Bodie yawned, sighed and looked at his watch. Doyle raised his eyebrows questioningly.
"I hate baby sitting jobs," Bodie muttered, staring glumly out of the window.
Doyle nodded, shifting his stance slightly. Keeping an eye on an arrogant and demanding young man was an aspect of the job he could well do without. Not only that, but they had his entourage to deal with, and Prince Raoul did not travel lightly. He had his own bodyguards, men who strongly objected to the presence of British security and had been as disobliging as possible. Doyle understood their unhappiness; it didn't however make it any easier to deal with.
Feeling tired and weary following a couple of heavy ops, Doyle had decided to play peacemaker, not a role he was totally familiar with he had to acknowledge. To Bodie's unspoken, but very obvious, amusement he put himself out to be as charming and helpful as possible, and both of them had noticed a easing of the tension over the past few days. One of the men had unbent sufficiently to talk, in broken English, a little about his charge. Doyle was familiar with being asked to do things for CI5 without fully understanding why, but three days into the op he still didn't fully understand why CI5 were guarding the back of a man who appeared to be, on the surface, a spoilt, brash, playboy prince of a minor Arab state.
"Anson and Lewis will be taking over soon," he offered.
Bodie nodded, the fatigue showing on his face as he stifled another yawn then stiffened before sitting back slowly. "His flashy cousin has come to play again," he muttered, as the silver Rolls-Royce rolled up the blossom-lined driveway. "What's the betting those idiots at the gate let it through without a proper search?"
Doyle chose not to reply, well aware that Cowley's reluctance to commit more manpower than necessary left them relying on the prince's own security men. He didn't share Bodie's disdain for them, but admittedly he would have preferred the job to be covered by CI5. He watched as the car came to a stop by the front door. The chauffeur got out and opened the door for a tall imperious-looking man who was conducted into the house almost immediately. At the same time, Prince Raoul left the room followed by his own bodyguards leaving Bodie and himself the role of unwanted guests at this particular party. They followed quietly and slipped into the drawing room taking up strategic, but discreet positions by two of the four large sash windows.
The conversation between Prince Raoul and his cousin, conducted in their native language, floated over Doyle's head as he watched the occupants and the room. A few minutes into the visit he began to sense that all was not quite right. The imperious Prince Ahmed didn't look comfortable; in fact his whole posture broadcast tension. Doyle looked across at Bodie who had his eyes fixed firmly on the man, but turned almost at once to look at him. He silently communicated his unease and moved quietly towards his partner.
"Something's up," he murmured, as the faint suggestion of unease he'd felt from his first glimpse of the Rolls Royce grew into a certainty. "He didn't use the same car as the past two days, this one had tinted windows."
Bodie frowned. He moved towards the window and looked out. "Car should be round the back."
Doyle eased his jacket away from his holster. "I'll check."
Bodie nodded, and Doyle moved silently towards the door casting a quick look at the prince as he did so. At the periphery of his vision he caught a movement by one of the windows and turned rapidly. Alerted by his action, Bodie had his gun out and darted across the room towards the prince yelling a warning. Doyle raced towards Prince Ahmed as the man turned towards the widows yelling something frantically. The bodyguards, reacting to the warnings from both of them, had the prince on the floor. Doyle glimpsed Prince Ahmed's panic stricken face at the same time as he heard smashing glass and watched incredulously as a shot from the window span the prince round and left him prostrate and bleeding on the floor. Alert to the danger of his position, Doyle also dropped to the floor, rolled and fired at the nearest window smiling with grim satisfaction at the cry that followed. Further gunfire had him scooting for cover and he crouched behind an overstuffed armchair exchanging fire, subliminally aware of the bodyguards and the prince tipping up an enamelled table and retreating behind its relative safety.
He poked his head out from behind the armchair and quickly surveyed the room, ducking back for cover as the gunfire increased in intensity. Three gunmen shooting indiscriminately from all angles meant that they were sitting ducks. He looked over to Bodie who was crouched almost opposite him behind another of the large armchairs. On cue, Bodie's eyes turned towards him and Doyle pointed over toward the door. Bodie nodded and flicked his eyes over towards the bodyguards. Doyle followed his gaze and saw with some astonishment that Prince Raoul was armed, and apparently in control. He caught his attention, pointed to the door and got a nod and a thumbs up. Cautiously, he got to his feet and crouched ready to run, taking his cue as four hand guns gave him limited covering fire as he sprinted towards the exit. Slipping through, he headed for the back door stopping near the larder to pull out his RT.
"4.5 to base," he panted. "Babysitting job's turned nasty. We have five shooters, two down. Request back up in case of further reinforcements."
He heard the acknowledgement and returned his attention to the back door and hugging the wall, he slipped slowly to the front of the building. He poked his head briefly round the corner and saw one man on the ground and another steadily shooting. He stepped out, aimed and shot the man, then ran towards him as the gunman slumped to the ground. Doyle crouched under the windows and peered round the corner hoping that the two men there wouldn't notice the cessation of fire for a few more seconds. His movement caught the eye of one of the men and he swung towards him, firing as he did so. A shot from the house caught him in the arm and the bullets sprayed past Doyle as he flung himself down and returned fire. The activity next to him must have distracted the last gunman because he faltered in his firing and turned his head to see Doyle at the same time as another round of shots from within caught him unprepared and he too dropped to the ground.
Doyle rolled, checked both sides of the house and stood up. "All clear," he yelled. He headed towards the first man, crouched next to him and felt for his pulse. He was dead, while a cursory glance at the other gunman revealed a pale anguished face and a bloodied chest. About to investigate further, he tensed and readied himself for action as he heard the sound of feet pounding towards him relaxing in relief as Bodie ran towards him. Bodie stopped, looked him over and gave him a brief smile.
"Have you called HQ?" he asked, eying the sole survivor with professional interest.
"Not since I raised the alarm," Doyle admitted. "Tell them we need an ambulance."
"Anyone else hurt?" Doyle continued. "Did Prince Ahmed survive?"
Bodie nodded. "No one else is hurt and Ahmed's clinging on to life, which is possibly something he might regret considering the intensity of the tongue lashing the prince was giving him as I left." He frowned. "We were damn lucky his incompetence gave us a few minutes warning otherwise we'd all be dead," he said morosely.
"Well we're not," Doyle said prosaically. He checked the injured man's pulse as Bodie spoke to HQ, covered the man with his jacket, and felt the familiar tremor of exhaustion and excess adrenalin kick in as he became aware of his racing heart and sweaty palms.
"The back up should be with us any second now, and the ambulance should be about ten minutes," Bodie offered. He looked down expressionlessly at the injured man and nodded towards the window. "What did you make of the prince's actions, he certainly knows how to fire a gun?"
Doyle frowned. "Unexpected, but welcome," he answered; standing up and stretching his neck and back carefully before slowly replacing his gun in his holster.
Bodie nodded in apparent agreement. "Perhaps if we're lucky Cowley might take it upon himself to explain exactly what we've been doing this past few days," he said morosely.
"He always does in the end," Doyle said fairly.
Bodie grunted and moved forward. "We've company," he muttered, and went to greet them.
Doyle stayed by the injured man, leaving the explanations to Bodie and was highly relieved when Cowley's car, followed by an ambulance, turned into the drive and made its way towards them. He took his jacket back from the injured man as the paramedics took over and gave a brief report to his boss.
"3.7 with the prince?" Cowley asked, and Doyle nodded. "Come on them, 4.5," he demanded, and walked up the steps into the house.
The prince smiled when he saw Cowley and they shook hands, moving away a little to talk quietly together. Doyle headed towards his partner, nodding at the two bodyguards as he did so. Bodie smiled at him, but said nothing, and for a moment Doyle was happy to lean against the wall and watch the action around him as his mind replayed the sequence of events that had just occurred.
Cowley finished his conversation and glanced around the room. He walked towards them looking them over carefully. "I want a debriefing within the hour, then I'm giving you forty eight hours leave."
"Yes, sir," Bodie said.
Cowley gave them a brief smile and walked out of the room. Doyle sighed, all he really wanted to do was to rest, eat and sleep, but at least the opportunity was a little nearer than it had been. About to leave he was stopped by Bodie's hand on his arm. Turning, he saw that the prince was beckoning them over. Somewhat reluctantly he headed over to find out what the man wanted.
"My thanks to both of you, Mr Doyle and Mr Bodie," the man said in fluent English. "It has been a real pleasure seeing two such professionals as yourselves work. I have been very impressed. I don't suppose you would like to come and work for me?" He looked at both of them, but his gaze lingered on Doyle's face.
"No thank you," Bodie said politely.
Doyle smiled. "We're flattered," he said somewhat mendaciously, "but our boss would not be pleased."
The prince smiled. "So your Mr Cowley implied." He smiled again. "Would it be appropriate for me to take you out to dinner to express my appreciation?" he asked, again including them both, but Doyle was yet again conscious of the gaze directed at him.
Doyle looked at Bodie before he spoke and was surprised to see a gleam of something like anger in Bodie's eyes. "That's not really necessary," he said carefully. "We were doing our job." He searched for some way of changing the subject. "Actually I was impressed at how well you stood up to this," he said truthfully.
The prince laughed. "Thank you. My head of security dislikes my attitude immensely, but I have always wanted to be able to defend myself, and in the circumstances I think I am correct," he said.
Doyle shook his head, a smile breaking out. "I guess I'd have to agree," he acknowledged.
"So if you did want to take me up on the meal?" the man added.
Doyle felt Bodie stiffen next to him and decided to end the conversation now.
"We'll know where to look you up," he finished. "We need to go now," he said, glancing at Bodie. "When the boss tells you he wants you to debrief within the hour what he really means is immediately."
The man laughed again and held out his hand. "It has been a pleasure Mr Doyle," he said and Doyle shook his hand. Bodie took the offered hand and gave it a brief shake before turning and moving out of the room. Doyle gave the man one last smile and followed his partner to the car.
He settled into the passenger seat and stretched his legs and arms. Bodie glanced at him, but said nothing and within minutes they were on the road back into the city. Doyle was almost asleep when Bodie finally spoke.
"You realise he was hitting on you?" he asked.
Doyle opened one eye and contemplated his partner for a second. He thought back to the conversation with the prince and had to agree with Bodie's interpretation. "Seems possible," he said non-committedly.
"Does it worry you?" Bodie asked.
Doyle looked sideways at him, somewhat puzzled by the question.
"A man fancying you?" Bodie added
Doyle shrugged. "Not really," he said as he considered his feelings. "He's a good looking guy so in a sense I'm flattered he was interested."
Bodie took his eye off the road and looked at him searchingly. "Happened before?" he asked.
Doyle sunk a little further in the seat. "At art college, got propositioned a few times, but that was par for the course then." He turned to look at Bodie curiously. "You?"
Bodie shrugged. "Once or twice."
Doyle was silent, not really sure how to continue.
"Ever been curious?"
Doyle sat up. "What do you mean?" he asked uncertainly.
"Wondered what it would be like?"
Doyle looked blankly at Bodie. "What's got into you, mate?" he asked curiously. "I'm not interested in taking up the man's offer, I don't want to have a meal with him and while I admit to some curiosity about what it would be like with a guy, if I ever do decide to try, it won't be with him."
"Didn't like him," Bodie muttered.
Doyle laughed. "That's coming through loud and clear, mate. Now give it a break and let me have a kip. I'm knackered." He smiled at Bodie and sank down in the seat again and closed his eyes. Bodie turned on the radio and he drifted off into a doze, waking as the car screeched to a halt outside HQ. He was just about to get out of the car when Bodie put a restraining hand on his arm.
"If you ever did want to find out come to me first won't you, Ray?" Bodie said quietly, looking him in the eyes.
Doyle stared at him in shock and fell back into his seat. "Bodie?" he asked incredulously. His partner got out of the car and Doyle scrambled after him. "Bodie?" he said again. Bodie just glanced at him and moved forward.
Doyle stood by the car and watched his partner blankly. As he moved past one of the cars Doyle was sure he saw sparking and then Bodie seemed to disappear. "Bodie," he yelled, and ran to the exact same spot hunting for sight of his partner. He faltered, sensing sparks and feeling a little as if he was walking against a strong wind, but the sensation vanished almost immediately and he caught sight of his partner's rear view as it vanished into the entrance to HQ.
"Bodie!" he hollered, and ran towards the door, past the startled doorman and up the stairs two at a time determined to grab his partner before they saw Cowley. He caught sight of him entering the rest room and followed swiftly wrenching open the door Bodie's name on his lips.
The sight before him stunned him into silence. Bodie stood in the room his attention fixed on a man and a woman before him. Doyle glanced at Bodie and then stared incredulously at his doppelganger who stood, gun in hand, looking back at Bodie with an identical frown on his face. His expression turned to amazement as he glanced at Doyle. Doyle shook his head and glanced beyond him to the woman. He blinked in astonishment, noting the gun fixed unwaveringly at him and the large green eyes eying him in disbelief.
"Bodie," he muttered, still staring intently at his female twin, "Just what the bloody hell have you got us into?"
The half an hour he'd spent kicking his heels in the interrogation room had given Bodie a lot of time to think, and while for most of that time he'd try to work out what the hell was happening, a disproportionate amount of time had been spent thinking about Ray Doyle. Four years as partners and he was still coming to terms with his unexpected and unwanted desire for the man. Getting to know the scruffy little bugger had done little to lessen the desire, it had only reinforced it as he realised how much he liked the man as well as lusted after him. That Doyle obviously cared very strongly for him was slight balm for his ego, but it still didn't help resolve the continuing itch that demanded that he grabbed the aggravating little sod, kissed the living daylights out of him and then hauled him off to bed. The consideration that you didn't haul anyone with Doyle's fighting skills off anywhere didn't stop him, what stopped him dead was the fear that he might lose Doyle's friendship over it. He also had to consider that Doyle would be highly unlikely to believe that one of the biggest womanisers on the squad actually fancied him and would assume that Bodie was setting him up. It was why he'd taken his life in his hands when he asked Doyle to turn to him first if he felt like experimenting, and from the sheer shock on Doyle's face he could see he was going to have to do an awful lot of explaining.
