A Baker's Dozen


Bodie glanced at Ray's peevish face as he slid his skinny frame into the Capri. It was in direct contrast to the unusually warm and sunny morning.

"What's the matter, sunshine? Marvellous Marsha not come across last night?"

"It was Marisa, and she cancelled. Bloody job."

"Ah. Hers or yours?"

"Mine. Decided she'd rather see a banker, works normal hours. Got tired of me racing off in the middle of dinner . . . or bed."

There was nothing Bodie could say to that, since it was true for the both of them. All their birds -- at the beginning -- were understanding at their having to disappear at inopportune moments, but after two or three such experiences, they all bade a not-so-fond adieu, and went on to more predictable pastures.

"Wonder what Cowley wants with us this morning?" Bodie decided a change in subject might be prudent.

"Yeah. Making us come in early, too. 's not fair." Doyle slumped lower into his seat, arms crossed.

So much for a new subject. Bodie kept his mouth closed as he navigated through the early morning traffic, letting Doyle stew in silence. He was right; it wasn't fair that they had to report in early, especially since they'd been told it wasn't an emergency. However, since Cowley -- in his words -- owned them body and soul, when told to jump, all they could do was ask from which cliff.

He barely had the car stopped, before Doyle was slipping out of it, jaw set. Bodie sighed. Whatever the Cow needed, he wasn't going to get it from Ray without an argument.

They passed Anson coming out of Cowley's office, face resembling a thundercloud, and he pushed by them rudely. Bodie watched him go, hoping whatever Cowley was going to tell them had nothing to do with that particular sourpuss.

"Bodie, Doyle, get in here. I don't have all day."

Both men quickly scurried in, parking themselves in front of the large wooden desk, Bodie at his usual stance of attention. Doyle was slouched even more than was normal for him, and Bodie could almost see the anger simmering up from his toes, waiting to explode.

"Sir, we weren't on duty till this aft --" Doyle didn't get any further, and Bodie winced.

"I decide what time you report to work, Doyle, not you. I own you and if I want you in here twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, then you will be!"

Doyle opened his mouth, shutting it again as Bodie quickly stepped on his toes and asked his own question. Politely. "What did you need us for, sir?"

He ignored both the glare from Doyle, and the suspicious glance Cowley gave him, gazing innocently ahead.

"There's a budget crunch on and we've been asked to economize." Cowley sighed. "To that end, I'm reassigning your residences --"

"Not putting us in smaller flats, are you, sir? The last one I had wouldn't bed a flea in comfort." Apparently Doyle wasn't quite ready to give up.

"Sleep with fleas a lot, do you?" Bodie's eyebrows feigned surprise.

"Only after they've dumped you, mate!"

"Och, that's enough, you two. Both of you will have plenty of opportunity to examine your fleas from now on as you'll be sharing a flat."

In the silence that followed, Bodie caught the sound of Betty's heels tapping as she walked around in the other room. For once, even Doyle was speechless. Taking advantage of the temporary shock his statement had caused, Cowley continued his explanation.

"All unattached agents are being moved together --"

"Can't I have Susan Fischer then?" Doyle broke in.

"-- into two-bedroom flats," Cowley ignored the infantile interruption. "I'm keeping partners together as much as possible. We've assigned the new flats; Betty has your address. You have the next three days off and I expect you to be completely settled before you report to work on Monday morning."

"You're making us move on our days off?" Doyle's voice rose on the last word. "On our own time?"

"This is neither a discussion nor a debate, 4.5, and you'll do as you're told, or find a new job. Is that understood?"

"Yes, sir." Bodie spoke up quickly before Ray's other foot joined the first in his mouth. "We're on our way, sir."

He glared at Doyle in warning, before trotting out the door in search of Betty, leaving Ray to follow or not. After a pause, he heard trainer-clad feet pattering behind him and turned to find sheepish eyes looking at him from under unruly curls.

"Sorry, mate."

"Should think so," Bodie replied. "Get us in more trouble than it's worth, your mouth will. Wish you'd learn to keep it shut when we're in there."

"Said I was sorry. Don't push it." He looked around the empty room. "Where's Betty?"

"Right behind you, 4.5, and if I had a gun you'd be dead," a dry voice answered him. She pushed by him to get to her desk, pulling a piece of paper from a blue folder. "Your new abode, gentlemen. I hope you'll be very happy together."

Doyle read the address as they trundled outside together. Catching the sour expression that appeared on his face, Bodie wasn't surprised at the griping that burst out the minute they landed in the car.

"In the slums of town, too. I don't believe this. Move us further out of the city, uses up more petrol, takes longer to get to work --"

"We going to look at the new flat, or go home and pack our stuff?" Bodie interrupted before Doyle could get any further into his tirade.

"Home. We can see the place tomorrow. Won't change the way I feel about having to do this. Not fair, is it? Making us spend all our time together, no privacy or . . . ."

Bodie tuned out the rest of what Doyle was saying, and drove quietly on to Doyle's flat. Pulling up in front of the building, he turned to his partner, keeping his expression as neutral as possible. He didn't relish the idea of sharing a home with Doyle either, but not for the same reasons. "Pack today. I'll pick you up tomorrow and we can start moving our stuff, all right?"

"Yeah. Gonna have to find boxes somewhere, though."

Bodie sighed. "You broke them down and put them in the spare closet when you moved into this place, remember?"

"Right. You need any?" Apparently Doyle had decided to be helpful.

"Nope, got m'own, ta, though."

"Gonna take forever to move all our stuff. Don't know why they can't hire movers to do it for us. It wouldn't --"

"Good-bye, Doyle. I'll see you tomorrow. You load your car, and we'll caravan." He wanted to get home to his own place before Doyle started in again. Ray slid out of the car, still mumbling under his breath. Heaving a deep sigh, Bodie drove off, not looking forward to the next few days.

Stopping in front of Doyle's soon-to-be vacant flat at 10 a.m. the next morning, Bodie found the other car stuffed to the roof, Doyle standing next to it with a bereft droop to his lips. Two boxes were piled next to his feet, while a third was balanced on his hip. He looked up as Bodie stopped the Capri, and flashed a quick grin.

"Got some extra room there, mate? I seem to have run out and I've still got my suitcases inside." He looked sheepishly from his car to Bodie's.

"Not much. Put your luggage in here, we'll go over in my car, unload, then come back, fill my car and take them both on the second trip."

"Don't want m'stuff nicked while we're gone though. What if --"



"Lock the bloody doors, put your boxes in the flat, your luggage in my car, then park your arse on the seat so we can go!" Bodie waited for an explosive reaction to his orders, raising his eyebrows in surprise as Doyle meekly obeyed. Contrary little sod.

Two quick trips into the flat returned the boxes and finally Doyle came out carefully balancing three large suitcases. Bodie cringed as they were shoved haphazardly into the back, sure they were squashing something important. Doyle settled himself, squirming into the small space left for him, then looked at Bodie questioningly.

"'m ready."

"I see that, sunshine. You gonna tell me where we're going?"

"Oh. Out to Lambeth -- pretty soon they'll be telling us to take the tube. Don't know what we did to get stuck with this."

"Imagine all the rooms at Buck House were taken, mate." Sometimes Bodie thought the stroppy sod complained just to hear his own voice.

Bodie tuned out the rest of his grumbles, attention concentrated on the road in front of him. Part of what Ray said was true, but then other people were much worse off then they were. He didn't, however, choose to point out that small fact to his mercurial partner; the man was hot enough at the moment, didn't need to add more fuel to the tempest.

"Left on High Street, then right on Tower Road. We're number 1553, flat 13. Of course."

"Not superstitious are you, sunshine?" Bodie asked, lips curling into a small smile.

"Never me!"

Bodie laughed gleefully, then sobered as he realised parking was going to be a problem here as well. Why these buildings couldn't include a car park, make it easy on the simple folk, he'd never know. Instead, one had to circle round and round till a likely spot opened up --

"There!" Doyle pointed to where a small Volkswagen had just pulled away.

"Ruin the paint job, I try to cram in there."

"So, ruin it. 'm tired of playing ring-around-a-rosy here," Doyle groused.

Sighing, Bodie managed to squeeze into the small place while keeping the paint job unmarred. Locking the doors, they trudged towards their new home.

It was on the ground floor of a small block of flats; maybe fifty units all told. Least they'd not have to worry about the lift always breaking down. Front door opened directly into a small entryway just before the kitchen. Doyle headed down a short hallway, Bodie following at the yelp of outrage from his partner.

"Only one bog? We have to share that too?" Doyle was aghast at the indignity.

"Don't know what you're complaining about, mate, you're the one leaves his dirty laundry strewn all over." Bodie laughed at the curled lip Ray turned on him. "'s true! Gonna have to buy you a special hamper, leave it outside the loo, can drop your pants in it on your way out."

"Yeah, join up with Benny Hill, mate. You're no flower to have around either."

As flats go, it wasn't bad. Tiny kitchen, with room for two to move around in comfortably. Rather large sitting room, with a small fireplace. ("Eh, we're moving up in the world; maybe we'll get a visit from St Nick this year!" Bodie usually managed to find a bright side to everything.) Short hallway ending at the one bathroom, with two bedrooms branching off halfway down. ("No heaters. We'll be burning the fire to keep warm; no St Nick." Trust Doyle.)

"Mine." Ray planted his skinny rump on the bed that was taking up most of the space in the room directly behind the fireplace. He glared up at Bodie, daring him to say anything.

Bodie left him to it, and went over to what, by default, had become his room. It was actually the more pleasant of the two, and certainly the larger, something Doyle obviously hadn't noticed when he chose the other. Deciding not to point that out, Bodie set about lugging his suitcases into the room, figuring it would be prudent to establish residency before Doyle realised he'd got the shorter -- or rather, smaller -- end of the stick.

"Where's my stuff ?" Ray stuck his curly head into Bodie's room, eyes darting around suspiciously. "Hey, this room's bigger than --"

"Your suitcases are out in the car -- where you left 'em, mate," Bodie pointed out. "And you already picked your room, so get your nose out of mine."

He pushed by Doyle, giving a yank on his arm when he continued looking in Bodie's room. "Speak nicely, and I'll help you unload your lot."

"Oh, ta ever so much, mate. Another flea house we're in, this is," he grumbled.

"Well, at least we'll know where the fleas have been, won't we?" Bodie laughed at the disgruntled look he got in return.

It took two more trips -- with both cars -- to transfer all of Doyle's belongings. They were definitely going to spend the entire weekend settling in, deciding whose knickknacks went where -- not that Bodie had that many, he'd always travelled light -- but Doyle's toy soldiers had to be set up just so, books placed within easy reach, stereo system set up in the corner, records nearby. Bodie eyed the mess in disgust.

"Ever think it would be easier if you didn't have so much junk?"

"Junk? These are all valuable items, mate, antiques some of 'em. You need to show a little respect."

Bodie just shrugged and glanced at the room critically, a small white object cradled in his hands. His eyes lit up, and he reverently placed it square in the centre of the mantle. Doyle came in for a closer look.

"What the hell is that?"



"Stony; 's my pet rock."

Ray burst out laughing. "Your pet rock? You have a --"

"Shuddup, Doyle. Makes a good pet, it does; knows when to keep its yap shut."

All that earned was a regal sniff from Doyle, and Bodie watched after him wistfully as he trotted out for more boxes.

He had mixed feelings about sharing this flat with his volatile and extremely sensual partner. From almost the minute they'd met he'd been forced to take his libido firmly in hand and bury it beneath layers of bird-watching cynicism. One look at the wonderfully rounded bum in the too-small jeans, the long slender fingers that Bodie just knew would do wonderful things to his anatomy, and the mouth that begged for kisses -- one look was all it took and he was caught fast.

And it wasn't returned. At least not in the way it mattered most. Oh, Doyle was trustworthy, he cared for Bodie, and the longer they worked together the closer they'd become. They thought alike now and could, with little difficulty, almost read each other's minds. It just wasn't what Bodie wanted, although it was apparently all he was going to get, and for years he'd managed to be satisfied with that. Double-dating, watching games on the telly together, guzzling lager and telling stories; life was okay that way.

But now. Now he was going to have to watch Doyle pad naked down the hall after a shower. Watch him run the razor over his beautifully mis-matched cheeks -- every morning. And worst of all, the walls were made of paper, and their rooms were only separated by a small hallway; when Doyle brought home his birds, Bodie'd have to lie there, knowing what was happening, probably having to listen, since Doyle was far from a quiet lover.

"Bodie . . . where are you? Bodie . . . ."

Ray's amused voice cut through his musings, and Bodie came back with a jerk, trying to hide his confusion. Doyle was looking at him with a small grin, eyes sparkling with mischievous humour.

"Lost somewhere, were you?" Ray asked, nose wrinkling as his grin widened. "Who was she, then?"

"Oh, nobody. We've got a slight problem here, you know. I was just wondering where you were gonna be taking your birds from now on, since I'll be bringing mine here. Can't have you messing around in here when I'm trying to make it with some bird."

"Here, of course. 's my flat, too! Don't you . . . ."

Bodie let him ramble on, content that he'd distracted Ray's suspicious copper's nose. The fact that he loved the sound of Doyle's voice had nothing to do with his silence. Of course not.

Three o'clock in the bloody morning. Doyle had lost count of how many times they'd been in this position -- Bodie at the back entrance, him at the front. Waiting, counting the seconds till it was time to break down the doors and go in, guns ready. Sometimes there were people inside, their own guns out; at other times they found only dust or dead bodies. He wasted a second or two wondering which it would be this time, when his r/t rasped.

"Haven't heard a sound. Count of three, let's go for it," Bodie's voice came through low and scratchy.

"Right. One. Two."

On the unsaid 'Three', two doors burst open, and Doyle entered a dim hallway, plastering himself against the wall. Nothing. Carefully he slid down to a partially open door on the right, shoving it open with his foot. Again, nothing. Looked like they were headed for option two: the dust.

A shot in the back of the flat quickly changed his mind, and he tore off down the hallway; that was Bodie shooting. Two more shots fired simultaneously, followed by a thump and silence. His heart thudded heavily in his chest as images of Cookie, his good friend killed during an op, raced through his mind. Bodie wasn't Cook, was he? He'd be fine. Yes, he would be.


Slowing up, he paused briefly in front of a second door before kicking it open and bursting through, gun cocked. Well, there was the dead body. Two holes leaking blood, one in the head. Very dead. Okay, that accounted for two of the shots.

"Bodie! "

Where was he? Head jerking frantically, eyes darting everywhere, he whipped around as a door squeaked, almost putting a bullet between his partner's eyes.

"Hoi, watch it mate, that's me you're aiming at!" Bodie took a step back, eyes wide.

"Damn it, Bodie, what the hell're you playing at?" Gradually Doyle's heart slowed its rapid beating. He'd almost shot him. Christ! What was he doing in the . . . . "What're you doing in the bloody closet?"

"It's not a --" Bodie looked a trifle indignant, as Doyle ran roughshod over his explanation.

"Hiding, then jumping out at me. Jesus, Bodie."

"I didn't . . . give it up, Doyle. Take it there's no one in the front rooms?" Suddenly Bodie was all business.

"Just dust. Which is what you almost were." He took a deep breath. "What were you thinking, hiding in the closet?"

"It's not a -- was gonna jump out and say 'boo', all right?"

He'd wiped all expression from his face, something Doyle had never managed to accomplish himself. Right now, Doyle could feel the heat that was turning his own face a furious red.

"You were gonna what?"

"Said forget it, didn't I?" And with that he plodded over and started going through the pockets of the dead man, ignoring the sputtering noises coming from Doyle's mouth.

"Fine." Doyle reached for his r/t. Cowley needed to be brought up to speed on this little caper and he didn't relish admitting they'd killed the man they were supposed to apprehend.

"That's him, right?" He kept his voice as business-like as possible, waiting for Bodie's answer.


"Great. Cow's gonna love this." He turned on the radio. "4.5 to Alpha."

"Alpha here. Did you get him?"

"Uh, yes, sir. In a manner of speaking, 3.7 got him."

"Do I take that to mean 3.7 killed him?"

"Yes, sir." He listened to the hum coming over the line, wondering what would come next.

"I'll send the team over. I want you two on your way to my office the minute they show up."

"Yes sir . . . absolutely sir . . . on our way . . ." Doyle put away the r/t. Cow really did have a bad habit of signing off without saying good-bye.

Waiting for the forensic team to arrive, Doyle kept his back to Bodie. He was seething, head pounding with the scare he'd received. Not only the first few seconds when he couldn't tell what those two last shots were, but later, when Bodie popped out of the closet . . . .

Jesus Christ, he could have killed his own partner.

And Bodie just brushed it off.

Bodie tried to start a conversation on the way back to HQ, but Doyle just gave him his sniffiest look, and turned on the radio. Loud. It didn't take long to write their reports and turn them in; the Cow didn't even jump on Bodie for shooting their contact, just told him he was glad he'd not been hurt. Yeah, new agents were expensive.

Back in the car on the way to their flat, Bodie turned the radio off and tried again, "Thought the old man would give it to me for sure this time."

Reaching down, Ray turned the radio back on.

Bodie turned it right back off. "Ray . . . ."

Doyle turned it back on, and Bodie gave up. It was getting harder and harder for him to keep up the 'hands-off' policy with Doyle now that they were together 24 hours a day. There were times he wanted to hit his contrary partner over the head -- after throwing him on the bed and ravishing the life out of him.

Surprised at finding a parking spot in front of the block of flats, Bodie quickly nabbed it. They were barely out of the car and in the front door before Doyle turned on him, eyes blazing, hissing and spitting like an angry cat.

"Don't you ever do that to me again, you stupid berk!"

"Sorry --" Bodie was having trouble deciding if Doyle was angry or scared.

"Yeah, you're sorry. Thought you were dead!"

"Said I was sorry. Besides, you got it wrong, I --"

"Oh, and that makes it all right? I thought you were dead . . . ." Doyle's face was flushed and his eyes were filled with tears of anger. Before Bodie knew it, a clenched fist was heading straight at him, and he quickly gripped the wrist, barely halting it.

"Ray . . . ."

"You did it before, in that warehouse, when you were hit by Romero's car." He yanked his wrist out of Bodie's grasp and slugged him in the shoulder, stepping on his toes for good measure. "Thought you were dead then, too."

"Ray . . . ." Bodie stopped at Doyle's pain-filled grimace.

"What's so funny about making me think you're dead?

"What? I wasn't --" He stopped as Doyle rambled on, ignoring Bodie's attempts to break in.

"You have any idea what that felt like? Seeing you on the ground that day? And hearing shots, and not seeing you today?" Doyle's words were racing from his mouth, each sentence punctuated with a panted gasp.

"Ray." Bodie dodged a flying fist, his hands grasping Doyle's shoulders, shaking him furiously. "Listen to me for a tick, dammit."

"Do you know how I felt finding Cookie? I wanted to throw up. I wanted to cry. And he wasn't even you. If it had been you . . . if you'd been killed . . . you being dead isn't a joke!"

"It was a cellar! Not a closet. I was checking out the god damn cellar!" Bodie raised his voice, worried at the lost, panicked look that had appeared in the green eyes.

"I don't ca-- what?"

"I was down in the cellar, Ray, not hiding in a closet trying to scare you." His heart lightened as the fear disappeared from Doyle's face, to be replaced with confusion.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

"Didn't give me half a chance, did you?" He didn't know how much longer he could stand it; the strange, half-dazed look Doyle was directing at him was making his legs shake.

"I did too, you dumb, idiotic . . . ." Doyle's eyes were slightly glazed and he reached out a trembling hand, gently brushing Bodie's lips. "Stupid . . . ."

Not giving him a chance to finish, Bodie roughly grabbed his head in a firm grip, fingers tangling in the curls, and kissed Doyle hard, relaxing when the mouth under his hesitantly returned the kiss. He leaned into Ray, pushing him back against the wall, their mouths locked together, his tongue demanding, and receiving, entrance. His hands moulded themselves around Ray's bum, and he rubbed his groin against the rising bulge in Doyle's jeans. Ray's hands were frantically trying to unfasten anything he could reach, and suddenly, with a zip and a tug they both came, surprised and panting.

Bodie chortled quietly as he watched Doyle slowly slide down the wall, an incredulous look of amazement spreading across his face, blinking eyes not quite meeting Bodie's. He sprawled in the corner of the sitting room, knees bent, legs spread, a very limp -- but happy -- cock peeking from the opening in his extra-tight blue jeans, and he presented the perfect picture of a man who'd just been ravished.

"God," Ray breathed. "Bodie?"

"'m not God, that's for sure," Bodie's grin widened.

"I . . . whew! Think we could try this properly? Slowly, and in bed this time?" Doyle looked up at him, eyes twinkling. Before Bodie could react to that question, his r/t beeped, and both men glared at it, before looking at each other in resignation. Cowley.

Holding out his hand, Bodie waited for Ray to grasp it, then hauled him to his feet, at the same time pulling him close. Nuzzling a curl-covered ear, Bodie whispered quickly before answering the r/t. "We'll do it anywhere you want, sunshine. Table, if the mood strikes."



Ray's voice rang simultaneously with Cowley's as Bodie clicked on the r/t.

"Here, sir."

"You need to be here. Ten minutes ago, 3.7, both of you."

"We turned in our reports, sir," Ray leaned closer to the radio.

"This has nothing to do with your reports, 4.5, it's a new matter entirely."

"Yes, sir. On our way, sir," Bodie signed off, matching Doyle's look of frustration with one of his own. Gently he caressed the uneven side of Ray's face, warmth flooding through him as Doyle leaned into his hand, smiling. "Later, eh?"

Ray blinked his eyes. "Hm, not too much later, though!"

Bodie kissed him softly on the lips, smiling. Silly bugger still looked a bit dazed. His face was flushed, lips swollen, eyes half-mast; Bodie ruffled the mussed curls.

"Better clean up. Cowley'll take one look at you and know what he interrupted!"

They quickly tidied up and scurried back out to the car. They hadn't driven far, before Bodie noticed the quick side-long glances Ray was giving him.


Ray looked at him, awe etched in his face. "Didn't say anything, did I?"

"Don't have to, I can hear you thinking. What do you keep looking at me for?"

He felt, more than saw Doyle's shrug. "Dunno. I was just thinking -- shuddup, Bodie -- guess I'm surprised."



