Written for the "Summer of '78" Challenge. Angst and power games ahead.
"Take it, g'wan, boy, take it all or I'll mark you so no girl'l ever look at you. Heh. Maybe that don't worry you, huh? Like a man's body, don't ya? Like my cock down yer throat? Here, then-"
Memories of gagging, trying to breathe, suffocating with the lack of air and the taste of filth, his jaw stretching, cracking, trying to swallow or spit, tears of terror and fury pouring down his face-
And sometimes he wakes that way, still, shouting Stop! This is wrong! Please stop! at someone he knows has been dead for fifteen years, because he's the one who stuck the knife in his ribs and turned it once, twice, three times, as hot blood poured over his hand. And he hears his own voice, tight with the terror and exultation of a first kill, "Take that, take it all, like it? Like that?" because he'll never be the one on his knees again.
Long, artistic fingers trailing down his chest.
"Dennis, please. Wait."
The fingers reach his waistband and don't stop. "What's wrong, then?"
"Dennis." Hard to say what it is that's wrong; maybe the sense that he hasn't chosen this, that it's happening to him anyway. "I don't think we should-"
"You a tease, Ray?"
"What? No, I'm not, I didn't mean…" But maybe he is, maybe he gives off some sort of vibe that says Please touch me, I want to be touched. And in truth he does want to be touched, because he's so bloody lonely, but by women, not men - isn't that true? Certainly not by his instructor, the same man who tells him he's got real talent. Maybe that was a lie, maybe Dennis just wanted-
"Never done this before, I see." The fingers have unzipped him, and are inside his jeans now, fondling him, and Ray sees a palette of colors behind his eyes and groans.
Too late, now. He's lost the power, lost the will. Too late to stop this. If he ever really wanted to.
He reaches out to touch Dennis in return and his hands are slapped away. "No, no, my pretty little Raymond," Dennis purrs. "I'm in charge. Remember that."
Dust and dry heat, the smell of far-off fires and close-by sweat. The meaty smell of men, too many men, too close together, unwashed and filthy-minded.
And in the tent, every night, the guttural noises of men, animal noises, animal behavior. Primal rutting sounds - the slap of flesh on flesh, the wet sounds of fucking, pained groans muffled into blankets, protests swallowed, come swallowed.
Bodie knows which side he wants to be on, because the taking is painful and the giving is joyless but giving is better, because you're not at anyone's mercy. But give or take, it's what you do at night, because by day you kill and at night you need to patch your soul with something that says you're alive. Don't think about the wrongs you've done, what you'll do tomorrow; just keep surviving for one more day.
The man under him groans, and Bodie claps a hand over his mouth. "Shut it. Just…shut it. Come on. Take it, take it all."
It's what you do. And this is how he does it.
The music is too bloody loud, and the beer's flat, and the couches shabby. The mixed drinks are watered down and the floor's stained and the tables wobbly. But he's here again despite all that. Just for a few minutes -- just a drink, a dance, and I'm gone--
That's what he tells himself.
Men - young, old, punks, businessmen, rent boys, sailors, priests - they're all here. A crowd of them vie for space at the crowded bar and gyrate against one another on the dance floor. Eyes turn towards him as Ray walks in the door; some turn away again. A fair number let their eyes rake him up and down, assessing his worth.
Ray hates them, each and every sodding one of them, almost as much as he hates himself for being here. But it's the only place he knows of its kind that his mates on the Met won't go; it's got a rough reputation and they leave it alone, leave well enough alone. They make jokes about it, rude ones, and there's name-calling about those who frequent it. He's used those same names himself, when he jokes with his partner and the others. All mates together, they are, the Met.
Through the sweaty, dirty front room he goes, past the dance floor, enduring the not-infrequent pats and the occasional grope, past the stench of the loo, down the hallway, into the dimness beyond, the room of anonymous gratification and pain and silence, but for the moaning and grunting of faceless partners. He won't go near the foul mattresses - he may be immoral, but he's not that desperate to roll about in someone else's come. But up against the wall he'll let them do what they will, grope, suck or fuck him. He's theirs -- no kissing, no romance, no promises, no names.
But he's not queer - no, no way, just…experimenting, that's all he's doing. He knows it's wrong, and dangerous, but it's just a passing phase. He's getting it out of his system. Burning it out of his body, extinguishing the flame. Fucking it out of him.
And if it doesn't give him what he wants, too bad. It's close enough.
That's what he tells himself.
"Bodie, meet Ray Doyle. You'll be partnering."
Bodie nods. Skinny bloke with big hair and bigger attitude, he thinks, smirking. Well, Sonny Jim, I'll have you on your knees by Tuesday next, beggin' for it.
