He had never felt so frustrated and miserable in his life.

Well, that wasn't quite true; this was a cycle he couldn't break. It happened once in a while.

He found it hard to remember the last time he had been able to bring himself to go to bed with any of his dates. It had been a month at least, a record for him and he craved the physical contact, he needed the release. Nights out with a girl recently meant dinner and a kiss on the doorstep. Lucy thought he was the perfect gentleman and he laughed bitterly at that thought. Still she was sweet and pretty and he knew that when he was ready she would come across; he would keep her for a while after he sorted himself out.

The streets of Soho were wet in the summer rain; he thought that the wetness added to its sleaziness, reflecting the neon signs that promised:

Girls Girls Girls All Nude

adding to the garish spectacle. The rain was getting heavier and he was getting wetter by the minute but he didn't feel it. He was on the prowl and he needed a professional to give him what he craved. He knew exactly where to go. He had come here before, when he needed to. It was easy, no questions asked, money exchanged for services rendered. If he didn't get the services he required soon he knew he was going to explode or mess up on a job or, worse than that, let something of what he was feeling slip. That he knew would do nobody any good at all.

He found the place. It hadn't changed in all the four years he had been coming here. He didn't frequent the place; it was very rarely indeed that he needed to pay for sex. In all those four years he had been here a handful of times when nothing else would assuage the need. At the bar he spotted the one he would have. The correct height and build but very unlike in looks. He drew the line when it came to trying to get a doppelganger. There really couldn't be any substitute for the real thing and it was hard enough that he had to do this.

He was all business as he approached the stranger and spelled out in plain language what he wanted. The deal was struck and presently he was led out toward the back of the building and up a flight of stairs to the corridor lined with rooms. No. 13 was the one where they stopped. He laughed at the irony of it. It was his sheer bad luck that had brought him here and it looked as though bad luck was here to stay for a while.

Once in the room the stranger undressed without ceremony and climbed onto the bed, careful to display the goods for the paying customer. He quickly undressed, placed the money on the small table beside the bed, and climbed in, cock hard as it had been on and off throughout this particularly stressful day. There was no need for names, no need for talk, no need for foreplay.

The full mouth engulfed his cock, sucking with all the expertise of a seasoned pro, as well it should for this was exactly what he was paying for. He relished the feeling and let himself drift, imagining another mouth on him giving him the pleasure without the gaping feeling of emptiness he carried around with him. The mouth continued to work its magic until he warned that he was close and the sucking stopped to be replaced by soft stroking of the hard shaft and caressing of his balls, calming him down. Then a condom was rolled onto him and he positioned himself. He sank into the yielding flesh and felt himself enveloped in the tight heat, so near and yet so far from what he craved, and he began to pump. Withdrawing to the tip and plunging back into the gripping hole, in and out and in and out. Imagining he was inside someone else entirely -- what would it be like? He knew it would be good, he knew it would be the best. How could it not be heaven being inside the one person in the world you loved with all your heart, the one person you would die for, the person you knew you lived for?

Pictures of his love played across his minds eye. Happiness, sadness, laughter and pain but each one beautiful and out of his reach. His mind full of images, he could feel himself on the edge and was glad of it. One, two more thrusts and he fell over the cliff. The name on his mind spilled over as he came and he heard the anguish in his voice as he called out:

"Oh God... Ray!"

Bodie collapsed on top of the man he had paid for and after getting his breath back he slowly withdrew his softening cock from the arse it had been buried in. He removed the condom and threw it into the bin at the side of the bed. Rolling onto his back he covered his eyes with his arm and tried to calm down, to stop the stinging in the back of his eyes from turning into tears and spilling into the open to be seen by the stranger he had just fucked.

He knew the man was watching him. He didn't want to look at him; he kept his arm over his eyes hoping that the guy would take the hint and just leave.

"You paid for an hour, do you want me to stay?" The voice sounded loud in the room now that his breathing had returned to normal and he certainly did not want the man to stay.

"No it's fine really. You can go; I left the money on the table. Thank you," Bodie replied, keeping his arm firmly in place over his eyes.

The man had already moved off the bed and was in the process of getting dressed. "Any time. You have the room for another half an hour. Stay if you want," he said, sounding strangely cheerful, before Bodie sensed him removing the money from the table and heading for the door. "Bye then."

A click of the door closing and Bodie was alone. He removed his arm and blinked at the sudden light, his damp eyes taking some time to adjust. Strangely enough, he felt better, he knew he would be better able to cope than he had been in weeks. He might even give Lucy a call and arrange a date -- he might even be able to follow through.

He got up from the bed and began to dress, pulling on his cords and polo neck sweater. He caught sight of himself in the small mirror on the wall and turned to regard his reflection more closely, stunned at how bad he looked. He reassured himself that now he was feeling better he would be back to his old self in no time. He wondered, not for the first time, what any woman saw in him, especially when he had let himself go so much in the past few weeks. Bodie shook himself out of his reverie and finished dressing. Pulling on his damp sheepskin coat, he left the room and the building and headed for home, the sharp pain in his chest having receded to a dull one, a type of pain he knew he could live with till the next time.

He arrived back at his flat exhausted. He intended to have a shower and go straight to bed, tomorrow would be a better day, he knew it would.

He noticed the light flashing on his CI5 issue answer machine and pressed the button to hear the messages, there were four in all.

Message 1 clicked;

"Bodie mate, phone me when you get in."

Message 2 clicked;

"Me again, phone me."

Message 3 clicked;

"Bodie, its Lucy.... Look I'm sorry; I don't think we should see each other again. I know I should have told you face to face but I can never get a hold of you. I just can't be with someone who doesn't find me attractive enough to even make a pass at me. God, I feel so stupid saying all this to a machine -- anyway, no hard feelings. Bye Bodie."

