They Don't All Wear Green on Thursdays


(Sequel to Pages 32-33 and Pages 34-35, by H)

Bodie studied Doyle surreptitiously as they sat in Cowley's office, listening to their briefing. He looks like the old, familiar Ray Doyle, CI5 agent, but I don't know him - not the real man, underneath the tough exterior... Bodie had been given a glimpse of him that morning, though. Things had happened so fast he still couldn't believe it. He'd been sitting over a last cup of coffee, trying to imagine what Ray's gay lifestyle must be like - and not getting beyond the inherent loneliness - when the object of his thoughts had arrived, bruised, tired and depressed. Bodie had insisted on cleaning up his injuries a little, horrified and furious at the danger Doyle was exposed to out on the streets at night. God knew there was peril enough in their jobs, did Doyle have to risk himself on one night stands as well? They'd ended up yelling at each other and Bodie had suddenly realised that he was the one who should be looking after Doyle - all night as well as all day.

Doyle's confession of love for him had taken him aback momentarily, as had the knowledge that he, Bodie, was the cause of Doyle's mistake' and the reason for his hurts - Bodie felt another jolt at the memory - but at the same time the commitment had strengthened and although he'd been unsure whether he could respond as Doyle obviously wished, only knew he wanted to try.

The recollection of Doyle's response to his touch, and the fire that had flared through his own blood, took Bodie's breath away again and he felt a warm glow rise slowly, tingling the length of his body. Startled, and afraid the heat would centre and make itself obvious, he shut off all thought of the physical aspects and instead turned his mind back to the puzzle of just how Ray could have been gay for so long without his working partner being aware of it. Again, Bodie searched his memory for any evidence of change in Doyle's behaviour and this time came up with something: his partner's altered style of dress. It had happened a few months back, when the scruffy jeans had suddenly disappeared, together with the collarless shirts and baggy sweatshirts. In their place Doyle had sported new jeans, smarter shirts (always with several buttons left undone...) and a never-ending supply of jackets, the favourite of which seemed to be an eye-catching tan leather blouson with a plush, fur collar. Bodie had soon noticed this new image because it drew attention to his own clothes and he was suddenly annoyingly conscious of just how worn and boring his own apparel was. Wondering briefly whether Doyle had had a pay rise without him, Bodie had dismissed it, supposing there to be a new girl in the wings, but it had still struck him as odd that the new rig-out, obviously worn to impress and attract, should be used for work. Not odd any longer, though. Bodie now knew that those clothes, together with the new hairstyle, had been aimed right at him. Doyle may have said he would never have made a pass at him but his sub-conscious had been working pretty hard in a desperate attempt to get Bodie's attention. He risked another look in his partner's direction.

Doyle lounged back in his chair, ostensibly listening carefully to their irritable boss, but a small portion of his mind was acutely aware of Bodie's glances. Doyle didn't dare return them - much as he wanted to - because they had to watch their step with Cowley in this waspish mood. If either of them stepped an inch out of line, Cowley was liable to retaliate by giving them an excrutiatingly boring, dirty or tiring job. So Doyle kept his happiness firmly damped down, but every so often little bubbles of it would escape and start the butterflies fluttering in his stomach again. Taking his mind off Cowley for an instant, he considered the feeling. It was something he had rarely experienced since adolescence and it pleased him that Bodie could engender it now. He had felt it briefly the previous night, in the pub, when he had caught sight of a dark, cropped head in the mirror over the bar. Forgetting that Bodie wasn't likely to be in a place like this, he had turned eagerly, searching out the familiar figure, then his heart had dropped again as the light fell on the man's face. It wasn't Bodie...but very similar...enough, maybe, in a dim light, to lend a little substance to Doyle's darkest, sweetest, most compelling dream. The stranger had seemed willing enough, too; quickly sensing someone's eyes on him, he'd looked up, met Doyle's hungry stare and within minutes was leading him out of the bar, guiding him in the direction of an apartment a few streets away. But the guy obviously had his own fantasies and Doyle's tender, cherished wishes had faded under the onslaught of the man's powerful need for subjugation. Infuriated and sickened, Doyle had hit back with a heavy punch on the jaw and, wrenching open the door, ran down the stairs and out into the street, not stopping until he was in the driving seat of his car. Head bowed against the steering wheel, senses still spinning from the blows he had received, the soft panting had gradually given way to sobs as hopelessness and misery spread through him like a black cloud. Even his dreams of how it might be with Bodie were tainted now. Pulling himself together, he drove home, showered quickly and got into bed without bothering to attend to his cuts and bruises. He didn't want to look in the mirror, felt too disgusted with himself.

But that was last night. This morning... No fantasy had prepared him for how Bodie's kiss would feel in reality. Doyle had been overwhelmed, uncomprehending, only breathlessly grateful that Bodie understood and in his concern and affection for his partner, genuinely wanted to care for Doyle, to ensure that last night's experience would never be repeated.

After that one kiss, Doyle had been delighted to feel Bodie's unlooked-for arousal pressing against his own. He couldn't believe Bodie's easy acceptance and his heart had somersaulted as Bodie asked gently, wonderingly, why he hadn't said anything before. That would have been impossible and anyway, it didn't matter now. Bodie knew...and felt the same...

Suddenly realising his eyes were almost closed, Doyle sat upright and looked guiltily across at Cowley, hoping he hadn't noticed.

George Cowley gradually became aware of an undercurrent of emotion in the room. Eyeing his two operatives sharply, he wondered what had happened. Where was the repartee which usually sparked back and forth between them? They were too quiet - almost ignoring each other, but there'd been no arguments, that he could swear to because the air could be almost toxic after one of their rare but heated exchanges. No, there was some other emotion at work here, hidden just below the surface, linking them together. It hadn't been there yesterday. Cowley wondered if Doyle had at last told his partner exactly where his emotional and physical needs had been taking him for the past few years and, more than that, had something occurred to make it possible for Doyle to admit his feelings for Bodie? Cowley pondered on the cuts and bruises visible on the round face - maybe they had played a part, although he was almost willing to bet a bottle of his best malt whisky that Bodie wasn't answerable for those injuries. His eyes darted to the dark, rangy figure in the other chair. That irritating, woman-chasing young man can't have objected at all to Doyle's feelings, judging by the atmosphere in his office. Perhaps this relationship was just what both of them needed - a stabilizing factor?

