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Alphabet Meme. Bodie/Doyle. (The Professionals)

TITLE: Out Of Habit
AUTHOR: Darby Brennan
FANDOM: The Professionals
PAIRING: W. A. P. Bodie/Raymond Doyle
GENRE: Slash
SUB-GENRE: Established Relationship
SUMMARY: Set before, during and after Discovered In A Graveyard. Bodie and Doyle have been more than just partners for quite some time - but Bodie will never stay the night, no matter how much Doyle wants him to. Can anything make Bodie break his habit?
RATING: PG-13
WORD COUNT: 3,605
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Written for birggitt: H - Habitual (01/41)
DISCLAIMER: I don't own these characters, nor am I making any money from them. I merely borrow them from time to time.



Doyle rolled over onto his back and looked up at the ceiling as he waited for his heart rate to at least begin to slow down. His body was slick with sweat; his lips were swollen and bruised; his scalp hurt from the way Bodie had pulled his hair when he'd tangled his fingers in his curls, but he felt good; he felt bloody good.

But then it always was good with Bodie and had been from the first moment they'd fallen into bed together indulging in sex that was more about anger and one-upmanship than anything else. The first few times they'd come together they'd barely tolerated one another, let alone liked one another. But now . . .

Well now things were different. Now they not only liked one another they lo- except they didn't go there; at least not unless it was in a jokey way. But now they weren't just two blokes who worked together, two blokes who went to bed together, they were friends and damn it, yes, lovers.

And it was right; it was not only good, it was right. Bodie wasn't the first bloke Doyle had gone to bed with, but he was the first bloke where it had been about more than just the sex and end result. Even the Cow had been all right about them being more than just working partners; he hadn't liked it, but he'd been okay about it. And it made no difference to the lengths they'd go to in order to keep the other safe. Cowley had known for a long time they'd do anything for one another, and that would have been the case even if they never shared a bed.

Yeah, it was bloody good. It really was. It was damn near perfect in fact. There was only one thing that wasn't perfect. And that was -

"Penny for 'em, sunshine?" Bodie rolled over on his side and looked at Doyle. He was smiling, smirking even, and he tweaked one of Doyle's curls.

Tired and sated as well as content, Doyle answered without thinking. "Just thinking about how good it was," he said. "How good it always is," he added.

Just for a second Bodie's face seemed to freeze and a look Doyle couldn't instantly identify flashed through the brilliant blue gaze. Then Bodie gave a nonchalant shrug, yanked Doyle towards him for another hard kiss, before saying, "Of course it was, my son, because you're with me. And I'm Bodie, tall, dark, beautiful and bloody good in bed."

For a fleeting second Doyle almost wanted to wipe the self satisfied look off of Bodie's face. Then he sighed silently and just rolled his eyes. "Of course; I forgot."

"Well, I'll just have to remind you won't I?" Bodie drawled, reaching for Doyle, closing his hand around him and beginning to move it up and down.

"Nah," Doyle said, pulling Bodie's hand away. "Not a chance again tonight, sunshine. Not even tall, dark, beautiful and bloody good in bed Bodie could get a rise out of me again. No!" he said firmly at the look in Bodie's eyes - Bodie always had enjoyed a challenge. "I mean it, Bodie. I'm too bloody knackered to try again tonight. All I want to do is to go to sleep." And with that, after a quick kiss on Bodie's pouting lips, he rolled over and reached to turn off the lamp that stood on his bedside table.

"Hang on, Ray," Bodie said swiftly, reaching over Doyle to stop him from turning off the lamp. "You can't go to sleep yet."

"What? Why not? Oh," said Doyle softly. "You're going home." It wasn't a question.

"Always do, sunshine, you know that." And Bodie pushed back the covers and got out of bed where he stood and stretched for a minute or two as Doyle just watched him.

"Stay, Bodie."

Bodie pulled on his underpants and shook his head. "I can't, sunshine."

"No, what you mean is you won't?"

As he pulled on his trousers and polo neck jumper Bodie stared down at Doyle who was now sitting up, the covers pulled around him, glaring at his partner. Bodie touched Doyle's head. "No, sunshine," he said softly, "I can't."

"Well, fuck you then." Doyle threw himself down on the bed and turned his back on Bodie. It was a familiar argument; Bodie never stayed the night, no matter how late it was, no matter how exhausted he must have been, no matter how close they'd been, he'd never once stayed.

"I keep telling you you can if you want to."

Doyle turned over and glared up at Bodie. "Go home, Bodie," he spat. "And sod you. I'm going to sleep." And this time he did turn the lamp off, yanked the covers more firmly around him and closed his eyes.

