by Brenda K
(featuring references to elves, starship captains, the Salvation army and Rudolf...)
"You, Raymond," Bodie prodded Doyle's chest with a finger, "just didn't enter into the spirit of it all. That's your trouble."
Doyle sniffed and sunk his nose back into the glass without bothering to respond, deciding that he was more than happy to enter into some spirit right now, of the 40% proof variety. Christmas cheer was finally taking the form of a couple of good stiff drinks at Bodie's place after his ordeal at the 'high-profile job' that Cowley had dreamed up.
At least Bodie was feeling somewhat expansive, he realised, so he'd relax a little himself while the going was good. Anything to forget the ignominy the afternoon had brought and to prepare for more trouble that was bound to come.
Doyle went and got them both a large refill as Bodie waffled on some more, not in the least inclined to make conversation or even to listen. When was Bodie going to take his disguise off?
"And you know what he said?" Bodie asked, as Doyle's mind vaguely registered a diatribe about the inadequacy of polystyrene igloos and Murphy's shortcomings at putting the tree up straight or something or other. "He said I was his hero. I mean I'm flattered, but..."
Doyle blinked. Looked at his partner blankly.
"Yeah. Bodie smirked. "And dammit, he was cute."
Doyle decided that Bodie was obviously not referring to Murphy any more, or at least not unless his partner had changed his sexual preferences overnight.
"That kid I gave the Action Man to," Bodie sighed. "I told him I was in the paras before I became Santa. He said it was the perfect combination of careers. Sensible kid, that. Lad after my own heart."
Right. Doyle concluded for at least the tenth time that Bodie had probably been one of the most unusual Santas in the history of that particular children's hospital and almost certainly the only one to tell the kids that the sleigh had radar, a cloaking device and anti-tank weapons, or that his reindeer had homing devices.
"But then," Bodie mused, "could never stop myself from pretending, y'know...dressing up... spreading a little seasonal cheer."
Doyle put his glass down slowly, deciding it might be wise to follow the thread a little more closely here. Bodie appeared to be drifting along on a wave of nostalgia judging by the grin.
"Pretending what? Dressing up as what? You mean you've always had a red suit stashed away, or that you were in Sally's Army rather than with the squaddies? Collection boxes instead of machine guns?"
"Nah," Bodie looked offended. "I always wanted to play Father Christmas one day. He was my role model. I used to play 'Santa's little helper' when I was a kid, but always fancied myself doing the "ho ho ho" bit. I used to pretend I was the youngest Santa in the world."
"Santa's little..." Doyle smirked, still enjoying visions of Bodie dressed in Salvation army uniform, strumming a guitar and intoning 'Oh come, all ye faithful'.
"Watch it," Doyle, Bodie waved a half-mocking finger. "And the nurses thought I was magnificent tonight, remember."
Doyle sniffed again and reminded his partner that from magnificent, he was now less than sober.
"Drunk," Bodie nodded wisely. "I am, yes. And so are you. Good, innit?"
"Very drunk, even," Doyle said thoughtfully and actually rather thankfully considering what Bodie was going to find out before long. At least he hadn't found out yet. "And I dunno about good. You'll be goin' on about those little green men you said were missin' next."
"Elves," Bodie said. "Not little green men. And it was a crying shame. Father Christmas needs elves. You never heard of elves? The ones who make the toys?"
"Taiwanese elves then," Doyle said helpfully. "Japanese for the electronic stuff."
"Where's your sense of fantasy?" Bodie said, shaking his head. "Although they could have got you an elf suit. Would have been better than..."
"Don't," Doyle said warningly.
"Although," Bodie wasn't to be stopped, "They have those offbeat Christmas things now, talking of little green men. Themed things. We could have James T Kirk handing out pressies next time, on special orders from the North Pole..."
"No next time for me," Doyle said gloomily. "No way. Cowley can send Anson or somebody. Maybe he'd like the idea of wearing his trousers too short."
"And stick some pointy ears on McCabe?" Bodie said with a grin. "Tell the kids we came in the Enterprise 'cos the reindeer went on strike?"
"As long as we get Betty in one of those low-cut mini-skirts and black tights, like... wossername..." Doyle suggested.
"Uhu...well... the sp... the coloured lady," Bodie told him cheerfully. "Yeah. Although I still love Rudolf."
"Watch it, Bodie," Doyle said grimly, watching his partner toy with the snow-white beard he was still wearing and reminding himself yet again that he needed to be sober enough to move fast at some point in the near future.
"That was magnificent too. Particularly the roar. Very reindeer-like."
"What do you expect when some 'cute little kid' pokes a stick up what's supposed to be yer nostrils and starts complaining cos yer nose doesn't light up?"
Bodie, damn him, laughed. Well, Doyle told himself again, Bodie deserved all he got, but he still edged a little closer towards the door.
"I vote we do something really different," Doyle said. "Send the Cow in to entertain the poor little buggers. Bet he wouldn't stick his head up the damn costume and pull the little levers to waggle the tail ... see how he likes it."
"No," Bodie mused. "Must say you needn't have tripped that little blonde girl over with yer antlers, though."
"She needn't have gone groping around to see if I was a boy-reindeer or a girl-reindeer then," Doyle protested. "You would probably have thumped 'er. But no, you were too busy being Action Man Santa, right?"
"Raymond, my boy," Bodie warned, "I won the toss for the costumes, remember. I mean, fair's fair."
"Yeah," Doyle muttered. "With a double-headed coin."
"Oh, ye of little faith, my son. Would I do that?"
"Yes," Doyle said firmly. "You would. And did."
He took another, casual step towards the door.
"Not going, are you?" Bodie said, puzzled. "C'mon have another drink. Must go and get this stuff off - the hair's getting in me whisky..."
"Ah," Doyle said. "You know you said you fancied seeing that nurse in Casualty again?"
"Yeah." Bodie pulled the wig off and gave the beard an experimental tug.
"And you do agree that it wouldn't have been a good idea for those cute little lads to ruin your disguise, right, when they were sitting on your lap talking sleigh weaponry?"
"Yep," Bodie agreed absently as the beard refused to move and then letting a small frown knit the white, stuck-on eyebrows together as he tried a little harder. "You stuck this thing on..."
"Right," Doyle said, putting his glass down and reaching for his jacket. "And it does come off, eventually. Special solvents..."
"Superglue," Bodie said. "You didn't..."
Doyle fled for the door.
"You did, you little bastard..."
"Ho, ho, ho..." echoed up the stairs. "I'll take the car, but I'm sure you can take the sleigh..."
-- THE END --