Three Bells


Written for the "Discovered on a Gangplank" challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community, to celebrate international Talk Like a Pirate Day. The sequel is Bike Night.

"Oi." Bodie kept his voice low but he wanted to attract Doyle's attention. It was Bodie's turn with the high-power binoculars, keeping endless track of everything happening, or not happening, on the Morgan's Heir.

Doyle, from the sounds of it, was finished with his dinner. He listened as Doyle repacked the supplies bag, then came up alongside him, leaning in close. "Keep it down." They could talk on this obbo, but only in quiet voices. He had long ago perfected the art of conversing without looking away from the objective.

"I'm bored."

"I thought you loved the sea."

Bodie snorted. "This is not the sea." It wasn't much like being on a boat, either, so stable was their mooring.

"It's a canal that leads to the river that leads to the sea."

"It's not the sea."

"You are demonstrating a lack of imagination, three-seven." Doyle's Cowley, Bodie admitted only to himself, was marginally better than his own.

"And where did you get the idea that I love the sea?"

"Ran away to it, didn't you?" Doyle found a more comfortable spot on the table next to Bodie. They'd locked the table into place and were using it as a seat, their feet up on the bulkhead, giving them an excellent view of the canal and the boat that Cowley was so very interested in.

"I did not. I joined the merchant navy to get out of Liverpool."

"Yeah, off to see the world."

"I'd run out of money."

"Off to seek your fortune, then. Braving the sea."

"I jumped ship as soon as I could."

"Free as a bird, seeking--"

"There were no birds. Why do you think I jumped ship?"

"What, all those rumours about shipboard sodomy aren't true, then?"

Bodie grinned. "No rum, either."

"So all your romantic dreams were quashed, eh?"

"Something like that." Bodie frowned as he saw movement on the path behind the Morgan.

"You see something?"

"Movement. Yeah, someone's going aboard. White, balding, medium-build. He looks tough."

"Got it." Doyle was keeping the log during Bodie's watch. Clearly the boat was being used for a rendezvous, just as clearly they had no real idea what they were there for. Cowley had just told them to get in close, without arousing any suspicion, and watch. It had been Doyle's idea to use Brownie's boat, getting the man to bring them in, hidden in his extra hold, and leave them in his accustomed spot. No one would think twice about Brownie's boat anchored where it was. After dark, he and Doyle had emerged from the hold while Brownie went out for the night. They were dressed in black and kept to the shadowy interior of the wheelhouse. They had been at it now for two nights. Bodie hoped it would be their last.

"Ah, the new one doesn't like birds."

"And you know"

"They're coming off the boat."

"My turn." Doyle made a grab for the binoculars.

"Gerroff." Bodie shoved him away with his shoulder, but Doyle stayed close, as if he could see better just by being next to the binoculars. Bodie felt Doyle's breath on his cheek.

"Selfish sod. Are they dressed this time?"

Bodie sighed. "Yeah, jackets and everything."

"Hell of a time to send them out." Doyle shifted away a few inches, and Bodie found he missed the warmth. The wheelhouse was enclosed, but the breeze found its way in and the temperature was colder on the water.

"I wonder who the prick is?"

"Maybe Cowley knows."

"Probably." Bodie could hear the resentment in Doyle's voice.

"I don't know why you persist in thinking the Old Man is going to change in that. We're always going to be in the dark."

"If not always quite so literally." Doyle shifted again, leaning back, his shoulder brushing Bodie's. "Go on, tell me more about this hate-affair with the sea."

"I didn't hate it, it just didn't suit."

"What were you looking for?"

Bodie shrugged. "A way out." Doyle was quiet and Bodie found himself continuing. "Maybe I had read too many books on the sea."

"Fancied yourself as Nelson?"

"More like Drake."

"Ah, piracy in the name of the crown."

"Not that far off from what we do now, is it? And another man has gone aboard: white, beefy, looks to be in his fifties."

Doyle sat up straight to fill in the log. "Got it." He put the notebook down. Doyle's leg was resting against Bodie's and Bodie hoped he wouldn't move. It was a cold night, dark with no moon, and it seemed he and Doyle were the only real people in the world. All the others were actors under their observation, safely far away. "So you reckon we're pirates, do you?"

