WHY CAN'T WE BE GENTLE?
Bodie is tired of, and cannot understand, why people think that his relationship with Doyle should be harsh and unloving. So he explains why it isn't.
An established relationship story.
Word count: 5,307 Written: December 2001.
This story originally appeared under the name NH in the zine Cross My Heart #14, which was published by JJ of The Nut Hatch Entropy Press.
Authors Note: The italics in this story do not denote thoughts. They are when Bodie is talking to Doyle rather than to the reader.
I really don't understand why some people think that Ray and I can't be loving and gentle with each other. Yes, we are tough guys during the working hours – we have to be – but that doesn't mean that we can't be loving and gentle once we're alone together.
It's rather like saying that a gynaecologist can't get turned on by his wife/girl-friend because he spends all day looking between women's legs. Or that a person who does autopsies wants to go around cutting up all their friends and relations. Or a guy who works for the police taking pictures of dead bodies only wants to photograph their kids when they are lying completely still. Or that a woman who happily works all day in a high powered job, can't go home and then willingly cook dinner for her husband and children. Or that schoolteachers go home and simply have to continue to teach everyone they come in contact with - okay, okay some do, but not the vast majority. Or that superbly organised people at work, are like that at home. Or it's like saying that a person who spends all day having to supporting people whose loved ones are terminally ill, shouldn't fall apart if they discover their own loved ones are dying.
It's a simple case of separating the day job from your personal life. It's turning off after the day. No one minds if doctors, teachers etc. do it, so why are they so surprised that Ray and me do it? Or other CI5 operatives, come to that.
Take Susan for instance. Yeh, our CI5 Susie. Now she's one tough lady, wouldn't you say? Yet, she goes home each night with, or to, our Murphy, and she's the one that cooks and generally looks after the place. Why? Because she wants to. She enjoys it. She gets great satisfaction from cooking a nice meal - has a lot in common in that respect with my Goldilocks. It's not because Murph thinks it's an unmanly thing to help out, but because Susie loves looking after him. Now, you wouldn't necessarily think that from seeing her during the day would you? I'm sure you all remember the bloke she tackled on her own, and ended up with no more than a split lip. Tackled him in high heels and a skirt too. Susie had the high heels and the skirt, not the bloke, I hasten to add! You do remember that one, don't you? So is that the woman you'd see as being willing to go home and cook and clean? Well she does, very domesticated is our Susie.
And you should see our Murphy with her; gentle doesn't begin to describe how he is. He's a real big softie when it comes to his – very proprietorial we CI5 folk get – Susie. Buys her flowers, always remembers Valentine's Day, their Anniversary, her Birthday and all sorts of other soft things, and you should see how much he spoils her at Christmas…
Tells her he loves her a lot too! Worries about her too when she's out on the streets alone. Neither of ‘em have a regular partner, and Susie actually spends more time in front of the computer, or on surveillance than she does out in the thick of it. But on the odd occasion that she is out there, our Murphy really does worry about her. He doesn't show it all that much, he isn't as blatant as some people, but he cares and worries.
What do you mean I'm as bad? Thanks a lot, sunshine, that's right, go on, tell the world, why don't you? Beside, didn't your mum ever tell you that it's bad manners to read over someone's shoulder?…… What?……Very funny!……Yeh, if I'd been you mum I'd have given up on you at the age of six too! Hmmm……Oh, we're back to that, are we?
No, of course I don't mind, you know that. It's just, well, I don't want people thinking I'm completely soppy. Anyway, I've never bought you flowers…… Oh, shit, I'd forgotten those. Well, you were in hospital; people buy flowers for other people when they're in hospital. Bit like grapes – which, incidentally, you weren't allowed to have. And I couldn't have brought you Penthouse or anything like that, you weren't up to it. And you always say I eat any choccies I buy, so what was bloody well left? Nothing, only flowers - so you got flowers. Don't worry; I won't bother buying you any more.
Look why don't you go away and make us both a nice cuppa?……
Yes, yes, I know I'm pretty blatant in my worrying about you when you aren't around…… Okay, okay, even when you are around. Satisfied now? Now that you've totally ruined me reputation…… Oh, good. So pleased to hear it Professor. Anything else you'd like me to confess to?…… No, I am not writing that down!
Now about that tea?
Okay, so the bionic golly's gone to the kitchen, now where was I? Oh, yeh, Murphy. You do remember Murph, don't you? Tall, taller than me, dark and handsome; climbs mountains for the fun of it; class-one marksman. Took a bullet in the shoulder and hung about for an age at the top of a tower, while I prated around trying to save the world; okay, the hospital. He doesn't defy the Cow like Ray and me do, well to be honest, no one does, but isn't a push over either. Yet put him with Susie and he's like a big pussycat; just don't tell him I told you. As I said, he's bigger than me!