Seeing Bodie shift uncomfortably under the sustained observation, Cowley relented and, blinking, looked down at his desk once more, silently congratulating Doyle on having achieved what he wanted most. Cowley didn't intend letting on that he knew, having been on the receiving end of Doyle's rages for interfering in his private life more than once in the past, but they didn't give the old man' enough credit sometimes, he thought, remembering the expression that had been clearly visible in Doyle's eyes sometimes when he looked at Bodie, thinking himself unobserved. Maybe if he gave them something interesting but fairly harmless to do today, to keep them out of trouble, hopefully they'd sort themselves out over the weekend and he'd have two sensible operatives again on Monday, concentrating on work instead of on each other.

Accordingly, Cowley revised his decision to send Bodie and Doyle out to keep watch on London's East India Docks for evidence of a recently detected drug smuggling gang, instead opting for a subtler approach. The two men could spend the day tracking down Shorty Collins, a down-and-outer who made the sheds and warehouses of that part of London's dockland his regular haunt. Maybe, in exchange for a good meal and a drink, Shorty could be persuaded to get them some useful information and with any luck they might even catch this gang red-handed.

Looking up once more, whatever words Cowley had been about to say were frozen on his lips as he saw Bodie frantically waggling his eyebrows at Doyle's idiotically grinning face.

"When you've both finished," Cowley snapped, biting back his own smile as their heads jerked round. "I want you to go and pick up Shorty Collins. As you might remember, he hangs about the dock area on the Isle of Dogs."

After a surprised pause, Bodie groaned. "Oh, I remember, all right."

Recalling the last time they'd picked this particular miscreant off the streets, Doyle chuckled. "You never know, mate it's spring, he might've had a bath."

"Huh, the only liquid that blighter's skin ever sees is gin!"

"Mmm, a good preserving agent, that. Pity it stops at his innards when it could pickle the rest of im."

"Yeah...and we're in my car again, Doyle. Christ, last time it took me a week to get rid of the stink!"

"Okay, so I'll help you fumigate it this time!"

Relieved to see the return of their humorous backchat, but irritated by it nonetheless, Cowley sighed.

"If you'd rather stay here all day, I've got a lot of paperwork that needs catching up on..."

"Uh, no thanks, sir," Bodie said hurriedly. "Very dangerous work, that. I left blood all over the files last time - kept cutting myself on the papers."

"Och, get out of here, both of you," and Cowley watched them beat a hasty retreat from his office.

Once in the car and heading for the Isle of Dogs, Bodie looked across at Doyle.

"He must've been in a better mood than we thought. I could have sworn we were in for more than just picking up Shorty, Super-sleuth, Collins."

"Yeah, that's what the briefing sounded like, didn't it? He seemed to change his mind half way through... He was staring at us for ages - d'you think he knows?"

"About us? Yeah, I expect he's guessed. Practically a mind-reader, that bloke."

"So why the easy job instead of a weekend stake-out?" Doyle looked a little worried.

"Dunno, mate. Love's young dream turning him soft in the head, perhaps. It must have been your sweet smile that did it. Hey, d'you think he' way inclined as well? Never married, has he?" This earned Bodie a mock punch on the arm and he subsided, laughing softly to himself, unable to remember when he'd last felt this happy and relaxed.

By early afternoon they had found their prospective informant and after some initial resistance, managed to manoeuvre him - gingerly - onto the back seat of Bodie's car.

It felt like a long way back to Whitehall from the Isle of Dogs and Bodie was conscious of every evil-smelling second of it.

Catching sight of his grimacing face, Doyle grinned. "I'd've thought your mercenary days would've prepared you for this. Didn't the steamy jungle make everyone a bit ripe?"

"Yeah, but not to this level. Phew!"

"I'm immune to it, myself. My days as a - "

"Beat copper,"Bodie finished for him. "I might've known. You really managed to cram a lot of experience into those few years, didn't you, Raymond?" he said provocatively, then threw a disgusted look over his shoulder. "Well, I wish em joy of this one back at base!"

They spent the next couple of hours kicking their heels, waiting for Cowley to return, only to be told when he did that they could go home. An early start to the weekend couldn't be better, so they made themselves scarce, half afraid that Cowley would begin to regret his new benevolence and recall them.

Pulling the car up outside his flat, Bodie paused then said casually, "You coming in?"

"No...I've got plans for tonight, mate."

Taken aback, Bodie turned to look at his partner's serious profile.

Doyle tried to keep up the pretence a bit longer but the joy running through his veins wouldn't let him. Looking into the dark blue eyes and laying a hand on Bodie's shoulder, he said, "So I'll pick you up at eight, okay?" Without waiting for an answer, he slid his hand briefly down Bodie's arm and got out of the car.

Bodie stayed where he was, watching his partner drive away then, shaking his head, he got out and went into his flat. He wondered whether or not to bother with a meal and decided against it. With any luck, they'd be eating out. What did Ray have in mind, though? Bodie had imagined they'd spend the evening in...together. Well, whatever the plans were, maybe a kip was a good idea - it could be a busy night, one way or another.

However much Doyle may have wanted to spend the entire evening in with Bodie, some streak of perversity was making him prolong the anticipation. He had meant it, too, when he'd said he had plans for tonight. There was somewhere he'd take Bodie for years and it would be very long as Bodie's acceptance of Doyle's gayness didn't waver at all.

At eight o'clock on the dot he arrived at Bodie's flat, smiling as his partner stood back to let him in, watching the dark eyes travelling over his hair and clothes.

Bodie took in the rust-coloured velvet jeans, rust and green check shirt and noted the way the cream wool blouson jacket was fastened only at the waist, sleeves pushed up. Finally meeting Doyle's eyes, he let his own reveal his thoughts - he found Doyle a stunning and incredibly sexy figure.

"You look great," he murmured. "Apart from the black eye, that is!" Stepping forward, he ruffled Doyle's hair a little. "You've been blow-drying your hair again, Raymond."

Doyle closed the space between them, slipping his arms around Bodie's waist. "Mmm, d'you like it?" he asked softly.

