Closer Quarters Still


Doyle stared vaguely at the thin rain glaring orange through the windowpane, and winced inside himself.

"Why the 'ell would you come back here? " What had made him say that? They'd been fine, they'd been having a laugh. He knew Bodie wasn't happy right now, was he trying to send him running back to Africa?

His future telescoped in on him. Working solo on the streets because he couldn't bear to have anyone else watching his back. The other agents eying him sideways the way they had poor Shotgun Tommy. Going home... He closed his eyes. Going home after work alone. And knowing, knowing that Bodie was out there somewhere. Somewhere else. Somewhere brighter.

For a moment that world was so real to him, and Bodie so silent beside him, that his tired brain was sure it had already happened, and he froze.

Then soft words from the man beside him, words he didn't hear, blurred in the air between them. But words. Real. He turned his face from the window, stared openly and greedily at his partner as he lay on the narrow bed pushed tight against his own.

"Nowhere else I'd rather be."

Bodie was looking straight at him -- no, Doyle thought, straight through him. What was he remembering? The warmth of sun on skin, the languid stretch of limbs, the brilliance of a Mediterranean sky?

How could that compare with this damp matchbox of a room? With his damp, sweat-soaked partner? Of course Bodie'd be off soon. He'd been distracted for months, it was obvious he was about to jump ship again...

Bodie's words finally sank in, and Doyle could feel his eyes open wide, his mouth become solemn. Nowhere else I'd rather be. He focussed on Bodie, to find Bodie focussed on him, to find something solemn looking back at him. Ah, Bodie...

And then it was as if he was in that other world again, only it was a better, brighter world and they were both there. They were both here. Bodie reached up and touched him gently, so gently, with his thumb, running it across his cheek until his hand cupped Doyle's head, drew him so slowly down.

This couldn't be happening. This was finally happening.


Bodie stopped, spoke his name, was waiting for him. God, he hadn't meant it, he'd been messing around, he'd...

"Ray, is this alright?"

There was nothing to say, he had no words, so Doyle lowered his head and let his lips speak older languages, soft, dry languages, brushing slowly against Bodie's mouth. He spoke in moist, hopeful languages, in breathless, demanding moans. And Bodie's hands still held him, and there was nowhere else he ever wanted to be.


He wanted to be closer. Doyle slid down the bed until he was stretched out against Bodie's solid length, weight on one elbow, one hand free.

Bodie's jumper was soft black cashmere, yet it was still too rough. Doyle inveigled his way underneath, encountered cotton and warmth, and smoothed his palm across the rise and fall of muscle, felt for a moment the beat of Bodie's heart and caught his fingers on the hard peaked nipples.

Still not close enough.

Bodie twisted against him so that Doyle was lying on top, so they were pressed together, limb to limb, muscle to muscle. Cock to cock.

His breath came in hot gasps, was lost in Bodie's mouth. He wanted to be...

Another noise.

He pressed more urgently against Bodie, felt sure hands run from the top of his thighs across his arse, up his back...


Hands in his hair again, this time pulling him back. Pulling him off.

He rolled to one side, and they lay panting for a moment, trembling, trying to make sense of their surroundings.

"Oi? Have you two gone out the window or something? Open the bloody door!"

Allison. It was Allison.


Doyle felt the world intrude again, the room around them snap back to size.

"What d'you want?" Bodie shouted, his voice slurred. He was sliding under the bedcovers, and with his hair ruffled and his lips swollen, he looked as though he was just waking up.

"Open the bloody door!" Allison said again, giving it a kick for good measure.

Doyle stood carefully, remembered other hazards of waking up to visitors, and glanced down. His tracksuit was not baggy enough. The room was too small. There was nowhere to go, once he'd opened the door, no bathroom, no armchair to curl up in...

He yanked back the blankets on the other bed, stared around the room. At least it still smelled of chicken and chips. Taking a deep breath, he ran his hands through his hair, glanced at Bodie, and pulled the door open.

"Some of us," he ground out in the general direction of Allison, "Are off duty."

He had a brief vision of Allison haloed in yellow from the hallway, before he remembered that they hadn't even drawn the curtains. He turned away and stomped back to the window, dragged them shut, and dropped himself onto the bed. When Allison turned on the light he was able to give a good impression of a man blinded. He leaned back against the bedhead, pulled the blankets up, hid his face in his hands, and rubbed at his eyes.

"What's up, Robbie?" Bodie asked, sounding peeved, but more normal.

Allison stared at them suspiciously for a moment, then grinned.

"Was wondering," he started, "Which one is Morecambe and which one is Wise? Or..." He ducked the pillow thrown by Bodie, unwisely chose to continue, "... is it Bert and Ernie? Darby and Joan? Steptoe and Son..?"

By the time Bodie was through pummelling Allison, they were all three laughing and the moment, Doyle considered, was well and truly lost.

Finally Allison retreated into the hallway -- barely three feet from the end of the beds, mind -- and addressed Bodie. "I thought you, you bastard, were going to get us dinner."

"Ah, Christ... Sorry lads. Totally forgot."

"Oh, that's not nosh I smell then?" Allison stared pointedly at the remains of their dinner, "New line in aftershave, is it?"

"I picked it up on the way back," Doyle confessed. "Thought you would've made your own arrangements with Pennington."

"We did. We arranged Bodie'd pick something up for us."

"I'm sorry... I'm sorry, Robbie..."

"Nah, that's alright," Allison stated, magnanimous in victory, "The lads won't mind when I tell 'em you boys were in your jammies before eight o clock. Cowley's top team all worn out. Ever so sympathetic they'll be."

Doyle, who knew just how long that "sympathy" would last around the squad, lobbed a pillow at him again, but this time Allison retreated back up the corridor to the safety of the observation room.

Doyle slammed the door, leaned against it briefly before making his way back to bed. Collapsing on top of the bedspread, he covered his eyes with one arm, and tried to breathe slowly. Now what?

There was a click and the darkness behind his eyes shifted, became all encompassing. A stir of movement past the foot of his bed, a scrape as the curtains were pulled just a little. Orange light across his face again. Was Bodie..?

"Look," a soft voice by his ear -- he'd not even felt him lie down -- "If you want me to stop..."

Doyle didn't move. A hand wrapped around his wrist, drew his arm away from his face. He swallowed and opened his eyes.

"I reckon we might as well finish what we started," Bodie was saying, "Unless you want me to stop. I mean, it's not the best place..."


"No?" Bodie withdrew his hand immediately, tensed as if to get up.

"No, I mean..." Doyle twisted himself onto an elbow and followed through so he was the one holding Bodie's wrist this time. So they were almost back where they'd begun. "How did we get here anyway?"

In the filtered streetlight he could see Bodie wrestling with a dozen different answers. Which would it be? Took the M6 didn't we? Six years hard labour? Cowley's grace?

"I had been hungry all the years..." Bodie said softly, and Doyle knew it was another damned poet. He didn't care, he heard only the words.

This time they moved more surely against each other, rucking up shirts and sliding down trousers, inching fingers around waistbands, palms along spines, lips across necks. Doyle lost himself in knowing that it was Bodie doing this to him, Bodie hard against him, hot against him. In knowing that there was nothing between them now or ever, and that they were as close as it was possible to be.

-- THE END --

March 2006

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