Even Tough Guys Like Us


(sequel to "The Right Words to Say")

In a way the late evening emergency call made it easier: meeting in a duty situation that required their full attention they slipped naturally and without pause into their normal, working relationship and found, to their mutual, unspoken relief, that it was still there for them.

At the end of the next day, tired, bruised and more than a little battered from the determined resistance the opposition had put up they emerged from the first aid room at HQ together, Doyle sporting a broken, left little finger and Bodie an eye that promised to develop into a beautiful shiner.

Bodie watched his partner's face, seeing constraint begin to grow over it for the first time. He wasn't going to have that. The anger that had built in him all day yesterday was suddenly and sharply there with him again.

"C'mon," he said curtly. "I'll drive you home. Can't drive yet, can you," he added, seeing Doyle's mouth start to open and expecting protest, "not till that hand's less painful."

Doyle closed his mouth. Maybe the hand wasn't that painful but no one argued with Bodie in this mood. Besides, his own sense of smouldering resentment had long since evaporated and he was uncomfortably aware that Bodie deserved some explanation as to why he'd walked out on him without a word. There was no way he was going to try and explain his real reason. If eleven hours on his own hadn't helped him to find words, they wouldn't come out of nowhere now. The bloody dogs could be the excuse, he never had liked dogs.

He got into the passenger seat, closing the door awkwardly with his right hand and clipped his belt into place.

"You got any food in?"

Doyle muffled a grin. Bodie had never quite got over finding just one, hard crust in his fridge one time, quite overlooking the face he'd been too busy testing out both a new gun and a new bird to have time to worry about domesticity.

"I stocked up yesterday morning."

"Well, I didn't," Bodie said shortly. "I promised Mandy I'd stay until she got back 'n she was late." He had glanced over at Doyle and caught the fleeting smile and now hardened his heart. "We'd've been late for that game of squash but we'd have made it."

Doyle's face closed again, showing him nothing. He muttered something inaudible.


Bodie cornered too fast, saw Doyle's reflexive grab at the dashboard and made himself slow down. No point in killing them both - it was Doyle's neck he wanted to wring after all, not his own.


Bodie drove in silence and with meticulous care for some distance and then said evenly, "Have I ever told you how bloody irritating you are?"

An uneven smile flickered briefly and was controlled. "You've mentioned it. You're not perfect yourself."

"No," Bodie agreed with grim meaning. "I'm not!"

Doyle's eyes studied him for a moment and then looked away, but he said nothing until Bodie had drawn up outside his apartment block.

"Don't know I appreciate being hauled up on me own carpet," he said, smiling lopsidedly, "but you won't rest until you've spoken your piece, will you?"

Bodie said nothing, his expression giving nothing away.

Doyle shrugged and led him to the lift.

"First things first - " Bodie made for the kitchen, opening the fridge and peering at its contents with something like approval. "That's more like it, mate!"

He hauled out ham, bread and tomatoes, cheese, a packet of sausage rolls and a pork pie.

"Got any pickles?"

Doyle silently indicated a cupboard door and Bodie rummaged, not a little disconcerted to find a brand he was particularly fond of and which he knew Doyle disliked.

He set it down on the work top and looked up to find those green eyes unblinkingly on him.

"Ray - " His voice was too unsteady, he couldn't say any more. For the moment anger was gone again and the tearing hurt of yesterday morning was back with him.

It showed on his face and Doyle moved away from it. Anger he could cope with.

"Don't make a big production of it," he said harshly. "You're always round here eating my food - might as well have what you like. I don't know where you'd be without my cooking."

The sheer unfairness of that took Bodie's breath away.

"Considerin' it was me taught you to iron shirts, mate... that's the trouble with having been pampered all your life. A spell in the army..."

"Oh, for chrissakes." It was all ancient argument, years old and long forgotten. "Eat your supper and piss off, will you?" He walked out, needing to get away from his partner and threw himself wearily down on his sofa.

Bodie put the kettle on before dividing the food onto two plates, then buttered bread and piled it precariously on their edges, made coffee and put the whole lot on a tray.

"Here we are."

He set it down on the coffee table.

Doyle opened an eye. "No thanks."

Infuriated, Bodie lunged and made a grab for him, hauled him upright, catching him off-guard and shaking him hard.

