Cowley has a rather different assignment for Bodie and Doyle.
A first time story.
Written: December 2014. Word count: 4,070.
"Bodie! Doyle! My office, now!" Cowley's voice carried through the closed rest room door.
Doyle jumped and dropped the paper-chain he had been making and Bodie began to cough and spluttered fragments of the mince pie he had just popped into his mouth.
"You okay, mate?" Doyle said, slapping Bodie on the back and handing him a mug of water.
"Yeah," Bodie managed, even though his throat was still tickling and tears were streaming from his eyes.
"In that case we'd better go and see what the old man wants. He sounded serious."
"He always does." Bodie wiped his eyes on his handkerchief and still coughing, albeit not as much, with Doyle by his side he hurried to Cowley's office.
"What kept you?" Cowley glared at them and Bodie tried to stifle another cough. "You're not sickening for something are you, Bodie?"
"No, sir," he managed, trying to stifle yet another cough.
"Mince pie went down the wrong way," Doyle said brightly.
Cowley stared at Bodie. "Aye, it doesn't surprise me that food was involved."
"You wanted us, sir?" Doyle said, his tone once again quite bright.
"Teacher's pet," Bodie murmured under his breath.
"What did you say, Bodie?"
"Me, sir? Nothing, sir?" Bodie planted his most innocent look on his face as he stared at Cowley.
For a moment he thought Cowley was going to insist on asking him again. However, after a moment he turned his attention from Bodie to once again look at Doyle. "Aye, Doyle, I wanted you. Here, what do you think of this?" He held out a handgun towards Doyle who took it and studied it, weighing it in his hand, holding it out in the shooter's position, peering up the spout.
"It looks like a kid's toy," he said, passing it to Bodie.
"Exactly," Cowley replied, his tone grim.
"I take it it isn't, sir," Doyle said. "I mean," he hurried on as Cowley glared at him. "You'd hardly call us in here to show us a kiddies' toy, would you, sir?" He widened his eyes and gave Cowley his most obedient and innocent look.
For a moment Cowley just glared at Doyle but then his lips twitched slightly and he shook his head. "One day, Doyle," he threatened. "One day." He limped over to the cupboard he kept his whisky in, pulled out a bottle of Glenfiddich and three glasses and brought them back to the desk. He nodded at the chairs in front of his desk as he poured whisky into all three glasses and pushed two across to Bodie and Doyle; they both nodded their thanks.
Cowley sat down and took a long swallow of his whisky, before leaning back in his chair. "It does look like a child's toy gun. In fact it was given to a child," he paused, as both Bodie and Doyle turned their full attention onto him. "In fact it was given to the Minister's grandson.
"Bloody hell!" Doyle said, leaning forward. "Was he hurt? Was anyone hurt?"
"No, Doyle, thankfully no one - well, other than a fairy on top of the Christmas tree - was hurt. The laddie was a bit shaken for a minute or two, but then thought it was great and wanted to take it outside and show his friends."
"Bleeding hell!" Doyle said. "Kids."
"Thankfully his mother, the Minister's daughter, is a sensible woman and didn't make a fuss about it, but simply took the gun from him, sent him off to the kitchen to ask the cook for a mug of hot chocolate and immediately rang her father. He went straight round to the house and brought the gun to me. Naturally, he was somewhat concerned - as am I."
"Who gave it to him?" Bodie asked, swallowing a mouthful of whisky.
"That is one of the reasons we are so concerned, Bodie. It was Father Christmas."
Doyle glanced at Bodie before looking back at Cowley. "Father Christmas?"
"Aye, Doyle. He's a rather large gentleman in a red suit with a white beard. You may remember him."
Doyle flashed Cowley a smile. "Yes, sir. But I meant how come Father Christmas gave it to him?"
"It's not Christmas," Bodie added.
Cowley sighed and poured a little more whisky for them. "The Minister's daughter took her son to see Father Christmas at Harrods."
Bodie whistled softly and turned to Doyle. "Harrods and a cook; we're in the wrong game, Ray."
"Yeah, reckon we are."
"If you two have quite finished." Cowley's tone was rather icy.
"Yes, sir," Bodie said swiftly, keen to speak before Doyle did.