Bodie waited patiently a few minutes as he navigated through the London traffic, then when nothing more seemed to be forthcoming, prodded a bit. Usually Doyle was running off at the mouth.

"Surprised about us? Or you? Or me? Or . . . ?"

"Us. Me. Had no idea, 'til today. All of a sudden, I thought of you dead, and it ripped my guts out. You've always been here. Couldn't imagine getting up one morning and you not there. Leave a big hole, it would. Always mattered to me that you were alive, but . . . I sound like a right berk, don't I? Not sure what I'm saying."

Bodie took a deep breath, not sure if he dared say what he felt. He'd not be able to stand it if Doyle laughed in his face, but . . . well, in for a penny . . . .

"I love you more than my life, Ray. Have for a long time. If you died there'd be nothing left for me." It was said simply and flatly.

And he waited. He beamed brightly as Ray's next words penetrated the nervous fog around his brain.

"Yeah, well, that's what I said."

Watson eyed his hastily assembled 'team'. A bunch of misfits no one else would take, but they were all he could afford at the moment. Once this drug deal was finished, he'd be rolling in money, able to hire the best of the best. He was fast losing patience with this lot, though, having to answer the same question twice in ten minutes didn't bode well for the operation.

"'m gonna go through this one more time. Mott, where do you plant the bomb?"

"In the kitchen, under the gas heater." Tiny eyes looked out at him from under an uneven fringe of greasy black hair.

"Right. Thomas, while he's doin' that, what're you doin'?"

A stubby finger quickly came out of his nose. "Makin' sure the lady o' the house is deader than the bomb'd do her, but no guns."

"Davis?" He looked at the man who was without a doubt the only other one in the room, besides himself, with a brain.

"Grab the case with the drugs from the desk in the study," he recited in a bored tone.

"Don't want any screw-ups on this. It's easy and simple. Been set up for us that way."

He looked them over again, hiding a grimace. What he had to go through to accomplish his personal goals. Such a simple operation: grab the drugs, kill one person, and blow up the house. Make everyone think the woman had died in the explosion and, for those who knew they were there, that the drugs had also burned.

Turn in the drugs to the man who was funding this little deal, pay off the hired help. In just one short week he'd have the money he needed and could set off to find the last person on his 'list'. The one who'd done the best disappearing act of them all.

Thirteen men. All tried and found guilty, with himself judge and jury. Easy to find the first twelve, but it had taken every cent he'd saved from his mercenary days, and then some, hence the idiots he was forced to work with now. A new job, money, another execution.

After this job, he'd have the money to continue looking for number thirteen.

Revenge was expensive.

Doyle followed Bodie into their flat, still grousing about the meeting with Cowley they'd just come back from. He stopped inside the door, as Bodie set the locks.

"Well, look on the bright side, here." Bodie tested the door, satisfied.

Doyle looked at him quizzically. Where was there a bright side to stake-out? Bodie was grinning at him like the Cheshire cat, and Doyle shook his head in fond amusement. "So tell me then."

"Don't have to be there till midnight. Means we have all day and most of the evening to ourselves."

"Yeah. So?"

"So I, obviously being the more intelligent member of the team here, have found something to occupy us."

"Sleep might be good." Doyle decided to ignore the 'more intelligent' comment for the time being.

"Raymond, you have no imagination." Bodie stepped close till he was leaning over where Doyle was sloped against the wall. Palming the wall on either side of the curly head, he brought his mouth close to an ear.

"What did we have interrupted this morning, eh? Weren't you the one who wanted to 'do it' somewhere more comfortable?"

"Oh." Doyle felt the heat rush through him as his jeans suddenly became too tight. He jumped as Bodie casually licked his ear. This was all so new. "Bodie!"

"Hm?" That mouth was slowly working its way down the side of his face to his lips, leaving a cool path as the air connected with the dampness.

"Bo-die." Doyle slid down the wall a bit, grabbing hold of Bodie's neck to keep from going any farther. His knees felt a shaky, eighty years old right now and he clung tightly, mouth searching for Bodie's.

"Not here, sweetheart. Ray. Ray!" Bodie's delighted laugh came at him from a distance, and Doyle slowly opened eyes he hadn't even realised he'd closed.

"Hm, not here. Right. Bed?"

"That was what I had in mind. You gonna stand if I let go?" Bodie was smiling down at him, his face more open than Doyle had ever seen it. Christ, Bodie really did love him, didn't he? Shining eyes. Doyle smiled crookedly looking at Bodie's blue ones; there really was such a thing.

"Sure aren't gonna let you carry me!" He wiggled out of Bodie's arms and headed off down the hallway, straight for Bodie's bed.

Entering the room, he stopped suddenly, a little unsure. What, exactly, was Bodie planning for them? He'd never done any of this with a man before. Wasn't even sure, exactly, how it was done. Oh, he'd read things, and seen pictures, but to actually have . . . to let . . . . He jumped a little as Bodie came up behind him, sliding arms around his waist.

"'s okay, love." Could read him like a book, Bodie could. Ray relaxed a little in the embrace. "Know what I'm doing."


"Yeah. 'm gonna love you. Very slowly and very completely. Till your head's in the clouds and you think you're in heaven, and I say 'What?' when you ask for God."

Bodie's hands had been gradually working their way under Ray's t-shirt and up his chest, playing with assorted bits of fur until he came to a rather prominent nipple. His rough fingers stroking the small nub made Doyle catch his breath and arch back into Bodie's chest, the small moan coming from his mouth surprising him.

"Bodie. Oh Christ. Bodie. Don't . . . ." His mind was completely befuddled, and all his earlier worries vanished like magic.

"Don't what? Don't stop? Don't finish?" Warm air caressed the side of his face as Bodie laughed softly, and turned him around so they were nose to nose.

Ray wrapped his arms around Bodie's neck, pulling him in close for a kiss, stopping any more remarks he might have made. Strong fingers pressed into his arse, kneading the muscles there, and he involuntarily began humping his burning groin against Bodie's leg.

"Uh-uh, not yet, sweetheart. Gotta get you out of these clothes first, you randy thing."

"You laughing at me?" Ray moved back and tore his t-shirt over his head, then quickly unzipped his pants, pausing to look at Bodie, suddenly unsure.

"Never." His face was totally serious for a moment, before a big grin burst over it. "Just happy. Finally. Been wanting this for a long time, sweetheart."

"'s all right, then." The jeans followed the t-shirt, and Doyle shivered a bit as his hot skin came in contact with the cool air. Bodie loved him; it was a litany running nonstop through his head. It sounded unbelievable. And to his surprise, he realised he returned that love.

Bodie slowly began to remove his own clothes, managing to get his poloneck off before Doyle lost all patience and reached out to 'help' him. Completely naked, they stood there for a moment, looking at each other in unexpected shyness. Suddenly Bodie bent and picked Doyle up, grunting a little, and tossed him on the bed, climbing in after him.

"Well, that's certainly an ice-breaker," Ray laughed, giving a bounce on the bed. "Now what, my good Sir?"

"Now . . . ." Bodie wiggled till he was gently sitting on Ray's closed thighs, knees holding most of his weight. He leaned over and nuzzled a furry chest, as Doyle quivered with reaction. "Now, I love you."

"One-sided . . . Bodie . . . relationship is it?" He almost forgot what he was about to say as Bodie's mouth closed around his burning cock. There was no way he was going to last the distance if Bodie kept doing that with his mouth. He writhed on the bed, howling. A bloody suction cup, his mouth was, and if he didn't stop . . . .

He assumed Bodie swallowed it all. God. Opening his eyes -- when did he shut them? This was getting to be a habit -- the first thing he saw was the Cheshire Cat propped on one elbow smugly eyeing him. Complacent sod.

"Not bad." Finally he could breathe again. Doyle kept his face as calm as possible while Bodie's grin shortened by half.


Doyle couldn't keep his laughter in, and allowed it to spill over. His arms snaked around Bodie's torso, and he hugged him as hard as he could, laughing harder at the resultant whoosh.

"Silly little sod." Bodie's voice was warmth personified. "Ready for the best part?"

Doyle nodded his head. A little surprised, he watched as Bodie pulled some lotion out of his bedside drawer.

"Cream your hands every night, do you?"

"Nah, 's for me feet -- want to keep 'em smooth, don't I?" Bodie beamed at him. "Besides, was a boy scout, wasn't I? Always prepared. Relax, Ray."

He tried to. Bodie was patient, nibbling, sucking, licking and kissing him all over from head to toe. Hours, years, a lifetime later, Ray was convinced there wasn't a muscle left in his body. He couldn't resist as Bodie started to turn him onto his stomach and tried to help by bending his knees, until he realised they'd disappeared along with his wits.

Bodie was licking him, his tongue rasping its way down his back, and Doyle was positive he was counting each and every bone in his spinal column, giving it a name and making it his. Hands were kneading his arse, strong thumbs rubbing along the crack.

He jerked as a thumb casually stroked the entrance to his body, gasping as it was replaced by Bodie's tongue gently licking around it. His cock hardened as Bodie slowly lapped a path up to the bottom of his spine.

He felt bereft as Bodie briefly pulled away, until the squirt of the plastic lotion bottle told him what was happening. The coolness was startling, and Bodie kissed his lower back, as he applied the lotion and slowly inserted a finger. A second finger followed, then a third, and Doyle squirmed a little, his erection softening a bit.


"'s all right, sweetheart." A hand snuck down between Doyle's legs, fondling the semi-erect cock. "Happens a lot the first few times, too much going on at once." Bodie playfully bit one shoulder. "You know it's gonna hurt a bit, right? Muscle down there isn't gonna want me coming in at first."

Ray unclenched his hands from where they'd been grasping the pillow, and nodded. Damp kisses were deposited on his neck, as Bodie shifted to his knees, still massaging the bum before him. Doyle felt a slight prodding at his opening, and tried to relax as the pressure slowly increased. A sharp stab of pain made him gasp and pant, and Bodie stilled immediately, rubbing his hands in gentle, soothing circles across his back.


"Yeah. You're right. Hurt for a second, but . . . 's mostly all right now." He was amazed to find that the pain had diminished some, and wiggled his bum a bit in encouragement for Bodie to continue.

Another few moments and Bodie was all the way in. Ray grinned into the pillow. He was filled with Bodie, they were completely one person at this precise moment. Bodie shifted a bit and thrust once; Ray almost leapt out of his skin at the electric charge that particular move enticed.

"Christ, Bodie, what'd you do? 'm hard again!"

"Tickled your prostate. Some like it, some don't." He grinned. "Hope you don't do that when the doc asks you to cough."

"Not likely." He pushed back against Bodie, revelling in the feel of strange balls against his own. Taking the hint, Bodie began to thrust in earnest, as their sweat mixed together. Ray didn't know what to concentrate on first: the new, wonderful sensation of fullness in back, or the impending explosion beneath him. Soon it didn't matter, as he felt himself flying high, every nerve in his body on overload.

He woke briefly to find himself cocooned in Bodie's embrace, covers pulled over their heads. Ponged a bit, but he smiled, not minding. It was a Bodie smell entwined with his own, and spelled love. And wasn't he getting a bit soppy now. Wasn't sure exactly what he was getting into here; they'd definitely need to talk about what was happening between them. Not now though. He snuggled deeper into Bodie's arms, content. Bodie was right.

There was a bright side to stake-out duty.

"I, for one, am getting rather tired of stake-out duty."

This somewhat grandiose statement was followed by a huge sigh, and Doyle glanced over at the shadow on the other side of the car. After a week of sitting in the car, he was getting a bit sick of it too. "Part of the job, mate."

"I spy with my little eye . . . ."


"'m bored, Doyle. I spy with my little eye . . . ."

"Absolutely nothing, Bodie."

". . . something that begins with . . . eh?"

Doyle laughed. "It's pitch black outside, Bodie, isn't anything to see. With or without your little eye."

"That's exactly my point, Raymond, my son. There hasn't been anything to see for three days -- or nights, in our sad case."

Doyle just shrugged; wasn't much he could say to that, since Bodie was right. According to Cowley, there was a drug deal scheduled to go down in the house they were watching so closely. The first day, a total of two people, one man and one woman, had gone in. One had an armful of shopping -- the woman, and the man carried a briefcase. He'd gone out the next day, but nothing had been seen of the woman.

"Strange lack of activity for a drug dealer's house, if you ask me," Doyle continued his line of thinking out loud.

"Pity the Old Man didn't; we wouldn't be sitting here with our fingers up our arses, otherwise," Bodie sniffed. "I can think of several other things I'd like to be doing with our fingers at the moment."

Doyle smiled, and reached his hand over, fumbling around till it landed on Bodie's thigh. He gave it a quick squeeze. "So can I."

Fingers climbed rapidly up his arm, and down his chest, digging between the buttons for bits of escaping fur. Ray yelped as pieces of hair were gently tugged, and he slapped lightly at the offending digits. Laughing, Bodie let go, clasping hold of Doyle's nearest hand.

"Not getting all marshmallowy on me are you?" Ray left his hand in Bodie's. "Big, hard man like you?"

"You got that right, sunshine. Big and hard that's --" he broke off, and Doyle looked up, trying to follow his line of sight in the darkness.

"What is it?"

"Over there. Car pulling up, no lights."

Doyle fumbled for the radio, asking to be patched through to Cowley. "Looks like the Old Man was right after all," he said in an aside to Bodie.

"That does happen once in a while, 4.5," the Old Man's voice came caustically over the receiver, and Doyle groaned quietly, as Bodie sniggered. "I take it there's finally been some activity there?"

"Yes, sir. Car just pulled up, no lights. Looks like three men getting out. Heading for the house."

"Stay where you are, both of you. Get the number of the car, but that's all."

"Can't see it from here, sir."

"We need the number of that car, Doyle."

"Yes, sir." He clicked the radio off. "Stay where we are, but get the number that we can't see if we stay where we are. Makes sense, that does."

"My turn." Bodie turned the inside light off, and carefully opened his door, sliding out into the darkness.

"Try not to get caught, eh? Cowley'd have my guts for garters, I let his blue-eyed boy get snatched."

"Oh, ha. Very funny. Love you, too." And he carefully hunched off towards the car, quickly disappearing as his black clothes merged with the night.

Doyle played the waiting game, eyes fixed on the house. It wasn't until he felt the first twinge of pain from his jaw that he realised his teeth were clenching against each other, and he made an effort to relax. The men were in the house, Bodie was going to get just close enough to get the licence number, and come back.

He tensed again, as shadowy figures ran down the walkway and piled into the car. The doors were barely shut, when it took off, lights still off. Come on, Bodie. Where the hell are you? The ache in his jaw was starting up again.

He'd just made up his mind to go look for him, and had the door cracked, when a huge explosion wracked the house they'd been watching, sending debris raining down along the street.

He grabbed the radio, calling in to HQ. "Tell Cowley the house just blew."

Tearing out of the car, he raced up as close to the house as he could get, head whipping frantically around as he looked for Bodie in the firelight. Christ, Bodie, where did you go? Not in the house. He wouldn't go in, he wouldn't . . . .

"Bodie!" A dark shape detached itself from under one of the cars, and Ray breathed a huge sigh of relief. "Bodie, don't do that!"

"Ran right past me, didn't even look. Scared ten years off me life, they did!" His hand reached up to rub at his temple.

"Yeah, well you didn't do much for the next few years of my life, either."

Lights were blinking on in the homes surrounding the blast, and curious people were beginning to wander out as sirens began to sound in the distance. Bodie gave a quick tug on Ray's sleeve. "Might be prudent of us to disappear, don't you think?"

"Yeah. Prudent, eh? Been taking classes at night to improve our vocabulary, have we?"

"Nah, just my natural intelligence asserting itself."

They made their way slowly and guilelessly back to the car, where they did their own version of a quick getaway . . . with lights.

A few streets away, Bodie pulled over to the side of the road, and Doyle glanced at him in surprise. "What's up?"

"Need you to drive, mate."

"Bodie? What happened? What didn't you tell me back there?" Ray flicked on the overhead light, face tightening as he saw the blood oozing down Bodie's left arm. "You idiot. Why --"

"Not now, all right, Ray? Gashed it on a piece of metal from the car I slid under. Was a bit of a tight fit."

"Yeah, well, if you'd stop eating everything in sight . . . ." Ray was busy wrapping his scarf around the bloody arm as he talked, mind not on the conversation.

"Ray! Lay off, all right?"

The pain underlying the request finally got through to Doyle, and he shut his mouth tightly as he finished. He looked at Bodie, sitting there behind the wheel, and smiled gently, rubbing his fingers against the side of his head.

"Can't drive if you're sitting in the driver's seat, love, can I?"

Bodie smiled wanly, and trundled out of the car, letting Doyle scramble over the gearshift. Once he was properly settled, Ray put the car in gear, grimacing as he felt the stickiness of blood on the handle.

Wiping his hand on his jeans, he picked up the radio. He was taking Bodie to hospital first to get the arm seen to. God knows what type of grit was on the piece of metal he slashed it on. Cowley didn't say one word against that. Just asked him to come in and make his report as soon as possible afterwards.

"Must be mellowing in his old age," Bodie said thoughtfully. "Used to be he'd let us bleed to death as long as we got our report in."

"Just thinking of you, sunshine. Told you, you're his favourite."

Bodie had no answer for that, and he stayed quiet for the rest of the drive to St Thomas's.

"Here we are." Ray hopped out of the car, pausing when Bodie didn't follow. He quickly went over to the passenger door, and pulled it open. "Bodie!"

No response. Squeezing onto the edge of the seat, he pulled Bodie's head up, cursing as he felt the stickiness of blood on the side of his face. He pulled up an eyelid, sighing in relief as the pupil contracted in the dim light.

"Bodie. Come on, sunshine, open your eyes." He gently shook the still shoulders, frowning when the blue eyes opened to look at him fuzzily. "When you're all patched up mate, 'm gonna kill you for not telling me you got beaned on the noggin. Anything else you didn't think to tell me about?"

Bodie started to shake his head, then stopped, apparently thinking better of the idea. "No, nothing."

"Good. Let's get you inside then."

The Casualty Ward Doctor was young, beautiful and familiar, even though it had been a year or so since Doyle had last dated her, and he grinned briefly when she walked up to them.

"Hello, Claire. Still on nights are you?"

"Back on nights, actually, Ray. How are you?" Her face lit up with tired smile.

"Fine. 's me mate here, who's needing your assistance. Gashed his arm on a bit of metal, and . . . what?" This as she frowned and peered closely at Bodie's eyes.

"Where did you hit your head . . . Bodie, isn't it?" He nodded slightly, wincing and pointed to just above his right ear. "Well, you come in here with me, Bodie, and we'll get you stitched up. Ray can wait for you right out here."

"No, Ray won't wait for him right out here. Ray's coming in with him. Needs me to hold his hand, he does." He followed behind, nearly stepping on Bodie's heels in his haste. Claire just shook her head and didn't argue.

Once inside a small cubicle, Claire motioned Bodie to a seat on the table, and had him remove his shirt. Doyle hid a smile at the reluctance. Man had a great chest; Ray never had been able to find out why he hated to show any skin.

Only took 11 stitches to close the arm wound; Bodie made a big face over the tetanus shot, which must have hurt far worse than the needle and thread. After checking eyes and ears, Claire put down her scopes. "He definitely has a slight concussion. I'd like to keep him here overnight just for observation."

"No." Bodie hated hospitals.


"Yes." Doyle and Claire overrode him simultaneously, and she walked over to a closet, pulling out a wheelchair.

"No. Not that. I can walk. Doyle!" He eyed his grinning partner in appeal. "Don't need to stay over night. 'm fine, Ray can watch me at home. We live in the same flat, he can --"

"Forget it, Bodie. She's the doctor. Gonna do as she says." He helped Bodie down from the table, laughing as he was weakly shoved away. "Stop your whining and get in the chair like a good boy."

Glaring at him, Bodie settled himself into the chair, lips pursed in a pout, as Doyle wheeled him out of the room. Bending over so his mouth was close to Bodie's ear, he whispered, "Not gonna let anything happen to you, lover, now I've got you. I --"

"Bodie?" Both turned as a strange voice piped up behind them. "That is you? Isn't it?"

Bodie stared hard at the large man in front of him who was supporting another with a gash across his forehead. "Watson?"

"Yeah, that's me. Hell, Bodie haven't seen you since Angola; must be, what? Twelve years now?"

Ray's ears perked up at that; he was always looking for more information on Bodie's 'mysterious' past.

"What are you doing down here?" Bodie asked.

"One o' me mates was banged up a bit tonight; had to bring him in." The big grin turned itself full wattage on Doyle. "Who's this then?"

"My partner, Ray Doyle."

"You're never a copper?"

"Hm, yeah, something like that. Nice seeing you again." Bodie gave his wheels a push and Doyle grabbed the handles, taking over the driving. Claire led them quietly to a room down the hall and left them to get Bodie settled in.

"Bodie --"

"Shuddup, Doyle."

"But --"

"Wanna sleep, Doyle."

"Thought you didn't want to stay here."

"Ray . . . ."

Finally noticing the dark circles under his eyes and the pinched look of pain around his mouth, Doyle shut up, slightly ashamed. Here he was grilling Bodie, when he should be soothing him. Some partner he was.

When Claire came back in, Bodie was asleep and Ray was sitting by his bedside, stroking his hand. He looked up as she came through the door, and smiled. They went out of the room to talk, not wanting to wake Bodie. "You can probably come get him this evening; it's 3 a.m. now, and that should be long enough. Especially if you really do share a flat?"

"Yeah, company's cutting corners, saving money. I'll be back then, don't let him sweet-talk all the nurses." He noticed Watson out of the corner of his eye, and briefly debated going over to talk to him. Remembering Bodie's less than enthusiastic reaction to his appearance, he decided to ignore the temptation.

He bade Claire good-bye and headed tiredly off to headquarters to write their report. With the lack of traffic, it shouldn't take him long to get there, and with luck, he'd be home in bed in less than an hour.

Jax was busy scribbling at his desk when Doyle walked into the communal office, but other than that the room was vacant.

"Thought you were off today," Doyle observed.

"Got called in. What're you doing here?" Jax laid his pen down and leaned back in his chair, arms stretching over his head.

Sitting down, Doyle briefly explained what had happened, fear and worry leaking through despite his attempts to speak in a matter-of-fact tone. His voice petered off as he noticed Jax giving him a strange, almost compassionate look. "What?"

