Love's Progress


Five sets of paired drabbles written for the stagesoflove livejournal community. As you might guess from the comm's name, each set of drabbles depicts a different stage of love. Many thanks to Shay Sheridan for pointing me to the challenge in the first place and helpful beta comments, and to Slantedlight and my guy for additional beta assistance on the last pair.


From across the car park, Bodie watched as Doyle stretched his arms above him, his spine arching in pure physical pleasure, his head tilting back to catch the gold of the afternoon sun.

As always when watching Doyle, Bodie couldn't help but feel a slow, warming curl of arousal twine through his gut. Couldn't help but imagine what Doyle's lips would feel like beneath his own, what his throat would taste like on his tongue, what his voice would sound like gone hoarse with arousal.

When Doyle's eyes met his, he started like a guilty thing. And then he smiled.


When he caught Bodie staring at him with an expression that might have been heat and might have been hunger, Doyle began to wonder. And wondered even more when Bodie flinched in surprise at finding himself watched, then smiled at him, the smile of a large cat hunting for its quarry.

He wondered if Bodie's heat would raze him to the ground. He wondered if Bodie's hunger would devour him. And he wondered if what he wanted more than anything was to be seared by Bodie's flame, to be consumed by Bodie's appetite.

Licking his lips, he made his decision.


Doyle approached Bodie in the car park, circled him slowly as he considered how to proceed.

If Bodie were a woman, he'd woo him with dinner and dancing and sweet endearments softly whispered in his ear.

If Bodie were any other man, he'd spar and flirt and fuck him in a way that didn't matter.

But this was Bodie, and Bodie knew Doyle better than Doyle knew himself. Knew his moods, knew his wishes, knew his wants. No need to hide his desires from Bodie.

"Your place?" Doyle asked.

A curt nod was his only answer. But it was enough.


Breathing harshly, Bodie slammed Doyle against the door of his flat. Doyle's mouth opened beneath his and Bodie tasted lager and lime and lust on his tongue. As they grappled with shirts and flies, Bodie was thankful that he had no need to romance Doyle.

Bodie didn't do romance. Not with birds, and especially not with blokes. And that was fine, since Doyle'd laugh himself sick if Bodie ever went down on one knee and offered him roses.

Nothing soft for the likes of them.

But it wasn't soft to hold Doyle tightly as the golly fell asleep. Was it?


It sometimes frightened him. How much he wanted Doyle. How much he craved the man in his very marrow.

The longing took hold of him in unexpected places, at unexpected times. On the shooting range, the air stinking of cordite, where Doyle, his sleeves pushed up on taut forearms, hit bullseye after bullseye. Or in a briefing, where Doyle would stretch out his legs with grace aforethought and give Bodie an insolent grin.

Times like those, Bodie wanted to strip Doyle as bare as Doyle'd stripped his defences, to make Doyle feel every ounce of Bodie's own fear and need.


With Bodie at his side, Doyle could do anything, face anything. Bodie's presence wrenched his fear away. It made him fierce, made him invincible.

On the street, Bodie gave him the courage to charge into a firefight heedless of his own skin, conscious only of the brutal joy of the moment.

And in bed, oh, in bed, Bodie gave him another kind of courage. The courage to strip off the mask he showed the world, along with his clothes, and expose the man beneath. The courage to throw back his head and exult in the sensation of flesh on flesh.


Doyle was trapped in a crushing dream of light and noise and unremitting pain. He tried to scream, but instead came awake, uncertain of where he was.

"Ray?" Bodie's hand brushed his shoulder, stroked his cheek.


"All right?"


And with Bodie there, he was. All right.

Doyle lay back down, his heart slowing and his breath deepening as Bodie caressed his back, then wrapped a firm arm around his chest. He drifted into sleep, Bodie's presence the surest safeguard he knew against his own demons. Bodie, the only other person who understood what terrors haunted a warrior's dreams.


Bodie propped himself up on one elbow and watched over Doyle, ready to wake him if another nightmare struck, ready to cosset him back to sleep if the need arose.

Well, he thought. When the fuck had that happened?

When had Doyle wormed his way so completely into his life? When had standing guard over the stroppy sod's sleep become a sacred duty he gladly performed?

When had he gone so soft that these moments of being so trusted, so needed by another human being, by Ray, meant more than the fucking, more than the friendship, more than absolutely anything?


With an instinct earned in too many battles, Bodie pushed Doyle down seconds before a volley of bullets splintered the crate behind them.

"Thanks," Doyle said when the fight was over.

"Don't mention it," Bodie responded. "You watch my back; I watch yours." Then he slung an arm around Doyle.

You watch my back; I watch yours. The words didn't sound like much, but they were the most solemn vow Bodie'd ever made. Stronger than his oath to protect Queen and Country. More important even than his loyalty to George Cowley himself.

Doyle was his life. All else was chaff.


I nearly died today. The thought tumbled through Doyle's mind as he dragged Bodie into his bedroom. Was nearly cold, dead meat on an autopsy table. He shuddered and lost himself in Bodie's embrace.

Bodie gave me my life today. He gasped as Bodie nipped at his throat. He means everything to me. He combed his fingers through Bodie's hair.

With my body, I thee worship.

Bodie suddenly stopped his exploration of Doyle's body, a puzzled expression on his face.

"What's that look for?" Bodie asked.

"Let me show you," Doyle said. And then he began to do exactly that.

-- THE END --

March 2006

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