‘TIS THE SEASON
Doyle is happy because it is almost Christmas. Bodie is not. In fact Bodie is behaving very out of character. Realising that if he doesn't do something, his partnership with Doyle could be at an end, Bodie accepts Doyle's invitation to Christmas lunch and reveals why he hates Christmas. But the discoveries do not stop there.
A first time story.
Warning: Contains extremely mild, fully consensual domination/compliance.
Written: October 2005. Word count: 5,177.
17TH DECEMBER 1984
"'Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la la la la la. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la la la la la. ‘Tis the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la la la la la. ‘Tis the sea -"
"Doyle, will you just shut up!" Bodie yelled, turning his attention away from the red light to glare at his partner. The grip he had on the steering wheel was so hard his knuckles had turned white.
"Huh?" Wide eyes were turned his way and Doyle blinked slowly. "What's up with you?"
Bodie sighed and gritted his teeth; it wasn't Doyle's fault. "Nothing," he said shortly, grinding the gears as he forced the car into first, without fully depressing the clutch. He pulled away from the lights, bending forwards over the wheel and concentrating on the road. "It's just that I'm sick of you singing the same two bloody lines of the same carol over and over again. Don't you know the rest?"
"No," said Doyle quietly, after a moment or two. Then he added, "Sorry, mate. It's just that . . . Well, it's exciting, isn't it?"
"What is?" Bodie asked, knowing full well what ‘it' was, but trying to delay the inevitable.
"Us getting Christmas off. Three whole days. It's bleedin' amazing. Cowley must have flipped. That or he wrote the rota after he'd indulged in the pure malt more than he usually does." Doyle chuckled one of his dirty laughs, and out the corner of his eye, Bodie saw his partner was rubbing his hands together. "We'd better start making plans, see what birds we're going to invite round. I'll cook, you bring the booze and we'll have us a grand time. Oh, Bodie, it'll be great. I've always wanted to do a proper Christmas dinner. I know that might sound soppy, but . . . Bodie, are you listening to me?"
Bodie indicated and yanked the wheel round, turning into Headquarters' car park. Pulling the car into ‘their' parking space, he paused long enough to switch off the engine and climb out of the car. Then he delivered the words he'd been planning on saying for the past week and a half. "I'm not taking the days off. I'm coming to work." He strode off before Doyle could answer. He had no doubt that his partner would be standing mouth open, just staring after him.
"What the fuck are you talking about?" Doyle spat, as he caught up with Bodie. He gripped Bodie's arm and stopped him in his tracks.
Bodie stared down at Doyle's hand. "Let go," he ordered, his tone flat and cold.
For a second Doyle didn't comply, instead he tightened his grip. Then after another second, he obeyed the order. "Bodie?" he asked, his tone heavy with curiosity and a tinge of hurt.
Bodie sighed silently, but tightened his resolve. "I don't want Christmas off. I'm working."
"But why? Christ, Bodie, we've worked every Christmas and New Year since we started working for this mob. That's eight years. Eight years, Bodie. It's about our turn. Why the hell would you want to work?"
"Look, Ray," Bodie said, softening his tone. "Don't push, okay? Just leave it. I'm working. That's all." He forced a smile and walked off.
"You selfish bastard," Doyle's quiet voice, filled with icy fury, stopped him dead.
Bodie turned around. "What?" he asked, in genuine confusion.
"You. Selfish," Doyle said, moving towards him and stopping so close to Bodie that he had to tip his head back slightly in order to glare into Bodie's eyes.
"What planet are you from, Doyle? Selfish? Just the opposite, I reckon. If I work one of our colleagues with a wife and family can be off. What's selfish about that?"
The usually warm, revealing emerald-green eyes turned into a frozen, closed sage-green stare. As he stared into them, Bodie couldn't prevent a shiver from creeping through his body. "Because," Doyle said, in his deadly, quiet, respectful, intimidating tone, "if you work, then I've got to." He held Bodie's stare for another moment, then spun on his booted heel and strode off down the corridor, his curls bouncing on his shoulders.
Bodie's mouth fell open and he stared after his friend. "Ray, wait," he called. But the whipcord thin body kept walking, pushing its way through the swing doors and marching onwards. Bodie stood and watched the doors swing back and forth several times, due to the force with which Doyle had hit them. "Shit!" he cursed. This was one reaction he had not expected. He started to follow the retreating figure.