Bodie looked serious. "I dunno. I miss all those tatty curls."

"You do that once more," Doyle said, grabbing the straying fingers, "and they'll all be back. You can untidy them as much as you like...later." His mouth captured Bodie's and he heard the gasp of pleasure as Bodie opened his mouth and felt the probing tongue.

Feeling his resolve to go out beginning to weaken, Doyle forced himself to draw back and after a second managed to focus his eyes on Bodie's face. Amazing how soft those cynically twisted lips could be, he thought. He looked into the desire-darkened eyes for a long moment and saw them drop to his own mouth as Bodie tried to pull him back into his embrace.

"Uh-uh," he said, shaking his head and drawing determinedly away. "We're going out." Bodie advanced on him, equally determined, wanting more of that intoxication. "No, really, Bodie, I mean it. We're going out."

Bodie let him go. "Tease," he grumbled and shrugged into his new red suede jacket as Doyle stood waiting at the door.

Their first stop was a Berni Inn. Not part of the night's celebrations, Doyle explained, more necessity than pleasure. They both ordered steaks, Doyle countermanding Bodie's request for chips, substituting salad instead. At the plaintive protest, Doyle told him the meal was needed more for energy than as a filler-up. As they were off out on the town somewhere and not heading back to bed, Bodie couldn't understand this and sat back with his pint of lager, relieved he was at least allowed a decent drink.

Just before ten o'clock, Ray drew the car to a halt in a dimly lit street, stopped the engine and looked at his partner.

"It's in the next street. This is the closest you can park on a Friday night. I haven't been here for a while but unless it's changed drastically, it's a pretty snazzy place. They keep someone on the door to check people out, so there's rarely any trouble. I think you'll enjoy it...well, I hope you will."

Puzzled by the sudden gabble of words, Bodie tried to see Doyle's expression but it was too dark. The last sentence had been hesitant, unsure and Bodie wondered where on earth Ray could be taking him.

"Well, we won't know that till we get there," he replied softly, "So let's go, huh?"

They walked along the pavement and turned the corner into another equally dim and quiet street. Halfway along it, Doyle turned in through a wrought-iron gate and led the way down a flight of steps to a basement where a bright blue neon sign proclaimed the name of Orion's'.

Mystified, Bodie followed him in. Just inside the door there stood a burly-looking bouncer who eyed them both suspiciously but Doyle whispered a few words to the man, showing him a membership card, which seemed to satisfy him and he waved them through. After paying for their entrance tickets at the kiosk, they walked along a shadowy corridor and Bodie could hear the beat of pop music growing louder. A club...or a disco...? The passageway opened into a large, circular room, containing a central bar surrounded by dimly lit tables and chairs and discreet alcoves with soft seating set back into the walls.

"I'll get them," Bodie said, making for the bar. "You go and find us a seat."

Doyle wandered round the bar, looking for a vacant table. He found one on the far side of the bar from Bodie, near an archway that led onto the disco floor.

Bodie emerged through the crowd, carried the drinks to the table and sat down, looking with interest through the archway. That room was also circular and filled with gyrating bodies lit by rainbow flashes from the turning, twisting lights mounted on ceiling and walls.

"And I thought I knew all the nightclubs and discos around London," Bodie commented above the thump of the music.

Doyle sat back, eyes on his partner's face, waiting for the penny to drop and wondering if he'd made another mistake. Bit late now to worry about it and anyway, they didn't have to stay. But his feet were already beginning to twitch in time to the beat and he glanced longingly at the dancing throng then back at Bodie.

Taking a healthy swig of beer, Bodie automatically scanned the dance floor for girls. There were surprisingly few of them and those he could see were dancing together. So were the men... He put his glass down and looked again. There were two or three groups of mixed dancers but the majority were same-sex couples.

Bodie looked at Doyle. "Ray...?" he said questioningly, cocking his head towards the disco floor. There was no reply and Doyle's face was in shadow.

Suddenly the music changed to a slower, more seductive tempo and it drew Bodie's eyes to the dancers again. He studied the men curiously. Most wore jeans and t-shirts but a few were bare-legged, dressed in shorts and equally skimpy tops. They were all very relaxed and loose-limbed and there was an open sexuality about their movements that was strangely attractive.

The realisation that this was a gay disco slowly coalesced in Bodie's mind, but oddly he didn't feel disturbed by it. He'd always imagined these places to be rather sordid and, well, embarrassing, but this wasn't. He almost laughed aloud at the thought of tough-guy Bodie sitting in a gay bar, watching a gay disco, but somehow the atmosphere here made homosexuality seem quite ordinary and everyday - just another facet of human nature.

Watching closely, Doyle saw Bodie's surprise turn to fascination and then amusement. His stomach was churning - the butterflies were on the attack again. He tried to relax and let the music wash over him, telling himself not to be so stupid - so far Bodie had been more open-minded and accepting than he'd thought possible. He jumped slightly as Bodie turned and leaned towards him.

"Ray, I know I said I'd never tried being gay, but this wasn't exactly what I had in mind!"

"D'you want to leave?"

"Leave?" Bodie grinned at him. "Hell, no - I want a dance!" And to Doyle's astonishment, Bodie stood up, stripped off his jacket, draped it over the chair, then reached to pull his partner to his feet, towing him out onto the dance floor.

Doyle followed meekly, stunned. Was there no end to this man's surprises? Both of them had succeeded in shocking each other speechless today.

As Bodie led the way around the edge of the floor, the music changed again and Doyle recognised a track by Imagination' - a hotly sexual sound and one of his personal favourites. He pulled away from Bodie's grip on his arm and backed slowly away from him, moving sensuously in time with the music. Bodie watched as the swaying, turning figure moved out onto the dance floor, caught by the glow in those irresistible green eyes that were telling him to let go and forget everyone else. He followed, drawn like a magnet to its lodestone, feeling the rhythm beginning to take over.

Mouthing the words of the song to himself, Doyle closed his eyes for a moment, thinking that perhaps the dark-clad figure before him was Just an Illusion' but when he looked again, Bodie was still there, his movements becoming gradually less self-conscious as he began to enjoy himself.

They danced to record after record, Doyle carelessly discarding his own jacket and unfastening another shirt button in the heat, impatient to return to a world that held only lights, stirring music and Bodie - a combination he'd waited too long to see.

