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Two sweaty male bodies writhed on the bed. The film quality was bad, but it was good enough to make it clear what agents 4.5 and 3.7 were doing. To put it crassly, they were doing each other. The film projector clicked to a stop just as Doyle was about to enter Bodie.

"That's more than enough to prove my point," Dr. Kate Ross said sharply, turning the lights on. "I told you this would happen. It was a mistake to pair those two and now I've just been proven right."

"Where did you get that footage?" George Cowley demanded in a cold tone. He just hoped to God this wasn't blackmail.

"I have my means," Kate said firmly. "You gave me free reign when it came to the psychological well-being of the squad. I do whatever it takes to do my job. Sometimes that includes surveillance. You know damn well the men give up their privacy when they join CI5."

"And you answer to me," Cowley reminded her sharply. "What exactly would you have me do?"

"They should be removed from the squad and, at the very least, separated."

"I paired them despite your warnings," Cowley scowled at her. "And why is that, Dr. Ross?"

Kate sighed, and scowled back. "Because you're the head of CI5."

"It's gratifying to see your degrees can at least help you recognize my authority when the need arises," Cowley cut her down quickly. "Because, if I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times..."

"You have a feel for this sort of thing," she finished for him in a mocking tone. "They're involved in one of the most self destructive, co-dependant relationships I've ever seen."

"English, Doctor Ross... English," Cowley said curtly, taking a sip of his beloved scotch. "I hate academic babble."

"Alright... they're both selfish little boys who don't like others playing with their toys and yet refuse to grow up or enter an adult relationship. They both have a phobia of commitment and they keep socks longer than they keep girlfriends."

"I could have told you that the day I first looked over their personnel files," Cowley snorted. "Give me more to justify your diagnosis."

Kate walked over to her briefcase and pulled out two thick, tattered files, as if she had gone over again and again. She tossed them onto Cowley's desk. "Their case histories are enough to justify my diagnosis. I am more than thorough with my work, Mr. Cowley. Before 3.7 joined the squad, we conducted the usual in-depth background study. Bodie's psychological problems have roots in a highly abusive home life that he escaped at fourteen years old. He ran away from his addict and prostitute mother who had a string of abusive men around her son. Seems it was the last straw when his mother's pimp wanted to turn him out. I won't go into Bodie's violent temper or fierce over-protectiveness of Doyle, but he has intimacy problems with women and abandonment issues because of everything his mother did to him. It seems the only semi-successful relationship he's been able to build is with Doyle. To put it plainly, Bodie is needy and an emotional cripple all hidden behind a mask of pure ice. He's bisexual, preferring sexual gratification from brief encounters with women, but craves the emotional support he can only find in a relationship with another man."

"I already knew all of this," Cowley huffed. "How does this figure into their incapability in the field?"

Kate gave a long-suffering sigh. She hated having to explain the simplest concepts to laymen. "I already said agents 4.5 and 3.7 are in a co-dependant relationship. And before you say anything... that roughly translates to toxic love... each man shares a deep-rooted toxic love for his partner. They are dependant on each other for security to the point of blurring the lines between having separate lives, existing in each other's back pockets. But, that's just the start... there are the constant power plays, manipulation and flashes of jealousy and over-protectiveness. They can't endure separation from one another, but when they are separated, they are distrustful of the other. In the field, they go off on suicidal missions, one confident the other will rescue him. They are both highly insecure and demonstrate signs of need for immediate sexual gratification to cement their relationship. If you add to that the fact they are obsessed with each other's problems and feelings, then you have a classic example of a dysfunctional, co-dependant relationship."

"Everything you described makes them the best agents we have," Cowley said calmly.

"You're not listening to a thing I'm saying," Kate snapped. "Maybe once you take into account that Doyle is a repressed homosexual, you'll understand. He hates himself for what he is and chases after women to compensate. That whole fiasco with that mark he wanted to marry proves my point. Doyle keeps trying to deny what he is and what he wants with Bodie, so he keeps running away. But he always returns and Bodie keeps taking him back."

"And Bodie's women?" Cowley asked with a raised eyebrow.

"My guess would be to keep their cover, but mostly to provoke Doyle's jealousy," Kate countered. "They have a cycle of pushing one another away, then pulling the other back."

"And what about the fact that they clearly enjoy one another's company?" Cowley asked. "Even an idiot can see their... affection, is genuine."

"Disillusion," Kate argued and when she heard Cowley scoff, she added, "They do share a lot of interests, but that is no basis for a real relationship."

"What would be your recommendation?"

For the first time hope sparked for Kate. "I would recommend immediate suspension and an official order of separation, both personally and professionally."

"And do you really think they'd stay away from each other?"

"Well... no," Kate amended. "You might have to enforce that order. They are as addicted to the squad as they are to each other. I wouldn't put it past them to try and reject it all for each other. In that event, I think an intervention would be in order. They're sick men, Mr. Cowley. They'll be the death of each other."

Cowley poured himself another glass of scotch and downed half of it one gulp. "If those lads tried to stop what they have, it would be like trying to stop breathing. Even if they could do it... which, I doubt, it would kill them. Either way they are living the life of the damned."

"So, what are you going to do?" Kate demanded.

