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I Will Follow You

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z lilyk 1st bb title new

So you can drag me through Hell
If it meant I could hold your hand
I will follow you cause I'm under your spell
And you can throw me to the flames
I will follow you
-Bring Me The Horizon-

 

Bodie peered out the grimy window, observing the row of ill-kept terraced houses across the road. Nothing moved so he let his mind wander. Deadly, that, but he didn't care.

He couldn't remember a time in his life when he'd been this happy. Two months. Almost two months... fifty-eight days. Make that nights... Bodie grinned before glancing about quickly. A couple of other agents lounged on a fairly nice settee on the other side of the room, needling each other, as usual. Being on high alert always made the lads badger each other more than usual. After all, if you couldn't provoke your partner, who could you provoke and live to do it again and again?

They had bullets lined up in rows like soldiers on a march on the coffee table, and Anson was taunting McCabe about his gun, insisting his Colt Commander was a far superior weapon to McCabe's Walther PPK. McCabe ignored his partner, loading extra clips and stowing them in different places in his clothing. A good agent was always well-armed.

Doyle had gone to the loo. Doyle... Bodie grinned with delight before he quickly schooled his face into his usual scowl. No sense making the the lads think he'd gone barmy, smiling in the middle of a serious obbo. Then they'd start to ask questions, tossing out lewd comments about this bird and that. Bodie wasn't in the mood but as for the grin? Bodie admitted to himself again that he was indeed, quite happy.

That was an understatement. He was more than happy. He was ecstatic! But he had to keep the reason for his current state under wraps. Far, far under wraps. Still, he couldn't stop himself from thinking about... Doyle. Raymond fucking gorgeous naked Doyle and what they'd been doing for those fifty-eight nights. Fucking... making love... shagging... call it what you will but he and Doyle had been doing it all. And it was bloody heaven. It was amazing. It was better than freshly baked Swiss roll from-

"Oy! Cloth ears!" Something smacked Bodie on the head, making him jump. Doyle had obviously returned, unbeknownst to Bodie. Doyle gave a smug grin. He knew he'd caught Bodie daydreaming and it was laughing about it. "Testy much?"

Bodie straightened his shoulders, put on an air of menace, and whispered, "Don't test me, Doyle, or you'll regret it."

Doyle glared back. "Heard that one before, haven't I? Do you remember who was on the losing end?" Doyle's green eyes blazed with undisguised lust while his face and body language told the rest of the world that Bodie was lucky he wasn't looking up at Doyle from the floor after having his face caved in.

Bodie hated that he felt a blush wash over him. He knew his cheeks pinked because Doyle gave him a satisfied smirk and a bash on the arm with his fist.

"Ouch." Bodie rubbed at the spot, grateful for the distraction. He couldn't think about that. About how he had been- Stop it! Funny how one's mind does what it wants without its owner's permission because Bodie had no control over his brain and the images it flashed before him.

He saw himself clearly, tied spread-eagle, face down with arms and ankles firmly secured to the bed's wood posters. He remembered every second of that time from- he glanced at his watch- thirty-four hours and twenty minutes, give or take a few seconds, ago. With an involuntary shudder, he remembered each stroke of Doyle's cock as it thrust into his arse. He could still feel Doyle's fingers digging into his hip bones, holding him still. He had the bruises to prove it in a court of law. That made Bodie snort through his nose. As if he could have moved anyway, bound as he was. He remembered exactly how it felt to have his own cock and balls crushed under him, trussed up in his good navy blue and white stripped silk tie. He'd paid a good bit for that tie at Harrod's and now it was a ruined piece of material. He didn't care a whit.

He clearly remembered (and blushed even more, he was sure) how he couldn't do anything but take what Doyle was giving him. Pounding into him, scraping his nails down Bodie's back and digging into the globes of his arse. God, he loved it when Doyle was rough, wild, untamed. He was embarrassed now remembering how he'd literally sobbed into the sheets, tears streaming from his eyes as Doyle made each cell of his body sing for more. Please, please, please let me come. pleaseplease...

When Doyle did finally let Bodie have his release, it was only after Doyle had emptied himself into Bodie's arse. Only after Doyle's come was dripping out of him, down onto his trussed-up bollocks. It was only after Doyle had replaced his spent cock with thin dildo that had been waiting patiently on the bedside table to perform when called upon. It was only after he had Bodie crying aloud as Doyle, his torturer, his tormentor, his lover, nudged his prostate again and again and again...

Finally, thank the gods above, Doyle's hand snaked under Bodie's sweating body. He'd pulled on Bodie's cock, making Bodie scream. Thank Christ the neighbours are away!, Doyle had said. We'd have the coppers on us by now, for grievous bodily harm, with all your caterwauling! Next time a gag!

Bodie didn't care. His world was his prick and his balls. He couldn't even beg any more. Blackness danced at the edge of his vision. How had he gotten untied and flipped to his back? He didn't realise or remember or care.

Warm wet heat engulfed his cock. Bodie screamed one last time, came forcefully, and then passed out.

It had been fucking fantastic.

"Is that your gun in your pocket or are you happy to see me, mate?" Doyle said softly, his gaze at Bodie's crotch.

Bodie was grateful that Doyle kept his body between the other two agents and Bodie's but he was mortified now that he'd reacted so horribly in public. He pushed Doyle away with enough force to make him stumble. He raised a finger to point at his partner. "One more word-"

A shout from the next room. "There they are!"

Instantly Bodie was in deadly agent mode, his cock forgotten, his gun in hand. He followed Doyle down the stairs at a run, never once looking at his denim clad arse, or the way the muscles played under the material, or how Doyle's thighs worked like the pistons of a fine motor. Bodie didn't look. He didn't have to. He knew exactly how his partner's body moved in any given situation. It was etched in his brain as indelibly as anything he'd remembered in his life.

Bodie followed his partner and together they ran across the road into the thick of the now-ongoing shootout.

bodiewgunaiming hdr

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Lifting his glass, Bodie saluted Doyle. "Well done, mate."

Doyle grinned, returning the action. "You as well."

They both drank. Doyle slurped his lager, leaving a moustache of foam on his upper lip. Bodie would have licked it off if they had been at home. As it were, it was more than likely against pub policy to lick another bloke. Bodie chuckled.

"What?" Doyle asked.

Bodie shrugged, grinning.

"Something nasty," Doyle said firmly.

Again Bodie merely grinned, saluting Doyle with his glass. Let his mate think what he would. Doyle's imagination will get the best of him and by the time they got back to his flat, Doyle would be worked up into a sexual frenzy that Bodie would be at the receiving end of. Ahh, life is good.

"If you don't wipe that sanctimonious smug look off that mug of yours, I'll have to do it for you," Doyle said, his tone full of promise.

Bodie felt his body react. Damned Doyle. Now he'd had to be sure not to get up until this hard on subsided.

Doyle must have seen him shift because his partner gave him such a look of satisfaction that Bodie ha the urge to wipe the sanctimonious smug off his mug as well.

"Doyle! Ray Doyle!" a voice called out.

Bodie turned. Doyle raised a hand at the bar tender. "Here"

"Call for ya." Vince held up the receiver of the black telephone.

Doyle stood up and headed for the bar. Bodie followed. Doyle turned. "Private, mate."

"Eh?" Bodie was flummoxed. Private? Was Doyle chatting up some bird in spite of their agreement to exclusivity regarding sex? Nah, Doyle would do that to him. Loyal was Doyle, to a fault. "Private?"

"Not what you're thinking, Bodie." Doyle looked hurt. He must have thought Bodie was thinking what he was thinking.

"I wasn't-"

"Doyle!" Vince called again. "I know this is your local but-"

Bodie didn't hear the rest of Vince's admonition about getting personal calls on the pub's phone. Vince didn't like having his phone tied up. He was busy waiting for the racing results, more than likely. Back in his seat, Bodie sipped his beer. It tasted flat, the flavour off. Setting the glass down, he turned in his chair to watch Doyle.

Doyle's body language was tense. His back was stiff. While he faced away from Bodie, Bodie would read Doyle like the proverbial book. Whoever was speaking wasn't making his partner a happy man. With his mind whirring over the possibilities of the content of the phone call, from Cowley sending Doyle off on a mission to the wilds of Scotland to capture some evil denizen determined to harm Cowley's beloved Empire, to one of the lads not making it home after an obbo. Mulling the idea of losing somebody he liked or even merely tolerated didn't sit well. Not tonight, not when he had been feeling horny and happy.

"Oy." Doyle sat down beside Bodie. "Larking about, eh?"

"What was that?"

"Nothing."

Bodie eyed Doyle carefully. "Didn't look like nothing to me. You're pissed off."

"Nah." Doyle avoided Bodie's gaze for a moment before he seemed to steel his resolve. He looked at Bodie directly. "It's fine. Really."

"It wasn't Cowley, then? With bad news?" Bodie raised an eyebrow.

"No. Listen, mate, I have to run." Doyle rose and grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair.

"Eh? But I thought-" Bodie cleared his throat. He wasn't some sodding school girl mooning after a bloke. Well, he was but he'd never let Doyle know that! "Fine," he snapped.

"Don't be angry, Bodie. It's nothing to do with you, with us. Honest." Doyle zipped up his coat. "It's- Tomorrow, okay?"

"Yeah, sure." Bodie sat back down. "I'll stay and have another."

Doyle's hand clamped down on Bodie's shoulder. "On me. I'll pay on me way out. You enjoy a good malt and-" He stopped, took in a breath that Bodie could only describe as shaky, and exhaled. "Goodbye."

In the next heartbeat, Doyle was handing bills over to Vince and out the door. Bodie froze. Goodbye? Why did that sound so final? Not a "I'll see you later" kind of goodbye but a "I"ll never see you again" sort?

Bloody fucking hell. What was Doyle playing at?

Bodie was on his feet, yanking on his coat and running out the door. Doyle's Capri was long gone. Bodie'd ridden from Doyle's flat with him so now he was either on foot or...

"Taxi!" he shouted, waving at the black cab that was approaching. It stopped and he jumped in. He gave Doyle's address and added, "An extra five if you get me there in ten minutes."

The cab lurched forward. At his destination, he tossed the cabbie the extra money plus the fare. "Ta," Bodie managed, spilling out of the cab ungracefully. When the cab pulled away, Bodie could see that Doyle's car wasn't parked on the road. His own Capri Ghia was sitting quietly at the kerb. There were plenty of spaces vacant so Doyle couldn't have come straight home.

Where, where, where? Bodie's stomach flopped. Something was wrong.

At the corner phone box, Bodie called HQ. "Bodie, 37."

"Angela here, Bodie. Do you want Cowley?"

"Nah. It's Doyle. The bloody fool's gone off and left his r/t. You know how Cowley hates it when the lads aren't properly tooled up."

"You're one to talk," Angela said, laughing.

"I know!" Bodie said, laughing as well. "But we won't talk about that now, will we? Anyway, Doyle'd forget his granny if I wasn't around to remind him."

"You two are worse than school lads. Listen," Angela's voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper, "But maybe he didn't forget it? I saw him not two hours ago in with Cowley. They had quite the row and Doyle left in a whirlwind. I went in to bring the old dear tea earlier and Doyle's firearm and ID were on his desk. Mr Cowley pushed them into a drawer rather quickly when I went in. I didn't think anything of it then." She paused. "Didn't he say anything to you about it? Do you think Doyle all right?" She sounded genuinely concerned.

"What? Oh, yeah, I'm sure. Probably had something to do with his assignment. You know how serious he is when he's-" Bodie paused, his throat closing, "-busy with a case. Single-minded lad."

"Oh, good. Oops. Speak of the devil... Got to run. Let's have that drink you keep promising me. Soon."

"Sure."

The phone clicked once and the receiver went dead. Bodie slowly put it down. Doyle had given Cowley his ID and gun. Doyle never went anywhere without his weapon. Much as Doyle spouted his holier than thou blathering about guns and shootings and all the whingeing he did about it, Doyle never liked being without his gun.

Without his gun.

Without his ID.

But what about...? Bodie took off at a run towards Doyle's building. He opened the outer door with his own key and raced up the two flights of stairs to Doyle's flat. His hand was shaking when he tried to open the lock. Three tries later and Bodie was inside. He didn't hesitate. He raced to Doyle's bedroom and threw open the cupboard. Doyle's brown leather suitcase, the one Bodie had given him two years ago for Christmas, was not there.

"Fuck." Bodie raced to the kitchen. On his knees, he rummaged under the sink until he found the box of LUX. Ripping the flimsy cardboard aside, he was met with a spray of soap flakes. He dumped the box out and a small metal container thudded to the floor. He prised the lid from the Walker's tin and stared inside.

Doyle's passport and all of his 'if-I-ever-gotta-run-money' was gone.

"Jesus Christ, where's he off to?" Bodie asked the empty kitchen.

The cooker had no answer. Neither did the fridge.

------------------------------------------

Back in his Capri, Bodie raced down the wet roads to his own flat. He screeched to a halt, double-parked and took off at a dead run to his building. A car honked, annoyed to have its way blocked but Bodie ignored it. He jammed his key into the outer door and took the stairs to his third floor flat two and three at a time. Tempted to kick open his own door, he nevertheless paused long enough to open it properly with a key. It took him less than thirty seconds to retrieve his escape satchel from behind a false panel in his bedroom cupboard. He had cash, a fake passport claiming he was William Andrews from St. Louis Missouri, change of underwear, a small .22 pistol and a box of bullets.

Barely taking a breath, Bodie shoved his passport into one pocket and slung the bag over his shoulder. He slammed the door on his way out and was back in the Capri heading to Heathrow in under ten minutes from when he'd discovered Doyle's missing cash and passport. Traffic was, as usual, a mess. He cursed and shouted at drivers until he remembered.

"Stupid idiot!" he yelled at himself when he finally realised that his motor happened to have the siren on it that Doyle had laughed about once upon a time.

Bodie flipped the toggle and the thing roared to life. Cars ahead of him scattered and he bolted through the open space, headlights and emergency flashing lights on. He reckoned that Doyle had driven in his usual aggressive fashion without the aid of any extraneous help so he banked on the idea that he wouldn't be far behind his errant partner.

If his partner had gone to Heathrow. He didn't bother thinking about the whys and wherefores. About why it seemed that Doyle had left him behind. He knew it would have to do with keeping him safe.

Damned sanctimonious Doyle.

Instinct told Bodie where to go and what to do. He knew Doyle well and everything screamed: Danger! to him. His brain was in hurricane mode, whirring wildly. Something was wrong. So wrong that Doyle had bolted, had abandoned Bodie and their budding relationship. That hurt. Bodie slammed the gearbox down into third to avoid hitting a lorry. Once he skirted the big vehicle, he smashed his foot on the accelerator and shot ahead. His training kept him from killing anybody who dared get too close to his car. The logical party of his brain told him he was barmy chasing after Doyle. If Doyle wanted to run off, Bodie should let him. His heart, however, begged him to run after Doyle and help him if he could.

Help him do what? If he only knew.

----------- -------------------------

It never dawned on Bodie that Doyle might not be going to Heathrow. That he might be driving to Inverness or Holyhead. Bodie ran on pure Doyle-instinct. He didn't bother parking his motor in the car park. Time was of the essence. Instead he drove right up to the passenger drop off doors, killed the ignition, snatched up the satchel from the passenger seat, and got out. He left the keys. Cowley would find the car sooner rather than later when it was towed.

Bodie did not care a whit.

Inside, he finally paused. Heathrow was huge. Where would Doyle be? Had he purchased a ticket ahead of time. Was he long gone? Bodie didn't think so. He stood rooted to his spot, scanning the ticket windows. He dismissed certain flights immediately. America, no. Canada, no. Iceland, no. Brazil… maybe. Walking towards the Brazilian airline counter he saw the next flight didn't leave for hours. No Doyle either.

It didn't occurred to Bodie that he wouldn't find his partner. What he did wonder is what he would do when he did locate him. Walking along, he glanced at the monitor on the closest wall. Lisbon. Rome. West Berlin. Los Angeles. New York City. Johannesburg. No. None of those. The hairs on the back of Bodie's neck rose. A cold bead of sweat trickled down his neck and under his roll neck. He stopped dead, looked to his left. A queue stood in the line for Pan Am. Partially obscured by a burly gentlemen was a curly headed man. Doyle.

Thankfully there were a lot of people milling about. Children ran ahead of their parents, excited about the prospect of an aeroplane ride. Luggage trolleys trundled past, pushed by harried passengers. Bodie sidled through the crowd until he had a clear view of his partner while keeping out of his sight. Fifteen feet, ten feet, eight feet… He made his way closer and closer. When he was close enough to hear the counter agent's voice, he turned his back and kept several warm bodies between them.

“Thank you, sir,” the uniformed woman said. “Your flight leaves in 90 minutes. Gate 145A.”

“Ta, luv,” Bodie heard Doyle respond. “Time for a cuppa, then.”

The woman laughed, her voice light and happy. “Enjoy your flight.”

Bodie chanced a quick sideways glance. Doyle slid the ticket into his inner jacket pocket (he was wearing a tweed suit jacket, not the ratty leather coat he had on in the pub. must have been in his motor...) and sauntered off. He looked as if he didn't have a care in the world. Bodie was so puzzled he didn't think about being angry at Doyle's desertion. Quickly he wove his way to the front of the line, pushing aside a woman carrying a baby.

“Excuse me. Official business,” Bodie said, flashing his CI5 ID. He gave the woman a dazzling smile, which she returned without any protest about his cutting the line.

“Hello, Miss… Weatherby. I'm in a bit of a hurry. Official business,” he repeated, showing his ID. “A ticket for East Berlin on the next flight.” He fished his passport out of his bag and slid it across to her, along with his newly acquired visa card. “You'll be doing your country a great service.” He smiled warmly.

Miss Weatherby gave him the once over, then examined his documents. He held his breath until she nodded. “Yes, Mr Bodie.”

“Thank you,” he said sincerely.

It wasn't until he had his ticket in hand, had put his passport and ID away and started towards the gate area that he understood he was following Doyle into East Berlin. Fucking East Berlin. Bloody fucking Commie East Berlin.

Bodie's stomach lurched. Doyle would be killed and so would he, once the Federal Intelligence Service discovered their true identifies. Who was he kidding? The BND would know who they were instantly. They might be Communists but they weren't stupid. Ducking into the closest loo, Bodie pulled his ID card out of its holder and tore it into tiny pieces before he flushed it down the toilet. Not that it would help much against the BND but at least he wouldn't be carrying official government papers. He did the same to the fake passport. The bullets flushed down the loo but the extra revolver and his own service piece had to be left behind. Walking down the terminal he ducked into the first likely (or less likely!) place to stow the guns: the chapel. Thankfully it was empty. He went to the front where the alter sat on a small dais covered with carpeting. Kneeling down, Bodie found he could slide his hand under the dais. He lifted it with a grunt, high enough to slide the two weapons under it. He stood up and examined his handy work. Satisfied, he hurried out and towards his gate.

Bloody god-damned Doyle. What was he playing at? Worse was what had Cowley done? Doyle shouldn't be going into the Eastern bloc! That's what MI6 was supposed to do! Or the Americans. They loved to send their CIA agents into harm's way. Bodie vowed if he (and Doyle!) survived this, he kill Cowley himself and damn the consequences. Then he laughed at his wild thoughts. As if he'd kill Cowley, even though he'd like to. Had wanted to many times. These Operation Susies were murder. Murder! Laughing even more at his bizarre sense of humour, Bodie made his way through the security check point with no problems (no gun!) and towards his gate. He kept sharp. No sense running into Doyle before the plane was en route. Doyle would make a scene and get Bodie arrested. No doubt about that. Then he'd reveal himself and demand an explanation. He deserved an explanation!

bodiehard grug

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Bodie hunkered down in his seat, newspaper firmly held up in front of him. He wasn't reading; he was listening. Above the myriad voices he could hear one in particular: Doyle.

Ta, luv. and On business. and A glass of water, please.

Bodie sneaked a peek. The headrests were high, blocking his view. He raised himself up slightly until he could see over the seats. There, ten rows ahead of him and to the left, he spotted the familiar curls visible above the seat. Sitting back down, he snapped on his seatbelt, ignored the bloke sitting next to him who looked as if he wanted a chat, and stared out the window, arms crossed.

Why? Why was Doyle going into East Berlin? Why hadn't he told Bodie? What was Cowley up to? So many questions and not one bloody answer. He sighed and fidgeted, shifting his bottom on the uncomfortable upholstery. Christ he loved the touchy git but this was pushing even Bodie's generous nature.

The plane's engines roared to life. Lights blinked inside the cabin. A voice on the loudspeaker announced that the cabin door was now closed and they would be departing momentarily. The air hostess had barely clicked off the speaker when the plane began to move backwards, turned and started taxiing to the runway.

Watching the lights alongside the runway, Bodie tried not to think too much. He would wait until he spoke to Doyle and then, after Doyle had told him what the hell was going on, he would smack Doyle in the nose. The thought made him smile.

--------------------------------

Airborne now for more than thirty minutes, Bodie kept a close watch on the movement in the cabin. Doyle stayed in his row but when the lady sitting next to him got up to walk towards the back of the plane, Bodie took that as his cue. He excused himself past the two other passengers in his row and made his way forward. Doyle sat on the aisle. Bodie tapped his shoulder. Doyle must have thought the woman had returned because he rose with a pleasant smile. It faded instantly.

“Oh,” Doyle said.

