It wasn’t too late.
Lying awake in bed - but not all that awake, bloody tired if truth be told - Doyle wondered what he was doing. He should be sleeping, not semi-seriously contemplating getting it off with... with Bodie, of all people.
Not that they hadn’t done it before. Set a precedent, that did. But it was still at a level where it wasn’t too serious. A little fooling around, a little frottage, some mutual wanking off... not exactly something all blokes did together, but certainly something they could ignore. Pretend it didn’t mean anything.
Except, Bodie wanted more. And Doyle, to his surprise, was half inclined to give it to him.
Somewhere in the house an RT buzzed, but it wasn’t Doyle’s, so he didn’t let himself worry about it. He heard Bodie answering, defensive, saying yes he knew CI5's switchboard wasn’t an answering service...
Then a longer pause.
Bodie said, “No, love, don’t patch her through. Tell her I’ll get in touch tomorrow.”
So, thought Doyle, smirking to himself, a girlfriend. Ex-girlfriend, from the sound of it. And Bodie was trying to dodge her.
Bodie passed his bedroom door, on the way to the bathroom. He was muttering to himself, an unusual enough event that Doyle woke up a bit more, and tried to listen in.
But all he caught was, “...ships that pass in the night...”
Daft romantic, that was Bodie.
He ought to be out there making it up with his bird, not trying to work his way into Doyle’s bed. No, what he and Bodie had was just matey friendship... the sort where you relied on your mate for your life and sanity, true, but still just... Only Doyle had to stop there, because he honestly didn’t know what was “just” about their relationship.
Bodie’s words combined with Doyle’s half dreaming state to give him a strange mental image of two boats - ocean going, old fashioned warships - vying for the same berth, wooden sides collapsing as they collided, taking out most of the dock with them. Sinking. It wasn’t too late. He could still call the whole thing off.
Doyle listened to Bodie mucking around in the bathroom, opening cupboards, no doubt looking for the Vaseline - though I never said I would, pretty sure I won’t - and felt his exhaustion, a sour feeling mixed with reluctant affection.
Deliberately, Doyle let himself fall asleep.
He half-woke at the sound of the bathroom door, the bottom edge scraping against the warped floorboards. He listened as Bodie’s footsteps neared his room, and paused in the doorway. Doyle lay still, his eyes closed. I’m asleep. Go away. Drive yourself home, call back that girlfriend, leave me alone. After a moment he felt the bed sink under Bodie’s weight. Heard Bodie sigh as he lay down beside him, carefully not touching, but claiming that half of the bed regardless.
The sour feeling in Doyle’s gut turned to something sharper. My life, my house, my bed - what gives him the right...?
If the third time was lucky, then this campaign needed to stop right here and now. Bodie might have broadsided Doyle’s ship once and it was undeniable that Doyle had been the one who shanghaied him the second time, but there wasn’t going to be a third time. Absolutely not.
Because a third time might lead to the ships docking together permanently and Doyle knew he couldn’t cope with that. The distance they had between them was perfect. Mates. Close, but not so close that Doyle couldn’t still pull up anchor when he needed to.
He thought about throwing Bodie out, out of his bed, out of his house... but inertia had him in its grip. And really, it wasn’t so bad having Bodie there, though certainly he shouldn’t be encouraged. Just this once... Doyle fell asleep, still trying to sort out what to do about the problem that was Bodie.
Bodie heard the change in Ray’s breathing, the slight lengthening and deepening of breath that meant he really was asleep, finally. And there was no chance he’d change his mind and decide to welcome Bodie with open arms – or open legs – after all.
Under different circumstances Bodie would have been angry. Aggravating little sod was more trouble than he was worth. After all, it wasn’t as if he had any trouble getting laid. Could think of at least three worth calling, right this minute, who’d be perfectly happy for a bit of ‘how’s your...’
Bodie swore silently to himself, glaring at the ceiling as if all the answers should be there, somehow, in the writing on the wall - or the cracked and water-stained plaster, as the case may be.
He abruptly rolled over, and closed his eyes. There was only one reason she’d ever call and he didn’t care. He’d left it all behind years ago, and he wasn’t going to look back now. If the old man thought he was ready to try some kind of reconciliation...
Well, he’d have a nasty surprise on his hands, wouldn’t he?
Now that was a thought that could warm a bloke on a cold night, when Ray’s back was turned against him, and only stubbornness kept him in the same bed.
They were called into work early the next morning, Doyle grumbling and rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, Bodie with an air of distracted vagueness about him, not quite up to full speed.
Coffee helped, grabbed on the run, followed by a quick stop in the dank little closet they called an office to collect the pertinent reports.
