Hide and Seek


Bodie took another sip of ale. He liked the small pub--the locals ignored him, the ale was warm, and it was far away from anywhere Doyle would go. In fact, it was far away from where any Londoner would go--situated some 150 miles north of the city, the village sat on the edge of Sherwood forest. No one but hikers, postal workers, and Bodie ventured here in the fall months. The perfect place to hide.

Not that Bodie needed to hide--just sometimes it got to him. Being near Doyle, wanting him, fearing discovery--he'd known it was a skill that could never be recognized on the job--loving your partner, watching him move through the streets with cool grace, sit next to you in tight quarters, brush up against you in the thrill of the chase--and not show any of the desires that twisted your guts every day. It all wore unevenly, and every now and then he needed time away from Doyle and CI5. He had stumbled across the village one night returning from an op in Scotland. Too tired to keep driving, he'd pulled over on the road to sleep. The sunlight shaking him awake as it filtered through the roadside trees had been a pleasant surprise. One he was certain Doyle, with his urban tastes, would never have appreciated. He, on the other hand, could value the wooded silences that were far away from the daily grime, corruption, and violence that circled CI5. He took another swallow and began the slow process of unstringing himself.

A hand clapped his shoulder and he jerked his head around. "Well, there you are," Doyle said. His face was flushed with triumph, a smug smile spreading. Bodie stared. Doyle slid into the seat and poked Bodie again. "Bet you didn't expect to see me--always did wonder where you'd sneak off on these little jaunts of yours." Doyle glanced around, coughing slightly as the man two seats down lit a cigarette. He seemed not to notice Bodie's hand clutching his glass. Or the cold forward stare.

"So why're you here?" Bodie was determined to keep this visit short.

"I just told you. To see what you've been doing all these years. You know what Cowley says: 'Know your partner. Know his secrets. They may kill you or keep you alive.'" Doyle paused to wave the keeper over and ordered a pint. "Dunno about this secret. Kinda big to be keeping all this time." Doyle gestured to the almost vacant room; his tone took in the entire village of 200 and maybe even the surrounding sheep.

Bodie kept his mouth shut. Possibly, Doyle would just go away. He closed his eyes. When he opened them, Doyle was still there. Better to accept it--and get through it. "Like it here. It's quiet. No one makes a fuss. The ale is good."

"Well, I'll have to admit it is good. But God, Bodie. This place isn't quite your style." Bodie shifted his glance to Doyle. The curly hair was still wet from the autumn drizzle. His jacket arms bunched up slightly, showing his strong wrists, and broad hands. He was leaning comfortably into Bodie, relaxed and at ease. Bodie envied him. He felt the erection slowly forming. He had to end this.

"So you don't think it's my style. That's nice, Doyle. When you finally decide what it is you want, call me--I'll be in London." He slid off the chair and fished a fiver out.

Doyle grabbed his arm before he could pay. "Hold on Bodie--let's not get carried away. If I'd known you'd be this touchy, I'd never have bugged your car."

So that's how Doyle had found him. "Figures," he said. "You were never that good. Face it, Doyle. I like it here because it's not London. I expect it's your style this place doesn't fit with. So let's go."

Walking into the afternoon air, he sensed Doyle had paused in the middle of the street. "What do you mean by that?" he heard Doyle call out. Bodie didn't answer. He was trying to remember where he'd left the car keys.

Doyle skipped across the road and leaned on the bonnet of the car. "I said," he repeated, "what do you mean my tracking skills aren't that good?" Bodie faced Doyle, remembering he'd left the keys in his hotel room because he didn't think he was going anywhere. He was trapped and losing patience.

"You rely on gadgets. You don't have a sense for which way the target will move. Outside an urban setting that is," he added trying to be fair.

Doyle's eyes glittered. His face had taken a narrow cast, the one he used when he was angry. He leaned even closer, almost tapping Bodie. Bodie tried to circle around to reach the door, but Doyle blocked his retreat. "Still hung up on that merc thing. Christ, Bodie, we've been partners for five years. We've had the same training, stood in the same muddy fields, and climbed through all kinds of forests--natural and concrete. And you still act like I am a babe in the woods."

Doyle did have a point. But Bodie didn't have to see it. He wasn't the keeper of Doyle's ego. "Exactly. I've been there. I've also been in more jungles, fields of war, and scrub battles than you. I know what I can do. And I know what you can't do."

The challenge fell. Bodie relaxed when Doyle took a few steps back. Then he saw the trap--but it was too late.

Doyle slapped the roof of Bodie's Capri. His gaze moved between the road and the open forest and Bodie, and back again. It centered straight on Bodie's eyes, swooping in for the coup de grace. "So you think I can't match you in the field. How much do you wanna bet?"

