Four Things That Never Happened to Ray Doyle
- and One That Did
Written for "Discovered in the Mistletoe" on the discoveredinalj livejournal community.
With many thanks to Justacat, PFL, and Elizabeth O'Shea for their editing assistance. It would have been a very different story without them. Extra special thanks to Justacat, who introduced me to Bodie and Doyle.
Should have been artistic. I could have copped for some of the loose living as well.
- "It's Only a Beautiful Picture"
Doyle felt the eyes on him even before he turned, a prescience that raised the hair on the back of his neck. There was awareness and a heat, a predatory interest that stirred something unexpected in his belly.
He was preoccupied enough with the unsettling feeling that he jumped when Sammy's breath tickled his ear. "Oh, my, who let the rough trade in?" Sammy murmured. Sammy cruised gallery openings like some men cruised the clubs.
"Who?" Doyle asked but it was a rhetorical question. His eyes were already fixed on the man watching him from across the room, a man with dark hair and hard eyes. He was staring brazenly at Doyle, without pretence and without apology, and although he had a handsome face--a face to take the breath away, if Doyle was going to be honest--there was something dangerous in it as well, something cold and cruel that repelled as much as it attracted. A man could drown in something like that, Doyle thought, and celebrate his own downfall.
He was with another man--that one was respectability incarnate, done out in turtleneck and tweed. They were pretending to look through the catalogue as they wandered around the gallery, but Doyle could see that neither of them was interested in any of the art being shown.
Sammy was still twittering. "If they can tell art from their arse then I'm marrying the Queen Mother."
"Sammy, if you ever get married there's bound to be a queen involved," Doyle said with distracted good humour. He was vaguely aware of Sammy's indignant protest as he made his way toward the bar.
The eyes followed him. Whoever the man was he was a good bit of menace, Doyle decided. Had a look about him, the look of an animal, caged and pacing. A tiger that would let you pet him and purr under the stroking, then turn on you and bite your hand off at the elbow without the slightest bit of remorse.
He looked down to study his own book, feeling those eyes burn into him as they drew close.
"When did Cowley become an art lover?" the other man asked. South London, if Doyle's ear held true.
"When he saw his first pound note." It was him. His voice was rich and controlled, even under a layer of easy humour.
"Yeah, why send us here?" They were moving past now, voices coming from behind him.
"Improve our minds, he said." The answer was filled with lazy mockery. It sounded like he was smiling, and Doyle wished he had the courage to turn and look.
"Well, with yours, he's got plenty of room to manoeuvre," his friend shot back at him. Doyle heard him laugh and then lost track of the conversation as they walked into the next room, out of earshot.
Feeling himself suddenly freed from that intense scrutiny, Doyle realized he'd been holding his breath and let it out in one long shaky shudder. He reached for a glass of champagne, downing most of it in one swallow, then nodded at the barman to refill it. Nerves still tingling, he carried the glass over to one of the paintings, his eyes fixed on it without seeing. He'd never felt anything quite like that before in his life.
"I can't believe these prices, you know." Doyle caught his breath and froze. The murmur was close to his ear--too close for anything resembling politeness. "I'm in the wrong business."
Doyle shivered and turned, and looked into dangerous, dangerous blue eyes.
It's like they say: you pays your money, you takes your choice.
The party had been small. Friends of Ann's, colleagues of Ann's. Murphy, Jax, and Bodie. All carefully planned and beautifully executed: good food, excellent company, a brilliant wine and cheese for afters. There'd been well wishes and toasts all around, even one from Bodie.
"To Raymond." He'd stood, if slightly unsteadily, and looked right into Doyle's eyes. Doyle could feel the heat rising in his face.
Ann'd seen it too. "And to Ann, who makes him happy," Bodie concluded with brittle politeness and an abbreviated bow in her direction. Ann'd smiled through it all with gritted teeth, and Doyle was reduced to studying the wine in his glass to avoid that unwavering gaze.
Finally, the interminable night was over and people were beginning to trickle out.
"Walk me out to the car," Bodie said in a low voice, as Doyle got him his jacket from the hall cupboard.
"Can't." Damn it, Bodie. "Got guests still. But thanks for coming, mate."
Bodie had never been good at taking no for an answer though. He came up behind Doyle, breath hot on the back of his neck, and fastened iron fingers around Doyle's arm.
"Walk me out to the bloody car, Doyle. It's that or I'll make a scene here."