“Yeah. Oh,” Bodie answered.

Doyle's face pinked for a moment before his eyes narrowed and his mouth pursed. Bodie was surprised at how quickly Doyle went from embarrassed to indignant. “What the f- What are you doing here?” he hissed, fury evident in his muttered tone.

“Watching your back, as usual,” Bodie responded. A rather large bloke pushed his way behind Bodie, forcing him to lean forward. He took the opportunity to press his body against Doyle's. “I'm your bloody partner, remember?” he hissed in return, letting his own anger colour his tone.

“You can't be here.” Doyle's words were quiet but the fury leaked through.

“But as you can see, I am.” Bodie squared his shoulders, refusing to be daunted by Doyle's anger. After all, he was the maligned party in this debacle. Whatever this debacle was. “And you need to tell me why you're going into East Berlin! It's not safe!”

“Don't make a scene.” Doyle's gaze flicked over the other passengers. For a second, Bodie thought he saw a flash of fear before it disappeared to be replaced by a sneer. “You're going to regret this.”

“Are you threatening me?” Bodie said testily. Doyle's lips tightened into a thin line but he didn't answer. Bodie leaned closer, his voice tight and low. “I don't regret watching your back for one second. Nor do I regret saving your fucking arse more than once!” He swallowed. “At least not yet.”

Doyle glanced at him sideways before he nodded curtly. “Bird's on her way back.” He cocked his head towards the rear of the plane. Bodie turned to look. An attractive blond woman, possibly in her mid thirties, was making her way down the aisle. He quickly stepped forward and closed the distance between them. With a bright smile, he took her elbow graciously and gave a small bow.

“Luv, would you be such a dear and let me sit next to that golly? We haven't seen each other since we were in nappies and we're dying for a catch-up.” Again, he smiled warmly, lightly squeezing her arm. “I'd be ever so... grateful.”

“Of course,” the young woman answered without hesitation. Bodie flushed with satisfaction. He still had “it” and for a moment, he was tempted to use it. She was smiling back at him and her German accent would have, at one time, made Bodie shiver with delight. He used to like a bit of sweet strudel. Used to, but no longer. Now he had Doyle. Or at least he had Doyle up until a few hours ago. But he still wanted that seat.

“You're wonderful,” Bodie cooed, directing her to his vacated seat. She smiled up at him, her blue eyes dancing. “Danke.” He hurried away before she could say another word.

Doyle was sitting in his aisle seat. Bodie jabbed his shoulder. “Shift over.”

With an annoyed grunt, Doyle did as asked. He opened the paperback he had in his hand and made it clear to Bodie that he intended to ignore him. Bodie yanked the book from his fingers.

“Hey. That's mine.”

Bodie shrugged, jamming the book into the seat pocket in front of his. “Spill it.”

Doyle crossed his arms, put his head back and closed his eyes. “Nothing to spill. Going on a holiday, aren't I?”

“Wouldn't know. I wasn't informed.”

Doyle opened his eyes and looked over. “I'm not obliged to ask your permission to go on holiday.”

Bodie felt a cold wash of fear and disappointment and anger, all at once. Doyle looked at him with such contempt that he was now sorry he'd followed the bristly man. How could he have been so wrong about all of this? About how he and Doyle got on. About how they were beginning to share something special. He was a moron.

Bodie started to rise, needing to escape if only to the back of the plane, away from his own failures. Fingers wrapped around his wrist. Doyle yanked him back down.

“Stay,” Doyle whispered, his voice husky. “Bodie… I'm sorry, mate. Truly. Sit and-”

“Coffee or tea?” the air hostess interrupted. She stopped the cart she was pushing down the aisle and gave the men a warm smile.

Bodie glanced up before hurriedly looking away. He was sure he'd bedded her once or twice. Thankfully, she didn't seem to recognise him. So much for his charisma!

“Tea,” Doyle answered. Bodie nodded in agreement. “Thanks.”

As the woman poured, Bodie sat still, eyes forward, until the cup was placed in front of him. The air hostess moved on. Bodie picked up the tea and sipped, annoyed with himself. The tea was tepid and weak, like he was. Willing to be pushed around by his own partner, someone who was supposed to have his back. Someone who had had his arse. He choked on the liquid, spewing tea on the seat back in front of him.

Doyle slapped him on the shoulder. Bodie gave an annoyed grunt, pushing him off with his elbow. Doyle signed audibly. Bodie grimaced. Fine pair they made. Two blokes who couldn't- wouldn't talk. Would rather sit beside each other, arms touching, seething in their own isolated worlds.

“Doyle, I-”

“Bodie, listen-”

They caught each other's eyes and began to chuckle.

“Sorry.”

“Sorry.”

Bodie waved a hand. “You'd best spill it or we'll be doing this tap dance until the plane lands.”

Doyle shook his head ruefully. “I wish you hadn't come but I'm glad you did.” He touched Bodie's hand with one finger.

“You need to tell me what the hell is going on.” Bodie sipped his tea, surprised at how he rational he could be when his entire body wanted to leap up and scream. “I want to help.”

Doyle looked at Bodie over the rim of the plastic cup. He seemed to be figuring out exactly what to say but Bodie didn't want the “official” version. He wanted the truth.

“Tell me,” Bodie said firmly. “You know I'm-” He cleared his throat. Would an admission help or hurt?

“You're…?” Doyle asked encouragingly.

“I'm with you,” Bodie said. “You know.”

Doyle smiled. “Yeah, mate. I know. Sorry about all of this.”

“Is it Cowley's doing?”

“Wish it were. He's in the know but this is worse. Whitehall.”

Bodie knew his eyebrows shot up to his hairline. “Eh? You're joking.”

Doyle let out a deep sigh and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Wish I was.” He took in a breath, blew it out and turned to Bodie. “Do you trust me?”

“With my life,” Bodie answered instantly.

“Cheers. But do you trust me?” He tapped his chest.

Bodie was quiet for a moment. “Your judgment? Not bloody likely. To die for me. In a heartbeat.”

“You can't have both! Either you do or you don't!” Doyle glared.

Bodie elbowed him. “'Course I do. Pillock.”

“All right then.” Doyle moved closer to Bodie, leaned in and whispered, “I'm going to defect.”

Bodie wasn't sure he'd heard properly. “What?”

“I'm going to defect!” Doyle said, his tone low and firm. “You do know what that means.”

Bodie looked Doyle in the eye. “Yeah. It means you're going to get both of us killed. Or worse.”

“Sounds like fun.” Doyle grinned.

Bodie rolled his eyes. “You'll be the death of me yet.”

“For better or worse?”

“Definitely.” Bodie finished his tea, setting the cup down thoughtfully on the tray table. He gave an inelegant snort and shook his head. “I know I'm going to regret this.”

Doyle laughed. “Me too.”

--------------------------------------

The plane was preparing to land when the air hostess came up to Doyle and leaned down. “I've been asked to tell you if you would please be so kind to wait until the other passengers' disembark before you leave the plane.”

Doyle smiled up at her. “Of course. Thank you.” She gave a nod and a smile before she moved off to secure her own seatbelt.

“Welcoming committee?” Bodie asked.

Doyle nodded. “More than likely.”

“I can't wait,” Bodie muttered.

“It'll be fun.” Doyle smiled but when he turned to Bodie to look at him, Bodie could see the trepidation in his partner's eyes.

“We could go home,” Bodie offered.

“Can't.”

“Then we'd best be prepared.”

The landing was fairly smooth, with only a few bumps from turbulence, before the wheels touched down and the plane was brought to a halt. The other passengers hurried to gather belongings and the moment the door was open, they streamed out the hatch happily. Everybody appreciated a safe landing, Bodie thought. Even Commies. He would never admit to Doyle that he was incredibly nervous about their reception by the German authorities. Doyle's assurances that he was expected did nothing to soothe those nerves. They might be expecting Doyle but they weren't aware of Doyle's companion on this journey. And these people didn't appreciate a homosexual couple any more than Whitehall did.

Bodie sighed. Doyle gave him a watery smile. When the last person disembarked, the air hostess waved them forward. A middle aged man stood beside her. His brown hair was plastered to his skull, combed over to hide a balding pate. His drab brown suit fit fairly well and he had a heavy black overcoat slung over his left arm. With a leaden heart, Bodie grabbed his jacket and carryall, and followed Doyle down the aisle to stop in front of the man.

“Raymond Doyle,” he said, holding out his hand.

“Eric Mueller,” the new arrival said, shaking Doyle's hand. His voice was soft, with barely any accent. Western European educated, Bodie mused. He gave Bodie a curious glance.

“Bodie.”

Mueller looked at Doyle, his one eyebrow quizzically raised. “Bodie's my partner. He followed me and now that he's here...” Doyle shrugged. “I'd like him to stay, if he wants.”

Mueller stared at Bodie for a few moments before he gave a curt nod. “I will see what can be done. Herr Doyle, please come with me. Herr Bodie, if you don't mind waiting on the landing. Danke.” He didn't wait for Bodie's agreement.

Mueller waved Doyle ahead. Doyle was halfway down when Bodie realised he'd frozen in place. He hurried out of the hatchway and stood on the platform, surveying the scene below. A well-dressed woman he hadn't noticed in the cabin now stood on the bottom step, blocking Mueller and Doyle's descent. She posed, hand on hip, her head tossed back. In front of her, several yards away, was a small gathering of what Bodie noticed were reporters and photographers. The woman was apparently waiting for the press people to take her picture. She was slender, dressed in a form-fitting shiny black coat and a black fur hat. Her heels were well over three inches, and she struck a movie star's pose.

As Bodie watched everything play out before him, the reporters began to shout at her, gesturing her to move aside. The woman turned, glaring up at the two men behind her. Bodie was shocked to see the look of hatred she flashed at his partner. It was obvious the woman felt she was a celebrity and after being ignored by a celebrity's life's blood - photographs and attention in the press - she clearly conveyed in her face and body language that Doyle must be the cause of her fall from grace. He took two steps, ready to hurry to Doyle's aid should the woman attack him. Bodie let out a derisive snort. As if this slip of a woman would get the better of his partner. Best pay attention to the crowd; make sure everybody was behaving and that Doyle was as safe as possible.

Behind the photographers and journalists were another dozen men dressed austerely in similar dark suits, white scarves and long black overcoats. There was a stand with two microphones on it. They were waiting for Doyle to approach them but the woman stood her ground. Someone from the group of people skirted the crowd of press and took the woman by the arm. Bodie clearly heard her cry of indignation and her rapid curses in German as she was led away by a tall, thin man. She was not happy to be shunned by everyone waiting for Doyle.

Great, Bodie thought. Made an enemy without even trying.

With the annoying obstacle out of their way, the reporters and photographers surged forward, calling out Doyle's name. They had to have been told he was on the plane, given his name and from the excitement, something of the reason for Doyle's arrival. Flashbulbs went off rapidly; reporters shouted question after question without giving Doyle a chance to answer.

Doyle waved a hand, his gesture wary. Bodie had the greatest urge to rush to Doyle; to protect him from the onslaught. He did nothing, however, afraid any such movement would bring the attention of the four guards in full brown military uniforms with rifles drawn. They kept the barrels safely pointed to the ground but their readiness was not in doubt.

Bodie stiffened. He started to reach under his arm for his weapon before he remembered that he was unarmed. He could no more protect Doyle from the guards than he could protect himself. Vulnerability didn't set well with Bodie. He bit his lower lip and clenched his fists, watching as the group of reporters and photographers were parted by two of the guards. A pathway was opened to the microphones.

Doyle stepped forward to walk the gauntlet of press while Mueller waited at the bottom of the aeroplane risers. Bodie watched the crowd intently. Even unarmed, if anybody tried to harm Doyle he'd be on them in a second, consequences be damned.

The journalists kept their distance as Doyle walked up to the man in the centre of the loose circle of what Bodie now realised were East German dignitaries. After they shook, the man stepped to the microphone and in German he made a lively speech, waving his hands and speaking with authority.

“Good day,” he said in his native tongue. “I am Vice Minister Becker, and as you have been informed, our esteemed guest is Herr Raymond Doyle from Great Britain.” He waved Doyle closer. Doyle turned and nodded to the crowd. “We are extremely pleased to welcome Herr Doyle to the German Democratic Republic. He is a distinguished agent in his country and has made the decision of his own free will to live and work for peace in the Peoples' Democracies.”

Flash bulbs exploded constantly. Becker ignored them. Doyle kept a pleasant demeanour. Bodie wondered how he could stomach it.

“We are also happy that Herr Doyle will declare his allegiance to the Republic.” Becker then repeated his statement in precise, thickly accented English.

Becker's words made the hair on the back of his neck stand up and a bead of sweat slip under his collar. Doyle, his Doyle, stood beside Herr Becker, a smile plastered to his face. The breeze wafted around him, ruffling his curls. He looked perfectly content to stand there, beside England's (and the world's!) enemies and look like he belonged.

Bodie wanted to throw up. Herr Becker turned to Doyle and shook his hand again. Mueller skirted the photographers and reporters, and caught Becker's attention. Becker nodded him forward. Mueller moved closer. Both men looked up at Bodie. Mueller was giving him the low down on their uninvited guest, Bodie surmised. Becker spoke to Mueller again before he turned away. With two of the guards flanking the Vice Minister, they followed the crowd into the terminal. Bodie sighed deeply. He had a hollow feeling in the pit of his stomach. He knew Doyle was acting, playing his part as a defecting agent of Her Majesty's government but this scenario, being behind the Iron Curtain, seeing Doyle escorted away by German guards, was all too real.

“Herr Bodie?”

Bodie started, annoyed with himself. He felt as if he were in some telly drama. If only he could switch channels! The sight of two fully armed East German guards let him know that this indeed happening . Get a grip! he warned himself, Doyle needs you! He shook his head slightly and nodded. “Yes?”

Mueller stood at the bottom of the steps. He waved Bodie to him. The guards had their attention firmly focused on him. He was the proverbial gold fish in a bowl. One wrong move and he'd be history. With no choice, Bodie trotted down the steps, keeping his hands in clear view.

“So, Herr Bodie, I have spoken to the Vice Minister and informed him of your arrival. I will be assisting you and Herr Doyle while you are in Berlin. Do you have a visa for our country?”

Bodie scratched his ear. “No. I thought I'd apply for one once I arrived. Spur of the moment trip and all.” He gave Mueller a disarming smile.

Mueller nodded. “We shall see what we can do. Come with me, please.”

“Where's Doyle?”

“Come with me. I will escort you into the terminal.”

“Lead the way.”

Inside the terminal was a hive of activity. The waiting reporters and photographers had hurried into the building and were milling about. He counted six more military guards fully kitted out. He glanced down the hallway to the right. At the far end, he had a clear view of the same woman who had been so annoyed with Doyle earlier when it seemed he was hogging the limelight. She had finally captured the attention of several press people. She was happily posing, hand on hip, head thrown back, smile on her red-painted lips. He paused, staring, when it hit him. He remembered her from his wild days with Marikka. That bar, a cellar really, dark and smoky. He and Marikka were drinking martinis and kissing in a corner when a woman approached.

”Marikka, darling!” the woman squealed in German.

“Elsa?” Marikka had risen, looking happy to see the newcomer. She responded in the same language. “How good to see you!”

“I will be working with you on your next project! It is exciting, is it not?” She glanced down at Bodie and her eyes lit up. She gave Marikka a smirk. He rose politely and waited. “He's delightful, isn't he?”

Marikka laughed. “He is indeed.” She put a possessive hand on his arm. “Bodie, my dear friend, Elsa Eckhart. She's a marvellous actress.”

“Pleasure,” Bodie said, nodding graciously. “Any friend of Marikka's...” He gave her a warm greeting.

Elsa laughed pleasantly. Someone called her name. “I must run! Eric gets so grumpy if I do not give him my utmost attention!” She waved her fingers. “Call me.”

Else had hurried off and Marikka had sank back into her seat. “Stupid bitch.”

Bodie's mouth opened before he laughed and kissed her. “Let's get out of here.”

And now Marikka was dead, and he'd bet a week's pay packet Elsa Eckhart was the current darling of the German cinema. He looked away from the preening woman, hiding his distaste.

“Come, Herr Bodie. We must speak to Herr Manfred, head of State Security. He will decide if you may stay on a visa.”

“Let's get to it. I want to see Doyle.” Bodie looked around uncomfortably. He wanted to be where Doyle was. A door at the other end of the hallway opened. Bodie saw Doyle in the room with his back to the door. A blond man in a blue suit was speaking to him. Doyle was nodding. Bodie moved forward.

“Herr Bodie, wait!”

Bodie didn't hesitate for a second. He rushed ahead. The door to the room where Doyle was being held or questioned or interrogated started to shut. He stuck his foot into the gap, preventing the door from closing, and pushed it open. Everybody stood still for a moment, staring at him. There were four or five men in the room. He recognised the Vice Minster from the press conference. A man in a blue suit was speaking to Doyle. Both turned to face Bodie when he burst in. The guards raised their guns. Bodie threw up his hands.

“Wait!” Doyle cried out. “Don't shoot him! He's with me!”

Mueller pushed Bodie into the room and said hurriedly over his shoulder, ““This is Herr Bodie, the companion to Herr Doyle! Herr Manfred, this is the man about whom you were informed,” Becker said formally, bowing slightly.

The blue-suited man waved at the guards, who lowered their weapons. He walked up to Bodie, hand out. “Ah, Herr Bodie. Welcome to our country!” he said in a far too exuberant voice that clearly told Bodie he was an unwanted intrusion. “I am Karl Manfred, head of State Security. Come in! Come in!”

Although Bodie was trying to be alert and wary of his surrounding, the circumstances had played with his emotions and his senses. He constantly was reminding himself to stay focused. Now as he was being greeted in what he could only feel was a false, overly gracious manner, his hackles rose. His stomach lurched and his head began to throb. What kind of trouble had he gotten into? What kind of trouble had he dumped Doyle into? He stiffened. He was here to protect Doyle on his damned fool mission and he wouldn't let some head of any security get in his way. Putting on his best simpering attitude, he held out his hand.

“Sir.” He almost clicked his heels but stopped himself short. No sense giving them any reason to think he was ridiculing them because they were all more than likely former Nazis, as much as he would have enjoyed it.

Manfred took his hand and shook it firmly. “It is an unexpected pleasure to have yet another member of Her Majesty's Government joining us!”

“I- I haven't decided yet to join. I need a few more details. In the meantime, I hope I am allowed to visit your country for a few days.” Bodie smiled yet again, sure his face would crack from the force of his grin.

“Of course. I see no reason that you can't be granted a forty-eight hour visa, Herr Bodie.” Manfred turned and spoke quickly to one of the other men lingering behind him. He turned back. “It is our pleasure.”

Bodie hadn't looked at Doyle at all during his exchange with Manfred. He chanced a glance and while Doyle's face remained passive, his eyes were narrowed. He was angry. Even worse, Bodie could see the tinge of fear in them. For him? Bloody Doyle…

“Please take a seat over there while I speak with Herr Doyle.” Manfred indicated a row of chairs at the opposite side of the room, close enough though that he would be able to hear the conversation in the room.

Bodie complied. He had to see what the game was before he could make a play. Right now, in the early stages, the information he had was nonexistent. He sat down and crossed his arms, watching intently. Words were deceiving at times but body language was another thing. He wanted to study these men. Get a feel for what was going on, the things that weren't said out loud.

“Sit down, please, Herr Doyle.” Manfred's tone was calm, pleasant, but small tells told he hated Doyle. The way his eyes shifted when he spoke. How his left eyebrow twitched and his fingers wiggled, like he was trying hard not to make a fist.

Bodie didn't know why but he could guess. Manfred would never defect. He was a dedicated Communist and the idea that Doyle was committing treason, even if Manfred's country benefited, was highly distasteful.

Manfred stood before Doyle, removed a cigar case from his pocket and offered it to him. Doyle shook his head. “It is a shame. These are good Cuban cigars. My country appreciates Cuba.” He put it into his mouth and one of the men, dressed in a black leather jacket, stepped forward, flicking open a lighter. Manfred puffed before he nodded to the man, then he sat opposite Doyle. “Herr Doyle, this is Herr Klein. He will be your personal guide.”

Bodie stiffened. The way Manfred said “personal” gave him chills. Klein was Doyle's - and by extension his- jailer. Certainly he had orders to shoot either of them if they stepped one toe out of line. It's what Cowley could have told he and Doyle had they been assigned to a defector.

Doyle shook Klein's hand when the man offered it. Klein smiled. It reminded Bodie of a snake even though he knew snakes didn't have teeth. Klein's face was cold, impassive. His black hair was slicked back, showing his high forehead. Black beady eyes flicked around the room constantly, like that snake was waiting to strike. He looked bulky but Bodie knew it was from body work, not flab. Klein's demeanor told Bodie he also hated and mistrusted Doyle. This man would have no problem putting his gun into Doyle's mouth and pulling the trigger. In fact, he would enjoy it.

“I lived for many years in the United Kingdom,” Klein told Doyle, his accent mild. “I lived near Harrods. Knightsbridge.”

“That's good,” Doyle said blandly.

Manfred tipped his head, dismissing Klein, who moved away to lean on the wall beside the door. “Let me know if he gives you any problems, Herr Doyle.”

“I'm sure we'll get along,” Doyle said.

“Good, good,” Manfred replied, puffing again on his cigar. “I must admit, Herr Doyle, I didn't realise you were bringing a companion.” He looked appraisingly over at Bodie.

