May Day Run
By Rebelcat

Doyle had come up with the plan for the Monday after May Day, which by chance happened to fall on a Sunday. Bodie wasn’t entirely clear on the specifics, except that it involved a lot of motorcycles and would wind up at the Cinque Port Arms in Old Hastings.

Or maybe it started there.

Whichever way, it didn’t concern Bodie. Doyle was the one with the itinerary. Usually it was up to Bodie to arrange these sorts of outings – to round up the girls and book the restaurant and then bully Doyle into attending. So, even considering how offhand Doyle’s invitation had been, it was still a refreshing change. Bodie was content to follow, and ridiculously happy he’d been invited at all.

Then on the 30th of April, Cowley put them on standby, which pretty much scuppered any cross country bike rides. Bodie didn’t care particularly. There were pubs closer to home, and other places to take the bikes. But Doyle was unaccountably put out, to such an extent that Bodie began to wonder if he’d had some other motivation for joining the ride. Did the Cinque Port Arms have notably attractive and accommodating barmaids, perhaps?

Queries, both discreet and pointed, turned up nothing but a certain amount of ill-tempered snappishness on Doyle’s part. Even Bodie’s attempt to round up replacement barmaids did nothing to mend Doyle’s mood.

May Day morning dawned bright, clear, and earsplittingly loud. Bodie pulled his bedspread over his head and determinedly ignored his doorbell. Then his R/T went off.

“Wake up, Bodie! Move your lazy arse. Cowley wants us.”

Bodie grunted something incoherent into the R/T before thumbing it off. Doyle sounded entirely too energetic considering the hour.

The doorbell rang again, before his feet had touched the floor. “All right!” bellowed Bodie as he grabbed his robe.

He yanked the door open and glowered at Doyle.

A bright smile greeted him, an entirely different visage from the storm-tossed one that had faced him over the bar table the previous night. Bodie mused that being partnered with Raymond Doyle left no choice but to become accustomed to abrupt changes in the weather.

“Stuart’s turned up a line on our kids,” said Doyle, shouldering past Bodie into the hall. “One of the little rats had an attack of conscience. Gave Stuart names, addresses, targets, everything. We go in, round them up, and we’ll be on our bikes by tomorrow morning!” He stopped in front of Bodie’s fridge. “What have you got to eat?”

Bodie didn’t bother answering. Doyle was going to help himself to whatever he liked, no matter what he said. Bodie’s early morning irritation dispersed as he hurried through an abbreviated version of his routine. The promise of some action – real, useful work instead of sitting around on their arses waiting on Cowley’s pleasure – was definitely something to look forward to. As was the prospect of its being followed by a day off with Doyle.

Bodie’s willingness – even eagerness – to drop everything and head off on a cross country bike ride with Doyle was something that didn’t bear close inspection. He didn’t care for biking all that much. Doyle was a difficult, moody sod, and if he were anyone else, Bodie would avoid him on his days off. There were birds that would have him, and mates who were more congenial.

No, this definitely wasn’t something he wanted to consider in depth.

Bodie pulled his turtleneck over his head and shrugged into his shoulder holster. He was doing up the buckles as he wandered out into the kitchen, pausing briefly to admire a rear view of Doyle, headfirst in the fridge.

“Find anything?” he asked.

His grin widened as Doyle started, his head banging on the shelf above. He straightened, his hand buried in his curls, rubbing. “Bloody hell! Do you have to sneak around like that?”

“Wasn’t sneaking,” protested Bodie. He gave Doyle his best wounded look, but it had no effect. He tried again, “Can’t help it if I’m just naturally stealthy.”

“You move like an elephant most of the time.” Doyle’s gaze tracked down the length of Bodie’s body, ending at his sock-clad feet. “Go and put some shoes on.”

The weight of Doyle’s gaze felt like a tangible thing. “Next, you’ll be wanting to tie a bell on me.” Bodie meant it as light banter, but for some reason he ended up sounding half-strangled instead.

“Might help,” said Doyle, his expression indecipherable. “Seems like every time I turn around you’re standing there staring at me.”

Bodie raised an eyebrow, puzzled. “What are you talking about?”