Oh, you're back are you?…… No, I don't need any help, thank you. I'm quite capable of telling this story by myself.
What?…… Oh, no milk. Well, I tell you what, why don't you go out and buy some? Then when you come home I'll have finished this and we can see if we can think of something else to while away the rest of the afternoon.
Right he's gone. Good, obliging little thing, my Ray can be sometimes. No doubt, I'll pay for it later, but he can think up some pretty novel ways of extracting payment, I can tell you.
So back to the task in hand.
Now I can hear you wondering, Susan and Murphy, Ray and me - what about the non-fraternisation rule? Well you see there never was one. Never has been one. Yes, I know, I know. Ray told that bitch Kathie Mason, or strictly speaking Preston, that Cowley didn't like his operatives getting too close, but he had his reasons for that one.
Ray can be a bit immature at times. I rather like it; I don't ever want him to grow up totally. He wouldn't be my Ray then, would he? Anyway, it had irked him that he couldn't get Kathie into bed when they were both at the Met, so once they met up again, he was determined to do just that. I wasn't that happy about it, I have to admit. Never did like her, with good reason as it turns out. I thought at the time I was just a bit jealous. Ray and me had been sleeping together, uncommitted, for a while and so whilst I was used to sharing him with birds, just as he was used to sharing me, I can't say I ever found it that easy. At any rate, he wanted to get her into bed, but with no strings attached. So, he lied to her.
Dunno why, because Ray said that she'd never have got into CI5 anyway, not bright enough, and more importantly, she had too many chips on her shoulder. The Cow would have spotted those during the second interview. It's that sort of thing, bigotry of any kind, that's more likely to get you tossed out of CI5, or never allowed in in the first place, than ability. Don't get me wrong, people have to be able, bleedin' able to get into the Mob, but I've seen the Old Man take someone whose abilities were a bit less, but who Macklin and Jack were convinced they could work on, than someone who was almost as good a shot with a handgun as my Ray, but who was anti-homosexual.
The Cow simply won't stand for it. I'm still not convinced that he approves of Ray and me. Okay he granted us permission to live together, and has promised to back us unless we let him down, and he won't allow the Minister to throw us out, but I still reckon he'd have been happier if we'd have settled down with some bird. Nah, come to think of it, I reckon he'd have been happier if we'd have ended up like him - job and England first and all that. He knows that isn't the case for Ray and me, and he puts up with it. Well, we are his top agents. We are the best he's got, and he knows it, even if he doesn't always admit it. Why else would he let us get away with the things he does? Rule breaking, disobeying orders, shouting at him, etc. Nah, Cowley has a soft spot for us and he knows that when the chips are down, there's no one else he can rely on more.
Sorry went off on a bit of a tangent there. So back to Ray and Kathy and the reason he lied to her about the fraternisation rule. I guess in the end he was doing the ‘belt and braces' job, just in case she did get in. I guess even Cowley must have the occasional off day - mustn't he? Although I can't say I've ever noticed - then Ray was making sure that she knew there couldn't be anything lasting between them.
The truth is that CI5 actually prefer their operatives to get involved with each other, if they're going to get involved at all, because it makes life much easier. Security checks wise, understanding about the total unsocial working hours, understanding about the amount of clothes ruined by the job, etc. Not to mention the fact that it saves money! Yeh, you can certainly tell the Old Man's a Scot! You see, two agents seriously involved with each other - we're talking permanent commitment or marriage here, or at least long term - only need one flat and really one car if the two are partners as well. I swear sometimes that Father eyes up Lucas and McCabe to see if they're likely to want to suddenly shack up together! That's another thing you're not to mention, by the way.
So Murphy and Susie live happily together, and so do Ray and I. And there are others who are, shall we say, more than just good friends. CI5 is very incestuous in a way. We rely on each other above and beyond everyone else. We have to.
I'm not saying that Ray and me get overly soppy and call each other bunnykins or things like that. God, Ray would laugh so much if I did that, he wouldn't be able to get it up for hours!
That's another great thing about Ray and me, we can laugh at, and with, each other, in and out of bed. Only thing is that if my Ray gets a fit of the giggles – and yes I do mean giggles, him a grown man, older than me, and he giggles – well, we might as well give it up as a bad job. I well remember one occasion when I came home, we'd been on separate assignments for about seventy-two hours and I have to confess that I was damn randy for him.