“I didn't know he was coming,” Doyle admitted. “I would have preferred it if he hadn't followed me. Guess my plan didn't work out very well. I'd rather he went back on a plane today.” He waved a hand in a lackadaisical manner.

Manfred shook his head. “Partners. They can be a problem at times.” Doyle's head snapped up. “Ah, yes, Herr Doyle, I know that Herr Bodie is your partner. Your excess baggage, it seems.” Bodie bristled, leaned forward. “I'm sorry, Herr Bodie. I didn't mean to speak as if you were not in the room but you have put Herr Doyle in an awkward position. But trust me, I understand. After so many years together, it is hard to, how do you say it, “put one over” on a partner who knows you so well.”

Doyle shrugged. “Yeah.”

“Well, Herr Bodie, what are we going to do with you?” Manfred said. At Bodie's shrug, he asked Doyle, “Do you consider Herr Bodie a good partner?”

“Yes.”

“A good friend?”

Doyle looked confused. “Well, yes.”

“Then,” Manfred said, “it might be beneficial if Herr Bodie remains with us so that you have a good friend with you. It may give you feeling of...” He paused. “...of home.” Bodie stared at Manfred. His tone was conversational, pleasant even, yet menace filled the air. “So, Herr Bodie, how do you feel about living here, behind the Iron Curtain as your country so charmingly calls our piece of the planet?”

Bodie cleared his throat. “Well, I, ah… I'd like to think about it. Talk to Doyle. In private.”

Manfred gave Bodie a smile that was anything but warm. “Of course.”

He reminded Bodie of a snake, beady eyes and sharp teeth. Wait, Klein already reminded him of a snake. What else? Manfred was a weasel. Yeah, that's it. A sneaky little weasel waiting to snatch one of us chickens and chew his face off. Bodie guffawed before he quickly covered his mouth and feigned coughing.

“Get Herr Bodie a glass of water,” Manfred directed.

Klein moved slowly to obey. That's when Bodie knew Klein was indeed the more dangerous. He cared nothing for Manfred's authority but he was willing to be ordered around - as long as it suited him. And being assigned to babysit two Englishmen seemed to suit him. Not a good thing for he and Doyle.

“Thanks,” Bodie said, taking the glass and sipping the lukewarm liquid.

Doyle was looking at him questioningly. Bodie raised his eyebrow, smiling. Doyle quickly looked away. His partner looked pained. He knew why. Bodie was in major trouble and there wasn't a damned thing Doyle could do about it. Mainly because Doyle was himself in that same kind of trouble. Maybe even more so since Bodie had thrown a spanner into the works and had made Doyle look like he might not be as amenable to the plan (whatever that was) that he'd apparently already agreed to with the East Germans. It was one huge bloody mess. Bodie longed to grab Doyle's hand and run helter-skelter down the hallway and out onto the tarmac. Hop the closest plane and fly away. He knew how to fly; he'd get them out of here in a jiffy. Maybe the plane would have a machine gun on it and he could blast all of these commies on his way into the wild blue yonder. Before he began to laugh hysterically, he made himself speak normally. “Now what's on the agenda?”

Manfred said, “We must get you and Herr Doyle settled. I'm sure you are hungry.”

“Now you're talking,” Bodie said with enthusiasm. He stood up, rubbed his hands, grinning. “A big, juicy steak. Oh, wait. A fry up. Yeah, that'd do the trick. A pure malt. Cold lager.”

Doyle stood up as well and finally spoke. “Bodie runs on his stomach.”

Manfred's laugh was forced. “Let's see what we can do to alleviate Herr Bodie's appetite.” He waved everybody towards the door. “Klein will see to your comforts. You both have a lot to discuss. Oh, and Herr Doyle, please be ready and looking your best at nine am when Klein will escort you to headquarters for a press conference?” Doyle nodded curtly. “Danke. Klein?”

Klein sauntered to the door as if he had all the time in the world and paused, waiting for Mueller to open it for him. Klein waved Doyle through first, then Bodie. His eyes followed Doyle intently, giving Bodie the shivers. This man was trouble. He would kill Doyle without a second's hesitation. Bodie vowed to keep an eye on Klein at all times.

“The car park is to the left,” Klein said.

Doyle hitched up his bag in his hand and turned as instructed. Bodie followed Doyle. Klein stayed behind Bodie, which made Bodie twitchy but there wasn't anything he could do about it. The lapdog Mueller brought up the rear. The entire time they walked down the hallway and out into the bright sunshine Bodie wondered if Klein would plunge a knife into his back. He was, after all, a very much uninvited, unwanted guest.

A large black car waited at the kerb. A uniformed blond-haired man stood at the ready. When he saw Doyle, Bodie and Klein emerge, he hurried to open the back door. Doyle climbed in, Bodie got the middle and Mueller next to Bodie. Klein skirted the car and sat in the passenger's seat. Once the man were situated, the driver started the engine and pulled away. Mueller and Klein didn't speak. The driver didn't look at any of them. Mueller fidgeted beside Bodie until Bodie was ready to punch him in the face. He didn't do it however. He clenched his hands together and stared ahead. The chauffeur drove efficiently through the traffic until he pulled up in front of a large hotel with the words 'Hotel Berlin' across the top of the awning.

Klein climbed out and waited for Doyle and Bodie to join him on the pavement. He ignored Mueller. He led the way this time, up the steps and into the lobby. A plain looking man in a gray suit gave Doyle the key to his room. Klein spoke to the man for a few minutes in rapid German. The receptionist nodded, turned and pulled another key from the wooden slots behind him. Bodie was relieved when he saw the room he was being given was next to Doyle's.

It was eerie the way Klein showed them the way. Down the hallway. Into the lift. Out on the fourth floor. Walk down another hallway. Nobody spoke. The hotel was quiet. Their shoes didn't make any sounds on the carpeting. It was as if the entire world had fallen silent. Bodie expected something or someone to jump out of a doorway or hallway and yell, “Boo!”.

Nothing untoward happened. Klein paused before door 406. Doyle used his key to open it and he went inside. Mueller followed Doyle. Klein then waved Bodie on. Bodie walked to door 407, opened it and practically ran into the room. He didn't know how much longer he could take this creepiness before he would begin to scream. Bodie started to close the door.

Klein put an hand on it, stopping it. “There will be a guard. Do not leave the room. He will be under orders to shoot should you try to… go sightseeing. Use room service as you like.” He waited until Bodie curtly nodded his assent, then he turned and walked away.

Bodie watched him leave, sure the man would have a giant key in his back. He acted like some great automaton without a speck of emotion in him. Not many people gave Bodie the shudders but Klein sure as hell did.

Bodie shut the door and locked it.

-------------------------------------

Bodie waited barely five minutes before he went to the connecting door and turned the handle. It opened easily. He walked into Doyle's room, looking around.

“Hello?” Empty. No Mueller or Doyle. Then he heard the toilet flush and a few second later Doyle came out of the bathroom.

“Mueller gone?” Doyle nodded. “What the fuck are you playing at?” Bodie demanded.

Doyle sighed, rubbed his temples and sat on the edge of the bed. “I didn't mean for you to get involved.”

Bodie put his hands on his hips. “Not get involved?” he said harshly. “Well, I'm bloody well involved and I want to know what the fuck is going on! What did Cowley get you into? We're in East Germany! Do you know what they do to foreign government agents in East Germany?” Bodie knew his voice was rising. He took in a deep breath before he actually stopped breathing for a few moment. “Jesus.”

Doyle looked up at him, his eyes sad. “What?”

Bodie shook his head. He looked around the room quickly before he started searching. Along picture frames, Under the bed, the lampshade, the clock. Doyle jumped to his feet. He'd obviously gotten the message. Together they searched the entire room. Ten minutes later, they'd pinpointed six bugs (one in the bathroom!) and two cameras in the bedroom/sitting area. The cameras were set up to cover most of the room, including the bed. There was no camera in the bathroom, thank you very much.

Doyle stood looking at the door between his and Bodie's room. When their eyes met, Bodie nodded. There must not have been enough time to completely bug Bodie's room since his arrival had been unexpected. Bodie went left and Doyle went right. Bodie pointed to the lamp, tipped up on its base, and pointed to the bug. Doyle nodded. He found the second bug behind a picture frame. After a thorough search only the two devices were discovered. That would change soon enough, Bodie was sure. He opened the bathroom door and after another search, he waved Doyle in. Bodie turned on the taps onto full in the bath. He sat on the edge and Doyle sat on the closed toilet.

“Bodie,” Doyle said softly. “Christ, I'm sorry.”

“Stuff it.” Bodie grabbed Doyle's shirt and yanked him close. He mashed his mouth against Doyle's.

Bodie and Doyle kissed feverishly as if it were the last time. Only when both of their mouths were bruised and breathing was necessary did they break apart.

“Ray,” Bodie whispered, holding Doyle tightly.

“Bodie.” He hiccuped.

“Jesus, Ray, do you know what you're doing?”

“I have to do this!”

Bodie pushed him back, holding him at arm's length, staring into his face. “Tell me exactly what this is, then. Tell me. I'll help you, you know that!”

“I know,” Doyle said miserably. “That's the problem.”

“It's an Operation Susie!”

“No. No!” Doyle shook his head vehemently. “It's really important that I do get back home. Honest, Bodie, if I don't it's a death sentence for most of the planet, if not all!”

“Swear it to me,” he demanded. “You're not on a Kamikaze mission.”

“I swear it.”

Bodie dropped his hand from Doyle's arm and began stroking his hand. “Okay. Good. So what is our mission?”

Doyle gave a watery smile. He laced his fingers with Bodie's. “I love you.”

Bodie snorted. “Yeah, right. Next you'll be down on your knees, asking me to marry you.”

Doyle was on his knees before Bodie's next heartbeat. “Bodie,” he took Bodie's hand between his, “will you marry me?”

As he stared down at Doyle, for a moment, Doyle looked like he was actually expecting Bodie to answer. The intensity in Doyle's face made Bodie squirm. “Stop playing around. This is serious.”

“Don't you think I know that, you dumb crud? Just answer yes or no.” Doyle squeezed Bodie's hand.

Bodie narrowed his eyes. “You're taking the piss.”

“I'm not. Look at me. I'm deathly serious.”

“Don't say that,” Bodie hissed, uncertain. Doyle has asked him to marry him. Of course, they couldn't marry. Two blokes? They'd be kicked out of CI5 for one thing. Tossed into the nearest goal would be next. They'd be the laughing stock of London if not the entire country when the news broke. Hell, the world. Yet... Being married to Doyle. Strike that. Being pledged to Doyle was appealing. He and Doyle. Together, just the two of them. Behind closed doors, to be sure, but together.

“Together?” Bodie asked.

Doyle laughed. “Me knees are getting sore waitin' for your answer. Of course, together. Don't see any other bloke around?”

“All right. My answer is yes,” Bodie said firmly. There. Let Doyle dance out of this one.

But Doyle didn't dance out of it. Doyle smiled and his eyes looked damp for a moment. He threw his arms around Bodie's waist and buried his face in Bodie's crotch. “My answer is yes as well,” he said, his voice muffled.

“Doyle, stop.”

“What?”

“Hahhh,” Bodie breathed. Doyle's huffed warm air onto Bodie's cock through his trousers. “Ray,” he whispered, spreading his legs. His cock grew hard. “Ray.”

“Shhhh. This might be the last time for a bit.” Doyle unzipped Bodie's flies and reached into his pants.

Bodie steadied himself with both hands on the bathtub's rim. He let Doyle suck him, lick him, play with his cock until he was orgasming into Doyle's warm mouth. When Doyle released him, he looked up and grinned.

“Turn off the taps,” Doyle said, smiling.

“Eh?”

“Your bum is wet.”

Bodie lurched, standing up. His trousers fell to his ankles but he managed to turn the water off with barely an inch to spare before it had flowed over the top. “Not good drainage.”

“Definitely not,” Doyle said.

“Come here.” He lifted Doyle to his feet and pulled him close. Rubbing his palm on Doyle's moleskins, he could feel the dampness that had seeped through. “What the...?”

Doyle's cheeks pinked. “Sorry. Came from sucking you off.” He shrugged, grinning with embarrassment.

“Wasteful!” Bodie admonished, his tone warm. “Best kiss you then.”

Bodie kissed Doyle. For a long time. But not long enough. Never long enough. When they finally parted, Bodie ran his fingers through Doyle's hair. “This is complete insanity.”

“I know,” Doyle said with a sigh, “but I've got to do this.”

“It's past the point of madness!”

Doyle looked into Bodie's eyes. “Past that, mate. It's so fucking mad it's actually quite a sane idea.”

“I know I'm going to regret this.” Bodie kissed Doyle lightly. “Let's get on, then. I demand a good dinner before I face the firing squad.”

“You'd get yourself killed for me as long as there's food involved.” Doyle smiled but Bodie saw the sadness in it.

“Only for you, luv. We go out together, or not at all.”

--------------------------------------

“I'm here to get the plans for a biochemical facility that the East German's have built. We-”

“We?”

“MI6, MI5, CI5... HM's government. We've been told that the chemical and biological program is much larger than we first thought, and more advanced. Original estimates were they would have the program up and running in twelve years.” Doyle shook his head, looked pained. “Now it's less than three, from recent intel.”

“Told by whom? Who delivered the recent intel?”

“You remember that bloke who defected last year? Keller? Not your friend, of course.”

Bodie grimaced. He suspected he looked as pained as Doyle did. Keller, Jimmy fucking Keller, what a betrayal. He shook his head sharply to get rid of the memory. “I remember. Fritz or Fred...”

“Good memory. Fritz Keller.”

“But what else did he provide? What proof? It's not like those mucky-mucks to believe rumours.”

“It's true he had information only. But it's been verified by someone else.”

Bodie raised an eyebrow. “Ahhh. So there's still someone here, in East Berlin, on the inside. But they can't risk getting the plans out.”

“Right.”

“But he can risk passing them on?” Bodie wondered.

“She says she can pass them to us without being suspected. They'll be a special drop. It's all arranged.” Doyle looked at his watch. “In less than forty-eight hours from now.”

“Why can't she get in a damned plane like you did? Fly them to HRH herself?”

“They've got her kids in some sort of boarding school. If she sneezes wrong they're-” Doyle rubbed his eyes.

“You don't have to tell me what these blokes are capable of. Even to kids.” Bodie pressed his lips together. Bloody commies... “What sort of group is this woman part of?”

“It's a resistance group, same as the groups in WWII who helped Jews escape to the West. They help people get to the West from behind the Iron Curtain. Called Omega.”

“Ah,” Bodie said, nodding. “Greek. Nothing like having a secret password, eh?”

“Like being in the boy scouts.”

“I was never a boy scout,” Bodie said loftily. “So after we snag these plans we get to go home? We're not staying here as guests of the BND?”

Doyle laughed, stroking Bodie's cheek with his fingers. “You look so hopeful! Yes, Bodie, then we'll go home.” He glanced away before he looked back at Bodie. “Hopefully.”

“It all depends on a lot of little things,” Bodie said knowingly. “This bird. An escape plan. Etc. etc.”

“Doesn't it always?” Doyle asked.

“How did you get tapped for this?” Bodie asked. “No, wait.” He held up a hand. “Don't tell me. You volunteered.”

Doyle shrugged, a wry grin on his lips. “Yeah.”

“What about-” Bodie paused. He's almost said, What about me? but that was too arrogant. It wasn't about him, even though he wished it could be. He couldn't sound like some bird whingeing over her bloke putting his job before her!

But Doyle was Doyle, far too bloody perceptive for his own good. “I thought about you first, Bodie. Trust me on this. If I- we don't succeed there isn't any 'us' for anybody. I want to retire from this mob and spend my days growing herbs and shagging you.”

Bodie grinned. “Really?”

“Yes, really. Now we'd best go out into the lounge and have a discussion about how much we don't trust these blokes but we need a place to hide out while MI6 looks for us. After all, we've stolen plans to a new submarine and the East German's are anxious to get their grubby hands on them.”

“We?” Bodie stood up, hands on hips. “Now I'm a damned traitor!” He paused. “Wait. Doesn't these blokes already have nuclear submarine power?”

“Yes, but this is a newly designed highly efficient submarine. It's worth its weight in gold.”

“Wonderful,” Bodie said smartly. “I'm a bloody traitor,” he repeated, as if saying it again made it any better.

Doyle rose as well. He put a hand on either side of Bodie's face. “And what don't you understand about defecting?” he said with a sad laugh. “We're already considered traitors after those reporters took pictures earlier. Don't you think they've gone world-wide already?”

With a roll of his eyes, Bodie groaned. “Great. Me mum and da will love that. But I'm still damned hungry!”

Doyle smiled. “Aren't you always?”

---------------------------------

Doyle stood before the swarm of reporters and photographers, looking nervous. He kept fiddling with his tie. Bodie had been escorted to the back of the room and leaned against the wall, with Doyle's - and now his - guard dog Klein standing next to him. Bodie could see the familiar bulge under his left arm and it made him long for his own gun. He returned his attention to the front of the room where here Vice Minister Becker was introducing Doyle. Manfred was standing on Doyle's opposite side and Mueller was lurking several feet away behind a pillar. Bodie wondered if Mueller was some sort of super agent plant ready to burst out into 007 mode only because the man was too unassertive to have survived with his fellow comrades. Something was up with Mueller. Klein was a nasty piece of work and showed it. Mueller was a limp rag of a man. That made Bodie even more suspicious about him.

Pulling his contemplations back to Doyle, he watched as his partner stepped up to the microphone. The inevitable flashbulbs went off by the dozens, making him flinch. Journalists yelled questions, one over the other. Doyle's eyes flicked left and right, and Bodie knew he was looking for anything threatening. In such close quarters, anybody could pull a gun. It would take a moment and Doyle would be dead. But so would the gunman. One of the six guards manning the room, watching the crowd, would fell an assassin in moments. Bodie held his breath. No one fired. Doyle cleared his throat, waited for the din to die down before he began.

“My name is Raymond Doyle. I am- was an agent in a covert organisation in England called CI5. Central Intelligence 5. The reason I am here in your country is because there are people in my government, and in other governments who support them, who do not want to see atomic war prohibited from our world. I believe atomic war is harmful to every single person on this plant no matter their political affiliations and I want to help to level the playing field, as we say. I believe if my country won't prohibit it then all the nations of the world should have the same capabilities so that we all are equal. Once everyone has the same weapons, only then will sense prevail.

This is bigger than loyalty to this country or that. I am loyal to the human race. Therefore, I will be offering my services to your country in hopes of making all offensive nuclear weapons, one day, obsolete. We must abolish the terror and threat of nuclear warfare.

Thank you.”

Bodie thought the statement was a load of whitewashed bollocks but Doyle somehow managed to make it sound acceptable.

The journalists shouted once more, firing question after question at Doyle. Becker stepped to the microphone and said, “Gentlemen, Herr Doyle will be helping us in our efforts and as you can imagine, those dealings are top security so I'm afraid there will be no more details forthcoming regarding Herr Doyle's specific methods of helping his new comrades. Thank you and good day.” Becker's word was final, and while the journalists grumbled about the abrupt dismissal, they all heeded his words. The cameramen snapped off a few more shots before turning away, joining the journalists as they all filed out of the room.

“Herr Doyle,” called Klein. “I will escort you and your friend back to your hotel.” Bodie clenched his fist, hoping he'd have the opportunity to punch Klein at least once before they left this miserable place. Klein gave him a knowing smirk, daring him with a look to try it. Bodie bit his lower lip and relaxed his hand.

In the car back to the hotel, the seating arrangements were the same as the day before except Doyle asked, “Why were there so many English and even American reporters at the press conference?”

Klein ignored him. Mueller answered, “When we have important news, we invite the correspondents over from West Berlin. We like sharing our good fortune with the world.”

Bodie saw Doyle's eyes narrow. Doyle was angry. He hadn't been expecting to be front page world-wide news? Doyle couldn't be that naive. Bodie sniggered csoftly. Of course his conscience-stricken partner would be! He would hate that his name would be besmirched world-wide by any freedom-loving country and its citizens. He should have anticipated. Bloody Doyle, getting in deeper and deeper with that bloody idealistic attitude. It would get him killed one of these days! Already had brought him to the brink of death at the hands of Mayli Kuolo. He would never learn? Bodie answered his own question: Of course not!

At their destination, Bodie got out along with Doyle and Mueller. The car drove away before Klein got out. Strange. Bodie doubted the driver would have driven away if Klein had wanted to stay with them. Their babysitter was up to something. Bodie watched the car as it maneuvered around a parked lorry and drove out of sight.

“What's up?” Doyle asked.

“Don't like this,” Bodie said.

Doyle paused, also keeping his eye on the car as it retreated. He turned, looked at Mueller and then back at Bodie, an eyebrow raised. He didn't ask the question Bodie knew he had on his lips. Where has Klein gone? Why wasn't he shadowing them? Weird.

Mueller called to them and they both went into the hotel, still not speaking aloud. When the lift pinged open on the fourth floor, Bodie was surprised that the armed guard outside his room wasn't lingering in the hallway. Bodie cocked his head slightly. Doyle caught on instantly that the guard was gone. At Doyle's door, Bodie paused. He didn't go to his room but followed Doyle into his and threw himself down on the sofa. Doyle went into the bathroom. Mueller stood at the window, unmoving. Bodie lay still, listening intently. No-one moved in the corridor that he could hear.