As the current record faded, Doyle moved in close to his partner but Bodie suddenly turned away from him, head bowed and shoulders stooping a little. Concerned, Doyle put a hand on Bodie's shoulder and to his alarm, felt it shaking. Grasping the other arm, he turned the man to face him, desperately trying to see his face and discover what was wrong.

"Bodie...what is it?"

The trembling increased but then his partner lifted his head to reveal a grin wide enough to split his face in two and the suppressed laughter turned to cackles as Bodie grabbed Doyle and spun him round.

"Over there," he said and Doyle looked just in time to catch sight of a very fair young man dressed in the briefest of gold lame outfits, complemented by a gold spangled headband and a garter round one slim thigh.

Bodie bent to his partner's ear. "I...oh God!" he wheezed. "I've just thought - if I'd worn that black underwear for real... here...I'd've gone down a storm!" He rested his head on Doyle's shoulder, laughing out of control.

Chuckling, happy that Bodie could at last see the hilarity in that stupid, doctored photograph, Doyle turned to face him. Just then, the strains of a slow and dreamy piece filled the room and Doyle put his arms around his partner, pulling him close, turning his face into Bodie's neck.

His face muscles aching a little, Bodie took a deep breath, the offending lacy, black underwear forgotten at the feel of Doyle's lithe body swaying close against him. He lifted his head and looked around, suddenly remembering where they were but seeing that the other dancers were equally as involved and preoccupied with their own partners, turned back to Doyle, sliding his hands down the muscular back, finally bringing them to rest cupping the slim buttocks, enjoying the feel of them under velvety fabric.

Moaning softly, Doyle moved his head to kiss Bodie's neck, searching out the fast-beating pulse and pressing his tongue against it. Bodie tilted his head encouragingly and unable to resist the invitation, Doyle fastened his teeth in the soft flesh, sucking and biting at once.

The flashing lights had dimmed to a soft flicker and when Doyle drew back he could barely see Bodie. Touching the bite-bruise with a gentle finger, he whispered, "I've marked you..." He sighed shakily. "Bodie, come home with me?"

Bodie touched his mouth to Doyle's ear. "I don't think I can, sweetheart," he whispered regretfully. "You mum made me promise always to be in bed by midnight."

Doyle grinned back at him and gave the broad shoulders an admonitory shake, murmuring, "Oh, you will be, sunshine, you will be - I'll see to that."

The last notes of the ballad were fading, so before the bright lights returned, Doyle drew Bodie's head down for a kiss, working his mouth gently against the soft lips. They opened readily for him, asking for his tongue and he gave it, eager for the feel and taste of that mouth again.

Bodie let the moist invader search for a moment then reached out with his own tongue, sliding it wetly against Doyle's, thinking giddily that he would be content to stay like that for hours.

No girl had ever made him feel like this. No matter how strong the attraction or how much he tried to lose himself in soft femininity, a part of him had always stood back, watching dispassionately, as though he were two people and the sensible, calculating half wouldn't integrate with his other, sensual, self-indulgent side., he was functioning as one, his inner voice silent, the two sides blending harmoniously, merged together by the feel of the bewitching being in his arms.

Foggily realising the lights were up again, flashing in time to a livelier beat and that they were being jostled slightly by the other dancers, Bodie pulled reluctantly away, whispering, "Come on, love, time to go home."

He led the way back to their table, hotly aware of his growing erection and the knowing smiles around them.

The journey back to Doyle's flat was very hazy for both of them. Doyle in particular driving purely by instinct as Bodie's hand caressed his thigh. The warm touch made Doyle's nerves jump, constantly expecting the exploration to continue, but Bodie wanted to get home quickly and safely and wasn't going to risk distracting the driver too much. Besides, he wanted the time and place to be exactly right before either of them went any further, wanted to see Doyle's every response to each caress.

Doyle shut and locked his front door behind them then turned to snap the hall light on but before he could reach it he was pushed back against the door and held in place by a heavy body. A pair of demanding lips descended on his and he relaxed every muscle, letting Bodie's weight hold him up.

He felt warm breath brush his skin as his partner drew back and sighed heavily.

"Ray..." Bodie began in a deep and serious tone, "...I must have a pee - it was bloody thirsty work in that disco!"

Doyle groaned and shoved him away. "Come on, then...we'll both go up" And he led the way across the hall and up the spiral staircase.

All the way up, Bodie was faced with the enticing vision of Doyle's posterior moving in front of him. Finally giving way to temptation, he ran his hands over the velvet-covered roundness, making Doyle stumble and nearly trip over the top step.

"Bloody hell," he yelped. "You tryin' to make me break my flamin' neck?"

"I would've stopped your fall," Bodie assured him and found himself pushed in the direction of Doyle's bathroom, with instructions to have a shower while he was in there.

"There are clean towels and a bathrobe behind the door," Doyle said, disappearing into the bedroom.

Doyle heard the bathroom door close and stood motionless for a while, again trying to calm the assaulting butterflies, then moved slowly across the floor to gaze unseeingly out of the window, losing all track of time.

Bodie's welcome of his partner's feelings had been stunning enough, but this gentle humour was a little unbalancing. Doyle had lived too long with the underlying pain of knowing he could never be truly open with anyone and no one would ever see the whole Ray Doyle - no one that mattered, anyway - that he couldn't match Bodie's lighthearted manner. He didn't want to be so deadly serious but his feelings were too intense to allow his sense of humour through.

He looked up at the starlit sky, drawing a deep breath. Well, you've finally got him where you've wanted for so long, he told himself. So, what's the matter? Why so nervous? I should be happy instead of questioning it, worrying about it. Funny - I'd always imagined it would be me reassuring Bodie, not the other way around...

Muscles stiffened suddenly as two hands touched his shoulders, pulling him back against a sturdy body. He tried to relax in the embrace as Bodie nuzzled against an ear, but the atmosphere of warm, slow arousal he'd felt on the dance floor had evaporated and, panicked, he pulled away from the solid warmth at his back.

"I need a leak, myself," he muttered and made for the bathroom.

