Cowley didn't even look up as his two agents entered his office. "You're late."
"We weren't even on standby." Doyle's tone was more combative than contrite.
"We were on holiday time, sir," Bodie pointed out, about ready to jump on the Doyle belligerent bandwagon.
"It just ended."
The tone of that voice was so adamant and absolute, they both knew then that their holiday was well and truly cancelled.
"Long term undercover job near Birmingham. You'll be working for one company, The Warwick Group, which has need for a second company, Westhaven. You're to be found having a homosexual relationship at some point by that second company. It's imperative that they discover it."
"Why them?" Bodie inquired just as Doyle spoke.
"What exactly do you expect us to do?" Doyle asked, brows raised high on his forehead.
"I want one or both of you blackmailed. Quickly." Cowley answered Doyle's question.
"That would most likely require sex," Doyle stated boldly.
"You want us to fuck each other for England?" Bodie's aggressive question was mingled with shock.
"Your crudity, though not welcome, is accurate, if it comes to that."
"You can't be serious?" To say Doyle was stunned was an understatement.
"Why us, sir?" Bodie asked, curious despite himself.
The controller sighed, "The two of you have been partners long enough that you are, according to Dr Ross, truly easy with each other. That behaviour is difficult to fake."
"Still seems a bit drastic, sir." Doyle refused to give in easily.
"Secrets in government and industry are leaking. Our only link is Westhaven."
"Then close it down."
"On what evidence?"
"You just said blackmail was the link."
"I said link – as in commonalities. Sometimes it is as much as a year after their visit to Westhaven that the victims are compromised. I've had no person step forward to confirm blackmail, Bodie, just where my investigation into the leaks have taken me. Your assignment is before you. Queen and Country. Take it seriously."
"How could we not?" Doyle turned away from Cowley and sought his partner's eyes. He found his own incredulous emotion mirrored there. He turned to Cowley, once more composed. "What is Westhaven, sir?"
"Its purpose is to aid management in keeping tabs on the stress levels of their employees. Using psychoanalysis and severe stress testing they can keep companies notified when their employees need holiday time or job reorganisation."
"Forced redundancy." Doyle's flat statement conveyed more than an impassioned response.
"That as well," Cowley agreed.
"Bloody trick cyclists." Bodie's disgust with the like was nothing new, but his tone conveyed that his antipathy had reached new levels.
"Too much for some of the poor bastards." Doyle already felt sorry for the nameless employees.
"You think that some have broken and spilled their guts?" Bodie's query aloud was a statement in his own mind.
"I gather that others may have confided to an unscrupulous doctor some secret that could come back to haunt them. Can't we prove that at least?" Doyle's voice level and pitch rose an octave higher.
"What's the point in that?" Cowley scoffed. "One participant removed will not stop an operation on this scale. No, Doyle we need to topple the entire organisation." Cowley leafed through the top folder. "In preparation for a long undercover assignment, pack up the contents of your flats. CI5 will issue you new flats at the assignment end."
Bodie quashed his irritation; he finally had his flat the way he liked it. He looked to his partner and instantly understood the multitude of silent questions. He turned back to ask them.
Cowley beat him to it. "To start, you both need a realistic wardrobe for several months - high end. None of your scraps and bits, Doyle." He ignored the raised brows from Doyle and the smirk from Bodie. "Your positions won't be believed if your apparel and appropriate accoutrements don't match."
Startled blue eyes met their equal in Doyle's and neither was able to conceal his shock at Cowley's statement. It sounded quite like an unlimited allotment.
Bodie almost smiled. This assignment couldn't be all bad, now could it?
He thought differently when he lost the toss for who would visit the trick cyclist first.
"I can't bloody believe he called off our holiday. Citing Queen and country and all that rot, what's a few more days? If this has been going on for how long, what's a few more days?" Doyle's tirade lasted all the way to his flat and back to HQ. They had driven in together and had to collect Doyle's vehicle.
Bodie, equally unhappy, was more philosophical about it. He knew it was already a done deal. He commented stoically, "Cowley's command."
"Yeah, Cowley. Bloody Cowley!"
They headed to the underground car park where a specially vetted vehicle waited: no trace back to CI5, prior owner to Bodie Williams a nice little old lady.
They packed up their flats, taking only a few books and LPs. The rest of their new lives would be purchased by CI5. With that in mind, they headed to Harrods. They put Bodie and Doyle on hold as they bought clothes for two executives instead, not stinting on the type of apparel they selected. They went for a full wardrobe, clothes for off-duty as well as the office. Appropriate accoutrements accompanied all selections.
Doyle took great enjoyment in imagining Cowley's face when he saw the final amount.
The holiday that had been put on hold, possibly cancelled even for a later date, had been planned by Dolye. Six days by the sea in Devon, including a couple of side trips to Cornwall for Bodie's historic appetite. Birds aplenty, sea and sun and, more importantly, away from their world. Their world of gunplay and mayhem. Bloody Cowley.
Twelve weeks later, firmly entrenched in fictitious jobs within a real corporation, both Bodie and Doyle longed for the fast paced action and mayhem of their usual assignments. Their only consolation was that the real part of the op was soon to begin.
Only one person aside from Cowley knew they were CI5. Quentin Eccelston, head and organiser of the Warwick Group, created a think tank that supplied Queen and Country with some of the brightest and most innovative ideas of the century.
Agents 6.7 and 9.1 were placed as new-hire secretaries just so Cowley could better control the next batch of Westhaven attendees. Liz was going in immediately as a new employee for her stress baseline. Bodie was going as an employee Eccelston was concerned about. Doyle had been wait-listed.
Three months and they hadn't yet been near the company that they were investigating. Cowley and Eccelston wanted workmates to remember them; no accidental comments to suggest a plant. Three months was also a long time to remain mentally idle, though their expertise in security arrangements did not go unutilised by Eccelston.
Defence master plans were created with even more safeguards specifically designed by Bodie. Weaknesses that criminals could have exploited were pounced on by Doyle. The CI5 lads had a knack for finding those flaws and Eccelston made use of this new track of thinking. Undercover or not, the men were assets.
Still, both agents felt that they had been marking time partaking in mentally stimulating conversations that passed for work for these people. Bodie longed to shoot a gun, Doyle to punch out a criminal. Finally, Bodie was off to the Westhaven facility but Doyle, who had to attend another boring meeting, felt hard done by.
To an outside observer, Westhaven gave every appearance of being a luxury destination resort with a full complement of activities available.
The company car was tagged before the gate arm lifted and allowed it to pass. A grand expanse of tennis courts and a running track were visible first after the security gate. They were greeted much as if they were arriving at a five star hotel. Luggage disappeared and a room key was in hand with very little effort.
Bodie found himself on a tour of the facility within minutes of arriving. The Claridge's-type furnishings only cemented the feel of luxury. Nothing done on the cheap here. His bemused look belied the strategic mapping he made of his surroundings. He memorised the layout for a possible break out or in. He noted the placement of many personnel who seemed to be more like guards than spa facilitators.
His first afternoon and evening were designed to help him relax with easy recreation and excellent dining. Bodie didn't see the "other" employee of The Warwick Group, even though he knew his company had sent one more in. He was treated like a valued member of an exclusive club. Being waited on hand and foot, so to speak, he enjoyed every minute. He was flirted with but nothing more. He basked in the attention nonetheless.
His suite was more of the same, to a point. However comfortable he thought the bed was, and elaborate the furnishings and accoutrements were, he doubted that video recording and sound equipment hidden in the vents were standard issue. Bodie established there were a few corners hidden within the suite. He moved the seating so that that back of the wingback chair faced the camera and allowed him a modicum of privacy. For the most part, though, he knew that everything he did and said would be recorded.
Bodie put out the breakfast card before showering. He mentally reviewed his undercover persona. Tomorrow would begin the final test and he worked on all the issues Bodie Williams would be facing. A boring chap, mostly but with a few hidden secrets.
Breakfast was as elegant as dinner and served in his room. A note came with the meal. Nine o'clock he had an appointment with the facility medical doctor. Ten a.m. would be his first appointment with the Westhaven shrink. Hurrah. No matter the reason, he hated someone messing with his head.
Bodie entered the medical facility at nine o'clock on the dot as requested. He was expected and was directed to first door on the left.
"Good morning, Mr Williams. Right on time. How are you, today?" the doctor inquired.
"You're here because we need to establish a preliminary baseline for you, Mr Williams." The doctor performed a cursory exam first. "Your blood pressure is quite good."
"Brilliant! So, I can leave?" Bodie asked, hopeful.
With a slight smile the doctor shook his head, "We've just started. Next, I want to record your heart rate from a cold start." He placed the electrodes on Bodie's chest, front and back. "I'd like you to run fifteen minutes without stopping." He indicated the running machine. "Is that length of time too difficult?"
"Not at all." Bodie allowed the doctor to place him on the machine.
"It will immediately start up at the rate I wish you to maintain the entire fifteen minutes."
The machine started up at a full run. Bodie managed it without a problem only because he expected it. The speed was quite rapid.
The boredom of running in place with only a blank wall for a view was the only drawback. Bodie's mind wandered and he wondered what Doyle was doing. He figured that he was at one of many dull meetings. He also wondered if Doyle was going to be able to pull off the next part effectively. He didn't doubt his partner's undercover skills, but he was being asked to do something far out of bounds for a hot-blooded male such as Doyle. Bodie knew his partner had never had to face some of the hardships that he had to while in Africa. He paused as that integral, honest part deep inside admitted that not all experiences had been that difficult. He smiled to himself, and what Doyle didn't know couldn't hurt their partnership.
He was so lost in thought, it took several attempts from the doctor to gain Bodie's attention.
"Mr Williams, I am going to slow the machine down now. You are now finished with this test."
Bodie nodded his understanding. He jumped off when the machine had reached an easy walking pace.
"Now that you're warmed up--" He led Bodie to the adjacent room. Rings, bars, scaling wall, and ropes were set up very similar to the CI5 training centre.
Bodie made sure to execute the agility course at only half his ability. He knew it would defeat the purpose if he performed at peak. Bodie smiled as he missed the wall the first time and second time. On the third try he managed to scale it, resting on the top then hanging down as far as he could before jumping to the ground: far different from his usual just jumping down from the top of the scaling wall at CI5.
The rings and bars he completed as though he had heavy arms and was off his usual mark. It was hard work underplaying his innate ability.
"Good job," the doctor complimented him. "After you've dressed, the dining room is expecting you."
Bodie gave the doctor a genuine smile before heading for the shower and food.
Now for the next part, Bodie sighed as he closed the door behind him. Wondering again why he was the one to suffer first, he shook it out of his head before he made his way down the corridor to the doctor's office. He wasn't sure how he had been manipulated into being the first to deal with the Ross type, but he knew it came down to Doyle.
Everything came down to Doyle.
That type of manipulation would probably be worth a mention to the doc. Bodie smiled to himself. He'd enjoy that, getting Doyle in some hot water right from the start.
He knew the doctor had the file on his persona, Bodie Williams. Since much was taken from Bodie's own past it would be easy for him to elaborate on the 'new' facts. He knew how to draw on past hostilities to fuel present arguments, a talent he incorporated whenever necessary.
He threw his shoulders back and resettled himself into his new persona. He and Doyle had worked relentlessly on their new identities until they became closer than second skins.
Bodie Williams knocked on the door.
The doctor opened the door himself. The receptionist's desk sat empty. It created an illusion that no one was about to overhear the sessions. Bodie was sure most of the visitors here only checked the office superficially for recording devices -- the obvious tape recorder on the desk or a microphone set up close by. Only those trained in setting up this very type of invisible surveillance would even know where to look.
Bodie feigned nervousness to surreptitiously check about the office for any other attendees while actually pinpointing where the hidden audio and video equipment were situated. That completed, Bodie Williams stepped up to greet the doctor doing his duty.
Dr Scott welcomed Bodie with the same expression that Dr Ross usually wore - a pretence of being open and candid while all real emotion was locked well from view. If you've seen one shrink, you've seen them all.
"I am Dr Terence Scott." He held out his hand to shake in greeting. "So how are you finding the Westhaven facility, Mr Williams?"
"Bodie, please." Bodie decided that Scott was a fine-looking man who did all he could to appear average. His clothes were well tailored yet didn't scream Savile Row. His office was a reflection of the same restrained good taste. Patient comfort was more important than flaunting success and status.
"Bodie," Scott nodded, "Call me Terence. Hopefully, you can come to look on me as a friend. A friend that can help, rather than just a doctor."
Bodie nodded vaguely as he sat upright in the stuffed chair. He crossed his legs and coughed a bit so he could conduct a more through search of the immediate surroundings. He located an additional small microphone and a well-hidden lens by the glint of sun hitting the glass and it was most likely connected to a second recording machine. Very telling, that; very telling as well was the lack of mementoes on display that could give away anything about Scott himself.
That anonymity was how Bodie decided to play it - no volunteering information to begin with. A subtle shifting of the plan formed. He'd make the doctor work for all information and eventual revelations, thus making it all even more believable for the potential blackmailer.
"Why don't we start with something easy today. You work in a think tank with high expectations. What do you find stressful, Bodie?" Dr Scott dropped his pencil on his tablet and leaned back in his chair.
Bodie's expression was rueful as he answered, "The usual, I expect. A boss that wants you to do more with less. Work more hours than you get paid for and not complain about it. Play hell with your social life and expect you to thank him for your job."
Bodie was sure he detected a brief smile on the doctor's face. His complaint was probably as common as they came but he knew it applied to his CI5 job as well as the boring corporate job.
"Anything occur recently that could have triggered a higher stress cycle?" Scott prodded.
"Nothing that I can think of." Bodie shrugged as he fidgeted in his seat.
"I realise that this is your first time here, but you must realise that you were sent here because you've displayed an increased stress level on the job. The whole point of being here is to avoid being evasive and allow me to help you regain your equilibrium." Scott didn't allow the twitch of irritation his body language displayed to be heard in his voice.
"I didn't know I'd lost it." Bodie knew he was being difficult. At times he loved his job.
"Mr Williams," Scott bit back his exasperated retort and tried to calm himself. He was used to immediate compliance. "Bodie, I thought you understood that your co-operation is expected from you by your own company."
"Yes, but you asked about stress. I don't feel stressed." Bodie sat straight up in his chair. "I thought assessing my stress was part of your job." He looked at the doctor challengingly.
"Quite right." Scott backed off. He'd lost the advantage. "Why don't you engage in some vigorous activity today and we can begin fresh this afternoon," he suggested. "We have excellent squash courts."
"Thank you, wonderful idea." Bodie got up to leave. He would do as suggested. He knew the courts were probably sophisticatedly rigged to record his vitals. "Good morning."
This doctor could be it. He was trying too hard. No computers, no testing; no recording of voice patterns, very different from the CI5 Queen of Cybernetics. Her manner always bordered on condescending smugness. The doctor before him, who was striving for friendship, seemed to imply that they were in this together. To Bodie's mind, neither could be trusted.
Bodie engaged in a game of squash with one of the other potential victims and played with his usual quick precision. His cutthroat tactics won all three games. He noted all sorts of details while at the gym facilities.
The squash courts were under surveillance as well as the showers. The loo was the only public place without obvious equipment. At least, obvious to Bodie. He wasn't about to put his faith in that; these blokes knew their business and spared no expense. He would take precautions everywhere.
