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Going for the Shore - Part II

Bodie, not so much reluctantly as with resignation, did the housework, shoving the Hoover and even moving the furniture - Doyle, impatient, would skim around it - and cleaned the kitchen.

It was an unremarkable flat, spacious but not luxurious. He, at least, had been saving quite a lot of money lately as Doyle must have been; their social expenses had dropped dramatically, they were only using one car and were halving one lot of rent. It was hardly worth improving this place on the excess cash and neither did Bodie fancy letting it all build up on paper in some impersonal bank account; life was just too uncertain for that. Might as well enjoy its material comforts while you could; no heirs now and never would be.

No, Bodie resolved, it was time to look around for somewhere better. A service flat, perhaps, in a not-too-classy area - Knightsbridge was out - but something more unusual, more luxurious; take out a mortgage, bank loan, something like that. Bodie fancied something on different levels - big living room, cushioned pit maybe, sunken bath even, Persian rugs; classic and beautiful. After all, some people managed to support a wife and four kids on half the salary he was getting, so he supposed he could give Doyle a bit more comfort. Untrammelled by jeans, Doyle was an exotic creature who deserved surroundings to match. Yes, Bodie would start looking around. A shared, big investment, too; another bit of security for Ray. Pleased with his little secret, he checked on Doyle before leaving to do the shopping.

The exotic creature was lying on his stomach, head turned to one side on the pillow, one knee drawn up. Bodie experienced a shiver as he visualised the form lying beneath the covering sheet; a living sculpture in warm honey, tapering curves and planes of warm, scant flesh, easily stirred: he could rouse all the tiny hairs of Doyle's skin with the application of one fingertip down the hobbled hollows of his spine. Bodie smiled, involuntarily, then abruptly the smile faded, the horror of the morning still too close. Over now, thank god. Poor little sod. Really cut up about Jones for some reason; what went on there I never saw? Nearly lost him today, but we got there in the end, sorted it out. And then I -

Sorry, sunshine. Left you out on the edge, didn't I?

He crossed to the bed quietly, stood looking down at the sleeping face, eggshell eyelids laid shut. Doyle had more purity, less sensuality in sleep.

Do better for you later on, he promised silently, and bent to brush a kiss on the side of his mouth.

"Back soon, sweetheart," and Doyle didn't stir, but his senses took the gentle touch and bound it into his dreams.

Bodie took the car - somehow unfazed as confirmed bachelors have to be about the sexual stereo-typing of household chores, he still disliked carrying home bags of shopping - and loaded it with enough food and other necessities to withstand a small siege. It was now after midday. He unpacked all that, put chops and large scrubbed potatoes into the oven because it would cook itself and Doyle would likely be starved when he awoke; had a sandwich, a coffee, while he glanced rapidly through the newspaper as he stood up against the breakfast bar.

Alarmingly loud in the peace of the flat, the phone went, and he nearly ruptured something trying to get to it before it woke Doyle.

It was Murphy.

"Oh, christ," groaned Bodie, "Not callin' us in, are you, Murph? 'cause I'm telling you here and now - "

"You got Doyle there?" Murphy's voice came over brisk, tinny.

"Yes," said Bodie cautiously, senses springing alert.

Murphy was hurrying, now. "That's okay, then. Saw him last night, that's why I called in case you're wondering. Running a bit wild, he was, and I didn't see you anywhere around. Just wanted to check he got home all right. Okay?"

Bodie was rather touched by that, the other agent's brusque concern. On the whole, he and Doyle tended to be left well alone. "Thanks for worrying."

The response was immediate. "I didn't. That's your department." But the concern was real, the motivations sincere. Bodie felt warmed by Murph; he was the closest thing to a friend they had. It made him want to say a little more; to explain.

He cradled the phone in his hand, glanced round. The bedroom door was shut. "He was cut up about Jones," he said in a low voice. He wondered just what Murphy had seen; not Doyle soliciting the services of a pusher, certainly, or he would have intervened. 'Running wild'; well, that could mean anything.

There was a pause. "About Tony? I thought there was little enough love lost there," said Murphy grimly, having to put up with weeks of Jones' strongly verbalised distrust of Doyle.

Bodie hesitated, not knowing how much to say. "They were getting on okay yesterday."

There was another pause as Murphy searched Bodie's words for enlightenment; finding little, he said, "Well, that's good. Tony'd have been glad. He had this idea Ray was a kind of cross between de Sade and Hitler."

"He changed his mind," was all Bodie said.

Suddenly, Murphy knew; more clearly than if Bodie had used a hundred words. "Well, thass good. Glad about that. Didn't like to think of him dying with that on his mind. What happened out there yesterday? Never got a chance to see the reports." That wasn't true. But the reports had told him little, about just how his partner had died.