“Just what I said.” Doyle turned back to the fridge. “Don’t you have anything worth eating in here?”

Bodie’s good mood abruptly soured. Doyle was doing it again. Accusing him of things he wasn’t doing. Sure he’d had a bit of a look this morning, but it wasn’t like he stared all the time.

And anyway, where was he supposed to look, when Doyle was bent over like that?

Bodie grabbed his jacket off of the back of the couch. “Never mind breakfast. We can grab a sausage roll on the way.”

“Oh, marvellous,” said Doyle, wryly. “My arteries will be so grateful.” But he closed the fridge and followed Bodie out.

In theory, the operation sounded simple. A co-ordinated pick-up, timed so that none of the targets could alert the others. Nice, neat, everything in one tidy package, and over in less than an hour except for the reports.

Bodie and Doyle’s target was a nineteen year old Philosophy student, living in a flat he shared with a number of others. Francis Hill was notable only for his long hair, half-grown goatee, and an over-inflated sense of himself as a dangerous anarchist radical. He had a minor record for possession of marijuana, nothing major.

“Impresses the girls, I’m sure,” said Bodie. He checked his watch one more time, and then drummed his fingers on the edge of the window.

“What?” asked Doyle. “That little beard he’s trying to grow?”

Bodie smirked. “Well, I’ve heard girls sometimes get off on a little… friction.” He eyed Doyle expectantly, but all he got was a disgusted look. “What I meant was, the whole mad bomber business.”

It was getting harder and harder to get a good honest laugh out of Doyle these days. But then if Doyle had suddenly decided to start getting touchy about something as trivial as being looked at, who knew what was going through his mind?

“Bodie, watch the building,” said Doyle, impatiently. “Cowley won’t be pleased if our Francis wanders off while you’re gazing into my eyes.”

Oh yeah, that’d be it then. “Sod off,” said Bodie, pleasantly. He dragged his attention away from his partner and focused it back on the front door. Chances were very good that their man – correction, boy – was inside. No lectures on a Sunday and it was unlikely he’d be headed off to church.

“It’s a joke, isn’t it?” said Bodie. “Bombing a bank on a day when no one’s going to be there.”

“They don’t want to hurt anyone?” suggested Doyle. “Seems fairly decent of them.”

“I can think of better things to do on a Bank Holiday Monday!”

“We have better things to do,” Doyle reminded Bodie.

There was that, wasn’t there? Bodie looked at his wristwatch again, willing the time to pass faster so he could get on the road with the man who alternately infuriated and fascinated him. He held up a finger as the second hand moved onto to the hour. At precisely seven fifteen in the morning they smoothly exited the car. Doyle took the back, while Bodie went up the front steps.

Francis’s flat was on the first floor. As Bodie knocked, he found himself thinking that this was a job the police could handle just as easily. If it weren’t for the students’ targets – banks – and their method – bombs – this wouldn’t be CI5’s concern at all.

Half-arsed, pathetic excuses for terrorists…

The door opened and a sleepy-eyed girl in a man’s shirt peered around the crack. “Can I help you?”

Bodie pushed the door open, his ID in hand. “CI5. It’s all right, love. I just want to talk to Francis Hill.”

“Hey!” she protested.

Bodie quickly scanned the small flat. It was cluttered with books and there were wire clippings on the table. Along with a bong. The girl was hanging off his jacket, trying to stop him.

“Who do you think you are?” she demanded. “You can’t just barge in here!”

The back door opened with a bang revealing Doyle on the other side. Bodie indicated with a jerk of his head that he was going to take the rooms on the right, and Doyle immediately headed to the left.

“Where is he?” The damned flat was like a warren, all narrow hallways and tiny rooms.

“He’s not here!” said the girl.

A quick movement at the end of the hall caught Bodie’s eye and he turned in time to see a head duck back behind the corner.

“Francis!” he shouted. Bodie skidded around the corner just as Francis vanished out the window, dragging a rucksack behind him. The kid was surprisingly fast, and the window was a tight fit. Bodie skinned his ribs sliding out after him, and he didn’t want to think about the squishy patch he landed on in the alley. He scrambled to his feet and charged after the skinny little rabbit.

