Alan Cade was paying only partial attention to his assistant, Rose Penfold, as she hurried after him, trying to brief him on the latest status of a series of bank robbery cases she was working on. In about two minutes, he was supposed to meet with Wes Morton on another matter and he just didn't have the brain cells available to devote to Rose's problem.
"Rose, I'm sure you can handle this. Do what you think is best."
Rose nodded, "Yes, sir," and stopped walking, letting him make his escape.
One problem solved. As he approached Diane Lewis' desk, she stood - which usually meant there was a problem, and he could not deal with any further problems at the moment.
"Chief," Diane said, indicating that she did have a problem.
He sighed and stopped.
"There's a Mr Stevens here to see you. He doesn't have an appointment and I told him that you didn't have any time. But he insisted on waiting."
Before he could do more than glare, something about the name clicked. Stevens? Drew Stevens?
He turned towards the waiting room. Even guessing what Bodie had suffered from his injuries, seeing him stand slowly and adjust his crutches was a shock. Perhaps he'd forgotten the lines of pain and stoic endurance that were cut into Bodie's beautiful face. He'd heard it said that agony made one stronger or somehow added character, but he'd never given the words credence until now. Bodie had been marked with a depth in his eyes that hadn't been there when Alan had known him years ago.
No question about of turning Bodie away. He could not do it. "I'll see him."
But sir, you have...." Diane's gaze dropped.
A hundred other obligations. Oh yes, he knew that. "Call Wes. Tell him that I'll meet with him in half an hour. And then push everyone else back."
Bodie had made his way across the room and Alan held out his hand. "Bo...." No. Not Bodie, not here. Not anywhere any more. "Drew?"
Shaking his hand, Bodie smiled. "It's good to see you again, Chief."
"No calls, Diane." He ushered Bodie into his office.
Bodie whistled. "Not bad. A far cry from Cowley's WWII surplus or my own cramped office at the university."
And Alan didn't have time for this. "Bodie?"
"Call me Drew, please."
"I'll try." But Alan thought he'd never be able to think of this man as anything other than Bodie. It was stupid really, after thirteen years he didn't think of himself as Doyle any longer, but to think of Bodie as anything else felt wrong. "Why are you here?"
"In Eastland?" Bodie smiled.
Alan was in no mood for jokes. "In my office."
"To see you."
As if that explained anything. "Why?"
Bodie swayed on his feet. "Can we sit?"
"Of course. Would you like some tea?" There was no point in being rude and it wouldn't get him anywhere anyway. But he wanted this... whatever it was over with as soon as possible.
"No, just a chair. I'm always stiff after a long plane ride."
Alan waved him to the sitting area to one side of the office. "When did you get here?"
"And this is so important that you had to rush over to see me?" Christ, he sounded sarcastic.
But Bodie surprised him by answering sincerely. "Yes, actually it is."
They sat in silence for a moment and then Alan had know. "Well?"
"I'm sorry. I'm finding this harder than I thought it would be." Bodie dropped his gaze and shrugged.
Bodie pushed himself to his feet. "I'm sorry. I can't do this after all."
"You've come a long way to say nothing."
Bodie shook his head. "I had hoped to speak to you. I didn't expect to find you so busy."
Or so grumpy, no doubt. "I'm always busy."
"So it seems." Bodie started for the door, slowly manoeuvring around the furniture on his crutches.
"Bodie... Drew, wait." Alan held out his hand, not connecting with anything but air. "Please tell me."
Stopping, Bodie half-turned back towards him. "I've been thinking of how we parted in Cascade.... I wanted to see if we could...." He took a breath. "Find something... a resolution that would be more acceptable."
"You weren't satisfied with the one we came to last year?" As if he had been.
Bodie had haunted his dreams since the last time they'd met. But did he want anything more from Bodie? Did Bodie have anything more to give? Did he? "No. I wasn't satisfied."
"Then, perhaps, we can talk. I find that I'd like to know what has happened to you." There was a wistful note to that. Something that said Bodie really did mean it.
Did he want that... to possibly be what? Friends again? There was some small part of him that gloried in the idea. All right. A slightly bigger than small part. "Do you want...." He stopped, unsure how to put it.
"To be friends again?" Bodie finished for him, longing clear on his face.
Alan considered knowing Bodie again, knowing him well enough to call him a friend. Poking at the idea, he found to his surprise that he liked it, but there were other issues to think about as well. One that hadn't gone away over the months they had been apart. "I'd like to get over my anger." Which was at least as great as the desire to know Bodie again.
Looking down, Bodie shook his head. "I'm sorry for the past. If I could change it, I would."
And the time had come for Alan to be honest. "I know that. I have accepted that you are sorry."
"There was a definite 'but' in that statement." A rueful grin turned up Bodie's lips.
Did Bodie really know him that well, after all these years? "I would have thought I'd changed enough for you not to read me so easily."
"No, sunshine, that's the point here. I'll always know you." Bodie's eyes sparkled, remembering. "Knew you too well then, didn't I?"
Quite possibly true, but Alan didn't have to like it. He sighed. No one knew him that well now, and he could not think that was such a bad thing. "Fine. But it doesn't solve the immediate problem."
"Of why I'm here?"
"I can't quite..." Bodie pulled out a chair from the conference table and sat heavily in it. "I can't quite leave it. You're in my mind."
Alan knew he shouldn't, but he laughed anyway. "That sounds like a Yank song."
"You're in my heart, you're in my soul?" Bodie sang and laughed at the same time. "It is a song."
Sobering quickly, Alan came back to the problem, a shard of anger stabbing him again. "I may have been in your mind, but you walked away."
Shaking his head, Bodie's eyes were sad. "I didn't walk, I was carried out strapped to a trolley.
"Don't push semantics on me. You still left me."
"I thought I was doing the right thing. I was wrong, I know that now, but at the time...."