It was creepy to know that his hygiene habits were under the same scrutiny as were his recreational habits. He always figured that while Cowley had their flats under surveillance from time to time, he, at least, had never bugged their bog.
Bodie headed for the running track. Locating the video equipment placed equidistant about the outdoor facilities on his first lap around, he memorised the placement on the second lap. They were well hidden from all but the most knowing of eyes. There would be no secret conversations out here while running. By his fourth lap, Bodie realised that if one sat dead centre of the greens one could carry on a conversation in low tones. The ambient noise plus the sheer starkness of the greens allowed for a modicum of privacy. Since most were running alone, no one seemed to use the centre area. He filed that information for a later date.
After twenty laps, Bodie was just getting his second wind, but knew he was under surveillance so stopped at this point to underplay his true degree of fitness.
He showered openly, knowing full well it was being recorded. He smiled to himself. He knew Doyle would be unconcerned about his own state of undress, even going so far as to flaunt it. He conjured a sharp mental image of his partner fully nude, prancing about, showing off his wares. Bodie was glad of the water and turned into it so that it adequately hid his body's reaction to the wicked debauchery plaguing his vision. He completely ignored the greater implication of his reaction, putting it down to being in his undercover character.
He headed back for the afternoon session with his own personal trick cyclist. The receptionist was on her way out, Bodie nodded and noted her name plate – Louise Temple. A nice looking brunette, worth a second look, but really wouldn't stand out in a crowd.
The doctor ushered him into the inner office and he took the seat closest to the door.
"Bodie, why don't you give me an example of your usual work schedule." Dr Scott knew this was an easy question and could give quite an insight to his patient's time on and off the job.
Bodie was glad that his undercover job was almost as unpredictable as his real job. The big difference was the danger – the only danger at Warwick was a paper cut or being groped in the common restroom.
"We work in groups most of the time. Once we start no regular hours are adhered to. That makes outside-work-place plans difficult to set up or keep existing ones."
"So you don't have a standard beginning or end to your day?" Dr Scott asked as he made notations.
"No, some assignments have a creative flow and you have to run with it as long as it lasts. Sometimes we have to grab sleep in the office when we can and rely on takeaway." Bodie described a typical day that would work for both jobs.
"I know your facility has a running track. Do you find time for regular exercise?" Dr Scott continued to take notes.
"Not during peak times of the assignments. That's only for the routine days." Bodie's shoulder shrugged with the lightest of movements. It was truly an accepted part of his job.
"Which work schedule do you feel more accurately reflects the usual routine?"
"Project time. After all, it's what we're paid for." Bodie smiled as he added, "The regular routine time allows us all to catch up on chores and laundry."
"You make routine sound synonymous for boring?"
"Yeah, sounds about right." Bodie agreed.
"So, typically, you experience long irregular hours, irregular sleep patterns, irregular eating habits. Sound right?" Scott probed.
"Sounds irregular." Bodie couldn't resist the retort.
"Must make for a tight-knit group of work mates?"
"Yeah, it can." Bodie believed it held true for both jobs as well.
Scott shifted tracks. "Do they all pull their fair weight?"
"Meaning?" Bodie knew exactly what the doctor meant, but he wasn't about to make any part of this easy.
"Is the work division equal?" Scott felt Bodie was deliberately being obtuse. Which in turn made the doctor believe that his patient was hiding something.
"For the most part. We all have our own specialities and sometimes there isn't a need for all our talents. But we have to stay close by in case."
"What is your speciality?" Scott asked earnestly.
Bodie mimed locking his lips before whispering, "Official Secrets Act."
"I understand. In here though, secrets stay secrets. I'm not allowed to discuss what you say with anyone." Scott oozed sincerity.
"You'll be discussing me with my boss."
"Your overall progress, performance and my recommendations. Nothing of what we actually discuss is shared." Scott again appeared sincere.
"You do your own typing, do you?" Bodie cocked his head to the side.
Scott smiled; this was an easy one. "Actually, yes. My patient notes are penned by me and kept under lock and key. Rest assured, secret is secret."
Bodie tried to appear as though he was mulling this over as his thoughts raced around in his head. The doctor had absolute control over all the information he gained. Bodie had a hard time believing that the doctor sat and transcribed all the audio recording into written notes. He would have to watch who the doctor spent time with. He would also have to identify the receptionist and watch her as well.
Scott gave Bodie a few more seconds to embrace his revelations. "Bodie, please consider what we have discussed. Sharing even minor problems can help pinpoint the core of your stress. I'll see you in the morning. Ten a.m." Dr Scott effectively dismissed his patient.
Bodie didn't need any more encouragement to leave. With a single nod he left the office quickly without a backward glance.
His dinner was solitary as the dining room was filled with facility employees, probably as an attempt to make him more amenable to chatting tomorrow with the shrink. He did notice that Scott sat with Louise Temple, his receptionist. He also noted that she was well dressed, definitely outclassed the doctor with the diamond bracelet resting comfortably on her wrist. He discovered by listening that her time was shared by Dr Nicholls as well.
The rest of the evening he was glad of the time alone. He thought of Doyle and wished he could talk with him, talk about his observations. He missed his partner. He grabbed up a book and read before turning in early.
Morning brought another session with Dr Scott.
"You look like you stay in excellent shape. It's obvious that your unorthodox hours don't impede regular exercise. So what social life problems do you incur?"
Bodie's face took on its first shuttered expression. "The usual, I expect."
"Line up a date and then have to work overtime. Or I put in time, money, and energy with a bird who doesn't come across in the end." Bodie smiled. He was sure that was a common malady among men.
"While I quite believe the first part of your statement, Bodie, I do believe that the second part was just for my benefit."
Bodie said nothing. The brow arch conveyed more.
"Bodie, I really can help your stress, which can lead to a richer and fuller social life, despite the long work hours. I can do this for you, not your company, just you yourself." The doctor's sincerity seemed genuine.
Bodie sighed. "I find more sexual tension at work than I do on most dates." The honesty in his statement was two-fold. Bodie knew that and decided to use it to his advantage. Dr Scott was no fool, he knew his craft. Well, Bodie knew his as well, and he could out match the best of the shrinks if he desired. Today he desired.
"So who has attracted your attention?"
"I don't know that I'd say a specific who, it's more in the vein of so many of my work mates look enticing."
"You want me to believe that no one in particular has caught your special attention?"
Bodie shifted in his seat to feign discomfort with the question.
"Well, one pair of green eyes has captured my attention, more of late," he admitted reluctantly.
"Tell me about her?"
Her. Bodie smiled to himself. That would set Doyle off. Hated when his hair got him mistaken for a bird, did Ray. Bodie figured it was the reason why his partner wore his jeans so tight, so no one could mistake him for a bird. Bodie smiled to himself again; there was nothing girlish about Doyle.
"Chestnut hair, feisty temperament and an arse to feed fantasies."
"And has it?"
Bodie looked blankly at Scott.
"Fed your fantasies?" The doctor prodded.
"Maybe a time or two," Bodie smiled with lascivious intent.
"Side-stepping the issue or self-prevarication will only hurt you. This could very well be a secondary level of your stress. It needs to be brought into the open and discussed. The stress caused by this secret can be eliminated." Dr Scott pinned Bodie with his stare.
Bodie sighed both aloud for the doctor's sake and internally for allowing himself to get caught up in his own web of lies and truth.
Dr Scott pressed on, "So, let's try this again. Tell me about her."
"We've worked together a long time, partners in most of our duties. We didn't get along at first, right hated each other." Bodie smiled in fond memory. "After a few successful assignments we've learned to trust one another."
"Do you see her outside the job?"
"Just for a pint or two at the company local."
"Have you thought of asking her to dinner?"
"Have a fraternisation rule."
"That wasn't my question."
Bodie let his breath out slowly then shrugged, "Sure, I thought of the whole dating scene, but we've a no frat rule, plus I'm sure my work mate doesn't swing that way." Bodie worked his expression to look quite guilty.
"What way is that?" Dr Scott felt they were finally on to something.
Bodie caught himself. "Dating outside the work place."
"No, Bodie. You are now hiding something. We can't hope to work through the layers of stress if you start holding back." Dr Scott took a sip of water, watching his patient as though he were his next meal all the while.
Bodie fidgeted, "The birds at work are all progressive now and flirting can be construed as sexual harassment."
Dr Scott knew that he'd lost an opportunity, but it was early days and he would get back to the secret Bodie was covering. "Do you flirt?"
"What's flirting? A good-morning to some old bat can get you a kick in the goolies." Bodie played it up.
"Do you think you can overdo it?"
"Just a bit of word play is all. Just a bit of fun." Bodie grinned, striving to appear artless.
"Tell me about your hobbies." Scott redirected.
"Cricket, football, motor biking, tennis. Like to stay active when I'm off the job. All that sitting around, only my brain gets a workout." Bodie loved the irony of that.
"Yes, well, we have a nice tennis facility on the grounds. Why not get in a practice session and we can pick up again this afternoon. If your body can relax, your mind will more likely follow suit."
Bodie agreed before heading back to his room.
The afternoon at tennis was anything but relaxing. The ball machine dished-out Wimbledon-speed serves and many were aimed directly at the player instead of the racket. Not only did the machine send him scurrying back and forth across the court, he was struck quite painfully several times by the balls misfiring.
Bodie knew the ball server had most likely been rigged to cause him stress, so he figured that he should react appropriately. After the fifth ball hit him, raising another welt, he threw down his racket with great force. "What the hell is happening here?"
Several facility personnel stepped in quickly to blockade the area from view as another rushed to Bodie's side. "What seems to be the problem?"
"What's the problem? Your damn machine has caused me an injury." Bodie was most indignant.
"We are so sorry." The representative raised his hand high and motioned over a driving buggy. "We'll get you to infirmary straight away." The buggy arrived and they bundled Bodie within and it whisked him away to the main building.
Dr Scott entered as the infirmary doctor was finishing with Bodie. That doctor handed Scott the chart.
"You appear to be fine now, Bodie," Scott said soothingly.
"If by that you mean stinging welts, then, yes, I'm great." Bodie dredged up a bit of indignation.
"You're quick to anger," Scott noted.
"You'd be angry as well if you'd had those balls hit you." Bodie made to walk past the doctor.
"They were just tennis balls," the doctor said with a smile.
"They felt like bricks."
"Now, Bodie, I think you exaggerate a bit."
"Let's see you say that after you've been on the court." Belligerence was in his voice and stance.
"We wanted to gauge various stress levels. We need to assess you in different situations."
"So, I'm just a lab rat?" Bodie sputtered, not feigning his indignation this time.
Scott neglected to answer Bodie's question, instead glancing down at Bodie's chart he changed the topic. "Dr Fisker noted several unusual scars on your back and side."
Bodie looked down quickly. "I served in Africa."
"Yes, but some seem very recent."
"War games. I participate yearly with my old unit," Bodie explained.
"Yes, you are quite fit." The doctor repeated his earlier observation. "Shall we adjourn to my office?"
Bodie reluctantly agreed and followed Scott back to his building.
"So, Bodie, how intense are these war games?" Scott had his tablet opened on his lap, pen in hand.
"Quite. We've had the same teams for years now. At first, they tried changing up every year but the teamwork suffered. Now each side takes it seriously and a greater unity exists."
"So they are intense. Injuries?"
"Many. Some broken bones are not unheard of either." Bodie nodded in remembered satisfaction.
Scott nodded in understanding, then expounded on his theory for his patient. "Games allow you avenues to release a myriad of destructive emotions as well as sexual frustration."
"It's an annual event, not a planned dirty weekend." Bodie didn't like his activities, real or imagined, being psychoanalysed.
"From the scars it's obvious you play hard. It's healthy, don't get me wrong, but its very regularity allows your subconscious to sublimate your real emotions. More than likely you don't seek out a regular weekly activity, and I do understand the restraints your job puts on you."
Bodie scrunched his eyebrows in puzzlement, unsure of what answer would be appropriate. He did wonder what slant this doctor would put on his real job. Enough venting opportunities, surely.
"So, Bodie how would you like to deal with your repressed emotion?"
"Which repressed emotion are we talking about?" Only guessing where the doctor was going with this.
"Sexual frustration and a latent anger, obviously." Dr Scott looked down at his notes
"You got that from my yearly attendance of war games?" Bloody trick cyclists, always yammering on about anger and sex. This really wasn't much different than Ross.
"That, but mostly from observing you. Anger can be managed by adding more daily exercise, I believe. I looked over your work evaluations and you don't seem to have been involved in any work altercations. Your work mates seem to genuinely like you. I feel that the anger you display is just part of the trials and tribulations of life in general. Daily exercise will ease that build up."
"Oh, do you?" Bodie muttered under his breath.
"What we need to address is your obvious sexual sublimating. I need you to acknowledge it and then we can deal with it."
"We?" Bodie smirked to hide the momentary flash of fear. The doctor caught it just as Bodie intended.
"Tomorrow morning, let's plan on discussing your green-eyed fantasy, shall we?" Even though the doctor's intonation rose like a question, it was obviously a statement of intent.
Bodie left with a shuttered expression.
Bodie watched Louise lightly flirting with Scott. She sat with the doctor for the entire meal, but he left her for Lionel Grassmore, the Westhaven director, as soon as he entered the room. They seemed to be deep in discussion the entire time they were together. Louise stayed nearby, possibly listening, as she finished her tea. Bodie kept them all in view without any of them being aware of it.
When the objects of his regard left the dining room, Bodie headed to his room.
He watched a movie on the box while he drank a lager. He sat in the chair that shielded him from the video equipment. He left the TV on after the film ended for the noise value as he ran through possible responses for tomorrow. He would need to let Doyle's gender slip out. He would also have to make it convincing that a bloke could get his motor running.
It was supposed to be Doyle, so he thought about Doyle. He hadn't lied to Scott, he quite liked Doyle's hair and eyes. At first Bodie had thought Doyle scrawny, but he'd come to appreciate the mixture his partner was. The scrawniness was altogether forgotten when watching the fluid movement he used in executing even the most mundane of tasks. The tight clothes allowed the rippling muscles to be viewed and appreciated.
During fights, Bodie wished he could stand back and just watch his partner startle even the largest of opponents. In the fight itself, his viper like skill was executed with liquid grace, almost like watching a choreographed dance.
As backup, he was the best ever without question.
His ratty nature and dirty humour were just a bonus in a partner.
And clean up he could. Doyle could race the heartbeat of anyone who viewed him.
He liked watching Doyle. It was good to know where one's partner was. Safe. Good to know he was safe.
But now he had to practice lascivious thoughts about his partner.
He thought again of the tight jeans with holes in them. He thought of what was on view and could appreciate and admire the size of the rest. It would have to be quite something at full extension. He wondered what could get it that way. Would tracing it with his thumb cause a stir?
Bodie closed his eyes and rested his head back on the chair. He traced himself as his fantasy had traced Doyle and thought that with the right pressure Doyle was sure to react. He followed the imagined shaft in his head as his hand touched his own burgeoning hardness.
He teased the tip through the material and was pleased with the drop of moisture in reaction. He traced it back with more pressure and had to separate his thighs slightly for comfort. He smiled. He'd like to gain the same reaction from Ray. Legs falling open, a silent acquiescence to exploration that was. He'd finger the testicles through the material next, a lift, a cup, just to measure, and possibly increase the blood flow. Yes, that would work.