Doyle looked over to see Ann watching them. He knew the picture they must make, Bodie plastered up against his back and whispering in his ear, the heat in his face. For a moment there was something like regret in her eyes, and then she looked away and went back to her conversation.
"Fine, just--" He shook Bodie off and turned, shoving his hands in his pockets, and led Bodie out the door.
It was chilly--winter was coming on. He and Ann lived in a quiet neighbourhood that was up and coming. Semi-detached, with a garden where Ann had grown roses last spring and a garage down the road where Doyle stored the motorbikes he never seemed to have time for anymore. Doyle could smell the whisky on Bodie's breath as they walked down the road to his car, that and the burning leaves that meant autumn was winding down.
"So how does it feel, Raymond, first year of marriage and all?" Bodie was walking with the kind of careful concentration that meant he was drunk, although he was hiding it pretty well.
"Everything you thought it would be?"
Aggravating bastard. "Bodie, you're drunk."
"No, seriously, Doyle--is it fun playing house? Making nice over breakfast? And in the bedroom?"
The silk suit Ann'd insisted he wear wasn't much protection against the cold. "It's none of your business, mate."
"It's not what you thought it would be, is it, Doyle? Not what you thought you wanted, not what you want." Bodie stopped and turned to face him. His face drew near. "Not what you need, is it?"
"Stop it, Bodie."
"No." And suddenly Bodie's hand was on his arm and Bodie was shoving him back up against the car, hard thigh between his. Bodie was kissing him, hard and full out, dirty and messy.
Doyle dragged his mouth away. "Christ, Bodie--"
"No." Bodie's voice was hard, harsh. "We did it your way, Ray. I let you go without a word, let you chase your notions of true love and stood up next to you and acted the best friend just like you asked. Well, enough's enough, Ray. Enough's enough." He leaned over Doyle again, taking his mouth, and this time Doyle couldn't make himself turn away, couldn't do anything but open himself to the kiss.
"Truce over, Ray." Bodie's hands were on him, tracing fire over his skin. "Last time I should've fought for you. This time I will." He smiled. "Truce over."
He killed my partner.... Now, tell me, Bodie, how would you feel about that?
- "When the Heat Cools Off"
Doyle shouldn't have gone in alone; that much he realised now. He most likely shouldn't have been out alone, full stop, but it was only a week since they'd buried Syd and the Sarge was letting him have his own head. In fact, everyone was walking on eggshells around him these days, not that Doyle really cared. He didn't care much about anything; a kind of numbness had descended along with Syd's coffin, and Doyle moved through his days by rote, just taking care of business.
It was still hot. London was in the grip of that same heat wave, and Doyle walked his beat for hours, feeling nothing but the sweat streaming down his face and neck, plastering his shirt to his back. It wasn't until he spotted Stanley Quinn on the corner, walking away from a group of school-aged boys while tucking a roll of pound notes into his pocket, that the numbness suddenly metamorphosed into unbearable grief and rage. Stanley Quinn had ambitions toward becoming one of London's up and coming gangsters, and his territory coextended with his and Syd's. What had been his and Syd's. They'd spent weeks trying to catch the drug-dealing bastard red-handed at something, anything that would get him off the streets, and seeing him there, openly plying his rotten trade, made something inside Doyle snap. It wasn't fair that Quinn was still alive, playing havoc with innocent lives, when Syd lay dead and buried in the ground. Doyle went after Quinn with a single-minded fury, following him through alleys and over fences, and finally inside a block of flats, without a second thought to calling for back up.
Which was when things went bad. Quinn barricaded himself inside one of the flats, and when Doyle kicked the door in, the sound of splintering wood, the gunshot, and the hot, quick bite of pain were almost simultaneous. Doyle cried out and backed out of the room as fast as his wounded leg would take him, flattening himself against the wall next to the door and trying to hold himself upright. Frying pan to fire in less than thirty seconds, and he realised all he was armed with was his truncheon.
That's when the door to the flat across the hallway flew open and a man came through, half-dressed in pyjama trousers and barefoot, gun in hand. Doyle tensed, one hand gripping his bleeding leg and the other his truncheon, preparing to defend himself on two fronts. The stranger raised his eyebrow ironically--the difference in their firepower was ridiculous--and then he darted to the side when Quinn fired another shot out into the hallway, bellowing at them both to move off. He manoeuvred himself over next to Doyle, crouching next to him. "I take it this is official?" he asked, nodding at Doyle's uniform, although he didn't look like he cared much whether it was or not. He looked down at Doyle's leg. "How bad is it?"
