The bed was large, warm and enticing. Doyle eased into it eagerly, mindful of his sore shoulder and ribs. As he dug under the blankets in the center of the bed his thoughts turned to his absent lover. A part of him was grateful that Bodie was gone, it would give his bruises a chance to fade before he saw them. A stronger part of him longed for a little of the sympathy he would accept only from his tough, loving partner.

It was a sign of his fatigue that he didn't wake until a hand gripped his shoulder and rolled him over. He yelped, more from surprise than pain. The hand jerked away, the light coming on in the same instant.

Midnight blue eyes stared down at him in wide surprise. Doyle made an instinctive attempt to pull the sheet up to cover the damage, stopped when he realized how useless that was. He started to smile - beyond anything else he was glad to see Bodie.

"Bodie! You're early..." Bodie turned sharply, stalked from the room.

It took Doyle a second to get his drugged muscles moving. A little stiffly he climbed out of bed, moved through the main room to find Bodie sitting at the kitchen table, leaning forward with his face in his hands. Doyle pulled the nearest chair closer, refusing to acknowledge his slight dizziness. Shivering the autumn air he reached to touch Bodie's slumped shoulder.


Bodie stood, walked out again. Doyle sighed, wondered if he'd have to follow his moody partner all over the flat. He had decided to give chase when Bodie came back in with a blanket, gently draped it around Doyle's slender form. He reached to ruffle the wild curls but Doyle captured his hand, pulled it to his lips, kissed the fingers.

Bodie grabbed him, hauled him roughly up, held both arms and shook him hard, "Damn you, Ray." The blanket dropped to the floor.

Doyle winched, and the anger in Bodie's face vanished. He pulled Doyle to him, arms completely enfolding the smaller man, lightly, very conscious of the bruises. He buried his face in the soft, auburn hair, took a deep harsh breath.

Doyle moved, glanced up into Bodie's eyes. Unshed tears sparkled in the dark blue deeps. Bodie never cried - not in their three years as partners or their two years as lovers; not over Marrika's death, not over Doyle's shooting. Never.

Doyle wrapped himself tight around his lover. Bodie's hands came up, brushed along Doyle's cheeks, glided down his neck, locked around the small of his back. They held each other for a long time. When green eyes again found blue the tears were gone. For a fleeting moment Doyle wondered if he had imagined it - knew that he hadn't. Taking Bodie's hand, picking up the blanket he lead him into the bedroom.

Several times as Doyle undressed him Bodie started to speak. Doyle shook his head, tangled curls flying, silenced him with a kiss. Only when they were both laying together in bed with Bodie's head resting on his partner's chest was he allowed to speak.


Doyle stroked the short hair, "I understand, Bodie."

Bodie shifted, looked up with a wary, almost smile curving his lips, "Do you?"

Love glittered in Doyle's green eyes. "It's the same for me, idiot." He sighed. "Can't stand to see you hurt."

Bodie echoed the sigh, "Not just that. I'm never there when you need me, Ray." Doyle's chest tightened at the catch in Bodie's voice. "Short, the Empire Society, May Li..."

A long, loving kiss silenced him. When Doyle pulled back it was his eyes that were misty. "And how many times have you been there? Saving my life, not to mention my sanity."

There was no response from the dark hair man. Very lightly he ran a finger over the vivid purple marks on Doyle's chest. Doyle controlled his urge to flinch. "Hurt much?" Bodie finally asked.

"Nah. You should see the other guy." He laughed softly, trying to push the somber mood away. It seemed odd that he was the one trying to lighten Bodie's mood, so often it was the other way around.

The mood remained heavy. "Ray," Bodie asked hesitantly, "would you quit the squad if I asked you to?"

Doyle stared down but Bodie wouldn't meet his eyes. "Why me?" he countered roughly, "Why not you? Why not both of us?"

"Because I'm not good for anything else." Bodie said softly. A little of the black humor returned as he added, "And you bruise too easy."

"Bodie, I'd do anything that would make you happy. But, please, don't ask me that."

Bodie sat up, surprised by his lover's answer, "Does the squad mean that much to you?"

"No." Doyle said strongly, "You do." He shook Bodie hard by the shoulder, "Do you think I'd trust you to anyone else - no matter how good? I'm your partner, as well as your lover. Together, Bodie. We stay or we go, together."

"I will if you will, huh, sunshine?"


He kissed Bodie's face again, very thoroughly, very lightly. Lying back with a deep breath he asked, "Do you want to quit?"

Bodie relaxed back into his former position, careful of the bruises, idly twirled the auburn curls on Doyle's chest. "No. Not good for anything else." he repeated.

"Oh, I wouldn't say that." Doyle reached down, pulled at his partner's half-risen cock.

Bodie gave in to Doyle's attempt at distracting him. It was an interesting way to be distracted. He eased Doyle on top of him, claimed him with a deep kiss.

He knew, they both knew, that they were ignoring the odds. Just as they knew they would always ignore them. It was the only way to get through the night, to get through to when the odds at last caught up with them.

-- THE END --

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