A Christmas Story


It was a filthy night, wind howling around corners and along gutters, rain slashing intermittently across the windows of their small room, and loud on the cottage roof above. Even through the imaging equipment, their view of the boathouse and its potential visitors was badly compromised. Bodie stood his turn anyway--professional, relentless--probably nearly as bored as Doyle himself. It was Christmas Eve.

The stakeout, so far, was long and tedious and completely, pointlessly uneventful. Doyle lay on his back across the bed, arms folded beneath his head, having read everything, cleaned everything, talked about everything. Of course, his old Sarge would have reminded him, stakeouts are pointlessly uneventful until something happens. That was the point. He always had wanted to clock his old Sarge. Smug bastard, cosy back at the station with his tea and his radio and that girl from down the Old Nag popping in for Neighbourhood Watch, while they were expected to pound the streets, hour after hour...

"Oi, Doyle!" Bodie hissed from his position at the tripod, binoculars glued to his eyes.

Doyle was on his feet and beside Bodie in seconds, eyes scanning the gusty night through the gap above the curtains, alert in an instant.

"Get us a cup of tea, would you?"

Doyle wanted to kill himself. There were no terrorists, no criminals, nothing was stirring, god help him, not even a mouse. After two days he no longer even had words for his partner. He turned and kicked him in the ankle, letting his lips curl in satisfaction at the whispered curses that rose blue in the air behind him, and went down to make him a cup of tea.

When he got back, forced to move slowly in the darkness of the house, nothing in the room had changed.

"D'you think the Old Man'll ever give us Christmas off?" Bodie asked, sounding mournful as he took mug in one hand and ginger snap in the other, his eyes not leaving the binoculars for a second. Doyle positioned himself back on the bed, the window side this time, the better to press further biscuits into his partner's waiting hand.

"Nah. He knows, doesn't he?"

"Knows what?"

"About us."

A splutter from above, and Bodie did abandon the eyepiece.

"Well, 'e must do, mustn't he, and this is our punishment."

"Bloody 'ell, Doyle. Don't do that."

Doyle chuckled unrepentantly.

"Hey, Doyle."


"You're not gonna believe this."

Quite likely, Doyle thought, preparing himself for one of Bodie's juicier stories. "What?"

"It's starting to snow."

"Well, that'll teach you..." He felt rather than saw Bodie's face twist as he tried to work out where this was leading him "...to witter on about wanting Christmas. Don't suppose you could wish for something more useful, like last month's expenses?" Nevertheless, Doyle slid to his feet again and turned to the window. He didn't need to peer over the curtain. Thick, wet flakes of snow could be seen even through the nets, falling heavily to earth, tossed and turned along their way by the wind. "Oh, nice."

And now Bodie was grinning. "Look on the bright side. They'll never get a plane through this, will they?" He turned away from the binoculars, glee written across his face. "Which means we get the rest of the night off...."

Doyle recognized that look and held up his hands. "Oh no, see what Cowley says first."

"You're a hard man, Doyle," Bodie complained, but he reached for the RT anyway.

"And after three days you're not?" Doyle grinned back as he took over from him at the binoculars. You never knew.

"3.7 to Alpha One." Static. "Alpha One, this is 3.7." More static. Bodie flicked channels and sent the same call through to Central. Static. "Well, well, well. Storm's knocked out reception."

The springs of the bed creaked as Bodie sat down. Doyle could feel the warmth of him against his legs, even before a solid, sure hand inveigled its way between his thighs and began a slow movement upwards, thumb caressing in little circles so that he clenched his buttocks and tried to writhe away.


"Ah, come on Ray, we're off duty...."

"We're not off duty until the Cow tells us we're...ah Christ, Bodie!" Another hand had settled itself on his opposite hip. He was being twisted around and Bodie's cheek was rubbing against the velvet nap of his trousers, Bodie's mouth was.... He thought better of pulling backwards, which would take him onto the same bed where Bodie sat, would stretch them out together, which could lead to nothing good at all. To too much that was good. Instead he slid his hips sideways, regretting the loss of pressure and warmth and promise, and followed them out of the way. "Bo-die!"

"No one is gonna come out in this weather, not even the IRA, and certainly not some big nob like Rainey," Bodie replied logically and reasonably, with as much hope as conviction. He watched as Doyle took another small step backwards, then lowered his lashes and curled his lips just enough that his gaze was hungry, predatory.

