State Secrets


Cowley was short and terse when he barked out, "Protection, and nothing else? Do you both understand me? These guests are to be protected at all costs. However, that is the extent of your involvement. Am I making myself clear?" Not bothering to give his agents time to respond, Cowley forged on. "If either of you deviate from these instructions, your contracts will be terminated." In turn, he glared at Bodie, then Doyle. "Well?" he demanded.

Bodie exchanged a quick glance with Doyle and gave a minute shrug. Doyle barely raised an eyebrow in response to Bodie's silent "what the fuck" query. Bodie said curtly, "Yes, sir!"

Doyle followed suit with a more subdued, "Understood, Mr Cowley."

Cowley's tone did not lighten as he added, "Forty-eight hours is what I require of you. Protect our guests and deliver them to Heathrow at 1800 hours on Thursday. Dismissed."

Bodie tipped his head toward the door and turned to leave, again silently conveying his intent. Doyle seemed to understand his need for haste because he put a hand in the centre of Bodie's back and pushed. Apparently, Bodie reckoned, Ray was as much as hurry to escape Cowley's presence as he was. He valued his hide too much to let Cowley flay him unless he deserved it. And tonight, he knew for a fact that neither he nor Ray deserved the sharp edge of their Controller's tongue. For once, he thought with a smirk, casting another questioning glance at his partner.

But the sharp edge they'd gotten, whether deserved or not. About what, he hadn't a clue. But Cowley was definitely angered, and Bodie had no desire tonight to be on the receiving end of that sort of dance. In fact, since they'd just wrapped up a big assassin-for-hire case only yesterday, he'd hoped that they'd be set free with a few days of leave. But such dreams weren't meant to be this night, as Cowley had made clear.

Once the door closed, Ray moved closer. "What the hell was that?"

"Don't know, sunshine. But he's not a happy man this fine evening." Bodie shoved his hands into his overcoat pockets and shrugged.

"No shit," Doyle muttered before casting a suspicious eye toward his partner. "What did you do to him?" he hissed quietly as they quickly put distance between the Controller's office and themselves.

"Me?" Bodie asked, innocently batting his lashes. Placing his hand over his heart, he theatrically added, "I would never!"

Doyle let out a snort of laughter. "Yeah, right."

They clattered down the steps and out to the kerb. Unlocking the car's door, Bodie slipped behind the wheel, but before he started the engine, he turned toward Ray. "Why were we nabbed for this? It's not our sort of thing, is it?"

With a shrug, Doyle rolled his eyes. "Waste of our talents shadowing a bunch of kids." He flipped open the file that Cowley had given him when they'd first been summoned. "Nice looking bunch. For Soviets. What are they, now?"

"Don't you read the papers, mate? They're the biggest thing since the Beatles. Some rock and roll mob called..." Bodie cupped his hands around his mouth and tried out his announcer's voice. "State Secrets!"

"Eh? Does the KGB let their subjects make jabs at them? State secrets, and all?"

Bodie snorted. "Even the powerful Soviet Union can't control jokes and puns, mate."

"So they're that well-known?"

"If you're into that sort of thing."

"I tend to be more highbrow at times."

"I'd never have guessed." Bodie gave a smirk and after starting the car, pulled out into traffic with a squeal of tires. "Pint?"

"Might as well. Got a bit before we're on."

Bodie nodded approvingly and shifted into third.

To the casual observer, Bodie seemed to be lounging against the nearest wall, hands in his pockets, seemingly oblivious to the people milling about. In reality, his gaze was constantly scanning the throng of people surrounding them. Heathrow was bustling, which made him even more concerned. Cowley had been very vague about the threat to the four young men who comprised the Soviet rock group, so he was alert to any sort of attack that could come from anywhere and at any time. Doyle's gaze kept flicking back to him as he paced back and forth in front of the closed door of the customs' office. Instructed by the customs' officer to wait while their charges were processed, they both searched the crowd for anything out of the ordinary. With the ease of long-time partners, each man kept watch while constantly keeping one eye on his mate, ready to launch into action at a moment's notice.

"Where are they?" Doyle groused, glancing around nervously.

"Relax," Bodie said tensely, fidgeting slightly.

Doyle snickered. "Right. Like you?"

Bodie grinned, shrugging before he nodded toward the door that was finally opening. "'Bout time."

Bodie followed Doyle closely as they approached the group of young men who emerged from the office.

"I'm Doyle," he said, flashing his credentials. "He's Bodie. We're your protection." Bodie nodded toward the men, holding up his ID while he glanced over his shoulder, ever watchful for the unexpected. Not giving the youths time to respond, he said firmly, "Let's move."

He and Doyle hustled the surprised men quickly out of the terminal and into a waiting van large enough to hold them. Doyle had requisitioned the vehicle from the motor pool so they could travel together in order to keep a close eye on their charges. On the fast drive across town, Bodie kept one ear on the men as they introduced themselves and both eyes on the road in front and behind them as he drove, constantly scanning for tails and any other problems.

After negotiating an intersection, Bodie cast a quick glance at the blond-haired man making the introductions. He spoke English very well, with precision and care. Bodie knew from the little information Cowley had supplied that Georgi Toimkin was the leader of the group. "Welcome to England."

"I am happy to be here, Mr. Boodie," Georgi said with a grin.

"It's Bodie with one 'o'. Just Bodie."

As the rest of the young men introduced themselves, Bodie mentally reviewed the file they'd been given by Cowley. Details were sketchy, and no specific threat was mentioned. He connected the names with the faces while the young men talked with Doyle about the sights they were seeing, and the concert they were giving the following day. There was mention of two additional band members, but they were now listed as deceased. Strange, for such young blokes, he thought. But with the Reds, anything was possible. The young men seemed to enjoy using their school-taught, carefully spoken English on Doyle, so Bodie kept his eyes on the road and ran through the details once again in his mind.