Bodie did not want to bet anything. He wanted to be as far away from Doyle, this village, this question as possible. But five years of studying Doyle told him that he'd have to play this one through or he'd never have any peace. "One month's salary."

Doyle grimaced. "No way. I'm not letting you off that easy. Cash means nothing to you. When I win, I want it to hurt. No, I'd take the three wishes from you Bodie."

"Eh?" Bodie was afraid to ask. "Three wishes?"

"Or three favours. However you want to say it. When I win, I want you to do me three favours. Over the next year." Doyle smiled then, a wide, disarming smile that offered little warmth.

Bodie was suspicious. "Any limits on these favours?" he asked, thinking of the time Doyle had tried to talk him into stuffing fish into Cowley's briefcase.

"No limits. Well--" Doyle hesitated, probably thinking of some similar scrap that Bodie had pulled, "nothing that'll cause permanent damage or harm." Doyle waited. Something turned inside Bodie, as if the earth had shifted under his feet, changed into water and set him floating down to the sea. He studied Doyle's shoes, his legs, the road beneath them both, looking for some way to end this farce, to pack it in and go home. But he was tired of hiding, of running away.

"Don't say I didn't warn you. You picked the prize. I'll pick the rules." His abrupt shift startled Doyle. His partner opened his mouth and then shut it again. "We can use whatever is in our cars--except for the RTs and guns and bugging equipment. The town is off limits. We stay within a ten mile radius. No contact with other people. The first person to capture the other wins."

Doyle bounced slightly in anticipation. "What about time limits? Wouldn't want your bones to be found three years from now."

Bodie answered, his own eagerness rising. "Let's keep it simple. Twenty-four hours. Starting now." For a moment, he felt something slide between them--an unspoken communication, a shared purpose. It was moments like these that always left Bodie hoping for more. Before he could act on the moment, Doyle had turned, and jogged around the corner to find his car.

Finding Doyle was easy--he just waited near the edge of the village and followed him in. Keeping ahead of him, 300 yards out, he was able to laterally track Doyle and also reconnoiter the terrain. Bodie's feet moved silently across the fallen leaves--the approaching winter had stripped most of the cover. This would be more of a challenge than he'd ever admit to Doyle. He rested a moment, listening carefully for Doyle's rustlings. The cool air was still heavy with the earlier rain. Neither of them had thought to stow rain gear in their cars--and CI5 didn't consider a rain coat an "essential" survival option. Bodie doubted even he could cut the waterproof tenting issued by CI5 into something fashionable.

Doyle was moving again. This time to the left, in a steady direction, towards Bodie. Bodie picked up his pack and began moving away, keeping the trees between them. What was he doing? The footsteps kept coming closer. After they had each moved sideways another 200 yards, he heard Doyle pause again. Bodie matched the movement and waited. Doyle made another left turn and started walking.

Bodie grinned. Trust Doyle to follow the book. Concentric circles--the standard search pattern. Doyle was playing tiger; he'd be actively hunting and searching for Bodie until long after darkness fell. Bodie glanced up at the pale sun deciding he had just enough time. Carefully retracing his steps, he swung behind Doyle and moved to the center of the forest. Doyle wouldn't know what hit him. Bodie resisted the urge to laugh--sound could carry. It was time to play turtle to Doyle's tiger.

Three hours later, his mood had soured. Each time Doyle had paused, he'd left a little surprise. Here a little snare, there a little footfall. He'd even dug a small man trap, hoping to slow Bodie down. They hadn't, but Bodie's left arm smarted and his knee moved unsteadily after the last fall. Fuck Doyle--he'd do anything to win. Bodie wiped the sweat and listened again for signs of Doyle. He estimated it would take another forty-five minutes for Doyle to reach his position. He sized up the hole he had dug--maybe borrowing the shovel hadn't been quite within the rules. He hadn't seen anyone when he'd stolen it from the forest shed. Not much different from the wire that he'd swear had not been in the boot of Doyle's car.

He scattered the dirt in a wide radius. Playing turtle had its rewards. All he'd have to do was hide in his hole, cover it with leaves and wait for Doyle to pass by. Bodie had left his pack and some trail sign twenty yards away as a lure. All he needed was the element of surprise and Doyle within reach. Slipping into the hole, Bodie felt the keen edge run through him. He shut his eyes and briefly rested his forehead against the cool earth. The smell of earth, combined with the deep rich tang of moistness, surrounded him. He loved this moment--the quiet before the fervor of battle. This instant was filled with more devotions than any Sunday meeting. His hands trembled with unshed adrenaline. Doyle wouldn't stand a chance.

