Black Satin


It was his own fault for going in alone, Bodie thought gloomily as the three heavies poured thickly through the suddenly-burst-open cabin door like black treacle in hot weather. He was never going to hear the last of this from Ray for a start - supposing he survived the experience - and Cowley had already expressed his opinion forcibly over the R/T when Bodie announced his intention, but it had been too good an opportunity to be missed, finding the yacht temporarily unguarded, and if he had succeeded in finding the evidence they wanted to put the impeccable Lady Daphne behind bars they'd have forgiven him - in time. Even Ray. As it was, he'd cocked the whole thing up and was now in deep trouble.

He raised his hands with an exasperated sigh and smiled placatingly.

He received one answering smile and two vicious scowls: of the three he'd take the scowls any time, they at least had the merit of honesty. He trusted Mercer as far as he could throw him, and viewing the sheer bulk of the man, that was not very far.

"Mr. Bodie, what a pleasant surprise. I don't believe Lady Daphne was expecting you."

"I was goin''' to leave me card," Bodie murmured, wishing he didn't know for a certainty that Ray was still at least twenty miles away and that the cavalry wouldn't come rushing over the hill this time. He was on his own as far as Cowley was concerned, that much had been agreed from the start.

One of the scowls moved in closer. "Let me 'ave 'im, Sid. I've had enough of Mr. bleedin' Bodie!"

"Use your 'ead, you fool," Mercer snapped. "You kill 'im now, what you gonna do with 'im? Lady Daphne won't want blood all over her cabin, nor a corpse. Sleeps in 'ere, she does, or 'ad you forgotten?"

"Plenty of water out there," the scowl insisted. "Dump 'im 'in it."

"Dump you in it an' all," Mercer said with heavy sarcasm. "This is a marina, you fool, not open river. Dump 'im in 'ere and 'e'll be floatin' around for everyone to see. Lady Daphne won't like that either, not with 'er old school chum, H.R.H. in the area along with 'alf the Met! Nah, leave 'im in 'ere while we get the stuff ashore. We can 'ave some fun with 'im later, then." He grinned. "Take 'is clothes off 'im, 'e won't be goin'' anywhere in a tearin' 'urry, not with Royalty about an' all." Acting hopefully on Mercer's expressed desire not to get blood all over the place, a sentiment with which Bodie heartily concurred when the blood concerned was his, he resisted vigorously, but there are all too many ways to damage and disable a man without shedding blood and before long he was helplessly bollock-naked, shivering in the raw, November cold, bruised and winded and bent double in agony from a judicious fist in the groin from Mercer.

The fat man smiled down at him. "Wish I 'ad time for a little more of that," he said wistfully, "but we gotta job to do. Make sure those ropes is tight, Joe."

"They're tight," the smallest heavy said succinctly.

Bodie agreed ruefully and silently, pretending to a greater degree of discomfort than he was in fact feeling. Mercer's punches had been slightly off-target but he ached abominably all the same; still, it wouldn't hurt at all for them to get a little over-complacent and believe him to be totally incapacitated.

He had to laugh inwardly at that. Who the hell was he kidding? He probably had about as much chance of getting out of this as a mouse out of a trap. No, believe that and you were dead. He'd get free!

Mercer gave him a final shove so that he over-balanced from his sitting position and rolled uncomfortably off the over- sized double bunk (Lady Daphne clearly liked her creature comforts) and onto the carpeted deck. The thick pile smelt of spilt perfume and gas-oil mixed, maybe Lady Daphne had a thing going with her engineer, Bodie thought inconsequentially.

"You got the stuff, Sid?"

"Yeah, it's 'ere. Come on. We gotta get it in the car, quick, before the pair of 'em get back 'ere and before the detective starts nosin' around."