Perfect end to a perfect day, Bodie thought. At that moment the voice of the person who was, through no fault of his own, the cause of the problem, broke through again.

Message 4 clicked;

"Bodie! Where the hell are you. Phone me for God's sake, I'm getting worried."

Bodie sighed. He decided to have a shower and a bite to eat before he phoned Doyle back. He stripped in the bedroom, walked into the bathroom and turned on the spray of the shower. Letting the water run for a while, he looked at himself in the mirror. He looked tired but less stressed. He stepped into the shower and stood under the spray, feeling the tension seeping out of his body, washing down the drain along with his sweat and the evidence of his trip to Soho. He stayed under the spray and when the water started to run cold he turned it off and stepped out, grabbing a towel and rubbing the soft cotton over his body. When he was finished he padded into the bedroom and flopped onto the bed, tired enough to sleep but knowing full well that if he didn't phone Doyle now, his partner would come over to the flat, and that was the last thing he needed or wanted.

He picked up the phone and dialled the number. Doyle answered on the third ring.


"It's me Ray," Bodie said.

"Bodie! Where the hell were you? I've been trying to get you all night -- you didn't have your RT with you."


"No nothing like that, just like to know where you are, mate, don't have to worry about you getting yourself into trouble if I know where you are," said Doyle, voice quiet and full of concern and it sounded so sexy to Bodie that he couldn't stand it and exploded.

"I'm not a bloody child Doyle, I don't need your permission to go out. Bloody hell, we are off duty, I heard Cowley say so myself so I don't need to report my whereabouts to you 24 hours a day." His outburst was greeted by a stony silence on the other end of the phone, a silence only filled by his own heavy breathing, and he regretted losing his temper. Doyle was an infuriating bastard at times but he had really done nothing to incur Bodie's fury tonight and so, contrite, Bodie apologised.

"Sorry Ray, didn't mean to blow up at you. I'm just in a mood. Needed to go out for a few hours, clear my head, and you're right I should have taken the RT," he said his voice calmer and more soothing.

"S'all right, sorry I came over all mother hen, it's just that it's not like you to disappear without a word. Anyway, I was going to ask if you and Lucy wanted to come out on a double with me and Sarah, but she cancelled on me, so when I called the second time I was just going to ask if you fancied a pint. When you didn't get back to me I started to worry. Where'd you go anyway?"

"Nowhere special, just went for a drive."

"Yeah, or what passes for driving in your case." Doyle interrupted and Bodie was happy that they seemed to be returning to the normal banter they were used to.

"Ha bloody ha." Not a very witty comeback but he was tired.

"So you and Lucy fancy doubling tomorrow night then?" asked Doyle and Bodie decided to come clean.

"No can do, mate, the lovely lady just dumped me and I can tell you it's not something that a man of my beauty and intelligence is used to." He could hear Doyle laughing down the line. That wonderful, full, dirty laugh that twisted Bodie's insides.

"Jesus, Bodie, I don't think I have ever known any buxom beauty to dump you when you didn't want them to -- this is definitely one for the record books," Doyle said, laughing in between words, then suddenly stopped in his tracks, lowering his voice once more to the concerned tone that had caused Bodie's explosion earlier.

"Was that why you were in such a mood? Were you really upset about Lucy? I didn't think you two were that close." Talking almost to himself, then. "Were you in love with her?"

It was Bodie's turn to laugh:

"Don't be daft Sunshine, I hardly even knew her. No, just needed a change of scenery, that's all."

"OK. You picking me up in the morning then?"

"Yeah, usual time. Don't sleep in. Goodnight Ray."

"Night Bodie." With a click he heard Doyle hang up the phone and he did likewise.

Sitting in his bedroom in the dead of night having a conversation with Doyle on the phone seemed to Bodie to be a curiously intimate thing to do. He wondered whether any of the other teams in CI5 ever did such things -- he doubted it. He and Doyle had a very close partnership. Their closeness had been commented on more than once and people could only marvel at their near-telepathic ability to anticipate each other's actions in life-or-death situations. They worked as one, so close that from the start it became harder and harder to separate their work and social lives.

For Bodie it had happened in gradual, almost natural stages that he had fallen for his partner until he was completely in love with Doyle. Most of the time it was good. He knew he was the closest person in the world to Doyle and the friendship alone was enough, most of the time. He was human after all and the want that he kept hidden down within himself had a tendency to surface now and again until the pain of wanting Doyle became too much and he was driven to do the only thing he could using his imagination and a trip to Soho.

Completely knackered now, he fell asleep.

Doyle bounced down the steps of his flat with all the grace Bodie had come to expect from his partner. Bodie was given the opportunity of watching him from the car and groaned a little when he noticed that Doyle was wearing his beige shirt, one that Bodie really loved on him, and as always seemed to have no use for the buttons. He opened the door;

"Mornin', Sunshine," he said, beaming a smile at Bodie who could feel himself begin to flush at the breathtaking picture that his partner presented. Bodie was concerned that Doyle was entirely too cheerful. Doyle was never this cheerful in the morning and Bodie was never graced with the types of smiles Doyle was giving him now, not at this time in the morning anyway. He felt unnerved.

"What's got you so bloody cheerful."

"Nothin' -- it's a beautiful day, Bodie, is it really so shocking to see me in a good mood?" he asked, and after a thoughtful pause continued, "Yeah, I think it must be shocking, `specially first thing. Maybe I've turned over a new leaf." He finished seemingly just as put off by his mood as Bodie was.

"Hah! Not bloody likely. Come on, best get to work before the Cow sends a search party," said Bodie quickly, trying to get back to business.

