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7 March 2007 | 23:28
posted by: msmoat in the_safehouse

Title: Sunday Morning Off
Author: PFL
Pros-Lib/Circuit/Hatstand Archive: Yes
Slash/Gen: Slash
Disclaimer: The usual about not-owning, not profiting, etc.
Notes: This was written to accompany [info]crimson_37's drawing "Sunday Morning Off".  You can view the drawing (but fair warning that you shouldn't click on the link if you're concerned about what other people might see) here. Many thanks for the patience and help of: elizabethoshea, ancastar, and justacat.

Sunday Morning Off
PFL

By the time Bodie arrived, the pub was filled with blue-grey smoke and the chattering of office workers and civil servants released from their jobs.  He bought a lager and scanned the room, finally spying Doyle and Murphy at a table near a window.  Making his way towards them, he raised and lowered his glass while threading a path through the crowd.  He sat down on the bench next to Doyle, nodded at Murphy, and took a long drink.

“Managed to extricate yourself, did you?”  Doyle lifted a half-filled glass to him before drinking.

“All is well and my virtue is intact.”  Bodie smiled at him.

“That would be a miracle.  Anyway, it wasn’t your virtue at stake.”

Murphy looked at Bodie.  “I heard that Mihailov’s daughter appreciated your heroics.”  He was leaning back in his chair with the air of a man about to go on leave.

“What heroics?” Doyle asked.

“He’s speaking about the assassination attempt I foiled.”

“Don’t give me that.  All you did was pull Mihailov down.  I was the one who spotted the nutter and shot him.”

“Details.  Anyway, I was wounded.”

“That was from the gravel in the car park.”

“Vita saw it differently.”

“She would.”

Bodie looked at Murphy.  “He’s just jealous because she couldn’t see him next to me.”

“Thank God for small favours.  You can have that one, mate.”

“I heard she was a looker,” Murphy said.

Bodie nodded.  “Blonde, gorgeous brown eyes, radiant skin….”

“And yet you’re here?”

“Duty.”  Bodie injected pathos into his voice.

“Fear,” Doyle said.  Murphy glanced at him.  “Of her father.”

“Ah.”

Bodie sighed.  “He’s a trifle old-fashioned.”

“But his daughter isn’t.”

“I see,” Murphy said.  “And given Mihailov’s current high-level status as a well-known defector....”

“Casanova here had to rein in his natural tendencies.”

Bodie swallowed more lager.  “This job has definite drawbacks.”

“Fortunately, I’m about to escape all that.”  Murphy looked smug.

Bodie raised his eyebrows.  “For a week, isn’t it? Where are you going, you lucky swine?”

“Elsewhere.”

Bodie glanced at Doyle, then back at Murphy.  “Are you going on holiday with Julia, then?”

“Yes.”

Beside him, Bodie heard Doyle snigger, but he kept his own expression bland.  “Ah.  Newcastle, is it?”

“Yes, sod it.   How did you know?”

Bodie winked.

Murphy’s eyes narrowed.  “You didn’t go out with Julia, did you?”

“No.  But Doyle did.”

“Her mother is nice.”  Doyle paused for a moment.  “Mind the cat, though.”

“Julia didn’t say she’d dated you.”

“You can’t blame the girl,” Bodie said.  “She’s probably still blocking the memory.”

Doyle looked at him.  “Thanks, friend.”  He turned back to Murphy.  “It was a few years ago.  We had a nice time, but...she called it quits.”

“Work?”

“Personali—”  Bodie broke off as Doyle kicked him.  “You can see why.  Charming manners.”

“We made better friends.”

“Friendship and birds.”  Bodie shook his head.

Murphy looked at him.  “You don’t mix love and friendship?” 

“It never works, does it?  Look at him and Julia.”  He gestured towards Doyle.

“Look at Murphy and Julia,” Doyle replied.

“And he’s going to Newcastle for his holiday.”  Bodie drank more of his lager.  “I don’t know what it is with you two and birds who want you to meet their families.  Don’t you know variety is the spice of life?”

“Or the sign of an indecisive mind.”

“I am a man of robust appetites.”  Bodie raised his glass.

“Large, certainly.”

Murphy finished his drink.  “Before you two get into it, I’m off.”

“Enjoy yourself, mate,” Doyle said.

“Do let us know if you come back leg-shackled.”

“Ta.”  Murphy waved at them and disappeared into the crowd.

“Get you another?”  Bodie gestured at Doyle’s glass.

“You’re feeling generous.”  Doyle tilted his head.  “How did you extricate yourself, then?”

Bodie grinned.  “I never shag and tell.”

“You often shag and tell.”

“Only you.  Nosy.”

“Boaster.”

“Do you want that drink or not?”

“I thought you were meeting the lovely Daffodil tonight.”

“Danielle.  And her flight was cancelled.  So, what’ll it be?”

There was a pause, then Doyle said, “Nah, I’ve had enough.”

“Come on back to my place, then.  I’ve got food in.”

Doyle looked at him, eyes wide but expression unreadable.  “Thanks all the same, mate, but I’m off home.” 

The same answer, every bloody time.  “Come on, Doyle.”

“See you tomorrow.”  Doyle stood.  “I’ll pick you up in the morning, eh?  You know we’re on that obbo with Anson?”