The phone on Bodie’s desk rang just as they were leaving. They glanced at each other, weighing the likelihood of it being anything important versus the necessity of getting to Cowley’s office in a timely and efficient manner.
Finally with an irritated gesture, Bodie indicated that Doyle should go ahead, and snatched up the receiver. “What?”
As Doyle left, he heard Bodie saying, “How’d you get this number? I said I’d call you!”
Interesting, but there was no time to hang about eavesdropping.
Doyle knocked on the door to Cowley’s office. The Controller was alone, going through a stack of papers on his desk.
Cowley’s, “Ah, you’re finally here,” was immediately followed by a sharp glance and, “Where’s Bodie?”
“On the phone,” said Doyle.
“Humph.” Cowley frowned and looked down at the open file in front of him, clearly annoyed at the delay. Doyle braced himself for a lecture, but at that moment they both heard a clatter in the hall.
Bodie burst through the door with a breathless, “Sorry’m’late, sir!”
Cowley glared at him. “Punctuality is the mark of an organized mind. Remember that!”
Bodie straightened, automatically coming to attention. “Yessir, won’t happen again, sir.”
“Ah, never mind,” Cowley waved a forgiving hand at him, before tapping a photo clipped to the file. “Andreas Baader - the Baader-Meinhof gang again...” He stopped and gave Doyle a narrow glance.
Doyle immediately blanked his expression, well aware that he’d been - almost - grinning.
The briefing was short and to the point, and - oddly - Bodie was silent throughout, except for a few pertinent questions. He was attentive and professional and entirely unlike himself. Given that he had been himself earlier that morning, it had to have something to do with the mysterious phone call. Doyle searched his mind for additional clues, but there were none.
Doyle caught Bodie’s elbow outside Cowley’s office. “Okay, who’s the bird, and when’s she due?”
Bodie shook him off. “Don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“The one on the phone. Last night, and this morning!”
“Nothing important. Told her not to call again.” Bodie took the stairs at speed, not quite running, but certainly trying to leave Doyle behind.
Doyle was having none of it. He clattered down the steps behind Bodie and cut him off at the landing. “Do I know her?”
He was smashing himself futilely against the impenetrable rock cliffs that were Bodie.
“Then, who died?”
Astonishingly, a portion of the rock face crumbled.
It was a mistake. Bodie knew it as soon as the words passed his lips. Once a copper, always a copper. Now that Ray was on the scent, he wasn’t ever going to let it go.
Bodie trusted him with his life. He trusted him with his body - and would like to do a lot more of that kind of trusting, if Ray could bring himself to come across on any kind of a regular basis. But he wasn’t at all sure he wanted to trust Ray with this.
It wasn’t anything terribly sordid. Or even that uncommon. But it was personal.
Every man is an island, and Bodie liked it that way. He had stores of guns, ammo, and basic supplies cached in convenient locations around the city. Cowley knew about some of them, of course, but he didn’t know them all. Bodie had several passports in different names stashed in a safety deposit box. Cowley didn’t know about that one.
At least, Bodie was fairly sure he didn’t.
Seventy-five percent of the tales he told about Africa were lies, just so the others would never knew which twenty-five percent were true. Bodie allowed friends and lovers in only so far, and guarded the rest of his personal life jealously. Because then, when the inevitable betrayal occurred, they could only take a small piece of him.
And he never talked about his family.
Ignoring Doyle’s questions, Bodie stepped around him and continued down the corridor.
Twelve hours later Doyle was on his stomach in the wet grass, in the dark, directing his team around the far side of a barn. Bodie was out of sight, somewhere on the other side. The terrorists were, presumably, inside.
A door opened, and Doyle whispered a quick warning into his RT.
A figure stepped outside, and lit a cigarette, the small red glow startlingly bright. Doyle slid closer. Mentally, he was counting down the seconds to the co-ordinated attack, his men in position, Bodie’s team closing in on the other side.
Then the count reached zero, and Doyle charged silently toward the man in the doorway, hoping to take him down without firing his gun, because every second the ones inside remained unaware was another second to their advantage.
He almost made it. Saw the cigarette falling, a blood-red line cut thorough the shadow even as the shotgun swung up. He rolled forward under the blast, felt a burning sensation on the side of his face just before he collided with his target’s knees.
They hit the unlocked door together, tumbling inside. Doyle was vaguely aware of two of his own men entering close behind. One of them vaulted over him.
Doyle grunted as a boot made contact with his ribs. His back slammed hard against the wall. He scrambled to get his footing and launched himself forward, taking his target down. Some well placed blows on his part and the man beneath him went limp. And then it was simply a matter of rolling him over, cuffing him, and leaping to his feet, gun in hand, ready to join the fray...