Bodie lay very still - so he had been in the right place, dammit. Given a bit of luck he might even have found where it had been hidden - a woman of Lady Daphne's reputation for charitable good works and well-known friendship with a certain 'personage' would receive only the most cursory visit from Customs and the hiding place need not have been unduly subtle. From the sounds he was hearing now a simple sliding panel behind a drawer seemed to have sufficed. He cursed silently and vehemently - to have been so damned close... They'd have to kill him later, he knew too much. CI5 had got too close for comfort this time but the bloody woman would only have to make a few changes to start up operations all over again. Cowley may know where Bodie had been but try and accuse Lady Daphne in open court and where would they get? Nowhere!

Oh yes, my lud, I saw Mr. Bodie. I let him come on board and look around just as he asked to... then he left and I didn't see him again... Her word against theirs. And a woman in her position was 'above suspicion'. It'd be laughable if it wasn't so unpleasant.

Only Cowley - and Ray - would guess that his body had been dumped out at sea, left of the crabs to nibble... He shut that thought down. God send Ray never had to try and identify him.

Ray - the little devil would never forgive him for getting killed just when they had finally sorted things out so comfortably, really got themselves properly together... Lovers! God, who would have thought it? CI5's two most macho agents ending up tidily paired off to live happily ever after. But they weren't going to if he continued to lie on this stinking carpet bemoaning his fate.

Once the cabin door had been closed and locked, he started to wriggle about, looking for some means of getting himself free. As villains went, Mercer and co: had the right instincts but too little commonsense or experience. If they really wanted to make sure he didn't get away they'd have tied him to something, not left him free to roll himself around on the floor.

Ah, there on the dressing table unit behind a retaining bar - a jar of talc complete with swansdown puff! Scrabbling painfully, inch by scraping inch, across the room, he humped his way along, got with great difficulty to his tied feet (falling over only twice) and eased his right cheek onto the formica surface, grunting as the chill of it met his bared flesh and bending half backwards, half sideways at an acutely uncomfortable and insecure angle to try and get a grip on the bowl with his fingertips.

In spite of the cold he was sweating profusely by the time he got a hold on it: then, praying that it was glass and not sensible plastic, he smashed it down as hard as he could. He had several cuts - one deepish - in his behind before he'd got the last rope free and he had a shrewd suspicion there may be a piece or two of glass embedded as well but he had neither the time nor the flexibility of spine required to make a proper investigation. He made for the door.

Damn it - if Lady Daphne's guest had arrived to join her for the public presentation of the latest cheque to the 'personage's' particular charity and later to drive out to Lady Daphne's country seat for a private dinner, then he could hardly go out there totally starkers to inform the Cow that the heroin was by now safely stowed away in the Lady's car. It was an odds on certainty there'd be at least one television crew out there and a whole battery of photographers. If he made the cover of Private Eye Cowley'd crucify him first and then roast him alive. Probably boil him in oil for a main course and then tear him in little pieces for a finale. Where did the bloody woman keep her clothes?

Shit, all that luggage he'd watched going ashore must have been hers... a few pieces of underwear too flimsy to contemplate and a couple of pairs of fashionably fitting trousers

Why couldn't she be an ample and matronly size 20 instead of a dainty size 10 and petite to boot, he thought savagely, discarding garment after garment with indecent haste. The bed linen! He turned to it and groaned. White satin? In this dusk half-light he'd gleam like the ghost of Hamlet's father in a school play! He was just going to rip them off the bed when something under it caught his eye, a heap of something black and shiny. He hooked it out and held it up.

A negligee!

Thank god the woman went for Janet Reger satin rather than see-through nylon. It was amply cut too, its lace inserts discreetly over shoulder and forearms rather than the boobs, thank god - far too short in the waist of course, that was somewhere up under his armpits and bloody uncomfortable, but being full-length it came down to his calves and its fully circular skirt provided adequate cover. Once he'd worked out how the complicated belt went he was reasonably sure it would not flap apart too revealingly as well. A piece of luck that whatsername - Claire was it, or Louise? - had had a similarly fastened garment and though he'd cursed its intricacies every time he'd had to haul her out of it, he was grateful now that he knew enough to search along the waist seam for the gap to thread the long tie through.

