An Inordinate Desire
Written for the Discovered in Temptation challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community. My sin was gluttony. Thanks to Izzie for the beta and the title. I’ve stretched and dipped into Takeway for my own nefarious purposes.
Thomas Aquinas said of gluttony: “(It) denotes…an inordinate desire...leaving the order of reason.”
When Doyle opened the glove compartment and found the half-eaten Fry's Chocolate Cream, he knew he had his work cut out for him. Bodie never half ate anything. Ever. Christ, he licked sweet wrappers if he thought no one was looking.
"Well?" Doyle asked, shutting the evidence up hurriedly as Bodie slid back behind the wheel.
"Not a fucking dicky-bird. Looks like we're here for a while. So be a mate and take first watch. Seeing as how it's your bloody informant that's jerking us around." And with that Doyle had a pair of binoculars thrust into his hands and Bodie shifted, turning away on the headrest to present his back to his partner. "There's a good lad."
Doyle's mouth dropped open. Unfuckingbelievable.
He clenched the binoculars so hard it hurt, but when he inhaled to blast Bodie with something, he couldn't do it, couldn't tear a strip off the bolshy bastard after all. He exhaled through his teeth and studied the grey leather-clad back, which had done the usual and settled itself in with a soldier's ease. He had the urge to reach out and disturb all that stillness, but he was unsure if it would be with the flat of a palm or the curve of a fist if he did. Neither response felt right, so he wound his hands tightly around the binoculars instead.
He bit back a sigh and concentrated on the rusting hulk of boat moored a few hundred yards to their left.
And it wasn't even as if it were all Bodie's fault.
As usual, Sod's Law in the shape of one George Cowley had insisted on having its fun, and Doyle had been handed a picture of a pretty policewoman called Esther and told to set himself up in domestic council-estate bliss with her. For the forseeable future. Cowley's exact words. Or until Cowley's urge to practise his Chinese was over. Bodie's exact words. Darkly amused, Doyle knew he could hardly go to Cowley with 'sorry, sir, having it off with Bodie now, sir, so d'you mind giving us time to work out what exactly four fucks and a hand job mean before we do any more romantic undercovers? Cheers.' Doyle had tried, he had. But he and Bodie hadn't talked about it in the privacy of their own flats, so there wasn't much chance of it spilling out over a cup of tea in the squad room before he left.
He'd said 'see you, then', Bodie'd leered something about Chinese birds having small tits, and each had been clapped on the back by a Murphy who thought he was in the know about all things Oriental. But Doyle had caught the jaw clench ending the leer, and Bodie's hesitation at the door had pulled Doyle's own foot forward towards him. Say something, mate. For Chrissakes, say something. And Bodie had half-turned back, fixed his eyes on nothing in particular and told the floor near Doyle not to be late at the market. His quiet, uncertain tone had pulled Doyle another step forward, but Bodie had calmly left it at that. Before Doyle could even think of opening his mouth again, he'd been left alone in the squad room with a cup of cold tea and absolutely nothing resolved.
Back in the car Bodie coughed and shifted in the seat a little, and Doyle spared him a glance. Guilt, sympathy, and frustration all mixed in together. He took his concentration back to the boat.
Typical was not really the bloody word.
Two weeks previously.
Of course, nothing in the manual decreed that the day he and Esther moved in together they had to pool a bed as well as resources, but Doyle was nothing if not thorough when undercover. Besides, if he were honest, the 'Hi-honey-I'm-home' ritual of it all had him intrigued. It was a window onto a world he had had vague yearnings for off and on his whole adult life, and here was his chance to try it on, see if it fit. With George Cowley's blessing no less, and with someone who was bright company, easy on the eye, and clearly enamoured of him.
If Bodie thought four heated rubbings on the floor and sofa suddenly meant monogamy, he could think again.
So when Doyle reached for Esther on that second evening, it was with an odd combination of attraction and irritation. Desire was there, but it was more the desire to teach Bodie a lesson, to serve him right for making Doyle's throat hurt with the sounds ripped from him when he came, and for leaving him there on the carpet afterwards, like a gasping fish.
And so rang his first alarm bell. Because if Esther was everything Bodie wasn't, then what Doyle had when he was with Bodie was missing too. His skin never got that flush of heat when Esther moved in close and just looked at him. He had no desire to wrap her up in every limb and squeeze the living daylights out of her. And most tellingly of all, his throat didn't hurt.
