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Bound to the Mast

(Siren's Sequel)

Bodie leaned on the buzzer, his face grimly set. It was some moments before he was answered.

"Doyle 'ere."

"You alone?" Bodie countercharged.

Doyle's tinny voice nevertheless managed to acquire an edge of defensiveness. "Yeah - why?"

"Okay if I come up?"

There was a moment's hesitation before the terse reply - "'s open."

Bodie pushed through the door and took the stairs two at a time, brisk, unhurried, and determined.

His partner was attired in white sweatshirt (sleeves rolled up as usual - why does he do that? Always.) and jeans, lounging on the sofa with one bare foot up on the coffee table, nursing a glass of whisky close to his chest (bet that's not his first of the evening, either). He didn't look noticeably enthusiastic about Bodie's unexpected arrival late at night, not that Bodie had foreseen anything different. Maybe once. But no longer.

Doyle waved at the drinks tray. "Help yourself."

Bodie complied, pouring a generous slug of Haig into a glass. Mozart was blasting away, hardly in the background, so he turned it down very low before dropping into a chair. Doyle noted the action but did nothing other than narrowing his eyebrows into a brief frown. Bodie raised his glass to him, took a healthy swallow of his drink.

"So," said Doyle at last, when it became clear that Bodie wasn't going to talk, "what brings you 'ere this time of night?"

Blue eyes shot up, locked with wary green. "I was lonely," said Bodie with ironic simplicity; and he saw that it took Doyle aback.

"I - see - " Doyle's eyes shifted; examined his ankle. It was almost funny, really, thought Bodie with amused savagery, you could almost see him changing gears, glimpsing a red light - uhoh, Danger - "No girls comin' across for you tonight then, eh?" he tested, with an uneasy attempt at their usual patter.

"I haven't tried to find out," said Bodie, absolutely without embellishment. Yeah, really funny watching Ray trying to figure this out, little sparks of alarm leaping in his eyes.

"Not like you?" said Doyle on a questioning note; but Bodie only shrugged, watching Ray all the time with broody concentration, and so he didn't miss the next shift of awareness, another change of gear -

Doyle grinned at him, a sharp white baring of teeth, and uncoiled, stretching out slowly and languorously so he was lying full length on the settee, chin propped on one hand, the other travelling oh-so-casually down over his chest. He sighed, in a leisurely fashion. The tension in the room was suddenly acute.

Yeah, I guessed this'd be the next thing he'd try - it's his bloody answer to everything he can't handle - he'd rather prostitute himself to me like this, anything rather than risk letting me get close...

It made him angry. It made him melancholy, for it was one more reminder of how far apart they were, in attitudes, in morals; in everything.

Deliberately, Bodie picked up his glass, rose to his feet and came over to perch on the wide cushioned arm of the settee. He leaned against its back and glanced down at Doyle's upturned face. He looked faintly uneasy, Bodie thought, but very mildly so as yet.

You wait, Bodie promised him silently with grim satisfaction and no pleasure, you'll be dancing like a bloody flea on a hotplate before I finish with you...

No point in stringing this out.

He reached out a hand, traced gentle fingers through the warm curls tipping over Doyle's forehead - so sweet, to touch him after so long - but it was bittersweet pleasure that passed in an instant -

Doyle jumped, slight body actually flinching.

"What the 'ell are you doin'," he enquired rhetorically, very precise; with a little undercurrent of threat underplayed as yet.

Bodie rubbed his fingertips down Doyle's cheek, meeting the astounded enraged eyes that stared up at him without friendship. His tone was wistful, but unsentimental as he said, "You hate me touching you; why, Ray?"

Doyle had knocked him off by now and had rolled to sit up in one swift movement. He ignored the question. "I dunno what you think you're playin' at," he began, and this time the dangerous note was played to the full, but Bodie didn't let him finish.

"No, I know you don't," he said in the same reasonable tone, "really bugs the hell out of you, that, doesn't it? You have to pull the strings all the time, we have to play your games, by your rules, and what I might want never gets a chance, that right Ray?"