"I don't believe . . . you love him don't you?" Jax asked softly.

"I . . . course I do! He's m' partner, good mate . . . wouldn't be worth anything if we didn't care about each other would it? Have to care; you're guarding someone's back all the time, living in the same flat --"

"Sleeping in the same bed?" Jax interrupted, a small smile on his face. "I know you Ray, known you for a long time. Can tell you're in love with Bodie. Written all over that chameleon face of yours."

Doyle couldn't think of anything to say to that, although he silently cursed the rubber mask he'd been blessed with at birth. He turned his attention to his report, waiting stiffly to see what else Jax was going to come up with. It didn't take long. Curiosity was the mark of a good copper, which is exactly what Jax had been before joining CI5.

"He love you?"

"Yeah. We've been lovers for about a week now. That bother you?" He looked up at Jax, jaw set belligerently.

"Don't care what anybody does in the privacy of their own home. Certainly aren't hurting anyone, the two of you. Don't know what the Cow's gonna say though."

"You're never gonna tell him?" Doyle's voice hardened.

"Not my business, mate." He pushed away from his desk. "I'm done. Hope Bodie's all right."

"Ta." Doyle listened as the echoing footsteps faded away, then turned back to his own report, sighing heavily. He really wasn't looking forward to going home to his cold, empty bed.

Watson could not believe his incredible good luck. After so many years of searching, a chance encounter in hospital delivered his prey practically in his lap. All he had to do now was deliver the drugs, collect his money and make new plans.

It had taken every bit of nerve to hold still and not strike then and there. He put on his act, smiling, laughing, just the old mate from days gone by, pleased at seeing Bodie so many years later. He'd wanted to rip his throat out.

So Bodie was a copper now. Or something like it. Which meant he had to proceed with extreme caution to avoid being detected before the grand finale. He almost crowed in delight. He was so close to his goal, so close to finally giving Lynn the revenge she deserved.

Bodie also had a partner. Perhaps he could be used some way, it was worth a thought or two. They shared the same flat, according to what he'd just overheard. Doyle wouldn't be back to pick up Bodie until this evening; gave him plenty of time to get things organised.

Maybe he had one more job for his lot to do.

Bodie was ready and waiting impatiently that evening when Doyle went back to pick him up. He stood eagerly as the doctor told Doyle to bring Bodie in the minute he started to feel nauseous or dizzy. Ray was exceedingly gentle, helping Bodie into the car, making sure he was settled before driving off.

The tenderness lasted exactly two miles from the hospital, which was a good mile longer than Bodie'd expected.

"So, who's Watson, then?" Worse than a dog with a bone, was Doyle.

"Bloke from Angola."

"Good mate?"


"Seemed glad to see you." Doyle glanced at the rearview mirror.

"So?" Wrong move, a question needs an answer.

"If he wasn't a good mate, why's he so happy to see you?"

"Short memory, maybe." He watched as Doyle peered into the rearview mirror again, a small frown on his face. "Got company?"

"Hm. Not sure. Thought so for a minute there, but he's gone now."

Ray was quiet for another mile or two, eyes flicking between mirrors; Bodie knew that mind was working frantically, there'd not been near enough questions yet. Sighing, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes, waiting for Doyle to start up again. Didn't take long.

"What happened?"

"Oh, just come right out and ask, why don't you? Look, Doyle, I don't wanna discuss it, okay?" He carefully unclenched the fist his fingers had inadvertently formed.

"Don't have to get hot about it. 'm just curious, all right?"

"Want me to start asking about your past? Eh? How'd you like that?"

"Christ, Bodie, never mind." He glanced out the rearview mirror again, but seemed satisfied with what he didn't see.

Bodie looked out the window. They were only a few blocks from their flat and the sun was still up. "Let me out here."


"Feel like a walk, Doyle, stop the car."

"Bodie . . . ."

"Just stop the car." He started to open the door, and Doyle slammed on the brakes.

"Fine. Walk. I'm off to the market, unless you want to starve."

Bodie slammed the door and stalked off. He'd gone only a few feet before he heard the car peel off, Doyle definitely in a snit.

He trudged the last few blocks to their building, head throbbing. Well, he was a bit upset, too. Had every right to be. Doyle was the most inquisitive little sod he'd ever met; probably that copper's nose of his. It was great on a job, but he definitely didn't appreciate that nose being stuck in his past. Being lovers didn't give either one of them the right to know everything.

There were things in Bodie's past that he'd just as soon forget, as there were in Doyle's, he was sure. Some things they'd learned because the past had come back to haunt them, and Bodie hoped this wasn't going to be one of those times. He had no desire to set eyes on Watson -- or any of his old 'mates' from Africa -- again.

What had happened with Watson in Angola was ugly, and brutal, and something Bodie'd spent years burying in his memory. And Ray wanted to know all about it. He really had no idea just how ugly some things could be, regardless of how much dirt and filth he'd seen in the Met.

Undoing the security locks, he opened the door, glad to be home. Home. He realised suddenly that the tiny little flat had become 'home' to him, simply because Ray was here. As busy as they'd been this past week, it had all been just that much more tolerable knowing Doyle was beside him, both at work and in bed. Even though they hadn't really talked about it, he had the feeling their relationship as lovers was a commitment they were both going to keep.

Re-doing the bolts, he decided he must really be knackered, he was starting to get as soppy as a love-sick teenage girl. Besides, wasn't he supposed to be angry at Doyle right now? Bit useless, that was, he never could stay mad at Ray for very long. Bed or a one-armed shower? He decided to think about it, and lay down on top of the duvet, arranging his sore arm carefully next to him. He'd just have a short kip, then a shower . . . .

It was after 9 p.m. before Doyle finished his shopping and headed back to the flat. Cowley had given him the next two days off, ostensibly to 'take care of Bodie', and he was looking forward to the time alone together. He still couldn't believe what had happened to them. It amazed him that they'd fallen in love with each other, though he was a bit disconcerted sometimes that he'd actually chosen a man to spend the rest of his life with.

Wasn't so surprising on Bodie's side, though. Some of the little snippets he'd let loose about his days in the Merchant Marine, and in Africa, proved to Ray at least one of them knew what they were on about. Good thing, that. Bodie showed him something new each time they made love.

Smiling, Doyle negotiated the car through the busy streets. Bodie was an amazing lover. He couldn't believe all that gentle tenderness was hidden so completely under Bodie's hard-man faade. He'd been a bit nervous the day Bodie had actually penetrated him, worried about the unknown, but Bodie had gentled away all his doubts and given him an experience he still couldn't quite believe.

Squirming, he moved about in the seat, trying to ease the constraints of his tight jeans. Yeah, Bodie and him, locked together, completely joined. Loved him so much. Couldn't get any closer to being one soul than that.

They hadn't told Cowley yet. He wasn't sure if they should, or how to go about it. This whole relationship was so new; all he could be positive of at this moment was that he wanted it to last, wanted to spend forever with Bodie.

He was curious about this Watson bloke, though. If he waited long enough, Bodie would probably break down and tell him what he wanted to know. He smiled grimly. Thinks I don't know what real life is. All that time in the Met, on the drugs squad. I've seen plenty of ugly scenes. This was just Bodie's over-protective streak showing itself.

It was dead quiet as he unlocked the doors. Quickly putting the shopping away, he made his way into the sitting room. Nobody there. He padded quietly down the short hallway, peering into Bodie's bedroom and smiled, warmth flooding through him, before he remembered the concussion. He quickly checked closer; just sleeping, then.

Bodie was sprawled on his back, fully clothed, sore arm held stiffly out to the side. One foot was still on the floor. Ray watched his chest gently rise and fall as he breathed quietly in and out. Asleep like that, all the worry was gone from his face, and he looked a bit like a sixth-former, home from school, albeit one who'd been in a scuffle.

Carefully he eased the leg off the floor, laying it gently beside the other, and began to undo his shoes. Slipping first one, then the other off, he glanced up to find sleepy blue eyes watching him. "It wakes!"

Bodie yawned, giving a long view of his tonsils. "Was gonna have a short one, then take a shower. Must have been more tired than I thought."

"Still want a shower?"

"Nah. Want to sleep."

"Help me here, and you can go back to dreamland, lover. Gotta get these clothes off you." Doyle undid his trousers, then began to tug them over his hips. "Bodie. Shift your arse!"

He laughed as Bodie started humping his hips, almost connecting with Ray's nose. Quickly Ray divested him of the remainder of his clothes, helping him climb under the covers, careful of the injured arm. Undressing himself, he slid in next to Bodie, wiggling around till he had his arms and legs wrapped around the larger man, his head planted firmly on a broad shoulder. Giving it a quick kiss and smiling contentedly, he closed his eyes.

Bodie was jerked from sleep by the harsh ringing of the CI5 phone next to his head. Cursing, he picked it up, growling into the receiver.


"Security here. We show your front locks have been breached."

Bodie grabbed his gun off the bedside table and was out of bed before he hung up the phone, Ray a scant two seconds behind him. Carefully they crept down the hallway, Doyle sliding to the front. A creak from the wooden floor in the sitting room made them pause for a moment, before Doyle sprang.

A hard body was standing in front of him, and Doyle pressed his gun against a head, grabbing an arm. "Don't move. Bodie, turn on the light."

Bright flash, and the room was flooded with light. Bodie looked into the large, frightened eyes of Claire. She was standing in front of the kitchen door, with a gun pressed tightly against her own head. Watson was behind her, grinning, two more men standing beside him.

"Let's drop 'em, Bodie. Both of you. Leave go of Mott, Doyle, or I'll turn the lovely doctor here into a corpse."

Without a word, they both dropped their weapons.

"Davis, Thomas." Watson motioned at two of his thugs, who quickly tied Bodie's and Doyle's hands behind them. Bodie couldn't control his involuntary flinch as his injured arm was yanked back.

"Right." Without pause, he shot Claire in the back of her head, blood and bits of brain exploding outward from between her eyes.

"No!" Bodie watched Doyle's face whiten, then harden, and for a brief moment prayed he'd keep still. Then the glitter of anger flared in the green eyes and Doyle sprang forward, his bare foot aiming for Mott's stomach.

Bodie headed for the man closest to him when a second shot sounded and he cried out angrily as a bullet grazed his upper arm. Doyle stopped his own struggles at the sound and turned around.

"Davis, Mott, show the little bastard what 'appens to him when he fights . . . and for god's sake watch those feet. When you're done with him, we can start on Bodie." They lifted Ray with an almost negligent ease, and Bodie's stomach turned as they flung him, still struggling, over the back of the settee.

"Well, Bodie, couldn't believe me good luck when I saw you yesterday. All the time I spent trackin' everyone down; you were the only one I couldn't find. Then I turn around and there you are."

With difficulty, Bodie dragged his attention from the ghastly activity across the room, bringing his eyes to stare implacably at Watson. "Don't know what you're talking about."

"Africa, and me bird, only one I ever loved, and you . . . you killed 'er."

"I tried to save her . . . ."

Watson moved until his face was inches from Bodie, who started to step back, stopping as he realised Thomas was behind him, forcing him to remain still. His spirits sank even lower -- the eyes in front of him were totally and completely mad. "I'm gonna make you live through what I did. Gonna make you feel what it's like to 'ave your lover fucked to death in front of you."

His gaze never wandered from Watson, hoping the man would move just a little bit closer. He could hear muffled sounds now, thuds and slaps, then a loud crack, and Ray, trying not to cry out. He looked back over, and his guts clenched at the sight of Doyle, naked and limp, eyes barely open; Bodie could hear his breath moving in and out of the slack mouth. The red abrasions spotting the slim body would eventually develop into black and blue bruises; Bodie devoutly hoped they'd both live long enough to watch the process.

Laughing harshly, Watson undid his belt. Pushing off from the man behind him, Bodie sprang at Watson, shoulder aimed for his stomach, knocking him backward. Before he could go any further, an agonizing scream broke out behind him, and Mott's voice sounded mockingly in the aftermath.

"Move and I'll blow his guts out his ears."

Slowly Bodie turned his head around, stomach clenching as he saw Mott's hand holding the gun firmly between Ray's legs, inside him . . . . He stood immobile as Watson secured his feet together with the belt he'd just removed.

Thomas pulled Bodie back, dumping him in the corner of the room. He and Mott each took hold of Doyle's long legs and yanked them farther apart, while Watson wrapped his arms under sweaty armpits, holding Ray's upper body still.

It was Davis' turn now. Apparently Watson was saving himself for last; to be the one who actually 'fucked his lover to death'. Help would be here before then, should be here now. They hadn't made the 'all-clear' return telephone call, which meant someone was on their way.

Bodie swallowed convulsively, as vomit started rising up his throat. His view of Doyle was partially blocked by Davis' huge ass, and he watched hypnotically as it moved back and forth, noting almost abstractly the red pimple on the left cheek. Ray's cries were becoming hoarse, and getting shorter with each thrust.

Sweat broke out across Bodie's brow, under his arms; he could feel it trickling down his back, much the same way the blood was oozing down Ray's face. He tensed, trying to find a way to stop the torment, trying not to hear the gasps of pain forcing their way through Doyle's lips.

"Stop it stop it stop it . . . ." Bodie didn't realise the litany was being spoken aloud, until Watson turned towards him, eyes blazing.

"Shut up!"

The slapping against flesh ended, and Bodie tensed; had they finally stopped, or were they just changing places? He watched as Doyle was dumped on the floor like so much discarded rubbish. Casually, Thomas peered out the window, then turned back toward Watson, eyes widening in sudden dismay as he looked beyond him.

"Someone's behind that door!"

The bedroom door crashed open and Jax came barrelling through, gun blazing, catching Davis as he stood above Doyle. Thomas quickly jumped out the window, breaking the glass with his shoulder, stumbling straight into Anson and his loaded gun. Watson leapt out behind him and, grabbing Thomas' sagging body, pushed it at Anson, knocking him backwards, before disappearing through the bushes, Mott close behind him.

Davis was sprawled across Doyle, wide eyes staring blindly, blood seeping from his chest and head. Quickly Jax moved in, shoving the dead body away before fumbling for the phone.

Ray was floundering on his knees in the centre of the room, trying to gain some balance, not yet completely conscious. Anson came trudging in the front door, shaking his head. The two men had got away.

"You moved too soon!" Anson glared at Jax.

"One looked up same time I was looking in, and he saw me. Simple bad luck. Know I hit one of 'em that got away, though," Jax insisted. "Got the second one in the back."

"Untie me. Someone. Get these damn things off me." Bodie thumped his feet against the floor and Anson came over, cutting his hands loose before unfastening the belt holding his feet.

Ignoring everything but the bruised and battered body in the centre of the room, Bodie flung himself to his knees and carefully, gently, folded Ray's shaking limbs, lowering him the rest of the way to the floor. He untied Ray's hands, his own shaking slightly. A heavy warmth settled over his shoulders, and he absently pulled the duvet closer around himself and Doyle. He cradled the sweat-matted head in his arms, mindlessly rocking back and forth, in time with the rhythm of his rapidly pounding heart.

Bodie'd lost track of how many times he'd been in hospital, either as a patient or bringing someone else in. Unlike some experiences, it never got better with time, and he knew that one day he'd come in, and someone, either himself or Ray, wouldn't come out breathing.

He sat slumped in the hard, plastic chair, one part of his mind wondering aimlessly why the waiting rooms in hospitals were all so spartan and unwelcoming; almost as though they wanted you to leave as quickly as possible. He laughed loudly, startling a nurse scurrying by; as though anybody in their right mind even wanted to be here in the first place.

He gazed blindly at the bare white walls, jumping slightly as a doctor appeared suddenly in front of him. He cursed, silently: he hadn't heard a thing, if the man had been an enemy, Bodie'd be dead now. He looked up at the craggy face watching him, absently noticing it was the same physician who'd been on duty the day the Russian agent had shot Ray in the leg during the Ann Seaford mess.

"Mr Bodie?"

"Yeah . . . ." He wanted to ask, had to know, but the words wouldn't force themselves past the lump that had suddenly appeared in his throat.

Matter-of-factly, but with some sympathy, the Doctor explained what they'd been doing, and to what extent Ray had been damaged. Massive bruising all over his body, two broken ribs, possible tearing around the anus and a serious concussion.

"We've administered a sedative, and will be taking him into surgery as soon as he's stabilized; shock is our problem at the moment. You mentioned they shoved a gun into his anus, in addition to one of them raping him? Once we have him on the table, we'll be able to examine him better. I'm hoping everything can be repaired with a few stitches, so we'll have him back to normal in no time."

"Normal?" Bodie looked at the doctor, not sure he'd heard correctly. "You think a few pieces of string are gonna make everything normal? He was raped, for Christ's sake!"

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean --"

"You have any idea what he went through today? Know what it felt like for both of us; me having to watch it? We're neither of us gonna be 'back to normal' for a long time, especially him. He --"

"That's enough, Bodie." Cowley had slipped in during the tirade, ready to take command. "You're squeaking, man; go sit down. I'll talk with the doctor."

"But, I want . . . ."

Bodie had no idea what his expression looked like, but Cowley's face softened slightly. "It's all right, lad, I'll talk to the doctor. You sit down and rest."

He opened his mouth to protest again, then thought better of it, deciding to risk a simple request instead. He wanted to see Ray.

The doctor exchanged a quick look with Cowley; Bodie knew exactly what their silent conversation was about: should we let him? Yes, it might calm him down. His suspicions were confirmed when the doctor nodded assent, although with a cautionary addition delivered to the retreating back.

"Don't try to wake him. The sedative should be working soon, and he'll be ready for surgery."

Bodie peeked his head around the edge of the curtain screening Ray from prying eyes. He swallowed thickly when he saw the very still, white body lying on the bed; at the moment Doyle looked more dead than alive, and he quickly slid the rest of the way around the curtain, his hand reaching out to touch.

"Bodie." It was barely a whispered breath, and he almost didn't catch it.

"Yeah, sunshine, it's me. Didn't think I'd be far away, did you?" He carefully rubbed his thumb over the back of a cold hand, sighing as it was sluggishly drawn away.

"Sorry . . . didn't . . . ." It came out slurred, almost inaudible and Bodie had to lean close to catch the last few words, "fight . . . hard enough . . . sorry."

His eyes widening in amazement, Bodie looked down at Ray. The medication had finally kicked in and Doyle was breathing deeply. Sorry? For what? Being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Being the scapegoat for Bodie's past sins? The famous Doyle guilt complex looked to be moving in full throttle, which was the last emotion Ray needed to be coping with right now. Sorry. Christ.

The curtain was pulled back and the nurse shooed him out in order to prep Doyle for surgery, and Bodie took himself back to the cold, unwelcoming chair, prepared to sit there for as long as it took to put his humpty-dumpty partner back together again. He was a bit surprised to find Cowley already ensconced in a seat, paper cup of tea in his hands.

"I'm staying here, sir, till he's out." Bodie's tone left no room for disagreement, and Cowley, surprisingly, didn't argue; silently handing over the cooling tea, he stood up, flexing his bad leg.

"I'll see you in my office first thing in the morning, Bodie. No excuses. There's explaining needed here, but it can wait till Doyle's patched up. Let me know how things go."

Watching him limp away, Bodie absentmindedly twirled the tea, cursing as it splashed onto his trousers. He scrubbed at the stain with his handkerchief, glad the liquid had cooled before decorating his clothes; crumpling the cup, he aimed and tossed, landing it squarely in the rubbish bin. Hm, a few inches taller and I could go out for American basketball, he thought briefly, before dragging his gaze back to the closed door of the operating theatre.

Bodie was afraid. Nobody was here; the casualty lounge was surprisingly quiet, even for midnight, and there wasn't a soul around to see his fear. Not that it was exactly written in large letters on his forehead, but it was probably radiating from his eyes, apparent to anyone who knew him. He could feel it leaking out of his pores, masquerading as sweat, and he rubbed his shirt sleeve across his forehead, gazing distastefully at the dirty swipe it left on the white cotton.

One of the nurses had wrapped his gunshot arm. His head still hurt from the other night, and the steady throbbing was about to drive him nuts. On top of that, he was afraid. Or was anxious a better word? No, 'terrified' described the feeling perfectly. He, Bodie, CI5 agent, ex-merc, former para, ex-SAS was absolutely scared spitless of how his partner was going to react once he woke up and realised exactly who was to blame for the rape.

His gaze sharpened and he half-stood as a nurse scurried out of the theatre; then sank back into the chair as she headed down the hall, ignoring him. He leaned his head back against the wall, letting his mind wander. Their relationship was so new -- to both of them, but especially for Ray. They had barely started to dig beneath the sex to start forming the more permanent bond of love. Ray was still a bit hesitant and unsure of himself in that respect, and this attack could destroy their fragile foundation.

He came back to the present with a jerk as the door across from him opened, spitting out two doctors, three nurses and -- finally -- Ray, on the wheeled bed, being pushed to his room. One of the doctors broke from the pack -- Bodie vaguely recalled his name as Peters -- and came towards him with a satisfied look on his face.

"Things went well, Mr Bodie; physically your partner will be fine. I'd like to keep him here for a few days; we'll want to keep him on liquids for a day or so, and keep an eye on that concussion."

Absently Bodie noticed the doctor was keeping his explanation very simple, and assumed Peters thought he was just a dim minder. At the moment all he wanted was to get into Doyle's room and see for himself that he was all right, and still breathing. His ears pricked up at the word psychiatrist, and he forced his attention back to the words in front of him.

". . . we recommend it in cases like this, although it's usually women we're treating. We've an excellent woman on staff here, who --"

"We've got one of our own, Dr Cooper," Bodie interrupted abruptly. Last thing Ray would be wanting was some shrink taking his brain apart, but he hoped this would get the doctor off their backs. All he wanted was to get to Ray.

"He's still pretty groggy, and he may not be pleased to see you; in cases like this --"

"I'll worry about that."

This was obviously not the doctor's night to finish sentences. Bodie couldn't imagine Ray not wanting to see him; figured he was probably the only man Doyle would trust right now, and he didn't need the doctor telling him otherwise.

Shrugging, Peters waved him off and walked away, shaking his head. Bodie didn't spare more than a second's glance at the retreating figure before he headed down the hall, stopping in front of Doyle's room as one of the theatre nurses came out. She smiled up at him, but didn't stop, and Bodie quietly went in.