There, it was on. Now to get out of here.

Doyle parked his car carelessly and ran the last half mile along the road lined with spectators. The Cow had sounded both angry and worried, a combination that boded ill for somebody - Bodie probably, if they managed to get him out of this in one piece. What was the fool thinking of, going on board the yacht without any kind of back-up? But leaving it unguarded like that just showed how monumentally sure of herself this bloody woman was with her aristocratic background and her grand 'connections'. He knew how abhorrent Cowley found it that anyone should abuse a position of trust in this way - come to think of it, he didn't think much to it himself. There were some things that were still 'not done' and they had to nail her now, before her arrogant self-assurance led her to involve her old school-chum in some more direct and damaging way: so far as CI5 was concerned, rand had most definitely had its privileges and it was more than time that Lady Daphne's nasty little smuggling racket was brought to an end before it brought someone very high and totally innocent with range of its inevitable mud.

There was the usual crowd milling around the entrance to the small marina, eager to catch that one glimpse they could boast of to their families and friends - just inside the gate an Austin Princess was parked, a fat, falsely affable man leaning nonchalantly against it, his chauffeur's uniform strained tightly over his beer-gut.


Doyle's own guts tightened in reaction. What had the bastard done with Bodie? I he'd been harmed... He wriggled his shoulders, feeling the holster pull reassuringly against the movement.

Another, more familiar face peered through the crowd of police, plain-clothes men and photographers in their privileged position commanding the gate. Cowley - lips set in a grim line. Doyle edged his way along as unobtrusively as possible, by now sweating freely in spite of the chill damp: partly nerves, partly exertion. Either way he wished he'd dumped his overcoat in the car.

"Any sign of him, sir?"

Cowley merely grunted, giving no other sign he'd noticed Doyle although the agent knew he had to have seen him from way back. Cowley missed very little. "No. Damned fool..." The Scotsman broke off. 3.7 was almost certainly dead by now judging by the self-satisfied smirk on Mercer's face, and there was nothing, nothing he could do about it save stand here raging impotently.

There was a stirring in the distance, the sound of cheering growing louder.

"They're coming," Doyle said unnecessarily, marvelling not for the first time at the number of security risks these people were prepared to brave in order to let the public see them - quite unnecessary to have driven here to the marina, the change-over to Lady Daphne's car could have been effected just as easily back at the Town Hall, unless...

His eyes widened. The car!

Before he could make a move towards Cowley, he was distracted by an unmistakable voice behind him calling out his name. He spun around.


"Tell Cowley... head 'em off... goods are in the bloody car, now! TELL HIM!"

The urgency in Bodie's voice sent Doyle scampering forward, still not quite sure he'd seen what he'd thought he'd seen.

"Bodie's here, sir. Says head H.R.H. off, don't let her get in the car. The stuff's in it."

Cowley didn't waste time, he was off, issuing orders, almost before Doyle had finished speaking, motioning the younger man to follow him and bring Bodie.

Doyle paused. No, somehow he didn't really think the Old Man would want him to bring Bodie. Not if what he'd seen had been real and not a figment of his over-heated imagination. Another face he knew caught his eye.

"Murphy!" He grabbed him. "Tell Cowley I'm looking after Bodie. I think he's hurt."

If he wasn't, he would be time Doyle had finished with him, bloody fool! How dared he scare the pants off him like this!

It took several minutes to track down his partner, back in the shadows between the boat sheds where Bodie had swiftly and modestly retreated. Doyle surveyed his normally unflappable lover with a belligerent eye.

"Not like you to act the shrinking violet, Bodie," he said loudly. "What's the matter?"

Bodie straightened, gathering his dignity about him with a signal lack of success. "Don't be a bastard, Doyle. Gimme your coat, for god's sake. I'm freezing."