After relieving himself, Doyle refastened his clothes, his mind an odd blank. Slowly it occurred to him that he should shower too and he began unbuttoning his shirt. Fresh towels...airing cupboard... he thought vaguely. He started for the door then halted.

Bodie'll be lying in wait - the way his hands have been roving, he can't wait to get started. The thought pleased him for a second then his guts tightened again, as if a huge hand was slowly squeezing the life from him.

Can't go out there... Too serious...scare people off that way. Can't louse it up now... He turned back to the basin, gripped it and looked into the mirror. You fucking idiot, he told his reflection flatly. You can't face him, can you? The one person you've been able to trust with your life...for still can't level with him. Too used to hiding that side of yourself, too used to sneaking around with one-night stands, never staying with anyone all night, not even talking much...just getting down to the essentials, what's strictly necessary to keep mind and body together. Except it never was enough. His head dropped, heavy with depression as the bitter, doubting thoughts continued to nag at him.

Is it yourself you don't trust...or is it Bodie? Maybe it would've been better to keep it a dream - a beautiful, desirable, impossible dream. It's unlikely the real thing will live up to that - can't expect perfection from real life. And he can't really want me...can he?

Abruptly, the thoughts slid to a halt as he recalled the passion that had erupted in him that morning in Bodie's kitchen and again in the disco, each time repaid in full by Bodie's eager responsiveness.

To hell with it! Who wants perfection? What we generate is enough... Stuff the nerves. What I need is out there, right now - waiting for me.

Bodie had watched, puzzled, as Doyle had left the room, then he threw himself on the bed, arms behind his head and considered the tension he'd felt in his partner's body. Something was troubling Doyle, in fact, he could swear the guy was nervous. He glanced towards the door - when Doyle reappeared, Bodie was going to make him forget all that. He closed his eyes, a smile curving his lips, anticipation sending hot, tingly threads through his body, making him feel alert and alive right down to his toes and fingertips.

He lay there for ten minutes or so then glanced at the door again. It was too quiet - not a sound was coming from the bathroom - he'd heard the toilet flush but after that, nothing. He swung himself off the bed and padded quietly to the bathroom door, listening intently. What on earth could Doyle be doing in there? Bodie stealthily turned the handle and pushed the door open, then stood still on the threshold, staring at the dejected figure standing before the basin, despondency evident in every line of the hunched body. Without being aware of moving, Bodie crossed the floor and reached out to turn the silent figure towards him.

Doyle jumped at the gentle touch on his shoulders and gazed, startled, into concerned, dark blue depths.

Bodie stared back, seeing confusion and a trace of fear in the wide eyes, and realised that far from being sure of himself, Doyle was afraid to take the final step towards their new relationship. His own worry drained away, replaced by an aching tenderness.

Can I really mean so much to him that he's that scared of it all going wrong? Got to stop this insecurity...unhappiness.

"Ray," he said softly, locking with the searching green gaze again. "Come to bed with me?"

Something seemed to give in Doyle at the simple request, for he suddenly reached out to drag Bodie's head towards him. But gentleness was needed between them now and wanting to reassure Doyle and calm him enough to enjoy their first lovemaking, Bodie caught the intense face between his hands, holding it away. He let his eyes wander over Ray's face, ignoring the bewilderment for a moment, concentrating on the slightly flared nostrils, the parted lips.

Something strange was happening to Bodie - not a physical arousal...not yet... His entire chest felt as if it was liquifying, softening, melting in the tenderness he was experiencing for this man, spreading its warmth through his body, making his forearms ache with wanting. He drew Ray slowly towards him, saw the green eyes drift shut in anticipation and homed in on the soft lips, drawing Ray fully into his arms, putting as much reassurance and love into the kiss as he could manage.

Doyle felt the tenseness vanish as if it had never been and when Bodie drew back, smiled sheepishly at him, letting himself be guided back to the bedroom.

He stood quietly as Bodie began unbuttoning his shirt, then suddenly found his voice.

"Uh...I haven't showered yet."

Bodie shook his head. "Doesn't matter. You're clean enough for me." He grinned into the serious face. "We'll have one together in a little while..okay?" He drew the shirt away, dropping it on the floor, not taking his eyes off the still figure before him. Equally gently, he unzipped the jeans and slid them down unresisting legs. Socks quickly followed and while down on one knee, Bodie peeled the last remaining item down, encouraging Doyle to lift each foot in turn to allow the briefs to be discarded. Still Doyle didn't move and Bodie sat back on his heels, letting his eyes rove over the slim, muscular form, lingering over the mop of ruffled curls and intent face - its oddly flawed cheekbone strangely emphasised in the dim light cast by the bedside lamp - and on down to the shoulders. The dark pelt of chest hair drew his eyes and he followed it down to where it narrowed to a thin, black line over the belly to groin, before massing again into tight, black curls about the genitals.

Doyle watched Bodie's unabashed gaze travel over his body and as it reached his groin, felt his cock lengthen and thicken and his breathing harshened.

Bodie felt his own organ reacting in kind, pressing him to do more than just look and he leant forward to plant a kiss on the abdomen, just where the coarse, pubic hair began, hearing a gasp and feeling the belly muscles jump in answer. Suddenly, hands pulled him roughly to his feet, fumbled with the tie of his robe, throwing it wide and a hot, urgent body was pressed to his own nakedness, arms tightening till muscles cracked under the strain. Mouths also glued themselves together in a hard and grinding kiss, containing no real passion or tenderness, only desperation. Bodie tried to move his mouth gently, coaxing tenderness out of the demanding lips and gradually the fierceness died away, Ray's mouth slowly softened, began to enjoy the kiss for the voluptuous, intimate contact that it was. The grip on Bodie's back slackened and the hands began light, skimming caresses, over his shoulder blades, down to his waist, smoothly changing direction until one long sweep took them down to stroke silkily over his ass. Bodie's deep-throated moan changed to a shocked gasp as a gentle finger strayed down between his buttocks, sliding delicately into the crevice to touch the hidden pucker of muscle. Feeling his cock surge up in response to the erotic fingering, he had to wrench his mouth away from Doyle's to gasp in the extra oxygen his lungs were demanding.