Bodie knew his curiosity would eventually get to him and he'd want to know what Ray's skin would feel like, the colour, even the scent.
Would he smell the same? Similar or different?
Bodie slipped his hand inside his waistband as he decided that Ray would smell different, but all else would operate the same. He teased himself as he would Ray, back and forth until he'd have to grab the whole shaft, fill his hand. Ray would probably like the same pressure, same movement.
He held himself with more pressure, but it was it was no longer his hand but Doyle's that gripped his lengthening hardness. He imagined fingers more slender than his own, fingers that could harness all his energies into one specific place. Fingers and hand that would pump him home. He could see Ray's head thrown back in rapture as orgasm ripped through him as well.
The cooling flush woke Bodie to the need for the bog. He readied himself for sleep, glad his practice had been successful.
The rain put a damper on running outside and with no Doyle to force him out anyway he opted for the indoor running machine.
He found himself alone in the gym facility and set the treadmill for an easy jog. He needed to think about the upcoming sessions with Scott. Today he would reveal Doyle's gender, but he had to make it like a slip of the tongue. His thoughts strayed from the sessions to the man himself. Doyle's outdoor running gear didn't leave much to the imagination, while at the same time seemed to emphasise that he was all male.
Well warmed up, he moved the machine control to a run. He nodded to several newcomers and a few that had already started up while he had been musing. The machine sped up at his command.
It was easy to use but it would get dead boring after a few days. Doyle was anything but boring. He chose different routes and altered terrain. Kept the boredom away, that did. Kept them in good condition as well. Well, to everyone but Macklin. Sadist.
Bodie's good conditioning and innate ability to pick up environmental cues without thought kept him on the treadmill as it continued to gain speed at an alarming rate. He understood immediately that this was another bloody test. Bodie knew he could just jump off, but to great bodily injury. The equipment was so closely situated that even more injury could be incurred by him and others close by, but even if he could control the fall, his persona couldn't. Going home injured wasn't in Cowley's book of undercover comportment. So Bodie concentrated on the run while trying to indicate that he needed help by flailing an arm.
"Runaway machine," he gasped out when no one paid attention. "Help!" He panted out as loudly as he could.
Finally a few heads turned his way.
"Can't stop the bloody machine." He was out of breath but repeated, "Help, please."
Someone took him seriously and ran for the wall behind him and pulled out the plug. Bodie held onto the armrests as his legs collapsed under him.
Someone else must have called the management. Dr Scott and several of the staff gathered around a now sitting Bodie.
"Was that some bloody test as well?" Bodie didn't have to fake his anger.
"Of course not." Scot answered a shade too quickly for Bodie's peace of mind.
Bodie put up his hand to bat Scott away like the annoying pest he was. "I just want to sit here at bit." He looked about the gym for the others' reactions and a few guests departed without doing any exercise.
A facility representative arrived with the buggy to whisk him away . . . again. This time he was taken as far as the changing rooms.
Bodie let the hot water beat down his back, enjoying the sensations. He had greatly exaggerated his fatigue for Scott's benefit, but treadmill malfunction could be an extremely dangerous way of stress testing.
Ready to join what passed for the human race here, Bodie watched a man similar in stature to Doyle strut across the showers without a care, much as his partner would. He smiled, remembering Doyle on many occasions strutting while all wet and shiny.
He moved to leave only to find Scott watching with a surprised expression on his face. Bodie stared back at him.
"You're gay." There was more than surprise in the doctor's voice.
"I can go either way. More possibilities." Bodie's shrug conveyed more sincerity than he would have liked.
Dr Scott continued to stare at Bodie as he recalled an earlier session with his patient. Bodie had almost slipped up back then - that lost moment.
"Don't look so shocked." Bodie took the offensive at the doctor's silence.
"It wasn't what I expected." Scott was unexpectedly honest.
"Guess, I'm out of a job." Bodie slumped his shoulders forward.
"Oh, no, Bodie, confidentiality. I won't tell your employer."
Dr Scott indicated the way to his office. No time lost after this revelation. Not quite what Bodie had planned but it worked nonetheless.
The two men entered the doctor's office. Louise was unprepared for the session and wasn't ready to vacate immediately. Scott offered refreshment while they waited. Bodie accepted the offer.
"Sugar? Milk?" Scott asked as he poured.
"Sugar." Doyle wouldn't have had to ask, Bodie thought and smiled to himself again. He accepted the cup and sipped it immediately.
Louise gathered her handbag last and finally left the office.
Scott didn't waste anytime. "The attraction at work, he's male." There was no question in his tone.
"What of it?" Bodie responded, more defensive than he wanted to be.
"Excellent, now we're getting somewhere. Have you addressed the situation with him?" Scott asked.
"Christ, no!" Bodie redirected slightly. "No frat rule. It could cost me my job."
"Well, Bodie, I believe that we need to confront this forthwith for your sake. I will have your company director send him down."
"Wait!" Bodie stood up and paced. "What do you plan to do? Ask him if he wouldn't mind switching teams so he might help out a fellow mate with a homosexual attraction to him? Should go over well."
"Bodie, you need to act on this desire. To deny it will only augment your stress levels."
"Hearing what you plan to do has got me plenty stressed, believe me." Bodie couldn't stop pacing. "I may as well quit right now."
"Is that what you want to do?" Scott asked.
"No, of course not. But I sure as hell don't want you talking to Ray." Bodie stopped right in front of the doctor. "I'm feeling stressed now!"
"Ah, perfect time for the mental acuity tests. I will call Mr Eccelston and arrange for Ray. . . ?" He looked to Bodie to supply the last name.
"Duncan, Ray Duncan. What are you going to say to Eccelston? If you mention my preferences I'm redundant." Bodie sighed and sat down with a defeated air.
"I take the confidentiality oath very seriously, no matter how much you doubt." He picked up the phone and punched in a series of numbers. "Louise, would you return to the office," he politely ordered, "and set up tests three, five, six and seven. Thirty minutes." He put down the phone, "Bodie, you will be taking the mental flexibility, critical thinking, intelligence and accuracy. They are timed tests. Don't worry. I believe that I have discovered the source of your stress so we will be able to create a positive resolution."
Bloody trick cyclists.
Several hours later Bodie headed back to his room after being released from testing. He realised that the mental acuity tests here at Westhaven couldn't even begin to touch the typical tests that Ross put a CI5 agent through. No matter his first instincts, Bodie answered as Dr Ross had coached him, to show enough stress to warrant further testing and possibly extend the stay if he deemed it necessary. She hadn't figured that the doctor would do it himself by calling for Doyle to join them. Cowley would be thrilled, though.
He wished that he could have some time alone with Ray to bring him up to speed. He would just have to rely on his partner's ability to pick up what was needed quickly.
He made his way back to Scott's office, curious to see if he had contacted Ray. More likely he'd contacted Eccelston, which meant Cowley would be in the know finally, and that was just as good as checking in. Bodie didn't like the isolation of being cut off from outside communication in this undercover assignment but knew it'd be easier to deal with once Ray arrived.
Scott greeted Bodie warmly. "Good news, Ray Duncan will be joining us tomorrow." He looked like he'd just bestowed a child's first pony.
Bodie Williams didn't see it that way.
"Good news for whom?" His tone said he was rather dubious about the matter.
"Bodie this will provide the answer to your extremely high level of stress. You act as if this isn't all that important to you, and it's quite a good act, but it is just that, an act. We can finally get to the crux of the matter and resolve it once and for all. Your test results worried me. Generally men score higher on the tests if they have higher levels of a type of testosterone that affects the brain. You have this in bushels. By denying your nature you live a lie that takes its toll on your health, both physical and mental."
"Getting sex is not a problem."
"I'm quite sure it's not. Getting the right partner is your problem. Also that endless fight between what is acceptable and what you actually want. Here, it's about what you want."
Bodie just shrugged.
"Tomorrow morning I want you to try and double your running distance. . ."
"Not on the treadmill," Bodie interrupted the doctor's directive.
"No, on the running track. I'll meet with Ray. He states that he plays racquetball, so I want you both to play together after lunch. And remember, Bodie, you must reach out for what you want. No denying yourself here. Remove the stress from your life." Scott smiled at Bodie.
Bodie nodded as he stood, somewhat bemused at being ordered to go forth and copulate with his partner. Now, that was something that Ross never did.
The Ray Duncan persona entered the same way Bodie had, only he did not get the grand tour, nor the lavish treatment. He was taken directly to Dr Scott's office. He smiled at the receptionist and she smiled back as she gathered her things and left.
"Hope it wasn't anything I said," he called after her.
"Ah, come in, Mr Duncan. I am Dr Terence Scott." He held out his hand to shake in greeting. "So how are you finding the Westhaven facility, Mr Duncan?" The doctor couldn't help noting that he really looked as Bodie had described.
"Excuse me? Mr Duncan. Mr Duncan is so formal, may I call you Ray?"
"Call me Terence. Hopefully, you can come to look on me as a friend. A friend who can help, rather than just a doctor." Scott studied the man before him. Ray Duncan had been sent to help Bodie, though he didn't know it, but first Scott had to assess the man before him. "I realise that this is your first time here, but the whole point of being here is to avoid being evasive and allow me to help you regain your equilibrium."
"Was unaware that it got lost," Doyle answered.
Scott couldn't help but recognise the similarity to Bodie's answer.
"I don't understand why I'm here." Doyle inquired, fidgeting in his chair. "Will I be here through the weekend?"
"Do you know Bodie Williams?" Scott asked instead of answering the questions.
"Of course, he's my mate. We partner at work on the same projects," the Ray Duncan persona supplied as discussed.
"Do you socialise?"
"All of us grab a pint after work." Ray sat straight back in his seat.
"No, do you spend time together outside of work?" He probed further.
"We have a strict no fraternisation rule at Warwick." Ray repeated the same answer Bodie had given and looked out of the window.
"Many still socialise anyway, Ray. Have you thought about it?" Scott searched for a reaction, he wasn't disappointed.
"No." Ray stated quickly as he looked down at his lap. "Know a couple of blokes that lost their jobs." Ray tried to redirect the doctor's line of questioning.
"Ray, I'm sure you know we have a strict confidentiality policy here. Your secrets are just that."
"Be that as it may. Doesn't change a thing back at work."
"Do you and Bodie work the same projects together?" Scott veered slightly in discussion topic.
"Yes, he is one of the brightest and a pleasure to work with," Ray returned easily as his body relaxed.
"How do the teams come together?"
"Some of that is under the Official Secrets Act. What isn't is that we all are good at our jobs. When a project calls for an overlapping we usually have mates that we work better with than others. Like any job, I imagine." Ray explained more than Bodie had done.
"And Bodie is one you choose often?"
"Half the time, otherwise Bodie chooses me. We work well together. We're paid for results. It pays to work with the right people." Ray made it seem impersonal. He fidgeted more frequently as the discussion continued.
"Who is your first choice?" Scott asked simply.
"I'll admit that Bodie is usually my first choice. We don't have to waste much time with explaining. We seem to read each other well. Works for us." Ray gave a small laugh.
"Do any of the other people you work with seem to find it disconcerting? Do they feel excluded?" Scott pushed.
"Never thought about it. We partner up and a lot of the others want to work with us."
"What if it were suggested that you be split up?" Scott asked.
Doyle's fingers curled into fists. "Is that was this is about? The complainers are just jealous." The grinding teeth and painful set of his jaw told their own story. One that he seemed to have heard before.
"Would you work without Bodie?" Scott probed what he perceived as a sore spot.
"If I had to, but if they want the best job they shouldn't break up the best team." Doyle watched the doctor with a fixed stare.
"This topic seems to disturb you. Any thoughts as to the cause?"
"Yes, your questions on splitting up the team. I didn't walk in here worried. Do I need to be? Is this why I was brought here? Have there been more complaints that we get too much work done?" Doyle's rapid-fire set of questions was aimed to distract the doctor or more possibly, himself. The thought of being separated from Bodie unsettling.
"Not necessarily. A full stress assessment is what you're here for. It just so happens that Bodie is here as well and I would like to evaluate how well you do work together. Let's see if we can't keep you working together."
"Fine." Ray stood up, as if ready to leave.
"You are scheduled for a battery of tests today and tomorrow. After lunch I do have you scheduled to play racquetball with Bodie, then a session with me this afternoon."
"I was picked up so early this morning I didn't get my usual run in. I'd like to get that in first." Doyle had seen Bodie on the outdoor track as he entered.
"That can be arranged. See you later, Ray." Scott picked up the phone and arranged for the buggy to arrive.
Ray was shown to his room after a very brief tour of the facility. He quickly changed into running clothes and headed for the track. He joined Bodie already in the middle of his laps. They exchanged genuine smiles before settling into their usual rhythm.
This was the most normal Bodie had felt since he got to Westhaven, running side by side with his partner and he was loath to give it up. Nonetheless, he signalled to Ray that they should make for the centre of the grassy divide.
Bodie did a series of stretches very similar to martial arts students as he positioned himself in the safest locale. Doyle stretched like a runner while facing his partner. They stretched as part of their cool down and talked quietly, filling in each other on suspects and possibilities.
"Scott is chummy with the facility director. . . " Bodie began but was interrupted.
" Lionel Grassmore," Ray clarified.
"He is also chummy with his receptionist . . ." Bodie started.
"Louise Temple," Doyle finished for him.
"She wears expensive jewellery." Bodie remembered. "And the director wears very expensive suits."
Ray nodded at Bodie. "I think the dear doctor takes to wearing an old Marks and Spencer's suit as part of his patient rapport."
"'D'you notice that his office is as impersonal as offices come? Cowley's office gives more away." Bodie agreed with Doyle.
"Wanted me to talk about my job and when I mentioned the Official Secrets Act he reminded me of the doctor / patient confidentiality. I said I could lose my job and ignored the rest of it."
"Yeah, wanted me to tell him how the teams work. . . . again he heard the words - Official Secrets." Doyle smiled at Bodie. "He's persistent to say the least."
"He was sure I was chasing a bird on the job. As soon as he discovered I was gay he knew the bird was a bloke and wanted him here yesterday."
"Scott was very concerned with how I view you. He mentioned you in practically every sentence." Doyle recapped his conversation.
"I have one better. The bloody shrink has suggested in not-so-blatant words that I should give in to my baser instincts and lay my dragon." Bodie was both amused and incredulous.
"A different type of professional therapy. I think you've found our corruptible doctor."
"Ah, but Cowley doesn't want a cog, he wants the whole damn wheel."
Doyle watched Bodie as they finished stretching, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Bodie was too keyed up for that to have been all. He was not surprised that Bodie stayed silent.
"So, we're on? Is that it?" Doyle was done waiting.
"Yes. He wants me to seduce you tonight." Bodie looked his partner directly in the eyes. No misunderstanding at this juncture.
"Well, no flowers or wooing in this one." Doyle shrugged, not sure that all of what he was feeling was about the short notice.
Of course, both had known for months that this day was coming. But now that it was here and they only had just a few hours before instigating a major change, it seemed too soon.
"You going to be able to do this, Ray?" Bodie asked quietly and sincerely.
"Of course. I agreed didn't I?"
Bodie just stared and waited for the truth.
"Yes, mate, I can. I've been thinking about it." Doyle nodded his head as he spoke.
"We're not going to be able to fake as much as we'd discussed."