There was no easy way to corner Francis. There were too many exits, and too many alleys, in this part of London, and even weighed down by his rucksack, he was making good time. Bodie ducked his head down and ran faster, mentally cursing the kid.

Bodie was vaguely aware that he wasn’t at his best. He’d been thoroughly distracted by Doyle’s odd behaviour this morning. However, he was looking where he was going. It was the lady with the flower cart who wasn’t.

Bodie saw the cart roll in front of him a fraction of a second before he hit it. His attempt to vault over the obstacle failed miserably. He somersaulted and came down hard on his back, beneath an avalanche of roses and carnations. He rolled and scrambled to his feet, only to discover that in the five second delay his rabbit had found a bolt hole, and was nowhere in sight.

Bodie took off in the direction he’d last seen Francis, the flower seller screaming imprecations after him. He skidded to a stop at the corner, but there was nothing to see in any direction. He turned and found an old man on the corner grinning widely at him.

“What are you looking at?” demanded Bodie.

The old man simply shook his head and chuckled, before taking himself and his cane off in the other direction.

Footsteps behind him alerted him to Doyle’s approach. But when Bodie glanced back he discovered that Doyle was wearing a grin as large as the old man’s had been. “What!”

Doyle chortled evilly. “You, mate. Trying out for Queen of the May, are we?”

Bodie stared blankly at him. What was he on about?

Doyle reached forward and Bodie ducked reflexively. When he straightened, Doyle was holding up a sprig of baby’s breath and smirking. Puzzled, Bodie ran his hand over his hair and came up with another bunch of the stuff.

“Oh hell…” He shook his head, vigorously. The damned stuff stuck like burrs.

“Hold still!” Doyle removed a mashed red rose from the back of Bodie’s collar and handed it to him with a flourish.

Bodie almost said something sarcastic. “I never knew you felt that way,” or even just “For me?” but at that moment the flower seller marched up and demanded to know who was going to pay for all of the damage.

Probably for the best, he thought, as Doyle dealt with the woman. He hadn’t been delivering his lines particularly well lately, and if it went over like this morning, Doyle might get entirely the wrong idea.

Bodie followed Doyle up the stairs at headquarters, the way he always did. He didn’t think about it too deeply. He just knew the position he preferred to take.

This time, however, Doyle stopped abruptly and turned to face him. “Is there something you want?”

Bodie blinked. “What?”

“You’re staring again.”

“No, I’m not,” said Bodie, automatically.

“Yeah, you were.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Bodie tried to push past, but Doyle blocked him with an arm across the stairs.

Doyle leaned on the railing with an air of patently calculated ease, his hip canted, and his other hand on his waist. “I wonder how you’d like a taste of it yourself.”

“A taste of what?”

“How do they say it? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander?”

“It’s sauce for the goose. And I know exactly which of us is the gander.” Bodie shoved Doyle firmly to the side and climbed up past him.

“What? The one who can’t seem to stop taking a gander at--.”

Bodie slammed the door behind himself, cutting off Doyle. He didn’t want to hear this. Any of it. As he headed for the briefing room, he told himself that Doyle was clearly right off his nut. Bodie hadn’t changed. He was exactly the person he’d been last week. It was Doyle who suddenly seemed to need to make an issue out of things that weren’t an issue at all.

Bodie picked his usual seat in the briefing room. Doyle, however, sat directly behind Bodie instead of beside him in his regular place. Bodie glanced back, puzzled, but Doyle gave him only an enigmatic smile. Cowley cleared his throat pointedly and Bodie snapped his head back to give his full attention to the briefing.

A few minutes later the spot between Bodie’s shoulders began to itch and the hairs on his neck stood on end. He turned again to find Doyle smiling benignly at him.

“Bodie,” said Cowley, with entirely too much tolerance in his voice.

“Sir?” asked Bodie, alarmed.

There was a ripple of amusement around the room.

Cowley gave him a narrow eyed look. “Do you consider this case beneath your concern?”

“Well,” said Bodie, rashly. “It does seem more a police matter…” In for a penny, in for a pound. If he was going to get raked over the coals in front of the entire A-Squad, then he might as well try and defend himself.

“I suppose that would explain why you and 4.5 were unable to detain Francis Hill this morning. It was beneath your abilities.”