"Well, no one's gonna come here either," Doyle said emphatically. "It could stop. We said we wouldn't do this on duty." He realised belatedly that in successfully avoiding the bed he had backed himself into a corner, trapped between wall and bedside table. Bodie came to the same realisation and, with a grin of pure devilment, lunged forward.

The highly sensitive--and therefore highly expensive--binoculars rocked on their tripod as he brushed past them. They took a moment to choose their direction of fall and then tipped.... Reflexes in full working order, Bodie reversed himself, caught at one of the legs and at the same time wrapped his other hand around the heavy viewfinder. Already wincing, he aimed his best rueful look at his partner.



"Cowley'll 'ave your hide if you've damaged them. 'e's only got them on loan. That's thousands of pounds worth of equipment you're knocking about there...."

"Keep your hair on, they're fine. And there's nothing to see anyway." Bodie wavered between sulking and ingratiating, settled for the latter. "Tell you what, we'll give it another hour and if this lot is still settled in," he gestured at the flurries out the window, "Then we make a lead-operative decision and pack it in until it does stop."

Doyle narrowed his eyes at this change of tactic. "An hour?"

"An hour." Bodie lowered his voice. "And then I am going to drag every stitch of clothing off your body and fuck you so hard that you'll forget you were ever on duty."

He had the satisfaction of hearing Doyle's breath catch in his throat.

"Fuck. We've got visitors," Bodie said abruptly, voice brusque.

Not about to be caught again, Doyle merely grunted. "Oh yeah? Father Christmas is it? He's not due 'til later. An' 'e can keep his greedy paws off those mince pies...."

"One's five-ten or so, the other's five-seven/eight, but it's a bit hard to tell because he's riding a bike. Definitely not a sleigh."

Doyle joined him at the window and Bodie moved aside to let him peer out. Sure enough, one figure was pushing another on a bicycle, weaving a shaky way along the snow-covered drive. The unlikely pair finally arrived at the front door and began the apparently complicated task of dismounting.

"They'll see no one's in and then bog off 'ome," Doyle said with certainty, moving nevertheless to stand behind the door, Magnum drawn, ready to move.

A tinny rendition of the chorus to Jingle Bells reverberated through the house as the doorbell was cautiously rung.

Bodie lifted one eyebrow, speaking eloquently, and Doyle let his lips twitch in response.

There was the sound of a key in a lock, and the scraping of a door.

"See, I told you it'd be alright," a rough but undeniably young voice carried up the stairs, "Me gran doesn't mind me comin' up here."

"I just feel so sick, Dave." A whimper. "I want to lie down...."

Kids, made themselves ill on cider no doubt, looking for a refuge from their parents' wrath. Bodie rolled his eyes, motioned Doyle to take over at the binoculars, and headed downstairs. There'd only been fifteen minutes to go....

Doyle cocked his ear, giving up the binoculars--there were only fifteen minutes left anyway, and the snow, if anything, was falling harder--but he couldn't hear more than a rumble of voices above the sound of the wind at the eaves. He waited for the front door to open itself again, for a pair of disgruntled teens to head off into the snow and the cold. There was the thud of footsteps on the stairs again, and Bodie's shadowed figure appeared, stood with hands on hips.


"There's..." he trailed off.

"What? Did you tell 'em they could stay in from the snow if they kept their heads down? Soft as butter, that's your trouble." But there was a peculiar look on Bodie's face, and he hadn't even tried to interrupt him. Doyle waited until Bodie could speak again.

"There's a young man downstairs with his heavily pregnant girlfriend, saying they need somewhere to stay for the night."

"Pull the other one, mate, it's got...."

And as if in league with Bodie's idea of a joke, Jingle Bells rent the air for the second time.

By the time they were standing darkly and quietly at the top of the stairs the front door had already been closed again, and there was much stamping of feet and blowing of breath going on. Above this a piercing voice was making its opinions well known.

"...worried sick, Moira. We've got everyone in the village out looking for you. How you could be so thoughtless, I just don't know...."

"Now, Sheila." Another voice, deeper, no less strident, used to calming things down. "All's well that ends well. You're both sorry, so we'll just wait here until the storm's through."