It was no good. This domestic lark, fun though it was, only served to highlight the strange and scary fact that he was going about it with the wrong person. His eureka moment was a quiet one, while he was lying in bed waiting for Esther to finish in the bathroom. All things being equal it would have to wait. Bodie was undercover himself now, turning up at the stall most mornings, looking steadily the worse for wear as life in a squat began to blacken him. Literally. Doyle beamed like an idiot regardless, sneaked the poor unwashed bugger a free peach or two, and felt something tug his conscience at the way Bodie limited everything to a few clipped words about the case.
He knew he was being too nice to Esther to compensate for the guilt he now felt at using her, but was powerless to stop himself. When the loose ends of the case refused to be tied up and she was on the next flight back to Hong Kong, her tears did not really surprise him. Nor his own dry eyes.
Bodie then emerged from the squat, with half a dozen layers of dirt on his skin, a good few pounds off his frame, a stomach bug somewhere in his lower intestines, and a chip on his shoulder the size of Watford.
Sod's Law, thought Doyle. Whichever way you sliced it.
Another cough, another shift of the shoulders and Doyle looked again. Bodie was better, no doubt about it. He was back on solid food and there had been no more twenty minute sojourns to the toilet every time they stopped somewhere. But the half eaten olive branch in the glove compartment -- only the second time Doyle could remember buying Bodie chocolate -- showed that all was not well.
No answer. Though Doyle would have bet his pension that Bodie was awake.
And this time his hand did go out into all that stillness. The flat of a palm hovered, then found a place to rest on the cool leather covering Bodie's shoulders. The stillness froze and got tighter. He spread his fingers, pressed them in a little, and fought the urge to lean his forehead against them.
"Listen, Bodie. I know we never-"
"Look, Doyle. I'm fine. No Turkish Two-Step, no Delhi-Belly, I'm just fucking tired, alright? And since it's your informant who's dicking us around at the crack of dawn on a Sunday, I am having a kip. Christ, half of Chinatown could be in there by now, so stop fucking woolgathering and keep an eye, will you?"
Stung, Doyle's hand was off and curling before the first sentence had snapped out. Bodie had turned his head just enough to make sure Doyle got every word. A resounding thump on the headrest as he twisted away again clearly signalled the end of the conversation.
"You bastard, Bodie. You arrogant, childish, fucking..."
"Yeah well, I'm a bastard that needs his sleep."
Doyle shot him another look, but his face was still turned away and Doyle had had more than his fair share of trying to work anything out around the pig-headedness of one William Andrew Philip Bodie. Two could sulk like four year olds.
When Brownie turned up two hours later, Doyle was almost grateful to have someone to talk to, and unfortunately for Brownie, someone he could take his frustrations out on. Brownie had never caved so fast with so much in his life.
Tuesday came around, and the sulk was holding. They spoke on and about the job, but separated at the end of each shift with little more than a nod and an exchange about the following day's driving arrangements. Doyle felt hard done by, undeserving of his partner's cold shoulder over Esther -- which is what it was, he was sure - but which he knew Bodie would no more admit to than Bodie would eat a salad and join Greenpeace. Tempted to go out and give the unreasonable sod something to be jealous of, an irritating need to feel right held him back and took him to a bath and an early night instead.
On Wednesday the op wound up. Brownie's info had been spot on, and in an explosion of tear-gas and sporadic gunfire a sputtering group of radicals stumbled out of a dilapidated warehouse into the warm and welcoming arms of CI5. Doyle was with Bodie at the back of the building, covering a rusty door in case it proved to be an enticing escape route. They were in position and waiting when suddenly the door banged open to reveal an overweight Chinaman, wreathed in wisps of smoke. Each agent tensed and took secure aim, but the man was clearly incapable of any threat. Hair standing up in tufts, he managed one staggery step forward, swayed ponderously, then with a whispered curse rolled his eyes and crumpled slowly backwards onto a box of rubbish.
Bodie and Doyle exchanged their first real smile in over a fortnight.
Stepping forward, Bodie holstered his gun and gave a tight nod to the man on the ground. He looked at Doyle.
"We fried his noodles then."
It was lame, it was as dry as sandpaper, and it hit Doyle somehere under his ribs and made the sun come out. He was still chuckling when Murphy stuck his head out through the open door. "Oh, well, as long as you're entertained, 4.5. All that matters really. If you could see your way clear to coming out front with the rest of us...? 'Course, only if Mr Music Hall here's finished with you."