Georgi Toimkin was 19. A former student of literature. He was tall and blond, with straight, fine hair tumbling over his collar. He seemed outgoing and friendly, and from his use of language, appeared quite intelligent. He was the band's rhythm guitar player. For some reason, Bodie liked him immediately. Andrei Zhivanesvkaya was also 19, also a former student, but of mathematics. His dark hair and hazel eyes sparkled with life. He was the band's lead singer. His deep voice carried well, Bodie noticed. Vitali Bure, the youngest member at 18, was the band's drummer. He was the son of a farmer and hadn't attended college, according to the information Bodie had read. He was a husky young man with brown hair and blue eyes. The last member of the group was Ioan Asimov, the bass player, and the oldest at the ripe age of 20. Thin, with dark glasses, his blond hair curled around his ears, and he seemed to have an easy laugh. Since Bodie considered his first impressions reliable, he felt that the young men were just what they appeared: four lads who made music. Again, he wondered what kind of threat could be present regarding the men.

Bodie kept an ear tuned into the conversation as he drove. He smiled internally at Doyle's amazement that Ioan's second cousin on his mother's side was the writer, Isaac Asimov. He was not at all surprised at Doyle's praise of Asimov's writings. His partner was an intellectual little bugger, Bodie knew. The chance of a discussion on books and classical music always made Doyle happy.

Bodie pulled into the underground parking garage of the hotel, still not completely happy at being kept in the dark by their Controller, but so far, everything seemed normal. He didn't feel any sense of foreboding, so he joined in the light talk while the group made their way to their suite of rooms. A knock on the door, and Murphy opened it after acknowledging Bodie and Doyle's presence.

"Murphy," Bodie said with a nod.

"Bodie. Doyle. The band's equipment is on the way to the arena. Their personal luggage should be here within the hour." Murphy handed Doyle two sets of keys. "Housekeeping has a set also, as well as the hotel management." With a grin, he added, "Good luck," before waving his goodbyes.

Once the door was closed, Georgi and Andrei claimed one of the two bedrooms while Vitali and Ioan took the other. Bodie leaned against the door, watching as the visitors explored the hotel suite. He smiled as they exclaimed over the large bathroom, sifted through the contents of the small bar stocked with soft drinks and snacks, and admired the spacious bedrooms.

"In my building, we have only one bathroom for each floor!" Georgi excitedly told him.

Bodie could hear the water running and the laughter as each thing in the bathroom was examined. He finally sat down on one of the chairs flanking the sofa and exchanged an amused glance with Doyle, who'd plopped on the sofa.

"I think they're discovering the joys of the West, mate," Bodie said with a grin.

Doyle laughed before he turned serious. Leaning forward, he asked, "What do you think's going on?"

"Not a clue. Cowley's being awfully close-mouthed about this one, and I don't like it."

"Feels like a set up," Doyle said knowingly.

Bodie raised an eyebrow. "Yeah. Could be. But who's the patsy?"

"Who else? You and me."

"Bloody hell."

Doyle was stretched out on the sofa, asleep, while Bodie took first watch. With a cold Coke in his hand, he paced the room, the thick carpeting muffling his steps. Doyle snuffled and turned to his side, making Bodie pause. Ray looked young and innocent when he slept. Bodie smiled as he looked down at his partner, the single lamp casting enough light to soften Doyle's features. He gazed at his partner, and the tumbled curls beckoned. He stepped forward and set the can of soda on the coffee table. Doyle snuffled and let out a small sigh, slipping his hand under his cheek, and Bodie felt his chest tighten. He didn't exactly know when he'd fallen in love...

Ray was a good partner and the best mate he'd ever had, and he was loathe to damage their relationship one little bit. Never had Doyle shown the slightest interest in Bodie beyond what they shared as mates and partners. And Bodie knew without a doubt that he wanted more, much more. But how to go about getting it was something he hadn't quite figured out yet. With a tired sigh, he turned away from his mate and once again quietly paced the floor.

A small sound caught his attention. His hand on his pistol, he paused, head cocked. From behind the closed bedroom door where Ioan and Vitali slept, he could hear noises and a small thump. He cautiously walked to the door and ever so slowly turned the knob. With the light of a small bedside table, he could see two figures on the bed, writhing under the sheets, and he could hear soft groans and low moans. Blushing to his roots, he realized that the two young men were having sex. Eyes widening, Bodie carefully stepped back and started to close the door, but the sound of a voice caught his attention. He didn't understand many of the words being spoken, but the tone was clear. The two men were in love. The first voice, which he recognized as Vitali's, was deep and husky with desire, but also tinged with a soft, warm tone. The answering voice, laced with quiet laughter, echoed the words spoken by the other. With his limited knowledge of Russian, Bodie recognized the words "lover" and "sweetheart". He'd used those same words on a Russian bird or two in his day. The murmur of voices faded away, replaced by soft moans once again. With his mouth dry and his heart pounding, he closed the door and leaned back on it, his eyes closed. If only that were he and Doyle-


Bodie started, his eyes opening. Doyle stood before him, dishevelled from sleep, looking entirely desirable, with a curious look on his face. Bodie's gaze slid away as he cursed silently. He'd managed to avoid staring at Doyle earlier when his partner had made himself comfortable for his kip by removing his shirt and unbuckling and unzipping his jeans, then taking off trainers and socks. Now, after hearing and seeing the two blokes going at it across the way, it was hard not to stare--and to dream just a little.