Except oh Christ his eye hurt!
Doyle staggered, suddenly off balance. He clapped his hand over his right eye, feeling the angry sting of abraded flesh on his cheek. That in itself was not a matter for concern, but the fact that he couldn’t see out of his right eye – must have got something in it - that was a problem.
There was no time to worry about it. Bodie and the others, they were all counting on him to hold up his end. If he didn’t...
Someone could end up dead.
Bodie could end up dead.
So it was through the back of the storage room and into the main part of the building, and hoping against hell that he wouldn’t miss and shoot one of their own...
But the agents were good. Top notch. They had the barn secured in five minutes flat. Four in custody, two dead, and Bodie leading the search for one more in the woods. It was all over.
Doyle staggered over to a hay bale and sat down. Tears streamed from his right eye, their salt stinging his raw cheek. He resisted the urge to claw the eyeball right out of its socket, and instead wrapped both hands around the grip of his pistol, holding on tightly.
Cowley stopped by, briefly, slightly concerned, though not to the extent that he would overlook Doyle’s report. Doyle found that the sheer ordinariness of the post-mission debriefing helped settle his nerves. He holstered his pistol, and held onto the edge of the bale instead.
Cowley made a pleased noise as he finished. Doyle didn’t ask him how his eye looked. He didn’t want to remind Cowley that there was no room for one-eyed agents in CI5.
There were footsteps behind him, and Doyle had to turn almost completely around to see that it was his partner.
Without a word, Bodie leaned over to examine his face. Doyle felt his breath, hot against his cheek. He could smell Bodie, as well. Sweat and gun oil. He felt a sudden urge to grab him and just hold on, and he was ashamed to discover that he wanted to cry.
But it wasn’t because he was scared. No, it was just a physical reaction to the fact that he had half an ocean pouring out of one eye already. Nothing more than that.
Bodie made a soft clucking noise. “Good thing you never had much in the way of looks to lose.”
Doyle growled at him. “Just tell me how bad it is.” Because he could hear it from Bodie, even if he couldn’t from Cowley.
“Oh,” said Bodie, sounding a little too deliberately unconcerned. “Got a nasty powder burn, wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t end up with a bit of a gunpowder tattoo. Your hair’s a tad crisped over your ear. Going to look a fright for a while, sunshine. I’m sorry to say your modelling career may be in jeopardy...”
“My eye, you berk!”
But the ambulance was there then, and Bodie backed off without answering. Doyle was vaguely aware of him hovering, never very far away. His gaze had an almost physical weight, and Doyle found it comforting.
Of course, the doctor's cheerful assessment was even more comforting. Corneal abrasion. It would mend. A bit of salve, a little rest, and he’d be all sorted.
Doyle didn’t need to cry with relief. His right eye was doing that all by itself. He settled for beaming happily in Bodie’s general direction instead. Bodie returned his grin, and Doyle was unsettled to realise that what had scared him most wasn’t losing his eye, or losing his job. It was the possibility of losing Bodie.
It occurred to him then that it might already be too late to steer clear. Somewhere along the line, without intending to, he’d committed to the course.
Bloody terrifying is what it was. For a moment there, seeing Ray, his cheek streaked with black soot and glistening red, bleeding, Bodie thought he’d finally met with a catastrophe he couldn’t prepare for. All the secret gun stashes or fake passports in the city wouldn’t help if Ray was disabled badly enough to take him out of the field.
When Bodie gave Ray his assessment of the damage, he had to fight to keep his voice steady. He counted himself lucky that Ray was too preoccupied to notice.
And then when the doctor said that he was going to be fine... Dizzy with relief, Bodie sagged against the wall and returned Ray’s smile.
It occurred to him that he’d failed to take something into account, when he’d been making his disaster preparations. Circumstances had changed. Bodie didn’t want to be completely self-contained and sufficient any more.
He wanted Ray by his side.
There were no celebrity appearances that night - no Andreas Baader in other words - but otherwise the op had resolved successfully.
His eye patched, Doyle walked over to stand next to Bodie, who was watching with detached interest as the terrorists were loaded into the wagons. People were moving with purpose and alacrity all around them, the bomb squad, local cops, reporters... but for a change they were their own island of calm. Their job was done.
It felt somewhat surreal to Doyle, as though everything was playing out like an old movie, flat and colourless. The injection he’d been given had reduced the pain in his eye to a dull itch, but now every time he blinked it felt as if he was dragging a sheet of sandpaper across it.
Cowley having directed the chaos to some semblance of order, was also standing alone, his gaze all-seeing.