Doyle was watching Bodie very steadily, icy temper barely leashed. Easy to see why Doyle scared the life out of people; so unpredictable, this oddly beautiful creature who could turn from cool indifference to volatile temper to icecold fury in seconds, and on inconsistent provocation. And of all his moods it was that coldness that frightened most about him; the hint of the insane, the chilling purpose emanating from some depth within that said he would let nothing and no-one stand in his way.

It wasn't true, of course. Or - not the whole truth. Just an act, or so Bodie suspected. Ray simply did it better than most, but no-one could be that cold, that self-sufficient, that hard; not really. Just occasionally, Bodie got a glimpse of something that lived beneath Doyle's tightly guarded image; a flash of genuine humour, real worry, true remorse. Bodie had been seduced into wanting more than glimpses. It was time for Doyle to pay up; or retrieve the stake.

Doyle was saying something, but Bodie had missed it. "What's that, sunshine?" he said with silky good humour. "Didn't hear you."

"I said," Doyle repeated, very carefully, "that it's late, and isn't it about time you were goin'?"

"I'll go," agreed Bodie, "when we've sorted things out between us." With a black eye, a battered ego and a bleeding heart, most likely.

"Bodie, I don't know what you're talking about."

Disregarding this for the hedging nonsense it was, "I've had enough, Ray," said Bodie, "enough of you and your little games."

"Bodie," Doyle spat, making an obscenity of the word, "for the last time I don't know what you're on about, and I think you better bloodywell fuck off before - "

"Don't know what I'm on about, eh?" Silk turned to steel, Bodie's swift, cutting voice raised a little, to intercede. "You don't remember what we did the other night? In Whitehall, Ray? About midnight it was, bit after maybe."

More fool you if you didn't see this coming - for Bodie could see that Doyle, after all, had not expected this. He watched Doyle's eyes wince, waver and drop, to hide the realisation that had flooded into them - WHY had Doyle not expected this? Banking too hard on Bodie's being too embarrassed, too - ashamed - ever to bring the matter up? The love that dare not speak its name...well, it worked for too long a time; but now something had snapped. Doyle had called his bluff once too often, maybe; settled too complacently into the assurance that there was one taboo Bodie would never break, underestimating or unconscious of Bodie's courage, Bodie's ability to stare a sick reality in the face however closely it concerned himself.

"DO you remember?" Bodie pursued, grimly. He was not enjoying this. He looked at the slight, angry figure, moodily huddled in an attitude of belligerent defensiveness; poor little rat, backed into a corner with a vengeance - how he must be hating this - looks knocked out -

Careful with your answer, Ray; it's Morton's fork all right, with a nasty twist...

He wondered which Doyle would choose: the truth? Just how good was he at judging people; knowing just how far they could be played, and when they had had enough? Almost certainly Doyle would be grimly, desperately clinging to the hope that Bodie would let this drop if fenced off long enough; but if he was, then it showed how little he knew about Bodie, for a start...

Bleakly, Doyle had reached his decision; playing, disastrously, for time.

"Bodie, what's got into you? In Whitehall? We were campin' out the restroom, is that what you're on about? We were," explained Doyle as if to a child, "on a special job with Cowley, we were waitin' for a phonecall, but it never came, so we broke it up around six a.m.; is that right?"

"Almost," said Bodie, "but you've missed some of it out," and with one swift sudden movement he went for him.

Doyle had seen it coming the instant before it happened, the careful amusement in his eyes snapping out like a light; he was now on his feet. Bodie, emptyhanded, rose too, moved towards him. "You've missed some out, Ray," he repeated pleasantly. "You had a shower, remember that? Decided to take a shower in the middle of the night, you did - "

His voice changed without warning to driving force.