Bodie hesitated, trying to judge from Doyle's voice how he was taking the off-hand comment. Sometimes Doyle could be touchy about the job. Idealism, Cowley called it; inconvenient was Bodie's word for it. "Well, we do get away with things others wouldn't."

"Cowley made you pay that last speeding ticket."

"Ah, but you got away with the parking ticket."

"That was legitimate CI5 business, that was."

"My point exactly."

"Not quite the same as capturing the Spanish treasure fleet."

"Modernisation ruins everything."

"Yes, you don't hear of whole ship crews dying of scurvy these days."

"Distance meant something back then. You could be years at sea, and never an official to interfere with you. Here do you recognise this bloke?" Bodie handed the binoculars to Doyle.

Doyle leaned into Bodie to get the same line of sight. "Thomas. Dewey Thomas. What the hell is he doing down this way? He operates off the west coast."

"Well, jot it down then." Bodie took back the binoculars, both relieved and regretful when Doyle moved back to his former position. He had long ago accepted the fact that Doyle radiated sex to him, and he tended to enjoy the buzz it gave him. He had no intention of following the lure--it would be suicide to do that. But he was finding that here in the dark, in their own floating world when his senses were full of Doyle, his body was taking an even stronger interest than usual.

"So it was the freedom that attracted you then--along with the violence, of course."

"Of course. Yeah, I reckon. Freedom and adventure."

"No rules."

"Plenty of rules, mate, but room to go your own way. Even pirates had rules, at least on ship."

He could hear Doyle's grin in his reply. "You fancied yourself a captain, didn't you?"

Bodie smiled but shook his head. "Nah, don't want the responsibility, do I? A ship ties you down too much, even a pirate ship."

"So, freedom was what you were after." Doyle's leg was pressed against his again, as he reached around for the thermos. "You then went from the merchant navy to the mercs to the army to the SAS to CI5--none of them known for their unregimented, freedom-loving ways. What are you really looking for, Bodie?"

"I'll tell you when I find it. Here let me have some of that." He put out a hand and Doyle gave him the cup from the thermos. He took a good sip of almost hot tea. "Ta."

"Room to go your own way, eh? Cowley might have something to say about that."

"Depends on which way I go. He won't object as long as I abide by his rules. I like it that way. I know where I stand in this mob." And what the hell was in the tea that had him saying any of this? He handed the cup back to Doyle and concentrated on the Morgan's Heir.

Doyle slurped tea beside him, the sound so familiar that he hardly noticed it any more, except in the silence that surrounded them tonight. The canal was quiet, only a few lights shining here and there, slipping out from behind drawn curtains on boats and barges. He wondered where the girls had gone, if they'd had a ride waiting for them in the car park by the canal. He wondered what Doyle would ask him next. Shifting a little, he put an inch of much-needed space between them. Maybe it was time to go on the offensive.

"What about you, then?"

"What about me?"

"Ever fancy yourself a pirate? Could just see you swinging from the ropes, striding the deck." And he could, too, that was the trouble.

"I wonder about you sometimes." Doyle set the thermos down beside him, and leaned back on his hands. "Yeah, I reckon I did now and again."

"Seeking the freedom?"

"Emm, no, not so much that as...." He trailed off, as if pondering.

"Sticking it to the authorities?"

He won a quick laugh from Doyle with that, and smiled himself. "Yeah, maybe."

"And that's why you went into the police and then CI5?"

"All right, so neither of our choices make sense on the surface. I needed the discipline. I can see myself as a pirate, and I didn't like what I saw."

"You fight the pirates, Ray, just like me."

"Yeah, like good old Harry Morgan over there." Doyle gestured towards the ship they were watching. "It takes one to hunt one."

"Or two."

He could feel Doyle watching him. "Or two."

Bodie wanted to reach out, to touch him, to try the one thing he didn't dare attempt. It was probably the very illicitness of it that attracted him so much. His hands tightened on the binoculars. "So what do you do to keep yourself sane within their rules? Where's the pirate inside you?"

"Ah, well, I could ask the same of you."

"You first."

Doyle sat up, his hands resting on his thighs. "Well, I reckon the bike's part of that."

"What, that old wreck you're working on?"

"It'll be great when it's done. But all of them, really."

"When you race them? Gives you a thrill, does it?"

"When I go out at night, yeah. On my own, just me against the road, taking the bike as high as I can make it go."

