Sweetest in the Gale

by &

"Hope" is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land
And on the strangest sea,
Yet never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

-Emily Dickinson, The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson, 1861

Staring, as if mesmerised into the cup, Bodie watched the light glinting off of the tea's surface, lost in his thoughts of how the day had panned out. I nearly lost him...If I hadn't have pushed him down when I did, he'd be fighting for his life right now, if not worse... What the hell was he thinking about? Since when did Ray make such stupid mistakes? The fear still curled in his gut, as his mind recalled the scene over and over.

They had located the arms cache they'd been hunting for more than a month, contained in the storeroom in a country inn, when without warning, MacClaken, and three of his cronies had burst in through the double doors and opened fire. Bodie saw Ray freeze for what seemed eternity, until he dove across Doyle's body and pulled him down, feeling the bullet's heat as it passed his head. "You prick, what do you think you're playing at?" He'd roared as he rolled off of his partner. But Ray had unholstered his gun and was already retaliating with gunfire. Now not being the time for talk, Bodie joined him.

Two dead and two injured and two million pounds worth of weaponry stopped from reaching the IRA's evil hands, the outcome had been worth it, but the risks involved seemed to be too high, if Ray couldn't keep his mind where it should be.

What was it? What made him freeze? His reverie was brought to a halt as the man in question entered the rest room.

He stayed by the door, with the door handle gripped firmly still in his left hand. "Right, the reports have been filed, I'm off."

"What? Oh, I've made you a cuppa, have you got time? I think we need to talk, mate."

"Bodie! I can't, not tonight. Look, I'm tired, maybe we can have this little chat tomorrow, all right?" Doyle knew exactly what 'chat' Bodie had in mind, and not feeling up to examining and explaining his actions, he made his way to leave.

"Ray!" Bodie had gone to argue and demand he talked now, to clear the unease between them and mend the trust they had in each other's abilities but quickly changed his mind. He corrected his tone and continued. "Listen, I know you're tired, how about a quick half down at the Red Lion, before you go? Maybe it'll help you sleep when you get home," he said with a smile, not wanting to bawl him out over it, just find out what was behind it and if he could help in some way.

"Nah mate! I need an early night, plus I have a few chores to complete when I get home anyway. Look I'll see ya in the morning sunshine."

Before Bodie could reply the door had been pulled to, and his partner gone. "Goodnight, then." He spoke quietly to the empty room. He looked down at his watch and decided he may as well push off himself.

Climbing into his car, Bodie still felt the unease of the day's events, but he knew his disquiet was for more than just Ray's slip up today, he had an overwhelming fear of losing his partner and friend running through his bones, chilling him. Not wanting to delve too deeply into what he was feeling, he chose to put his concentration into the drive home instead, self analysis never made him feel good and he avoided it at all costs, so he wasn't going to start now.

The tyres spun on the wet road surface as he pulled away from the curb at speed, Ray was still featuring heavily in his thoughts, he wasn't so much trying to avoid working out what he felt, so much as trying to deny it. What would Ray Doyle do if he knew his overly macho partner had fallen in love with him?

Ray Doyle wended his weary way home. The scene of the crime had once again taken its toll, with the added attraction of him almost being shot. If his partner hadn't been there... He shuddered and quickly killed that particular thread. No doubt he would soon have to face it again - he knew his partner had wanted to talk to him about it. He hadn't been able to face Bodie afterwards, despite Bodie's not so subtle hints. Amazingly he'd managed to put him off, if only for the rest of the evening.

As he pulled up outside of the CI5-owned flat, he heaved a sigh, and scrubbed his hands over his face. His body ached with fatigue and all he wanted to do was have a long soak in a hot bath. With difficulty, Ray hauled his body out of the gold Capri, and finally managed to enter his flat.

As he closed the door and set the alarms, he heard the answer phone bleep. "If this is Claire, she's got no chance tonight," he muttered unkindly. Pressing the button on the machine, a familiar voice rang out.

"Ray? It's Bodie. Sure you're okay, mate? If you fancy a chat or even a pint, just gimme a ring. I'm at home now. Listen, don't do any brooding, okay?" Pause. "Oh fuck it, I'm coming around anyway. Stay there." And the message ended abruptly.

"Oh bloody wonderful!" Ray grumbled, his heart sinking. He glanced at his watch. The message had been left about 5 minutes previously and Bodie lived 15 minutes away, or even less depending on the traffic. "Bollocks to it, I'm having a bath anyway."

Bath run, he sank into the hot water with a deep, satisfied groan. A tumbler of whisky sat on the side and he was all set for a long soak. The only fly in the ointment, as far as he could see, was Bodie. Frowning, he took a gulp of his drink, his thoughts running riot.

The reality of the earlier scenario had been an unexpected stoppage. No he shook his head, he was lying to himself. The truth was, when those men had burst out like that, one of them had had dark hair and blue eyes and had reminded him so much of Bodie. So much. Even knowing that his partner was behind him, not in front of him hadn't stopped him freezing. It was a simple error and could very easily have cost him not only his own life, but also the life of his partner.

He sank deeper into the hot water and dunked his head, wetting his unruly curls. Rolling over, he emerged from the water, gasping for breath. He pushed his drenched hair from his face and rubbed the water from his eyes before he felt another presence in the room.