“Yeah.”  He picked up his glass.  “Bloody cigars.”  He took a sip of the lager, then paused as Doyle still stood there.  He looked at him.

“We’re due off after the obbo.”

Bodie dropped his gaze to his glass.  “Yeah, don’t count on it, mate, the way things have been going lately.”  He drained the lager.  “Plays bloody hell with my social life.”

“Mine too.” Doyle’s voice was abrupt.  “See you.” 

Bodie nodded and then found himself trying to catch glimpses of Doyle as he made his way through the crowd to the door.  Bugger it.  It would’ve been a good evening if Doyle had only cooperated.  What the fuck was wrong with him?

With a muttered curse, Bodie stood and headed out of the pub.  He’d go home, grab some food, and see what was on the telly.  Maybe he’d ring Alison...but the thought didn’t appeal.  He’d known what he wanted tonight as soon as he’d heard from Danielle.  Bloody Doyle.

Bodie jammed his hands into his jacket pockets as he walked quickly to the CI5 car park.  It was true Doyle was sometimes possessed by odd moods—he’d take off on his own, spend a weekend without company.  But lately he’d taken to refusing the extra drink, a trip to the pub, or dinner.  Even after the Wakeman near-disaster, when they were both keyed up, Doyle had stayed away from him.

Thankfully, whatever Doyle’s problem was, it wasn’t affecting the job, or their performance.  There was nothing he needed to go to Cowley about—and he had no desire to bring anyone else into it, anyway.  It was just that he’d got used to—that he’d been in the habit of—fuck it, they weren’t attached at the hip.  He didn’t want to be.  Neither, apparently, did Doyle.  Fine.  Message received, mate.  But there were better ways to break a habit than complete avoidance.  Stupid git.

Frowning, he unlocked his car door, climbed in, and set off for his flat.  He’d call Alison.  A night between the sheets should set him right—should take care of the restlessness he felt.  Doyle could take care of himself.

***

It was dark when Bodie opened his eyes.  He groaned when he saw the display on Danielle’s lighted clock.  Four—bloody—AM.  He closed his eyes, prepared to fall back into his dreams.  But he was too warm; the bed was too soft, and the scent that filled his nose was all wrong.  He rolled over onto his back, and when Danielle didn’t move, he eased out of the bed.  After going to the loo, he found his clothes and dressed in the light from the bathroom. 

“Bodie?”

He looked up to find Danielle watching him.  She seemed to be still half-asleep and was very appealing—relaxed sensuality, her nudity partially revealed by the sheet. He moved across to her.  “I have to go.  Work.”  He leant down and placed a quick kiss on her lips.

“Hmm.  I didn’t hear the phone.”  She closed her eyes and reached to pull up the duvet.  “Call me?”

“Yeah.  Thanks, love.”  He left the room, taking a deep breath of cool air when he reached the outside.  Danielle was lovely, but he didn’t think he’d be seeing her again.  He walked to his car.  Sod it, he’d been looking forward to last night; he should be feeling satisfied this morning.  He should be in bed, anticipating sex and breakfast.

Bodie started his car and pulled out into the street after a quick look over his shoulder.  They’d been on the obbo job for nearly three days.  He could still smell the tobacco.  The job had blown up in their faces—nearly literally—when Cowley had sent them into the house.  They had expected the guns they’d found, but not the heroin, nor the suicides—if it had been suicide.  Either way, they were at a dead end, and Cowley had finally given them their day off.

We’re due a day off, after the obbo.  He could drop by Doyle’s place and get breakfast—he’d enjoy Doyle’s reaction if he showed up this early.  But he didn’t make the turning when he could have, and he continued on to his flat.

Once home, he took a shower and made breakfast.  He had just put the eggs on when the telephone rang.  He hurried into the lounge to pick up the handset.

“Yeah?”

“Good morning.”  It was Alex from HQ.  “You’re to pick up four-five and then Mr Cowley at his home.  Straight away.”

“We’re off duty!”

“Cowley’s orders, mate.”  There was no regret in Alex’s voice.

“Have you called four-five?”

“He’s next.”

“Tell him it’ll be twenty minutes.”

“Will do.”  Alex rang off.

Sod it.  He returned to the kitchen, rescued the eggs, and ate them out of the pan.   The bacon he could take with him, but he gave up on the toast.

Twenty minutes later he pulled up in front of Doyle’s flat, double-parked, and tooted the horn.  A few minutes later Doyle emerged, carrying a cup and an electric razor, looking rumpled, irritated, and shagged out.  He hadn’t asked Doyle his plans for their day off.  They’d parted at HQ with scarcely a word between them.

Doyle opened the car door and climbed in.

“About time, mate.  Cowley’s waiting, you know.”  Bodie pulled out into the street before Doyle had finished closing the door.

Doyle sent a glare his way, but didn’t answer.

“Do you know what this is about?”

“Would I?  Since when does Cowley tell us anything?”  Doyle’s voice was rough.  “And would you slow down, I don’t want to spill this tea!”  He slurped from the cup.

Bodie dropped his speed by a fraction.  “It’s supposed to be our bloody day off.”

Doyle let out a half-laugh.  “You can tell Cowley that.”

“No, thank you.”  He glanced at Doyle.  “Good night?”

Doyle grunted, his eyes on the road.