We hadn't been living together all that long, and somehow even though we'd been in and out of each other's beds for years before that, as soon as we actually moved in together, well I'm a bit ashamed to say that it was like discovering sex as a sixteen year old, or fourteen if you're Ray! How my golly ever became a copper, I'll never know. The number of things he did that broke the law. . . .
Under age sex for one, at least the bird was over sixteen. Cutting a kid for another, although it was in self-defence. And I'm sure you'll know that my Ray isn't exactly the most deferential of men at times. Well, we had it anywhere and everywhere once we moved into our first flat together. Well not quite once we moved in, I'll explain later. There wasn't a room, or piece of furniture that wasn't, shall we say, ‘christened' by Ray and/or me. Therefore, seventy-two hours without it, was a bloody long time!
Actually, that's a bit unfair. It wasn't the sex we couldn't do without, despite what it may sound like; it was the loving, the kissing and the togetherness… Fuck! Guess he is right after all, isn't he? I am as bleedin' soppy as Murphy. But just don't you tell Ray. I know he knows but…
Mind you, even before we became committed, or whatever you want to call us, we hated being apart. Even when we were just occasional bed partners and best mates, seventy-two hours would have had us seeking each other out for time alone, and not necessarily in bed. Not much has changed, really. God, a couple of hours apart always had us jittery and keen to find each other. Always did drift towards each other when we got back together. Always found time for a quick touch, a reassuring ruffle of his curls on my part, or a touch of his arm or even occasionally his bum. And he'd be as eager to touch me, or if he couldn't touch me, then to gaze at me with those big, soft, saucer-like eyes, that seem to speak volumes and not just to me. In fact it was his eyes that gave our relationship away long before we were prepared to tell - as Murph can vouch for. But that's another story.
Christ, went off on a tangent again, didn't I? Okay, so I got home after those seventy-two hours, during which, incidentally we couldn't even talk to each other, not even for a minute. And I found him naked – ah, the sight of my Ray naked… what that does for me… but that'd take up more pages than I've got paper – and cross-legged on the bed, reading the bloody Kama Sutra. No, don't ask where he got it from, trust me you don't want to know. You do, eh? Okay, well the little bugger calm as you like walked into a well known, centrally placed bookshop and brought it. Brought The Joy of Gay Sex too, and a couple of other similar type of missives, dunno why he thought we needed them. At least the shop is the kind that wraps that sort of book in brown paper. Wouldn't have put it past Ray to have got them out and read them on the bus home. Thank God he took the car!
Well to cut a long and rather boring – believe me it's boring, well mostly – story short, we tried out one of the more adventurous positions. Correction, we tried to try it out. Ray just couldn't stop giggling and within seconds he'd set me off, and wham, that was it. Gave up and went out for a meal in the end, we did! So much for what I'd planned on the long journey back to London! Made up for it later, but even so…
Sorry, went off again a bit. So, back to stuff like bunnykins. I wouldn't want to use that sort of really dippy language with him – I never did with birds, so why start with Ray. But we do have endearments, always have done. You lot know that, you've heard us use them, but no more or less than most couples. Love, pet and sweetheart are favourites, especially love. Well it just about sums it up, doesn't it? Murph and Susie use love a lot too.
And of course there's sunshine, but that's one you can use in public, and we do. And then all the other names that I have for Ray, like Goldilocks and Professor and Sherlock, and all the rest of ‘em. Ray reckons I spend a lot of me time thinking up these names for him. He pretends that they bother him, but it is all pretence. You only have to look at those big green eyes when I use one of my names for him, look and see how soft they get when they look at me, to know that it's all an act.
Mind you, I do have to admit that he does get a bit pissed off over Goldilocks, but that's probably because half the Squad have ended up using it. Remember the time the Old Man did over the R/T, when Ray was trying to sleep on the back seat of my car and I was driving like a loony with the siren on? I couldn't see Ray's face or eyes that time, well you wouldn't have wanted me to have hit something, now would you? But believe me, I didn't need to. I could feel the temperature drop by several degrees that day. I made it up to him later, in a very novel way, I can tell you. No, I'm not sharing those details with you either.
Mind you, I had to be bloody careful for a few days after that one, because he threatened to go and have his hair cut. Cut those curls? No way, I told him. No. Bleeding. Way! I don't often use a lot of force with my Ray, I usually can best him, being bigger and heavier, but this time was one time when I pinned him down and told him exactly what I thought of that idea. Poor little sod really did seem genuinely scared for a moment. He eyes got so wide, like plates, never mind saucers, and he went very pale and almost shaky. I thought for a moment that he was either going to throw up or piss himself. But my Ray's made of sterner stuff than that. Mind you, he chucked the hairdresser's card away just as soon as I let him up, and said no more about it. He knows how much I love his curls, can't keep my hands out of them; never could. Keep telling him, he'll have to keep them even when he's totally grey – which he says that living with me'll make him very soon – and tottering around on sticks.