The minutes passed into an hour. Still Bodie waited. He matched his breathing to the sounds of the forest. Every shift was covered by a falling leaf, a rustle of wind. Doyle was not so careful. Bodie could hear him stepping through the clearing. He was still circling where he thought Bodie was hiding. Then he paused, suddenly alerted by a creaking tree. Bodie swore silently as he listened to Doyle move away from him, away from the pack. Still Bodie waited. He knew it was a matter of time--Doyle's restless energy would not keep him away for long. Not when victory seemed so certain, so clear.

Bodie knew when the right moment came. His rush over the ground bracketed Doyle cleanly. The impact sent Doyle forward to his knees. Even with the element of surprise on his side, Bodie was nearly targeted with a vicious kick in the stomach as Doyle rolled onto his back and tried to scramble to a more advantageous position. Bodie's body covered him, forcing the breath and fight out until he could reach the handcuffs and slap them into position. Panting, he shoved Doyle into the dirt and then stepped back to survey his work.

Doyle sat, sprawling awkwardly, spitting out a bit of twig that had lodged in his mouth. His hair looked like someone had dipped it in mud--which, come to think of it, someone had. Bodie laughed. "Gotcha. You're it."

"Dammit, Bodie. We said capture. Not bloody beat into submission. And get these cuffs off of me." Doyle's eyes had turned grey in the dark, his face flushed with the struggle and humiliation.

Bodie's hand reached inside his pocket for the key but froze. Doyle sat there, breathing heavily. His jacket had fallen open and his shirt had been pulled out. His chest was covered with sweat. His legs, encased in his tight jeans, were coiled underneath his arse as he started to rise. Without thinking, Bodie leaned forward and shoved Doyle back into the dirt.

"Fuck off Bodie. This isn't funny. What do you think you're doing?" Doyle was shouting. He was angry and confused. His voice rang clearly into the air. There was no one to hear him--not this far into the forest in a cool fall twilight.

Bodie licked his lips, his eyes fixed on Doyle. He knew what he wanted to do. His cock had known even as he rushed forward to claim his victory. Now it was pressing inside his trousers, demanding another victory. One he'd wanted for a very long time.

Bodie knew then what the first favour would be. The fact that Doyle could not refuse made his cock swell even harder. He moved his hand to his groin and gave himself another jolt of pleasure. "Claiming my first wish, Doyle," he said through his teeth.

Doyle stared. His gaze moved from Bodie's face to Bodie's crotch and back again. Anger transformed his face into a hard line, his fear close behind. He kept his voice low. "Don't think you'll get away from this one alive, Bodie." Bodie ignored him. He ignored everything but the insistent wave of pain and pleasure growing from his middle. He knelt down and reached for Doyle's zipper.

The eruption was not unexpected. In fact, Bodie would have been disappointed if Doyle hadn't tried. He had no illusions that this was going to be easy--Doyle may have flirted with him, even confessed a few incidents of rough trade in his wilder youth. But his body and eyes had always claimed him off limits. That had never stopped Bodie from dreaming and wanting. It wouldn't stop him now--he couldn't let it stop him.

After Doyle's legs had been tied, he reached again. He could see the fear straining in Doyle's eyes, could see him bite his lip to keep silent. Smiling silkily he said, "Relax Doyle, I'm not going to rape you here in the woods." He gripped Doyle's limp cock with both hands, gently cradling it between his fingers. The cock was longer than Bodie's; it felt softer, too. He stroked the tip, gently touching the balls and the uncovered thighs. Doyle trembled once, then stilled himself in protest. Bodie nearly came then and there--Doyle, naked and pale, was his for the taking. Bending down he kissed Doyle's cock with dry lips. He heard Doyle's sharp intake. Staring into Doyle's face he mouthed, "You always welsh out, you know." Doyle scowled. Bodie bent down again, knowing that this would work.

The cock fit neatly in his mouth. He spent some time simply holding it in place, letting the moistness and heat seep into Doyle's nerves. Doyle began to swell, growing, lengthening into hardness. Bodie glanced to see Doyle's expression but he had turned his head away. Bodie moved his tongue, circling the tip while keeping the cock deep inside his mouth. With a free hand, he cupped Doyle's testicles and gently pulled. A soft moan escaped Doyle's lips, one that Bodie would have missed had he not been listening. He moved his mouth up and down the shaft, still teasing the testicles, first with soft strokes and then more pressure. Doyle remained still, his body taut with exertion. Fighting Bodie even as he responded, even as flesh lost itself to Bodie's caresses. Bodie drew him in deeper, filling his senses with the touch, taste and sound of Doyle. He held the tip of Doyle's cock against the back of his throat and swallowed. Doyle's orgasm was silent, powerful, and draining. Bodie could feel the shudders, saw the twisting torso, and tasted the bitter flavour of victory. So absorbed with Doyle, he did not notice the wetness spreading through his underlayers at first.