But returning to now he was uncomfortable and disturbed. He had no idea what the hell had happened to the pair of them, but it certainly looked as if they done something incredibly stupid. Even as he was led down to the room he realised that HQ looked far more modern and well kept than the HQ he was used to. But what disturbed him the most was the other Bodie and Doyle, in particular the other Doyle. It wasn't so much that here Ray Doyle was a woman called Rachel Doyle, or that she looked just like a female version of Ray, what was worrying him was that although he could very well appreciate Rachel Doyle's charms, he was shocked to realise that he actually preferred Ray Doyle's charms.
He stopped his musings as the door unlocked and his double walked in. Bodie sat up and stared at the man trying to work out the differences between them. He knew he was a handsome guy, both his mirror and enough of his women had told him, and even Ray had admitted it one drunken night as they shared reminiscences over a bottle. He knew he was a little arrogant--his birds and Doyle had told him that often enough--self controlled, out for himself and a good time, but basically an okay guy, certainly a mate that Doyle chose to hang around with after work as well as at work. He wasn't too sure what his double was, and he hadn't quite worked out why the man's reaction to him, but certainly not Doyle, had felt off. .
"The guns, ID, R/T and finger prints check out," his double said, pulling a chair towards Bodie straddling it and sitting with his chin resting on his forearms. They eyed each other for a few minutes then his double grinned. "We're certainly a little less of a shock to each other than for our partners. I've left Rachel interviewing your Ray."
Bodie said nothing, waiting for the man to go on.
"Are you and him lovers?" his double continued.
Bodie blinked. "No," he said. "Why'd you ask that?"
His double shrugged. "Rachel and I are, and while your Ray may be male, he's a sexy little bugger and I've got no difficulty seeing his appeal."
"Are you telling me you're attracted to him?" Bodie asked, a little incredulously.
"Come off it, William," his double said, giving him a lazy smile. "We both like women, but if we're anything alike, we both appreciate masculine beauty. Rachel's stunning, moves like a dream, great figure, beautiful face with those cat like eyes, plus she's smart, tough, independent and everything a guy like me could want in a partner both at work and play. Your Ray's her male counterpart, and even that broken cheekbone somehow adds to his allure rather than detracts from it." He viewed Bodie incredulously. "Are you telling me you've not checked him out?"
Bodie shrugged. "Of course I have, I'd be hard put not to with the way he dresses and poses. I think he must shoe horn himself into some of his jeans--not that I'm complaining at all." He sat back in the chair and relaxed a little. "So what happens next?"
His double smiled. "The Cow's needs information."
"I hope we're talking about George Cowley and not Georgina Cowley," Bodie said heavily.
"Major George Cowley, also known as the Cow," his double agreed.
"Thank god for that," Bodie muttered. "I'm not sure I could have faced the thought of meeting a female version of old George."
His double laughed. "Have you got Maggie Thatcher where you come from?"
"What's the betting that a female Cowley would be her twice over?"
"God, what a thought," Bodie groaned.
"I'm glad the idea so amuses you, 3.7," a familiar voice intruded on them, and both men stood up as George Cowley walked into the room. He stood and viewed them silently for a few seconds before shaking his head and muttering. "Like peas in a pod, I still can't get used to it!" He stared for a few minutes before waving at the chairs. "Sit down, you make the place look untidy."
Bodie sat and watched the man as he pulled out his glasses and began reading the papers in front of him. "Bodie says that all of your ID's etc checkout. They'll be returned to you very soon. Can you give me a brief history of your career since leaving home?"
Bodie nodded slowly. "I left home early and bummed around a little. Got into gun running then spent a number of years in Africa as a mercenary. I eventually had enough, and left to join the Paras and got seconded to the SAS. My CO brought me to the attention of George Cowley. Apparently he thought I had what it takes to succeed in the newly formed CI5."
Cowley looked at him over the top of his glasses. "Pretty identical to 3.7 then. How about Ray Doyle?"
Bodie shrugged. "Ray was a bit of a teenage tearaway, I think. Went to Art school, but dropped out after a year or more and joined the police. He was in the Met, the drug squad. I think he got pretty disillusioned and came to the Cow's attentions. He joined at the same time as me."
"How did you take to him?"
Bodie gave a small reminiscent smile. "Badly at first--he was skinny, scruffy and an ex cop. I thought he'd collapse at the first sight of violence. He soon showed me I was wrong and from a very bad start we've pretty much become Cowley's best team."
Cowley gave a small smile and dropped the papers on the table. "What do you think has occurred here to the pair of you?"
Bodie shrugged. "It's a bit like something from a SF show, isn't it?" he said slowly. "You know, the kind of parallel universe idea. I'm sure they did it in Star Trek."
Cowley looked at him blankly, but his double nodded. "I remember that one."
"And what do you think we should do with you?" Cowley asked.
Bodie sat up. "Help us get back home, sir."
"How?" Cowley asked, a little impatiently. "Come on man, I'm having enough trouble believing the evidence of my own eyes what with Rachel Doyle suddenly having a male twin." He stared at Bodie for a few seconds. "Can you remember anything at all different that happened to you to explain this?"
Bodie shook his head. "We saw and spoke to our Cowley about half an hour before we got to HQ, Ray radioed ahead to let HQ know we were on our way. Whatever happened did so in the last twenty minutes before we got here."
Cowley sighed. "I wonder if Doyle knows any more." He shook his head smiling slightly. " I'm putting you in the care of our Bodie for the present. I see no need to keep you locked in HQ, and I can't think of any better people to take care of you than 4.5 and 3.7. " He stood and shook his head. "Och, get away with the pair of you. Bodie, give the pair of them back all the items we took off them and go and rescue Mr Ray Doyle from a ruthless interrogation by Ms Rachel Doyle." He gave Bodie another brief smile and left the room.
Bodie was up and ready before his double had even moved. He desperately wanted to talk to Doyle, compare notes and work out how on earth they were going to get back to where they belonged. Expecting to be led to another interrogation room, he was somewhat startled to be guided up the stairs and towards the rest room. He could hear voices from inside, and walked in to see Doyle and Rachel sitting side by side on the battered sofa talking rapidly. Doyle gave a deep earthy chuckle and looked up and caught sight of him. His face split into a big grin as he waved Bodie over.
"Bodie, you have got to meet Rachel," he said enthusiastically. "She's great."
Bodie felt a flash of irritation, but plastered a smile on his face and held out his hand to her. "Miss Doyle," he said formally, wondering if Doyle was quite as relaxed and insouciant as he appeared to be.
Rachel laughed and took his hand. "Ray's been telling me some things about you, " she said cheerfully, ignoring a far from subtle poke in her ribs from her sofa companion. "Not that I need much introduction since I work with my own version, and I'm sure he's not exaggerating very much."
"Hey," Doyle said, poking Rachel in the ribs again. "Exaggerating indeed. I can tell you some tales about Bodie and me." He looked back up at Bodie and gave a happy smile. Bodie found a responding grin with some effort and sat down in a nearby chair to watch the double act, while he silently panicked.
Rachel laughed. "And I'll counter with tales about Bodie and me, Ray, so stop it." She looked into Bodie's face and smiled. "I like your partner, Bodie," she said. "Not too sure I would have liked to have met myself, but meetings Ray's like finding a long lost brother."
"Certainly preferred to have had you to the sister I've got," Doyle said cheerfully, and Bodie felt a sudden coldness as he realised that he didn't even know that Doyle had a sister.
Bodie's double groaned theatrically. "Are we going to survive the double act?" he asked.
Before anyone could answer the door flung open and two men walked in. They glanced at Doyle and Rachel sat on the sofa and stood, mouths open, gazing at the two of them.
"Hi Murph, hi Lewis," Doyle said cheerfully. "As quick off the mark in this place as back home I can see."
"Rachel, Bodie?" Murphy gasped. "What the hell?"
"Someone decided to duplicate us, Murphy, but they slipped up on some of the details on Rachel." Bodie's double said.
"Slipped up!" Doyle said. "I'll have you know I'm perfectly formed thank you." He stood up, did a quick twirl and bowed to the applause from the sofa. Bodie narrowed his eyes at the way his double was eying his partner so approvingly, and felt gob smacked when Murphy's eyes lingered over long on Doyle's posterior.
"You've certainly got a great bum," Rachel said approvingly. She eyed him curiously and stood up. "Who's the tallest?"
Bodie watched as they stood back to back and couldn't resist a sly dig at Doyle. "Have you told her you wear high heel boots, mate?" he asked innocently.
Doyle scowled at him. "Got me trainers on today, Bodie," he said patiently. "Anyway, Rachel might be cheating herself. Come on, show us your foot wear." He stood on one leg and displayed his white trainers for her to see.
Rachel laughed, and pulling up her jeans displayed the same white trainers on her feet. "Quit stalling, Ray," she teased. "Bodie, measure us will you."
Bodie stepped forward until he realised that she was addressing his double, and retraced his steps as his double viewed them intently. "Ray's got an inch on you, Rachel," he said.
Doyle turned and grinned at her. "What next?" he asked innocently.
Rachel gave a cackle of laughter and shook her head. "Not in public, Ray. Maybe a private viewing?" she winked at him, and sat back on the sofa.
Doyle nodded and turned to look at Murphy and Lewis. "Are you a team?" he asked.
Lewis nodded. "Why?"
Doyle shrugged. "Just wondered. Back home Murphy works alone. He says he prefers it that way and the Cow lets him. You're paired with Anson."
Lewis looked horrified. "No thanks," he said. "I don't know how Jax manages him."
Bodie's double laughed. "You've said that about Rachel a number of times, Lewis."
Murphy leaned towards Doyle. "Where do you come from, and do you work with this Bodie?" he said nodding his head at Bodie.
Doyle nodded. "We're Cowley's best, mate," he said, giving Bodie another grin. His expression sobered. "Mind you he'll be ready to land us with a month in records if we don't get back soon. We were meant to be reporting when..." he stopped and looked at Bodie. "I know when this happened, Bodie. I was calling out to you when you seemed to disappear in a shower of sparks. I ran towards you, went to the exact spot where I last saw you and felt like I was walking through a strong head wind, but as I saw you disappear through the door to HQ I forgot about it and ran after you."
Bodie blinked. "You're right," he said feeling considerable more cheerful. "So all we need to do is to reverse the procedure."
Silence greeted his words and he felt the prickling unease that had never left him redouble in intensity. He glanced at Doyle and was instantly reassured as they exchanged glances. Doyle stood and leapt over the sofa almost before the others managed to react and draw their guns. Bodie grabbed his double and had the man's own gun trained on him in seconds. Doyle slipped beside him and they backed towards the door, keeping an eye on the three armed agents in front of them.
Doyle edged towards the door and pulled it open slightly, he looked back and gave Bodie the thumbs up. Bodie looked straight at Rachel. "You're not telling us everything, Miss Doyle," he said pleasantly.
Rachel narrowed her eyes and looked beyond him at Doyle. "Ray, we were having so much fun. What's got into your partner?"
Doyle looked at her unsmilingly. "Suspicion, Rachel," he said pleasantly. "Since I really like you I'm hoping Bodie's got it wrong, but I do know something doesn't smell right here."
"Doyle," Bodie said urgently and jerked his head towards Cowley's office.
Doyle looked at him and nodded, slipping out quietly.
Bodie tightened his grip on his double and shook him. "You weren't surprised at me, were you," he said quietly. "You expected me, it was Ray that shocked you. I knew something wasn't quite right from the very beginning, but I was totally distracted by Miss Doyle here."
"Yeah, eyeing them both up and still preferring your Ray," his double said nastily.
Bodie ignored him digging the gun further into his double's neck. "Don't move," he said to Rachel. "I want explanations and I'm prepared to shoot at things until I get them." He heard movement from the hall and tensed until he heard Doyle's voice. He moved slowly away from the door to allow a furious Cowley to be ushered into the room by a gun wielding Doyle who stood with his back to the door.
"Four armed agents against two unarmed men?" Cowley said in disgust. "Well at least we know that when they say their Cowley's best they're not boasting don't we 3.7?"
"Yes, sir," Bodie's double said, grunting as Bodie tightened his grip a little more.
Bodie ignored him, still keeping his gun trained on his double, but out of the way of Doyle's aim. "We know how we got here, Mr Cowley, and we'd like to go back. Something tells me that you all know far more about this than you're letting on."
"Come on, man," Cowley said, his eyebrows shooting up with irritation. "How could we have any influence over your arrival in our universe."
Bodie tightened his grip, checked that Doyle had his gun firmly fixed on the other three agents and smiled tightly. "A couple of things," he said pleasantly. "You're all far too accepting of the situation. You said to this Bodie and me, and I quote 'Like peas in a pod, I still can't get used to it!' and at the time I thought it was a bit of a strange thing to say. Then there is your easy use of the word 'universe' to describe the difference between here and where Ray and I come from. I don't know about Ray, but I'm having incredible problems getting my head round this, and I suspect that if Ray hadn't been so stunned to find Miss Doyle here, so would he." He glanced quickly at Doyle who was watching them all intently. Doyle looked at Rachel and nodded his agreement. "So Mr Cowley?" Bodie asked pleasantly.