"Let them do their job," Cowley said quietly and downed the rest of the scotch. He stared Kate straight in the eyes. "This conversation never happened."

"But..." Kate tried to protest.

"Be quiet woman," Cowley snapped, loosing his temper. "They stare death in the face every hour of every day. They deserve some happiness. Now get out of my office."

Kate glared at Cowley in shock and then threw the files into her brief case. "Very well, Mr. Cowley. What about the film?"

"It's the only copy?"


"It'll be destroyed and I'd expect any future surveillance of these agents to be approved by me from now on."

"Yes, sir," Kate answered in a cold tone. Turning on her heels, she slammed the door behind her. This wasn't over... far from it. She couldn't stand by and call herself a doctor while idly watching two men slowly destroy each other. She would find a way to save them.

Ray pulled on his t-shirt and hoped the bird he'd just shagged was still asleep. He'd waited until he thought she was asleep before he slipped out of the bed. Ray heard a rustle of the sheets and winced when he heard the lithe blonde speak.

"Not stayin' the night, luv?"

He settled the t-shirt over his trousers and turned back to face the bed. "Sorry, but I have to get home."

"Got a missus at home?" she asked with a sharp laugh. "Gonna sneak home with your tail between your legs like some ol' tomcat?"

"Something like that," Ray mumbled. He tried to remember her name... Maggie, Maddy or Mary? It was something like that.

"Can't be anything too serious if you're out tomcatting around," she laughed again and Ray seriously hated the high-pitched titter. He couldn't wait to get out of here and was glad they hadn't gone back to his flat.

"It's none of your business," Ray snapped.

"So, I guess that means you won't be ringing me up again?"

Ray sighed and did his belt up. "You can give me your number, but I can't promise anything..."


"I knew that, Maddy. It's just I have a busy schedule and..."

"...and got a bird at home. Got it the first time round, mate. You were just interested in a quick shag, but let me guess... you really do adore the love of your life? You don't mean to step out. I've heard it all before. You're probably always fighting like cats and dogs, but you just don't have the bollocks to leave and stop making each other miserable... and the make up sex is probably spectacular."

"Shut up," Ray growled, grabbing his boots and already heading towards the door. "You don't know nothin'."

"I know a married man when I see it!" Maddy shouted back.

The sound door slamming behind him was the only reply Ray Doyle gave.

It was well past two in the morning when Ray crossed the threshold of his dark flat. He knew the layout by heart and could manoeuvre around without switching on a light. He couldn't stand to look at himself in the mirror right now, so that was just as well. He knew he should shower and erase every trace of her scent, but instead he was drawn to his bedroom like a magnet. He stripped off his clothes and crawled into bed, lying next to the familiar dark figure that often shared his bed.

"You smell like her, Ray," Bodie said clearly in the dark.

"I know." It was a simple reply for a conscious decision. He could have showered to hide the proof that he cheated on Bodie yet again, but a perverse part of him wanted his lover to know. He wanted Bodie to know that he was still man enough to fuck a woman.

"At least you came home this time." Bodie voice was a soft monotone. He was always good at sounding angry, but Bodie couldn't show how much it hurt when Ray fooled around with someone else. He just took it. Sometimes, he'd go out and sleep with his own bird just to make Ray jealous.

"This is my flat, Bodie." It was the cold simple truth. "If you don't like it, you can go."

Bodie rolled over in bed to face him. "You want me gone, Doyle?"

Ray winced slightly, glad of the darkness that hid his pained expression. When they were alone, Bodie only called him by his last name when he was hurt. "You know I don't." He reached out and settled his hand on Bodie's hip.

"Did it make you feel like a real man?" Bodie challenged, his voice low and cold.

"Bodie..." Ray sighed. It was like this every time. He'd always have to reassure Bodie that he wasn't going to leave him. It wasn't a matter of forgiveness because he knew
Bodie would never leave him. Bodie needed him and always took him back, no matter what Doyle did.

"It's nothing you couldn't have got from me. I'll give you everything, Sunshine," Bodie whispered and moved closer, his own hand starting to explore Ray's chest.

Sex was a weapon with Bodie. He knew Ray needed it and was filled with self-loathing for wanting it. Bodie would use that against him to get what he wanted, which was usually just a play to get Ray to fulfil some emotional need for himself. Tonight Bodie was offering sex for a little reassurance.

"Not tonight," Ray said gruffly.

Bodie's hand was swiftly removed and he rolled over to face away from Ray.

Ray knew immediately that action had been mistake. Bodie was so touchy sometimes... so fucking needy. Ray shifted over and spooned along Bodie's back, wrapping his arms around Bodie's waist. "It's not that I don't want you... I just can't."

"I'd give you everything," Bodie repeated. It was an old argument between them. Bodie was willing to give up topping, if that somehow played into puffing up Ray's false sense of masculinity. Doyle hated that he was gay. He hated himself for loving Bodie.

"I know." It was a soft whisper as Ray kissed the back of Bodie's neck. "It's just something I have to do. I'm not a fag, Bodie."

"Whatever, Doyle. Just don't come back to our bed smelling like some cheap cunt again."

