Satisfied with his meal, Bodie pushed aside his empty plate. He lifted his glass of lager and drank, savouring the sounds and smells of his favourite pub. Drink finished, he considered having another when, from his right, he heard an unmistakeable voice.
"So here you are, then."
He slowly wiped his mouth and put the napkin to the left side of his plate. After a moment's pause, Bodie sighed. "Found me, eh?"
"Wasn't hard." A scrape of chair legs on old wood and the sounds of a body sitting as the chair creaked.
"Yup. Didn't even have to torture him."
Bodie snorted. "I'll kill him myself."
"He only wants what's best for you."
"Go away, Doyle."
"Nothing's changed. I'm still blind, and I won't have you hanging about feeling sorry for me."
He heard Doyle's sharp intake of breath. Momentarily, he was pleased with his forthrightness and Doyle's shock.
"Fuck you, Bodie. You don't get to tell me what to do."
"I do as far as I'm concerned. You and I are finished."
"We haven't even started."
"It's been too long."
Doyle laughed. It was cold and hollow. "You think six months has changed me, Bodie? If you do, then you're a bigger arse than I've always known you to be. If that's possible."
Bodie sniffed elegantly. "I'll have you know I've achieved new heights of arrogance. Or so my housekeeper tells me."
"Ah. Knows you well, does she?"
"Unfortunately." Bodie fell silent, blinked several times, cursed his bad luck and pushed his chair back. "I'm going home."
He rose and reached out, picking up his cane. He heard Doyle rise as well. Before he could move away, he felt his ex-partner's presence next to him. He breathed in. Even with the smell of beer and overcooked food and too many bodies in a small room, he could pick out Doyle's scent, masculine, a touch spicy. Still using the same shampoo.
How he'd dreamt of Doyle these past months. Longed for him, even as he told himself he was a fool, that he'd done the right thing cutting all ties with Doyle and London and CI5. But even putting hundreds of miles between them hadn't been far enough. Six months hadn't been long enough. No distance or passage of time would ever be enough to change anything. What he felt for Raymond Doyle. How much he missed him... wanted him... loved him.
Doyle would never know, because Bodie wouldn't burden him with it. He had refused to even consider what Doyle might be willing to give up for him. He wouldn't allow it. And so he'd run.
Not far enough apparently, because Doyle was here. Bloody Cowley. He'd known where to forward Bodie's pension, but he'd promised to keep his mouth shut. Damned interfering liar...
"Don't." Bodie moved away from the hand he knew Doyle would put out to touch his arm. He couldn't have that. One touch and he'd be doomed. Even the sound of Doyle's voice was enough to do him in. "I'm tired. Goodbye."
A gently restraining hand had him spinning around. He was still good enough to know his opponent. He grabbed Doyle's upper arm.
"Don't push your luck," Bodie snapped out, putting as much menace in the words as he could.
"Back off. You're not getting rid of me unless you shoot me."
"I just might."
"Better make it a head shot, because that's what it'll take."
The heat in Doyle's voice matched his own. He felt Doyle's gaze on him, and he glared in return. It wasn't as effective through the dark glasses he wore, but it was the only weapon he had, other than the cane, which he would have liked to bring down on Doyle's head. Anything to get the man to leave him alone, to get him to go away, to not make him feel, think, care...
Bodie blinked, slowly releasing the breath he'd been holding. "I'm going to regret this."
"Come on, then, before you get me barred from this pub. I happen to like it here. You have thirty minutes before you'll have to leave."
"Make it a cup of tea."
Bodie turned away, and with the experience born of weeks of careful trials, he confidently strode to the door, his cane tapping the way. Several voices called out goodnight. He responded with his own call of "Evening" over his shoulder.
On the brisk walk towards his flat, he kept silent. While he hoped his face showed that he wasn't at all pleased with the company, inside he felt much differently. Having Doyle this close was balm to his ravaged soul. His heart pounded, threatening to burst out of his chest. The footsteps beside him seemed to be in sync with his heartbeats. The very idea that his body seemed to know Doyle was near made him happy. Too happy.
Christ, he was a berk. He wasn't blind because of something he'd done. It was because he'd been bashed in the head by a conniving, thieving bastard.