Bodie knew full well that the armed guards weren't for their protection. It was to shoot them in the back as the police had done many times to people trying to escape into West Germany. After a moment;s consideration, he reckoned that a bullet in the back might be the best he could hope for. Lifetime in a Communist prison sure as fuck wasn't inviting. He prayed that Doyle had a way out of this bloody mess, like he said he did. He trusted Doyle but Doyle didn't have control of the bad guys any more than he did. Time will tell.

The bathroom door opened. Doyle sauntered out, doing up his belt. Bodie watched him cross the room, all messy curls and feline grace. His body responded instantly, and he was going to have a full blown erection in two seconds if he didn't distract himself. Pulling his eyes and his lecherous thoughts away from Doyle's body, distraction came in the form of his stomach rumbling.

Laughing, Doyle paused beside the sofa. “Hungry?”

“Famished!” Bodie wondered about himself for a second. They were in Eastern Germany, in enemy territory, their lives in danger, and he was hungry!

Mueller didn't turn from his position at the window when he said, “There is unlimited room service.”

“I'd like to go for a walk. Stretch my legs,” Doyle said, raising his arms over his head and reaching for the ceiling. “A run would be even better. The maybe a nice meal at café? Any good ones around?”

“Of course, Herr Doyle. You are not a prisoner here. You can move about as you wish. Herr Bodie may also.” Mueller's tone was odd.

Was their keeper scared? Bodie considered this for a second before he understood that Mueller wasn't scared; he was apprehensive. Something was up.

Bodie got to his feet and casually sauntered to the window. He tried to open it but it was painted shut. Using the opportunity to look around at the road below, he didn't see anybody lurking in the shadows of the nearby buildings.

“I'd like some fresh air as well. I'll use the loo and be ready in five,” he said over his shoulder to Doyle. He headed to the hallway door, pulling it open. No guard lurked in the corridor. It made him uneasy, as if they (the enemy!) were asking the former CI5 agents to do something stupid, like try and run or... No, not run.

In his room, Bodie used the toilet, all the while his mind whirred. He knew what Cowley would say: Let them feel as if they're welcome, or at least accepted for now. Let them roam about on a long leash. Keep your eyes and ears open, lads! Follow them and then they make contact, kill the agents and bring me the traitor to our country.

Marvellous.

-------------------------------------

On the street in front of Hotel Berlin, Doyle led the way to the right. Bodie trotted a few steps to catch up with him, walking side by side swiftly down the street.

“Know where you're going?” Bodie asked.

“Museum,” Doyle replied.

“Ah, cultural experience ahead. I always did love the museum.” Bodie grinned at Doyle.

Doyle grinned back. “Is he behind us?”

Bodie paused, looking into a shop window that displayed women's hats and handbags. So much for scarcity of what could be considered luxuries. Across the street, Klein stopped as well, stepping into the shadow of a doorway. “Yup.”

“Guess we'd better lose him.” Doyle hurried on.

“How about you go on ahead and I lie in wait for the bastard. I'll wring his bloody neck.”

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Doyle shook his head. “Can't chance it. They'd know who killed him. None of these fine citizens would dare.”

Looking around at the pedestrians, normal average citizens living normal average Communist lives. Doyle was right but did it matter? At least Klein would be dead.

“Not now,” Doyle said. “Come on!” He took off at a run, heading for a bus that had pulled up to the kerb. Bodie hurried behind him to hop on. Flopping on the last seat, Bodie surveyed the area. Klein was standing on the sidewalk watching the bus pull away. He was smoking a cigarette, being casual as if he weren't tailing two dangerous foreign agents.

“Lost him,” Bodie said when Doyle dropped onto the seat beside him.

Not for long. In less than five minutes, a black motorcycle pulled alongside the bus. It rode along side. Klein kept his gaze on the road but nobody was fooled. He was following them. He knew it and Bodie knew it. He elbowed Doyle, cocked his head. Doyle nodded. He'd seen Klein as well.

Three stops later, they disembarked. Klein pulled to the kerb and waited, the motorcycle idling. Doyle headed down the steps and across the plaza leading in to the museum, Bodie beside him. Together they hurried into the building. It was quiet inside, with very few visitors. Cool and clean, their tried to keep their footfalls quiet on the tile floor. It didn't seem to matter because behind them they could occasionally hear the tap-tap of shoes going in the same direction. Bodie wondered if Klein had some sort of built in radar. He knew exactly where they were. They walked faster before breaking into a run, not caring if they made noise. Through several exhibit rooms and around a corner. The footsteps behind them went faster as well.

The game of cat and mouse went on for several minutes before Bodie grabbed Doyle's wrist. He pulled his partner towards a door and cautiously pushed it open. An alleyway. Bodie slipped out, towing Doyle behind him. Doyle held the door so it closed silently. Once they'd cleared the alleyway Bodie spied a taxi parked at the kerb. As Bodie yanked open the back door, Doyle pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and showed the driver. He nodded and waved his understanding. Doyle pocketed the paper and got in beside Bodie. As the cab pulled away, Bodie watched the street behind them but he didn't see their tail. Success!

In German, Bodie asked the driver if he spoke any other languages. The man said no. Bodie leaned over to Doyle and put his lips to his ear. “What did you show him on the paper? Address?” Doyle nodded. “Where?”

“A cow's father.”

“Eh?”

Doyle looked at the taxi driver, suspicion in his eyes. Bodie followed his gaze. “Ah. Okay. Better safe than sorry.”

“Right.” Doyle looked straight ahead out the windscreen.

Bodie had the urge to take Doyle's hand and squeeze it for reassurance but they weren't alone. He nudged Doyle with his elbow before turning his own attention to the road ahead.

---------------------------------------

The driver turned into a gravel area next to an old farm house. Doyle hopped out and leaned in the passenger's window, passing the fare over to the cabbie.

“Wait, okay?” Doyle looked over the roof at Bodie. “Ask him to wait.”

Bodie did as bid. The cabbie snagged the bills and nodded. As Bodie followed Doyle towards the house, the cab driver turned the vehicle around to face the road. He turned off the engine, and Bodie saw him light up a cigarette as he settled in to wait.

“You have enough to pay the fare back into town?”

“Yes.”

“Flush, are we?”

“I've got enough.”

“Nice. I've got nothing but pounds.”

Doyle stopped and gave Bodie an impish grin. “So you're a kept man now.”

Bodie rolled his eyes. “Like being kept by you.”

With a snort of amusement, Doyle walked up the two stone steps to the entryway and knocked. A woman answered. She was about thirty-five or so, wearing a blue flowered house dress, plain black shoes and a blue kerchief tied around her hair.

“Hello,” Doyle said pleasantly. She didn't answer but stared at him as if he had two heads.

Bodie didn't blame her. This was a country where it was encouraged if not required to spy on your neighbor in case he or she stepped out of line. A stranger standing on your doorstep, obviously a foreigner, wasn't someone to be embraced. Bodie smiled and in German, said, “We're visitors. This man is looking for...” He nodded to Doyle. "Who are you looking for? This gal?"

"Don't know."

"Great. So how are you supposed to make contact?"

"Like this." Doyle hopped off the step and leaned down. In the dirt, he drew the symbol 'Ω'. It was the secret password Doyle had told Bodie about back at the hotel.

The woman nodded, pointing out across the fields. Bodie shaded his eyes with his hand. In the distance, he saw a cloud of dust and after focussing, he could see a tractor moving across the horizon.

“Danke,” Doyle said. He gave Bodie a nod before trotting off across the newly tilled field.

Bodie made sure no-one leapt out to shoot his partner before he turned back to the waiting woman. She beckoned him forward into the house. He first paused to obliterate the mark in the dirt before going inside. It was cooler in the farmhouse and he was grateful to be out of the sun.

The dwelling was a simple one. One large room with a stove, sink, table and chairs, and a large cupboard. It was clean and whitewashed. Steps, more ladder than stairs, occupied a space leading up to what was probably a sleeping loft. There was a door on the back well but Bodie didn't know where it led, bathroom, cellar or outside. The sink did look like it was hooked up to indoor plumbing. All the mod cons, he mused.

The woman was putting a kettle on the old cooker when the sound of a motorcycle engine broke the silence. Bodie rushed over to the window. He held his breath when he cautiously peered out and saw Klein putting up the kickstand on the motorcycle. Bodie clenched a fist as Klein walked over to the cabbie. Discovered so quickly! Klein was nodding as the taxi driver waved his arm out the window, towards the house. Klein turned and stood surveying the building and the surrounding area. After he was satisfied, he walked around the house and banged on the door. The woman's eyes met Bodie's. He hurried to the other door, not caring where it led, but before he could make his escape, the front door slammed open and Klein rushed in.

“Herr Bodie! Leaving already?” Klein said, his tone falsely conversational. “You and Herr Doyle seem to like to go in one door and quickly out another? You didn't like our museum?”

With a shrug, Bodie turned and said casually, “The British Museum is better, hand's down.”

“Ah, yes. I do remember the exhibits. Very nice, very nice. But still, I might have to report you to the Minister of Culture for denigrating one of our national treasures!” Klein laughed at his own sense of humour. “Where are you going, by the way?”

Bodie clenched his teeth but forced himself to relax. “Looking for the loo. You do remember what a loo is. After all, you lived in London, right?”

“You have a good memory,” Klein said. “Since you have such a good memory, you should remember where your partner is. You do remember Herr Doyle?” He smiled coldly. “Your- friend?”

“Go and look for him if you're so interested,” Bodie responded icily.

Klein's eyes narrowed. “And who is this?” He looked her up and down with disdain.

The woman looked as if she were trying to blend into the woodwork. She was as white as a sheet.

“This is Inga. She's Doyle's mother's cousin, once removed. Promised the old lady we'd look up the family while we were here. Seeing as they can't come and visit London.” Bodie gave the woman a reassuring smile. She stared back, not speaking a word.

“How convenient,” Klein said derisively. “Herr Doyle has family in my country and he is visiting. That is so good of him.” Klein scratched his nose. “But if this lovely lady is Herr Doyle's family why isn't he visiting instead of you?” He took a step closer to Bodie. His eyes flicked from Bodie to the woman, keeping both of them clearly in his line of sight. “And where are the presents? I've never had anybody visit me without bring a present! It is common courtesy, after all.”

“Doyle forgot it at the hotel. He's got a lousy memory about that sort of thing.” Bodie moved over to stand in front of the woman.

The kettle whistled. Klein kept his gaze on Bodie. He didn't flinch or move a muscle. Bodie returned his stare. He could hear Inga's panicked breathing behind him. He hoped she didn't faint!

Pulling out his cigarette case, Klein slowly opened it and put a fag between his lips. Never taking his eyes off Bodie, he said, “Ahhhh, it looks like Fraulein Inga was preparing tea. Why don't we all sit down and have a cup while he await Herr Doyle's return.”

“I'll pass. I've got plans. Doyle and I have to-”

“I insist.” Klein pushed his coat aside when he retrieved his lighter, revealing the gun he had in a shoulder holster. He drummed his fingers on the butt. “I am sure Herr Doyle will have interesting things to tell us about his visit with Inga's husband and his... crops.” Klein gave Bodie a grin full of teeth. “Do you or Herr Doyle speak Greek?”

“Greek? No. Why do you ask?” Bodie felt a cold chill run down his body. How had he known about the Greek letter? Bodie had made sure to erase the mark in the dirt. Only an idiot would leave such damning evidence in full view of anybody who came to the farmhouse. It might be in a remote area but there was never a good reason to take chances.

Bodie took a step forward. Klein pulled the weapon. “Stay where you are!” he ordered. “It would give me great pleasure to put a bullet in you and into this whore of a spy!” Keeping the gun trained on Bodie, Klein retreated until his back was to the far wall where a telephone was attached to the plaster.

Even in bloody Commie East Germany farmers had access to telephones. Bodie reckoned that Luck didn't seem to be on their side today. Sussed out in minutes and now Klein was going to call his buddies.

“You will be spending a long time in our jail, Herr Bodie, you and Herr Doyle. As for Inga,” he said the name as if it were dirt on his tongue, “there is only one punishment.” He put his fingers in the shape of a gun, pointed at Inga and make a popping sound. Klein gave fake grin, using the same hand to reach for the telephone receiver.

“Oh, and how do I know? The cab driver. He said he was having a cigarette and was strolling around to enjoy the view. He likes corn fields, it seems. He was watching you when you first approached Fraulein Inga and saw Herr Doyle doodling in the dirt. Doodling. That is the correct word, is it not?” When Bodie didn't answer, Klein shrugged. “Doodling. I remember this word. I told you, didn't I? That I lived in London for a time? I learned a good many things.”

From the corner of his eye, he saw the woman he called Inga move slightly. She had a knife in her hand, partially hidden by her apron skirt. Klein couldn't see it from his angle. Bodie moved left, giving Inga room to act. He didn't have much faith that a woman would use a knife on an armed man. Woman, hell. Anybody would be crazy to attacked someone with a gun. Klein's gaze followed Bodie, apparently dismissing Inga as a threat. Bodie quickly moved farther left.

“Stop!” Klein ordered.

Bodie took a chance. He lunged forward, kicking a wooden table chair towards Klein. Klein aimed. Bodie slammed another chair into his arm. The gun went flying across the room and under a storage trunk. Bodie tackled him around the knees and he went backwards, his head smashing the wooden floor with a sickening thud. He was still conscious, and he let out a surprised grunt of pain. His hands went to Bodie's throat. Bodie pounded the man's arms, choking as the man's thick fingers squeezed harder.

Inga rushed over and plunged her knife into Klein's exposed flank. Klein screamed in pain, releasing Bodie to clutch at the handle of the knife that jutted sickeningly from his body. Bodie clamped his hand over Klein's mouth. Klein's eyes widened. He jerked and flailed. Inga sat on his legs. Bodie knelt on one of his arms. Klein slapped Bodie with his free hand again and again but the blows were weak and fell onto Bodie's upper arm and shoulder. Coolly and calmly, Bodie used his free hand to clamp Klein's nose. The man used every ounce of his rapidly waining strength to wiggle his body, constantly hitting Bodie. One of the blows managed to find Bodie's nose. Blood spurted out, dripping onto Klein's shirt. Bodie didn't stop. Klein's eyes popped from his head; his face turned beet red before all colour drained from it. His body spasmed. It seemed like a lifetime before Klein finally died.

Bodie didn't move for a good minute after the life had left Klein's body. Inga rose, touched Bodie's shoulder. Bodie dropped his hands. It was deathly quiet in the farmhouse with only the sound of a ticking clock breaking the silence. He rose, surprised at how steady his hands were. After all, he'd killed enough times in his life, and he'd killed up close and personal before. With a grimace, he went to the sink to turn on the tap. He washed his hands and splashed cold water on his face.

Behind him, he heard Inga open a drawer, heard the clink of glasses, and a small glass filled with a clear liquid appeared before him. He took it and tossed it back, coughing. Homemade liquor, strong and powerful, burned down his throat. He welcomed it. Turning, he saw Inga sipping her own drink, her eyes focused on Klein. Blood dripped slowly from the knife wound onto Inga's clean wood floor.

Moving with precision, Bodie stripped off Klein's leather jacket. He yanked out the knife and handed to Inga. Without speaking, she washed it with soap and water. Bodie was astonished when she dried it and put it back into a drawer. This woman was cool and calm even though her face was pale. He admired her.

Bodie wrapped the middle of Klein's torso with the leather jacket, zipped it up and tied the arms across his belly. He was about to ask Inga where they could dispose of the body when the main door opened. Doyle walked in, took in the scene, and stopped in his tracks.

“Bodie? What the hell?” Doyle's eyes moved from Klein to Bodie to Inga and back to Klein. Astonished, he blurted out, “Jesus Christ! What happened?”

“He sussed us out. Threatened to turn us into the Gestapo or whoever the hell runs this godforsaken country and to have Inga killed!” Bodie's voice rose when he remembered the cab driver was still waiting at the end of the road. “Sorry. It was him or us.”

Doyle shook his head. “I don't give a toss about Klein, but Bodie, we can't get nicked! We have to get-” He hesitated, glancing at Inga. “Finish our task. It's important. Life and death important!” He ran his hand through his curls, disheveling them. “What are we going to do?” His voice cracked with emotion.

Inga said something to Bodie in German. “She said she'll take are of it. Her and her husband. We're to head back to the city and act as if nothing has happened.” Doyle continued to stare down at Klein. Bodie went to him, clamped his hands on his upper arms and shook him lightly. “Ray!”

“Yeah. Okay. I hate putting this on them!” Doyle finally looked at Bodie with consternation. “Christ, Bodie.”

“It'll be okay. She's a good lad.” Bodie cocked his head towards Inga. He looked over his shoulder and asked her what her name really was.

“Gretel,” she responded with a half smile.

“Danke, Gretel,” Bodie said. He turned Doyle and pushed him towards the door. “Oh, Gretel?” he said in German, “he came on a motorcycle.”

Gretel said something which Bodie translated. “She'll have her husband get rid of it as well. They have a deep pond on the property.”

“Thank you,” Doyle said to Gretel. “I'm so sorry.”

She nodded and waved them away. Bodie hurried Doyle out to the cab.

“I need a drink or ten,” Bodie said when he slammed the door shut. To the cabbie, he asked, “Can you take us to a place to try your best whiskey? Somewhere quiet where we can enjoy a good drink?”

As he pulled out onto the highway, the driver excitedly began a tale of all the good German alcohol he'd had in his entire life. Bodie forced himself to keep his eyes straight ahead in spite of the fact that he caught a glimpse of Klein's motorcycle leaning against a hedgerow in front of Gretel's house. He could only pray that the cabbie hadn't noticed that Klein hadn't left. Maybe he would think Klein was visiting the farm as well. They hadn't made a sound when they'd killed the bastard. With a little luck, the cab driver wouldn't be interested enough to wonder about his or Doyle's visit, or Klein's either. Bodie almost guffawed out loud. 'A little luck' didn't seem to be on their side today but what could he do. He had to play out his part.

The cabbie droned on, hand waving as he animatedly spoke. Bodie occasionally grunted and nodded, all the while keeping an eye on his partner.

Doyle sat against the far door, his eyes on the quickly passing scenery. Bodie could guess what Doyle was thinking. While Klein was the enemy, Doyle would feel guilty about putting Bodie (and Gretel) in the position of having to kill to protect themselves and him, as well as the mission and the Omega underground resistance. As Bodie often said, Doyle could make himself feel guilty about the invention of gun powder. But there wasn't much he could do about Doyle's emotional state until they were back in their hotel room, behind locked doors. Then he do the best he could to assuage his partner's self-flagellation.

When the driver pulled up to the kerb, Bodie's first instinct was to overpay the driver but he didn't want to arouse the man's suspicions about such generosity. He had Doyle pay with what he hoped was a fair tip. There wasn't much he could do but again, hope and pray the cabbie wasn't the curious sort. He didn't think the man had seen or heard anything that would arouse his suspicions. No, that wasn't true. The cabbie had spoken to Klein. That was enough. Damn it anyway.

Their whiskey was drunk in relative silence and the walk back to the hotel was likewise. Bodie's desire to comfort his partner was interrupted by a man standing on the sidewalk.

“Herr Doyle and Herr Bodie?” he asked. Dressed in a blue suit, he was an average looking fellow in an average looking suit.

“Yes,” Doyle answered.

“I'm Lukas Schmidt. I'm to take you to Herr Manfred. He wishes to speak with you both.”

Doyle nodded. Schmidt opened the door to an automobile and they climbed in.

Manfred greeted both men before he asked, “Herr Bodie, I wish to speak with you in confidence. Mueller will keep Herr Doyle company. A cup of coffee or tea perhaps, Herr Doyle?” He didn't wait for Doyle's response but ushered Bodie into another office connected to his and shut the door.

Bodie caught Doyle's gaze. He looked unhappy and uncomfortable. Did he think Manfred would torture him in the next room? Bodie snorted with amusement.

Manfred looked at him questioningly.

“Nothing, sir. Just a silly thought.”

“Ah,” Manfred said. “Please sit.”

For the next thirty minutes, Manfred grilled Bodie on his desires to remain in East Germany with Doyle, what would be expected of him.

Complete obedience to German laws, of course.

No interference in Doyle's giving any information he desired to their scientists.

Respect for his fellow citizens.

Blah, blah, blah.

It took all his wherewithal not to roll is eyes and laugh out loud. Finally, after he swore to be a model German citizen (he had one hand hidden under the table, fingers crossed), he was asked to sign a paper that had been laying on the table in front of him.

“Your visa for an indefinite stay is granted.” Manfred also signed the paper before handing Bodie the pen. Bodie signed without reading it. “Good. Let's tell your partner the exciting news.” Rising, Manfred opened the door. “Herr Doyle, come in!”

While Doyle walked into the room, his gaze latched on Bodie, Manfred poured drinks. Bodie could see the question in his eyes and the unhappiness as well. He hated that he had been kept apart from Bodie. Doyle reckoned he was the safety wall between Bodie and any harm that could befall him. He always did have delusions of grandeur.

“Cognac?” he asked, serving the drinks himself. Both men took a glass, as did Mueller. “A toast!” he said genially. Raising his glass, he said, “To your new life in your new country!”

Bodie would have preferred to throw the drink in Manfred's face but then he remembered the old man's admonitions about wasting good alcohol. He lifted his glass to Manfred and Doyle before he drank. Wonderful. Now he was officially a traitor.