"I'm not surprised," Doyle leered. "I've seen more cover on a go-go dancer."

Bodie looked down at his ripped skirts and arranged them more decorously. "Had a bit of trouble getting ashore," he pleaded pathetically. "They were rather keen on my goin'' along for a short sea-voyage and I told 'em I get sea-sick."

"Aah," Doyle groaned in mock sympathy. "'s just not been you day, has it, one way and another."

Bodie fixed a pleading eye on him, his shivering growing to mammoth proportions. "Gimme your coat, Ray."

Sighing, Doyle took it off and handed it over. "Don't split the lining, you great ape," he said sternly. "I can see you don't take a lot of care of things you borrow - at least, I presume that model you're wearing is not a little number of your own. Nothing would surprise me these days, of course." He smirked knowingly.

Goaded, Bodie glared at him and tugged the borrowed overcoat on, glad Doyle went for the baggy rather than the exquisitely-tailored look.

"Of course," Doyle said thoughtfully, "I told Cowley you were hurt. He's not goin'' to be best pleased when he finds out you're just paradin' around in fancy dress."

"But I am," Bodie said hastily.

Doyle stiffened. "Where? Damn you, Bodie, why can't you take more care? There's a St. John's tent along there, we'll..."

He stopped again, catching the gleam, at once rueful and amused, in Bodie's eye as that young man shook his head with great determination.

"This is one you can deal with."

"What d'you mean?" Doyle demanded, instantly suspicious.

"You'll find out. Where's your car?"

"'bout half a mile away."

"Come on, then."

"But, Cowley..."

"Ray, I'm bleeding."

"How badly?" There was too much laughter in Bodie's eyes for Doyle to be too worried by now.

"Bad enough. Ray, get me out of here - I'm smothered in bruises, I've cut meself somewhere you don't mention in polite society and I'm in no fit state to face either Cowley or any of the boys in blue. Ok?"

They'd face Cowley's wrath in the morning.

On the edge of the crowd they saw Murphy again. He hailed them loudly.

"Cowley wants to see the pair of you. He's positively beaming, Bodie. The stuff was there all right and her ladyship properly lost her head when the dogs sniffed it out, gave herself away all over the place, shopping all her evil friends too. Made a right ruddy noise about the whole thing. They were in time to make sure no one else was involved who shouldn't have been, too. I shouldn't wonder if Cowley pins a medal on you for once, Bodie."

"He'll be pushed to find somewhere to pin it to," Doyle chuckled evilly. "Murph, Bodie's hurt - not seriously but he needs attention. We'll fix a report, get someone to come round and collect it will you? I'm takin' him back to his place, OK?"

"OK." Murphy nodded resignedly. No use arguing with these two: even Cowley occasionally bowed to their craziness though god alone knew why. A law unto themselves but damned good at their job. Wondering idly what it must be like to work so closely with someone as those two did, Murphy wandered back to Cowley with his deceptively idle gait, unflustered as ever.

Bodie's bared legs and feet demanded an undue share of attention in the way of catcalls and wolf whistles as they made their way along the road, packed now with groups of people contentedly returning to their homes unaware of the high drama that had been enacted almost under their very noses. Both men ignored it with a lofty disdain. Bodie's mind in any case was more on the soreness of his posterior than any other problem.

Doyle released the catch on the passenger door and gestured to Bodie. "Get in, then."

Bodie leant forward, face to the window. "Open the back door, mate."

"Whatever for?"

Bodie sighed exaggeratedly. "So I can get in there. Crikey, Doyle, how many 0 levels is it you need to get into the Force? Needlework and cookin', is it?"

Doyle stretched over and did as requested. "What's the matter with the front seat then - gone off me, have you?"

Bodie climbed in gingerly, let out a mild yelp and turned the other cheek to the seat, half lying down." "I'd look a right damned fool travelling back to London kneelin' up in the front, wouldn't I? 'sides, the seat belt isn't designed to fit that way."