"Eh?" Doyle's voice brought him up short.
"Isn't this your place?"
"Oh. Right. Sorry. Dangerous, that. Daydreaming isn't for the blind, could get you killed."
He shouldn't have let Doyle's presence interfere with his hard-won skills. Walking to the pub, even leaving his flat, had taken weeks of trial and error on his part. He'd had to overcome fear and uneven pavement and kids' abandoned bicycles and roaming dogs to get to the point where he had enough confidence in his own skills to brave the world alone.
"Come in. I'll put the kettle on." Bearings righted, Bodie led the way along the front path, up the steps, and into his building. Twenty-two paces down the hall, he was at his door. Key out and door opened, he rested his cane exactly four steps into the hall. Above it, he hung his jacket on its hook. "Take off your coat and come in."
Not waiting for Doyle's response, he made his way to the kitchen to fill the kettle. He felt more than heard Doyle join him, the strong presence very close, behind him and slightly to the right.
"Mrs Martin made some biscuits. Check the upper right cupboard in the tin. She makes great ginger nuts."
"Not right now, mate. Maybe later."
"Sit down. It'll take a minute for the water to boil." Proving that he was capable of doing for himself in front of Doyle was suddenly the most important thing in his life. Bodie rinsed the tea pot with hot water, counted out tea bags, got cups ready and retrieved the milk from the fridge. "Sugar bowl's on the table."
"So it is," Doyle responded.
A small scraping sound told Bodie that Doyle had moved the bowl towards him. A tiny chink of porcelain was followed by another. He'd looked inside and then replaced the top. Cautiously pouring water into the pot, Bodie used his ears and a sensitive fingertip on the outside of the pot to gauge when there was enough liquid. He placed the lid on and carried it to the table.
"Give it a few minutes."
Doyle chuckled. "I know how to make tea."
"So do I."
Bodie could feel Doyle's sudden unease and his anger surged. "What? Doing okay for a blind man?" He paused, realising how harsh his voice had been. After a second, he sighed. "Sorry, mate." He sat down and reached out, touching the pot's handle with a finger. "Go on. You be 'mother'."
Doyle's voice was quiet. So unlike him. Bodie wondered what was going on, but at the moment, he wanted to catalogue what he could about Doyle's presence. He concentrated on the sounds around him: the ticking of the clock, the hum of the fridge, Doyle's breathing, the soft swish of his shirt as he reached out, the gentle glub-glub of the tea being poured... So comfortable here with Doyle beside him. It felt so right.
Bodie swallowed hard.
"Sugar and milk?"
The clink of the spoon as Doyle stirred; pushed the cup close to his fingers. Bodie took a sip.
"Tastes good. Nice. Hate lukewarm tea. Needs to be hot, like this. Good flavour as well."
Bodie almost smiled. Doyle was prattling, nervous. Why was that? Because they'd been apart for so long? Because he'd missed Bodie? Because Bodie had been a prat and Doyle didn't know what to expect from him any longer? All of the above, more than likely.
"Doyle, why are you here?" Bodie was careful to ask the question with as much calm as he could muster.
"I have news."
Bodie waited patiently. Doyle would speak in his own good time. And besides, it might not be something Bodie wanted to hear anyway.
"There's an operation... And Cowley's willing to sign for it, since you were hurt in the line of duty. It won't be easy, but I think it's the best course of action. So if you're willing, I've got six weeks' leave coming to me. Don't have to be back to HQ until after the first of the year. We could go to Switzerland-"
"Switzerland?" Bodie wondered how many times Doyle had rehearsed that hurriedly delivered speech. "Rather far away from my flat."
"Yeah, just a bit. The clinic's there. They're doing marvellous things with surgery... What do you think?"
"Not an exciting proposition. Don't know if I want anybody poking around in me head. Certainly don't want all this gorgeous hair shaved off."
Bodie could hear Doyle fidgeting in his chair, but he was grateful that his former partner didn't keep at him. Doyle slurped his tea while Bodie thought.