"Stuff it, Murph," said Doyle good-naturedly.
"Yeah, stuff it. Not my fault Doyle amuses easily."
Bodie ducked the cuff and nearly got Murph to step in some oil as they made their way through the dank warehouse. Back at HQ, Doyle sniggered at Cowley's Chinese during one of the interrogations, and Bodie elbowed him in the ribs and glared. It was all so blessedly normal that Doyle wanted to open the doors and let everybody go. Time off for his and Bodie's rotten behaviour.
And then the doors did open, and they did get let go. So late it was early, but Cowley had been pleased with the interrogation results and had granted them a day off, as long as their reports were on his desk at 7am Friday morning.
"Which he thinks is a bloody perk and a privilege." Bodie said around a yawn.
Doyle was driving, his hands and feet on automatic pilot. "What is?"
"Report writing on our own time. A perk and a privilege."
"Eh? No. Berk. Cowley does... y'know.."
"Does the...Look, forget it, mate. I am too knackered to have this, or any other conversation."
Doyle let him be and used his powers of concentration for the road instead. He wondered how much exhaustion was easing the tension between them. He drew up outside Bodie's flat and got his answer.
At least they both managed a snigger at the absurdity. Bodie looked down at his hands, then straight ahead. To Doyle his profile was ghostly under the streetlight, the rigours of the last fortnight still there in the hollowed cheeks and dark smudges under his eyes. As Doyle watched him, Bodie yawned again and put his hand out towards the door handle.
Doyle's fingers caught hold of a pinch of cloth on the sleeve of Bodie's right arm, stilling him. "My place, tomorrow. We'll-" He nearly said 'talk', but caught it in time "-cook. I mean, I'll cook." He offered, surprising himself.
Bodie turned to him, eyebrow raised.
"Straight up, I will. Whatever your heart desires."
"Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potatoes and gravy?"
Doyle let go of Bodie's sleeve and sniffed, appearing to consider it. "I was thinking more a couple of sarnies and a tin of soup actually, mate."
Bodie tutted theatrically and shook his head, but the smile when it came was an odd one. "Ah, but what if that's not what my heart desires, Raymond?" His finger reached out, brushed the lightest path down Doyle's cheek, then dropped away.
By the time Doyle's tired brain had recovered, Bodie was out the car and moving towards his front steps.
Fuck, was that a yes or a no?
He leant over and frantically wound the passenger side window down.
"'Bout 5. Alright? Bodie?"
His answer was the back of a raised hand as Bodie reached the first step and continued up without turning. He watched until Bodie's key went in and the door opened, then he wound the window back up and pulled out. His brow furrowed as he waited at the first set of lights.
That was a yes, right?
Ten minutes later he pulled up outside his own flat. He switched the engine off, and on an impluse he could only explain by too much Chinese and tear-gas, opened up the glove compartment. The shiny silver wrapper was still there. The half-eaten Fry's Chocolate Cream it had been encasing for nearly a week was not. He sat back and grinned. Another eureka. And one that would only have to wait until tomorrow.
"Doyle? Bloody hell, you could open the door yourself. Height of bad manners to invite company round, then..."
Bodie opened the kitchen door.
"...uhm, leave them on the...y'know...door step." Doyle stepped forward and took his spare key from Bodie, delighted at the rather gobsmacked look and the way his partner had tailed off, mouth open, coherency lost.
"Couldn't. Me gravy might've burned."
Doyle's kitchen table was not the largest of tables, but Doyle reckoned he'd done it proud. Barely a square inch remained uncovered. A basket of fresh bread, a mound of mashed potatoes in a bowl that could only be called Bodie-sized, two place settings, two wine glasses, and in the centre, a piece of beef roasted to mouth-watering tenderness and surrounded on its platter by at least six Yorkshire puddings, together with the only vegetables Bodie would give house room to, roast parsnips.
Bodie got his mouth closed and finally looked at his partner. A smile made its way out, and Doyle's breath caught a little at the struggle for composure. Then Bodie's eyes looked over Doyle's shoulder and Doyle stepped away, chuckling.
"Let the dog see the rabbit, eh? Sit yourself down, my son. You carve and I'll bring the gravy over, though I'm pouring it straight from the pan. Never owned a gravy boat in me life."
Doyle turned from the cooker, aware that Bodie hadn't actually said anything yet, and he found himself wondering what his occasionally poetic partner might have to say about all this effort on his behalf.