"I got a bloody meal for you and you'll damn well eat it or I'll rub your aggravatin' little nose in it."

Startled and off balance Doyle felt the sofa begin to tilt with their dual weight and grabbed back - too late to save himself but in time to take Bodie with him as the whole thing went over.

Rolling together in a tangle of arms and legs they fetched up against the cupboard holding Doyle's stereo unit and records, Doyle on top but nauseated and disoriented from the abrupt wrenching of his strapped fingers as they'd tipped.

Bodie heard his yelp of pain and clutched at him.

"You all right?"

"Yeah." Doyle swallowed hard. "Just caught me fingers, that's all. Made me feel a bit queasy for a minute. I'm OK."

"That's good!"

The tone of heartfelt relief made Doyle chuckle despite himself and consequently relax against his partner.

Bodie tightened his arms as sensation washed through him. "Ray - " he cradled him protectively, "oh, god, Ray!" And carefully but with utter determination he drew Doyle's head round and kissed him, putting all the love, longing and misery that filled him into the act, trying to plead without words for the reassurance he so desperately needed and wanted.

At first Doyle melted to him, sending a now familiar fire coursing through him, the kiss being answered as fervently as it was given, but then he stopped, his whole body going rigid with rejection, his mouth pulling determinedly away.

Bodie let go of him and lay back, one arm going up over his face. He felt Doyle scramble awkwardly away and then got up himself, not looking at him.

With Doyle's one-handed assistance he righted the sofa and then pointed to it.

"Sit down! Eat! I don't care if you don't want it, just eat it. I ate your bloody breakfast yesterday, I'm not eating your supper for you tonight."

"Ate my breakfast." Doyle looked confused.

"Don't give me that innocent look." Bodie scowled ferociously, not having meant to give that away. "You must've known I was cooking when you pissed off without a word. You can smell bacon frying a mile off."

Doyle sat down obediently, a new wave of guilt assailing him. If he had smelt it, it hadn't registered. All he'd wanted was to get out of there, away from the unbearable hurt, the certainty that he had been just another score on Bodie's checklist of sexual achievements.

"Uh...no, I didn't smell it."

"Losing your bloody grip all around, you are."

Bodie attacked his supper, spearing a tomato with a vicious fork.

Doyle took up his own plate knowing he ought to be hungry - they'd had a sandwich each around 10.00 this morning and that was all he'd had except coffee since yesterday lunchtime when he'd finally talked himself into a hunk of cheese and an apple, but the hollow in the pit of his stomach did not ache for food and what it did ache for made him ashamed of himself and sick at heart.

Bodie - he wanted Bodie: under any conditions and for as long as he could have him - even just for another night of sexual experiment. At least then he'd have the memories to hold on to. But he couldn't ask for it, still had no words to say.

His strapped fingers made him awkward with his cutlery but he did his best to hide the fact. If he asked for one thing he'd end up asking for everything and he wasn't going to do that - not now, not ever.

Bodie cast several, lowering looks his way but restrained himself from reaching out and yanking the plate away. Anyone could see the stupid sod could use a little help but if he wasn't going to ask for it he damn well wasn't going to get it. He pushed his own food down, sharp awareness of hunger making the process of fighting down his equally sharp awareness of Doyle somewhat easier.

They couldn't go on like this, they'd be a danger to themselves and to innocent bystanders as well if they let this tension continue to build between them: Cowley'd kill them - if they didn't kill themselves first!

When he'd finished eating, he drank his cooling coffee in one, thirsty gulp and seeing that Ray had put down his knife and fork, abandoning nearly a third of the meal, shrugged and took his plate away too.

Doyle looked up, startled, as if he'd been too deep in thought to remember Bodie's presence.

"More coffee?"

"Uh - yes. Thanks."

"Anything to put it off, eh?"

Bodie stalked out into the kitchen without waiting for an answer but he could see Ray watching him warily through the open doorway and stared back in silent challenge.

More coffee made, he took it back and sat down on the sofa beside Doyle.

"That eye's gonna look spectacular in the morning," Doyle told him, eyeing him through the coffee's steam. Bodie ignored the irrelevancy.

