's dismay he looked thoughtful. "You've been here a week, Ray, and I've been watching you very carefully..."
"Yeah, I've noticed. Inhibiting, that is."
"You haven't even seemed interested in the scores of men who have been interested in you. Now that's odd, don't you think?"
"Maybe I have a lover at home who's the jealous type--ever think of that?" Ray swore inwardly and emptied cases with increased vigour. A polite 'no-thank-you' was enough for almost everyone else.
"Yes, I did think of that. You don't, do you?"
"None of your business," Ray growled. If Richardson had been checking up, he'd know that Ray lived alone. That was, unfortunately, part of the set-up.
"Well, it is... in a way." Ray said nothing. "Boys like you are good for business, Ray, so long as they're nice to look at and friendly. Do you get my drift?"
"Not in the job description to sleep with the bloody customers either." He put the wine on ice and began to put the dispenser tops on the liquor. Apart from being a sexual minefield, this place was bloody hard work.
"Not as such, no. However, our customers do come here expecting something for the very considerable prices we charge- -a mild flirtation with the good-looking barman... Ray darling, you don't even flirt with them."
That was true, Ray reflected with a twinge. He hadn't thought of that. Dammit, why couldn't Bodie have done this job? At least he'd had some experience with this sort of thing. "So?"
"So maybe you're not what you seem?"
"And what's that supposed to mean?" When in doubt, take the offensive. He stood, arms akimbo, and scowled at the assistant manager.
"Maybe you're not really gay."
Ray forced himself to laugh. "Come on, why would I work here if I was straight? The money's not that good." He smiled unpleasantly. "Yeah, an' I love working for a bloody great ponce like you."
"I can't imagine why either," Richardson mused. He leaned against the bar and studied Ray. "You're too pretty for your own good, boy."
"So I've been told." Ray began to work again. He was worried. Richardson was going to push the issue, and the wrong response would blow the operation. Cowley would kill him. Cowley would flay him alive with his tongue and then turn the remains over to Macklin. Was it worth it to avoid being mauled by Richardson for half an hour? It most certainly was not. He held his breath.
"But if you're not gay..." Richardson paused dramatically. "You can't work here."
Ray swore to himself. "You 'ave a test worked out or something? Inkblots? Blood test? Something to do with green saliva?"
"Better. Come with me." He turned and started out of the bar. Ray hesitated for a moment, then followed. He knew what the test would be, of course. He'd known all along that this was a possibility, but the reality of it had only just struck him with the force of a fist. He tried frantically to remember all the things Bodie had told him.
Richardson led Ray to his office. "Boys like you, Ray, can't afford to be too particular about who they sleep with, can they?"
Ray said nothing. He followed Richardson through the office and into a small bedroom. Just what he'd expected. No real surprises, thank god. He could do it. Cowley wouldn't have given him the job unless he could do it.
"I told you before, I don't fancy you." He began to undress. "If I have to do this to keep my job, I will, but don't expect anything in the way of great passion from me." He stripped down quickly and lay face down on the bed clearly signaling his intention of being the passive partner in this encounter. It was easier that way; he was far less likely to display his ignorance while being fucked. Despite the pointers Bodie had given him, giving head was entirely beyond him, and his lack of experience would give him away.
"You want it this way?" Richardson asked, stroking Ray's thighs and buttocks. Ray bit his lip very hard.
"It's the way you like it, isn't it? Yeah, the other blokes talk about you. No surprises, Richie. Come on and do it. I have work to finish."
He lay passive under the big hands that stroked and kneaded his flesh, and tried very hard not to tense as a finger probed him. Relax, relax, he said to himself over and over as Richie lubricated the opening. Then the pressure and the first sharp pain, and Ray tried to recall everything that Bodie had told him about getting fucked--relax, just relax. Easier bloody said than done. Did it always hurt like this? he wondered as every hair on his head stood on end. He gave a little cry. Richardson drew him up to his knees.