He looked up to see Doyle watching him. Flat eyes stared back, giving no hint of what had happened. Bodie knew that Doyle had liked it. The proof--or taste--was in his mouth. He doubted he'd get Doyle to admit it though. He didn't need to--he'd made his point. No need to rub it in. Besides, there was other evidence that only a close partner could understand. Doyle's one moan, low, from the back of his throat, for instance. In all the ménages à trois they'd done, he'd never heard Doyle give voice to his pleasure. So, flat eyes or not, Doyle really didn't look hostile. Pulling out the key he uncuffed Doyle, slashed through the ties, and moved back a few feet. He waited for Doyle to rearrange his clothing and then spoke.

"Well," he cleared his throat, "not bad for a beginning." The fist that knocked him over was not a surprise. Except he never knew Doyle to hit that hard--or quickly--when he didn't mean it.

When Bodie awoke, night had progressed into deep black. His body, stiff and cold, protested as he gained his feet. Doyle was nowhere to be seen. Bodie sighed. Trust Doyle to make a big deal out of this. Trust him to stalk off like some outraged virgin. He'd seen Doyle in bed often enough to know that was not the truth. Doyle was a big boy--he played as hard and as fast with his women as Bodie did. Without doubt, Doyle was a sexual predator to equal even Bodie.

By the time he reached his car, he had it all worked out. He'd head straight over to Doyle's and check him over. No need to leave anything to fester. Probably should try and pick up some whiskey as a peace offering. Couldn't hurt. He threw his pack onto his car, and bent down to tie his shoe. Something on the ground caught his eye. It was a bit of rubber. Bodie stared at it in the dark, then looked to his left. The front tire had been slashed. The back tire had been slashed. Every tire had been slashed--probably even the spare in the boot. The bastard, Bodie thought. Can't play fair. Can't even lose fair. Well, no more rules. He trudged back up to the inn using his anger as a shield against the prickling cold.

The off duty room was buzzing when Bodie entered. Another gun-running op from the looks of it--what a way to end a vacation. He stood aside and watched Haning and Foxtree carry a large box down the hall. Maybe he could just turn around and find another office to walk into. Then he saw Doyle.

Bodie knew his expression did not change. His body seemed to have a mind of its own--it lurched forward, pulled by the sight of Doyle, hair tumbling, bent over a table filled with bits of metal and debris. Bodie stopped a few paces away, knowing he was staring, knowing he'd look like a fool if someone really noticed. He was in luck--every agent was either on the phone or stumbling through the doors in an effort to get something very important done right now. Bodie took his time; the memory of Doyle's white thighs bared under the dark canopy was something that should be savored, even in the halls of CI5.

He waited for Doyle to feel his presence. He would--there was no doubt of that. He waited and was rewarded with the lift of the head, the slight sideways glance, and the stiffening legs. He smiled thinly when Doyle turned to face him. Doyle met him directly, without pretense, without hesitation. Only Bodie could see the gentle tapping of the hand, the twisted backbone, the clenched jaw.

Doyle stood there, firmly entrenching his opposition. Then, as if satisfied the message had been received, he started to stalk past Bodie into the hallway. Bodie watched him walk; a flush spread across his face. Doyle's eyes dropped slightly, refocusing on a non-existent image next to Bodie's shoulder.

Bodie reached out to grab Doyle's arm. The result startled him--pausing his anger. Doyle's heat was a familiar known. It had comforted him on many nights, crammed into small spaces. Now Doyle burned him. His hand slipped, falling away. Doyle's eyes flickered back. He brushed the spot where Bodie's hand had lain. Watching Doyle continue through the door, Bodie concentrated on the retreating figure. He had seen that look before--Doyle, poised, trying to decide whether to kiss an outraged Ann or walk away in disgust. Bodie grinned brilliantly. Trotting down the hall, he reached Doyle just before the lift. Leaning forward, Bodie whispered into Doyle's ear. "Remember. Two favours left." He laughed. Doyle swore and jerked himself down the stairs. Bodie kept laughing into the lift and all the way down to the second floor. This would be well worth it.