The next second he cursed as the covers were pulled back and the lamp turned back on. "What the hell are you -"

"You can't go to sleep until you've locked up behind me." Bodie stood arms folded, glaring down at Doyle.

Doyle rolled his eyes. "Just drop the latch on your way out. That'll do for tonight." And he tried to pull the covers from Bodie.

"No, it won't. Come on, Ray, you know the rules as well as I do. You have to lock up behind me properly. Cowley's rules. What's the point of them spending all this money on securing out flats if you leave the door open?"

Doyle dragged his hands through his curls. Bodie was right; he knew it and Bodie knew he knew it. But he was tired of having to get out of a nice warm, comfortable bed, especially after such a good session and trudge to the front door just to lock and bolt it behind Mr. Bloody-I-won't-spend-the-night-with-anyone. He sighed, "All right, Bodie," he said, "you win. Give me my pyjama trousers." He held out his hand, took them, got out of bed and pulled them on.

The next second his anger and hurt had if not quite fled then softened when Bodie handed him a jumper. "Better put this on, Ray, it's cold out here; we don't want you catching a chill, do we?" His tone was soft and the affection was obvious.

"Thanks," Doyle said, pulling it on over his head.

Together they went to the front door; it was Bodie who unlocked it, however, he didn't instantly open the door. Instead he looked at Doyle and to Doyle's surprise he let his finger tips brush along Doyle's long-ago broken cheekbone. "If I could stay, Ray," he said softly, staring at Doyle. "I would. If I could stay the night with anyone, it'd be you. Just remember that, Ray." Then he let his hand move behind Doyle's head so he could pull him towards him for a far gentler kiss than any they'd shared that night. "Sleep well, sunshine," he said, now opening the door. "I'll pick you up in the morning."

Doyle swallowed hard. Just sometimes Bodie could still surprise him and as he stared at his partner the final residue of anger and hurt faded. Bodie was after all just Bodie - and for the most part Doyle wouldn't change him. "Night, Bodie," he said, leaning towards Bodie and lightly kissing him. "Sleep well, sunshine." It was what they always said.

"Always do," said Bodie, and with one final ruffle of Doyle's curls he went out and closed the door behind him. Doyle hurried to lock and bolt the door, knowing that Bodie wouldn't leave until he heard the noises of Doyle securing his home.

As he jogged down the stairs Bodie silently cursed himself, not for the first time, for not staying the night with Doyle. But it was as he always said a case of 'can't'; it wasn't that he didn't want to, did Doyle think he enjoyed getting out of a nice warm bed? Did Doyle think he enjoyed tearing himself away from Doyle's firm, hard, sexy body, getting dressed and going out into the night? Of course he didn't; he hated it, but he had to leave. It was a habit so engrained in him that he didn't know how to break it - not even for Doyle.

He'd never spent the night with anyone - man or woman. You didn't spend a night with another bloke you just did what you did and left and birds were too bleeding clingy. He'd never stay a night with a bird because they'd get the wrong message, and the next thing he would know they'd be looking in jewellers' shop windows and getting possessive. Love 'em and leave 'em' that was Bodie's motto - and it'd always served him well.

Until Doyle came along that is. Well, until he - But no, they didn't go there; they didn't use that word; they didn't even think it - well they did, but they didn't talk about it. The first few times they'd gone to bed together there had been no affection at all; he'd almost hated the curly-haired ex-copper he'd been partnered with. So he'd had no problem just getting up and leaving Doyle.

However, as the weeks had turned into months and the months into years, the curly-haired ex-copper got under his skin and now he hated leaving. He would stay if he could; but he couldn't. He didn't know how to explain it to Doyle, because he didn't really understand it himself. It was more than just habitual, it was a compulsion. He knew he hurt Doyle, he knew he made him angry, but there was nothing he could do. He would if he could, but he couldn't. And he couldn't think of anything that would, that could, change things.

He unlocked the car door, climbed inside, shivering as the iciness of the interior hit him and slammed his hand down on the steering wheel as he once more silently cursed himself. He was still cursing himself as he turned the key in the ignition, switched on the lights, gunned the engine and took off along the dark, empty street heading back to his own cold and lonely flat and bed.