At the time, Bodie believed it. Alan could appreciate that, even if he didn't agree and it had hurt him horribly. Starting to point out the lateness of that statement, he jumped when the phone on his desk buzzed.
Stalking to his desk, he grabbed the receiver. "Diane, I told you no interruptions."
"Sir, it's been forty-five minutes. Mr Morton has been waiting, and now so is Mr Benton."
Damnation. Alan glanced at the clock on his desk, surprised to find so much time had passed so quickly. "All right, give me five more minutes."
"Yes, sir." Diane had that resigned sigh spot on. Alan would have smiled, had he the time. Turning back to Bodie, he shrugged. "Are you free for dinner?"
"I can be."
"Half seven? Where are you staying?"
Bodie nodded and stood. "Fine. We're at the Northside Inn."
He had to ask. "We?"
"Ray, and my in-laws."
Alan wasn't sure if he was amused, or not. "Brought the whole family, then?"
"Yeah." Bodie moved to the door. "I'll see you."
Alan joined him, opening the door. "Fine."
Later, Alan decided to cook instead of going out. He didn't want to add to the gossip that surrounded him by appearing with Bodie in public, especially if they were going to have an emotional conversation which, as much as he wished it weren't so, was nearly guaranteed.
As he opened the door, he thought of the irony of Bodie coming into this house.
"This is lovely," Bodie said, following him into the sitting room.
Bodie sat on the sofa, looking at him expectantly.
"Can I get you a drink?" He started to move towards the drink cart by the window.
"No, thanks. I don't drink."
Surprised, Alan glanced back at him, raising an eyebrow in question.
"Drugs and alcohol don't mix."
"Are you on them all the time?" Alan shuddered. Being in that much pain, constantly requiring medication, was something he'd never had to deal with, even after he'd been shot. He'd gone off the pain pills as soon as he'd been able to stand it.
"No. But enough so that I don't drink any more." Bodie laughed dryly. "I found that once I left the job, I wasn't as inclined to get drunk as much."
That said a lot about the job, didn't it? "Do you mind if I have one?"
"Not at all."
They sat in silence, Alan sipping his drink until he simply could not stand it, and he escaped to the kitchen to finish dinner preparations.
When they had been partners, there had been so much to discuss and, as he thought about it, understanding became painfully clear. If they had actually spoken then, they might not have ended up here, now.
"Dinner," he said, coming back into the sitting room, clearly startling Bodie.
As they ate, the sounds of the wind and the creaks of the house were very loud, punctuating the silence between them.
"Doy... Alan?" Bodie's was voice soft in the void.
Alan looked up from the concentration he'd been giving the china pattern and met Bodie's eyes.
"I hoped... I hoped we'd talk."
"About what? I think we've said everything we can about what happened."
"I don't know. I wanted to find some..." he shrugged, dropping his gaze, not finding the words.
But Alan knew what Bodie wanted. As much as he wished he could deny it, he wanted it too. "Connection."
"Yes. Exactly that. You were so important to me."
Anger rose in Alan, tearing off the scab from a wound that had never seemed to heal. "And you had a hell of away to drive home that lie."
With a shake of his head, Bodie pushed his plate away. "You haven't forgiven me."
"I want to." And he really did. He wanted to release the pent-up emotions, wanted to be free of them, wanted to find something that would ease the terrible tension, and most of all he wanted it all to go away and never have been.
"Then maybe we can talk about this?"
"How did you get to Cascade? It's a long way from London."
Bodie appeared to be startled by the question but recovered quickly. "The guy - doctor who worked on my back was in Seattle. He was the top surgeon in his field. Cowley set it up."
"So fast? I was only out for eight or ten hours." He'd wondered how Bodie got around him. As soon as he'd recovered consciousness he'd asked about Bodie. But thinking back on it, he hadn't been told anything for a while.
"They stabilised me very quickly. And after I found out the situation, I begged Cowley to let me die - which he would not consider."
Of course he wouldn't. Cowley would have done anything he could to keep Bodie alive and fighting.
"He did agree to kill Bodie, if I agreed to let this doctor work on me." Bodie shook his head. "I was in a locked ward within a day, and within a week I was on my way to Seattle."
Alan nodded. Cowley could make anything happen. "And from Seattle to Cascade?"
Picking up his fork, Bodie moved the remains of his meal around his plate. "During re-hab from the second surgery, I went to college. Between what I'd saved from the mercs and the healthy pension from CI5, I hardly had to work, but I could not stand the company of my own thoughts after a while.
"I was exempted from much of the first two years of university, but I knew I'd better take American English if I had any hope of communicating." Bodie smiled a little. "Allie Pennington taught English 101 at Washington University. I was teacher's pet in short order." Another smile, this one bigger. Clearly a pleasant memory.
"Not right away, but yes. After Ray's birth, she was very weak. I'd just finished my PhD and the job in Cascade opened up. Her folks lived up there and it seemed the perfect solution to everything. Sid and Amy have been a God-send. I'm not sure I could raise Ray without them."
Alan shook his head. "I find it hard to picture you as a family man."
"It's... I'm a far cry from the man you knew."
Then what were they doing? "Why is this so important? - for us to know each other now?"
Bodie's eyes met his, emotions all clear in his tired blue eyes. "I don't know. I only know that it is."
Somehow Alan couldn't argue the point. It was important for both of them to pursue this, or Alan would add it to an endless list of regrets. "Yeah."
Picking up his fork, and then putting it down without touching his food, Bodie laid his hands flat on the table. "What happened to you?"
"You mean, after?"
"I couldn't pick up a gun again." Not for a very long time.
"You were the best shot I'd ever seen." High praise from someone who would have known and at one time had been as good.
A bitter laugh escaped him. "Not any more. Last year, I almost didn't qualify to carry at all." Alan wondered if Bodie had any idea how humiliating that had been for a one-time Class A marksman. But looking at him, Alan guessed that he did know.
Bodie's eyes dropped. "How did you get to be a copper?"