Bodie never missed the monthly duty assignment. He had plans this weekend--and the next and the next. Three weekends had been carefully laid out--one for Mary, one for Gwen, and one for Nancy. They were a welcome amusement until he collected on his two favours. He was waiting, savoring the idea of having Doyle when he wanted and where he wanted. Maybe on Guy Fawkes night. Amidst all the loud noise, one scream more or less would go unnoticed. Definitely New Year's Eve--ring the new year in right. Scratch Guy Fawkes then--he'd save the third favour for his birthday.

Of course, no need to let Doyle in on any of this. He loved watching Doyle's face darken whenever Bodie would start to ask, "Doyle, could you do me a favour...?" He loved telling Doyle about a new children's book loosely based on Aladdin's Lamp. He loved hinting that they really should check out that sex shop before the weekend.

Doyle bore up to the teasing fairly well. Considering it gave Bodie daily amusement and affirmation that life could be fun--if you had a Raymond Doyle in your life.

Bodie flicked the roster sheet. There were always five solo weekend shifts to be assigned. The number 3.7 appeared on each of them. Every single weekend for the next five weeks. Bodie squinted and turned the printout closer to the light. Maybe it was 7.3 reversed. Of course, there was no such number or agent. He tore the paper off the wall and marched to the duty desk.

"What's this?" he asked, handing the list to the faded clerk. The man, a born bureaucrat, did not look up.

"A piece of paper," the clerk replied, carefully rounding his stack to fit the angles of his mind.

"Well, yeah," Bodie acknowledged. "But this piece of paper has cocked up every single weekend between now and forever. Someone's made a mistake."

He knew he'd made a mistake when the pen was abandoned. "No mistake has been made," the dry voice intoned. Bodie decided he had nothing to lose.

"Well, one's been made. And we've got to change the roster."

The clerk picked up his pen, smiling as if amused. "The roster does not get 'changed.'"

"Never?" Bodie put all the sarcasm he could into his response.

"Never," the clerk replied. "Not after Cowley has signed off." The clerk paused, offering Bodie all the time to hang himself further. Since Bodie was no fool, he continued. "And since I don't see the name Cowley hanging around your neck...."

Bodie stared at the clerk. He'd get no results by attacking the issue directly. Leaning forward, he put all his charm into the next question, "Well, perhaps, if you could give me the names of the agents assigned to weekend duty before the roster was finalized...."

"Why would you want to know that?" The man still would not look up. Probably not in his job description, thought Bodie sourly.

"Because as the duty sergeant, I want to make certain they are informed of the changes to the schedule." Bodie kept his voice low, certain that if he yelled, the man would simply stare past him until Bodie crumpled up and blew away.


"And next weekend?"

The man frowned deeply. Thinking wasn't apparently part of the job description either. "2.4."


"Why don't you just look it up?" the clerk said, swinging the ledger across to Bodie. Bodie smiled back, certain that one day someone would appreciate the monumental effort he was making.

He spent the next half day tracking each of the agents. Each had thanked him for volunteering to trade. Each had been approached individually by one person--Raymond Doyle, Bodie's partner and trusted personal assistant.

Bodie sat in the off duty room, twisting the roster in his hands. Eventually, he'd have to put it back up--except to do so would be to admit defeat. Doyle had outmaneuvered him. He could think of other things he'd like to twist.

He glanced up to see Doyle standing in the doorway. His face radiated a new-found serenity, and the calm conviction of the innocent. Bodie glared. Doyle smiled--and walked over to his chair.

"That the duty roster?" Doyle asked, raising an eyebrow archly.

"No, my laundry list," Bodie growled. Snatching the paper, Doyle noted, "Got it all crumpled. Can barely make it out. Look here, you've been assigned all the duty for next week. And next week. And--"

"Shove off," Bodie was not going to shout. "I know what you did. I know why you did it, too."

"You do?" Doyle's voice was icy, the edge sliding sharply into Bodie's awareness.

"Yes." Bodie stood then, matching Doyle's ice and determination. "It won't work you know. Can do five weekends standing easy."

Doyle's laugh conveyed the cool stillness between them. "I am sure you can, Bodie. But what about the next five weekends, eh?" Moving swiftly, he left the room before Bodie could respond. Bodie evaluated Doyle. How far would he go to win? How many favours would he bargain for, just to avoid Bodie's? It didn't matter--he could still play turtle to Doyle's tiger and win. Buoyed by his surety, he stalked after Doyle, tossing the sheet onto the table.

Bodie tripped over the sill for the third time that afternoon. This time he could not catch his slow motion fall. Exhaustion wore at him, dulling the pain to his knees and elbows. He would have been all right if they hadn't pulled six straight days of duty. It wasn't Cowley's fault that the KGB had decided to blackmail a cabinet member. It wasn't his fault that every agent seemed to have developed very urgent weekend plans and couldn't be persuaded to switch shifts.

