Disclaimer: Characters from The Professionals are © Mark-1 Productions Ltd and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.
Author's Notes: Written for the 'Sink or Swim' Challenge 2007 on the Prosfanfic Yahoo group. Bodie and Doyle are on a stakeout at the beach. Cue ice-cream, suntan lotion... and a decided lack of plot.
Big thanks (and a giant ice-cream with a flake) to Sue for the beta!
Sun, Sea and Desiccated Particles of Silica
"C'mon, mate, lighten up. Look around you, the sun's shining, the sky's blue…"
"…and we're meant to be working," Doyle finished. "Or has that little nugget of information slipped out of your brain?"
Bodie rolled his eyes and lay back on the beach towel, half-propped up on his elbows. A couple of teenage girls walked by and he let out a low whistle, grinning as they blushed and hurried off, giggling. "Nice view isn't it?" he observed.
"Yeah," Doyle said, ignoring the girls and leaning back in the deckchair; the eyes covered by his sunglasses trained on a row of brightly painted beach huts. "A nice, direct view. Of the rendezvous site. That we're meant to watching."
"'S a waste of time," Bodie pointed out. "There's no one there yet."
"Yeah, but that doesn't mean we're not to watch it."
Bodie squinted against the sun and, with a hand shading his eyes, looked at Doyle. "What's up with you today? Get kicked out of bed on the wrong side?"
"There's nothing wrong with me," Doyle snapped. "Or maybe I'm just remembering the bollocking we got the other week 'cause we managed to not notice the terrorist we were trailing leg it onto a train at Kings Cross."
"That wasn't our fault. We couldn't help the bus pulling out in front of us."
"Cowley didn't agree though, did he? He seemed to take particular exception to you having 'nipped out for a bag of crisps' and not being in the car."
Bodie laid his head back down, closing his eyes again. "Thought you could handle it on your own."
"I was away havin' a slash, Bodie," Doyle snapped angrily, earning a disapproving glare from a nearby mother who clapped her hands over her little boy's ears. The kid, who until that moment had been completely engrossed in the sandcastle he was building, immediately started screaming, thinking he'd done something wrong.
Doyle mouthed, 'Sorry' at the woman, but she was far too busy trying to console her son and gather their belongings together to notice. Doyle turned back to his partner who had, predictably, not even flinched at the outburst.
He glared at Bodie, half-tempted to upend the discarded pail of sand the woman forgot to take with her as she herded her family away. There would be a certain amount of satisfaction in seeing Bodie's chest, glistening as it was with freshly applied lotion, covered with gritty sand. Doyle berated himself for being so childish and settled back into his deckchair, making sure he had a good eye line to the hut.
"Be a good chap and get us an ice-cream," Bodie said suddenly, eyes still closed.
Doyle looked down at him incredulously. "You're bloody joking aren't you?"
An eye cracked open "Twas just a suggestion, Raymond, no need to get your knickers in a twist."
"A- A suggestion?" Doyle stuttered. "I'll give you a bloody suggest-"
"Now, now," Bodie admonished. "You really need to calm down. Take a stroll up along the promenade."
"We. Are. Meant. To. Be. Watching. The. Hut."
"Take a break."
"Oh, yeah, right. And I'm sure Cowley would love that."
"He'd be fine with it, if I say it's okay," Bodie said. "He put me in charge."
"Really," Doyle said, in a voice heavy with sarcasm.
"He did. Ask Murphy."
"Ask Murphy," Doyle repeated flatly. "The same Murphy that is currently on radio silence, giving donkey rides to kids along the beach?"
Bodie shrugged. "S'not my fault he can't be reached. Still doesn't change the fact that Cowley put me in charge."
Sighing, Doyle pushed himself out of the deckchair and got to his feet. "You know what, mate, I am going to go for a walk. 'Cause if I don't go for a walk, I swear I'm going to knock your block off."
Bodie chuckled. "Keep daydreaming, sunshine."
Shoving his feet into his sandals lying at the side of the chair, Doyle shrugged on his sleeveless shirt. Despite the fact that he was dressed like every other male on Hunstanton Beach, he still felt exposed. Even with the shirt, his blue swimming trunks were not enough to give him any sense of being clothed; particularly not when he was being eyed so predatorily by quite a few women in their vicinity.