Awed by the inflamed response to his touch, Doyle gazed into his partner's face, seeing in the flushed features, closed eyes and parted lips, ample proof that Bodie was more than willing to experience every pleasure they could find in each other. Instead of fear and rejection, there was an abandonment in Bodie, an implicit desire to know his partner in all ways.

Overwhelmed by the evidence his eyes and hands were being given, Doyle felt his knees wobble dangerously and decided the bed would be a far safer venue for their loving. He urged Bodie towards it, drawing the bathrobe off the broad shoulders, and sank onto the mattress, pulling his partner down with him. Holding the dark eyes with his own, Doyle ran his fingers lightly across Bodie's shoulders and down over the smooth chest. The nipples hardened excitingly and Doyle bent to taste first one then the other, before drawing back to dart a glance at the absorbed face, then allowing his eyes to follow the path his hand was taking on down over the hard, muscular body.

Body held his breath as the warm fingers tickled over his belly and hovered teasingly over his hardened shaft then, without touching, moved on to feather-kiss his testicles, lightly brushing the tiny, black hairs until Bodie's nerves screamed for a firmer touch but as he reached out to grab Doyle, the fingers curled round his cock and a soft mouth closed over his lips, stifling his moan of pleasure.

Bodie lay in a sea of delicious sensation for a moment then his need to see and feel Doyle's responses drove him to pull away and tumble Doyle onto his back. He worked his way over the quiescent body, delighting in the silkiness of the body hair and the strength of corded muscle trembling but submissive beneath him. Running his hands down Doyle's torso and flanks, he pushed the legs apart and paused in appreciation of satin-soft inner thighs. A quick glance up at Doyle's face slowed eyes tight shut in quivering expectancy and Bodie abruptly cupped his hand over the balls, enjoying the gasp and reactionary jump that ran along Doyle's body. He relaxed, letting the delicate contents lie softly in his open palm for a moment before turning his hand again to cover them completely, feeling the furry sacs tighten under his moving fingers. Not wanting to let go, he brought his other hand up to grasp the tumescent cock, stroking gently. The genitals felt incredibly good to him, warm and vibrant, their pulsing fullness leading his own arousal to an almost painful intensity.

A sob and his whispered name percolated through he fuzziness and he bent to press a swift kiss on the rosy cock before moving back up the bed to gather his lover into his arms and turn them both on their sides, wanting this first lovemaking to be a perfect sharing. He pulled Doyle's hips close and initiated a steady undulating, but Doyle needed a deeper, harder touch and turned on his back, urging Bodie to lie on top, curving his legs around his partner to hold him in place. Bodie gasped at the feel of the open, clinging body under his and began to thrust, the sensations rapidly sending them both to dizzy heights.

Feeling the blood pounding in his head as he soared to the summit, Bodie desperately wanted to touch Doyle with his mouth. He lay quick kisses up the other's neck and tried to reach his mouth but Doyle's head was rolling from side to side as he thrust to meet the exquisite pressure. Sparing one hand, Bodie captured the flushed face and clamped his mouth over the soft lips, plunging his tongue deep inside. Doyle's moan of pleasure at the invasion was abruptly cut off as the almost unbearable sensations peaked, holding them together on the crest for a second, then swept them down, down on a tidal wave, tumbling them over until eventually they lay floating in a sea of tranquility, contented and fulfilled.

After long seconds of wallowing in physical well-being and mental bliss, Doyle turned his head to look at his partner. Bodie still lay on his back, where he'd fallen, eyes closed, breath still coming quickly. Doyle didn't attempt to touch, just gazed his fill at the relaxed figure. What had he worried about, he wondered. It hadn't been necessary to spell out what he wanted - that one of his strongest desires had been to experience Bodie's powerful body above his, taking, thrusting strongly, instead of lying by his side, gentle and undemanding - Bodie had known and been as eager himself. No, it was nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, that was only one of his fantasies... His breath caught at the thought of what he wanted to do to Bodie and have done to him and fresh trickles of desire rose to fill his groin again.

On a huge and contented sigh, Bodie opened his eyes and turned towards Doyle, pulling him back into his arms, kissing him gently and running a hand down his body. Bodie smiled as he found the stickiness pooled on the belly, then his fingers encountered the stiffened cock and he stilled for a second before taking Doyle's mouth in a passionately demanding kiss, deepening his exploration.

Doyle started to curve his body against Bodie's then, conscious of how sweaty and sticky he felt, pulled away, irrationally wanting his skin to be clean enough for Bodie to eat off, needing this point in their discovery of each other to be as perfect as possible. Bodie tried to pull him back but Doyle caught one of the reaching hands and urged him out of bed.

"I want that shower now...come with me?"

"Ray," Bodie moaned in protest but Doyle towed him relentlessly across the carpet before turning to survey him from head to foot.

"Don't lose it," he said, nodding at Bodie's newly awakened erection. "We haven't finished yet."

"If I do," came the deep and seductive reply, "I'm sure you'll find it again quickly." And he manoeuvred behind Doyle, pressing himself against the smooth back, feeling his cock rub into the hot cleft between Doyle's buttocks.

Doyle gasped and sagged back into his arms. "In a minute, Bodie...w.wash...first...aahh...!" The curly head dropped back onto Bodie's shoulder and no more attempts were made to pull away.

Heart thudding at the almost-promise, Bodie fought back his fierce longing for that coupling and turned Doyle to face him. He looked into the hazy, heavy-lidded eyes, kissed him gently and led him by the hand to the bathroom.

The cooler air cleared Doyle's head a little and he switched the shower on, stood underneath and let Bodie soap him all over. Bodie's hands were thorough, lathering over chest and stomach, gentle over hardened shaft and testicles, then turning the panting body to perform the same service down his back.

As the water rinsed the bubbles away, Doyle reached back to cup both hands over Bodie's genitals. Bodie thrust forward, tilting his head back, and gasped as he received a mouthful of cascading warm water. He stepped back, coughing and spluttering. Doyle turned quickly, concerned, but chuckled when he was Bodie was all right, told him to stay put and went to fetch more towels.

Wrapped in soft, voluminous towelling, they padded into the bedroom, then Doyle remembered something and went back into the bathroom.

Bodie jumped him from behind the door when he got back, clamping strong arms around his chest and murmuring, "Now, where did we get to?" in his ear.