THREE MONTHS LATER

"Who was it, Ray? Who was it? Oh, come on, Ray, for Christ's sake! Who was it?" But Doyle didn't answer. As he leant over the man Bodie knew meant more to him than his own life, he wondered if Doyle would ever answer him again.

~~~~~~~

As hospital staff wheeled Doyle along the corridor, an oxygen mask over his face, Bodie followed. As he did he started to try to shut himself down, to pull back on his emotions, to cover them up, to swallow them. Damn it, why had he ever cared? Caring meant you got hurt.

Suddenly Cowley was by his side. "Well?"

"Just about to operate."

"Have they said? About his chances?" Cowley's tone told Bodie just how much he cared, but he'd known that for some time. For all his harshness and curtness, George Cowley cared a lot, a hell of a lot, about the men and women under his command.

"No." Or if they had, Bodie hadn't heard; hadn't wanted to hear.

"You're off all other assignments. Any ideas?"

Bodie forced himself to concentrate on Cowley and not let his mind think about Doyle lying on the floor, blood pooling around him, as good ad dead. Once more he tried to push the emotion down deep inside himself and tried to forget it was Doyle; tried to tell himself it was just another person; tried to tell himself it wasn't his partner, his friend, the man he lo-; tried to tell himself it was just a stranger about to be operated on. "Well, it's not a regular break-in. It's probably a vendetta, I should think." And that made sense to Bodie; they made enemies in the job they did and even though Doyle had in many ways been a soft-hearted copper, he'd also been an honest one - he'd made enemies.

Cowley shook his head. "No, something more random. You came straight here?"

Bodie nodded. "With the ambulance."

Cowley stared at him. "So, you haven't searched his flat?"

No, of course Bodie hadn't searched his flat. What did the Cow think he'd done, told the ambulance men they had to wait whilst he searched Doyle's flat? Told them they had to keep Doyle alive whilst he searched for any evidence of the bastard who had nearly taken Doyle's life? "Malone's boys are onto it."

Cowley snapped at him. "You, Bodie, you search it. You know the man."

Bodie tired again to forget it was Doyle in the operating theatre; once again he failed. "I'd rather stay here, sir."

"And do what? There's nothing you can do here. Come on!" And after snapping the order, Cowley turned on his heel and began to walk away.

Bodie hesitated for a fraction of a second; at that moment he hated George Bloody Cowley even more than he hated the bastard who had put bullets into Doyle. He knew Cowley was right though; he did know Doyle. If anyone could find a clue as to who shot Doyle, it would be him. Thus, reluctant as he was to leave Doyle alone, he too turned and followed Cowley.

~~~~~~~

Bodie stood in the middle of Doyle's bedroom motionless, just looking around the room, remembering against his will the last time, the night before last, when he'd been there. The last time he'd kissed Doyle, the last time he'd touched him, the last time he'd done what he always did when it was over: got out of bed, got dressed and went home.

He was still standing motionless when Cowley walked in. He shook himself mentally and said, "Nothing seems to have been touched. If they were looking for something, they knew where it was. But what could he have that they would want?"

Cowley said grimly, "Just his life perhaps."

"Yeah, well, they didn't get it." Bodie paused for a second and added softly. "Yet." He couldn't let go of the feeling that he was going to lose Doyle and for once there was nothing he could do to help him.

Cowley picked up Doyle's framed copy of the poem Desiderata and began to read it out loud. As he reached the end he said, "No vendettas, Bodie, no revenge. Whatever happens to Doyle, it was his job. It comes with the job."

"Yeah, being a target for some maniac political assassin."

"You're presuming, Bodie. I want facts. Stay on it. I'm going back to the hospital." And once again just as Bodie was hating his boss, Cowley showed just how much he cared about Doyle. He couldn't do anything at the hospital, but it was the only place he'd want to be. He left Bodie alone in Doyle's bedroom

~~~~~~~

Bodie stood with Cowley, Doyle's doctor, Seigel, he seemed to recall the name was, and a nurse looking at Doyle. Suddenly Doyle's eyes opened and focussed on Bodie; before Bodie could speak, Doyle made a strange motion with his index finger. Bodie frowned as he watched and then it hit him! Without saying anything, not even to Cowley, he turned and ran from the room.