"Cowley would not approve."

"Yeah, but it clears my head."

"Adrenaline has a way of doing that." Bodie paused, then: "Take me with you, next time?"

There was a silence beside him, and Bodie found himself holding his breath. "Maybe," Doyle said.

Bodie breathed again. "I bet it's a turn-on."

He was relieved to hear the smile back in Doyle's voice. "Yeah, it is that."

"Is this the sort of night you'd go out, then? If we weren't here?"

"Nah, I want more moonlight than this. And, anyway, I only do it when the urge strikes."

Bodie smiled. "When you're not otherwise occupied, you mean."

"You could say that." Doyle nudged him with his shoulder. "C'mon, then, what about you?"

"What about me?"

"Where's your pirate, you daft sod?"

"Nothing much piratical about you, is there? Speeding? Where's all the pillaging?"

"I'll pillage you in a moment."

"Ooh, promises."

Doyle snickered.

"Keep it down, four-five."

"Up your arse, three-seven."

"I thought we'd already established the lack of sodomy."

"We're on a boat, it comes naturally, despite what you say. C'mon stop stalling, it's your turn."

"Here, take over, will you? I need to take a leak."

"That's convenient." But Doyle took the binoculars and slid over to take Bodie's place.

When Bodie returned he hesitated in the back of the wheelhouse, looking at Doyle's back. He could detect nothing specific about the dark form, but he knew it was Doyle, would always know it was Doyle. He yearned to run away as strongly as he yearned to go towards him. Self-preservation against the attraction of danger--a common dilemma for him. Approaching Doyle with what he wanted was almost as dangerous as getting it. He walked forward, and settled again onto the table beside Doyle. "Anything?"

"Not a peep. It's fortunate for us they've left the curtain open. What do you reckon Cowley will make of the three of them meeting?"

"Probably what we're making of it."

"But what's CI5's angle? Why involve us? Anyone could do this obbo."

"Maybe it's punishment. Dead boring, this is."

"And what else would you be doing now?"

"Ah, well..."

"Other than that."

"Why would I want to? All right, then, sleeping."

"Dead boring that is, too."

"Not with my dreams, mate."

"I might have known. Is that where your pirate comes out, then?"

"What, in me dreams?"

"Yeah, all the pillaging."

"I thought you didn't want to hear about that."

"Have you ever pillaged?"

The question stopped him. "Yeah," he finally said. "One of the reasons I got out of the mercs."

Doyle nodded, and didn't say anything, but he pressed his leg against Bodie's for a moment.

Maybe it was the dark, maybe it was the silence, maybe it was the understanding. Or, maybe it was inevitable. Regardless, Bodie found himself speaking: "You really want to know?"


And Bodie put a hand on Doyle's stomach, listening as Doyle caught his breath, and then he moved his hand down to Doyle's cock.

"Illicit pleasure?" Doyle asked, his voice sounding constricted.

"Freedom to go my own way." Bodie pressed down, feeling the hardness and hearing Doyle's quick intake of breath.

"You do this often?"

Bodie shook his head, concentrating now on what Doyle was allowing him to do, hardly believing it but taking his chance. "No." He unbuttoned Doyle's jeans, and slid the zip down. "Hardly ever. I don't believe I'm doing it now. Don't take your eyes off the job."


It was insane on so many levels: they were on the job; it was all a fantasy kept safely in his head; this was Doyle, his partner, but once started he didn't want to stop. So Bodie ignored the voices in his head and concentrated all of his senses on Doyle, on the scent of him, the feel of him, the sound of the disrupted pattern of his breathing. He wished he could watch Doyle's face, but there wasn't enough light for that. He wished he could have Doyle's hands on him--encouraging or pushing away?--but Doyle was hanging on to the binoculars as if to a lifeline. Pushing the jeans down further, he stroked Doyle, encouraging his cock to lengthen and to pulse, taking delight in Doyle's response.

Hands were never going to be enough, so he eased off the table and down onto the bulkhead cushion, and he bent over Doyle and took him in his mouth. Like magic it was, like the Guy igniting. He knew what Doyle was feeling, knew how he was struggling to keep from crying out, knew how he wanted it over and yet never to end. And for once he had Doyle completely helpless, completely his. Whatever came afterwards it was worth it for this, for the moment Doyle came in his mouth.