“Herr Doyle, tomorrow at 3pm we will meet with our scientists at the research centre to hand over information. You have all ready to be presented?” Manfred asked.

“Of course. I'm ready when you are,” Doyle said evenly.

Bodie admired his partner. Doyle played his part to perfection. In fact, if Bodie hadn't been aware of Doyle's plans, he'd have given second thought to Doyle's part in this defection. Pausing his thoughts, Bodie wondered if he could ever believe Doyle would be a traitor to his country. The answer wasn't as simple as: no, of course not! He trusted Doyle with his life so many times but if Doyle honestly felt that the entire human race would be obliterated by nuclear war, his partner would be whatever he had to, to ensure human life. Even at the expense of Bodie's love and trust? Yes. Doyle cared. He cared about everyone and everything. Bodie, not so much. He cared about Doyle. He cared about doing a good job but mainly because he wanted Doyle's admiration and his trust. Now he wanted his love as well. Why else would be have followed Doyle and be agreeing to defect? It could backfire. They could very well spend the rest of their lives in German prison. Only time and great luck would tell.

Bodie was abruptly brought out of his musings by a knock on the door when yet another suited man entered. Bodie wondered how many hundreds upon thousands of suited men roamed the halls of East German government offices. The material makers and tailors in this country must make a hell of a good living. He would have laughed if the entire situation hadn't been so damned sad and ridiculous.

The man said something quickly to Manfred. Bodie felt himself begin to stiffen before he forced himself to relax. His fingers tightened around his glass. Casually, he loosened them, taking care not to reveal that what the man had said to Manfred had made him begin to sweat around his collar. He couldn't react, not one tiny iota. As he finished his drink, he was sure he hadn't reacted outwardly to the intruder's message.

Doyle was oblivious to the messenger's words. He would hear soon enough because Manfred stood looking from Bodie to Doyle with a quizzical expression before he said in a tone that Bodie felt was carefully moderated to appear casual, “Interesting. Very interesting. Herr Doyle, I've just been informed that we have misplaced our Comrade Klein.”

------------------------------------

“Come. We have rooms set aside for your personal use. It won't be as well appointed as your flat in London, I am sure,” Mueller said with an apologetic smile, “but it has its own bathroom.”

Doyle walked along with Mueller. “We have to get out bags from the hotel.”

“No need,” Mueller said. “We have porters to do that. It will be taken care of. However, Herr Bodie seems to have bought barely any personal effects. Perhaps a shopping excursion is called for.”

Bodie scratched his nose as he walked with Doyle to the street. “Don't have any German bills, I'm afraid.” He sniffed at his underarm. “Could do with a clean shirt, though. I did bring a change of y-fronts and some clean socks.”

Mueller waved a hand. “No need to worry. A stipend has been provided for you. There is a small clothing shop not far from your apartment, as well as a grocer's and a baker.”

Doyle climbed into the waiting car after Bodie. Mueller took the front seat, as usual. The driver was a different man from the others. He was similar to them though, in his silence. Mueller didn't tell him where they were going but he drove ahead anyway. Bodie found the silence of the people they encountered uncomfortable. As if everybody was watching and listening. Then he guffawed. Doyle cast him a worried glance. Bodie shrugged.

“May I do something for you, Herr Bodie?” Mueller said, turning to look over the seat at Bodie.

Bodie coughed into his hand. He was punchy from lack of restful sleep and from killing a man hours earlier. In order to keep himself focussed, he asked, “Is there a good pub near the digs?”

“Ah, yes. There is a bar just on the next block. It was recently opened and has good sausages. You like sausages?” Mueller asked.

“I could eat.”

Doyle gave him a roll of the eyes and a smile. “Later. Let's get settled first. Herr Mueller, will we be allowed to walk about? Visit the museums and such?”

Mueller smiled, and in spite of his efforts to appear friendly and interested in the two agents, his face was a dull mask devoid of emotion.

Funny how Mueller reminded Bodie of a plain sheet of paper, unreadable because of its blankness. He wondered how the man survived with these cold, calculating men who ran the country. He had some sort of clearance or trust since he was their main contact. Bodie reminded himself that looks could be deceiving. Mueller could be a cold blooded killer who'd enjoyed serving under the Third Reich. That made Bodie shudder. He turned his attention to the city as it rolled past, trying to remember what he was seeing and to get his bearings in this strange not fully reconstructed vista. It was odd to pass by a new modern building and on the next street there was a bombed out shell of tumbling bricks.

The new flat was small with two tiny bedrooms. Each had a single bed. Sleeping together would be tight. Eying the bed, Bodie briefly wondered if he could tie Doyle to that headboard. Have to find some rope first. Or new neck ties...

There was also a kitchen-lounge combo, and a bathroom with a tub that had been better days. The toilet flushed, which was a good thing, and when Bodie tried he taps, water gushed out. The larder was stocked, as was the kitchen cupboards ,with minimal essentials. There were a few towels and on each bed was a small pile of clean white sheets and a blue blanket. There was one pillow each. The windows had curtains on them and the lounge had a small table with two chairs, a sofa, armchair, one side table with a gaudy red shaded lamp on it. On another table by the wall was a tiny television and a radio. There were some books in a stand. Bodie would inspect them later but he'd bet they were propaganda about the wonderfulness of life behind the Iron Curtain. He briefly wondered if they televised football here. Hell, did they televise anything?

“Will you be comfortable here?” Mueller asked.

“Yes, thank you,” Doyle said. “We'll be fine.”

“The addresses of the businesses I mentioned where you have accounts is on a paper next to the telephone. Don't look so surprised, Herr Bodie. We do have working telephones. And indoor plumbing as you have seen,” Mueller said mildly, his watery eyes holding Bodie's gaze.

“It's great!” Bodie said jovially, much too loudly. “Cheers.”

“Bodie,” Doyle said softly.

“Sorry, mate. I'm a bit knackered. Could do with a kip.” Bodie scrubbed at his eyes. Christ, he hoped they'd get the intel they needed soon! Tonight, hopefully, so they could get home before Liverpool had their next match!

“Go on, go to sleep. I'll do the shopping.” Doyle gave Bodie a gentle shove. “Go on.”

Bodie gave Doyle a tired smile. “Ta, mate.” He wandered down the short hallway to one of the bedrooms and flopped on the bare mattress. He listened intently until he heard Doyle bid Mueller a good evening. Bodie surged to his feet once the door had closed, and began the usual search.

Doyle walked in a few minutes later, silently watching Bodie. He joined in. Together they found twelve listening devices strewn throughout the place.

“Bit of overkill,” Bodie whispered directly into Doyle's ear. A camera in the kitchen that showed the entire area including the sofa and television. Also a camera in each bedroom and one in the loo.

“Super,” Doyle said back. “Can't even use the toilet without an audience.”

“Let's dismantle all of them,” Bodie said softly, for Doyle's ears alone.

“Can't.”

“Sure we can. They'd expect good agents to do a search. We'll leave one bug in the kitchen. They'll replace them, of course, but by then we should be gone. Right?” When Doyle didn't answer, Bodie repeated, “Right?”

“Yeah. Right. Makes sense.”

deadreckoningBD hdr warm

It didn't take long for them to retrieved every device and smashed them under their shoes on the kitchen lino. Doyle found a broom and dust pan, swept them up and tossed them into the bin. “There.” He brushed one hand against the other.

“So... now what?” Bodie asked, keeping far enough away from the one remaining bug in the gaudy red lamp base.

“Got your second wind?” Doyle raised an eyebrow, smiling at Bodie.

“Never lost the first wind. Wanted our pal gone, is all. So now what?” Bodie asked. “Is there a plan?”

Doyle smirked. “Of course there's a plan. But we'll have to shake another tail.”

“Ah. Big surprise there.” Bodie went to the window and without moving the drapery, he inspected the street below. There were people walking on the pavement, some hurrying one way; others strolling the other. Across the road was a tailor's shop. There was a man in the front window sewing on an old machine that one pumped with his foot. “The tailor?”

“Yeah. He's not hunched over that machine like somebody who'd sewn for thirty years would be. Back's too straight.”

“Good catch,” Bodie said admiringly. “What do we do?”

“We get to visit the library.”

“Oh, goodie. Could use a good book to fall asleep by. Think they have any Dickens?” Bodie asked with a quirky smile.

“Rather read Lady Chatterly.”

“Ohhh, kinky! I like that in a bloke. Shall we explore the back way out?”

Doyle shrugged. “Let's find out.”

“Could use that drink.”

“Make it a double.” Bodie looked down at himself. “Christ, Doyle, I hate to say this but two days... no, make that three, in the same clothes is not pleasant! I haven't even put on my clean drawers!”

“You've suffered worse in Africa.” Doyle patted Bodie's cheek.

Bodie grabbed Doyle's hand. “True. But I'm a mature fellow now. Used to creature comforts and mod cons.”

Doyle laughed aloud. It wasn't a belly laugh but at least he had lost some of the haunted look in his eyes. Must be because they were on the move, Bodie reckoned. Doyle always did get into his game once the chess pieces were moving. “We'll pop into the clothes shop on the way. All right?”

Bodie beamed. “I like a good plan.” He raised an eyebrow. Doyle shook his head. Bodie sighed. He was in the mood for a bath together (no bath to get into! only a tiny shower) and a romp between the sheets. It wasn't going to happen so eating and a drink would go a long way to assuaging his urges. Well, not a long way but would help.

“Do they have shops and such?” Bodie asked.

“Christ, Bodie, don't you ever read?”

“Mayfair?”

“No, pillock. I hate this place as much as you but I've read enough to know that at least there's food and other necessities in East Germany, thank God! Not luxuries, mind, but it's not the USSR. They don't have rationing. People at least aren't starving but they're not free either.” Doyle ran a hand through his curls. “It's a shitty place to live overall of course but you can buy a telly or even a car if you've got enough Marks. That's why people accept the GDR rule. They don't know it could be better because they're not desperate like in other Communist countries or even worse, China.” He threw out his hands. “And they believe the shit that they read or hear that West Germany is a horrible place! It's a fucking shame!”

“Thanks for the history lesson, Professor.” Bodie sighed. “I still don't like it.”

Doyle gave him a crooked smile. “It's a real holiday destination, eh? Come on. Let's go for that walk.”

Bodie saw the look Doyle gave him. He understood instantly. Doyle had more information to reveal when they were far from listening ears and watching eyes. There was no key for the flat so they pulled the door shut and headed to search for the back stairway.

---------------------------------------------------

With their new found friends not far behind, they made their way to a large park that Bodie had spotted on a city map that he discovered in the kitchen drawer. There were a number of people in the park. Women pushing prams. Old men lounging on park benches. Several working-aged men sauntered through the park, behind them and in front. The men changed, never the same one twice. These blokes were pretty good. They managed to look disinterested. One man even walked a small fluffy white dog. Bodie fought to the urge to laugh and ask their keepers if they wanted company. He didn't do that but he did keep his demeanour casual. He and Doyle were merely taking in the air after all.

“So where are these infamous plans?” Bodie asked, hands in pockets. He kept his voice low enough for only Doyle to hear.

Doyle did the same. “On a microdot, concealed under a thin layer of plastic, pressed into my left back molar.”

Bodie felt his eyebrow lift. “Smart but tricky. But if they knew you were bringing the plans, why so much trouble to conceal it?”

“Have to make it look like I smuggled it out of the country.” Doyle kept his gaze straight ahead as he spoke.

Bodie knew that his partner was wound up tighter than a new watch. He hated all of this. Give him bullets and guns and bad guys shooting at them. While he didn't mind undercover work, this sort, being far from home and in hostile territory, wore a man down faster than the normal undercover gig in London.

“Wouldn't do to carry a big set of plans to the latest and greatest updated Allied Forces nuclear sub, now would it?”

“Suppose not.” Bodie scratched his inner elbow. “So that's the big meeting Manfred mentioned to Mueller yesterday? It happens soon.”

“I'm guessing this afternoon. I'm sure these blokes will be escorting us shortly. Listen... this is what we need to do and fast. Before they find Klein.”

“You think Inga- Gretel and what was his name- Koska didn't bury the body and the bike?”

Doyle nervously looked around. “I'm sure they did but he'll be found. I have no doubt.”

“Ahh,” Bodie said knowingly. “The cabbie.”

“Yeah. He'll talk. He's programmed to talk. Once the news hits the papers he'll spill everything. Tell them where he took us, how Klein showed up and how he didn't see Klein when we left. It's only a matter of time,” Doyle said tiredly, giving Bodie a sideways glance.

Bodie glanced over at him, fighting the urge to gather his partner into his arms and kiss away the pain. But Doyle would smack him a good one for even daring to think he couldn't handle any or all of this.

“Hey.” Bodie gave him an intense stare, putting every ounce of emotion he could into his eyes. “You and me, mate. We'll do this.”

With a crooked grin that exposed his chipped tooth, Doyle nodded. “Cheers, mate.”

When they exited the park and stopped on the pavement, Bodie scanned the area, a force of habit. “We've got company.”

“Oh, goodie,” Doyle said sarcastically.

As a group, the three men emerged from the path. “Herr Doyle?” one asked.

“Yes.”

“We are here to escort you.”

“Of course,” Doyle said. “Where to?”

“Please come with us,” he said, ignoring Doyle's question. “The driver knows the way.”

“Bodie too?”

“Yes, Herr Bodie as well.”

Doyle cast Bodie an apologetic glance.

“The game is afoot,” Bodie said with a snicker as a large back sedan pulled over and stopped.

“Please,” the same man said, indicating they should get into the car.

While they drove through the city, Bodie went over their conversation from earlier in the day that they'd had walking through a small park:

“Are you going to give them the plans?” he'd asked his partner.

“Yeah. Because they're fake. Well, not fake, but not one hundred percent complete. It should take their scientists at least forty-eight hours to work it out.” He'd kicked a small rock with the toe of his shoe. “If they're boys are half as good as ours, of course.”

“Of course. So now what?”

“We have to get to the library that Koska told me about. The dead drop is in one of the books.”

“Ah, Good choice. Keeps our contact safe.”

“Hopefully.”

“Hopefully,. When?”

“Tonight.”

“Isn't it closed?”

“When has that ever stopped us?”

“Hasn't before but we've never done a job in commie territory.”

“New experience for you.”

“Marvellous,” Bodie had said wryly.

“Bodie, just in case-”

“Don't.”

“Have to. If you have to finish the mission for any reason, you have to get the plans to Whitehall.”

“Fuck you.”

“Later,” Doyle had said, making Bodie roll his eyes. “It's in Gulliver's Travels.”

Bodie scratched his nose. “Wait, didn't the Nazis burn all the books?”

Now Doyle rolled his eyes. “No, you prat. And I trust Koska. He wouldn't tell me Gulliver's Travels if it wasn't in the library, now, would he?”

“Suppose not. I trust you.”

Bodie's belly rumbled loudly in the quiet confines of the car. Doyle smirked. He rubbed his stomach. “Haven't eaten since that toast and tea this morning and now I'm not only in three day old clothes but I'm famished. Are we ever staying put for ten minutes so I can shower?”

“Probably not.”

“You're not so sweet yourself, mate.”

With a chuckle, Doyle said, “We'll see if our hosts can find you something to nosh on.” He moved his hand and for a moment Bodie was sure he'd touch him but Doyle caught himself. He put his hand back on his own leg.

They rode for fifteen minutes before the chauffeur drove into a car park next to a newly built office building. Bodie caught Doyle's gaze and nodded. Doyle nodded in return.

Passing over the plans should have been quick and painless. They walked into a room with four white walls and no windows. There was a table and six chairs, four of which were occupied. While clean, the room was tiled in ugly lino. Not much for decorating, Bodie reckoned. He did a quick recce but the door was the only way in or out. Doyle waited as the scientists spoke to each other as they eyed him up and down. They ignored Bodie.

“No Swiss roll,” Doyle said softly.

“Doesn't look like a cuppa either,” Bodie answered.

Mueller introduced Doyle to the waiting scientists. Even though the men appeared interested in Doyle, nobody offered to shake hands. “Please, sit.”

Doyle sat in one chair and Mueller took the other, leaving Bodie to lean against the wall near the door. One of the men stood up and went to Doyle. In his hand he held a pair of forceps. Doyle shifted but with his back to Bodie, he didn't see his expression. Probably as happy as when he went to the dentist.

“Sorry. I'm not much for going to the dentist,” Doyle said.

Bodie had to stifle a laugh. He knew his Doyle!

Mueller translated for the scientist. He laughed and waved a hand, saying something to Doyle. “He says he will not hurt you.”

“Good. You don't want to see me cry,” Doyle said flippantly.

“Open wide,” Mueller suggested.

Doyle huffed out a breath, tilted his head to the side and opened his mouth.

The scientist fished inside of Doyle's mouth. He must have been careful because Doyle didn't flinch. Slowly he pulled out the forceps with their prize clenched in its jaws. The gleeful scientist studied the microdot when the door flew open. A man in a gray suit came in.

The man was agitated. Bodie watched him cautiously. He approached Mueller and whispered into his ear. Mueller rose and beckoned to the scientists. In a small circle, heads' bent, they spoke quietly amongst themselves. After a good minute, Mueller blinked owlishly before he looked at Doyle.

“Herr Doyle, it has been brought to our attention that you visited a farm yesterday. Is this true?”

Doyle didn't respond right away. He rubbed at his jaw where the man had used the forceps. He avoided meeting Bodie's eyes.

“You must answer the question. It is from the Head of State Security and you have pledged your full cooperation. Did you visit a farm outside of town?”

Bodie stepped over until he was close to his partner. He had to admire Doyle's bollocks. He didn't so much as blink. He looked directly at Mueller. “Well, yes. I wanted to look up some relatives. What? Did I do something wrong?” he asked, spreading his hands and putting on a confused air. “Did I need a permit?”

“Did you see Klein at this farm?” Mueller asked, an edge to his tone.

“Klein? No. I thought this was a meeting to retrieve the information I brought for you! What's going on?” Doyle asked indignantly.

Mueller turned back to the men. They all huddled together once more. Bodie wished he could hear what they were saying. When Mueller turned to Doyle, he sighed theatrically. “I am afraid this meeting is ended.”

Doyle, bless him, somehow managed to look gobsmacked. “Why? I don't understand.” He cast a questioning glance at Bodie. Bodie shrugged, playing his part to perfection.

Mueller tried again, this time directing his question to Bodie, “Did you see Klein at the farm?”

“No. Only saw Doyle's cousin and her husband. Didn't see Klein.” Bodie gave them a bored look. “Sorry,” he said, knowing his voice didn't sound at all contrite.

“What's going on?” Doyle demanded. “I thought you wanted intel, not my visiting habits.”

“Your answers are not satisfactory,” Mueller said. “We are no longer allowed to speak with you until the investigation is completed.”

“What a load of bull-” Bodie said.

“This meeting is terminated,” Mueller said firmly. Mueller nodded to the scientists, ignoring their objections.

Bodie met Doyle's gaze but kept silent.

Mueller opened the door. “Come. You will be taken back to your rooms until the investigation is completed.”

Mueller was quiet on the drive. He didn't exit the car when the driver stopped but he did say, “Do not attempt to- visit any other relatives.”

Doyle nodded curtly and climbed out. Bodie ignored Mueller.

In the hallway, out of the reach of the surveillance, Bodie said softly, “Best we do this soon.”

“Yes. We'll be watched. Shopping, clothes for you.” He glanced at his watch. “Three hours to dark. We'll have a nosh, then a kip. We're out of here tonight.”

“Might as well dump the surveillance inside the flat.”

“Good idea.”

Errands accomplished, all the while with a tail, of course. Doyle laid out tea while Bodie bathed and changed. He also disabled the cameras and bugs. By the time Manfred sent men to fix them or question why they had been tampered with, they would be gone.

“Feels great to be clean.” Bodie ran his fingers through his damp hair.

“Enjoy it, mate. No saying when it will happen again.” Doyle poured tea into two cups.

“Always the pragmatist.”

“Not always.” Doyle gave Bodie a toothy grin.

It made Bodie's heart race. God but he longed to have Doyle under him. He would given his right hand to be buried deep in that tight arse. To be tied down and sucked until he screamed. His cock began to harden while he gave a deep laugh. He was so smitten it was sad.

“What?”

Bodie grinned back. “Nothing. Let's eat.”

The food was good if plain. Not much fresh produce could be had this late in the day but there was a nice loaf of bread with a chewy crust, a sharp hard cheese and good peppery smoked sausage. Doyle had even found a packet of biscuits on the shelf, chocolate with nuts. They sat on the table waiting to be eaten for afters. The tea was hot and sweet and the company was perfect. With a full belly, Bodie pushed away from the table.

“You stored up enough for a few days,” Doyle said, smiling.

“I'm a growing lad.” Bodie walked to the window, surveyed the street without moving the drapes. “Still have our company.”

“Big surprise, that.”

Bodie prowled the flat, back and forth, until Doyle spoke up.

“Stop that,” Doyle said, sipping tea from a fresh brew.

“Stop what?” Bodie asked, making his tenth - or maybe his fiftieth - trip to the window and back.

“Can't imagine what.” Doyle sighed, his cup clattering against the porcelain. “Sorry for getting you caught up in all of this.”

“Eh?” Bodie paused mid-stride. “I seem to remember following you.”

“Best you stop that then. Gets you into trouble.” Doyle stood up. “Can you sleep?”

“Nah. Too keyed up.”