"Cowley set it up." And wasn't that the truth with all things in and out of CI5? Cowley made them happen or not as he chose. "He created an identity and somehow got it into the computers. Suddenly, I was a copper who had been on assignment in France. He used my record until I left and then made the rest up. And amazingly, it has held up under some fairly intense media scrutiny."
His daughter had never been a problem. "I didn't explain, except to say that I had a new name. She was only 11, and still in Canada. By the time she got here for a visit, she had accepted it without question, in the sort of way that children do.
"Do you see her much?" There was new sympathy in Bodie's tone. Cade remembered the Bodie of old who had thought it perfectly fine for Yvonne to take Doyle's new-born daughter away to Canada. Letting the sentiment pass without comment he addressed the question. "She's at Cambridge." Even he could hear the pride in his voice.
And Bodie smiled. "Really?"
There was something more here. He waited.
Bodie shifted in his chair, and was quiet for a moment, seeming to gather his thoughts. "Part of the reason I'm here is to interview for a two-year position at Cambridge."
"Oh?" Some part of him soared at the thought of Bodie in England again. Having Bodie here meant they would see each other. Alan doubted either of them had the strength of will to resist that temptation.
"Yes. It could possibly be a permanent position, if things work out. It's part of an exchange program with Ranier University."
"Why would you want to come back?"
Looking at him across the table, Bodie smiled a bit. "After I saw you, I started thinking about England, and found I missed it."
"And the in-laws?"
"They'll come with me."
Alan could not believe he'd uproot not only his son, but his in-laws as well. Life was never that simple. "Just like that?"
Bodie shrugged, seeming to say he really did think it was. "They have friends here."
"In Eastland?" That seemed just a little too convenient. Alan folded his arms over his chest and just looked at him.
Shaking his head, Alan refused to believe in it. "And their jobs?"
"Sid is retired. Amy only works part-time." Of course, that would be put aside in favour of Bodie's wants.
"So you'll be here." And he would be here. Would one plus one equal the two of them together?
"If the job comes through." But the tone said it was nearly a certainty.
Bodie halfway around the world was endurable, barely, but he could live with it. Bodie at Cambridge was more difficult. "That's why you're here, isn't it?"
"It's more than that...."
"Bodie... Drew, I don't know. I just don't." Part of him wanted to wrap his arms around Bodie and another part wanted to thump him hard.
But he did want a resolution and would give anything to recapture what he'd lost with Bodie. The reality was that he and Bodie were so far from what they had been that they were no longer those people. Too much time had passed, too much had happened, too many changes. If only he didn't still love Bodie with a passion that he couldn't explain or control.
Christ! Where had that come from?
Could it possibly be true? Did he still love Bodie? After all this time? More likely it was the Bodie that he remembered that he still loved - the man in front of him was so much a stranger, someone who looked like someone he used to know.
"Drew? Why are you here?"
Bodie shook his head. "You mean... meant too much to me to lose."
Bitterness rose again. "You gave me up readily enough."
"I can't seem to do it again. Or maybe I don't want to." Bodie stood awkwardly, reaching for his crutches.
"Where are you going?" His stomach twisted. Surely Bodie wasn't going to leave now?
"I have to move, before I stiffen up. No offence intended, but your chairs are not very comfortable."
But they looked good. "I'm sorry." Alan stood too, holding out his hand to lead Bodie out of the room. "Would you care for some tea?"
"Coffee, if you have it." Bodie quirked a smile. "I've become quite Americanized."
Saying nothing, he made both.
Raising an eyebrow, Bodie nodded towards the silver as Alan set the tray down. "Very nice."
"Thanks. I would say it was from my mother, but you'd know better."
"Where did you get it?"
"Antique shop in the East End."
Bodie forced a laugh, and then silence descended again.
"We don't have much to say to each other, do we?" Alan sighed.
"I've said it every way I can think of, but you've resisted me." Bodie met his eyes, resignation clear. "Tell me, Alan, what exactly do you want?"
Breaking eye contact, Alan studied the fabric of his sofa. "I want it to stop hurting. I want the thirteen years I spent grieving for you to not have happened. And I want... I want you to leave me alone so that I can get on with my life."
Alan gulped a breath, and then another. He hadn't meant to say that, wished he could call it back.
Bodie rose unsteadily, holding on to the back of the sofa. Pulling away before Alan could make contact, Bodie picked up his crutches. "That's the first honest emotion I've seen from you. I can live with the verdict."
"I'm not sure that I can." And that was the bottom line, wasn't it?
"Doyle, I'm not sure it can be any other way. Not with you feeling the way you do."
"That's the problem, you know. Under my thin civilised veneer, the part of me that is still Doyle wants to tear you apart for what you did to me. And the Cade part, the grown up, tells me to walk away and be done with all of it, and my heart won't let me do either."
That strange Bodie half-smile that Alan had always found so appealing found its way on to his face. "Well you could do all of it."
"Right. I'll thump you, but good." That would be unproductive, not to mention despicable. Alan wasn't sure he could strike anyone without due cause, and to strike someone who could not defend himself was out of the question.
Seeming to understand, Bodie laughed bitterly. "Neither of us is who we once were. Time and circumstance has changed us."
"Yes." Alan looked at Bodie. "If only my feelings for you had changed as well." There - he'd finally said what they had been dancing around all night.
Dropping his gaze, Bodie nodded. "I know. I thought I was past it, past wanting you, past missing you, past it all. When I saw you again, I knew I'd been lying to myself, I'll never be past it."
Alan nodded. "As angry as I am...." His throat threatened to close up, and he had to take a breath before starting again. "As angry as I am, I still can't let you walk away.
A rueful, self-deprecating smile came to Bodie's face. "Do you still want to thump me? I'll let you."
Shaking his head, Alan was not amused. He did not want to point out the obvious reasons. "I couldn't hit you."
"Wouldn't be the first time, would it?"
Why was Bodie pushing? He clearly knew Alan would never touch him violently. "Leave off, Bodie. As you said, times have changed."