"Eh?" Bodie responded stupidly, trying not to look at Doyle's appealing bare chest, or to notice the way the triangle made by his unzipped jeans seemed to point the way to treasures now hidden behind cotton and denim. Even his bare feet looked--inviting. With a silent groan, Bodie thanked all that was holy for Ray's underpants. If he had got a glimpse of that much Doyle-skin, he would have attacked the man on the spot. As it was, he felt a flush of heat rush through his body, and he gave an involuntary shudder.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he snapped, ignoring Doyle's intense stare, and the questions reflected in his eyes and etched on his face. Damn him anyway. The stupid git always seemed to know when he was off-kilter. "Since you're awake, I'm going to check the perimeter." Not waiting for Doyle's response, he holstered his pistol. Squaring his shoulders and holding his head up high, he stalked to the door and let himself out without a backward glance.

Doyle's concerned glances and unspoken questions continued to irritate Bodie through the long, tiring day. The two agents shadowed the musical group from their hotel to the concert hall for rehearsal and through a shopping trip that the Soviets begged to be allowed to experience after being driven past street after street of delectable treasures gleaming from shop fronts. Doyle had snapped at Bodie when he refused the men's request for the trip, Bodie's reasonable excuse being the lack of security. Doyle responded with a bite to his words, saying that the poor sods didn't get much of a chance to enjoy Western life, and to leave off playing the heavy. Bodie shrugged and silently followed, irritated at his own inability to get back on track since last night's musings about Doyle, and to concentrate on the job. He knew full well that it was his fault Doyle was off his own game today. For years now, if one of them was not quite right, the other always knew, and it affected him as well. He forced himself to relax, and after a time, managed to join in the conversations that flowed when they'd all stopped at a pub for a pint and a bit of dinner before that night's show. Doyle visibly relaxed also, and Bodie knew he'd done right making himself straighten up and let up on the melancholy that seemed to want to surround him lately.

The next morning, with a huge room service breakfast spread out on the table in the hotel suite, Bodie felt much better. He poured himself another cup of coffee and returned to his breakfast with relish.

"Do you have a hankering for rolled bits?" Doyle asked, grinning at him over his eggs.

"I like rolled bits," Bodie quipped, carefully placing a sausage in the centre of a pancake and rolling it up. He happily bit the end, returning Doyle's grin with one of his own. He was doing a lot better today even though he hadn't come to any sort of an epiphany regarding his feelings about Doyle. He was tired of his own feelings that vacillated between wanting the man and being a touch--unsettled with his own desires. Rather than dwell on it any more today, he enjoyed his food and his partner's company instead.

"Sometimes, I think your mum dropped you on your head when you were a baby," Doyle groused, sipping his coffee.

"Because I like Swiss rolls, and egg rolls, and sausage rolls, and bacon rolls?"

Shaking his head in fond exasperation, Doyle didn't respond, just shrugged. When Bodie helped himself to another sausage, Doyle said, "You're going to get fat the rate you're going, mate."

"I'll always be beautiful," Bodie said sagely, earning him a piece of bread aimed at his head. He ducked, laughing. "And in eight more hours, we'll be free of this lot. We need a night to ourselves. How about a game?"

Doyle nodded, eating the last of his eggs. "You're on. Double or nothing."

Bodie chuckled, intending to send a well-placed barb about his mate's dart game abilities when one of the bedroom doors opened.

"We have breakfast," Ray called over as Vitali and Ioan emerged from their room.

The two men looked directly at Bodie and Doyle, but instead of acknowledging their protectors with their usual polite friendliness, they both nervously crossed the small space separating their room from the one being shared by Georgi and Andrei, and quickly disappeared inside. Bodie looked at Doyle with his eyebrows raised when he heard the lock click from behind the closed door.

"What's going on?" Doyle asked, rising from his chair.

Bodie wiped his fingers on a napkin before tossing it onto the plate. "Not sure, but-"

The opening of the bedroom door stopped his words, and Georgi emerged, closely followed by his friends. Bodie could see that he was clearly nervous. He clenched his hands together, fidgeting, as he crossed over to the table. "I must speak with you," he said shakily.

"Sure, mate," Bodie said, leaning back in his chair.

"Would you like some breakfast? We've plenty," Doyle offered, waving a hand toward the covered dishes strewn across the wooden surface and returned to his seat.

"This is important," Georgi insisted.

"Have a seat, then," Bodie said, nodding toward an empty chair. The young man seemed terrified. Bodie's senses tingled, and he sat up in his seat. "What's wrong?" he demanded, keeping a keen eye on Georgi as he sat down. His three friends clustered closely behind him, and they also radiated anxiety.

"My comrades and I--have something--very important to discuss with you," Georgi explained. "We have had much discussion and have voted... We are democratic in spite of what our leaders impose upon us. Our decision was unanimous."

Bodie and Doyle exchanged curious glances, before Doyle said, "Go on."

"We are not returning to the Soviet Union. We wish to defect."

"What?" Doyle again looked at Bodie before he turned back to the youths. "Now wait a minute-"

"Doyle," Bodie interrupted, his curiosity spiking, "let's hear them out."

"Are you daft?" Doyle demanded. "Do you know what an international incident that would cause?"

"Still, I think we should hear them out," Bodie said firmly. "Why don't you tell us what's going on?" he asked Georgi.

"It is a long story," Georgi said apologetically, "but know this. We are not returning. That is our final decision."

"You know we can force you to go home," Doyle said.

"Yes, but I know that you will not."

"Eh?" Bodie raised an eyebrow. "Seem quite sure of yourself."

Georgi looked directly at Bodie, and after swallowing hard, he said, "We have had much discussion, and we know you and Doyle are the ones who will help us. Because you are like us. We know you both understand."

"Understand?" Doyle echoed. "Understand what?"

Georgi gave a faint smile. "What it is like to be homosexual. Gay, the word that is used in the West. Like you, we are gay men."

"What the fuck are you on about?" Bodie exploded out of his chair. Doyle put out a hand, touching his arm, but Bodie shrugged it off, his anger flaring. "What makes you think that about us? Are you all bloody idiots?"

"But..." Georgi slowly rose, his face pale. A terrified look crossed his eyes. Bodie felt a small measure of satisfaction at the fear he saw there, and he stepped forward toward the anxious man.