The room was dim; a small light by the door was the only illumination, and the silence was so heavy, Bodie could actually hear Ray as he breathed in and out. He padded over to the bed and looked down at a pale, withdrawn face; bruises from someone's fingers encircled his chin, and purpling was beginning to show on the left side of his face.

He'd been given a private room, for which Bodie was thankful; a captive audience was not something Doyle needed as he attempted to come to terms with what had happened to him. He was curled on his right side, knees slightly bent, left arm curved protectively over his stomach, and numerous tubes ran from under the light blanket to empty into opaque bags at the side of the bed.

Bodie felt a thickness building up in his throat and he swallowed heavily. This shouldn't have happened -- a useless thought, and he gently smoothed the ruffled eyebrow hairs peeking out from under mussed curls. Green eyes suddenly opened, and Doyle went stiff, every muscle in his body tense.

"Shh, it's okay, sweetheart, it's me." Bodie kept his voice low, not wanting to startle him any more than he already had, but Ray sluggishly lifted his arm and knocked the intruding hand away from his face.

Bodie reached for Doyle, needing to hold him, wanting to give comfort and reassurance. He stiffened when he was rebuffed again, the slender body below trembling then becoming rigid, before beginning to shake again. "Ray?"

"No. Go 'way." Hard to understand, it came out thick and drugged, it was even more difficult for Bodie to believe he'd heard right.

"Ray . . . ."

"No." Weakly Doyle pushed his hand out in an unmistakable motion, and Bodie took a step back. He watched as Ray tucked his head down into his chest, hand clenched against his stomach, and closed his eyes, effectively shutting Bodie out.

Oh, Christ. He'd been right to be afraid. Ray was closing in on himself, drawing away from the person who loved him more than anything. He stood there watching the even breathing, hoping it was a temporary withdrawal; the alternative was unbearable.

Fumbling, he pulled a chair over to the bed and crumpled into it, eyes never leaving Doyle. He straightened when Ray stirred and tried to turn onto his back, whimpering at the pain as his injuries made contact with the mattress. Quickly Bodie moved over to help him back over to his side, but stopped, stunned, as Ray flung his arms up, almost dislodging the tube running into the back of his right hand.


Doyle was still shocky, still partially drugged, and Bodie moved away again, assuming -- hoping -- he was being confused with Watson and the others; the last thing he wanted to do now was cause more pain for Ray.

Quietly he sank back into the chair, wriggling in vain for a comfortable position; he was prepared to sit by the bedside for what remained of the night, always supposing a well-meaning nurse didn't come in and boot him out. Let Doyle sleep off the sedatives, and in the morning they could talk.

Bodie, however, didn't sleep; never even closed his eyes. He watched sadly as Doyle slept fitfully, whimpering periodically from a sleepy, thoughtless twist that perhaps pulled broken ribs, or a bit of nightmare that was too real. He stayed awake, his brain going 'round in circles as he tried to think of how to help Doyle; tried not to think of what Ray would say when he finally woke up and saw Bodie still sitting by his side.

In the past few years, his number one priority had been to protect Doyle. It drove Ray nuts, the silly little macho sod. Insisted he could take care of himself and didn't need Bodie playing mother hen all the time, said it was too bloody embarrassing, especially when the other blokes made jokes about nappies and apron strings.

Well, Ray certainly couldn't complain about over-protectiveness this time -- if anything, he had every right to be furious that Bodie had got him into this mess in the first place.

As far as Bodie was concerned he'd failed Ray. Failed him as a partner by not guarding his back the way he should have. He hated failing; hated it even more when his failure let someone else down. Ray was lying there with stitches in the same place Bodie had made love to, cracks in the ribs Bodie had tickled, and bruises everywhere. Because he had failed.

It was a long night, and Bodie did a lot of thinking. When Ray woke and looked at him, face closed, eyes hard, Bodie didn't say anything, just stood up and walked from the room. Cowley had said to report first thing in the morning, and dawn had arrived an hour ago.

"What do you mean, I can't go after them?" Bodie knew his face had to be showing his amazement and confusion; his eyebrows alone felt like they were climbing to the top of his skull.

"As I said. You're hurt, and you're too close to this --" Cowley's eyes widened as Bodie ran roughshod over his words.

"Which is exactly why I should be in on this. I know Watson. I know the kinds of places someone like him would use for a bolt hole. This is my fault, sir, and I need . . . ." He stopped, running his fingers through stubby hair and briefly closed his eyes. He couldn't remember when he'd ever felt this angry or frustrated.

"I know you're feeling guilty right now, but --"

"Yeah, I'm feeling guilty. Doyle was feeling guilty before the doctors even had a chance to stitch him back together."

"There's no reason for either of you to feel guilty, lad." Cowley took a deep breath and fingered his glasses. "However, that still doesn't change my rules, especially with your head injury. We have any number of good agents who can track down Watson, and this Mott."

Bodie stayed silent, as Cowley continued. "I'm curious, Bodie, how did Watson find you?"

"I met him at the hospital the other night, he'd brought a mate of his in, and --" Watson must have followed us, he finished silently. Oh shit, he was in for it now.

"And you didn't notice someone following you?"

"I was half out of it, and . . . no sir, we weren't. Doyle thought he saw someone, then decided he was wrong. He found out where we lived some other way, sir. We weren't followed. Doyle would have known. With all due respect, sir, they don't know Watson like I do. He fooled me, sir, and I knew him. It was my partner he tore apart, sir, I deserve the right to see this through. I . . . ."

He didn't finish his sentence as he saw Cowley's mouth move, and he shook his head, not making sense of the words. Cowley frowned as he was forced to repeat his question.

"I asked which bothered you more; these men coming after you, or what happened to Doyle? And I'd also like to know why they chose Doyle for their petty revenge instead of you, or whomever your current girlfriend is."

He didn't know which question to answer first, nor how; he doubted Cowley would appreciate being told the men had practically caught them naked in bed together. Cowley hated prejudice in any form, but Bodie wasn't sure how far that extended when it came to his two top agents having a sexual relationship with each other. Breaking the non-fraternization rule was bad enough; the fact that he and Doyle were both men rather compounded the 'sin'.

"He met us together at the hospital, we work and live together; I suppose he just assumed that we were . . . . Sir."

"And was this -- assumption -- of his, erroneous?" Cowley asked very quietly.


"Don't play games with me, Bodie, I asked a simple question; I expect a simple answer."

Bodie couldn't read anything from the tone of voice or the bland expression on Cowley's face. There really was no other way than to tell the truth. Somehow they'd given themselves away, or he himself had betrayed something by word or expression in the last few hours that confirmed suspicions Cowley may have already had.

"No sir, he wasn't wrong." His voice was as quiet as Cowley's had been when asking the original question.

"I see."

Bodie watched him silently, not wanting to be the one to speak next, but finally his curiosity got the better of him. Cowley was showing nothing of his thoughts on his face: no surprise, no distaste, nothing. "You already knew."

It wasn't a question, but Cowley answered it anyway, allowing a very small smile to appear briefly on his lips. "Aye, I suspected. Doyle wears his emotions too close to the surface; it shone out of his eyes every time he looked at you, or spoke your name. I assumed it was reciprocated since he never showed up at work with a black eye or broken nose." He paused there, and for a split second Bodie was very afraid he was about to ask for details, before common sense told him those were probably the last things Cowley wanted to hear.

A knock on the door, and Jax stuck his head in. "Found something you might be interested in, sir."

"Aye, come in."

Jax sauntered over and set a small, black homing device on the desk in front of Cowley. "Found it stuck under the front of Doyle's car, sir. Couldn't have been there long at all, as it's still quite clean."

"What made you think to search Doyle's car?" Cowley asked.

"Bodie, sir. Kept saying no one followed them, so I decided the only other way would be this. Watson must have stuck it on when Doyle went back to hospital to pick up Bodie. Had enough time to hunt one up."

"Sir, with respect; I'll resign before I let this go." Bodie devoutly hoped the calmness of his statement would help convince Cowley that, this time, he was deadly serious.

"You'd throw away everything for your own petty revenge, Bodie?"

"Not petty revenge, sir. Justice." He stopped as Cowley carefully laid his glasses on the desk blotter and stood, eyes never leaving Bodie's face. There was no expression there that Bodie could read, and his stomach did a small flip, as he waited for Cowley to speak. Jax just stood there, silent.

"Justice, Bodie? I remember the last time you wanted 'justice' with King Billy and his gang. Yet you ask me why I don't want you to work this case?"

"I've learned since then, sir. You put me on the case when Ray was shot by Mayli. I won't repeat what happened with King Billy, you have my word, sir."

He looked Cowley in the eye, unflinching, and was surprised to glimpse a quick flash of . . . sympathy, compassion . . . or pity?

"You'll work with Jax. He's been on this since the beginning and the fewer people know the details of 4.5's injuries the better. Nor will I have you out there alone, with a sore head. Keep me posted on Doyle's progress. When he's cleared by the doctors, I want you both to report to Macklin."

Bodie stood, more than ready to get out of the office. "Thank you, sir."

"Jax, stay a moment, please. Bodie, has it occurred to you that Doyle may not want you involved; may want to forget it and get on with his life?"

Bodie barely paused in his exit. "He'll never forget, sir; it's not something you can just ignore after a few days have gone by."

Betty stopped him as he closed the door, asking after Ray. As Cowley's secretary she would be one of the few people to know most of the details of their experience. He quietly gave her the same information the doctor had told him, and watched her eyes fill.

"What else?"


"What else is wrong, Bodie? How was Ray when he woke up this morning?"

He pasted a grin on his face, hoping it didn't look as artificial as it felt. "He was fine --"

Betty raised one eyebrow in disbelief and looked at him, arms crossed. "I doubt that, Bodie. I know you boys all think I've a heart made of ice, but that's not true, I . . . let's have a cup of tea, 3.7, I want to talk to you."

Neither one said anything as they walked to the canteen, and Bodie collected two teas before sitting down across the small table from Betty. She carefully added milk and sugar to hers, over-stirring it as Bodie watched her. He had no idea what she had on her mind.

"I'm going to tell you something, Bodie, in confidence. Mr Cowley knows, as does Kate Ross; you're about to hear this only because of what happened to Ray."

Bodie could tell she was having a very hard time; her jaw barely unclenched enough for her to sip the tea, let alone force words from her mouth, and he spoke up quickly, hoping to reassure. "Hard to believe, I know, but I can keep secrets . . ." he stopped at the snort of laughter that greeted his statement. "What?"

"You and Ray have been keeping a secret together for several weeks now, haven't you? And you've been hiding your feelings for him even longer than that."

"Not very well if you're on to us," he remarked dryly.

"Women are more observant than men, especially when it comes to emotions. I can't explain it; you haven't been obvious about anything, I could just tell. Anyway, that's not exactly what I wanted to talk to you about."

She took a deep breath, her face looking for all the world like she was about to be burned at the stake. "When I was about 17, no -- I was 17, 17 and a half -- I was attacked and raped by two fellow students. The boy I was going out with couldn't deal with it, and we stopped seeing each other. My parents basically ignored it, once they realised I was physically all right. It wasn't until last year, when I was having dinner with Dr Ross, that I realised I hadn't ever dealt with it."

"I'm sorry --"

"That's not why I'm telling you this, Bodie. I don't want what happened to me, emotionally, to happen to Doyle also. And I want to make sure you realise what he's going to be feeling towards you, so you don't take it wrong and destroy what the two of you were beginning to create."

Bodie bristled slightly, it sounded as though Betty thought he was going to dump Ray like so much used rubbish. She must have noticed, because she smiled and laid her hand over his, squeezing gently before letting go.

"That's not what I meant, Bodie; I know what you're thinking --"

"Yeah? Shoulda been an agent yourself, then."

"Bodie! I'm trying to help; if you don't care for yourself, at least listen to me for Ray's sake." She paused, as if waiting for him to make a further snide comment, but he kept his mouth shut, nodding at her sheepishly to continue.

"I asked how he was this morning for a reason, you know. I can't believe he was 'fine', like you tried to make me believe. The last person I wanted to see the next morning was my boyfriend, or my parents; anyone who even knew me. I was horribly ashamed, as if it was my fault this had happened to me."

Bodie didn't say anything, eyes fixed firmly on his tea as he remembered Ray's reaction to him this morning. When he did finally look up, he caught Betty watching him with a knowing, yet sympathetic face.

"He pushed me away," Bodie admitted.

Betty smiled. "Knowing Ray, I'm almost surprised he didn't hit you; probably too dopey yet. It's going to be like that for quite a while, I'm afraid. It's even worse for him because you saw what happened. The embarrassment is double what it would be otherwise."

"It was my fault, too --"

"Oh, Bodie, change your name to Doyle, why don't you? Don't start that, it's no one's 'fault', although Ray -- once he stops blaming himself -- will be angry and shift blame to you for a time. Just be prepared."

Before the conversation could continue, Anson came charging through the door, smoke from one of his ever-present cigars following. His eyes found Bodie and Betty, and he made a beeline for their table, expression grim.

"Cowley wants you, Bodie, now." The words had barely left his mouth and Bodie was out the door, leaving Betty sitting with a cup of tea raised half-way to her lips.

Cowley was coming down the hallway, pulling on his coat as he moved, and he motioned at Bodie to follow him.

"You're driving, Bodie, there's been an incident at the hospital Doyle's in and --"

"Is Doyle all right?" Bodie interrupted.

"-- a nurse has been murdered, but --"

"What about Doyle?" Bodie shouted.

Cowley glared back at him. "Fine. Doyle wasn't harmed." Climbing into the Capri, Cowley quietly apologised. "I'm sorry, laddie, I should have told you immediately that Doyle was unharmed."

"I shouldn't have raised my voice, sir."

"Apparently one man -- and I'm assuming here it was one of the two who escaped from your flat -- tried to kill Doyle, and was interrupted by one of the nurses coming in to check on him. He panicked and shot her, then ran, just missing the security guards."

Bodie concentrated on traffic and didn't comment; a dead nurse, just one more tragedy to add to this catastrophe. Once he caught up with Watson . . . .

"No revenge, Bodie."

He jerked slightly at Cowley's words; the man's ability to read his mind was incredible sometimes. Or was it just that Cowley wished he could extract his own revenge, and was trying to convince himself? There were times Bodie felt he and Cowley were more alike than some people thought.

"Bodie?" A thin hand caught hold of the dashboard as the Capri turned a little too quickly into the hospital car park. "Did you hear me?"

"Yes, sir."

Quickly stopping the car and pulling up the handbrake, Bodie ran for the front door, leaving Cowley still undoing his seat belt. He slowed up a bit after almost knocking down an elderly lady who was carefully manoeuvring her way out, hopping from one foot to the other he waited for her to finish making her way through the door, then took off down the hall at a run, heading single-mindedly for Doyle's room.

He was pleased to see the two hospital security guards standing outside the closed door, and handed them his ID, watching critically as they examined it, peered at his face, then let him pass. They were being very careful, but then, they'd probably known the nurse who'd been killed, which would give them an added incentive to be cautious. Bodie gave himself a mental shake; who was he to judge them? Maybe they were just good at their job.

Quietly pushing the door open, Bodie looked around the edge, hoping to find Ray awake -- and in a more receptive mood than earlier. Still lying on his side, he'd been moved so that he was facing the doorway, and consequently Bodie found green eyes staring straight at him as he came in.

Bodie opened, then closed his mouth, not sure what to say. Doyle made no move to help him out, just lay there gazing at him with frozen eyes.

"'m sorry," finally found its way through Bodie's stiff lips, and he mentally cursed at his inability to be a bit more intelligent.

"For what?"

Ray's voice grated like sandpaper in Bodie's ears and he cringed slightly, not sure how to answer the question. At the moment he was ready to apologise for the fact that he was even alive, if it would get the icy look off Ray's bruised face. He took a few tentative steps towards the bed, pausing at the words still pouring from Doyle's mouth.

"Yeah, mate, for what?" Bitterness underlined the words, and Ray's eyes snapped at Bodie. "For what happened to me? For Claire? For the dead nurse? For what?"

"Christ, Ray, I'm sorry for everything, all right? Sorry Claire was killed. I'm sorry you're there and I'm here, sorry the nurse was killed; I'm bloody sorry I'm alive and breathing! Does that help?"

There was total silence from the man in the bed and Bodie pulled a chair over and started to sit. He paused halfway down, knees bent, as Ray issued a terse command.



"Don't sit. Don't get cozy. Don't be sorry. Hell, don't breathe, for all I care."

Bodie watched the play of emotions race across Ray's face; periods of heat seemed to be interlaced with the frigid glares he was giving off, and Bodie finished his descent into the chair.

"I'm gonna sit, and I'm gonna breathe, whether you care or not, mate. And stay still, you stupid berk," as Doyle tried to turn over, stiffening at the pain. "If you don't want to look at me then shut your bloody eyes."

Eyelids promptly closed over the green glare, and Bodie sighed tiredly. For a few minutes the only sound in the room was that of the two men breathing. Bodie almost laughed when he realised they were doing so in unison. He was content to sit there forever, sharing the air with Doyle, but he had a feeling Ray's patience at his presence would disappear before then.

Racing in from the car had increased the pounding inside his skull, making it difficult to think. At the moment he'd cheerfully share the pain medication flowing into Doyle's arm, anything to take the noise in his head down to a soft tapping. He shifted around in the chair, pausing when Ray opened one eye to look at him.

"Still here?"

"Obviously," Bodie answered dryly.

"Well, sod off."

"Hm, why?"

"Why?" Gone was the frigid countenance, replaced with a burning anger. "You make me feel dirty."


"Will you bloody quit saying 'why'? Doesn't matter anyway."

"I think it does. You need --"

"Bodie, if you dare tell me I need to talk about this, I will personally kill you the second I get the hell out of here."

The threat was delivered quietly, but firmly, and Bodie had no doubt Doyle meant every word he said; at least right this moment. He squirmed in the chair, not sure what to say next; he and Ray both needed to talk about what had happened, but . . . .

"Quit staring at me, you dumb berk."

"Sorry." Bodie blinked his eyes back to awareness; he'd not known he was gazing blankly at Doyle like a blind man. "I --"

"Bodie, will you please just go?"

Surprisingly the voice was quiet; was there a pleading undertone to it that Ray didn't realise was there? Or was he doing it on purpose, trading on Bodie's pity? No, the last thing Doyle would want from anybody was pity. Bodie pushed himself tiredly out of the chair and carefully put it back against the wall, before turning his full gaze on Ray.

"I'll go. But, Ray, I --"

"Shut it, Bodie."

"No. It's my fault this happened and I am sorry. I bloody love you, Ray, all right? Haven't you realised that much in the past fortnight?" He raised his voice to override the objections spewing from Doyle's own mouth, and the rising crescendo brought Cowley and two nurses into the room.

"Och, you two stop it! Airing your dirty linen for the whole building to hear!" He waited until the nurses left, after assuring themselves that their patient was unharmed, then turned the full force of his anger on the two men in front of him. "If you have to fight, do it in your own flat, not in public. I won't have it, understand? I've closed my eyes to your relationship thus far, but if you can't control yourselves, I will separate you. Is that clear? Bodie? Doyle?"

Two heads nodded simultaneously, and Cowley almost smiled. Bodie fidgeted, hoping the lecture was over then sighed loudly as Cowley opened his mouth to continue; he should have known better. He straightened as Cowley pinned his gaze on him.

"You've a problem, 3.7?"

"No, sir."

"Then stop squirming. I want you out on the streets, now, looking for the man who killed the nurse. I want him found, yesterday. And Bodie, I want him, or them, alive! Understood?"

"Yes, sir. What about Doyle?"

"I'll have agents stationed outside his room; if they try again, we'll catch them this time. You'll keep the flat you're in; Watson knows where it is and may come back to it. We want to give him as many opportunities as possible to get caught. I've assigned Murphy to stay at the flat with you at night."

Bodie glanced down at Doyle to see what he thought of being live bait, and was surprised to see his eyes closed, lips slightly parted as he breathed evenly in and out. Poor sod had fallen back to sleep. Must be a strong painkiller to let him nod off in the midst of a Cowley tirade.

He wanted very much to take advantage of Doyle's unawareness and smooth the curls, touch the cheek, kiss the lips, but with Cowley standing there watching his every move, he had to content himself with a look. No revenge, the Cow had said; right now Bodie could break both men's necks without a pang of remorse and hang the consequences.

"I'll be in the car, 3.7."

Bodie looked up and surprised a slightly compassionate look that was quickly shuttered before Cowley turned and limped out of the room. He wasn't sure if the sympathy was for him or Doyle, not that he cared which. Taking advantage of the brief privacy, he bent over and gently kissed the parted mouth, inhaling the breath passing through. And then he smoothed the curls and touched the cheek, wanting nothing more than to crawl in bed with Ray and cuddle the demons away.

No matter which way he moved, something hurt, whether it was his head, his back or his arse. Christ, even his teeth hurt. Doyle hitched his hips an inch, settling a little more firmly on his side, and breathed deeply, trying to will the pain away.

He was still having trouble believing this had actually happened to him. He wasn't ready to examine the 'why' of it quite yet. It was something to do with Bodie's past, and for now he was content to leave it at that. Whatever Bodie had done -- or not done -- had come back to haunt him and grabbed Doyle instead. If Bodie hadn't . . . or if he and Bodie weren't . . . Christ. Either way it was Bodie's fault this had happened to him.

And Claire. Poor, lovely, innocent Claire, her brains splattered over their floor, just because she knew them. Watson probably wouldn't have used her if they hadn't shown a prior knowledge of each other, been so friendly in hospital. All she did was her job. And she died because of it. Because of him. And Bodie.

It was difficult to absorb the fact that someone had been able to break into a CI5 flat -- apparently nothing was impenetrable -- then beat and rape him while Bodie watched. That was almost as bad as the physical part, that Bodie had seen his shame, seen him used and degraded, practically without giving a struggle. It was humiliating. And it was embarrassing.

Funny, but he didn't know why he was embarrassed. Every time he thought of what happened, he had trouble looking anyone in the eye. It wasn't his fault, so why was he so ashamed?

He should have done something. He could do something now; or as soon as he was out of hospital. He could track down Watson and stop him. Keep him away from Bodie.