Hadn't Doyle just offered to stay with him? Right. For six weeks... Could he really spend those weeks with Doyle and let him go afterwards? Bodie let out a derisive snort. As if he'd have a choice in the matter.
And why was he worrying about this now? Because, Doyle was more important to him than his sodding eyesight. Christ, he was a moron.
Bodie jerked in surprise. He'd almost forgotten that Doyle was here, now, just two feet away from him, his fantasy come true. Tonight might be the only time Doyle was ever this close again, this open, this vulnerable...
With a groan, Bodie rose. "Get out." He turned away from where he knew Doyle sat. In his mind's eye, he could see the confusion, the astonishment on Doyle's face.
"My answer is no. Now go away. You know where the door is."
Bodie hurried to his bedroom, amazed that he managed the journey without falling on his face since he hadn't counted a single pace. Maybe he was getting too used to being handicapped. The hand that grabbed his arm made him start. He spun around and put a hand squarely in the centre of Doyle's chest.
"Can't you understand fucking English? Leave me alone!" He was yelling, but he didn't care. Didn't Doyle know? Didn't he care what he was doing to Bodie? Giving him false hope? How much he wanted him, needed him, yet he couldn't burden him with a ruddy cripple...
"What's fucking wrong with you? Do you like being blind? Get you off, does it? The birds cluck over you and pet your hair. Poor Bodie, the blind-"
Bodie hadn't meant to hit Doyle that hard. He just wanted to shut him up. Doyle must not have expected it because Bodie's fist landed squarely in Doyle's face. The sound of Doyle's body hitting the carpet echoed through the room, and the secondary thud that accompanied it made Bodie cry out.
"Doyle!" He was on his knees instantly, hands reaching out. "Oh, Christ... Ray? Please God..." Doyle was still under his hands as he gently examined his friend. Fingers flew over Doyle's head. They came away wet and warm. Blood. "What have I done?"
He'd killed Doyle! Bodie pressed his ear to Doyle's chest and held his wrist. "Thank God..." he whispered as the strongly beating heart thudded against his ear. "Need an ambulance..."
Doyle stirred under his hands, moaning softly.
"Ray, please...!" Bodie expelled a shaky breath. "Ice. Get some ice for his head. I'm such a fucking moron! He doesn't need ice! He needs a doctor!" He started to rise when Doyle moaned again.
"Ray? God, Ray! I'm so sorry! Christ, stay still!" Bodie's hands held Doyle's shoulders as he struggled to rise. "Don't move! You might be concussed."
"I'm... I'm all right."
Doyle's voice was hesitant and quiet. Bodie held onto him. "No! You're bleeding!"
"I am? Ow... Fuck, that hurts."
"Doyle, please. I'll ring for an ambulance."
"No need. Really. Just let me up."
"No, lie still. You need a doctor. I'm a sodding idiot." Bodie hung his head before he ordered, "Do not move!"
"Bodie, please, I'll be all right. Why are you crying?"
"I'm not crying. Got a lash stuck in, is all." Bodie searched his pocket and found a handkerchief. He blew his nose loudly. "I'm sorry."
He heard Doyle's tired sigh. "I am, as well. Very sorry. Sorry I let you go. Sorry I didn't follow you. Sorry I didn't stay with you. I'm sorry you had to do this alone. That you had to be alone for one single second."
"Wasn't your choice," Bodie said tensely. "Don't need your pity. Don't want it."
"Bodie, you bleeding moron, it isn't pity that makes me sorry. It's guilt. I love you, you prat. And I feel fucking guilty you've had to be alone! I feel guilty you were hurt in the first place! Christ, you're such a hard-headed bastard! Why can't you let me help you? Owwww!"
"Lie still, Ray."
A strong hand grasped his trouser leg as he tried to walk away. Bodie turned his face towards where Doyle lay at his feet. "You need to be in hospital."
"Bodie, I've been concussed enough in my day to know when I need a bloody doctor! Ow. Don't make me yell again. Please."
With a deep sigh, Bodie reached down and helped Doyle to his feet. "Let's get you on to the bed."
"I only wish..."
"I heard what you said, Ray... Do you mean it?"