Doyle was eyeing him in growing comprehension, a huge smile threatening to split his round face in two. "You've cut your bum," he said accusingly, over a giggle.

"Quick, aren't we? Yeah - sat on some glass while I was doing me Houdini act. Reckon there's a slice still in there, too, by the feel of it."

"Let me look."

Doyle's hand went to the hem of his overcoat, pulling it up. Bodie dragged it back down with a scandalised yelp. "Not here, you don't, Ray, you daft bugger. Not with half of Hampshire peerin' through the rear window. Turn that bloody light off, for chrissake."

"OK. OK. Don't get your negligee in a knot," Doyle soothed him, grinning. "And don't bleed all over me best coat, either."

Bodie's answer was unpractical, physically impossible but probably fun to try. Doyle set the car in motion, smiling to himself.

In spite of the lateness of the hour when they got back they did not make it from the car to Bodie's flat unnoted. While he helped Bodie hoist himself out of the car, arse first, Doyle gave the impassively watching policeman a brilliant smile, wondering whether he'd ever looked so impossibly young as that when he'd been in the uniformed branch. The copper stared back, first at Doyle and then at the back of the bare, blood- stained legs as they emerged into view.

"Had a bit of an accident, have we?" he demanded mildly.

"You could say that," Doyle agreed. "Poor beggar fell in the canal trying to rescue a dog that had fallen into a lock and when he got it out the ungrateful brute bit him on the..."

Bodie straightened. "Oh sharper than a serpent's tooth," he declaimed dramatically, "is it to have had an ungrateful child."

Doyle chuckled. "Look, sunshine, I may have said you're a son of a bitch, I never implied anythin' else though. Come on, you're nearly home. Aunt Daisy'll send your clothes round tomorrow when she's got them dry."

"You - I hope - have got my spare key," Bodie reminded him, starting along the path, limping visibly.

"Yeah - here it is. Come on. Night, officer."

As he closed the door Doyle said resignedly, "Be all round the local nick before breakfast. Night crowd'll tell those on early turn..."

Bodie stared at him. "Whatever for? Haven't they got anything better to do?"

Doyle shook his head. "Ninety per cent of police work's monotonous, thank god. Any funny story'll do to liven things up a bit. Come on, let's get you seen to."

He held out his hands to haul at his overcoat, pulling it carefully from Bodie's broader shoulders. Bodie winced artistically.

"Steady on. I've got bruises in places most people don't even have places!"

Doyle chuckled. "You shouldn't have such large places - presents too tempting a target."

He had intended, once the coat was off, to inspect it ostentatiously for the slightest sign of damage and to make an undue fuss about it if there was, but he was stopped short in his tracks by the vision, fully revealed to him for the first time, of Bodie in the black satin garment.

Doyle stepped back involuntarily, emitting a loud and highly appreciative wolf whistle and then a prolonged burst of laughter.

"God, you don't half look like Elsie Tanner in that rig," he cackled. "The poor man's sex symbol! Pity you tore it - it'd've looked good 'angin' on the back of the bedroom door."

Bodie grinned, knowing Doyle would extract full mileage from this with merciless teasing - just as he would himself. He pulled the tie undone but held the front of the thing resolutely closed. Doyle was going to make enough fuss as it was; the full extent of his final fight to get ashore could be revealed later, for the moment all he was really interested in was getting this damned glass splinter out.

He slid the material off one shoulder, fluttering his eyelashes Doyle's way and minced towards the bed. "I wouldn't do this for just anyone," he lisped, "but for you I'll drop 'em any time," and he propped one knee on the edge of the bed while sliding the rest of the negligee down his back. Then he supported himself on his hands and slowly let himself down.

Caught up in a sudden flare of lust, at first Doyle was only watching the body he loved slowly being revealed, not seeing details, but once his brain had taken in what the slipping satin showed him, he winced sympathetically and dragged the negligee away, dropping it carelessly.