No, it was all Doyle's fault. Standing there in the hallway, jacket swung over his shoulder. Watching Bodie creep to his feet. The wall was rough beneath Bodie's fingers as they slid across the surface.

"You all right?" Doyle's voice held surprising warmth and a hint of concern. Bodie blinked, stupidly short of words. "Here. Give you a hand." Doyle tugged upwards. Bodie followed the pull, leaning into Doyle self-consciously. He peered sideways wondering what Doyle was playing at. Doyle's grip was firm, his arm circling Bodie's waist without hesitation. Bodie swallowed and stepped forward. The shooting pain in his knee neatly counterbalanced the stiffness in his cock.

He yawned. And then yawned again, his eyes watering with exhaustion. Doyle turned his head slightly, his breath caressing Bodie's neck. "Stop being so bloody stupid. You can barely see, let alone operate a gun."

"Can shoot with my eyes closed," Bodie protested. "'ve killed many a man in my sleep." He giggled, humour bubbling beneath his weariness. Doyle shifted his hold, giving Bodie another pricking of pleasure. "I'm sure you have," his voice purred. "But it's still stupid."

Bodie had no answer to that argument. He was tired. That, he knew. He was slow, stupid and sluggish. He'd get himself--or Doyle--or someone else killed if he didn't rest.

But he had another weekend shift to live through. He headed over to the car and Doyle let go. The warmth was gone. Bodie leaned against the cold metal and blinked in the night air. He was so tired. His mouth opened to breathe, but he found himself speaking instead. "Take the weekend duty, would you, Doyle?" The words were out before he realized what he said.

Doyle stood quietly, watching him as he had watched him all evening. "Okay," Doyle murmured. "I'll--"

"I know, I know" Bodie interrupted. "It'll cost me one favour. Just need to sleep." His voice faded and wondered why Doyle kept looking at him until he got into the car, before turning to walk away. Wanted to savor his victory, thought Bodie acerbically. Bodie kept the window open all the way home so he wouldn't fall asleep.

Bodie kicked the chair. It did not move. He kicked the sofa. It bloody hurt. He tripped through his dark apartment, swearing. He'd slept the whole day. For all he paid for this weekend, he'd barely slept one day. Eyeing himself in the mirror, he thought he could have at least have gone another eight hours. His face, unshaven, gazed grimly back at him.

Bastard. That's all Doyle was. Cheating, swearing, manipulating. Pushing him just to win--to come out on top. Couldn't be bottom to any man. Couldn't stand to let Bodie best him at anything.

He gritted his teeth expectantly. Maybe he should have used them on Doyle--it seemed the only way to get through to him. Probably wouldn't recognize a good screw if it was offered to him on a platter.

His grip snapped the toothbrush. He shifted as a piece fell into the washbasin. Didn't it matter? Didn't he matter? Not to Doyle, it seemed.

Pulling on his shoes, he checked his watch. Doyle would be coming off duty soon. And Bodie would be there waiting for him. Echoes of the forest threaded through him. He stepped into the street feeling more alive than he had in weeks.

Doyle entered his flat, throwing his keys on the hall stand. He must have seen the light--must have known it was Bodie, but his face bore no surprise. Bodie had already used up most of the liquor bottle. The alcohol had washed into his veins, heightened by a lack of food. He loved the buzz it gave him--surges of pleasure mingled with the warmth in his stomach. He leaned back in the chair. Let Doyle make the first move.

"Evening." Doyle threw his jacket next to Bodie and poured himself the last glass from the bottle. He must have had a rough shift--his shirt was stained with sweat and he gulped the drink as if it were water. Bodie stared, fascinated with the convulsing throat. Doyle tipped the glass back on the table and ran his hands through his hair. Each move was precise, bound up with an inner tension that Bodie ached to touch. He kept his hands still, letting his eyes speak instead. The pleasure had fled his groin and was now buzzing through his brain, tingling into his legs, reaching his mouth. He stopped himself before licking his lips in open provocation.

Doyle had kicked off his shoes and relaxed in the opposite chair. Bodie knew the ease was feigned--knew too that even if he could outwait Doyle, he preferred more direct action.

"Tough shift?" he asked with mocking sympathy. His sharp tone must have carried because Doyle's head jerked slightly.

"Yes. Pity you weren't there." Doyle's voice echoed his.

Bodie scooted a little forward, itching to move. "Well, I had a good rest. Feel quite myself again."

"Then you won't need my help next weekend?" Bodie thought he detected a faint air of disappointment. A thread of hopeful wishing. The hypocrisy pulled at him, driving him directly to the point. "What's the matter, Doyle. Feeling the piper at your heels?" Doyle looked back at him, confused. "The piper, you know the saying: it's time to pay the piper. Now." He stood, letting his shadow fall across the room, putting height into his words.