The day progressed as normal, following some leads, reading files, but nothing big was cooking and so George Cowley decided to stand down 4.5 and 3.7. They were dismissed, sent home to be ready when needed, and Bodie decided he was very happy with this turn of events. He needed some time to himself; he needed to decide what to do. It was obvious to him that it hadn't worked this time, and he was afraid of being on a job and being distracted by Doyle and messing up and getting one or both of them killed because he could not stop looking at and thinking about his partner and what he wished he were doing to him, with him. He had known for some time now that it was getting harder to hide and when he had wakened up that morning the pain, which was supposed to have receded to acceptable levels had returned. When Doyle had climbed into the car and sprawled in the seat and beamed at him he knew he lost the battle for sure this time. It was do or die. Time to move on.

Doyle had talked him in to going for a drink that night and he resolved to tell his partner then that he was leaving the squad. He thought Doyle would be upset and try to talk him out of it but he thought in the end that he would accept Bodie's decision and wish him well. Lost in his thoughts he realised suddenly that he was at Doyle's place and realised also that he had not spoken a word to his partner since they had left HQ. He knew that Doyle would notice that he was in some sort of a mood and would ask why, so he spoke first.

"God, I'm knackered, hardly slept last night, be glad of a kip for a couple of hours before we go out on the town."

"Yeah," said Doyle. "What time?"

"Half seven. I'll come round before and we can have one for the road."

"OK then. See you later," he said, getting out of the car and bounding up the steps to his flat. Bodie watched him from the car, waited till he was inside and drove off, his head spinning at the thought of telling Doyle that he was leaving.

"Come on up, Bodie." Doyle's voice came through the intercom as he was buzzed in. He found the door ajar and heard Doyle's singing coming from the bathroom.

He moved to the drinks cupboard, poured two large scotch's and carried them into the bathroom where Doyle, a towel wrapped round his waist, stood shaving in front of the mirror. He turned when he heard Bodie come in and smiled.

"Wrap your laughing gear round that, Sunshine." Bodie handed Doyle the glass of whiskey.

"Thanks, you seem to be feeling better mate. Get some sleep?"

"Yeah, was out as soon as my head hit the pillow, got a good two and a half hours and I am definitely feeling on form. Where are we headed anyway?"

"Thought we'd go into town, try out a new pub Murph was telling me about. Since we're stood down we can afford to paint the town red, my son." said Doyle, face contorted, trying to shave and talk at the same time. Bodie felt relaxed and comfortable. He enjoyed it when they were like this and a night out on the town seemed just what the doctor ordered. He decided he would tell Doyle later. They could enjoy tonight and then he would tell. He smiled at Doyle.

"The ladies better watch out tonight," said Bodie, rubbing his hands together. "I am definitely in need of a good fu..."

"Watch it, Bodie, we'll have none of that dirty talk in this house," interrupted Doyle, shaking his finger at his partner. His wide grin belied his admonishing tone. They both laughed and Bodie was glad he had decided to come out tonight. Bodie retreated to the living room and Doyle turned to finish shaving.

They arrived at the bar and just as Murphy had promised it was a sea of lovely women. They ordered a couple of pints before finding seats in the back corner with a good view of the rest of the bar. Their training was always at the forefront and even when off duty they hated to be surprised. The seat also afforded them a good view of the talent on offer and Bodie had noticed that a few of the women had already noticed them. He was glad. He really couldn't be bothered with the hearts and flowers routine tonight. He was content to let the women come to them, take his pick and get laid. He didn't have to wait long. As two of the women approached Doyle nudged him and spoke in a low voice.

"Which one do you fancy then?"

"The one with the curls, my son, the one with the curls," Bodie replied, smiling at the ladies as they approached.

"Fine, I'll have the brunette."

Bodie offered them a seat and they began to talk. The girls seemed pleasant enough and Bodie threw himself into the conversation using all his charm to guarantee he'd have company in bed tonight. Through the laughter he noticed that Doyle had not fully entered into the spirit of the evening and when the girls went to the loo, together of course, he enquired as to the reason for Doyle's lack of enthusiasm.

"Nothing's wrong, Bodie, I just thought we'd have a bit more time on our own before going through the motions with a couple of birds. It's nothing really. I just thought we could do with, I don't know, just talking." Doyle wanted some time with Bodie. He really hadn't counted on female company so soon in the night and he had just broken it off with Sarah. But Bodie wanted this and so he decided to play along.

"Want me to get rid of them, sunshine? We could go on somewhere else." Bodie replied and continued, "There was something I wanted to talk to you about anyway, so if you don't fancy a night with the girls..."

Doyle cut in.

"No, it's fine. I quite fancy a fuck myself now. Let's see if we can get them back to my place and get them horizontal," he said, giving Bodie a wink just as the girls returned.

The four of them got out of the cab and started up the steps to Doyle's flat, their progress hampered by stopping to kiss and fondle on the street and steps. Bodie and Doyle had realised when the girls readily agreed to come home with them that they had been out for exactly the same thing the boys had and they were glad. The cab ride had been fun, both girls on the brink of really going much further than they should in public and it was probably only the fact the Bodie and Doyle were not drunk that prevented the cabbie from reporting them to the police for lewd behaviour.

When they finally made it inside the flat there was no preamble, no coffee or drinks. They made straight for the bedrooms. Doyle was lucky enough to have scored a two-bedroom flat this time round so both couples would be relatively comfortable. Doyle and Bodie shared a knowing smile with each other before disappearing into the rooms.

Bodie knew that this was exactly what he needed and Donna was definitely the type of girl who could give it to him if the cab ride was anything to go by. She was quite tall and very slim, her hair a cascade of honey-blonde curls to her shoulders, and she was pretty. She seemed to be fairly intelligent too although that didn't matter too much to Bodie, conversation not top of his list of priorities this evening.