The whole of Bodie's back was a mess of bruises, already darkening, and the white, muscled backside was smothered in small cuts while a couple of longer ones were still welling blood sluggishly.

"God, you are a mess. I'll get a bowl and some hot water. Don't go away!"

"Wasn't planning to," Bodie mumbled into his elbow. It felt so damn' good to lie here and let Doyle fuss over him; better than any bloody nurse back at the First Aid room in CI5. There were a lot of benefits outside the obvious ones in being this close to your partner.

Totally relaxed and secure, he barely even heard Doyle's return, just felt him as a comfortable presence at the side of the bed before the edge dipped to his weight and warm, wet cotton- wool was applied with tender, loving care to his abused nether regions.

"Ouch!" Bodie squirmed as a needle-sharp pain jolted him. "Yeah, I thought there was still some in there. Can you get it out?"

"Can't even see it," Doyle grumbled. "Oh yeah, there it is. Damn!"

Bodie jumped visibly and swore himself. "You were supposed to get it out," he said severely, "not ram it in further."

"Sorry," Doyle acknowledged sheepishly. "Me fingers slipped. 'spose you haven't got any tweezers, have you?"

Bodie looked over his shoulder, his face a study in injured pride. "What do you think I am?" he demanded.

"These delicate eyebrows grow this way naturally. I'll have you know - and I wax me legs!"

"Oh?" said Doyle politely. "I'd never have guessed. I"ll have to use a penknife then."

Bodie's head, which had started to descend back down to its pillow on his arms, lifted again, his eyes scanning Doyle's wide-eyed innocence with a wholly mistrustful look.

"You," he instructed, "will be bloody careful what you're doin' down there."

"Oh, I will." Doyle's limpid look, if anything, deepened.

Bodie grinned appreciatively. "You'd better," he fluted in an outrageous falsetto, "because if anything happens to me best assets I'll hit you with me handbag. Besides which, I shall know where to come for a donor for the transplant."

"Oh, I wouldn't call 'em your best assets," Doyle replied, his eyes fixed abstractedly on the beautiful, if damaged curves. "You've got a gorgeous arse, Bodie."

"You get the bloody glass out of it and you can kiss it better for a treat if you like."

"Maybe I'll do just that." Doyle's voice was a little husky as he extracted his knife and opened it. "I'll go and make sure this is sterile. Won't be long."

Bodie was nearly asleep by the time he came back and Doyle gave a tiny grimace. It seemed so unfair to wake him just to cut holes in him but that sliver of glass had to come out. Fifteen, painful minutes later Bodie reported no further pin-pricks from embedded glass as Doyle ran gentle as a butterfly fingers over him.

"Just bloody sore," he said thankfully.

"Good." Doyle wasn't saying much. He was too choked up by Bodie's unhesitating and relaxed trust in his skill and if the truth be known, having that delectable if damaged portion of Bodie's anatomy delivered so willingly into his hands was having its inevitable result upon his own body. He began making a few raunchy plans for when the last piece of elastoplast and the last rub of antiseptic cream had been administered.

He finished cleaning off the trickles of dried blood down Bodie's legs, found a sufficiently large, unspoilt area and patted it gently, then he leaned forward, propping himself on one hand to whisper breathily into his partner's ear. "Why don't you turn over, lover. Let's have you sunny-side up!"

Bodie's eyebrows lifted at him, a rueful expression clouding his gaze. "You're not going to like this either," he said, inching himself over.

As the extent of the bruising was revealed, Doyle sucked in a long breath. Ignoring the welter of tiny bruises down Bodie's chest, his gaze rivetted on the purpling testicles. "Christ, they really did you over..."

Their eyes met, understanding in Bodie's, and a little, raw anger in Doyle's.


"Mercer... mostly. It'll be all right, Ray."