"Why is that?" Not as disappointed as he could have been.
"More cameras than I counted on."
Doyle just stared back at his partner.
Sensing some of the same turmoil that his partner was facing, Bodie assured him, "Scott can't make me throw you on the bed and have my wicked way tonight. I can take some time to make it happen."
"Make it seem more true to character. Besides, Cowley doesn't want us to blow it now. He reminded me of that daily when he didn't hear a peep from you," Doyle complained.
"This whole place is wired. I'm sure outgoing phone calls would be monitored. The Cow knew where I was." Bodie rolled his eyes.
"Doesn't change the fact that he has no control of what's happening in here and he's deaf as well."
"I'm sure the old man hates that . . . could be chewing the furniture by now." Bodie laughed at his mind's picture.
They walked back shoulder to shoulder to the main facility.
While Bodie's afternoon was spent in physical activity, Doyle had another meeting with the doctor.
"In most categories, Ray, you were well within the normal ranges. The one worrisome area was that of suppression. You seem to be suppressing some strong emotion and I believe that is the source of your stress."
"Really? So what am I suppressing, then?" Doyle asked. He had to wonder just what Ross had hidden in her practice answers that she'd had him memorise.
"That is for you to discover." Dr Scott sounded like any psychiatrist just out of medical school.
"I don't believe that I am suppressed sexually." Ray Duncan and Ray Doyle had that in common.
"No, you test high for adaptability. With that in mind, you need to be flexible and open to alternative experiences here. Possibly confront darkest fears or taboos. Exploring what we keep hidden sets us on the road to personal freedom, no matter where the outside body resides."
"Well this one doesn't want to reside on the dole or in gaol."
"Again, this is just between you and me." Scott shuffled his papers then looked up at Doyle again. "When you work with Bodie and you reach an impasse on your work projects how do you handle the stress build up?"
"Go for a run usually. Play some squash on site if time is limited," Doyle answered, somewhat puzzled at the conversational jump.
"In the next week, we will be exploring the stress side, and keep in mind that being open to new choices can gain great insight."
Doyle nodded as he thought he should, rather than question as he would have of Ross. Though he didn't think that Ross would suggest that he be open to alternate lifestyle advances from Bodie.
"The balance of the afternoon you will finish the agility tests. Tomorrow morning is reserved for physical activity and we will meet again in the afternoon."
"So, tonight is free?" Ray Duncan asked.
"Yes," Scott answered.
"Good, Bodie and I were hoping that we could have dinner together."
"Brilliant idea," Scott smiled.
Doyle nodded. "Fine, then I'll see you tomorrow." He closed the door behind him.
Bodie's undercover wardrobe had not undergone much of a transformation. Just a higher quality of what he usually wore. He'd always liked black and he stuck with what he knew. The only difference was that instead of a polo neck he wore a button down shirt, half undone.
He knocked on Ray's door and found his partner very easy on the eye. A thought that this wasn't news flashed but was forgotten as he watched Doyle move. His partner's black trousers, while not as tight as his usual, still managed to accent the crucial bits. Bodie didn't wonder at his own intense scrutiny of Doyle's bits, he just appreciated the view. He startled himself again by appreciating what Doyle was wearing and he was sure that his green shirt actually matched his eye colour.
Well aware of the recording devices, all he said was, "Ready?"
If it sounded a little breathless, Bodie knew his partner was ever cognisant of the recording devices as well.
They walked to the facility restaurant. The facilitators changed the layout of the dining area for each mealtime. They managed to get a table alone in the corner. Dinner was as elegant as any five-star; conversation was in their undercover personas. The past they spoke of was just enough of their own to make remembrances believable. They had the illusion that they were alone, but it was just that, an illusion. The dining room was no more private than their rooms were.
Leaving the dining room together, they headed back to their rooms.
"You want a beer and watch a game on the box?" Bodie asked, reluctant to separate, hoping that the evening wouldn't end.
"Sounds good. Really good." Doyle smiled a full, genuine smile. He took off in the direction of Bodie's room.
Bodie followed his partner gladly. He loved the view, nothing new there, but tonight Ray didn't walk with his natural fluidness. Bodie surmised that his partner had overdone the physical side of the testing in an effort to prove how virile he was. He knew his partner well enough to know that he could be quite snarky if he were in pain. Bodie figured he might as well be prepared to deal with it later.
He opened the door and looked back at Ray, who knew to follow his eyes for the locations of the recording equipment. Ray's imperceptible nod acknowledged his understanding. Bodie turned on the TV as he passed it on the way to the small fridge. He opened a beer for Ray and himself. He drank a long draught as he sank beside his partner.
Doyle clinked bottles as he said, "Yeah, Manchester."
By the end of the game, Bodie could tell with all the fidgeting and repositioning that Ray was really in pain. More than just the edge the alcohol could take off.
"Oi, Ray, you look like you're hurting. Lay down and I will rub some cream on your back." Bodie flexed his fingers for Ray to see. "Been told I'm quite good with my fingers."
Ray remembered many a night that his partner had rubbed out the knots of his back and didn't have to fake his acceptance. He took off his shirt and draped it over a chair back and heeled off his shoes. He stepped out of his trousers and stood just in his silk briefs. He folded his trousers over the same chair as his shirt. He wasn't aware of Bodie's unwavering scrutiny.
Bodie just remembered to keep his tongue in his mouth. He envied Doyle's ability to be comfortable in almost nothing. His eyes were glued to the picture Doyle made, uncaring of how his heart raced. He took off his shirt and trousers absentmindedly as Doyle moved across the room and tossed the duvet onto the floor.
Doyle stretched out face down on the bed and that motivated Bodie to fetch the muscle cream. He warmed a fair amount in his hands before applying it to Doyle's back. At first, he rubbed with a masseur's thoroughness, attacking the muscles most affected. As the knots and kinks disappeared, his touch spread out to encompass a larger range, working from the base of Doyle's neck and shoulders all the way down to his arse.
Fingers lingered longer than necessary after they came to rest on the rise of Ray's arse. Bodie caught himself and moved his fingers to start at the top once more. The creamed skin was quite soft and Bodie indulged his senses when his partner never questioned his actions.
The massaging manipulation gave way to the softer touch of a lover. Doyle's skin noted the difference and responded with a healthy glow. Bodie moved his hands down the arms and back, then up along the sides. He could feel the ripple of sensitive flesh. His hands moved all the way down Doyle's back again to rest at the swell of buttocks.
He wasn't thinking clearly any more, just revelling in the feel and rubbed them with equal intent. The waistband was distracting and he pulled the skimpy silk off completely and placed his hands back on the beloved arse. His thumbs dipped into the crack and he received a full reaction. Doyle's arse raised up, closer to his face. Not thinking at all about his actions, or Doyle's reaction, he took the arching as an invitation and replaced his thumbs with his tongue.
Doyle groaned, but it was obvious it wasn't in complaint. Bodie's tongue explored as fingers had, and when he returned to the swell of his mounds Doyle turned completely over. Afraid of censure, Bodie froze and waited for any cue from his partner. No censure was forthcoming; Bodie could read the arousal in his green eyes. He was further assaulted by smell. The musky scent of Ray so concentrated was its own lure and he sank his face into Doyle's groin. He darted his tongue out and it found its way to the full extension, on which he lavished his complete attention. He took great pride in that it was he that could affect his partner that way.
Bodie sucked Ray as he liked it himself and was unsurprised when Ray reacted. Just how much he enjoyed Ray's cock in his mouth was a surprise as well. Why was for later, now was for immersing himself in Ray. He upped the rhythm and strength of sucking and pulled the very essence of Ray into himself.
Ray relaxed back into the bed, listless and unable to move. He went flaccid with Bodie's nose buried in his groin.
Bodie reached down to finish himself off but found his hand batted away. Ray gripped his cock firmly and jerked him off better than any of his imaginings.
Bodie pulled the duvet up over them and let sleep claim him.
Ray woke up a bit later to relieve his bladder. Bodie's hand reached out and finding nothing pulled the cover in tightly around himself. Ray stood looking at the sleeping Bodie, trying to decide what to do, leave or stay. He rolled Bodie on his side, pulled the covers out, and rolled him back. He climbed in beside him and turned off the lights.
In that hazy time before dawn Bodie was pleasantly surprised to find Ray still beside him. He spooned in behind him and rested his arm on his hip. As sleep crept up on him once more, his hand relaxed forward and, inhibition abandoned, he cupped Ray's balls in his hand. He slept a deep and peaceful sleep.
Morning produced the usual male problem. If persistent, Bodie would usually take care of it in the shower. This morning it was pressed up against the firm muscles and arse of one Ray Doyle.
Bodie spent a few minutes just savouring the sensations.
Not having to worry about his partner being in an insulted outrage while moving away, or ducking a swing to smash his face, was more pleasant and added to the overall enjoyment.
He skipped the path to knowledge and didn't explore any aspect of the why. He once again appreciated what his senses conveyed.
He kept his eyes closed and listened to soft snores intermixed with snuffles. Those beautiful sounds were the even breaths taken by a fully recovered partner. The events of that shooting, finding him bleeding on the floor, still haunted his dreams so the snores were always a welcome sound.
Eyes still closed, Bodie inhaled deeply. The scent of sex, raw, male sex, no clingy bird scent to mask the musk. With another breath he found the scent he always associated with Ray. Over the traces of after-shave scent, there was nothing to interfere with the real scent of Ray Doyle.
Only on long obbos where they shared a stakeout flat or were forced to share a bed did Bodie get unencumbered hints of full scent.
He drank his fill for the moment.
He opened his eyes. The soft expression there was for no one to see. Doyle always had a body that was deceptive. He looked lean and frail to some. Even Bodie knew he had underestimated the wiry frame originally. But it was packed full of lean, hard muscles and a quickness that fooled many an adversary. Without clothes his body told a different story. The muscles and conditioning were not hidden from view. When he watched him move on the wrestling mats, Ray's skin gleamed and the movement was accentuated. It was only in the showers or on an undercover such as this that he could see that arse. An arse that was just as good to look at clothed or not.
Bodie smiled to himself. Doyle wore clothes that showed off his body, no hiding all he was with ill-fitting garments. Now, no sober person would ever mistake that form as anything but male, but there had been a few snockered beyond standing who made that mistake and thought him a bird from behind in the next booth. But they only thought that once.
Oh, Ray had his ugly days, looks and spirit, but they never lasted.
Now, his hair, that was an enigma. It showed his confidence in himself and that he had no image problem, but still, he took such great care of it. Bodie acknowledged that he availed himself of every opportunity to touch it. It felt like spun silk and he actually feared the day that Doyle took it in his mind to cut the locks off.
Tossing aside that disturbing thought, he moved back a bit from the warm body. Doyle just rolled more onto his back while remaining asleep. Bodie sucked in his breath as sight and scent were assaulted once again.
Blokes weren't supposed to stare at other blokes' parts. But they did. In the gents, in the gym, a twist, a turn, comparing out of habit, pride, competition.
Envy, satisfaction, pity.
Staring openly at the sleeping Doyle . . . Bodie saw beauty.
He looked back at his own hand, remembering how it had held it all. No envy, just great appreciation. Satisfaction, absolutely. Pity, only that his access to do this was time sensitive.
Bodie took another deep breath, but to steady himself this time. He was rewarded anyway with the sex scent of both Ray and himself. He out and out grinned.
Touching was hard to resist on the best of days. Today wasn't that day and he indulged himself. He pulled himself up close, pinning his hard erection against the bony hip. At the same time, he cupped the three-quarter hard organ. Then the hardness of Ray's erection was no longer in question. His hips arched as he humped Bodie's hand. Bodie gentled the movement of the hips as he stroked the erection.
Some part of his brain complained that he had yet to add taste to his summary of senses and Bodie didn't need a second urging to try.
He dove in, mouth first, and sucked in the fully hard cock. The taste was as he remembered and he indulged himself, lavishing attention until a tap at his shoulder told him Ray was close to climax. Instead of scaring him off, Bodie only sucked harder, to once again take his essence inside himself. He liked that, a part of Ray within him.
He knew the moment to release the freshly flaccid skin and Ray seemed to relax bonelessly into the bed. Once again, Bodie felt the satisfaction of a job well done.
His personal satisfaction he could take care of himself. The sex scent surrounded him and he closed his eyes. They flew open faster than ever before as his erection became lost inside the lips of his partner -- that was an experience he had never expected. It was truly a deep, dark fantasy and reality surpassed all imaginings.
As auburn curls bobbed and a tongue explored, Bodie wanted this to never end. But the sensation seduced him and without time to warn Ray he exploded into climax.
He couldn't remember a finer moment in his life.
Bodie woke to the sound of a shower running. His bladder pleading for relief, he made for the bog. There was something refreshingly familiar about sharing the bathroom like they had on so many other occasions. As Doyle seemed to be indulging in the hot water he didn't have to pay for, Bodie wiped the mirror and prepared to shave, hoping that there'd be some hot water left.
Doyle stuck his head out from behind the shower curtain and smiled at his partner. "I'm up for pattern ID and computer testing for memory." He crossed his eyes. "Have you stopped to wonder what Ross's answers have us being evaluated as?" He kept his voice low even with the water running.
Bodie grinned, "A typical mindless bloke with sex always on the brain."
"Oh, your normal self, then."
Bodie tossed some of the shaving foam Ray's way. Ray ducked back in and missed being hit. Bodie heard the chuckling and thought he was safe until he was hit with the shower spray. Bodie still heard the chuckling.
Doyle was dressed and gone by the time Bodie emerged from the shower. He hurried, wanting to grab something to eat before his meeting with Dr Scott.
In the breakfast cafeteria he noted that Louise Temple was sitting with Grassmore. Their discussion looked more serious than a director conversing with a receptionist. They were joined by one of the facility security. The director left immediately after. Unfortunately Bodie didn't have more time to watch, already late for his morning appointment with Dr Scott.
He hurried to the office and found the office door open.
"Well, Bodie, you look much happier this morning," Scott commented as Bodie entered with a spring in his step.
"I have reason to be cautiously optimistic." Bodie shared the information as if he was telling a secret. He sat in his usual chair.
"He was open to your advances?"
"Didn't try anything on. Too soon. Same as with a bird. We had dinner and watched the game. This afternoon we have a squash game." Bodie could see that Scott seemed disappointed. He must have not seen the recording yet. He probably had expected Bodie to throw Ray on the floor and have his way. All that suppressed energy.
"Courting?" Scott's tone held disbelief.
"Old-fashioned term, but somewhat the idea. Don't really want just a one-off."
"Well Bodie, you've showed great improvement. I do believe that confronting your desires honestly and then trying to consummate them has already decreased your stress level. After your squash game meet up with Dr Fisker at his office and he will re-administer the stress tests. Let's see if we can't get you released." Scott was obviously pleased with what he saw as Bodie's progress.
Bodie was caught on the doctor's last words. They sounded as if he did not have a set release date. "And if they aren't?"
"Then we need to look deeper." Scott explained reasonably.
"Oh," Bodie wondered if Cowley was aware that his release was dependent on the doctor's say so. He wondered what Doyle had to do to get out as well.
Ray Duncan entered Scott's office reluctantly. He had enjoyed the run he squeezed in after the morning tests. He hadn't cared about the tests at all because he'd used Ross' programmed answers. He'd also had to work doubly hard not to do exceptionally well on the agility tests. That was tougher than it seemed.
