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One World

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Bodie stands under the shower with his eyes closed, the hot spray gently pummelling his skin as it rinses away the soap. He indulges in the pure pleasure of it for a few moments more, before turning the water off and towelling himself dry.

He puts on deodorant, and wipes some of the steam off the mirror on the cabinet. He peers at his fuzzy reflection, turning his face one way, then the other. Nah, no need to shave.

He strolls naked into the bedroom and looks through his wardrobe. Not bothering with underwear, he pulls on a pair of black trousers and slides his arms into a black shirt. The colour suits his mood, he thinks wryly.

Doing up the zip and clasp on his trousers, he checks his appearance in the full length mirror on the wall. Not bad, he decides, as he smoothes his damp hair down with his hands. Not bad at all. Especially considering the kind of day it's been. Joanna doesn’t know what she’s missing, he tells himself, only half-joking. Not that he can blame her not waiting around for him. God knows he’s messed her about enough lately, but still...

He splashes some aftershave onto his palms and pats it along his jaw.

A few drinks down his local will have to do, instead. Hopefully a couple of the regulars will be there. OK, so they might not be his first choice of company for tonight, but it’s better than sitting in on his own.

He’s just doing up his shirt when the doorbell rings. His fingers still on a button, as he briefly wonders if…? No, can’t be. Wakeman and Catrell are safely locked up, not making more hits on CI5 men.

But even so, it’s a bit late for most people to be making unexpected house calls. He grabs his gun on the way to the front door, and cautiously looks through the spy hole.

His first choice is standing outside.

Bodie finds himself smiling, spirits instantly lifting as he opens the door.

“You took your time,” Doyle complains, strutting past Bodie and leaving a heady waft of spicy cologne in his wake. His trousers from earlier have been replaced by a pair of jeans, his green t-shirt by a blue one beneath his leather jacket.

“You're lucky I answered at all,” Bodie replies mildly. “Thought it was just my ears ringing again, at first.”

Doyle’s eyes rake him up and down. “Expecting someone else?” he asks, with a nod at the weapon in Bodie's hand.

“Oh, just thought it might be Jehovah’s Witnesses, you know how persistent they can be,” says Bodie, putting the gun down.  “What you doing here, thought you said you had stuff to do tonight?”

Doyle picks up the lone apple from the fruit bowl on the table and tosses it in the air. “Can change my mind, can’t I?” he says, putting the apple back.

“Yeah, course you can, mate,” says Bodie, wondering what’s prompted it, sensing a restless energy crackling around his partner.

“Well, aren’t you gonna offer me a drink?”

“Beer do you?” Bodie pads over to the fridge and pulls two cans out. “So, apart from free alcohol, what’s brought you round here, then?” he asks, throwing one to Doyle.

Doyle pulls back the ring of his can, releasing a small explosion of foam. He puts his mouth over it to catch the overflow. “Didn’t know I needed a reason,” he says, wiping his lips. “Besides, why aren’t you out with Joanna?”

That’s twice Doyle has neatly side-stepped the question of why he’s turned up here. Something’s definitely up. “You know why,” says Bodie. “Cos I’d already cancelled on her, hadn’t I. And now she’s not answering.”

Doyle smiles cruelly. “Oh dear, what a shame,” he says, with mock sincerity.

“Yeah, thanks, mate,” says Bodie. He takes a swig of his beer. “Anyway, why d’you come here, if you thought I was gonna be out?” Third time lucky, perhaps.

Doyle shrugs and wanders through to the living room. “Just on the off-chance,” he says, sitting down on the big brown sofa.

Bodie follows him, but stays standing. Doyle is a picture of nonchalance, casually leaning back into the cushions, one arm thrown carelessly along the back of the sofa. But Bodie isn’t fooled. He knows Doyle too well, can see something is fizzing beneath the surface.

“Well,” says Bodie. “I was just going down The Duke’s Head.” He glances at his watch. “Got an hour ‘til last orders… raise a glass to absent friends?” he suggests, wondering if that's what’s on Doyle's mind.

Doyle pulls a face and sits forward, the nonchalant façade slipping. “No, don’t fancy it.” He plonks his beer down on the coffee table, as if to emphasise the point. There’s a brief silence before he speaks again. “Did you know King’s missus is away, looking after her sick mother? They haven’t been able to get hold of her. She doesn’t know she’s a widow, yet,” he says, bitterly.

Ah, so Bodie has guessed right. “Yeah, I know. It stinks,” he agrees.