Startled, he jumped up before he saw that it was indeed Bodie. Hands on hips, he glared at him. "Why the fuck didn't you use the intercom?" As usual, Ray took his temper out on Bodie, not allowing his friend to get a word in edgeways. "You know, that fucking white box with fucking buttons on. The one you're so used to leaning on whenever I have a bird round. Bastard." With that, he turned his back on a dismayed Bodie and sank back into the bath, waves overflowing onto the bathroom floor.

Just as silently as he'd arrived, Bodie left, closing the door behind him and Ray was once again alone. He inwardly berated himself - Bodie was only trying to help, he knew that. Taking a deep fortifying breath, he yelled out his name. "Bodie. Bodie...I'm sorry. Come back, please?"

Several seconds ticked by. "Bo-day??"

The door opened, but no one entered. A disembodied voice came from behind the opening. "Yes? Is it safe to enter yet?" A length of bamboo with a white handkerchief pinned to one end was shoved through the opening and waved vigorously.

Ray laughed. He threw his head back and laughed until tears ran down his face. A grinning Bodie wandered in and joined in the laughter. Feeling ten times better, Ray glanced at his friend. "Oh Bodie. What am I going to do with you, mate, eh? Thanks. I really needed that."

"Knew you did, didn't I? Knew you'd just sit here brooding and feeling guilty. Wanted to help."

Ray interrupted. "And, mate, I'm sorry I shouted at you. You just... just scared me, that's all." He rose to get out of the bath. As he did, he watched Bodie's eyes widened surreptitiously, and a faint stain appear on his cheeks.

Bodie made a swift exit from the room, a hearty "Right Ray, gonna get me a drink mate, okay?" ringing in Ray's ears.

He reflected on this unexpected event whilst he dried himself off. Interesting, he thought, very interesting.

Seeing the water cascade down the rippling muscles of Ray's torso, as he stood up from the bath, had Bodie undone. Wanting more than anything in the world to trace the same pattern with his tongue, to taste that skin moist and cool, fresh from the water. To run his hands over the firm muscular back until he reached that delectable peach of a behind. Bodie felt the heat rise in him and had to remove himself quickly from the room.

What the hell are you thinking? You came here to make sure he was all right, to see why he stopped earlier, not to lust over him like some sex starved teenager. Bodie licked his now dry lips, and poured his whisky. Taking a mouthful and feeling it's warmth slip down his throat and hitting his blood stream almost immediately heating him throughout. He raised the glass and took another sip.

"What about me?"

The sensual tones in Ray's voice made all the hairs on his neck stand. Turning slowly with the glass still to his lips, Bodie took in the exotic sight. There before him stood Doyle in nothing but a white towel, beads of moisture lay captured amongst the thick hair on his chest, the soft lamp light shimmering in the droplet sized prisms; trapping the light and reflecting it back. His damp curls framing the exceptional face of his partner, softening the look to make it almost angelic yet wanton at the same time. Tracing his eye down the lithe body to the full curve of his manhood, knowing all that lay between Ray and himself was ten foot of air and a square of fluffy white material, which could be easily removed with a sleight of hand. Oh my god! He's beautiful. Realising suddenly he'd not answered Doyle's words and done nothing but drink in the erotic sight, he lowered his glass and, with as much nonchalance as possible, spoke. "Eh? What...what did you say? Oh, drink! What do you want? Whisky?" He said, holding up the bottle on offer.

"What's got into you? You tired or something?" Doyle strode across the room and took the bottle from Bodie's hand.

The sway of genitals from beneath the towel drew Bodie's eye, his breathing stalled. The complimentary bouquet of apple shampoo, spicy soap and Ray Doyle mingled in the air as he momentarily closed his eyes and breathed him in. A yearning desire welled deep within him consuming every fibre of his being, sending him into a dizzying spiral, arousing his need for the man not more than twelve inches from his body. Wanting no more than to reach out and hold him close, feel his warmth and taste those soft lips.

"Did you just smell me?" Ray asked studying the taller agent, waiting for confirmation of the not entirely unpleasant notion.

Jolted from his reverie, Bodie's mask went on instantly hiding the passion he felt within. "Is that apple or strawberry shampoo you've used, you poof?" Bodie started to walk away, fearing his shameful secret may have been uncovered.

"You did just smell me, didn't you?" Confused, Ray waited for his partner to turn so he could read his expression.

Feeling the scrutiny, Bodie continued his way to the settee and as he seated himself slyly turned the conversation away from his momentary lack of self-control and focused it on Ray's earlier hesitation that had almost cost them their lives. "You're going soft in the head mate, which will probably explain what happened today. Unless you have a better explanation?" Holding Ray with an expectant half smile, he didn't wish Doyle to get the upper hand in this conversation so he impatiently added. "Well?"

"Well what?"

"Come on Ray, level with me. You stood in the line of fire while MacClaken shot at you. If I hadn't have been there to pull you out of the way, you would have been...damn you Ray, you bloody well know what would have happened!" Remembering the fear he had felt earlier that day, it caused him to shout.

"I'm sorry." No more than a breathy whisper, he sounded lost, defeated. He had turned and was staring out of the window, the glass reflecting his own wretched image.

Overcome with the guilt of sending Ray into such introspection, Bodie spoke softly. "What happened Ray?"

"If you want another partner, I completely understand." His voice quivered slightly.

"What? Another partner? Now I know you've gone soft in the head."