Without another word, Ray got out of bed and took the shower he should have had before he crawled into bed with Bodie. He didn't promise his lover anything because he knew it would be an outright lie. He'd do it again. He always did. It was part of the perverse power play that their relationship was. Ray loved Bodie and needed him because he was a man, but that was also the reason he ran from the relationship. It was also the reason he lashed out at Bodie with proof that he had cheated on him. What that Maddy girl had said was true... he was as good as married to Bodie and that scared the shit out of him.

As he dried off from the shower, he contemplated sleeping on the sofa, but he knew Bodie would only come and get him later in the night. Bodie hated to sleep alone, so Ray crawled into bed again and waited for what always happened. Soon enough Bodie rolled over and laid his head on Ray's chest.

"I love you, Ray," Bodie whispered in desperation.

Ray played with Bodie's hair, wishing their relationship could somehow be different, but not knowing how to change it. "I know."

"Tell me what happened," Kate Ross demanded of the woman sitting across from her.

Maddy popped her chewing gum and shrugged. "I did what you told me and tracked that Ray Doyle bloke down at his local pub. I chatted him up and everything went just like you said, until..."

"Until, what?"

"Until he left, skulked outta my flat in the middle of the night after we shagged."

Kate slammed down a thick file on her desk and hissed, "Obviously, you didn't do exactly what I told you."

"I did everything you told me to do," Maddy insisted. "I gave him the sob story you told me, played hard to get and acted posh. All that and he still left. You'd still better pay me."

"I don't understand this," Kate muttered to herself, frantically scratching notes on a pad of paper. "According to his psychological profile, the character I constructed for you to portray should have been enough to at least tempt him into considering a relationship with that woman."

"Well, he's obviously in love with his missus," Maddy commented, popping her gum again. "Couldn't get home to her fast enough."

"He's not married." Kate ground her teeth together at the reminder of her failure to fix the problem of agents 4.5 and 3.7 so far.

"Living in sin, shacked up or knockin' boots... whatever," Maddy sighed. She'd had enough of this uptight bitch. She'd only taken this gig for the money, thinking it was easy pay for one night's lay. "You gonna give my hundred pounds or what?"

"Yes," Kate said tightly and slid a fresh bill across her desk. "But I don't care if you're a prostitute or not. This had better buy your silence. If it doesn't, I assure you I'll find a way to make you disappear."

Maddy snatched the bill and stuffed it in her bra. "You and me pimp, lady."

Macklin and Cowley watched the agents manoeuvre around the obstacle course from a private control booth looking over the training centre.

"How's their time?" Cowley asked, already knowing what the answer would be.

"Better than anyone else in this sorry mob."

"Same as always then." Agents 4.5 and 3.7 had always been his best team, quickly moving up to A Squad after their initial training. Of course, he couldn't let their egos get out of whack and believed a good dose of humility was necessary to keep them the best.

"I'd never tell the lads this, but they're the best. I really didn't think you'd pull it off with these two, sir, but you did."

"Dr. Ross is trying to convince me they should be separated."

Macklin actually snorted at that prospect. "Doubt that'll happen. I remember when you first paired them up, I thought they'd kill each other."

Cowley vividly remembered the day he'd taken in the cocky young recruits. One of his best skills was reading people's strengths and weaknesses. He'd known right off those lads would be dynamic together and either end up fighting or fucking by the end of the week, if not sooner. It turned out they had ended up doing both. To this very day they were always bickering, but surveillance had supplied a report that 3.7 and 4.5 had `entered into conjugal relations two days after the initiation of the partnership.'

"What's your current assessment of them?" Cowley asked.

"They're so in tune with each other it's spooky sometimes," Macklin laughed. "They're always squabbling like an old married couple, but as you know, God help the man or woman that comes between them. Can finish each other's sentences and not separated much these days. As a team, they're unmatched. However, they're ruined for any other partnership."

Cowley grunted his agreement. The other agents respected and feared his lads, but everyone in CI5 also knew that 3.7 and 4.5 had crossed the line from mere partnership to something deeper than even family. "In your professional opinion, what would happen in the event of injury?"

"With a non-fatal injury... we'd lose them both from the organization."


"Again, sir, we'd lose them both. They'll follow each other anywhere. If something happened to Bodie, I'd give Doyle tops six months before he found a way to get himself killed. If something happened to Doyle, I'd give Bodie weeks, if not days."

Cowley looked at over the obstacle course again and watched as Doyle and Bodie moved in complete in synch. "I pray they beat the odds and outlive the average life expectancy of a CI5 agent."

"Maybe they will, sir," Macklin answered quietly. Doyle had already survived a gunshot that would have killed normal men and Bodie had a variety of injuries over the years, including stabbing and gun shot wounds.

Maybe they would beat the odds again.

Bodie was sitting in a dark corner of his local pub nursing his third ale. His scowl scared off any women that even thought about chatting up Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome with more than touch of broody tonight. Ray was absent and that was the true reason behind his dark mood. Ray had never promised he wouldn't do it again. He'd even told Bodie after their first time that he'd never stop sleeping with women.

Bodie still remembered the first time they'd gotten together. After a full day of training, they'd gone to this very pub and continued to bicker the entire time. They'd argued and bristled from the first day they met and continued to posture around each other. It had finally come to a head in Ray's flat when, instead of smacking his new partner for a particularly nasty barb, he'd tackled him. Bodie had knocked Ray onto floor from the sofa and they started to wrestle. Slowly hands that had started with grappling turned to groping.