Bodie sighed, his mouth turning down. "So, we're right back where we started."
"Not quite." There were other ways to touch Bodie. Moving quickly, Alan stood and then leaned over Bodie, pressing his mouth down hard, sliding his hand into the thick hair to anchor Bodie's head.
He had no idea what he'd been expecting, but Bodie responded, opening his mouth, yielding into the kiss. Flames of desire, long banked for this man, rose to blazing in seconds. Alan trembled as he slid his tongue into Bodie's mouth, tasting a flavour he'd missed for so much longer than he had known it. Sinking to his knees between Bodie's spread thighs, he savoured the kiss, the sweetness, the familiar flavour, everything he'd dreamed of for a lifetime.
This, this was what they should have done in Cascade. There was no desire to talk now, they both understood each other at last. When they pulled apart, Alan was breathing hard, and Bodie's face was flushed.
"Perhaps," Bodie began, taking a deep breath. "Perhaps we aren't back where we started after all."
Alan laughed, anger easing from him as another emotion took its place. "Perhaps not." He leaned in again and Bodie's hands held Alan's shoulders, pulling him into another kiss.
With one hand around Bodie's waist, Alan gently nudged him to his feet. He wasn't going to let this go, not now, not with his cock throbbing with more hunger than he'd felt for anyone in years. An unresisting Bodie went easily into his arms, holding him tight.
"I want you."
Bodie nodded against his lips. "Oh yes. Please."
Never sure how they made it up the stairs without mishap, Alan didn't care. All he wanted was to see, and taste and touch Bodie.
As he reached for the buttons on Bodie's shirt, a hand closed over his, stopping his movement. When he met Bodie's eyes, he saw trepidation. "It's not pretty."
In his life, Alan had loved many beautiful people, the younger Bodie among them, but this moment wasn't about sculptured limbs or good looks. Oh, no, this was bone deep, raging passion that would not be denied. "I don't care."
And he didn't. The scars, from both surgery and bullets were skimmed over, acknowledged, because not to do so would make light of the pain Bodie and he had suffered because of it. He'd craved Bodie for so long, the outward signs of the flesh were meaningless.
Pleasure radiated outward from where he was buried in the moist heat of Bodie's flesh, encompassing him, holding him. Alan's eyes prickled. He'd come home at last.
Pushing forward, he completely embedded himself in the tight passageway, waiting for the constriction to ease. The moment came quickly. Bodie breathed out, and Alan was overcome with desire. He began to thrust, hips working hard, sweat trickling from his skin to Bodie's and then to the sheets, the body beneath his straining backwards each time he moved forward.
Light and heat and blinding pleasure swept over Alan, surrounding him in incandescent colour, swallowing him in radiant pleasure. He cried out with the waves as the waves of sensation crested, flooding his senses.
After a time, Alan's breathing evened, and his mind re-engaged. He had been profoundly moved by the experience. And opening his eyes, he saw that Bodie had been affected just as much as he.
"Are you all right?" Alan asked, tentatively, still feeling the effects of what just happened between them. He shouldn't be so surprised, his relationship with Bodie had always been deeply emotional, why should making love have been any different?
"Was lovely, that was." Bodie smiled. "It's been a very long time."
"Yeah." Fourteen years too long.
Pulling him close, Bodie kissed him again and drifted off to sleep.
Sometime later Drew grunted, his back complaining about his position. As pleasant as it was to hold Doyle on top of him, he had to move or risk not being able to. "Doyle?"
"Alan." Doyle's mouth was pressed to the hollow of his neck quite nicely, his tongue jutting out to lick along Drew's throat.
He ran a hand down Doyle's back, stopping at his still-resplendent bottom to linger for a moment. "I've got to shift a little and I can't with you on top of me."
Shifting off, Doyle kissed his chest, rubbing circles along his belly. "Sorry. You okay?"
"Fine. Just a bad position."
Holding Doyle, even if his name was Alan, in his arms, was such an unexpected pleasure. There would be an accounting, of that he was sure, but at just this second, life was very good.
"Will you stay?" Alan's tone said he wanted that very much.
And so did Drew. Sleeping in Doyle's arms again, he couldn't credit it. "Yes. But I should be back to the hotel before breakfast." His son was safe with his in-laws, and his cell phone was on in case there was a problem. "Will you join us?"
"For breakfast? With your wife's parents?" Horror permeated each word. "Oh, I think that would go over very well."
Drew laughed. "Actually, they have been encouraging me to date."
Sliding on top of him, and looking down, Alan's eyes widened comically. "I'm sure they didn't mean me."
Tightening his arms, Drew pressed up for a kiss. "Don't be so sure. They both are quite tolerant. And Sid's already twigged on to what was between us before."
"Bloody hell! You told him?" Wide eyed and frowning, Alan looked horrified.
"I didn't have to."
"That was in the past. The present might be different. Fuck... Bodie."
"Yes, you did. In a couple more minutes, I'll do the same for you, if you'd like to. And you've got to start calling me Drew." He did not want to have to explain to Sid or Amy what he'd been or who Bodie was. Even if Sid did have an idea, it was better for all concerned not to know the gory details of his previous life.
"Christ! I'll try." But clearly it would not be easy.
"So, you've said, more than once."
Doyle nuzzled his neck in an obvious bid to distract him. It worked well. Drew leant into the delightful mouth. "About breakfast...."
Not the answer he'd been looking for. If this had a hope in hell of working then Doyle... Alan would have to get to know his in-laws. They were a fact of his life. "Doyle."
"I hope to." Doyle rolled on top of him, pressing kisses down his chest.
Drew decided to shelve the issue of breakfast for the moment in favour of more pressing matters.
Doyle's... Alan's hand moved over Drew's back, tracing the surgery scars.
"Tell me about your wife."
"Allie? She needed me at a time when being needed was very important to me."
Fingers continued to move on him, but he could almost hear Doyle... Alan considering his words. "I can understand that. Did you love her?"
