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Ray patted Murphy on his back as the taller man staggered out Bodie’s door toward his waiting taxi.

 

“Happy Birthday, Ray!” Murphy called back drunkenly. “Great party!”

 

Ray shook his head, smiling as he closed the door, turning to survey the damage to Bodie’s flat after a party Ray had never wanted to begin with. He’d had no intention of marking his milestone 35th birthday and had told his partner so. “Dinner then”, Bodie said. “Just the two of us. Then back to my place for drinks and darts.”

 

Only there were no drinks and darts at his flat. There was a surprise party waiting for him instead. Ray had to admit he’d had a good time and he’d let Bodie off the hook for getting one over on him.

 

He sagged against Bodie’s kitchen counter and his partner smiled cheekily at him, pleased with himself. Bodie held out a shot of whisky to Ray and they touched glasses.

 

“Cheers, old son,” Bodie smirked.

 

Ray downed the amber liquid and pointed a finger at him. “I shall remember that, as you’ll be here soon enough yourself, mate.”

 

Bodie chuckled and moved to put the glasses in the sink.

 

Ray looked at the various gifts from his colleagues and friends, mostly silly ones, scattered across Bodie’s table. But the best gift he received was standing right before him.

 

Two months ago Bodie took a bullet meant for him. Pushed him out of the way of a gunman he hadn’t even seen, saving his life but nearly ending his own. He’d only been back on duty these last two weeks.

 

From seemingly out of nowhere Bodie produced a single cupcake with chocolate frosting, sprinkles, and a blue, flickering candle, which he presented to Ray with a smile.

 

“Happy Birthday, Raymond.”

 

They’d never been big on giving one another gifts, so this small gesture was touching, and Ray felt warmth spread through him. Bodie could have done this at the party, but he hadn’t. Instead it was a moment for just the two of them.

 

“Go on. Make a wish, mate,” Bodie encouraged Ray with an easy grin.

 

Ray looked down at the dancing yellow flame, then his gaze skittered to Bodie’s chest, where his pink shirt hid the scar where the bullet had pierced his lung. If Ray closed his eyes he could still see his partner’s bright red blood coating his hands as he desperately tried to stop the flow. They’d had their close calls over the years, but he’d never been more terrified than in that moment, watching Bodie struggle for breath, blood frothing on his lips, dying right in front of him, his midnight blue eyes wide and scared. It still gave him nightmares. He honestly couldn’t contemplate life without Bodie in it.

 

Ray pulled his thoughts back. Bodie wanted him to make a wish. He looked back up at his partner, at the soft expression on his face, the small smile curving his lips.

 

Ray closed his eyes.

 

I wish…

 

He wished they’d stop dancing around each other. So many years of being afraid they might step on one another’s toes and stumble and fall. Instead of being brave enough to move to the beat of their own drum. Before a bullet stopped the music forever.

 

Ray blew out the candle and opened his eyes.

 

Bodie set the cupcake down on the counter then swiped a finger through the frosting and licked it off. He cocked his head at Ray.

 

“What’d you wish for?”

 

Ray shook his head. “Can’t tell. Won’t come true.”

 

Bodie shrugged. “S’okay. I know anyway.”

 

Ray arched a brow at him. “Oh do you, now?”

 

Bodie nodded. “Partners for six years. I know you better than you know yourself. Your favorite color, favorite food, favorite sports team, favorite song, favorite pair of trousers, favorite trainers. You’re an open book.”

 

“Well go on then,” Ray challenged him, his heart starting to pound as Bodie moved in closer.

 

“I know what you wished for because I heard you that day,” Bodie said, voice low, touching his own chest, over his scar. “Don’t you leave me.”

 

Ray’s own voice echoed in his head saying just that, pleading with Bodie not to die.

 

Bodie reached out and touched Ray’s chest, over one of his scars. “And I know what you really meant, because I said those exact words to you, but you never heard me, fading in and out before the ambulance could get to your flat.”

 

Ray’s breath caught, his heart skipped a beat. Because Bodie was right. He’d really wanted to say three other words. And so apparently did Bodie, all those years ago.

 

Bodie gently curved a hand around Ray’s hip, leaning in, his voice a whisper. “Is this what you want, Ray? Is this what you wished for?”

 

And then Bodie kissed him.

 

It was just a gentle, chaste press of his soft, warm lips against Ray’s, but it turned him inside out and his world upside down.

 

Just as Ray was able to process what was happening, his lips just beginning to move against Bodie’s, his partner moved away from him. Ray opened his eyes quickly, afraid Bodie had mistaken his hesitancy for rejection. But Ray found Bodie smiling at him as he tugged on Ray’s sleeve, walking backward. Ray allowed his partner to pull him into his bedroom, Ray’s heart pounding a staccato beat with each step.

 

Bodie stood next to the bed and spread his arms open wide. “Well, what are you waiting for?” he smirked, his blue eyes dancing. “Aren’t you going to unwrap your gift, angelfish?”

 

Ray didn’t know what to expect, but it wasn't this playfulness from him.

 

The corners of Ray’s mouth quirked as he stepped closer, looking Bodie over. “Missing a big red bow, you are.”

 

“Oh, I’ve got something big for you, sunshine,” Bodie growled, arching a brow, and Ray’s stomach fluttered in anticipation as he took hold of his partner’s shirt.

 

Ray wanted to take his time and savor the moment, to reveal Bodie bit by bit. But his hands shook, his movements impatient as he pulled at Bodie’s buttons, his belt, his zipper, and all the while Bodie smiled teasingly at him. Ray peeled him out of his clothes layer by layer until he was finally, gloriously naked. Ray looked his fill for long moments at the beautiful body before him. He could feel the heat radiating from his partner and he wanted to lose himself in it, in Bodie.