"Well?" Bodie demanded.

Georgi seemed to be ready to bolt when one of his friends whispered something in Russian. He nodded and whatever was said apparently gave him a bit of courage because his head came up, and he cleared his throat before he spoke. "It is just... We have watched you... There is no mistake..." Georgi said softly, but his voice held a touch of firmness. "It is clear to see that you are--together. That you are in love. It is wonderful to behold. Only in the West is it possible for two men to live such fulfilling lives without having to hide behind closed doors, afraid to be taken to the gulag." His tone turned sad. "Without being imprisoned and tortured, even killed for that they cannot control. For who they are!" With a deep sigh, he finally gave a tentative smile, spreading his hands wide, and asked, "Is it not a miracle?"

Doyle crossed his arms and lowered his head, his face hidden as he shook his head slowly.

Bodie glanced at Doyle's bent head and shaking shoulders, and immediately bristled. "Are you laughing at this? We've just been told that we're queer, and you apparently think it's entertaining?" He cast his coldest glare at his partner, only to hear Doyle suppressed laughter start to bubble over. "Of all the fucking idiots," he muttered, turning away from the group. "The lot of you!" he tossed over his shoulder before he yanked open the door and slammed it satisfactorily behind him.

Bodie stalked away from the hotel suite, determined to put distance between him and his partner, but still, he wasn't surprised when he heard the door open and Doyle's footsteps running after him.


He ignored his mate and kept walking, increasing his pace. Doyle's steps picked up speed and when he felt Ray's hand on his arm, he turned, his fist clenched.

"Are you going to take a swing at me?" Doyle demanded, his face inches away. "Are you?" His voice was soft and deadly. "Go on then," he ordered. After a lengthy pause, Ray finally asked, "Why? They're just kids who are scared and confused. What difference does it make what they believe?" Bodie refused to meet his partner's gaze. He shoved his hands into his pockets and stood silently, face turned away. "Are you sickened by the idea of what he said? Of you and me--together? Does it disgust you?"

Still, Bodie refused to speak. What could he say? He was angry at himself for wanting Ray, for loving his partner. Who happened to be a man, for chrissake. He'd seen the horrors that men could inflict upon other men they knew or even perceived to be gay, and for the moment, he refused to acknowledge that two men together could be something desirable. Even if it was something that he desired himself.

"Bodie, I've never known you to lie to me, and I know you aren't a coward. But I can see you're--scared. I'm scared as well." Doyle paused, giving Bodie an opening. But could Bodie do what he really wanted? What he'd dreamed about? That he would give up everything for? What he would die for? Maybe this was the chance he'd been looking for. Doyle would understand. After all, Ray was his partner, his best mate, and as they stood inches apart, he knew suddenly and without a doubt this was his first, last and only chance to have what he wanted.

Slowly, Bodie turned toward his mate and when their gazes met, he looked into Doyle's eyes. Cautiously, he searched the face peering at him. He could see his best mate's anxiety but he could also see his bravery, and his concern and caring. Bodie swallowed around the lump in his throat. He could clearly see Ray's love for him shining from those knowing green eyes. Almost without thinking, Bodie slowly raised his hand and let the back of his fingers trail down Doyle's cheek. His throat was tight and dry when he said quietly, "I am queer for you, Doyle."

Doyle glared at him for a brief moment before his face broke into a grin. "You romantic bastard."

Bodie shifted, blushing to his roots. "Sorry. Guess that wasn't want I meant... It's just that... I've never..."

"You dumb crud."

Then Doyle wrapped his hands around Bodie's shirt, stepped forward a bit, and fused their mouths together in a deep, soul-wrenching kiss. Bodie was startled for a few moments before he let himself actually feel Ray's lips against his. Doyle was warm and soft, and tasted a bit of coffee and maple syrup. Bodie's hands moved up to his partner's shoulders and he moaned softly, letting his mouth open slightly. Doyle moved in quickly, his tongue slipping past Bodie's lips to dip in. The kiss lasted a few more moments before Bodie pulled away, breathing harshly.

Their eyes met. Bodie gave an embarrassed grin before he said, "Bloody hell."

"Yeah," Doyle responded before he pulled Bodie close again for another kiss.

The sound of a slamming door and voices echoing down the hallway broke them apart. Doyle smiled, his fingertips touching his own mouth. Bodie shook his head, his hands falling away from Doyle's shoulders, but with a wry grin on his lips. Bodie snorted softly before he blurted out, "We are so fucked."

Doyle grinned as well. "Cheers."

"You don't have to sound so bloody happy about it," Bodie groused.

"You and me... That makes me happy. The rest will work itself out. Or not."

"Fucking nutter."

With a cocky grin, Doyle shrugged, earning him a smack on the arm from Bodie. Doyle let out a mock yelp before he asked, "What are we going to do with them?" He canted his head toward the hotel suite.

Bodie rolled his eyes. "Get the story. Check it out." He paused before he finally admitted, "Then we'll lend a hand. Of course."

"Of course. Cowley?"

"Not on your life. His orders were very clear. Protection only. Besides, we can't jeopardise his career. This could cause big trouble, and he's always been fair with us."

"He has... Most of the time, anyway."

Bodie chewed his lip. "He's had his reasons, and he's the honourable sort, but... He's not beyond tossing us to the wolves. It's been done in the past. Besides, there's something up with the old bastard."

"Saw it, did you?"

"Berk. Let's get on with it."

"You and me, mate."

Bodie smiled. "Like the sound of that."

Cowley's booming voice echoed through his office. Bodie swore he could hear the windows rattling in their frames as he stood at attention before his Controller's desk, eyes front, body stiff, hands tightly along his body, palms inward. Doyle stood beside him, hands in his pockets and a blank look plastered on his face. Bodie hoped his own face was as inanimate as their superior blasted into them.

"Of all the stupid, inept, and downright amateur things to do! The damned CIA? What in God's name were the two of you thinking? Did you think I wouldn't find out? Do you know what you've done? I have never in all of my years seen such a blatant disregard for orders!"

"But, sir-"

"Not a word, 3.7! Nor you, 4.5! Not a single word! You disobeyed orders. You failed to perform your duties according to my demands! You are suspended until further notice!"

"Mr Cowley, sir?"

If possible Cowley's eyes grew even colder. Bodie was silently impressed at the glacier quality that Cowley could summon to those snapping eyes. "Apparently, 4.5, you cannot even understand my orders when I say not another word! I don't want to hear your damnable excuses!"

Bodie wondered briefly if Cowley's face could get any redder. Apparently, it could because he barely paused for a breath before he yelled, "Give me your armoury and your credentials!" He waited until Bodie, then Doyle complied. "And while you are congratulating each other on what you obviously consider "doing the right thing", think about this. You are both directly responsible for the death of an innocent woman."

Bodie's eyes widened as his eyebrows rose, and he cast a quick glance at Doyle, who looked at Cowley before his gaze found Bodie's. Doyle minutely shook his head; Bodie sighed. They both knew that Cowley was in no mood to listen to reason right now, so their best course of action was retreat.

"Aye. You heard right," Cowley continued. "Because of your foul-up, Toimkin's mother has disappeared, presumed dead. Now get out, and think about that whilst you hoist a pint or two this evening." Cowley sank heavily into his chair and opened a file in front of him before tossing his glasses onto his desk, his disgust radiating thickly into the air.

Doyle caught his partner's gaze. Their eyes held for a moment, an unspoken question was asked and with a slight nod, Bodie gave Doyle his okay. There was one last thing that needed to be done before they were tossed out on their arses.

"Sir?" Doyle said.

"You're dismissed," Cowley said curtly, his eyes never leaving his desk as he clearly conveyed his intent. He was obviously not willing to listen to either man in any way.

"Yes, sir." Doyle paused before he shrugged at Bodie and from the inner pocket of his jacket, he pulled out a small white square of paper. He held it out to Bodie, who knew it was the photograph given to them by Toimkin. He cocked his head toward Cowley, giving Ray his agreement to Doyle's intent. Doyle slipped the photo onto the edge of the desk. Then he turned and followed Bodie out of Cowley's office, carefully shutting the door behind him.

Sitting in the car, Doyle slumped behind the wheel and sighed. "We did the right thing. Didn't we?"

Bodie nodded. "Definitely. We know what they told us about how their mates were treated when they were discovered. They're both dead. And we know enough about those fucking Russkies to know that they do that sort of thing in the name of curing the sickness out of them. So what else could we do?"

"Those lads would have been jailed and had the same done to them. They had a right to ask for asylum." Doyle rubbed his hands down his face. "I don't know, Bodie. I just don't know. How could somebody do that to another person? Shock treatments? Ice baths? Castration? How could they believe they could "cure" someone being gay? It's too barbaric, even for the Reds!" Doyle's eyes flashed fire as he smacked his hand against the steering wheel.

Bodie let out an equally angry snort. "Preaching to the choir here, as they say. Besides, I don't think curing was the desired result. It was just an excuse to terrorise anybody who was different than the rest of the lot. Anybody different was treated equally as--benevolently," he said sarcastically before adding seriously, "I believe what Toimkin said. Those fellows were tortured. No mistake about it."

"What if...?"

Bodie waited, but when Doyle didn't continue, he asked, "What if--it was you and me? If you were being tortured, would I have the balls to do it? To kill you and then myself? To spare you the incredible pain?"

"Or me. Could I?" Doyle ran a hand through his hair before he nodded vehemently. "I would. I would do it. I couldn't watch-" He turned his face away, his shoulders slumping forward.

"Ray, it won't happen to us. Not here. Not in Britain." Bodie reached out a hand, touching Doyle's shoulder. "There are nutters here, of course, but..."

Doyle said quietly, "But you can't guarantee it. Can you?" He turned his head to catch Bodie's gaze. "People have been hurt or killed for less. If we--do this, us together, it could end up badly. I couldn't handle it... If it were you. Rather not have you than see you hurt."

"It won't happen to either of us. We'll do the same as always. Watch each other's back." Bodie rapped his knuckles on Doyle's shoulder. "There's a bigger question, you know." Knowing Ray was listening, he asked, "Is even the idea of trouble enough to put us off? Maybe we don't--deserve anything we want?" But once he voiced the questions, he was suddenly sure. "I don't think that's the right of it. Not for you, and not for me. We deserve more." When Doyle didn't answer, Bodie decided to forge on and asked huskily, "Your place or mine, mate?"

Doyle paused for a moment before he finally gave a half-hearted smile. "Yours. You have lager in the fridge, and that Chinese takeaway down the block from your flat is better than the one near my place."

"I can live with that. Drive on, Jeeves." When Doyle reached out, he didn't start the motor, but froze in place with his fingers latched onto the key. Bodie could practically see the cogs in his partner's brain turning once again. Momentarily worried, he tentatively asked, "Doyle? What is it?"

"Am I--spending the night?" he asked quietly.

"Count on it."

Doyle turned the key and peeled away from the kerb, a smile finally playing on his lips. Bodie laughed.

Bodie emerged from the bathroom, freshly washed, to find his partner in his bed with the sheets drawn up to his chin. Bodie stood at the foot of the bed and when their gazes met, he was sure he saw his own trepidation reflected in Doyle's eyes. He stood for a moment, unsure what to do next before he finally snorted with amusement.

"We're a right proper pair, aren't we?" Bodie said with a snicker.

"Couple of fucking virgins." Doyle laughed nervously.

Bodie laughed. "We've been in each other's pockets for years now. This isn't that much different." At Doyle's wide-eyed gaze, Bodie grinned and shrugged when he said, "Okay. This is different. Very different. So what do we do?"

"You're asking me? I've never done this before."

Untying the belt on his robe and garnering his courage, Bodie moved to the side of the bed. "Neither have I, but... I've thought about it. Being with you. How it would feel. How you would--taste."

Doyle smiled. "Yeah. I have as well." He patted the mattress. "Reckon we could start with you getting into the bed. Might be difficult doing anything with you standing there, looking ready to bolt."

"I'm not ready to bolt!" At Ray's knowing look, Bodie shuffled his feet. "Bastard. Okay. I'm ready to bolt."

"Get in." Doyle pulled back the blankets and waited.

Bodie slipped the robe from his shoulders and let it pool onto the floor. He forced himself to stand for a moment to allow Doyle to at least see what he was getting himself into. Doyle's gaze examined him intently, from the top of his head downward, and from the look on his mate's face, he approved. Bodie blushed.

"Bodie," he said softly, throwing back the sheet, "I hope you fancy what you see."

Bodie's gaze raked his partner's body. He drank in the slim frame, the hairy chest, the firm thighs, the thick cock nested in brown hair. He looked his fill until he returned his gaze to Doyle's face. He actually shivered when Doyle enticingly licked his lips and held out a hand.

"Ray," Bodie whispered, his throat tight as he slipped his hand into his partner's and climbed onto the bed. "Thought about you for a long time now." He lay on his side, facing Doyle and they looked at each other for a few moments before he couldn't stand it any longer. He slipped a hand behind Doyle's head and pressed their mouths together. Ray's lips were silky and warm and yielding, and he tasted faintly of peppermint toothpaste. Bodie moaned softly, kissing Doyle harder, pleased when his lover let out a small moan and pressed his body forward until they lay touching from chest to crotch to thigh.

Moving his head back a fraction, Bodie ran a hand through Doyle's curls, smiling at his lover, before he laid his palm against his partner's shoulder and encouraged him to move onto his back. Bodie lifted himself up on his elbow, and with a hand splayed against Doyle's chest, lowered his mouth once again to Doyle's. Kissing him was a wonderful thing, he quickly realised. Ray was responsive to Bodie's every move, meeting Bodie's explorations with enthusiasm. When he swiped his tongue across Doyle's lips, they parted, inviting him in. Not hesitating, Bodie deepened the kiss, his tongue dipping in and withdrawing, only to return again and again. When Doyle's hands scrabbled against his back, lightly running his nails down the plains of his flanks, Bodie moaned and flung a leg over his mate's thighs. Not releasing that appealing mouth, he slid himself onto his lover's body. When their cocks touched, both men groaned loudly.

Yanking his mouth away, Bodie lowered his face into the crook of his lover's neck, breathing harshly. "Christ, Doyle."

"Bodie," Doyle whispered, his hands cupping Bodie's bum. "Bloody hell. Move!"

Bodie grunted, rocking himself against his partner, their leaking cocks providing enough lubrication to guide his way as they rubbed against each other. "Fuck, Ray." Spikes of pleasure crashed through Bodie as his cock hardened even more with each stroke.

"Romantic sod," Doyle muttered before he let out a loud moan when Bodie thrust hard against him, his teeth finding the lobe of his lover's ear.

Bodie's pace increased as he raced toward completion. He once again found Doyle's mouth and fused their lips together, his fists latched onto his lover's hair as his hips pumped fiercely. He felt Doyle shudder under him and a warm, wet feeling spread against his belly. Doyle's semen coated his cock as he thrust, heightening the sensations against his skin. With an answering moan into Doyle's mouth, he felt himself spiral into orgasm. As he came, Bodie released Doyle's mouth and tossed back his head. "Jeezus, Ray!" With a final thrust, Bodie collapsed against his lover, and for a few seconds, forgot how to breathe.

"Fuck, Bodie... That was fantastic." Doyle's lips pressed against the side of his neck.

"Was--more than that."


"The best ever."

Doyle chuckled and poked at his side. "Shift over, you big ox, so I can breathe."

"Sorry." Bodie slipped off and started to move away.

Doyle grabbed Bodie's arm. "Don't..."

Bodie raised his head and stared into Doyle's eyes. "Eh?"

"Stay close?"

Bodie smiled. "You like a bit of a cuddle after?"

"Do you?"


"I reckon it's kind of--nice."

"Liar." Bodie grinned, pulling Doyle close. "Imagine that. Tough, deadly Doyle likes a snuggle." He paused before he finally admitted, "Was afraid you'd, you know, like to fuck and run."

"Not likely." Doyle reached down to cover their cooling bodies with the blankets. "Bodie?"


"We need to tell him."


"Yeah. About Toimkin's mother and all."

"He didn't want to hear it."

"I know. But still... He deserves to know. He thinks we killed an innocent woman."

"Didn't kill anybody."

"I know, but Cowley thinks we were responsible."

"We'll give him a few days to cool off. Then we'll try again."

"All right."

Doyle fell silent, as did Bodie. For a long while, each man was lost in his own thoughts until Bodie finally said, "Doyle, I love you, you berk. Been thinking about you for years, and wish I'd told you sooner. It's not some passing fancy. Want to be with you. If you still need to... You know, have birds and all, I understand. But for me... You're who I want."

Doyle's eyes widened and a grin danced on his lips. "Bodie, you are a romantic bastard after all!" Rising up to lean against one hand, his other crept across Bodie's smooth chest. "Wonder what other surprises I have yet to discover."

"You'd best get to it, mate. I'm a man of many depths to explore, and you have a lot of work yet to do."

Laughing, Doyle said happily, "And all of those many layers are mine."

With a grin, Bodie nodded. "Think of me as a marvellous layer cake. Covered with sweet icing, beautiful to behold, and just as wonderful to devour."

"You are daft."


Amicably making breakfast while they teased and kissed, the door's buzzer brought them both to a halt.

"Wonder who that is?" Doyle asked.

Bodie shrugged and pushed the intercom. "Hello?"

"It's Cowley. May I come in?"

Bodie exchanged a quizzical glance with Doyle before he said, "Yes, sir. Push."

Doyle muttered, "Good thing we're dressed," before he opened the door and waited. "Morning."

"Doyle," Cowley said as he walked into the room. "Bodie."

"Mr Cowley," Bodie said with a nod. "Coffee?"

"Ah, no. Thank you. May I sit down?"

"If you like," Doyle said, his tone a touch biting.

"Doyle," Bodie said quietly, shaking his head. He knew Doyle was not happy about how they'd been treated by a man they both respected. They both expected to be, at the least, given a chance to give their reasons for the actions they'd taken, and not even being afforded that simple courtesy didn't set well with Ray. Nor did it with Bodie, but he was more used to the hierarchy of command, and not as quick to question as Doyle. Still, it didn't sit quite right with him either.

Doyle sat down, crossing his arms. "What can we do for you, Mr Cowley?"

Cowley's gaze rested on Doyle. "I know you're angry, and I've come to apologise. I've had a chance to do some thinking... and some research, and I misjudged you. Both of you." He reached into his pocket and drew out the same photograph Doyle had placed on Cowley's desk yesterday afternoon. "And then there's this."

"The evidence," Bodie said.

"Aye. In a way, it is evidence," Cowley admitted. "Do you know the whole story?"

Doyle nodded, his tone still tight. "Most of it. We know about you and Sophia Toimkin. And we know we didn't kill her. In fact, we saved her son's life yesterday." Cowley leaned forward. "But you turned those boys over to the CIA! Why didn't you come to me? Ack, never mind," he said quickly. "I know why. Orders. I gave you strict orders. Protection only, and I didn't leave you room to come to me, the one person whom you should have been able to trust."

"Sir," Bodie said, "those blokes' safety came first. We--Doyle and I--were willing to accept whatever consequences that came about. After we heard their stories, there wasn't another choice."

Cowley sighed deeply. "I know that, Bodie. I know how you and Doyle think! I trained you, after all."

"We didn't kill that woman," Doyle protested. "She had incurable cancer. That's why she sent her son to England. It was her chance to get him out before she died. Georgi knew that, sir, and he did as his mother asked. She knew he was in danger because of who he was, what he is."

"Yes. Yes. I had bad information. My contact sent word last month that if those boys didn't return, there would be dire consequences for one of our people. When I discovered that Sophia was the double agent whose life was in danger, I couldn't risk her life! I didn't know she was ill, and apparently, neither did my contact. When I issued those orders, it was under the assumption that the men had to return to their homeland to ensure her cover remained intact. Now I know that information was inaccurate and incomplete, but when I ordered you to protect the youths, I did so with good intentions."

"We didn't doubt you, sir," Bodie said. "That's why we reckoned we'd risk our own hides, not yours. Anderson-"

"The CIA agent who took the fellows off our hands," Doyle added.

"Yeah, Agent Anderson arranged for a freighter. We had two hours to get them to the docks and on board, or the deal was off." Bodie grinned. "We had to move fast. Sir," he quickly added, a smirk on his lips.

"So it seems," Cowley groused. "And the photograph was an eye-opener. I can assure you that it brought back a flood of memories. It was a long time ago."

"You were quite chipper in your day, sir," Doyle said.

"When was that, Mr Cowley?" Bodie asked, "1955, '56?"

"Thereabouts," Cowley acknowledged.

"Know her long then?" Bodie casually enquired.

"Six weeks or so."

Doyle exchanged a glance with Bodie. "About Georgi..."

Bodie intently watched Cowley's face as it went from puzzled to thoughtful to astonished in a flash and when he rose, Cowley said irritatedly, "The boy? But he can't be! She would have said. No. I refuse to believe that. She wouldn't have kept it from me!" Cowley began to pace. "Unless she couldn't get word out... She went deep under and stayed that way for--almost twenty years! It would have been too dangerous for her--and for him. She was one of the best. Her information saved many lives; helped many people. Even for her son, she wouldn't leave. Not with the job she had to do." His hand flew up to his mouth. "Good God. Georgi..." Cowley turned to Bodie then Doyle, and said softly, "It's true. He's my son."

Doyle set a cup of coffee down in front of their speechless Controller. Bodie tipped the bottle of scotch into the coffee, liberally lacing the dark liquid.

"Have a nip, sir. You look peaked," Bodie said quietly. "You've had a shock."

Bodie saw Cowley's hand shake as he reached out for the cup and slowly shook his head. "Oh, aye... A bit." He picked up the cup and sipped.

"Are you all right, Mr Cowley?" Doyle asked.

"Yes. Thank you. I just never dreamed... And now..." Cowley raised his head and his sad gaze met Bodie's then Doyle's. "I'll never have the chance to meet him."

"No, sir," Doyle said.

"Yes, sir," Bodie said. They exchanged glances. "What we mean is that your son wants to meet you once he's settled. He's put you on his Christmas card list," he added smartly.

"What?" Cowley said, his eyes finally taking on a bit of life, Bodie noticed.

"Yes, sir," Doyle responded. "He wrote you a letter. Get that, Bodie, will you?"

"Got it right here," Bodie answered, pulling a white envelope out of his jacket that hung on the back of a chair. "Figured we'd need it sooner or later," he said at Doyle's arched eyebrow.

"You knew I'd come around this morning, didn't you?" Cowley asked.

Bodie shrugged. "Never known you to be unfair before, sir. After yesterday, I reckoned you'd show up sooner or later."

Cowley scowled for a moment, his ire at being so easy to read clearly conveyed to his agents, before he took the letter from Bodie's outstretched hand. "Thank you."

