I Will Lay Down My Heart
Sequel is And You Can Have This Heart to Break
The buzzer went and Bodie looked up with mixed irritation and curiosity. He wasn't expecting anyone and, after two weeks of annual assessments, he wasn't inclined to enjoy a surprise. He placed his book down and crossed to the intercom.
"Who is it?"
"It's me," Doyle's voice answered.
Bodie raised an eyebrow, ignoring the jolt in his gut, and answered lightly, "What are you doing loitering at my door?"
"Let me in, Bodie." Doyle spoke in his best copper's voice.
"Yeah, all right. Push."
Bodie released the outer doorlock, then moved to his own door and unbolted it, releasing the security locks. He hadn't seen Doyle for most of the day--they'd finished the assessments in separate interviews with Kate Ross. Given the unpredictable moods Doyle had been in recently, Bodie hadn't bothered to seek him out after being released to go home. If Doyle wanted him, he knew where to find him.
Doyle came into sight, climbing the stairs with the easy grace that was his. Bodie's breath caught for a moment as he took in his partner's appearance: tight jeans encasing long legs, red t-shirt moulded to his body, brown leather jacket swinging open and dappled with raindrops. He looked just as he had four years ago, except for the grey mixing in with brown curls, and the weariness Bodie knew he'd find in green eyes.
Subtle, Ray, Bodie thought, with mingled resentment and relief, and concentrated on keeping his face impassive. An oft-used sense of self-preservation kept him from showing how the sight of Doyle drew him as to a flame. What was Doyle playing at tonight?
Doyle brushed by him as he entered the flat. "Thought you might like some company."
Bodie followed, closing the door behind him, watching as Doyle walked to the drinks cabinet. "Help yourself, mate," he said with a tinge of sarcasm to his voice.
Doyle cast a look over his shoulder. "If you've plans, I can come another time."
Bodie's response was immediate. "No. Might as well celebrate another assessment past. I'll have whisky."
"Yeah." Doyle poured a measure of the amber liquid into two glasses and returned to Bodie, now sitting on the settee. "Passed with flying colours, did you?" He handed a glass to Bodie.
"Yeah, 'course; we're still the best. Could do it with my eyes blindfolded--they don't vary the tests enough, do they." Bodie sipped from the glass, feeling the burst of taste on his tongue. He consciously relaxed the grip of his hand.
"Here's to many more of them, then." Doyle raised his glass, then drank half his portion in a long swallow. He settled onto the settee, next to Bodie.
They sat side-by-side, in a silence that was surprisingly comfortable--more so than any other had been of late. Bodie was loath to dispel it, but Doyle spoke up soon enough.
"Do you ever think about it?"
"Think about what?" Bodie contemplated his drink.
"About what'll happen when you can't pass 'em with your eyes blindfolded."
"Take the blindfold off."
"Nah, I'm serious. Ever think about what you'll do, after?"
Trust Doyle to ruin a comfortable moment. Bodie shifted irritably. "Not really."
"You must've thought about it."
"Why? When it happens, there'll be plenty of time to think about it."
"Best to be prepared, isn't it?" Doyle pressed, turning his head to glance at Bodie.
"What's this in aid of, Doyle?" Bodie sighed, feeling the tension beginning to rise again.
There was a pause, then: "Nothing. Just wondering." Doyle took another long swallow of the whisky, leaving nothing but dregs in his glass.
He should've left it alone, but Bodie said quietly, "It's just like before a firefight, sunshine--best not to think about it until after." Doyle nodded slow agreement, eyes still on his glass. The silenced stretched.
"Means a lot to you, this mob, doesn't it?"
"Same as it does to you," Bodie agreed. He reached for Doyle's glass. "Want more?"
"Yeah." Bodie rose to walk to the drinks cabinet, and Doyle changed the topic.
"You did well when they teamed you with Murph--saw the scores."
Bodie shrugged and filled the glasses again. He turned to carry them back to Doyle. "Murph's good--I don't need to explain myself to him."