"Nice and tight, Raymond. That's the way I like 'em." His hand reached around and stroked Ray's limp genitals. Ray decided that he was lucky that Richardson couldn't see his face.
Ray tightened his muscles around Richardson's cock and found, as Bodie had promised, that relaxing them completely was suddenly easier--well worth the momentary pain. Instead of a dull ache when Richardson moved inside of him, there was a feeling of fullness and warmth which was not all unpleasant. Bless Bodie for being so open about his experiences. Yeah, said a little, nagging voice in Ray's head, and if it weren't for those broken bones in his foot, it would be Bodie on his knees instead of Ray. Bet he broke his foot on purpose. The thought almost made Ray laugh.
It wasn't so bad now. In fact it was the sort of feeling that, with the right person inside you, could be good. Startling thought, that, particularly for Ray, who had never really fancied a male sexual partner. Of course he'd done the standard I'll-show-you- mine-if-you-show-me-yours games when much younger, but that was boys together, experimenting with something new, not grown men preferring other grown men. Until this moment, he had never really understood why Bodie sometimes preferred men to women. It was one of those things about his partner that he accepted and never considered too closely.
Richardson was whispering something--vague obscenities, Ray realized, in an attempt to arouse himself or Ray. He tuned the man out and thought about Bodie.
Bodie. He had more than his share of men as well as women panting over him, Ray realized. Bodie was a good-looking devil. Immune to that side of his partner, Ray had come to know the man under the attractive mask... well, some small part of the man anyway. Bodie was something of an enigma to Doyle. Still, they liked and respected each other. That was enough.
When this assignment was over, he was going to buy Bodie dinner to say thank you for the coaching. Richardson's thrusts were becoming erratic; he was close. It'd be over soon. There was a small popping sound and a little vial was thrust under his face, pressed against his nose and mouth, and the smell told him that it was amyl nitrate. He felt his heart begin to pound as though he'd just run a mile, and his flesh heated suddenly as the blood rushed to the surface. All of his sensations seemed to center around the cock that was moving inside him--this could be good with someone special, with someone you liked and respected. Ray felt giddy. It would be good with Bodie. He trusted Bodie. Richardson exploded inside him. He wished it was Bodie. After a moment or two, Richardson released him and Ray slid onto the bed, pulling free of Richardson's rapidly softening cock.
"I knew you'd be good," Richardson said at last, and Ray wanted to laugh. Was that all it took to be a good bottom-man? Richardson lay beside him, caressing his right buttock. Ray didn't care at all; he was thinking about being in bed with Bodie. "There could be a rise in this for you."
"What?" Ray turned his head and glared at the man who had intruded on his thoughts.
"For a regular thing. I could make sure that there was something extra in your pay packet each week."
Ray rolled over and slid off the bed, wincing as his abused muscles protested the first few steps. "Where can I wash?"
He checked himself carefully--only a little blood. That was good; he'd expected worse. The whole exercise had been easier than he'd thought it would be. He decided to take a bath. Richardson knocked on the door and asked, with nauseating coyness, if Ray wanted company, and Ray replied in most unfriendly tones that he did not. He realized of course, that he'd have to keep Richardson happy for the rest of the operation, or the only thing extra he'd find in his pay packet would be a termination. Lie back and think of England, he told himself, grinning despite the aches. Or lie back and think of Bodie. As the reasons for that did not bear close examination, Ray did not examine them closely.
When he finished his bath, he retrieved his clothing and dressed quickly with Richardson watching. "How much of a rise?" he asked. "And for what?"
It was the right line to take, he realized. Suddenly he'd become the calculating little hustler in Richie's eyes, which went a long way towards explaining his former reticence.
"An extra twenty each time?"
"Sure." He was about to leave when Richardson caught his arm.
"When will you come again?"
"When I see the next pay packet, Richie." He patted the fleshy face and smiled sharkishly. "Take care, lover. Don't catch anything nasty." Then he went back down to the bar to finish the job he'd begun earlier.