Doyle nods back. I bloody hate people like you, he thinks, noting the smirk, keeping his own face passive. Full of yourself, aren't you, mate? Think you're in charge.
"Good," Cowley says brusquely. "Let's begin-"
Doyle thinks this'll never work.
Bodie thinks the old man's finally got something wrong.
A day, a week, two, a month, and they've circled each other repeatedly, sniffing out each other's weaknesses.
Bodie, Doyle assumes, is a right son of a bitch, ready -- eager maybe -- to violate human rights, to kick a suspect in the groin just for the fun of it. To show who's boss. Probably spends his off nights beating up the queers. Repressed homosexual tendencies, that one, and a bigot to boot. Needs a kick in the arse.
Doyle, Bodie thinks, is straighter than straight on the job - a true believer. Bent at home, of course. Queer. Has to be, with that look, that body, and the shameless way he flaunts it. Faggot. Pouf. Needs to be shown who's boss.
This partnership is wronger than the wrongest thing ever. Each, without the other's knowledge, has gone to Cowley to end it; each has been read the riot act and sent packing.
One month, three weeks and four days later, the tension in the car is thick as jam and far less appealing.
If bloody Doyle waves his arse in my face one more time, Bodie thinks as they pull up to the kerb, I'll...
Doyle opens the door and bends to get out, and Bodie-
--reaches out and palms Doyle's rear.
Doyle's got quick reflexes. A second later, Bodie's got a twisted wrist, and Doyle's pounding up the steps to his flat.
Bodie's right behind him, and pushes his way through the door. "Why'd you do that, you little shit?!"
"Maybe that'll teach you to keep your bloody paws to yourself, mate."
"If you don't want it grabbed, stop offering it up! Anyone'd think you sold it on the corner, you-"
"Get out of here."
"Don't think I can do it?"
Thirty seconds later, Doyle's got a split lip and Bodie's got a nice bruise raising on his jaw. Doyle's filled with irrational exhilaration, dancing around like a prizefighter, his eyes glittering slits, high on adrenaline.
It annoys Bodie no end. "Fucking fairy."
Doyle kicks out and catches Bodie a painful blow to the knee. "I told you to get out!"
"Fuck! You-" Bodie lunges with a speed that catches Doyle off guard. He slams into Doyle's lighter body and hurls him to the ground, keeps him there by straddling his hips, holding his wrists down against the floor. Yeah, yeah, I'm in charge, you little fairy! "That hurt, Doyle."
"Good. Should've broken it."
The smell of blood is thick in the air. Pinned, unable to move, Doyle's head swims with memories of nights in the sweaty heat of the club, of being taken by faceless partners. But that's wrong, that's not what he wants, not exactly…
Still, he feels himself harden and curses his reactions. It's just adrenaline, that's all--
There are images in Bodie's head, too, flashes of guns and dirt and Africa, of nights in tents and in the hold of ships. He feels the rising of anger, and strangely the thrill of excitement. Underneath him Doyle struggles vainly. Oh, yes, Bodie thinks, this is it, this is how it has to be.
But it's somehow not right, not quite right.
He pushes that thought away. "Like it rough, do you, Doyle? Like to have a man on you -- in you? Like a cock down your throat?"
"Not me, sweetheart, you're the queer here, aren't you?"
"Yeah?" Doyle rolls his hips; a nasty smile curves his mouth as something unexpected becomes apparent. He licks blood off his lip and Bodie shivers. Doyle shows his teeth. "What's that thing poking me, then?" He rolls his hips again, feeling Bodie's erection nudging his own. "You queer for me, Bodie?"
"Bent. That's what you are, innit, Bodie? Big bent Bodie, pretending to be normal."
"I'll show you-"
"Yeah? Show me, then, Bodie. Show me. Show me!"
Bodie releases the tension and Doyle makes his move.
Sometime later, when Bodie is on his knees sucking Ray's cock, he thinks, Oh, I see.
Somewhat after that, with Doyle's tongue up his hole, and even later than that, when Doyle -- Ray -- is buried balls deep inside him, Bodie knows. This is how it's supposed to be, with the right person, the right time. The right place for him to be.
In submission he has found power.
It's a tremendous relief, as if he's released a breath held for years.
And Doyle blinks as he comes in a rush, feels Bodie trembling under him, and knows, knows, this was what was wanting. This was where he was always meant to be, in a role obscured by his own assumptions.
He leans over, panting, reaches down and strokes his long fingers along Bodie's naked back, slowly, tenderly. He feels the answering shiver and bends down to kiss his partner between the shoulder blades. "All right, Bodie?"
"Yeah, Ray," Bodie answers. "Right. All right."