"What? That I love you? 'Course I mean it. Wouldn't say it if it wasn't true." Doyle paused. "Do you think I'd be that cruel, Bodie? That I'd be putting you on?"
Bodie shook his head. "No. I know you wouldn't say something that important without meaning it."
"Good. Now that's settled."
"I- I feel the same way." Bodie swallowed around his dry throat and squared his shoulders. Facing his partner, he moved one hand up to Doyle's cheek. "I've been having the same feelings about you for years." When Doyle stayed quiet, he gathered up his courage to say what Doyle needed to hear. "Love you as well, Ray."
Bodie's arm around Doyle's waist tightened. He could feel the tension in Doyle's body melt away. He moved closer into Bodie's embrace and let out a deep sigh.
With a smile, Bodie held onto his partner. "Careful. Just lean on me. There's a good lad. Easy..." They made their way to the bed and he lowered Doyle slowly on to it. His fingers rested on Doyle's forehead. "Okay?"
"Yeah. Ta, mate."
"I'll get a cloth and ice. Aspirin?"
"I'm... I'm really glad you're here."
Bodie waited through the silence until Doyle finally said, "Do you mean that?"
The hesitation in Doyle's voice made Bodie grimace. He'd treated his best friend, his partner, the man who'd saved his life so many times he couldn't count, abysmally. Now he'd make it up to him, if he could. "I mean it. Very much. And I'm sorry I hit you." He let his fingers rest on Doyle's warm skin for a moment longer.
Doyle's hand wrapped around his wrist. "If it's the catalyst for us working this out, I'm not sorry you hit me."
"You never made much sense when your brains weren't scrambled but now you're talking rubbish." But Bodie couldn't keep the grin from his face letting his affection for the mad tosser show before he went to fetch the supplies. While he gathered a clean dry cloth, a warm damp one, and a packet of frozen veg (no ice!), he thought about how much had changed in just a few minutes.
His hands mapped Doyle's body. Curly, soft hair, springy and silky, slipped through his fingers. The sensitive tip found the damaged spot that he'd caused the night before. He barely touched where the scab had begun to form. Doyle hadn't even wanted a plaster, said the cut was too small to bother. He paused, swallowing audibly.
"It's all right."
"No, it's not, but you've forgiven me, so that's all that can be done," Bodie whispered.
"Go on then."
Bodie dusted his hand across Doyle's forehead, disturbing the hairs of his eyebrows. He petted the small strips back into their proper direction before skimming a tip down Doyle's nose. Doyle let out a small giggle when Bodie touched each nostril before dancing up his right cheek, across the bridge of his nose and down the left. Funny how the imperfection of that damaged side seemed so much more pronounced when he had only touch to rely on. He remembered barely noticing it when he could see.
Continuing, Bodie found Doyle's stubbly upper lip. He scraped at the hair with a nail, laughing as he felt each individual whisker. He rubbed the soft lips, and when the tip of Doyle's tongue peeked out, Bodie gasped. Doyle parted his lips and Bodie slipped a finger in.
He gasped again when Doyle began to suck, using his tongue to increase the sensations. Bodie moaned softly, removing the digit gently. He dragged it down Doyle's chin and under his jaw, again loving the feel of the early morning beard.
Dipping into the hollow of Doyle's throat, Bodie felt the last of the moisture from Doyle's mouth that had been on his skin evaporate. Still, he continued downwards on his exploration. Through the coarse forest of chest hair, he traced the path to a nipple. Again, using his nail, he scraped gently until the nub peaked. Until Doyle moaned softly.
Bodie smiled, moving to the other nipple. He gave this one the same treatment as its companion. It took all of his will not to bend his head down to suckle the flesh.
Doyle sighed and wiggled slightly. "You said, 'not yet'."
"Never mind. Get on with it."
"You're a pushy bastard."
"If I was a pushy bastard, we'd have done this last night. You'd have already fucked me through the mattress. As it is, I'm lying here, letting you run your paws over me body. So hurry up."
"You are a twat." Bodie plucked at his lover's hairy chest. "No, not last night. That was for something else. Was nice, last night." He could sense Doyle's smile as surely as if he could see his partner's face. "I didn't expect it."