"As I was saying, she took her son to see Father Christmas and this gun was in the parcel he was given. His mother admits to seeing him open it and glancing at it, admiring it even, but she confesses she didn't notice anything was wrong with it."
"Well, she wouldn't," Doyle said. "Not unless she was used to guns. It's very good."
"Aye, Doyle, it is."
"You think the wrong kid was given it?"
Cowley nodded appreciatively. "Aye, Doyle. I do. You see the gun was used in a recent murder. And we are going to investigate."
"Us? But surely that's for the cops."
"Not, Bodie, when the person murdered was the aide to the Sultan of Oman, who is due to visit our country in the New Year."
Doyle whistled. "Do we suspect Father Christmas of being in on it?"
"Maybe - he's the one who gave the presents out."
"Yeah, but I doubt he'd have wrapped them up," Bodie said.
"Which could explain why the wrong kid was given the wrong present," Doyle added.
Cowley nodded. "Aye, you both make good points. However, we are going to start with Father Christmas."
"There just happens to be a vacancy, Doyle, for a Christmas elf. You are going to fill that vacancy."
"Me!" Doyle stared at Cowley. "Why me?"
"Because, sunshine," Bodie said, grinning at Doyle and trying hard not to laugh openly at the look of horror and shock on his partner's face. "You've got the looks." Doyle turned and glowered at him. "The curls; the big green eyes; even your ears are a bit pointy."
"They are not! Why me, sir?" he turned to Cowley.
"Can you see Bodie convincing anyone that he's a Christmas elf?"
Doyle glanced at Bodie, frowned and then sighed dramatically as he looked back at Cowley. "No, sir," he said, his tone heavy with resignation. "I can't."
"You're going to look gorgeous," Bodie quipped, ruffling Doyle's curls. He pulled his hand back quickly, when Doyle growled at him. "Sorry," he muttered, but then spoilt it by adding, "but you are."
"Cut it out, Bodie!" Cowley snapped.
"Yes, sir. Cutting it out, sir." Bodie smirked at Doyle before turning to look at Cowley who just rolled his eyes. "What's my part in his, sir? You know whilst Ray here's playing -" He fell silent as Doyle once again made a growling noise in his throat. Bodie flashed him a grin before looking back at Cowley and saying seriously, "He's going to be in there without back-up, he's going to possibly be with a murderer or at least someone involved in a murder. He won't be armed, can't see even Ray hiding a gun in a Christmas elf's suit." He glanced back at Doyle to show him he wasn't kidding in any way. Doyle gave him a nod and a half-smile, clearly he was forgiven.
"Aye, that would be difficult. You’re his back-up, Bodie. You'll be his point of contact. Come up with a reason for being in Father Christmas's Grotto so often. Besotted uncle to several bairns or maybe a freelance journalist writing an article. Or something else you'll be able to carry off."
"Or both," Doyle said. "Both of those ideas would be good and give him more reasons for being around."
"Plus," Bodie said, leaning back in his chair in preparation to teasing Doyle again. "I could take a fancy to you. After all you are going to look -"
"Aye. You will be. But," Cowley added, glancing at Doyle who somewhat surprisingly hadn't growled at Bodie's idea, nor was he shooting him irritated looks, nor rolling his eyes. "It's not a bad idea," he said, his tone somewhat reluctant.
Bodie grinned. "There you go and with my good looks and charm, what Christmas elf could resist me."
Doyle put his head back and gazed up at the ceiling. "Give me strength," he said. "All right, sunshine," he added, looking back at Bodie. "Do your worst." For a moment or two they just locked gazes, staring at one another and saying things they never voiced aloud; letting the other man know joking aside how important they were to one another.
After a quick nod, Doyle looked back at Cowley. "You want me to start with Father Christmas, do you, sir?"
Cowley nodded. "I think so, yes. Try and - Och, you don't need me to tell you what to do." Doyle gave him a nod and a smile of thanks.
"Of course," Bodie said slowly. "There is another possibility." He stared at Cowley who sighed.
"Aye, Bodie, that there is. And that one is even more frightening."
"Someone, be it Father Christmas or someone else, is using said Father Christmas as a way of smuggling these guns," Doyle said, his tone flat.