Doyle nudged Bodie in the ribs. “Now’s a good time to ask.”
“Eh?” Bodie gave him a puzzled glance.
“Time off. Leave. You should ask him now, while he’s feeling that warm glow of a mission accomplished.”
“Why would I do that?”
Now it was Doyle’s turn to be confused. “Bo-die! Your father, remember? When’s the funeral?”
“I have no idea.” Bodie tipped his head back slightly, and surveyed the crowd. His voice was still level, as pleasant as if he was discussing the likelihood of more rain. “I wasn’t invited.”
After a moment he glanced over at Doyle, and smirked. “You’d look like a pirate with that eye patch, if you didn’t look even more like a guppy.”
Doyle snapped his mouth closed. Right. Bodie’s father, Bodie’s business. Far be it for him to ask any questions.
That wasn’t so hard.
And Ray really did look like a pirate. Damned sexy, that.
Maybe if he gave him as little as possible, no more than necessary, Ray would get frustrated and go away.
Except not so much the ‘go away’ part. Bodie didn’t want that. Especially not after seeing Ray nearly lose an eye.
Bodie wondered how far he’d have to let Ray in, in order to keep him. Somehow the thought that he might end up with nothing to hold back for himself didn’t scare him nearly as much as it should have.
It was raining again, lightly, by the time Bodie pulled up in front of Doyle’s flat.
“Right. Ta for the lift, mate.” Doyle was halfway to the door before he realized that Bodie had climbed out of the car as well.
Doyle propped his hands on his hips. “What are you doing?”
“I’m coming in,” said Bodie. He smiled hopefully at Doyle.
“No.” Bodie had been angling for sex last night, and Doyle had no reason to believe he’d given up. If he let Bodie in, there was only one way this could go. And just because he possibly might want it to go that way, didn’t mean that it should. Man was more than his gonads.
Bodie’s face fell. “Well, I just thought some company...”
Doyle remained unmoved.
“See, I’ve had a bit of a blow today...” said Bodie, sounding utterly dejected.
Doyle examined him through narrowed eyes. It was almost certainly an act, but there might possibly be some tiny fragment of truth buried beneath. Because no one - not even Bodie, surely - could be entirely unaffected by the death of their own father. Doyle’s relationship with his father was currently on the level of a few words exchanged over the phone twice a year at Christmas and his birthday, but he would still be sorry if he died.
“Fine.” Doyle gave in. “Come up.”
Bodie immediately brightened, confirming Doyle’s suspicions regarding his sincerity.
Once inside, Doyle ignored him and disappeared into the bathroom. He was cold and tired, and his face hurt, but mostly he just didn’t want to deal with Bodie and his clumsy attempts at getting him into bed – at least not before he’d sorted out whether he was at all inclined to say yes. A glance in the mirror confirmed what he’d suspected. By morning he’d have a sizable scab covering most of his right cheek, temple and jaw. Just lovely.
Doyle let the bath water run as he peeled off his damp clothes. He appreciated the sting of the hot water on his various bruises and abrasions as he lowered himself into the bath. Leaning back with a sigh, eyes closing, he could almost forget...
The door banged open.
Doyle sat up, sending a tidal wave of water over the edge of the bath. “Hey!”
Bodie stood in the door with a tray in his hands, a napkin folded over his arm. “Will the young master be desiring a spot of tea?” he asked, in his best plummy accent.
“I’m older than you, you berk!” Doyle almost threw the flannel at him before deciding that he’d rather drink the tea than see it end up all over the bathroom floor. “Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?”
“If you’d wanted me to stay out, you’d have locked the door,” said Bodie, unruffled. He sat down on the toilet lid, the tray on his knees, and passed a cup to Doyle. “How’s your eye?”
“Driving me mad,” said Doyle. He reached up under the patch and rubbed a finger under his eye. More tears leaked down.
“'Ere! Stop that! You’ll make it worse.”
“Yes, mum.” Doyle looked down into his cup. Bodie didn’t need to know it, but Doyle was glad he was here. Pensively, he wondered what would have happened if he had lost his eye and was forced to retire from CI5. Would it really mean losing Bodie, too?
Last night he’d been telling himself that he and Bodie had nothing in common outside the job. Now that same thought made him feel wretchedly lonely.
Bodie took a sip from his cup, apparently oblivious to Doyle’s preoccupation with the whys and wherefores of their dubious relationship. Cheerfully, he said, “Wanted to be a pirate, when I was a kid. Eye patch, peg leg, parrot, the whole deal.”
“Yeah?” Doyle’s descent into self-pity was abruptly halted. It wasn’t often Bodie spoke about his past.
