Disclaimer: Characters from The Professionals are © Mark-1 Productions Ltd and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud. I'll put them back once I've finished playing. I promise.

Notes: Originally written for a Christmas Combi Challenge on the Prosfanfic Yahoo Group...I think Turkel and Sellotape were key words and the setting was Santa's grotto. Big thanks to Sue for hoovering up the commas.

Santa's Little Helper

"Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas," Bodie said unenthusiastically. "What's your name?"

The little boy in his lap peered up at him suspiciously and with some reluctance answered, "Paul."

"Hello Paul, I'm Santa."

"No you're not," the boy declared firmly.

Bodie stared at him blankly for a second and then rallied. "'Course I am, this is Santa's grotto isn't it?"

"Uh-huh. But you're not Santa." Sticky fingers reached out to tug at the white beard, which pulled away easily from Bodie's face. "See."

Bodie yanked his beard out of the boy's grip and glared at him. "Listen you cheeky little-" A large box whacked into the back of his head before he could say more and he looked up at Doyle's green tinted face angrily.

Doyle was ignoring him and proffering the box to the child, smiling widely. "Want to pick a present?" When the boy flicked a doubtful glance at Bodie and didn't immediately reach into the box, Doyle lowered his voice to conspiratorial whisper. "If you don't tell anyone about Santa I'll let you take two."

The offer worked. The child's eyes flashed greedily and he grabbed the two biggest brightly wrapped parcels from the box and jumped down off Bodie's knee. He bounded off towards the curtain and paused to turn to Bodie. "You're a rubbish Santa," he said.

"Well, you're a-" The box hit him again.

Grinning, the boy disappeared out of the grotto and Bodie immediately snapped at his partner; "What the hell did you do that for?"

Doyle was busy refilling the box of presents and didn't look up as he replied; "You were going to blow our cover. Santa's not meant to insult the kids."

"They're not kids, more like spawns of Satan."

Doyle tried to hide the grin. "You're just not getting into it, mate. Be more jovial, make them believe you're real."

"I don't want to be bloody jovial, I want to be in the pub," Bodie muttered and readjusted the padding around his waist, trying to make himself more comfortable on the hard chair, something he'd found was virtually impossible. "Why do I have to be Santa anyway?"

"I seem to recall some comment about there being no way in hell you'd ever wear a pair of green tights."

Bodie chuckled. "Oh yeah, there is that." He quirked a white tufty eyebrow lasciviously at his partner and purred; "You do look ravishing in them though."

Doyle just ignored him and turned his back, concentrating on re-taping some presents that had got a bit dishevelled.

"Does wonders for your arse as well," Bodie pushed, grinning maliciously now that Doyle wasn't looking at him.

He ducked as Doyle spun back around and half-heartedly threw a roll of Sellotape at him. The tape fell onto the floor, rolling to a stop a few feet away from Bodie's black booted feet.

"Losing your touch there, me old son." Almost instantly a second roll whacked off his forehead and he let out a very un-Santa-like expletive.

Doyle smiled sweetly. "The first one was just a targeting throw."

Bodie rubbed his head and glared at Doyle. "You didn't need to throw it so hard."

The smile widened. "No I didn't, did I?"

Any further discussion was interrupted by the swish of the grotto curtains. Murphy poking his head around, nearly dislodging the green felt cap perched jauntily on his head.

"He's here," Murphy said.

"About bloody time," