Fire and Ice


Written for the "Discovered in a Sketchbook" challenge on the discoveredinalj livejournal community.

Ray Doyle rolled onto his back and flopped against the pillows, a decidedly daft grin plastered on his face. His entire body tingled with energy and his blood hummed hotly through his veins. Feeling wonderfully sated, he felt even more alive when Bodie's deep chuckle tickled his ears. Bodie is amazing, he thought, his smile widening. Like fire and ice. Cool and collected on the outside, for everyone else to see, but passionate and loving when they were alone, in bed, twined about each other like two sprigs of ivy. He chuckled at the image.

"Liked that, did you?" Bodie asked with unmistakable smugness.

"Christ, I'm about comatose here, lover," Doyle answered, grinning, he was sure, like some great lunatic. "It was marvellous. Bloody fantastically marvellous."

Bodie let out a loud laugh. "In all my days, I never reckoned that you'd love me fucking you into next week."

Doyle laughed as well, rubbing his chest. An annoying itch started to creep up his mid-section towards his throat, and the muscles started to twitch. He scratched unconsciously, trying to ignore the growing sensation, unwilling to be distracted from his glorious feelings. "You can fuck me into the next century, Bodie. Any time. Any place."

Still laughing, Bodie rolled to his side and spread his hand on top of Doyle's, stilling it. "Am in love with you."

Doyle smiled, casting a warm glance into the dark blue eyes that studied him intently. "Yeah. I know." He paused, waiting for the inevitable. It wasn't long before he was rewarded for his patience. Bodie was so bloody predictable as his face fell a bit and his lower lip pouted. "Silly sod," Doyle whispered, rubbing a finger across his lover's lip. "I love you as well."

He had to laugh when Bodie's face suddenly brightened, and he immediately looked like a kid during the holidays. "Cheers."

"Give us- Ow! Damn it all." Doyle's fingers dug into his chest, scratching furiously.

"Ray," Bodie warned, quickly pressing down on Doyle's hand. "Stop. You're making yourself bleed!"

"Hurts," Doyle blurted out. "What the-?" A stabbing pain lanced through his body, sharp and deep. He cried out, arching off the bed. Another pain burst across his back, and he writhed against the sheets.


Doyle could feel Bodie's hands around his wrists, holding him firmly, but his partner's surprised voice had vanished into the muddle of painful sensations. Suddenly, just as quickly as the pain was on him, it was gone. Doyle slumped back, panting heavily, sweat from his forehead blinding him. Bodie released his grip, giving Doyle the chance to reach up and wipe away the drops that raced down his face.

"Sorry, mate. I'm -- okay," Doyle said in a shaky tone.

"What the bloody hell was that?" Bodie demanded tensely. "You've dug up your skin. I'll get the antiseptic."

"It's nothing," Doyle mumbled, suddenly incredibly tired. "Don't bother." Before he could reassure his lover again, he felt himself dragged towards sleep. He blinked slowly, scarcely able to keep his eyes open. "Too tired," he muttered before closing his eyes.

Doyle woke feeling groggy and out of sorts. He'd had enough sleep, so he wondered why his head pounded and his throat itched. He'd better not be catching anything, he warned himself as he rose from the bed and pulled on his robe. The smell of fresh coffee drew him towards the kitchen.

"Ta," Doyle said as he stared at the cup of hot coffee his partner had planted in front of him. He lifted the cup and drank deeply before he finally felt a little better.

"Are you all right?" Bodie asked, tone laced with concern.

Doyle knew that Bodie was examining him. He wanted to reassure his lover, but he was still feeling off, so he merely shrugged. "Feel -- weird. Kind of knackered."

"No big surprise. You tossed and turned all night long, mumbling all the while."

Meeting his partner's gaze, Doyle let out a tired sigh. "Sorry."

"Are you coming down with something?" Bodie demanded as he rose to reach across the table and plant a hand on Doyle's forehead. "Don't feel feverish."

"I'm okay," he groused, pushing away the hand. "Really... It's nothing."

"You don't look well."

Doyle rolled his eyes. "Thanks for that."

Bodie gave him an off-handed smile. "You know that's not what I meant." He picked up a piece of toast and bit into it before he said, "Last night was grand."

With a faint smile, Doyle nodded. "It was. Just about the best ever."

"Hey! At that rate, nothing else will measure up, will it?"


"If that was the best, what do I have to work for? Any encore will be below par."

"You're a daft bugger, Bodie."

"Takes one to know- Ray?"

Doyle felt his chest tighten, and he rose abruptly, tumbling the chair over. The room swam before his eyes, twisting and turning in a kaleidoscope of colours. Something lurched out of a dark corner towards him. He saw part of the shadow move, and it emerged from the main form and came at him. Black and hard-looking, the extension shifted and then he saw it... a gun. Suddenly terrified, his eyes widened. "Bodie!" he cried out, wrapping his arms around himself. His lungs burned, and his breath suddenly caught. Struggling to take in enough air, his mouth fell open. He managed to blurt out, "Can't breathe--" before his vision started to spin, then tunnel, and he felt himself fall...

With his vision awash in red and blue whirling lights accented by a stark white haze, Doyle blinked slowly. Everything looked -- askew as he saw his world sideways, and from some remote corner of his brain, he realized that he was lying down. He tried to speak, to call for his partner, but his mouth refused to move. His entire body felt heavy and useless. The edges of his consciousness told Doyle that something had touched his mouth before whatever it was moved away. At least the pain seemed to have gone, he realised, leaving in its wake a strange, almost dreamlike lethargy.

Along the periphery of his vision, he saw movement, and felt -- something -- touch his body, but try as he might, he couldn't make sense of it. Then, strangely enough, he felt himself floating. He closed his eyes for a moment and when he opened them, he knew he was looking up at the sky. With a second of amazing clarity, he could see a plane far overhead, a tiny point of silver on a blue, cloudless blanket. As he floated along, the motion started to make him dizzy and nausea churned in his gut. He whimpered and closed his eyes to block out the sensations. The next time he dared open his eyes, he recognized Bodie. While Bodie's mouth moved, the words didn't register, drowned out by the irritating wail of an emergency siren. The sharp tone stabbed painfully into his head. His last thought was to fervently wish that Bodie would turn off the horrible noise...

"Doyle, for chrissake!"


"Right here, mate."

Doyle blinked and glanced around. "What happened?"

"I don't know. You collapsed." Bodie's mouth was set in a tight line, but his hands were gentle as he levered them under Doyle. "Come on. Let's get you up."

Doyle allowed himself to be manhandled onto the sofa. "I'm -- all right. Give me a minute."

"I'll be right back. Don't you dare move."

He smiled slightly, still feeling very drowsy, and rubbed at his eyes. "Not going anywhere, Bodie. Trust me on that."

"Going to ring for the doctor."

Doyle felt a rush of fear course through his body. The very idea of a doctor terrified him, and he had no idea why. "No! No doctor. I'll be all right."

"You passed out cold!" Bodie's hands flew out as he spoke.

"No. No I wasn't. I could see... I wasn't unconscious. At least, I don't think I was." Doyle groaned. "I could see the sky, and I heard sirens, and I saw you..." He shrugged, lethargy once again on him. "I'm okay."

"You're not all right!"

"Don't shout at me!"

They glared at each other for a long minute before Bodie's face softened. He shook his head, sitting down beside his partner. "All right. Settle down. Bloody hell, Ray, what's happened then?"

"Nothing. Okay? Just leave it! It's the flu or something." Doyle practically felt the concern radiating from Bodie's entire body. He hated that he was the cause of the lines of worry marring his lover's face. Bodie was generally the protective sort -- when it suited him, but lately, he'd taken protection of his partner to a new level. But Doyle understood. He had the same protective instinct where Bodie was concerned. Always had. Doyle reached out a hand and touched Bodie's where it lay against his thigh. He took the fingers that rubbed his leg into his own and squeezed gently. "How about another cup of coffee? I need something fortifying."

Bodie raised Doyle's hand to his mouth to kiss the back of his fingers. "I'm worried about you, old son."

"I know. Now I'd love that coffee."

When Bodie went into the kitchen, Doyle rested his head back against the cushion. What the hell had he seen when he had apparently -- passed out? What was going on? He didn't feel ill, or out of sorts as if he'd been unconscious, just very tired. But after he thought about how he felt, he knew there was something else, just out of reach, but try as he might, he couldn't put his finger on it. Doyle remembered what he'd seen when he'd fallen to the kitchen floor, but he didn't want to examine it at all. The very idea of figuring out what was going on terrified him, why he hadn't a clue. And to make matters worse, the idea that he was scared to even think about what was happening only added to the growing sense of dread. Maybe he was sick after all. Or maybe he was going crazy. He groaned quietly, covering his face with his hands.

"Here you go."

Doyle rubbed his eyes. Bodie stood before him, holding out the mug. Doyle took it with a grateful smile. After a few sips, he smiled up at his hovering partner. "Good. Thanks."

"Are you feeling sick or dizzy?"

"No. Everything is..." Doyle paused. He'd almost said, 'everything's all right', but it wasn't. Hiding his trepidation behind a gruff tone, he snapped, "I'm all right."

Bodie gave him a look of pure exasperation. "You need some food in you. Why don't you go and shower while I fix breakfast? I guarantee you'll feel like a new man."

With a curt nod, Doyle rose and headed to the bathroom. A shower did make him feel a little better, and when he padded out to the bedroom to search out clean underwear, he saw Bodie standing in front of the window. He was an expert at reading his partner's body language, and one glance told him that Bodie was still worrying about this morning's incident. Doyle walked over and slipped a hand around his lover's waist.

Bodie didn't look at him when he said, "I really love you, mate. I didn't think I'd ever feel this way about anybody, but..." Bodie shrugged, giving Doyle an embarrassed smile. "I don't want anything to happen to you."

Doyle leaned against Bodie. "I know, love. I feel the same. I'll never leave you, Bodie. I promise. And I feel fine."

Doyle was tense throughout the day, halfway expecting to experience another -- episode. He didn't know which was worse: the certain feeling that something else was going to happen, or the fact that nothing actually had -- yet. Cowley's summons to his agents drove thoughts of the strange feelings from his head and with their assignment in hand, they hit the streets.

It was dark and rainy with a biting cold that defied even heavy jackets. Their targets, two men known for their terrorist activities, had been spotted in a run-down pub by the abandoned docks. Somehow alerted in advance to their approach, their quarry had taken off, running through the deserted alleyways between buildings and down empty streets with Doyle and Bodie on their tails. As they ran past abandoned warehouses, sheets of icy rain pelted them mercilessly. The terrorists they chased took advantage of their head-start and the dark surroundings to melt into one of the many hiding places offered in the blocks of disused streets and empty buildings.

Bodie skidded to a halt, chest heaving. Doyle, who had been ahead by a few steps, finally stopped a short distance away before he turned and trotted back to his partner, where he leaned forwards, both hands on his thighs as he fought to catch his breath.

"Damn it!" Bodie growled. "We've lost them."

"They've got to be about. Let's backtrack." Doyle holstered his weapon, gaze searching the buildings and ground that they'd just covered. "Cowley will kill- Shit!"

Bodie's head snapped up. "Doyle?"

"Oh God," Doyle whispered, hands blindly reaching out to his partner. "Bodie."

"Ray? Not now, mate."

"Bodie," he repeated. The ground under his feet tilted crazily and he stumbled forwards. Doyle felt Bodie's hands grab his arms as they sank to the cold, wet ground. He wrapped his own hands around Bodie's sleeves, gripping the fabric as tightly as possible. "Don't let me go. Please, Bodie!" he pleaded.


Doyle shivered, blinking rapidly as the rainwater dripped into his eyes. He shook his head, and squeezed his eyes shut. The rain and cold suddenly disappeared, replaced with heat and noise and bright lights. Voices echoed over his head and pungent smells assailed his nose. The last thing he felt was searing hot pain lancing through his entire body...

With a soft groan, Doyle opened his eyes. "What happened?"

"You tell me," Bodie snapped, hip hitched up on the side of the casualty trolley. "You did a spectacular swan dive. Right in the middle of an op."


"And...?" Bodie demanded.

Doyle knew that Bodie had a right to be upset. He'd blown the op badly, and he didn't have a clue what was going on with him. All he knew was that he was terrified that he was losing everything he loved. Whatever was happening would rip Bodie from him, and leave him alone and adrift. Doyle wasn't able to figure out what he was feeling to his own satisfaction, let alone be able to coherently explain the source of his anxiety to his partner. Retreating into his own anger, he glared at his partner.

Bodie remained silent, his eyes ablaze.

Doyle looked away before he finally blurted out, "All right! It was as if I was... This is daft! Plain downright crazy! There is no way..." Doyle rolled his eyes in exasperation at himself as he pushed Bodie away. "I feel all right. Let me up."

Bodie moved away, casting an equally exasperated glance at him. "The doctor says that they're admitting you. They can't find any injuries or concussion to account for your collapse. They want to run more tests. I think it's a good idea."

"No, I can't... I can't stay here, Bodie." Doyle looked around. The green walls, the grey plaster. A wash of fear swamped him. "Not here."

"You're not making sense. Why not this hospital? You've never been here before, have you?"

"I don't know. I can't... Leave me alone!"

Bodie crossed his arms. "No, I won't. You'll have the tests if I have to tie you down myself."

Doyle shook his head and rubbed a hand across his forehead. "I felt something," he finally admitted.

"What? When?"

"When I was -- gone."

"Gone where?"

"I don't know!"

"Then tell me what you remember!" Bodie demanded.

"Quit shouting at me!"

"I'll quit shouting when you tell me!"

"I was-- It felt like I was shocked!" Doyle finally admitted.


"Like a damned light bulb! With current, you dumb crud! As if I stuck me finger in a giant, bloody light socket!"

"I don't understand."

"I don't either!"

"Doyle..." Bodie moved closer. "Settle down, mate. Listen. Something is obviously wrong so since we're here, why don't you let the doctors run some tests?"

Doyle glanced around, shivering. Deja vu swamped him, and if Bodie hadn't been with him, he would have run from the building. From the corners, dark shadows seemed to reach for him, their fingers clawing at his body. His throat closed, stealing the very breath from his lungs. Doyle wrapped his arms around his chest, hugging himself tightly, and he shook his head. His own voice sounded strange and distant as he pleaded, "Not here. Please, Bodie."

"Then another hospital. But you will have the tests."

"Yes. Somewhere else."

"Promise?" Bodie demanded, his gaze holding Doyle's.

"Yeah. I promise. Anywhere but here."

"It's not safe being on the streets, Ray. You know it's not."

Doyle slowly nodded. "I hate this. This is not how it's supposed to be!"

"How is it supposed to be?"

With a shrug, Doyle started to rise. Bodie put out a hand, which Doyle brushed off. "I'm okay."

"So you keep telling me."

Doyle felt Bodie's eyes on his as he dressed. He thought about how he felt, and realised that he was okay -- for now. "What about Cowley?"

"We'll have to tell him."

Doyle tied his trainers, which were cold and damp. "You think he'll go barmy?"

"Cowley? Nah. He doesn't want you splattered all over the street any more than I do. He'll agree." Bodie grinned. "As long as you know what you're in for."

"Oh, God. I can hear him now."

Bodie laughed. In his worst fake German accent, he said, "Doyle, to zee file room vit you!"

"You are a moron."

Doyle sat slumped in a chair before Cowley's large desk, trying to look halfway alert. From the corner of his eye, he watched Bodie as he roamed the office, touching this and moving that.

Cowley finally removed his glasses. "3.7, are you and 4.5 here for any particular reason other than to try my patience? Don't you have work to do?"

"No, sir. Nothing right now. Things are slow for a change, which brings me to a matter that we'd like to discuss with you."

"We?" Cowley asked.

"Yes. Doyle and I. We were wondering if we could have a few days' leave. We have a bit on the books and-"

"What's wrong?" Cowley demanded.

Bodie glanced at Doyle, then back to Cowley. "Ray's not feeling well."

"Oh? Doyle?"

"Sir?" Doyle blinked slowly. A wash of lethargy swamped over him. His head felt heavy and his chest started to ache.

"Are you ill, 4.5?"

"I-- Been having- I'm not sure. Kind of tired, I guess--"

Bodie interrupted, "He's been having trouble sleeping, and he's out on his feet. I, or rather we reckoned maybe he'd a touch -- anaemic. You know, needs some iron or something. Thought we'd go to the clinic and maybe ask them to run a few tests."

Cowley glanced at Doyle. "You do look pale, Doyle. I think a full physical is a good idea. I expect a report of the results sent to my office. Go on. You have my approval for seventy..."

Doyle knew Cowley was speaking to him, but Cowley seemed to grow -- transparent until only his eyes were visible, weirdly floating in the air. They were like two blue laser beams boring into Doyle. He shook his head, blinking to clear his vision. When he looked again, Cowley was -- normal, and he was speaking to Bodie, who was sitting beside him. Doyle started to ask a question, but he was distracted by a strange buzzing sound in his ears. Bodie and Cowley's voices faded in and out as they continued to speak, while from his left, he heard an unknown voice speaking from out of thin air. Confused, he forced himself to listen carefully to the strange voice even as his muddled brain struggled to understand the disjointed phrases., I am. God... We're not monitoring ... cardiac movement. ... me a shout at the slightest ...


The shaking of his arm brought Doyle back with a snap. He blinked dazedly, looking up into his partner's worried face. "What doctor?" he asked.

"Eh? What doctor?"

"Exactly," Doyle responded.

Bodie's brow furrowed. "I'm lost, mate."

"Never mind," he said to Bodie before he glanced at his Controller. "Can we go, sir?"

Doyle wondered what he had missed in the exchange between his partner and his superior when he saw Cowley give Bodie a pointed look, but he didn't bother asking. Right now, he was feeling too -- peculiar to give their conversation more than a brief passing fancy.

Cowley pulled off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Oh, aye. Go. Bodie, mind what I said. A full report on my desk."

"Yes, sir."

Once they were in the hallway heading towards the main entrance, Doyle roused himself enough to belatedly ask, "What did he say?"

"Nothing important, sunshine. We have three days' leave, and I volunteered to look after you. So don't you worry your pretty little head. Bodie's here, and all is under complete control."

"Now why exactly does that very idea terrify me?" Bodie's response to his smart mouth was to playfully smack his arm.

"We've wasted eight bloody hours on worthless tests. I told you there was nothing wrong with me."

Bodie shifted the car into second, laying a patch of rubber behind. "Maybe not physically, but damn it, Doyle, there's something going on. We need to figure out what it is."

Doyle crossed his arms. "The damned doctor did every test known to man. And a few that weren't, I'm sure," he groused, rubbing his arm that had been poked at least three times. "I feel like a bloody pin-cushion! No more tests!"

"Wouldn't do any good anyway, now, would it? Everything came back negative. Or positive, or whatever passes as normal for you, you sodding pain in the arse."

"Bodie, I'm sorry."

Bodie was silent for a few moments before he finally asked, "For what?"

"For being so difficult sometimes."

"Are you ill?" Bodie asked, a touch of shock in his tone. His hand reached out and landed on Doyle's forehead. "Doesn't feel like a temperature."


"Cheers, mate."

"You know if anything else happens, or if I even get the smallest notion that something else is going to happen, I'm going to insist that you ask Cowley to send you to Ross."

"You think it's all in my head?"

"What do you think?"

Doyle automatically started to protest, but something made him pause. He didn't really know what was wrong, but he did know that there was something. He tried not to think about the strange things he'd experienced, but no matter how much he tried, they refused to be ignored. "I don't know," he answered honestly.

Bodie cleared an intersection before he glanced over at Doyle. "Ray, understand this. If it means your life, I will do whatever it takes."

Doyle wanted to be angry at Bodie. He wanted to tell him he was full of shit. That he was fine. But it was a lie. Everything felt wrong. He felt wrong, but he hadn't a clue why. All he knew was that if he did actually figure out what was going on with him, it would be a horrible thing. He hadn't understand why it would be so awful to know, but it was with certainty that he feared finding out.

Bodie stopped at a traffic signal. He gave Doyle a warm smile. "Pub?"

Doyle chuckled. "Pub."

Wonderfully warm lying in his lover's arms, Doyle sighed happily. The arms surrounding him tightened slightly and lips touched his ear.

"Feeling better?"

"Mmm," Doyle murmured "Much. Thanks. Told you all I needed was a decent dinner and a good night's sleep."

"I'm worried about you."

"I know."

"We need to figure out what's going on." Bodie's lips touched the side of Doyle cheek.

"What would you say if I told you... I don't want to figure out what it is. That I -- can't do it."

"What? How can you know that?"

"I just know. Whatever it is, I want to stay here. With you. The way we are now."

"Ray, mate, that doesn't make sense. Where else would you be?"

"I don't know. Just -- not here."

"That's daft."

Doyle was quiet for a long moment before he finally said, "Yeah."

"I can't lose you, Ray."

"That's why I'm trying to hard to stay!"

"Christ, Doyle, do you know how that sounds?"

Doyle sighed. "Like I'm going nuts?"

"You are not going nuts," Bodie said with certainty.

"Ta, lover."

"Berk," Bodie said affectionately. "How do you feel? I mean, not right now, but overall?"

Doyle paused before he admitted, "Really strange."

"Define strange."

"Can't. Just not -- right. Off a bit. Things aren't what they're supposed to be." With a groan, he added, "I don't know!"

Bodie drew him even closer, and Doyle snuggled into the embrace. "We'll figure it out."

"I hope so."

"Go back to sleep, love. It's still early and we're still on leave. Might as well enjoy it."



"I'm just a bit -- scared."

"I am as well. Just a bit."

Doyle glanced into the back seat. "Did you bring the laundry?"

Bodie looked over his shoulder. "Damn. Forgot it."

"How could you forget two very large blue sacks sitting right beside the front door?"

"How could you?" Bodie asked.

"Was your turn. It's my turn to get groceries. We split up the chores, remember? Our last day of leave, and you said you didn't want to waste the whole day running err-"


Shuddering violently, Doyle listed sideways, banging his head on the Capri's side window. A groan escaped unbidden from his lips. He felt the car skitter to a halt and in a moment, his door was yanked open. Only his partner's hand on his shoulder kept him from falling out onto the tarmac. His neck seemed to be made of jelly, and his limbs were filled with lead. When Doyle tried to speak, what felt like a vice seemed to be clamped about his throat, making speech impossible. With a small whimper, he struggled to open his eyes.

Part of his brain knew he was in the car with Bodie, and that they had been heading towards Bodie's flat, but for some inexplicable reason, when he finally managed to pry his eyes open, he saw -- grey plaster. Doyle closed his eyes quickly, squeezing them shut. After a few moments, he was able to breathe and his eyes flew open. He realised that somehow, he was flat on his back, unable to move. Blinking brought some focus to his vision, and from his left, he could hear an incessantly annoying beep, regular as clockwork. A strange whooshing sound seemed loud and regular as he listened. He felt a brief stab of curiosity but after a few moments, even that melted away when other sensations took precedence.

He was very uncomfortable, hot and cold at the same time. His eyes were alternately dry as sand and wet as if he had been crying, and his head ached. Nothing about what he was experiencing made sense. When he examined the rest of his body, it felt as if it were stuffed with sawdust. His chest felt as if a huge weight rested against it. The pain mounted.

Doyle clawed at the pressure on his chest, frantic for air. His mouth opened to cry out even as he suffocated. Panic set in as he fought to breathe.

"Doyle, damn it to hell! Ray!"

Doyle blinked slowly and glanced about. They were parked alongside the motorway. He was still sitting in the passenger seat with Bodie kneeling on the ground beside him, both of his partner's hands on his body. "Bo- die?" he croaked, his throat parched and hurting. He raised a hand to it, trying to rub away the horrible feeling of constriction.

"Christ, Ray."

Doyle hated the raw, terrified sound of his partner's voice. Doyle managed to nod and gave Bodie a shaky smile.

"What happened?" Doyle asked.

"You scared the shit out of me, that's what happened. One minute we're heading out to run errands, the next, you're -- flailing about, moaning your stupid head off, and then you're having a damned -- fit!"

Befuddled, Doyle shook his head. "I don't remember..."

"For chrissake, Doyle, what is it?" Bodie's hand on his arm felt so real. He reached out and grabbed his partner's other hand.

"Am I here?" Doyle asked, cringing at the shaky sound of his own voice.

"What? Of course you're here! Where else would you be?" Bodie snapped.

Doyle didn't hold Bodie's cold tone against him. Bodie was scared, and when he was scared, he hid behind that icy irritating fašade that Doyle hated. Understood, but still despised. "Don't know. Some place -- else. Not here." He tried to give Bodie a reassuring smile, but his neck was rubbery and his head fell forwards. Maybe he was going crazy after all.

"That's it." In spite of Bodie's harsh tone, his motions were gentle when the hand on Doyle's arm moved upwards to stroke his cheek. It rested there for a moment before his partner rose and carefully closed the passenger door. Doyle finally managed to raise his head and with a shiver, he let it fall back against the headrest. He watched as Bodie walked in front of the car. Bodie seemed to fade in and out, becoming almost transparent for a few seconds. Doyle blinked dazedly, and when his partner climbed behind the wheel, Doyle's eyesight wavered even more. Bodie seemed far away one second, then close at hand the next. Each time Doyle blinked, Bodie changed until his world started to fade away and everything around him turned a sickly shade of green, with shadows and sounds he couldn't identify.

"Bodie?" Doyle whispered. "I'm really knackered. Don't know why... Can barely think..." He felt the car jiggle slightly when Bodie shifted and heard him speak into his RT. Fading fast, Doyle couldn't concentrate, but he knew Bodie would take care of this. Of him. With a small sound of distress, he let himself slip away.

"Doyle, I'm not arguing with you about this. It is not up for discussion." Bodie stood, arms crossed, in the centre of his living room. "In case you've forgotten you passed out on me in the bloody car! You were unconscious for at least five minutes."

Doyle slumped on the sofa. He knew Bodie was angry and scared. He was as well. "I don't remember! You think I'm doing this on purpose? That I'm not scared about all of it?"

"Really? You want to know what I really think?"

"Yeah, go on."

"I don't think you want to figure this out!"

Doyle crossed his arms, and looked away.

"I'm right, aren't I?"

Doyle slowly shook his head. "I wish I could explain it."

"Try." Bodie sat down next to Doyle and waited patiently.

Not looking at his lover, Doyle blurted out, "I'm all wrong. Being here is all wrong. Christ, I don't know! If I figure this out, I'll lose you!"

"Ray... God, you won't lose me. I swear it. No matter what happens, I'll be here."

Doyle blindly put out a hand, barely touching Bodie's arm. "It's not you. Don't you understand? I know you love me, but you won't be able to stop it."

"Please, Ray. Please talk to Dr. Ross. I don't know what else to do!"

With a gasp, Doyle pulled Bodie into his arms. "I love you." He hugged Bodie fiercely. "So much."

"Doyle..." Bodie's arms held him tightly.

"Take me to bed. Now, Bodie. Before it's too late..."

"Ray," Bodie whispered, crushing their lips together.

Doyle threw back his head and let out a shout, his orgasm ripping through his body. Bodie's talented mouth on his cock was hot and sweet, his fingers never still as they massaged his prostate. Dizzyingly intense release came upon him, and he rode the currents gleefully, shuddering at the powerful sensation.

"Oh, Jesus, Bodie..."

"Love you," Bodie whispered, crawling up the bed to press his mouth against Doyle's. They kissed for a long minute before they finally parted.

Doyle's hand caressed the side of his lover's face. He refused to let the darkness that threatened to spill over him touch their lovemaking. He gave his passion free rein, and let his love for Bodie guide him. When Bodie's gaze met his, the dark blue of his eyes was ablaze with passion. Doyle stroked Bodie's lips with the tip of a finger. "Make love with me, Bodie. I need you."

"Christ, Ray, the way you ask... Your mouth begs to be fucked. You're so bloody sexy when you look at me. Could sink into those eyes and drown a happy man." When Doyle's hand found his cock, Bodie groaned deeply, his eyes drifting shut as Doyle stroked. "You're going to kill me yet," he muttered happily, a silly grin plastered on his lips.

"I want you in me. I need to feel you."

Bodie nodded. "Will always love you, Doyle. Always." Their eyes held while Bodie reached across to the night table and grabbed the tube kept close at hand. Biting his lower lip, he quickly coated himself.

Doyle smiled, at peace for the moment as he watched Bodie prepare himself. He raised his hips from the mattress, pulling his knees to his chest. "Want to watch you come. Look into your face when you love me. I want to remember your face forever. So hurry up and get it in."

"You're a mouthy bastard," Bodie said cheerfully. He leaned over Doyle, their lips meeting.

Doyle moaned at the teasing kisses that played across his face. He reached for Bodie, guiding him forwards until he was in position. Doyle wrapped his legs about Bodie's waist and used his heels on Bodie's bum as he encouraged his lover wordlessly.

As Bodie sheathed himself in Doyle, he let out a deep groan and growled, "Good God, Ray."

"Move it," Doyle ordered, yanking Bodie's head down as he raised his up, their mouths meeting in a demanding, sloppy kiss.

It was over too soon for Doyle. He loved Bodie taking him long and hard, but he admitted to himself that it was his fault Bodie had come so quickly. It might have had something to do with the fact that he'd pinched Bodie's nipples sharply while he used his taut arse muscles to squeeze his lover's cock. Bodie managed to thrust barely half a dozen times before he was coming, calling Doyle's name.

Doyle grinned with satisfaction when Bodie slumped against him. He wrapped his arms around his panting lover, and with soothing sweeps of his hands, caressed the sweaty body that blanketed him.

"You are trying to kill me," Bodie said with a laugh before he pressed his mouth to the side of Doyle's neck. "Bloody hell, but that was fantastic."

Laughing, Doyle smacked Bodie's backside. He would savour this night forever and he would keep it burned in his memory no matter what, he vowed to himself. "You're bloody fantastic."

"Awfully cheerful this evening, eh?"

"We're both here. I feel good. You feel good. Why not?"

Bodie chuckled as he moved to settle beside his lover. "Why not indeed?" he countered, his fake posh accent tumbling out, making Doyle giggle. "You are feeling good."

"I am. Thanks to you."

"Should clean up."


"Love you."

"Love you as well, Bodie." Doyle closed his eyes. His lover's body was warm against him. His worries seemed far away. He felt well cared for and was content to just drift along, and after a few minutes, he felt himself sliding towards sleep.