Bodie gritted his teeth. That had better not be a snigger he’d just heard from Anson’s side of the room. “They’re just kids, sir. A few sticks of dynamite and some radio parts. Set off their bangers on the steps of a few banks on Monday.”

“At this stage, yes, it’s hardly more than a prank. But ambitious lads like Francis Hill have a way of moving on to bigger projects. And we’re not going to let that happen.”

The room settled and all eyes turned toward Cowley. “We don’t know where Mr. Hill has gone, but we do know what he intends to do. It’s safe to assume he has at least one bomb with him. 3.7, you’ve just volunteered yourself for the retrieval squad. Put together a team and start with the banks on the target list. I want those explosives rounded up before they go off.”

Bodie nodded. All things considered, Cowley had let him off very lightly. He must be feeling generous.

“4.5,” said Cowley, “You have some contacts in the student community.”

“A few,” said Doyle. “I can ask some questions. See if anyone knows where Francis might run.”

“Do that.”

As Bodie browsed through Stuart’s report after the briefing ended, his neck began to itch again. He looked sharply up again to find Doyle leaning against the door, staring at him with that same annoying half-smile.

“Can I help you with something?” Bodie snapped. For God’s sake, he had a job to do. And for that matter, so did Doyle. He almost said something, but caught himself just in time. Doyle would only point out the hypocrisy, if he did. As jobs went, this was as close to a joke as it was possible to get.

Doyle blinked with a shade too much innocence. “Hm?”

“You’ve been staring at me.”

“No, I wasn’t,” said Doyle, deliberately.

“Yes, you were!” This was getting absurd. “Look,” Bodie tried, as calmly as he could manage. “I just don’t like being stared at, okay?”

Doyle shrugged elaborately. “If that’s what you want. At least I’m considerate enough to stop when asked.” He leaned back against the wall, and stared at the ceiling.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” demanded Bodie.

Doyle continued to find the ceiling fascinating. The expression on his face was something just short of a smirk.

No, thought Bodie, I’m not letting him get to me.

He decided to try ignoring Doyle instead. However, Doyle’s conspicuous not-staring became very quickly just as nerve-wracking as his staring. Before long the silence seemed to be crowding the air right out of the room.

When Bodie couldn’t stand it any more, he collected the files and took them outside to the fire escape to finish reading.

Doyle didn’t follow, and Bodie couldn’t decide if he was relieved or not.

By early evening Bodie’s team had managed to locate three bombs under the steps of assorted financial institutions. They had all been set for three a.m., further confirming in Bodie’s mind Francis Hill’s incompetence. Not only had he placed the bombs where they would do next to no damage – might crack a door or chip the concrete slightly – but they wouldn’t even have gone off when anyone was awake to see them.

On the other hand, it was nice to have bombs that were simple to collect and defuse. None of this red wire, green wire, ticking down the last ten seconds. Just tag the location, alert the bomb squad, and leave a few men behind to keep anyone from messing around with them before they could be removed.

Bodie’s spirits recovered with the success of his team. He did feel unbalanced working without Doyle, but on the other hand, at least no one was staring at him. That was refreshing.

His R/T buzzed just as he was wrapping things up for the day.

“3.7, get over to Royal Brompton Emergency. Now.”


“4.5 was brought in by the local constabulary an hour ago. I’ll meet you there.” The R/T clicked off.

It wasn’t nearly enough information, Bodie thought, as he did his best to break speed records on the way to the hospital. Doyle could have suffered anything from a broken leg to a bullet in the head. Whatever it was, it had to be serious enough to have knocked him off his feet, or Cowley wouldn’t have called.

When he arrived, he found Cowley in conference with a doctor. Bodie walked up in time to hear the doctor say, “Definitely, have someone in the room with him. I’ll warn you however, he may not be terribly coherent for some while.”

“What’s that?” asked Bodie, staring after the doctor’s departing form.

“Ah, Doyle’s condition is good, but there are some complications,” said Cowley. “He’s been drugged.”

“With what?”

“They’re still working on that.” Cowley frowned. “The police found Mr. Hill in the river not far from where Doyle was found. It looks like Mr. Hill fell off Kensington Bridge and ended up stranded on the girder.”