Bodie kept coming by the hospital, with his sad eyes, and droopy mouth. And each time he came, Ray was more embarrassed. It reminded him of how weak he'd been, and how useless. It made him feel dirty, when before being around Bodie was the most wonderful feeling in the world.

He squirmed a little, trying not to move anything painful, and thought back to the day he'd realised that he was actually in love with his reticent partner. His mind racing in split-second frames, he'd thought of his life sans Bodie, and knew in that instant he couldn't survive without him. Arguing had suddenly developed into kissing; by the next morning adrenaline and lust had turned into full-blown love, much to his surprise.

The next week had been a steady stream of discovery, as he and Bodie loved and argued and loved and worked. Bodie in the morning was an absolute joy. Ray smiled at the thought. He himself hated mornings, but waking up curled around Bodie did much to improve his attitude. Just last week, he'd been slowly coaxed awake by Bodie's fingers tickling up and down his spine, interspersed with the odd kiss here and there.

The men hammering into him shattered the memories Ray had of himself and Bodie together, and he shivered violently. What did Bodie think when he looked at him? Did he see the filth and degradation that they'd poured into him? Was he ashamed that he could have considered loving someone weak like him?

Should have put up more of a fight. Bodie should have tried harder to get the gun away from . . . someone. Maybe if he'd kicked harder, or faster, before Watson shot Bodie . . . or if he'd done something, anything to prevent what happened.

Wasn't his fault, though, was it? Watson came from Bodie's past, not his. Was Bodie's fault this had happened. He had vague memories of himself as a young copper, answering calls from young women who'd been raped, trying to convince them it hadn't been their fault, knowing they didn't believe him. How was this any different? It wasn't his fault. It wasn't Bodie's fault. It had just happened.

But, Christ, he felt so humiliated.

Bodie trudged wearily up the steps to his flat, not looking forward to the cold emptiness he'd find once he stepped through the door. The three days Ray had been in hospital had seemed forever, more so since Doyle was refusing to see, or speak to him. Betty had been right: once Doyle was done blaming himself -- not that he was completely finished with that -- he immediately began transferring it to Bodie.

The only bright spot at the moment was the fact that Bodie had a lead on Watson and Mott. He'd spent the last couple of days sending out feelers, contacting both his and Doyle's grasses, and two hours ago had finally hit pay dirt. Tommy, one of Ray's contacts from his days on the drug squad, had "made a deal for some merchandise -- nothing illegal, you understand" to a man answering Mott's description. He was supposed to deliver whatever-it-was to Mott tonight at the squalid hotel address he'd been given.

Everything would go along as planned; then after the transaction, Tommy would let Bodie know how many men were in the room, then he'd disappear -- fast -- and leave Bodie to complete his own business. In and out, quick and easy; a jungle ambush in the city, Bodie-style.

He shut the refrigerator door in disgust. There wasn't an edible piece of anything in there; the green spotted hunk of cheese not appealing to his finer palate, he rummaged through the cupboards finally coming up with an unopened pack of chocolate digestive biscuits. Sighing, he opened them and plopped down onto the settee, ignoring the trail of crumbs he was leaving behind him.

His emotions were roiling around inside him. He felt guilty that Watson had come after him and attacked Doyle -- for no reason -- he'd tried to help Watson's girlfriend that day, a fact Watson had obviously not noticed at the time.

What to do about Doyle? He'd be coming home tomorrow. If he still had the same cold, unforgiving attitude, that would probably be the end of their partnership -- on all levels. On the one hand, that would please Cowley, on the other, it would anger him as well, signalling the break-up of his best team.

Bodie looked at the chocolate biscuit in his hand, stomach churning, and threw it across the room, grinning in malicious delight as it smashed to pieces on impact. Exactly what he'd like to do to Watson and Mott once he got hold of them. The one thing -- the one person -- that mattered to him more than anything in the world and they'd taken him and emotionally, if not physically, ripped him to shreds, leaving Bodie with an almost impossible mending job.

Springing up from the sofa, he viciously threw the box of remaining biscuits after the first one, following to stomp on it when it didn't magically disintegrate after connecting with the wall. He'd finally found his 'one true love' -- oh Christ, it sounded like something from the Love Monger -- but it was the truth. He couldn't imagine spending his life with anyone else but Ray Doyle, sarky, sexy, irascible, irreplaceable . . . .

He leaned his head against the wall, hands fisted, ignoring the slight pain in the arm still not totally healed. How dare they? How dare they? How . . . he took a deep breath, calming himself before he could ram his fist through the wall. He needed to be cool tonight, needed all his wits -- and his hands -- in working order for what he would be doing. To hell with Cowley and his "no revenge" command, it wasn't his life those layabouts had messed up..

He slammed his palm against the wall, gasping at the stinging impact, and his gaze swung around the room; the impulse to smash was overpowering, and he leaned against the wall, breathing heavily. He had to get in control, had to . . . get control . . . his eyes settled on the small lamp sitting on the end table, and with a growl of rage he tore it from the wall socket, dashing it against the panelling.

What they did to Ray was unconscionable; he watched in satisfaction as pieces of glass tinkled down to land with the chocolate crumbles on the beige carpet. He would like that to be Watson, irreparably smashed, torn into a thousand pieces . . . . He jumped as the telephone rang, and snatched it up, listening carefully as Tommy's voice came over the line.

"It's fixed, Bodie. Only saw the one you called Mott, nobody else."

"Thanks --"

"Owed Doyle, okay? Just, you leave me out of whatever you're gonna do. Don't want someone coming after me, then, do I?" With a click, he disconnected, leaving Bodie holding a buzzing receiver.

Slowly hanging up, Bodie felt a rush of satisfaction course through him. Finally, he was going to be able to retaliate. He debated letting Jax know; Cowley's "no revenge" kept reverberating through his mind, and he paused, briefly, in his planning. If he brought Mott and Watson in there would be trial, testimony from both him and Doyle; what happened might come out. Did he really want to put Ray through the agony and embarrassment that would entail?

The bell rang just as he was about to leave. He'd forgotten Murphy was on his way over for night shift 'baby-sitting', with himself as the baby. He pinched the bridge of his nose before rubbing his forehead. Little pins were stabbing him behind the eyes, and he wondered what else the headache was causing him to forget.

Letting Murphy in, he paused just long enough to tell him he was off to hospital to visit Ray, leaving out any mention of the rest of his plans.

"I'll go with you then."

"No. You're supposed to be watching the flat, mate, not me."

He made sure the door was securely locked, then trotted down to his car. It was a moonless night, all the better for his purposes. First, though, he'd make that quick detour past the hospital to look in on Ray. He should be asleep by now, so he wouldn't be disturbed by Bodie's appearance. He felt his throat fill, and swallowed convulsively; it was a bitter thought -- having to sneak peeks at his lover in order not to upset him.

He and the night nurse had become friendly over the past few nights, and she was a great help to him, letting him in after hours when Ray was asleep. She -- her name was Mary Aspen -- had been volunteering for several years at a local Women's Crisis Centre, and was familiar with rape victims; she included Bodie in this category, firm in her belief that the family, friends and lovers were as much a victim as the person who'd actually been violated.

He went into the glass-enclosed nurses station and she greeted him with a warm smile, her hazel eyes welcoming. She was happy in a long marriage that had garnered her and her husband three boisterous boys, now grown and starting families of their own; in her opinion a person was entitled to love in whatever form, with whomever they found, although it wasn't something she made a habit of voicing out loud to many people.

"He's sound asleep, Bodie; his day was quite peaceful. The concussion keeps him pretty quiet for the most part, although his chart shows he was awake and a bit more aware today. They've also cut back on his pain medication." She said this quietly, her voice soft in the silent office.

"Is he talking to anybody yet?" He watched as her face turned solemn.

"He still doesn't say anything to anybody. The hospital psychiatrist comes in twice a day and they sit and stare at each other for an hour. Dr Martin asks questions and Ray ignores her."

"I told 'em that wouldn't work. Don't think it would work with our Dr Cooper, either. Maybe when I get him home . . ." he stopped as she shook her head. "Not likely, eh?"

"Not at first, luv, I'm sorry. How are you with patience?"

"In this case, I think I'll have all the patience in the world," Bodie laughed. "He's . . . very important."

Mary laid her hand gently on his arm. "I can see he is, to you. Now you'd best get yourself in there before he wakes up!"

"Yes, ma'am," he said impishly, his cares vanishing for a moment. He nodded to the two CI5 agents standing outside Doyle's room before quietly pushing the door open.

It was dark, and the only sound was Doyle's breathing, moving in and out with a smooth rhythm. Stepping quietly to the side of the bed, he gazed hungrily down at the peaceful face, storing the picture into his mind an inch at a time. He was healing, physically, lying on his back now, his left hand curled on the pillow beside him. Mary said it was a good sign that he slept with his body open like that, it was less defensive a posture than one curled into himself.

They must have washed his hair sometime today, it was fluffy, and he carefully touched one springy curl, remembering what it felt like to grab hold with both hands curved around the ridiculously small skull and lick the sweat-dappled upper lip. Bodie'd been fascinated with that mouth since the day they'd met, even though he'd not had a good impression of the scruffy ex-copper.

Doyle stirred, and Bodie stepped back, not wanting to be caught standing there. He relaxed as Ray settled, his breathing evening out again. Mary wanted to know if he had enough patience to wait while Doyle fought his demons and straightened out his life; as far as Bodie was concerned, he'd wait patiently as long as it took.

Watson paced around the tiny hotel room, humming to himself. Things were moving along nicely here, even if they had been interrupted back at Bodie's flat. Lost half his team there, but it was of no importance. He looked over at Mott sitting on the bed moaning to himself. Idiot had been shot in the back trying to get out the window, and hadn't stopped complaining about it since.

He was angry though, that they'd had to stop before he could finish Doyle. As soon as he realised Bodie and Doyle were partners in the sexual sense of the word, he'd quickly rearranged his plans for that evening, saving himself for the final blow, so to speak. He'd been looking forward to the look on Bodie's face when he saw his lover start to die in front of him while he could do nothing about it. It would still happen. He could be patient.

It would take some strategic planning to finish what he'd started off to do. He had no doubts whatsoever that he would ultimately triumph. Take care of Bodie and Doyle. And if people had to die in order for him to accomplish that, well, people died.


"What?" He looked up from where he'd stopped by the window. Mott had the briefcase full of drugs sitting on the bed beside him. "What are you doin' with that?"

Beady eyes looked up at him, full of cunning. "Could make more money sellin' this ourselves, instead of givin' it to your man."

"No. We're doin' it as planned." Stupid idiot. You don't mess with the money man.

"Don't see why not. We could even take some out, sell it. He'd never know."

"I said no." Watson was getting tired of having his orders ignored.

Mott wasn't giving in. "Think we should make some changes here. This is more'n I signed up for. Supposed to be an easy break-in, bit o' fun, and that's all. Wasn't expectin' to get a bullet in me back."

Watson stared at him in amazement. "You think we should make some changes? You 'aven't got any say in this. This is my operation."

Gathering the briefcase in his arms, Mott stood. Without a second's pause, Watson took out his gun and calmly shot him between the eyes.

Yeah. Well, people died.

Bodie left the hospital reluctantly, giving a small wave to where Mary was speaking on the telephone, watching till she nodded her graying head in acknowledgment. His step grew heavy as he went back to the car, his mood and instincts gradually changing; by the time he found a parking spot behind the hotel -- optimistically named The Class Act -- he was once again the hardened mercenary he'd been so many years ago.

Tommy'd said room 13, ground floor. Drawing his gun, he cautiously picked his way through the debris scattered around the entry way, wrinkling his nose at the stench of filth and urine that assaulted him two steps through the door. It was dark, not surprisingly, most of the bulbs apparently having been broken or removed from their fixtures and never replaced. He waited, letting his adjust eyes to the dim light emitted from the few still attached to the wall, before working his way past warped doors to number 13.

Also crooked, this one apparently didn't even shut well enough to lock, as it was slightly ajar, and Bodie paused, ears tuned to the inside. Nothing seemed to be stirring, and he slowly pushed the door open with the heel of his boot, back pressed up against the wall. His jacket rasped against the raw wooden boards and he spared a brief thought for the material before easing into the room, gun ready.

It was too silent; the normal outside noises were there, but nothing to indicate anyone other than himself was in the room. A single bed sagged against one wall, the thin pillow stained -- Bodie had no desire to investigate with what -- and a small bureau stood at the foot end, one drawer leaning out lopsidedly. One curtainless window faced the front door, and across from the bed was another door, probably leading to a closet; 'high class' hotels like this didn't usually provide a bath en suite.

Tightening his hold on the gun, he jerked open the door and aimed . . . at a lone wire hanger dangling from the rod. He lowered the gun; it had been quiet for a reason, there was no one here but himself. His stomach sank, he'd been primed for a confrontation, and the disappointment at not finding anyone was overwhelming. He pounded his fist against the wall, wincing as he collected several small wooden splinters, not surprised when the rotten wood itself cracked at the impact.

Sighing, he turned to leave, stopping as his eye caught sight of a white hand straying from under the side of the bed. The bureau had hidden it from view when he was on the other side of the room, and he approached it cautiously, although from the way it was lying it was a pretty sure bet the body attached to it was either dead or unconscious.

Gun cocked, Bodie knelt down and warily checked the wrist for a pulse. Finding none, he uncocked and holstered his gun, before reaching out with both hands and lugging the very dead body from beneath the bed. Within seconds he was peering down into the startled, wide-eyed countenance of Mott, although it was a Mott with a very tiny, very deadly hole centred between the blank eyes. He absently noted the dried blood staining the shirt up around the shoulder; Jax was right, he had got him.

"Damn!" Bodie was irked that the privilege of punishing Mott had been taken out of his hands, and he angrily pulled the r/t from his jacket pocket, calling through to Base. He was connected almost immediately to Cowley, who was not happy at being awakened at 4 a.m., and became even more sour when he heard the reason for Bodie's call.

"Och, that's a fine mess," he growled. "Stay put and I'll send Anson down with the boys from the lab as soon as possible. Why isn't Jax with you?"

"Didn't have a chance to ring him sir, happened too fast."

"Somehow, 3.7, I find that difficult to believe."

"Yes, sir."

Bodie hung around just long enough for Anson to show up, then took off for the hospital at a run. There was no doubt in his mind that anyone but Watson had blown off Mott, and he was very afraid the next place Watson would show up at was the Doyle's bedside.

He arrived at the hospital to find the dawn bustle starting; orderlies wheeling around the less-than-appetizing breakfast meals to the involuntary 'inmates', nurses making the rounds, checking vital signs. There had been a changing of the guard at the door to Doyle's room, and the new men assured Bodie nothing untoward had happened since they came on duty.

Taking a deep breath, Bodie opened the door and went in. Doyle was half-awake, staring in dismay at the large glass of frothy liquid on the table beside him.

He glanced up as Bodie entered and rolled his eyes. "Hoi, just look at what I get for eats. Much rather have one of your bacon sarnies."

Bodie stopped halfway into the room and just stared. This was not the reception he'd been expecting and he wasn't sure what to make of it. His heart surged briefly, while his brain quashed the momentary hope. Walking the rest of the way to the bed, he peered into the glass, sniffing in curiosity. "Vanilla milkshake?"

"With added protein and vitamins to make up for what I'm missing by not eating solid food. Which I can't do for another day or so." His nose wrinkled in disgust.

"You're already skin and bones, mate -- they gonna put fat tablets on your med list? You'll waste away to nothing if you're not careful." His tentative smile disappeared when Ray spoke up again.

"Yeah? And who's fault is that? If your old mates hadn't . . . what the hell did you do to them to make . . . Christ, I should've fought harder." Doyle's face closed up, the momentary friendliness disappearing behind the blank mask.

Bodie opened his mouth to comment, then shut it again. Nothing he could say would mean anything to Doyle right now; he was not in a receiving frame of mind at the moment. From the size of his pupils, he was still half dopey from pain medication, which probably explained his strange mood swings.

They were silent, Doyle slurping his 'breakfast' through a tilted straw, Bodie just watching the way his lips curved around the plastic, wishing he could hold the glass, or steady the straw -- anything to help. Ray started giving quick side-long glances at Bodie, then finally pushed the glass away.

"What are you here for, Bodie? Watching me drink me brekkie can't be that exciting."

"We found Mott."

"Who's Mott?"

"He's . . . what?" Bodie was confused. "What do you mean, 'who's Mott'?"

"Pretty clear, I thought. Who is he?"

"One of the men who . . . attacked you."

"Oh, right. In the middle of their raping me and beating the shit out of me, I took the time to ask their names and get their histories. Right, Bodie. You know bloody well I didn't know any of those lugs; it's your dark, mysterious past they crawled out of, not mine."

Bodie started to react angrily before remembering Mary's comment from the night before regarding his patience, and took a deep breath first. His even voice hid the screaming inside his head. "Sorry, love, of course you wouldn't remember their names. Mott was one of the two who took you . . . ."

"Yeah, that pretty well describes it. Bodie, I don't give a bloody damn which one he was, who any of them were . . . go away, will you?"

"He's dead."

"Well, jolly good for him; wish I was at the moment." He looked away. "Did you kill him?"

"Someone else got there first."

"Too bad for you."

Bodie turned away without commenting; he wanted to throw himself across the bed and beg forgiveness. Doyle needed him to be the stronger one right now. He didn't want to be strong. He wanted to crawl in next to Ray, have long arms wrap themselves around him, and cry his eyes out. If only he could lay his head down next to Ray, he was sure it would finally stop pounding. He trudged for the door.

"Bodie?" Tiny voice, with a little crack in the middle.

Pausing, Bodie turned, hope perking up a bit, and found an unhappy, vulnerable face peering back at him with suspiciously damp eyes. How was he supposed to stay sane, be patient, when he was being bounced around like a yo-yo? He stayed by the door, not sure what was going on underneath that curly mop.

"Sorry . . . I'm being . . . sorry."

Ray's voice rasped, close to tears he was refusing to let out, and Bodie took a step towards him, raising his arms, wanting to hold and be held. Doyle shook his head, started and drew in on himself, eyes wide and perplexed and Bodie stopped in his tracks, rebuffed. Christ, what did Ray want from him?

"It's all right, sweetheart." Bodie found it difficult to talk around the lump lurking in his throat. Keep calm, patient, reassuring. All while his own heart was being torn in two. "It's hard. But, I'm here, whenever you need me . . . I love you. You know that, don't you? Ray?"

Holding his breath, Bodie waited in vain for a response as Ray stared at him with a slightly vacuous expression before closing the lids over his green eyes.

And what if he never needs me again?

Christ, he was being even more sarky than usual. Treating Bodie like that; poor sod didn't deserve it, he was feeling bad enough already. Still, it was his fault . . . partly. Maybe a little bit, anyway.

He was disgusted at himself, if truth be known. He'd been telling himself, over and over, and over again, that none of this was his fault, or Bodie's. He even believed it most of the time. So why was he lying here still trying to blame Bodie? And himself?

He was seeing the shrink, just as Cowley had ordered. Twice a day a woman from the hospital came in and sat for an hour, trying to get him to talk. Every day, he kept his mouth shut. Wasn't about to talk about how he was feeling with anyone, especially a strange woman.

Doyle looked up as the door opened again, wondering who was coming in this time, and was surprised to see Betty stick her head in.

"Mind some company?" She smiled at him as she pulled up the chair Bodie had vacated earlier that morning. "When Bodie called in to HQ this morning, he mentioned that you'd be going home today, so I thought I'd come in while I had the chance to get you alone."

"Here I am." Well, that was certainly a brilliant observation, he thought, as she nodded. He kept silent, waiting for her to speak first.

"Bodie loves you very much."

Ray blinked. That was not what he was expecting to hear, and he didn't quite know what to say to her. How on earth did she know about him and Bodie?

"Did you know he's been here every night while you've been asleep?"


"Hm. He has. He only goes in if you're asleep though, because he's afraid he'll upset you. The nurses say he rings them up repeatedly to check on you."

"Well, he should. You know what hap-- it's his fault I'm in here, isn't it?" Ray looked at her belligerently for a moment, then glanced away, unable to meet her knowing stare.

"Yes, I do know what happened to you, Ray. It's been given an 'eyes-only' classification, and I typed the report. Is it really Bodie's fault?" she asked gently.

"They were his old mates . . . ." His voice trailed off as he realised how stupid that comment was.

"Were they? Have you asked him about why they came after you? Or were they really coming for Bodie and you were conveniently there?"

"Sounded like they were after Bodie and switched to me." He was very tired, and closed his eyes briefly. "They were gonna do him, when they finished with me. Talked a lot to Bodie, have you?"

"Yes. He's hurting too, you know. He loves you very much, Ray, try to remember that." She got up and tucked the light cover more securely under his chin, before patting his shoulder. "He's told me a little bit of why they came after him. This was definitely not his fault. You two need to have a long talk. If you don't, you may lose him completely. And I really don't think that's what you want, is it?"

"Betty." She paused in her walk to the door, and turned back to face him.

"How did you know? About Bodie and me?"

She smiled at him, eyes twinkling. "Your heart shines out of your eyes every time you look at him, or mention his name. I know you both. And Bodie's been in love with you for a very long time."

He watched her walk out the door, head held high. Bodie must have confided more to her than he ever did to him. For a moment he was hurt, feeling it a betrayal, before he realised that Bodie must have been extremely frightened to have opened up so much to a woman, especially Cowley's secretary.

Or maybe that was why he'd opened up. He'd always claimed they'd had a one-off; she probably did know Bodie better than he thought. For a moment he'd been tempted to ask Betty if she and Bodie really had slept together -- even once -- then decided against it. He wondered about her warning him he might lose Bodie. Would she jump in then and . . . no, she was only trying to help, just like she said. She was worried about him and Bodie.

Come to think of it, Bodie had looked rather tired when he was in this morning: dark circles under his eyes and a grayish caste to his skin. He was probably still having headaches from the concussion, and here was his supposed lover, adding to the misery.

For the first time he really thought of how it must have felt to Bodie, to have to stand by and watch his lover abused so badly. Always making his number one priority to protect me, and there he was, forced to let himself be tied up, just to keep my brains in one piece. And what would have happened then? When they finished with me; would I have been dead? Or would I have had to watch them with Bodie? The thought of that scenario made his stomach heave and he breathed deeply to calm down. Just because he was the one in hospital with the physical scars didn't mean he was the only victim.