"Afternoon, Ray. How have you found the facilities thus far?" Scott inquired as his hand indicated the chairs for seating.
"The exercise facility seems great and the food isn't bad either." Doyle sat down in a fairly relaxed pose, legs loose.
"I understand you had dinner with Bodie." Scott's statement let Doyle know that they were watched and the good doctor wanted him to know it.
Ray Duncan's posture changed. He sat straight up and crossed his legs. "Yeah, after we watched the game."
"Did you find it relaxing?"
"Yeah, why not?"
"No reason other than sometimes workmates don't like being evaluated when someone they know is here as well."
"Oh, nah, I'm fine."
"Good then," Scott picked up his folder and reread the results. "Your tests show that you worry about the image you project to others. Almost to the degree that you have two selves and that you're close to a breaking point."
It took all of Doyle's undercover skills not to react to the assessment Ross had cooked up for him. "How people perceive you is how you're judged. You can't be promoted with a negative image," Doyle tossed out without much thought.
"Do you find that makes you suppress aspects of your character?"
"What? You mean am I really a messy person and would love to just drop my clothes on the floor, but I don't because I'm worried how others would judge me?" Doyle rabbitted on.
"That can be one thing. Are you a messy person?" the doctor threw back at him.
"More than some," thinking of Bodie, "Less than others," thinking of Murphy.
Scott sighed. Answers as ambiguous as the man before him. "What we need to explore are the traits or aspects of personality that you keep hidden and how that can affect you."
"Two people? I don't think so. I don't have time for that." Ray shook his head in amused disbelief.
"You may not be aware of it, it's probably second nature to you." Scott's tone was very serious as he leaned forward. "You need to spend some time exploring why you do this and then let it go. Do something unexpected. Test yourself. That's the point of your being here. I need you to make the breakthrough."
"It sounds like you want me to break rules." Doyle thought it was blackmail to order.
"Some rules are meant to be broken. That provides a path to freedom and here you're protected from consequences."
"I'll do what I can." Doyle said aloud. To himself he added, Cowley has ordered me to break all sorts of rules, only he doesn't blackmail. . . he threatens openly.
The doctor only saw the amused look on his patient's face and worried for Bodie.
Doyle left the office quickly. He was looking forward to the afternoon squash game. At least this op provided a lot of physical activity. He went to his room first. He made a note of the video equipment. It was placed here much the same as it had been in Bodie's room.
He would spend the night again with Bodie in his room. He was pleased with last night's performance. The sex had been easy and, quite frankly, he was looking forward to another round tonight.
He was sure now, after the session with Scott, that they would have to have some intercourse. More curious than repulsed, he wondered which position Bodie would allow.
The squash facility was better than the one at London Sports Club. Well, except for the video and audio recording equipment Bodie silently pointed out to Doyle; the London Sports Club was decidedly thin on that. Their games were active and competitive. Both men played as powerfully as they usually would. There was no hiding their abilities in this arena. Each man put everything he had into returning every shot. The scoring stayed quite even. They were in the middle of a fearsome rally when the lights went off.
"Hey?" Bodie yelled up into the dark. There was no reply.
Doyle stood still and waited for Bodie to find him.
There were no windows for light to peek in so they were in complete darkness. Bodie turned to the last spot he'd seen Doyle, "You moving?"
The single word was enough for Bodie to locate him. He stepped up alongside his partner and put his hand on his shoulder. Aloud, he said, "You okay?" Into Doyle's ear he whispered, "This is probably another stress test."
Doyle turned his head to answer into Bodie's ear, "This is probably meant for me. Duncan is supposed to be uncomfortable in the dark due to a cave-in as a child."
Bodie nodded, understanding. He whispered, "Go into whatever act you want, I'll back you."
Doyle never doubted that. Aloud Ray Duncan sounded agitated, "We need to get the lights back on. Come on, Bodie, let's find the switch."
"There is no switch inside. It's just out side the door." Bodie's voice remained clam.
"Then let's find the door." He started to move away from Bodie but Bodie stopped him with his arm.
"Door opens with electricity. We're stuck in here. But, hey, Ray, we're together. Nothing'll happen."
"Can't stand this, Bodie, just can't stand it." He made to move away again but Bodie stopped him. "Let go of me, Bodie, I need to find a way out." Ray was sounding borderline hysterical.
"Then let me take your mind off it." Before Ray could say a word, Bodie claimed his lips.
First, Bodie's tongue just explored gently, but when Ray responded, Bodie heated up the exchange. The dark was liberating and Bodie's hands wandered up and down Ray's back, grabbing his bum and pulling Ray's whole body closer. Next, Bodie's lips travelled down to taste the area behind the neck and ears. With each nibble he moved them one step closer to the wall until he had Doyle backed up completely.
By this time, Ray Duncan no longer remembered that he was stuck in the dark. He pulled Bodie's shirt up and off before he was divested of his own shirt. Bodie kissed, Ray kissed back. Their hands found the other's erection, equally hard and leaking. Into the moment, and on the same wave length, they made short work of the sex. Fast and furious, they came within seconds of each other.
Depleted, Doyle slid down the wall, taking Bodie with him. Without losing physical contact with Ray, Bodie felt around for his shirt. Unable to locate it easily, he gave up. He pulled Doyle up close and they lay on the floor, Doyle's head pillowed on Bodie's chest.
Half an hour later the lights came on and the door opened. The doctors rushed in, fully expecting a disturbed Ray Duncan and found instead a man blinking the sleep from his eyes. The post-sex kip had kept the demons at bay, or at least that was how Ray explained it.
Bodie, on the other hand, was upset. "I'm sick and tired of these malfunction tests. Things could have turned out real badly. You might not have got here in time. Not professional by any means. No psychoanalysing this, we're done for the day." Bodie left behind their rackets and ball as he guided his partner from the room.
That evening, they ate in Bodie's room, well aware that the cameras were rolling. By silent agreement they indulged in mutual fellatio. Even with the room in darkness the cameras recorded much more than either would have liked. Heads thrown back at climax only to quickly resume for the other, the expressions of delight could not be masked. The gentleness in touch that would quickly be denied, as would the nuzzling after the fact, the camera caught it all.
The watchers were cheated out of audio though - no words were exchanged, but then, for what transpired words weren't really needed.
Bodie woke in the dark of dawn, quickly searching for where he was. The scent and feel of Ray reminded him instantly of who he was with and where he was. He took stock of his positioning. Odd thoughts filled his head. He couldn't help but notice that this had been the first time that he had woken with his legs entangled with another and he didn't mind. He wasn't filled with the sickening or cloying feeling. He also noted that he'd rather have a lie in as opposed to escaping to the bog. Knowing it was his partner made all the difference.
He rolled over and nuzzled Ray's neck as he advanced upward seeking his lips, lips that welcomed him in. They exchanged a drowsy, happy kiss before sleep claimed them once more.
They shared a shower so they could exchange information.
Hands against the wall, head tilted back, Doyle started, "Ross has me in as an image-conscious, suppressed individual. But I am adaptable." Doyle couldn't help grinning at the last.
Bodie chuckled as he washed Doyle's hair.
Ray turned his head back to look at his partner and suds flipped onto Bodie's face. "We need to worry that they want to separate us. It could have been just a threat to get me to answer. I'm being difficult," Doyle admitted.
"Typical gay, then?" Bodie finished what he was doing with Doyle's hair. "Ill bring it up as a fear if needed. Odd, Scott didn't even hint that he'd seen the tapes."
"Can't very well, can he? Give away the game." Doyle turned to rinse the soap out of his hair.
"Scott seems to be an advocate for me. It's why you're here, after all."
"Wot? Not because I have a dual personality that's vain and repressed? Now there's a thing." Doyle tried to sound wounded.
"He sussed out the real you, my lad." Bodie didn't put much work into his reply, as he was transfixed with the vision before him, water glistening, hair looking longer than usual, cock distended and pointing at him. Bodie lost himself to his base desires. He crouched, mouth level with the invitation, and sucked him in.
Ray leaned back, luxuriating in the feeling. He wasn't surprised, in fact he'd hoped for it when he turned around, so he was pleased. Bodie did this so well. With sensations so wild coursing through his skin, he had no time to examine why he turned when no camera was present. He liked being adaptable. Any attempt at rational thought was lost as climax washed through him. He fully expected to hear the sizzle of water reacting with his skin.
As soon as he rinsed off again, he was pushed out by Bodie. He had finished dressing by the time Bodie emerged. He felt a twinge of guilt at not servicing Bodie. He recalled quite clearly the stiff cock, taut balls. He had to make it up to him later. He wasn't even curious as to why he felt the need to reciprocate so keenly.
Doyle walked briskly to the doctor's office. He fixed a cup of tea in the reception area before knocking on Scott's door.
Scott bade the patient enter and watched him closely. Bodie was infatuated with this individual and he just couldn't see it. Oh, he could be a looker, but Bodie was a sensitive man. This man before him was quite the opposite. He feared for the outcome of Bodie's dream.
"Sit down, Ray. I am sorry about the black-out yesterday. It was a problem-solving test scheduled for Bodie. I didn't expect you to get caught in it. He usually warmed up alone." Scott made an attempt at an excuse.
Ray reviewed the man in front of him. He was good at his job. He sounded so believable, but Ray remembered that Bodie told him that he had told Scott of the impending date. So, Scott could lie exceptionally well. Another nail for his coffin in Doyle's mind.
"Bodie helped. Diverted me with a walk on the wild side. I took your advice. Quite liberating. Never gave another thought to being trapped in the dark."
"Is this kind of sex something you would visit regularly?"
"Regularly? Hardly. It's just like a dirty weekend. Besides, I'm not homosexual."
"Did you enjoy it?"
"Sure, all sex is good."
"Have you always been bisexual?"
"I'm straight, I'm just flexible." Doyle was quite satisfied with his answer.
"Very few straight men enjoy any sort of sexual interaction with another male. Bisexual is for the flexible."
"Would prefer you don't go spreading that about." Doyle sat forward and pinned the good doctor with a forbidding stare. "My job would be on the line. That kind of worry is much more stressful than dual lifestyles."
"Oh, yes, of course. Confidentiality goes without saying. I just want you to be careful with Bodie. He's a much more serious individual than you." Scott knew he couldn't say more about Bodie's feelings without violating his confidentiality.
"Are you saying that Bodie is bisexual?"
"That's a question you must ask him. You're due for the last battery of tests." Scott watched Ray Duncan leave, but his thoughts were on Bodie.
Bodie waved to Ray across the quad on his way to Scott's. He really wished he could be privy to Ray's sessions. He knew his partner could be so contrary. This op afforded little time for comparative communication.
Scott was standing by the door, waiting for him. His smile virtually beamed at Bodie as he entered. Bodie moved past him to sit down.
"Bodie this is the most relaxed you've looked since entering the facility." Scott moved around the desk and sat down.
Bodie smiled in his role and replied, "Yes, I must thank you. I have a full relationship that I never expected to ever have." He was nearly gushing. He smiled but it was at himself even though he was sure that Scott thought it was for him.
Scott couldn't hide his concern. "While I'm certainly glad you've embraced this other aspect of the whole, I wouldn't pin everything on Ray."
"Why? Did Ray say something?" Bodie leaned forward, worried.
"No. It's just the circumstances leading to this consummation were precarious. A frightened man looking to escape a frightening situation is not the individual to pin your emotional hopes on." Scott was being quite honest.
"I know Ray. He enjoyed it this morning as well." Bodie appeared very satisfied with himself.
Scott looked down at his folder with all the test results. Bodie had come a long way in his short time here. Bodie had been ready to confront himself and expand his horizons. His patient had met all criteria that he had set up for him. He was just concerned that this sensitive man would end up hurt by Ray Duncan. Scott would set up release but he would keep tabs.
Scott looked up and smiled at Bodie once more. "I've scheduled your exit test for this afternoon. I feel confident that you'll be heading home tomorrow afternoon."
Bodie didn't have to fake his delight at being sprung.
Bodie made a call to his boss at The Warwick Group to let him know of his return to duty. He knew all information would be passed on to the real boss, Cowley. Then the waiting game would begin.
After finishing the day's testing, the CI5 partners met in the early evening for a run. They warmed up on the grass centre.
"Scott's springing me tomorrow afternoon. Didn't say anything about you." Bodie said as he bent over.
"Finished my tests. I'm only here for you. Can't see me staying longer." Doyle lowered his head so it would be hard to tell he was speaking.
"It'll be nice to be some place that's not bugged."
Doyle caught Bodie's eye and nodded his agreement. They started their run in step together. Wind in their faces, it was the most normal activity they could do at the facility. Their bodies settled in to the routine automatically.
That evening, knackered from the tests and the ten mile run, they agreed that having sex again could cast doubts on the building relationship scenario they were trying to establish. They slept the entire night entwined together.
Cowley was waiting at Bodie's flat when the pair arrived back.
Ray Duncan was released with the proviso that he would work at consolidating his two halves. The Warwick car arrived to pick them both up. It held Eccelston alone.
"Good afternoon, gentlemen. I want to thank you for going well beyond duty. If at any time in the future, you find you want or need a career change, my company is always open to you two."
"Thank you." Bodie looked pleased.
"Thanks. Never know, may take you up on that." Doyle liked having alternatives.
"You both bring a different perspective. With that in mind," he handed each man two folders. "These are possible assignments for the upcoming years. Your boss wants to lay a trap. The idea is to use one now, publicise it somewhat and force the blackmailers to act on his time frame. However profitable I find having you two work for me, Mr Cowley has implied he'd like you available for some other assignments."
"Huum, working on a master info sharing computer seems like a sci-fi movie, so if it were real . . . would be something worth stealing." Bodie never looked up from the files.
Doyle nodded. "While this other idea, satellite security, looks promising, it seems to need a longer time frame to put into play." Doyle was flipping back and forth between the two folders.
"Fine. We announce that a breakthrough on the technology is imminent. I'll mention the team in passing as well."
Bodie looked up. "How far are you from completing this technology?"
"The Yanks and Japanese are the forerunners."
"So, hopefully the blackmailers want the info before the unveiling." Then Bodie went practical. "What did Cowley think?"
"He left the decision of which one to choose to me." He gave the impression that was all that Cowley let him do.
Once upstairs, Cowley wanted a full debrief.
Bodie recalled with great accuracy the people he had noted, how they reacted in his "incidents" and Scott's repeated probing questions.
"He wanted me to break the Official Secrets Act several different times with the proviso that we had doctor/patient confidentiality."
"Scott encouraged me to break rules. Asked if I would continue to do so," Doyle contributed. They were finally exchanging their observations.
It didn't escape Cowley's notice that neither of his agents included the details of the rules they did break, nor the acts committed that made them open to blackmail. Cowley knew they were good lads and he was sure that they'd done enough to make everything work.
"Impressions of the people working there," Cowley barked in a way that made Bodie sit up straighter.
"Fisker was the medical doctor. Physicals and agility tests were his forte." Bodie shrugged. "That doc never asked more than what was needed. He'd noted my scars but accepted my answer for them without question."
"Agreed. He didn't appear to be interested in anything past his tests." Doyle concurred with Bodie's assessments.
The agents shared a look and Bodie continued. "Grassmore ate meals with Scott and Louise Temple, Scott's receptionist."