“Yeah, well, then it occurred to me that I’d have to lose an eye and a leg to do it. Seemed like a rum deal,” said Bodie.
“And the parrot?” asked Doyle, smiling despite himself. Tea in the bath, and cheerful tales - that was more than what you’d expect from a mate, from your partner.
“Got myself one in an African port,” Bodie nodded decisively. “Bloody bird damn near took my finger off.”
“What did you do with it?”
Doyle choked, and started coughing, his tea suddenly diverted from its usual path. He felt Bodie take the cup from his hands, and then thump him soundly between the shoulders. Right on one of the bruised bits. “Ow!”
“Delicate little flower, are you?”
Doyle sent a wave of bath water at Bodie, and heard a yelp and a clatter of cups as Bodie tried to duck.
So much for not getting tea on my bathroom floor, he thought unrepentantly. And then a hand landed on top of his head, and Doyle was fighting to avoid being dunked under the water.
He grabbed the waistband of Bodie’s trousers and yanked. The sides of the bath were just high enough to catch the back of his knees. With a splash, Bodie landed arse first in the bath, right in Doyle’s lap.
Doyle didn’t wait. He had the upper hand here, and he meant to keep it. Seizing the collar of Bodie’s shirt, he hauled him in close and kissed him hard, mashing his lips against Bodie’s until he could feel the outline of his teeth through the skin.
Briefly Bodie thrashed, then he abruptly stopped fighting. His mouth relaxed against Doyle’s, opening slightly. Doyle tasted Bodie’s lips with his tongue, finding over-sweetened tea and something else as well. A hint of arousal.
Or more than a hint. Pulling away, Doyle found Bodie staring at him with a dazed expression. And judging by the erection tenting his sopping wet trousers...
Doyle ruthlessly suppressed his own burgeoning desire. He had Bodie right where he wanted him - utterly at his mercy. Without hesitation, he took advantage of the moment. “Your father.”
Bodie started, his eyes widening. “What? Here?”
“I want to know. Why aren’t you going to the funeral?”
“You can’t just... That’s not... I’m all wet and cold!” protested Bodie plaintively. He struggled to sit up, but he couldn’t get any purchase on the sides of the bath. Doyle threw a leg across his thighs, pinning him, and heard Bodie groan.
“I’ll warm you up,” said Doyle. He shifted over, until he was straddling Bodie, and heard more water hit the floor. “Start talking.”
“I can’t believe you’re... this is taking ‘how’s your father’ a bit far!” Bodie sounded scandalized, but Doyle noted that he didn’t resist as his zipper was pulled down. Instead he made a strangled noise deep in the back of his throat and slid right under the water.
Doyle grabbed him by the back of the collar and hauled him up, spluttering. A small tsunami followed, splashing over the back of the bath. They were face to face now, Bodie on his back with his knees up, and Doyle straddling his waist.
“Yeah well,” said Doyle. “I reckon it’s only when I’m holding your family jewels hostage that I’ll get a straight answer out of you about your family.” He reached down and gave the items in question a demonstrative squeeze.
Bodie had a reputation for never folding under pressure, for being immune to interrogation. No doubt this was due to the fact that no one had applied quite the right technique before, because this time Bodie folded spectacularly. He began talking as fast as he could. “We don’t… we didn't get along. Th’old man was a mean bastard, liked to put the boot in. Mum died. I didn’t see any reason to stay. Ran off to sea. Still don't see the point in going back.”
“To become a pirate,” said Doyle. It was pretty much what he’d expected. Bodie was looking at him pleadingly, so Doyle sat back on his heels and began working Bodie’s trousers down. He deserved some reward, for answering the question.
Bodie lifted his hips obligingly. “Yeah, but merchant marines was the best I could do, plus they didn’t require me to cut off my leg or lose an eye, and nobody rogered the cabin boy.”
“You mean...” Doyle faked an expression of shock. “Cleaning the Captain’s head wasn’t one of your duties?”
Bodie gave him a disgusted look. “Not in the way you’d like to think. Was a big lad. Did most of the rogering meself - in port,” he added, proudly. “Nope, the only bad moment was that fucking parrot.”
The trousers hit the floor beside the bath with a soggy thud. “What does parrot taste like anyway?” asked Doyle, starting in on Bodie’s shirt buttons.
“Like chicken, what d’you expect?” Bodie’s voice was light and bantering, but there was a look in his eyes, a frightened vulnerability, that betrayed him.
Doyle paused, feeling an uneasy sense of responsibility weighing on him. He was suddenly aware that he had the ability to hurt Bodie deeply, if he chose.
But then Bodie chuckled, and said, “You’d be amazed what I was able to trade the feathers for at the next port.”