Bodie was knocking on the door to Cowley's office at precisely 8 a.m.; he'd been summoned to the inner sanctum, and he had a pretty good idea why: Watson had disappeared; and he and Jax had been completely unsuccessful in finding any leads to his whereabouts.

Doyle had been released from hospital one week ago and was back home, ensconced in his original bedroom. Bodie'd rather expected that, so hadn't said anything, just helped him make up the bed and move his clothes into the spare closet. Cowley had assigned an agent to be with Doyle at all times, in case Watson tried again, and they were rotating with Murphy for the night shift.

At Cowley's "Enter", he opened the door and stood in front of the desk in his usual erect stance. Cowley motioned him to sit, and he did, a little surprised; usually when Cowley expected an argument, he left him standing.

"You've not found a trace of Watson, correct?"

"No, sir. I mean, yes, sir."

"Bodie! Yes or no?"

"Yes, you are correct, sir, we have not found him. Sorry, sir."

"Right. Well, Jax ran across something on the police blotter just now, and it looks like it may be a lead. Three rape/murders have been committed this past week in the East End. Jax found the notice by accident. What caught his eye was the description of the victims. They were all young men -- male prostitutes -- slight of build, and all had curly hair of some colour."

"You think it might be Watson, sir, making up for Ray?"

"Aye, there's enough of a possibility for you to check it out. How's your head?"

Bodie started. "Sir?"

"Are you not paying attention to me for a reason, 3.7? I asked about your head; you had a concussion a while back, remember? You've been looking like death warmed over during the past couple of weeks."

"Oh, yes, sir. Still gives me headaches once in a while, thank you, sir." He paused for a moment. "Has Anson come up with anything on Mott's murder?"

"No, it's dead-ended. The clerk at the hotel vaguely recognised the description of Watson, although it might have been a case of wanting to be in the limelight for a while. That, unfortunately is all we have; if you and Jax can find Watson -- preferably with the same gun that shot Mott -- we can kill two birds with the one stone."

"Yes, sir. Is that all?" He stood up to leave, but Cowley motioned him down again.

"How's Doyle?"

"Umm, still watching what solid foods he eats, which isn't making him very happy at the moment. The bruises have pretty well disappeared, although his ribs are still tender and he can't move very quickly. His head is aching even more than mine, but he's stopped seeing two of everything."

"It's not his physical well-being I'm concerned with Bodie, I know that'll heal -- it's his emotional status I'm asking you about." He sounded rather exasperated.

"I'm not sure, sir, I don't think it's very good, though. He doesn't talk to me much, beyond a simple 'pass the salt' type of thing. It hasn't been that long, sir, he'll come around."

Cowley looked at him silently, fingering his eyeglasses. Bodie sat patiently, waiting for whatever would come next. Finally Cowley stirred.

"Is he still seeing the psychiatrist from St. Thomas'?"

"No, sir."

"Right. Out of here Bodie, you've work to do. Keep me posted on Doyle; I may have him in to see Dr Cooper if he doesn't straighten out."

Bodie beat a hasty retreat, glad to see Betty was not in the outer office just then. He was getting tired of hearing "How's Ray" every time he turned around. Except for a few people, everyone thought he'd just been beaten badly, since the rape had been kept quiet.

Physically Doyle was mending; that was a forgone conclusion from the start. Mentally? He was a basket case, not that Bodie would tell that to Cowley. Neither of them had been sleeping well, Ray was up and down, prowling around the flat, and Bodie lay awake in his bed listening, not daring to get up. It'd been a long time since Bodie had felt so helpless, and the inability to fix things with Ray was driving him nuts.

He found Jax sprawled on the lounge chair in the rest room, eyes closed, apparently waiting for Bodie to show up. From the pall of smoke slowly dissipating, Bodie assumed Anson had only just left to relieve Murphy, and he coughed loudly to capture Jax's attention, laughing as he jerked awake.

"Hoi, trying to scare a bloke to death or something?" He scowled in mock anger, then relaxed. "How's Ra --"

"One more mug asks me that and I'll rip their head off and feed it to Cowley for dinner! Know how hard it is to answer that question?"

Jax nodded sympathetically. "Yeah. Has he settled in?"

Bodie shook his head. "Don't think this is the place to talk about it, Jax. Let's figure out what we're gonna do with these murders, and I'll fill you in where there's no danger of ears overhearing. Ray's problems aren't everybody's business."

"I rang up a couple of my more reliable grasses. Bodie!" This as Bodie snorted in derision -- 'reliable' and grass didn't usually go together -- "And one of them says he knows someone who knew the last victim. He can set us up with a meet if we'd like."

"Tell him we'd like. Someone who knew someone who knew . . . Christ, sounds like a tongue-twister puzzle."

His voice was slightly bitter, and Jax patted his shoulder in passing as he ambled over to the telephone. "Better than nothing, old son."


It didn't take long for Jax to get the information they needed, and in no time they were in Bodie's car, heading for the east end of town. Traffic was light, the rush hour was over, and all the working-class people were in their offices hard at their respective jobs. Bodie reached for the r/t and asked to be patched through to his flat.

Ray's voice when it came over was apathetic at first, but grew angry as it appeared to dawn on him that Bodie was calling to check up.

"I'm a big boy, Bodie, I can take care of myself. Quit being a bloody mother hen. I'm not your fucking chick!"

The slam of the phone was loud enough for even Jax to hear, and he winced, connecting side-on glances with Bodie.

"Not going well, is it?" he asked in sympathy.

Bodie sighed. "It's not going at all, good or otherwise."

"Want to talk about it? Might help, you know." He looked surprised when Bodie laughed. "What'd I say?"

"Nothing you said exactly. Just, everyone at the hospital kept telling Ray he needed to talk about what happened, that talking it out would help. You saying it just now struck me as funny, that's all."

"It does help, you know. Working in the Met, I saw this a lot, and it does help a lot to talk with someone impartial."

"Don't think Ray'd go for that. While he was in hospital, he had to see their doctor; only one did any talking was her, he wouldn't say a word. Now that he's home, he flat out refuses to go. You know what he thinks of shrinks and their double-talk."

"What about you?"

"Me? Don't need to talk to anyone, do I?"

Jax didn't comment, and Bodie finally sighed and opened up. Jax was right -- he'd dealt with this before, and maybe it would help to talk it out. At least he wouldn't have to go into long explanations regarding his and Doyle's relationship -- Jax'd copped to them barely a week after they'd become lovers, which wasn't surprising knowing how long he and Ray'd been friends.

"He . . . Jesus, I don't even know where to start!" He pushed the car horn angrily as a woman stepped off the kerb in front of them, looking in the opposite direction, snorting in disgust as she jumped back. "Bloody tourists, amazing half of 'em survive their hols."

"Turn right when we get to King's Horse Lane. I'll help, shall I? Play Dr Cooper for you. Are you sleeping together?"

"Oi, you don't half get there do you? No, we're not doing anything together except living under the same roof. Even if he were inclined, he's not ready for sex yet." He could feel his face flushing.

"Sorry, I figured that much out myself. I actually did mean just sleeping together in the same bed. Would be a good sign, wouldn't it?"

"He moved into the spare room the day he came back."

"Oh. Well, um, does he talk about what happened?"


"Not even to ask why?" Jax's voice raised incredulously on the last word.


"Christ, mate. Don't know what to say."

Bodie shrugged and turned right on the street once belonging to a King's Horse. There was little activity this early in the morning, which wasn't surprising when you consider the inhabitants all earned their living at night.

"Can stop anywhere there's a space; kid lives in the block of flats next to the King's Arms hotel there." Jax pointed to an elaborately decorated faade half-way down the street. "Ground floor, number 13. What?"

Bodie's head swung round in amazement. "You sure it's 13?"

"Course I am, why?"

"That's the number of the hotel room I found Mott in, 's all."

"It's also the number to your and Doyle's flat, so? Popular number."

"Yeah, maybe. Just seems a little strange. Never mind." He concentrated on pulling into a very small spot between a green Ford and another Capri, crowing in satisfaction when they fit. He grabbed the r/t to give their position, then asked for someone to check on the addresses of the three victims, specifically for a 13 something. They waited quietly until the r/t buzzed with an answer.

"Victim number one, Ian Anderson, lived at 1313 New St. Number two, Steven Cowper, was currently residing at number 13 Bishop's Mews, and the third victim, Peter Thompson, was sharing the flat you're about to visit. Is there anything else?"

"Not right now, thanks." Bodie switched off the r/t and turned to Jax in triumph. "Little more than a coincidence when you add in my flat number, isn't it?"

Grinning, Jax doffed an imaginary hat to him, and hopped out of the car. Bodie followed him up the walk and into the building, pausing in front of number 13.

"Oi, mate, what's the kid's name?"

"Colin Twembly, age 20."


Bodie knocked rapidly, and they stood in the dimness of the hallway, waiting for someone to open the door. After a few minutes, Bodie knocked again, then tried the doorknob. It turned under his hand, and both men pulled out their guns before Bodie kicked the door open.

Jax jumped through, then stopped abruptly, causing Bodie to curse and pile into him. Both men then stood silently, taking in the scene in front of them.

It was a small room, more a bed-sit than an actual flat. Two over-stuffed chairs were arranged in one corner with a three-legged table between them. Bodie's eyes examined the rest of the room, staying away from the single chair that had been placed in the middle of the room.

Over on the right was a door leading either to the bog or clothes closet. Single bed against the wall on the left, four-drawer bureau beside it, and Bodie spared a brief thought for the last time he'd seen a bed and bureau combination like that. Finally he turned his attention to the centre of the room.

"It's like we're one step behind the bastard. You wanna call it in, or shall I?" Bodie watched as Jax carefully opened the second door, and peered around.

"Toilet. You call, Cowley isn't gonna like this, and it'll come better from you; being his blue-eyed boy and all."

Bodie just snorted at him as he pulled the r/t from his jacket pocket, watching as Jax moved to examine the body tied to the straight-backed chair that had been placed in the middle of the room. A standing lamp had been moved from the side of the room to shine squarely on the body in a sick parody of an interrogation. There was a tidy little hole in the forehead, with a trickle of dried blood beneath it. As Bodie spoke to HQ, Jax suddenly tensed. "Hey, mate, have a squint at this." He pointed at a note pinned to the victim's shirt pocket.

Scowling, Bodie joined him, and bent over to read the note into the r/t. "Bloody thing's addressed to me. Says: 'Bodie, I'm getting closer and I'll get him before you catch me'. Christ, sir, can someone let Anson know? I'd bet anything Ray's the 'him' in this note."

"I'll call over there right now. You and Jax stay there until the lab boys get there. This is the lad you were wanting to see, isn't it?" Cowley sounded none too pleased about any of this.

"Don't know for sure, sir, he's not exactly wearing a sign . . . with his name on it, " Bodie finished quickly, grimacing as he realised what he'd said.

"I don't see that levity is called for here, 3.7," Cowley snapped at him. "I want this mess cleared up as soon as possible. The body count is getting entirely too high."

There was a puzzled look on Jax's face, and Bodie cocked his head, following the line of sight. Nothing of interest except the dead kid who had the worst set of curls Bodie'd ever seen; not even Ray's were ever this mussed --

Suspicious, he prodded the mass, then cursed as he took a firm grip, yanking them off to reveal a blond buzz cut. He glanced back to catch realisation spreading across Jax's face.

"Thought there was something not quite all there," Jax grinned wryly. "You've more experience with curls; 's not surprising you'd catch on! Think he just ran out of curly-headed kids?"

"Think he's playing with us, 's what I think. Bloody bastard." He moved restlessly around the room, glancing at his watch every thirty seconds. "You said a lot of rape victims see shrinks?"

Jax blinked at the abrupt return to their earlier conversation, then nodded.

"And it helped?"

Another nod. Bodie was silent as he resumed his aimless wandering. Maybe talking this out with another person might be a good thing; at least give him some idea of how to deal with the frigid lump his partner'd become. Seemed like every time he opened his mouth lately he put his foot in it and sent Ray off into one of his temper tantrums. Or else startled a few years growth out of him. He leaned against the wall, keeping his face averted.

"I think I'd like . . . you know, last night Ray was really down, I put my hand on his shoulder, and he jumped . . . as though I was gonna hit him or something, or my touching him was sick, or . . ." he stopped, swallowing rapidly, teeth clenched, then sighed miserably. "Don't know what to do with him, mate, I really don't. Want to help him, but everything I do is wrong. Thought when he got home, being with me would help, but it only seems to make things worse."

"Doesn't take two of us to baby-sit a corpse, mate. Why don't you go home and get back to Ray; 's what you want anyway." Bodie glanced up to find Jax watching him with a mixture of exasperation and sympathy. "If you can get Ray to see a doctor, that would help."

"Yeah, right, Mr-Macho-I-don't-need-help-Doyle; he thinks the world's problems still exist because he can't solve them. Stubborn little sod, I just can't . . . sorry Jax, didn't mean to off-load it on you."

"'s all right, mate."

"Ta." With a wave, Bodie was out the door and in his car. Briefly he wondered how Jax would get back, then decided he'd hitch a ride with someone. At the moment, Bodie had more important things to worry about. Picking up the car radio, he asked to be patched through to whomever was watching his flat.

"Hey, Bodie, checking up on us or something ?" It was Anson.

"Just wanted to make sure you weren't smoking in me flat 's all, mate."

"Oh, ha ha, fancy ourselves the new John Cleese, then?"

"Ha yourself. How's things?" The silence on the other end went on for so long, Bodie began to worry. "Anson? Anson!"

"Here, Bodie, I'm here, don't scream me ear off! Was just moving out to get some privacy."


"Yeah. There's nothing happening here except your oh-so-charming partner is glaring at us like we were here to bugger 'im or something, instead of protect his arse."

Bodie winced. Couldn't be angry at Anson though, the man had no idea how close to the truth his throw-away words actually were: protect Ray's arse was exactly what they were doing. Anson had been outside that day; when he came in he'd been occupied with Bodie, then back outside waiting for the ambulance. As far as he knew, Ray had been beaten up and nothing else.

"Yeah, well, you know Ray --"

"Christ, even for Doyle this is nastier than normal. Whatever he's dealing with, I don't envy you being the poor sod living with it."

"Ray's all right," Bodie defended him immediately, then cut the connection. He wasn't in the mood to argue Doyle's merits with anybody, particularly Anson. The man was the most insensitive clod he'd ever had the misfortune to work with. He'd barely replaced the receiver when it beeped at him. Angrily, he snatched it back up. "What!"

"Is that the proper way to respond, 3.7?"

Cowley. Bodie cursed silently. "No, sir, sorry, sir. Thought you were Anson --"

"I don't care who you thought I was, 3.7, there are correct procedures to be followed at all times. Am I clear?"

"Yes, sir."

"Would you care to explain to me why you're in your car and not back at the flat with Jax, as instructed?"

Bodie was glad there was no-one around to see him squirm. Bad enough being chewed out, having an audience would be too humiliating. "Didn't think both of us needed to stay, sir, and I wanted to get back to

. . ." too late Bodie realised how this sounded, and waited, resigned, for the resulting explosion.

"You aren't paid to think, 3.7, and what you want has nothing to do with orders. You were told . . . och, go on then. As you have such a low opinion of your fellow agent's abilities, you may relieve him yourself."

Cowley was the one to break the connection, leaving Bodie frowning at empty air. He pulled into a conveniently empty space, glaring at the sky which chose that moment to empty every drop of moisture stored in the dark clouds. Cursing at the drops, he took a deep breath and raced for the front door, surprised when it opened just as he reached for the knob.

Ray was standing there, a slightly bemused expression flitting across his face, a fluffy towel held out in one hand. Bodie slowly took it, fingers brushing against Doyle's, causing him to step back quickly. Sighing, Bodie mopped at his hair and face, squishing into the sitting room in search of Anson.

After informing Anson he'd been relieved -- to his loud joy -- he padded down the hall to his room and dry clothes. Dropping the sodden mass in the hamper, he suddenly realised he hadn't checked the doors after the others left; mentally castigating himself, he went back down the hall.

"I set 'em."

Slowly Bodie turned to find Doyle staring at him, face alternating between white and bright pink. Too late Bodie remembered his state of undress. With effort he kept his hands from flying down to cover his genitals, refusing to be ashamed of anything, and watched as Ray's tongue inched out to lick at his upper lip.

His cock hardened, not caring about Doyle's fragile emotional state, and Bodie felt a flash of optimism which quickly disappeared as tortured green eyes locked with his, and Ray ponderously shook his head back and forth.


"Can't. Bodie, 'm sorry." Quickly Ray turned tail for his bedroom, slamming the door loudly behind him.

Cursing himself for being ten different kinds of fool, Bodie stomped off to the shower and, with a few angry strokes, lost himself in a world where Ray had never been raped and they could make love whenever they felt like it.

Bodie jerked awake to wild screams coming from Doyle's room. Another nightmare. It had been quiet last night, and Bodie had hoped the dreams were finished. He and Murphy -- or whoever was on night duty -- had learned after the first angry dream to leave Ray alone. This one, however, seemed to be going on longer than it should. Quickly reaching a decision, he tossed the covers off and went over to Ray's room.

Murphy was hovering in the hallway, a worried look on his face, and Bodie waved him away. He'd take care of this himself. Opening the door, he flipped on the bedside light, and reached for Doyle.

Eyes crunched shut, his head whipping back and forth in some kind of denial, he was hoarsely crying out now. Bodie grabbed his shoulders and pulled him upright, shaking him gently.

"Ray! Wake up. Come on, Ray, it's a dream." He may as well have been speaking to a deaf man, so completely was he ignored. He shook him harder, careful not to jerk his head too much. "Ray!" right into his ear did the trick. Doyle's eyes jerked open and darted around blindly before finally focusing on Bodie.

"Bodie?" It came out in a hoarse whisper. Slender fingers reached out and touched his face hesitantly.

"Yeah, it's me, angelfish. Having a bad dream, were we?" He kept his voice light and only slightly concerned, not wanting to set Ray off.

Doyle shrugged out of his grip, pulling his legs up under him. Bodie carefully hid his disappointment at the apparent rejection, then brightened when Ray held out his arms. He nestled in next to Ray, holding him close.

"Wanna talk about it? I have it on good authority that talking cures everything." He made a light joke out of it and was relieved to see Ray smile.

"Yeah. You know the main part, you were there. 's funny, don't think being raped must bother me as much as them shoving the gun up me arse; that's what I keep dreaming about. Subconscious and all, right?"

"So what's the part I don't know?" Bodie asked after he'd been silent for a while.

"Sometimes they shoot and I die."

"Jesus, Ray." He gripped Ray tighter, gratified to feel a responding hug.

"Not the worst, though. Tonight . . ." Doyle's voice cracked, and he took a deep breath. "Tonight . . . oh, Christ . . . I love you, Bodie."

"Know you do, sweetheart. Love you, too. What did you dream tonight?" Bodie wasn't going to let him off when he was finally opening up.

"Same dream, except this time . . . this time, it was you. Was worse, you know? They killed you and I had to watch you die. Then I was dead, and you woke me up."

Bodie didn't say anything to that, just rocked him gently. Well, least now he knows what it felt like for me to watch. "Want me to stay here tonight?" He held his breath; it was a daring question considering the past few days. But Ray shook his head.

"All right." Bodie carefully masked his disappointment, and started to withdraw his arms, stopping as Doyle grabbed him closer.

"'s not that, Bodie. Don't close your face like that. Bodie! Look at me."

Turning, Bodie looked directly into the green eyes, seeing bewilderment, pain and love all jumbled together. Ray's face mirrored his confusion, as he tried to explain.

"There's too much inside me, right now. I'm still trying to make sense . . . no, not sense . . . my heart knows what's right, but my brain keeps getting in the way. Know that sounds dumb right now, but it's the best I can do."

"All right." Doyle was correct, it didn't make any sense, nor did it make Bodie feel one whit less hurt.

"Bodie. I'm mad as hell right now, all right? At myself, not you, because I can't get myself out of this funk I'm in. I know I shouldn't be so angry, but . . . oh forget it." He pulled away, and tugged at the duvet.

"Ray . . . ."

"Forget it, Bodie. I can't make you understand. Don't know why I thought I could."

Bodie got up off the bed, and stood stiffly by the door. Self-centred little . . . just how long did anybody expect him to get hit before he broke? Christ, I don't know what else I can do. He looked down at Doyle hiding under the covers, peering over the edge of the green duvet. Matched his eyes, it did.

"If you need me, just give a shout, all right?"

The only response was a rapid blinking of eyes, before Doyle turned over in bed, giving Bodie a view of the back of his head.

Not surprisingly, he overslept the next morning and was late to work again. Cowley would have his hide for a new coat this time, not that there was much happening at the moment. It must be holiday season for crooks, spies and terrorists, as he and Jax had been kept busy in files for the past week, although Bodie didn't doubt for a moment that it was possibly Cowley's punishment for their inability to catch Watson.

Watson. Bloody bastard. Killed that last kid, left the ha-ha-can't-catch-me note, then disappeared from sight. There was no doubt whatsoever in Bodie's mind that Watson would materialize someday when they least expected it. The man was completely crazy, and totally obsessed with his revenge. He'd definitely be back, Bodie could feel it in his gut.

He managed to get in the door without being called in by Cowley, and spent the next eight hours closeted in the file room with Jax, expecting at any moment to be hauled up on the Cowley carpet. Filing was a boring, mindless job, and Bodie's mind went back to the last time he and Ray had been stuck together in the basement.

Was in the middle of the last case; the one he sliced his arm on. Funny, he couldn't even remember what they'd been looking for. They'd been down here digging around, and Ray had been reaching for something on the top shelf; standing on tip-toe, buttocks clenched; it was just out of his reach and he was stretched to the limit. Bodie'd spent several moments admiring the view: blue jeans and tight green t-shirt hugging his body as he reached up, every visible sinew outlined with the effort, neck arched, head thrown back; Bodie's blood pressure and cock had risen in tandem.

` Scared the pants right off Ray when Bodie walked over, slipped his arms around the slender waist and ran his hands up the tight stomach, lingering on nipples that had suddenly hardened in eager response. Whatever Ray'd been trying for was forgotten as he leaned back in Bodie's embrace, a wiggly, warm bundle of mischief, rubbing his beautiful backside against Bodie's hot groin. In seconds they were face to face, hip to hip, unzipping and humping against each other in a frenzy of excitement. In the backs of their minds, egging them on, was the thought that someone could come in at any minute and catch them at it.