Anyway, Ray always said that I'm a big softie on the inside and I never denied it. And I tell him that he's romantic, something he's never denied either. Well he can't, can he? After all he's the one that buys – well brought – birds flowers! I'm still drawing a veil over the flowers I brought for him; let me tell you. Okay, okay, if it's a choice between telling this tale and some of our more intimate tales then… I'm going to disappoint the lot of you; I'm going to tell you about the flowers.
What he's failed to tell you is that I did it twice, not just once! Yes, you're all right, you've guessed it, those ones never were for Clare! And as for when he was in hospital after the Mayli affair well… Guess me brain was rather addled over that one. I wanted him to know that I'd been to visit him every day, even if he weren't awake, so… In the end the nurses had to ask me, tactfully, not to bring anymore. I think they ran out of vases. I think it's this one he's forgotten; well he was out of it for a hell of a long time. Although he didn't comment when I said about him not being allowed grapes, or being up to Penthouse. Hmm, maybe he still thought I was referring to his broken ribs. After all, eating grapes in bed whilst bandaged up is not good, and getting turned on when you've got broken ribs, isn't good either. So maybe he did think I meant that time. Or maybe not… Crafty little sod at times is my partner. I never did tell him that at least one vase of the ones that decorated our flat when I took him home from the hospital, was from me. That was the time we finally moved in together - well he needed someone to look after him. I told Uncle George that it was temporary and logical, don't think he believed me even then, well I didn't believe me either.
And it's not as though we don't show any caring on the job. I know I'm over protective of my Goldilocks - yes, proprietorial too. I know it, I admit it; I'm guilty as charged, M'lud. But I can't change that. Christ, I was like that from day one, long before we fell in love; even before we started to share a bed for anything other than sleeping. So why shouldn't that carry over into our lives outside CI5?
Also why do people expect that our sex life is all going to be harsh, hard, fast and rough? It isn't. I'm not saying that we don't have quickies – and very nice they are too. I'm not denying that sometimes it is hard and fast, but we're so used to each other now that we can do that without worrying about hurting one another. But you see, sex after all is a way of expressing how much you love a person. Oh, not the only way, not by a long run. There are times when we don't make love in that way for days, weeks even. Like after the Mayli affair, when the golly died. We're talking months before the poor sod was even up to more than a gentle kiss, hug and pet. But Ray and I make love all of the time, even without the sex. But when we do have sex or make love in that way, then most of our sex is gentle and pleasurable. Christ, if you can't get pleasure out of it, why bother doing it? I'm not suddenly going to turn into a hard and fast man just because Ray and I decided to make a complete life together, in bed as well as out of it. I wasn't rough with my birds, so why should I be with Ray?
Of course, it's great that I – we – can let go a bit more, without worrying about hurting the other person. But what's even better is that I can totally let go emotionally as well as physically. It's something I never did with a bird, just in case they thought I was a bit, well, wet, I guess. But with Ray I can be myself; really be myself. And I know he feels the same too. In fact him sometimes even more than me. There's a lot more hidden in my Ray than people think.
Our sex life is damned varied, I can tell you. Ray and I do things together that I'd never have even contemplated suggesting to anyone else – bloke or bird – and things that I never even dreamt or considered of doing. Yeh, some of the things we do are a bit kinky, I guess you'd call ‘em. But we have this understanding: whatever we do together is fine, as long as BOTH of us enjoy it. Basically that neither one of us is only doing it simply for the sake of the other person. I found out a long time ago that that sort of relationship just doesn't work. One of the nicest things about my relationship with Ray, as I said, is that I can be myself, at all times. He loves me, for me. I don't have to put on an act; I don't have to pretend. I can be me – faults ‘n' all.
It's that way for him too. In fact, it's even more important for him. Never been loved for himself before me, had Ray. When I think of some of the people who hurt him, used him, wanted to remake him in their image – Ann Bloody Bitch Holly comes to mind, no, I don't like her, never did – I just want to … But I guess it doesn't matter anymore, because he's got me to love him, and that's all that matters.
Another thing about Ray and me is that we are equals – in and out of bed. Yes, there are times when I take the lead and times when he does, but that doesn't mean that we aren't equals. There are times on the job that I defer to him, and vice versa. We've always been that way, and we've always extended it to our private lives too. No, in case you're wondering, we don't keep a notebook of who did who, when and how, and whose turn it is to do the fucking!