Bodie sighed and went for the truth. "Were out in the open; seemed like the whole thing was over. Doyle was on the roof, covering us. Two of the bastards came out from nowhere and what the hell could Doyle do? We were both dead. He only had time to make one shot. I was okay; Tony wasn't."

Seeing it all behind the bleak words, Murphy said, testing a little,"Well, in a way...that was lucky for you. And," he added, "for Doyle."

Bodie gripped the phone tightly. "Doyle didn't seem to see it that way," he said softly; and regretted it. Unfair, so bloody unfair... to let his own unreasoning hurt make him misrepresent Doyle's actions so -

It was too late. In the silence Murphy had tied up ends, made connections, unravelling just why Ray Doyle had been out there bent on self-destruction last night. His voice when it came was forceful. "Jesus Christ, Bodie. I wouldn't want your set-up, not for a million quid. McCabe's right about Doyle. He needs his bloody head examined, and a good kick up the backside."

Bodie smiled, wryly amused by Murph's vehemence and touched by the implications of it. Something he had never before realised, fell unsurprised into place...

"And a ritual flayin' at dawn? Nah," he demurred softly. "What he needs - is a good night's sleep. He's exhausted."

Noting the hesitation, Murphy knew only that he would never by privy to what Bodie had been going to say; that that was part of Bodie's life with Ray Doyle. Determination rose hotly in him; white-knuckled, he said all in a rush, "If you ever decide to get out - "

"Yes?" prompted Bodie, after a hectic pause.

But Murphy, who was fiercely shy and proud in his inner self, ducked out of it at the last moment. " - I know a nice young lass'd be just right for you. Eyes of blue, 38, 24 - "

Respecting that evasion, and in a way grateful for it, Bodie said, "I'm too old, Murph."

Regret, relief. Murphy stared at the wall ahead. After a moment, he said, "I mean it. You're worth ten of him. Don't let him screw up your life. That's all I'm gonna say."

Embarrassment met up with something else rising in Bodie and lost out without a fight. "Wait a minute, Murph - "

"What?" Murph was also thoroughly embarrassed by all he had said, and by more that he had not, and was keen to get away and submerge the memory as fast as possible. "C'mon, get on with it, I got things to do."

"About Doyle. He's - all right. You don't know him like I do. He's a tricky bastard, yeah, but - "

" - he's all right," completed Murph, resigned. "Yeah, with you, 3.7."

"Over and out, 6.2"

"'ang on, Bodie. You still there? Stuart's called choir practice. Usual time. Be there."

"Oh, god," groaned Bodie, and he put down the phone.

In the bedroom, Doyle still slept. Stripping quickly, Bodie slid, chilled, into the space beside him, curling limbs around the bare hot skin.

"I'm awake," came a deep growl from somewhere.

"Oh, good."

Doyle rolled lazily onto his back within Bodie's encircling arms.

Foggy with sleep, he yawned very widely, jaw cracking with the strain of it; sniffed a few times, rubbed his eyes, cleared his throat: all part of the Doyle early morning, face-the-world routine.

Bodie slid a flat-palmed hand slowly from cheek to navel, fingers curling around the warm hardness he found there, up and taut over Doyle's belly.

"Always wake up hard, you do," he murmured amused, rolling his hand in a sensuous circle. "What did you do before you 'ad me? Eh?" His teeth snapped an earlobe. Doyle had a warm sleepy smell about him which Bodie found more arousing than pure soap and water. "Come on, confess. What did you do?"

"Jerk off," said Doyle, casually honest, his eyes still closed. His back arched, pressing his sex upwards against Bodie's hand; he stretched, from flexing shoulders to the tips of curling toes, knuckles rubbing into his eyes, making a high-pitched noise in the back of his throat. Creaking gates. Bodie grinned, and trailed his tongue-tip to his jawline, was prickled by the stubble there, bluish beneath the pale smooth skin of his cheek.

Down at the other end, he threaded his fingers through the springy body hair, brushing the tender nestlings within.

"Go and get shaved," he said from the vast superiority of one smooth-skinned and fragrant.

"What, down there?" said Doyle lazily. "Thass a bit kinky, innit?" He arched again, clenching his buttocks together; Bodie raised his palm a little to let the round tip of Doyle's cock nudge there, into his cupped hand.

"Get up," he said into his ear, "I'm giving the orders around here today."

And at the same time he withdrew his hand; sliding it up and around.

Doyle's eyes came open then, wide with startled disappointment. Bodie was looking under the covers, at the rosy harness of Doyle's sex; it gave a tiny twitch and then another, blindly seeking the pleasure that had been so abruptly curtailed, totally [without] Doyle's command.

"That's cruel," Doyle said flatly, following Bodie's gaze downwards.