As he had expected, the operation took about ten days, in which time he allowed the assistant manager to fuck him several more times. Richardson was harmless, Ray realized, and not a part of the blackmail ring that he was working on, but Ray couldn't afford to be on his bad side. Luckily Richie liked being treated badly by his boys. The more you despised him, the more slavish he became, until, by the end of the operation, he was begging Doyle to live with him. It was almost pitiful, really, having to tell him that he, Doyle, was a CI5 agent, and not a hot little number on the make.
After the cleanup, Doyle went back to the cover flat and cleaned out the few things that were his own. As he was leaving with his hold all, a crew arrived to claim all the props. "Don't waste any time, do you?" he asked Llewellyn, who was packing the erotic magazines and books.
"And what would you have in that hold all, pretty?" Llewellyn asked with infuriating smugness. "Will the count be short on these things, then?" He waved a particularly graphic example in front of Doyle's nose. "Educational, I call it."
"If you come up short, it's your own boys who are hot for a look at those things... or you."
"Oh no, I've read them already. See you."
"Not if I can help it."
Doyle decided to look in on Bodie on the way back to his flat. He hadn't been able to contact his partner for the duration of the operation, and was missing that cheerful insolence. Then too, he was never sure that Bodie could feed himself without Doyle's help, or cross the road without Doyle holding his hand. The thought of Bodie coping alone with a broken foot made Doyle wince.
To his dismay, Bodie answered the door quickly and sounded chipper enough. "What're you doing here?" he asked as Doyle strolled in and dropped his gear in the nearest chair.
"Wanted to make sure you were still in the land of the living." He looked around. "You've had a cleaning woman in."
"That sounds like an accusation. I did it myself, I'll have you know," Bodie countered as he limped towards the kitchen. "And I was just about to make coffee. Want some?"
"Bit of brandy?" Bodie grinned his agreement and several minutes later emerged from the kitchen with two steaming mugs of well-spiked coffee. "How did it go?" he asked.
"Not bad. Predictable really. I'll let you read the reports." Bodie looked disappointed. "I wanted to talk to you about something else, Bodie." Something in his face or his voice must have alerted Bodie. The look of disappointment was replaced by concern.
"What's wrong?" he demanded.
"Nothing's wrong, Bodie, only... Oh, bloody hell, I don't know how to say this."
"Just say it."
Doyle took a deep breath. "Can being fucked be good?" he blurted.
"With another man. Is it ever really good, or is it not uncomfortable at best?"
"What happened?" Bodie demanded, his face flushing slightly, more from anger than embarrassment, Ray realized.
"Don't worry, I wasn't gang-banged on the bar. I just had to accommodate the assistant manager a few times in order to keep the job. That isn't important, Bodie." He gestured for Bodie to remain silent while he had his say. "What I want to know is if it can ever be really good like that."
"Just yeah? That's not particularly enlightening."
"I don't know what else to say. It can be good or bad depending on who you're with and how you feel. Just like anything else. How did it feel to you?"
"Like it could be good with someone special. Oh, don't you laugh at me, Bodie: this is something of a revelation." He sipped his coffee and studied Bodie's face on which a good many emotions were warring.
"What more can I tell you, then? It's true. It is good with someone special. Why the hell did you let him fuck you?"
"If I'd tried to do a blow job on him he'd have known for sure I wasn't gay. Christ, Bodie, I've never even thought about doing something like that!" Bodie gave him a look and Ray relented. "All right, I may have considered the possibility, but I've never done it. It'd be a dead giveaway."
"You need some practice," Bodie said, wickedly.
"That's what I've been thinking." The admission obviously shocked Bodie who got up quickly, winced as he put too much weight on his injured foot, and limped back to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee. Ray followed him. "How to go about it, is what I want to know."
"Well... find yourself a willing partner," Bodie suggested. He poured himself a sizable nip of brandy and added coffee and milk to the mug.
"That goes without saying, doesn't it? Where? How do I do it? How do I make it clear that what I want is an educational experience and not an emotional involvement?"