"Bodie...." One word, and that was all Doyle said, as if he could trust himself with nothing else vocal. But Bodie listened to the hitch in his breath, and felt the thunder of his pulse, and was content.

He patted Doyle, gently, and cleaned him up and put him back together. Leaning back against the bulkhead, he took a moment to gather himself. His need now was uppermost in his mind, and he had no idea what to expect, if to expect--"

"Take these bloody binoculars!" Doyle's voice was low, but vehement. Bodie reacted before he thought and took the binoculars, letting Doyle maneouvre him onto the table, hardly realising what was happening before he found Doyle on his knees before him, and Doyle's hands on him, working his trousers. And then it was Doyle, Doyle who was going down on him, whose mouth was surrounding him, accepting him, whose tongue...and Bodie stopped thinking, and had no clue what he was seeing through the binoculars, but he clutched them to his face.

Afterwards, as he sat there more shattered than he should have been, he thought of the op and was relieved to find the meeting continuing across the water, behind the windows of the Morgan's Heir. And now Doyle was putting him back together, copying Bodie nearly exactly, and he wondered how experienced Doyle was, or if he was simply a talented learner. He nearly spoke, but there was something in the quality of Doyle's silence that kept him quiet. Duty required him to keep his eyes on the Morgan, but he wanted to see Doyle, he wanted to kiss him, he wanted to know. Bodie kept his eyes riveted on the ship across the canal, but every other sense was trained on Doyle, and it felt as if he couldn't breathe.

Oh madness to have done this. Freedom didn't mean this to him, didn't allow for the breaking of his own rules so easily. He'd fallen for the mood and the night, an act of impulse that might destroy everything. What had he done? Yet, he couldn't blame it all on the night, on the odd sense of being in their own floating bubble, detached from the normal world. Because despite the insanity of it, he was coming to realise that nothing had felt more right than to pleasure Doyle, and to have Doyle pleasure him.

But Doyle's silence spoke to him, and he felt the cold edge of withdrawal. Pirates took and plundered with no thought to the consequences for the victims. Was that the two of them? Was it just thriving on the lure of the illicit, on the danger of it all? Was there nothing more?

Bodie reached out to Doyle. He wasn't allowed to look at him, couldn't kiss him, but he could touch him, could try to hold on to him. He had to show Doyle that it was more than a blow job, more than a dangerous lark, more than a pirate's impulse. He felt Doyle's shoulder, his hand sliding down Doyle's arm as Doyle moved off the cushion, away from him. And then it was Doyle's hand beneath his and Bodie grabbed hold of it, clamping his fingers around Doyle's.

He felt the tension in the hand beneath his, felt the stiffness in the arm, as if Doyle was about to pull away, and then Doyle stilled, and it seemed the very air was still with him. Slowly, Doyle's hand turned in his, and they met, palm to palm, and Doyle's fingers gathered him close.

Bodie found he could breathe again. And then his brain finally understood what his eyes were trying to tell him: movement on the Morgan. "They're leaving."

"Who?" Doyle's voice sounded rough.

"Thomas and the other two men. Bugger, it looks like the Morgan's getting ready to pull out."

"That's our cue, then. I'll get the R/T, you gather our stuff." They broke apart and Bodie listened as Doyle put the call in to Cowley, and they received the order to move out. A car would be waiting for them a mile down the street from the canal, and they were to get back to HQ as quickly as possible.

They hurried off the boat, then ran the mile, side by side, finding Anson waiting for them in an old Granada. Bodie slowed Doyle with a touch, stopping just short of the car, turning them a little away from it. He still could make out almost nothing on Doyle's face, and desperately wanted full light.

It was Doyle who broke the silence first. "There's a full moon in two days."

Bodie caught his breath. "Good night for a ride."

"Yeah. For two." Doyle was watching him, and Bodie wondered what he saw, if the lack of light even mattered.

"I think I know now what I'm looking for."

Doyle's head tilted. "Early days."


"Maybe." And he didn't need the light to know that Doyle was smiling.

Bodie turned his head as the car door opened and Anson, clearly impatient, emerged from the car. "C'mon you dozy bastards. The pirates are getting away!"

"Not all of them," Bodie said. He felt Doyle's hand briefly touch his, and then they were hurrying to the car, and on the chase.

-- THE END --

September 2006

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