" - because you knew we'd be alone, didn't you; knew we had a whole bloody hour kicking our heels - "

"Stop this, Bodie," Doyle interjected, backing away almost imperceptibly, darkened eyes watching every movement Bodie made, "Stop it now, or I'll knock the bloody phone off and CI5'll be round 'ere asking for your explanation - "

He could do it too, the cunning little bastard, thought Bodie measuring the distance with a swift eye; phone right behind him - one wrong move -

So he made it quick, and dirty. "Why? That scared, are you?" And while Doyle, voiceless and winded, digested the implications of that, Bodie was there, locking him to the spot, gripping his upper arms and forcing him close, pursuing his point, now he had reached it, with unswerving determination. He gazed dispassionately down into green eyes flaring angry panic. "Is that all there is for you, Ray, what happened the other night? You that far gone are you, that kinky? Is that the limits to your kicks, you an' me tossin' off on our own after you've got us nice and ready for it?" He ignored Doyle's sharp indrawn breath, the white teeth sinking into the full lower lip; continuing on an abstracted note as he scanned the ugly snarl twisting the other man's face: "Dunno if there's even a name for it, do you? Can hardly call it voyeurism, can we, 'cause you make damn sure to vanish when it looks like getting 'eavy, when you've pushed me too far and you reckon it's time to start backing off, don't you." He shook him a little. "What would you call it, Ray?"

"A mistake," Doyle ground out between gritted teeth; abandoning at last the long months of pretence, of it-never-happens, and it was, although hardly sweet, at least a sort of victory. Every muscle of Doyle's was hard at work resisting Bodie's stronger ones, a silent, grim struggle to escape, the cost of which showed only in the sudden outbreak of sweat highlighting his forehead.

Bodie held him tight, unmoving, and gave him, in return for the hurt, his own, painful truth. "It isn't good enough, Ray. Not any more. I want - I need, more than that. Or - "nothing at all" he added, with steadfast, hardwon determination and let Doyle go at the same moment, stepping back.

That was the price, to bait the trap. He had to accept the consequences.

Doyle had staggered a little, but recovered his balance instantly. Never ceasing to watch Bodie, he brushed his sleeve quickly over his forehead, plucked automatically at his suddenly clammy sweatshirt to get a draught of cool air playing over his heated skin. To Bodie's relief he didn't seem angry any more, the wild dangerous glitter that seconds before had sought to transfix Bodie into submission fading from his eyes. Bodie sat down, suddenly finding that his legs had gone rather weak; picked up his drink and drained it without noticing what he was doing, all of his conscious attention still fixed on his partner.

Doyle stayed on his feet, looking down, thumbs hooked into his belt. "It's better that way, Bodie," he said at last, and at last he was sincere, telling the only truth he believed in, "It's the only way it can be. No risks, that way..."

"Risks of what?" Bodie was on his feet again, agitated, unable to stay still. "Of getting - 'emotionally involved'? Well, sunshine, I've got news for you. If all those sexy little games of yours - don't touch, just look, and then get yourself off - if all that was just to make sure we never got too bloody loving, then it failed, sweetheart, I'm telling you - "

The endearment, cruelly used, made Doyle wince, unexpectedly; but he stayed where he was, skin ashen, still and watchful, hands clenched together in a last terrible bid to hold it off, deny Bodie's next words, but it was too late, childish ritual no longer worked for him.

"I love you," Bodie said to him, eyes wide and still and strangely peaceful.

Nothing moved. Silence, taut as a bow-line, strung out between them.

Then Doyle gave a tremendous sniff, wiped his nose on the back of his hand, turned around in an aimless fashion looking for his drink. Bodie handed it up to him, wordless. After a moment, however, watching Doyle considering his whisky, eyes half closed, head bowed, the patient calm of new-made confession snapped.

"Did you hear me?" he demanded, throwing himself angrily back down onto the sofa. "I love you, Ray, god help me and I've no great hopes of that, and I want you so goddamn much it's killing me - it hurts me," he said in a low voice, looking away. "It hurts me - too much, Ray. I'm sorry. Maybe you were 'appy the way it was. But I can't be - not any more. Every bloody time you do it, I catch myself hopin', maybe this time... but it never 'appens, does it? So - one way or the other - not any more. That's all I came here to say." He stopped, drew in a deep breath. Jesus, but he was tired. Tired of fighting. He didn't want to look up; but he did.