"I could have got us both killed today... I don't know, maybe I'm losing my edge." Doyle placed his now empty glass on the window ledge and moved dejectedly toward the chair.

Bodie's need to protect came to the forefront on seeing the tension in the normally fluid movements. "You lose your edge? Nah, not you. You probably just had a bad day. But what was going through that head of yours, Doyle? What made you freeze?"

Ray sank into the armchair, and scrubbed his hands over his tired face, sinking his fingers into the thick curls, he held his head in his hands, and didn't answer.

Looking across at his friend he could see the sheer desperation in his demeanour; he looked exhausted. Concerned, Bodie crossed the room and came to rest on his haunches in front of him. "Ray?"

Overwhelmed by the maelstrom of emotions, Doyle couldn't find the words to express the torment he felt. Wanting to tell Bodie but fearing what his reaction might be.

Noticing the slight shiver running through his partner's body, Bodie gently wrapped his hands around the slender wrists. He needed to see the familiar face. "Ray, you've got to talk to me, you can't let this eat you up inside. What is it? What happened that you can't tell me?

Slowly the curly head raised, his eyes hot with unshed tears. "Bodie, you won't understand."

Oh god, look how distraught he is. "Try me!"

"It was you."


"I thought it was you."

"How could you..." Bodie stopped and let him continue.

"I looked up and it was you. He looked just like you, I just couldn't do it, Bodie, it would have been like firing at the one person I care about most in the world."

Still slightly bewildered by the explanation, Bodie chose to accept it and offer his own platitude. "It's nice to know you care, the feeling's mutual."

Letting out a huge sigh Doyle released all the pent up tension. His shoulders visibly sank. Meeting Bodie's empathetic gaze, he was held by the gentle look, seeing something new in the crystal blue pools, something he could only attribute to love. "Bodie?" He breathed.

Lost in that warm plea, Bodie's thoughts wandered, Oh to lay you back into that chair and devour that body of yours. Just to slide my hands under that towel, up the inside of those toned thighs, to experience the combination of textures. His eyes scanned the expanse of chest; he was so close he could feel Ray's warmth. To nuzzle into that firm muscle, I want to kiss the softness of your nipples, I want to feel them harden under my tongue, I want to hold your hips while you move in rhythm against my thrust. Oh God, I have to have you! Oh God, what am I thinking? Abruptly Bodie let go, sprung to his feet and was across the other side of the room within a second. He lifted his jacket, hastily putting it on, and zipping it up. He pulled it down over his tumescent cock. "Well, I'm glad we got to the bottom of it, wasn't so hard was it?" Shit, unlike my prick right now.

"Bodie?" Doyle was confused by the sudden abandonment.

"We'll catch up tomorrow. All right, mate? You look done in." Grabbing his keys from the bowl on the sideboard, Bodie moved quickly in the direction of the front door.

"Bodie, I'm fine, wait! Where are you going?"

"Home mate, we got things sorted and now I'm off home. Oh, thanks for the drink."

Let me leave, Ray. Bloody hell if only you knew. You'd never speak to me again. His hand was already turning the catch. "I'll see you in the morning, mate. Bright and early!"

"Bodie!" But it was too late, the door snicked shut. "Bodie?" he whispered softly.

Ray Doyle sank back into the depths of his armchair. Never before had he been this baffled by his partner. A determined expression crossed his face - no way was he going to let his partner get away with that behaviour. He wanted to know what was behind it. Standing, he slammed his whisky tumbler down, unheeding of the precious fluid spilling onto the dark wood table and headed for the bedroom, where he hastily dressed. Several minutes later, he made for the door, donning his jacket as he went.

Racing across town as fast as he dare, he arrived at Bodie's flat without difficulty. Unable to find a convenient parking spot he drove round the corner and down the road until he found a place. Walking back to the flat, he glanced around. Bodie's silver Capri wasn't in sight. Frowning, Ray looked at the flat. Darkness reigned.

"Right, mate, what the devil are you up to?" Ray muttered to himself as he made his way there. They both had keys to each other's place; Bodie had insisted a few weeks into their partnership "It's safer don't you think, Ray?" and who was Ray to disagree? So upon arrival at the front door - thanking God and the Cow that he'd been given a ground floor flat this time - Ray pulled the keys out of his pocket and opened the door.

Silence. Eerie shadows were casting strange shapes from the lights outside on the street. Ray entered and closed the door behind him, putting the locks back on. An idea filtered through his brain just as he heard the unmistakable screech of Bodie's car tyres, and he headed for the bedroom, and into the huge wardrobe that Bodie had acquired this move.

Just in time too, he thought, as he heard the lock being opened and light flooded the rooms. Holding his breath, he daren't move as Bodie entered the bedroom and proceeded to remove his clothes, muttering to himself all the while.

"Shit, Ray. Oh Christ. Why? Why now?" Bodie's final item of clothing went sprawling across the room, landing on his set of drawers. The dark haired man flung himself on top of his bed, obviously emotionally distressed. "Oh God, Ray. Ray!"

Through a tiny slit in the door, Ray had the perfect position to spy on his long-time friend and partner. And almost wished he hadn't. Shockwaves quivered through his body and his mouth went dry as he spotted Bodie was aroused. Very much aroused. His large thick cock was surrounded by an abundance of dark curls, unlike the rest of his smooth body. The uncut tip was glistening and now, Bodie's large hand was grasping it.