“Yeah?” Bodie was still looking at him, with that same unsettling expression.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, the small voice of Doyle’s common sense was still trying to remind him of what a terrible idea this was.
He squashed that voice ruthlessly.
Grinning into Bodie’s glazed eyes, he said, “Avast ye matey, prepare to be boarded.”
Bodie was in heaven. And apparently heaven came with all the latest mod cons, including hot and cold running Ray.
It was the eye patch that clinched it. Christ, but Ray could have stepped out of an old swashbuckling movie with that patch, and that mop of curls, and the scowl didn’t hurt at all. Right in character it was.
Bodie wondered what Ray would think if he confessed that he hadn’t so much ever wanted to be a pirate, as he’d wanted to fuck one. Too early an exposure to Douglas Fairbanks films when he was an impressionable lad. Ruffled shirts and tight trousers, and everyone swinging their swords about...
So it was understandable that when Ray had taken to his bath, Bodie simply had to come up with an excuse to follow him in and get an eyeful.
Oh hell. Ray was getting bathwater everywhere, and while it was very nice...
What’s he after now? Thought he was going to undo the rest of those buttons, not… Oh.
...very nice indeed...
...it couldn’t be doing his eye any good.
The last thing Ray needed was an infection.
“Right!” Bodie suddenly pushed himself up, bracing his hands on the edge of the bath. “Let’s move.”
“What?” Ray’s head came up, wet tendrils of hair plastered to his cheeks and forehead. The cotton wool padding under his patch looked damp, and served only to strengthen Bodie’s resolve.
“Bed,” said Bodie. As Ray’s countenance began to darken, he hastened to add, “See, the tap's digging into my back, and...”
Ah, that did it. Ray wouldn’t have moved on his own account, but he’d do it for Bodie. Was enough to make a bloke come over all warm inside. Before he came all over in a different way, of course.
“What are you grinning about?” asked Ray, sharply. He twisted around and looked over the edge of the bath. “Just look at my floor!”
Bodie slid his hands down low on Ray’s hips, finding the sensitive skin on either side of his groin. He flexed his fingers. Ray gasped, and Bodie felt him jerk. “Throw some towels down,” said Bodie. He paused to lick some of the water off Ray’s back, his tongue tracing the sharp contours of his spine. “Worry about it in the morning.”
Yeah, that got Ray out of the bath. A damp towel hit Bodie in the face as he scrambled out after him, grinning and supremely pleased with himself. Like putty in my hands...
Well, maybe very crusty, dried up putty. Took a lot of work to get Ray to this point - and there was no guarantee of success - but of course Bodie wasn’t the sort to back down from a challenge.
And, of course, there was still the eye patch. Whatever else happened tonight, that alone was worth the price of admission. Bodie thought about the dress shirts in his closet. If he rounded up a couple of birds, found tickets to... the opera, maybe... He figured he could stand a few hours of caterwauling, if it meant he’d get to see Ray in a ruffled shirt, complete with the patch. And maybe ravish him afterward, birds optional.
“You’re rubbing your hands together. What are you planning?” Ray stood - stark naked - in the middle of his bathroom, his hands propped on his hips, surveying the flood.
He gave Bodie a suspicious glare, and then began to chuckle.
“What!” Bodie only liked being laughed at when he’d set up the joke himself.
“Look at you!”
Bodie had been focused on Ray’s rather distracting appearance. He now took a moment to survey himself. Sodden shirt, open to the waist, socks, no trousers... He made a sudden grab for Ray and pulled him close, feeling the contact in his groin like a jolt of electricity.
“Arrgh! Gerrof! You’re freezing!”
Bodie held on tighter. “Promised you’d warm me up.” Besides, protests aside, he could tell that at least one portion of Ray’s anatomy wasn’t unhappy in the slightest.
Ray snaked a foot between his ankles, but Bodie anticipated that and took a quick step to the side to keep from being dumped on his arse. Except Ray knew him too well, and followed up with a grab at his back collar, yanking his shirt down to his elbows.
Bodie struggled to free himself from the damp, clinging fabric, but Ray was too fast for him. He had just enough time to feel Ray’s hand on the back of his head - controlling my fall, oh how thoughtful - before he landed with a splash in the middle of the bathroom floor. His right elbow, still tangled in his shirt, banged hard on the tiled floor, and he yelped.
“Hit your funny bone?” asked Ray, straddling him again.
Bodie looked up into those eyes - dangerous - and knew he had to regain control of the situation, fast. Unable to free his arms, he braced his feet against the floor and tried throwing Ray off. Except - oh god that brought his not-particularly-discouraged-anyway cock into contact with Ray’s bum, and he felt himself light up all over again.