Bodie sighed and carried his bug back to the couch. "Where is anywhere, really, but you have to be careful. There are a lot of very strange blokes out there. And as far as emotional involvement goes, I don't think you have to worry. One off is the rule rather than the exception."
"Sounds all sordid and furtive," Doyle remarked.
"Do you do that? One offs, I mean. Do you do a lot of that?"
"No." Bodie was clearly uncomfortable with the subject, but Ray was suddenly very interested in his partner's sex life.
"Well, what do you do? You don't get involved, obviously. Bodie, is there someone special?" As he asked it, a little flare of jealousy caught him by surprise. He wouldn't be happy to know that there was some man who was more important to Bodie than he was.
"Not as such, no. Look, Ray, we're talking about you, not me."
"Yeah, sure. So, I go out and pick up some guy..."
"It might be better if you were introduced to someone," Bodie told him.
"Blind date, eh? Know someone who would be willing to help me out?"
Bodie was thoughtful. "I know a few guys who might take you up on it. Casual affair, no strings... I'll be awake all night at this rate," he observed as he finished the dregs in his cup.
"We could switch to neat brandy," Ray suggested. He got up and went out to fetch the bottle, thinking all the while about what Bodie had proposed--an introduction to an experienced partner. It seemed the best idea, and yet, it didn't appeal to Doyle. When he returned with the bottle and two glasses, he said so.
"You're bloody hard to please, Doyle."
"No, but... I thought that with someone special..."
Bodie sighed. "You either have emotional involvement or you don't, Raymond, my son. Do I have to tell you this too?" He poured himself a brandy and sat back, his feet propped on the table. Ray studied the bandage that adorned one foot.
"Dunno, Bodie. I thought..." That was just the problem. He'd thought about Bodie the whole time. It was Bodie he wanted to experiment with, not some experienced stranger who occasionally slept with Bodie. Was it too much to ask, he wondered. He stared at Bodie who looked half asleep. How would he react to being a guinea pig? And how do you ask your partner to sleep with you--not out of love or lust but out of loyalty, because your intellectual curiosity has the better of you? You don't. "Ah, s'not important." Bodie opened one eye and stared at Ray.
"Too much trouble. Like you said, can't have it both ways."
"With someone you already know, you might," Bodie said slowly. He appeared to be thinking. "What about one of the lads on the squad?"
Doyle was startled. He hadn't considered the possibility. "Who?"
"Aah, you want names, do you?"
"Unless this is going to be a really blind date, yes."
"Tell me who you fancy. I'll tell you if he's available."
"You prat! Okay... ah," He thought very hard but couldn't come up with one possibility. "I don't really fancy anyone on the squad," he confessed.
"Nobody at all? No handsome face has bewitched you? No leanly-muscled body had driven you into ecstasies of the naughtiest kind? No sparkling blue eyes have winked at you in open invitation?" At which, Bodie fluttered his eyelashes wildly and Ray collapsed in a fit of laughter. "It's The Cow, isn't it?" Bodie demanded. Ray gurgled helplessly. "No, it's... it's... Macklin, isn't it?" S&M? That's why you enjoy the bashing he gives us."
Ray laughed until he hurt. When he finally began to recover he gasped, "the only one I could ever fancy is you, Bodie." There, it was out. Bodie's face shuttered immediately.
"Oh, very good choice," he replied with a coolness that sobered Ray immediately.
"S'true. Still, it'd be too much to ask, wouldn't it? Besides, I don't want to ruin the relationship."
"Yeah," Ray repeated. They drank the rest of the brandy in silence.
"But I'd do it," Bodie said, finally.
Ray didn't pretend to misunderstand, though it would have been an easy out. "You would?"
"Sure. Anything for a mate, eh?"
"Do you want to? That's the important thing, Bodie." Oh, please he prayed, let him say yes.
"I've thought about it. I'd like to try... if you don't think it'd spoil our relationship that is."
"If we were both determined not to let it spoil anything, it wouldn't, would it?"