"Come on, then. Out with it. Why did you walk out without a word yesterday morning?"

Doyle's eyes dropped. He shrugged helplessly. "It was those ruddy dogs. I'd had enough. Dunno how you'n Mandy cope with them around you all the time. Talk about passion killers."

Bodie eyed him for a while, his face carefully devoid of expression and then he remarked conversationally, "What a bloody liar you are."

Doyle's jaw tightened but he said nothing.

"It was because I laughed at you," Bodie said contemptuously. "Well, sunshine, you should have seen yourself from where I was standing - protectin' your balls as though you thought the dogs were gonna chew 'em off for breakfast... Funniest thing I've seen in months, that was, and if it'd been me standing there, you'd have laughed yourself sick so don't try and kid me you wouldn't."

Doyle still said nothing but his eyes flickered restlessly as he finished drinking his coffee. He twirled the empty mug in his fingers, glad of the distraction.

"OK," he said at last, "so I don't like being laughed at. Is that so odd?"

"Yes - when it's me doing the laughing." Bodie was still watching him closely, still not quite sure he'd got at the truth, plausible though it seemed at first. He and Doyle had been through so many things together, set each other up so many times and taken in on the chin without complaint, merely biding their time to exact a suitable revenge later.

Doyle shrugged again. "After the night those dogs gave us...maybe I'd lost my sense of humour."

"Maybe." Bodie looked away not wanting to believe they could have lost everything just for something so trivial and petty-minded.

"I'd've thought we owed them a vote of thanks myself," he said bitingly. "It would have been a whole lot less interesting all round if they hadn't..."

Doyle's empty mug hit the coffee table with a crack that made Bodie jump.

"Drop it, for chrissake!"

The rage in Doyle's voice roused Bodie's own anger again.

"No, I'm damned if I will," he said furiously. "You sit there acting like a prima donna and expect me to say - " his voice sharpened in shrill mockery, " - oh, Ray, sorry, Ray, walk all over me, Ray, don't mind me, Ray..."

Doyle's teeth clenched, hard, checking his own angry words, determined not to let Bodie rattle him into rash speech.

His silence infuriated Bodie even further but he pushed his anger down, knowing it wasn't going to help if they went over the top: they were both too volatile for that to be a safe pastime. Besides, this was too important - too important for him to blow it with ill-thought-out words spoken in the heat of the moment.

He got up, moving over to the window, giving himself space and time to cool down.

Come on, he told himself savagely, you've broken witnesses before, break him - if you can!

But this was Ray, his partner, not for breaking.

To hell with that: if there was no other way...

Without turning he said quietly, "Don't you think you at least owe me the courtesy of a little honesty?"

Behind him, Doyle stirred but although he did not speak the look he cast at his partner's back was haunted.

Eventually Bodie said, "So that's all I warrant - after all this time and that night as well, you can just shrug me off with some piddling little lie about the dogs."

He shut himself up then in case his tone went over the edge of calmness and into the appeal he wished he was brave enough to voice aloud.

There was another long silence, broken this time by Doyle.

His normally cheerful voice sounding oddly subdued he said, "Wouldn't it be wiser to forget the whole thing?"

"What?" Bodie swung round, eyes ablaze with cobalt fire. "Oh, no, sunshine," he said dangerously, "don't try that one. Not if you want us both to get through our next assignment without killin' someone we weren't meant to!"

The green eyes looked up, acknowledging the truth of it. In their job they couldn't afford stress between them, had to try and work this out somehow. Only how?

Doyle sighed silently. "I shouldn't have gone like that," he agreed, knowing even while he said it that it was true, knowing equally that in his then state of hurt anger he could not have stayed, not without throwing the whole of his outrage at Bodie's head. Christ, that would have given him something to laugh at all right - Ray Doyle, all uptight over a night of primitive passion because he wanted to be loved for himself and not his body! He could just hear himself now, all the old cliches pouring out like some second rate old 'B' movie...

You only wanted to know what I'd be like in bed...

What will you do now you've had me - move on to someone new...?

I gave you everything...

At least it hadn't come to that in the end, thank god. With all the various interruptions he'd lost that first, fine, careless rapture in which he'd have done anything Bodie wanted... anything at all...