Doyle squirmed away from the tickling breath. "Can't you remember?" he retorted breathlessly.

Bodie grabbed him again but trod on the end of a towel, over-balanced and fell, taking Doyle down with him. They stayed where they were, giggling, then Bodie advanced meaningly on Doyle, who edged away awkwardly, muscles weakened by laughter.

"No, Bodie. On the'll be better on the bed..."

Pulse leaping again, Bodie drew his partner upright, cupping his face in gentle hands."What will, Ray? What d'you want me to do?" he whispered hoarsely.

Hesitancy and shyness vanished completely, the words coming of their own accord.

"Take me... I want you to...fuck me...Bodie..." A long, ragged breath. "You want to, don't you?"

Fiercely aroused by the words, Bodie didn't reply, just gave him a clouded, languorous stare, drew the towels away and closed his arms around Doyle.

Too late Doyle saw the spark of mischief warring with desire in the indigo eyes, found himself grabbed again and swung up into strong arms. Bodie held him for a moment, ignoring his demands to be put down, then walked to the bed, laid him in the middle and climbed on after him, trying to secure Doyle's hands above his head.

Laughing protests had no effect so Doyle thought two could play at that game and a mock wrestling match ensued, but hearing his bed springs creaking ominously, decided to put an end to the horseplay and pulled himself free. He turned swiftly, anchored Bodie to the bed with arms across thighs and belly and engulfed the bobbing penis with his mouth.

Bodie cried out, convulsing in electrified shock as the warm, wet suction accelerated him to flashpoint almost immediately. He lay under the restraining arms, half of him wanting to stay there until he came in great, rushing bursts in Ray's mouth, the other half longing to be buried elsewhere in the hot, strong body.

Any second now, he thought dazedly, it's gonna be too late...

But Doyle was gauging his reactions exactly and drew gently away, untangling the gripping fingers from his hair and kissing them softly.

Now the moment had arrived, Bodie found himself strangely unsure and looked to Doyle for guidance.

Ray gave him a soft, reassuring kiss and pulled away to reach over to the bedside table. A few seconds and he was back, stroking a jelly-like substance onto Bodie's aching penis. Bodie gasped at the gentle touch, feeling the flames leap higher. When he opened his eyes again, Doyle was preparing himself and Bodie felt as if his heart was ready to jump into his mouth. Not knowing if it was from nervousness or excitement and uncaring either way, he pushed Doyle's hands away and ran a forefinger between the soft buttocks until it found the ring of muscle.

Doyle gasped at the touch, feeling himself pulse and dilate eagerly. Tentatively, the finger entered him and he groaned heavily, writhing back against it.

"Bodie...please..." he whispered pleadingly.

Unable to speak, he was panting so rapidly, Bodie pulled the slim body back against him, replacing his fingers with his so-sensitive cock, gently inserting the head.

Doyle cried out at the first touch, pushing himself back, but Bodie restrained him, afraid of causing pain.

Frustrated at being unable to move very much in that position, Doyle gradually eased onto his stomach, feeling the warm weight of his partner covering him as he followed.

Foggily comprehending what Ray wanted, Bodie drew back slightly to allow Doyle to raise himself on his elbows. Suddenly, Doyle pushed back onto the impaling organ, hearing a long gasp as Bodie felt himself taken fully into the hot body.

Knowing he wouldn't last long, Bodie began to thrust, running his hands frenziedly along Doyle's back and under him to grasp the straining maleness.

Wanting the moment to last forever but knowing it wouldn't, Doyle met each thrust avidly, savouring the feel of Bodie deep within him.

All too soon there was a long groan and Doyle felt a hot rush inside him, filling him, expanding through his body to burst out of his own organ in a never-ending gush.

Bodie collapsed on the warm back, half unconscious with the intensity of physical and emotional excitement, then felt himself slide down onto the bed and two shaking arms gathered him in against a heaving chest.

He could hardly keep his eyes open, but struggled to speak, needing to tell Ray how good it had been before sleep took him fully.

"Ray..." he panted. "Jesus...I never could" but darkness reached out before he could finish and he let go, sinking into the swirling current.

Ray felt him relax into sleep but continued to hold him tightly for a long time, feeling the rapid breathing gradually slowing into a deep, quiet rhythm.

He was reluctant to let him go, this amusing, infuriating, handsome, loving being, who'd been so important to him for such a long time and was now his sole reason for living.

Arms beginning to ache with tension, he lowered Bodie gently back onto the pillows, wishing his partner had had strength enough for a kiss before dropping so deeply asleep. Doyle pressed his own caress against the full and relaxed lips, then feeling total exhaustion overtaking, switched the lamp off, put his head on Bodie's shoulder and fell into his own deep and dreamless slumber.

He awoke slowly, rising smoothly through layers of awareness, the transition so gradual he was confused momentarily, as if half caught in a dream, until one tiny movement alerted each nerve to the pressure of a warm, sleeping body against his, arms holding him close.

It was real, he hadn't dreamt it.

Wishing it was light enough to see his lover, Doyle softly employed fingertips to reassure himself of Bodie's presence, running them over the forehead, into silky hair and down to lightly trace an ear.

At the tickling touch, Bodie murmured something and tightened his arms.

Not wanting him to wake just yet, Doyle lay still, remembering.

One more fantasy... Dare I? Or should I wait? Why expect it all tonight? Another time... Oh, God, I want it...want him. He'll have to stop me if it's too much...Jesus, hope he won't.

Before he could talk himself out of the attempt, Doyle reached for the lubricant and prepared them both, stroking it quickly between his partner's buttocks, hearing a deep mumble in the pillow as he did so.

Using all the touches Bodie had given him and a few more of his own, he caressed the slumbering body to wakefulness. This time, however, Doyle didn't simply seek to arouse his lover's burning desire to take, he alternated the gentle, teasing touches with harder, more demanding strokes over back and buttocks, pressing fingers fleetingly into the cleft then away again, until, with a lift of his hips, Bodie indicated he wanted to be touched there.

Pushing Bodie's legs apart gently, bending one knee to ease his way, Doyle rimmed him tantalizingly, waiting for another groan of pleasure before pressing a finger slowly in, stroking the smooth, hot walls, feeling them relax gradually.