Ray gulped silently, his heart pounding as he realised what Bodie was about to indulge in. This was a nightmare scenario, but how could he step out now? How could he just waltz out, in front of his partner and say "Hi Bodie, sorry about that. I'll just let myself out, shall I?"

Bodie would kill him, without a shadow of a doubt. Ray made the decision to stay put. But I won't watch, that'd be unfair. Another small voice jumped into the equation. "Might never get another chance, Ray." "Shut up, shut up." He hissed silently back. "Go on, you know you want to. Don't deny yourself this opportunity." Temptation leading him into the previously unknown was difficult to turn down. Particularly - and now he found he could disclose them if only to his inner voice - as he had unresolved feelings about his best mate.

Noises drew his eye back to the crack in the door and he couldn't resist the lure anymore. Ray watched as Bodie masturbated, his hand grasping at the hard, reddened organ. Then Bodie's words filtered through the door and rammed themselves into Ray's brain with all the force of a hurricane.

"Oh Ray. Oh my darling. Ray. Ahh, yeah. Yeah. Just like that, Ray. Oh love.I.Ahhh.I love you Ray. Ray!" And Ray, frozen in time, could only watch as Bodie exploded into orgasm, his muscles tensing and his back arching. As he loudly verbalised his ecstasy, his seed burst forth across his abdomen like a fountain over his sweat-soaked body.

Heart beating crazily, like a wild bird trapped in a cage, Ray Doyle's jaw dropped as he realised the implication behind the words; realised why Bodie had reacted the way he had, back what seemed like weeks ago at Ray's flat.

Hearing and seeing the evidence before him, Ray had no other option available. He stepped out of the closet, and made his presence known to the other man. Do or die, he thought, and knowing Bodie, it'll probably be die.

Lying breathless, sprawled naked on the bed, Bodie's head was still spinning with the mixed emotions he was feeling. Why did he always feel this loneliness after calling out Ray's name? Wishing, that's all it is, wishing it could be real. Who the hell am I trying to con? It'll never be. Bodie's hand came up to cover his eyes. "Fuck." If he knew, he'd kill me.

Bodie froze. He could hear breathing; someone else was in the room. On hearing the wardrobe door creak, Bodie was up with his gun in his hand within a second. Who he saw next nearly destroyed him. "How...? Wha...what the fuck do you think you're doing?" Despite the shock and pain of his heartbreak, Bodie kept the gun trained on Doyle. He'd been watching him, but why? Doyle had been observing him whilst he had been at his most vulnerable. All he knew about the man he loved twisted along with the trust and faith he had in him. Torn, it lay scattered over the distance that now fell between them. If Doyle had heard all he was sure he had said in the heat of his own passion, their partnership and friendship would surely be at an end.

"Bodie, you can put the gun down now, it's me." Ray looked from the gun to Bodie's angered and shocked expression. Fury, confusion and desperation drove Bodie on. "I said, what do you think you were doing?" Keeping a watchful eye on the seat of his ire, he felt behind him and grabbed the sheet. Using the corner he wiped himself over, cleaning away the shameful evidence still present on his body. Sitting down onto the edge of the bed, he slipped on his trousers, pulled them up and managed to zip them up with one hand.

"Me? What am I doing? What were you just doing?"

"Don't turn this around, not this time... Answer me!"

"Bodie, I'll answer you when you put the gun down." Doyle was scared now; never before had he felt this afraid of his partner's wrath.

Bodie looked at his hand tightly gripping the handle of the gun; it was pointed straight at Doyle's heart. Realising what he was doing and that his anger was subsiding to leave a cold hard knot in his chest, Bodie's arm dropped to his side. His mind kept repeating - Over... He heard it all... It's all over.

"Get out Doyle." Bodie turned to put the gun down on the bedside table, using it for support as he closed his eyes; sure that all they had between them was at an end now.

"Not until you tell me why you called my name out."

Please don't do this, just leave, don't drag it out anymore than you have to. Bodie didn't answer; instead he just reached across the bed, lifted his shirt and began to slip it on, his back still to his baffled partner.

"Answer me, Bodie."

Bodie's mind was racing, despairing. How could he expect him to answer, knowing he had already done enough to destroy what they had? To be the one to admit it would be like putting the final nail in the coffin.

"Answer me!" He demanded, pushing the wide expanse of muscle that was Bodie's back.

Bodie flew round, his fist clenched. "Ray, get out!" Grabbing him by the upper arm, he opened the bedroom door and threw him out of the room. Slamming it shut, he slumped down onto the edge of the bed, dropping his head into his hands. Bodie tried to think of a way it could all be salvaged but all his conscience told him was it was time to run.

Bodie hadn't moved for some time and neither had he heard any movement from outside the door. Slowly he rose from the bed. As he opened the door to the living room, he realised it was in darkness. Doyle had left; surely, Bodie thought, he will go straight to Cowley in the morning and demand to be re-partnered. Turning on the light, his eyes squinting at the sudden brightness, he made his way quietly to the bottle of whisky he had stored on the trolley near the phone. As he picked it up, he heard the soft and low voice of his partner behind him.


Closing his eyes and turning his head skyward, Bodie's resolution dissolved. "Thought you'd left Doyle." His tone sounded defeated.

