The End of the Tether

Note: For the Challenge Week: Quotes on . I was assigned the Oscar Wilde quote "There is no sin except stupidity."

Bodie considered himself an exceedingly patient man. After all, he had put up with Ray Doyle and his moods for years now and had not once given into the urge to seriously maim or kill his partner. Not for lack of provocation, mind you, which was why Bodie considered his self-assessment to be proven correct.

But in the past few weeks Bodie's patience had been sorely tried. He was not quite sure what had changed, but recently Ray had become a real pain in the ass instead of a mild irritant. This did not affect their work relationship, which was as smooth and effective as ever, but in their spare time Doyle seemed to be on a mission to see how far he could push Bodie. Not that Bodie let himself be pushed, not even by Ray, who had always had the knack of getting under Bodie's skin. But now Bodie distinctly felt that it was only a question of time until he snapped and did something permanent to his partner, friendship, duty and George Cowley be damned.

At first he had tried the buddy approach, trying to get Ray to talk about whatever it was that was bugging him without being obvious. When that hadn't worked, had in fact only made matters worse as Ray became even more bad-tempered, Bodie had switched to cooling things off, putting a distance between them when they weren't at work. Or at least he had tried, but, although Ray gave every indication of being fed up with his partner, he had refused to take the hint.

On the contrary, Ray seemed determined that they spend every moment of their free time together, going so far as to invite himself to every single one of Bodie's dates. Having done that, Ray then proceeded to be such bad company that every evening ended much earlier than anticipated, with the girls refusing to put up with Bodie's scowling partner one minute longer. The problem was that at this point, no matter how sick and tired Bodie was of Ray's behavior, Bodie's instincts kicked in, which appeared to have a problem with anyone but him insulting Ray Doyle, no matter how much he deserved it.

The number of nights he had spent on Doyle's couch instead of in some nice bird's bed was beginning to be truly depressing. Staring at the ceiling, Bodie grunted with discontent and punched the back of the couch several times half-heartedly, wishing for an adversary who would actually fight back. Like Doyle, that small, vicious voice in his head reminded him, the one that always seemed to egg him on. Following the voice's advice usually ended with Bodie being in trouble – but after the last few weeks, Bodie wasn't sure he cared anymore. He just wanted things to change, to go back to the way they had been, the two of them against the world.

Abruptly, Bodie sat up. He had been patient long enough. It was time that Doyle finally admitted that something was wrong, even if it meant having to pound some sense into that curly-haired head of his. It was either that or kicking Ray out of his life – and that was a prospect Bodie didn't even want to consider, no matter how angry and frustrated he was.

Bodie opened the door to Ray's bedroom carefully, despite his initial plan to burst in and shake him awake. It was dark, but he could clearly make out the dark form of his partner sprawled on top of the white sheets. He must have kicked the covers off at some point; his sleep restless, probably disturbed by whatever was bothering him so deeply. Bodie found himself tip-toeing to the bed, suddenly undecided. He sat down and reached over, slowly, still hesitating. Maybe he should wait until the morning to confront Ray.

But before he could make up his mind, Ray shifted again, his leg bumping against Bodie's hip. The contact woke him up before Bodie could react, green eyes blinking owlishly at him. Bodie half-expected to be yelled at, having been at the receiving end of Ray's vicious tongue all too often. Instead, Ray's whole body seemed to relax and he smiled sleepily up at him, his guard down for the first time in weeks. Bodie felt something inside of him give as he suddenly realized just what had been going on.

He shook his head slightly in wonderment and couldn't suppress a low laugh as he reached over and petted Ray's curls. It was a familiar gesture, and Ray seemed to invite it, a stark contrast to his recent unwillingness to be touched. Bodie let his touch linger, turning it into a caress. Smiling warmly, Bodie leaned closer and whispered: "We're two right idiots, aren't we, sunshine? Didn't see what was right in front of us…"

He recognized the growing alertness in Ray's face, but before his partner could pull back into the shell he had been in, Bodie closed the remaining distance between them resolutely and kissed the slightly parted lips. After a moment, Ray began to respond enthusiastically, as if shaking off unwanted restraints. Pulling Bodie completely onto the bed, Ray paused for a moment to laugh breathlessly.

"Who are you calling an idiot? Was all part of the plan…" Bodie shut his partner up by kissing him again thoroughly and smiled with great satisfaction even as all thought drowned in a tangle of mouths, hands and bodies. Bodie considered himself an exceedingly patient man – but once he snapped, there was no going back.

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