"You'll want some privacy, Mr Cowley," Doyle said knowingly. "It's been a shock and all."

"Yes. Yes, I think I do want some privacy, so I'll take my leave." Cowley rose and carefully slipped the letter into his inner coat pocket. Bodie wasn't surprised to see him pat the material under which the much-treasured letter now rested. He turned toward the door. Bodie skirted the table and slipped past him to open the door for him. "I'll see you and Doyle at 3 pm. You're both reinstated."

Bodie cast a quick glance at his partner before he said firmly, "No, sir." His hand on the knob paused before it fell away. He figured he and Doyle were in line for the sharp edge of Cowley's tongue yet again. He sighed.

"Excuse me?" Cowley said, his tone sharp. "Are you disobeying a direct order again, 3.7?"

"No, sir, he isn't," Doyle added quickly. "It's just that things have changed since yesterday."

Cowley stopped and turned back toward his men. "What the devil are you talking about now, 4.5?"

"Circumstances have changed, sir," Bodie offered. "Dramatically."

"In what way?" Cowley demanded.

Doyle tugged on an ear before he said, "Our status as partners has changed. Since yesterday, we've broken quite a few additional regulations."

"To say the least," Bodie quipped, earning him a deadly scowl from his superior.

"4.5, 3.7, you are both trying my patience, which is very thin this day as it is!" Cowley snapped.

Bodie cleared his throat. "Doyle and I are together."

Cowley looked puzzled. "You've been together for quite a while now. And if you recall, I'm the one who paired you both up."

Doyle nodded adamantly. "Yes, sir. But now we're together--in another way. Sir," he added hastily.

"Stop with the double talk, and tell me what's going on? In what way are you together now that is different than yesterday?" Cowley demanded loudly.

Doyle snickered, garnering himself a look that would have killed had Cowley the power to do so with his gaze. "In the Biblical sense, Mr Cowley."

"In the Bib-" His eyes scanned each man carefully before they widened slightly. "You don't mean..."

"Yes, sir," Doyle said.

"Yes, sir," Bodie confirmed.

Cowley was silent for a long moment, so long that Bodie and Doyle started to fidget in their shoes. "Last night was the--first time?"

"Yes, sir," Doyle answered.

"No matter, then. It was a passing fancy. Because of the assignment. Those lads and the rest of it. It's over. Am I correct? It was a matter of curiosity for the pair of you, and it's done." Cowley's tone made it an order.

"No, Mr Cowley," Doyle said firmly.

"Not on your life," Bodie muttered before he straightened up and looked directly into his Controller's eyes. "Sorry," he said, not at all contrite. "But it's not done. Not by a long way."

Cowley intently gazed at Bodie before his eyes shifted to Doyle. "You're both serious about this. In spite of the ramifications of such a lifestyle? Not to mention the breach of security and the minor matter of the security risks of such--actions?"

"Yes, sir."

"Yes, sir."

Cowley sighed, shaking his head. "This does change things. You know how I feel about rules and regulations. They keep my organisation running smoothly, and they're in place for everyone's safety and protection." He turned and with his hand on the door handle, said, "I need a few days to think. I'll let you know my decision as soon as I've examined this more thoroughly." He sighed deeply. "It has been a trying day." Then he opened the door and slipped through, closing it behind him.

"That went well," Bodie said with a groan.

Doyle harrumphed softly. "Dandy."

"So we're now unemployed," Bodie said.

"Seems so. For the time being anyway."


"Nah." Doyle raised his gaze to Bodie's and smiled. "Love you, you daft bugger."

Bodie grinned and reached out for his mate. Wrapping a hand around the back of Doyle's neck, he said, "Love you as well, Raymond." Pulling Doyle to him, he pressed their lips together, sighing happily when Doyle moved swiftly into his arms. When he released his lover, Doyle's arms tightened around his waist while he slipped his arms across Doyle's shoulders to lace his fingers behind his neck. Smiling, he offered, "Have some lubricant in the bathroom--if you're interested."

"I'm interested," Doyle said with a grin. "Definitely interested," he added, moving closer to press his hard interest against Bodie.

Bodie laughed, slipping a hand down between them to rub his palm across Doyle's denim-covered cock. "You make me so fucking hot. You are so fucking hot. You taste grand." He swiped a tongue across Doyle's mouth to prove his point. "Like everything about you. Your hair, your mouth, your eyes." With his fingers laced through Doyle's hair, he planted a small kiss on each of Doyle's eyelids and on his mouth. "Your arse." Bodie's hands cupped his buttocks, pulling their bodies even closer together. "Fancy the way you look at me. Feel important, I do, when you look at me. Never dreamed... it would be like this, Ray. You and me... Feels so bloody right."

Doyle's gaze held Bodie's, and Bodie could see the emotion flooding them, making them greener. "Bodie, you dumb crud, you do love me, don't you," he said, a touch of surprise in his tone but no question in his words.

"Never doubt it," he responded softly. "Never. No matter what happens. When I'm being a right bugger and a bloody moron. When I'm grouchy and short with you. When I look at a bird and make you wonder if I want her instead of you. It's you and me, old son. It's the way it was meant to be."

Doyle's smile was dazzling even as his eyes filled, and he tried to turn away, clearly embarrassed at his reaction to Bodie's words. Bodie smiled, and with a finger under Ray's chin, kept Doyle's face toward him. He gently kissed those desirable lips before he rubbed the pad of his thumb across the tender flesh.

Doyle swallowed hard and said softly but firmly, "Make love with me, Bodie. Now." He reached for Bodie's hand as it stroked his face and kissed the tips of his fingers.

"It would be my greatest pleasure, Ray."

"I love you, Bodie."

"Come on then. Hungry?"


Bodie laughed as he lead Doyle toward the bedroom.

-- THE END --

July 2007

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