With a jerk, Bodie came back to the present to find Jax waving a file in front of his face. "Hoi, come back to me, Bodie!"


"You've been standing there staring into space with a grin on your face for the past ten minutes. 's quitting time, mate!"

Without a backward glance they left the room, heading for the front door. Bodie was almost outside when Cowley's voice behind him called him back. Bodie cursed under his breath, then turned, keeping his face bland.

"In my office, 3.7, now."

"Sir." He stood facing the desk, in his usual stance, eyes glued to the wall behind Cowley, waiting for him to speak. Or yell, whichever the case warranted.

"You were late this morning, 3.7.

"Yes, sir." Nothing else to say, was there?

"Och, you'll have some excuse, I'm sure. How's Doyle?"

Bodie tried not to show surprise at the abrupt change of subject, although he was pleased not to be chewed out for his tardiness.

"We're both ready for Macklin next week, sir."

"Hm, and is he ready for Dr Ross and Dr Cooper, also?"


"Maybe you left what little brains you possess in bed this morning, 3.7? I'm asking you if Doyle will pass the psychological tests Ross and Cooper will be giving the two of you when you finish with Brian!"

"Sorry, sir. He'll do fine."

From the sceptical look Cowley gave him, Bodie doubted his assurances were being accepted, but there wasn't much he could do about that. He had four days to get Doyle up to snuff in the mental department, and he had his own misgivings regarding his ability to do so. He was fast running out of ideas.

Excused, he trotted out the door in relief, almost running Betty down in his haste to get home. "Sorry there, luv." He gallantly held her steady as she straightened up.

"You're in an awful hurry, 3.7; can you give me small moment of your time?" Betty had an uncanny ability to mimic Cowley's sarcasm, probably because she'd been his secretary since the dawn of time.

He stopped, turning his best smile on full blast. "For you, Betty, always!"

"You try just out of habit, don't you, Bodie?" She smiled at him, knowing full well where his affections really lay.

"Never know, luv. What's up?"

"I wanted to ask about 4.5, how he's progressing, has he had any help . . . ?"

Bodie looked at her pensively, an idea beginning to germinate, and he asked if she had plans for the evening. A rather suspicious look flitted across her face, before curiosity took over.

"What are you about, Bodie? No, I don't have plans. Why?"

Rapidly he filled her in on what had been happening the past few weeks, knowing his unhappiness was probably broadcasting itself all over the room. He brightened suddenly, and Betty looked at him suspiciously.

"What have you got cooking in that feeble brain of yours, Bodie?"

"Got any plans for dinner?" When she shook her head, he continued, "How about eating with Ray and me tonight?"


"Hm, maybe you could talk to him . . . ?" He put on his most pitifully pleading face, even knowing that it wouldn't do much good with her anyway.

"Oh, Bodie. All right."

"You will?" He was actually a bit surprised. He'd expected a negative reaction. Even though Betty had been a big help to him, lending an ear whenever he needed it, he hadn't expected her to acquiesce so readily.

"I will. Don't know what good it will do, but we can try. But unless he's willing to listen, anything I say will go in one ear and right out the other, you know."

After agreeing on a time, he left, his steps a good deal lighter, until he realised he'd have to come up with some kind of explanation for Doyle. Something that wouldn't set him off into one of his tempers, or make him think they were ganging up on him.

Although, isn't that exactly what we're doing? Both of us at once standing over him like avenging angels . . . poor Ray.

Well, he had the whole drive home to come up with a good reason for inviting Betty to dinner. Something that would appease him, and not give him cause to commit the unnecessary murder of one William Andrew Philip Bodie.

"That's number 37," Doyle said dryly, as Anson came back inside.


"37th time today you've gone out for a smoke."

"Got nothing better to do than harp on me, have you?"

Ray didn't answer, just padded off to his bedroom, shutting the door. Bodie should be home any time now. Anson would leave, and it would be just him and Bodie.

He'd been doing a lot of thinking the past couple of days -- wasn't much of anything else to do -- and he'd decided that it was about time he moved back into Bodie's room where he belonged. Maybe.

He heard Bodie at the front door, and headed out there, ignoring the pained look Anson threw his way as he raced out the door. He leaned against the door jamb, rubbing his itchy back against the wood. Suddenly, there were no words left in his mouth, and he just looked at Bodie.

"Back itchy?" Bodie smiled tentatively.

"Yeah. Can't reach all the places. Door works a treat, though."

They both spoke at once then.


"We're gonna--"

"Go ahead." Bodie laughed lightly.

"No, you."

"Yeah, well. I've invited a bird to dinner. Old friend of mine."

"A bird?"

"You'll like her . . . ."

"Didn't think to ask me if I wanted company? What if I'd wanted to do something else tonight? Eh?" He was bringing a bird home. A woman. Oh, God. Why?

"Was there something else you wanted to do?" Bodie raised a rather sceptical eyebrow. "I can cancel, if there is."

Why was he bringing her here? Did that mean Bodie didn't want him any more? Had he stopped loving him?


"What? No. I don't have plans. But what do I feed her? What food does she like?" He wandered around the kitchen, opening and closing cupboards, trying to keep his mind away from the fact that Bodie was bringing a bird home. He had baked a chicken and vegetables earlier that day, but saw no reason to fill Bodie in.

"Doesn't matter. Anything you make is always good."

"Plain inconsiderate is what you are, mate. Never spare a thought for anyone else when you get something in that noggin of yours," Ray griped under his breath as he pretended to rummage through the refrigerator. "Don't think that maybe I might have had plans, oh no! Just go on ahead and invite the entire female population of London to our place for eats, and expect good ole Ray to rustle up a feast."

His grousing was, of course, was pitched just high enough for Bodie to hear, and he glanced at him from the corner of his eye to see how he was taking it. Doyle nodded to himself in satisfaction -- Bodie looked properly chastened, he did.

"'m gonna take a shower, Ray."

Doyle turned and watched as he went out into the hallway. Hm. Not chastened enough, apparently. He switched on the oven, almost mindlessly, his thoughts far from food.

His brain was going into fits, flashing from one scene to another. Bodie in bed with a woman, tonight, while he was in the other room. Bodie wouldn't do that, though -- Bodie loved him. But, had he done it himself? Pushed Bodie away, into the arms of a woman, because he'd moved out of the bed they'd shared?

He pulled the pan of chicken out of the refrigerator. Long shower Bodie was taking. Maybe the woman was a member of Bodie's family, and he was too embarrassed to tell him ahead of time? No. That was a ridiculous notion. Chicken and vegetables all went into the oven to re-heat.

He jumped. Bodie came up behind him, clean and smelling faintly of soap and the scent that was uniquely Bodie. Doyle glared at him. "Think you could manage to fix the table while I take a shower of my own?"

Bodie nodded. "Even left you some hot water."

"Good." He disappeared around the corner, leaving Bodie standing in the middle of the kitchen.

Bodie may have left him some hot water, but it wasn't much, and he took what must have been the fastest shower in the history of man. He dried off and dressed much more slowly, his mind going back to picture Bodie with a woman. And he wondered, his heart aching, just how he was going to get through the next few hours.

He watched quietly from the door as Bodie set the table. Three plates, two that matched; Ray wondered what happened to the third, then remembered throwing it against the wall the other evening in a temper. Filled with spaghetti, it was, and made quite a mess. Enough flatware for three, good -- and glasses that matched; that was miraculous! Napkins, one for each place. He tried not to smile at the way Bodie stood back to admire his handiwork.

"Hope you aren't trying to impress this bird with your table-setting abilities." Doyle's dry voice must have been a surprise; the hand reaching to rearrange a napkin shook slightly.

Bodie opened his mouth to reply, then stopped at the knock on the door. Doyle looked at him, trying not to let the hurt -- and the fear -- show on his face. Slowly Bodie went to open the door.

It wasn't a bird. It was Betty. What the hell was Bodie playing at here? He felt the heat flushing his face, and didn't care who saw it. "An old friend of yours that wants to meet me, eh, Bodie?" he hissed through his teeth, jaw clenched.

"I've a good reason to be here, Ray, but now's not the time to discuss it. I am starving, however, and something smells very good," she smiled.

He shrugged, then smiled with extreme politeness, pulling out a chair. "If you'd like to sit down then, Betty?"

He got her settled in her seat, then moved about, taking the chicken from the oven, putting vegetables and roasted potatoes in bowls, all the while pointedly ignoring Bodie's very existence.

"Wine?" Bodie ventured to ask, heaving a loud sigh when the only answer was a narrow finger pointing rigidly at the refrigerator.

Not surprisingly, conversation was slim and stilted, and mostly carried on between Bodie and Betty, who chattered on about gossip at work. Between Bodie and Doyle there was nothing.

The fragile truce was broken, however, after dinner when Doyle tried to shoo them into the sitting room while he washed the dishes. Bodie would have none of that and refused to let him get away with it.

"The bloody dishes will be here in the morning; you're just stalling!"

"Damn right, I'm stalling. You two cooked up between you whatever the hell you've planned without bothering to ask if I want to be part of it. I know what you want to talk about; I don't want to discuss what happened to me with anybody. It's not her business. It's not your business -- and you've no right to drag me into this."

"You want out of CI5, then?"

"What are you talking about now?" Ray was filling the sink with hot water and suds, back stiff.

"I'm talking about next week, you dumb crud. Next week with Macklin and Ross, and her stupid tests that are gonna rip you apart if we don't get you straightened out. Plus you're gonna have to talk to Cooper about what happened before Cowley will let you back out on the streets." He grabbed hold of Ray's shoulders and jerked him around, ignoring the flying hands spraying suds everywhere. "If Cooper and Ross decide you're not emotionally stable, they'll tell Cowley, and he'll take you off the streets, put me with another partner. Is that what you want? Huh, Ray? You, stuck down in files for the rest of your CI5 career, and me on the streets with some strange new partner guarding my back?"

He didn't have an answer for that, and his head whipped back and forth as Bodie shook him, still talking. "That's not what I want, and if that happens, I'm outa here; the only reason I've stuck it out so long is because of you. I don't want CI5 without you -- I don't want a life -- without you in it." He cleared his throat as his voice cracked, and Ray took that opportunity to speak.

"Why'd you invite her here?" He had to force the words past his clenched lips.

"Because she cares, Ray. We need someone to sort us out, help us talk. We've been talking quite a lot while you were in hospital, and I . . . trust her."

He relaxed slightly as Bodie loosened his hold, without completely letting go. hey'd been talking while he was in hospital, and he trusted her. Oh God, what had he done? Once, the only people Bodie trusted were his partner, and Cowley.


"Let's go into the sitting room, then." He watched as Bodie wilted at the sound of utter despair in his quietly whispered request.

Betty was sitting in the room's only chair when they went in, and Doyle curled up in a corner of the settee, arms wrapped around his knees; it was his most defensive posture, one he adopted when he was feeling most vulnerable and he knew Bodie would recognise that. Without giving anyone else a chance, Ray spoke up first.

"So why are you here?" He stared defiantly at Betty.

"Because I think I can help. I was . . . I know someone who was raped as a teenager, what she went through. It helped that she had someone to talk to."

"And that makes you an expert on how I feel?"

"How do you feel?"

"Ashamed, I guess. Mad as hell. Ashamed."

"Why ashamed? Did you enjoy it?"

She asked the question calmly, and Doyle looked at her angrily. What right did she have asking questions like this? He glanced at Bodie sitting quietly in the corner of the settee and was struck by the pinched expression on his face. He looked like an old man, and Ray felt a wrenching in his chest.

"I . . . no, but . . . ." He jumped off the couch and paced the room, randomly picking up knickknacks, then setting them carefully back down.

Slowly Ray shook his head. "No, course not, but . . . I also know it's not my fault it happened. I was involved in enough rape cases when I was a copper to know almost exactly how the victim feels, and why they shouldn't. Doesn't stop me from feeling the same things, though. I'm angry at m'self. I know I shouldn't feel like this, shouldn't blame Bodie, or m'self. Been hurt a lot worse before, haven't I? Don't know why I can't get over this."

Doyle plopped back onto the settee and they all sat in silence for a while, letting Doyle regain some equilibrium, then Betty took up her line of questioning.

"Did you ask those men to break in and rape you?"

"No!" He looked at her in disdain. "But I let them. I didn't fight like a man should, I just . . . let them

. . . do it."

Betty ignored the "like a man should" for the moment, concentrating on the not fighting part of his statement. "Why didn't you fight? How many men were there?"

"Um, three or four . . . four, Bodie? And one of them had a gun to Bodie's head, they would've shot him if . . . they did shoot him once. And they killed poor Claire. I couldn't fight them, they would've shot Bodie. But, still I should've . . . ." His brain was in a muddle. How could he explain this? And why should he? Because he loved Bodie.

"If you'd put up a fight, they'd have killed Bodie. Would you rather Bodie was dead now, instead of you having been raped?" Betty asked quietly.

"I'd die myself, before I let anything happen to Bodie. We're partners, we protect each other, I'd never

. . . ."

"Think about it a minute, Ray; you're upset because you didn't fight more, yet if you had, they would have killed Bodie, which you said you didn't want to happen. How can you be angry with yourself for doing what you just said was your job: protecting your partner?"

Doyle's mouth opened, then closed with a snap. Obviously there was no answer to that. He glanced at Bodie from the corner of his eye, then looked down into his lap, cheeks flushing. Bodie slowly reached over, loosely taking hold of Doyle's left hand. Ray let him, it felt good, having his hand held by Bodie right now.

"They made it dirty, you know; took something that was supposed to be beautiful and turned it into filth. Bodie's the only man I've ever loved . . . ." He was completely disgusted with himself, and tried to draw his hand away, but Bodie clutched it tighter.

"What they did was dirty, Ray, and filthy and obscene; they raped you, defiled you, they didn't make love to you, which is beautiful." Betty leaned out of her chair, reaching out for Doyle's other hand, grasping it firmly. "But, Ray, that doesn't make you an object of disgust. If the tables were turned, and Bodie'd been the one attacked, would you look at him and see something dirty? Or would you continue to love him and want to help?"

"Love him. Want to help him." He whispered it, tightening his fingers around Bodie's hand.

He wouldn't look at anyone, his head was bowed, chin resting on his knees. His stupid pride was the problem here. Thinking he was too smart to get caught in the emotional trap others had. That he could work it through on his own. He, Ray Doyle, didn't need help from anybody, and that stupid pride could have driven Bodie away from him. It could have so easily been a different woman at their door tonight.

He was shaking so hard, he knew Bodie could feel it. Just then Bodie pulled his hand away, and Ray felt his stomach lurch as his heart dropped. Then it was okay, Bodie's arm was hugging his shoulders, and his other hand was entwining itself with his fingers. He let his head rest on that broad shoulder.

"'s okay, mate, really 'tis," Bodie whispered into the curls resting on his shoulder.

"Don't know how you can love me after what they did to me." With a deep sigh, Doyle sagged against him, alternately holding his breath, then sniffling, although if he held his breath much longer, he'd stop breathing completely, and Bodie gave his shoulders a gentle shake.

"Aw, sweetheart, that's just it, though, isn't it? It's what they did to you, not what you did. I'm not gonna stop loving you because of that, you didn't do anything --"

"But I should have fought them, Bodie, and I didn't, I just let them --"

Bodie pulled him up and around so they were nose to nose. "Listen to me, Raymond Doyle! If we had struggled or tried to fight them any more than we did, I would be dead. And so would you. God knows I didn't want what happened, and I would have died -- gladly! -- if it would have stopped them raping you, but it wouldn't have. It was chance we ran into Watson in the hospital. They came here to rape me, changed it to you, and nothing, Ray, absolutely nothing, would have stopped them. Nothing. And it's tearing me apart watching you beat yourself over it.

And you know the worst part, sweetheart? They could have raped me, woulda been awful. But Watson picked the thing he knew would hurt me more than anything in the world. He hurt the man I love, while I stood there, helpless to stop it. Hurting you destroys me faster than anything else."

Ray barely noticed as Betty rose, pantomiming good-bye and quietly stole out, leaving the two men alone. He was fixated on what Bodie was saying. He could feel his face flushing as he held his breath in, trying not to cry. Bodie gave him a wobbly smile. "You're allowed to cry, Ray, it's not a crime. I'll cry with you, will that help?"

And that was all it took to start the tears he'd bottled up for so long. A sniffle or two gave way to a strangled laugh, a few tears silently coursing down his cheeks, and he was gathered up in strong arms as the sobs finally found a voice. Gently rocking him back and forth, combing his fingers through the unruly curls, Bodie let him cry. He was safe. Bodie still loved him.

As the harsh sobs diminished they turned to hiccoughs, and Doyle laughed shakily, embarrassed. Bodie handed him a handkerchief to mop his face. It was more than a bit sodden by the time he was done wiping and blowing, and Bodie tossed it on the floor with a smile.

"Better, sweetheart? I'm sorry . . . ." Before he could finish, Doyle had his mouth pressed tightly to Bodie's, tongue gently pressing against his lips. With a sigh, Bodie's mouth opened and their tongues danced together.

Gently, Bodie wrapped his arms tighter around Doyle, one hand playing with the curls at the back of his head, the other running up and down the skinny spine. Shifting so he was on his knees, Bodie pressed Ray back against the sofa, pausing as Doyle stiffened.


"Leg's stuck."

"What?" Looking around, Bodie tugged at Ray's left leg where it was caught between the back cushion and Bodie's foot. Gently placing it around his hips, he smiled when Doyle gingerly slid his other leg around to cross his ankles. "Okay?"

Ray nodded a bit jerkily and Bodie lick-kissed the tip of nose, following the line of his cheekbone with soft kisses. Gradually Doyle relaxed under him, and Bodie turned his attention back to his mouth, running his tongue around trembling lips. Brushing his hips against Bodie's, Ray threw his head back, curls bouncing, mewling and rubbing against the cushions.

Bodie caught his breath, one hand reaching between them to unzip Ray's jeans. He started to remove them, but Ray caught his shoulders, and he stopped, looking at him questioningly.

"Can't," his voice was breathless and sweat was sliding down his temples. "I can't, Bodie, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I just . . . let me up, please, Bodie, let me up."

"Ray . . . ."

"Goddammit Bodie, let me up. Now. Now! " He scrambled off the couch, fumbling with his zipper, leaving Bodie sitting there. He took in great breaths, trying to regain control of himself.

"Enough! Ray, that's enough now."

At Bodie's sharp command, he realised he'd been tucking his shirt in and out repeatedly. "'m sorry, Bodie, I just --"

Bodie put a quick stop to his apologies. "'s all right, love, don't expect everything at once, do I? I had no business trying to rush you like that. We've got a start here, though, you kissed me, right?"

The smile on his face looked genuine, and Ray relaxed a bit, smiling back a little tremulously, before settling down onto the settee. Bodie opened his arms wide. "Just a cuddle?"

Ray curled up next to him, wrapping his own arms around Bodie. "Just a cuddle. For now. It's gonna be okay, Bodie. We're gonna make it through this." He wasn't sure who he was trying to reassure more -- himself, or Bodie.

Anson drew 'Doyle-duty', as they'd started calling it, the next day, and he waved Bodie off with a smoky smile, promising to take good care of his partner. Ray just stood there glaring at the both of them. Bodie was uncomfortable about leaving Doyle there; not that he didn't trust Anson to watch Ray's back. Just felt nobody else could do it quite as well as he did. After all, he had a vested interest in that back that no one else had. There wasn't a thing he could do about it, however, so he headed off, resigned to spending the entire day worrying about what was going on at home.

He met Jax charging out the door at HQ, waving a paper in his hand, and a grim smile on his face. "Police reported a break-in last night, and attempted murder. Sounds like Watson. Victim's brother came home in the middle of it, scared the man away."

"Did they get a description?" Bodie asked as Jax turned to go back inside.

"Yeah, fits our man to a 'T'. Also, the victim had curly hair, and they lived at 13 Ambrose Lane."

Bodie smiled grimly, everything fitted, all right. They headed for Cowley's office, Jax leading the way. Betty nodded at them as they passed, giving Bodie a questioning look. Interpreting it as a query for what had happened after she left last night, Bodie gave a rueful smile, accompanied by a slight shrug. He wanted to ask her why she hadn't told Doyle about her own experience, but Cowley's voice calling to them forced him to postpone it.

Cowley looked up at them and motioned them to sit, before going back to the papers he was perusing. Both men sat quietly, waiting. Finally he sighed, and pushed the papers away. "We're waiting for Doyle to arrive. I had Betty ring him, but you'd just left."

Bodie was burning to ask the reason for summoning Doyle, but the stern look on Cowley's face deterred him. It wasn't long before they heard Betty's greeting to 4.5 as he ambled through the doorway.

There were two empty chairs left in the room, one beside Jax, and the other next to Bodie. Without hesitating, Ray bounced over to the latter, and planted himself, looking at Cowley questioningly.

"I'm taking the guards off Doyle as of right now."

Short silence followed that bombshell, as Bodie slowly absorbed the implications. Taking the guards away, would leave him wide open . . . .

"You want to use him as bait, to flush Watson out." Bodie's voice was very quiet, very even.

"Yes. This has gone on long enough. He's killing innocent people for no reason. I want Doyle out, I want him seen. I want Watson."

Bodie chose his next words carefully. "Will he have backup? Sir?"

"Of course, he'll have back-up! I want to flush Watson out, not kill 4.5, Bodie, use your head."

Bodie opened his mouth to argue, when a slight touch on his arm made him look at Ray. Green eyes were gazing at him in partial warning, and he closed his mouth, lips thinning, to let Ray speak. "I'll go out to the shops, a pub or two this weekend? Keep my r/t on whenever I'm alone, so Bodie and Jax can hear me. That should bring him out, don't you think?"

"Exactly. It will look as though Bodie and Jax are taking turns as your 'protection'; once we've caught sight of him, break away so it looks as though you're alone. I'm sure between the three of you, you can come up with something believable."

Jax laughed. "Ray can just be his normal, obnoxious self get himself in a pet with Bodie and do a runner. Should work a treat." He blithely ignored the glare from Doyle.

Cowley permitted himself a small smile. "Aye, that should do it. All of you out of here now, and get to work. I want this cleared up in time for Bodie and Doyle to meet with Macklin for training on Monday."