"What? Me wanting to hold you? Or you liking it?"
Bodie shrugged. He let his hand sweep down Doyle's torso, moving further downwards with each pass. "Both."
"It's okay if you like a cuddle. Christ, Bodie, it's okay if you need a cuddle, you daft bugger. You only have to ask. It's not against the law. Well, maybe it is, but you know what I mean."
Bodie shrugged again.
"All right? You can ask. All right?"
"Jesus, Doyle. All right! Now shut it."
"Always giving orders. You're the one who's a mad bastard."
"Bloody hell!" Bodie growled his frustration. "You can't quit squirming for one sodding minute! All right, then."
Before Doyle could retort, Bodie moved. He was on top of Doyle in seconds, their bodies pressed together from chest to crotch. Bodie threw his legs on either side of Doyle's and clamped one hand in his hair. The other held his chin. Bodie covered Doyle's mouth with his, sliding his tongue between moist, warm lips.
Doyle whimpered, his hands scrabbling on Bodie's back before moving under his tracksuit bottoms to cup his arse. He thrust his hips against Bodie's. The noises he made in the back of his throat drove Bodie wild.
Bodie tasted all that Doyle had on offer, his tongue exploring that tantalising mouth fully. He lifted his hips and after some rapid manoeuvring, he managed to push away the material that separated them. Still kissing, he settled back down. His cock rubbed against Doyle's. Not letting up, Bodie fused their mouths together, his tongue pressing in and pulling out, mimicking what he'd like Doyle to do to his own arse. But for now, he settled for rubbing their cocks together between them while they kissed. Slippery with pre-cum, the gentle friction was a delicious treat and Bodie felt his orgasm building quickly. Doyle felt good, better than good...
Doyle was perfect.
He chuckled against Doyle's mouth and jerked his hips. They both groaned. Christ, but it had been a long time since he'd touched anybody. How long had it been? More than two years since he'd fucked a woman. More than ten since he'd fucked a man. And Doyle, never. Thank God that was being rectified.
All those years, passing him by. Now here he was, with Doyle, their first time. As much as he wanted it to last, he knew he wasn't capable of making it more than a few moments more. Pulling his mouth away, he struggled to catch his breath before he buried his face in Doyle's neck. He breathed in the welcome aroma of Doyle's sweat-sheened skin. It was the scent of love. With a jerk of his body, he came in a rush, almost sobbing with the deliciousness of his release.
Doyle's hands held onto Bodie's arse for dear life. Bodie felt Doyle dig his heels into the bed and thrust upwards, his cock skimming Bodie's belly. Then Doyle was coming as well, hot ribbons of semen splashing against his skin, adding to the mess already between them. Bodie laughed with delight.
Doyle let out a small cry of pleasure and whispered Bodie's name into his ear before he sank back onto the bed in a boneless sprawl.
Bodie lay on top of his lover for a few moments before he moved alongside him, tangled in his tracksuit bottoms. He yanked them off and threw them to the floor. .
"Bloody hell," Bodie said, unable to keep the awe from his voice.
"Yeah." Doyle laughed and patted Bodie's arse.
"Should never have left you, sunshine. You're a fucking marvellous shag."
Doyle laughed even louder. "Ta. I think. You're not so bad yourself."
"I need a shower." Bodie moved even closer to Doyle, putting his head on the same pillow and kissing Doyle's ear. "Ray..."
"Hmmm." Doyle's arm rested on Bodie's back, his hand splayed on Bodie's buttocks, lightly massaging.
"Stay with me."
Doyle laughed softly. "Course I'm staying." His fingers patted Bodie's skin, making Bodie wiggle. "Never far apart, eh?"
The firm touch on Bodie's leg by a much-loved hand stopped the restless kick, kick, kick, of his heel against the metal frame of the examination table. The residual hollow sound echoed through the room. He swallowed around a dry throat and tamped down his impatience.
"It'll be all right."
Doyle's voice broke through his musings. It was soft, quiet, comforting.
Bodie swallowed and nodded, his restless leg forgotten. He had other things now to distract him. He tried to ignore the sound of the scissors as they cut away the bandages. Each snip brought him, brought them, closer and closer to the truth.