"Maybe I'm a sadist?" Bodie offered, the fingers smoothing down Doyle's soft-haired sinewy forearm giving it the lie.

"Well, no point lying round here chatting all day?" Doyle was on his knees in a bound, eyes lit with a flash of reluctant laughter, leaning over him. Bodie bit the soft inner thigh close to his face; Doyle's eyes fell instantly shut, and expression of absorbed pleasure stealing over his face as he tilted his chin back, steadying himself with one hand pressed to the headboard.

All Bodie's resolve to get him clean and shaved first melted away, lost beneath the sudden swelling urge to take all that hopeful attentive need into himself and make it good for him, make it up to him, hell of a time he's had these last days -

He turned, slipping one arm around Doyle, pressing him down again.

"Hey." Doyle, summarily brought down, pushed at his shoulders.

"Ssh," Bodie murmured, nudging his cheek over the warm soft-hard swell of Doyle's sex, "changed my mind. Like you this way." He opened his mouth, let his tongue flick over the salty tip. Doyle pushed on his shoulders again; for some reason he was always on edge when Bodie tried this, always restless, pulling Bodie up the bed as soon as he could capture him. Just personal preference, Bodie had wondered? Or something more behind it?

"Lie still," he said, mouth moving against silk-over-steel - for whatever instinct it was in Doyle that moved him to reject this particular sexual caress, his body betrayed him every time, as it was doing now, lifting and searching for Bodie's playful tongue. He parted Doyle's thighs firmly with strong thumbs; pillowed his head on the curved thigh.

Doyle twisted in his grasp, testing the restraint.

"Let me," Bodie said, low. "Ray, let me. Please."

Doyle met his eyes. He looked hunted and desperate, almost feverish with desire and turmoil. He didn't move.

Bodie ran his hand over the pale curved buttock presented to him, the skin roughened with goose-bumps; without warning he struck at it, snakelike, and bit him sharply. Doyle made a small sound and moved instinctively; but he said nothing.

Bodie considered the scarlet oval of abuse imprinted on white skin; soothed it with fingertips to lave away the tiny hurt.

"Sometimes it's like dealing with a rescue case from the animal shelter," said Bodie absently, eyes intent on his brand; then they lifted, sharp tender blue, to catch Doyle's gaze retreating too late.

"All right, Ray, what is it this time? Someone once hurt you really bad did they, is that it? Get nipped in a tender place?"

Doyle sniffed loudly into the ensuing silence, rubbed his nose with one hand and pushed himself into a sitting position. Bodie let him go, gracefully; let the bare limbs slide upwards through his hands.

Doyle crossed his legs yoga-style, curly head bowed as he appeared to contemplate his own navel. Bodie rolled so he could rest his chin on the confluence of Doyle's ankles; finding it a bony unwelcoming, he turned his cheek so it rested on the softer calf, blowing gently to stir the down-drift of hair there.

"C'mon, sweetheart," he encouraged, voice soft, velvetdark with gentle promise of mystery. "Let me do it for you, I won't hurt you, don't get off on hurting you, you should bloody well know that by now. I wanna do it for you 'cause it's such a - such a sweet feelin', Ray , and I want you to have that... "

The echo of that trailed off as Bodie, listening to it, wondered wryly how that would jar on Doyle, who did not respond to sentiment.

Then, unexpectedly, the hard tense set of Doyle's face softened; he reached out and touched his hair, thin strong fingers twining in feathery dark.

"Bet it would be, with you..."

And Bodie, startled, met eyes which had lost their winter; now they were drifting, dreamy. It struck him that Doyle was still drugged, a little dopey, a little stoned with strangeness; his head tipped a little to one side as if he had forgotten to lift it, his expression a confliction of blurry, easily readable emotions. Unfair to take advantage of him -

"Come on, dreamer, "he said, resigned, abandoning all enticement; "Get back in the warm and sleep it off. Lotus eating has its price, y'know."

Doyle shook his head. He raised one arm, rubbed it through the curls at the nape of his neck; decidedly flirtatious but soft, drowsy, with it. Almost irresistible: but Bodie had come a long way since the dark forbidden magic weaved in secret, snatched at lest it disappear.

"Oh, no. You need sleep. Now will you lie down," and Bodie's lifted eyes were mercilessly tender, ruthless with love, "or shall I make you?"

Doyle did so, quite suddenly. He looked down at Bodie who was propped on an elbow at the foot of the bed and, unexpectedly, smiled. Doyle was not the smiley type; the times he showed his pointed white teeth it was more likely to be in a snarl. But this was a smile all right, unselfconscious; he looked like a ragged-haired street urchin, off school, in bed with a cold, difficult but appealing, raffish. He said, his voice warm through the smile, "I want to fuck you."

"Promises," Bodie grumbled lightly, "you're all promises. Told me that in the middle of the night you did, and look what happens?"