The three men sat and looked at one another. Cowley looked grim. Doyle appeared oddly relaxed, but that was Doyle, he tended to look like that at times when he was worried. Bodie wasn't happy that Doyle would be weaponless, even though he knew full well his partner didn't need actual weapons to be lethal. Still at least he would be there with him for a fair bit of the time.
AN HOUR LATER
"Bloody hell, Ray!" Bodie exclaimed, as he took two mugs of coffee into Doyle's bedroom. "I thought Father Christmas's grottos were for kids, not adults. That's a bit X-rated!" He tore his gaze away from the tight - the very tight - green tights Doyle had pulled on, or rather he looked as he had been poured into them. "Don't hide much, do they, mate?" He forced himself to look away from Doyle's groin and looked instead at Doyle's face. Doyle's cheeks were flushed, which as always made his broken cheekbone stand out more. "Here," he said, holding out a mug of coffee.
"Ta," Doyle said, taking the mug and gulping down a mouthful of coffee. "They are a bit tight."
"A bit? And I hate to tell you this, Ray, but you really can't wear underpants under those tights. You can see the lines."
"Well, I'm bleeding well not going without them," Doyle snarled. "Anyway, there's a tunic. It'll cover," he paused, flushed some more and added, "things."
Bodie laughed and without meaning to do so, let his gaze slip back down Doyle's lithe, firm, well muscled body, until he was staring at just what the tights did not hide. He felt his mouth become a little dry, whilst at the same time his palms became somewhat damp. Coughing, glad he was wearing a jumper which covered his groin, he forced his gaze away and took a deep swallow of coffee.
"Better put it on then," he said. "Before I forget I'm a gentleman," he laughed. To his ears his laugh sounded just a little forced.
"You and who's army?" Doyle retorted. To Bodie's ears Doyle's tone also sounded a little forced. They locked gazes and stared unblinkingly at one another before Doyle cleared his throat, made a small movement with his hand, it looked as if he was about to touch Bodie's hand and said, "Bodie -"
"Put the tunic on, Ray," Bodie said firmly, not only taking a step away from Doyle, but also turning away as he took another swig of the coffee he no longer wanted.
At least thirty seconds went by before he heard Ray sigh softly and put his mug down. "All right, Bodie," he said.
Bodie waited for another minute before he slowly turned around. He didn't know if he was relieved or disappointed to find Doyle had indeed donned the tunic, and now looked suitable for being with kids.
TWO DAYS LATER
Doyle sat next to Bodie in Cowley's office; all three men had a glass of whisky in front of them. Cowley was on the phone and Bodie and Doyle were just waiting for him to finish so the Doyle could continue with his report.
Doyle was knackered - it had been a long time since he had felt as tired; certainly being a Christmas elf was far more tiring than his normal job! Not only did he have to keep a smile on his face at all times and be jovial and helpful, he had to deal with an endless run of kids, some far more demanding than others. He'd even been the one who'd had to clean up after one of the tots had wet herself, much to her mother's mortification.
However, and he'd have his teeth pulled out without any kind of anaesthetic before he would admit it (certainly to Bodie), despite being knackered and his face aching from the permanent smile he had, he actually found he was enjoying himself. Yeah, some of the kids were out and out brats, but for the most part they were good kiddies, just looking forward to seeing Father Christmas, telling him what they wanted for Christmas and getting a present. They loved the grotto and oohed and aahed over the fake snow, the lights, everything really. Clearly for a lot of them it was magical, and Doyle enjoyed his part in it.
Nonetheless, he'd still be happy to get away from the place and back to CI5. If only because it might mean he would stop thinking about Bodie in the way he had started to think about him. Once he was back to spending eight, ten, twelve, or more hours with him, and being needled by him he would stop thinking about other things - things he really shouldn't be thinking about.
Bodie had adopted all three roles to explain his fairly common presence in the department. He'd invented five older siblings, all of whom had at least three kids; he was writing an article about Father Christmas grottos, and he had taken a shine to Doyle. It wasn't as if they'd never flirted with one another or messed around; they had, more than once, but it had been in a matey-we're-just-messing-around-whilst-being-totally-heterosexual way.