In the adjoining room Doyle was already enjoying an incredible blowjob. Andrea had wasted no time. He was still clothed although his trousers and briefs had been pushed down around his ankles. Her chin-length black hair was covering most of her face as he looked down on her dark head between his legs. His cock was glistening with her saliva as it disappeared into her mouth and reappeared as she sucked him with the expertise of a pro. He began to worry that this would all be over before it had really begun, so he stopped her ministrations and pulled her up against him and kissed her thoroughly in order to slow things down a little before he began to divest her and himself of their clothes. With that accomplished the made it to the bed.

Bodie was working his way down Donna's body, kissing, licking and nipping, and she was responding very vocally to his every move. He lavished attention on every piece of skin, enjoying the scent and feel of her body, so different from the feel of his last sexual encounter that at this point in time seemed a lifetime ago and not just last night. When he arrived at his destination he braced her hip with his hands before nuzzling the thatch of hair at her centre. Using his thumbs he parted her lips and began a slow torturous assault on her clit, eliciting moans and cries from Donna as she sought to buck her hips in an attempt to increase the pressure. Bodie was good at this and he made sure to draw out her pleasure, bringing her to the very brink before slowing down again. When the time was right he used his fingers to begin a gentle probe of her vagina, speeding up and slowing down till she was on the edge, flicking his tongue over her clit and fucking her with his fingers till finally she came with a sharp cry. Bodie knew Doyle could probably hear everything in the next room and tonight that gave him a strange sense of satisfaction.

Next door Doyle was in the throes of his own passion. The fact that he could hear Bodie and his bird had only heightened his own arousal. He never realised that hearing Bodie fuck a girl could make him so hard and Andrea really thought that it was her lucky night.

Bodie turned Donna over onto her knees and entered her with one thrust, his cock rock-hard and begging for release. He stopped and through the wall he could hear Doyle's grunts as he enjoyed himself with Andrea. The sounds sent a bolt of arousal straight to his groin. Pictures of Doyle fucking so close to him filled his head and he began to pound into the tight wet hole.

Andrea's hands were gripping his arse as she pulled him closer, urging him on.

"God, yes, yes, harder.... Yes."

She removed one hand from Doyle's arse and brought her fingers to his mouth. Doyle sucked two of them in, still plunging in and out of her as she thrashed around the bed. He was getting very close to the edge and knew that he wouldn't last. He felt a pressure at his anus, a slick fingertip ringing the tight pucker of flesh, but he was too far-gone to let it worry him. Suddenly the digit penetrated and Doyle was assaulted by sensations he had never experienced before and he had no time to analyse them. The feeling pushed him over the edge and he came with a growl.

"Oh fuck yes!!"

He was spent and collapsed onto Andrea, his softening cock slipping from her as he pulled her into a loose embrace and exhausted fell asleep.

Bodie, hearing Doyle's cry of release, gave one final thrust into Donna and came hard, biting his lip in order to prevent shouting Doyle's name as his hot seed shot deep into his bed mate.

He kissed her back and settled them both down on the bed.

Donna's breathing evened out and Bodie was sure she was asleep. He wished for sleep, he did not want to think. He couldn't believe tonight. Sure they had had sex with birds in each other's flats before, but never had he been able to so clearly hear his partner in the throes of passion and it had really pissed him off and turned him on. This was really getting out of hand. Bodie drifted to sleep unable, to keep his eyes open anymore.

Bodie woke with the sun. Sometime during the night Donna and Andrea slipped out of the flat. Bodie remembered her kissing him and telling him she had a great time. He had tried to give her his best smile but given the state of his consciousness he wasn't sure it had had the desired effect. Before he fell back to sleep Donna had said something to him, it crept back to him now that he was wakening.

"Last night was great, but you should tell her how you feel, Bodie."

"Uh..." was all he had managed in reply.

"You're really good, Bodie, but a girl knows when the guy who is fucking her wishes she was someone else. You should tell her how you feel." With that she left.

Bodie mulled it over. There was no way he was that transparent. He must have let something slip. He began to laugh at himself, thinking how much easier it would be if his feelings were for a girl. Bodie laughed and laughed, rolling around the bed, unable to stop. Every time he thought about his situation it made him laugh harder. He didn't hear the soft knock on his door and was not prepared for the sight that greeted him when he emerged from under the duvet, tears of laughter running down his cheeks. Doyle was standing there in pyjama bottoms, hair a mess, a very puzzled look on his face.

"What the hell is so funny at this time of the morning, Bodie?" he growled.

Bodie laughed again but willed himself to calm down as Doyle advanced and climbed onto the bed, lying down on top of the duvet.

"Sorry, sunshine. Did I wake you?"

"No, been awake for a while. Decided to see if you were all right when I heard the racket coming from in here. The walls are very thin, you know." He finished with a knowing smile and a nod towards the stud wall that separated the rooms.

"Yeah, I know," he replied, looking at his partner, eyebrow arched and a slight smirk on his face, but in reality Bodie was getting scared. The fact that Doyle had acknowledged that they could hear each other last night meant that he wanted to talk about it. They often talked about sex, it was not unusual, they sometimes went into great detail about their exploits, but Bodie didn't know if he could take it now. Not with his feelings for his partner just below the surface, looking for any chance to escape into the open.

"Bodie?" asked Doyle, shuffling down the bed in order to make himself more comfortable.


"Did anyone... no, has any girl ever... did you ever..." He trailed off and Bodie could see that he was embarrassed by what ever was on his mind -- his cheeks had coloured slightly.

"Ray, it's OK. Come on; ask me whatever you want. This is me, remember, no need to be embarrassed," Bodie said in a soft voice in order to reassure his partner.

"OK. Has a girl ever, you know, when you were doing her, has she ever..." he sighed and finished quickly "put her finger up your arse?" He glanced up at Bodie and quickly back down to the duvet where his fingers were tracing the round pattern with great care. To Bodie, Doyle looked for the entire world like an innocent child and Bodie decided to play it straight.