Then, unexpectedly, Doyle tilted his chin up off his chest, gave him a little smile. "All?" He looked exhausted too, shadows dragging beneath his eyes, though the steadiness of their gaze remained unaltered.

"And to - " He stopped again. It was all too bloody difficult. Not to mention embarrassing; all his bravado seemed to have deserted him at a stroke.

" - to what?" Doyle asked intently.

Now Doyle was in the Chair once more, wearing the little hat named inquisitor. He would always be happier that way, Bodie acknowledged bleakly to himself; what chance an equal relationship between them? They were lovers in his dreams; but even there they were seldom happy.

And in reality Doyle was not his lover; acknowledging the vital attraction that had been between them from the moment they met, he had devised a careful little set of acts to satisfy the urge that nudged them together without there ever being the need of the smallest contact between them...

" - to love you," he completed dully, "if you'd have let me, if I could've talked you into it."

"Not very good at it, are you?" came Doyle's low voice, in which there was, amazingly, a hint of laughter free of mockery.

Bodie shook his head briefly, staring down at his lap. "Nope."

"Good enough, perhaps."

The note in that made Bodie's head snap up. Doyle was smiling at him, not his usual cocky grin, nor his predatory, mirthless shark's smile; but a little, unsure quirk of his lips. One hand was posed on a tilted hip, rakishly; for once, the exploitation of his own brand of charm seemed unconscious.

"Oh, Ray," said Bodie a little raggedly, running a hand through his hair, "you get me all - shaken up - whatever you do... I half wish I hadn't bloody said anything, but I wanted you to know - that I do love you. Whatever happens..."

Doyle said nothing, but he sat down beside him, quite close, elbows propped on his knees.

"I wish you'd bloody say something."


"For godsake, Ray!" roared Bodie, nerves strung out to the edge of his limits.

Into the near-dark, the heated vibrating silence, as asked Doyle began to talk. Quite steadily at first, a low monotone which Bodie dared not interrupt, and soon lost all desire to as he sat there, stunned and pitying under the impact of all Doyle was telling him, what he had perhaps been trying helplessly to tell him without need of words in the determined shunning of physical contact, of mental closeness. A commonplace enough little tale, of insecurities born almost at his own birth, hardened as he grew out of infancy into childhood; confirmed further when he became an adult, finding out the hard way that it held no pretty surprises, no angel-sung unions; discovering that he had, after all, only two gifts in life of interest to others.

Both of which Bodie knew about; having been exposed, mercilessly, to both. Doyle was tough; and he looked good. What more there was took guts to discover. Also persistence.

Long after Doyle finished speaking - not trailing off into incoherent self-pity; and Bodie would have forgiven him that, had half-expected it - but closing the book with concise, bleak finality, Bodie was silent.

"Yeah," he said finally, dragging a hand over his eyes, "had a rough deal, haven't you? 'S half your own fault, though. Actin' so cold - unfriendly - the way you do; it puts people off, you know. If you want pity, Ray, you won't get it from me."

Not fair, perhaps. Doyle hadn't asked for it. Wasn't even asking for it now; just sitting there, frozen, leaning forward with his shoulders hunched, dusky head drooping a little as he considered his hands; still wary, still tense and untamed as a wild hawk, out on his lonely limb, fierce and concentrating even when perfectly still.

Hesitantly, Bodie put an arm around his shoulders, a tentative light touch that gained strength when Doyle did not immediately flinch away.

"Don't feel sorry for you," he mumbled, his unruly heart going wild; "I love you."

And when Doyle still said nothing, he added curiously: "Don't you believe that?"

Doyle forced a smile, which faded quickly; he fiddled with his cuff. "Nah, 's'just a physical thing."

Bodie did not reply. Doyle risked glancing up at him, a little edgy, a little nervous.

"That's all it is," he said again; and this time Bodie shook his head.

"It's never been that - not for me."


Bodie mentally shook himself, a grimace momentarily twisting his features. He was handling this very badly; was he going to keep hurting Doyle all night? If it had been necessary at first, it was no longer so. The hand holding the thin shoulder left it, slid down his arm until it reached the warmth of bare skin, a gentle unconscious touch as much for his own reassurance as for Doyle's.