But this was different. Bodie was different. Bodie was - Doyle didn't really know what Bodie was, just that the way he looked at him, spoke to him, put a hand casually on his shoulder wasn't anything like the a matey-we're-just-messing-around-whilst-being-totally-heterosexual way. It almost seemed real. Which was bloody stupid! Doyle was just being bloody stupid. Bodie wasn't really flirting with him; wasn't really coming on to him; didn't really fancy him. He was just playing a part - as he'd done many times. No, Doyle was just caught up in the whole 'romance' and 'fantasy' of Christmas. The sooner he got out of there the better.
"You look tired, sunshine," Bodie said, his voice low so that he didn't interrupt Cowley.
Doyle turned his head and glanced at his partner; oh, God, now even Bodie's voice sounded different - he really had to get out of bloody Harrods. "Yeah, I am a bit. It's hard work being on your feet all day. As well as being nice to all the kids, smiling and being pleasant."
Bodie laughed softly. "Yeah, guess that part of the job would be hard for you."
Doyle shot him a look. "Ha. Ha. You're bleeding hilarious, you know."
Bodie grinned. "It's all part of the Bodie charm."
Doyle rolled his eyes and quite deliberately forced his attention away from Bodie to focus on Cowley who seemed to be winding the call up.
Cowley finally hung up, took a long swallow of whisky, pulled the bottle of Glenfiddich towards him, topped his glass up and after a second poured more into Bodie and Doyle's glasses. "So, Doyle, you don't think Father Christmas is involved?" He leant back in his chair.
"Ta," Doyle said, taking a deep swallow before answering the question. "No, sir. I don't."
"Why? Come on, Doyle, that copper's nose of yours must have a reason."
Doyle sighed, took another sip of whisky, shifted on his chair, glanced around the room, basically he did as much as he could to delay the inevitable. Finally, just as Cowley seemed about to explode, he sighed, leant forward and said, "Because he's got form. He's done time for," he paused, bit his lip and then said, "armed robbery." He waited.
"Christ, Ray," he heard Bodie say, and then to his surprise he felt Bodie's hand on his forehead.
"Bodie!" he snapped, trying to move away, only to discover Bodie also had a hand on his wrist, apparently taking his pulse, thus he held Doyle in place. "What the hell are you doing?"
"He hasn't got a temperature," Bodie said, to Cowley. He finally took his hand from Doyle's forehead and let go of his wrist. "Reckon it must be dealing with all those kids, it's turned his brain. Well, turned it more than it already was."
Doyle flashed his partner an irritated look before finally looking back at Cowley who so far had been remarkably quiet after his announcement.
"Assuming Bodie is just being his usual comical self, do you want to explain further, Doyle?" Cowley sounded as calm as he looked.
"Um," Doyle said; he didn't really. But he had to. He drank some more whisky and began. He told them all about how Thomas Fenwick (aka Father Christmas) had come from a very privileged upbringing; public schools, money - far more than was good for him - lenient - far too lenient - parents. How at seventeen he'd been given a car Doyle could only ever dream of owning. How he'd gone to university and got into casual drugs. How he'd got in with the wrong set, and how finally for a lark he'd agreed to break into someone's home. Oh, not with the intention of actually stealing anything, just to prove he could do it. But how he'd foolishly taken a gun - a gun which hadn't been loaded - with him. He also told them how at his trial an old school friend had spoken up for him, which had resulted in a lighter sentence that he might otherwise have got. And how that old school friend was now the manager of Harrods and had got Fenwick the job as Father Christmas, and if that went well there would be a permanent job in the New Year. And how grateful Fenwich was to have a second chance, and how he would never let his friend down.
"And you believed him?" Bodie said, when Doyle fell silent.
Doyle sighed and shrugged before saying, "Yeah, Bodie. I did. Maybe I shouldn't but . . ." He turned to Cowley. "Call it instinct; copper's nose; whatever, but I did believe him, Mr. Cowley. I'm sure he didn't know what he was giving the Minister's grandson."
Cowley had leant back in his chair as Doyle had told his story. Now he leant forward, once more poured some more whisky into all three glasses, stared at Doyle and nodded. "Aye, Doyle, I've always trusted your instinct. Maybe I shouldn't, but I have. It's not something that can be taught, you either have it or you haven't - and you always have had it."