Bodie shifted in his seat and made a sour face at the memories. It wasn't fair that he'd found everything he could ever want in Ray and yet the little sod denied what he was. Bodie enjoyed a good shag with a bird like most men, but unlike most men, he'd never seriously thought about settling down with one. The only one he hadn't pushed away from getting too close was that Sister back in Africa, but a nun was pretty damn safe.

Bodie didn't notice the man move into the booth until he was settled across from him. He glared up from his ale and curled his lip up in distaste. It wasn't that the man was ugly, it's just he didn't want company right now. He wanted Ray. This man, who was taller and built even bigger than Bodie himself, was the exact opposite of Ray, with a shock of peppered, straight black hair.

"Bugger off," Bodie growled as a greeting.

Instead of fleeing or replying with a snarky comeback, the big man laughed. "Nice to meet you, too."

"What's the matter with you?" Bodie growled again.

"Nothing. Just wanted to meet you. The name's Liam."

"Well, Liam," Bodie hissed the name. "You've met me, so now will you bugger off?"

Liam laughed again and that pissed Bodie off even more. "Feisty, mate."

"I'm not your mate."

"No, that lil' looker you're usually in here with would be your mate, but he's not here now and you're drinking alone." Liam was sprawled comfortably on the other side of the booth and grinning at Bodie appreciatively.

Bodie knew right away that the man was bent the same way he was, but Ray was the only one who knew about him. It was dangerous to admit or even act on those sort of tendencies in his line of work. "You're asking for a beating talkin' like that."

Liam raised an eyebrow. "Oh, really? I've seen the way you look at your friend. You're in love with that bloke."

"Shut the fuck up!" Bodie hissed under his breath and pulled his piece out, pressing it into the man's gut. The table hid the weapon from any prying eyes and his face was a cold fury.

But Liam didn't react like any normal person would who had a gun pressing into their gut. Instead of crying out, Liam smiled at Bodie and spoke to him softly. "Hit a raw nerve, eh there lad?"

"I could kill you now," Bodie hissed, pressing the barrel even harder into the flesh.

"Oh, sure you could... but, you won't," Liam whispered back. "I know the look of someone who's taken a life before. I've done it myself. Belonged to the SAS... easy enough to recognize one of my own. So, put your pistol away and I'll order us another round."

"Why don't you get out of here?" Bodie growled dangerously, but he withdrew his pistol from Liam's gut when he saw the waitress coming over after Liam had signalled for her. He was able to put it back in its holster before she literally bounced up. "Don't bother, I'm leaving."

Liam grabbed his arm and pulled him back down onto the seat. "No, he's not. He'll have a..." Liam stopped then looked at the waitress expectantly.

"Bodie'll have another ale," she beamed at Liam.

"Yes, Bodie'll have another ale on my tab," Liam repeated back, obviously glad to have learned Bodie's name. "He doesn't want to cause a scene in his own local, does he now, luv?"

"Bodie always causes a scene," the waitress tittered, but then disappeared to fill their order.

"Give me one reason I shouldn't follow you home and crack your head open," Bodie growled under his breath.

"Well, you can certainly follow me home," Liam said to him.

"You're an annoying asshole, you know that?" Bodie grumbled, but decided to stay for at least another ale. It was after all free ale. "You're sticking your nose where it doesn't belong."

"I was just telling it like I saw it, mate. I've seen you around." Liam shrugged his shoulders. "You might fool most people by chasing after the birds, but I saw how you only have eyes for that lil' raver you're usually with."

"Don't call him that," Bodie snapped. He didn't like anyone objectifying Ray like that, even if he did the same thing to women all the time.

"Fine," Liam said and then they sat in silence until the waitress came back. "Hey luv, thanks for the ale. What's the name of the bloke that's usually in here with Bodie?"

Liam made sure to slip the waitress a few extra pounds for her tip. "Oh, you mean, Ray?"

By the darkening of Bodie's scowl, Liam had known he was right on track. "That'll be the one. Send him over to our table if he comes in."

The waitress tittered again and shook her head. "Everyone knows that if Bodie is in here by himself, then ol' Ray got himself a date and knowing Ray like I do, he'll keep her busy until morning."

"Thanks anyways," Liam dismissed her and then turned back to Bodie. "Oh, calm down. I don't even know his last name."

"And you won't," Bodie said.

Their corner of the bar was pretty barren and no one was seated close enough to hear their conversation. "How long have you been together?" Liam asked, taking a sip of his ale.

"I never said we were together," Bodie huffed, first glaring at the ale and then giving in to take a long drink.

"Long enough then," Liam said as if Bodie was actually answering his questions. "And where is your Ray tonight?"

"He's out on a date... with a woman," Bodie emphasized the last word in the sentence, hoping that Liam would take that hint that both he and Ray were straight.

"Oh," Liam said knowingly with a nod of his head.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Just that I understand where you're coming from now. I've been where you are."

"You claiming you're a poof? `Cause I'm not."

"Sure, you're not. You're just in love with your Ray."