 

Desperate now for a proper kiss, Ray moved closer. Bodie’s eyes darkened as he reached out and framed Ray’s face with his hands.

 

Their lips touched again and this time they opened for one another. Bodie tasted of whisky and chocolate and Ray groaned softly into the kiss as their tongues danced sensuously together. Bodie tilted Ray’s head just slightly, changing the angle to deepen the kiss, and a low noise rumbled in the back of his throat.

 

Ray lost track of time as their mouths moved against each other’s again and again, this first kiss more perfect than he ever dreamed it could be.

 

When they finally eased apart Bodie nipped at Ray’s bottom lip then laid back on the bed in a wanton sprawl, one leg hanging off, the other bent at the knee, his foot on the bed, his full, hard cock standing up slightly from his belly. He propped himself up on an elbow and gave Ray a wink.

 

“C’mon now, I think it’s appropriate today of all days I see you in your birthday suit, eh?”

Ray had never been self-conscious about his body, but he felt uncharacteristically shy as he began to slowly remove his clothes in front of Bodie, until he, too, was naked. Bodie’s expression changed then from teasing to heated, as his eyes raked over Ray from head to toe. He held out a hand and Ray’s pulse jumped.

 

He moved between Bodie’s legs and his gaze caught the jagged scar on his partner’s chest. Ray swallowed hard and leaned down to place a gentle kiss over it. Ray heard Bodie's breath catch and he brushed a hand over Ray’s unruly hair, easing him back up. His blue eyes were suspiciously bright when they caught Ray’s, before he leaned in to Ray’s own chest, and kissed his scars just as gently.

 

Ray’s throat constricted and he raised Bodie’s head. Their kiss spoke volumes, what they were unable to put into words—what they meant to each other. How deep their connection ran.

 

They moved up onto the bed and Ray blanketed Bodie’s body with his own. Their cocks brushed together for the first time and the sensation was electric in its intensity, pulling low moans from them both.

 

Ray explored every inch of Bodie with his hands and mouth, getting to know his body—how he felt, how he tasted, how to pull pleasurable sounds from him—until Bodie was shifting restlessly at the stimulation, arching his neck, his hands fisting in the sheets, breathing unevenly. And when Ray lapped at the head of his cock, gathering up the clear fluid leaking from the tip, Bodie cried out as his taste exploded across Ray’s tongue.

 

“Ray…please…” Bodie begged, lifting his hips up off the bed in blatant invitation.

 

Ray’s cock throbbed with the thought of being buried inside Bodie and he kissed him long and hard in reply. When Ray pulled back they were both breathing hard and Bodie fumbled with the drawer of his bedside table before he pressed a tube into Ray’s hand.

 

Minutes later Ray’s slick cock was at his entrance, pressing forward until he slipped inside Bodie for the very first time. The sensation of Bodie’s body opening for him, stretching around him, pulling him in, nearly took Ray’s breath away.

 

He filled Bodie completely, joined as intimately as they could possibly be. He felt like he was home. Exactly where he belonged. Here, with Bodie. Always.

 

Bodie’s eyes were wide and bright as he gazed up at Ray. He lifted a hand and laid it gently on the side of Ray’s face. He pushed into Bodie’s touch, his voice low and tremulous.

 

“I’m sorry I didn't hear you. I'm sorry we wasted so much time.”

 

Bodie shook his head, his thumb rubbing Ray’s flawed cheek. “We're here now. That's all that matters.” He cocked his head and a grin teased the corners of his mouth. “Though what do you say we set about making up for that lost time, eh?”

 

Ray smiled down at him. “Could take quite a while, that.”

 

Bodie's smile was slow and sexy. “Good.” He tugged Ray down against him. “Make love to me, Ray.”

 

And Ray did. Their bodies moved together seamlessly, giving and taking, as if they’d done this countless times before. And Ray knew that he’d never truly made love with someone. Not until now. Not until Bodie.

 

The way Bodie was looking at him, he was more open and unguarded than Ray had ever seen him. It made his heart stutter. They were always good together. But now they were invincible.

 

They rocked against each other for long, long minutes as Ray slid in and out of Bodie’s welcoming body, both of them slowly but surely coming undone. Ragged pleas of “Harder, faster, deeper…” fell from Bodie’s lips. It was intoxicating, Ray knowing he was the one making his partner fall apart. He gave Bodie what he needed and more. Ray gave him everything. He gave Bodie all of himself until he didn’t know where he ended and Bodie began.

 

All too soon Ray felt the tidal wave of release building low in his belly, swirling at the base of his spine, and he gathered Bodie up with him, wanting them to shatter together.

 

Ray felt the moment the wave swept Bodie away. He stiffened beneath Ray before arching up with a sharp cry of his name. Ray watched in erotic fascination as Bodie’s cock jerked and throbbed, completely untouched, painting his chest with the thick, white streams of his release. The smell of his sex filled the air as Bodie’s body constricted around Ray’s cock in pulsating waves, pulling his orgasm from him in a blinding rush. Ray pushed in deep one last time as Bodie pulled him down, Bodie’s mouth finding his, swallowing his shout of completion as Ray filled him with slick, wet heat.

 

They held one another as they trembled through the aftershocks, until they were boneless in each other's arms, kissing softly, gently.

 

Ray brushed his thumb across Bodie’s cheek, his words a whisper. “You can say it now, if you want. I can hear you.”

 

Bodie’s affectionate smile lit up the room. “I love you.”

 

Ray’s heart swelled as he kissed him again.

 

Sometimes wishes do come true.

 

THE END