~~~~~~~

Tyres squealing he pulled the Capri up outside of Doyle's block of flats, raced in and up the stairs. He barrelled through the door, eyes already scanning the room; he spotted the terrarium Doyle had bought because he'd wanted to buy the ring that now lay on top of the terrarium. "Bitch!" At least now they knew who had shot Doyle.

~~~~~~~

Bodie couldn't quite believe he was sitting in the ambulance holding the hand of the girl who had nearly took Doyle away from him. But he was and he knew why he was: it was what Doyle would have done; what Doyle would want Bodie to do. Damn it, he really had gone soft.

Mayli opened her eyes and stared at Bodie; she seemed quite unafraid of him - but then she was dying and she knew it. "How is your friend"?

"He'll make it." As Mayli's eyes closed, quite possibly for the last time, Bodie was certain she was pleased Doyle would live.

The ambulance man looked at Bodie and said, "Not a relative, is she?"

"Hardly even know her."

A FEW DAYS LATER

Bodie helped Doyle out of the car and tucked his hand under Doyle's elbow as he began to lead him towards the steps leading up to Doyle's new flat.

Doyle shook him off. "Let go of me; I'm not a bleeding invalid," he said, but his tone didn't match his words.

"Course you're not," Bodie replied, once again tucking his hand under Doyle's elbow. This time Doyle didn't object and by the time they reached the top of the steps, Doyle had actually taken Bodie's arm and was leaning against him. As he supported Doyle, Bodie wondered just who the hell had assigned a flat with steps to a man who had just come out of hospital after being shot and nearly killed?

Bodie had already shopped for bread and milk and other basic necessities, thus once he'd helped Doyle sit down on the settee, he went back to the door and locked and bolted it. "Cuppa?" he asked.

"Ta, mate, that'd be lovely." Now he was sitting down some of the deathly pallor had left Doyle's cheeks.

Bodie grinned at him, ruffled his curls, which for once didn't earn him a mock-glare and left Doyle whilst he went into the kitchen.

"Here you are; made you a sandwich too," Bodie handed the mug and plate to Doyle.

Doyle gave him a crooked grin. "Thanks," he said taking the mug and plate and putting the plate down on the table.

Ten minutes later he was asleep. Not one to waste food, Bodie ate the sandwich himself.

A MONTH LATER

Bodie had stayed with Doyle for the first few days after he'd got out of hospital, generally keeping an eye on him, winding him up, all the things Bodie normally did - and Doyle had never been happier.

Beyond the brief conversation they'd had outside the laundrette when Bodie had asked him how it felt to be amongst the land of living after having technically been dead and Doyle's reply that having done it once it'd be easier the next time, they hadn't talked about the shooting and Doyle's near death.

Doyle had been back to work for a fortnight, but that had consisted mainly of paperwork whilst he built his strength and stamina back up. And that night Doyle had discovered whilst he wasn't up to full strength and his stamina was still a bit iffy, he was going in the right direction.

He rolled over onto his back and looked up at the ceiling as he waited for his heart rate to at least begin to slow down. His body was slick with sweat; his lips were swollen and bruised; his scalp hurt from the way Bodie had pulled his hair when he'd tangled his fingers in his curls, but he felt good; he felt bloody good. He felt alive; he was alive.

Yeah, it was bloody good. It really was. It was damn near perfect in fact. There was only one thing that wasn't perfect. And that was -

What would happen next.

Bodie turned onto his side and looked at Doyle and grinned. "Bloody good, wasn't it?" And before Doyle could reply he added, "As it always is with me."

Doyle rolled his eyes and lightly punched Bodie's shoulder. He waited for Bodie to sit up and get out of bed, get dressed and go home. But Bodie was just lying looking at him and for the first time in years Doyle found he couldn't read his partner's gaze. He couldn't read it at all; he couldn't figure out what Bodie was thinking.

He was tired, sated and tired. If Bodie didn't hurry up and get up he'd fall asleep and then Bodie would have to wake him up so he could lock up after Bodie. He closed his eyes and for a second allowed his body to slip close to the edge of sleep. But before he could fall over the edge he jerked himself awake. "Well?" he demanded, noticing Bodie still hadn't moved; although actually he had, but he'd moved down the bed a bit and had pulled the covers around him.

"Well, what?"

"Aren't you going home?"

For a moment Bodie became tense and his eyes flickered away from Doyle to the bedroom door. Then he turned back. "Nah," he said softly. "Thought I'd stay here tonight, if that's okay with you?"

Doyle's lips parted and he stared at Bodie; for a moment he thought he'd misheard him. "You want to stay?" he finally asked, his own tone low.

Bodie licked his lips, swallowed and nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, Ray, I do. I want to stay - and not just for tonight. Okay?"

"But what about . . . ? You always said you . . ."

Doyle came to a spluttering halt as Bodie put his mouth on his and kissed him. "Shut up, Ray," he said taking his mouth from Doyle's and settling back down. "Some of us want to go to sleep. Don't forget to turn the light off." And with that, Bodie rolled over onto his other side and seconds later Doyle heard the steady breathing of someone who had fallen asleep.
Tags: fandom: the professionals, fanfic: stories, pairing (slash): bodie/doyle
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