"He's not my Ray," Bodie snapped. He slammed his ale mug down on the table and liquid sloshed onto the table.

"And that's your problem, mate," Liam snorted. He leaned in a little closer across the table, looking Bodie directly in the eyes. "I've been where you are. Felt what you're feeling now. I don't know exactly your circumstances and I don't need to, I just recognized that look on your face. I saw it one too many times in the mirror after my Gerry would go home to his wife."

"Why are you telling me this?" Bodie hissed. He could have left, but it was like he was stuck to the chair. He'd been so isolated for so long that he was trapped by what this virtual stranger was offering... understanding.

"Because, I can," Liam answered. "Sometimes, everyone needs a friend." At the mention of friendship, Bodie's scowl thickened. "Oh, don't take it that way, I can see you're taken."

"Ray and I are just friends," Bodie told him. He might listen to what Liam had to say, but it didn't mean he'd endanger his or Ray's security by admitting anything. In fact, he'd deny it outright.

"I bet you are," Liam agreed and gave Bodie another knowing half smile. "So, this bird your Ray's out with. Something serious?"

"Nah," Bodie answered. This conversation was at least a little safer and he wanted to encourage the idea that they were `straight'. "Just some bird he picked up the other night."

"Ray go on these dates often?"

"Listen, what's with all the questions about Ray?" Bodie hated people getting into Ray's business, even less than he liked someone poking around in his own.

"You come alive when you talk about him," Liam said. "That's all. Listen, I can see you're getting uncomfortable. Why don't I give you my number..."

"Why would I want your number?" Bodie snapped.

"Because, if you're sitting here alone the next time your Ray is out on a date, then give me a call. We can talk. That's all," Liam said. He scribbled his number on the back of an old receipt and slipped it across the table.

Bodie looked at the number and then slipped it into his wallet without comment. It was easier to take it than make a scene in public and he could run a trace on the number.

Liam downed the last quarter of his pint quickly and got up from the table. "I'm going to pay my tab now. I'll send the girl over with another drink for you. You look like you could use it. I'd shake your hand, but I don't know if you'd do it, so I won't risk it. Remember, whatever you're going through, you're not the only one."

Bodie couldn't believe that he was actually going to meet Liam again. The first time he had just done it on a whim, telling himself he wanted to check the guy out to make sure he wasn't a threat to Ray. He'd run a background check on Liam finding out his last name and that he really had belonged to the SAS before retiring to take over his father's publishing company. He'd also found out that Liam had served in the SAS with a bloke named Gerry. The entire story and man seemed legitimate.

This was the fourth time he'd be meeting up with Liam and there was a definite reason. Even though Ray didn't know he was meeting up with Liam, it was Bodie's way of getting back at him.

Ray had been seeing the same girl for about three weeks now. He said she was an absolute freak in bed and it was exactly what he needed. When Ray was in some bird's bed, he wasn't in Bodie's. So that's why he found himself waiting for Liam to show up for a pint.

It wasn't like they were dating or at least, Bodie would deny if anyone asked. He was just having a pint with a friend... a friend who understood where he was coming from. Bodie had never said he was gay or acknowledged that he was sleeping with Ray and Liam never brought it up again.

"Bodie, mate, you're actually on time tonight!" Liam said with a smile on his face. He slid into the booth across from Bodie and set down two ales. "I got your usual since the first round is on me."

"Always like it when I don't have to pay up," Bodie said, taking his ale. "And I'm surprised you'd remember what I drink."

"You like it when I pay because you're a cheap bastard and of course I know what you like... anything liquid."

"Asshole," Bodie said cheerfully and tinked his glass against Liam's. "Cheers, mate."

"Cheers," Liam echoed and drank a large gulp of the warm ale. "Didn't think I'd hear from you this soon."

"Yeah, well..." Bodie faltered. "No one's asking you to be here."

"Oh, calm down, I was actually happy to hear from you. It's not like my life is all that interesting anymore and my secretary keeps hitting on me."

"Is she pretty?" Bodie asked. They hadn't talked about women in any of their conversations before.

"Yeah, he is pretty," Liam whispered with a smirk on his face. "But I don't go for boys just out of school uniforms."

Bodie wasn't sure why he asked this next, but he did just the same. "What is your type?"

Liam arched an eyebrow and his smirk grew into a larger grin. "A little more butch."

"Right..." Bodie coughed uncomfortably and took another swig of his ale.

"You asked," Liam pointed out. "But, turning the conversation to something a little more manly, if you're free, I have a spare ticket to a football game on Saturday. Good seats."

"Who's playing?"

"Newcastle and..."

"Sold!" Bodie cut him off. "It just so happens that I have Saturday off... well, the day off." What he didn't say was that Ray had the day off too, but he was taking his bird out on some stupid day biking trip. When they got home, Bodie was hoping Ray would come over to his place for a few drinks and maybe something more.

"Do you want to meet me there or do you want me to pick you up?" Liam asked.

"Best I meet you there," Bodie answered. If he got called away, that meant Liam would have a way to get home. "I might be called away at the last minute or even during the game."

Bodie was expecting Liam to ask where he worked or why he would be called away. All of the birds he dated did, not that he was dating Liam, he told himself. But Liam didn't ask him anything, instead he just said, "Okay, mate. That's your business."