"I can't Bodie, not until we've talked."

Resigned now to the fact he would be gone in a few days, Bodie relented. "Do you want a drink?" He turned another glass over on the trolley and poured a large measure of malt into it for Ray. Not looking him in the eye as he placed it in front of him, Bodie took the armchair set at an angle to his partner so he could avoid his gaze.

"Don't expect me to apologise Ray, it's not gonna happen."

"I don't expect anything, I would just like you to look at me and tell me why?"

"Bloody hell, I'd rather apologise! Do you know what you are asking?"

"Yes, and I want you to tell me to my face, instead of to the darkness of your bedroom while you're alone." Ray searched Bodie's face for the reaction he was hoping for. It took a few seconds for it to register. When it did, Bodie's head turned to look at him.

"Why? Why Ray? Why do you need to hear me say that?" His mind racing now, hoping beyond hope and with the slimmest of chances it could be what Ray wanted to hear and not because he wanted to ridicule Bodie for how he felt. Of course, if he were going to do that, wouldn't Doyle have done it already? It would be hard, but what did he have to lose? Surely if it was what Doyle needed to hear, it would help in some way. After all this was probably his last chance to tell him how he really felt. Even so, bringing himself to say those three words to his face was one of the most difficult things he'd ever have to do. Nervous of the reaction now, Bodie stood and started to pace the room.

Ray saw Bodie's apprehensive manner as he strode back and forth across the room, Unwilling to put Bodie through any more torture over trying to find the right way to tell him how he felt, he rose from the chair to block his path, just as Bodie turned.

Face to face, their eyes met. Bodie almost lost his nerve and as he went to turn away, Doyle grabbed him around the shoulders and held him firm, keeping his gaze locked with Bodie's.

As Bodie looked deep into the huge, jade green eyes of his partner, he saw the silent plea imploring him to answer. Taking his courage into both hands, he broke his silence. Finally, irrefutably, he spoke the words he needed to convey. In a low, breathy voice he uttered. "I love you."

Gently taking the now anxious face in his hands and threading his long fingers into the dark silky crop, Ray tentatively brought his lips close to those of his friend. "I needed to hear you say it to me, Bodie." Moving that last inch he touched his lips to Bodie's in the slightest of caresses.

Bodie's eyes closed as his breath left him, leaving his mind dizzy and bereft of thought except for the need of another kiss. His hands came up and rested on Ray's waist for support.

"Ray?" He breathed as his eyes opened. He searched his face for his acquiescence, needing to see the reciprocation of his feelings.

Ray's expression had softened, his lips parted and he was breathless. As his eyes opened, Bodie saw the assent he needed. Moving his hands to his soon to be lover's back stroking over the tensed muscle, bringing his hand up to his nape he pulled him close for another kiss, gently placing his lips on Ray's.

Soft touches of lips built slowly, their breathing caught with the intensity of it. Locked in a warm embrace, they indulged in long slow pulling of mouths and lips and then tongues caressing, seeking out one another. Hands holding, touching and searching new territory, heating them slowly, once their passion ignited, it raged through them like a firestorm, their desire no longer contained - frantic with their need.

Bodie's mouth moved down Ray's neck, licking and nibbling his partner's throat, kissing his soft skin beneath his ear. Leaving a trail of wanton pleasure in its wake, Ray stretched his neck for better access. Kissing and sucking Ray's lobe he whispered. "I want you!"

Ray felt the warm air pass over the skin of his ear, gasping at the pulsing along his nerves and the meaning behind the words. He felt his shirt being wrenched from his jeans and strong cool hands invaded the warmth of skin beneath. "Let me have you, Ray."

The large knuckles swept up over his ribcage, fingertips threading through chest hair brushing it back and forward, two thumbs rolling his nipples.

"Ah, God, Bodie... Ah... don't stop." Bodie captured his lips once more, deep and hard, bruising them in the desperate need to devour him. One hand leaving his chest, it moved around to the base of his spine and he pulled the narrow hips in close, bringing their heated groins together. Grinding them against one another. Ecstasy sung through their bodies. Bodie was groaning his pleasure deep into Ray's throat.

"Aah!...Aaah!...STOP!" Ray pushed against the heaving chest to free himself. Bodie let go immediately.

"Ray?" Bodie's heart skipped a beat. Fear raced through him. Had Doyle made a mistake? Had he pushed him too far?

Seeing the fear in his eyes, Doyle kissed him lightly. Leaning his forehead on Bodie's, he rested a second to get his breath back before he spoke. "We've gotta slow down, mate. It's been years since I've come in my pants... Come on." Taking Bodie by the hand, he walked him through to the bedroom.

Bodie's heart rate increased, he had wanted this for so many years and now it was becoming a reality. Flicking on the bedside lamp, they came to a stop near to the bed and Doyle pulled him back into his arms, Bodie automatically wrapping his arms around him as if it was an old habit. Leaning back into the strong embrace, Ray ran his hands over Bodie's powerful chest, delighting in the smoothness of skin, bringing them up and over the solid shoulders, slipping the shirt from them as he went, baring the huge masculine torso, so new and yet so right.

"Call me what you like, but I want to love you properly Bodie, not like a teenager trying to get his leg over on the sofa," he said, looking into his eyes. Kissing up his neck, down and over his pulse, he revelled in the man he held close.