"The psychiatrist's secretary." Cowley nodded confirming that he indeed knew the players.
"According to Scott, he himself transcribed the sessions, so Temple was just a receptionist," Bodie corrected.
"They seemed easy with each other, but she seemed just as easy with Grassmore," Doyle added.
"She seemed easy with several of the security personnel as well." Bodie searched his memory for more details. "She fiddled with an expensive bracelet during her meals with Scott. Didn't get much more than that. Sorry, sir."
"That's all right, Bodie, you did exactly what you were supposed to do. The rest is just to our advantage." Cowley's tone and words allowed Bodie to relax. "9.1 will return on Thursday and we will get her observation on the people of Westhaven."
"How do you want us to proceed?" Doyle inquired, trying to guess for himself.
Cowley ignored Doyle's question but asked one of his own. "Did Eccelston decide on what he wants published and possibly leaked?" Alpha One was sure that the corporate man had already decided.
"The linking of computers together using telecommunications technology," Doyle supplied.
"Science fiction." Bodie shook his head.
"Not so much of the fiction. Computers have their uses. They are faster than people that gather information and if they could share, we wouldn't have to waste time typing in redundant information when it could be found somewhere else."
Both agents stared silently at their boss. Both were surprised, but then again, not if it could save a farthing.
Doyle took it to the next level. "So, if information could be shared, then someone would find a market and want to break into the system."
"Yeah, tap the line, so to speak." Bodie nodded to his partner.
"The potential for good is equal to the potential for harm." Cowley knew that was always true and was what kept agencies like his own necessary.
Bodie went to the drinks cabinet and carried back three glasses and a bottle of Scotch. He poured out equal measures into the glasses. All three men drank deeply and Bodie poured again.
Cowley looked at his agents. "What's next?" He asked Doyle's question.
Bodie sighed. "Doyle and I figured we should share the flat in secret. It won't surprise me if this place ends up with additional recording equipment. They have the know-how."
"I keep my place but stay here on the sly. The press release should keep them interested in us. I think we should watch Westhaven personnel as well."
"You do your job, Doyle, I'll do mine." It might have sounded like a rebuke but Cowley was pleased that his agents thought beyond their immediate assignments. "If you need to contact, do it from Eccelston's phone or a public call box. Don't trust the phone here." Cowley stood and moved toward the door. "On your toes, lads."
Bodie and Doyle watched the door close behind their boss before sagging back on to the sofa.
Doyle finished his drink and stood up. "I'll take your motor. Bring my stuff over in the morning."
Bodie nodded, afraid his voice might give some of his dismay away. He already knew he'd miss sleeping next to Doyle.
Doyle leaned on the bell.
"Who is it?" an irritated Bodie asked even as he already knew.
"I am awake. Who is it?"
"Let me in, you crud. These boxes are heavy."
Bodie opened the door to his annoying partner.
Doyle scowled at his partner as he passed him, carrying three boxes. "There's more in the boot."
Bodie looked at Doyle, then down at himself, and his point was made. He was draped in a towel.
"Get dressed then. There's more to do." Doyle headed back out the door.
Bodie stood bemused as he listened to Doyle whistle off-key as he went down the stairs instead of taking the lift. Then he turned to get dressed.
Doyle was up with another three boxes as Bodie exited the bedroom fully clothed. Doyle stood for a few seconds, head tilted, remembering.
Bodie moved toward the door.
"My suitcases are still in the boot." Doyle smiled at his partner. He started unpacking.
Bodie paused amid the boxes. "How does an undercover persona have so much stuff?" Bodie looked pointedly at the boxes and newly created mess.
"Like me creature comforts, I do. Anyway, we had to buy so much stuff to look right, I'm keeping it. Can't return any of this," pointing to the boxes' contents, "now, can I?" Doyle's seraphic look belied the devilment in his eyes and satisfaction at getting Cowley to pay for something useful.
"The perks, my lad, the perks." Bodie headed downstairs, quite content with the day.
Several hours later, Bodie's flat had been transformed from his into their flat and it even felt like a home. Bodie couldn't remember where he had felt it before, but it was familiar and welcome. Even if it had a time limit. It always did.
"Time for food, my son! My stomach thinks my throat's been cut. Let's go to the pub Anson's working at."
"King's Head. Fine idea." Doyle chuckled. "Make him work for a change. Sometimes, Bodie, you have a right fine idea."
Anson was behind the bar pulling drinks. He obviously knew what he was doing. Agents working for Cowley usually had more talents than killing and detecting. Besides, Anson's smoke fit right in.
"Two pints of bitter." Bodie put his money on the counter. "Two sandwiches," he added.
"Cheese or beef?" Anson tilted his head at his fellow agent.
"One of each." Bodie plopped more money in front of him.
Bodie sat next to Doyle and just enjoyed the change of pace from the last week. He smiled his thanks as Anson dropped their food on the table.
"Wish I could have brought the bike with me," Doyle commented halfway through the meal.
"The Cow was probably afraid you'd want a new one, your image and all," Bodie said after washing down the last of his sandwich.
"New one? That's a criminal suggestion. My bike is a classic. It's perfect."
"Not for this op." Bodie stood and picked up the empties for a refill. At the counter he said to Anson, "Two more."
"My bike's out back." Anson handed Bodie the keys." I'm off at eight tonight."
Bodie took the keys, his expression enough thanks for Anson. "We'll pick up where we left off when we return."
Doyle looked up as Bodie stood at the table with no drinks in his hand. "You forgot . . ." Doyle's voice trailed off as he saw the bike keys dangling from Bodie's hand and gave him a questioning look.
Bodie tilted his head back in the direction of Anson. Doyle followed the movement and understood. He smiled his thanks as well.
Doyle headed out of London, no real destination in mind. Even with their crash helmets, they felt the wind on their faces and that was all that was really necessary. For the next few hours the CI5 agents felt like carefree men.
Bodie sat close to Doyle and held him securely about the waist. He always revered this form of contact. Public scrutiny mattered not this way and Bodie realised it had been part of the joy of their past bike days. It was one of the few things he would still have after the op.
After a couple of hours out they stopped for petrol and to assuage their thirst. This was the first time since the op started that they were unto themselves. Bodie and Doyle, regular CI5 agents out and about, not at all concerned that they could be overheard or viewed. That freedom kept them out longer than physically practical, so, with just a look they mutually agreed that it was time to head back. Doyle dangled the keys before Bodie. He smiled unreservedly as he took them.
Bodie sat astride the bike and turned the key on. Doyle climbed in behind him and wrapped his arms around his waist.
Bodie took stock of another perfect moment.
The Suzuki hummed beneath their thighs and they felt it through their bodies. The wind hit their faces making speech impossible. Despite a dead insect or two, it felt like freedom.
Back at The King's Head, Anson filled the pint glasses as the agents headed to a table. Bodie left the money, the keys and a tip on the counter.
They ate before heading back to the flat. They were in time for the match of the day. Tomorrow they were back at work at both jobs.
The Warwick employees welcomed their team members back into the fold. They expected to hear fresh horror stories from the latest batch of testees and they shared their own. All agreed that the time at Westhaven was anything but relaxing. Afterwards the team settled into the routine that was normal for them.
They worked until after midnight. The late hour made Bodie offer a ride home to Doyle, known for walking to and from work. The CI5 agents left together.
At the flat they didn't do much more than peel off their clothes, Bodie taking a bit more care than Doyle. Using the bog in turn before they settled in the one bed together. No words, no questions. They snuggled together in the same positions that they had got used to at Westhaven. Bodie slept well.
In the morning they started much as they had those last days at the facility. Bodie washed Doyle's hair automatically with the care he used for beloved things just before he pleasured him with his mouth. The act afforded him much more joy than he was willing to analyse and he just lived in the moment.
Bodie was surprised when he felt his hard erection taken inside by Doyle's luscious mouth. Bodie knew sensations so exquisite he had no name for them. He let himself be lost within them.
Doyle left the very drained Bodie in the shower to recoup and clean off. He was quite satisfied with himself. He hadn't forgotten the promise he'd made to himself with regards to reciprocation. Bodie's reaction spoke highly of his technique. He didn't ponder why he was so pleased with his performance or Bodie's acceptance of it. That was for another time.
Doyle picked up the office mail and noted a memo for him. It looked remarkably like Cowley's hand. They were to meet Liz Spaulding, 9.1, at The King's Head after work. Evidently she had finally been released from Westhaven as well.
Bodie pulled into a parking place directly out front. He figured they must have beaten the crowd. The King's Head was a popular local. Tonight, even more so with the addition of several familiar faces.
Doyle picked a table in the corner and pulled a few more chairs in to isolate them a bit more. Bodie bought the pints, determined that he'd make his partner pay for a round or two yet this evening.
It wasn't long before another familiar face entered the pub. Doyle watched as Anson pointed to their location and Liz followed his lead. Both agents stood and greeted her like an old friend.
Anson brought one glass of wine over for Liz.
"I'm well glad to be away from Westhaven. I was afraid I would never get released." Liz laughed easily. "Dr Nicholls was determined to find something wrong with me or at least a deep secret. If he only knew. But our inestimable Dr Ross had me memorise my answers precisely. It confounded them and gave me more time there."
"We had Scott, or I should say Bodie did. I only ended up there for Bodie's sake." Doyle's smile took any sting or implication out of the statement.
"Seems Dr Nicholls only sees patients that are not in sensitive positions. Secretaries of low level employees or women from the typing pool. Administrative aides, any assistants of general personnel. Your Dr Scott only sees the employees in confidential positions." Liz tasted her wine for the first time.
The news did not surprise Doyle.
"Were your sessions recorded?" Bodie asked.
"Yes. Open and above board. But, there were several audio mics placed in odd positions. Untrained eyes wouldn't have picked it up." Liz shrugged before taking another sip of her wine. "Louise Temple ended up my friend, at least at lunch time more often than not. I think she wanted someone new to brag to. She's dating at least three of the facility employees, including the director himself. Was quite proud of that. She loved to show off the jewellery she'd received from him; a diamond bracelet was the most recent. From Dr Scott she had an emerald necklace. She confided he was quite wild off duty, in total contrast to his work personality."
"I saw the bracelet. She made sure that Scott saw it," Bodie recalled. "Maybe that's why she didn't seem to work that much."
"Grassmore was more aloof. He seemed worried a great deal of the time." Liz sipped more of her wine.
"I never talked with him. Just observed him with Louise." Bodie wondered if he knew that Louise wasn't exclusive. "Dr Scott?"
"I only saw him at the testing centre. He conversed with Fisker daily. " Liz laughed delightedly. "Now there was a man who loved his tests. Man or woman could parade naked before him and he'd not notice unless it impaired a test result." She shook her head. "Scott was the enigma. I saw him with Louise most evening meals, though."
"Not sure what this tells us." Doyle was frustrated at the lack of real intel.
"Julie goes in next week. Ross has her quite neurotic and a sleepwalker who is allergic to medication."
Bodie couldn't help chuckling at the image of Ross concocting these personalities on Herbie. He shared his image with Liz and Doyle and they chuckled as well.
"The typing pool was all abuzz this afternoon. The upcoming press release. More curious than anything. Seems they couldn't make heads or tails about the upcoming project. Well, I'm off. Early morning." She waved to Anson on her way out.
Doyle stood. It was his turn to buy a round. He sighed. "Now we have to wait."
Quentin Eccelston made a decision without consulting Cowley and CI5. He could not have his team discover the fabrication the upcoming assignment actually was. He had some of the brightest minds and they would see through the falsehoods easily. He knew his way was better. He called his team in.
"This afternoon, your names will be connected to a public announcement of a future project. Most of this project is out of our purview, but outsiders won't know that. If you are approached, take down any information they offer. I am trying to ferret out which outside group is behind all the corporate spying and theft."
That afternoon Bodie and Doyle, along with the Warwick team, watched the press conference from the office restroom. The reporter's summary of the Warwick project was the more interesting of the offerings. It was in the afternoon edition of the newspaper as well.
The morning paper carried the story again. Doyle read - It's a brilliant move by Director Quentin Eccelston, proving once again how his innovation and imagination work together. The team will comprise some of the Warwick Group's greatest minds. –
Short, sweet, sure to put them into it. Doyle passed the paper across the table to Bodie. He finished his breakfast as Bodie read it. All the names of the team were included. He figured he should be glad they didn't include addresses this time round.
Bodie looked across the table, his expression mirroring his partner's. "At least that should make Cowley happy." Bodie snatched Doyle's last bit of toast. "Something's bound to happen. I wonder what'll be first?"
"You want to run in Gunnersbury Park? Get the kinks out." Doyle asked as he rinsed his teacup.
"Yeah." Bodie nodded his head.
They changed into running gear. Bodie found himself covertly watching Doyle. Even though they were cohabiting and sex was part of the assignment, he wasn't sure that openly lusting would be all that well received.
Gunnersbury Park was fairly empty for a Saturday and Bodie found a space in the car park. They stretched and began the perimeter run in a southerly direction. On the third lap around Bodie felt it; by the fourth his second wind kicked in. Doyle nodded his understanding and they ran on.
They finished eight before slowing to a walk and crossed the common as the cool down. Chicken takeaway was the stop before heading home.
Bodie entered the building first, carrying the food as Doyle held the door.
"Anson has a flat here. Can't you smell his cigars?" Bodie commented as he pushed the button for the lift.
"No, but I see his name on the door."
Bodie tapped his nose. "Better nose than you!"
"Guess that means I have better eyes than you." Doyle stepped into the lift first.
Bodie jostled him, but Doyle opened their door. He grabbed the mail as Bodie walked past. The crumpled note looked odd among the envelopes and was opened first. After reading it he stepped up close behind his partner. "Seems there was an electrician here today. Only had to enter our flat." Doyle wiggled his eyebrows. "We're on camera tonight, I bet."
"Audio as well is my guess. Like we'd talk work at home." Bodie stepped inside the open lift and gestured for Doyle to follow.
"We could. 'S happened before." Doyle shrugged.
Mornings developed a familiar routine. Shower time was efficient; they shared it with mutual grooming and fellatio. Bodie shaved as Doyle got breakfast. Doyle used the electric shaver while dressing.
In the kitchen, Doyle would slurp his muesli over the sink, newspaper opened on the counter. Bodie stood behind him, chin on his shoulder, reading the same paper as he sipped his coffee. The feeling of home crept in and settled about them.
They'd drive into work together, though Bodie would drop Doyle off several streets away so he could walk in, preserving the illusion of maintaining separate flats.
Work at Warwick progressed the same as before the trip to Westhaven. The outside world might believe some were working on a "special" project, but inside all went along status quo. They often worked late. Those days that they didn't, they usually ended up at the local drinking and playing darts with work mates from both jobs.
Mid-week, they were favoured with a shortened day and the CI5 partners opted for running again. This time they headed to their oft-used cemetery paths. Running felt good, banishing cobwebs both mental and physical.
When they slowed to an easy jog Doyle voiced thoughts he'd been mulling over. "I think . . ."
Bodie mumbled. "Always a bad sign."
"Stop. Serious. I think it's usual for blokes this far into a relationship," Doyle's voice stressed the word relationship, "to try fucking."
Bodie was glad he was jogging in a baggy tracksuit. It hid all reaction to thoughts of driving deep into Doyle. He was relieved that his voice gave nothing away as well. "Do you?"
"Want to fuck? Sure. Do you?"
