by O Yardley
Sequel to Ill Met By Moonlight
"... 'n fuckin' stupid clothes as well!"
Creased, limp black silk flipped to and fro in angry fingers, mirrored face scowled thunderously out, every grievance still wet paint fresh upon it. An exaggerated sigh wafted towards the chest of drawers as the tie was wrenched apart for the fifth time.
His unimpressed audience, leaning there, looked up from the pages of Penthouse and lifted a bored eyebrow.
"Take it slowly, it isn't that difficult."
"It's all right for you to talk ..." a pause while he tried to work out whether this end went over or under. "Whose ruddy idea was it in the first place that we should go," he added, "yours or Cowley's? Oh, shit!"
Bloody mirror images, confusing you so you didn't know left from right. Start again.
Bodie put the magazine down and strolled round the end of the bed.
"The Cow's, of course. Putting on a black tie just to go and watch Shakespeare's not my idea of a good night out, mate. Come on, give it here."
Relinquishing the material with a sigh of relief, Doyle studied the face close to his, absorbed in getting the tie just right: exquisitely shaved, the skin looked baby soft, fine textured, pale and eminently touchable; the mouth pursed in concentration, slightly out-thrust; long lashes fanned the softness of under-eye. Masculine and beautiful, that was Bodie; contradictory in that, as in every thing else.
Finding the blue gaze had flicked upwards, catching his intent stare, he smiled, deliberately disarming.
"Put up with a lot, don't you."
"From you, yes."
Expression guarded, held in, giving nothing away, Bodie completed the bow, tugging the ends tight. "There you are. If you leave it alone and don't keep pulling at it, it'll be all right."
Always half stifled in a tie, Doyle nodded meekly.
"Dunno why I waste my time," Bodie told him severely, gaining a genuine Doyle grin.
Ridiculously light hearted, his fingers slid to the shirt clad shoulders, Doyle-warmth tingling them through the cotton barrier, and gave him a small push. "Go on, get your jacket on, or we'll be late."
"Why the hell the Yanks need us as well as their own blokes 'n half the bleedin' Met, I'll never know." Doyle picked up handkerchief, wallet, keys, and ID, disposing them about his person, adjusted his holster, before buttoning the coat. "There, ready as I'll ever be."
"Like Cowley said, we're there to show 'em we care." Grim amusement lit the smooth face. "And to look good on the casualty list if anything goes wrong!"
"Could easily die tonight -- of boredom!"
Scowl back in force, Doyle trudged to the door. As it closed behind them, one peevish phrase was left floating on--the air of the empty flat.
"Ruddy Shakespeare, I ask you!"
Settled into the box opposite their VIP charges, Doyle hunched down in his seat, surveying the elegant audience with truculent dislike.
"Tiaras are out in full cry, look. I bet every dip in Town's been flexing his fingers all week."
"Don't begrudge the upper classes their bit of culture."
A very uncultured snort erupted beside him. "Three quarters of 'em wouldn't be here if this production hadn't been puffed up in all the glossies as the 'in' one to have been to this year."
Acknowledging this with a cynical curl of a mobile mouth, Bodie stretched his legs lazily out in front of him, and prepared to endure an evening of unrelieved tedium.
"Can't even dog off once the curtain's up," he mourned. "Not 'n watch this lot in case one of 'em's got a grenade tucked away."
"Won't be that one, anyway." Scowl finally lightened by a flicker of animation, Doyle tilted his head to indicate the box next to theirs.
Following the lead, the blue eyes widened in masculine appreciation of ample feminine curves barely covered by flimsy wisps held together by tiny straps.
"Mmmm! Difficult to tuck anything extra in there. Doesn't even hide what it's meant to --not that I'm complaining any," Bodie was hasty to add, beaming her way and as quickly schooling his lustful stare to one of high mindedness as the girl's escort turned around suspiciously.
"'n you c'n stop sniggering, Doyle. Sit up straight and try to look intelligent -- you get paid to produce miracles, remember!"
Dimming house lights intervened, saving Doyle the trouble of thinking up a witty answer, but he straightened in his seat with a lightening of spirit only Bodie could have induced in him this evening.
A black shape leaned in toward him; muttered inaudibly.
Pale mouth so close Doyle could feel the damp rush of breath, Bodie repeated the question. "I said, do you know which play it is?"
Doyle blinked, indignant; why the hell couldn't Bodie have looked at the playbills on the way in, the same as everyone else did?
"No, 'f course I don't."
"Thought you were the culture vulture," Bodie whispered, shifting his chair several inches closer; no point in half falling off his seat every time he wanted to pass the odd remark.