"I feel naked," Doyle grumbled.
Bodie half-opened his eyes. "You look dressed to me."
Doyle scowled. "I don't mean that. I just don't like not having a weapon on me, that's all."
"Speak for yourself, mate. I've got a very impressive concealed weapon." Bodie smirked, closing his eyes again.
Pointedly ignoring him, Doyle continued, "What the hell are we meant to do if they're armed?" he said. "Squirt 'em in the eye with some suntan lotion?"
"You couldn't do that. You don't have any."
"Not the point."
Bodie grunted and absently flicked at his nose, leaving a dusting of sand.
Doyle stared at the empty beach huts and back at Bodie, narrowing his eyes when he saw how relaxed his partner had become.
"You'd better not be thinking about sleeping," he warned. "You need to keep an eye out if I'm going for a walk."
"Not sleepin'," Bodie murmured. "Just restin' me eyes."
Doyle was gone long enough to get his temper back in check, and to buy a couple of ice-creams at a stand up on the promenade.
As Doyle threaded his way through the busy beach crowd he could see Bodie sitting up, obviously watching the huts, but as soon as his partner saw him coming he flopped back down on the towel and attempted to look like he'd been lying that way since Doyle had left. Doyle grinned and let him think he'd not been spotted.
"Here you go," he said, holding out a cone to Bodie, a single ball of vanilla ice-cream balanced precariously on the top.
Bodie opened his eyes and looked up at the proffered cone and then at the significantly more impressive cone in Doyle's other hand: two scoops with a chocolate flake sticking out of the top.
"How come you get a ninety-nine and I get a bloody single scoop?"
"When you're paying for it, you can get what you like," Doyle said, waggling Bodie's cone. "You're bloody lucky I got you anything at all."
"Skinflint," Bodie muttered, propping himself up on an elbow and reaching out. He was too fast, Doyle was starting to lean forwards, and in a clash of hand and cone the ball of ice-cream tumbled, landing directly on Bodie's bare chest.
"Jesus Christ," Bodie swore, ignoring the startled looks of the people around him as he jumped to his feet. The offending ball of ice-cream slid down over spasming abdominal muscles and dropped near his foot with a messy 'plop'. Bodie scowled at the trail of sticky cream now streaked across the chest. "Oh, that's just brilliant."
Doyle was grinning widely, the smile faltering as Bodie's eyes lifted and rested on the still whole ice-cream still in Doyle's hand. "No," he said, taking a step back. "No way."
"But you dropped mine."
An indignant shake of curls. "I did not. You were just too lazy to get up properly. It was your own fault."
"Fine," Bodie snapped. "But this," he gestured at his chest, "is disgusting."
There was a small sound of disagreement from a young woman lounging on a deckchair nearby, and both men turned to her with raised eyebrows. Blushing, she disappeared back behind the book she's been reading and Bodie grinned wolfishly.
"Maybe I just need some help to get it off," he said loudly. The book quivered.
"Leave 'er alone," Doyle admonished, pulling his sunglasses down far enough to peer over the top of them, and he glared at his partner. "We're meant to be inconspicuous."
Bodie gestured with a hand to his barely clothed body. "There's no way I can be inconspicuous with a body like this."
"Jesus." Doyle shoved his glasses back up. "Go and wash it off. There're some toilets up on the promenade."
"Why would I waste my time going up there, Raymond, when there's a perfectly good sea over there?" Bodie pointed a finger at the aforementioned sea.
"It's like I'm babysitting a five year old," Doyle said. At Bodie's pleading expression, he tutted. "Okay, fine, go and swim. I'll just stay here and hold the fort, as usual."
"There's a star in heaven with your name on it."
Doyle scowled as Bodie turned and headed off towards the water. "Yeah, that's just great that is, really useful."
With a soft sigh, he turned and carefully sat on his chair, holding the slowly melting cone away from his body, trying not to repeat Bodie's clumsy stunt.