"Hey, Bodie," the call stopped him in his tracks.
He whirled round on his heel "What?" he snapped, immediately regretting his irritation as the dark brown eyes belonging to Thomas Murphy widened in surprise. "Sorry, Tommy," Bodie said, taking a step forward and briefly squeezing Murphy's arm. "Didn't mean to snap."
"That's all right, mate," Murphy said, glancing over Bodie's shoulder. "What's up? You and Goldilocks had a lover's tiff?"
Bodie grinned. "Yeh, something like that," he said without a hint of rancour in his voice. It was an old joke, one that had been flying around Headquarters for over seven years now, and neither he nor Doyle had ever taken offence at the suggestion; after all, they did rather invite it. What with their draping themselves over one another, arms around each other's shoulders, not bothering with two cups when one would easily do, long lingering looks, the need to reconnect, even briefly, after they'd been parted for any length of time, their apparently on-the-job telepathy, the way they finished one another's sentences, and seeming to live in one another's pockets, how could they object?
Murphy chuckled and smiled back. "You'll win him round, Bodie mate. You always do."
"I don't know if I will this time, Tommy," Bodie said, his tone suddenly serious. And he didn't. He really didn't. He had never seen that look in Doyle's eyes before - at least not directed at him.
"Give over," Murphy said, and squeezed Bodie's shoulder. "Anyway, mate, what I wanted you for was to ask if you and Ray were going to join us in The Red Lion on Christmas Eve, for a quick drink or two?"
Bodie shook his head. "Sorry, Murph, not me. And I can't speak for Ray." He wondered if he'd ever be able to speak for his partner again.
"Since when?" Murphy demanded. He looked as though he was about to say more, but the sound of Susan Fischer calling his name had him flashing Bodie a quick eye roll, before turning on his heel and going back down the corridor. "Catch you later, Bodie," he called, as he jogged towards the woman.
"Catch you later, Tommy," Bodie said automatically.
He stood for another moment or two, before turning around and pushing his way through the swing doors that Doyle had charged through five minutes earlier. He'd better go and find his errant partner and try to make amends. But where the hell had the golly gone?
A quick search of the loos and restroom revealed several agents, none of them with long curly hair. Muttering under his breath, Bodie turned and ran straight into Jax. "You seen Ray, Jax?" he asked quickly, dispensing with any pleasantries.
"Yeh, he went into the Cow's office about three minutes ago. Mind you he didn't look very -"
"Ta," Bodie called and jogged off.
Betty sat in her usual position behind her desk as he skidded to a halt inside the outer office. "Is Ray still in with the boss?" Bodie asked.
"Yes. But -"
"Thanks, love," Bodie called, and pushed open the door.
"I said, no, four-five, and that's my final word. Now get back to . . . Ah, Master Bodie, I wondered where you were. My answer is still no," Cowley glanced from Doyle who was standing, most unlike him, to attention in front of the Controller's desk to Bodie, who stood inside the door.
"Sir?" he asked, glancing at Doyle, who studiously ignored him.
"I am not going to make a change to the rota. My decision is final. You two will not be working over Christmas, and that is my final word on the subject."
"But, sir, we're not married or anything. It's only fair that -"
"Doyle!" Cowley snapped the name in the tone he rarely used. The one with which even the ever-daring Bodie/Doyle team never argued. Silence filled the office as Cowley stared his steely-eyed stare firstly at Doyle and then at Bodie. "Well?" he said half a second later.
"Yes, sir. Sorry, sir," Doyle nodded, turned smartly on his heel and strode out of Cowley's office; he didn't even glance at Bodie.
"Sir . . ." Bodie risked, coming to an abrupt halt as the pale-blue eyes froze him into place. Then to his surprise, the look softened for a moment.
"Och, Bodie, get out of here and go and find that partner of yours," Cowley said, his voice oddly gentle.
Bodie frowned for a moment. Then with a mock half-salute said, "Running all the way, sir," and did just that.
He caught up with Doyle in the locker room. For a moment, he stood and watched his partner yank stuff out of his locker and throw it across the room. "Ray," Bodie said, when it became clear that the firebrand was not going to acknowledge him, even though Bodie knew that Doyle knew he was there.