Doyle's face paled, then reddened. His features quickly schooled themselves into the calm appearance that he'd worn over the last month. "So what did you want me to do, Bodie? Don't see any cuffs. Or are we going to trot over to the new shop and see the whips and chains selection?" Bodie flared a bit, settling back on his heels. He didn't know why, but this hard edge had always attracted him. No need to let Doyle know it though.

"Nah--" he said. "Thought I'd try something special. Something a bit more...," he paused looking for the word "...powerful. Penetrating." He smiled at his word choice. "So, let's do it." He moved forward and held out his hand.

Doyle sat a beat too long. He rose from his chair and stepped around Bodie. He walked, without looking, straight into the bedroom. Bodie happily followed. The bedroom was dark and Bodie could not find Doyle at first. "Still playing hide and seek?" said Bodie. "Wicked, wicked." Doyle was silent, his form glittering in the darkness. Bodie moved forward eagerly, mouth and hands opening greedily. He felt, rather than saw Doyle flinch. Felt him sidestep and then steady himself as if bracing for an onslaught. Felt the muscles tense. Felt the silence spread between them like a pool of darkness.

Bodie flicked the light on and Doyle stood inches away, trembling. Anger, lust--it all mingled into a potent mixture. He glared at Doyle who blinked calmly back. "Fuck you, Doyle. Who do you think I am? The bloody pope, with you the sacrificial altar?"

Doyle met him squarely, a deep glimmer rising in his eyes. "Stop bitching, Bodie. You're getting what you want. Since when did you care about how you got it?" The words were meant to hurt--and they did.

Bodie hit back, "Same as you--don't care how you get off--bird is just as good as bloke. Didn't see your interest wilt any when the opportunity knocked." Doyle said nothing, his face tightening further. Bodie swept on, "Of course, I've never forced myself on an unwilling partner." Doyle made a choking sound and pushed forward, past Bodie, out of the room. Bodie pitched his voice loudly, choosing his next words with care. "And Doyle--don't tell me you were unwilling. Or is the rough bit necessary to keep you willing?"

There. The words were out. He watched Doyle's back straighten, watched the hands curl into fists. He moved a step back and angled himself to meet the assault. Doyle turned, face set, and advanced slowly towards Bodie. Bodie balanced a bit more loosely on his heels. With precise movements, Doyle reached out with his left hand, fingers open and trembling. The caress was soft, calming. Bodie felt his knees unlock, felt years of training and readiness skip past in one heart beat. He breathed heavily, frozen into place. Doyle leaned forward, locked his arms around Bodie and licked Bodie's lips. Bodie slid into the caress, falling like a wounded bird. He opened his mouth again--this time to feel a tongue skirt the inside of his mouth teasingly. "Can have you any way I want, Bodie," Doyle whispered. "Anytime."

Bodie could not breathe under the weight of this new knowledge. He could not focus on Doyle--he was too close, his body too solid and real in his arms. The muscles underneath his hands, the contact of warm body against warm body--these diminished his capacity to reason. He opened himself up to the possibilities. He stroked Doyle's hair, letting his left hand trail softly down the back to the rounded arse. Pressing firmly, he nudged his hip and thigh into Doyle and was rewarded with the feel of a hard cock.

"Yes," he murmured. "Yes, this time. This way." Doyle stepped back, leaving Bodie an open space to cross. He walked forward avidly.

Doyle laughed. "Down, boy. You think you'd been starving for it." He stripped his shirt smoothly, baring his chest, soft whirls, and nipples to Bodie's eager gaze.

"Have been starving. For you." Doyle laughed again, a darker edge threading through the sound. Bodie looked up from Doyle's body. The soft light was gone, replaced by an almost somber expression. "Doyle?" he began cautiously. "I mean it--you don't have to do this."

Doyle fixed him with a scornful look. "Have never done you any favours, Bodie. Don't flatter yourself. Get over here and collect on your debt before I change my mind." Bodie could not refuse a come-on like that. Doyle tormented him further by undoing his trousers with one hand.