"I want to fuck you," insisted the urchin, wanton and undisciplined with narcotics.

Bodie's heart jolted, though he kept his face calm. Fear and excitement had lifted him; Doyle trailed his gaze down to the upthrusting cock from the nest of black curls which graced Bodie's elegant groin.

"That scare you?" he asked curiously.

Bodie dodged it. Of course it scared him; on an instinctive level below thought, the idea would scare anybody. That didn't mean he didn't want it. Doyle could see that, surely.

"Does it look like it?" He trapped Doyle's hand, pressed it to himself, encouraging the cool fingers to squeeze him.

"Fright, you know, it take people different ways," Doyle said, eyes closing thoughtfully as he concentrated on handling Bodie, barely malleable, warm smooth skin stretched over the rigidity within. "Jones, remember, got to him in the guts. Me, it makes me hard. First hint of danger, when you know this is it, the bullets with your name on are gonna fly, let rip any second and you have to run out there into 'em, first bloody prickle of terror runs down my spine and up it goes." He opened his eyes and grinned again.

Bodie had to laugh. "You're in a disgustin' mood, you are."

"I don't disgust you," said Doyle, and the total conviction in that sobered Bodie, made him think.

He said after a moment, "No, you don't. Whatever you do... Want to tie me up, Ray? Force me? Want me to? Or, let's get really heavy: pissing games, rape? You name it and I'll try it, with you. But you - " and Bodie's voice was soft, a lilt in the menace as he stroked a curved fingertip over Doyle's exposed, vulnerable Adam's apple, "what do I do, for you?"

Doyle's eyes dropped, like Bodie's, all laughter gone, leaving only the light of intensity, a thin glittering line beneath dark lashes. "You? You - mystify me."

"I thought I scared you."

But Doyle was beyond comprehending mockery, remembering old quotes from times gone; he was living for now alone. "Yeah, that too. But you mystify me because I couldn't do what you do. If I were you, I'd have walked out on me a long time ago."

"It's easy for you to say that," said Bodie slowly. "All seems very odd to you, I daresay; but you see, you can't think yourself into me because it isn't the same for you." Love made such a difference: altered perception, motivation, like a catalyst. But Doyle would not understand that. "If you felt the way I do, you'd understand." He offered it as a simple fact, no reproach, no plea for contradiction.

Doyle's hand shot out; gripped him like steel. "You think so much," he said steadily. "And you get it all wrong."

There was a pause.

"I don't get much help," Bodie said with equal balance, holding his eyes.

Doyle dropped his. "I know." He looked as if he were about to say more.

Possessed by a sudden dread that Doyle might be moved, at this too-rare moment of understanding, to offer him falsehoods, Bodie cut him off.

"Don't lie to me," he said. "Don't ever lie, Ray. That, I couldn't take."

"Would you lie to me?" Doyle shot back at him, suddenly bruisingly fierce.

Bodie stared, off-key. "Of course not."

"Then don't - don't say that to me again. We're not that different, Bodie."

Repentant of his lack of trust, Bodie kissed him, offering wordless apology.

Doyle kissed him back, hands slipping round Bodie's head, cradling his skull, fingertips stroking his ears. Then he held him away, eyes lazy, tender as he searched Bodie face. With his index finger he slowly traced the outline of the other man's mouth, with absorbed care. "I'll let you do anything you want," he said, and Bodie understood him perfectly.

It had, however, the tang of future promise about it. Drugged on sweetness alone, for now, he let it ride. Doyle's eyes widened; hands stilling. "What's that smell?"

"I said you should have showered; but I can live with it."

Doyle sat up, urgent, stomach reaching out in a surging wave for the promise wafting on the air. Nothing solid had reached it for 24 hours.

"Bodie, I'm starving. Ravenous. Gotta eat."

"They won't be done yet," said Bodie amused, recalling the chops. He too sniffed the air, caught the lush scent of roasting meat spitting fat and hot potato skin. He flicked up a glance at the clock on the wall - automatic now; it had been weeks since he had looked first towards the bedside, and he had not noticed the change. "Or - you might be in luck, sunshine. I'll go and stick a fork in 'em, see if they're tender."

Doyle was pushing back the bedcovers, animated with the need for sustenance.

"I'm hurt," said Bodie who was in fact delighted to see Doyle for once so enthusiastic about food, and pleased with himself for having the forethought to take care of it in advance, "Spurned, again."

"I'll get back to you," avowed Doyle vanishing, "but I gotta eat, my guts're twisting up."

"Choir practice tonight," Bodie called after him; but there was no reply, Doyle being bent on more basic needs.

Things were different. Perhaps better.

Bodie rose from the bed, pulled on a robe and went leisurely to join his mate.

-- THE END --