"I mean - it's always been more than that."

Doyle looked down at the square strong hand stroking clumsily up and down his forearm; but did not dislodge it.

Annoyed by his own awkwardness more than anything, Bodie continued with a little burst of irascibility, "What the hell did you think you were doing when you started all this, undressin' in front of me and so on?" He glared down at the top of Doyle's head, nostrils flared with aggression. "I figured I knew, all right, bit of kinky fun, nice boost for your ego gettin' me so hot I didn't know what to do with meself, oh, you're bloody good at it, aren't you? Should have been in a sheik's harem you should, mate. After a bit I thought to hell with it, why not play along? I thought I could handle it, christ, it was even too bloody good to be true in some ways, 's not every day you have a fantasy come true is it?" He stopped, features smoothing out, looking down at his hand, lying forgotten on Doyle's wrist; he circled it loosely with finger and thumb, unaware of what he was doing because he needed all his attention on what he was saying so he didn't louse it up again -

"But the reason why it didn't work out, why I couldn't take it any more, is because I never could see it in the light you seemed to. Something we could pick up when we felt like it and put down straight after. I couldn't keep it up - can't keep it up, because - "

Unnervingly, Doyle was leaning back into the curve of Bodie's shoulder and looking up at him, the widespaced eyes unreadable, unflickering.

Unexpectedly, Bodie gave a little, rueful smile - impossible to be cross with him for long - and completed what he had set out, with courage, to say.

" - because I fell for you, didn't I," he said lightly, and brought Doyle's captured hand to his mouth for one swift kiss, letting it go straight after. " - harder than I've ever gone for anyone in my life, dunno why, 's not just the look of you, 's everything - "

He stopped, because it was impossible to put into words the hundred and one reasons why, bewildered and shaken by his strange feelings he had fallen so hard for the strange creature who'd been allotted him as partner; so much love, on so little encouragement... It had come to him very early on, in one of those peculiar flashes of perception most common on the fringe of sleep, or when the mind is primarily engaged on something else; that here it was; that no-one else would ever do for him, that he would never love again in such a way as this.

It had been hard to hide, at times.

Then Doyle had turned the world on the flat of a swordblade; offered him an edged new reality; holding a sharp-eyed warlock's sway over Bodie's learned vulnerabilities, saying -

- yeah, you can have me - on my terms -

And the one time Bodie, confused by his new-lit love, had tried to offer him more than mere, solitary response, Doyle had pulled back, searing whiplash withdrawal in his eyes -

You can have me - but only at a distance -

Because he did not want commitment?

It was only lately, and gradually, that the answer had come to Bodie; no, it was not that Doyle wanted to shun commitment. He wanted it, craved it, needed it; perhaps more than most. But, rejected time and time again in the past, and with no expectation that this time would be any different, he had yet found a way to keep Bodie his. Bound to the mast by Doyle's stronger will, Bodie had been held captive, helplessly made to yearn without ever knowing the relief of touch, endlessly fascinated, endlessly unfulfilled...

Bodie smiled, involuntarily. What a fool he'd been.

So insecure.

He'd had it all so wrong. Doyle was the defenceless one.

Hot-tempered, wild, self-centred, vicious, cold, aloof...

Yes, all those things showed one side of Ray Doyle.

But not the only side, and the more fool those who had rejected him, turned him off on such a fragile investigation of his character. Besides -

" - no-one's perfect," he said aloud, startling himself; and was brought back to the present with a jolt as Doyle's upturned face, held for so long in the unseeing focus of his eyes, shifted, its features settling into a pattern of confusion.

Bodie smiled and brought up his hand, ran it through rough brown curls with careless new intimacy, to cradle Doyle's head against his chest. " - but you'll do," he completed, dropping a swift kiss downwards.

"Bodie," said his wanton, unaware of his new role in his life, "I think you've finally gone round the bend." But he said it with no heat, just a kind of resignation.

"Yeah, probably. Have to have done, to take you on," agreed Bodie, attention caught up now by the feel of the thin warm body he had been holding without appreciation. Shifting, he ran a finger down the side of Doyle's face.