"Yeah." Doyle's fists slowly unclenched. "Oughta be me comforting you, really," he said bleakly. Bodie laughed up at him, not unkindly. "It looks a lot worse than it is," he said, well able to guess what Doyle was feeling. He didn't like to see Doyle hurt either, it brought out his own protective instincts, instincts which he mostly kept very carefully under control. "Gimme a coupla days 'n I'll be screwin' you into the mattress!" He leered purposefully.

"Promises, promises." Doyle kept his tone light. "You sure you don't want me to call a doctor?"

"Quite sure," Bodie declared firmly. He lay back on the pillows, arms behind his head and stretched luxuriously. "I'd like a cup of coffee and a sandwich, though, if you're up to a bit of the old cordon bleu."

"I'm up to it, question is, is your kitchen?" Doyle retorted, carrying the bowl and dirtied swabs away.

He found some cheese and a couple of rather tired- looking tomatoes in the fridge, unearthed butter and swore at its unyielding texture as he tried to spread it. The resulting wedges were hardly beautiful but Bodie did not seem to mind as he wolfed them down along with enormous gulps of boiling hot coffee.

Doyle surveyed him admiringly. "Dunno where you put it all, mate. Had enough?"

"Food, yes. Cummere."

"You've got a report to write."

"Nah - Cowley'll never send round for it tonight... will he? Bodie was assailed by a sudden doubt. You never could tell with Cowley.

"I wouldn't rely on anything," Doyle said darkly, confirming Bodie's unspoken thought. "Come on, get it done while I do the washing up. Here's a pad and there's a pencil on the table by the bed there."

"But I can't sit up," Bodie complained fretfully.

"Lie on your side then," Doyle said, hardening his heart. "'f you think I'm takin' ruddy dictation you're out of luck, sunshine. I'll cook for you, wash up for you, nurse you but I draw the line at shorthand typist. I'd look such a fool sittin' on your knee."

He closed the door firmly behind him, knowing that if he didn't his washing up would be constantly interrupted by plaintive demands for correct spellings, all of which Bodie would then contest fiercely. He often wondered why he bothered to reply at all and more than once had flung a dictionary at his partner's head in exasperation. He pottered about a bit, leaving the kitchen neat and tidy the way he liked to find it and then went back into the bedroom.

Bodie held up the pad. "All done," he said virtuously.

"God, I'm knackered."

"Better settle down to sleep then. Want to go to the bathroom first?"

"After all that coffee I'd better."

While his partner was concentrating on getting out of bed, Doyle surreptitiously picked up the discarded negligee and hung it round Bodie's shoulders saying solicitously, "Don't get cold!"

Bodie swatted him amicably on the rump, pulled the tattered remnants haughtily around his torso and queened his way to the door.

By the time he got back Doyle was undressed, hovering rather uncertainly.

Bodie eyed him. "What's the matter? Why aren't you in bed?"

"Wasn't sure you'd want me in there - might make you uncomfortable."

"You," Bodie said with simple certainty, "never make me uncomfortable."

"Are you sure?"

"Course." Bodie's eyes softened in the way they only did when he looked at Doyle. "I need you, Ray. It's been quite a day."

Feeling more choked than he'd admit to, Doyle got in wordlessly, purposely leaving Bodie plenty of room but his lover wasn't having any of that. He turned towards him saying, "Hold me - please!"

Doyle obeyed him silently. It was good to hold Bodie and he did like these quiet, shared moments, only he wasn't half bruised and covered in cuts and he didn't really want Bodie to find out that he was feeling so bloody randy. Shock and worry often expressed themselves in him in a need for physical closeness but tonight was no time to start anything with Bodie. The poor bugger just wasn't up to it - in any sense. He shifted restlessly.

"Hey!" Bodie's voice was warm in his ear. "You feelin' fruity or somethin'?"

"Oh definitely or something," Doyle said as lightly as he could.

"Well, come on then."

A hand snaked across his stomach, making him twitch responsively. He captured it firmly with his free one. "Don't, Bodie."

"Why not?"

"Don't be thick."