"Of course, I did." And giving of herself so freely, how could he help but adore her? Giving her what she needed had been endlessly satisfying to his own crushed ego.
"The two are not connected."
"Perhaps not, but I did love her." Not as he had and did love Doyle, but in a gentle way he would never deny. Her death had devastated him, and he still missed her quiet ways. "What about you? Did you ever marry?"
Doyle shook his head. "No. I came close once, but she chose her career over me."
"That's too bad."
"Not really. I did care for her, but..." trailing off, Doyle shifted and looked down at him. "But I've never really connected with anyone the way I did with you."
Drew sighed. Languor having taken over, he was too tired for this now. He closed his eyes as Doyle's fingers continued to move over his skin. Drew relaxed and let sleep court him. As he drifted off, a shrill sound filled the room, startling the hell out of him.
Doyle answered promptly. "Cade."
He couldn't hear the other end of the conversation, but clearly it was work and Doyle would have to leave. There was definitely something to be said for academia, nothing was life threatening, or woke you out of a sound sleep to fix it.
Doyle's voice rose. "CI5? They usually ask. No. I'll be right there. Give me about thirty minutes. No, Rose. I'll talk to Mr Murphy." Alan rang off, turning to look at him. "I'm sorry. You can stay if you'd like to."
Drew shook his head. The thought of Doyle's bed without Doyle in it was more unpleasant than leaving the warm bed. "No. I should get back to my hotel anyway."
"I'll drop you on my way." Doyle was up and reaching for his pants.
"Thanks." Pushing himself up and out of bed, Drew paused a moment to admire Doyle's still slender form. Nice. "Did you say you were going to talk to Murphy? Would that be Michael Murphy?"
Half-dressed, Doyle turned to look at him. "Yeah. He's Deputy Controller under Harry Malone."
Drew bent slowly, pulling on his briefs. "Harry Malone?" He had no idea what had happened to CI5 since he'd left.
"Yeah, he runs the place now."
He had to ask. "Cowley?"
Tying his tie, Doyle met Drew's eyes, sadness clear. "Dead five years."
Even though he'd expected the news, it still stung. There were few men in the world Drew respected or admired as much as George Cowley. "You stayed in touch with him?"
Doyle nodded. "Yes. And I worked with CI5 several times since I've been Chief Constable here. Are you ready?"
"Yes." Drew reached for his crutches, following Alan out of the room.
The drive to his hotel was accomplished in silence, once again there was nothing to say or rather, much to say, and no words to say it with.
"I'll call you," Doyle said as they pulled up to the hotel.
"If you can, come by for breakfast." Clearly it didn't look good for that possibility and he was not going to make an issue of it.
He could see that Alan wasn't comfortable with the idea. "I want you to know my family."
"I must go."
Drew turned toward him, his heart starting to pound in anticipation, and Doyle was already leaning across the dark vehicle to kiss him. One of his hands slid into Alan's short hair, the other onto his cheek.
Savouring the kiss for one more second, Drew sighed as Doyle pulled back. Without another word, he opened the door and slid out. Finding his balance, he watched Doyle drive away.
"Drew." Drew's father-in-law emerged from the building's shadow near where Doyle had been parked. Not a chance in hell that Sid hadn't seen the kiss. Unapologetically, Drew turned to face him. "Sid, your back bothering you?"
To relieve his back pain, his father-in-law walked at all hours of the day and night - even at 4:30 in the morning.
"Yeah, between the long flight, the time difference, and the beds here, I couldn't sleep." Meeting his eyes, his father-in-law looked troubled.
"Is Ray okay?"
"Yes. He missed you at bedtime." Sid opened the door to the hotel, and nodded for Drew to precede him into lobby.
Sid would never bring it up, so if Drew wanted to talk about it, he'd have to. They stopped to wait for the lift. "You saw?"
Sid did not bother to pretend he didn't know what Drew was talking about. "Yes. I saw." But then Drew had known few men as straightforward as Sid Pennington.
"Will you have a problem with it?" The lift rang and opened.
Stepping on, Sid pressed their floor and turned to look at him. "Are you involved with that man?"
A very good question. "I don't know, yet. Possibly." Realistically, "Probably."
They arrived on their floor and exited the lift, heading down the hall towards their rooms. As they got to his door, he stopped and put a hand on Sid's shoulder and waited.
"Drew, I don't know how I feel about it."
Fair enough. And honest. Not that he expected anything less. "Let me know what you decide."
"My approval makes that much difference?"
Honestly? Drew considered it for a moment. Would he allow anyone to dictate to him how he should live his life? "No. I'm sorry. But whatever is going to happen with D... Alan and me, will happen. It's between him and me."
"He's my son."
"You'd expose him to this?"
"To what exactly?"
"To you having sex with another man?"
When he said it like that... "Yes. I guess I would. Alan means a great deal to me." Saying it aloud had somehow made it more real that even making love had done. He looked at his father-in-law. "I hope you can accept my choice. I thought you would."
"So did I." Sid smiled a little ruefully. "My views have never been tested in so personal a way before."
"I want you to stay a part of Ray's and my life. Even if I'm involved with Alan." He loved his in-laws and hoped that this... whatever it was, didn't come between them.
Sid nodded. "I appreciate that. And I'm sure Amy and I will want that, too. I can't imagine life without you and Ray in it."
He met Sid's eyes. "So, it's okay, then."
"I think it will be, just give me a little time to digest the situation."
Drew smiled. "Fair enough."
The entire operation only took a few hours. CI5 had also tracked the same bank robbery suspects that Rose had briefed him on, and they now had found information that the group would be at a specific location. After cornering some of the members in a loft, it turned out that most of the actual suspects had not been among those captured. Their targets were still at large, and presumably still planning another operation. Alan was particularly interested in this group since it was led by someone he and Bodie had put into prison years ago when they were both still with CI5.