Bodie's cock and nerves carried him forward achingly, tenderness pulled under by desire. His lips tasted the hollow of Doyle's neck, passing the more tempting target of Doyle's mouth. He shivered as Doyle's thumb caressed the edge of his jaw. Suddenly, two hands gripped the back of his head, forcing his face upwards, and a hot tongue pressed urgently into his mouth. Bodie grabbed each arm and tested the strength of Doyle's resolve. Doyle met him, inch by inch, and edged Bodie unhesitatingly towards the bed. Doyle's knees touched the covers first. Bodie could feel the heat flowing from Doyle's bare arse, could trace the tremors in Doyle's body like they were his own. The lamp cast a stark shadow across Doyle's back as he leaned forward to brace himself. The bed moved gently under Bodie's weight when he knelt behind Doyle--the lure of flesh, the thread of anticipation and craving flooding his mouth better than the sweetest chocolate. He clawed his trousers open and spit into his fist, rubbing his cock lightly. Positioning himself, he eased into Doyle. He expected the sharp hiss, the tensing of back and shoulder muscles.

"Easy. It'll get better." Coherency was almost beyond him, the squeeze on his cock both a burning and a pleasure. He reached underneath Doyle, trying to stroke some ecstasy into the pain. Angling upwards, he was rewarded with the sight of Doyle's head jerking in surprise. He knew that spot well--Doyle was never going to forget it by the time he was done.

"God that's good," he heard Doyle mumble. Bodie deliberately pressed harder. Doyle cried out and Bodie felt the throbbing in his hand increase. Bodie's heart beat faster--Doyle began to move underneath him, waves of pleasure washing off of him into Bodie. Doyle's sweat-slicked skin and curved back filled Bodie's eyes. Doyle was the picture of a man submitting to his first taste of a new pleasure--the fact that he was the one giving that pleasure made Bodie's cock vibrate unbearably. With a groan, he came, filling Doyle, filling a space inside of himself he never knew existed. His hold on Doyle tightened inexorably until he heard the sound of his name and the splash of warmth into the palm of his hand. Then whiteness blinked behind his eyes and wiped away thought. The last thing he heard was the harsh breathing of Doyle underneath him.

The morning creaked itself into Bodie's awareness. He was salty and gritty and very, very happy. His memory was fuzzy, but he knew he had finally had Doyle. Bodie rolled over, eager to have another go now that he wasn't so drunk. There was a cold, empty space next to him. Propping his head up, he peered across the room. The flat was silent--it had the forlorn air of the abandoned. Bodie tented the sheets over him and stepped into the living room. Doyle's jacket, his keys, and his shoes were missing. His gun and RT had been left behind. His CI5 ID--Bodie's heart paused, scrunchingly aware of what this might mean--his CI5 ID was there on the table. Bodie sank into the couch, feeling numbly for the gun. He cradled it against his thighs, staring at the ID. Doyle never went anywhere without his ID. Doyle never went anywhere without the RT--well, almost anywhere. Doyle never left his gun behind--except for the time he'd quit. Stormed off, telling both Bodie and Cowley they could shove their interference and the job up their respective arses. Except this time, it had been Bodie who had done the shoving. Into a Doyle who probably had no idea what he was getting himself into.

Bodie closed his eyes, his thumb tracing the edge of the barrel. He should have known better than to push Doyle. The man was stubborn and willful--and would never back down from a challenge. Bodie had known that--he'd counted on it when he walked into the flat. And Doyle had responded. But in the cool light of day, he must have surely seen what Bodie had done. And condemned him for it. No matter that Doyle might have thought he wanted it--Doyle was no fool. He'd not let himself be tricked into bed again. He'd certainly not forgive being maneuvered there in the first place. Their only ties were the ones of loyalty and trust. And Bodie had broken each and every one of them.

A fragment of memory popped into his head--the first thrust into Doyle and the outcry of pain. Had he even bothered to lubricate himself? Or give Doyle pleasure? At least on the forest floor he'd made damn sure that Doyle had come. He pounded the butt of the pistol into his thigh, feeling the numbness spreading through his middle.

He stood up, the room spinning slightly. Still carrying the gun, he re-entered the bedroom and fished his trousers from the bed clothes. He'd have to find Doyle; he'd have to explain to him that if anyone should go, it had better be him, not Doyle. He'd have to explain... what, that he loved Doyle? Oh, that'd be a rich one: I loved you for so long, wanted you for so long that I just assumed you wouldn't mind if I helped myself? How to explain that he really didn't want to go--or see Doyle go?

He groped for his shoes, wondering where Doyle would hide. The crinkle of paper met his fingers. Hauling the shoe out, he retrieved a small sheet. Doyle's hasty scrawl stared back at him, "You're it. You have 24 hours. Same rules. Limits: London. Winner: gets three favors. Doyle."

Bodie read the note two times, noting that Doyle had misspelled favours. Amazing how such a few words could carry such potency. With shaking hands, Bodie shoved the paper into his pocket. The gun, RT and ID went on the sofa. He'd already decided how to collect on the first favour before reaching the front door.

-- THE END --

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