Bodie watched him out of narrowed eyes, seeing the myriad fleeting expressions of a man so full of pent-up feeling that he had forgotten to maintain the usual, ordinary controls -

Oh, to hell with it! What had he done, for god's sake, to make his friend look like that? If there was one person in this world he wouldn't want to hurt it was Ray Doyle, this infuriating, ratty, warped-minded idiot who guarded his back with such expertise and put himself trustingly into his partner's hands in his turn.

Even the night before last...

Bodie's insides twisted at the memory of that skinny body melting against his, offering... everything, he suspected, only he'd been too damn scared to ask for it.

He turned back to the window, staring out at the darkening sky.

No, he couldn't break Ray Doyle, didn't want to try, he acknowledged wearily. But there was someone else present, someone else who could break...

"If making it with you hadn't been so bloody marvellous I wouldn't have cared," he said dully. "You wouldn't be the first person to walk out on me although most of 'em usually stopped long enough to tell me what a shit I am before they left. You didn't even take the trouble to do that, Ray, and it hurt. Come to that, it still bloody hurts."

Behind him, Doyle looked up, trying vainly to read something from the averted head, the set of the powerful shoulders. He said nothing.

"Were you ashamed - was that it? Of wanting to do it with me; I mean, with another fella."


At least that was true. Doyle had no sexual prejudices, reckoning that personal preferences were entirely the affair of each individual concerned. Coercion of any sort was anathema to him but that was all.

"No," he said again. "It started as a joke, I know, but... it wasn't the first time I'd thought about it. How about you?"

Bodie laughed mirthlessly. "You said it yourself, sunshine. I can't keep my hands off you, can I?"

"But... but that was just a joke!"

"Was it? I'm not laughing."

Another long silence behind him and then Bodie heard the creak of the sofa as Doyle moved, felt him come up beside him and lean on the window sill, not looking at his partner.

"Why, Bodie?"

"Why what?" Bodie asked, confused.

"Why me... and not some other bloke?"

"Some other...?" Bodie turned astounded eyes on him. "Christ, you don't think I... Look, I don't know what it's like in the Met: but in the army they've got strict rules about that sort of thing."

"You mean you've never fancied anyone else?"

"No, dammit. Why - have you?"

Doyle's gaze flicked up and away again. "No. Only you."

Another long silence.

At last Bodie said heavily, "I know this is gonna sound like something out of a bad novel but... was it as bad as all that? So bad you had to walk out without saying thanks but no thanks."

"It wasn't bad... it was... very good..."

Bodie's head turned his way, studying him, then nodded once. "I'm glad you said that because I wouldn't have believed you otherwise. You came back for more, just like I did."


Doyle's throat was so tight it was almost choking him.

"But then you'd had enough - was that it? Found out all you wanted to know about me!"

Doyle shook his head, unable to speak, unable to even look at Bodie in case he disgraced himself completely. God, what a fool, what a love-sickly, romantic, sentimental bloody fool!

"Look at me, damn you!"

Bodie's hand came out, wrenching his partner's head round, exasperated by his unresponsiveness - only to find himself looking at an expression of such dumb misery that his gut twisted painfully a second time.

"Ray, oh, christ, Ray..."

He reached out in a blind need to comfort, pulling his friend close to him.

"Don't look like that, please, Ray," he said painfully. "I'm sorry - whatever it is I did, I'm sorry. I can't bear to hurt you - not you. I never loved another guy before, you see, and I don't know what to do - how to get you out of my system - god knows I've tried long enough - "

Doyle was just making some kind of glorious sense out of the broken murmuring, half-muffled in his hair but Bodie's clutch on him was so desperate he could scarcely move at all save to melt closer and that seemed as though it might even be a good idea so he did it.

Bodie's grip tightened still further, almost taking his breath away.

"Bodie!" he wheezed helplessly. "For chrissake leggo, I can't breathe, you idiot."

The clutching arms let go as if burnt.

Bodie started to turn away, to walk away for good and let Doyle forget his embarrassing outburst, put it behind him as something unimportant...

Two hands latched onto his shoulders, holding him.

He met those green eyes, seeing them neither angry nor condemnatory, only shining so much it almost hurt him to look. He closed his own with slow pain.

