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The Contrast Makes It Go

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"Figured I'd find you here. Actually, this was the fourth place I looked but I knew alcohol was going to be involved somehow." Uninvited, Doyle took the seat next to his partner at the corner table, positioned so they both had their back to a wall and their eyes on the door. Never a moment off in this job.

He'd been looking for Bodie for the better part of an hour, ever since he'd fled Doyle's flat. He'd tried the seedier places first but it turned out Bodie had run to his own local. Doyle still wasn't sure if that was a brilliant piece of double-think or just Bodie retreating to somewhere he felt safe.

Bodie still hadn't said anything and Doyle was done waiting. "You don't get to make decisions for both of us. Not for something this big. I know you've been alone for most of your life until you got back to England, but haven't you figured out by now that we're better together."

There was a gin and tonic on the table, droplets running down the side of the glass. Doyle picked it up and took a sip, finger idly sliding through the ring of condensation left on the table.

"How many of these have you had?" Bodie didn’t look drunk but Doyle knew he could hold his liquor.

His partner gestured towards the glass, "That's it."

Having expected Bodie to be on his third or fourth by this time, Doyle couldn't help but comment. "Is stupid," Bodie mumbled, "didn't want to lose the taste of you."

So not all hope was lost, but Doyle still felt that giving Bodie an out was the safest route to take. If there was one thing that would never change about his partner, it was that he didn't like to feel trapped. "Do you think we're moving too fast? Can back off for a bit, stop seeing each other for a while. Don't want to lose you as a friend or as my partner. The sex isn't worth that."

Still staring across the room instead of looking at Doyle, Bodie said "When was the last time you slept with someone else?"

Doyle hadn't been expecting Bodie to ask that. Another encouraging sign that maybe they were thinking along the same lines.

"Dunno, haven't really thought about it, Cheryl I guess, three, four months back." He hadn't consciously let himself think about it before. It hadn't been a deliberate decision to stop seeing other people, just a gradual realization that he'd rather be with Bodie than with anyone else. Curiosity piqued, he asked Bodie the same question.

"Little longer, 'bout six months ago. It's terrible, was only the one night. Don't even remember her name." He didn't know what showed on his face but Bodie quickly added, "Not a competition, Ray, nothing to feel bad about. Not like we've made any promises or anything," Bodie said, taking his glass back from where Doyle had his hand lightly wrapped around it where it sat on the table so he could take a drink.

"Is that what you're worried about, that we're falling into something?"

"Don't like the idea of falling, like the idea of things being out of my control even less," Bodie said, after a moment's consideration, finally looking Doyle in the eye.

Doyle nodded. "Means it could fall apart just as easy. But you don't like the idea of leaving either, do you? Study in contrasts, that's you, mate. Want to run and want to stay at the same time. Want me as your partner, on the streets and in bed and unless I miss my guess, everywhere else. But you also want to be the lone wolf, don't get attached and you won't get hurt. Hate to tell you this, Bodie, but I think it's too late for that."

It was another long moment before Bodie spoke again. "I'm scared, Ray" and Doyle knew how much that has cost him, just as it had the night before the Parsali op.

"Yeah, me too."

"Be scared together?" Bodie asked, reaching his hand across the table in the darkness of the pub. Doyle took it, and knew they would be all right.