Doyle looked up at him then, taken aback, eyes wide with a mixture of disbelief and relief.

"Really?" he asked quickly, then, "Did you like it?"

Bodie took a breath and answered, deciding again that honesty was the best policy, "Yes."

Doyle looked at him in amazement.

"Did the lovely Andrea introduce you to something a little different last night then?"

"Yeah, she did."

"Did you like it?" Bodie asked.

"Yes... No... I don't know Bodie, I thought only queers liked that sort of thing and, well, I'm not ... but it was different. I think maybe I did like it, came like a fucking freight train, definitely a night to remember. Eh?"

"Yeah, was a good one all right," replied Bodie, voice soft, head bowed, feeling as if he had been kicked in the gut, Doyle's words, or rather ramble - I thought only queers liked that sort of thing and well I'm not - echoing in his head.



"Last night in the pub you said you wanted to talk to me about something. What was it?" Doyle asked.

Bodie was flustered. There was no way he wanted to get into this now. Not when he was feeling so raw. So he put on his best Bodie mask and told a lie.

"Can't remember. Can't have been that important if I can't remember. Probably just one of my tall tales, Ray," he finished smoothly and Doyle shrugged.

"OK. Shove over, will you. No point me getting up and going back in next door. We can both get a few extra hours kip here. Then, Bodie sunshine, I'll make you a breakfast fit for a king, need to make sure all that energy I heard you expend last night is replaced. Can't have you wilting halfway through one of Cowley's briefings or he'll have us on some bloody babysitting job as punishment."

"Breakfast with all the trimmings, Ray?"


"Can wait. Night, sunshine," said Bodie trying to sound casual and succeeding.

"Night, Bodie."

Soft and even breathing made Bodie aware that Doyle was asleep. He let out the breath he never knew he was holding and opened his eyes. Doyle had elected to sleep facing him and he was able to drink his fill of the sight of Ray Doyle lying in bed beside him. It was too much. He needed to get up out of bed before he did something stupid. However he was aware that if he did get up Doyle would wonder why and would question him about it. He decided to stay. It wasn't the first time they had shared a bed. Usually on assignment they shared a room but sometimes there was only one bed in the room and they had to make do; sometimes it was in one or the other's flat when the sofa seemed like a penance rather than a blessing and so they shared. He had always been able to handle it.

He thought about what Doyle had said. He didn't know why it had hurt him so much, he had always known that Doyle was as straight as a die, but to have it said out loud extinguished even the smallest flicker of hope that Doyle would ever return his affection. The ache in his chest was worse than it had ever been; he knew that he couldn't stay. Bodie, exhausted, finally fell asleep. He woke some hours later with Doyle wrapped round him. Sometime in their sleep they had managed to gravitate toward each other and had wound up twined in each other's arms. Bodie decided to make the most of it and settled back down to sleep. He knew this was the last time they would be this close.

They were still stood down the next day but Bodie couldn't wait. He decided to go to HQ in order to tell Cowley that he was resigning. Straight after that he would tell Ray and then he would leave. He felt better for having made the decision and knew that this time nothing would dissuade him from it.

Driving through the streets of London in the silver Capri, Bodie felt freer than he had in a very long time. This time tomorrow he would be on his way somewhere different. He hadn't really thought about where yet. He might even take a two-week holiday before looking up any of his old friends for work. He pulled into HQ and parked the car. Whistling he made his way inside the building and headed straight for Cowley's office.

Doyle had decided to have a lie in. It was the last day being stood down and he planned to spend most of it relaxing in his bed, by himself, selfishly. He had enjoyed the days off. He had enjoyed the night out with Bodie and the next day they had spent together tinkering with the bikes. He wondered what Bodie was up to now.

Doyle got up to make himself a cup of tea and some toast. In the kitchen his thoughts drifted back to the night he and Bodie had spent with the girls. He thought about Andrea and knew that she was the best he had had in some time and the added excitement of penetration; he was getting hard even thinking about that. He definitely had liked it, although it was a strange feeling of being full even with only a finger, it had turned him on something rotten. It was something he would definitely repeat if the girl were willing.

Yesterday morning had been weird though. When he went into Bodie's room to see what all the laughing was about he really didn't expect to ask Bodie if he had ever had it done. More than that he hadn't expected Bodie to tell him he had and that he had enjoyed it. When he had asked Bodie the question he had seen all the emotions pass over Bodie's face before he decided to tell Doyle the truth. Not like his partner to be so open. Yes. they talked about sex, but most of it was tall tales, boasting and exaggeration. But Bodie had been serious - this is me remember, no need to be embarrassed - and he wasn't, he could have told Bodie anything at that point. He should have told him then, he had been stupid; instead of making that ridiculous comment about queers he should have opened up and told Bodie exactly how he had got his broken cheekbone. Bodie had asked about it often enough - no need to be embarrassed -

Waking up in Bodie's arms had been a shock. Before coming into full consciousness he remembered feeling warm and safe and in a place he wanted to be. He had slowly opened his eyes and realised he had attached himself to his partner and Bodie had simply accepted the situation and made him more comfortable. He had watched his partner in sleep. Bodie had seemed peaceful, however Doyle could see a change in his face every so often, betraying some worry his partner had. At those times Doyle had had to hold himself back from reaching out and smoothing away the lines of worry etched on to his partner's face. He didn't think that Bodie would have appreciated being petted by his partner no matter what the circumstances.

Still, he felt content and happy as he made his way back to bed with his tea and toast and a good book waiting.

His phone rang before he had finished the second page and that was the end of leave. He dressed quickly and headed straight for HQ.