“So, Doyle tracked him down,” said Bodie. He felt a moment of pride in his partner. If anyone could have found Francis... “But how did the bastard drug him?”

“That’s what you’re going to find out,” said Cowley. “Get in that room. Stay in there. Get the whole story out of him, if you can, but most importantly, make sure he doesn’t say anything we don’t want to see printed in the dailies.”

Bodie sighed, and shifted in his chair. It was close to three in the morning and Doyle was still sleeping like a baby. Considering Hill had somehow got the jump on Doyle, Bodie had expected him to look worse. But other than some bruising around his elbow where he’d been stuck with the syringe, and a scrape on his cheek, he wasn’t injured at all.

This was worse than being stuck on an obbo. Nothing to do but sit and think.

Bodie didn’t want to just sit and think. If he could just get Doyle awake and talking then at least he’d have some sort of distraction. Bodie leaned forward and, with a quick furtive glance at the door, poked Doyle in the arm. Doyle’s eyes crinkled a bit and his lips pursed briefly. Then he slipped back into sleep.

With a groan, Bodie settled back into his chair. The first time he’d tried waking Doyle the nurse had caught him at it and given him hell. He didn’t know why it mattered. It wasn’t as if he was hurting him, and anyway it didn’t seem to be working.

Although... come to think of it, he’d got a bit more of a reaction this time.

One more glance at the door, and Bodie jabbed Doyle again with his forefinger. Hard.

Doyle’s head rolled to the side, his eyes still shut.


“Mm, no. S’okay,” mumbled Doyle.

Excited, Bodie tried patting Doyle on the cheek. “C’mon, wake up. Some of us are bored out of our minds, here.”

No response.

Bodie left his hand on Doyle’s cheek for a moment. He could go back to poking Doyle, but someone would be sure to wonder about the small round bruises on his bicep.

Doyle rolled his head slightly to the side, pressing into the palm of Bodie’s hand with a contented half smile.

Bodie snatched his hand back, startled.

Doyle’s cheek landed on the sheet, and this time his eyes opened.

“Hey, are you awake?” asked Bodie.

Doyle closed his eyes.

Bodie tried everything. He patted cheeks, and tugged hair, and even went back to the old standby – poking Doyle in the arm.

While abusing Doyle was mildly diverting, he didn’t open his eyes again. Eventually Bodie gave up, and went back to waiting. And waiting some more.

Bodie was asleep in the chair, uncomfortably curled on his side, his head pillowed on his elbow when Doyle finally woke.

“Ow,” said Doyle.

Bodie came instantly awake. “Ray?”

Doyle slowly blinked at him. Bodie watched as first confusion was replaced with delight, then dismay. Bodie couldn’t imagine what Doyle was finding so upsetting. He glanced over his shoulder to confirm that he was the only person in the room.

“Did I miss Monday?” asked Doyle, finally.

He’s upset about the bike ride, concluded Bodie. He supposed it was better than Doyle being upset at him. “Not yet. But I doubt they’ll let you operate heavy machinery in your current condition.”

Doyle’s expression was tragic. “I really wanted to go.”

“I know,” said Bodie. “Bikes and beer and pretty barmaids...”

“Nah, just wanted you.”

Now it was Bodie’s turn to feel confused. The bike ride was supposed to be about him, somehow? The way Doyle had been hassling him lately, he’d half expected the invite to be rescinded.

“You’re my best mate,” said Doyle, sadly, the corners of his mouth tugging down.

It was too much. Bodie couldn’t stand to see Doyle like this. He almost wished he’d go back to sleep. Boredom was preferable to watching his friend act like a big girl’s blouse. Bodie patted Doyle’s arm consolingly. “We’ll stay in tomorrow,” he said. “Get a takeaway, watch something on the telly.”

“Just you and me?”

Bodie paused. Carefully, he said, “I could ask around. See if any of the birds we know are available...”

Disappointment wrote itself across Doyle’s face.

“Nah,” said Bodie, suddenly decisive. “Never mind. Just you and me.”

Doyle fell asleep again, smiling.

Bodie stayed awake a long time after that. If it weren’t that the evidence of his eyes and ears was incontrovertible, he’d have wondered who he’d just been talking to.