Bodie side-stepped a direct answer. He offered instead, "You can have my arse tonight. Just need to stop for some stuff. Need to be prepped." Bodie was glad they were still jogging; it masked his racing heart. The bounce in his step wasn't a second wind. "You know what you're doing?"
"Imagine it's not too much different." Doyle smiled, "Figure you can clarify the finer points if necessary."
A quick stop at the chemist and Bodie had plenty of KY. In the shower he prepared himself. He kept the water as cold as he could stand as he stretched the muscles necessary. Knowing what was to come, what he'd be filled with, kept his excitement high, almost too high. He turned the water colder still.
Bodie knew that whatever Doyle had experimented with, he had never fucked a man. That the concept was not at all repugnant to Ray was obvious by the exceptionally hard erection Ray was already sporting as he stepped back into the bedroom. Bodie picked up the tube and squeezed KY into Ray's hand, his head move indicating what was expected.
As Ray was covering his own erection with the gel, Bodie kneeled on the bed. He moved pillows to cushion his chest and to leave his own cock free and clear of sensation. He wanted to come with Ray inside. Creating memories to last a lifetime.
Ray depressed the mattress as he came up behind him. His trailed his fingers down the smooth skin of Bodie's back, followed the curve of his arse until his fingers rimmed the entrance, pleased with Bodie's quivering response. He felt the gel and knew he could push home. Hey grabbed Bodie's hips to help pull himself closer.
"Enter slow," Bodie gasped breathlessly as he felt Ray's trembling hands on his back.
Ray needed no other directions. He pushed in slowly and stopped only when Bodie sucked in his breath harshly. Ray had always thought of himself as having great stamina, but with Bodie closed tight about him he was confronted with completely losing control for the first time since being a teenager. Never had he felt such a tight, hot constriction about his cock. At this moment he couldn't imagine a life without doing this again. That sobering thought allowed him to gain the control he'd thought he'd lost.
Bodie's muscles eased their strangle - hold and Ray pushed in deeper. He pulled almost all the way out and pushed in again. By gauging Bodie's reaction, he knew he'd hit the good parts. He angled himself to maximise that particular contact. As Bodie grabbed himself and spasmed Doyle wondered what could feel so good to produce an orgasm such as Bodie experienced. The vise-like constriction on Doyle lost him the capability for coherent thought. He drove home to completion, knowing he'd never come quite like this before. He rested his head on a collapsed Bodie. Ray wasn't sure he could move even in the event of fire.
Bodie lay beneath him in rapture. Ray had moved as though he had a roadmap to perfection. Ray's cock had been thick enough to leave a lasting impression for the day. Another memory stored away. Bodie was already hoping that Ray would want to give him a repeat performance.
Face into the pillow, he knew nothing revealing had been recorded by the camera. He had to admit to himself that he hoped the blackmailer would take his time contacting him.
Ray moved eventually and inched himself up alongside Bodie, pulling the duvet over them for a short kip.
Two hours later they both awoke hungry. Bodie changed the sheets as Doyle nipped around the corner for takeaway. They half-watched the news as they ate. Not inclined to move, they watched the movie that followed. No words were exchanged as they snuggled down together for the night.
The rest of the work week was fraught with looming deadlines and the entire group worked long into the night every night including Saturday. The prospect of an entire day off Sunday was a potent lure.
Sunday morning, instead of a lie-in under camera, they took the CI5-borrowed bikes that Anson had stashed out back with his own out for a ride. They met up with Anson and Murphy for a pub lunch, exchanging news, and information far from all ears. The manpower and hours tied up in this one assignment reminded the agents of its importance.
The hum of the throbbing bike motor fired the blood on the ride back. Bodie headed straight for the bathroom and readied himself in the shower once again. He and Ray wrestled and cavorted as usual under the sheets. This time, as Ray brushed teasingly behind Bodie's balls with his erection, he was surprised. Bodie forcefully thrust up and impaled himself on Ray's ever-ready cock in a single movement. No losers in this contest -- they eventually slept like the dead until morning.
Bodie stopped the car three streets from work. He adjusted the wing mirror a bit before commenting, "I think a car was tailing us."
"You thought so as well." Doyle agreed. He leaned over and kissed Bodie. "Don't want 'em to leave empty- handed."
Bodie rolled his eyes, but leaned in for another kiss. He left Doyle to walk with a wave of his hand.
Just before the morning tea, Bodie was called to the reception desk.
"Call for you. Didn't want to transfer," the receptionist explained.
"Ta." Bodie picked up the phone. "Bodie Williams."
"Ah, Bodie. Terence Scott. How are you?" The doctor sounded elated.
"Terence, please. Do you fancy lunch?" Scott asked.
"A tea break would be more realistic." Bodie played for more time. "I can get away with a bit longer at that time."
"Splendid. Commonwealth Café isn't too far."
"Great. Three o'clock." Scott's voice was giddy.
"See you then." Bodie put down the phone thoughtfully.
Doyle was waiting for him in the lift.
He repeated the conversation for his partner. "This must be the contact," he added.
"I'll let Cowley know. Maybe he can get someone out there in time." Doyle pushed the button for Eccelston's floor.
Scott stood as Bodie entered Commonwealth Café and he waved him out to the patio. He sat opposite Scott.
"Bodie, it's good to see you." His greeting seemed genuinely warm and welcoming. He nodded to the man behind Bodie and the tea was laid out on the table.
"Terence." Bodie smiled an easy but unreadable smile in return.
"I've been thinking of you quite often since you left." Scott told his ex-patient frankly.
"Have you?" Bodie fixed his tea and selected several scones. He pulled the jam closer.
"Yes, partly as a doctor, of course, wondering if you continue to expand horizons. But mostly as a man, just for myself. I've been concerned that when Ray fragments and jettisons you out of his life, you'll retreat."
As this wasn't the conversation Bodie was expecting he stayed silent as he reran it in his head. Then he opted for a somewhat truthful answer. "Ray and I are brilliant."
"Yes, now. Unfortunately, with his personality type long-term commitment won't be a dead cert with the likes of Duncan."
Bodie's expression changed as he bristled with displeasure. Disparaging comments directed at his partner always got up his nose, unless he made them himself. He tamped it down before speaking.
"I don't understand." This time Bodie opted for bafflement.
"Just I'm worried about you when you discover Ray gone one day," Terence told him quite earnestly.
"Ray gone?" It was not a new concept to Bodie. He dealt with those thoughts daily. But as far as Scott was concerned, he wasn't sure what he was driving at.
"In that eventuality, I want you to know you can look to me." Scott placed his hand on top of Bodie's and squeezed once.
"You?" Bodie didn't have to feign confusion anymore.
"Bodie, you are an amazingly handsome and virile man. Any person would be lucky to spend time with you. Most wouldn't appreciate the sensitive man beneath and treasure you as I could."
Bodie schooled his expression, barely keeping it in check. Scott was hitting on him, not blackmailing him. "You want . . . "
"You, any way possible. You'd soon realise all I could give you. . . care for you."
Mentally, Bodie was backing up, scrambling for the door. Ray or no one, his thoughts shouted. Bodie took a deep, slow breath, assuring his thoughts that Ray was the only one. He shushed them, reminding himself that he was on a job.
"While I'm flattered, Ray and I are together and I don't want to do anything to jeopardise that."
Scott sighed, looking contented rather than hurt and angry. "I knew you would be loyal and steadfast, Bodie. You are a champion among men. I would like to become a friend if nothing else." Hope was written all over the good doctor.
"Certainly, I see no harm in friendship." Bodie didn't know how exactly this was connected to the blackmail scheme, but it was possible this was a forerunner to throw him off the scent later or it could be just a come-on.
"He was quite serious. Seemed to think that you would leave me high and dry." Bodie related the entire meeting with Scott to his partner.
"Ross really did some job on us with her answers. Doesn't Scott realise that we work together in the same place? Leaving you high and dry would be tough to accomplish there."
"I think he was talking emotionally," Bodie clarified for Ray.
"Of course, you being the 'sensitive' man you are," Doyle teased, thinking quite the opposite. He studied his partner's mock-offended look and reconsidered his thoughts. Bodie was actually quite sensitive to his moods, always knowing how to jolly him up when needed. Chances were, Scott was right about Bodie. He was sensitive under all the layers. Hiding most of it from the world. Not so much him, though. Humm? Food for thought, that. Which food and which thoughts weren't on the current menu.
Two days later, an envelope arrived special delivery for Bodie Williams. The receptionist called him down and Bodie took the stairs.
"Ta, luv." Bodie smiled as he accepted the envelope.
Forgoing the stairs, he pushed the lift button. He flipped the envelope over and over. Bodie knew it was a blackmail photo. In the lift, as he was alone, he ripped open an edge and drew out a single picture. It was an eight by ten glossy of the second time Doyle fucked him. One couldn't see Doyle's face, just his curls. His own head had been thrown back. The picture had been explicit, but it wasn't damning at first glance. Due to the angle, Doyle could easily be mistaken for a bird. It would require an intensive scrutiny to recognise a male form. On the back all it said was – Do they know who you screw?
Bodie placed it back in the envelope and waited for his floor. He carried it under his arm. He found Doyle in the rest room. He tapped the envelope and Doyle's eyes indicated he understood.
Doyle fixed a cup of tea for both of them and placed Bodie's on the table in front of him. He waited patiently for the room to empty before he looked pointedly at the envelope. Bodie passed it over.
Doyle opened it without expression and maintained a neutral look as he studied the photo. He turned it over and read the message, then turned it back over to review the picture.
"Not as damning as it could be, mate," was Doyle's first comment.
"My thought exactly. Not very threatening either." Bodie flipped the picture over and pointed to the message.
"I think you're supposed to be quivering in your boots." Doyle turned the photo over for an even closer look. Bodie looked exquisite. The picture had captured Bodie in the throes of orgasm. One that he had caused. What could he be feeling to create that image? Curiosity started to burn.
They finished the day and they met their Warwick group at The King's Head for a meal and a darts competition.
After Team Bodie and Doyle won the evening, they were ready to leave. Bodie stopped to pay his tab. He leaned into Anson. "Contact's been made."
Anson picked up the money. "Right, sir, I'll pass the tip along. Night, sir."
At the flat, they used the bathroom in turn without words. They decided to let it be known that they were unperturbed by the photograph. The kiss started teasingly but ignited passion. Skin on skin, rubbing together, Bodie pulled Doyle closer. Leaking cocks trapped against undulating bellies didn't need much friction to trigger first one then two orgasms.
Doyle only half moved off Bodie before falling asleep. Bodie buried his nose into Doyle's hair before following.
The day began in the usual pattern they had adopted. It wasn't until Doyle had been dropped off to walk the rest of the way to work that his thoughts returned to the picture.
That look was more than enjoyment, it seemed to hold so much more. . . close to rapture more like. It had to be the fucking, but no bird had looked quite like that. Still, he had to know.
They had time for a run after work and they returned to Gunnersbury Park. Running helped take the edge off Doyle. He thought long and hard and when they reached their final lap he slowed to a jog. He needed to voice his thoughts.
"Bodie, I've been thinking."
"Oh, lord, not again." Bodie grabbed out and stopped his partner. He remembered vividly the last time Doyle thought while running.
Doyle flashed his grin. "Doesn't seem fair that I haven't reciprocated. So I will."
"Reciprocated what, sunshine?" Bodie resumed walking knowing full well what his partner was referring to.
Doyle stayed by his shoulder. "Fucking, of course."
"Okay." Bodie half smiled, once again glad of his running clothes. It would be his last fantasy come true. A memory like no other.
Picking up takeaway was more by habit than hunger. Their only real hunger would be assuaged between the sheets.
Bodie put the food in the fridge, not even pretending he was anything but ready.
Doyle was already peeling off his clothes as he strode to the bedroom. Before he entered the bathroom Bodie tapped him on the arm with a tube of KY.
"You want to do it or have me do it?"
Doyle took a deep breath as he accepted the tube. "I'd like you to do it, but I want to last. So, I'd better take care of myself." Doyle wasn't sure he could count on his control otherwise. He stepped inside and closed the door.
Bodie heard the shower start up as he folded his clothes. He padded out naked to the drinks cabinet and returned to the bedroom with two scotches. He placed Doyle's on the bedside table. He sipped his own as he stood by the window. He didn't think about the camera or the blackmail, just about Doyle. He knew he needed to think about this time together. To ask himself . . . .
His thoughts were interrupted by the man himself. Standing in the door, naked.
Bodie's eyes were riveted on the sinewy form. Ray beckoned with a finger and Bodie responded immediately. Bodie started out looking at Ray's eyes, but his own eyes became entranced with Ray's burgeoning erection. It grew under his watchful gaze and as he neared he had to touch it.
Ray sat on the bed and tucked one foot under his bum as he spread the other leg. He put himself on offer with a seductive look. Bodie leaned over him and captured his lips. The kiss ignited his blood and Bodie grabbed Ray's shoulders to stop himself from falling over. He then settled in between Ray's legs without touching much skin. He knew it wouldn't take much to set either of them off.
Bodie looked happy and lustful as his fingers trailed down Ray's body slowly. He passed right on by Ray's erection and cupped the balls instead. He rolled them in his fingers until Ray arched against his hand.
He whispered against Ray's neck, "Relax and you'll fly."
Ray trusted and did just that. Bodie entered slowly, reading Ray's every reaction as guidance to move, be still and move again. He remained still to let Ray get used to the full feeling. Ray told him without words when he moaned against him. He then thrust in hard and up. With the noise and counter- thrusts, he knew Ray finally understood. Bodie angled each thrust to maximise Ray's pleasure. He gauged that the pinnacle moment was near, so he lightly, rhythmically stroked Ray's cock. Ray's spasming muscles clenched tightly about Bodie's cock and he stepped off his own precipice into his unknown. Being deep within Ray Doyle.
He collapsed to the side automatically, lost in sensation still rippling through his body. He didn't even remember falling asleep.
The Saturday morning lie-in was interrupted by the phone.
Bodie grabbed it. "Bodie."
A male voice spoke. "You have a good job. It would be a shame to lose it." The phone disconnected.
The doorbell rang.
A special delivery man stood there with a manila envelope. "Mr Williams, please."
Bodie signed for it and closed the door. Ray moved immediately to his side and watched as Bodie ripped the envelope open.
The picture was of them kissing in their motor at Doyle's drop- off point several mornings ago.
"I knew we were tailed," was all that Bodie whispered.
Doyle shook his head, "Again, the angle isn't all that damning. I look like a bloody bird." This he said loudly for the listeners.
Bodie put the photo back into the envelope. This one he would have delivered to Cowley.
Wanting to get out, they drove to the London Sports Club to play squash. When they were quite exhausted and the score dead even, they dined wearing the change of clothes they kept in their lockers.
"I will miss this place." Doyle looked around.
"It's no wonder the Cow likes to eat at his club. I'd keep this membership."
"Don't think we could afford it," Doyle's voice lamenting the fact.
"There is that." Bodie gave up with a little shrug.
Sunday was a lie-in day. They ate, kissed, fucked, watched a game on the box and kissed some more. They read the paper and did the puzzle together, touching all the while. To end a perfect day, Doyle made the evening meal.
Bodie sat on the sofa, wishing his life was actually like this.
Monday proved that Scott did not consider himself out of the running. Bodie agreed to meet him for lunch midweek.