Cowley sighed, and motioned to his agents to sheathe their guns. "You're right, Bodie," he said slowly, " and to be honest this isn't something I'm at all proud of admitting to." He looked at Bodie and darted a glance at Doyle and gave a brief smile. "You work well together," he said, "I'm sure your George Cowley is proud of you."
"Perhaps," said Bodie, "but what has this got to do with our being here?"
"Yeah, could we bypass the compliments and get to the facts, Mr Cowley," Doyle said pleasantly. "I'm sure we'll have company soon, and I really don't want to be shooting at people who look like my mates back home."
"Bodie and Doyle are on assignment. They've infiltrated a large and ruthless cartel who will provide anything to anyone for the right money. Absolutely anything. This operation has been running for over six months, we're close to cracking it and we know that several very important heads will roll when we finally go in." Cowley rubbed his leg and slowly sat on one of the chairs. "In the mean time, a highly important member of a highly influential state is visiting this weekend and has demanded that my premier team ensures his safety. He knows Bodie, having met him once before, so expects to see him and his partner."
"So you decide to kidnap us and get us to do the job," Doyle interjected, sounding very angry. "What the hell kind of place do you run here Mister Cowley? Tell the big wig he gets who you can spare."
Bodie smiled, and waited for the man's answer.
Cowley nodded. "And I'm sure your Cowley would say that and despite some irritation and pressure from on high he would get away with it." He sighed and shook his head. "A few years back that is exactly what I would have done, Doyle, and damn the consequences, but now the consequences are too high. Due to some highly inept decisions, a great deal of greed and a highly incompetent prime minister, the last government almost bankrupted the country. The new government has swept the place clean, the scandal is behind us, parliament has instigated huge reforms to ensure that kind of thing can never happened again, but we got sold down the river, and our government doesn't own half the assets of this country any longer....
"And the man demanding your Bodie and Doyle is from one of those countries to whom you are in debt," Doyle finished for him.
"Yes," Cowley said, succinctly.
"Which might explain why you wanted us, but doesn't explain how you got us," Bodie said.
"Nor justify kidnapping," Doyle said harshly. He held up his hand. "Bodie, I can hear voices." He listened intently before grinning. "S'okay, sounded like Betty telling one of the other secretaries off. So, Mr Cowley, how did we get here?"
Cowley glanced at the other agents and back to Bodie and Doyle. "I don't know."
"What?" Bodie asked, totally taken aback, unsurprised when Doyle finally lost his rag.
"What kind of answer is that?" Doyle fairly spit at him. "Look, Bodie and I want to go home, and to be brutally honest I don't give a damn what kind of stupid mess your government got into because we've got enough of our own messes back home to deal with."
"A truthful one," Cowley said imperturbably.
Doyle stiffened. "Bodie!" he said warningly, and dropped to the ground and rolled away from the door as it burst open and a gas canister was thrown in.
The only feeling Bodie had as the fumes spread quickly, was a certain vindictive pleasure that Cowley and his double were going to suffer as much as him.
Doyle groaned, and tried to sit up but a hand on his shoulder prevented him. "Take it easy, Ray," Bodie's voice said, and he closed his eyes, laid back and tried to remember just what had happened.
Bodie's hand stroked his hair and he groaned a little, finding the contact soothing. "Feels nice," he muttered, still feeling a little fuzzy. The stoking continued and he sighed and relaxed a little. "What happened?" he asked faintly. "Remember coming back from that baby sitting job than suddenly turned nasty, don't remember why I should fell like I've been gassed."
"Because you were, sunshine. We've got ourselves kidnapped by another Bodie and Doyle, remember."
Doyle sat up instantly. "We did what?" he asked incredulously, groaning as his head threatened to explode. "What are you talking about, Bodie, and how come you're nowhere near as badly affected as me?"
Bodie shrugged. "They couldn't tell me and their Bodie apart, so they revived both of us almost immediately. You, sunshine, were too obviously the interloper, although you charming double's been along a couple of times to check you out."
"Rachel?" Doyle asked questioningly.
Bodie nodded. "Dear Miss Rachel Doyle was very concerned about you, but not concerned enough to get us out of here."
Doyle looked round the room curiously. "Where are we?"
"Safe house somewhere. Their Cowley wanted us out of the way, and their Bodie and Doyle needed to do something. The doors locked, windows barred, they've left a couple of men downstairs, so unless you can come up with something I've overlooked we're stuck."
Doyle sighed and collapsed back on the bed. "I'll get over this damn headache first," he muttered. "I'm having trouble getting my head round this. It's like being in a science fiction show."
"Star Trek," Bodie agreed, "The one where Kirk and Uhura swapped over. Uhura got this even smaller and tighter skirt than the original and Kirk just had to go around shouting at people and being horrid. Took to it like a duck to water."
"Yeah, that one," Doyle muttered. "Trouble is, what are our doubles? I can't believe that Cowley would ever do something like this--he's got far too much integrity. Mind you, they seem to be in something of a mess here."
"Not our problem, sunshine," Bodie said fiercely. "So don't you start worrying yourself about it."
The sound of a key in the door bought both of them fully alert. Doyle pulled himself upright and sat on the edge of the bed while Bodie took up position next to the door.
"Get away from the door, Bodie," a voice yelled. "I know where you're standing. We're both armed and we'll shoot if you try any funny business."
Doyle raised an eyebrow and cocked his head. Bodie sighed and sauntered over to join him, sitting next to him and eying the doorway with malevolent concentration. Doyle said nothing, watching with amusement as Bodie's double and his twin burst through in the exact same position that he and Bodie would have taken. He yawned and stretched. "What took you so long?" he enquired pleasantly, and could feel Bodie's silent laughter as it shook the bed they were on.
Bodie's double glared at him and stood up, his twin shook her head and flipped her gun back in the holder. They said nothing as Cowley walked in and viewed them from the doorway.
"Ready to cooperate?" he asked pleasantly.
Doyle said nothing, but stared silently at him. Bodie glanced at him and remained silent.
Cowley sighed. "As difficult as this might be for you to grasp I'm the only person who can get you back to where you came from, and I'm not sending you back until you've done the job I brought you here for."
Doyle crossed his arms and continued the silent treatment. Cowley carried on regardless. "Prince Raoul is expecting Bodie and his long term partner, Doyle. You are Bodie and Doyle, you will be protecting Prince Raoul and you will be supported by Murphy and Lewis."
"Been there, done that, had the near death experience," Bodie said sharply. "We are not going anyone near Prince Raoul and his supercilious bodyguards and gun toting 'friends'."
Cowley blinked. "You've done this already?"
"Yes," Bodie said agreeably, "and it wasn't fun. We're not doing it again."
"Interesting," Cowley said, almost to himself and frowned. "Why were you guarding him?"
Doyle shrugged glancing at Bodie. "We were hoping our Cowley would tell us that at our debriefing," he said somewhat pointedly. "All we know is that he appears to have some powerful and determined enemies."
Cowley nodded. "I see," he glanced at them and appeared to come to some decision. "This time you'll have the advantage of being forewarned," he continued.
"No, we'll tell you what happened and you and your men will have the advantage," Doyle chipped in. "We're not working for you, we don't belong here, and you should never have kidnapped us in the first place. Do you have any knowledge as to how our actions here impinge on your universe or affect ours?" He waited for Cowley to answer, but the man remained mute and expressionless. Doyle frowned and continued impatiently. "Your problems are you own, Mr Cowley, not ours. We don't owe you anything, and we are not putting our lives at risk for that man again."
"Ray, the cartel we've spent six months infiltrating does anything, absolutely anything for money," Rachel Doyle said urgently. "It kills for you, obtains kids, woman, men, drugs, paintings, it will supply you with absolutely anything or anybody that you want as long as you can pay their asking price and sign the contract. We have some evidence that a lot of very powerful men are deeply involved in it, and we're expecting something big to happened this weekend and we have to be available."
"It's not our problem," Bodie said angrily, and Doyle knew much of it was due to Rachel's manipulation rather than any lack of concern. He sighed and looked down at the carpet tracing the pattern as it disappeared under the door hoping that Rachel wasn't going to go on. He didn't want to hear their problems; he didn't want to hear the concern in her voice, he didn't want to see the images she was providing come alive for him in her words. As Bodie said, it wasn't their problem, it wasn't even their world.
"Rachel," he said patiently "I do know, I do care, but Bodie's right. We shouldn't even be here; you've got no right to do this to us never mind ask us to risk our lives for your world."
Cowley moved further into the room and glowered at the pair of them, "You're wasting time. You will do the job, you will protect Prince Raoul to the best of your abilities, you will cooperate with us and when the job is complete, then, and only then, will I send you back home." He turned round and marched out of the room stiffly.
Doyle exchanged bemused glances with Bodie, wondering exactly why this Cowley was so bad tempered with them.
Bodie's double smiled lazily. "Got the Cow in a tizzy, Ray, not a clever thing to do was it?"
"Really," Doyle said, interjecting as much sarcasm as he could in his reply. "Since he appears to have absolutely nothing in common with the Cowley I know, I wouldn't have the slightest idea how to handle him, 3.7."
"Come on, Ray," Rachel said impatiently. "The Cow has always done what is necessary to protect CI5 and Britain. I'm damn sure your Cowley is exactly the same."
Doyle looked at her. "With one big difference, Rachel, he's never kidnapped someone and blackmailed them into risking their life for something that is not their concern or their doing."
"But he would if he needed to do so," Rachel said confidently.
Ray said nothing, turning away from her and looking out the window.
"How come this Raoul guy knows you?" Bodie asked his double suspiciously.
His double shrugged. "Saw me with the Cow one op. Rachel was up North on a separate assignment."
"And that's the only reason he wants you?" Bodie asked.
His double smiled. "It's my charm," he said modestly. "Once seen never forgotten that's me. Too charming and beautiful for my own good."
"Not forgetting so engagingly modest," Doyle muttered, casting an amused look at Bodie who raised his eyes to the ceiling before grinning back at him. He looked squarely at Rachel. "Do we get our guns back, and can we trust this Cowley to do as he promises?" he asked her.
Rachel nodded moving towards him and running her finger along his broken cheekbone. Doyle sat still and stared at her.
"I wish we'd met differently, " she said, a little wistfully. "I'd like to get to know you, Ray and your Bodie."
Doyle smiled catching her finger and gave it a gentle squeeze. "I think two Bodie's in one place is asking for trouble, Rachel." He looked up to see Bodie glowering at him. Glancing at his double, he saw the exact same expression of the identical face. He looked back at Rachel who had been doing her own checking, caught her eyes and they burst out laughing. Rachel sat down next to him and gathered him in a hug. Doyle went with it, and found himself enjoying the feel of kinship he had first felt on talking with her.
She gave him a quick kiss and smiled at him. "I really like you, Ray," she said, hugged him again and stood up from the bed. "Bodie and I have got to get back into our roles," she said. She held her hand out to Bodie who took it after a seconds delay. "Best of luck, and I hope to see you before Cowley sends you home," she said, and to Doyle's amusement she gave his partner a quick hug.
Bodie smiled at her and shook hands with his double a little cautiously. His double grinned, crossed to Doyle and pulling him up from the bed, enveloped him in a hug and kissed him in the exact same place Rachel had. Doyle came out of the embrace a little ruffled and was not amused at the sight of Rachel grinning from ear to ear as she looked at both of them.
"Put him down, Bodie," she said cheerfully, grabbed her partner's arm and towed him away.
Doyle watched them go and wondered if he would see Rachel again and how he and Bodie were going to cope guarding Prince Raoul all over again.
Bodie was still trying to recover from being treated like a long lost friend by Prince Raoul as well as trying to dampen down the sheer jealously he felt as the Prince made his appreciation for his partner all to obvious from the very start. Doyle was aloof and acted as if he was completely oblivious to the subtle flirting, something the prince obviously found both frustrating and annoying. Bodie had the uncomfortable feeling that Doyle might well have made an enemy of the man.
The house, gardens and entrance were almost identical to the one in their world, and, all too aware of what had gone wrong the first time round, they decided they needed to be involved in the searching of the cars. Doyle offered to take the first spell at the gate, more to escape the prince than for any other reason Bodie suspected, and left Bodie to be ignored by the bodyguards.
A few hours later, he watched as the silver Rolls Royce sailed up the drive and stifled a laugh as his partner hopped out of the passenger seat and opened the door for the imperious cousin, Prince Ahmed.
Doyle grinned at him as the prince swept into the house, but observed quietly. "Watch him, this one's more in control of himself than the other. I'm going to check the grounds while he's in here."
He waved and sped off leaving Bodie feeling oddly abandoned as he followed the prince into the sitting room. Halfway through the watch they swapped, Doyle rather reluctantly, but Bodie was finding the cold shoulder of the guards and the over friendliness of the prince off putting, and felt that his partner could take the flack for a time. His relief at the arrival of Lewis and Murphy was tempered by the knowledge that he and Doyle had to return to the safe house and were still some days away from getting back home. Hungry and tired, they made a meal from the food left in the house and slept.
The following two days continued in much the same manner with the pair of them splitting their time between searching the vehicles coming in and keeping an eye on the prince. By the fourth day, both were feeling twitchy and paranoid. Bodie took first watch at the gate, accompanied by an over chatty security guard, and found himself unable to keep still. The arrival of the silver Rolls Royce was almost anti climatic, and Bodie took his time checking the car before waving the car and it's ruffled passenger forward, radioing Doyle with the information.
A few minutes later Doyle radioed him back. "Prince Ahmed's collapsed, his chauffeur ran in yelling for the phone and for an ambulance," he said quickly. "Prince Raoul ordered him to be carried into the house so I've checked the man, he's certainly pale and sweaty, as well as unarmed, but can you confirm with HQ that a call was made to the ambulance service from the house while I keep an eye on things this end?"