"Ray, love, how do you feel?"

"Bodie," he said quietly, "leave off. I'm fine. Really. I feel wonderful. And sleepy. Now shut it so I can sleep." Doyle started to drift to sleep when he felt the bed jerk, and Bodie's arms tightened around him. Puzzled at the abrupt movement, his eyes flew open.

Blackness. He could see nothing. Feeling strangely disjointed, he tried to raise a hand. And from a long distance, he could hear Bodie's voice.

Bodie was clearly irritated when he hissed angrily, "Stay with me. Ray! Ray! Don't do this. Damn you to hell, Doyle!"

Only Bodie could sound so bloody demanding when he was angry, but the underlying pleading tone baffled Doyle. Desperate to assuage his lover, he asked, "Where else am I going to? I'm right here, lying beside you. Feeling loved and wanted."

But Bodie continued to plead with him. "Promise. Promise me you'll stay! For chrissake, Ray!"

"I'm here!" Doyle called out, suddenly and inexplicably terrified. He felt Bodie's arm, once so warm and firm across his waist, start to fade away. He opened his eyes, and the walls swam around him, wavering and spinning. He was sick at the sensation, his stomach rebelling, while a flash of heat travelled down his body, quickly followed by a horrible wash of intense cold. He shivered, whimpering as he tried to kick away the blankets even while his hands clutched them closer. Fire and ice. He was burning up from the inside out while he froze in his own skin.

In the next breath, Doyle felt the now-familiar intensely dreadful tightening in his chest. His hands flailed out while he struggled against the burning pressure on his body. If only he could escape, he'd be able to breathe. His entire body started to shake. Bodie's arms briefly tightened, and begged him for something, but the words drifted away before he could catch them. Pain coursed through him, sucking his breath away. He opened his mouth to scream, but nothing emerged. Darkness sucked at his bones, and before he could even question what was happening, his world disappeared.

Doyle surfaced slowly. The first thing he acknowledged was the uncomfortable strangeness in his throat. Unable to lick his dry lips, his eyes opened and he blinked, looking around. He was in a hospital room, he knew. It took a few moments for him to understand why it looked all too familiar, and how he knew he'd been here before.

Maybe he'd never left.

Was this the place he'd been afraid to be? Or was this where he'd always been, and tried to escape? Thoroughly confused about what had happened, he managed to turn his head to glance around the room. The first thing he searched for was his partner. His lover. Bodie would know what was going on, and he'd help Doyle to understand. Bodie always knew what to do. He needed Bodie.

But no, this wasn't where he wanted to be. This was -- where he'd always been. Where he was Ray Doyle, partner to Bodie, but not lover. Never lovers. He wanted to scream his outrage at the unfairness of it all. He'd tried to stay with Bodie with every fibre of his being, but all was for naught.

A movement caught his eye, and then he saw the face of an unknown woman.

"Mr Doyle? I'm Nurse Stanford. You just rest while I run and get the doctor. We've been waiting quite a while for you to wake up." Doyle gagged when he struggled to speak. His eyes widened, but the woman's hand touched him comfortingly. "You're on a ventilator, Mr Doyle. Don't you worry about a thing. Now that you're awake, you'll be on the mend in no time. You just blink once if you understand me, sweetie. Do you know you're in hospital?"

Doyle thought for a moment before he blinked.

"Good man. I'm going to pop out for a second and get Dr Seigel. Do you understand me? No reason to be frightened."

Again, he blinked.

"That's the ticket!" she responded, smiling at him. Her tone was pleasant, so he was momentarily reassured in spite of the strangeness of his situation. "Rest easy," she said, "and let that machine do the work for you. You've had a bad turn, but things are looking up."

Still confused, and too exhausted to stay awake long enough to muddle over what was happening to him, and with his entire body screaming in protest at his awakening, Doyle briefly wondered where Bodie was before he gave up. He was confused, hurting and so very tired, so he let the welcome tug of sleep overtake him.

Out of critical care and in his own room for half a day now, and he was miserable. And alone. He knew he'd be alone. How he knew, he hadn't a clue, but that he was indeed alone wasn't the least bit surprising. Christ, why had he come back? A lot of the dreams, hallucinations, whatever, were already fading, but he remembered that much, at least. Remembered that he had wanted to stay with his Bodie. And that if he came back, he'd be alone. But still, he must have somehow decided to come back. Hadn't he? He thought about it for a moment. Yeah. He had. He'd missed it all. Missed Cowley, and CI5 and... all of it.

Doyle had missed Bodie. This Bodie. Fucking absent Bodie. Probably off at some pub, with some bird or two, having a high time of it. What a fool he'd been, believing that Bodie would be here, waiting for him to come back, to wake up. He was an idiot.

And now... The ventilator tube was gone, but the pain running rampant through his body wasn't. Doyle felt his eyes fill as another round of pain invaded his body. He stifled a gasp and bit his lower lip. He wasn't due more medication for an hour, and it felt as if the last one hadn't done a whit to alleviate his discomfort. He desperately wanted the pain gone. He desperately wanted to be gone. If nothing else, he wanted to sleep. To forget about all of it. With a groan, he wondered why he had bothered to come back at all. It was Cowley's fault. He had followed Doyle around, talking, talking, talking, until Doyle was ready to scream. Bloody irritating Cowley...


Doyle was so busy feeling sorry for himself that the voice startled him. He turned his head and suddenly, Bodie was beside him, and his hands, warm and real, were on Doyle's arm, and his eyes were bright with emotion. Bodie's face was alight with joy, and his grin was plastered on his face.

"Jesus, Ray! It's so good to see you, mate!" Doyle's hair was ruffled and his arm gently patted. "Sorry I wasn't here sooner. Cowley had me up North. I came back as soon as he called. God, Doyle, it's so good to see you awake! I thought I'd never talk to you again. Christ, but you had me worried." Bodie grinned down at him.

Doyle smiled, a little overwhelmed at Bodie's pleasure at seeing him awake.

"You okay, mate? Stupid question. Of course, you're not okay. Are you in pain?"

Bodie didn't give him time to answer, but it didn't matter. Doyle realised that while he was uncomfortable, the sharp pain had receded into the background now that Bodie was here.