Doyle almost dropped the gravy pan.
Half an hour later...
"You always think Keegan's going to save them. 'M surprised you don't have his picture on the wall, the way you talk about him."
He leant over his still seated partner to collect up another empty dish, straightened, and then froze as Bodie's hands locked around his waist, keeping him where he stood. He felt the press of Bodie's cheek against the denim of his right hip bone, heard the tick of his kitchen clock in the sudden quiet, and sent up a silent prayer of thanks for his bottomless pit of a partner. He breathed steadily and didn't say anything.
"Been a prat, haven't I?" Bodie tilted his face up, tucking his chin onto the jut of hip bone.
Doyle looked down and swallowed. "You? Nah, scarcely noticed, mate."
"Felt bloody awful in that squat, sunshine." Bodie turned his head again, locking his hands even tighter.
And it didn't help having me all chirpy in your ear and going home to Esther.
"And there you were, all perky and full of the joys of domestic fucking bliss."
Doyle shook his head at how well they knew each other.
"Well, judging from the state of this table, I'd say the worst is over, wouldn't you?"
Bodie looked up at him again, and Doyle made sure a smile was on his face. He got the beginnings of one back.
"Now unhand me, mate. The wench has got to put these two bowls down before dropping them on your head and breaking them, and those dishes will not wash and dry themselves, so choose."
Doyle leant down as much as he dared, the bowls really were getting heavy.
"Wash or dry, mate. 'S what the important things in life always come down to."
Bodie sighed his best put-upon sigh, and slid his arms away. "You're the one with the dish-pan hands, sunshine, so I'll dry."
Doyle raised his mug and took a deliberately long and loud slurp of coffee. They had both ended up on the sofa, feet up on Doyle's long-suffering coffee table as something lighthearted washed over them from the TV. Bodie's expression never altered and his attention never wavered.
"Peasant," said Bodie, eyes still ahead.
"Bored peasant," said Doyle, easing his legs off the coffee table and onto the floor.
That got Bodie's attention off the TV. Doyle had turned the overhead light off and two lamps on, and as he turned his gaze to meet his partner's he was struck by the way the dark countenance of Bodie, in his black cords and dark grey shirt, had suddenly softened in that muted glow. He dressed up for me, he thought, as Bodie swung his legs down, leant forward and plucked Doyle's coffee mug from his grasp.He didn't know what I was going to do and he dressed up, made himself...this. For me. Which made what happened next even more important.
"No." Doyle said it quietly but firmly, and accompanied it with a shake of his head just so that the point was clear.
Ever the smooth seducer, Bodie had eased sideways and placed a cool, strong hand just above Doyle's right knee. About to slide his left arm along the back of the sofa, Doyle's rejection stopped him cold.
In the silence that followed Doyle studied the hand on his knee as the fingers tightened, almost painfully, and heard every single one of Bodie's defence shields trying to click into place in the uneven breathing beside him. He didn't turn his head. Instead, he waited, almost to the point of cruelty, then caught at Bodie's fingers with his own when Bodie attempted to pull away.
"I've got conditions, Bodie. Two, in fact." Now he looked, and saw a man scrambling for cover. He kept hold of Bodie's hand, pressing the palm back onto his knee with his own.
"One, we go to bed. To bed, Bodie. No more high-speed sessions on the carpet; no more groping on the sofa like teenagers."
Doyle watched that sink in, saw the jaw clench and the head go down slightly. He went for broke.
"And two, you stay the night."
He let go of Bodie's hand and held his breath. In mute dread he watched the hand slide off his knee and clench in on itself.
Typical. So much for domestic fucking bliss.What a fucking idiot I..
"What?" So convinced of the worst, Doyle hadn't been listening for anything else. His head came up to see his partner smiling at him with the lazy nonchalance that either melted him, or made him want to punch his lights out.
"You snore, sunshine," repeated Bodie, gently, mocking.
No punches tonight. Doyle took himself closer, gratified to see the smile change into something else as he did so. Something uncertain, yet infinitely more promising.
This time it was Doyle's hand that went out, taking its place around the back of Bodie's neck as he drew himself up alongside his partner, thigh to thigh. He looked into dark eyes and saw storms, but no shields.
"You won't notice," he said. And then he did something else they had yet to try. He kissed him.
They made it to the bed this time.
The same could not be said for any of their clothes.
-- THE END --