Doyle met his gaze without default. "What do you want, Bodie?" he asked directly, steadily. Bodie watched the movement of his throat as he swallowed. How many times did Doyle need telling?

"I dunno," he said less than honestly, since he knew perfectly well what he wanted from Doyle, only life never was ideal and the way his had turned out, the down-on-one-knee with a bunch of roses and a jeweller's box approach was not appropriate.

"What do I want?" He answered himself, matter-of-factly: "What everyone wants, I suppose. Someone to be there when I need to yell my 'ead off." There was a moment of blank silence.

Doyle poked his head up, puzzled. "That's all?"

It was so daft Bodie lost his own seriousness; happiness swooped in to take its place. Maybe that was equally daft, but he didn't think so, he felt the subtle difference in the way Doyle curved against him. He hugged him tight, so tight he heard Doyle's bones crack. "We'll be awkay, son," he promised in a mock-Custer voice, and then, "With my brains and my beauty and your - " he put his head on one side, frowned a little, pretending to be puzzled - "What you got goin' for you, Ray? Eh?"

Doyle chuckled, and at the startling, deep sound, the tension, held for so long that it had ceased to be noticed by either of them broke, dissolved away. Their eyes held; then travelled, searching, wandering over every feature, every definition of limb beneath material, learning anew the well-known image of one another; returning, wondering, to the incredulous truth they read in one another's eyes. Breath held, Bodie had the strange, compelling feeling that if they parted in that moment, never to see one another again, it would all be the same; that to the end of their days, through other relationships than this, other lives, other timelines, they would remember: this and this moment alone would forever be the lodestone of their existence.

But because they were only mortal, and too human not to fear the passing of time, Bodie felt too soon a shiver of the future touching him, urging him, whispering, to press for completion, so there could be no turning back, no second thoughts, ever...

"Let me come to bed with you, Ray," he whispered, urgent, "please..."

He was never to know that Doyle, arrested as he stared at him, was seeing not the present nor the future, but a time when Bodie's eyes had been wet with the tears he himself had caused, unthinking and cruel; he caught Bodie's hand with a little, incoherent sound and they moved together, unerringly on the same path.

The bedroom was dark. Bodie, stumbling over unseen obstacles, finally came to the wide haven of the bed. He reached for the light.

A hand touched his, brought it away. "Don't put it on - "

All of Bodie ached to see, to indulge his senses with the sight of his newly-won love. Yet -

He had forced this, borne Ray down, won over the hard, cleverly-styled resistance of years, by sheer dint of showing love. Just that.

The light stayed off.

Delayed by unfamiliarity with the terrain, Bodie was there some moments after Doyle, sliding tremulous naked limbs between cool cotton sheets, feeling the plush warmth of blankets press him snugly from above. He could hear harsh, quickened breathing, and the scent of Doyle was all around him now, no longer a scant, precious gift tossed his way in passing, nor a cooled bare reminder, furtively snuffed from discarded material; but warm, living and real. Dazed, he looked over, caught the gleam of eyes.

He reached out, slid open hands around warm naked skin, gathered Doyle to him, fitting them together very carefully.

So beautiful...

Doyle's warm breath touched his face; his feet were cold. Bodie gloried in the feel of him; he held him gently, one hand slipping down over his shoulder, down his back, gliding fingertips and flat palm over velvety skin punctuated by the sharp upward ridges of narrow bone, here; and here; sweeping down to rub over the curved hard flesh of the buttock, a gentle journey intended more as loving reassurance than as discovery though it served as both: blind, he was learning Doyle through touch. "You're beautiful," he whispered; and, tipping up the wilful, rounded chin he sought and captured the soft mouth with his own.

Kissing him was a dark insidious pleasure that invaded him slowly, filling him with a sweetness he gave back to Doyle in generous measure, tracing the full curve of his lips with his tongue, a loving messenger; slipping softly inside to explore the silky membranes of his mouth; rubbing over spiked ivory teeth to reach beyond and press the rough/soft pad of Doyle's tongue with his own; drinking him in slowly and deeply, pausing every so often only to swallow. He could have kissed him forever.