Whether he meant to say it or not, Bodie's reaction was to hold him tight and bury his head into Doyle's shoulder. He loosened his firm hold, smiling as he seized the full pout in a sensual and loving kiss, pouring all he had into it, stealthily inching him towards the bed.

Doyle's calves struck it, toppling him backwards, bringing Bodie with him, the bigger man letting go of his prize with one hand to soften the landing for both of them. Lowering them gently the last few inches, their bodies were still locked in a passionate clinch. Raising himself, his palms flat to the sheet either side of Doyle's head, he looked down and searched the face of the man he loved, only to see it all reflected back in the warm heavy lidded visage before him.

Holding his gaze, wanting to feel the warmth of his skin next to his own and feeling at a slight disadvantage, Bodie slowly began to pop open each press stud on Ray's shirt, one by one on his hands journey down Ray's body. When he ran out of studs, his hand moved to the button at the top of his lover's jeans, unhooking it, he very slowly dragged down the zip.

Ray's lips parted slightly as a sigh escaped, the sensation of every metal tooth unfastening, sent soft vibrations through his burgeoning erection, along with having Bodie's hand so close he could feel it's warmth. It set his body aflame, each nerve ending alive with anticipation.

Slipping the finely corded fabric open, Bodie revealed the dark hair of his Ray's chest; it swirled softly around lightly aroused nipples. He felt the heat of the body radiating up at him, hitting him with the same aroma of spicy soap and Ray and it overflowed in his nostrils. A jolt of arousal shot through his veins as his senses were filled.

"Ah God, you're beautiful." He sighed, as his hand slid over it, dragging his fingers through the smooth hair, fingertips brushing his nipple as it slid down Ray's flank and teased at the already open waistband of his jeans, compounding his need to explore and taste his body. Bodie grazed his lips over Ray's mouth and chin, suckling at his throat. Moving down his torso laying kisses and a moist trail of fire behind him, finding a nipple with his lips and laving it with his tongue. Doyle's hips bucked uncontrollably from the mattress. Bodie's hand reached in and grasped his thick cock, squeezing it and rubbing the pre-come over the head with his thumb.

"Ah, shit... Bodie...Yeesss." He bucked again to increase the pressure. Ray tried to pull Bodie up, needing to kiss and hold him. Not to be shaken from his path, the dark head greedily continued it's exploration down the lithe body, biting and tasting the honey coloured skin, memorising the textures and flavours of uncharted terrain. As he reached his groin, he licked at his hip and the smooth skin found there. Using both hands Bodie slid them under Ray's body, over the curves of his buttocks and pressed his face into his abdomen. He nibbled at his hipbone as he grabbed the top of the jeans and pulled them down. Hearing the hiss escape his lover as he freed his body, he felt fingers entwine in his hair, gently twisting and pulling its roots. Raising his head to look up at Doyle, smirking, he whispered huskily, "You little devil," as he noticed the lack of underwear.

Ray raised his head; smiled cheekily and dropped it again as he revelled in the stimulation his body was experiencing. Feeling the warm breath over his tumescence he shuddered, his whole body throbbing with anticipation as he willed Bodie's mouth to take him.

Moving off the bed and down onto the floor, Bodie sunk to his haunches, running his sensual hands up the inside of the toned thighs and brushing his thumbs gently over his balls, watching, enjoying the tightening reaction he evoked. Following his hands with his mouth, while they travelled up his body and teased at his nipples, he carefully nibbled along the same lines, placing light kisses where his thumbs had been.

Ray gasped. Bodie teased and tormented him with velvet touches; starting at his perineum and licking upwards, Bodie heard him moan. Wondering just how far he could go, he delved his tongue lower. Hearing a hiss and no objection, he continued to delve further. The rasp of unshaven chin on Ray's balls felt heavenly and only added to the already overflowing stimulus, taking him closer to the peak.

Sliding his tongue over the puckered muscle, Ray's hips rose violently from the bed. "Aah, FUCK!" The cry ripped from Doyle's throat as he began writhing his pelvis, searching for a purchase to grind against. "Bodie... please!" Doyle begged for his mouth. Never before had anyone touched him in such a private place and it felt incredible.

Loving Ray had greatly increased his own arousal and Bodie needed to release it. So he let go and stood, leaving Ray feeling bereft of contact. As heavy eyes opened to watch Bodie slowly slip down his trousers and step out of them, Ray's gaze centred on the magnificent tumescent cock pressing into the toned abdomen and he was quietly proud and impressed by Bodie's size.

Bodie looked down and saw all he'd ever wanted, his own wanton little golly, sprawled seductively across the sheets. Ray raised his arms beckoning him down. Feeling needed, he crawled across the bed to him. Ray moved further up the bed and as Bodie caught up with him he grabbed his sensuous mouth, which opened willingly to his. Their tongues were sliding, exploring, and experiencing each other's skilful allure. Hands became frantic in their need to find mutual fulfilment. Pulling themselves as close as they could, rubbing heated flesh against heated flesh. Their bodies glowing with arousal and perspiration. Bodie held Ray's body and rolled onto his back, bringing him over on top of him.

Ray stole a final kiss and left his mouth, feeling the solid muscle beneath his hands. So different from the soft pliant bodies he was used to, but yet it felt so right, so good and so erotic. It was Bodie, it was that simple. A man he trusted with his life, a good friend, his best friend, he was always there for him, Bodie loved him; what more could he ask for? Planting small biting kisses all over the firm chest, the resulting pants and gasps, encouraged and excited him. Capturing Bodie's nipple, he lightly rolled it between his teeth, then sucked and laved at it.