“Anyone I know?”

Doyle drank his tea.

“Or a bit of the solitary vice, eh?”

“You must’ve been up early today—clean-shaven as you are.”

“Clean-living, that’s me.”

“Your illusions will carry you far, my son.”

“If you must know, I was at Danielle’s.  And it was damned inconvenient, getting that call from HQ.”

“I’m sure Danielle was crushed.”

“Speechless.”  Bodie cut up a slow-moving lorry in the roundabout.  “We could have doubled last night.  Might have been fun.”

“Mmm.”  Doyle put the cup down and turned on the razor.  “Avoid pot-holes.”

Bodie grinned, but he drove as smoothly as he could the rest of the way to Cowley’s house.  They exited the car, Doyle still running the razor over his face.  Bodie hung back while Doyle went and rang the buzzer for Cowley’s flat.  Doyle leant forward, resting his head against the intercom.  Bodie’s eyes took in the well-defined arse presented to him.

Cowley’s voice issued from the speaker: “Right, on my way.”

Doyle turned around to face Bodie, still running the razor over his face.  Bodie looked away, his stomach tightening. 

“Any idea what the time is?”

“I’m trying not to think.”  Bodie turned and walked back to the car to lean against it.

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it.”

“Yeah.  Be nice to get eight hours sleep on the trot for once, wouldn’t it?  Not that you’d use it for sleep, of course.”

“Oh, I would.”  As Doyle spoke, Cowley appeared in the doorway.  “Nothing I like better than curling up in bed with a good book.”

Cowley walked out behind Doyle.  “Glad to hear you’ve been spending your spare time so profitably, Doyle.”

Bodie straightened, injecting eagerness into his voice.  “Good morning, sir.”

Cowley glanced at him.  “We’ll go in my car.” 

They fell in behind Cowley as they walked to the car.  Bodie urged Doyle to the right, to take up the seat behind Cowley.  “Where are we going?”

“A nice trip into the country.  Ecclestone Manor.”

Bodie glanced Doyle’s way as he climbed into the back seat with him.  “Ah, champagne breakfast.”

Cowley filled them in on the ambush and murder of Arabs at Ecclestone Manor. Somehow it all tied together—the ambush, the increase in illegal arms gathering, the guns and heroin they’d found at the site of their obbo.  Bodie listened, offered speculation when called upon, and was all too aware of Doyle sitting next to him.  The tea and the shave had helped—Doyle looked less...fuckable.  Dammit.

For two and a half days—57 hours, more or less—he’d been trapped in that grotty room with Anson, those bloody cigars, and Doyle.  He’d concentrated on the job as much as possible.  They’d taken turns at the binoculars, the audio equipment, and the bed.  But it had been impossible not to watch Doyle, not to read invitation in the way he moved or sprawled on the sofa.  It had made him irritable.  If they’d been alone, he wouldn’t have had to guard his expression or his tongue.  He might have been able to goad Doyle, to break through that bloody wall he’d erected between them.  But Anson was a sharp-eyed bugger, and Bodie had been forced to be circumspect.   He’d swear Doyle had taken advantage of that.  The cross-grained bastard.  Sometimes he had no sense of self-preservation.  Look at what he’d done at Cowley’s—under Cowley’s eye, no less.   Bloody cheek wasn’t the half of it.

“What are you grinning at?”

He glanced at Doyle—into eyes that were as familiar to him as his own, but unknowable, for all that.  “Nothing.”

“I thought you were going to ring Alison last night.”

“Danielle’s schedule changed.”

A moment longer Doyle looked at him, then turned away.  “Lucky Danielle.”  The light on the car phone started blinking.  “Call for you, sir.”

“Answer it, Doyle.”

While Doyle dealt with the call—an apparent update for Cowley on a case being worked by Lewis—Bodie looked out the side window at the passing countryside.  What was Doyle after?  Did he think he could ignore Bodie one moment, then come on to him the next?  What was the point?  Doyle was the one calling an end to it.  Contradictory sod.  If he thought he could play games—

No, that wasn’t Doyle’s style.  Bloody-minded and ruthless on occasion, yeah, but not without a purpose.  So what the fuck was he up to?  Bodie saw they were turning into the drive for Ecclestone Manor.  After the case, whatever it turned out to be, he’d tackle Doyle.  He’d had enough.
   
***

Bodie walked out of Kabil Kammahmi’s residence behind Anson and the lads escorting Pulman to the cars.  Pulman was the only one of the lot they’d be able to prosecute, but he didn’t reckon Kammahmi would have a joyous homecoming.  Presumably he’d been acting under orders from his government.

The police had blocked off access to the street from either side, and the only cars left belonged to one or another of the security forces.  He wanted to go home; he wanted to sleep.  But Cowley might want them in on the interrogation of Pulman, and he’d certainly want their reports.  Doyle still hadn’t returned from Marge’s clutches.  Bodie leant against Cowley’s car and settled in to wait.  It seemed he’d spent half his life waiting—army, Paras, SAS, CI5; it was all the same.  Hurry up and wait.  Funny how they never told you that when they wanted you to sign up.  And where the fuck was Doyle?