"It's fine," Doyle lied, and then bit off another cry when the stranger reached down and pulled the torn cloth aside to see the wound. "Just who the hell are you?" he demanded through gritted teeth, resenting the stranger's calm as much as his gun.
"Bodie. CI5." He ripped the hole in Doyle's trousers wider, then looked up at him and grinned. "Sorry, you'll have to take my word for it. My identification is in my other trousers." He examined Doyle's leg critically. "Bit of a mess, mate. Need to get you to hospital soon."
Quinn was trying to get out of the room through the window; evidently something was jammed, and they could hear him banging loudly on the sash. Bodie raised himself up to lean over Doyle, glancing quickly into the room. "Who is he? You want him dead or alive, or doesn't it matter?"
Another bullet hit the carpet next to Doyle's leg. "Later," Bodie said, firing blindly into the room for cover as he moved quickly to the other side of the doorway, opposite Doyle. Bodie risked another quick glance inside, then looked back at Doyle. He held up a finger, pointed to Doyle, then pointed to himself, then pointed inside the room. Doyle nodded.
You sure? Bodie mouthed the words, nodding at Doyle's leg.
Doyle nodded again, setting his jaw, and held up three fingers.
One. Two. Three--
Doyle threw himself in the room, drawing fire and dragging himself behind the closest piece of furniture he could find, a large upholstered chair. Bodie moved in smoothly behind him, taking quick aim and firing two shots. One knocked the gun from Quinn's hand; the other hit him in the shoulder, and he went down, moaning.
Bodie moved fast to restrain him, jerking him to his feet and viciously wrenching his uninjured arm behind him. "You got cuffs?" he asked Doyle, and Doyle pulled a pair from his belt and tossed them over. Bodie cuffed Quinn to the radiator, then came back over to Doyle. He crouched down again and took another look at the leg; blood was soaking Doyle's trousers.
"You'll be fine," Bodie said automatically, but Doyle could tell he didn't mean it. "Don't move. If we don't get you to hospital soon you're going to bleed out," he continued calmly. "I'm going to call for some help."
Bodie stood and left the room, and Doyle leaned his head back against the cushion of the chair and tried not to pass out. He felt cold all over and he knew he was going into shock. Quinn was swearing at them from the other side of the room, calling them a mouthful of filthy names. He couldn't hear what Bodie was doing, until he came back in the room, crouching next to Doyle again.
"...an ambulance. And you might let the Met know we saved one of their own, sir. Again."
Doyle opened his eyes. Bodie was talking into a remote transmitter. His voice was cool but his eyes were worried. He'd pulled on trousers and a jumper, although he was still barefoot, and Doyle suddenly noticed the colour of his eyes, a brilliant blue, and the dark hair falling haphazardly onto his forehead. He reached for consciousness, which seemed to be slipping through his fingers.
"...sir. Yes, sir." Bodie looked down at him. "Stay with me, sunshine," he whispered. "What's your name?"
"Doyle." He cleared his throat. "Police Constable Ray Doyle."
Bodie leaned closer. "Ambulance is on its way, Police Constable Ray Doyle. Stay with me," he whispered again, still with that brilliant smile. Doyle felt a hand sliding into his, and he curled his fingers around it and gripped it tight. "Just stay with me."
You get the same kind of feeling as I do about those two?
What, only one bed being slept in?
- "Everest Was Also Conquered"
"You--you queer. You dirty fucking queer."
His cheek hurt where Bodie had hit him and his nose was numb--probably bleeding, maybe broken, along with his lip. He tried to get up from where Bodie's punch had landed him on the floor, but the pain and the drink conspired against him. He put a hand on his head and tried to hold himself together.
It was the drink that'd messed everything up, of course. Sober, Doyle never would have tried to kiss Bodie, never would have crossed the line he'd drawn so many years ago.
"You bastard." There was anger in Bodie's voice. A loathing that hurt worse than his face. "What made you think--?"
"Nothing." Doyle couldn't make his lips work properly. Bodie had one hell of a punch. He took a deep breath. It hurt a little and he realised he must have hit a rib on the way down. He thought maybe he could get his legs under him, but his head was swimming and he wasn't sure he should even try. Wasn't sure Bodie wouldn't just knock him down again.
"Doyle?" Bodie's voice seemed to come from somewhere far away.