Enjoying the occasional brush of a black-clad shoulder, Doyle settled down to earn his monthly wage, dividing his attention between audience and stage.
"Christ, you know what this is, don't you," Bodie moaned out of the corner of his mouth. "It's that one that's all about fairies, mate."
Chuckling, Doyle said, "Twelfth Night Dream, you berk!"
"Yers, thass it. Oh blimey, look at 'im, he's forgotten to put 'is trousers on. Close your eyes, Doyle, you're too young for this."
A large, warm hand clamped over Doyle's face; it smelt of soap and Bodie tasted of salt.
"Cannibal!" Rubbing at his bitten hand, Bodie shot his smugly grinning partner an aggrieved look.
"Ssh!" Virtue shone from every pore of the round face.
Yeah, much more cheerful now, Bodie decided, pleased. Got himself into a right state about all sorts of things, these days, did Doyle; it was starting bother Bodie -- and not just because he bore the brunt of it.
Just as well his shoulders were broad; not that Doyle appreciated how lucky he was to have such a long-suffering partner, little sod took him for granted.
Happy to watch Doyle, rather than the performance that had received such critical acclaim, Bodie eyed him with lazy affection. Turned toward the stage, Doyle was visible to him only in profile, but that was registering a pious devotion to duty intended -- Bodie had no doubt of it -- to irritate his partner. The thought warmed him.
Funny that, sitting here smirking to himself and feeling on top of the world, just because Doyle wanted to get him going; the paradox intrigued him.
Nice to be important to someone, of course, everybody needed someone in their life who mattered; Bodie had come a long way since the days when he'd thought himself so self-sufficient he needed no one; he'd even be prepared to admit it to a select few.
Well, OK, just to Doyle, maybe -- if he was interested. Be nice if he was.
"Eh?" Bodie put his head close to the concerned one leaning his way. Their cheeks brushed in unembarrassed intimacy. "What did you say?"
"What's the matter?"
"Who with?" Enjoying the contact, Bodie prolonged it deliberately.
"You, you great pillock!"
Doyle's breath was warm, moist. He smelled of soap and aftershave, roused vague, unformed thoughts; feelings that would not focus.
"You keep sighing. Thought perhaps you'd got indigestion or summink. Got quite worried about you."
That'd be the day! Bodie turned to say so indignantly, bumped his nose on Doyle's jaw. His muffled yelp drew surprised looks from the next box, a sharp 'shush!' from the stalls.
"'n no need to pull that face, either," Doyle admonished, managing severity on a whisper of breath ticklishly close to Bodie's ear.
He rubbed it, cast a pained look at the sublimely unimpressed Doyle, and loftily turned his attention ostensibly to the gripping drama taking place on stage.
Strange, the infinite variety of ways man chose to entertain himself. Catholic in his tastes, Bodie had tried any that came his way, and his leisure activities were more diverse than he let on to anyone save Doyle, but the subtleties of legitimate theatre were way beyond him. Not much chance to develop the habit of theatre-going, the life he'd led till a few years ago. Back row of a darkened cinema, now, that was different; bit of heavy breathing down your girl friend's neck, in company with other sweaty handed, groping, would-be seducers ... homely, comfortable ...
He wriggled, abruptly restless.
He remembered the play, of course, did it at school his last term; went down a bomb with thirteen year old Scousers, that had. Bits of it even sounded vaguely familiar still, but then he'd always had a good memory for words, could quote great chunks of useless poetry, while essentials, like a bird's phone number, never seemed to stick.
Overtaken by a huge yawn, a sharp elbow in the ribs recalled him to his surroundings.
"Oy, dozy, wake up. 's just startin' to get interestin'."
Knowing Doyle so well, Bodie didn't hurry through opening his eyes, but stretched luxuriously, arm purposely extended across Doyle's midriff. No reaction. Curious, he ungummed his lids, coming pleasurably upright when it was clear this was not one of Doyle's put-ons.
If he'd bothered beforehand to wonder how the fairies would be dressed, Christmas trees and pantomimes would have figured uppermost; he'd have been wrong.
For these were not spiritual fairies, creatures of light and fire; these fairies were of the earth, earthy, clad in a snatch of spider's web, a trailing weed, or skeletal leaves, plenty of dirt, and very little else.
"Cor!" Bodie absorbed the feast with child like delight.
"Yeah!" Doyle's arm bumped him again, inviting a shared enjoyment.
Wincing -- Doyle's elbows were never less than needle sharp -- Bodie closed a protective palm about it, absently squeezing and tapping a litany of gratified male libido upon it with delicate fingertips.