If he wanted to, he was sure he could make it back to Bodie's hotel for breakfast. Still trying to decide, Alan went home and took a shower, and made a conscious effort to avoid looking at the rumpled bed.
His mind wouldn't let it rest. He'd fucked Bodie in that bed. Something he'd not done when they had been lovers years ago, something he'd dreamed regularly of doing, something that had moved him more profoundly than any other act of sex in his memory. And something he would give all that he owned to do again.
Shaking his head, he left the room.
He should go to the office, that would clear his mind and steady him. It's what he'd been doing for all the years since Bodie had left him. Work. But Bodie wasn't gone any longer and he had another option.
In his Rover and heading towards downtown before he realised what he was doing, Alan was tempted to go back home or at least to his office and he hesitated for a moment in front of the hotel, before steeling himself and leaving the safety of his vehicle. Both he and Bodie had to see this through to the end if either one of them had a hope in hell of resolving anything and finding peace with it. That meant going through with breakfast and the family meeting.
Christ! He felt as nervous as he had been on his first date. No - worse. This had many more implications on his life and ultimately was more important than his date all those years ago with Jean Remington had been.
Breakfast was conducted in awkward silence. The looks that Alan kept getting from Sid said he knew where Bodie spent last night and didn't appreciate it at all.
After an interminable meal, the grandparents volunteered to take Ray for some sightseeing, leaving him and Bodie facing each other over the ruins of breakfast and a stained white linen table cloth.
"Well, that was fun," Bodie said, tracing his fingers over the patterns in the damask.
Alan supposed that he should smile at the attempt at humour, but the entire event had brought home just how impossible their relationship would be, especially with the grandparents against it. "I'm sorry. You asked me to join you."
Looking down, Bodie sighed. "I had hoped it would go better."
"If you hadn't told your father-in-law, he might have spoken to me." The annoyance in his tone was more Ray Doyle than Alan Cade, something he felt coming out more and more as his contact with Bodie increased. And he could not say with any certainty if that was good or not.
Bodie glared. "He saw us together last night."
Shaking his head, Alan could not help the prickle of anger Bodie's defensiveness caused. "You didn't have to confirm it, did you?"
"You kissed me. How much more confirmation do you think he required?" Bodie folded his arms over his chest and sat back.
Alan looked down at his half-eaten beans, moving them around his plate with his fork. "Not much I guess." He dropped the silverware to his plate and tossed his napkin on top of the lot. "I should go."
"Is that your answer to every problem?" Bodie's tone was a growl, too reminiscent of other fits of anger.
The aggravated tone ignited Alan's already stretched nerves. "I'm not the one who left in the first place."
Closing his eyes for a moment, Bodie sighed, his hand clenching into a fist. "Is it always going to come back to that?"
"Shouldn't it?" He knew it wasn't fair to continue to bring it up, but he had yet to get past it. Maybe he never would.
Bodie's eyes said he'd reached his limit on hearing about it. "No. Either forgive me or let me go."
As if he could do either. As if he had a choice. "You came to me this time." The quiet intensity of his words carried and Alan felt the public's eyes upon him, something he could ill afford. "We should discuss this somewhere more private."
A glance around, and Bodie nodded. "All right. Where?"
"Not now. I must go into the office." He hoped Bodie would buy that and let him go.
"On Saturday?" An eyebrow raised quizzically. Bodie knew a dodge when he heard one.
Still, he tried to make it stick, not wanting to continue this at the moment if he didn't have to. Cowardly, yes, but also safer. "Surely you remember what it's like?"
"I try very hard not to think about that part of my life." The tone was flat, without inflection of any kind, but there was a world of desolation.
Sympathy Alan did not want to feel was immediate and profound. "It's too painful?"
"Much." Bodie met his eyes and the pain of the past was there in the depths. "Is there really something that can't wait? Or are you just trying to escape me?"
Caught. "There is always much that must be done, but nothing that won't wait at least a little while.
A small smile was all Bodie could muster. "Let's get out of here before we completely shred your reputation."
In a sun-dappled park near Alan's house, they walked slowly along an asphalt path. Saying he should exercise, the park had been Bodie's idea, or Alan would have taken them straight back to his house. On a bench in the sunshine, they sat watching several children run around a field kicking a ball. An almost comfortable silence settled between them.
"This isn't going to work, is it?" Bodie continued to look at the field, his tone carefully neutral.
"What isn't?" But he recognised the truth in the words despite the tightness in his chest they caused.
He shook his head. "I don't think so. As much as I want it to, there's just too much going against it."
Bodie took a sharp breath, wrapping his arms across his stomach. "I want it to. I don't think I can give you up again."
Closing his eyes, Alan breathed in slowly, hoping to ease the ache as he fought for strength. "I don't think we're going to get the choice."
Another deep breath and Bodie met his eyes. "We should at least try."
Finally all he could say was the truth. "It hurts too much to do that."
A bright sheen dawned in the blue eyes. "As clichéed as it is to say it, the only time I feel complete is when I'm with you. Nothing else makes a difference."
"You lived without me for a very long time."
"Not by choice."
Anger bit sharply into Alan's stomach. "It was your choice! You chose to not stay and let me help you. You chose to reject my love." Sadness welled quickly. "Why wasn't my love good enough? Why didn't you love me enough?" Alan gasped. He could not believe that he'd said that, even though he'd wondered for years.
"It was. I swear it. If I could make the decision again, I...."
"You'd do exactly what you did before." Alan knew it was true and so did Bodie.
Bodie was silent for a moment. "Does that mean we can't try to work something out now?"
Enough. Bodie knew the truth and so did he. "You just said that you knew it wouldn't work."
"We could try." But there was not hope in the words or in Bodie's face. As if he'd accepted that he would fail in this attempt.
Something twisted inside of Alan. "Part of me wants to try, very much."
Shifting, Bodie sat up a little straighter. "And the rest?"
"Is terrified of losing you again." A child's ball came rolling towards them. Alan picked it up absently and threw it back.