"Bodie - yesterday morning I walked out because I'm a fool, because something you said hurt me and made me furious, and I didn't have the guts to tell you."

Doyle didn't sound angry or hurt now, just very quiet, very serious. Bodie opened his eyes again cautiously.

He sighed. "I'm always opening my big mouth and putting my foot in it, sunshine, you should know that. What did I say?"

"You told me about Mandy and her friend," Doyle said soberly. "Said they'd improved your education and it scared me. I thought maybe that was all I'd been - just another new experience, an experiment - " He put up his hand, covering Bodie's mouth before he could speak. "You see, I wanted you to be very serious because that night I discovered I'd fallen in love, with you, and I didn't know what to do about it. I tried to show you instead of saying it because I couldn't find the words to tell you. I didn't know how."

Bodie's mind took it in slowly, savouring it, not wanting to rush the moment but to make it last.

"You could always try 'I love you'," he said soberly.

"It doesn't sound silly?"

"Try me," Bodie invited, a slow smile beginning to burn.

Doyle's own face was brightening but he spoke with due solemnity.

"I love you."

Bodie's head tilted, considering it.

"Again," he invited.

Doyle's mouth quivered. "I love you."

"Hmmm. No, I don't think it sounds silly. Try it once more - with feeling!"

"I love you," Doyle purred, abandoning all restraint and putting his whole heart into the thing.

Bodie shook his head. "No, it doesn't sound silly," he said firmly, "it sounds downright, bleedin' marvellous, you great fool."

"Does it?"

"Said so, didn't I?"

"Not to me, it doesn't."

"Well, I should hope not." Bodie looked shocked. "Bit egotistical isn't it, gettin' turned on by tellin' yourself you love you. Not to mention narcissistic."

"Is that right?" Doyle questioned doubtfully.

"Schizophrenic, I should think, fallin' in love with yourself."

"No, you fool - narcissistic - is that the right word?"

"How the hell should I know?"

"You're not so thick as you like to make out." Doyle gave him a little shake. "And you know damn well what I want. Come on."

"More coffee?"


"Chinese takeaway?"

"Bodie!" Doyle said warningly, the amused sparkle darkening ominously.

"Me to make a bloody fool of meself," Bodie offered, his smile beginning to betray him anyway.

"It's quite easy actually," Doyle said, relaxing just a little.

Bodie pulled him close. "I love you, sunshine." His voice shook on the words but it didn't matter.

"See, I told you it was easy."

"Yes." Bodie looked surprised. "Be quite easy to go out in the street and yell it at the top of me voice. Want me to do that too?"

"No thanks. Just privately will do." Doyle tried to sound serious but he was starting to crack up.

"I LOVE YOU!" Bodie said - at the top of his voice.

Doyle jumped visibly and dragged his hugely grinning partner away from the window, deciding that it was time to pull the curtains and close out the world. What was going to happen in here was no business of anyone else's, it was just between the two of them.


"Who - me?" Bodie tried to look hurt.

Doyle grinned. "You look like one of those damn dogs when it wants attention," he said unkindly.

"You don't look out and I'll lick your bloody ear," Bodie threatened.

"You don't look out and I'll start humpin' you."

"You will?" Bodie eyed him hopefully.

Doyle decided he might as well say it all now he'd got started.

"I'd do anything for you," he said quietly.

Bodie's stomach gave a huge lurch. "Anything?"


Bodie eyed the tremendous solemnity of Ray Doyle, made a few raunchy plans and then bowed reluctantly to the dictates of reality.

"Really anything?"

The little-boy look was back. Doyle saw it and knew the moment for total commitment was not yet here but that it would arrive sooner or later - sooner if it was left to him.

He nodded, resigned. "Really anything."

"Then please can I come to bed with you and just go to sleep - I'm bloody knackered."

"Yeah." Doyle nodded ruefully, knowing that it was sensible. They'd had two solid days of physical and emotional stress, thirty-six hours without sleep. Even their superb fitness wouldn't keep them going for ever and things would be much better all round if they were properly rested.

"OK, come on."

He led the way to his bedroom saying over his shoulder, "D'you want a shower?"

Bodie made a face. "Only if I smell too bad for you to get to sleep. I really have had it."

"Me too. Was hopin' you'd say no."