"No, you can't," Dave proclaimed, braving the wrath of his elders. "The man upstairs says no one's allowed in."

"What man upstairs?" Sheila demanded. "And why are you sitting here in the dark anyway?" In a blaze of glory light flooded the building. Golden, electric, revealing light. Half blinded, Doyle let his head drop onto Bodie's shoulder. Bloody hell....

"Those men," Dave was saying, accompanying words with a long pointing finger, and the coated bundles that had been halfway into the living room turned themselves back into the hallway and stood gaping up at the landing and the two CI5 agents leaning against the banister.

"Who the hell are you?" the man asked, stepping bravely in front of the others, and then rather spoiling it by adding, "And what are you doing in my mum's house?"

"Ah, you must be...." Doyle pulled out his I.D. and descended the rest of the staircase, other hand held open, pacifying, in front of him.

"King, Reginald King. And this is Sheila, and that great lump..." he pulled a gangly youth ungently by the arm "...is Kevin." A sudden fear crossed Reginald's face. "Everything's all right, isn't it? I mean, mum said they were off to Majorca, she didn't say...."

"No, no, she was asked not to," Bodie reassured them. "And we'll have to ask for your silence on this matter as well."

A wail split the air, causing Sheila King to hustle her way past husband and son, back into the living room, followed closely by an alarmed but resigned-looking Dave.

Bodie tried stoically to continue his explanation. "In fact we'll have to ask that you vacate the premises immediately. There is...."

Reginald King laughed out loud at him. "'ave you seen what it's doing out there? Even if we could leave I'll not take my family out in that, no matter what your little card says."

There was a muffled snort behind him and Bodie, who was not used to being laughed at, at least by anyone other than Doyle, allowed his voice to harden somewhat. "So how did you get here just now?"

"Well I drove, obviously, but," he had the grace to look a little abashed, "The car couldn't quite make it up the slope. Rear wheel drive you see. Slid itself back into the ditch at the bottom. No!" he held up a hand as Bodie opened his mouth again, "I'm afraid you're stuck with us. Sheila? How about getting the kettle on?" And he followed his wife into the front room.

Kevin King looked at Bodie. Bodie narrowed his eyes. Kevin decided that he could possibly help his father after all.

"Well done. Very masterful," Doyle smirked behind him. "Nice to see someone's still scared of you."

"Glad you're laughing, sunshine. You know what this means, don't you?"

"What's that?"

"That's The Public out there. We're back on duty, aren't we?"

And Jingle Bells saved Doyle from having to say anything.

Before either of them could move, Sheila King burst out of the front room and flung open the front door.

"Mrs King!" someone called jovially, and with just slightly too much slur. Then, sotto voce, "I thought she'd be a lot older."

"No, this is Mrs King's daughter-in-law, Mrs...King."

Said woman rose to her full five-foot-nothing, and remembering the motion from days long past, Bodie cringed in sympathy.

"Mr Hughes? Is that you?"

A third voice spoke, slightly steadier than the others. "It is, Mrs King. And Mr Brockett and Mr Burke. He's Geography. We've been out looking for Moira, have you had any news?"

"You've been...." There was a distinct thaw inside, despite the wintry gusts that were making themselves known through the open door. "Reg, it's three of the chaps from Moira's school! They've been out searching. Oh, you dear men...." She pulled them inside, slamming the door with a practiced arm. "Yes, she's here, she's here. But she's ever so close...." She turned to lead them into the now-burgeoning house.

The pregnant girl. The wail from the front room.

"How did you get here, sir?" Bodie stepped swiftly between Mrs King's path and the three, slightly reeling, teachers.

"I didn't drive," one of them volunteered immediately. "Not in a fit state to drive. So I didn't. Neither did he."

"Nope. No, I didn't drive either. Who're you?"

"I drove." Hughes waved keys in the air. "Who are you?"

"So, you do have a vehicle, sir?" Bodie asked, on an upswell of hope.

"Well, we did have. But there was this car half in the ditch along the lane and I had to swerve to avoid it and," he leaned forward to confide, gusting unexpected fumes across Bodie's face, "The roads are covered in snow. Slippery. So now..." a triumphant joke, "There are two cars in the ditch." He turned away, suddenly vague, stepped easily around Bodie. "Right, where's that Moira got to? Any chance of a cup of tea?"