This wasn’t the Doyle he knew. The man he called his partner was prickly and sarky and razor sharp. This new version was sweetly open and vulnerable and... frankly unnerving. Bodie had a sudden horrifying vision of a future in which the drug’s effects were permanent, and he was left shepherding around a charmingly addled Doyle.

Well, he wouldn’t. He just wouldn’t. He loved the man, but...

Bodie stopped.

Oh, damn it all, he thought.

To Bodie’s immense relief, when Doyle woke in the morning he was back to his old ratty self. It had been a long night for Bodie and he was looking forward to getting Doyle out of the hospital, dropping him at his flat and then crawling home to his own bed.

What did he know about love, anyway? It wasn’t for the likes of him.

“I swear, the next time Cowley gives us two days off, I’m dropping my R/T in the Thames and disappearing for the whole forty eight hours and to hell with the defence of the nation! God, my head hurts.” Doyle pressed the heels of his hands into his eyes and groaned dramatically.

“So what happened yesterday?” asked Bodie. Doyle seemed to have no memory of their conversation of a few hours ago, so Bodie assumed he was off the hook for takeaway and telly. Good thing, too, because Bodie still wasn’t entirely sure what was going on.

All he knew was that Doyle was likely right about the whole staring thing. He had been doing it, and he needed to stop.

Perplexed, Bodie shifted his gaze to a spot on the wall just past Doyle’s head. The problem was, he didn’t know how. Where would he look, if he wasn’t looking at Doyle?

This was exactly why it was never a good idea to spend too much time thinking. Bodie silently damned Cowley for sticking him here with nothing better to do.

“Umph... not sure. Let’s see. Sneaky little sod… caught me from behind.” Doyle touched the back of his head, and winced.

It took Bodie a moment to catch up. Right. Doyle was trying to answer his question about what had happened.

Bodie took Doyle’s head in both hands and parted his hair with his thumbs. “I don’t see anything. Couldn’t have been much, or they’d have been waking you every few minutes last night.” He gently stroked the curls back into place.

Doyle yanked his head away, and then hissed in obvious pain at the movement. His cheeks were flushed as he stared at Bodie. “What are you doing?”

“I was...” Bodie stopped. A moment ago he’d known what he was doing. Now he wasn’t so sure. He definitely needed more time away from Doyle. He started running through his phone book in his mind. Emma always liked a good time, if she was free.

“Leave off,” Doyle looked away. “Don’t need you poking ham-handed...” He trailed off, grumbling. “Anyway, I don’t remember, do I?”

Bodie waited. Doyle hadn’t sounded completely sure of himself with that last statement.

“Except...” Doyle’s eyebrows drew together in concentration. “Francis was saying something about making pigs fly. And I thought he ought to try it first... I kicked him...”

“Right off the bridge into the Thames,” finished Bodie.

“Aren’t I clever.”

“Then you took a nap while he clung to the foot of the bridge and cried.”

“Oh, couldn’t swim, could he?”

Bodie shook his head.

“Well, then. Shame about our day off, though. Looks like we’ll just have to salvage what we can.”

Bodie glanced at Doyle sharply, but there was nothing to read in his expression. And before he could get him to explain what he meant, a nurse bustled into the room, saying, “Well, Mr. Doyle! Looking much perkier this morning…”

Cowley stopped by the hospital later that morning to hear Doyle’s report and to inform them both that he was very disappointed with their performance. Bodie, for losing Francis in the first place, and Doyle for allowing the lad to get the drop on him.

“You’re both overdue for a refresher course,” said Cowley. “A seven stone weakling nearly got the better of the two of you!”

Bodie suspected Doyle’s wince had nothing to do with his headache.

“Whatever is going on between the two of you, it’s clearly affecting your performance.” Bodie tried to protest, but Cowley rolled right over him. “You’re going to resolve it, whatever it takes. Or I will be reassigning you both.”

After he left, Bodie turned to Doyle. How the hell did Cowley know? He’d only just figured out that there even was a problem.

As if reading Bodie’s mind, Doyle shook his head. “Not now, mate. But he’s right. We’ve got to sort this out.”