For a moment he thought Doyle wasn't going to answer him. Then he turned around, the frozen look in the heavily shuttered green eyes still present. "What?"
Doyle just stared. "If we're working someone had to tell the Cow. Not that he listened to me."
Bodie shook his head. "No, I meant why do you have to work if I do?"
The frozen look became even icier, as steel now joined the mix, and Ray's normal weather-hued tan paled, then flared red. Bodie watched as his partner clenched and unclenched his fists before walking slowly across the room towards him.
Doyle didn't stop until he was toe to toe with him, so close that Bodie could taste, as well as smell, the pine and apple scent that always surrounded his friend. Clean, fresh, new, reviving, alive, just like Ray Doyle. The broken cheekbone stood white against the red, glaring at Bodie like a beacon, and the copper curls jerked as Ray again tipped his head back. "Because you dumb crud," he said in his deadly, quiet, icily polite voice, "I'm not going to trust anyone else to watch your back. But if you have to ask that, then maybe I'm wrong to bother." And with those final words he turned away and strode out of the room.
This time Bodie didn't follow him.
Instead, after a second or two of getting his pulse rate under control, he began to clear up the mess Doyle had made. "Fuck," he whispered. "Fuck it. Fuck it. Fuck it."
23RD DECEMBER 1984
"Night then, Ray. See you. I'll pick you up on 27th. Have a good -" Bodie broke off. He couldn't say the words. "Few days off," he finally managed, as the suddenly hopeful gaze held his own. He cursed silently when Doyle seemed to momentarily wilt under the words. "Ray," he said, catching the wiry arm, as his partner started to open the door.
Doyle became very still. So motionless that for a second Bodie was tempted to check that he was still breathing. Then, still staring at the door rather than Bodie, he began to speak. His tone was slightly gruff, his voice infinitesimally wobbly; Bodie swallowed another curse. "Look, Bodie, I don't know what's going on with you. I don't understand, okay. And I'm not going to ask, as you clearly don't want to tell me. But if you change your mind and decide that you do fancy a nice lunch, then I'm going to do Christmas, even though it's just me. If you want to join me, lunch'll be on the table at 2:00 p.m. Turn up or don't. It's up to you. Night," he added, and before Bodie could say a word, Doyle had leapt out of the car and had jogged up the steps into the block of flats in which he currently lived.
It was ten minutes before Bodie turned the engine back on, switched his headlights on, flicked the indicator and pulled out of the space. During the whole journey home he thought - hard.
He spent the rest of the evening getting very, very drunk before falling into bed and slipping into sleep - or it might be unconsciousness - where his dreams were haunted by Doyle's face as he'd sat in the car and made his offer. Bodie hadn't seen his partner's face, not once had Doyle turned his way, but he didn't need to have done to know exactly what it would have been revealing, and how damp the green eyes would have been.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, he had another dream.
The one that had haunted him for fifteen years.
25th DECEMBER 1984
Ray glanced at his watch - 1:30 p.m. and everything was going to schedule, except for one thing. But then that had never actually really been part of the schedule, so . . .
The sound of the doorbell made him jump so severely, he nearly dropped the pan of roast potatoes as he gave them a final basting. Pushing them back into the oven, and dropping the oven-gloves onto the counter, he jogged to the intercom. He forced the hope and excitement that had raced through him at the sound, down inside him - back to where it had lived for the past two days. "Yeh?" he said.
"It's me," a tinny voice said. Ray's heart leapt, and the excitement bubbled up and ran through his body.
Biting down, however, on the urge to give anything away, and to do a dance around the room, he simply said, "Push."
Minutes later Bodie stood just inside his flat, three neatly wrapped gifts held in a tight grip, his shoulders hunched over, his whole body clearly screaming ‘flight'.
Ray again pushed his pleasure back and said casually, "'Lo, Bodie. Lunch'll be ready in about half-an-hour. Take your coat off and pour yourself a drink. There's some decent scotch on the table, or gin if you'd prefer." He began to walk back into the kitchen.
"I'm not staying to lunch. I just came to give you these," Bodie said, holding out the packages.
Ray ignored the shaking in the normally steady grip. He shrugged. "Oh, right. Thanks, mate. Stick ‘em under the tree with the others. Yours are the ones wrapped in blue and silver. Hope you like ‘em. Drop the latch on your way out." Heart pounding, mouth dry and fighting his instinct to go to Bodie and tug him into an embrace, or beg him to stay, Ray continued walking into the kitchen.