Bodie wordlessly asked for more but Doyle withdrew and turned him onto his back, began caressing him again, using lips, tongue and teeth, taking Bodie to the point of desperation. He called out Ray's name in a gasping whisper, knowing in the back of his mind where this delicious torture was leading, but totally unconcerned. It felt right for Ray to be in control, demanding, taking, and recklessly, Bodie called for the next stop.

Hearing the urgent plea, Doyle drew back until he was kneeling between Bodie's legs. He ran his hands soothingly along their muscled length and gently lifted them onto his shoulders.

Bodie tensed at the unfamiliar position, suddenly thankful it was still dark and Doyle couldn't see him. He felt too open...vulnerable...strange.

"Ray...I..." he said hesitantly.

Doyle lowered the legs again and leant forward, easing the stiffness away with warm hands.

"Bodie," he whispered softly. "It's okay...won't hurt you...I know how to make it very pleasurable. Trust me.. I love you..." He kissed Bodie deeply, sensually, and to his joy, felt the mouth open, taking his tongue, indicating a willingness to give everything Doyle wanted to take.

He made the kiss slow and prolonged until Bodie relaxed completely, then drew back to try again, this time encountering no resistance. Heart thudding deafeningly in his ears, he entered Bodie, pausing often to let him grow used to the feelings. At last he was buried to the hilt and stilled, concentrating on the glorious sensations of the tight, hot channel clenching along the length of his cock.

His body was urging him to thrust, to take his own pleasure swiftly, but he controlled it, wanting to show Bodie how good it could be. He eased the legs off his shoulders and back onto the bed either side of him, letting Bodie's lower body rest on his lap. He rose to his knees, lifting Bodie with him, hands cupping the round ass, feeling Bodie's heels dig into the bed behind him. Doyle withdrew as far as he dared, paused, then pushed in slowly, on a slight angle.

Bodie drew a quick and shuddering breath at the unexpected pleasure that rippled through him.

"Ohhh...Christ, Ray..." Fingers dug into the bedding in delight as Ray continued to thrust, breath keeping time, a groan following each lance of pleasure.

The movements accelerated and Bodie's cock felt ready to burst, begging to be touched, held. Suddenly, fingers curled round him, pumping hard.

Out of control, a long, low cry left his throat as he came almost immediately in an explosion that seemed to blast him into orbit. There was an explosion inside, too and he felt liquid fire erupt, spreading, glowing, boosting him higher.

The violence of the blast seemed to splinter him into a million pieces, scattering, spinning, shivering, a blinding light reflecting off each fragment until time slowed, stopped, reversed and each cell fused together again and the world reformed.

He lay panting for breath. The sheer intensity of pleasure given by that penetration, Doyle's and his own climax, was totally beyond Bodie's knowledge and expectations and he felt shaken, scared by the unfamiliar feelings.

Needing the comfort of Doyle's warm, clinging presence after the unbelievably shattering experience, Bodie stretched out a hand for his lover but Doyle was out of reach and he felt alone, empty. Then the bed shook as Doyle crawled up and burrowed into his arms to lie shuddering against him. Bodie tightened his grip, pressing his face into soft, sweet-smelling curls.

They held each other closely for a time then Doyle drew a deep breath. "Oh, God," he sighed, lifting his head to look at Bodie. Dawn was filtering through the curtains and he could just make out the dark head against white pillow. "Bodie..."

A gentle hand came up to brush through his hair, making him shiver, curving round his skull to draw him in for a kiss.

"Dear God...I love you..." Doyle made no demands, expecting nothing, just wanting to express his own happiness, relief and love, grateful for what he'd already been given.

Bodie's hand continued to play through the silky-warm curls, a lump forming in his throat at the simple, open admission. Just when his deep caring for Ray had spilled over into love, he didn't know and wasn't about to question it, but wanted to say something in return. He tried to find the right words but his throat constricted further and he sought refuge in his habitual humour, knowing it was the only way, for now, that he could admit his feelings.

"Ray...I feel...most...peculiar."

Doyle propped himself up on an elbow. "Why? What's the matter?" Euphoria dissipated by concern.

"Think I must be sick..." He ducked his head, turning it into the pillow. "...never felt like this before."

Worried half to death, Doyle turned him back. "Bodie, for God's sake, what is it?"

"Just need to sleep," Bodie replied and sighed exaggeratedly. "You've exhausted me!"

Smiling in spite of himself, Doyle caressed the softly waving hair. "Is that all it is - fagged out? Well, I never thought I'd see the day - Bodie, listless and lustless after making love a mere three times! Either you've been telling tales in the past, mate, or-"

"Or," Bodie interrupted calmly. "I've never been in love before."

There was a sudden silence, deep and heavy with meaning.

Frozen, Doyle stared down at him, feeling the happy, teasing smile fade under this latest bombshell. The blue eyes were serious, wide and guileless as they stared back at him through the growing light.

He means it.

It was too much. Doyle felt dazzled by the intense emotions coursing through him, poleaxed by the unexpectedness of the quietly spoken confession. He blinked and bent his head then went with the gentle pressure of Bodie's hand and lay back down, resting against the warm chest.

Bodie drowsed comfortably for a few minutes, loving the weight of the sleeping body on his. Then he heard a catch in Doyle's breath as the man settled into a deeper sleep, and his fingers ran feather-light over Ray's face, coming away moist from the tear-track over one cheek.

He'd never known such desperate, unspoken need in anyone and was immeasurably pleased, not to mention awed, by the fact that he'd met it equally, physically and emotionally. More than just met, his innate honesty insisted, he'd had plenty of demands to make himself and now that dark, cold void inside was filled with a bright warmth.

He tasted the moistened finger, thinking abstractly that he had always actively pursued his own interests, whether for money, excitement or more carnal desires, thus believing one had at least a partial control over one's destiny, but life could still deal out a few surprises - some of them bad, and some good...often where you least expected...

He yawned hugely, grinning to himself. It had certainly been the truth when he'd admitted to being tired out. With Ray as sex-hungry as himself, it was obvious that for a while at least, the nights just weren't gonna be long enough!

On that happy thought, he fell asleep.

-- THE END --

For Meg, who wanted to know how and where it happened, if not on the kitchen floor!

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