Bodie snatched up a biscuit from the packet. He crunched chocolate and hazelnut thoughtfully. “I want to say something before we head out.”

“Yeah?” Doyle leaned back in his chair.

“You're a good partner, Ray. The best.”

Doyle looked at Bodie at a few moments. “Wow. I'd say that's a declaration of love if I've ever heard one.”

“Berk.”

“I feel the same,” Doyle said with conviction.

Bodie held out a hand. Doyle took it. They kissed fiercely, and in moments, were stretched on the sofa, Bodie under Doyle, rubbing each other through their trousers, tongues in mouths. Hiking himself up on one elbow, Doyle undid his flies. Bodie did the same and it wasn't long before both men were gasping as orgasms raced through them. It wasn't enough but it would do. For now. But soon, Bodie vowed, soon he and Doyle would be free to love each other until they both couldn't walk for hours afterwards. Walking was highly overrated anyway.

Breathing heavily, Bodie said, “You've made a mess on me new trousers.”

Doyle laughed.

-----------------------------------------------

BeFunky_null_1wwbd.jpg

They travelled light. Their passports had been confiscated and they had no ID so neither man had much to leave behind. Clothes and razors could be replaced once they were safely back on western soil. Besides they didn't want to arouse the suspicions of their surveillance crew.

“Too far to walk,” Bodie said, looking at the map he'd brought with him.

“Bus?”

“Sounds good.”

Waiting at the bus stop, Bodie saw their 'friends'. One man was behind them, seemingly looking into a store window. Another was across the street smoking a cigarette while the third man sat on a bench nearby reading a newspaper. Doyle pushed a bill into the till when they boarded the bus. Of course, the three watchers also dropped their indifference and boarded as well.

“This is us,” Bodie said, standing up at a Unter den Linden stop. Doyle hopped off, as did their unwelcome companions.

Two blocks later, the building that housed the library loomed before them. Bodie noted that the large dome he'd read about hadn't been rebuilt since being bombed during WWII. Maybe one day...

“Do you think they'll let us in?” Bodie asked. “We don't look like people who go to the library.”

“Why not? I like the library. Remember when Cowley sent us into the library that one time?”

Bodie held up a hand. “Don't remind me. I got kidnapped, remember? Beaten up. Had a bomb strapped to this luscious body.” He puffed out his chest.

Doyle laughed. “And I saved you.”

“You saved me.”

With a smile, Doyle held the door for Bodie. “Just act like you know what you're looking for.”

“Since I'm the one who knows a good bit of German I'd say it's me who can actually read the labels, mate.”

Doyle snickered. “True. So where's the fiction.”

They sauntered past several people, not meeting anybody's eyes but not avoiding them either. Bodie tried to look interested. He wasn't nearly as good with reading German as he was with speaking it. He was drek at writing it so hopefully they wouldn't need that particular skill to make their getaway. Scanning the labelled aisles, he soon found one that met their needs.

“Here.” He slipped between two tall bookcases. Running a finger down the titles, he found the one they sought. “Ha.”

Doyle took the book from Bodie. He flipped the pages and between two thin sheets he found a tiny piece of white paper. Taking it out of the book between pages 185 and 186, he handed it to Bodie while he replaced the tome on the shelf.

“It's fused together. Two pieces, see?” Bodie used a fingernail to separate a tiny corner. “Microdot.”

“Ahhh. Where shall we hide it?”

“Not in your chompers.” Bodie glanced around to be sure they weren't overheard or being watched. A man strolled by the end of the aisle. He recognised one of their friendly tails. “Company.”

Doyle, the consummate professional, didn't turn around. “Is Gulliver in any way different? Sticking out? Anything?”

Bodie shook his head. “Nah. Looks fine. Let's find the loo.”

With a nod, Doyle led the way out of the aisle. They got to the front of the building. On the right was a public bathroom. Doyle stopped to casually leaf through a pamphlet. Bodie went into the bathroom. He exited two minutes later, nodded to his partner and they headed to the exit.

“Where?” Doyle asked quietly.

“Don't ask.”

“That good, eh?”

“Probably not for a full inspection but for now it'll do.”

Doyle smirked. “Charming.”

“What I do for Queen and country.”

----------------------------------

Th next step in the plan was to ditch the surveillance team. Walking through a crowded section of town replete with cinemas, theatres and restaurants they considered all options. A lot of people on the pavement would help but these blokes were damned good. Passing by a shop selling televisions, Doyle came to an abrupt stop. Bodie had walked on a few paces until he realised that Doyle wasn't beside him. He retraced his steps. Doyle seemed mesmerised by whatever was on the half-dozen televisions on display. Bodie's stomach lurched and if he hadn't clamped his lips tightly together, he would have vomited on the spot.

On the multiple television screens were pictures of he and Doyle. Under there photos were their names and text running across the bottom of the screen. Bodie read: Dangerous Men! Killers! Followed by instructions to contact the proper authorities if the criminals were seen at large, along with what Bodie knew was the usual Commie rhetoric about duty to the state, more blah blah blah.

“We're in big trouble,” Doyle said.

Bodie shuddered. The idea of spending his life locked away in a prison cell behind the Iron Curtain was not a happy prospect, to say the least.

The idea of spending his life locked away from Doyle was even worse than thoughts of incarceration and torture.

“You don't bloody say,” Bodie muttered, snagging Doyle's sleeve and dragging him away. “We have to find some place to regroup.”

“I have a contact but-”

“Now!” Bodie saw uniformed police walking down the pavement, winding their way through the pedestrians. “Hurry,” he hissed. Doyle hurried.

Bodie told himself later that he had blown it in a big way but at the time he hadn't noticed the name of the lead actress on the theatre marquee. Hindsight was a wonderful thing, he'd recall. They ducked into the busy building and melted into the crowd. Doyle paid for two entrance tickets. Together they walked down to the first few rows. Bodie steered Doyle towards the end of the row where the exit sign was illuminated. Taking the two end seats, they sat down and in a few minutes, the house lights dimmed. The play began, some drivel Bodie realised, barely paying attention to the actors.

Doyle leaned close and whispered, “We need to meet with our contact. Koska said he'd be waiting.”

Bodie leaned towards Doyle. “During intermission. When everybody gets up, we'll go out that door.”

“Is it alarmed?”

“Don't know. Doesn't matter. We run like mad. Address?” Doyle told him. Bodie closed his eyes, memorised the info and after a moment, he said, “Got it. Studied the map, you know.”

“I love you,” Doyle said so quietly that Bodie wasn't sure he'd heard correctly.

He smiled, feeling warm inside. Doyle loved him. Someone on stage caught his attention. A woman was making a grand speech. She was gesticulating wildly, clearly overacting. It took a few precious seconds to realise she wasn't speaking her part in the play. She was pointing at them and shouting, “Dort! Dort! Mörder! Mörder!” There! There! Murderers! Murderers!

In a flash, Bodie realisation dawned. The woman on stage was that bloody actress, Elsa Eckhart! He hadn't recognised her under her costume and wig but he now did.

“Bloody hell,” Bodie said under his breath, elbowing Doyle. He glanced towards the back of the house. Uniformed policemen were spilling through the curtains and into the aisles. Doyle followed Bodie's line of sight.

Doyle didn't hesitate. He jumped to his feet and shouted, “Fire!” at the top of his lungs.

The crowd reacted immediately. Women screamed; men hollered. The crowd surged into the aisles, effectively blocking the oncoming police. Theatre patrons ran down the aisles while others were trying to escape up them, creating even more chaos. Some of the smarter ones flooded towards the exit that was only yards away from where Bodie stood. He crouched down in case of gunfire (these police were probably crazy enough to shoot into a crowd) and headed to that exit. At the last second, he changed course, climbing a set of steps that had previously been hidden behind the main curtain's edge. Doyle latched onto Bodie's coat and Bodie towed him along. It was fairly dark but at the top, Bodie paused only long enough to be sure no one was about. He hurried ahead and through a door marked, Kostume, Nur utorisiert Personal. Together they slipped inside.

“Stop!”

Bodie froze, squinting in the darkness. He clenched his fists, ready to fight. He had no doubt his partner was coiled, ready to leap onto anybody who tried to stop them.

“Omega,” the man's voice said.

“Thank God,” Bodie answered.

“Auf diese weise! Beeilen sie sich!”

A light flicked on. The thin middle-aged man dressed in blue coveralls beckoned to them. Bodie grabbed Doyle's hand and they followed their rescuer.

“Where is everybody?” Bodie asked quietly.

“Gone,” the man said in English. “Out the stage door at the other side. Hurry!”

With a key, the man opened a door and waved them inside. Bodie paused, finding a light switch. They were in a costuming room.

“Disguise yourselves,” their rescuer urged.

Doyle grabbed a wig and hat. He pulled them on quickly, tossing off his coat and slipping into black trench coat. Bodie did the same with a blond wig and a man's dress hat. He changed his jacket for a brown trench coat. Tossing Doyle an umbrella, he took one for himself. Nodding with approval, the man opened the door, peered out, and then slipped onto the hallway. The agents followed. He led them down yet another darkened hallway to a door. Using a key from his ring, he unlocked it.

“Go.”

“Thank you,” Bodie said.

“It is not necessary. Go quickly,” he insisted.

Doyle added his thanks. He went out first and once Bodie had joined him, the door behind them locked with a loud click.

Side by side, Bodie and Doyle walked briskly down the alleyway to merge with the other theatre goers who were hurrying away from the building. They let themselves be swept along until Doyle said, “Go right.”

“What the hell was that?” Bodie said as they walked along.

“She must have been the news report alerting the citizens of this fine city to be on the lookout for the dangerous criminals from the West.”

“Makes sense. Tellys in the hotels and bars.”

“And in the bloody shop windows.”

“True. She certainly wasn't best pleased with you at the airport. Hogging all the limelight,” Bodie said, elbowing Doyle.

Grunting, Doyle smirked. “You don't think she turned us in because of her love of king and country?”

Snorting, Bodie said, “They don't have a king, berk. How much farther?”

After reading the next street sign, Doyle said, “Two blocks. Coffee house.”

In a few minutes, Bodie said, “There.”

Doyle gave a curt nod. Together they hurried across the road, skirting traffic, and into the coffee house. Light spilled onto the pavement and patrons sat at many of the tables, drinking from small white cups. Walking in, Bodie cased the place. No television, thank God. Even in disguise, he felt exposed, vulnerable. He expected the other patrons to take one look at him and Doyle, jump up and start pointing fingers at the “murderers”! He sighed audibly.

Doyle tapped his arm, canting his head towards the back of the room. “Koska,” he whispered.

Bodie hadn't seen the man when he went with Doyle to Gretel's farmhouse- when he'd killed Klein. Koska was middle-aged, with brown hair and a tanned leathery face. He wasn't dressed like a farmer tonight but like a middle-class working bloke. Brown trousers, a blue shirt and a denim jacket. As they approached, Bodie saw his hands were rough from hard work. Koska didn't acknowledge their arrival as he casually sipped his beverage. Bodie sat next to Doyle, across from Koska.

A waitress approached. Koska said, “Zwei Kaffee, bitte.”

“Can you help us?” Doyle asked, his voice low.

The waitress returned, set two white cups with saucers down, along with a small silver pot.

“Danke,” Koska said, nodding and smiling. “Drink,” he said in German to his table-mates.

Bodie knew Koska was doing the talking so neither men's accents would be heard and betray them as anything other than regular GDR citizens out for an evening stroll to meet a mate. Smart. Doyle poured the hot liquid into each of their cups.

“When?” Bodie asked, lifting his cup to drink. He licked his lips and made appreciative noises. Might as well look like he was enjoying himself before he went to the gallows.

“Soon.” Koska scratched his nose, looking over his hand towards the front door. “There is a back entrance. We shall drink our coffee, then leave. Slowly of course.”

“Been undercover before,” Bodie said sharply.

Doyle turned to him. “You have a problem?”

“Nah. What could be the problem?” he said irritably. “I'm having a grand time.”

With a scowl, Doyle hissed, “You're the one who followed me! I didn't ask you to come!”

“And I'm the one with the foot up his arse!” Bodie said nastily. A microdot, to be precise, he thought.

Doyle's face hardened. Bodie instantly felt guilty. The one thing Doyle didn't deserve was the sharp side of his tongue. Especially not when their lives were on the line. But why was he being a bastard ass of a sudden? He closed his eyes. He was scared. Being gunned down on British soil was one thing. Being killed in East Germany? His body would be tossed into an unmarked grave. He'd never see England again. For a moment, he felt sorry for himself before he saw reason. Dead was dead, whether in Jolly Old England or Communist East Germany or fucking Angola. Stop being a berk and help Doyle finish this!

Something must have shown on his face because Doyle's eyes softened and he gave Bodie a half-hearted smile.

“Sorry, mate,” Bodie said.

Shrugging his shoulders, Doyle said, “No worries. I understand.”

What had he done to deserve such an amazing partner? Not that he'd ever let on he thought Doyle was amazing, mind. “I know.”

“We must go now,” Koska interrupted. He folded some cash and rose. The waitress came over; he handed her the money with a gracious smile, complimenting her on the flavour of the coffee. She smiled in return, tossing her long, brown pony tail.

Bodie smiled as well, giving her a wink. She giggled like most young British women would have done when a bloke flirted with her. In that moment, Bodie knew she was like any other young woman, British or not. She wanted a job and a good life, probably wanted or had a beau and might even be thinking about having a kid or two.

Bloody wars and worthless overbearing governments. They ruined everybody's lives with their endless pursuit of power and domination. With a final wave to the pretty girl, Bodie went out after Koska and Doyle into the night with a new-found understanding of life. Or at least the lives of the little people in this world. That's why he did the job he did. Even though he wasn't always completely satisfied working with CI5 then he was content that he was trying to help. Hell, sometimes he actually succeeded.

------------------------------------------

The warehouse that Koska took them to was huge. It was mostly empty except for a huge bus. Not the type that ran on city streets but more. It was a luxury passenger bus, or what would pass for a luxury passenger busy behind the Iron Curtain.

Besides being enormous, it was garishly painted in a crazy psychedelic pattern. Reds, blues, whites, greens and of course, purples. A lot of purples! It looked like a graffiti artist on LSD had painted it. Maybe one had!

“What the hell is this?” Bodie asked, eying the bus up and down.

The Gorgons?” Doyle read aloud. “Really? Weren't they women? Are you allowed to do this?Oh, Greek. Right! ” He walked down the length of the bus. “Wow. are we really going to cross the border to West Germany in a heavy metal band tour bus?”

“Yes,” Koska explained. “And Misha will help you. He is part of our organisation, as are the other members of the group. “Misha, these are the two agents that I am commending into your care.”

Misha grinned. “Misha Workowski,” he said, shaking hands with Doyle and Bodie. “Welcome.”

“Come,” Misha said, “I'll give you the tour.” He climbed the steps into the bus, beckoning the men to follow. Past the driver's seat, he waved. “Kitchen, bath.” He pushed a pocket door open revealing a toilet, basin and tiny shower. “Lounge, of course.” There were two sofas and a few chairs. In the back were two sets of bunks build into the walls. “Sleeping quarters.”

“Nice,” Bodie said. “Perfect for parking behind a theatre or stadium during a concert.”

“Even better for crossing the East German border into the west,” Misha explained.

Bodie rubbed the side of his nose. He wasn't so sure about that! “Isn't this a bit daft?” Bodie asked. “Exactly how does this work? We're all defecting or escaping or what? And what happens when two less people return with the bus? The police are sure to notice.”

Misha Workowski laughed. He was whip thin with a shaved head and a long beard. He had earrings in his ears and a tattoo on the top of his shiny pate. Not exactly the good East German citizen Bodie had pictured. As he stared, Misha whooped with laughter.

“You do not think I am up to the job, British?” he said to Bodie, tears running down his face. In perfect English he said, “This is my eighteenth mission smuggling people from this fucked up country. I am excellent at my duties.”

“Hey, no worries, mate,” Doyle said, stepping between Bodie and Misha. “My partner sometimes jumps to conclusions.”

Looking down at Doyle (the bloke was 6'3” if he was an inch), he grinned. His tone, however, was icy. “So your partner often jumps to the wrong conclusions?”

Doyle shook his head vehemently. “No, I-”

Misha belly laughed, punching his arm. “Just kidding. I can assure you I take my job in the resistance very seriously. So does the rest of the band.” He stroked his chest length beard. “Between you 'n me ' the fence post, I like the excitement. And to answer your questions, no, I do not defect nor do the other members of the band. We return back to East Germany after every tour to once again help someone who wishes to escape the warm and welcoming arms of the GDR.”

“You're a regular double oh seven, eh?” Bodie said with a hint of respect now that he's sized up Misha. The fellow struck him as a good one. Bodie hated when he liked somebody instantly. He wondered if his radar was going off on the wrong direction. Hell, he'd been wrong before. Jimmy Keller ring any bells? he asked himself.

“I prefer double oh two,” Misha said.

“Oh?” Bodie raised an eyebrow. “Who's double oh one?”

“I am,” said someone from behind a stack of crates. A woman emerged. She was dressed the part of a punk rocker as well. Her hair was cut in a Mohawk and dyed purple. It matched the paint on the bus and stuck up from the top of her head at least six inches.

Bodie briefly wondered how she got it to stay that way. It looked as if it was as stiff as a board fence. He considered asking her if he could touch it but then he reckoned he's sound like a moron.

“What?” the woman growled, glaring at Bodie.

He held out his hands. “Just admiring the hair.”

She stared at him for a second before she smiled. “Thanks.” Her English was good, with the barest hint of a German accent.

Koska said, “Annabelle-”

“Belle,” she interrupted.

“Belle,” Koska said with an apologetic smile. “Belle, this is-”

“No names,” Misha said. “At least no real ones. I've got papers for you both and we have-” he glanced at his wristwatch, “eight hours before we must be on the road.”

“You're allowed out of the country?” Bodie asked. “How does that happen?”

“We are considered ambassadors, if you will,” Misha explained. “We prove to the West that the lies told by their governments and newspaper reporters are not true. That East German citizens as well as all people behind the Iron Curtain are allowed to live free and fulfilled lives.” He paused. “And we must also be the GDR's eyes and ears. We often bring back important information.”

Doyle snorted with disgust. “What about the people gunned down by the East German police while trying to climb the wall? You're spies!”

Bodie put a hand on Doyle's arm.

“That is merely Western propaganda to disparage the wonderful GDR and USSR and its people,” Belle explained, her tone clearly derisive.

“But why do you stay?” Bodie asked again.

“It is the same as the resistance in France in the War or in America with the Underground Railroad during their Civil War,” Koska said. “We feel our duty is to help those who need it, not to help or escape ourselves.” He tapped his chest. “It is in our hearts.”

“I admire you,” Bodie finally said after a long silence. It wasn't often one met selfless people like the ones he'd met on this trip. “Thank you.”

“What sort of information?” Doyle asked, apparently still not mollified after what Misha had said was their “duty”.

“We are provided intelligence by our contact in the West. They give us just enough to be useful but not enough to be helpful. We have to keep our cover or we will not be able to help anyone,” Misha explained. He stared at Doyle.

Doyle lifted a hand in surrender. “Sorry. I understand. I'm just...”

“He's hungry,” Bodie offered with a grin. Doyle, being Doyle, was double and triple thinking everything. He felt responsible for getting Bodie and the microdot out alive or he'd die trying. God, but Bodie loved the berk even if he did think he was guilty for all the world's ills.

With a grateful smile at Bodie, Doyle asked, “Are there other members of the band?”

Koska interrupted, “I must go. It is getting past time when my movements will not arouse suspicions.”

“Go,” Doyle said. He shook Koska's hand. “And thank you for everything. Gretel as well.”

With a casual wave, Koska said, “It is nothing.”

“It's a hell of a lot,” Bodie said firmly, also shaking his hand. “Gretel is safe?” Why hadn't he asked sooner? The woman had helped him kill a man and he forgot! He was a bastard sometimes.

Koska shook hands with Misha and hugged Belle. “Gretel is fine. She is a good woman. Thank you.” He looked at each of them. “I will not say good bye or good luck. God will do as he feels is best.” He hurried away and disappeared into the quiet, dark recesses of the empty warehouse.

“And he's a good man,” Doyle said.

“One of the best,” Belle agreed. “As to your question, there are six band members and three road crew.”

Bodie pulled at his ear lobe. “I'm still not sure about this. Why don't the boarder guards notice when you don't return with two of your people?”

“Ah,” Misha said, “but we do. We have people in West Berlin who return with us who closely resemble the ones we have successfully smuggled out of East Berlin. New photos are prepared, of course, for the passports and papers. Then on our next trip we have hired new band members if the current people we are helping do not resemble any of us. That is how it goes but we try to keep the turnover at a minimum to avoid suspicion.”

Doyle shook his head. “I can't believe it. They come back willingly. That's amazing. They're true heroes.”

“We do it because we love freedom and we want everybody who choses to try for that freedom.” Misha shrugged. “We'll do it until East Germany is a free country once again, or until we all die trying.”

Bodie scoffed. “Yeah, right. As if that will ever happen. It's been a long time. If things were going to change, they'd have done so by now.”

Belle laughed. Bodie liked her. She was smart and pretty, and if he didn't already have a true love, he'd have given her a try. Might be nice to settle down one of these days. He wondered what Doyle would think of him suggesting that. Doyle would box his ears off, laughing all the while.

“It will happen in our lifetime. I just know it,” Belle said.