"How about that one, then?" A breathy murmur, right into Doyle's shell- like. "The one with the legs all the way up to 'er armpits!"
"Which one?" Difficult to pick out individuals while there was so much movement.
Bodie waited until the scene had settled, then, because one hand was already occupied, he tucked his free arm around Doyle, dangling his hand so he could point one-fingered, brushing the side of his thumb along fresh-smooth jaw for emphasis.
"That one -- with the trailing-ivy bra and panties."
Odd sensation, feeling that appreciative rumble transmitted ticklishly along Doyle's jawbone to his thumb. Nice, though.
Boss-eyed from the effect of the casual caress and the effort required not to respond, Doyle sat, limp and mindless, in his partner's grasp, barely summoning the energy even to nod when it seemed to be required.
Feeling at last that the evening had some point to it, Bodie happily confided his sentiments, lips actually making contact with Doyle's hair to prevent his gleeful raptures being communicated to outside ears.
Doyle came to life, ducking away with a glare of displeasure.
"Give over, Bodie." Softly spoken, but venomous.
Bodie let go, hurt.
Hand flashing out to grip his wrist before he could pull away, Doyle offered a consolatory squeeze and pat, relinquishing him again.
Their eyes met, slid away. Both smiled.
Recalled to a sense of duty, they returned to watching play and audience alternately.
"Drink?" Bodie asked, as the house lights went on for the interval.
"Mmm?" Doyle spoke abstractedly, expression far away.
Face affectionately softened, Bodie understood the feeling, albeit for undoubtedly a very different reason; it hadn't been easy to drag himself back to the here and now as the curtain fell. Not that he was absorbed in the play as such, only the vague, inchoate memory it had evoked ... probably a dream he'd had some time or other. Undetailed, hazy; impression more than memory ... but something had tugged at his mind when the actor playing Oberon had laid a protective arm around Puck's shoulders -- tiny, curly-headed, a kind of mini-Doyle -- the sense of familiarity had rocked him, echoes of that shock lingering.
"Nah." Doyle's brain caught up with the question. "'ell of a crush in the bar, all this lot wanting their pina coladas."
Lack of enthusiasm suffused the suave features; Bodie rolled his eyes to the cupids decorating the proscenium arch.
"An' we are on duty," Doyle reminded him.
"Never stops Cowley knocking back scotch." Bodie slid down a couple of notches in his seat, discontented shoulder blades braced on its back.
"Alert and intelligent," Doyle said, admiring. "Must give that lot no end of confidence, seeing you guard 'em. The British bulldog in action."
A lazy eyebrow tilted, blue eye inspecting and dismissing him before it closed.
Gorgeous. Doyle's heart lurched.
Christ, he'd have himself blushing any minute now, if he carried on like this. Bad enough assimilating the first stunning discovery he found Bodie so bloody beautiful -- when that awareness had grown to include love, he didn't know; maybe it crept up on him some night in a dream, creating its own reality in the twilight of sleep to be there, familiar and dear, with the dawn.
Fanciful; but then, so was loving Bodie; didn't make it any less imperative knowing it was fuckin' stupid.
Grateful for the purposefully closed eyes, Doyle grabbed the opportunity to stare, hungry for it; great long lashes he'd got, fanned out over soft under-eye like two sleeping millipedes -- girls'd give their little souls to have eyes like Bodie's. Wonder what he'd do if Doyle came right out 'n said it aloud ...
Easy, Doyle. Cool it.
"Oy!" Finger and thumb clicked under his nose, catching the rim of one nostril.
Several indignant blinks and a wiped eye later, Doyle snuffled, offering a belligerent glare.
"What'd you wanna go and do that for?"
Clasped hands tight across his stomach to prevent their straying into a caress, Bodie grinned at him.
"Thought one of us ought to be sittin' up 'n takin' notice. Look bad if both of us had to admit we were 'avin' a kip when the balloon went up."
"I'm not kippin' . .
"Well, you had your eyes open," Bodie conceded, "but you were miles away. Spoke to you twice, 'n all you did was grunt. Sweet thoughts, were they?"
Difficult to leer when your heart wasn't in it.
Mind in limbo, Doyle stared back.
C'mon, Doyle, for chrissake, say something. Don't just sit here gawkin' at 'im like a stuffed dummy. Give yourself away one of these days, you will, 'n then where will you be?
Jesus, Ray's confused about something; doesn't know what to say. What've I done to make him look like that? All worried 'n shy 'n ..."
Lights fading, dimming away to nothing.
"That bloke, Bottom," Bodie said, a rumble of sound at Doyle's shoulder, "you wouldn't believe the number of lavatorial jokes thirteen year olds c'n think up about that name when they put their minds to it."