“Let me up!”
“No,” said Ray, thoughtfully. “I like this. Could get used to it.”
Bodie thrashed some more, feeling his heels skid on the slick tiles, hearing the splash and slap of the water. Somewhere a teacup rolled away, colliding with the wall. Bodie’s arms were trapped beneath him, and he couldn’t get free. He couldn’t get to completion either – because now Ray was sitting across his thighs and Bodie had nothing to rub up against. It was enough to drive a man mad. Finally, with a groan of despair, he stopped fighting. Ray was still regarding him with that slightly detached, speculative look.
“Do you surrender?” asked Ray.
“Eh?” Bodie’s voice was a full register higher than normal.
“Do you surrender? Are you prepared to lower your flag, and raise the Jolly Roger. I’ll have no...” Ray paused a moment before continuing. “...scallywags on my crew.”
Bodie felt another surge in his groin, this time just from sheer joy. He’s talking like a pirate! But... “Scallywag?”
“Land lubber,” said Ray, licking his lips.
“‘Ere! When’ve you been to sea?” Pointlessly, Bodie tried to sit up.
“We’re at sea right now,” said Ray. “In case you haven’t noticed.” Another slight pause, and then he added, fondly, “You scabby old bilge rat.”
Bodie wanted to point out that he certainly wasn’t going to be the scabby one, once the burns on Ray’s cheek had a chance to begin mending. But Ray suddenly stood, and Bodie whimpered at the sudden loss of his warmth and weight. He could have freed himself now, but he stayed where he was, in the puddled water, looking up at Ray.
Everything seemed to have taken on an unnatural sharpness in the last few minutes, the rusting pipes under the sink, the cracked tile just behind the toilet, the water trapped in bright droplets in the hair on Ray’s legs, and the taut muscular curve of his bum, tightening as he reached up into the medicine cabinet.
“Lily-livered,” said Ray, dropping back down onto floor beside Bodie. “Yellow bellied.” He scooped a large dollop of Vaseline into his hand. “Grog-swilling...”
Bodie couldn’t help it. He giggled. Then he would have given anything for a free hand to clap over his mouth. Because CI5 agents don’t giggle.
Ray gave him a mock-astonished look, before applying the lube generously to Bodie. “Right then, ye mutinous sea-dog, it’s off to the poop deck with you.”
Bodie lost it. Utterly. Howling with laughter he rolled onto his side, his prick slipping out of Ray’s grasp. But that was okay, because his arms had finally come free from the tangle of his shirt, and he was able to grab one of Ray’s ankles.
Mutiny. In one quick move, their positions were reversed. Ray was on his stomach, and Bodie was on top, his knees on either side of Ray’s hips. Bodie moved, feeling the sweet slide of lubricated skin against the heated crack of Ray’s arse. He leaned close to Ray’s ear and asked, “Who gets to be captain, and who’s first mate?”
Ray pushed up beneath him, glaring back over his shoulder with his one good eye. “Understand this, mate. We’re taking turns. This time it’s me, but next time it’s going to be you, and there’ll be no argument. Hear?”
Bodie felt a warning prickle of fear, a lightning charge building in the atmosphere, but then Ray moved his hips and he was suddenly much too far gone to care. “Aye-aye, cap’n,” he gasped, stumbling over the words in his haste.
The bathroom floor was cold, and slippery, and Ray swore at him when he couldn’t find the right angle immediately, but then he pushed himself up off the floor onto his knees and his hips aligned with Bodie’s. Bodie dragged his fingers up the long length of Ray’s muscular thighs and felt him first tighten and then loosen, allowing him further inside. He slid a hand under, and laid his palm flat against Ray’s stomach, and heard him groan, feeling the muscles clench in response.
Bodie traced the flat planes of Ray’s back with his fingernails, encouraged to continue with each shuddering response in the body beneath him. He pressed a little harder and saw red welts rising up, graffiti to show the world that he’d been here. Mine. Ray hissed, then twisted beneath him, arching his back up against Bodie’s hand. Bodie grabbed him by the hips and thrust, hard. Ray yelped, the sound more pleasure than pain, and Bodie nearly lost it right there.
Ray was rocking back against him, taking pleasure as much as he was giving it. Bodie reached around to take him in hand, grasping him firmly, finding the sweet spot just beneath, stroking Ray the way he himself had always liked it best. Ray threw his head back with a strangled sound, halfway between a laugh and a sob. And then it was all about the feel of Ray beneath him, and the smell of his body and his hair, wet and sliding, and he was vaguely aware of Ray coming first, just before he tipped over the edge himself.