Bodie bucked at the stimulation, his erection ground against his mate's, both of them groaning at the electrifying pulses streaming through their bodies, stirring their blood for more. Bodie opened his legs to accommodate his lover, to bring them closer for a better purchase. Grabbing his partner's buttocks, he pulled them closer, circling his hips and thrusting up against Doyle's sweat slicked groin. He watched the fruits of his endeavours play out on Ray's face.

Ray took most of his weight on his elbows, his fingers entwined in the short dark hair, his mouth planting kisses all over his lovers face and neck, as he thrust vigorously in rhythm with Bodie. One hand moved down to search out his body. Sliding his hand up the underside of Bodie's thigh, he reached his behind, kneading the cheek and threatening his fingertips at the crease. Bodie's rhythm faltered, and then sped up. Ray did it again, delving deeper into the fold. Bodie buried his head into Ray's shoulder and groaned, his breathing escalating.

Biting along Bodie's shoulder and up his neck, Ray kissed and sucked at the soft skin. His hand was running backwards and forwards along the crease, sliding on the natural lubricant. He jerked when he felt fingers run along his own, stilling his breath as every nerve in his body pulsated. Knowing how great it felt, he wanted to give more. Pushing his index finger deeper until he found the opening to his body, he began massaging small circles. Bodie's back arched, his rhythm broken as the intense stimulation stole his mind. "Ah God, Ray, Yes...Don't stop!" His own hand repaying in kind.

"Aah...! That feels so fucking goo..." Bodie captured his mouth with his own, possessing him, devouring him. They broke the kiss only for much needed oxygen to fuel their tensing muscles as their bodies began to climb to new heights.

Biting, kissing and laving at each other's necks, shoulders and chests. Tasting and testing every square inch of available skin. Thrusting erratically as the concentrated pleasure enthralled them. Their fingers both entered the other's body simultaneously, and pressed deeper and deeper.

Doyle's hips canted sharply. "I'm gonna... Aah... I'm gonna come." His head drew back, his spine arched, every muscle taut with the imminent orgasm.

Bodie thrust up to meet him. "Ah...Oh Ray...Aah...I love you...Ah shit, now! Argh!"

Both of their bodies throbbed with powerful intensity as they both fell over the precipice into what seemed a never-ending abyss of ecstasy. Growling their simultaneous release into each other's mouths as they kissed their way back down to reality.

Sated, Ray dropped heavily down onto the body below, his breathing laboured, he wrapped his arms around the broad shoulders, closed his eyes and listened to Bodie's heart rate slowing back down. He felt two strong and protective arms wrap around his body holding him tight and a kiss placed upon his head. Smiling, he had never felt more safe and at home ever than he did right now.

Not even realising he had fallen asleep, Ray woke slowly, unsure how long he'd slept for. Gradually he realised he was now lying on his side with his head resting on Bodie's chest, an arm holding him gently in place. The blankets had been drawn up over his body.

Bodie placed a kiss into his hair. "So, you're awake then."

"How long was I asleep?" He questioned, snuggling into the embrace. Smoothing his hand over the wide chest and finding a nipple, he idly began to play with it.

Bodie turned his head and looked at the clock. "About 15 minutes. You must have been tired. It's been one hell of a day - in more ways than one," he said tightening his hold. Bodie went to speak again, hesitated then stopped.


"Are you okay, Ray?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. I feel like I've slept for a good few hours."

"No, I mean about us? About how I feel about you? About how it might affect our..." Bodie was silenced by a finger to his lips, which was swiftly replaced with soft lips.

When the kiss broke, Doyle spoke. "This won't change a thing. No, wait. That's a lie. It changes everything."

Bodie seemed to slump into the mattress; he drew his arm around Doyle even tighter, as if he never wanted to let go. His head turned, as his free hand lying on the pillow started teasing at his fringe. "Okay Ray."

His voice sounded hoarse, grating in his throat. Ray drew up onto his elbow to look down into Bodie's face. He looked lost and lonely. "Listen," he said carefully turning Bodie's head to look into his eyes, "it changes everything, because now I know how I feel about you. Now it's clear. Our friendship, the partnership, our jobs. It'll never be the same."

Bodie's eyes started to look away. "Look at me, Bodie. It'll never be the same because now I know I love you." He saw it register immediately on his partner's face. "That's right, I love you Bodie. I have for a long time, I just hadn't worked it out until earlier."

Ray went quiet remembering how he had nearly screwed it all up by hiding in the wardrobe watching Bodie, knowing that he had witnessed what he had done in the privacy of his room. He shuddered; it had been one of the most erotic sights he had ever seen.

Wrapping both arms around him, Bodie kissed him lightly on the lips. "What made you wake up to it?"

"Earlier, when I made you so angry, all I could picture was you hating me and, knowing you, leaving. I couldn't face it. I sat and all I could think of was my life without you and it was pointless, a bleak landscape. I couldn't see another minute into my future without you in it. I need you Bodie; you're part of me. You don't just keep me alive, you bring me alive. I knew if I walked out of that door like you asked, I wouldn't have seen you again."