The fingers on his leg moved, patted lightly, fell still. As much as he wanted to reach out and grasp them as they pressed against his knee he resisted, scrunching his eyes tightly closed. As if it made a difference if he opened them as wide as possible and stared into the blackness.
Leave it to Doyle able to offer the greatest possible solace with a simple touch.
But nothing about Doyle himself was simple. So many layers to the man. So much to give, often hidden behind a biting temper or ribald joking. Capable of great love, and even greater loyalty. Nothing Bodie deserved. Yet here he was. Bodie wanted to say something to Doyle, offer a little consolation of his own, but right now he felt on the verge of tears. Embarrassed, he pursed his lips, his jaw rigid.
"Oi, mate. You clench those choppers any harder, you're going to crack a tooth. I'm put off my food by a bloke with no teeth." Doyle's warm breath huffed against his ear, making him shiver, and the playful poke to his ribs distracted his runaway thoughts.
Doyle's voice broke through the thick silence that had surrounded him, the click of the scissors still an echo in the air.
"Bugger off, " Bodie said, unable to keep the gratitude from his tone. Leave it to Doyle to try to make him feel more at ease.
"Can't. You still owe me ten pounds from last week," Doyle said. "Besides, without me around, not only would you be bored senseless, you'd be walking into walls and falling down stairs."
"Ha, ha." Bodie felt a little of the tension in his body dissipate.
Another hand touched his shoulder. "Mr Bodie, relax."
Bodie nodded, took in a slightly shaky breath and slowly released it. "Sorry, Doctor."
"Do not worry," the physician said. "You are doing very well. Anyone in your position has a right to be fretful. But I have a good feeling this day."
"I am merely doing my job, Mr Bodie."
The silence fell again as the doctor returned to his task. After many long minutes, he said, "I will hence remove the eye coverings. You must keep your eyes closed to allow them to adjust to the light that will filter through your eyelids. Even this will seem very strong, almost painful. You must wait until I ask you to open your eyes. Do you understand these instructions?"
"Yes." God, his voice was barely a whisper. His chest felt as if a twenty stone man sat on it. He had to keep it together or he'd be a blubbering pile in moments.
"Good. First the right... Then the left. Relax, Mr Bodie. Breathe normally and do not open your eyes quite yet. Tell me. Do you see any brightening at all?"
"I- I'm not certain... It does look lighter but could be wishful thinking, eh?"
"Take a moment, please. You will take a few minutes to adjust, so try to relax. Only then will we ask for you to open your eyes."
"I'm okay, Ray. Really."
"Yeah, I know. It's me who's not."
Doyle's dry chuckle made Bodie give a tentative smile before he swallowed noisily.
"Go ahead, Doc."
"A few minutes, Mr Bodie. While I understand your impatience, this needs to be taken slowly. Time will tell us all."
Seems his life was dictated by time. But he knew the value of patience, so he took in another shaky breath in before huffing it out.
And he waited.
Bodie started. "Eh?"
"I apologise for startling you, but you seemed to have fallen into a daydream."
"Sorry, Doctor. I was -- thinking."
"Ah. Yes. There must be many thoughts when one is about to experience something this life-altering."
Bodie managed a laugh. "You have no idea. I'm ready."
"Do you see a brightening through your eyelids?"
Before he answered, Bodie took in another calming breath that he breathed out slowly. "Yes."
"The lights have been turned down. I would ask you to very slowly open your eyes. You will note that the light will cause much tearing. This is normal and is not to alarm you. Here is a tissue if you should need it."
The item was pressed into his hand. Bodie clutched it. "Doctor, wait."
"Could you leave us? I mean, would it hurt anything if it's just me and Doyle when I open my eyes?"
"I do not see the harm. Try not to rub your eyes. Just pat gently. I will be right outside." The man squeezed Bodie's shoulder. "Slowly. And call me in a moment or two. I will exam your eyes once they have adjusted to sight."
"You're pretty sure of yourself, eh?"
"I am a good physician, Mr Bodie, and as I said, this day I have a good feeling."
Bodie waited until he heard the door swoosh shut before he again huffed out a shaky breath.