"Yeah. Thanks," Doyle added, accepting his glass as Bodie settled onto the settee again.
"Saw you working with Stuart, and you were doing fine."
Doyle slanted a look at him. "Watching me, were you?"
"Always," Bodie said, then quickly followed it with: "You'd inspire a dead man, petal."
Doyle snorted and drank the whisky.
Bodie settled back comfortably, feeling a contentment spreading through him that had nothing to do with the whisky. This was what he'd wanted for some time now, sitting with Doyle, talking like they used to, without tripping over conversational landmines. He didn't want to be careful with what he said anymore. Bodie eyed the muscle of Doyle's thigh. He wanted Doyle in his bed again.
The muscle moved under his gaze as Doyle prodded the book left on the table. "What's this, then?"
"Just some light reading."
Doyle reached for the book and read the spine. "John Donne?" He grinned at Bodie, who snatched the book away.
"Spending the night in, reading." Doyle shook his head sadly. "You're getting old, sunshine."
"Am not. I'm improving my mind."
"Lost cause." Doyle's eyes lit with amusement.
Bodie reached out and flicked the collar of the leather jacket that Doyle still wore. "Looks like you're regressing."
Doyle's smile grew. "Yeah," he agreed softly. "Seemed like a good night to remember." He placed his glass down on the table, then reached for Bodie's as well. Bodie watched these moves with interest, his heart rate increasing, and the muscles in his stomach clenching in anticipation. Doyle turned to him and slid onto Bodie's thighs, his mouth seeking Bodie's.
Knew this was coming, Bodie thought, before desire flared within him as it always did when Doyle touched him. Doyle knew exactly how to get to him, and Bodie resented it even as he craved it. He opened his mouth to Doyle's, and fought for possession of Doyle's mouth. Too soon, Doyle pulled away, breathing heavily.
"Missed that," Doyle murmured, his hand moving up to cup Bodie's cheek.
"Me too," Bodie admitted, running his own hands up Doyle's legs and around to his bum.
Doyle's eyes looked into his own. "Wasn't my fault it's been a while."
Bodie's eyes closed, and his mouth firmed. He didn't want to go into it again, didn't want to begin with the arguments again. But then he felt Doyle's lips on his, and Ray's tongue filled his mouth, the urgency unmistakeable.
Doyle withdrew slowly, but no further than a scant inch from Bodie's mouth. "Forget it," he whispered. "No more talking. Make love to me."
Bodie's eyes opened and he looked into Doyle's for a moment, before he pressed forward and closed the distance again. Yes. Make love. That's what he wanted. No questions, no recriminations, no going for the throat. Just like it used to be.
Doyle slid from him, reached out a hand, and Bodie grasped it strongly and was pulled to his feet. It was achingly familiar, this trip to the bedroom, following Doyle, wanting nothing so much as to lose himself in Doyle's caress.
The bedroom was dim, lit only by the light from the front room. At the bed, Doyle turned and reached for the buttons of Bodie's shirt, undoing them quickly, even as he renewed the kiss. Bodie followed his lead, and undressed Doyle, then followed him again, down into the depths of the bed.
So familiar, all the little touches, the strength and shape of the muscles beneath his fingers, the pattern of Doyle's hands' movements on him. He sought for and tongued Doyle's nipple, encouraging the rise of an excited tip, and hearing again the rasp of a stifled groan. Doyle never wanted to be the first to break the silence in bed, to demonstrate his need in helpless sound. But Bodie knew and understood the changes in breathing, and the feel of Doyle's body in response. He wasn't the only one who surrendered to need. No, not by a long shot. But Doyle would never admit as much.
Doyle's hands, as expected, moved to Bodie's cock, and he stroked with the knowing touch of a lover. Bodie's own response was instant and loud, and he looked up to see the triumph on Doyle's face. Bastard, but he exulted as he thought it.