When Doyle, needing breath, made a little sound, Bodie drew back, touching his lips to Doyle's one final time. "You okay?" he said, very softly, and he felt the barely perceptible movement of Doyle's acceptance. He held him close again, rocking them gently, his heart full of love, and an immense tenderness that was making the pit of his stomach hurt. He buried his lips in the curve of Doyle's neck and shoulder, resting his head there. Christ, but Doyle felt slight in his hands; unexpectedly so, fragile and all too vulnerable. Bodie could feel his heart, pounding away beneath thin skin. He placed his hand over the fast pulsing beat. "You scared?" and was answered by Doyle's tremulous, throaty whisper:


"Don't be," he said, aching; and stroked him gently, trying to reassure. They were lying half on their sides, belly to belly; his erection nudged at the tender softness of Doyle's genitals: Doyle was only partially aroused, lay unresisting in Bodie's hands. But as Bodie, cursing his own body's unrepenting urgency and afraid of alarming him, made as if to shift away, so as not to be prodding him in a way he might interpret as threatening; Doyle's rough whisper in his ear, "Don't stop - like it..." made him stay where he was, pleased and shy that Doyle liked his arousal. He pressed Doyle's buttocks, squeezing, then releasing. He slid one hand between their bodies, took Doyle's penis in his hand and pressed it to his own sex, holding them together; so beautiful he could nearly die of it, Doyle so trustful of him, thin, hesitant fingers beginning to trace their own delicate pattern on his back.

He trailed finger and thumb over the cleft in Doyle's buttocks, slipping between. That seemed to excite Doyle, the urgent pulse of response within Bodie's encircling hand immediate, but frightening him at the same time: Bodie felt his muscles clench in unthinking resistance. Understanding, Bodie turned his hand instantly, rubbed over the curved buttock, undemanding. "'s okay," he murmured raggedly, half-smiling against Doyle's round cheek, "not gonna hurt you, Ray - do anything you don't want - "

And he rolled onto his back, taking Doyle with him so Doyle lay on top of him, a skinny lick of a thing but heavy for all that; unfamiliar, the sensation of the flat, silken-haired chest pressing onto his, slick with their mingled sweat. He could see Doyle's eyes, wide with surprise as he considered Bodie's unexpected move; with one hand behind his neck he coaxed Doyle's legs between them, and pressed Doyle's rump downward once again so that their groins were tightly together. He felt the press of Doyle's arousal against his, rejoicing that he had been able to do that for him; he stroked his hand down Doyle's spine to where it ended and, once more, traced a finger into the parting of flesh, seeking out the tight knot of warm dry skin, rubbing over it.

Again, it excited Doyle; he made a little, animal sound and bit Bodie's chin. Hot, slick and urgent now, he wriggled, and strained to get his cock closer to Bodie's, grinding them slippily together, drawing whimpers of pleasure from them both. Bodie heard their rushed breathing, felt the thudding of their hearts; oh christ...they were so close, now...

He trailed the hand away from Doyle's clutching buttocks; Doyle removed his parted mouth from Bodie's chin which he had been licking, over and over, and hissed: "do it again - ah, please, Bodie - " on a distressed whimper of need, frustration -

"Goin' to - don't be so - bloody - impatient - " Bodie returned through gritted teeth, aroused nearly into madness himself, but not so far he could hurt him in their need - he sought for and found Doyle's cheek, stroking it with one finger; searching instinctively Doyle turned his head and caught the wanderer with hungry lips, sucking it strongly, almost gulping as he drank in the additional stimulation; then pausing, panting.

Almost coming, his cock leaking spurts of sticky moisture between them, easing the desperate circular pressings of belly on belly so it was now slicker, smoother, intensely pleasurable, Bodie took his hands gently away from the sweet wet suction of Doyle's hungry mouth, returned it to his buttocks; sliding it moistly between so he was gently probing the entrance to Doyle's body, finally slipping it inside the hot, open channel.