Mute, Bodie and Doyle finally crossed the hallway and peered into the front room. The gas fire had been lit and a young girl, undeniably very pregnant, was reclined upon the sofa in front of it. Holding her hand, and crouched touchingly on the floor in front of her, was an equally young boy. Reginald King was ensconced in one armchair, his son in another, seemingly asleep. Brockett, Hughes and Burke had set themselves up at a small table in one corner, and were being served tea by the indefatigable Mrs King.

"What d'you reckon?" Bodie turned to whisper to Doyle. "Shall we 'ave all three for drunk driving?"

"Oh, don't tempt me."

And because it really couldn't get any worse, Bodie shot him a wicked look and brushed his mouth back against Doyle's ear. "Oh but you do, Raymond, all the time." And the bruising pinch to his thigh was well worth it for the brief look that had crossed Doyle's face. He clapped his hands together and entered the fray that was the front room.

In a vague attempt to regain some control, Doyle finally managed to make his way to the girl who had turned out an entire village. She was young--sixteen, seventeen if that--but her gaze was steady, and her mouth determined.

"I'm not going to have my baby in the hospital," she whispered to Doyle, one eye on the whereabouts of her mother who was currently holding her own court with Bodie and the teachers. "I've been reading all about it, and they pump you up full of drugs, and then the baby gets full of drugs, and...." The determined mouth trembled slightly, and Doyle automatically raised a hand to her forehead, smoothing dark hair from her brow.

"No, sweetheart," he said, "Not these days they don't, not if you don't want them to." He became aware of a slight growl from the floor beside Moira, hid a smile, but took his hand away just the same. "My girlfriend's a nurse, and she was telling me that they're very good about listening to the mothers."

For a brief moment Moira seemed to relax. "Well, I think it's too late now anyway. It was due last Thursday, and I've been feeling ever so peculiar today..." and all at once she was tense again, sitting up and clutching at his hand and Dave's both. "It will be alright, won't it? Not being in a hospital? I forgot to bring its little blanket. And I've not got its presents or anything!" The last, nearly a wail once more, fell into one of those gaps in everybody's conversation that makes for a very loud silence.

Doyle heard himself saying, "Nah, hundreds of babies are born not in hospital. Look, I used to be in the police, and honestly, the number of babies not born in hospital...and they were just fine."

"Iss alright," Brockett declaimed over this, and Moira turned her head to him for further reassurance, "I've got some Terry's All Gold in the car that you can 'ave...."

"You were in the police?" With the speed and stealth of one of Cowley's best, Mrs King was standing beside them.

"I was," Doyle confirmed briefly, his copper's nose sensing trouble, aware that Bodie's attention was now fully upon him from the other side of the room.

"Oh good. Then you can help me when Moira's time comes. I've delivered a few babies myself, just in the village, but it was a long time ago, and it'll be nice to have a bit of competent help. Now. I must go and find the towels."

And Bodie, when Doyle raised reluctant eyes to meet his, could only be described as smirking.

There was movement by the windows, where Reg had pulled back the heavy red curtains to peer outside. "Ah look," he said to the room at large, "At least there's a bit of a lull in the snow."

"Just think, love, our baby's going to be born on a white Christmas," Dave murmured soothingly.

The thought struck Doyle at the same time as it did Bodie. It's stopped snowing. If their night was like this, then it would be just their luck....

"No one is to come upstairs, and no one is to turn on any more lights," Bodie decreed, as he followed Doyle through the door and, three steps at a time, up to the bedroom.

Ahead of him Doyle managed to leap over the bed and land gracefully in front of the tripod, barely even ruffling the counterpane. Adjusting to the dark just as quickly, Bodie moved to join him, waited impatiently for Doyle to sight in again, adjust the view, and make an eerie green sweep of the property.

"Anything?" Time stretched. "Ah, come on, Doyle!" Had they fucked up? Would they be doomed to spend the next year down in Records, next Christmas on obs in the Outer Hebrides?

"Nothing's changed, far's I can tell."

Bodie let out a breath, nudged him aside, and took his own, reassuring look across to the boathouse. The world was whiter, but otherwise undisturbed. "Right sunshine, I reckon it was your watch, wasn't it?" And he lay himself down on the bed, arms folded beneath his head, let the chaos downstairs fade away and let the peace of their little room soak into him.