“You have more faith in mankind than I do,” Bodie said. ““Don't the border guards notice even the small changes? Nobody looks exactly alike, even with shaved heads and wild clothes.”

“It is not a big problem coming back into East Berlin,” Misha said. “It is a big problem getting out. Besides, we have people on both sides who make the photos and redo the exit and entrance papers. Our people are experts and so far, none of the altered documents have been detected.”

“Thank God,” Belle said.

Misha shrugged. “And if they are, we are all willing to accept the consequences. It is not that much different than your job. You are often under threat.”

“Taken a few bullets too,” Bodie said, giving Doyle a mischievous grin.

Doyle rolled his eyes. To Belle, he said, “You are all true heroes. I hope all of your dreams come true.”

“It is why you do your own jobs so you understand,” Misha said knowingly, looking from Doyle to Bodie. “For freedom. For your country.”

Bodie snorted with amusement. Doyle elbowed him. “It's sure not the salary.”

“I'll second that,” Bodie agreed. “Although I sometimes do enjoy the excitement.”

Doyle asked, “So... which parts are we playing?”

Misha nodded to Bodie. “You're the lead guitar player, and he's one of the roadies. All will be explained and your attire for the trip is ready. Now let's get this show on the road.”

Bodie preened. He straightened his nonexistent tie. “I'm the lead guitar.”

Doyle rolled his eyes. “I will never hear the end of this.”

“Let's get ready. We have little time and you both have appointments with the photographer,” Misha said. “And you need clothing, and a bit more.”

“I'm ready,” Doyle said with a nod. “We're ready.” He gave Bodie an encouraging smile.

“We will return within the hour,” Misha told Belle. “Be sure all is ready.” At her nod, he walked to the back of the dark warehouse.

All Bodie could do is grin foolishly at Doyle. He didn't care how it looked. Doyle made him feel so bloody good merely by glancing at him with such approval that sometimes he was at a loss for words. He didn't know what was in store for them but whatever it was, might as well do it together. His stomach rumbled. Food, however, was a whole other story. He needed sustenance soon or he'd have to chew on his own arm. With a groan at his own silliness, he followed Misha and Doyle.

---------------------------------

Thankfully, the man who took the snapshots and provided clothing and other accoutrement for their disguises also had food for the hungry, hopeful escapees. Bodie chowed down on several sausage sarnies, along with coffee. Doyle ate one sarnie and drank two cups of the strong brew.

“I feel better,” Doyle said after finishing his second cup of coffee.

“Me too,” Bodie said with a loud belch.

“Are you finished?” the small, stooped man asked in German. He'd asked to be called Bill when they first arrived.

“Yes,” Bodie answered for both he and Doyle. Bodie found that his German was getting better and better with each passing minute. He hoped it wouldn't get 'better' for much longer.

“Good. Now go into the bathroom behind that panel and shave your heads,” Bill instructed. He rambled on for another minute or two. Bodie nodded, grinning like a loon, he was sure.

“Danke,” Bodie finally said.

“Eh?” Doyle asked, tugging at his ear. “Did he say-?”

“Yeah, shave our heads. Among other things.”

“Marvellous.”

“I get to do yours!” Bodie said.

Doyle gave him a narrow-eyed sideways glance. “You are much too excited about this!”

“I admit I...,” he waved Doyle towards the bathroom, “...love those curls,” he said under his breath for Doyle's ears alone. “But this is going to be spectacular!”

With a long-suffering sigh, Doyle sat on the closed toilet. “Be gentle.”

Bodie grinned, turned on the electric clippers and began his task. With each swipe of the clippers, he rubbed along Doyle's newly shorn head.

“Stop that.”

“Hmmm?” Bodie asked.

“Stop ticking my scalp!”

“Oh. Sorry.” Bodie traced Doyle's ear with a fingertip. “It feels so soft. Baby's bum.”

“Great,” Doyle muttered. “Are you finished?”

“You have more hair than any bloke should have! It's like a bird's.” Doyle punched him in the stomach. “Ooff.” Bodie paused in his duty. “That hurt!” he whined, rubbing his belly.

“Softie.” After a beat, Doyle whispered, “You won't have anything to hang onto now, you prat.”

Images of Doyle leaning over him, curls spilling forward. Of Bodie running both hands through his hair, the silky strands flowing between his fingers. His body began to react; he shifted uncomfortably.

“Are you having an x-rated thought about me, mate?” Doyle asked.

Bodie stopped. Doyle canted his head to look up. “You are!”

Bodie shrugged. “You're sex on legs, Raymond. And all mine.” He brushed a hand over Doyle's scalp. “There. Done.” He noticed that when Doyle stood up and took the clippers from Bodie, he didn't look into the mirror that was on the wall over a small basin.

“Afraid?” Bodie smirked.

“I hate you.”

“And I love you.”

Doyle met his gaze. His eyes softened. “Let's hope we get out of this. Losing a little hair will be worth it.”

“We will,” Bodie said firmly, crossing his arms. “Do it. Do not cut me!” he warned.

“I'll be gently.”

Doyle bent his head to his task, carefully running the clippers over Bodie's scalp. Bodie shivered.

“Sit still!”

“Can't! It tickles! Never had me head buzzed before!” Bodie bit his lip. “Go on. Finish it.” He managed not to react to the odd sensation again but it was quite the thing. He could feel the buzz down to his toes. It was a turn on. Great. He was destined to have blue balls today!

“Finished. We'll have to give our heads a quick shave. There's still some fuzz.”

Side by side, the agents looked into the mirror. Bodie was shocked to see their pates so blindingly pale under the single light bulb. There was a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Doyle said, rubbing his head with a bar of soap. He carefully ran a razor over his head.

Bill entered. He spoke to both men. Bodie nodded and took the items from his hand. “Ten minutes until photo time. Look here. We've got an earring. Good thing you've got a hole from one of your previous adventures for the old man or I'd have to push it through.”

“Hey! What about you wearing it?”

“I am not touching this body with any sort of needles.” Bodie ran a hand down his chest to his crotch. “No holes of any type.” He winked. “But you can rub this tattoo my glorious scalp.” Bodie rubbed a hand over his neatly shaved head. “I look good no matter what, eh?” He turned his head from side to side. Personally, he thought he looked stupid but he'd never admit that to Doyle. Definitely not the shaved-head, punk-rocker type. Still, he acknowledged that no hair made his eyes look big and his eyelashes stand out. He was a good-looking bloke if he did say so himself. He laughed.

You are a bloody moron.”

Bodie gave Doyle a big toothy grin, holding out the tattoo. “It goes on with water.”

Doyle pulled the paper from Bodie's hand. “I know that. Sit.” With his tongue between his teeth, Bodie watched in the mirror as Doyle wiped a spot on his scalp with a alcohol swab. He pressed the tattoo paper to Bodie's skin. “Hold that. Don't move.” Doyle wet a nearby rag and dabbed at the tattoo several times. “Don't move.”

“You already said that.”

“I'm saying it again. We'll give it a few minutes.” He picked up one of the earrings, a small hammer and sickle. “Marvellous,” he said with a groan before he pushed it into the hole in his right ear and attached the back piece. “A bit obvious, isn't it?”

Doyle was annoyed that the hole he'd put in for an earring two years ago for an undercover gig hadn't closed up. Bodie knew better than say anything about it. He wanted Doyle to wear an earring during sex. Maybe he'd ask next time. Worst his partner could do was pound him. He chuckled with glee. “Shows your dedication to Queen and country.”

“Don't think the Communists have a queen.”

“Looks good on you, mate. I'll buy you a diamond when we get back to London.” Might as well put the bee in Doyle's ear now. A diamond stud in his piercing would go down a treat. Bodie felt a flush rush through him. Christ, Doyle, wearing a stud, being a stud... The possibilities were endless.

Doyle glared at him in the mirror, clearly getting the gist of Bodie's insinuations. “Do that and you'll lose a few teeth.”

“Okay, then. An emerald. Will match those swampy green eyes of yours.”

“You're a prick, you know that?” Doyle turned and pulled off the transfer paper. “There. Looks amazing.”

Bodie stood up and looked at his reflection. Doyle stood next to him, examining his work. The skull and crossbones was gaudy, black and red and white with snakes coming out of the eye sockets.

“We look like rejects from hell,” Bodie muttered. “Guess we'd better move it. We're burning daylight.”

Doyle nodded. “In this case, I think that's a good thing.”

Bodie chuckled wryly. In a few minutes, they'd changed from their sensible clothing into the duds Bill had passed onto them earlier. Both men wore skin-tight jeans with ripped knees. Bodie's were faded black.

As he undressed Doyle asked, “Where's the microdot?”

“Still secure. That reminds me. I have to use the loo.”

“Do not flush it down the toilet!”

“I won't, mum. Do you want to carry it?” Bodie asked, grinning.

Doyle shook his head. “Not after where it's been!”

“Hey!” Bodie said, offended. “Your cock has been there and it didn't seem to mind!”

Doyle grinned in response. He zipped up his own tight blue denim jeans while Bodie used the toilet. “Really, Bodie. I can carry it if you want.”

“Nah. You brought the other microdot in your teeth. I can carry this in me bum.”

Finished, Bodie donned a black muscle shirt printed with “Misfits” and a white skull. Doyle didn't have a t-shirt but instead, he had a denim vest with a Harley Davidson emblem and the logo of “Bandidos” on the back. They both put on heavy black motorcycle boots.

“These are going to kill my arches,” Bodie moaned. “And these jeans are tight enough to do me mischief!”

“What we do for the cause,” Doyle said unsympathetically. “Ready?”

Bodie held out his arms and turned. “How do I look?”

Doyle put a finger to his lips and studied his partner. “Good enough to fuck.”

“Right answer.” Bodie stared. “Turn 'round.” He watched hungrily when Doyle danced in a circle. “Fucking hell, Ray. Those jeans are indecent.”

“You're staring.”

“Can count the hairs on your balls! But they do look good. Very good.” Bodie licked his lips provocatively.

Doyle gave a small sigh. “When we get home...”

Bodie reached out to ruffle his curls. He paused. “Going to miss them!' He started to open the door but Doyle touched his wrist.

“Listen, if we don't make it-”

“No, I won't listen! We're going to be fine.” Bodie turned and put his hands on Doyle's cheeks. Softly he said, “If not, what the hell. We'll go out together. Right?”

“Yeah, right. But listen-” Doyle bit his lower lip. He covered Bodie's hand with his. “When we get home... You 'n me, right?”

“Always,” Bodie said adamantly. He leaned in and kissed Doyle. Doyle's arms went around Bodie's waist, and they mashed themselves together. God knows when they could do this again.

Someone knocked. They men parted, grinning foolishly at each other.

“Coming, Bill!” Bodie called. He gave Doyle's hand one last squeeze before he opened the door.

------------------------------------------

The band members gathered in a loose circle beside the bus. Introductions were made all around. Misha, Belle, Hans, Adele, Tony and the new lad, Will. Road crew consisted of Raimund, (another) Hans, called Hanstoo, and Felix. Alfred was the driver. He was an older man with white hair streaked with blue stripes and dressed in a blue overalls that matched his hair. He sat behind the wheel drinking from a Thermos. Bodie hoped it wasn't anything stronger than coffee or tea for now.

Bodie studied his forged passport for a moment. He was Willem Lange and his picture reflected his new look. He and Doyle exchanged passports. His partner was Raimund Mayer. He couldn't help but grin at Doyle after examining his partner's snapshot.

Doyle gave him a disgusted look, yanked the passport back and pushed it into one of the incredibly tight back pockets. Bodie had to admire how there was enough room for the slim document. Together they went to study the band equipment that was piled next the bus. As one of the roadies, Doyle would need to know the equipment like the back of his hand.

While Doyle opened each case and inspection the speakers and amplifiers, Bodie sat down on an amplifier and opened the guitar case that contained the instrument that he would call his own. He carefully look out the white Lotus Les Paul electric guitar. Probably about fifteen years old, it was gorgeous and lovingly cared for.

“Is it all right that I play this?” Bodie asked.

“Of course,” Adele said. “You're the lead guitarist. But isn't she a beauty?”

“Oh yeah,” Bodie answered. “She is that.” He ran his fingers over the strings.

“Do you play?” Misha asked.

“Some,” Bodie said, strumming the guitar. It would sound fabulous when it was amplified.

Adele grinned. “What do you know that fits with our crazy group?”

Bodie paused, chewing his lower lip. “White Room, Born To Be Wild, Hair Of The Dog.

Whole Lotta love?” asked Tony.

“Oh, yeah. Good one.” Bodie said, playing a few chords on the unamplified guitar. He was pleased his fingers moved easily. It had been a while since he'd had time to practice, what with CI5 and well... Doyle in his bed. He kept his face down in case he was blushing.

“We always end with Anarchy In The U.K.,” said Hans.

“That one I don't know,” Bodie admitted. “Know the tune, of course. And I'm good at improvising.”

“Where'd you learn to play?” Belle asked.

“Oh a ship sailing African waters. In the bush. Seems like one of the lads always had a guitar, battered as it might be.” Bodie had a happy thought about his time in Angola. One of the few he'd have about his merc days, he was sure. Other than the money, which had been good.

“You'll do,” Misha said, nodding happily.

Hans showed Bodie the basic cords for the “Anarchy” song. He nodded, easily memorising them. Thankfully he had an ear for music.

Head together, they enjoyed the next fifteen minutes coming up with a playlist as if they were really going to do a live concert.

Hans wrote down the songs on a slip of paper. He stowed it in his jeans' jacket pocket. “We've never had to have any of our temporary members play before. Now that could be a recipe for disaster! Not many escapees from the GDR have have music lessons!”

“I wonder why,” Adele said with derision. “Fucking Communists.”

“But you all can play. Sing too, I reckon,” Bodie said.

“We're special,” Hans echoed.

“I'll agree with that!” Doyle said, joining the circle. “I'm good to go.”

“Learned your lessons, sunshine?” Bodie teased.

“I'm now an expert was assembling a full drum set and I know how to plug in the guitars.” Doyle puffed out his chest, making Bodie laugh. “I'm a roadie, you know.”

“Hanstoo says you are a fast learner. That is good,” Misha said, nodding with approval at Doyle. He clapped his hands. “Time.”

The band members and crew used the final hour to load the bus. Everybody pitched in and they found they enjoyed each other's company. As everyone helped fill the cargo hold under the bus with amplifiers, instruments, electrical equipment, duffel bags and other items any band on tour would need, Bodie felt as if he actually belonged to this group. Not one to make friends quickly, he found himself liking everyone. He especially appreciated how they were patient with Doyle. His German wasn't good but they all spoke English on some level and went out of their way to be helpful. Bodie swore to himself that once he and Doyle got home, if he could get Cowley to help these people. He would find a way to do whatever it took to support their cause.

Doyle looked at his quizzically. Bodie grinned. “It's nothing. Just surprised.”

“It could work, eh?”

“Yeah, it could.”

“Raimund,” Belle said, “when we cross the border, it would be best if you do not speak at all. Will's accent isn't that good either. Perhaps you could both feign colds. Sneezing and sniffling. If you must speak, try to muffle your words. Cough a lot. That way the guards will give you a wider berth. However, that will not stop them from examining your papers. Only keep them a distance from you.”

“Being sick won't make them turn us back?” Doyle asked.

“Not a cold. The East German guards won't care if you are taking some disease into the West,” Misha offered. “But the West guards would if you were truly sick. By that time it will not matter. We have contacts in the West checkpoint who know us and they know we are Omega. They too sometimes think we are nuts to return.” He shrugged.

Alfred called back from his seat, “Bereit?”

“Yes,” Misha said. He turned to the group, gave each one an encouraging smile. “Time to go.”

Bodie and Doyle exchanged glances. Bodie said, “Let's get this show on the road.”

Doyle huffed out a loud breath. “Okay. Let's do it.”

Hanstoo opened the large bay doors. Alfred drove out, waited for Hanstoo to close them and climb back onto the bus. Alfred pulled ahead.

For better or worse, they were off.

--------------------------------------

It was a bright sunny morning. The roads were busy with traffic. The pavement was crowded with people heading to work or shopping. As Bodie watched out the window he was once again taken aback on how normal it all seemed. People merely wanted to get on with their lives. To work and enjoy themselves. To have kids and lovers. To do good things and some, to do bad things. Normal, he repeated to himself. It shouldn't look so bloody normal!

A group of teenagers in school uniforms saw the bus. They stood on the kerb waving. The group members waved back. The Gorgons had fans!

“We often play music in the park for the youngsters,” Misha explained.

“It's too normal,” Bodie said aloud before he could stop himself.

Adele nodded and said in German, “You would think it was any place in the world. New York or Paris. But it's not. Do not let the appearance of normal fool you.”

Bodie translated for Doyle. He nodded, his gaze intent on the outside world. “It's strange, eh?” he said to Bodie. “You could forget.”

“For a bit,” Bodie agreed.

As time passed, he began to feel the tension in the air. They must be getting close to the border now. Bodie asked, “How long?”

Misha answered, “Less than thirty minutes.”

“Cheers.”

The easy chatter ceased. Bodie tried not to fidget. He made himself review everyone's names and other vital information that a friend would know. He ran through the playlist in his head. He prayed that all of this was good enough to pass muster. Far too quickly Alfred made a final turn. They came to a stop in a line of vehicles waiting to pass through the East German checkpoint. Ahead, Bodie could see the high wall topped with barbed wire. It did not look at all inviting.

The tension was palpable. The group may have made this trip many times before but each time had to make hearts pound and palms sweat. The bus inched closer was each vehicle was inspected and either allowed through or ordered back. The tour bus was six or seven vehicles away from the main checkpoint when a group of soldiers gathered alongside it. The soldiers began gesturing at the tour bus and speaking animatedly amongst themselves.

Bodie tensed. His heart hammered. His breathing escalated. Had they been made already? What were the soldiers doing? Clearly the tour bus was the object of their attentions. Sweat prickled his scalp. He hurriedly wiped it off, careful not to damage his tattoo.

“What's going on?” Doyle asked softly.

Misha shrugged. “I don't know. It's not happened before.

“This isn't good,” Adele whispered. “How have we been discovered without our papers being checked?”

“They don't look angry,” Bodie said. “Almost... excited.”

Bodie kept an eye on the soldiers. One broke away and trotted off to another building. He disappeared inside and reappeared several minutes later with another man dressed in an officer's uniform. They both approached the bus and the officer knocked on the door.

Alfred opened it. “Jawohl? Guten tag?”

“Good day!” the man said, his tone pleasant. “We would like a special request of your group. We have some dignitaries touring our facility today and it would be most appreciated if you would provide our guests entertainment! Several of my men tell me you are... how did he say it? Roll and rock gods?” He laughed. “Please,” he said, waving towards a large warehouse. “We have an adequate space for your equipment and my men are excited to hear your music.”

“Jesus bloody Christ,” Bodie muttered softly.

“What?” Doyle asked.

“They want us to play for them?”

“Now?”

“Yeah. Right now!”

“Jesus Bloody Christ,” Doyle echoed.

“Of course, Officer. We would be most honoured!” Alfred said jovially.

Bodie could bet Alfred had wet his pants by now. But what else could they do?

“We are going to entertain our comrades!” Misha stood up, speaking loudly so that all could hear. the enthusiasm in his voice “Alfred, please do as directed by the oberst, please.”

Alfred nodded. The officer stepped back, giving Alfred room to manoeuvre the bus out of line. He walked alongside to direct them towards the building where he wanted the band to set up.

Bodie's hands were clenched together. He forced himself to release them and to breathe in and out several times. Once he'd calmed himself down, he caught Doyle's worried gaze. “It will be okay. Remember, no talking.”

Doyle gave nod, shaking his own arms out to relax himself.

The bus stopped. Everyone exited. The band members carried their instruments, except for Hans, the drummer. Doyle hurried to unload the drum set up while the other roadies started on the amps. They all followed the officer through a door into the warehouse.

Chairs were hastily being set up by German guards. A large space at the front of the room was left empty to the band. Doyle began to assemble the drum set while everybody bustled about their duties. Doyle kept his mouth shut as did Bodie.

The other members chatted amongst themselves and it took about thirty minutes to fully set up. Doyle didn't once glance in Bodie's direction. Rather, he busied himself as a good roadie would, helping the others make sure the equipment was working properly. After a sound check, the singers adjusted their microphones and double checked that guitars were tuned to their specifications. In far too short a time for Bodie's liking, they were ready. Bodie was sure he was going to be sick. He'd never done this before; played in front of people who could and would kill him at the drop of a hat.

Misha came over, his bass guitar ready. “Playlist,” he said, handing Bodie a small square of paper with tape on it. “I've told the guards we're ready. Are you all right?.”

Bodie nodded, gave Misha a grin, and stuck the paper to the side of the guitar where he could see it easily. The list included the Sex Pistols song, of course. Misha had rounded out the list with others he recognised: AC/DC's Back in Black and Jimi Hendrix Experience All Along The Watchtower. He would be fine, he told himself. As if he had a choice! Gripping the guitar, he straightened his shoulders and faced the empty chairs.

The door opened and one of the uniformed guards led in a large contingent of men and women. They were all dressed in civilian clothes. They filed in, talking and laughing. The guard waved to the chairs. The audience members began to take their seats.

It's a damned party, Bodie thought. Marvellous. He kept a smile on his face even though he had the urge to run screaming out of the building. Now wouldn't that go down a treat?

Head bent to double check his guitar, when he looked up again, he almost made a huge blunder. It was only his training that kept him from betraying his shock.