Our love lives aren't like that. In fact, if you want total honesty, I top Ray far more than he tops me; a good 70-30 I'd say. But before anyone starts talking about inequality etc., stop and listen. Ray prefers to be on the bottom and I prefer to be on the top. Metaphorically, I hasten to add. So what's wrong with that? Isn't that equal insofar as it's what we both want? Now, okay, if Ray wanted to top me more often and I was holding out, then that'd be wrong, but he doesn't, so it isn't.
Anyway, penetration is only the final act; it's only one tiny part of lovemaking. And I'll tell you as good as it is, there are things that I enjoy much more than that. Things that are far more intimate and involved. A good session in bed does not ultimately have to end with one or the other of us reaching for the lube. It's a fallacy that when two men get together they spend their whole time fucking! Not that Ray and I regard it like that anymore. What we have is too precious. Yeh, I know it's a good, all encompassing term, and I won't deny that we use it – of course we do. But deep down, between the two of us, what we have is far too honest and close to be summed up in good old Anglo Saxon English.
We both wear wedding bands, by the way. Not that we've gone through a formal – or even informal – ceremony, come to think of it. But when we finally moved in together, we knew then that it would be forever, and be an exclusive commitment. So after a few months of having to fend off the birds, and try to find ways to explain why we weren't interested in going home with them, we simply took to wearing rings. That way we look married - which we are in every real sense of the word. It's just that folk outside of CI5 don't know, don't need to know, that it's to each other.
There's a nice gay club we belong to, very discreet, very upmarket - even the Cow approves, so it has to be okay. We don't go there a lot, we are basically very private men. But it is nice occasionally to be able to go out to dinner and stuff, and hold hands or even exchange the odd kiss or hug or dance, like you could with a bird. Society's changed a lot, but not that much. Dunno if it ever will be acceptable for two blokes to hold hands in public or exchange chaste kisses. Maybe it will, but I doubt if it'll be in our lifetime.
So there we have it. I love Ray and he loves me, and we say it and show it. Yes, I buy him pressies – I am as bad as Murph is when it comes down to it – and Ray's even worse! We are gentle together, we are romantic, well we can be. We have a full and varied life, on and off the job. And if we have to be harsh, hard and tough at work, it doesn't have to be the same at home. And I don't see why people have a problem with that.
He's my whole life and I'm his, and we both know it. In some respects what we have together is frightening, because it is all encompassing. If Ray died tomorrow, I'm not sure that I'd be able to go on. Yes, we have friends like Murphy, Susie, even George Cowley, but there's really no one else for us. We've built a life that excludes other people, partly because we've had to, and partly because we wanted to. We two halves of the whole, the yin and the yang. What we have is between us, and I defy anyone to say that it's wrong.
So come on, allow us to be gentle and caring and loving, as well as hard and harsh and ruthless. Because when it comes down to it, both of us are both. We have to be. In our job you can't afford to care too much. I keep trying to tell Ray that. Who knows, maybe one day he'll even listen to me, but I won't hold my breath. You can't be too compassionate, I keep trying to tell him, but does he listen? Nah, but if he did, if he suddenly stopped caring, suddenly stopped being an idealist, well then he wouldn't be the Ray Doyle that I fell in love with. He wouldn't be my Ray Doyle.
I know our jobs take up more than seventy-fiver percent of our time, I know Cowley says he owns us and that we're his to do with at all times, including selling our bodies to medical science whilst we're still alive! And that we're never truly off duty, and he's right – to a degree. In a way, he does and we're not. But we also own, and are owned by, each other, and as much as we respect, and like, the Old Man, when push comes to shove, he comes second in our calculations - each other comes first.
But off the job, well off the job we can't afford not to care, not to love. Because if we did, then we'd end up like George: lonely, bitter, and with only the job to cling to. And despite what I said earlier, I don't think Father really wants that for us - I guess that's the way it should be. Whether you end up as lovers or not, partners have to trust one another at all times.
So when we're alone, we like to indulge in our other personalities. We like to relax, to throw off the shackles of the day. We like to be like any other couple who are in love. I sometimes wonder if the reason we occasionally may seem a bit too soft almost, is because of the brutality of our lives. Everyone likes to escape sometimes - needs to escape.
So give us a break, sometimes.
Well there's the door. My golly's back, so I think I better finish this now before he starts to get a bit too interested in what I've had to say. Hang on, he's got that look in his eyes. The look that says the last thing on his mind is reading. Not unless it's reading me - in bed.
Well, one has to indulge the one you love, don't you?
Feedback is always appreciated
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