Bodie called HQ and relayed the request while keeping an ear and eye out for an ambulance. He heard the familiar sound of a siren in the distance at the same time as HQ informed him that no call had been made to the Emergency services.
He quickly radioed Doyle. "It's a set up, " he confirmed. "What's happening your end?"
"The chauffeur's with the prince and one of Prince Raoul's bodyguards is keeping an eye on the pair of them," Doyle answered. "I need to get our prince out of the way."
"I'm coming up to the house," Bodie said, as he began the sprint up the driveway. He arrived a few minutes later and caught sight of Doyle talking, with some animation, to Prince Raoul as a bodyguard looked on silently, and looked back to see the ambulance turning into the driveway.
Doyle finished his conversation with the prince and hurried towards Bodie. "The damn fool won't take cover," he muttered. "I don't think he believes us. He said while he doesn't trust his cousin as far as he can throw him, he's always thought the man was far too cowardly to ever do anything on a personal basis."
"If he doesn't get out of the way soon he'll find out first hand." Bodie said, tracking the movement of the ambulance and noting the driver and his companion.
The ambulance came to a halt and the two men jumped out, bag in hand. Doyle followed, while Bode did a rapid check over the ambulance and followed him into the dining room. The ambulance men were fussing over Prince Ahmed as the chauffeur spoke to them urgently in broken English and Prince Raoul and his bodyguards looked on. Bodie watched all the men carefully, his senses alert for any false movement. After a quick examination, one of the men dashed outside, shadowed by Bodie, and returned with the stretcher. They lifted the prince onto it and walked rapidly back to the ambulance and strapped the stretcher securely in.
Prince Raoul stepped up to the ambulance to say farewell and Bodie tensed. The prince spoke a few words to his cousin and turned to walk away. One of the ambulance men lifted his hand and Bodie spotted the gun. He aimed and fired, hearing another shot next to him. The ambulance man fell forward, a bright spot of red appearing on his chest at the same time as the other man gave a startled shout and collapsed to his knees, holding his arm close to his chest. Doyle, nearer to Prince Raoul, pushed him down and out of the way as a shot rang out from the front door. Bodie covered the two men in the ambulance as Doyle and the bodyguards returned fire and shot the chauffeur.
Within minutes the whole thing was over, the three men disarmed, Prince Raoul helped up from the ground by a falsely apologetic Doyle, the real ambulance called and Cowley contacted and on his way.
Prince Raoul moved towards his cousin and began to berate the man at length, presumably for his disloyalty and stupidity. He kept this up for the full ten minutes it took for the real ambulance to arrive and looked willing and able to carry on as the wounded were checked and treated. Bodie had never felt so relieved to see Cowley's car as it swept up the drive followed by Lewis and Murphy.
Doyle gave their report and as Cowley listened closely, and watched the activity around him.
"You did well," he said, much to Bodie's astonishment, and turned towards the prince. "I need to have a quick chat with Prince Raoul before I get back to HQ, so I'll meet you there." He moved off to speak with the prince.
"At last," Doyle sighed, heading for the car. He dropped in the passenger seat and tapped his hand impatiently on the window while Bodie negotiated his way out of the gardens and headed back to HQ.
"That was remarkably easy in the end," Bodie said, unsure as to why he felt so unsatisfied.
Doyle just grunted.
After some minutes of silence Bodie spoke again. "Looks the same as our London," he said, trying to draw Doyle out of his contemplation.
"How did Cowley get us here, Bodie?" Doyle asked.
Bodie shrugged knowing that he wasn't expected to answer, but less curious about the how than the when they were finally going to get home.
"Do you think it's some kind of device that was developed here?"
Bode glanced at Doyle. "Here as in here?" he asked.
Doyle snorted. "Lucid to the last, mate," he said affectionately, and grinned. "I mean is it home-grown or alien?"
Bodie shook his head. "I don't want to spoil too much, Doyle, but like Father Christmas, Dr Who and Star Trek, little green men aren't real."
Doyle punched him on the arm. "Idiot!" He grinned. "Yet we're real and somehow we got dragged away from our home and deposited here. I'd say that's as bizarre and peculiar as anything they've shown on the telly."
Bodie nodded, his eyes fixed on the mirror. "We've got a tail."
"Cowley's lot?" Doyle asked.
"What's the point? We're not going to be running away when what we wants at HQ, are we?"
Doyle nodded, and reached for his gun. "How long has it been with us?"
"Noticed it a mile or two back, but been convinced for the last few minutes," Bodie said, watching the car intently. He checked ahead, saw a parking space and pulled in without warning. The car behind hooted while the suspect car carried on. Bodie swung out, turned back the way they'd come and accelerated away.
Doyle wound down his window and adjusted the wing mirror so he could observe behind him. "The black car just doing a three point turn and making a complete hash of it? " he asked.
Bodie nodded and put his foot down. After a few minutes of fast dangerous driving he'd lost their pursuers and was feeling far happier, although still faintly alarmed that anyone was interested in them unless they'd been mistaken for their doubles. About to suggest that Doyle radioed into HQ and asked a few questions, he braked instinctively as a large van slewed across the road in front of them and blocked both lanes. Reversing quickly, Bodie was faced by another van and the arrival of the black car. He swung the car sideways, braked and together they opened their doors and swung out, crouching down behind them.
"Three armed men in the van, and two in the car near me," Doyle said quietly.
"Can see three in this van. This could get really messy," Bodie muttered.
"Mr Doyle, Mr Bodie," a cultured voice called out. "We have you surrounded. A gunfight, however good you are, will result in casualties and possibly death. Please surrender, you will not be hurt."
Bodie risked a glance at Doyle who was staring puzzled at the speaker. "I think I've seen him before," he said, turning his attention back to the silently waiting gunmen along side him. "I call HQ and get out a message. You distract him."
"How can we trust you?" Bodie yelled, conscious of the muttered exchange next to him.
"You have my word." The man replied.
"Not good enough," Bodie yelled back.
"They've got a car about fifteen minutes away, and they'll have more units to back us up within twenty minutes," Doyle said. He looked around again. "They're not going to wait fifteen minutes, Bodie. We're on our own here."
"Any bright ideas?"
Doyle gave a snort. "Fresh out, other than I'd feel a lot more comfortable if we weren't stuck in the middle of the road."
"Mr Doyle, Mr Bodie. I'm giving you ten seconds to come out with your hands on your head otherwise we will be forced to take more serious measures."
"Hang on," Bodie said. "I'll back the car towards the pavement and we can take cover behind the cars there." He slid back into the car, keeping his head down, put the car in reverse and let it slip slowly backwards.
"They're fanning out," Doyle yelled, and fired a warning shot.
Bodie ducked as something came sailing towards the car smashing the window screen and fell into the car. Bodie rolled out of the vehicle coughing violently even at the brief contact, and was instantly surrounded by men and guns. They hauled him away from the car and tear gas canister and left him lying on the ground. He was soon joined by Doyle who appeared a little less affected him and gave him a quick check over before pulling him up to his feet.
In silence they were handcuffed, pushed in the back of the van and seated between two heavies. Doyle glanced at the men and pulled a face at Bodie. "Do you think Tweedledum and Tweedledee will tell us who wants us?" he asked.
Bodie elbowed the nearest man. "Well answer the man?"
Neither man blinked.
"Good conversationalist," Doyle said cheerfully. "Guess we can put the world to rights on the drive to where ever we're going."
"Shut up," one of the men snarled.
"Charming and erudite as well," Bodie added.
"Can it or we'll gag you," the other man said fiercely.
"Polite and amiable," Doyle agreed, and gave both men a big toothy smile. "So where are we going?"
"For a drive," one of them said irritation obvious in his voice. "we just do the delivery, so shut it."
Bodie caught Doyle's eye and shook his head. "Hired muscle," Doyle said in disgust and slumped back in the seat. "This is turning out to be a week to remember."
They did the rest of the journey in silence then, blindfolded; they were taken out of the van along a never-ending corridor, down a stairway and into a room. As the last of the men's footsteps disappeared, Bodie spent a few minutes getting his blindfold off and blinked at the lights in the large windowless room.
Doyle emerged ruffled and annoyed from his blindfold and moved towards him. "I'm not getting any clues at all," his said slowly, turning in a circle as he took in the place. "This feels like a nightclub or something."
Bodie took in the velvet curtains around the room, the carpet beneath their feet, the tables and chairs and the stage at one end, and had to agree. "I can't remember pissing off anyone in the nightclub business," he said, walking towards the bar and wishing his hands were free.
"Well no one who owns anything as trendy or posh as this," Doyle agreed, and joining him. He stared moodily down at the carpet and shook his head. "They must have been watching the house, Bodie. That tail was too soon and too convenient, and the vans knew where we were heading. I think they had a trace on the car."
Bodie shrugged. "Anything's possible, it's the why that concerns me." He glance up and saw the pair of them reflected in the mirrors behind the bar. "Can you do anything with the cuffs?"
Doyle shook his head. "Too tight, the guy putting then on knew what he was doing." He kicked at a bar stool and carried on viewing the room curiously. "I can only see one exit and that's the way we came in. Must be another exit somewhere around, maybe near the bar, even a telephone." He pushed his way round the back of the bar and began to inspect the back wall. "Can you see anything we can use to open the cuffs?" he asked.
Bodie clumsily pulled a drawer open. "Never too poised with my hands behind my back," he said, and peered in the drawer. "Got a bottle opener, corkscrew and a few sharp knives," he offered.
Doyle came to his side and peered in. "Any good working with a mirror?"
Bodie shook his head. "Completely throws me."
Doyle gathered up a knife and worked it around so the handle was safely in his hands. "I did a bit of still life and a self portrait using a mirror. Completely throws your perception for a loop, but I can visualise well. Stand here, Bodie, and put you hands on the bar."
"Am I going to have any skin left?" Bodie asked cautiously as he leant forward and place his bound wrists on the bar
"A little to the side and keep still," Doyle muttered and peered intently into the mirrored wall as he worked the knife towards the lock.
Bodie had just begun to relax a little when a key sounded in the lock at the other end of the room. Doyle hid the knife up his sleeve, and the pair of the moved quickly round to stand beside the bar. He didn't recognise the two armed men who entered first, but the third face was all too familiar and highly unwelcome.
Prince Raoul walked towards them, snapped his fingers and the two muscle men moved them from the bar to the centre of the room, removed Doyle's hidden knife and pushed them down in the seats. The prince remained standing, viewing them with undisguised amusement.
"You didn't need to go to all this bother just to thank us," Bodie said, watching the man carefully.
The prince laughed. "I am very grateful that you both did your job so well, but that's not the reason why I wanted to see you." He smiled. "I think your counterpart forgot to tell you that he and I spent a night together, Bodie," he said pleasantly. "He also appears to have forgotten that he'd talked about his partner."
Bodie kept his face blank with an effort, but couldn't help looking over at Doyle, who was watching the prince intently.
The prince smiled. "His was obviously very much enamoured of his partner, and while I can happily see exactly what he might see in you Ray, Bodie was talking about a woman."
"We don't necessarily keep the same partner for...."
The prince ruthlessly interrupted Bodie. "His female partner called Doyle, Rachel Doyle."
"We're partners, but we also work with other people, it's just we work best together." Doyle said easily. "As to Bodie and him pretending I'm a woman, he likes to do that sometimes, likes to wind me up about the length of my hair, calls me his golli. It's just the way the daft sod is."
The prince laughed. "Plausible, Ray, quite plausible, but you see I happen to be aware that your Mr Cowley, or perhaps not your Mr Cowley, came into possession of a fascinating artefact fairly recently. It was found under somewhat bizarre circumstances on a dig in London, and Mr Cowley had a D notice slapped on information about it within hours."
"You're very conversant with Mr Cowley's activities," Bodie said questioningly.
"Know your enemies, Bodie, isn't that what they say. For all his politeness and courtesy Mr Cowley knows I'm an enemy of all he protects."
"Why?" Doyle challenged.
"Power," the prince said simply. "I like power, I don't like sharing power, I enjoy wielding it and enjoy making people do things they don't necessarily want to do. I have the power to make life very difficult for Mr Cowley and his government."
"What has that got to do with us?" Bodie asked.
"Yes, why you? Well because I was suspicious of you from the start, Bodie. You didn't quite act right towards me. I have a very good memory and can clearly recall what you said and how you behaved, so I ordered a little investigation." He took Doyle's chin in his hand and pushed his head up. "Your Somerset House has a Rachel Doyle on record born in 1945, but nowhere can I find any record of a Ray Doyle. I even found fairly recent pictures of Miss Doyle and you and she are identical, Ray."
"Brothers and sister can look alike," Doyle said, shaking his head free of the man.
The prince shook his head. "I said identical, Ray. She is obviously a woman, you are obviously a man, but you're like twins. I'm sure your biology is good enough to remember only same sex twins can be identical."
"I didn't say we were identical, I said we were brother and sister and look very similar." Doyle said carefully.
"And the lack of record of your name?"
"A mix up." Doyle shrugged and looked innocent.
The prince shook his head. "I don't think so, Ray. In fact I know it's not so, unless Mr Cowley employs identical twins as a mater of policy. As you were working for me, one of my employers 'captured' your 'twin' on camera with your 'twin' Bodie. The Bodie I assume I spent that very pleasant night with." He smiled at them both again. "I think you know what I want, I want that device."
"What device?" Doyle asked.
The prince smiled showing his teeth. "The one that brought you here into our world."
Doyle looked across at Bodie and shook his head. "How the hell can anyone say that with a straight face?" he asked.