He came to an abrupt halt just inside the door and strained his ears to listen for the sound of his front door closing. As the steamer began to rattle under the head of steam it had collected, he glared at it and dashed across the room, turning off the gas and holding his breath. Nothing. He allowed himself to hope.
Then to his joy he heard the faint clink of glass. "Pour one for me whilst you're at it," he called. "G&T'll do. Hot and thirsty work cooking all this food," he added.
Moments later Bodie, after pausing at the fridge to add lemon and ice to the glasses, handed one to Ray; once more Ray ignored the barely perceptible, but to him as clear as a summer's day, shaking. "Ta, mate," he said, deliberately slurping the drink. He smacked his lips. "That's good," he downed half the drink, and put the glass on the counter. "Strong too," he added a second or two later, as he once more turned the gas on under the steamer and watched whilst the water began to bubble again. And it had been strong; far too strong for a man who was about to leave and drive home. Again he allowed himself to hope.
"Yeh, well. It is," Bodie paused for a second then said, the deliberation clear in his voice, "Christmas." Ray still puttered around at the stove, not wanting to break the spell. Then Bodie said, his voice far more Bodie-like than it had been for over a week, "Opened the wine too. Honestly, Ray, red wine needs to breathe, specially the good stuff. I'm surprised no one at that fancy Art College of yours ever taught you that. I hope it'll be okay with only half an hour. Suppose it'll have to be. You got anything to nibble whilst I wait? I'm starving."
I could kiss him, Ray thought. He nearly dropped the bowl of brussels he'd been about to tip into the steamer when he realised what he'd thought.
Four courses, the best part of two bottles of wine, two brandies and coffees later, found Ray and Bodie sprawled on Ray's sofa; more brandy and coffee sat on the coffee table.
"That was great, Ray. Really great. I haven't tasted a meal so good since -" Bodie came to an abrupt halt, grabbed his brandy glass, drained it and refilled it from the bottle that was also on the table.
Ray said nothing. Instinct told him not to. The silence became heavy, painful, cloying, as it rose between them and began to circle the room, each pass getting lower and lower until it began to press down on them.
"Always knew, deep down, that I'd have to tell you one day. Hoped I wouldn't, but I knew I would. Reckoned it'd be a few years yet, what with the Old Man always making us work over Christmas. Could manage that. Could do the ‘Merry Christmas' and exchange gifts, could lark about with the rest of the squad, get drunk, kiss the birds, screw a few of the more willing ones; all that kind of stuff. That was easy. Done it for so many years. Never had time off in the Mercs or Paras or SAS either, what with not being married, sometimes not even being in a Christian country. But then he had to go and spoil it all."
Still Ray said nothing. Instead, he moved, without appearing to, closer to Bodie, letting his thigh and arm press against those of his partner. Bodie glanced at him, but it was clear that he wasn't seeing him. To Ray's shock, the sapphire blue eyes were misted with unshed tears. Bollocks to silence, he thought. "Bodie?" he said softly, slipping his hand into his friend's and squeezing it.
Bodie returned the pressure, but he went on staring at Ray without seeing him, and continued his toneless monologue. "They were on their way back from Midnight Mass. It was the only time that Dad went. Mam, always went, every week, come rain or shine she'd go. Always walked there and back, over two miles it was, she never learnt to drive. But on Christmas Eve, Dad didn't like her being out alone, so he went with her. Used to go myself, but then I reckoned I was too old. My mates teased me, and you know what's it like when you're thirteen, you listen to them more than to your parents. Always regretted not going. Always will."
Ray lifted his other hand and gently stroked Bodie's hair. He didn't know why he did it, but the gesture seemed right.
"Killed instantly, the coppers assured me. Said they wouldn't have felt a thing. But how do they know? How many times have we said that? And we don't know, do we? I mean no one knows. Do they? Do they?" he demanded, glaring at Ray and squeezing the hand he held so tightly that Ray had to bite his lip to keep himself from crying out.