"Would it?" Bodie echoed. There was something in his eyes--an expression that Ray had never seen before, but which he felt sure was echoed in his own eyes. He reached out to Bodie and grasped his hand in the classic gesture of friendship.
"Never," he promised, and Bodie smiled at him.
He was excited. Little butterflies swooped and flurried inside his stomach and a familiar heat was rising in him. He watched Bodie undress, and tried to think of a naked male body as a thing, not so much of beauty, because as an artist he was used to thinking along those lines, but as an object of desire. It was easy to find Bodie beautiful. He had a body like a statue-- smooth and cool-looking, like marble. As he moved with that remarkable feline grace, the hard muscles rippled under his white skin. Ray felt his breath catch uncontrollably as admiration was suddenly mixed up with something else far less objective. Suddenly his appreciation of beauty was mixed with a desire to own it.
Bodie looked up at him. "You going to stand there and stare?" Doyle shook his head and began to undress, recalling all unwillingly, the last man he'd done this for. But this was different, this was Bodie and Ray wanted it to happen.
He lay down on his stomach, as he had done with Richardson, but Bodie turned him over. "I don't much fancy doing it with a corpse, Raymond." Bodie's mouth fastened over Ray's left nipple and sucked gently, drawing it up into a hard point. "You're supposed to enjoy this," he whispered.
He was enjoying it, more than he'd expected to. Bodie's hands stroked him, caressed him, but there was no feeling of being used this time as there had been with Richardson. This time his flesh didn't shrink from the caresses, but rather seemed to rise to meet them. He felt his excitement rise between his thighs. Bodie rubbed his face against the swelling shaft, and was about to take it into his mouth when Ray stopped him.
"You know what I want," he said. "I want you to fuck me. I want to come like that."
Bodie smiled gently at him and kissed the bobbing tip of Ray's cock and rolled him onto his side. "I'll try not to hurt you, Ray," he promised. There was the sound of fumbling in the bedside table and a few moments later, Bodie's hand slipped between his cheeks and into him. Ray jerked away. "Did I hurt you?" Bodie sounded anxious.
"No, it's just... I..."
"Excitable?" Bodie kissed his shoulder and drew him back into an embrace.
"Yeh." He laughed weakly. A slick finger entered him and he moved back against it, moaning softly. "Oh, Bodie, that's good."
A familiar hardness nudged him, but instead of dreading it, he welcomed it. It pressed against the ring of muscle for a moment and then began to enter slowly, carefully. Ray thought he'd lose his mind. "yehyeh," he chanted softly, pressing back to meet Bodie's penetration. Strong arms wrapped around his waist.
"I'm fantastic... you're fantastic."
Bodie's hand wrapped around his cock and stroked it, drawing the foreskin upwards over the swollen head, milking it gently in the same rhythm as his thrusts. It was good. It was better than Ray had imagined it could be. He sank back against Bodie's broad chest and let himself go with the sensations. When his muscles tightened involuntarily he was rewarded, not with the familiar pain, but with a surge of pleasure that was echoed in a moan from Bodie. Ray was beginning to realize just how good this could be.
He felt Bodie's mouth pressed against his neck, warm wetness with each gasping breath. He tried tightening his muscles in a gentle rhythm.
"Bloody 'ell, Ray, you don't 'alf learn fast, do you?" Bodie gasped, his grip on Ray's waist tightening as well. Ray was pleased with the response, and began to work with his partner rather than lying passively in his arms. This was better by the minute, he decided, and smiled to himself as he thought that it would be nice to trade places for the next round... assuming that there would be one.
The pleasure began to build, like an insistent pressure within him, centered in his groin and pushing outward towards release. "I'm close," he said to Bodie.
"Good, good. Let it go, Ray, whenever you're ready." His hand worked faster along the shaft, and with each stroke, Ray's breath caught in him. It was becoming increasingly difficult to breathe properly. And just before Ray reached flashpoint, Bodie cupped a hand over the head of his cock, catching a handful of slick wetness.