In the front row, barely fifteen feet away from him, dressed in a black fur coat, high heels and a gaudy black hat made of feathers, was Elsa Eckhart.

Fucking hell.

Elsa sat in her chair like royalty. She had a large handbag of black leather on her lap and with each turn of her head, the feathers on the hat ruffled. It looked alive. Bodie choked back a hysterical laugh and instead, funneled that laugh into something that would be sure to throw her off her guard. She could not recognise him or Doyle. It was an immediate death sentence for everyone in the group, including old Alfred. Steeling himself while Misha introduced the group, he stared at her until she must have felt his gaze. She looked at him, her eyes widening. He stared back, gave her a look that any woman would label as lecherous, and winked. He stuck the tip of his tongue out, lifting his eyebrows.

Elsa stared for another heartbeat before she blushed and looked away. Bodie thanked the gods above for his bravado. Or was that blatant stupidity? It didn't matter because at that moment Hans began to beat a rhythm on the drums and the concert was on.

Bodie played like he never had before. His fingers danced and he sang his heart out. Afterwards, Bodie would wonder how the hell he'd pulled it off but right now, at this moment, he was in the groove! Adele and Belle took turns singing with Tony. He had a great voice. It was clear one second and gravelly the next. They were all good enough to be professional musicians. Bodie hadn't heard better in a long time. Instead, they were compelled by circumstances to put their lives in danger every minute of every day.

It was not fair.

When Misha nodded to him on the Jimi Hendrix song, Bodie put his mouth close to the mic and let loose. He caught Doyle's gaze from the side of the make-shift stage. Doyle looked positively gobsmacked. He stared at Bodie as if he'd grown horns. Bodie grinned. Didn't hurt to keep your lover guessing, did it?”

As he sang, he sent up a silent prayer to a god he didn't believe in. It was a simple request. All he wanted was that someday soon Misha and Adele and Tony and the rest of the group would be free. Free to carry on as a band or not. Free to do what they loved without fear of imprisonment or worse, death. It was probably a waste of time to pray for such things but it didn't stop him from wanting it with all his heart.

--------------------------

When they'd played the final note, the audience stood up and applauded wildly. Bodie couldn't keep the grin from his face. The applause was sincere. They'd enjoyed the concert! All the band bowed again and again.

There were shouts of “bravo”! Even commies enjoyed good music.

The commandant came up to Misha and shook his hand. “Gut gemacht,” he said, nodding to the rest of the group before he turned away. He held out his arm to Elsa and she took it with a flirtatious grin. It made Bodie want to barf. Sucking up to the powers in charge seemed to be the way to a successful film career. No, thanks!

Doyle, Hans, Adele, Misha, all of them seemed to be stunned into silence. When the last guest had left, they finally moved, talking excitedly in hushed tones.

“Wow, that was damned creepy,” Tony said, packing one of the guitars.

Doyle unscrewed the symbols from their stands. “Does this happen often?” he asked.

“Never,” Misha answered. “It's disheartening. If they ask again and the people we're helping can't play... Well, this was great luck! Bodie, excellent job.”

Bodie felt a flush of warmth. He had done his best, and so far, it was working. They weren't safe yet, but things were looking better for them.

Alfred came into the room. “Let's go now, while they're all in good moods!”

Hanstoo picked up an amplifier. “I'm.. scared.”

“We're all scared,” Misha said. “Keep your cool and it will be fine.”

“I've got a bad feeling about this,” Doyle said.

Bodie closed the guitar case and picked it up. “That sounds like a line from a film.”

“It is,” Hans said. “Star Wars.”

“Great,” Bodie said. “They did okay then. Won the day.”

“Not in the second film!” Doyle said.

Bodie raised an eyebrow. “There's a second film?”

Rolling his eyes, Doyle said, “Philistine.”

Bodie gave Doyle's arm a tap. “I'm British.” He grinned. Being with Doyle always made things better. Even if they were about to meet the firing squad!

“Listen, ” Misha said firmly. “We're going to be all right. Let's get the equipment on the bus and get the fuck out of here!”

The bus was loaded in record time. Once everyone had boarded, one of the uniformed guards climbed on.

As he looked at each person's papers, he kept saying, “Cool” and “Groovy”. He bobbed his head, apparently in time to the music in his head. He was a young bloke and obviously had enjoyed their efforts.

“Ich ben ein grosser Fan von AC/DC!” he said happily. “Und die Beatles!”

“I am as well!” Misha answered enthusiastically.

Adele agreed. “Yes. Cool!”

Bodie met the guard's eyes directly. He smiled. The man smiled in return.

When it was Doyle's turn, he waved a hand, coughing into a handkerchief. He gave the guard an apologetic look while keeping his mouth covered. He wheezed theatrically.

The guard stepped back. “Eine Erkältung?“

Doyle nodded, sneezing several times in a row.

Thankfully the guard seemed happy to turn away from the sick man. “Auf Wiedersehen!”

Calls of “good-bye” followed the man off the bus. Only then did Bodie breathe a huge sigh of relief. He leaned back, covered his eyes with a hand. Christ, but this was crazy! That guard was so- normal! How could that be? Why didn't these people - his enemies - have horns and tails? Why did they have to be average people? At least most of those he'd met. It was so emotional, this roller coaster, that he couldn't wait to get home. Back in London, at least the bad guys looked and acted like bad guys.

Or did they?

Bodie stomped on his thoughts. He was doing far too much introspection for his liking. He looked towards his partner. Doyle met his gaze. He drank in the familiar face. That lean body, those long legs. Doyle kept his grounded. Doyle loved him. Doyle... He needed Doyle as much as he needed air and food and, and...

Stop it! he ordered himself.

Staring out the window, he saw that Alfred had manoeuvred the bus back into line. They were only one vehicle away from the gate. One vehicle between them and freedom.

It was not to be.

The guard at the gate held up his hand. Another guard inside the gatehouse was on the telephone, staring at the bus. Bodie could see the guards speaking and waving. They'd been made, he was sure of it. Bodie had moved to sit next to Doyle. Now he reached over and took Doyle's hand, not caring who saw them.

Doyle clenched his fingers so tightly that they hurt. Bodie welcomed the pain. It grounded him and made him feel secure in spite of the situation. Doyle knew how to keep him safe; how much he could take and what to dole out. He felt flushed now, thinking about Doyle and his control over Bodie, the control that Bodie gave willingly.

One thing would always be his. He would have his thoughts, his memories of he and Doyle together, in bed. Now that they were all going to prison that was all he would have. Nothing would save them now. They'd been sussed out. How didn't matter. It was done.

Bodie leaned over to Doyle. “I love you.”

Doyle gave Bodie's hand another squeeze. “Me too.” He swallowed audibly. “You were fantastic today. The way you played! Amazing..”

With a cocky grin, Bodie said, “Yeah, I was. But so you were you and the other blokes. Birds too.”

“Right,” Doyle said tightly. “We all did the best we could.”

The guard approached the bus door. Alfred opened it. Everyone on the bus had their attention riveted to the steps leading into the bus. Bodie held his breath. Poor Alfred, he had no choice but to let the enemy on the bus. Bodie had seen their firepower. Each soldier was well armed and any one of them could machine gun them down through the bus windows. Bodie decided he'd rather be rather he killed right here than be in prison for decades. Decision made, he gathered himself together, waiting for his chance. Prison wasn't for him. Been there; done that. It was horrible.

Bodie didn't understand how Doyle knew something was up with him. He must have moved somehow because Doyle's other hand clamped down on his lower arm, the one with their clasped hands.

“No,” Doyle whispered. “Hang about.”

His partner, his bloody brilliant partner, understood. Doyle had no doubt that Bodie had something up his sleeve, and he was stopping him. But Doyle had to understand what would be in store for them if they were captured. Torture, starvation, firing squad, all after they denounced the West in front of a lot of cameras. He must know! Glaring at Doyle, Bodie pursed his lips and raised an eyebrow.

“You were so caught up in throwing yourself on your own sword that you weren't paying attention,” Doyle said softly. “We've not been caught. We've been asked to take a passenger to a hotel in West Berlin. Seems her escort was in a traffic accident and the car's a mess. Since we're going that way, she's coming with us.”

“Eh?” Bodie said stupidly. “How did you...?”

“My German's gotten better,” Doyle said blandly. “Not much else to do the past few days.”

Bodie reckoned he looked as dumb as he felt staring at Doyle. “You're amazing,” he blurted out.

“'Bout time you noticed.” Doyle grinned.

A woman's voice drifted into the bus's interior. “Danke für deine Rücksicht.” The woman climbed the steps and stood at the top. Bodie's eyes widened. Elsa Eckhart! Again! Would they never rid themselves of that woman? Would she recognise them now that they were going to be up close and personal? Hell, yes, she'd recognise them. She picked Doyle and Bodie out of a crowd from the stage of a theatre! Who was he kidding. They were all dead.

Misha stood up, putting himself between Bodie and Doyle and the newly arrived passenger. He greeted her effusively. “Hallo! Herzlich willkommen!” He took her arm and escorted her to a seat where she sat with her back to the interior of the bus. A guard loaded two suitcases. He seemed uninterested in the bus passengers and after setting them on the floor, he disembarked.

Bodie's heart pounded. He stared at the back of Eckhart's head, waiting until the guard had left. “Go to the back,” he hissed to Doyle. “So she can't see you. If we're together it might jog her memory of the news reports. Those eyes of yours are unmistakable. So is that arse.”

“Me arse wasn't on telly!”

“More's the pity.”

Doyle gave him a disgusted look but he slid out of the seat and went to the rear sleeping area that was separated from the lounge by a curtain. He would play the sick comrade. Hopefully Eckhart wouldn't be exploring any time soon. Misha was keeping her entertained, asking about herself, something no woman, let alone an actress, could refuse. He could hear the murmur of their voices, but not the actual conversation. Grateful that Misha was more than likely gushing over her various roles, Bodie slumped down, making himself as unobtrusive as he possibly could.

Alfred started the bus and it moved forward. Bodie kept his eyes riveted on the guard house, with its gate stretched across the pavement. The gate that needed to be raised so they could escape to freedom.

Twenty feet.

Ten feet.

The gate lifted. The guard house slid by on his left. He didn't take in a full breath until they were through the gate and moving towards the Western checkpoint.

Blimey! They'd done it! They were safe! Bodie wanted to leap up and shout their good luck to the heavens. But he couldn't do that. Elsa Eckhart was the enemy and she was amongst them. She might not be able to hurt any of them this moment, but she certainly could do much harm. Without a doubt, if she discovered that Bodie and Doyle were on the bus she would turn in the other band members in a moment. It would give her great satisfaction to be the one who had uncovered the escape route of the defectors from England, the agents who lied and cheated and betrayed. She would scream to the press how the East German authorities had been duped. The entire operation of the Omega resistance organisation would be unveiled and the band would not be able to help anyone else escape from East Berlin. Although Misha and the rest of Bodie's new friends would be safe in the West, they would never be able to return “home”. Their families and friends would be in danger. They knew the risks but this wasn't going to happen today. Not on Bodie's watch.

All Bodie could do was stay in his seat and keep his mouth shut. For now. Lives depended on him and Doyle. It was his job to defend the realm and to keep people safe. But once he and Doyle were back in London, they would have the biggest private celebration known to man. He would buy the most expensive champagne he could afford and treat Doyle to the best dinner in Town. Afterwards... It had been far too long since they'd made love. In fact, the dinner and champagne could wait until after that happened. He needed Doyle in his arms and in his body. He needed to know they were alive and safe and- bloody hell- if he could believe it, in love!

Bodie knew without a doubt that miracles did happen.

--------------------------------------

Raining in London. Imagine that. The rumble of thunder made Bodie pause, glancing out the window of Doyle's bedroom. Streaks of water raced down the panes. The sky was full of heavy clouds bucketing down. Bodie didn't care one whit. London in its grimy, wet, traffic-ladened glory was where he belonged.

Bodie would allow nothing to dampen his happiness, not even the gloom outside. He was totally and completely ecstatic. He was safe. He had a belly full of fish, chips and good whiskey. Better yet, he was with Doyle. Was he ever!

Bodie sat astride Doyle, breathing heavily. Doyle's cock was buried in his arse. His own cock was hard and dripping like a leaky tap. Leaning down to his hands, he wiggled his hips, making Doyle gasp.

“You're a tormentor, you know that?” Doyle said breathlessly, pushing up his lower body.

“God, Ray,” Bodie said throatily. He clenched his arse muscles before lifting himself along that fine cock. He loved the feel of Doyle's cock filling him. He slid back down until he managed to use the head of Doyle's penis to rub against his prostate. “Jesus.”

“Doin' a lot of praying tonight, eh?” Doyle grinned, shifting his body again.

“You'd best pray I let you come.” Bodie leaned down, moving closer until their mouths were joined. He tongue-fucked Doyle until his partner was wiggling under him, trying to pump. Bodie's weight kept Doyle somewhat still but Doyle was a wiry one. Clenching his thighs together, Bodie pinned Doyle down.

Doyle tugged at the silk tie that bound his arms over his head, wrists together. The end was tethered to the headboard. Doyle was his captive. His captive. Taking in his partner under him, Bodie couldn't have said which he preferred: being taken or being the one doing the taking. It was all good.

Earlier tonight Doyle had thrown out a challenge. Bodie had, of course, accepted.

“Bet I can make you come without touching you,” Doyle had said.

“Bet you can't.”

The game was on. But now Bodie realised that he'd gotten himself sucked in. Doyle, in spite of being bound and trapped, was calling the shots. Bodie wanted to come. His cock ached. His balls were tight. He was on the edge and it would only take a few more strokes before he was shooting come onto the ceiling. Fuck that. It would only take sitting here, feeling Doyle inside of him and he'd be orgasming all over the room!

Bodie pulled back, sitting up, driving Doyle's cock deeper. He let out a yelp.

Doyle grinned. “You're going to come any second,” he taunted.

“Am not,” Bodie said around his clenched teeth.

“If you move one more inch, you'll be done for,” Doyle said with great satisfaction.

“Not before I make you scream!” Bodie said, clenching his arse cheeks, rocking slightly. He loved making Doyle's eyes widen and sweat bead on his forehead. He also liked when Doyle bit the end of his own tongue.

“That wasn't the bet. It was that you'd come without me- Bodie!”

Bodie rose up until only Doyle's cock-head was inside him. He glided slowly down the entire length of that marvellous cock. Doyle squeezed his eyes shut. Bodie laughed, lifted himself up again and repeated his actions. He was going to win this bet. After all, honour demanded it.

“Oh, Christ,” Bodie said. He doubted he could hold out a second longer. The slow motions were making him crazy. His body screamed at him and he couldn't help himself. He leaned forward on his hands, angeled his arse just so and pumped up and down Doyle's cock as fast as he could. Even with his wild thrusting, he managed to nudge his prostate several times. The sensation was amazing. He never wanted this to end.

Doyle planted his feet and rose up to meet each of Bodie's thrusts. Both men were panting now, and Bodie felt that inevitable happen. His body shuddered. His prick swelled then streams of semen spurted out and down his own cock. Some splattered onto Doyle's chest.

“Ray!” Bodie called, his mouth open.

“Bodie!” Doyle responded, shuddering as he emptied himself into Bodie's body. “Jesus, Bodie.”

Bodie slumped forward, a hot sweaty mess. He blanketed Doyle's body with his own.

Doyle kissed the side of Bodie's face. “Was good.”

“Cheers,” Bodie answered with a laugh. With one hand, he pulled on the knot he'd made holding Doyle's arms over his head. Doyle could have done it himself any time he wanted but apparently, he hadn't wanted. Sometimes a bloke wanted to be taken and not be in charge.

Doyle wrapped his arms around Bodie's shoulders and smacked his arse. “I win.”

Bodie sighed. “Bloody hell. You cheated!”

Pulling back so he could look into Bodie's eyes, Doyle asked, “And how did I do that, pray tell?”

“By being the sexiest man on the planet.”

“Ah. Well, then that's okay.”

“Bath?”

“Champagne?”

Bodie raised himself onto his arm and smiled down at his lover. He kissed Doyle lightly. “It's on ice.”

The bath was big enough for the two of them to fit somewhat comfortably, if they sat facing each other. Bodie handed Doyle a glass of cold champagne. Contented, he sipped the wine, savouring the flavour of a good vintage.

“To us,” Doyle said, raising his glass.

Bodie clinked glasses with him. “To our knighthoods.”

Laughing, Doyle drank some more. “You think we'll get knighthoods?”

“We should! We brought home the bacon, as they say.”

“Or the microdot.”

“Don't think many people bring home the microdot.” Bodie finished his glass. He leaned back. He'd gotten the back of the tub. Doyle had to make do with the taps in his spine. Sometimes life gave you little pleasures and you should enjoy them. Bodie planned to enjoy every one of them.

Doyle ran his fingers down Bodie's chest. “As I said before, you were fantastic. I had no idea you could play like that!” He moved his fingers on Bodie's ribs, mimicking playing the guitar.

Bodie shrugged and wiggled. It tickled. “I have many hidden talents, my lad.”

With a laugh, Doyle pinched Bodie's nipple.

“Hey! That hurts!”

“Too much?”

Bodie grinned. “Never.” He tried to grab Doyle's nipple but Doyle was indeed a slippery one. They started a friendly tussle which resulted in water spilling over the side of the bath.

“Oops,” Doyle said. “We've made a mess.”

“I like making a mess with you.” Bodie grabbed Doyle's arms and pulled him in. He kissed him, pushing his tongue past Doyle's teeth. Doyle slid closer, wrapping his legs around Bodie's hips. They explored each other's mouths and bodies enthusiastically.

It was a long while before Doyle leaned forward, resting his head on Bodie's shoulder. “Water's gone cold.”

Bodie rubbed his hand on Doyle's fuzz-covered head. “It's only been four days and it's already growing out. Soft, like a baby's hair. Will it be curly?”

“Berk.” He touched Bodie's scalp. “I suppose so. Don't believe genetics are abandoned merely for shaving your locks off.” He reached out, ran his palm across Bodie's scalp. “Yours too. Can you believe the look on Cowley's face when he first saw us?”

Bodie laughed, along with Doyle. “Priceless! He didn't recognise us! Took him a good thirty seconds. That look! Pure shock.”

“I'd pay good money for a photograph of his face!”

Both men hooted for a while, enjoying the camaraderie of understanding. Bodie relished the friendship, the companionship he had with Doyle. Something he'd never had with anybody before, not a bird or a bloke. Certainly not with any of his family. Cold fish, the lot. For a moment, he considered telling Doyle how special he was to him. Nah. They were men, not birds. Men didn't blurt out that short of mush. Had already told him he loved him. That should be enough.

“We'd put it in a place of honour on the mantel.”

“And throw darts at it!”

They laughed again.

“Speaking of Cowley, what's the old man playing at?” Bodie asked, narrowing his eyes. “Don't trust him, giving us three days leave.”

Doyle rubbed supper lip with a finger. “We'll be paying the piper soon enough.”

“That's what's got me scared!”

“We'd best enjoy the time off, in case he sends us to the Outer Hebrides when we're back on duty.”

“Or Docklands,” Bodie grumbled.

Hey,” Doyle said, sitting straight up, “let's go for Indian. I'm starving.”

“You're starving? Just had fish and chips.”

“That was hours ago, mate. Love's made you barmy. Can't even tell time any longer.” Doyle sighed noisily, rolling his eyes. “Brain's turned to mush and stomach's not working properly.”

“Love?” Bodie held Doyle's gaze.

Doyle shrugged. “Yeah.” He paused. “It is, isn't it?”

A warmth suffused Bodie's entire body. “It is to me. And Indian sounds good,” Bodie said, giving Doyle one last kiss. “My cock's shrivelled up now with all the cold anyway.” Doyle gave it a playful pat. “But if I'm going out in public with you, you'd best wear a hat.”

With narrowed eyes, Doyle asked, “Why's that?”

“Because you look horrible. That reddish brown fuzz will scare off the waitress for sure!”

“There's no waitress at the Indian place, moron. Besides, who says you look any better?”

Bodie puffed out his chest. “I'll have you know I shall always be tall, dark and-!”

Doyle climbed from the tub. He turned and, quick as a flash, pushed Bodie down under the cold water. Bodie came up sputtering.

“Why you-!” Bodie pulled himself out of the bath in one lurch. Doyle gave him a lecherous grin and raced from the room.

Bodie chased his bare arse down the hallway, tackling him in the lounge. They both had rug burns in various places as they skidded to a stop next to the sofa.

“You are paying tonight, sunshine!” Bodie growled, rubbing at his reddening knee and thigh.

Doyle twisted and suddenly he was on top of Bodie. “Oh, I know who'll be paying. And it won't be me!” he said happily.

Then he leaned down and kissed Bodie.

Doyle was right about one thing. Doyle could make him forget his own name with his lips and fingers and tongue and cock. It was just fine with Bodie that he would be the one paying. In more ways than one. Both for dinner and afterwards, in their bed.

He would never regret following Doyle into East Berlin but he was extremely glad they managed to find their way home to this. As Doyle's tongue tickled Bodie's ear, Bodie thanked any god he could think of for giving him Raymond Doyle.

Bodie didn't know what he'd done to deserve this much happiness but he wasn't going to look this gift horse in the mouth. He turned his full attention on his lover. He would think philosophical thoughts tomorrow. At the moment, he had better things to do.

End

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