"No, Bodie," he said softly. Wishing that their ‘thou shalt not lie to my partner', vow had never been made. "No one knows. But -"
Bodie carried on as though Ray hadn't said anything. "Bundled me off to a foster home. Three other kids, laughing, playing, running around, excited at what Santa had brought them. There were even some presents for me. Not just the ones Mam had bought me, but some more, loads more. They tried, Ray, they really tried. They were good people; they truly cared for me. I know they did. Mam and Dad would have liked ‘em too. Could have stayed with ‘em. But then she got sick. Dunno what with. No one ever said. Just one morning her Mam woke me up and told me to pack my stuff and she'd take me to the Children's' Home. She hugged me. She cried. Gave me a five-pound note, never seen one before. The next day, on my way to school, I ran away and joined a ship. Then the Mercs. The Paras. SAS. And then our Mob. Never did Christmas since that day. Vowed I never would. I loved ‘em, Ray. So much. I know you and the rest of our lot must have reckoned I'd had a bad childhood to skip off so soon. But it was just the opposite. They died, Ray. They died. They went away. At Christmas."
Whether it was just the emotion or the alcohol, or a combination, Ray would never know. But as he watched a single tear slip from Bodie's left lid and slide down the ivory face, his heart, which had belonged to his partner for over seven years, melted and without conscious thought, he tugged the larger body into his arms and found Bodie's lips with his own.
Bodie tasted of brandy, salt, oak trees and jasmine, all perfectly normal; what wasn't usual was that he also tasted of arousal. His lips were firm and dry, and as Ray's tongue flicked across the bottom one, they parted. Delirious now and drunk on passion, Ray continued to kiss, and be kissed by, Bodie.
Eventually though, realising that even top CI5 agents need to breathe, Ray broke the kiss; it was the hardest thing he had ever had to do. "Bodie?" he ventured, staring into the navy-velvet ringed onyxes.
"Ray?" Bodie sounded as stunned as Ray felt. "Ray? Why?"
"Because," Ray said simply, smiling at Bodie and moving nearer. Then, because the stunned look on the handsome now flushed face remained, added softly, "Don't tell me you've never thought about it."
"Hundreds of times, sunshine, specially when you waggle that luscious bum of yours, I just never . . . Christ, Ray have we wasted all this time?" Bodie moved nearer and began to pull Ray into this arms. Then he froze and his face clouded.
"This isn't just because -"
"No, Bodie. No. I want you. Thought about it, on and off, for years. Just didn't know how to . . . Come on, Bodie. Let me make love to you." Ray rose, more than a tad unsteadily to his feet, and reached down a hand to help Bodie to his feet. However, Bodie didn't move. "Bodie?"
"Ray. Would you . . . That is . . ." he broke off and looked up at Ray, the anguish that Ray had seen earlier in the vivid eyes had returned.
"Bodie?" he whispered.
"Can we do it here? And would you let me make love to you?"
"Course," said Ray, without thought, sinking back down onto the sofa - it was big enough and comfortable enough, and it might be fun. He started to pull Bodie back into his arms. But again Bodie was unmoving. "Bodie?" he said again.
"Can you give up control to me, Ray?" Bodie's voice was low. "Can you do that? Do you trust me enough?"
Ray blinked. Could he? He never had before, not with anyone. But this wasn't anyone; this was William Andrew Philip Bodie, his partner. The man he'd loved for years, the man he trusted, the man he'd die for. "Course I do, Bodie," he said softly. Then because it seemed right, or rather it seemed less right not to, he added, "Not just trust either. I love you enough too." He held his breath. Was it too soon? Was it what Bodie wanted to hear?
The smile that lit up Bodie's eyes as well as his lips was his answer. The next second he found himself tugged into a fierce embrace and Bodie's lips found their way under his curls to nuzzle his ear. "Love you too, Ray," Bodie whispered. "Now, be a good boy and do just what I tell you."
And Ray did just that. Under Bodie's express instructions he allowed himself to be stripped, to close his eyes, to tuck his hands under his back, and to lay perfectly still and not make any noise. But it was hard, so very hard, as gun-calloused hands caressed every inch of his body, and warm lips and a moist tongue travelled over him, touching places that no-one, other than Ray himself in the shower, had ever touched. Places that Ray had never believed could be erogenous, but were.
"Don't move," Bodie whispered, as his teeth teetered over the tip of Ray's erection. "Don't move, or I'll tie your hands behind you."
Ray's erection leapt and hit Bodie's teeth - he felt them brush his sensitive shaft. He pushed himself back down into the depths of the cushions and desperately attempted to comply. However, he couldn't prevent a whimper of sheer pleasure from escaping, as the teeth became a tongue.