"So you'll push me away."
There wasn't a lot of logic in that, but emotions didn't run on logic, and his especially didn't where Bodie was concerned. "Better that than have you walk away."
"It's not as if I can do that very easily." Bodie held up a crutch.
He remained silent and glared at Bodie. How could Bodie make light of it?
"Doyle... Alan, there has to be some way, some compromise we can find. I don't think we can live apart."
Nether did he. But they would, because he simply could not allow himself to get involved with anyone, even Bodie. It was too late. Alan stood. The discussion was over. "Let me take you back to your hotel."
Eyes dim, hope gone, Bodie nodded. "Fine."
Alan sat with his back to the office, staring out at the street below. He hadn't slept since he'd parted from Bodie on Saturday morning, and by Tuesday afternoon he was so exhausted he could barely stand.
It took every ounce of will power he owned to keep from going to Bodie's hotel and begging him to forgive him, and to let him stay in his life. But it was for the best.
Before he could continue to wallow in his misery, the phone on his desk buzzed.
"Cade," he barked, not in the mood for anything.
"Chief, this is Rose, we have a hostage situation at Barclay's on Findlay Street."
All personal considerations were pushed aside in favour of the crisis. "What's the situation?"
"We have ten hostages - two of whom are an American tourist and his son." Deep concern coloured Rose's tone.
The American was not Bodie. It could not be him. "Do we know anything else? Who any of the hostages are?"
"I'll be there immediately."
"Very good, sir." Rose rang off.
Alan ran a hand through his hair, dishevelling it further and slipped on his suit jacket as he headed out of the office.
His vague hope that Bodie wasn't the American inside was crushed when he saw Sid and Amy in the crowd behind the barricades. Ignoring them for the moment, Alan was briefed on the situation, and then had them brought inside the perimeter for a word. He wished he could assure them that all would be well, but that was not the case.
Clearly distraught, Amy stated the obvious, "Ray and Drew are in there."
"I know. This is a dangerous situation. We can't let you get any closer." Alan used his best Chief Constable voice, hoping it would reassure them that someone was in charge. He couldn't allow anyone to know how afraid for Bodie he was, couldn't allow it to cloud his judgement.
"Can you tell us what is happening?" Sid asked, his voice nearly begging. A far cry from the distant man at breakfast three days ago.
And in a moment of pettiness, Alan thought about saying nothing, giving the standard response about requiring time to assess the situation. But he changed his mind, these people deserved the truth. "They have threatened to start killing hostages. We're negotiating with them to let the two children out first, as a show of good faith."
Sid nodded. "How likely is that to happen?"
Hating to admit the truth, he did anyway. "I'm sorry. I don't know."
"Can't you do anything else?" Amy closed her eyes and a tear slipped down her face. "Please."
He wished he had something more for them, something to ease their fears, but now, as much as he hated it, he had to use the standard response. "We're doing all that we can. I promise I'll let you know as soon as I know something."
"Chief?" Someone called to him.
Looking regretfully at them, he put a hand on Amy's arm. "I have to get back."
He turned to the PC who had called him and nodded. The young man led the older couple back towards the edge of the barricades.
He spoke to the negotiator and was told that nothing had changed. Letting the woman work as she required, Alan followed the situation closely, feeling helpless. Doubly so because of his exhausted nerves, and his fear for Bodie.
For one moment he allowed himself to close his eyes against the thought of Bodie coming to harm, but that was all the time he could spare to personal considerations, and pushed the thought away. Bodie would be fine. He'd see to it, even if he had to pick up a gun and rescue Bodie himself. He could not let Bodie die, not again, not if he could do anything to stop it.
After several hours and some tense negotiations, the bank robbers were convinced to let the children go. Ray and another small boy were escorted out, and the police got them out of the area as soon as they were clear of the door. Neither child had been hurt, and they could give descriptions of the suspects and the events that had taken place inside.
Negotiations dragged on after that, but finally the kidnappers agreed to take a helicopter to a plane where a promised one million pounds would be waiting for them. As they tried to move from the building to the helicopter with a woman as hostage, all three villains were shot and killed by police marksmen.
Bodie hobbled out of the bank, unharmed. Alan wanted nothing more than to put his arms around him and hold him tight, but Bodie barely glanced at him as his son came running up and threw his arms around Bodie's waist. Leaning against one of the squad cars, Bodie held the boy, then glanced at Alan. Holding out a hand, Bodie invited him into the circle. And even though he knew he shouldn't, he could not help himself. Sliding an arm around Bodie's shoulder, he hugged Bodie tight, pressing his nose to the crook of Bodie's neck, breathing deeply. Only the familiar scent of Bodie assured him the ordeal was indeed over and relief moved quickly through him.
A flash went off in his face as he pulled back from the hug. Damn. He signalled to Rose to get rid of the photographer.
Bodie let go of his son, sending him to his grandparents who were still behind the barricade. Then he turned to Alan, his expression grim. "It was Mason Bakersfield. He recognised me."
"What?" Why wasn't Bodie dead, then? Bakersfield had reason to hate the both of them. "He let you live?"
"I've never been so glad for these crutches as I was when Bakersfield spotted me." Bodie smiled without humour. "I managed to convince him I wasn't Bodie." Bodie's voice had a perfectly flat American accent. "That, and the passport and Ray seemed to convince him I couldn't be Bodie from CI5."
There was something more in the tone, something that Alan could not place, but he could tell that Bodie was more than upset about being recognised. Not that Alan blamed him, it was difficult to be in hiding. He'd been warned more than once about having his face plastered across the papers. But at times, there was nothing he could do about it. So far, no one had made the connection.
"You always were good with accents."
"And this one is half-mine already." A hint of a smile touched Bodie's mouth, before his lips turned down again. "Can I go? Sid and Amy are waiting for me."
"Of course." Then, becoming Chief Constable again. "You will have to come down and fill out a statement later. You know the routine."