Thirty minutes later there was a scraping outside the door, a brief muttering, and then Mrs King bustled through, bearing a teatray laden with mugs, sandwiches, and a packet of chocolate digestives. She set it down on the dressing table with such a smile that there was absolutely nothing to be done but look grateful and say thank you. Bodie sat up and offered her his most charming little-boy look. She ran her eyes over him as only the experienced mother of several children could do, and he found himself fiddling with the seam of his jacket and leaning nearer to Doyle.

"Ah, that'll be the boathouse you're watching, is it?" she asked, looking between them along the aim of the binoculars, and through the nets into the night.

"That's right," Doyle said, misleadingly patient to anyone who knew him.

"Of course they won't come tonight, the weather's too bad."

Doyle continued his surveillance, clenching his teeth, whether to stop himself laughing or crying Bodie wasn't sure. This is the public you're working to protect, he told himself, and opened his mouth to offer a soothing platitude.

"Besides, he phoned up and cancelled."

Bodie looked at Doyle. Doyle looked at Bodie.

"You what?" they both said, inelegantly, but in perfect unison.

Mrs King turned to look at them, then glanced around the room and started gathering up long empty mugs and plates. "Mr Rainey phoned this morning and cancelled his visitors this week. Said he had a feeling it might turn nasty...." She stopped suddenly, feeling two pairs of eyes hard between her shoulder blades, and turned around.

"Go on," Doyle said quietly, smiling gently at her, "What else did he say?"

"Well...I keep the key to the boathouse, you see. Mr Rainey always asks me to open it if any of his friends are coming. Too dangerous to leave a key hidden, he says, in this day and age. And you do read such terrible things...." She faltered, but the other man was smiling again as well, encouraging. "Well, he phoned this morning and said he wouldn't be needing me to open it this week after all, because his friends weren't going to be coming, and he was still in France...." She trailed off again, watching bewildered as the two men looked not at her, but at each other. They stared into each other's eyes, blue to green, as though they were talking without words, speaking some language that only they.... She shook herself--silly woman, best leave them to whatever it was they were doing--and took a final look around the room for dirty dishes.

Doyle followed her to the door, closed it behind her, leaned back against it, and closed his eyes.



Bodie picked up the RT again, found static on all channels, and threw it on the bed.

"And his friends aren't going to be coming."

"Not this week."

In two strides Bodie was across the floor, pressing himself against Doyle, pressed against the door. No one was coming into this room.

"In that case I'd say our job here is done." Bodie dipped his mouth to Doyle's, stopping just short of those lips, whispered on them, "I'd say we were off duty, wouldn't you?"

Soft air from Bodie's mouth played around his lips, their bodies radiated heat together. Melted by the promise in those words, Doyle opened his own mouth to respond with kisses, with a moan, and let his hands slide around Bodie's hips.

"Mr Doyle!" A shout from below, a pounding up the stairs, and they were both somewhere else, breathing heavily as the door was flung open. Young Kevin stood panting, eyes wide. "Mum says can you come now, it's started? Moira's gonna have her baby!"

Bodie found himself banished to the kitchen with the other men, where they leaned self-consciously against the counters and tried not to hear the breaths and moans coming from the other room. Brockett, Burke and Hughes immediately started to talk about whether Forest could beat Arsenal, how United was playing, and if any of them had any chance against Liverpool, what with Dalglish being the Second Coming and all. Mr King joined in, extra-hearty, and Kevin squeezed himself into a corner, not sure which was more embarrassing--what was happening to his sister, or the fact that he was stuck in a kitchen with three of his teachers.

Bodie rested his head against the door, turned an ear to it, and let the soothing murmur of Doyle's voice, talking to the girl, calming her, wash over him.

And then a thin mewling rose above everything else, and for just a second the world held its breath as they all looked at each other. Bodie found himself shoved into a corner behind the suddenly open door, and then alone in the kitchen. Straightening his jacket with dignity and running a hand through his hair, he followed behind into the sitting room, where he took in the couple on the couch, the tiny bundle in the girl's arms, and the crowd of onlookers circled around. Doyle stood behind them, sleeves rolled up, a blinding smile on his face. Their eyes met, held, and Bodie tipped his head towards the stairs. No one noticed them leave.