Three minutes later, emerging from his own last visit to the bathroom, Doyle found his partner throwing back the duvet. Bodie hooked the exposed blue pyjama bottoms from their resting place under the pillow and threw them towards an adjacent chair, missing it by inches.

"Won't be needing those, will you?"

"Thought you were tired." Doyle clambered in without further protest, throwing himself down on the pillows with an audible sigh of relief.

"I am - just thinking of saving time in the morning. Come here." Bodie held out his arms.

Doyle went into them willingly, wriggling until they were both comfortable. Bodie felt so damn good, he thought sleepily.

Say it, Doyle! Don't just think it - you made that mistake last time!

He edged just a little closer still. "You feel wonderful."

"Mmm. You too."

"Wanted to tell you before..."

"Why didn't you?"

"Told you, I thought it'd sound plain daft, talking to you like that. Thought you'd die laughin'."

"No, I shan't laugh," Bodie told him with complete seriousness. "I need to hear it, Ray. Everybody needs the words - even tough guys like us."

Doyle smiled into his shoulder, a slow, evil smile. "Even Cowley?"

A huge shiver ran down the powerful frame. "Only you could think of Cowley at a time like this," Bodie said gloomily. "Nah, of course he doesn't. He'd make us say it if he did - be written in the small print somewhere."

Doyle choked on a laugh. "Yeah, you're right." His eyes were closing against his will and far too soon: he didn't want to go to sleep yet, wanted to enjoy the long, hard warmth of Bodie close to him.

A huge yawn threatened to crack Bodie's jaw. Once he managed to close his mouth again, he said, "I'm always right, mate. Thought you knew that."

But Doyle was asleep and beyond hearing.

Waking was a painful experience after a night spent so closely interlocked, minor cramps catching as they made the first, tentative movements. It was bewildering also, until they'd each managed to recall who the other body was.

It was just as well, Doyle reflected, that they both had such long and varied lists of conquests that they'd long ago learned to be careful with names until they were fully awake. Girls got stroppy enough when you muddled them, he didn't even like to think of Bodie's reaction to a sleepily murmured 'Sue' or 'Tracey'.

But come to think of it, no girl had ever managed to maintain such a painful grip on him right through the night, quelling his usual, restless movements. Nor had any girl ever smelled quite so good to him as the plain, unadulterated, masculine scent of Bodie. Finding his nose pressed tightly into the comfortable hollow below a collar bone, he reached out with his tongue, encountering damp, salt skin. He nuzzled it sweetly, lapping luxuriously.

Bodie's arm moved and a hand touched his head, pressing him closer.

"Mmmm. Nice."

It was a sleepy whisper, contented and yet pleading.

Doyle ignored the tone for a moment, withdrawing his tongue and letting his breath shiver over the dampness he had created until he felt Bodie's breathing deepen and become rhythmic, pleasured...

He slid down, not far, just as far as a small, brown nipple and gave it his wholehearted attention, lavishing a complexity of touches with lips and teeth, tongue-tip both firm and relaxed, until Bodie pulled his head away with a groan.

"Ray... I'll.. that's..."

Doyle smiled, eyes smug. "Good?"

"You know damn well it's good - but frustrating."

"Want more?"

"Yes." Bodie lifted his head to meet Doyle's, their mouths hungering on each other.

"OK. What would you like?"

Bodie gathered him in closely, wrapping his arms and legs around him fiercely. "From you, anything at all."

Doyle lay very still feeling little, electric shivers running up and down him at the thought of possessing Bodie, of being taken by him in turn.

"I want you... I want to..." He faltered again.

"Go on," Bodie encouraged him. "Say it. You wanna fuck me."

Doyle gulped, cold fire piercing him. "Yes, I do."

"That's good - 'cause I have every intention of fuckin' you, sunshine; deep, hard and every chance I get! Have you got something we can use?"

"I think so... bound to be something in the bathroom."

"Go on then, don't hang around until I get gray and wrinkled."

Doyle got out of bed feeling faintly unreal and went out without looking at Bodie. He found a small pot of nivea, remembered buying it when he'd got so sunburnt that unexpected day out by the sea with Bodie last year...remembered the girl in the chemists and the blatantly inviting looks she'd given the pair of them; if only she knew.