They collapsed together, spent, against the side of the bath, and the first thing Bodie was aware of was a sense of wonder. All those years of holding back, defending his island fortress, and in the end it turned out that all he really wanted was to throw the gates open wide and invite Ray inside.
I hope he’ll stay awhile, thought Bodie, wistfully.
And then he opened his eyes, and the first thing he saw was the raised welts on Ray's back, livid red in the bright electric light.
Under the cascading waves of sensation and emotion, the locks of Bodie’s private world shattered. Things he hadn’t thought of in years…
He could hear the old man calling him, his voice ugly with rage. And he grinned, despite his terror. Because he’d never find him here. And by morning he’d be too preoccupied with his hangover to remember why he’d been angry.
Bodie struggled to find purchase, trying to regain his emotional footing. He wrapped his arms around Ray from behind, pressing his face into the warm space between Ray’s shoulder blades. But it wasn’t enough. He couldn’t get back. And there were still welts on Ray’s back…
He hurt, back and thighs. He couldn’t see the marks left by the belt, but he could feel them, tender on his skin. He knew he’d be scrubbing blood out of his shirt by morning. Still he continued to grin, safe in his hiding place, because the other part of his punishment had been the loss of his dinner, but he was smarter than the old man. He’d planned ahead. Hard cheese and stale bread had never tasted more like victory.
Ray squirmed beneath him, uncomfortably. “Here, you can get off now.” There was a pause, and then, uncertainly, “Bodie?”
He couldn’t let go. He knew Ray had to be finding him heavy. It was just that...
He didn’t have the words for what was wrong. A moment ago he’d been on top of the world, but now everything had turned inside out, and backwards.
Ray pushed himself up onto his knees, and Bodie moved with him, until they were leaning back against the side of the bath, together. Bodie felt a deep sigh lift Ray’s chest.
“It’s going to get cold,” Ray said, conversationally. “Well, colder. And eventually, when we don’t show up tomorrow, Cowley will dispatch a team, and...”
Bodie was trembling, shaking almost too hard to speak. “He’s dead.”
“Oh.” There were volumes of comprehension written in that one word.
Abruptly, Ray twisted out of Bodie’s arms. But before Bodie could panic, before he had a chance to even fully articulate to himself the fear that he’d finally surrendered too much of what was inside, Ray was wrapping the last dry towel around his shoulders and hustling him out of the bathroom.
Bodie felt as if he hardly had time to blink before he found himself installed in Ray’s bed, with the blankets piled up around him. Ray shoved a glass into his hand, and Bodie stared down at a generous amount of scotch.
He glanced up and saw that Ray was pouring one for himself.
“Have our own wake, won’t we?” said Ray.
Yes, thought Bodie. Not a bad idea. He took a large swallow from the glass and felt it burn down his throat, the spreading heat beginning to melt the chill in his bones.
Ray leaned back against the headboard and crossed his ankles, looking into his glass thoughtfully. “Mind telling me who called today?”
“My stepmother.” Suddenly embarrassed, Bodie drained his glass and started to kick free of the blankets. “Look Ray, I’m sorry. You’ve...”
“Oh no, you’re not going anywhere.” Ray grabbed Bodie’s glass, refilled it, and shoved it back into his hand. “I’m too tired and sore to go chasing after you tonight. Start talking.”
“I’m not sitting here mourning him, if that’s what you think,” said Bodie, aggressively.
“From what you said, he was a right bastard.”
“I was going to go back, and see him, you know. Always meant to, never got around to it. I wanted to show him...” Bodie trailed off. He took another swallow of scotch.
“Give him a taste of his own medicine?” said Ray, his tone carefully neutral.
“Wouldn’t be much fun, would it? Beating up an old man.” Bodie shook his head. “But the fantasy kept me warm, some nights.” Bodie felt a sudden chill, like a cold breath between his shoulder blades. He suppressed a shiver and abruptly finished his second glass.
Ray took it from him and placed it on the night table, beside his own glass.
“Will I do instead?” he asked.
Bodie squinted at him, deeply puzzled. “Do for what?”
“For keeping you warm, you berk!” Ray shoved him, hard.
Bodie caught himself before he could fall out of bed. He’s actually offering to do this again? He beamed fuzzily at Ray, finally feeling the combined effects of alcohol, and exhaustion. “You mean, any time? Always?”
“Well, we could sign an oath in blood...” suggested Ray, and Bodie thought he’d never seen anyone look more piratical.
Finally understanding the true nature of the sea change, Bodie said, “Nah. It’s already been signed. Years ago.”
Then he threw the covers over Ray and pulled him down into the bed. Because there are other things you can do with a pirate besides fuck him.
And Bodie intended to try them all.