“Door to door service,” said Bodie, lightly. He stopped his car in front of Doyle’s flat and waited. He was hoping that any analysis of their mucked up relationship could wait for the next day. All he really wanted was his own bed, and a chance to try to get his defences back in order before Doyle could attack.

Doyle gave him a narrow-eyed look. “My entire day has gone tits-up.”

“Erm,” said Bodie.

“No bikes. No open road. No pub. The only bit left is you.”

“Not much of a consolation prize,” suggested Bodie.

“You’re an idiot.”

Bodie agreed. He wasn’t sure why exactly, but he knew it was true.

Doyle sighed. He pursed his lips and seemed to struggle with himself for a moment before turning to face Bodie directly. “Listen up. I’m only saying this because you’re too thick to get it any other way. The bikes were an excuse. I knew if I suggested boating or picnicking or riding you’d unearth birds from somewhere and stick me with one of them. You don’t know any birds with bikes, thank god.”

For all that the car was at a standstill, Bodie felt as if he was lined up for a collision. This conversation could only have one destination, and they were heading toward it at speed.

“So, given this is all your fault, the least you can do--.”

“Wait a minute!” protested Bodie, outraged. “How is this my fault?”

Doyle glared at him for a moment, and then made disgusted noise. “Because you started it,” he said, as he climbed out on his side and slammed the car door. Bodie sat in the car for a moment staring at the place Doyle had been a moment earlier.

He’d started it? The unfairness of the accusation was staggering. Bodie had been trying very hard not to start anything. It was Doyle who’d...

Bodie got out of his car and followed Doyle into the building. His efforts to catch up, to make Doyle stop and explain, were briefly derailed by the sight of Doyle’s rear heading up the stairs. Doyle stopped so abruptly Bodie nearly ran nose first into the object of his fascination.

Doyle twisted around and looked down at him. “You’re doing it again!”

Bodie had no time to compose a coherent defence. Doyle had already turned again and was taking the stairs two at a time. “Wait!”

Doyle didn’t listen.

Bodie caught Doyle at the door, but then didn’t know what to say. Standing with his mouth gaping like a trout was not one of his more attractive looks, so he snapped his jaw shut. Doyle stared at him a moment, then simply shook his head and turned to finish resetting the locks.

Bodie eased past him, carefully not touching, into the hallway of his flat.

“I asked you yesterday if you wanted something,” Doyle said. His eyes were fixed on the keypad as he punched in the combination. He seemed to be having some trouble. Twice he swore under his breath and started over.

“I don’t,” started Bodie.

“What I can’t work out is who you’re lying to,” said Doyle. “Yourself or me. Either way, I don’t like seeing either of us messed around. I thought if I could get you out on the road, away from work... Ah, bugger it!” He punched the last number in, and swivelled on his heel.

Doyle was standing too close, but Bodie couldn’t move. Never mind the idea he’d had earlier about this leading to a collision at the end of the road. He wasn’t driving. He was in freefall, without a parachute.

His eyes aren’t just green, thought Bodie. They’ve got brown in them...

Doyle kissed him.

Only it was not so much a kiss, as an attack. Bodie’s back hit the wall, and his head slammed into the plaster. He opened his mouth to protest, and in that moment Doyle’s tongue pushed between his lips. Bodie’s knees went weak.

Oh, help, he thought.

But he didn’t want rescue. Not really. Not at all. His hands came up, and instead of pushing Doyle away, he pulled him in closer, feeling the collision of their bodies like a shock through his spine.

They hit the ground together and Bodie smacked his elbow on the floor. He yelped, and Doyle pulled back.

“I don’t think this is what Cowley had in mind,” said Bodie, weakly.

“He won’t care as long as we perform for Macklin,” said Doyle.

Bodie sniggered, a touch of hysteria in the sound.

Doyle smacked the flat of his hand against his chest. “Berk!” But then he paused, thoughtfully. “What do you want?” asked Doyle, one more time.

This time, there was no question in Bodie’s mind. “More.”

“Was hoping you’d say that,” said Doyle, just before he rolled over Bodie and pinned him to the floor.

Doyle, it turned out, had very specific plans for May Day weekend. They just weren’t the ones that Bodie had thought they were.

They were better.