It was a losing battle from this point on, he knew, and Doyle knew. He'd be begging soon, begging for Doyle to take him, fill him, pound into him with all the passion that he craved. Only Doyle could satisfy him, though he had tried to prove differently only a short month ago.
Where did this need come from? The need for this one man? Bodie didn't know, but he'd had years to wonder about it, to marvel at it, and to regret it every now and again. You'd think he'd have grown used to it by now, but the strength of it still took him by surprise.
He'd wanted Doyle almost from the beginning--reaching for the man who was always just out of reach; watching as the jeans grew tighter and the t-shirts thinner. He'd allowed himself to be played with, and teased, because it was a game he couldn't do without--and the prize was worth having.
Bodie's hands moved to stroke Doyle's cock, as his mouth attacked the other nipple almost viciously. Doyle hissed at the contact, and he thrust into Bodie's hands--hard and strong, just as he would be inside of him.
Doyle hadn't understood how much he needed to be fucked. He enjoyed doing Doyle as well, but it wasn't as bone-deep satisfying as being fucked by him. Only that, with his senses overloading on all fronts, made the surrender, the begging, worthwhile. He didn't want to explore it, to find reasons for it like Doyle did, he only wanted to experience it--with Doyle. Mitch had been all right, had given him release as he'd wanted, but he had lacked Doyle's passion.
Bodie moved from the abused nipples, using his mouth to follow the line of hair down Doyle's chest to his naval, and to his groin. His fingers stroked and squeezed Doyle's balls, rolling them. Any way Doyle wanted, he decided suddenly, hearing the catch in Doyle's breathing. He could wait to be fucked this time. His tongue swirled up Doyle's cock, and his mouth opened to engulf him.
But Doyle's hands pushed him away. "Get the stuff." Doyle's voice was harsh in his ears. Bodie raised his head and saw Doyle, flushed with heat, eyes huge with dilated pupils, and his lips full and red. He was shaking, slight tremours cascading through him as Bodie's hands continued to stroke him.
"Get it," Doyle whispered, and moved a little away from Bodie, turning onto his side. Bodie slid up on the bed, and fumbled open the drawer of the bedside cabinet, reaching for the KY. His hands were shaking with need and anticipation.
Tube in hand he turned back to Doyle, and hesitated. Doyle reached forward to kiss him again, hard and deep. "I'll have to do myself, mate," he said. "One touch from you and I'll disgrace myself."
Bodie smiled, relief and excitement twisting inside him. "Give me your hand." He squeezed some of the lube onto Doyle's fingers, then he turned onto his stomach, and waited for Doyle's touch. He closed his eyes as Doyle's fingers stroked down his back, moving quickly to his arsehole, then slipping inside. Bodie pressed back immediately, wanting the preliminaries over with quickly, helping Doyle to stretch him and ease the way.
"C'mon," he said, reaching back to grasp Doyle and pull him forward. "C'mon, Doyle."
Doyle's fingers left him, and were replaced by the hot presence of Doyle's cock. Bodie grinned into the sheet, feeling the familiar body behind him, pressing into him. He groaned as Doyle entered him, breaking through the barrier of muscle with ease, filling him. For a moment Doyle paused, as he sheathed himself fully, and Bodie turned to glance back at him. Doyle raised his head, met his look and held it, then Doyle closed his eyes and began thrusting into Bodie, slowly, then more strongly, as Bodie's body moved in counterpoint.
Bodie rode the cock inside him, meeting each thrust, welcoming the sensations of pain and pleasure mixed, feeling all the nerves of his body jump in response. He shuddered as Doyle's cock hit his prostate, then again, and Bodie thrust back strongly, needing more. More of those wonderful, horrible sensations that crested through his body like waves against breakers. Dimly he heard Doyle's voice, thought he was cursing as he thrust again and again, and Bodie chanted for more, the bed shaking beneath the combined movements. He could no longer distinguish the different stimulations--what hurt, what soothed, what drove him to completion; knew nothing except that he needed to move and feel this again and again and again.