Without speaking, they set about packing away the surveillance equipment, taking comfort in the brown-shadowed room, the bulb from the landing giving them more than enough light. Cowley's precious binoculars were settled into their foam, the camera stripped of its unused film and taken apart, their own books and cards and oddments tucked into bags.

Just as they finished there was the roar of an engine being revved hard outside, and car headlights swept around their walls. They peered out the window, habit making them surreptitious, to the unlikely vision of a black cab pulling up in front of the house. Warm light flooded across the snow as the front door opened, and Moira, Dave, their new baby, and the three Kings bundled themselves into the diesel-fumed back seats. After a moment, as the taxi pulled away, three men slammed the door shut behind them and strode in its wake, to where the flashing lights of an RAC truck could be seen in the lane behind the hedge.

Bodie's mouth dropped. "How the hell...?"

"Does it matter?" Doyle reached out to hook a finger over the waistband of his trousers, pulling him closer. "Now that is what I call a Christmas miracle."

And this time it was Bodie who found himself backed against the wall, and he shut his eyes, closing all the world away except for the feeling of Doyle's hands pressing on his hips. He gasped, wanting Doyle, and wanting him now, but Doyle was already there with him, cheek rubbing cheek for just a moment as he breathed in Bodie-scent, and then he was being kissed and there was no way to tell whose breath was whose.

Long seconds, minutes, aeons passed, of wet, hot kisses, and tongues entwined, hands sliding over cotton, and thumbs stroking, the flesh of necks bared for the taking, moans into mouths and hot breath into ears, and always a pressing together of cocks, a sweet, hard friction, building quickly into the unbearable.


Doyle pulled them both to the bed, let them catch their breath in the fall, and then let them be rolled back together, faces close, bodies stretched the length of each other. "Slo-o-wly," Doyle said, voice low, drawing away enough to reach between them and slip buttons from buttonholes and belts from trousers. In a sinuous tangle of hands and fingers, Bodie mirrored his actions, turned it into a game until they were both giggling, and then there were no more clothes and the glide and press of skin on skin stopped being funny.

Fingertips brushed against his nipples, and Bodie sighed, indrawn breath a gasp as Doyle ducked down and closed teeth gently on one after the other, his hair soft and scented under Bodie's nose, against his lips. He raised his hands to run them through the tangle of curls, but Doyle was already slipping down, his tongue laving a wet path that cooled and disappeared as each inch of skin was caressed and then abandoned.

And then Doyle's mouth was closed around him, sliding down the length of his shaft and back up in a long, sweet moist slide, fingertips stroking his balls, skin exquisitely stretched. This man, this man...and suddenly it wasn't enough to come in his mouth now, tonight, he wanted possession of Doyle from the inside out, and he pulled back into the bed, writhed away from those tumultuous lips. Questioning eyes met his, read the heat and the need in him, and as ever, unhesitatingly understood.

They didn't have anything with them, but Bodie was still wet from Doyle's mouth, tip slick with his own pre-cum. Doyle raised his legs, used his own fingers to open himself, and there was nothing on earth that could stop Bodie sinking his cock through the tight familiar muscle. He watched Doyle close his eyes, pressed down to cover his sighs with kisses, took Doyle's own cock in his fist, and let the rhythm take them both, as it always did, until Doyle pulsed in his hand, and there was only one last thrust and then the shockwave of his own pleasure throbbing through them both.

Small kisses on whatever part of skin was nearest, while their breath returned to normal, their limbs pulled apart, and they drew together in easier curves and folds.

"Feeling better about your Christmas then?" Doyle asked, when he could trust his voice again. "What with the snow and the baby and the Kings? And the three bloody wise men?"

"Mmnn," Bodie sighed, eyes contentedly closed, cheek pressed against Doyle's chest hearing the drum of his heartbeat strong and deep. "You're not going to tell me it was a boy, are you?"

"It was a boy."

"Bloody 'ell." A pause. "You'd better pass us that RT before you fall asleep."

"Eh? What for?"

"Well, they do say that even the Cows talk at midnight on Christmas Eve...."

And Bodie's arms tightened around Doyle, and Doyle ran his hand down Bodie's back, and outside the snow started falling again.

-- THE END --

November 2005

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