For over half an hour Bodie tortured Ray in the delightful, erotic way, bringing the man who thought he's experienced everything he'd ever want to experience in lovemaking to the edge of climax so many times that Ray, locked in a world of darkness, lost count.
Bodie kissed his way back up Ray's body, letting the hand that daily caressed and made love to a gun, once more surround Ray's aching, burning erection. He kissed Ray again, deeply, longingly, lovingly, then moved his lips once more to Ray's ear. "Come for me, Ray," he said, his breath wetting Ray's ear. "Come for me now!" The words were a clear order.
Ray obeyed. "Bodie," he cried, as his whole body climaxed. He felt himself gathered up into an embrace and held, as a soothing hand ran over his curls and a soft voice hushed him, crooning words of affection into his ear.
Then there was nothing.
It must have been ten minutes later when Ray opened his eyes and blinked unfocusedly up, he found himself looking into the blue and ebony eyes he'd always loved. They were far softer than he had ever seen them before. It was as though a wall had fallen down, a curtain had been pulled aside and finally he was seeing the true W.A.P. Bodie. "Bodie," he managed, his voice raspy. Then he remembered. "Sorry," he murmured and bit his lip, quickly closing his eyes again.
A gentle hand moved over his lids, and two butterfly soft touches encouraged his eyelids to open. Once more, he obeyed. Bodie smiled down at him. "God you're beautiful when you come," he murmured and kissed Ray's forehead.
Ray shifted slightly, touched and a tad embarrassed by his partner's words. His leg encountered something unmistakable. "Bodie?" he questioned, moving a hand down and confirming what he already knew. "Here, let me do something about that." He slipped his hand around Bodie's leaking erection, but was stopped. "Bodie?" he asked again.
"Ray, would you let me . . ?" The gentle voice was heavy with need and sudden insecurity.
Ray blinked. "Course," he said, without any need to think. "But why don't we go to the bedroom? Better for that, I reckon."
Bodie smiled and nodded.
It was beautiful. The most wondrous thing Bodie had ever experienced. It made him feel whole; feel cared for, loved, secure. As he took Ray, he knew he'd finally laid his ghosts to rest. The ghosts that hadn't just haunted him at Christmas, but had haunted him throughout the rest of the year. Everyone said that Raymond Doyle was the insecure one, even Bodie had thought so; but now inside his partner and lover, warm, secure and held tightly, he knew that he'd been as much in need of security as Ray was.
He'd needed closure, needed to let go, needed to be able to share again, to care again, to accept the special time of year once more. And Raymond Doyle, erratic, dichotomous, oft-times ratty and irritating, but passionate and loving Raymond Doyle had cured him. He'd cared enough to let Bodie know he cared. He'd gone beyond partnership, beyond friendship, even beyond love; he had once more brought the child out and let him find a home inside the man.
"Love you, Ray," Bodie whispered as they snuggled down to sleep.
"Love you too, Bodie," Ray murmured and wriggled an inch closer to Bodie.
27th DECEMBER 1984
George Cowley poured himself another small tot of pure malt scotch and pushed his chair back; he smiled to himself as the door closed behind his top team. He toasted the picture of the Queen that hung on the far wall, and then toasted himself. "Aye, you're a canny devil, George Cowley," he told himself. Then added a touch ruefully, "Maybe a bit too canny this time though. Perhaps you should have stopped at double-think."
His plan to finally get Bodie to admit that Christmas could exist outside of hours spent working, to get his joint top agent to finally let go of what had haunted him for fifteen years, had worked. What he hadn't expected was that it would also result in Bodie and Doyle becoming even closer.
For a second or two he considered his options. He could split them up, maybe he should. He could order them to stop the relationship, maybe he should. But he wasn't going to do either. They were already so ultra-close. They broke the rules when one or the other was in danger, covered up for one another, and seemed to be more like one person than two, that quite frankly he couldn't see that sex could really bring them any closer. At least not in a way that would affect their work - and that was all that mattered to him. Besides, he had been ordered by the Home Secretary to cut costs, and letting them move into one flat would certainly do that.
"Aye, George, you are a canny devil," he said, draining his glass. And then, because it was, after all, the season, he poured himself another one.
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