And then he heard Doyle's shout, and realised he was coming himself, in Doyle's grasp, and his muscles were milking Doyle of everything he could give. Nothing held back for either of them in this, nothing but unity. Like being in a firefight, when he knew which way Doyle would break, and when he'd appear at the last moment to give him back his life.
This was it. He thought of Doyle's face, eyes closed in passion as he thrust into Bodie. This was what they needed.
Slowly, slowly Doyle slipped from his body, and Bodie turned to gather him close, kissing him, and his closed eyes. Maybe he could live with rules and expectations, like Doyle had said. Maybe. If necessary. In time.
They settled to sleep.
The grey light of pre-dawn lit the edges of the shaded window, enough for Doyle to see what it was. Morning, fast approaching; inevitable.
He lay on his side in Bodie's big bed, Bodie sprawled beside him in sleep. He hadn't slept. He'd wanted to absorb each moment as he lay there, to remember forever how it was with Bodie and him.
It had begun so easily all those years ago. The growing, sure knowledge that Bodie wanted him. He'd been delighted and he'd played with it--couldn't resist--using the attraction to get under the skin of the close-mouthed man who was his partner. Only somewhere along the way Bodie had got under his skin as well. And that's when it had all changed.
If only.... Doyle stirred restlessly, but not enough to disturb Bodie. Stupid to be thinking like that anyway. Nothing would change just because he wished it. He'd tried that route already, and failed.
He loved Bodie. Loved him passionately and deeply, as he'd never loved another--and from the moment he'd realised it, the sex was no longer casual. His touch no longer aimed to bring only pleasure, but instead sought to convey a deeper feeling. Connection. Forever. Commitment. All the stupid words that came with the word love. And all of them perfectly useless to him.
Bodie cared for him, he knew that. The sparkle of good-humoured affection in Bodie's eyes was there too often to be ignored. They enjoyed each other's company, sacrificed girls and plans for each other's needs; they were mates. Bodie understood about mates--Doyle was the one who'd misread it to mean more than it did. Who'd thought, who'd known, this time he'd found someone to spend the rest of his life with.
They were the best team Cowley had ever formed--working smoothly together despite arguments and heartaches in their personal lives. Despite, even, the inevitable deterioration of age. He'd once thought that bond of partnership would be enough for him, but it wasn't--not now. He'd once thought he could wait, be patient, and eventually Bodie would feel it. He didn't.
No strings, no demands--their life outside the job too fragile to bear that kind of pressure, as he'd learned.
You can't force love; can't make someone love you, who doesn't. He'd finally admitted it, earlier, when he'd stood in Cowley's office as his future shattered and reformed around him in a different direction. Bodie would never love him as he needed to be loved, and Bodie couldn't be blamed for what he didn't feel. He'd been wrong to try.
Perhaps he shouldn't have come to Bodie tonight. Better not to have. But he'd wanted one more night, and he knew he could have it. He'd wanted to feel it once again, as he made love with love. Made love with an intensity he'd never felt before. One more night before he admitted defeat. So he'd come, and he'd given Bodie what he needed, the only thing he needed from him. And each touch, each kiss, each breath had proclaimed his love over and over again.
The only thing he couldn't do was watch as Bodie eagerly accepted him, and came for him, without love.
As silently as ever he'd moved on an op, or the training course, Doyle slid from the bed. No last glances; farewells already given. He gathered his clothing, and dressed in the front room. Reaching into the pocket of his leather jacket, he pulled out the individual assessment rating Cowley had given him. A desk job wasn't for him, not in these circumstances. Bodie would be teamed with Murphy.
He left the letter on Bodie's table, next to the volume of John Donne's poetry, and let himself out of Bodie's flat for the last time. Quietly, Ray Doyle closed the door on his former life with CI5, and on his love.
-- THE END --
Originally published in Night Music in B and D, Keynote Press, 1998