"Yeah. No matter what, Bodie. Remember. I'm here, no matter what."
"I know that." Bodie nodded. "Slowly..."
Bodie opened his eyes. Light flooded his irises, making them tear immediately. He blinked again and again, dabbing at his eyes with the tissue. "Doyle?"
"Right here, sunshine."
"I can... Christ, Ray..."
Doyle's hands clamped on his upper arms. A kiss fell on his forehead. "Thank God."
"Give me a sec... It's a bit blurry."
"Take all the time you need, mate. I'm not going anywhere."
Blinking rapidly, Bodie wiped away the tears. He didn't know if they were from the light flooding his eyes or from joy and he didn't care. His vision slowly cleared. The first thing he saw was Doyle's blue denim shirt. Raising his head, he blinked again and Doyle's face came into focus.
"Ray," Bodie whispered.
"Jesus, Bodie." Doyle sniffled and swiped at his nose with the back of his hand. "Ah, Bodie."
"You look..." Bodie blinked again, tears coursing down his face.
"Eh? How do I look, love?" Doyle was blinking rapidly as well, and Bodie was astonished that he could see the tears on Doyle's face so clearly.
Bodie glanced around the examination room. It was like he'd been born again. Everything looked bright and colourful. He caught sight of himself in a mirror that graced the wall behind Doyle. He looked into the glass and his breath caught. He'd almost forgotten what his own image looked like. With a grin, he caught Doyle's gaze.
"I can see." Bodie didn't even think about curbing his delight. He was too thrilled to remember to be the cool, suave member of their duo. "You're crying? Are you all right?"
"'m not crying." Doyle wiped the tears away. "Fractured eyelash, is all."
"Bloody hell, but you look...." Bodie paused, giving a teasing grin and letting the moment stretch before he added, "plain. Average. Not at all amazingly gorgeous. In fact, every time I see that ugly face, it makes me feel so incredibly handsome." He held out his hands and Doyle clasped them, his eyes brimming.
They both started to laugh.
"I'll have you know," Doyle said through his laughter, "that I spent an inordinate amount of time on making myself this marvellous. I'll not have you disparaging all this effort."
Bodie laughed even harder at the theatrical way Doyle puffed out his chest and grinned like a clown. "You'll be the death of me yet." Gaining control over his mirth at least, Bodie cleared his throat. "Listen, Ray-"
"Shut it. I know how you feel."
"How'd you know what I'm going to say?" Bodie blinked and dabbed at his eyes again.
"Because I feel the same way."
They gave each other a look of mutual understanding. Everything they'd experienced, the joys, the sorrows, melded into this one moment and they knew that right then, they'd got to their proper place in the universe.
"God, but you're a sentimental sod sometimes!"
Bodie grinned. "Best call the doctor before he has a heart attack." He felt his face might break from the smile that he didn't even consider stifling. "Time we went home."
Doyle nodded, grinning as well. "No rush. We have plenty of time. Still have two weeks' leave. Besides, I think you and I have new jobs waiting for us back home, best we get some rest."
"Oh? New jobs? No, wait. Tell me later. When we're well clear of here. Until then..." Bodie stood up. "Come here."
"Doctor might see."
"Let him. Besides, the Swiss are fairly tolerant of us queers."
"You're a nutter. You know that?"
"Love you, don't I?" Bodie smiled. "What do you say we take the grand tour on the way back home? I've a mind to see the sights."
"Now that you can see them?" Doyle chuckled.
"Not very sympathetic to a blind bloke are you?"
"Former blind bloke," Doyle reminded him.
"It's fabulous seeing again. Want to see everything. Especially you, naked. So call that doctor and let's start our tour."
"Time to get on with it."
"Time is on my side, yes it is," Bodie sing-songed, giving Doyle a silly grin.
"Channelling Mick now, is it?"
"Going to channel you later on."
"Right. Hurry up and call that doctor."
Again, their laughter filled the small room, their joy in one another never dimming.
And it lasted for innumerable minutes, hours, and days. Building time upon time, for many years to come.
And Bodie took a fancy to sightseeing. Especially when he was in bed with Doyle.