"Oh, yes, I would." A slow smile, felt rather than seen.
Intimacy back; welcomed.
"Yeah. Did it at school."
"Yeah?" Face turned from the stage to peer at him, Doyle's eyes glinted, alive in the darkness. "What part did they get you to act, then?"
Ineffable contempt curled Bodie's lip. "They had more sense than to ask, mate."
A silent laugh shook his partner.
Bodie's attention wandered back to the play, chuckling in his turn.
"'Mad spirit' -- could be talking about you, you know. Sums you up nicely."
Drawn to the words, though, Doyle listened to them, taking himself to task for the way his mind was wandering; concentration had never been a problem until the day when every sense became aware of Bodie as more than just a mate. Nowadays, the simplest task was hard work when all he wanted was there beside him all day long. Near; but unreachable.
Day dreaming again.
Snap out of it, will you?
OK, what's going on on stage?
Deep breath, clear your head. Now, where is everyone? Lovers having a row, two fairies half behind a bush this side of the stage, practically underneath their box. Listening in, apparently. Yeah, listening, that was it.
Funny way of listening. Way the bloke playing Puck was lying, it looked more as though he'd gone off to sleep, head tucked into Oberon's lap like --
Doyle, you're seeing things.
I mean, not on the stage, not in full view of a packed audience.
White knuckled hands gripped one another, shaking, desperately covering his groin.
Got bloody sex on the brain, you have. Just 'cause you wanna ...
God! Nearly fell off me chair then, jumped so hard.
A hand, covering his; warm; thumb caressing.
Bodie, you're too bloody close'n I can't --
The things they expect you to accept in the theatre -- two blokes not even half hidden by a few meagre leaves 'n a couple of twigs and you were supposed to believe they couldn't be seen by everyone else. Even the skinny mini-Doyle couldn't hide himself behind that lot ... didn't even seem to want to try; standing there, staring up at their box and grinning all over his snaggle-toothed face.
So much like Doyle. Uncanny.
Green eyes pierced his heart, leaving him weak.
Imagine Ray looking at him like that, love shining all over him; glowing.
Dizzy, Bodie blinked at the surprising thought that had just popped into his head, complete and full grown, astonishing, but instantly recognised for truth.
I love him.
Fat lot of good it'll do you, Bodie.
Oh, Doyle cares, likes to have you around; not his fault if all of a sudden Bodie wanted more. Likes you to keep an eye on him, though; gets up to all sorts of tricks to make sure you're watching -- like earlier on tonight, being purposely infuriating while he was getting dressed to come out. Still, nice to recall his prickly, self-sufficient partner found his attention necessary at times, even if the interest provoked was negative.
Just like a kid, misbehavin' to get his mam and da to take some notice of him -- trouble was, Bodie didn't feel the least little bit paternal toward him. Never had. Never would. Least of all now, now he knew.
Jesus, what the hell was he going to do? How to cope with this? Gotta keep actin' natural, Bodie, watch your step; don't go givin' yourself away. Poor little bugger'd do his nut if he had any idea of all the steamy thoughts bubbling away beside him.
Bodie dared a quick look. What the hell...
Face screwed up tight, the poor little sod looks as though he's going to burst into tears any minute.
God, love 'im so much. Can't bear it when he's upset about anything. Wonder what's buggin' 'im now. Wish I could help.
Got to try. Got to. Can't just sit here--
Just let me touch, Ray. Just your hands. Gently.
Oh, Christ, made you jump, didn't I!
Expressive mouth briefly twisted in a small, shaky smile, Bodie soothed straining tendons with a loving thumb, not daring to look at Doyle, instead idly watching his own hand, outline blurred by the near- darkness below the box's edge.
Panicked into immobility, Doyle could only move his eyes, fearfully seeking Bodie's face. The dark head was down, shadowed; no help.
Must mean something, sitting there strokin' at me like that. What, though? No way to tell.
Not if you just sit still, you prat. Do something, for chrissake. Respond.
Ungluing his hands took determination and several seconds.
Bodie's turn to jump this time, heart racing into overdrive as first fear of rejection, and half a second later realization of acceptance, flooded him.
Their fingers met -- held.
Pounding heart so loud in his ears it smothered external sound, Doyle offered his own tentative caress, thumb barely moving until it seemed Bodie did not object.
He grew bolder.
His prosaically minded, plain speaking partner would have sworn to anyone his whole body was singing, feelings of such intensity swept him: hope, wonder, fright, doubt and lust jumbled inextricably together as Doyle's other hand came up to cover their joined ones, cradling him in his lap.