"Saving the sheets?" Ray asked, when he finally recovered his voice, and his reason. It had been glorious, perfect... he wanted it to go on forever. Bodie slipped from Doyle and rolled onto his back, lifting his hand to his mouth and licking dreamily at his palm. Ray shivered at such an unexpected and beautifully wanton gesture from Bodie. "Thanks, sunshine."
"Any time. How do you feel?"
Bodie shrugged. "About the same, I guess." The indifference in his tone made Ray unaccountably sad. "Did you find out what you wanted to know, then?"
"And a deal more," Ray said bitterly. "Can I use the loo first?"
"Whatever you want."
Ray padded off to wash it all away.
He had been right, of course. With the right person, it was good--with a person he trusted, and respected... and loved. Yeah, he admitted, that was a part of it. Oh, not Romeo and Juliet, but comrades who also found pleasure in the other's body. The worst part was, that he didn't feel he could ever tell Bodie. It diminished the afterglow somewhat.
He was feeling sorry for himself when Bodie knocked at the door. "You okay, Sunshine?"
"Couldn't be better. I was just on my way out." He passed Bodie with his head bent, not able to meet the man's eyes. A hand caught his arm.
"What's wrong? Post coital depression?"
"A little, I guess. Takes a lot out of you, y'know?"
Bodie pressed him up against the wall. "I never even kissed you," he whispered, and a feather-soft touch of Bodie's mouth was their first kiss. Despite all his good intentions, Ray slipped his arms around Bodie's neck and shamelessly signaled his desire to be kissed again. This time the pressure was firmer and more insistent, demanding so much of what Ray thought he'd never have a chance to give. Beautiful, he thought. And when he raised his head, he saw in Bodie's eyes so much more than the cool concern that he had come to fear. "Surprise," he said softly.
"Do you mind?"
"No." Whatever was between them, he welcomed. "Do you?"
Bodie looked sheepish. "I expected it, in a way." He brushed a stray curl away from Ray's cheek in a sweetly proprietary gesture.
"Did you, then? Are you trying to tell me something?"
"Fishing, Sunshine? That's not like you." He ran a finger along Ray's ribs and made him squirm.
"Oh..." Bodie looked grieved so Ray kissed him again.
"Why didn't you... initiate it, then?" He was holding Bodie now as Bodie had held him at first. Partners--equals.
"You had to want it too," Bodie explained. "Are we going to stand here all night?"
"Yes. No. Let's go back to bed. And talk," he added. He wanted to know why they hadn't gotten around to this most pleasant pastime earlier in their partnership. "Did you think I wasn't interested?" he asked, as he curled up beside Bodie who smelled a little sweaty and very male--a surprisingly erotic scent.
"I thought you would be at some point," Bodie confessed. "But you had to decide what that point was. Pushing the issue never achieves much. I knew that if you wanted me, you'd come to me, so I waited."
Doyle shuddered to think how long Bodie could have waited. "Does it change things much?" It had to be asked, but he wasn't sure that he wanted the answer.
"As much as we let it, I expect. It's made you much more important to me." Bodie made a wry face. "That's a mixed blessing." Doyle stroked his smooth chest.
"Are we going to be jealous and passionate and silly for a while?" Amazing that he was considering that this would be forever.
"If you want."
Ray chuckled softly. "It might be fun. I've never been all three at once. Only on our days off, though."
"Done. Don't feel like making you jealous, though."
Ray crawled on top of Bodie and rubbed noses. "This is the silly part," he announced. "Just so you know."
"It scares me a little," Bodie said. For a moment, Ray wanted to run and hide from the confession, and from the look in Bodie's eyes that told him something that Bodie himself would never say. Forever. Down all the years together, to the moment of parting. This had always been there in the shadows, waiting for them.. No escape. It was frightening, and Doyle admitted it as well.
"But then," he said, as Bodie's arm curled around him, "it would have been the same no matter what. Isn't it nice we have this?"
Bodie sighed. "Is this the passionate part?" he asked with a tiny quaver in his voice that only Doyle would recognize as strong emotion.
"Not yet, but we'll get to it."
-- THE END --