"Can I get you anything? Ice? Water? Wait until I tell you what Murph did! You'll die laughing." Bodie's eyes widened. "Oh, shit. I shouldn't have said that! Wasn't very considerate. No talk about dying. So how are you feeling?" Bodie finally stopped to take a breath.

"Happy to see you," Doyle whispered, ignoring his scratchy throat.

Bodie nodded, grinning all the while. "I'm happy to see you as well. Now everything will be all right."

Sprawled on the sofa, with his feet propped up on the coffee table, Doyle passed the last can of beer over to Bodie. With a contented sigh, he rubbed at his chest absent-mindedly.

Bodie took the can with a grunt of approval. He took a sip before he passed it back to Doyle. "You're bloody proud of yourself, aren't you?"

Doyle chuckled before he took a sip and passed the can back. "Even Macklin was surprised that I passed on the first round. The doctor said it would take a year before I'd be in good enough condition for Towser's type of tender loving care."

Bodie held up the can in salute. "You did it in half the time. Well, I'm proud of you as well."

"Ta, for that, and the rest of it."

"My pleasure. Have the last bit."

"Thanks. That's it, then. Either we go out for more, or it's a dry evening."

"No matter." Bodie wiggled his sock-clad feet that rested next to Doyle's. "I'm too settled to go out." They fell silent, watching the telly for a few moments before Bodie asked, "Where's the sound?"

Doyle laughed. "You've been watching this telly for more than a couple of months now, and you just realised there's no sound?"


"It's busted."

"Oh." With a shrug, Bodie again fell silent, and from his position beside his partner, Doyle could see the pleased look etched on his mate's face, sound or no.

"I wouldn't have, if it weren't for you."

"Eh?" Bodie asked, turning his head towards Doyle.

"Got back onto the squad in six months. Almost to the day it happened, even. I appreciate it."

"Sure, sunshine. I missed you. Murphy is a right git on stakeout."

Doyle smirked. "You hate stakeouts anyway."

Bodie shrugged. "Too true. Boring waste of time."

Again, they went quiet, watching the soundless football match. Doyle followed the footballers as they ran up and down the field for a few minutes before he smiled.

"What?" Bodie asked.

"What, what?"

"You're smiling."

"It's nothing. Just-"

"You feel okay?"

"Yeah. Right as rain."

Bodie grinned at him, looking pleased with himself. "Then my job is done."

"You are a first-class nutter."

Bodie shrugged, turning back to the match. After a few more minutes, he asked, "Do you remember much?"

Bodie hadn't asked him very many questions about his time in the coma, which surprised Doyle. He'd expected to have his brain picked over, but Bodie had shown no much compunction. Rather, he seemed to be content with having Doyle back amongst the living and with single-minded determination, Bodie had turned his energies into getting him fit and healthy. Consequently, they'd spend almost every single day and night for the past six months together. Together. Doyle smiled. Even with him in his own bed and Bodie on the sofa, they were as 'together' as they'd ever been. In spite of his longings for more, he had to admit he was content with his life, and with Bodie's role in it.

During the past six months, Bodie had shown what kind of a friend he really was. He had made sure Doyle ate correctly, rested properly, attended each and every therapy session mandated by Cowley, and was in tip-top condition when he went in for re-evaluation. There hadn't been a Swiss roll in sight, something he was still shocked over. But it had paid off in the end. He was extremely pleased that he'd passed on the first go-round. Thanks to Bodie.

With a thought to what he did remember from being in a coma, Doyle finally said, "A bit here and there. Strange dreams, more like hallucinations. Really off the wall crap. Was quite -- creepy at times. But others..." Doyle shrugged.

"Others?" Bodie prompted. "Can you say? Or would you rather not."

After a pause, Doyle explained, "The doctor said it was just random brain function when I mentioned the dreams. He said none of it was real, and he must have been right since most has faded away. Evaporated back into my subconscious, I guess. I don't remember much any more. Bits and pieces mostly." When Bodie sat up and turned towards him, giving him his full attention, Doyle smiled. "Some of what I do remember felt -- very real. It's nothing important," he added quickly.

"I'm -- curious. Don't know anybody who's died before, and can tell the tale."

"There weren't any of those bright tunnels of light, if that's what you're askin'. Some was plain crazy. Saw my own funeral. And me and George spent a good bit of time together. He followed me around, giving me those lectures of his until I thought I'd go barmy." Doyle paused before he admitted, "But this one -- hallucination, dream... It was so real. I've held onto it as much as possible, but even that one's fading."

"Why would you hold onto it?"

Doyle searched his partner's face, looking for signs of teasing, but Bodie looked sincerely interested so he finally admitted, "Was a good one. Made me feel -- happy. I liked it."

"Helped you through it all?"

"Yeah. It did." Doyle fiddled with the stitching on the edge of the sofa cushion before he said, "You were in it."

"I was?"

Nodding, Doyle added, "You said things that made me want to stay." Doyle watched Bodie's face carefully. Bodie leaned forwards, listening intently. Doyle could tell that every muscle was taut, and that Bodie was turning his entire focus onto what he was saying. It gave him the courage to continue.

"I remember one time, waking up, and everything hurt. My chest was on fire, my legs were knotted up, twisting themselves hard enough to make me want to cry. My arms were like lead. Couldn't even reach up to scratch me own nose, and it was as if the blood running in my veins burned as it moved about. Even my hair hurt." Doyle smiled. "Funny, isn't it? Didn't know my hair could hurt. I remember struggling to breathe. Thought somebody was holding something over my face, and I wanted it gone.

"Then I felt -- something. Cool and warm at the same time. It was -- nice. I looked about, and saw you standing beside the bed." Doyle's gaze never left Bodie's face, and for some inexplicable reason, a flush crept up Bodie's cheeks. But those dark blue eyes silently asked him to continue. "You had your hand on my forehead, and another here." Doyle reached out and gently lifted Bodie's hand, pressing it palm down against his sternum. You called my name, and even though your touch was light, your words were quite bossy. As usual," he added with a grin. "Doyle, calm down. Just settle down and look at me!"