Again they were sitting in the most isolated corner of the bar. It was Tuesday and early enough that there was hardly anyone there. They decided to order a quick nosh with their ales and started to chat about cricket.

"I didn't know you played," Liam said. "I'll have to come see you sometime."

Ray never volunteered to come see him play and if he did, Bodie would always have to guilt him into coming. He couldn't help it if he played better with someone to show off to. "That'd be alright."

They were on their fifth round and sharing stories that seemed much funnier after a few ales. They were leaning in close and focused on each other when Bodie heard Doyle's voice say, "Bodie, who's this?"

Bodie's eyes snapped up to see Ray standing by the table with his arm crossed and his face closed off emotionally. "This is Liam, Ray. He's a new mate. Used to be in the SAS, ya know."

"Shove over, Bodie," Ray demanded and plopped down next to Bodie. He laid his arm along the back of the booth and stretched his legs out.

Bodie looked down at the table and asked, "I thought you had a date, Ray?"

"She blew me off for a bloke with a Jaguar," Ray answered. He grabbed Bodie's ale and took a deep swig from it. "Thought I might find you here sulking cause you were alone."

"He's not alone," Liam said. "I'm here."

"Well, isn't that just ducky," Ray said with an obviously false smile. "So... what is it, again? Lester? How do you know Bodie?"

"The name's Liam. And I met Bodie here. He was here sulking like you said, looking like someone had stood him up. I bought him a ale to drown his sorrows in."

"Mmm, Bodie never was one to turn down a free ale. He's a really friendly bloke when he wants to be."

"Ray..." Bodie said in a warning tone. Ray was never supposed to have met or known Liam.

"Bodie, I'm leaving," Ray said suddenly and got up. He was using the tone that Bodie both hated and feared. "Are you coming with me?"

There was no decision to make. "Yeah, Doyle," he answered moodily.

"Don't forget about Saturday, Bodie," Liam said, looking pointedly at Ray.

"Yeah, sure... I'll call you," Bodie muttered and escaped out of booth quickly.

Ray had already turned on his heel and was heading out of the pub at a good clip. Bodie had to rush to catch up to him, only to find Ray sliding into his Capri and speeding off. With a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach, Bodie got into his own Capri and took off after his partner, following the familiar route back to Ray's flat.

When he entered Ray's flat, the door was ajar and his lover was standing by liquor cabinet, downing a tumbler of scotch. "What are ya doing here, Bodie?" Ray asked, tone low and full of menace.

"Same reason I'm always here," Bodie said. He closed and locked the door behind him, hoping the neighbours would sleep through their row. "To see you."

"How long have you been seeing this bloke?" Ray asked without turning to face Bodie.

"It's not like that," Bodie growled in exasperation. "He's just a mate."

Ray slammed the tumbler down, shaking the cabinet dangerously and turned to stalk towards Bodie. "He's not just some mate," Ray hissed. He was beyond jealous at the idea of Bodie with another man. "I know all of your mates and none of them are fucking faggots!"

"Fuck you, Doyle!" Bodie spat back. "What in the hell do you think we are?"

"Shut up!" Ray hissed. "I don't care what we are, you were out with that bloke behind my back."

"You mean while you were out supposed to be fucking that bird?" Bodie asked. His blue eyes were flashing with pent up rage. "Rightly pissed you off tonight that you couldn't just slink back here and fuck me after she turned you down."

Ray launched himself at Bodie and they tussled, each avoiding throwing punches, but still struggling for control. They crashed loudly against the wall, knocking down a picture frame and then stumbled to the floor. The floorboards shook when they hit the floor hard, now rolling around for control.

It ended with Ray lying on Bodie's chest and hissing his lover's face. "No other man, Bodie!"

"Nothin' happened!" Bodie growled back.

"Nothin' yet!" Ray hissed just before he kissed Bodie possessively.

His hand fisted painfully in Bodie's hair as he continued to kiss him. They continued like this, ripping clothes and fucking with all the finesse of an out of control lorry. When they were done, they lay still on the floor, wrapped tightly around one another.

"If I ever see you with that bloke again, I'll kill him," Ray promised him in a low voice. He was slowly caressing a vivid bite mark on Bodie's chest.

"The same goes with that bird," Bodie answered back.

"Told you she went off me for a Jaguar," Ray countered. "Guess I didn't spend enough dosh on her."

"That's because you're a cheap bugger," Bodie said with an indignant snort. "Works well enough for me. But, Ray..."

"It wasn't anything serious," Ray promised him. He knew what Bodie feared. His partner feared he would leave Bodie for some woman, but he could no more leave Bodie than he could live without his own heart. "I promise we'll spend more time together."

Afterall, the only reason Bodie had a chance to go out with that bloke was because Ray was out with the some woman.

The Sister showed Dr. Ross into the hospital ward and directly to the room of a patient who had been admitted last night. It was the same man Bodie knew as Liam and he was awake, lying in his hospital cot stiffly.

"Dr. Ross, there's nothing I can report that can be used," the man told Kate once the door to his room was closed.

"I don't believe you," Kate said impatiently. "You've probably just succumbed to Bodie's charm."