Almost immediately on the thought, a big American car threaded through the police barrier, stopping a few yards away from where Bodie stood.  The door opened and Doyle climbed out, closing the door behind him.  Bodie heard Marge’s voice but couldn’t distinguish the words.  Doyle leant down into the car, bracing his arms on the window.  Marge’s laugh carried clearly, and then Doyle kissed her before straightening, his fingers lingering on her cheek.  The car pulled away and Doyle stepped back.

Bodie pushed himself away from the Cowley’s car and moved in on Doyle.  “I see you managed to extricate yourself—virtue intact?  Or perhaps that was that a promise for later?”

Doyle gave him a slight smile, and turned to watch Marge’s car disappear down the street.  “What does Cowley say?”

“I’m still waiting to hear.”

“Is Pulman gone?”

“Anson and the lads already took him away.  Ah, and here is our fearless leader now.”

They waited by Cowley’s car as he walked towards them, in company with a police inspector.

“All right, Inspector,” Cowley said.  “Thank you for your cooperation.  You may open the street again.” 

“Sir.”  The Inspector nodded at Cowley and returned to his men.

Cowley turned to Bodie and Doyle.  “We’re done here.”

Doyle grimaced.  “And Kammahmi just walks?”

“Diplomatic immunity, Doyle, as you well know.”

“We didn’t need to break into his house, did we, sir?  Marge supplied the information on Pulman.”

“But we also needed solid evidence.  A remarkable woman, your Margery Harper.  We might find her useful in other cases.”

“I doubt she’d agree, sir.”

Bodie grinned.  “We’ll just dangle you in front of her, sunshine, and she’ll fall in line.”

Doyle glanced at him, but turned back to Cowley, eyes narrowed.  “Even if you’d made the connection with Pulman earlier, you’d still have sent us in, wouldn’t you?”

“I needed someone on the inside.”

“You showed up very quickly when the alarm sounded.”

“I was in the neighbourhood, yes.”

Bodie’s eyes widened.  “Wait a minute...you expected us to get caught, didn’t you?”

“As you pointed out, this was a job for an experienced catman.”  His glance flickered from Bodie to Doyle and back.  “Sloppy, the pair of you.  But it did the trick.”

“Drawing out the opposition,” Doyle said.  “It would have been nice if you’d shared that with us.  Sir.”

“You might have guessed it.  I’ll see you two back at HQ.”  He headed for the rear door of his car.

“Yes, sir.”  Bodie sighed.  It would be a long night, on top of a long day.  Was it only that morning he’d been in Danielle’s bed?

Cowley paused by the car door.  “As I recall, you two were promised a day off.”

They looked at him, but said nothing.

“Very well.  Turn in your reports tonight and you may have the next two days.”  He hesitated a moment.  “It was a job well done, lads.  Report bright and early Tuesday morning.”

“Yes, sir.”  Bodie spoke for both of them.  They stepped aside as Cowley’s car left the scene.  Bodie rubbed his hands together.  “Two days.”

“After we turn in our reports.”  Doyle walked along the pavement to where they’d left Bodie’s car.

“Just for once I’d like to have dessert first.”

“You do.  Often.  Anyway, sooner started, sooner finished.”

“Yes, but we’ll be at HQ.  Who knows what crisis might happen.”

Doyle laughed.  “We’ll be out on our feet if it does.  Come on, let’s get it over with.”

They arrived back at HQ to find the building nearly deserted, with only the regular night crew left.  Presumably, Pulman was in a waiting cell, or perhaps Cowley was already questioning him.  The old man wasn’t in his office when they dropped off their reports, but Bodie doubted he’d gone home.  Bodie eyed Doyle’s report as he placed his own on top.

“I would have expected more from you, Doyle.”

Doyle glanced at him as they turned to leave Cowley’s office.  “I know I’m going to regret this.  In what way?”

“Your report.  Flimsy, it seemed to me.”

“You didn’t read it.”

“I’m certain Cowley wanted a full report on Margery Harper and her potential usefulness for CI5.”

Doyle rolled his eyes.  “She pegged you right, that’s for certain.”

Bodie grinned.  “A lout?”

“With shifty eyes.”

They headed for the stairs leading to the car park.  “I don’t know; I seem to have the advantage here.  You attract the old ones, I attract....”

“Russian defectors’ daughters?” 

He hurried down the stairs behind Doyle.  “Beautiful Russian defectors’ daughters.”

“With questionable intelligence and taste.  You can’t fault Marge there.”

“She’s old enough to be your mother, Doyle.”

Doyle laughed.  “She is not.  You ought to be careful, mate, what are you going to do when you turn fifty?”

“Shoot myself.”

They reached the bottom of the stairs and exited the building into the car park.  Bodie took in a breath of cool air, stretching to relieve aching muscles in his neck.  He was exhausted, yet it was as if the exhaustion was on the other side of a partition.  He was still jumpy from the op, from the whole day and its various disasters.  They’d been in a gunfight, they’d nearly triggered a bomb in the car, and they’d been captured after breaking into two homes.  He should go to bed, but he knew he wouldn’t sleep like this.  He needed to get the op out of his system.  He needed...well, Danielle was out.  And he didn’t want her.  He wanted Doyle.  He wanted what they’d had before—if he could just get past whatever the obstruction was.  Bodie frowned. 

Doyle was already at his car, which they’d picked up when they’d gone home to get their gear for the op.  If he was going to try again, he had to make it quick.