It'd been a foolish hope from the beginning. There'd been birds from the day they'd met, short and tall, light and dark--a parade of them moving in and out of Bodie's life. For a while he'd tried to keep up, and then he'd just given up, relegating the feelings he had to someplace deep inside his heart. The friendship was important, he told himself. The partnership. Nothing was more important than that. And now he'd destroyed it with a moment's careless action.
He tried another deep breath. It still hurt, but the pain was less. His vision wasn't as blurry. He would get himself to his feet and go. Doyle knew that as much as he hurt now, he would hurt worse tomorrow, when he'd sobered up and had to face the aftermath of what had happened here. Not that it really mattered. No doubt Bodie would end the partnership as soon as he could.
He reached out a hand and grabbed the edge of the table, gathering his strength to pull himself up. Bodie's hand gripped his arm and he flinched, jerked back--another punch while he was down and he was done for. Bodie tightened his hold and he looked up.
Bodie was shaking his head at him, confusion mixing with anger in his face. "You bastard, Doyle," he whispered. "You stupid, reckless bastard. Why d'you always have to--?"
Bodie's hand slid up his arm. Touched his face.
They could just throw Bodie into the Bay of Biscay. What guarantees have we got?
Only their word.
And if we don't play ball?
We use the wreath.
Doyle was on Bodie before he finished closing the door and locking it behind them, putting shaking hands all over him. Bodie tried to say something, but Doyle was having none of it, one hand tightening on Bodie's jaw and the other fisting in his shirt, backing him into the darkened flat. Bodie stumbled over the rucked-up carpet, and Doyle caught him before he could go down, wrapping a strong arm around his waist and pulling him up close.
"Take me to bed, Bodie," he whispered hoarsely against Bodie's ear, need battering at his brain. "Take me to bed, you bloody bastard, and remind me that we're both still alive." His voice caught on the last word like cloth on a rusty nail, shredding.
Bodie's hands were just as frantic, his voice just as broken and desperate. "Doyle." He dragged his lips along Doyle's jaw until he reached his mouth, catching Doyle's lip between his teeth. He bit down, almost too hard, and then opened his mouth over Doyle's, shoving his tongue inside. Doyle rose up to meet him, eating at him, jutting his hips up against Bodie's in a way that left them both hard and gasping for air.
"You shouldn't have, Doyle," Bodie whispered into his throat, the side of his neck. Doyle tilted his head back and shuddered, closing his eyes and shaking his head back and forth, over and over. "You took a stupid bloody chance back there. I told you to stay away--"
"Couldn't." Doyle yanked Bodie's shirt out of his trousers and ran his hands up his back, feeling the stickiness of dried sweat. Bodie'd been frightened--god, they'd both been terrified, and if he hadn't made it to Bodie in time-- "Couldn't just let you go that way, Bodie, you know that. It's both of us or nothing, you stupid bastard."
"God, Doyle, I didn't want--"
Doyle wrenched away. "You didn't want? You didn't want? What if it'd gone all wrong?" He was shouting. "What if I hadn't got to you in time? What if that thing had exploded and you were--" His throat was so tight it felt as if he was strangling. "What if you were in a million pieces all over that field? How d'you think I'd've felt then, Bodie? Can you answer me that? Where would I've been then?"
"You'd have been alive, Doyle," Bodie whispered furiously. His hands clutched hard at Doyle, trying to steady him. "You'd have been bloody alive, mate."
"Says you. Don't know as I'd call it living." Doyle pulled at Bodie's clothes, shoving the leather coat off his shoulders and letting it fall to the floor. He pulled Bodie's shirt over his head, but when Doyle tried to unbuckle his belt his hands felt clumsy; he fumbled it and Bodie hissed as Doyle's hands brushed against his cock. Bodie reached down and shoved Doyle's hands away, unfastening his trousers himself.
"Always did make too much of things, you did," Bodie murmured against his throat, but Doyle felt him tremble as Doyle reached in and wrapped a strong hand around his cock. Doyle pulled Bodie's head up and kissed him again, and then found he couldn't stop. He stroked Bodie's cock until it filled his hand, rising up warm and hard.
"Bedroom," he finally said with a gasp, pulling away. "Bedroom now, Bodie. Now."
Bodie's eyes blazed and his lips were swollen and dark from Doyle's kisses--he looked as savage as Doyle felt. He lifted one hand to touch his mouth, and Doyle saw that he was shaking. "Ah, Bodie--" He grasped Bodie's hand, dropped his head and pressed his mouth to the palm, holding it against his face, and then he dragged Bodie after him down the dark hallway to the bedroom.