All hell had broken loose on a routine obbo. Lucas and McCabe had unsuspectingly stumbled onto a large drugs ring led by a notorious dealer who CI5 had thought was out of the country. Charlie Convey had been living in Holland for the past two years and somehow had managed to slip back into the country with neither the Dutch nor the British authorities knowing anything about it. The obbo had been routine up until Lucas spotted Convey going into the house next to the one they were watching. They had informed Cowley straight away and had stayed to observe the other comings and goings in the area. They had managed to identify four other high profile crooks and at least the same number of associates previously unknown to CI5. It was going to take a lot of manpower to discover exactly what was going to go down and that meant a jumpy Cowley and all leave cancelled for the agents.

Bodie had been on his was to Cowley's office when the old man came hurtling down the corridor barking orders to Betty and Anson who were trailing behind him. He stopped when he saw Bodie.

"Ah 3.7, good, you're here. 4.5?" he asked, eyebrow raised.

"Still on leave, sir. I came in early to talk to you...I..." Cowley cut him off before he could continue.

"Control was meant to call you, I suspect Doyle knows by now. I have cancelled all leave until further notice; it's all hands on deck, Bodie. You'll have to wait if you need to speak to me about anything else. Briefing in ten minutes." And with that he was gone.

Bloody hell, thought Bodie. He supposed he would have to wait to resign. Well, he would feel bad if he left them in the lurch. He made his way to the briefing room and settled into a seat at the back of the room. A few minutes later Doyle slipped into the seat beside him.

"So much for leave, eh?"

"Yeah, too good to be true. Well I suppose our country needs us," replied Bodie trying to keep his voice light, smiling at his partner who seemed in a good mood. Cowley entered the room and set out the details of the operation. There was to be a continued stake out in various houses near the house being used for Convey. Bodie and Doyle were to take the one vacated by Lucas and McCabe on the front line. They would be moving in for the duration with no chance of getting home till everything was finished. Cowley wanted them constantly observing Convey. They were instructed to go to the armoury first, and then to their flats to get what they needed. Cowley was not optimistic about a speedy resolution.

The boys collected their belongings and set off for the house. It was quite a comfortable one and certainly not like many they had had to spend time in. They decided to make themselves at home in one of the front bedrooms. Devlin and Smyth were to take the night shift and they had set themselves up in a downstairs front room that also doubled as a bedroom. Bodie reflected that Cowley never threw this many resources at a stake out unless it was going to be either a very long one or a very important bust. Still, he was happy that he and Doyle would have some time together. They wouldn't have any time after he left.

They had gotten into something of a routine come the third day. They ate breakfast and lunch by the window, never once taking their attention off the house, and at night they were relieved by Devlin and Smyth. They cooked in the kitchen but usually took their food back to their room and talked and ate together. Bodie was relaxed and comfortable and was battling with himself to keep his mind made up about leaving. He knew that his resolve was wavering with every enjoyable moment he and Doyle shared at night during this op. He had all but decided to stay when, on the fifth night, Doyle came into the room after having had a shower, Bodie heard the door and glanced up. Doyle had a towel slung low on his hips and was using another to dry his hair. Bodie was used to this sight and went back to reading his book. A few seconds later Bodie heard a bang and a curse from his partner and again looked up from his book only to find himself face to face with a buck-naked Doyle who had just bumped his head on the wardrobe and in doing so had dislodged his towel from his hips. Bodie gasped, the sight was breathtaking, and he knew he was staring open-mouthed. He quickly tore his eyes away from Doyle and back to his book and said, "Be careful not to hit your head, goldilocks. You can't afford to kill off anymore brain cells."

"Very funny, Bodie. I'm in bloody pain here. Could have a concussion or anything, the smack I gave myself," replied Doyle in a hurt tone.

Bodie looked up and had to grimace at the pain etched in the beautiful face, and before he knew it he was off the bed and beside his partner, offering him his bathrobe and some comfort. Doyle smelled absolutely gorgeous, a mixture of soap, a light cologne and just eau de Doyle filling Bodie's senses and making him feel decidedly light-headed. He moved away and any ideas he had about staying were erased. He really wished this op were over. He quickly returned to his book and tried not to look at Doyle.

Doyle had enjoyed this op. He had enjoyed spending time with Bodie but he knew something was wrong with his partner. He could feel Bodie tense up as he offered assistance. He heard Bodie breathe deeply as if to steady his nerves in order to be in close proximity to him and could see Bodie studiously ignoring him now that the mini-drama was over. Bodie could not seem to meet his eyes; he seemed engrossed in his book but Doyle knew better. He could see that Bodie was concentrating on not looking at him rather than on the words on the pages in the book. He needed to confront Bodie. He had observed this type of behaviour in his partner on a number of occasions. It seemed that a couple of times a year Bodie would become withdrawn, would avoid Doyle and disappear without telling anyone where he was going, but it only ever lasted a few days. This time it had lasted two weeks or more and Doyle was worried that Bodie was getting ready to run. That was something that Doyle did not want. He couldn't imagine his life without his partner in it; he had become used to him and if Bodie were in trouble he would do everything to help him out.

Later that evening they were eating dinner and Doyle had resolved to bring Bodie out of himself.

"You all right, mate?" said Doyle, the silence stretching far longer than was comfortable for him.

Bodie was shaken out of his thoughts and replied, "Yeah. Why?"

"Nothing really. It's just that you seem quiet, tense." Doyle didn't want to push at this stage of the conversation.

"Just the op. Wish it was over. Feels like we've been here forever."

"`S not that bad Bodie. Getting on your nerves, am I?" Doyle tested.

"Nothing like that, Sunshine. You know me. Just prefer action more than observation."

"Yeah, you and me both." He stopped for a while in order to give Bodie a chance to continue the conversation but he seemed to drift away again and Doyle decided he was having none of that.