Ignoring the over-dramatic groans this statement drew, he gave his attention back to the papers on his desk.

Betty was waiting outside the door as the three men tumbled out, and she stopped Doyle with a hand on his arm. "Have a moment for me, 4.5?"

He grinned cheekily. "Always have a moment for you, Betty. When? Now? Tonight? All weekend?"

She glared at Bodie as he burst out laughing. "You two deserve each other. No, Ray, I just want to talk to you for a bit. Now," she added quickly as he grinned again.

"Jax and I'll be in the rest room when you're done, mate." It didn't take more than a second for Bodie to realise what Betty wanted to talk to Ray about.

They sauntered off down the hallway, leaving Doyle looking curiously at Betty, who smiled up at him. "Let's go get a cup of tea."

Ray didn't know it, but he and Betty sat down at the same table Betty and Bodie had occupied a few weeks earlier when they'd had tea. Doyle watched her add milk and sugar to her cup and smiled.

"You and Bodie together keep the sugar companies in business. Stuff'll rot your teeth someday, you know," he advised helpfully.

"My teeth are fine, 4.5." She played with her spoon for a moment, and Ray kept silent, letting her set the pace for whatever she wanted to talk about.

"There's something I didn't tell you last night that I should have -- don't get your back up. This," as Doyle stiffened, "has nothing to do with Bodie."

"What is it?" His voice held no warmth at all. Amazing how she could guess what he was thinking. What if she tells me she and Bodie . . . .

"It happened to me, too."

She'd said it baldly, flatly, with no warning, and Ray stared at her in confusion as his brain worked out exactly what she meant. He looked away, flushing slightly as she continued.

"I told Bodie the first day you were in hospital. He came out of Mr Cowley's office, and I asked how you were doing. He smiled and said 'fine', bright and chipper, as though nothing had happened. It worried me, because if he started lying to himself, it would make things worse for both of you." She went on to give him the story she'd told Bodie.

"I'm sorry it happened to you, but why tell me now?" Ray sounded puzzled. "Why not last night?"

"I got cold feet last night. How are you and Bodie doing?"

"Fi -- we're managing."

"When I woke up, the last person I wanted to see was my boyfriend. I was ashamed and even embarrassed, as though I'd somehow let him down, by 'allowing' those two boys to rape me." She took a sip of her tea, swirling the cup a little and watching the liquid slosh around. "He was embarrassed around me, and every time he touched me, he thought of what had happened."

"You shouldn't have been embarrassed, you know. It wasn't your fault that happened and there was no reason for you to feel ashamed around the people who loved you." His words slowly died, as he realised exactly what he was saying, and he smiled at her. "That's what I should be saying to myself, right?"

She nodded. "You and Bodie have something very rare and special, Ray. I don't want to see it destroyed over something neither of you had any control over. Have the two of you sat down and really talked about what happened?"

"No, not really. We talked a little, last night, after you left, but . . . how can he still want me after . . . this?"

"Oh Ray, you think it makes him love you less? He's beating his breast over this because he couldn't protect you. You know Bodie, he has a protect-Doyle streak a mile wide! He's ashamed himself."

"Shouldn't be. Wasn't his fault," Ray mumbled.

"And have you told him that?"

Doyle shook his head in negation, and buried his nose in his own tea to avoid looking at slightly accusing eyes.

"Don't you think you should? Or do you want him out of your life? I warned you about this when you were still in hospital, didn't I?"

Ray was silent a moment, contemplating his life without Bodie. "That wouldn't be a life, Betty, it would just be an existence." He finally looked up at her. "Didn't really think you cared -- about me."

"The Ice Maiden melts. Of course I care. I care about every single one of you, or I wouldn't be doing this job. Talk to Bodie tonight. Get it all out in the open, then put it behind you and get on with your life together."

"I'm supposed to forget this ev--"

"No. You'll never forget. Just wrap it up and put it away in a corner of your mind. Replace the horror with how much Bodie loves you."

Doyle gazed at her in amazement. He'd no idea there was so much to Betty. His mouth opened and closed twice as he fumbled with something to say, not quite knowing what was correct. Betty grinned at him, and patted his hand as she stood.

"Try -- thank-you, Betty -- works wonders." And she walked back to her office, heels tapping briskly on the floor, leaving Ray sitting alone and slightly bemused at the table.

He cleared the refuse off the table and headed for the rest room, mind churning furiously. He had treated Bodie shabbily the past couple of weeks; for that he should be ashamed. Bodie'd had no more idea how to react to his rape than he had, and Ray blaming him and giving him the cold shoulder must have made it even worse.

Granted, he was the one who'd actually had the physical pain, but how would he have felt if the roles had been reversed? If he'd been forced to watch as Bodie was beaten and raped? Here he was, throwing a fit about what had happened, but what was the alternative? To have had it happen to Bodie? His nightmare the other night showed what that would have been like.

"Christ, that would have been even worse!"


"Sorry?" Ray blinked to find Jax and Bodie looking at him strangely. Not only had he walked all the way to the rest room without realising it, he'd also spoken out loud.

"What would have been worse?" Jax asked.

"Oh nothing. I was just thinking out loud."

"Do that a lot, mate? Could be dangerous." Bodie smiled tentatively at him and looked a little taken aback when Doyle turned a full grin on him.

"'s all right, isn't it? Got you to watch me back." He walked over and plopped himself next to Bodie on the settee. "So where do we start first?"

Jax and Bodie exchanged a quick glance, before Jax spoke up. "Thought you two could do a little pub-crawling tonight. I'll be around looking for Watson. If he shows, I'll let you know. You can have a little tiff, and Ray can go off alone. Hopefully Watson will take the bait, and Ray can lead him back to your flat. We'll have Anson in there as back-up when Doyle goes in, just in case you need a helping hand."

Ray didn't look too sure of the plan, but as he didn't have anything better to offer, he just shrugged and agreed to the idea. They agreed on the Hook and Ladder at 6 p.m., before Jax trundled home to his wife and kids.

Ray felt Bodie's eyes follow him as he wandered aimlessly around the sitting room of their small flat. Two more turns of the room, and he plopped down next to him on the settee, just close enough for Bodie to tug gently on an errant curl.

"Penny for 'em."



"Tell me why?"

Bodie was silent as he apparently tried to figure out what Doyle meant. Didn't take long. "Wondered when you were gonna ask. Was back in the first or second year I was merc, before I joined up with Krivas

. . . ."
Bodie knew he'd never forget her screams, no matter how long he lived. Couldn't believe Watson'd brought his girl back to camp like that, straight into the arms of a dozen men who hadn't tasted a female in over four months! Little wonder they went crazy; she was a looker, she was, long shiny black hair, legs that went on forever, and eyes so big and brown they belonged in a painting. Knew he'd never forget those either, as they stared after him in mute appeal. She fought at first, kicking with her feet, hands like claws trying to gouge out twelve pairs of lust-filled eyes. Didn't take much -- one hard punch to her face and she stopped protesting, blood streaming from what was probably a broken nose. It left her limp, arms and legs flung wide; Bodie watched as her breasts bounced, dancing a little jig as each man pounded into her, one after the other. He tried to stop it; but he was one against a dozen, and they did break his nose, before planting a knife in his back. The last thing he remembered before darkness overtook him was the harsh breathing and the slapping, sucking sounds of flesh against flesh. When he opened his eyes, they'd fixed his nose, and patched up his back; he'd carry the deep scar behind his shoulder for the rest of his life. There was a mound of dirt off to the side of the camp, and Watson was gone.
". . . never saw Watson again till that night in hospital. We moved on a few days later, then I met up with Krivas and his group about six months after that."

Sometime during the long saga they'd switched positions, and now Doyle tightened his arms around Bodie, his thumb gently rubbing over the deep shoulder scar.

"No wonder you never wanted to tell me how you got this. Why'd Watson come after us, though? You tried to help his girl."

"He was too out of it to notice, I reckon. Ray?"


"If I tell you something, will you promise not to laugh at me?"


Ray felt Bodie's chest heave as he gave a huge sigh. "I was scared. While you were in surgery, I was terrified you'd hate me when you found out why Watson did that to us."

"Hah, I was scared you wouldn't love me any more because I was dirty and let them use me like that. Everything was so new -- us I mean -- and I didn't know if you'd want to stay with me, or . . . besides, it wasn't your fault, any more than it was mine."

"Couple of right berks, aren't we?" Bodie asked, smiling.

"Not any more." Ray wasn't sure how to ask his next question. "Bodie?"


"I don't know if I'm ready yet to . . ." to his complete chagrin he felt his face heat up, and devoutly hoped he wasn't blushing. The grin on Bodie's face told him it was a useless wish.

"'s all right, sweetheart. If you aren't ready to make love yet, I'll be happy to kiss and hug until you are."

"Bodie! 'm just not ready to have you inside me, yet. The rest of it? Hell, yes. Be dammed if I'm gonna spend my nights wanking in the shower!"

"Love you, Ray, and if we never do it that way again, I'll still love you." Bodie grinned. "Getting a bit soppy here, aren't we, mate?"

"Yeah . . . ." Ray sat up. "Gonna take a shower."

"Need any help?"

"Nooo, but I might to dry off . . . ." Throwing a quick grin over his shoulder, Doyle scampered off to the shower.

Ten minutes later, Bodie looked up in surprise as Doyle returned, a big fluffy towel wrapped around his hips, curls dripping onto his shoulders.

"Pretty quick shower. Sure you're clean?" Bodie asked cheekily.

"Very clean. Wanna dry me off?" He swallowed nervously.

"Come here." Bodie slowly pulled the towel off his hips, and stood up. "Start with these drippy snakes here," and he slowly rubbed the towel over Doyle's hair, lifting it once for a quick kiss on the tip of his nose.

He wrapped the towel around Ray's shoulders, bringing the ends up to his cheeks. "Dry the face . . . get this spot here," he carefully licked around the plastic cheek insert, before gently rubbing flannel over it. "And we can't have a damp neck, catch a chill that way, you will."

Ray shivered, and Bodie looked at him innocently. "Cold?"

"Cold, my arse!"

"Is it? Shall have to dry it off, then." And he immediately followed suit, pulling the towel down his back to gently rub his buttocks. He paused part-way down to gently kiss the mottled green and yellow bruising around the barely healed cracked rib, then continued his downward trek. This of course put him in direct contact with Ray's penis, which had been showing small signs of upward mobility. Giving it a quick lick-kiss, Bodie stood back up, pulling Ray into his arms.

They stood wrapped up together for some time, not moving, then Doyle slowly shifted in Bodie's arms, lips slightly parted, and twined his arms around Bodie's neck, eyes half-mast.


"Hm . . . ." Doyle nuzzled the side of his neck, and Bodie shivered before he turned his head away, giving Ray better access to his throat.

Wiggling sinuously, Ray nibbled his way up to tender ears, leaving a damp trail cooling on Bodie's neck. Before he could become any more aroused than the few kisses had made him, Bodie took hold of Ray's shoulders, stopping him. Green eyes looked out at him in surprise before the lids closed again and he resumed where he'd left off, tongue travelling slowly around the rim of Bodie's left ear.


Doyle gave no sign he'd heard, so Bodie gave into the sensations Ray was creating in him, hoping that they'd finish this time. He decided to let Ray set the pace, they'd only go with what he felt comfortable doing; last thing Bodie wanted to do was scare him off again. Slowly they slid to the floor, Ray shivering when his hot skin connected with the floor.

"Come on, you beautiful, sensual bugger," he whispered into the thick hair covering Ray's ear, tongue outlining the inner lobe. He chuckled as the sensation made Ray quiver. Bodie moved his hips once to let Ray know he was just as ready, just as hot, and kept completely still as Doyle bucked in response, bringing them into unbearable contact. Ray slid into a position they'd used so many times, fitting scrawny hip bones inside larger ones.

He was panting heavily, beginning to hump against Bodie's groin. "Take off . . . Bodie! Take off your trousers."

Slender fingers tangled with his as they both tried to free Bodie from the restraining cords. With a chuckle, Bodie finally took both of Doyle's hands in one of his, and undid his own zipper. With Ray tugging while Bodie jiggled his hips, they finally got his trousers off, and Ray reached down, taking both cocks into his hand, stroking them together until Bodie was almost beyond thought.

Hunching back on his knees, Ray gazed at Bodie, before leaning over and planting a kiss on his straining cock. "You're beautiful."

"Who? Me or him?"

Ray smiled, a beautiful, carefree grin. "Both."

Bodie reached out, shifting around till Ray was once again nestled between his hips, before wrapping his legs firmly around him. Trying to turn so Ray was underneath, a sudden stiffening made him stop, and he lay back on the floor. It was killing him to keep still; he wanted to turn Ray over and love him into the ground, but he didn't dare. If they were going to get anywhere here, he had to let Ray lead.

Bodie rubbed his hands in soothing circles over Ray's back, his fingers pausing each time they connected with one of the scars from his many injuries over the years. He wanted to kiss each one, but knew he couldn't, not now, not when Ray was finally making the effort to forget. Gradually, Doyle relaxed again, and raised his head, passion-filled eyes gazing down at him.

"Love you, Bodie," a kiss punctuated each word, and Bodie allowed one hand to nestle in the curls at the back of Ray's head, a slight pressure bringing their mouths together. Their hips began to mimic the action of their tongues in a slow, gentle thrusting against each other.

Bodie's hands reached down to cup Ray's bum, and for an instant Ray was rigid again; Bodie kept his hands still, but left them where they were, whispering meaningless love words into his ear, till the moment passed. They started a harder rhythm against each other, Bodie kissing Ray's cheek and licking at his mouth; doing anything he could think of to show Ray this was an act of love.

Listening to the strangled moans, he knew Ray was close. Thinking about it, wanting it, made the electricity in his balls start a fire across his nerves and he was coming.

Doyle's cock was hard against the slickness on Bodie's belly, and his hips moved in a frenzy of need as he howled in Bodie's ear, frantic. Finally, then, came the split second of stillness that always pre-warned of Doyle's orgasm, and he dropped, panting, across Bodie's sweat-covered chest.

Utterly exhausted, Ray was a dead weight on him, moist breath puffing against his ear. Gingerly, Bodie slid out from under him, cradling him sideways in his arms. Green eyes opened part-way, before closing again as Doyle nestled in closer. Bodie smiled, ignoring the stickiness adhering to his belly, and closed his own eyes. They had plenty of time before the op tonight.

Bodie and Doyle walked casually into the Hook and Ladder, ignoring Jax who was seated alone at a far table. Picking a table in full view of anyone walking by the window, Ray sat down, while Bodie went and got their drinks.

Grimacing, Doyle drank his ginger ale, made up to look like a vodka tonic, as Bodie grinned at him. "Mustn't have a cloudy head, now must we?"

"Just hope this works." Ray leaned back in his chair and let his eyes roam the interior of the pub, as though checking out the women. No sign of Watson. His r/t beeped and he leaned his head down, rubbing his fingers through his curls.

"Little squirrel of a man took one look at you and took off out the side door," Jax's voice came over softly. "Coincidence or warning?"

"Hope it's the latter. Don't want to spend my whole weekend like this," Doyle whispered. From the corner of his eye he saw Jax get up from his table and head for the car. He'd drive away, then come back quietly and park across from the pub, hoping to catch Watson if he came looking.

"Speaking of cloudy heads, sunshine, how's yours?" Bodie was looking at him in concern, and Ray pasted a quick grin on his face.

"Good as new!"

"And the Queen's your mum. Tell me."

"Feels like the entire Queen's Regiment's in there holding parade practice. Stop worrying Bodie, I'll be fine. Got Anson to back me up, haven't I?"

"That's reassuring, it is," Bodie said dryly.

They took turns buying the drinks, and several times Ray stepped outside the door as if seeking some fresh air. Which, when he thought about, was the truth. Between the smoke and the din his headache had multiplied till he could barely see straight. All he wanted now was to get this over with and get home to bed. Preferably with Bodie.

"Think we'll get some time off after this?" Ray asked.

"Think we'll end up with Macklin on Monday, 's what I think," Bodie replied helpfully.

"Maybe you could break a rib, this time? Give us a few more days?"

"Oh, you're a big help, aren't you?"

On Doyle's third trip out to the car park, they hit pay dirt.

"Jax said Watson's in a car about 200 yards away, watching the front door," Bodie said when he came back in, quickly downing the remainder of his drink. "Ready?"

Doyle was peering absently into his glass, and didn't answer.

"Ray? You sure you're up to this?"

Doyle nodded, and stood quickly, shoving his chair so hard it fell over with a clatter. He leaned his palms onto the table, and glared at Bodie. "Don't care what you do, mate, I'm leaving." And he strode out the door, back ramrod straight, fists clenched.

"Okay, Jax, here we go," Bodie whispered into his r/t, before quickly following Ray out the door. "Radio Anson and let him know we're on our way. Oi! Doyle! Hang about!"

"Why?" Doyle said over his shoulder, not pausing in his angry strides to the car.

"How am I supposed to get home?" Bodie asked plaintively.

"Don't care, do I?" Doyle unlocked the door, and got into the car. "Ask one of those birds you've been trying to chat up all night. Sure they'd be happy to give you a ride."

Bodie almost choked at the double entendre, and stepped away from the car as Doyle put it in gear, a suitably disgruntled look on his face. Raising his arms in mock anger, he trudged back into the pub, letting Doyle drive off.

He was barely inside before he made for the side door, r/t in hand. "Is he following?"

"Yeah, didn't waste a second," Jax answered gleefully. "We've got him now."

"Well, come get me. Don't want to lose him."

In no time at all, the car pulled up beside the pub and Bodie crawled in the front seat. "3.7 to 4.5."

"4.5 here. Did he take the bait?"

"Do you see a blue Volkswagen behind you?"

Silence while Doyle must have checked his mirrors. "Yeah, three cars behind. That's him, then?"

"Yeah. Ray --"

"Bodie --"

"-- be --"

"-- don't --"

"-- careful."

"-- say it. Bodie!"

"We're right behind you, Doyle. Lead him into the flat, sunshine, and we can all celebrate." Bodie flicked off the r/t and glanced at Jax. "Lose him and you won't have to worry about what Cowley will say; won't be enough left of you to chew on."

"'m not gonna lose him, Bodie, Jesus." Jax wasn't the least intimidated by the threat, and turned his attention back to the traffic in front of him.

"Is Anson ready?" Bodie asked, glancing briefly at Jax's intent face.

"Yeah. He's in the bedroom, waiting for Doyle."

They drove on, eyes glued to the Volkswagen, as Bodie worried. Doyle'd been out of commission for several weeks, he was still hurting, wasn't moving as fast as he usually did. What if Anson couldn't back him up properly? Should've been him in there watching his back. Protecting Ray was his job after all.

"Eh?" He hadn't heard Jax.

"I said, quit worrying. Everything'll go smoothly, just watch."

Jesus, he must be an open book these days. A few blocks from their flat -- Bodie noticed absently it was the same place he'd walked from the night Doyle let him out of the car -- the blue bug turned the corner. Jax urged the car faster once they were out of Watson's viewpoint.

Bodie sat back in the seat, swearing silently. They'd be at the flat by now, Ray would be opening the door. Where would Watson jump him? Inside or out? Time always seemed to stand still at critical moments like this one. What was happening at the flat -- oh, Christ, Ray . . .

                                                   . . . was slowly opening the door to the building, leaving it just off the latch, ears straining for any noises behind him. Casually, he walked down the hall to his flat, and let himself in, closing but not locking, the door, before moving rapidly through the entryway into the sitting room. The pounding in his head was driving him crazy, and he swallowed the bile rising in his throat. Anson was in the bedroom, ready and waiting, although he had strict instructions not to come out unless Ray called for him. Doyle started to check his gun, sagging against the wall, then straightened as he heard the door open.

He was banking on Watson's desire to play with him before he killed him, and Doyle made sure his gun was safely tucked under his jacket. "Alive," Cowley had instructed Bodie. It was a promise he'd not asked from Doyle, nor was it one that would have been given. And if Cowley had asked for his word? Luckily it wasn't something he had to answer this time. As soon as he heard the door snick shut, he stepped back into the entryway.

Grinning at him, Watson pointed the barrel at his head. "Thought you might be expectin' me, and I'd about decided to kill you and leave you for Bodie to find. Want to 'ave a little fun with you first, though. Then you can watch while I take care of Bodie, very slowly." He stepped forward, then reached down and grabbed Doyle's crotch, squeezing painfully and laughed at the resulting gasp. Grabbing a handful of curls, he slammed Ray's head back against the wall, before stepping back several steps, eyes raking Doyle from head to foot.

Ray slumped against the wall, ears ringing, trying to get his breathing under control. Oh god, Bodie, where are you? His nightmare flitted briefly through his head, before he stuffed it down deep, out of the way. He was not going to let this happen to Bodie. Eyes on Watson, he waited for him to move, noting the gun loose in his hand . . . .

Taking a deep breath, Ray stayed very still, letting Watson move in closer . . . closer . . . a little closer still, and he kicked out, left foot sinking deep into Watson's stomach. As he bent over gasping, head slowly rising to look up, Ray pulled his gun out -- stupid man, never took it away -- and shot.


Justice? Or revenge?

One shot.

Straight through the centre of his head.

And, strangely, he thought of Bodie's words from so many years ago: since when did you ever miss?

The front door burst open and Bodie ran in, gun out. Ray stood still, aware of Anson behind him, staring at the dead man. Bodie quickly stepped over Watson, gently taking the gun out of Doyle's hands.

Jax came charging up a second later, but there was nothing for him to do except radio HQ, then find something to cover Watson with. Blindly Doyle turned and headed for the bathroom, Bodie following behind.

Ray bent over the toilet, retching as his stomach emptied itself of its contents. Gradually he became aware of Bodie's arm around his shoulders, hand holding his forehead, and he straightened slowly. Solemnly filling a cup with water, Bodie handed it to him, hand rubbing in large soothing circles on his back. He rinsed his mouth out and turned into Bodie's embrace, clutching him tightly.

Bodie's foot slid the door shut, closing them together in the bathroom. Neither one said anything, just held each other steady, ignoring the sounds from the outer room.

With one shot, it was finally over.

-- THE END --

Originally published in Motet Opus 2 in B and D, Keynote Press, 1997

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