They stripped impatiently. Doyle revelled in Bodie's eyes on him, and he too found it impossible to look away as every part of Bodie was revealed. A soft exclamation escaped Bodie as he ran his hands over Doyle's chest, fingers lingering in the swirls of hair and probing at a stiffened nipple. Doyle moaned, resting his hands on Bodie's shoulders--it didn't seem possible that he could feel as weak as a kitten in the aftermath of his fear, and yet ferocious with the powerful lust that drove him up against Bodie. Bodie wrapped his arms around him, pulling him down onto the bed.
They kissed again, deep and frantic. Doyle put his hands all over Bodie, his arms and his chest, his flanks and thighs and thick cock. Bodie hands were just as hungry and desperate, grasping. Demanding. Doyle groaned again as Bodie kneaded the cheeks of his arse and slipped his fingers in between, teasing. His muscles clenched around the phantom invasion, and they rutted against each other on the bed, the springs in Bodie's mattress protesting with soft creaks.
Sweat covered both of them now; Doyle tasted salt on his upper lip and on Bodie's face. The heat between them raged; he was biting and clawing--Bodie's shoulder, his arm--and he felt Bodie's teeth on him. He was caught between the desire for this to go on and on, to live forever in the scorching heat of Bodie's love and lust and passion, and the unbearable need to come that was almost pain, the tension that felt like it had to shatter at last, or fracture him and Bodie in the process.
It was Bodie who finally pulled away, levering himself up on his arms, chest heaving with the effort to draw air into his lungs. "Turn over," he whispered harshly, and Doyle felt a hand on his hip as Bodie pushed him onto his belly. Bodie slid slicked-up fingers inside him, and Doyle dropped his head forward, pressing his damp face into the sheets, waiting. When Bodie replaced his fingers with his cock, Doyle moaned deep and long as the pleasure skated up and down his spine.
He rose up onto his knees, feeling Bodie's fingers tighten on his hips, and he was dizzy with it, with love and relief and the feeling of Bodie, hard and alive, inside him. Bodie started to move and Doyle caught his breath, pushed back into it, sliding against the sheets as he rode the hard cock filling him. He bit his lip as each moan began to end on a sob and wrapped his hand around his own cock, stroking himself. He couldn't stop the sounds coming out of him, raw and filled with anguished pleasure. He could hear Bodie behind him, sounding just as needy, just as agonised.
"Couldn't live without you, Bodie," he gasped, the muscles in his thighs knotting around the release that was just out of his grasp.
"Could," breathed Bodie into the curve of his shoulder. "Just don't want to."
"No." Doyle shook his head, and he didn't care what Bodie said, the day Bodie died he'd lie down and die himself and not regret it, and oh god-- "Bodie!-- he was coming all over himself and the sheets. Bodie stiffened behind him, curled over him in a rigid bow so tight that the air seem to freeze around them, and then Bodie was throwing his head back, bellowing Doyle's name as he came, driving into him again and again.
Sated, Bodie slowly sank down in a languid curve against his back, tucking his face into the side of Doyle's neck. They gradually untangled themselves, separated slowly and settled onto the now twisted and damp sheets. Doyle looked at Bodie, flushed from exertion and lazy with satisfaction, still half hard from fucking him. Bodie had his eyes closed but he must have felt Doyle examining him--of course he would--and he opened his eyes and looked into Doyle's.
"Day's going to come, Doyle," he said quietly. "It's inevitable. 'Specially in our business."
Doyle nodded silently. He put a hand on Bodie's arm and just let himself feel him, the warmth over hard muscles and the pulse still beating fast and fierce. "But not today."
Bodie looked at him. Doyle still found him hard to read at times like this, when things got too close, too personal, too important. Doyle had accepted that Bodie would always be good at hiding some things.
Finally Bodie smiled, a small smile that barely curled his lips. "Not today," he repeated quietly. He reached over and ran a thumb over Doyle's mouth, and then he smiled again and closed his eyes.
Doyle knew they would both die someday, probably sooner than later, probably more violently than most. Knew that and accepted it, and it didn't bother him much, really, thinking about his own death. He reckoned he'd die fighting, having given whatever it was his best shot. Still--
"Don't do that again, mate," Doyle whispered softly, not even sure if Bodie was still awake. "It's both of us or nothing. You hear me, Bodie?"
There was nothing, and then Doyle felt Bodie's hand covering his, squeezing lightly.
It wasn't a yes. But it was as close to a yes as he was likely to get.
-- THE END --