"I'm a professional, Dr. Ross," the man told her. "MI6 has just as much interest in discrediting these particular CI5 agents as you do."

"Yes, but you want to take down CI5 completely," Kate scowled at the man she had made a bargain with. "I'm doing this for the best of my organization. We made a deal and you failed. You were unable to seduce Mr. Bodie with the information I provided you."

"The information was incomplete," the agent argued. "Do you know Bodie's mad lil' bugger tracked me and laid me up here?" The man motioned at the black eye and swollen features of his face with his one good arm. "He threatened to kill me if I went anywhere near his Bodie again."

"I suppose you're lucky he didn't do anything worse," Kate said with a smirk, looking down at his groin. "I can trust this will be kept quiet?"

The man didn't want it known he had been beaten up by a CI5 agent nearly half his size. "This never happened," the man agreed. They'd been savvy enough not to meet where anyone from CI5 would catch on, in a public park. "If you want a piece of advice, Dr. Ross, you'll leave those two nutters alone."

"I didn't ask for your advice!" Kate snapped.

"Then consider yourself alone," the man told her. "Our organization will no longer be involved in this witch hunt."

"Your loss," she said and turned to leave him alone with his pain. Kate stopped at the door to turn and get one last dig. "I'll make sure you superiors receive a full report concerning your ineptitude."

"God, that was amazing," Ray said as he took off his helmet. His hair was long enough now that the curls stuck around his face from sweating.

Bodie couldn't help but smile at the look of excitement that still made his partner's face all but glow. "So, you like it then?"

"Idiot..." Ray growled the insult affectionately. "It had to be expensive..."

"It doesn't matter how much it cost," Bodie told him, but when Ray gave him a warning look, he added, "It wasn't too expensive. Just would've been sold at auction, but I got it under the table for a reasonable price."

Ray's hand caressed the leather of the motorcycle's seat and it felt smooth under his fingertips. "She's lovely... but, really Bodie, it's too much money."

Bodie moved closer and rested his hand on Ray's hip, sneaking his fingers under the leather jacket. "It's our bike, Sunshine. I wouldn't get in the bitch seat for just anyone."

Ray couldn't help but snort with amusement with that comment. "We did get some strange looks."

"Don't care," Bodie whispered into Ray's ear. "It was fun. Wouldn't trust anyone else like that..."

"Let's go inside," was Ray's answer. Things had been better between them. There was still the ever present intensity, but less of the anger. It had been three weeks since the confrontation about that other bloke Bodie had been all but dating. Beating the shit out of that bastard had been sort of a catharsis. He had realized that if he didn't give Bodie what he needed, then his partner might get it somewhere else.

It had taken him a lot at first to go out in public with Bodie pressed against him on the bike. But then it was like a light had gone off in his head... the price to pay for keeping others away from Bodie was by showing their connection. The idea of Bodie with another man, even a woman, made him insanely jealous now. Bodie seemed happy enough to welcome all of Ray's attention, even when it was nearly to the point of mauling.

"Murphy just about shit his pants today with that look you gave him," Bodie said as they made their way into his flat. There was a tone of smugness in his voice.

"Serves him right for crowding up on you like that," Ray huffed. "Almost mauling you."

"He was getting a cuppa, Ray," Bodie reminded him. He'd been sitting on the sofa next to the teapot and Murph had to lean over him. Nothing compromising about it, but never-the-less, Doyle had shot him a deadly glare.

"Promised to drink water from now on, didn't he?" Ray chuckled. Their comfortable teasing would turn into kissing soon enough, but first a thick manila envelope on the coffee table caught his attention. "What's that?"

"What's what?" Bodie turned around. He was annoyed at any delay between them and the bedroom. "That's not mine..."

"Shit," Ray hissed. "We've gotta check out. Remember what happened last time we got a mystery package."

"Tick, tick," Bodie sighed, his eyes now fixed on the envelope. "I remember."

They moved together in comfortable unison as they carefully cleared the junk off coffee table around the envelope. They didn't even think about calling in the bomb squad, instead automatically assessed the situation themselves. From experience and a thorough check over, they soon sussed out that it wasn't a bomb, but rather a simple manila envelope filled with photographs.

Ray slipped on his leather motorcycle gloves as to not leave any fingerprints and slipped out the photos. "Didn't remember us being that limber," he quipped dryly as he looked over the images.

"Kinda grainy, but it's us," Bodie said in a clinical manner. "They're not doctored. Looks like they've been pulled from a film though."

"Wouldn't need to doctor them, just get a camera in one of our flats. It was a risk we took from the start, Bodie."

"I know that," Bodie agreed. "Now read the note."

They had both been stupefied by the photos and momentarily forgotten the folded piece of paper. Doyle reached out and opened it. He read out loud, "Agents 4.5 and 3.7, I know about you lascivious behaviour as per the presented evidence. See me in my office tomorrow at eight o'clock sharp. Dr. Ross."

"The bitch..." Bodie growled. "It has to be legit. This is just her style."

"And it definitely doesn't ring of the Cow," Ray agreed. He folded the paper back up and set it down on the coffee table. "If he knows, he's turned a blind eye."

"So, what do we do now?" Bodie asked. "Kill her?"