"I'm not being thick," Bodie said, offended. "Why not? You want it - don't try and kid me. I can tell when you've got the urge even without seein' that certain gleam in your beady eye."

Doyle turned, settling them more comfortably. "OK, so I want it," he agreed. "Doesn't mean I have to have it though. I'm not some kind of sex maniac, I can do without for a night."

"But why should you?" Bodie persisted. "I'm here and I'm willin'."

"Oh, don't be daft," Doyle said in irritation. "You can't possibly..."

"I know I can't," Bodie interrupted, "but I didn't say anything about me."

Taken aback, Doyle twisted his neck to stare down at the dark, cropped head on his shoulder. Bodie shifted to look back at him, blue eyes crinkling in amusement at Doyle's somewhat shocked expression.

He wriggled himself even closer. "Love you, Ray," he murmured seductively. "I love you in so many ways and wantin' to make you happy in all kinds of ways is part of it. I want to love you, make you feel good because that makes me feel good." He'd got his hand free again and was rubbing it gently but undemandingly up and down Doyle. He didn't want to force this though he guessed he could get an urgent response fairly quickly if he put his mind to it - but that would only make Doyle feel guilty afterwards, guilty and a little bit selfish and he didn't want that.

"Please, Ray," he coaxed, nibbling at his ear. "Loving is giving and taking and tonight I want to give, so please just take. Another time it'll be the other way around, you'll want to give and I won't feel I can take if you won't. So please, let me love you, let me hold you and caress you and make you come because I love you."

Doyle gave a soft, pleasured groan and relaxed against him. "You've got a damned persuasive tongue," he whispered as the organ in question licked its way along his collar bone.

"I ought not to but..."

"But it feels so good," Bodie murmured, smiling his delight as the wiry body abandoned itself to his moulding touch, allowing him to make the moves he wanted, lying still and accepting the offered tenderness with generous openness.

It was a gentle loving, a soft stroking of hand on straining shaft, an exquisite nibbling, all of Bodie's unspoken devotion poured out in the sweet and aching touches that brought Doyle slowly and with simple sureness to a slow, shuddering climax.

Bodie held the quivering body close, feeling the fine sheen of sweat that had broken out all over the smooth flanks and back, worshipping him with his own body. He caressed the soft skin behind Doyle's ear with an adoring finger-tip.

"Better, sunshine?"

"Better?" Doyle was still nearly incoherent. "Bodie, Bodie!"

A quick slither of movement and he was holding Bodie close, mindful of his bruises but needing to be near him. "That was... that was..." he was still gasping, heart-beat not quite steady, ears still ringing, "... beautiful!"

"Yeah," Bodie agreed softly, surprised himself at how rewarding it had been for him. He'd wanted to do it for Doyle, been genuinely eager that Doyle should not have to hold back just because he didn't feel up to it tonight, but he hadn't expected to find himself so overwhelmed by the experience. The tenderness in both of them had been given expression and it had added yet another dimension to this incredible love they'd found.

"Love you, Ray."

"Love you too, Bodie. So much."

A short silence and then: "You ever get the feelin' we're goin' soft in our old age?"

Doyle sniggered. "You've bin soft for years - but I think it could be catchin'," he conceded. "Oh, good."

"Why, 'oh, good'?"

"Thought it might be just me," Bodie admitted. "I've been thinkin' some awful silly things about you recently."

"Tell me," Doyle invited, knowing he ought to get up and find a cloth to wipe himself off before the puddle of cooling semen became a nuisance, but too lazy to make the necessary effort. He'd go in a minute.

"Oh, about growin' old with you, just being together - for always. Mushy things like that."

"Not mushy," Doyle argued sleepily. "Sensible. Only way to live. Together."


The pauses were getting longer, the voices sleepier.

Finally: "Bodie!"

A long silence.


"You look bloody gorgeous in black satin."



"Bodie, you asleep?"

"Well, you do, abso... lutely... gor...geoussss..."

-- THE END --

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