"You think 'beam me up, Scotty' would get us anywhere?" Bodie responded.
The prince gave them a frosty smile. "The device that you need Mr Cowley to use to get back home. It looks like I'll need to put pressure on him, and since he might consider that expediency determines that he must sacrifice you, I've arranged for another interested party to join us. In fact they should be here very soon indeed."
Bodie exchanged puzzled glances with Doyle and wondered what else could go wrong. He was worried by the implication that his double had slept with the man as it showed an appalling lack of taste on his part if he had. Noise at the door distracted him and he looked up to see Rachel Doyle being pushed into the room.
"Ah, Miss Doyle, welcome," the prince gestured her towards the chairs and she was shoved down next to Doyle.
Bodie sighed and thought deep dark thoughts about the Cowley who'd brought them into this mess. He also waited to see if Rachel was going to display the famous Doyle temper. She looked furious.
"Bodie and I were about to crack an important case you bloody idiot," she said angrily. "Do you know how damn long we've been working on it? Six damn months and you waltz in and screw it up!"
The prince laughed and patted her patronizingly on the head. "Has anyone told you how cute you look when you get angry, Miss Doyle?"
"Untie my hands and say that again, Prince Raoul, and we'll find out how cute you're look after I've kicked the stuffing out of you," Rachel spat back.
"Give him hell," Bodie murmured, trying not to smile at the all too familiar look of anger and frustration on Rachel's face.
Prince Raoul laughed and moved away from her to face Bodie. "I'm letting you free with a message for Mr Cowley, Bodie. Give me the device or lose your agents." He smiled. "I'll let you and your boss ponder on exactly in what way, but suffice it to say that if that device is not in my hands within twenty four hours you will not see Ray and Rachel again."
Bodie stared at Doyle who looked back and him and shook his head slightly. Bodie allowed himself to be led away, given a sealed letter for Cowley, blindfolded and pushed into a van. He knew his own Cowley, and that knowledge gave him no comfort. How ever much he cared for his men Cowley would not give up something so intrinsically dangerous to a man with so little principles as Prince Raoul. Cursing this world's Cowley for his short-sightedness, Bodie wondered at the look in Doyle's eyes as he left them to their fate.
Holding his side, Ray Doyle tried to get breath back. He didn't know how Rachel was holding up, but he was just about beat. He missed Bodie, although fighting side by side with Rachel was almost as good because, in a sense, they were each other, they could predict what the other would do, and the almost psychic link he had with Bodie was present just in a different way with her.
Rachel's voice cut through his musings. He looked up, straightened and fielded the attack from the front man as Rachel kicked out at the man behind. Twirling, he caught his opponent's head with his fist and ducked as the third man aimed a fist towards him. Propelled forward, he continued with his head down and nutted the third man in the stomach. He caught sight of Rachel putting down her man, and turned quickly as he sensed movement from the first man, catching him in the chest as Rachel came at him from the side and disabled his opponent's arm. The man collapsed, leaving Doyle with just about sufficient energy to kick his winded attacker's knees out from under him. Looking at the three men sprawled before him, he sank back against the wall and slid down it, totally and utterly exhausted. A bump next to him indicated that Rachel had done the same, and without thinking he rested his head on her shoulders and closed his eyes. Slow clapping made him blink and sit up straighter.
"Excellent," Prince Raoul's voice interrupted his exhaustion. "Superb, you will get my audience excited tonight."
Doyle shook his head slowly and looked questioningly at Rachel who looked back and shrugged.
"Beauty, speed, agility and deadliness, even the jaded one's will be fighting to get their hands on you," the prince continued, either unaware of his audiences' bewilderment, or uncaring.
Rachel raised an eyebrow and pulled a face. Doyle gave a small smile and silently agreed. The guy was an idiot, a very dangerous idiot however.
"I'll dress you identically, harem pants and a brief jacket, gold chains. Then I'll run the film of you fighting. They'll go wild."
"Harem pants?" Doyle mouthed incredulously at Rachel.
"You'll look cute," she mouthed back, and gave a small snort as he glared at her.
The prince looked down at them and smiled. "And I'll buy you back in about nine months time and bed you both."
Rachel glanced at Doyle and shook her head, but Doyle had no intention of rising to the man's baiting. Over the long, exhausting hours at this man's mercy he'd learnt that any insolence and perceived disobedience from him resulted in Rachel being 'disciplined'. The moment the prince had her held between two men and threatened to give her twenty lashes simply because he refused to refer to the prince as sir had convinced him that mouthing off was not worth Rachel's pain. How Rachel held her tongue as the prince patronized her and groped her he didn't know, because every time the prince touched him he wanted to hit out at him unless he firmly reminded himself of the threat to Rachel. He wondered if it was just because she was female, but he sensed he'd had found it just as difficult if Bodie had been on the receiving end.
"Do you look forward to that, Ray?"
"No, sir," Doyle said expressionlessly, wishing he could tell the man exactly what he thought, and seriously questioning the man's judgement. He and Rachel were trained professionals, able, if not exactly willing, to kill, and you just didn't muck around with pros.
"Ever been with another man, Ray?" the prince continued.
"I don't see that is any of your business, sir." Doyle remained expressionless as he spoke, clenching his fists as the prince raised his eyebrows and lifted his finger for his goons to come close. "No I haven't, sir," he added, glancing quickly at Rachel to ensure that she remained unmolested, angered and a little flustered when her expression changed to one of surprise.
"You do surprise me, Ray," the prince said, apparently echoing Rachel's thoughts. "What is your relationship with Bodie?"
"He's my partner and best mate," Doyle said briefly, adding an unhurried sir as the prince raised his eyebrow again, and wondering quite why people seemed to think the pair of them were sleeping together. To be honest, ever since Bodie's unexpected offer he'd been thinking of him in rather a different light, but it still didn't explain why others thought they were an item.
"I see." The prince turned to Rachel. "Have you slept with a woman, Rachel?"
"Yes, sir," Rachel said briefly, and Doyle found himself intrigued at the thought of her and an unknown woman together, and was immediately disgusted at himself as the prince licked his lips.
"And was she as beautiful as you, Rachel? Describe her so Ray and I can imagine it."
"Why are you so obsessed with our sex lives?" Doyle burst out. "I thought we were the means for you to get hold of this damn device?"
The prince shook his head. "I wanted you from the moment I set eyes on you, Ray and I think you were all too aware of it. I don't like being given the brush off, particularly as your--or I should say Rachel's--handsome partner had happily graced my bed without complaint." He smiled lazily, leaning forward and touching Doyle's broken cheekbone. "Sex and power, Ray. To my mind the two are inextricably linked, don't you agree?"
Doyle shook his head, standing quickly as one of the downed men groaned and began to stir. The prince looked down at them and clicked his fingers. His ever-present goons moved in to take them away, leaving the prince with a lone bodyguard who immediately drew his gun and stood attentively by the prince's side.
The prince wrinkled his nose and glanced at his watch. "You both need shower before the sale. We'll also need half an hour to prepare you, although you'll be the last items. They always say keep the best to last, don't they." He smiled at them and waved them forward.
Doyle held out his hand to Rachel and pulled her up. She grimaced and came up slowly, moving her neck carefully.
"And a masseur, I do believe, nothing but the best for the best, my dears."
Doyle shook his head in disbelief, kept a hold on Rachel, and conscious of the gun at his and Rachel's back, followed the prince out of the room.
Bodie kept hold of his temper with extreme difficulty, all too conscious of time passing. The prince's goons had knocked him out, dumped him. When he'd finally come to, it had taken him an hour to find a phone box and even longer before he was picked up. He'd finished telling Cowley exactly what had occurred and expected a little more concern than he was presently seeing.
Cowley nodded slowly. "This might turn out to be a real coup," he said, directing his attention towards Bodie's double.
Bodie opened his mouth and shut it with a sigh as his double shook his head. "I'm not too sure, sir. I don't like the thought of Rachel or Ray in his power."
Bodie growled. "Will you tell me what you are talking about? This prince has my partner and your partner. He's given us twenty-four hours to hand over a device, that appears to me far too dangerous for anyone to possess--before he kills them. And you think this is a possible coup?"
"He didn't say he'd kill them, Bodie," Cowley said patiently. "If you recall he said we wouldn't see them again. I've been keeping an eye of Prince Raoul and while I have no solid evidence to back up anything, I'm convinced that he is a trafficker in human flesh. We're almost sure that he has contacts and influence with the leaders of the cartel we've being pursuing for months, to be honest, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that he is one of the leaders of the cartel."
"And?" Bodie said impatiently. "We don't know where he has them, you can't be sure that he won't kill them and how the hell can anyone buy two CI5 agents and expect to live and get away with it?"
"Don't be nave," his double said, unflatteringly. "He's got the pair of them. Don't you think with the right pressure Ray and Rachel can be made to sign away their rights? They'll certainly have the lawyers to back up anything and make it legal and above board. We've seen it before."
"Not in my world," Bodie said emphatically. "Things seem to be very different here."
"So you keep saying," his double said cuttingly.
"Damn right I do," Bodie said his irritation mounting. "What are we going to do to free Doyle and Rachel? Have you any idea where the hell they're being held?"
"No, but I believe I know a man who can be persuaded to tell me," Cowley said imperturbably. "While you were being so royally entertained, and before 4.5's abduction, we had some success on naming some of those involved in this cartel. One man is a prominent civil servant. He will be out on his ear when the government gets a whiff of this; they're very anti any hint of dirt after the performance of the last government. Puritanical one might say."
"So?" Bodie said, wondering if his Cowley took as long to get to the point, or if he was so hyped up everything seemed to be damn slow.
Cowley glanced at him disapprovingly, but continued with his explanation. "I can't stop him being removed, but I can, if he's helpful, get him retired rather than sacked."
"You think he's purchased people and might know of this place?" Bodie asked disbelievingly.
"I think he's been the go between for others, yes." Cowley replied. He stood from the desk. "I also know he's claustrophobic, which is a little inconvenient for him considering the size of some of our holding cells." He looked Bodie over and glanced at his double. "Sort out this antagonism between you. We want to rescue both your partners, and I won't have the pair of you growling at each other. When you've done, join me down below, 3.7, and you Bodie, spend some time working out just where you were abducted and what area that night club might be in." He closed the door firmly behind him leaving Bodie and his double looking at each other.
"You slept with that creep," Bodie said angrily. "You created this situation because you didn't mention that to Cowley and you forgot you'd talked about Rachel."
His double grimaced. "I was too wrapped up in this op," he admitted. "Anyway, it wasn't exactly a big romance, just a night of passion."
"With him?" Bodie said scornfully. "What about Rachel?"
"We weren't a pair," his double said unwillingly. "I wanted to be, but she wasn't sure, said I'd love her and leave her like I did all the rest and she wasn't prepared to be treated like that. Took the pair of us nearly dying on an op to come to our senses."
"How heart warming," Bodie said sarcastically, but for some reason relieved that his double hadn't been cheating on Rachel.
"Yeah, well at least we're together which is more than can be said for you and Ray."
"It's difficult," Bodie said, then shut up and shrugged holding out his hand. "I want to rescue Ray and Rachel, I don't want to fight."
His double nodded and grasped his hand shaking it firmly. "Me too," he gave a sudden lightening grin. "Mind you, leave telling your Ray for too long and I'll put the moves on him, persuade him to stay. I get the impression that Rachel would be very enthusiastic."
Bodie gave a wry grin. "If she's anything like Ray you'll never cope with the pair of them," he said.
His double laughed. "Rachel would likely grab you to address the balance. Think on it, you and me as the wrapping of a Doyle-filled sandwich."
"That's not going to help me concentrate on looking for this nightclub," Bodie said, images of both Ray and Rachel naked on a large bed invading his mind.
His double slapped him on the arm. "Me neither," he admitted, and in accord they parted.
Ray Doyle supposed he must have been self conscious at one time in his life, adolescent maybe, but as an adult he'd never had a moment's worry over his body or how it looked. He had felt very ugly when his cheekbone was smashed, but he'd learnt to over come that and found, somewhat to his astonishment, that it seldom seemed to figure in conversation. People took him as he came, and women certainly didn't seem to see anything wrong in him. He wasn't handsome like Bodie, but he learnt early on that he had a very definite appeal that made women very keen to be with him, and he was very comfortable with himself.
But now he felt stupid! He was only glad that Bodie and the mob from CI5 couldn't see him! Rachel however looked stunning. Glistening from the massage, covered in gold chains and bracelets and with kohl lined eyes she looked exotic as well as beautiful.
Doyle shook his head. He was used to be shot at, beaten, kicked, abused and even used as a hostage, but he had never in all his life been treated purely as a sex object and he didn't like it one bit. He stepped back as the woman finished with Rachel and turned towards him, but was pushed in a chair by the prince himself who had been an amused spectator to their transformation from tough agents to foolish fantasy figures.
"You hate this, don't you, Ray?" he said, and laughed as Doyle bared his teeth at him. "Tough, masculine, macho Ray Doyle doesn't enjoy finding out that others see him differently than how he views himself, that the predatory sexual hunter is himself hunted with enthusiasm for his looks and body."
Doyle said nothing, aware that there was an element of truth in what the prince said.
The prince grabbed Doyle's chin and held it as the lady finished off the make up running his finger along Doyle's lips. Doyle held still and reminded himself that Rachel would suffer if he bit the bastard's finger off.