"Only too well." Bodie moved off into the crowd with his son.
Alan arrived at Bodie's hotel unannounced later that evening. In theory, he could be getting Bodie's statement, but in reality he just wanted to make sure that Bodie was all right. At least, that's what he told himself as he pushed open the glass doors and made his way across the lobby.
The door was opened by Ray, who smiled up at him and let him in. The suite was small, standard for a decent hotel in the area. Bodie looked up as he came into room.
He smiled at his son. "Ray, weren't you and your grandparents going to go out for ice cream?"
Ray opened his mouth to argue, but his father's look quickly changed his mind. "Okay." The boy quickly left the room.
The silence was loud as he and Bodie stared at each other.
"Do you want my statement?" Bodie broke the silence, waving Alan to a chair by the window and seating himself.
Alan shook his head and remained where he was. He had to be on his feet for this. "You can come down later this week and file it."
"There's not going to be a much later to this week."
"I thought your interview wasn't until Friday?"
"I've cancelled the interview."
"Why?" But he knew the answer.
Bodie's look clearly said the same thing. "It's too dangerous to be here. I don't know what I was thinking of to come back here."
It was clear what Bodie was thinking now: that he was no longer going to consider it. Alan felt compelled to point out... "Fluke."
"That nearly killed both me and my son. And with the picture that's sure to appear in tomorrow's papers, I think it's likely to happen again."
Alan had thought of that too. And his own security as well. And Elena's.
Bodie put a hand on his arm, and squeezed. "It's for the best. You'll be able to go on with your life, and so will I."
They both knew it was a lie. They would always be tied together, always have a place in their hearts that could not be filled by anyone or anything else.
But he could lie as well. "Yes, of course." He started to leave before he humiliated himself, before his chest imploded with the tightness he could not ease, before he said something they would both regret.
Reaching out, Bodie took his hand. "I can't chance it. Ray's life is more important to me than anything, including my own happiness."
He could not argue with that. Hell, he agreed. If it were Elena... "I do understand." But the entire time he waited near the bank for Bodie's release, he'd known he would not be able to stand to see Bodie die a second time. That he still loved Bodie and to lose him would be beyond bearing. But now he would anyway, and he supposed he should find some comfort in that it wasn't to death, this time.
Bodie leaned upward and put a hand around his neck to pull him down, the lush mouth angling to just the right angle. Their lips met, softly, slowly, as if it were the last time and had to last forever. His tongue slid forward, reaching out to taste the familiar moist surface, relishing the texture, lost to all else around them.
After a time, Bodie pulled back, and they both turned towards a sound at the door. Ray stood in the entrance to the room, clearly having seen them.
Unfazed, Bodie's son just said, "Grandma said that I had to tell you we were going to go get ice cream now."
Bodie looked at him and then at Ray. "All right. Tell them to have you back by bedtime."
The boy turned to go, and then turned back. "Dad?"
"Is he coming back to Cascade with us?" Ray nodded his head towards Alan, but displayed no distaste in words or attitude.
"I don't know." Bodie turned to face him, yearning alive and well in the blue depths. "What do you think Alan? Do you want to come to Cascade with us?"
Alan couldn't think, of course, not right then. The idea was too new and had too many possibilities he didn't want. "I expect that I could."
"Would it be all right with you, if he did?" Bodie asked his son in an utterly casual tone that belied the questions in his eyes.
"Sure, Dad. It would be great. Can I go now?" The boy seemed full of energy, no doubt the lure of ice cream calling to him.
"Go on, son."
"Thanks." Ray smiled and sped away, and Bodie exhaled explosively.
"I should go..." Alan stood, but really didn't want to go. He wanted.... Oh, Christ, he wanted to stay, or rather to leave with Bodie, go some place safe and live out his life in peace, with this man. He met Bodie's eyes and saw the same emotions he was feeling.
"No. Don't go." Bodie put both hands on his arms, and gently tugged him down for another kiss.
As Bodie pulled back from the kiss, Alan sighed, sitting down heavily on the bed next to Bodie.
Taking his hand, Bodie brought it to his mouth, kissing the palm, his tongue tickling across the skin. "Could you?"
"Could I what?" Alan had lost track of the conversation somehow.
"Came back to Cascade with me and Ray?"
"And your in-laws?" They were going to be the sticking point, Alan knew that already. And that could cause all kinds of problems.
"I don't know." And he didn't, but there were other things to consider now as well. "The pictures in the papers have fairly well compromised me, us."
A small smile came onto Bodie's face and his eyes sparkled for a moment. "Oh, for the days of D-Notices."
"Yeah. Bad enough having my picture in the paper, which happens far too often for my taste, but when it's both of us...." There wasn't a hope in hell that any number of people adding two and two wouldn't come up with Bodie and Doyle - even thirteen years later. And for some reason, the idea that his cover was blown didn't even bother him that much. That just went to show how much he'd come to hate both his life and his job, especially now that there was something more promising on the horizon.
Nodding, Bodie put a hand on his arm. "Yeah. It's part of why I'm leaving. What about your job?"
"I don't know. I haven't been happy with it for a long time." Alan could not believe he was actually entertaining the thought of moving to the States. It made sense. To be with Bodie he had to leave England, and that wasn't in question any longer. More than that, he wanted it with a hunger he could not contain.
"What would you do?"
"I've been offered a few international positions over the years. And CI5 is now international as well."
"You don't work for them." Bodie's mouth turned up as he said it.
Well, that was certainly true, but... "You never really leave CI5 - "
"It's in the small print." They said it together and then laughed, leaning in to kiss again. And then again, longer and deeper, this time with hope alive and flowing between them.
Sobering, Bodie met his eyes. "Will you remain Alan Cade?"
Alan shrugged. "Ray Doyle and William Bodie are both dead. All that's left is us."
A grin quirked Bodie's mouth. "I suppose that's going to be good enough."
Kissing him softly, Alan smiled, too. "Yeah, I think it's just fine."