Bodie went upstairs to use Eccelston's office for the cleared phone line. He dialled Cowley's direct line.
"3.7, sir. Lunch, Wednesday with Scott. Commonwealth again."
"Fine. I'll have some men in." Cowley signed off.
Bodie stared at the phone; he'd thought that Cowley would have more to say.
Dressed in black, Bodie turned heads as he entered the café. Scott was the only one that waved him in. The other agents gave no hint that they followed his every movement.
"Bodie, I'm so glad you could make it." His voice conveyed joy and appreciation.
"It's close and we're friends." Bodie nodded at Scott.
They gave their order.
Slightly agitated, Scott asked, "How are you and Ray doing?"
"Good." Bodie didn't want to discuss Doyle with Scott.
Scott could read that and switched topics. "How's the job?"
"How do you mean?"
"Stress- related issues."
"No, more." He wanted to let them know the photo didn't scare him.
The food arrived and Bodie dug into his bacon sarnie.
Scott ate his soup slowly, watching Bodie, forever amazed at what a complex man he was.
Bodie saw Marriott outside and knew he would follow Scott, in case he contacted someone else. He stood to go. "I have to get back." He smiled at the man before he turned away and walked out. He returned slowly to work.
The following day Bodie received another picture. It was delivered the same way. This time it was obvious that Bodie was being fucked by a man. Ray's face was obscured by his hair, but his penis, half inside Bodie's body, was quite clear. This was a perfect blackmail photo. He showed it to Ray.
"It's a pity Cowley'll want this." Doyle smiled fondly at the picture.
"Huh?" Bodie whipped his head sideways, surprised.
"Yeah, quite good form." Doyle grinned.
Bodie twigged to the teasing and rolled his eyes. "Not sure I like the Cow seeing this," he told his partner seriously.
"It's his case after all." He knew there was no way to avoid it.
"Don't matter, he'll eventually say something," Bodie said resignedly.
The next blackmail call was put through directly to the team office.
"It would be a shame to lose the respect of your work mates."
"What do . . ." Bodie tried to ask, but the call was disconnected.
Bodie looked over to Ray and nodded. To the group at large Bodie just shrugged as he put the phone down. "Guess I was the wrong Bodie."
Ray left to call Cowley from Eccelston's office to see if anything was traceable.
At the King's Head the following evening, Bodie and Doyle were joined by Liz Spaulding towing Murphy behind her.
After greetings, Murphy went back to order the round of drinks. "Three lagers and a white wine."
"Unexpected drop- in?" Anson was curious, but couldn't join them.
"Not much by itself. We're hoping that the Bisto Kids can shed some light."
Anson set the full glasses on a tray for Murphy.
Liz nodded her thanks as she sipped her wine. "Julie says that Scott and Louise have been arguing of late. Scott seems disenchanted with her because she's been spending more time with Grassmore."
Bodie gave Doyle a look that spoke volumes of where Scott's intent did lie.
"She also learned that Grassmore has been upset that Scott has been leaving the facility more of late and without explanation."
"We think he's been following us," Ray said between swallows.
"Cow's upset himself that Scott has lost his tail more often than not," Murphy added, glad that he hadn't been assigned to Scott.
"So far we have speculation, but no proof of anyone at Westhaven being involved." Perplexed, Doyle stared at the ceiling.
"No proof, no go home," Murphy reminded them.
"Don't we know it," Doyle moaned.
"Killjoy." Actually Bodie wasn't that disappointed. He could stand the assignment for a while longer.
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. A different picture arrived by special delivery each day. All that the backtracks of the deliveries showed were cash payments made by a different person each time.
Cowley slapped the desk with the pictures. Kissing in both private and public venues. Lewd acts in the flat. No fingerprints, no indication at all where they were processed. Nothing yet to tie this directly to Westhaven.
Cowley knew he was doing all that could be done, but it wasn't good enough. He picked up the photos and started looking through them once more.
Bodie remembered the pictures as though he had them in front of him. He wished he could have kept them.
"Bodie, come to bed."
Bodie turned from the window. Doyle lay on the bed looking soft and inviting. He'd like to think that only he saw this side of Doyle, but he knew that the birds did as well. A hand squeezed his heart. He wished it were only himself who saw that.
It was only because Doyle was an equal who understood the job, his way of life, and remained the same. He was an equal in bed, giving as well as taking. An equal in strength, mental as well as physical. That last was probably the most seductive. Bodie laughed at himself; Ray in any way, shape or form was seductive.
He joined Ray in bed, climbing in beside him. He pushed him onto his back and prepared him to be fucked. Right now he didn't want to think of it any other way. He entered and Ray arched into his body. Bodie drove him hard and Ray took it all. Ray participated equally with his eyes closed and Bodie watched him explode in orgasm. The sight was a right turn-on on its own, but the spasming muscles about his own cock was more than enough to send him into oblivion.
Bodie woke to the heavy musk scent of sex. Male sex. He drew in deep breaths for memory. The essence of Ray and himself, mixed together, was heady stuff indeed.
Saturday – no work. It had all the promise of a lovely day. Bodie was eating his way through the last of his fried breakfast, fried bread, that Ray had prepared when the phone broke into their day.
"Mr Williams, we will ruin your personal and professional life. You have but one choice for remaining secure. We need to have access to all of the computer communication research before it's made public. Without the access you will find no one will hire a practising homosexual. Think about. We'll be in contact." The phone call disconnected.
Bodie turned to Ray still seated at the kitchen table slurping his tea. "Finally, a demand. Exactly what Cowley had set bait for. Still no one person, just the distorted voice saying 'we'."
"Could you tell if it was male or female?" Doyle probed.
"The voice obviously went through a distortion device. It wasn't a handkerchief over the mouth piece," Bodie clarified.
"Hopefully the recording lads will get something." Doyle raised his tea cup.
Less than half an hour later the morning was further interrupted with another phone call. Scott.
"Can we meet for lunch tomorrow?"
Bodie wanted to say no, not on a whole day off with Ray, but duty came first and he replied, "Yes, that's possible."
"Same place, our place." Scott all but gushed over the phone.
Bodie sighed silently. "Yes, at noon." He put down the phone. "Maybe this is it."
The rest of the day was spent on the borrowed bikes stashed behind the King's Head. They headed out of town. No real destination in mind. The pub lunch was satisfying just after mid-day and both reluctantly pointed the bikes toward home.
Bodie knew they were near the end of the op and his regret was greater than any he had experienced before. He had never enjoyed an under cover role as much as this one.
By silent agreement the sex was sweet and slow, almost a goodbye in itself. Bodie fell asleep with Doyle in his arms.
Morning was rudely started at six am with a pounding at the door. All that was there when Bodie wrenched the door ajar was a large envelope. He picked it up and closed the door.
Doyle was on the phone to Anson, who had missed the caller. Sleeping in was his excuse.
This time there wasn't a single photo, but a dozen. Very explicit, and very damning.
"Got it!" Bodie said excitedly. "Many of these are in my room at the Westhaven facility."
"I'll call Cowley." Doyle relished catching his boss possibly still sleeping.
"I look forward to lunch." Bodie smiled a smile that would make most beholders feel quite uncomfortable.
Scott was waiting with anticipation at seeing Bodie so soon again this week, but it wasn't a happy Bodie who entered - quite the opposite. Bodie's stride was brisk and angry. No masking emotion now whatsoever. Scott could hear the rage in every step.
He feared the worst for Bodie had happened. "Oh, Bodie, has Ray abandoned you?"
"Then what has you so upset?" He pulled out a chair. "Here, sit."
Bodie ignored the offer. "I'm not upset. I'm angry and betrayed." He threw an envelope down on the table in front of Scott. "By you!"
Scott's horrified expression was genuine. He picked up the envelope and took out the contents. Pictures. Explicit pictures of Bodie in sexual congress with Ray. "I didn't take these."
"No?" Bodie asked disdainfully.
Scott flipped through several pictures and he understood Bodie's question. That made it even more horrifying. The picture depicting fellatio was in the Westhaven squash court. Another was in Bodie's Westhaven room. "I didn't take these, Bodie."
"You didn't take these and try to blackmail me? With the equipment in your office?" Contempt etched each word.
"I would never. I love you," Scott beseeched him.
"Terence, I can't love you because I can't trust you." Bodie turned to leave but Scott beat him to it. The doctor scooped up the pictures and hurried from the restaurant.
Bodie followed, but not at the same breakneck speed. He knew Doyle was out front with the motor running.
They followed Scott at a discreet distance until it became obvious that Scott was headed to Westhaven.
Doyle used the R/T he got from Anson to alert Murphy, who was in range. They figured they'd need eventual backup.
Scott entered the Westhaven facility but didn't wait for the security arm to rise up; he crashed right through it. The station guard was so shocked he did nothing. Several minutes later when Bodie drove right through as well the guard was still motionless.
Scott parked in front of the offices and jumped out of his car, leaving the door open and the engine running. He rushed up the stairs, so angry he was unwilling to wait for the lift. Scott barged into the director's office right past the seated undercover CI5 agent, Julie Matell. Scott pushed open the door with so much force that it bounced open and closed again.
"How dare you record my patients? Damn you! Then you blackmail them. Is that how you do it? The expensive jewellery, clothes and meals." Scott pushed Grassmore back against the window. "You ruined everything."
"Not me. Let me go. It wasn't me. I'm being blackmailed myself. It's Louise. She's behind it all. She's got the bloody place covered." The director cowered against the window.
Scott's anger had reached a critical level and he slammed Grassmore against the window. It shattered under the impact. Glass pieces rained on both men and out the window.
The noise brought in Julie, closely followed by Louise Temple, who left the door open. Julie, who had not heard the exchange in the inner office, turned to welcome her facility friend and was surprised to see a Walther PPK in her hand. She moved herself to the side wall.
"Not very good at keeping your mouth shut, now are you, Lionel? I heard everything." Louise pointed to the listening device in the Freud bust on the desk before she shook her head. "And Dr Scott, is your head finally out of your arse or have you stuck it up someone else's?"
This was not the woman Scott recognised as his demure receptionist. Nonetheless he accused her. "You bitch. You ruined everything."
Louise laughed, "Your petty romance had no chance. You haven't seen the video. Bodie was never yours. And you may have ruined my plans for him."
Scott made a move toward her but Louise waved her gun. "I am not afraid to use this, especially now that I am no longer working here."
Outside, Bodie and Doyle saw the window shatter as they parked. The raced up the stairs, guns drawn.
Even while running their eyes met and directions were exchanged and understood. Just outside the door Bodie put up three fingers and Doyle nodded his head three times. They burst into the room, Bodie rolling left and Doyle rolling right.
Office occupants could hear the approach of thunderous footfalls. Louise turned and trained her gun on the door, then on Bodie, who entered first, gun in hand.
Scott was sure she would shoot Bodie and he rushed from behind the desk to protect his beloved. Scott saw her pull the trigger and jumped in front catching the bullet meant for Bodie. Louise went down with Doyle's bullet.
Bodie checked Doyle, who was unscathed. Doyle and Julie took care of the room, called for an ambulance as Bodie knelt beside Scott.
"Hang on, mate," Bodie told him.
"I . . . protected . . . you . . . Bodie," Scott whispered with little strength as blood gushed from his chest.
Bodie put his hand under Scott's head. "Yes, you saved my life. Thank you."
"I . . . loved. . . " Scott's head rolled to the side.
Doyle sighed. In the end, he was quite grateful to Scott. It could have been Bodie.
Posthumously, Terence Scott was given credit for helping expose the Westhaven blackmail operation.
Lionel Grassmore spilled everything as soon as someone would listen. He tried to paint himself the victim, but five years is a long time to financially benefit from the supposed blackmail. His extreme sexual proclivities with his patients had made him the original blackmail victim. He had turned the tables and graduated to blackmailer along side mastermind Louise Temple.
Bank accounts discovered in her name led CI5 to her lackeys and they were rounded up by B-Squad. Her gains exceeded millions of pounds and were given into the care of George Cowley.
Bodie and Doyle were packing up their flat as the doorbell sounded. Cowley stood there expecting entrance.
"Come in, sir."
Their boss barely stepped over the threshold. "I need a full report by day's end." No preamble as usual.
Both men nodded.
"What about the flat, sir?" Doyle asked.
"Bodie's old flat is the only one currently available until the end of next month. It's not as grand as this, but I'm sure you'll make do." Cowley didn't expect an answer.
The agents nodded anyway.
"Two weeks, lads. Good job." Cowley left the way he came.
They finished packing up the flat first. Job wasn't over until the report was filed. They made several trips filling up both motors.
"You got the last box?" Doyle looked about the flat for anything they might have missed.
"Yeah," Bodie watched Doyle exit, then he looked about as well. "Running all the way."
Bodie sighed. He knew he would need two weeks alone to re-establish his barriers. He was truly going to miss the life he'd been living the last five months. He'd always moved on before, didn't miss what was done . . . until now.
Bodie picked up the box and walked out of the flat.
They headed straight back to Bodie's flat and reversed the process, carrying the boxes without benefit of the lift. They worked silently. Independently. Doyle got to the point he couldn't stand it any longer.
"So what are we going to do about this?" His hands indicated both of them.
"What this? The clothes? The stuff? We keep it." Bodie half shrugged.
"Don't be obtuse, Bodie. Us, this relationship."
"It was an undercover, Doyle."
"Damnit, Bodie, I'm not that flexible." Doyle blocked his way, hands on hips, arms akimbo.
"Flexible?" Bodie thought he was plenty flexible, remembering the fucking.
"Scott told me I should be sexually flexible. We've been more than flexible. We could have staged more than half of all we did, Bodie, but I didn't want to and neither did you."
Doyle moved up close to Bodie, who backed up until he had a solid wall behind him.
"What of it? Part of the assignment." Bodie looked for a way past his partner.
Doyle noticed. "You're going nowhere until we talk!"
"What the hell we doing now?" Bodie wanted out. He wasn't going to spill his guts to Doyle who would use it up and still be done with him eventually. Spill my guts? Bodie asked himself. Spill what – hell no. He wasn't spilling that. He was ready to push Doyle forcibly out of the way.
"THAT!" Doyle yelled. "What went through your head just now?"
Bodie looked horrified. Doyle couldn't know. He didn't think he'd said anything aloud.
"It's all right, Bodie, I damn well feel the same way."
Bodie went to back up, but couldn't. He folded his arms across his chest and took a deep, steadying breath. "Feel what? Relief that it's over?" Silently begging not to be exposed to his deepest core.
"Us, Bodie. Together, like always. Together in everything. That's what's the most comfortable, most natural."
Bodie stared, stunned, but he stayed silent. Hope found a crack to burgeon in.
Doyle, afraid for the first time. "Love, Bodie. I'm talking about love. You. Me."
Bodie stared at his partner. Doyle looked worried, scared, and that spoke more to Bodie than the words. Doyle was in this. He was.
Bodie's body language changed, became easy, comfortable. "Not overly romantic as proposals go, but I'll let it slide." Bodie took an easy breath. "Okay," he nodded. The feeling of home settled in permanently.
Doyle grinned, easy, special.
Bodie answered with his sweetest smile ever.
Their world tilted. Together, like always.
author's note: A huge thank you to my betas. . .any errors within are mine, they try and try and try. A facility such as Westhaven existed in the 80's, probably not into the blackmailing, though.