The effect was electrifying. Doyle jerked, and stiffened; raising himself, palms either side of Bodie's shoulders pressing into the bed, he thrust strongly against him, and withdrew, pushing back to bury Bodie's finger inside him more deeply; then thrusting again.

It was too much.

Bodie came; wordlessly crying out, clutching Doyle to him, lifting his hips, knowing even as he was lost in his own ecstasy the joy of feeling it happen to Doyle too, the thin damp body pressing hotly down into his, twin disjointed spasms soaking between them, their warm mingled semen running down hip, belly, thigh, as Doyle sobbed and shivered.

Neither man moved for long moments after.

Then, finally, unhurriedly, the urgent clutch of Doyle's fingers gripping Bodie's arm slackened; with a long sigh he buried his face in Bodie's shoulder. Returning slowly to reality, one last throb of pleasure running through him as Doyle shifted, grazing lightly over his hypersensitive groin, Bodie discovered that Doyle, in his excitement, had dribbled all down his neck. It was just one more intimacy, one more little thing to make him happy.

"I love you," he whispered.

Doyle sniffed loudly, rolled sideways, leaving the lower halves of their bodies tangled stickily together.

"All right?"


After a moment, Bodie, still moved by the wonder of it all, pulled down the sheet and blankets, pushed them aside; he gazed down at the naked, sprawled body thus peremptorily revealed to him. In the play of the moonlight shafting through the slatted window blinds Doyle looked more than ever like some sated wanton sprite of a fairytale. Moved beyond poetry, he touched his fingers to the silvery bright trails streaking Doyle's navel and pubic hair. "Messy little bugger," he whispered, loving it, "aren't you?"

"Not much better yourself," came the husky answer; and Bodie grinned, absorbed, running a hand along the relaxed curve of Doyle's thigh. When he had come here tonight he had had no great hopes that he would leave with even their cautious friendship intact. This - this was beyond his hopes; and now he had no need to leave at all.

"Well? Was it as good as you thought it was gonna be?"

Bodie thought before he answered, drawing up one knee, resting his arm on it. "It was different," he said, " - better."

"That sounds - contradictory - "

Something in the uneasy waver of the long word alerted him; and as he turned his head, searching Doyle's face, the betraying moonlight did the rest.

He discovered that Doyle had not, after all, been dribbling.

"Ray - ?" he asked, incredulous, leaning over him, pushing curls aside with a brusque hand, "what is it?"

Eyes that were far too bright, shining with more than happiness, looked blindly away.

"Ray..." Bodie scrambled down in the bed to get closer to him, pulled the covers over their shoulders; took one of Doyle's chilly hands in each of his, stroking stiff fingers with his thumbs until they uncurled and gripped on to his.

"'s all right," Doyle said unsteadily, giving another tremendous sniff. He tried to extricate one of his hands.

"Don't do that," Bodie said; but looked around in vain for a handkerchief. He transferred both hands to one of his and groped for a corner of the sheet instead, thrusting it at him. "Use this -" Doyle pushed it away, not speaking; he buried his hot damp face in Bodie's neck. He said something; Bodie didn't catch it and turned his chin gently, insistently. "What is it?"

" - don't leave me - " said Doyle clearly; he had stopped shaking.

So that was it, poor little sod.

Still couldn't believe it was true; still waiting for Bodie to push him away now he'd had what he wanted; still expecting all that mystical closeness to evaporate and the door to close with a thud, ending it.

"Ray," he whispered, holding him close, covering him, pressing him down with his own body in an unconscious, protective way, "I'm not ever gonna leave you, not ever; don't you understand that?"

Maybe Doyle did, maybe he didn't. In any case he listened to it; and fell asleep where he lay, holding on to Bodie as the other man stroked him gently, rhythmically; his breathing gradually becoming even and regular. Then Bodie eased himself onto his stomach, slid one protective, possessive arm over him and settled down to sleep himself.

Have to teach Doyle how to trust...and to laugh a bit more often...looked cute when he laughed, with that little crease appearing in his cheek...make him happy...think you can? - yeah, no trouble...all he needs is


lots and lots of it

Bodie was asleep.

-- THE END --