So sweet; so unbelievably, wonderfully sweet.
At last, Bodie dared to lift his head, needing a visual check.
Turned on by the look of him: head back, mouth parted, heavy lids closed. But was he really?
Bodie risked everything.
Fortunately, Doyle's tiny whimper when the large hand covered his aching body went unheard as, on the forgotten stage, the lovers' quarrel began a crescendo; he choked the sound back, terrified, exultant, wholly incapable of resistance, desperately needing to encourage ... Stretching his back, he arched up to the hand, pressed it down on himself with pleading palm.
Remember to breathe, Bodie. Don't want to pass out from lack of oxygen in the middle of this. Never known anything so ruddy breathtaking. Never flown so high just from touching someone up. Never touched another fella before, come to that.
Oh, God, but he's hot. Burning. Even through clothes. What's it gonna be like when I ... does he want to go that far? Would he like ... will he let...
Not normally noted for cowardice, Bodie trod this path as fearfully as any shrinking virgin, wanting to give the moon, making no demands in return; in answer to softly squeezing fingers offering only a gentle pressure.
Loving him, just loving him -- no need to make it any heavier than that.
And then Doyle opened his eyes.
Never seen green fire before: hot, hungry
Heart hammering in his mouth, Bodie abandoned caution, inhibitions, reticence, and put everything he was presently feeling into his touches.
Bodie! Have me over the top in a minute!
Doyle clamped his hand over Bodie's, stilling him, a gentle stroke of his fingers offering apology as his glazing eyes focussed. One look at Bodie's face was sufficient; Doyle was not the only sufferer, Bodie was fully as hungry and as desperate. Doyle had moved, reached out, sought for and found before his brain had made conscious decision.
Fingers closed around his wrist, holding him away. Shadowed eyes glinted as a long finger covered the thrusting mouth demanding silence. A small jerk of the cropped head indicated Bodie's intent, and he slid quietly off his chair, crawling on hands and knees to the door of their box, where he slumped down, hand held out in invitation.
Crazy. They'd be crazy.
A line of dialogue floated up out of unreality to make him smile.
'St. Valentine is past:
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?'
OK, so they were crazy.
Sliding off his own chair, he crawled over to Bodie and sat alongside him against the door, their dual weight ensuring it would remain closed, their only possible onlookers from this lowly post incurious plaster cupids.
Bodie twisted to face him, long, hot fingers grasped his chin, eyes fixed hungrily on his mouth, brow arched in silent question. The fingers were shaking, Doyle noted abstractedly, his own not much better as he offered his mouth for Bodie's pleasure.
And his own.
Oh, god, yes, and his own.
Fumbling, Doyle found the tab on Bodie's zip, eased it stealthily down with shaky assistance; moved to his own.
Wriggling, adjusting positions, they sought each other out.
Hard. Hot and hard. Filling palms with warmth and homecoming. Holding.
Their eyes said it, acknowledged understanding; they stroked, coaxed, ravished each other, world well lost, until first one, then the other, shuddered, stilled and pulsed, spilling over loving, tired fingers.
They kissed again, lingering, nuzzling as they eased away.
Christ, what a mess. Doyle looked up, ruefully apologetic.
Shrugging, Bodie extricated his handkerchief and cleaned them both, did Doyle's zip up, then his own, prodding his partner back in the direction of his chair when he would otherwise have sat there forever, fatuous smile permanently in place. Very like the one Bodie could feel etched on his own features.
Seated, sober and dignified citizens, they faced straight ahead, deaf and blind to the play until something, neither could have said what, made them look up and take notice as Puck began his last speech.
Mischief alight all over the tiny, quivering frame, Robin Goodfellow stretched his arms wide, encompassing the entire audience, but seeming to speak solely to them:
'If we shadows have offended,
Think but this and all is mended
That you have but slumbered here,
While these visions did appear.'
A smile twitched on one mouth, was echoed on the other; their eyes met and again the world was lost as they exchanged silent promises for the future.
Puck's mischievous smile grew, unseen, as he spoke the final couplet:
'Give me your hands, if we be friends,
And Robin shall restore amends.'
The curtains swished to a close amid a storm of applause.
Back at Doyle's flat, words were still slow to come, unnecessary, as they undressed one another with delicate and loving care.
Much, much later, Doyle found his tongue for the only words that mattered.
"Love you, Bodie,"
Bodie kissed him softly, sweetly.
"Love you, too, sunshine."
Deep in a Warwickshire wood, a small, sated, finally-fucked-out fairy smiled in his king's arms and fell contentedly asleep.
-- THE END --