“Ray.”

Doyle glanced back at him, then turned around, the light from the street lamp falling across his face.  He looked wary.

Bodie hesitated, feeling an awkwardness that he hadn’t felt in years.  “Come back to my place.”

Doyle’s expression didn’t change.  “Spend the night?”

Bodie looked down for a moment.  “Yeah.  What’s left of it.  Why not?”

“Danielle has an early flight, does she?”

“I don’t know.  Doyle—”

Doyle shook his head.  “We’re both too tired—and you’re not talking about sleep, are you.”  A strange smile twisted Doyle’s mouth.  “Another time, eh?”  He turned back towards the car door.

Bodie grabbed his arm.  “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

Doyle shook him off.   He didn’t say anything, just watched Bodie, as if he were an adversary.

“Do you think I’m going to keep asking?”

Doyle’s face was unreadable.  “No.”

The word sliced into him—the obvious dismissal, of him, of the sex.  “Then stop the games.  Do you think I didn’t see your act on the obbo, or at Cowley’s?”

Doyle’s eyes narrowed.  “Did you?”

“No wonder Marge was all over you like a bitch in heat, the way you were behaving—”

“Leave her out of this.”

“Why don’t you just get laid, Doyle?  Do us all a favour.”

“At least Marge has guts enough to go after what she wants.”

“Guts or stupidity?”

Doyle looked at him.  “Putting yourself out there on the slimmest of hopes?  Both.”  He looked Bodie up and down.  “But it’s fuck-all better than hiding.”  He opened the car door and climbed in. 

Bodie stopped the door from closing.  “Wait.”

Doyle started the car, then looked at Bodie, hard-eyed.  “If you want me, you know where to find me.”  He accelerated, pulling the car door closed at the same time.

Bodie watched the Escort until it disappeared, his fist clenched.

***

The sky was showing the first traces of dawn when Bodie pulled into a parking space across from Doyle’s flat.  There were no lights on in the flat, but he was certain Doyle was home.  He hoped he was alone.  He’d look a right prat if he wasn’t.  His hand tightened on the wheel.  It didn’t matter.  It would serve Doyle right, anyway.

For a moment, Bodie imagined the scene, and felt a smile tugging at his mouth.  A fight would go a long way towards settling him down.  But he reckoned Doyle was alone—possibly even waiting for him.  There was no putting off the confrontation.

If you want me, you know where to find me.

Well, here he was.  And he wished to God he’d had more than a couple hours’ sleep.  He’d gone home, determined to put Doyle out of his mind, to chalk it up to exhaustion and a day with too many near-misses.  Doyle was a fine one to talk about hiding.  He was the one who’d been evasive; the one to play hot and cold games; the one to just suddenly stop everything.  And Marge had made a fool of herself over Doyle, made herself the butt of jokes—that’s what Doyle admired?

Putting yourself out there on the slimmest of hopes.  Yeah, well, that’s exactly what he, Bodie, had been doing.  He was the one who’d kept at it, kept asking, kept being rejected.  Doyle could take his bloody mind games and fuck off.  With Marge Harper.

He’d expected to sleep soundly, but his dreams had made him restless and edgy. They’d been filled with a suffocating sense of impending disaster.  He’d finally jerked awake, heart hammering, hearing Doyle’s voice in his head.

Christ.  In the car, Bodie closed his eyes, still able to feel the panic he’d felt when he’d first awakened.  Thanks.  It was Doyle’s voice at the shoot-out, after his gun had jammed and he’d faced the sniper they were chasing.  Bodie had killed the gunman, and watched as Doyle slid down to the ground.  Reprieve could be as devastating as the realisation  of certain death.  It had been easy enough to guess what had happened, and he’d felt the same sick lurch in his stomach that Doyle must have felt.

You okay? You get a stoppage? It's always happening with these weapons! They're supposed to be reliable—”

Hey.  Thanks.

Doyle had looked at him as he spoke, without fear or hiding.  Bodie had been the one to drop his gaze, unprepared for what he’d seen in Doyle’s eyes.

Friendship and sex and...love.  It never worked; it was better to keep them separate, better to keep love out of it.  He remembered the first night they’d had sex.  There hadn’t been anything unusual about the day, no tension between them.  They’d been unexpectedly freed from an op gone sour and had settled on takeaway, beer, and a game on the box.  An argument about Arsenal’s chances had led to wrestling, and Doyle had managed to pin him.  Looking up into that triumphant face, Bodie had tried a surprise tactic—but Doyle had returned the kiss.  Glorious possibilities had rushed into Bodie’s head, drowning any thought of caution.  He’d rolled, taking Doyle with him, suddenly desperate to reach Doyle’s skin.  Doyle had been just as desperate—his fingers and teeth leaving bruises.  They’d never made it to the bedroom.

After that, when they were between birds, or high on an op and dangerous with it, or whatever the reason, they’d sought each other out.  It had been good, uncomplicated: friendship and sex—until Doyle had stopped coming round.

Stay.   Doyle had asked it of him that last night—at his place.  He’d asked Bodie to stay the night—stay for breakfast, stay through the cold, clear light of day.  Bodie had left, and gone to Danielle’s. 

The sun crested the horizon, spreading light with incredible swiftness across London.  Bodie climbed out of the car and walked to Doyle’s flat.  He’d be damned if he let Doyle best him in anything. 