"I hate George Cowley," the prince continued, absently running his finger along Doyle's jaw and down his neck. "I hate his pride in this damn country, his fierce patriotism, his unending determination to keep this island great. I hate CI5 because he runs it and I want to destroy him and his creation. When I come across something or someone I want I take it, and if it belongs to CI5 all the better." He smiled and lazily traced a finger down to the top of the flimsy material. "I showed you I wanted you when I first saw you, Ray, and you made your disinterest very plain. I could take you now and you couldn't stop me, could you? Or I could take Rachel and make you watch. All your training and skills can't compete with my power and money, can they?" He nipped one of Ray's nipples painfully with his fingers and repeated the question. "Can they, Ray?"
"Not at this present moment no, sir," Doyle said obediently, wanting to smash the man's face into the middle of next week.
His true feelings must have shown because the prince laughed and tweaked his other nipple painfully. "I'm glad we understand each other," he said smoothly, and patted his face. He turned to Rachel. "You look stunning, my dear."
"Why am I dressed like this?" Rachel asked, peering down at herself. "Why is Ray dressed like he is? We're professional investigators and agents, not play things."
The prince smiled. "The people I deal with have perverse tastes, Rachel. They want what they cannot necessarily get legally. They want and desire youth, beauty, sex and power. They want to look good, they want the glamorous accoutrements of power and they want to be noticed. What better demonstration than to have two such desirable people as you and Ray as bodyguards? How much better to have those same bodyguards completely in your power, subject to your every whim and command?"
Rachel shook her head. "Too dangerous and impractical," she said seriously. "Do you honestly think Ray and I would ever become obedient stooges for anyone?"
"Yes," the prince said simply, and Doyle was more scared of that simple affirmation than any of the melodramatic speeches the man had favoured them with over the past hours.
He sat back down in the armchair and snapped his fingers. Within seconds Doyle found himself draped over the man's lap and held in place by two of his goons. "I believe you forgot something, Rachel," the prince said, pulled down the fabric of Doyle's outfit and proceeded to deliver twenty firm highly painful smacks to his bare backside.
Doyle realised after the first smack, that he'd never truly come face to face with humiliation. He'd been beaten as a child, fairly routinely, but always in reaction to something stupid, or in a vain attempt to keep him on the straight and narrow. To be treated like this was mortifying, and after one startled yelp of disbelief, Doyle clamped his lips shut. On the twentieth smack, the prince patted his arse, pulled up the flimsy material and let him up. Doyle stood slowly, biting his lip as he straightened. He avoided looking at anyone as he closed his eyes and leant against the cool of the wall.
"You remember what you forgot?" the prince continued.
"Yes, sir," Rachel said quickly.
"You won't forget it again?"
"No, sir," Rachel confirmed, steely anger in her voice.
Doyle flinched as the man stood up and moved towards him. His face was patted and a voice mocked. "Poor boy, yet another knock on that macho image, my pretty Ray."
Fuck you, Doyle thought, but dare not say.
The prince clapped his hands. "I've changed my mind. I want them chained to the frames throughout the sale. We'll keep the lights dimmed and cover them with gauze to keep an air of mystery. Get to it."
The goons and the dresser vanished, leaving the prince, with his bodyguard, watching the pair of them like a vulture. Doyle held out his hand and Rachel moved towards him. He wrapped his arms round her and buried his head in her hair as she did the same to him. He wasn't too sure who was comforting whom, nor who whispered 'Bodie will find us', but by the time they were separated and led away he felt more optimistic and determined.
Bodie was red eyed with fatigue by the time Cowley and his double reappeared. He'd spent time looking through the maps of the area he and Doyle had driven, trying to retrace their journey in the van. He'd narrowed it down to an area in south London, but anything smaller was beyond him. He looked at then hopefully.
Cowley gave a tight smile. "We've got address," he said. "It took a certain amount of persuasion, and I'll not deny I feel a little dirty at the moment."
"If it saves Ray and Rachel from death or worse, I couldn't give a damn," Bodie said fiercely.
His double raised his eyebrows questioningly.
Bode looked a little uncomfortably at Cowley, but answered the underlying question. "He wants, Ray," he said, a little awkwardly, "and I have no doubt that Rachel won't be far behind."
"The prince has always wanted what he can't have," Cowley said imperturbably. "He's a spoilt younger son of a powerful man, and has never learnt to temper his tastes and desires."
"Is it going to be difficult getting anything to stick on him?" asked Bodie.
"Well nigh impossible," Cowley said, "But we can make this island too hot for him to stay in, and I intend to make sure that his father hears everything. The man may be a bastard, but he has some standards." He looked at Bodie's double. "Round up all men available, 3.7 I need to talk to them." He glanced at Bodie. "Grab yourself a RT and stick with 3.7."
Bodie stood next to his double as Cowley briefed the other agents. He was very aware of the fascination emanating from the others, but was comforted by the occasional words of comfort and assurance that they'd get both Doyles back.
Sitting in the passenger seat, he mulled over the past events and couldn't resist asking his double a few straight questions. "Why'd you sleep with him?" he asked.
His double didn't make the mistake of pretending he didn't know what he meant, and pulled a face. "Not sure," he said, and Bodie felt it was sincere. "I don't tend to sleep with men much, more into women, but I was wound up because Rachel had refused me, pissed off at her, and the prince made it very clear that he wanted me." He sighed. "I was flattered and I wanted to hurt Rachel, I suppose, show her I didn't miss her."
"You told her?" Bodie asked, surprised.
His double nodded. "She's always known that I've slept with a few men, didn't mind 'cos she's done her own experimentation." He grinned at Bodie's expression. "Let me watch once, bloody sexy, her and this blonde girl. Eventually let me in on a threesome and I was so desperate I came as soon as they touched me." He shook his head and smiled reminiscently.
Bodie cleared his throat and thought soothing thoughts.
"Ever seen Ray in action?"
His double's question caught him unawares and he spoke without thinking. "We've double dated at times, and Ray's not quiet in his enjoyment. This bird I was with suggested we watched him and her friend on the sly. It was so damn sexy that afterwards we jumped each other and made like rabbits." He shook his head. "Never could tell Ray I'd seen him, not that I think he'd be embarrassed mind you, he a sensual little sod."
"You're in love with him aren't you?" his double said gently.
Bodie sat up and shook his head, before remembering exactly whom he was dealing with. "Think so," he muttered.
"Think so, know so," his double said smoothly. "I'll tell you this for nothing. He loves you; you can tell by the way he watches you and reacts to you. You mean a great deal to him."
"Yeah, but is he 'in love' with me?" Bodie said discontentedly.
His double smiled. "He's ready for the picking, and if you don't gather him in and offer him everything he needs like love, security, passion and companionship, he's going to keep on looking for it until he finds it elsewhere." He grinned at Bodie's incredulous look. "I've been through this with Rachel. I know she's a woman, but mark me, I'd guess that Ray and Rachel are very similar indeed, and that being so, he needs someone like you to make him complete. He's a real romantic at heart. Not like us, we like all the trimmings, but tend to run from the real thing. He, if he's like my Rachel, wants it all, forever, or for as long as the passion keeps burning." He grimaced and shrugged. "I don't know about you, but I was prepared to give up all my philandering once I had Rachel in my bed and fully in my life. She's all I need." He coughed a little and Bodie swore that he could see a faint flush of red along his cheeks.
"Ready for the picking?" Bodie asked in mock amazement.
His double grinned. "Pick a fruit and think of him."
Bodie looked at him and in unison they said, "Prickly pear!" He laughed and sat back and relaxed in the car for the first time. "So I'll slowly and carefully peel him and get to the soft inner core, right?"
His double nodded, then waved at him to take the receiver when the radio crackled and Cowley's voice was heard demanding to know their situation.
Doyle guessed that they'd been spread eagled in the frames for nearly two hours, and his arms were crying out to move. The only thing he was grateful for was that the cuffs were thick lined leather rather than unyielding metal, but he still couldn't get out of them. He peered out through the gauze into the room and tried to make out some of the faces sitting round the tables, but the light was angled towards him and he couldn't see anything clearly. To be honest he would have considered the auction a pretty normal affair if it had not been for the knowledge that he and Rachel were the last lot. Jewellery, houses, cars, paintings, everything had been paraded before the audience or shown on film. The bidding had been quiet, respectable and high. Doyle winced at the figures, wondering at the type of people who could afford to spend so much money on luxuries.
"On to our last lot," the auctioneers voice declared. There was a short silence and the muslin was removed and the lights directed at them. He glanced to the side to see Rachel looking over his way. He gave her a small smile, and looked ahead. The prince strolled onto the stage and stood between them.
"I have on offer two CI5 agents, twins, brother and sister, deadly, beautiful and devoted to each other. Hurt one and you hurt the other. Control one and you control the other." He walked towards Rachel, undid the button closing her top and fondled her breasts looking at Ray as he did so. "Isn't that right, Ray?" he asked.
Doyle gritted his teeth and answered woodenly. "Yes, sir." He glanced at Rachel and saw the anger in her eyes.
The prince smiled, kissed Rachel on the lips and walked over to Doyle. He grabbed his balls and leant forward and kissed him deeply. Doyle kept perfectly still not willing to give the man any reason to hurt him. The prince finished the kiss and looked over towards Rachel. "Isn't that so, Rachel?"
"Yes, sir," she said quickly.
The prince patted Doyle's cheek and returned to standing between them, riding out the storm of voices as the previously placid audience talked among themselves. The whirring sound of the film projector and the play of lights on Rachel's face preceded that start of the film of the two of them, and the audience quietened. The prince let them watch without comment for a few minutes before raising his hand for silence.
"Whoever buys them will have to take them out of this country, and preferably out of Europe for a time. This will be taken care of for you with no damage to the goods in question. All the details of legal ownership will be worked out with you. Ray and Rachel will tender their resignations to CI5 and everything will be legal and above board. As you can see, these two are highly skilled and able agents, they must be kept on a short leash, and care must be taken at all times. Termination is not an option without my say so as I have a personal interest in these two, and would be highly likely to want to buy them from the purchaser at a later date." He stopped and surveyed the audience, then turned his attention back to Doyle and Rachel. "I think the risk is far outweighed by the opportunities, so do I have any bidders?"
There was a long silence, and Doyle was hopeful that the people below him were far too sensible to be deluded into buying them when a voice called out, "Ten thousand pound."
The prince nodded. "We have out first bid, ladies and gentlemen."
"Eleven thousand!" another called out.
Doyle watched in total amazement as the bidding increased, exchanging incredulous looks with Rachel as the price mounted, and trying very hard not to react as the prince pointed out their 'charms' to the increasingly enthusiastic bidders. He wondered what it was that motivated them, but had a gut feeling that the combination of owning two CI5 agents and the heavy sexual nature of the prince's comments and handling of them made their purchase irresistible to some of the more perverted members of the audience.
The bidding was still in full swing when the prince's bodyguard moved quickly onto the stage and spoke hurriedly with his employer. The prince nodded, looking up and shaking his head. He gave a few orders and then turned to face the audience. "I have unfortunate news. Someone, who will regret it very soon and very painfully, has betrayed us. CI5 Agents have been spotted in the building above us. Please gather you belongings and move towards the door in the corner where my man can be seen. You will be discreetly escorted to safety."
A spotlight focused on the area in question, and Doyle watched as people stood and moved quickly towards the exit. The prince moved towards them and Doyle wondered if this was the end, whether the prince would kill them rather than have them rescued.
The prince ran his hands down Rachel's body and pulled her towards him for a kiss before doing the exact same thing to Doyle. He stood back from Doyle and shook his head slowly. "I want to take you, but I know you'll only hinder my escape. It would be such a waste to kill you both," he said. "I should do, not that you can tell Cowley anything he doesn't know or anything of any use, but I don't think I will." He smiled. "This room is set with explosives and I will be priming them on my way out. I rather believe that your handsome Bodies will save you, and to be honest that's a chance I'm more than happy to take." He patted Doyle's cheek and blew them both a kiss. "Farewell, my dears, and remember, I always get what I want in the end."
Doyle began struggling with the cuffs keeping him locked to the frame as the prince left, aware of Rachel doing the same. He heard gunfire in the distance and fought even harder against his confinement as the walls near the bar began to reverberate to loud thumping.
"We're in here," he yelled, as the thumping increased.
The plasterboard wall burst in and both Bodies and a number of other agents rushed in.
"The room's primed to explode any minute," Doyle shouted, conscious of how he and Rachel must look by the expressions of the faces before him. "Get out and evacuate above us."
"Anyone got a sharp knife?" Rachel yelled, as both Bodies ran towards them.
Doyle's Bodie swung back towards the bar and rummaged through the drawer before tearing towards them with two sharp knifes. He threw one at his double who grabbed it awkwardly, and holding Doyle's wrist started sawing at the leather cuffs.
"Got to stop meeting like this," Doyle said cheerfully, worried at the blank look on Bodie's face.
"Got to stop scaring the crap out of me then," Bodie muttered, moving on to the other cuff. "What the hell are you wearing?"
"Not a lot," Doyle said ruefully, slowly moving his shoulder and trying to get rid of the cramping and pain.
Bodie knelt and hacked at his ankle cuff while Doyle grabbed at the frame to keep himself from tipping over. The pain in his arm made him cry out, but he shook his head as Bodie looked up, and steadied himself until he had a foot free to take his weight. He looked over at Rachel, relieved to see that she was already free and being pulled from the frame. A muffled explosion shook the place, and, cursing, Bodie hacked the other cuff off and practically carried him from the stage. Another explosion behind them shook the room a little more and pieces of plaster began raining down on them. Bodie pulled him towards him and together they ran for the gap in the wall. The following explosion shook the whole building and they stumbled up the stairs and out into the street. Doyle shivered in the cool of the spring air and was grateful when Bodie wrapped his jacket round him and pulled away from the building and across the road. The road surface bit into his bare feet and he was conscious of his lack of clothing as he surfaced from the daze of the auction, the explosion and the sheer improbability of what he and Rachel had gone through.