When he got back into bed Bodie pulled him close and kissed him again.

"Scared, sunshine?"

"Yeah." He managed a rueful grin. "But I never let that stop me doing other things."

"Good. Want some help with the lid?"

"Yeah - stupid how clumsy you are with one finger out of commission."

"There you are."

"Thanks. Do I look scared then?"

Bodie chuckled. "No more than I do."

Doyle knelt up, leaned down and kissed him and whispered huskily, "Turn over. On your side or your front. Whichever you like."

"OK." Bodie shifted onto his front, propping his head on his folded arms so that he could look back over his shoulder. "Go on, what are you waiting for?"

"Just looking at you." Doyle's face was grave, his eyes wide as they travelled up and down his partner's naked back. "I wanted to tell you the other night, you're beautiful, Bodie, got a gorgeous body...'specially this..."

His hand, flat-palmed, caressed the swell of a buttock, he leant down and kissed it and then knelt between the parted thighs and carefully smeared cream deeply into the shadowed cleft, searching out the bud of muscle. He knew enough to know he mustn't rush this, must wait until the tight sphincter muscle relaxed but he was surprised at how soon that happened for him and he looked up to find Bodie's eyes closed, his body totally slack.

You could almost hear him purring, Doyle thought hazily.

He anointed his own body liberally as well and then gently lowered himself onto Bodie, guiding himself with his hand, taking it slowly, inserting just the head.

God, but he was warm and tight and beautiful.

"Are you OK?"

"Yeah." The word was a sigh quivering on Bodie's mouth. "Don't be afraid, Ray. Go on. Take what you need."

So Doyle relaxed down onto him completely, pushing himself all the way in, feeling the incredible sensation of Bodie's buttocks pressed firmly against his belly and thighs, the tightness holding him.

He held him lovingly, his head against the back of Bodie's neck, his mouth on the strong curve of a shoulder.

"You're exquisite. I could lie like this for hours."

Bodie strained round, trying to kiss him but not quite able to reach. "Good, is it?"

"Yes. No."

A warm, rich chuckle. "Make up your mind."

"I mean 'good' just doesn't begin to say what it is." Doyle began to move, gentle thrusts and withdrawals. "You won't let me hurt you, will you?"

"You're not. Stop worrying." Bodie moved in reply, pushing up to meet him.

"Mmmm." Doyle responded with a definite, growing urgency, feeling the need peaking in him far too quickly. "Oh, god, I'm going to come," he groaned.

Another rich chuckle. "Thought that was the idea. Come on, Ray. Do it. Come in me, sunshine."

"Oh, christ, Bodie...Bodie..."

Sunbursts of pleasure, pumping from him and he was coming - gasping - floating up and out and down again to the warm solidity of Bodie.

Lovely, oh, lovely...

Long minutes ticked by before he could speak.

"Oh, god, it was over so fast. I went up so quickly - just like the first time - "

"Was it OK?"

"Beautiful." He kissed the warm shoulder and smiled. "I don't wanna get out."

"You'll have to. Can't go to work like this," Bodie said sleepily. "We'd have to go by bus - never get behind the wheel to drive the car."

Doyle laughed and in laughing, slipped from his lover so he rolled off him and pushed him back onto his side then pulled an arm carefully around him, studying his face.

Bodie looked back at him, seeing an inner happiness light the often devilish face, softening it, and wondered if that look of tenderness was mirrored in his own expression. He had more than half a suspicion that his face bore a most fatuous and sloppy grin.

Doyle's look livened as he took in Bodie's appearance properly for the first time that morning. His mouth curled and, stretching forwards, he touched his lips delicately to the bruised and swollen eye.

"I was right. It is a beautiful shiner."

"Probably." Bodie was scarcely even interested. "It won't slow me down, I promise you."

"Deep and hard and often," Doyle reminded him.

"Yeah. If you can still walk when I've finished I'll have failed," Bodie told him as casually as he could over the fast, pumping beat of his heart.

"How d'you want...?"

"On your back - if we can." There was a lick of shyness on the suave features as Bodie scrambled to his knees, his eyes never leaving Doyle's face. "I want to watch you, see your face..."