"Bodie, what's wrong really? I know it's not just the op, so don't lie. It's just you haven't been yourself for a few weeks and I'm worried."

"Really, Ray. I'm fine. No need for you to worry your curly head."

"Fine." Doyle decided to try again later.

They were both reading when Doyle decided to have another go. He decided to change tack. If he were to get Bodie to open up to him he would need to open up to Bodie.

"Bodie?" he started, and noticed that Bodie's shoulders tensed as he spoke.

"Yeah?" came the slightly weary reply.

"Remember the night with Andrea and Donna?"

Bodie's heart was beating so loudly in his chest he thought Doyle must be able to hear it. Had he screamed something in the throes of passion or maybe mumbled in his sleep with Doyle beside him the next morning? Why else would Doyle bring that up? Maybe he wanted to ask more bloody questions about the joys of anal sex, and Bodie knew he was not emotionally equipped to answer.

Doyle continued. "Remember the next morning, you said that I shouldn't be embarrassed to tell you or ask you anything?"

"Yeah." Bodie was taken aback by the turn of the conversation and was intrigued about what might come next.

"I thought, since you asked me about it before, that I could tell you how I got my cheekbone broken."

"Ray, you don't have to..." Bodie knew that this must be painful for Doyle if it had taken him this long to work up the courage to tell him.

"I want to, Bodie. You're my best mate. I can tell you anything. I hope you feel the same about me, do you?"

"Course I do, Ray."

"Okay. Well, I was seventeen and I was out for a drink with some mates. God, I'm embarrassed, Bodie." He looked over at his partner then and saw the reassuring look in Bodie's eyes before he continued. "It's the way I look, you see. Some people are bothered by it." He looked at Bodie and could see that he was having trouble following his train of thought. "Anyway I was in town and these two NF types decided to pick on us. They were big and drunk and spoiling for a fight and decided to pick on the `poofs' in the corner. They called us names but really they were just looking at me when they said them. The landlord threw them out but they were waiting for us at last orders. When we left the pub they pounced and I couldn't really look after myself as well as I can now so I woke up in the hospital with a lovely souvenir. You see I was embarrassed to tell anyone I got beat up because they thought I was queer. I cut all my hair off after. Cut it very short. Short as yours in fact. Started to get fit, fighting fit. I told myself that I would never be in that position again, unable to fight back."

Bodie interrupted. He knew he really shouldn't ask Doyle this question but he needed to hear the answer. "Were you really embarrassed to tell me because some bloody Nazis thought you were gay? Did you think I thought you might be?"

"At the start I thought that was the case but now I think I was more embarrassed at giving up so easily. Not being able to defend myself against two bloody yobbos and no, I never thought that you would think I was gay. Bodie, I never told anyone why they picked on me that night. I never even told my parents. I think that you are the first person who has truly liked and accepted me for who I am, that's why I wanted to tell you."

"Why now, Ray? Why tell me this now?" Bodie was sure that Doyle knew something of his feelings and although he was being reasonable and sharing, was this just a honey trap for Bodie to fall into and open up to him for Doyle just to laugh in his face? To bring up the subject of homosexuality at all seemed strange -- what was Doyle playing at? He felt all at sea.

"I don't know, Bodie. Just felt like the right time I suppose. I should have told you all this that morning instead of the stupid comment I did make. Guess I was still a bit embarrassed, trying to act tough. Anyway I just wanted to tell you something you wanted to know."

Bodie didn't know what to say in reply but this was too close for comfort. Was Doyle giving him an opening or warning him off? He really didn't know. He went on the defensive and blurted: "I'm leaving the squad after this op is finished." He said it quickly, head down, not looking at Doyle.

Doyle, feeling somewhat emotionally drained after his confession, was completely knocked sideways by what Bodie said.

"What! Why?"

"That's what was wrong. I've been thinking about it for weeks. You said it yourself I've been acting strangely the past while. Well, that's the reason. Itchy feet. Time to move on. I was trying to get the courage to tell you. Was going in to HQ to tell Cowley when we were called for this op." He knew that the distress in his voice was betraying the casualness of his words and knew that Doyle would have more questions. He couldn't answer them, not now. He closed his book and got out of the chair, heading for the door. Doyle blocked his path to the door and he knew better than to try to force his way through.

"Itchy feet! Don't tell me that's what this is about; you're lying to me, Bodie, and I don't deserve that. There's something else wrong. I need you to tell me the truth. Convince me that you just want to leave the squad. Convince me that it's not something I did."

Doyle stopped, waited, his heavy breathing betraying his anger as he stood in front of Bodie. Bodie was looking at the floor, shoulders hunched, breathing just as heavily as Doyle. Doyle could feel the tension coming off Bodie in waves. Bodie for his part felt trapped. How had this situation escalated to be such a sink or swim one? His next move would be crucial, he was already leaving. The question was, did he want to burn his bridges? Doyle had let him in, had told him the truth about something in his life he had not told anyone before. Was he leading him on or warning him off or was it just time to share?

"Bodie?" Doyle said softly having calmed down to some degree. Bodie decided to burn his bridges. He looked up into his partner's questioning eyes and moved. He took Doyle by the shoulders and pulled him close. Before Doyle had the chance to ask why, Bodie was kissing him. The kiss was intense and fierce and over very quickly and Bodie pulled back and let Doyle go and spoke at last.

"That's why I'm leaving, Ray. That's the real reason."

As the soft words penetrated Doyle's shock he heard the door of the bedroom close and he was alone.

Bodie panting and shocked at his actions sat on the large bed in the darkened room next to the one he shared with Doyle. He put his head in his hands and cried. He had really done it; there could be no going back. All the emotion he had bottled up for all these years came flooding out of him as he sobbed. He lay on the bed and muffled his sobs with the pillow there. He couldn't remember the last time he had really cried. He knew it had been a long time ago, before he had left home. He felt flayed, open, raw and utterly disappointed in himself. He had just succeeded in killing off the only relationship in his life that meant anything to him at all.