It took four rings on the buzzer before Doyle snarled a greeting.

“It’s me.”

There was silence on the other end of the intercom, and Bodie found a smile for that, imagining the look that must be accompanying it.  The latch buzzer sounded, and Bodie pushed his way inside the block.  Doyle’s door was open when he arrived at the flat.  He walked in, closed the door, and saw Doyle leaning against the doorway to the kitchen, arms crossed.  He was dressed in jeans, but his chest and feet were bare, and he watched Bodie, saying nothing.
 
Bodie licked his lips.  “It’s our day off.”

No reaction from Doyle.
 
“I want to stay.  Today.  Tonight.  Breakfast through dinner and round again.”  He held his breath, muscles braced.

“Passing fancy.”

“No.  I’ll come back tomorrow, if it suits you better.  Or our next day off.”

Doyle’s eyes flickered, but his expression remained unchanged.

“I’ll make a bloody appointment, if that’s what you want.”

Doyle looked down.

“What the fuck do you want, then?”

Doyle raised his head.  “Acknowledgement.”  His gaze was steady and direct.

But it’s fuck-all better than hiding.

“I’ve always—”

“No.  You haven’t.”

And the image rose before his mind’s eye: on obbo duty after the second time they’d had sex.  Doyle had handed him the thermos, with a smile and a brush of his fingers along Bodie’s hand.  It looked casual—innocent—but Doyle’s eyes were anything but.  They’d been filled with mischief, recklessness—and something else.  Bodie had been too aware of Murphy behind them; too aware of the danger that Doyle was courting.  He’d turned away. The sex had lasted five months after that, but he’d never seen that look in Doyle’s eyes again.  Until he’d caught a glimpse of it in that unguarded moment on the rooftop.

“You want to hold hands in the rest room, do you?”

Doyle took in a breath.  “Maybe.”

Bodie couldn’t stop his grin.  “I’m mad enough to do it, you know.”

An answering smile quirked Doyle’s lips for a moment.  “Not in the rest room, then.”

“Those are your terms?”

“I won’t be convenient.”

“You never are.”  He took in a breath.  “That...acknowledgement...goes both ways.”

Doyle nodded.

“And I’ve terms of my own.”

He watched the wary look return to Doyle’s face and was glad of it.  “Go on.”

“Did you ever ask yourself why I...hid, if you want to call it that?”

Doyle frowned.  “Shame?”

Bodie raised his eyebrows.

“Disinterest.”   

“You’re not that modest.”

“Not that certain,” Doyle returned swiftly.

“That makes two of us.”

Doyle straightened and took a step towards Bodie, but stopped as Bodie moved away.  “You seemed certain of your welcome when you came in.”

Bodie shook his head.  “Hope.”  And with a slight smile, he let the words escape: “A little desperation.”

Doyle frowned.  “You know I—”

“My terms, Doyle.”

“What, then?”

“Everything.  I want a real go.  Not casual, not convenient—deliberate.  You and me.”

“What the—  Bloody hell.”  Doyle scowled.  “Why all the evasion, then?”

“Maybe I haven’t got Marge’s courage.”

Doyle stalked to him.  “You have.”  He looked intently at Bodie, as if seeking to see inside him.  “What do you want?”  Bodie saw the tension in him, and heard it in his voice.

“I could have lived with it as it was.”  Bodie reached out to rub his fingers along Doyle’s cheekbone.  “But you can’t.  And I can’t meet your terms unless it’s real—everything—no holds barred.”

Doyle closed his eyes for a moment, leaning in to Bodie’s touch.  “Are we mad?”

“The slimmest of hopes.”

“We live on that every day.”  Doyle’s eyes met his.  “Like faith that your partner will come in time.”

Bodie looked at him, seeing more than skin and bone, more than the allure that had held him all these years.  He was disaster and deliverance all in one; death and life.  Was it any wonder Bodie had hidden from him?  Hidden from himself?  He read a similar fear behind the determination on Doyle’s face.  It was deadly, what Doyle wanted from him; what he wanted from Doyle.  They’d need courage indeed, and they still might fail.  But it was worth the risk.  There was no other man he’d concede it to.

“We’ve never made love in the sunlight.”  He whispered the words.

Slowly Doyle smiled, and took him by the hand.  He led him to his bedroom, where the light flooded the room, where there would be no chance of hiding.

At the bed, Doyle briefly met Bodie’s eyes before turning away.  Astonished, Bodie recognised the nervousness.  He could see it in the tense line of Doyle’s back.  His own nerves calmed in the face of his partner’s need.  He placed his hand on Doyle’s shoulder and gently brought it down along his side, stepping closer as he did so.  Doyle turned to face him.  Bodie kissed him deeply but without urgency, relishing the touch of Doyle’s hands on him as they worked their way under his jumper.  He stepped back, and raised his arms, allowing Doyle to remove the jumper.  He undid his zip and slid off his trousers and pants, straightening again to stand before Doyle.  No barriers.  He saw Doyle swallow, and he smiled.

“Last chance.”

Doyle took off his jeans.  And when he raised his head, Bodie caught his breath: there was mischief, recklessness, and love in his eyes.  Bodie went to him.