Ice-cream drizzled down the sides of his fingers, and he tilted his head to lick it off, catching the overhanging edge of ice-cream with his tongue and removing it in one spiralling twist of the cone in his hand. Satisfied the cone was in no immediate danger of falling apart he pulled the flake from the top and sucked the ice-cream off it in one smooth stroke.
Contentedly settling back in the fabric covered chair, Doyle nibbled at the end of the flake, catching bits of crumbling chocolate in his hand and licking them off. He was so intent on savouring the prized ninety-nine, he was unaware he'd caught the attention of quite a few people – women - around him, who were mentally deciding that the flake adverts on the telly had got it all so very wrong.
The twin globes of ice-cream were next; Doyle approached them decisively, determined to savour every last morsel of his hard-earned twenty six pence. The frozen vanilla slid down his throat, particularly pleasant on such a warm day. A few very long, scooping licks of his tongue and the cone was largely empty, only dribbles around the edges to be removed with little flicks. Teeth nibbled at the cone, gradually working down until all that was left was a faint stickiness on his hand, and several very flushed and breathless women.
Bodie swam through the refreshing waves, feeling a slight undercurrent tugging lightly at his legs and giving him something to swim against. His powerful strokes pulled him through the water, but it wasn't long before he began to tire and he turned around, swimming back towards the shore with a growing feeling of frustration.
He was fed up. It was supposed to have been their weekend off – the first one in three months – and he had planned a trip up north with the lovely Verity - no, Valerie. Yeah, that was it, Valerie.
Instead of that, he was stuck on a beach with Doyle watching, a bloody empty hut on the off-chance that an anonymous tip paid off. Admittedly, if what they'd heard was true, then they were going to catch some very important players that afternoon. But still… Valerie.
It wasn't long before he felt the currents lessen and he dropped his legs down, feeling soft sand squelching under his toes. He bent down and plunged his head and shoulders under the salty water, letting the cool liquid rinse over his skin and slide down his back as he straightened, wiping his hand down his face.
Turning to the beach, he pushed his wet hair back with calloused fingers, making it even more dishevelled with the gesture. One last swipe of hand over his nose and he began to stride slowly through the water, arms swinging loosely at his sides, letting the sea water drip down his chest, the afternoon sun heat his damp skin, chasing the trickles of water away.
He stopped, water lapping at his thighs and the bottom of his drawstring trunks. There were several women eyeing him appreciatively from their towels on the sand and he focused on a particularly attractive brunette, giving her a cocky grin. His eyes slid past her and further up the beach, his expression darkening as he locked eyes with Doyle, who was watching him with an almost Cowley-like air of disapproval.
Hastening through the water he strode onto the drier sand and padded through the people-decorated towels, back to where Doyle was waiting.
"Took your bloody time," was the first thing Doyle said as Bodie flopped back onto the towel beside him.
"If you're going to do a job, then you've got to do it right," Bodie said. "By the way, do you know you're cooking?"
"I'm what?" Doyle frowned.
"Burning. Your nose is going a really lovely shade of pink." Bodie flicked an eyebrow. "Told you, you should have put some lotion on, but no… you knew better."
Doyle had been aware his skin had been growing warm, but he'd been trying to ignore it. He pulled off his sunglasses, tucking them in the top pocket of his shirt, and peered at his arms. Bodie was right: his flesh was beginning to get a pinkish hue. "Damn," he said. "Do you have any…?"
"Nope. It's empty." The bottle lay just under Doyle's chair." Only had enough for me earlier on; thought I could just get some off a bird if I needed any more."
"That's an idea," Doyle said, looking around them to see if anyone nearby had some lotion. He caught the eye of the book-reading girl, and he smiled when he saw she had a bottle lying near her hand.
"Excuse me," he said, perching on the side of the chair and leaning towards her. "Any chance I could borrow…?" He gestured at her bottle of lotion and she almost knocked it over in her haste to hand it to him.
"Do you want me to put it on for you?" she asked, her fingers deliberately brushing his as he reached out for the bottle.
"Nah, it's all right, love, I've got it," he said, embarrassed at the eagerness of her expression.
Bodie laughed softly at his side and muttered, "Coward," under his breath.