Bodie felt a twinge of guilt, what Ray was saying was right; he probably wouldn't have seen him again. Needing to make it all right, he cradled his head and kissed his mouth, pulling away enough to speak. "I love you, angelfish, I always have and always will." The kiss resumed and was building slowly again as passion renewed itself, but before they got carried away again; Bodie needed an answer to one question.

"Just one thing I need to know, Ray. What were you doing in the wardrobe?"

Ray blushed. He actually blushed. He knew he was blushing. Quite apart from Bodie openly laughing, his face felt like it was on fire! His mind was racing, what the hell should he tell Bodie?

"Ray? Wow - I've never seen you quite that colour before!"

"Oh shut up, Bodie." He scowled at the still grinning man, and rolled away, his back being the only thing in Bodie's line of vision.

"You're sulking, mate."

"Am not."

"Are too."

"Am not. Well all right, so I'm sulking. Want to make something of it?" His arms folded themselves of their own accord, or so it felt like. His defensive posture complete, he risked a glance over his shoulder at his lover.

And laughed as he saw Bodie mimicking his words silently, pulling daft faces, to boot. He turned to face him, a sheepish grin on his face.

"I'm sorry, Bodie."

"For what?" The dark haired man was puzzled now - the thread completely unravelled by the sniping.

"For hiding in your wardrobe. It wasn't premeditated. I came back here, thinking this is where you would have bolted. You know, after that debacle back at my place." A rueful smile flitted briefly across his lips. "When I heard the screech of your Capri, I was in two minds what I should do. I was too late to actually leave without you spotting me, and couldn't very well be found relaxing on your sofa, could I?"

Bodie smiled softly at him. "I wouldn't have minded."

"You weren't thinking straight, mate. You would have hightailed it out of there, and I'd never have found you. Or discovered what I know now. Would I?"

Ashamed, Bodie could only nod and agree with Ray's assessment of the situation. He curled his arms around his lover and pulled him in closer, bestowing gentle kisses on his soft skin.

Ray continued, trying to ignore the reaction of his body to Bodie's kisses. "So I hid. In the nearest and largest possible place - your wardrobe. How was I to. ohhh" A shiver fluttered across his body as Bodie nibbled on his neck - his very responsive neck. "Bodie, love, let me finish?"

Bodie reluctantly lifted his lips from the luscious area and gave Ray his most seductive gaze. Ray melted into his arms and kissed those tempting lips, all thoughts of explaining forgotten as they melded their bodies together.

Fire rampaged through them once more as the kisses deepened, and Bodie, in a sensual shimmy of passion, blazed a trail of burning butterfly nuzzles across the velvety soft skin, loving the feel of hard muscles covered by furry satiny pelt.

Reaching the huge uncut erection, surrounded by thick moist curls, he inhaled the unique Ray Doyle musk. It took over his body, invaded his senses and possessed his mind, drawing him further under the spell of love.

Hesitating, he glanced up the taut body to find shimmering green eyes watching him, love flaring from them, holding Bodie magnetised. "Bodie?" Came the husky whisper.

That hoarse breath sent shivers of lust running down Bodie's spine, rendering him speechless.

"Bodie. I want you. Properly. I. Want. You."

Bodie's eyes widened imperceptibly as he understood what Ray was asking. Mouth dry and heart pounding, he managed, "Ray? Are you sure?"

Ray nodded and smiled sexily before raising his legs in an absolute show of trust. Bodie's heart melted into a puddle of mush at the wonderfully wanton and erotic sight before him. He felt something being pushed into his hands - lube.

Squeezing a good amount out onto his fingers, he warmed it before gently brushing some on and around Ray's sensitive opening. Slowly but firmly he slipped one finger in, then two, careful not to cause any pain. As Ray relaxed, and his moans filled the air, Bodie tried three fingers - and twisted them around until he found the responsive gland.

Thunderbolts of lightening hot pleasure shot through Ray's body and suddenly he felt gossamer light, floating on a cloud of pure unadulterated exhilaration, akin to riding a roller coaster. "Oh Bodie, don't stop, Bodie, please." The last word strung out, pleading, begging for his love.

Bodie, almost coming at the sight of a sensuous Ray in the throes of complete sensuality, hurriedly anointed his almost crimson cock, his pre-cum spilling copiously. Lowering himself down onto Ray, Bodie steadily yet delicately pressed into him, biting his lip as the hot tightness surrounding his hypersensitive cock was almost enough to tip him over the edge into sweet orgasmic bliss.

Finally, delightfully in completely, he paused. "Ray? Are you all right?"

"Move, love. Oh God, Bodie. Move!"

Bodie felt Ray's legs clasp him firmly around his back, and he started the rhythmic dance, the push and pull of love that was bringing them closer and closer to their epiphanies. The mountain that had once seemed untameable was crumbling as the two men reached the dizzying stratosphere of ecstasy, rainbows and fireworks exploding into a myriad of colours and emotions.

Hearts pounding, the two men seemed to melt into one, their senses reeling with the total awareness of one another. Adoring words were whispered in the twilight world of sensual overload.

As they came down from the respective highs and basked in the nearness of one another, Ray heard a muttered complaint of, "Still never told me why you were hiding!"

Ray rolled his eyes in disbelief, cuddled the big man closer and uttered his final words on the subject.

"Shut up, Bodie!"

-- THE END --

March 2005

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