"Want to," Ray snorted, knowing Bodie would do it to protect what they shared. "But the Cow might not turn a blind eye to that."

"Have to find out what she knows first."

"And what she wants," Ray added. "Then we'll deal with her."

"In your prime, you would've suggested seducing Ross," Bodie quipped.

Doyle reached over across the coffee table and grabbed Bodie's hand. "Time's have changed, Bodie," he said. "Wouldn't sleep with her now even if she wasn't a horse faced bitch."

Bodie squeezed Ray's hand back. "Not even if she had nice tits?"

"Not if any woman had nice tits," Ray answered, knowing it didn't really make any sense. He wanted Bodie to understand his newfound lust for commitment without actually having to say it.

"Tits are overrated," Bodie grinned back at his partner. They could both feel the growing security and change in their relationship. It was no less passionate or volatile, but now the guilt was lessening and they could both accept their mutual obsession.

"We'll deal with that bitch's head games tomorrow," Ray promised. "Together."

Doyle and Bodie walked into Kate's office side-by-side. Bodie had left off his jacket, making sure his piece was on prominent display. The confident and united front they displayed was not what she wanted to see. She had intended all of her plans, even if not successful, to at least demoralize the pair.

"Have a seat," she instructed them.

"We'll stand," Ray said, shaking his head. He leaned against a wall with his hip cocked out and Bodie standing by his side.

"You know why I've requested your presence?"

"Yeah, we got the illustrated version," Bodie said in his coldest tone. "Ta."

"I believe your relationship has reached a crisis point," Kate told him. She sat behind her desk, in the straight-backed chair like it was a throne. "Despite my best efforts at separating you."

Bodie's face darkened. "Like what?"

"Temptation," Kate answered. "I offered both of you what you should have wanted." Bodie and Ray exchanging meaningful looks. In that instant they knew what she had done. "Who you should have wanted."

"Didn't work," Ray snapped.

"For your sakes, I wish it had," Kate said. She was slowly tapping her pen on the mahogany desk in a rhythm. "If I had been successful, we might have been able to salvage your career. Mr. Cowley won't listen to me and it was my last resort to go over his head. All three of you are doomed now. I called this meeting to make you aware of your self destructive behaviour before I turned all of my files over to Mr. Cowley's superiors."

Bodie's reaction was instantaneous. He was across the short distance in a few quick strides and had his pistol pointed at Kate's temple.

"You threatened the old man," Ray said, making a tsking sound. "That was your last mistake. He likes Cowley."

Bodie leaned in close and hissed into Kate's ear, "And I love Ray here."

Ray walked up to the desk and leaned down onto it so that he was face to face with Kate. "My Bodie doesn't take well to threats, do ya Bodie?"

"Never have," Bodie agreed and dug the barrel into her scalp.

"We don't take well to being separated either," Ray added.

"You're sick men," Kate said, starting to tremble despite her best efforts. "Obsessed with each other. It's toxic love. If you let me go now, I can help you. You would learn that real love isn't about possessiveness or fixation. You can't own another person."

"Sure is fun trying though," Doyle chuckled and exchanged a look with Bodie that meant everything to them. Ray took out his own piece and laid it on the desk, his palm laid flat over it. "The thing you don't seem to understand, Doctor, is that we don't care what other people think. We belonged to each other from day one. Anyone else was just meaningless... a diversion, or a merely an extension of one of our rows." Ray started to twirl his pistol on the ink plotter. "And you've threatened to take my other half away."

Bodie made a tsking sound. "Stupid thing to do," Bodie agreed. He leaned even closer, so that his cheek was touching hers. "Real stupid."

In that moment, Dr. Kate Ross realized that some things were a force of nature and one of them was whatever these men shared. Dark obsession or passionate love, it connected them in a way that no one could separate them truly.

She closed her eyes and waited for the bullet. It never came. Instead, George Cowley's voice rung deep in the room. "Lads, back off." Bodie looked up and flashed him a deadly glare that demonstrated exactly what he thought of that plan. "Bodie, you haven't done anything yet that would warrant my anger. Yet."

Bodie huffed, but pulled the pistol away from Kate's temple. "We could always get her later."

"You could," Cowley agreed. "But I don't advise it. Leave her to me."

"I won't let her..." Ray started to protest.

"Enough said," George cut him off. "Do you doubt my ability to punish those who cross me?"

"No, sir," Ray answered after a moment.

"Then get out of here," Cowley insisted. "Take two days off. Leave now and this never happened."

The Cow never offered time off unless there had been a death in the family or an agent was close to snapping. Bodie knew if they challenged him, they would lose their jobs and his respect, but he needed one more reassurance. "If she ever..."

"Then you can do what you must," Cowley answered. "Now get out of here before I change my mind."

Bodie and Doyle exited the room shoulder to shoulder. There was one thing in this world that they trusted in besides each other it was George Cowley.

As the door was closing, they both over heard him say, "Doctor, remember when I said if those lads tried to stop what they have, it would be like trying to stop breathing. I'm not willing to let you push them to their last breath..."

"Do ya think he..." Ray said as they walked down the hall.

"Don't care, Ray," Bodie cut him off. He reached out and laid his hand on Doyle's shoulder. "Won't let her or anyone get between us."

-- THE END --