“Could’ve been even worse, though, couldn’t it?” says Doyle, looking towards the phone on the desk.

Bodie feels his spirits dipping; so Doyle just wants to rake over the day. “Yeah, could’ve been worse, so let’s just be grateful it wasn't, eh?”

Doyle looks up at him, sharply. “Oh, I am, mate, believe me.” He abruptly stands up and paces over to the window, staring out onto the lamp-lit avenue.

Bodie inwardly sighs. Yes, it’s been a shit day. The loss of three agents - three good friends - is devastating for everyone in the small CI5 family. But tonight he just wants a few beers and easy company to try and unwind, not a post-mortem on what’s happened. There’ll be enough of that in the coming days.

He looks at Doyle standing at the window, seeing the tension in the broad, leather-clad shoulders. His eyes inevitably slide lower, but he forces them back upwards. There’s no chance of any of that, he thinks wistfully, the mood Doyle’s in at the moment.

“Let’s just go to the pub, eh,” Bodie coaxes. “Have a couple of pints. No point moping about here.” When Doyle doesn’t respond, he starts to lose patience. “Look, Ray, if you've just come over here to be miserable...”

Doyle swings round to face him, frowning. “Miserable?” He shakes his head.

“So what did you come round for?”

“Told you, no reason,” says Doyle. But under Bodie’s stern I’ve-had-enough-of-this gaze he adds, “Just been thinking, that’s all.”

“Yeah, and…?” pushes Bodie.

“’bout you and me…”

Bodie’s stomach does a small somersault. This is unexpected, and Bodie isn’t sure which way it’s going to go. “What about it?” he asks, steeling himself. He thought Doyle was happy enough with the way things are between them. It’s all been on his terms, after all. “Well, spit it out, Doyle,” he snaps, when Doyle just stands there.

“Earlier today…” says Doyle. “It was too close.” He pauses, mouth compressed in a tight line.  “If you hadn’t seen that bit of wire…” he says accusingly, eyes flashing dangerously. “It was just too close, all right?” he says fiercely, as though Bodie has disagreed. He points angrily towards the window, “And I’d’ve been sitting out there, in the bloody car, watching your flat blow up with you in it!”

He’s glaring at Bodie, and Bodie takes a moment to process this unexpected outburst. If he wasn’t so puzzled, he’d be turned on right now. A fiery Doyle always makes him horny… makes him want all that wild intensity writhing naked beneath him, to use it to drive them both to an almost apocalyptic release…. He mentally shakes himself. “Yeah, but it didn’t happen,” he says. “No harm done.”

“No, not this time, maybe,” says Doyle, still angry. “But it’s time we stopped messing about.”

“How do you mean?” asks Bodie, warily.

“I mean… seeing girls and seeing each other,” says Doyle. “We should just stick to each other,” he clarifies, a bit awkwardly.

Bodie hopes his surprise doesn't show. “The way I remember it,” he says levelly, “you wanted us to keep seeing girls… 'best of both worlds', I think you called it.”

Doyle flushes slightly. “Yeah, well… now I just want one world. Ours. No more Joannas, no more bloody anyone, just us.” He looks defiantly at Bodie. “Well?” he demands.

“You didn’t want that before,” says Bodie, wondering why the fuck he’s questioning this decision, rather than grabbing it with both hands. But he remembers all too clearly the burning humiliation of suggesting exclusivity once, only to have Doyle scoff at the idea. “Why now?”

Doyle gives a sigh of impatience and puts his hands on his hips. “You really want to make me say it?” he asks, exasperated. “To admit how I felt, knowing how close I was to bloody losing you, you stupid bastard?”

Warmth swirls up inside him and Bodie smiles. “Nah,” he says, with as much indifference as he can muster. “Think we’ve talked enough, don’t you?”

Doyle’s glower turns into a relieved smile. “Yeah,” he says, taking a step towards Bodie. “Assuming we’re in agreement, that is?” he adds warningly, placing a hand on Bodie’s bare chest where his shirt is still undone, and slowly pushing him back towards the sofa.

Bodie pretends to consider it. “Just you and me? Well, I suppose so... ” he says casually, as his legs hit the edge of the sofa and he’s pushed down onto it.

Doyle gives him a knowing smile. “Yeah, you suppose so,” he mimics dryly, straddling Bodie's lap. “Let me see if I can convince you...”

And Bodie sits back, and allows Doyle to do just that.

The End