Doyle's smile at the woman widened painfully. "Thanks," he said, and she smiled back, cheeks pink.
Uncapping the bottle, he leaned back from her and ignoring his smirking partner emptied a generous amount of lotion on his hand and slathered it onto his arm. Working quickly and efficiently he spread the scented lotion over his skin, sliding his shirt off his shoulders to make sure his bare chest received its fair share. He was just putting the cap back on when the R/T - stashed under the side of Bodie's towel – crackled into life.
"3.7 and 4.5. Report." Jax's voice.
"Here we go," Bodie muttered as Doyle grabbed at it with a sticky hand. He pushed the button.
"4.5 here. Over."
"Targets approaching rendezvous. They've just gone past 6.2. Orders from Alpha One: apprehend with minimal exposure. Out."
Doyle looked over to Bodie and saw he was already getting to his feet.
"What's that meant to mean?" Bodie asked, pointing at the R/T in Doyle's hand. "Minimal exposure?"
"It means we're meant to be discrete."
"Discrete?" Bodie was scathing. "On a crowded beach? Without our guns?"
Doyle looked smug. "See, I told you. Naked, that's what we are." He pushed himself out of the folding deckchair and turned to the row of huts. "We are only meant to be back-up though. Jax and Murphy should be right behind them."
"Yeah right, sunshine," Bodie said, slapping Doyle's arm and making him wince. "Since when do things ever go to plan?"
"Maybe this time…"
They looked at each other and shared a wry smile.
The two heavily muscled targets met at the beach huts as expected, and had a chance to exchange an envelope and a few words before they were barrelled into by two scantily clad CI5 agents.
Fists flying in sprays of scattering sand, Bodie and Doyle used every dirty trick at their disposal, wrestling for the weapons that appeared in the midst of the fight.
People were sent shrieking out of the way as the fight drifted down the sands, Doyle crashing into a solidly constructed sandcastle and sending a familiar little boy off screaming for his mother. But this time he didn't have time for apologies, pushing back his attacker with a deft kick to the solar plexus, and sliding his lotion-slicked arm out of the man's grasp when they crashed together again. A sharp elbow to the jaw finally felled the larger man, and Doyle stepped back, gasping, and looking around for his partner.
Bodie was caught in a head-lock, his target throwing flailing punches at his bare midsection. But a handful of sand to the eyes had Bodie free and twisting, a deckchair swung against the man's head sending him crashing to the ground.
The two agents stood, gasping for air, and when it became clear the battle was over they were quickly surrounded by a crowd of concerned holidaymakers,
"'S okay," Doyle gasped out. "We're-"
"CI5," Murphy's voice called out from the other side of the throng. "Let us through."
The crows parted and Murphy and Jax stumbled into their midst, both looking like they'd been running a marathon.
"Looks like you've got this handled," Jax observed, his eyes sweeping the scene. He missed Doyle's narrowed eyes as he turned away and walked over to help Bodie search for the envelope that had been thrown to the side in the fight, leaving Murphy to set about dispersing the gathered crowd.
"Where the hell were you?" Doyle snapped at Murphy, once the younger agent came over to restrain Doyle's unconscious opponent.
"I couldn't just leave a load of kids on their own could I? I had to get someone to hold the donkeys."
Doyle blinked. "You what?"
"The kids were in a right state," Jax said, cuffing the other target, the envelope recovered and safely stashed in his pocket. "Crying and everything."
"It was horrible," Murphy agreed.
Bodie stumbled over and rested a placating hand on Doyle's sand-streaked shoulder. "Well, I don't know about you lot, but I need to go and rinse off. Keep on getting covered in stuff on this beach."
Doyle fluffed a hand through his hair and sent more sand scattering down. "You know what? I think I'll join you."
Murphy frowned as the pair of agents began to walk back down the beach. "Cowley said you two have to report back to HQ," he called after them.
Doyle looked back over his shoulder. "Sorry, mate, can't hear you…"
"…got sand in our ears," Bodie finished, throwing a grin back at the gaping Murphy and Jax.
And it took quite a while to rinse off all the sand.