Rachel blinked up at him and gave him a strained smile. She too had her Bodie's jacket around her and seemed more than happy to be enveloped by the arms of her partner. Doyle sighed and leant against the wall, accepting Bodie's comforting embrace as he flung an arm round him and encouraged him to rest his head on his shoulder.
"You've got make up around your eyes," Bodie said after a few minutes.
Doyle gave a tired grin. "And very little else."
"The bangles and necklaces are very fetching," Bodie offered.
"You can have 'em," Doyle said generously.
Bodie chuckled and squeezed his shoulder. "Not me style, ducks," he said, then ran his fingers through Doyle's hair. "Only you could get caught up in something like this."
"I have never, ever in my whole life got into anything like 'this' before," Doyle said indignantly. He looked down at himself and across to Rachel and shook his head in bemusement before looking up into Cowley's pained countenance.
"Very fetching," Cowley said, looking at the pair of them somewhat incredulously, "but somewhat inappropriate don't you think? 3.7, take 4.5, Doyle and your double back to HQ."
"Anyone hurt, sir?" Rachel asked.
"No, 4.5, we got everyone out in time."
"Anyone captured?" Doyle asked.
Cowley looked grim. "None, and the building's a complete mess." He sighed and glowered at them. "I thought I told you to move. Hop it, you're making the place look untidy."
By unspoken assent, both Bodies got in the front of the car while Rachel and Doyle sat together in the back. She leant in to him as he wrapped his arm round her gaining comfort in the contact.
"I kept thinking I was living some kind of bizarre nightmare," she said quietly, smoothing her finger over his broken cheekbone, "only I'd never have imagined you."
Doyle looked at her and kissed her gently. "Does it bother you?" he asked, indicating his cheek.
She shook her head and smiled. "It somehow doesn't detract from your appeal at all," she said seriously, smiling when he laughed. "I was watching you, some times you look absolutely beautiful, a few times when you scowl almost ugly, but you always looked sexy." She shook her head. "No, I'd never have thought you up." She grinned and nodded to their partners, both who were trying to look as if they weren't hanging on to every word. "Whereas two Bodies is a favourite fantasy of mine."
Doyle's dirty laugh reverberated round the car. "Want him on loan for a couple of hours?" he asked.
"As interesting a proposition as it is, I'm taking Doyle home before anything else can happen to him," Bodie said. "Who knows, a couple of buccaneers might fancy the pair of you as their cabin boy and girl, and then where would we be?"
"Weaning you off the drugs you've been taking, mate," Doyle said acerbically. "This would never have occurred if their Cowley hadn't dragged us into his battles. The prince was after that device; Rachel and I were just an amusing game to him, something to use to hurt both CI5 and George Cowley. Plus he had it in for me for some reason." He shook his head in amazement
"I wonder why," Bodie said, sotto voice.
Doyle chose to ignore him, then remembered something that had puzzled him. "Why were you breaking through the wall?" he asked curiously.
"Couldn't find any way to get below," Bodie's double said. "We'd been there for some time, we knew what was above it, we just couldn't find any route in or out whatsoever, I have no doubt we'll find that the real entrance is a good couple of hundred yards away in another shop or something. Bodie here remembered the bar and we tore the restaurant apart until we found some kind of linking corridor, but no door!"
"I kicked the wall in frustration and it put a dent in it so we knew it was plasterboard and just set to," Bodie finished.
"We better tell Cowley about it when we get home," Doyle said. "We could see if anything similar is going on." He peered out the car at the shops and asked. "Got any cash on you, Bodie?"
"Can you hop out and get me some clothes? I'm desperate to get out of this stuff, but I've got naff all to wear." He turned to Rachel. "Do you need anything?"
"We could swing past the flat and pick up some spares." She looked at Doyle closely. "You're slimmer hipped than me and slightly taller, but I've got a couple of pairs of jeans that might fit."
"Okay," Doyle said, curious to see where they lived and what their flats looked like. "If that's okay with you, Bodie?"
"If it saves me money I'm all for it, but I don't want to linger." Bodie said.
"Hold tight," Bodie's double ordered as he did an illegal U turn and raced off in the opposite direction.
Bodie looked round his double's flat curiously. He could see many things that he too possessed, but it was obvious that Rachel had input into the furnishings and ornaments, in fact there was a noticeable woman's touch about the place. He turned to his double who was watching Doyle and Rachel with an amused expression on his face as they conferred over clothing. As they vanished into the bathroom together Bodie waved at the flat and asked. "Does Cowley know you live together?"
His double gave a shrug. "Rachel's got her own place, but we use this one as it's bigger. I'm certain that Cowley knows we're lovers, but we haven't told and he hasn't asked."
Bodie nodded thoughtfully, glancing towards the bathroom as a shriek and peals of laughter filled the room.
His double laughed. "Those two are getting on like a house on fire." He looked over at Bodie and grinned. "She's going to miss him you know."
"Is this the first time she's had a double come through?" Bodie asked, wanting to find out more.
His double looked at him thoughtfully. "Cowley's only used this device a couple of times. Mainly because nobody knows what it does exactly and quite how it works, and he well knows it's a desperate and not entirely foolproof measure. He pulled his own double in the first time and the pair of them went hammer and tongs at each other until they came to some kind of agreement." He winced. "We all tiptoed around never knowing exactly which man was our Cowley."
Bodie grimaced at the thought. "Is he certain that it sends people back to where they came from?"
His double frowned. "I think he must be, he certainly brought his double back on two occasions."
Bodie felt a sense of relief at the statement. He and Doyle had no reason to trust this Cowley, although being as he was George Cowley he tended towards doing so, but it did seem that the man could get them back home as promised.
"As to the doubles, we tried another one of us, but that Rachel Doyle was an artist and while Bodie was with CI5, they were lovers and he was absolutely livid that we'd pulled the pair of them in to another CI5. Cowley got nowhere with them at all and sent them back, so we never really got to know them, which is why he then tried for you two."
"Do you even know what this thing looks like?" Bodie asked.
His double shook his head. "Don't even want to," he said decisively.
Bodie nodded, turning as the bathroom door burst open and two Doyles tumbled out wrapped in towels.
Doyle grinned at him while Rachel grabbed her Bodie and gave him a kiss before dragging Doyle back into the bedroom and firmly shutting the door.
"Ever wanted to be a fly on the wall?" his double asked, nodding towards the bedroom.
Bodie grinned, his smile broadening as he heard more laughter from the room. He looked at his double and as one they burst into the room finding Rachel on the bed watching Doyle lying on the floor pulling up some jeans.
"He thought they'd be a bit tight," Rachel said conspiratorially, a big smile on her face as she watched Doyle shimmy into her jeans.
Bodie took a deep breath trying to calm himself as an unsettling desire to climb on top of Doyle and kiss him senseless clamoured to make itself heard. His double seemed to understand what he was feeling as he placed a hand on his shoulder and muttered. "He's a sexy bugger, isn't he?"
"Yes!" Bodie agreed, quietly. "And totally unselfconscious about it."
Doyle arched, pulled the zip up, grinned happily at his partner and rolled onto his front and stood up, hands on hips, eyeing the three of them with mild bemusement. "Got any t-shirts and jumpers?" he asked, looking at Bodie's double. "Rachel's are certainly not going to fit me, oh and socks, bet no one takes size nines do they?"
Bodie's double shook his head, wandered over to a drawer and fished out a green t-shirt, a cream pullover and white socks. Doyle dressed quickly and pulled on the socks with enthusiasm. "My feet were getting really cold," he explained. He plonked himself down on the bed and waited for Rachel to dress.
She took a look at the waiting Bodies and shook her head. "You're an exhibitionist," she told Doyle affectionately.
"Me?" Doyle said in surprise. "I didn't invite anyone along to observe."
Rachel laughed. "Maybe not, come on Bodie, take yourself and your double and give a girl some peace and calm. You stay, Ray, we've got more talking to do."
Bodie gave his double a startled look, but the man just shrugged, and left Doyle and Rachel alone. Bodie followed him out shaking his head as the laughter and chatting began almost immediately they closed the door. "I get very nervous when those two start," he said.
His double laughed. "She's plotting to get you two together," he said. "I know my Rachel, she loves me, you're me, and she's fallen for Ray Doyle--he's everything she's ever wanted in a brother or a close male friend, so she wants the best for him. Doesn't matter that you're both guys, as far as she's concerned Bodie and Doyle are a pair and that's that. Your poor Ray's not going to know what's hit him when she's finished her heart to heart with him."
Bodie grimaced. "As long as it sets him in the right direction rather than making him do a U-turn just out of sheer cussedness."
His double threw him a beer and settled on the sofa. "Then it's up to you to make sure he doesn't," he said easily, and relaxed back into the sofa.
Bodie eyed the door to the bedroom and thought dark thoughts.
George Cowley looked displeased by their lateness. He viewed Doyle and Rachel gravely and waved all four of them to sit. "I'm glad you could make the time to see me," he said, and gave them all a sharp glance.
"Thought you'd like us a little more respectable," Doyle said charmingly.
Cowley raised his eyebrows. "I'm not sure respectable is quite the term you're looking for, Doyle," he said, "but I'll admit I prefer to see a little less of you and 4.5 than I was seeing." He glanced down at the papers in front of him and stood up. "I apologise for dragging you into our problems, but I'm sure if you put yourself in my place you'd have done the same things."
"I doubt that, sir," Bodie said, and caught the sharp glance Doyle sent his way.
"I'll leave that to your own Major Cowley's judgement then," Cowley said. "I've written him a letter which you'll need to give him on your return." He passed the envelope to Bodie and continued his speech. "Hopefully that will give him sufficient explanation for your absence, and then you won't have to go though a long debriefing. My 4.5 and 3.7 can fill me in on all the gaps, and quite honestly I think it is well past the time you were going."
"What are you going to do about that device?" Doyle asked.
Cowley looked at him. "What do you suggest, Doyle?"
"That you destroy it," Doyle said without hesitation. "It's far too dangerous to be left around for anyone to play with."
"I could give it to you for your Major Cowley," Cowley offered.
"No way," Doyle and Bodie spoke in unison.
Bodie stood up. "Can we be going now, we've been way about six days to my reckoning, and that's far too long."
Cowley nodded. "3.7, 4.5, I need to you to leave now."
Rachel and Bodie's double stood reluctantly and headed for the door. "I'll remember you both," Rachel said and looked a little tearful. Bodie's double waved his hand at them, grabbed his partner and together they left the office, shutting the door firmly behind them.
Cowley regarded them shrewdly. "Is your Cowley's office the same as this one?" he asked.
"Good, stand over by the door will you, open it and go outside, give me one minute, knock and walk through."
Bodie looked at Doyle and shrugged. They followed Cowley's instructions, knocked after one minute and without waiting for acknowledgement opened the door. Bodie was aware of a feeling of static electricity, remembered the shower of sparks Doyle had mentioned and grabbed him by the arm as they passed through the door. Doyle startled yelp was drowned by a roar from the inside of the room.
"Where the hell have you been," Cowley demanded, staring at them with fury and amazement on his face.
"Here and there, sir," Bodie said, and passed him the letter from his alternate.
Cowley looked at it baffled, stared at the writing and looked back carefully at his two men. "Stay right there," he demanded, and opened the letter perusing the contents quickly and with apparent mounting incredulity.
Bodie glanced at Doyle who was looking a little tired and drowsy.
"You expect me to believe this?" Cowley demanded.
"No idea what he's written, sir," Bodie said carefully.
"Some damn cock and bull story about alternate worlds," Cowley said irritably. "How you both acquitted yourself well and he's sorry to have taken you without your say so, but he's sure I'll understand."
"That's it," Doyle said, and tried to stifle a yawn.
Cowley looked at him disapprovingly. "Where are you shoes, 4.5?" he asked.
"In the other place," Doyle said, yawning again. "The other Doyle was a woman, Rachel, and she doesn't take my size."
Bodie noticed that Cowley looked like he was about to blow a fuse and redirected his attention towards him. "We've been dragged off to an alternative England by another Cowley, sir," he said. "We ended up guarding the same man, Prince Raoul, as we did on our last job here and then things got a little complicated as the prince proceeded to kidnap Doyle and his female double, ostensibly to get the device that caused our travel, but mainly because Doyle annoyed him and he wanted to get back at him, CI5, that George Cowley."
"Prince Raoul?" Cowley asked.
"Yes, sir," Bodie confirmed.
Cowley nodded. "We've had our suspicions about young Prince Raoul for some time, but never got anything on him. What was he supposed to be doing?"
"Everything and anything, sir" Doyle answered. "Pretty much what took his fancy. The prince over there was power and money obsessed, but in a very much securer position than our one here." He looked at Cowley. "Are you saying you actually believe us?" he asked.
Cowley looked at both of them. "For all your faults 4.5 and you 3.7, and they are numerous, neither of you are liars, nor can I think of anything more preposterous than this story you've handed me which makes me believe it to be true. Also, I am positive that were this letter to be analysed it would be confirmed to have been written by my hand."
"He certainly wrote it," Doyle said, and yawned again. "Permission to get my spare shoes from my locker, sir?" he asked, "my feet are getting really cold."
Cowley looked at him again and his gaze softened. "Sit down, lad," he said waving him at the chair. "You too, Bodie." He shook his head. "I've had operatives hunting for the pair of you everywhere. Both your flats are staked out day and night and we've been investigating every possible threat to you we could imagine. We couldn't understand why your cars were untouched, parked at HQ. It was like you'd just vanished."