Were you trying to drive me mad on the obbo with Anson?”

Doyle smiled.  “Maybe.”

Bodie’s hands closed on his shoulders.  “It worked.”

“That’s fortunate, given that it’s mutual.”  Doyle kissed him.  “And you weren’t even trying, you bastard.  Don’t know what Anson must’ve thought.”

“I don’t care.”  He urged Doyle onto the bed, and they met in the centre, face to face, Bodie straddling Doyle’s legs.  He pulled Doyle towards him, but met resistance.

“Love and friendship don’t mix?”

Bodie sighed.  “You’re going to hold that over me for years to come, aren’t you?”

“Nah.”  Doyle leaned forward.  “I’m going to make you live it.”  Their mouths met.

The warmth of the newborn sun fell across Bodie’s back, but it was nothing to the warmth he found in Doyle’s arms.  It was Sunday morning.  They were alive and together, and at peace.

End
March 2007

Link | R/T open |

Comments {28}

byslantedlight

(no subject)

from: byslantedlight
date: 8 March 2007 06:24 (UTC)
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Ah, spiky Doyle, and cocky, so-sure Bodie... and it all works out alright in the end! I like how it suddenly blurred into an ep too, just when I wasn't particularly expecting it. Lovely sense of continuity, of there being more to the series, which of course is just what I want! Thank you!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 14:59 (UTC)
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You're welcome! I wanted it to sort of seamlessly go in and out of the episode, so I'm glad you liked that. And cocky Bodie...well, you know, you did give me "hubris".... *g*

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izzie7

(no subject)

from: izzie7
date: 8 March 2007 12:22 (UTC)
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I can't explain why, but this had a real feel of the series about it, and not just because of the neat interweaving of canon (if I could explain it, I'd be able to have a go at reproducing it. Oh well.) I loved Bodie's reluctant capitulation, and your final paragraph was very satisfying. I find endings can be very tricky to get right, but this was lovely - not trite, not soppy, just - right.

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 15:03 (UTC)
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Thank you! Well, the sun in the last paragraph came specifically from the drawing, so I can take no credit for that. *g* As for the rest...I was thinking just how fraught that day had been, just within the episode! Dragged out of bed, flung into a firefight (with Doyle almost being killed), dealing with Marge, nearly setting off a car bomb, breaking and entering, getting caught, fighting...really, they needed some peace. *g* (Right now they're both sleeping, you know. No doubt fell asleep right in the middle.... *g*)

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Gondor's Finest Brothers

(no subject)

from: faramir_boromir
date: 8 March 2007 14:04 (UTC)
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As I imagine it: both men realizing what's going on (god, I love how smart they are), but Bodie deciding to hide and Doyle demanding the confrontation. Just lovely. Thanks so much for this!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 15:09 (UTC)
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Thank you! Yeah, that's pretty much the kernel I worked with--Bodie wanting to keep it all on the surface; Doyle needing it to be acknowledged, at least between them--and Bodie, then, needing it to be...everything. And, yes, absolutely, I love a smart Bodie and Doyle. It seems to me very likely that one of their tactics, when they want something, would be to manipulate the situation--usually with great success. It's just that when it comes to each other, they've each met their match. *g*

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Carla

(no subject)

from: beledibabe
date: 8 March 2007 15:24 (UTC)
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Ah, fabulous! You keep us balancing, waiting for events to tip one way or the other, watching and waiting with bated breath. I love your deft handling of the voices, the interweaving of the episodes, the heartfelt but never sentimental sentiment.

A delightful read.

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 15:43 (UTC)
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Thank you! That's a lovely summary! I really try not to go overboard with the sentiment, but I also do want them to say what they need to say to each other. (And, frankly, what we need to hear. *g*) And, man, that look between them on the rooftop in "Backtrack".... Yeah, they need to be together. *g*

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myrebelcat

(no subject)

from: myrebelcat
date: 8 March 2007 16:01 (UTC)
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Nicely done - I particularly liked the way you wove the episode into the story, and the brief appearance of Marge. It's nice to see Doyle in control, patient, and ultimately getting exactly what he needs from Bodie. I'm never going to be able to watch that morning scene on Cowley's doorstep the same way again. ;-)

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 16:51 (UTC)
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Thank you! I have a button from a long-ago con that that shows that doorstep scene. Taken out of context like that...there was no mistaking the intent or effect. *g*

A friend of mine was disappointed that Marge's dialogue was off-screen. Frankly, I was glad of it--I'm not sure I could do her justice!

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My name is Ancasta

(no subject)

from: ancastar
date: 8 March 2007 19:05 (UTC)
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Well, of course you know I love this. :-) For many of the reasons listed by other posters. The "smart" comment bears repeating. I know I had told you how crazy I was about that opening pub scene because the banter just made me smile. In my experience, only folks with a certain level of savvy can be playful with language that way. So I think the observation is spot on.

You also know my fav lines, though I think they bear repeating:

“I won’t be convenient.”

“You never are.”

and

He was disaster and deliverance all in one.

I don't know if it's the alliteration there that works for me or simply the sentiment. Either way...*sigh*. So nice!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 19:52 (UTC)
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Well, and thank you for helpful comments! I paid attention, you know, and changed things--although possibly not so you'd notice. *g*

I agree that the banter on the show is evidence for quick-mindedness--as is their job in itself. I'm not sure I really capture them, but I try! It's great to hear that it works for so many people.