"You kept speaking until I did finally listen. I looked up at you and you smiled. Your hand moved across my forehead and down my cheek. Then you said, "Promise me you'll stay. Promise me, Ray. Don't leave me alone here." I remember feeling really -- poorly. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and sleep, but you wouldn't bloody leave me alone. You're a pushy bastard, Bodie. You started issuing some daft orders. I remember how you looked. Almost as if you were..." Doyle shrugged. Bodie didn't cry. No sense even saying it. "So you were ordering me about. "Stay with me. Ray! Ray! Don't do this. Damn you to hell, Doyle!"

"You're quite good at cursing at me. Had lots of practice these past months." Doyle smiled again before he added, "I remember suddenly feeling all -- muddled and rather amused at your ranting--"

"It was the morphine, sunshine."

Doyle laughed. "Probably."

"That the lot of it?"

"A bit more." Their eyes met. Nervousness made Doyle swallow around the lump in his throat. "The last thing I remember until I saw Nurse Stanford hovering over me was you, leaning down. Your hand still rested here," Doyle pressed his fingers against the back of Bodie's hand that was still touching his chest, "and you put your mouth close to my ear. If I close my eyes, I can still feel your breath on me. "Doyle, you sodding idiot, I love you."

Bodie's hand slowly moved away, leaving Doyle immediately feeling the loss. He tried to decipher Bodie's look, but he'd turned away. Worried now that he'd really stuck his foot in it, he quickly said, "Bodie, it wasn't real. Just the drugs, as you said."

"No," Bodie said curtly. Doyle could see his throat ripple, and his hands clenched tightly for a moment before he started to nervously rub them on his trousers. "It wasn't... You weren't hallucinating. It happened," Bodie said tightly. "Quite a laugh, isn't it? Made a bloody fool of myself."

Doyle reached out, placing one of his hands over Bodie's. "You saved my life."

Bodie looked at him. "I did?"

"Yeah, you helped me decide. I was feeling sorry for myself. Kept thinking of reasons to chuck it all in. Fuck it all. I was tired of it. The killing. The dying. All of it. But when you said -- what you did, it gave me something to hold onto."

Bodie slowly nodded. "I meant it."

"I know. You did what you had to do to save me. Haven't thanked you properly. Didn't know you wanted to hear all that." Doyle gave an embarrassed grin. "I know you hate that emotional crap. Love 'em and leave 'em. I understand the way of it for you."

"Doyle, shut the fuck up."

Doyle's mouth fell open, but Bodie grinned, taking the sting out of his words. Contritely, Doyle said, "Always examining shit way too much. That's the way of it with me. Sorry, mate."

"For pity's sake!" Then Bodie grabbed Doyle's shirt and yanked him close. He pressed their mouths together as his arms wound around Doyle's shoulders.

Doyle melted into his partner's arms, and with a heady sigh of relief, he tasted Bodie for the first time. Bodie tasted of beer and pizza, and something wildly incendiary. When Bodie's tongue slipped past his teeth, he eagerly opened his mouth, letting him in. They kissed passionately for many long moments until he was shaking. Bodie must have felt his tremors, because he released Doyle and held him out at arm's length.

"Doyle?" he asked, his gaze searching Doyle's face so very intently that he felt as if Bodie could see straight into his heart.

"I'm -- all right. More than all right." Doyle smiled. Bodie's eyes were bright and dark, reminding him of the deep blue velvet shirt he'd once owned and cherished as a lad. Bodie's mouth was kiss-swollen, and the smile on that mouth was breathtaking. Sweet and pouty, Bodie looked kissable, and fuckable in the extreme. "Bloody hell," Doyle whispered, his cock hard, before he moved towards Bodie, taking those lips for his own. This time, he forged ahead, holding Bodie tightly to him as he plundered that delicious mouth. Only the bothersome need to breathe forced them apart.

"Fucking hell," Bodie agreed, laughing. "Meant it, you know. I love you, Ray. Thought you were going to die on me. The worst thing of my life."

Doyle smiled, pressing his palm against Bodie's cheek. "Sorry, sunshine. Didn't plan it that way."

Bodie flashed a quick smile before he grew stern. "Don't do it again. Don't leave. Not without me."

"If I can--"

"Don't, Ray. I'm serious. Don't joke. You know what I mean. You almost gave up. Promise me you won't do it again. Not if you have the choice." Bodie's hands tightened around Ray's upper arms. "Promise me!" he demanded, his eyes wild.

"Shhh." Doyle pulled Bodie into his arms, his hands sweeping down the muscled back. "I promise. And you do the same." The last of the terrifying visions were finally swept away, wrapped in his lover's arms. Only the remnants of the sweet ones remained.

"Cheers, angelfish," Bodie said.

Doyle laughed. "You are such a daft nutter." After another deep kiss, Doyle said teasingly, "I've been certified fit for duty. And other things. How about we test that out?"

"Test what out?" Bodie joked, managing to look adoringly befuddled to Doyle's loving gaze.

Laughing at Bodie's teasing, Doyle grinned. "Remember something else."

"Eh?" Bodie asked, his fingers moving up Doyle's shirt, unbuttoning as they travelled.

"Remember that I love you fucking me."

"What?" This time, Bodie truly looked surprised. "I don't remember anything about that!"

"No matter. I do. I remember other things."

"Such as...?"

"Your hands, your lips, your mouth..." Doyle touched himself, giving Bodie what he hoped was a seductive smile. "Come on, then," he said, his voice dropping as he smiled. "Been waiting long enough. Both of us. But don't worry that pretty head of yours about your -- abilities. I'll show you how it's done."

"You little..." With a laugh, Bodie rose as Doyle tugged on his shirt. "I'm a fast learner," he quipped, pulling Doyle to him by his shirt-front. "This is going to be fun. Being with you. I don't think it will ever be dull, considering you're like fire and ice, Doyle. One moment, you're all wanton, showing me everything you've got, and telling me exactly what you want. Burning everything in your path, including me. After this, I'll never be the same. Then, next second, you're like ice, deadly efficient, weapon ready, taking on the world. Nobody'd dare touch you, or they risk losing a few fingers -- or worse." With a mischievous grin, he ruffled Doyle's hair. "So long as I'm on the receiving end of that fire, I can handle the ice."

And with a hearty laugh, Doyle showed Bodie exactly how he liked his fire.

-- THE END --

September 2007

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