"We did, sir," Bodie ventured to interrupt.
"Aye, I know that now, Bodie, but what was I to think?"
"Kidnap, abduction, extortion, but no demands," Doyle said. "Did you think we'd skipped off, left you?"
Cowley shook his head. "No, I know the pair of you. Both loyal even if you do cause me some major headaches at times. To be honest I didn't know what on earth to think. This," and he waved the letter, " is bizarre enough to be the answer." He shook his head ruefully. "I deal with fact and conjecture, then suddenly I'm handed the intangible and asked to believe it."
"Other than the fact that I really liked Rachel, I'd have been happy to have missed the opportunity completely." Doyle said. "Their Cowley was much like you, but I still don't think you would have done what he did."
"Nor me," Bodie interjected, keeping a close eye on Doyle as he threatened to fall asleep where he was sitting.
"No?" Cowley said questioningly. "Maybe not, but let's hope I never have to find out."
"Yes, sir," Bodie said, and glanced once again at Doyle. "Shall I take sleeping beauty home and put him to bed, sir? We can debrief tomorrow if that's okay with you."
Cowley eyed Doyle with a tinge of amusement and nodded. "I'll call off the surveillance immediately. Go on with you. I'll expect you here at 9.00 a.m for a full debrief. Your car's where you left it, Bodie. Have you still got you keys?"
"I've lost my weapon and ID, sir," Doyle said. "Had them taken off me to be exact. And my clothes, one of my favourite jackets gone." He looked mournful for a second.
Cowley shook his head. "We'll deal with that in the morning. Now home, sleep and I'm going to want a full and frank explanation about what you've been up to tomorrow."
Bodie sprang up, hauled Doyle to his feet, out of the office, into the lifts and down into his car without a murmur from him. He was amused when Doyle fell asleep almost on contact with the seat, but far less sanguine as he attempted to get Doyle up to stairs to his flat, cursing his stupidity when he realised that neither of them had the keys. He hauled him down again, bundled him in the car and set off for his place, managing to waken Doyle enough to get his help to walk him into the flat. Doyle undressed automatically, struggling a little with the jeans, and tumbled into Bodie's bed and was unconscious in seconds. Irritated for no reason that he could explain, Bodie also undressed and got in the bed, pushing Doyle over until they were separate. He eyed his partner ruefully, turned over and fell quickly into a deep sleep.
Doyle's bladder woke him, and he stumbled out of bed and headed for the toilet aware that he was at Bodie's flat and not his own. He relieved himself and stumbled back to the bedroom looking down at Bodie in some puzzlement. Still tired, and sure there was some sensible reason for the sleeping situation, he climbed back into bed and fell asleep. He woke again as Bodie slipped back into the bed some time later. He lay quietly for a few minutes before becoming aware that Bodie was propped on one shoulder watching him. He blinked and looked up at his partner quizzically.
"Anything wrong?" he asked.
Bodie shook his head. Doyle smiled up at him and yawned loudly, startled when Bodie's hand caressed his hair.
"Can I kiss you, Ray?" Bodie asked, and the words were hesitant and so unlike his confident, assertive partner that Doyle blinked in confusion for a few seconds and swallowed.
"Do you really want to?" he asked.
Bodie's hesitancy vanished and he grinned down at Doyle. "Would I be asking if I didn't," he said, mild amusement in his voice.
Doyle shook his head silently, and looked up gravely at his partner. Bodie gave a small shrug and lowered his face until if was a few inches from Doyle's. He waited a few seconds then descended those final inches, reached for Doyle's head and planted a gentle kiss on his lips before just as gently slipping his tongue in between his lips and beginning an determined exploration of Doyle's mouth. Doyle responded automatically, reaching up to Bodie's shoulders and lifting his head a little in order to more actively participate in the kiss. He tried to map the differences between kissing Bodie, a man, and his numerous women, and found that, other than a mild sense of bristle, he couldn't. Bodie was good, very good and he was getting Doyle excited and aroused. A hand left his head and travelled down his body until it met a nipple. Fingers tweaked gently and Doyle arched, he loved having his nipples played with and was very sensitive. The fingers tweaked again, this time with a little more aggression and Doyle moaned into the kiss, smoothing his hands down Bodie's broad shoulders and once again automatically cataloguing the difference between the muscular back and the slighter framed women he normally caressed. .
Bodie chose that moment to leave the kissing and started nibbling a passage down Doyle's neck onto his chest. Doyle wriggled with delight as Bodie's mouth descended on his right nipple, nipping at it until he thought he would go crazy. He arched and rubbed his straining erection against Bodie, suddenly all too aware that Bodie was very male and very different from his usual bedmates as Bodie's erection rubbed up against his. He tried to analyse what he felt, but Bodie's love making, his excitement and the slow awareness of a finger gently ghosting along his anus made him shiver in delight. A few of his more adventurous lovers had indulged in playing with his arse and he loved it. Bodie moved to his other nipple, rubbed up against him and slowly inserted his finger. Doyle responded by kissing urgently along Bodie's neck and shoulders and rubbing himself sinuously up and down Bodie's erection. The bolt of pleasure when Bodie grazed his prostate made him cry out and buck holding Bodie's hips and kissing his neck desperately as he did so. Bodie left his nipples and scrambled for his mouth, massaging Doyle's prostate until, screaming Bodie's name, Doyle arched and came, distantly aware of Bodie crying out and bucking with him.
Lying back in the rumpled bedclothes, Doyle stirred himself to turn towards Bodie who was watching him carefully, a neutral expression on his face. Doyle smoothed a finger along Bodie's eyebrows and reached forward to plant a gentle kiss on the reddened lips. Bodie's expression changed and he pulled Doyle towards him until his head was nestled in Bodie's arms. Doyle lay for a few minutes in contemplative silence, then stirred himself to ask.
"How long, Bodie?"
Bodie shrugged, eyeing him shrewdly. "Months," he offered. "Long before this business anyway."
Doyle ran his finger down Bodie's cheek and shook his head. "I never knew," he said surprised at himself. "I've always felt comfortable in your company, always enjoyed myself best when I'm with you, but I never thought beyond that."
Bodie played with a curl apparently unsure what to say. "Did you like it?" he asked.
Doyle looked at him unbelievingly. "You have to ask?"
Bodie shrugged and gave a small grin. "Not really, you're a sensuous little bugger, Ray. You turn me on something chronic, you know."
Doyle looked at him. "I do now," he said simply, and grinned. "Rachel kept going on about how we were meant to be together, and that prince seemed to think we were an item. I was beginning to wonder if I was the only one still trying to buy a clue, but I've always been aware of you, Bodie." He shook his head not too sure how to explain.
"I want you, Ray," Bodie said, and kissed him.
Doyle bit his lip and shook his head. "But for how long, Bodie?" he said quietly. "I know you, you fall deeply for a girl, woo her and charm her, get her into bed and then the excitement fades. I've obviously missed the fact you like men occasionally as well, but nothing ever lasts with you, Bodie, does it? We have because we're good mates and partners, but however exciting the sex, I don't think I can cope with being one of your numerous conquests."
Bodie took a deep breath. "I love you, Ray," he said, somewhat quickly.
"I love you too, you daft sod," Doyle said easily.
"I'm in love with you," Bodie corrected, a faint tinge of red darken his complexion.
Doyle sat up and regarded Bodie in amazement. "You're in love with me?" he said incredulously.
Bodie remained mute, regarding him imploringly.
"Oh, Bodie," Doyle said and pulled him into his arms and kissed him deeply. "Please, don't promise me the earth and then leave me dangling because it will hurt far too damn much." He felt Bodie burrow his head into his shoulder before the arms round him tightened and he was swept up in a kiss so passionate it left him panting for breath.
"I am just what you need," Bodie said, with a sudden return to his former arrogance. "You need commitment, passion, love and security and I'm the one that can give it to you."
Doyle blinked and viewed Bodie with scepticism. "I didn't bring the wrong Bodie home did I?" he asked severely. "Commitment, Bodie? And since when did I need security?"
"In a relationship," Bodie said, apparently unfazed by Doyle's disbelief. "Look, Ray. I love women, you love women. We've been in hundreds of relationships over the years of our partnership and have any of them stayed, any of them committed to us?"
"The job doesn't help," Doyle said.
"True, but Jax has a lovely wife, nice kids, didn't stop him from finding love, did it?"
"No," Doyle agreed.
"Do you always hope that the next woman's going to be the one to stay?" Bodie asked.
Doyle was silent for a while contemplating the question. "Not always," he said truthfully. "Some are just fun, and we've both known it. I've only really wanted to make a go of it with a few."
"And what's stood in the way?"
"The job, the hours, the uncertainty," Doyle gave a crooked grin. "They have to like you as well because, as my partner, you're an important part of my life."
Bodie grinned. "So we make it easier on ourselves, we spend ages together anyway, lets add sex and passion to the pot and with a sexy golli like you around all the time I can assure you I won't be straying, I'll be too busy getting you into bed."
Doyle shook his head and laughed. "You certainly have a way with words," he said.
Bodie tightened his arms around him and looked him eye to eye. "I want to fuck you so much I can't think straight sometime," he said evenly.
Doyle swallowed noisily.
"I want to be inside you, I want you inside me, I want everything, Ray, and I can't wait any longer. The more I saw of what the other Bodie and Doyle had, the more I knew that's what I wanted. I don't care that we're two men, that's not important. You're important, and having met a female you I can say that I wanted you more than her, however damn gorgeous she was."
Doyle took a deep breath and tried to calm himself.
"So what do you say, Ray. Are you going to give us a try?"
"Women!" Doyle said breathlessly. "What about women?"
Bodie shrugged. "I can still watch them, admire them, chat to them and if you're willing we can even bed them, but you're missing the point. I want you, Ray. Are you going to meet me half way?"
"How's it going to affect our work?" Doyle asked, anything to give himself time and think.
"I've been lusting after you for years and you didn't even notice," Bodie said slyly. "I'd say it would make us a better team. More protective of each other."
Doyle pulled a face.
Bodie laughed, his confidence apparently fully restored. He ran his hands down Doyle's back and rested both hands on his arse cheeks kneading them gently. Doyle took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "I can watch this sexy bum and know it's mine," Bodie whispered in his ear. "Keep a close eye on it at all times."
"Bodie!" Doyle said imploringly.
Bodie laughed again, removed his hands and gave him a quick kiss. "I'm going for a shower then I'll make breakfast. We've got an hour before we have to see Cowley. I'm going to give you until then to make your decision, Ray, I've made mine, I want you more than anything and I'm prepared to make a full commitment to you, but if it's not what you want I'll never mention it again." He gave him another kiss, grabbed his dressing gown and left the bedroom.
Doyle flopped back on the bed and felt like he'd gone through an emotional wringer. He'd sensed something of this nature was about to happen, but the intensity of Bodie's feelings for him had surprised and amazed him. He knew he loved Bodie, he'd told Rachel that, annoyed that she might think of him as lacking feeling for his best mate, he just hadn't realised quite how much he loved him and quite what he was prepared to do to make Bodie happy. But Bodie was asking for everything, and suddenly he wasn't too sure that it was what he wanted, that it was right for them or even sensible. The thought of Cowley's probable comments on the subject made him wince and he pulled the sheets round him, suddenly cold. He listened to the gurgling of the water as Bodie showered and contemplated his future with CI5.
A drop of water on his skin brought him out of his doze and, grumbling, he marched to the shower and washed himself thoroughly, sniffing Bodie's shampoo with distaste as it smelt medicinal and nasty. He dried himself, squeezed himself back into Rachel's jeans and joined Bodie for toast and cereal. They stayed off the topic of their relationship, and Doyle relaxed, cajoling Bodie into taking him back to his flat as he had a spare key.
Once at his flat, he undressed and found more comfortable clothes and slipped, with relief, into a pair of trainers. Bodie grinned at him as he returned, and he smiled back The journey to HQ was enlivened with suggestions as to what Cowley was going to tell the rest of the squad about their absence, and Doyle relaxed even more. The partnership was still there, they were good with each other.
Bodie parked his car, got out and headed for the back door, looking over his shoulder to check that Doyle was with him. They said hello to the doorman, and walked up the stairs, until Bodie stopped him halfway up and looked carefully at him.
"Yes or no, Ray?" he asked.
Doyle took a deep breath and thought of all the women in the future, the possibility of him being a father, the difficulty of sustaining a relationship with another man, the prejudice, the homophobia he well knew existed, Cowley, the job, the secrecy, the deceit--and then took a long look at his partner. Bodie stood silently, no appeal on his face, just his normal expression, waiting patiently for him to decide their future. Doyle shut his eyes briefly and remembered the feel of him and the expression on Bodie's face as he told him he loved him. He opened his eyes and let out a rueful sigh, carefully finding and squeezing Bodie's hand.
"Yes," he said simply, and was rewarded by a surge of joy in the blue eyes watching him carefully.
Good," Bodie said, and grinned. "Onward and upward, oldest first, Doyle." He waved him forward.
Doyle started up the steps and looked behind him. Bodie stood watching his bum, the most evil looking grin on his face.
"Mine," he mouthed at Doyle, and started laughing as Doyle shook his fist at him and sped up the stairwell.
-- THE END --
Thanks: My grateful thanks to Stacey who was the first to read it, liked it and made a few corrections and lots of positive comments, and very grateful thanks and much appreciation to Sara, who pointed out some rather large discrepancies in the first half, insisted I worked on it a bit more and then edited the story word by word. She also accused me of watching too much Stargate. :-) Personally I think that's impossible, who could get too much of Daniel? Certainly not me. This is my first Pros story and I enjoyed writing it. Bodie and Doyle are a fun pair to work with.