"You believe him?"
Cowley glanced at Bodie. "Aye, Bodie. Don't you believe your partner?"
Bodie gulped and sat up straight. "Well, yeah, of course . . . I mean Ray's good . . . But come on, sir, we all know how soft-hearted he can be at times."
"And you think that's what he's being now, do you, Bodie?"
Bodie glanced at Doyle, who simply met the look, before looking back at Cowley. Finally, he shrugged. "I don't know, sir," he said. "But if he isn't, that means we're back to square one again, doesn't it?"
"Aye Bodie. It does. We can deal with that when I've spoken with Mr. Fenwick. I'll see him tomorrow. I do have to interview him myself," Cowley said, glancing at Doyle.
"I know that, sir."
"Which leaves us with a slight problem, doesn't it, Doyle?"
Doyle met his gaze and grinned. "Yes, sir. But all problems have solutions, don't they, sir?"
"Aye, Doyle. They do. Bodie!"
"Yes, sir!" Bodie again sat upright in his chair, his gaze swivelling between Cowley and Doyle.
"Tomorrow, you'll take over as Father Christmas for the day."
Bodie's mouth fell open. "Me? Me?"
"Aye, Bodie. You. Doyle here can tell you what you need to do and what you should know. Now you can both go home for the evening."
"Thank you, sir." Doyle stood up. "Come on, Bodie, I'll drive you home."
"But . . . But . . . But . . . I can't. I don't even . . . Please, sir. Please. I'll -"
"Report to Harrods tomorrow prepared to play Father Christmas," Cowley said. "Oh, and Bodie?"
"Yes, sir?" Bodie sounded dejected.
"Don't forget to smile and be jovial and nice to the children."
Bodie sighed and hung his head. "No, sir."
"Good. Well, goodnight to both of you."
"'Night, sir," Doyle said brightly. He nudged Bodie.
"Goodnight, Mr. Cowley, sir," Bodie said, and trudged after Doyle out into the hallway.
"Ah, cheer up, Bodie. It might never happen," Doyle said, turning to look at his partner.
"Oh, I don't know about that," Bodie said, his eyes suddenly gleaming.
The next second Doyle found himself in Bodie's arms with Bodie's mouth plundering his. For a moment he spluttered and tried to pull away. But when it came down to it, Bodie's strength was greater than his. The only way he might be able to get away, would lead to Bodie being badly hurt. Besides, did he really want to get away?
"What the hell was that about?" Doyle demanded, when Bodie finally took his mouth away from his. His lips felt swollen and one of them had a cut on it where Bodie's teeth had caught it. The inside of his mouth felt more than a bit abused from the demands of Bodie's tongue. His head hurt from the way one of Bodie's hands had tangled itself in his curls, and he was harder than he had ever been from just a kiss. He also felt exhilarated and knew one thing for certain: he wanted Bodie's mouth back on his, and he wanted his hands on his body.
Bodie grinned and pointed upward. "Mistletoe," he said, his expression smug and teasing.
Doyle felt his world tilt. "That's all it was?" he asked, hating how (to his ears) pathetic he sounded. He moistened his lips, tasting the blood and moaned softly.
Bodie looked at him, letting his gaze travel up and down Doyle's body, coming to rest just below his waist. He licked his lips and finally looked at Doyle's face; the look was almost feral and Doyle felt himself grow even harder. "What do you think, Ray?" he said. Just for a second the feral, teasing, taunting even, smug look faded, and Doyle saw the truth.
He swallowed. "That we should go back to mine so that I can tell you what you'll need to do tomorrow. And I warn you, Bodie, it'll take all night to tell you."
Bodie grinned, quickly kissed Doyle again, before putting his arm around Doyle's shoulders and beginning to saunter along the hallway. As they reached the top of the stairs, he launched into a rather painful rendition of Whilst Shepherds Watched.
Yeah, Doyle told himself, it certainly would take all night. And then they'd need to review the case, which admittedly they still had to solve, but he knew they would, they always did. And then . . . He grinned to himself; it was going to be a bloody good Christmas and an even better New Year. Comfortable under Bodie's arm, he raised his voice and joined in with Bodie.
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