The alliteration was more or less by accident. Happy accident. *g*

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angel_ci5

(no subject)

from: angel_ci5
date: 8 March 2007 19:26 (UTC)
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I love this, it works so beautifully with the episode!
I can only echo the sentiments of the other posts.
Oh, and I love that Bodie doesn't even have to try!
Thank you!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 8 March 2007 19:54 (UTC)
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Oh, and I love that Bodie doesn't even have to try!
Yes. Really, neither one of them stood a chance. It does make you wonder what Anson thought, though... *g*

Thank you! I appreciate the comments very much!

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Callisto

(no subject)

from: callistosh65
date: 9 March 2007 04:22 (UTC)
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Absolutely lovely. The whole thing just sweeps you in and finishes far too quickly!! The pace of the dialogue, especially in the opening scene at the pub is wonderful; sharp and so knowing. And I just loved the slow reveal in this - just what *is* it that Doyle is doing??? Like others have said, the way you work the episode in is an unexpeted delight. Makes the whole thing so canon I'll be looking for it when I watch the ep again.*g*

I'll just quote my favourite bit and say a hearty thank you...

Bodie looked at him, seeing more than skin and bone, more than the allure that had held him all these years. He was disaster and deliverance all in one; death and life.

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 9 March 2007 14:19 (UTC)
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Thank you! I don't really know where this one came from, except something was triggered by Crimson_37's drawing, and then I watched "Backtrack".... *g* It was interesting with the dialogue because I was reading over the draft, in full editing mode, and reached the part where the dialogue is directly from that episode...and though: Yea, that sounds like them. Good, no change.... Ah. Yes, well it would sound like them there, wouldn't it? *g*

Thank you so much for the comments. I'm very pleased it worked so well for you!

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Elizabeth O'Shea

(no subject)

from: elizabethoshea
date: 9 March 2007 19:23 (UTC)
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Well, you already know I love this, but it never hurts to rave again in public *g*. Love the seamless integration of the episode, love Bodie's confusion - and grumpiness about being put in that position - at the beginning and his courage at the end (Doyle's too *g*), love the confrontation, love the happy ending, love the opening banter in the pub with Murphy. You get the general idea...

Wonderful stuff as always!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 12 March 2007 00:03 (UTC)
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Thank you! It's always good to hear that you love my stuff over and over again. *g* And, yeah, Bodie and Doyle both had to match Marge's courage at the end. I do love Marge.

I've just returned from my fannish weekend--exhausted but re-energized regarding stories!

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Melanie Athene

(no subject)

from: melanieathene
date: 9 March 2007 20:27 (UTC)
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A beautiful fic and a beautiful drawing = a winning combination.

I love the dialogue and the snarkiness between Bodie and Doyle. It really captures their dynamics.

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 12 March 2007 00:05 (UTC)
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Thank you! The dynamics between them is part of what I love about the series, so it's great to hear that I've captured that in my story. They are snarky--but the deep feelings between them are obvious. I've just spent the weekend watching Pros with a friend--oh, it's so obvious to me that they are in love. *g*

Thank you for taking the time to comment on my story!

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P.R. Zed

(no subject)

from: przed
date: 10 March 2007 18:22 (UTC)
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One thing I love about Pros is how complicated the lads are, and you've captured that so perfectly. Both wanting more, but both working at cross purposes until they finally work out what they need. All with spot on dialogue and perfect pacing. Brava!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 12 March 2007 00:08 (UTC)
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Yes, they need each other to express what they want to get them to another level...that is, Doyle's need is one rung, and Bodie's is a second rung, and they need both But I like it that it takes two of them, and that they realize it.

Thank you for commenting! And I hope part 4 of your story is progressing! *g*

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P.R. Zed

(no subject)

from: przed
date: 12 March 2007 00:44 (UTC)
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The dependence between them is so utterly perfect, and you've caught it so well.

And I hope part 4 of your story is progressing!

Just finished a first draft. Wanna take a look?

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 12 March 2007 00:53 (UTC)
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Yes, please! *g*

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Chris

(no subject)

from: ankaree
date: 12 March 2007 03:57 (UTC)
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Wonderful story! I loved it! You captured the boys perfectly and the ending was just lovely. Thanks you!

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 12 March 2007 13:39 (UTC)
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Thank you for commenting! I was just thinking this morning how lovely it is when, after the cold of winter, the sun streams in through the window in the early morning, warming everything up and reminding you of the good things in life. You know? That's what the original drawing did for me. I hadn't thought about this consciously, but that's why I had to end the story with the sun. I hope you felt some of that!

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eveningblue

(no subject)

from: eveningblue
date: 16 March 2007 21:36 (UTC)
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Wonderful story! I love how you built it all around that one moment in "Backtrack." That moment on the roof is so packed full of meaning. I just love what you've done with it.

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msmoat

(no subject)

from: msmoat
date: 16 March 2007 23:18 (UTC)
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It is a good moment, isn't it? Certainly one of my favorites from the series. It's funny how stories develop, because it wasn't my original intention to use that moment. And, even when I did decide to refer to it, I didn't see the link it would eventually provide. I love it when things fall into place like that! Thank you very much for the comments!

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