Doyle stood rooted to the spot; vaguely he heard the door of the next room open and close and the squeaking of bedsprings as Bodie settled on it. He drew his fingers up to his mouth and ran the fingertip over his lips. He could still feel the press of Bodie's lips on his, could still feel his lip hot and tingling so he knew he hadn't imagined it. Bodie had kissed him, Bodie had kissed him on the mouth, Bodie had kissed him in a way that friends don't.

Then he heard it, he heard Bodie crying; he knew that Bodie was trying to muffle the sound but the walls were thin and he could hear everything. Just like he had been able to hear Bodie fucking in his own flat, he could hear him crying now in this house. Something inside him broke at that point and he sank to the floor, totally exhausted, his mind in a spin trying to take in everything that had happened in the past hour of his life.

Did Bodie think that he had come on to him? Was Bodie attracted to him? All he knew was that Bodie was leaving and it was because of him. He had tried before to think about life without Bodie and couldn't. He really didn't believe that his partner wanted him that way; his very butch, very straight partner had never shown any inclination towards his own sex and never any inclination towards him. Although Bodie had always touched him he had never felt the touches to be sexual. Had Bodie been trying to tell him something and he had been too thick to notice? He thought back to the conversation the morning after his night with Andrea. Bodie had been very honest in his answers to Doyle, but Doyle had not been honest with Bodie, not at all. He had used what had happened to give him the excuse to sound out his partner's feeling about that particular activity, to see if he would be disgusted, and he hadn't been. He had been honest and straightforward. He had reassured Doyle and then Doyle had gotten cold feet and made some ridiculous comment about queers and him and tried to cover his tracks. Doyle had wanted to tell Bodie the whole truth tonight and had been too chicken to go through with. No wonder Bodie was confused. Doyle knew he had to fix this. Bodie was going to leave anyway so he couldn't mess the situation up any more than he had already. He picked himself off the floor and went to the room Bodie was in.

Bodie heard the door opening and did not open his eyes. He thought that if he feigned sleep Doyle might go away and leave him in his misery. He was wrong. He heard Doyle padding towards the bed and then, "Bodie?"

No answer.

"Bodie, you awake?"

"No," came the reply from the cocoon of the duvet. He felt the bed dip beside him as Doyle climbed onto it.

"Okay then just listen." He drew a deep breath and began. "I don't know what's going on in your mind, Bodie. I'm sorry I'm driving you away. I never meant to. What I told you tonight about my face...I left some of it out. The fact was that we were coming out of a gay bar. The friend I was with, well, we were kind of involved... nothing heavy, you know, just sort of experimenting anyway..." He paused waiting for Bodie to respond. Bodie for his part was in complete and utter shock. He lay there unable to say a word. Doyle was telling him everything he had ever wanted to hear. Doyle cut into his thoughts continuing.

"...I didn't want you to think I was coming on to you, Bodie, I was too chicken to tell you about my past. I used what happened with Andrea to sound you out and I'm sorry. You have every right to be angry and I deserved the way you thought you had to bring everything to a head. I know I've disappointed you... I heard you crying... I'm sorry I hurt you, Bodie, I'm sorry but please don't leave. I swear I'll never lay a finger on you but please stay." He didn't realise he had begun to cry until he had stopped talking. He waited. The mound in the bed moved quite suddenly and turned to face him.

"Ray, do you want me?"

"Bodie, I..."

"Ray, please I have to know. Do you want me? Is that what this is all about?"

"Oh no Bodie, it's worse than that, much worse...I love you." He looked at Bodie then to see if he would move even a little. He didn't and so Doyle continued. "...have done for a long time, don't think I can remember a time when I didn't and I'll understand if we can't go on being partners, but don't leave the squad, at least don't leave on my account."

Bodie's heart leaped in his chest. He felt all the love he had for this man rush to the surface causing a great euphoria within him. He sat up in the bed, the covers falling from him, and took Doyle in his arms. Doyle was tense, not knowing what to expect.

"Ray, I didn't kiss you to punish you. I kissed you because that was the reason I thought I had to leave. I was going to leave you because it was getting harder and harder to keep from kissing you."

"Don't then. Don't keep from it." Doyle lifted his head to stare into Bodie's eyes and Bodie kissed him then. The kiss was deep and full of emotion. Bodie had never felt so happy in all his life, but somewhere in his rational mind he remembered they were on a job and it wouldn't be good for either of them to have the agents downstairs report back that 3.7 and 4.5 were fucking when the shit hit the fan. He pulled out of the kiss.

"Ray, we can't do this here. We'll have to wait till the op's over. I don't think we should give the guys a show. Let's just go back inside and sleep. I just want to hold you all night and pray that this is over soon so I can get you home."

Doyle smiled at this and nodded in agreement, still too overcome with emotion to speak.

Two months later, driving through the streets of London in the silver Capri, Bodie felt freer than he had in a very long time. He pulled into HQ and parked the car. Whistling, he made his way inside the building and headed straight for Cowley's office. He really didn't care how the Cow was going to take his news; he didn't even know what exactly he was going to say when he got to the office. He saw Doyle waiting for him in the corridor and wondered again whose stupid idea it was that they spent last night in their own flats and not together. A smile came to his face as he looked at his partner and Doyle returned it. They would do this together, the way they did everything, and it wouldn't matter what the Cow said, whether or not he would accept their change in status, because they were going to be together either in or out of C15 and nothing would stand in their way.

As Bodie knocked the door to Cowley's office and heard him ask them to come in he felt Doyle's hand touch his own in a small reassuring gesture and he knew everything would be fine.

-- THE END --

Circuit Archive Logo Archive Home