To Doyle's surprise he found the feel of Bodie's hand moving on him, spreading the nivea, extraordinarily erotic and in spite of having climaxed so recently he was getting hard again. Bodie smiled happily and caressed him into full erection.

"Always knew you were a randy little toad," he said affectionately.

Doyle was breathing too deeply to want to answer with anything more than a long, slow slide of his hand up the arm touching him so lovingly. He parted his thighs still further, losing all tentativeness.


Doyle's smile shakily widened. "Course I'm OK. What does it look like?"

"You look beautiful," Bodie said hungrily, slowly beginning his penetration now that Doyle was fully ready for him.

It took a little adjusting of legs and bodies before they found the position that was precisely right: Bodie took his time, deliberately slowing himself, finding the distraction of Doyle's need helpful in maintaining a control that was slipping from him more quickly than it had since he was very new at this oldest of all pastimes. He managed - just - to hang on but the sight and sounds of Doyle's climax, achieved with a completely uninhibited abandon and trust, was too much for him and he came himself with a long, pleasured moan, slumping down over the scrawny body and crushing it into the bed.

It as at least a minute if not longer before he realised that the delighted cries had changed to distinctly protesting grunts and another few seconds after that before he could rouse the energy to lift his sated body off the flattened one beneath him.

Doyle straightened his legs with difficulty. "You weren't joking, were you?" he complained. "About my not being able to walk, I mean."

"Stop grumbling." Bodie lay down beside him, holding on to him for dear life.

"I'm not. It was worth it."

"Really?" Bodie managed to open an eye, checking.

"Really." Doyle kissed the tip of his nose with great care.

"Just as well," Bodie mumbled, "'cause I'm going to do that again someday."

"Good job we're only on standby today," said Doyle, suddenly catching sight of the digital display on his radio alarm changing from 8.59 to 9.00.

"Not yet," muttered the somnolent body.

Doyle puzzled over that for a moment, making no sense of it. "Not yet what?" he demanded.

Bodie thought about it, finally tracking down his train of thought.

"Can't do it standing up yet - me legs are still shaking."

Doyle frowned over the non sequitur. "Well, it's called knee trembling," he said doubtfully.

"Yes, but that's afterwards."

Doyle gave up on the conversation.

After another couple of minutes he opened his eyes again.

The readout said 12.48.

He blinked at it and found Bodie sitting on the edge of the bed, watching him.

"Thought you'd never wake up. Worn you out, have I?"

Doyle stretched, full of well-being and ready for anything. "God, I'm hungry!"

"There's coffee behind you. Might be a bit cold by now. I didn't have the heart to wake you up."

Doyle sat up, accepting the mug. It was just warm enough to be drinkable.

"Where's my breakfast then?"

"It'll be ready for you when you get out of the shower." Bodie stood up.

"Hey - you're dressed," Doyle said, disappointed.

"I don't fry bacon in the nude," Bodie retorted. "Too damn dangerous. Bet even Cowley thinks twice... Come on, get up."

"My but you're bright and lively," Doyle said admiringly. "Masterful, too."

"And I've been up since 12.00 and I'm starving - so get up!"

Bodie grabbed an ankle and hauled at him, his nose wrinkling fastidiously. "And go and have a shower as well, you smell like a well-hung pheasant!"

Doyle could not deny it. "All in a good cause, though."

"Yeah." Bodie patted his leg.

As Doyle shambled towards the bathroom Bodie called out: "And keep singin' while you're in there, will you?"

"What?" Doyle stuck his head back round the door in surprise. He knew what Bodie thought of his singing.

Bodie's face grinned at him from round the kitchen door, and his hand dangled a key.

"I've put the inner lock on so you can't run out that way, but if you sing then I'll know you're not sneakin' out the window."

"Bodie," Doyle said patiently, "we're on the fourth floor!"

"I know. Keep singin'."

Doyle's face softened, guessing what Bodie must have felt when he found he had gone without a word of explanation last time.

"OK. I'll keep singing," he agreed.

Bodie propped the kitchen door open with a handy saucepan. Strains of "Why was he born so beautiful?" tangled with the hammering of water, the crackle of bacon.

It sounded so wonderful Bodie knew for certain he was in love.

Mind you, he'd known that for a long time.

-- THE END --

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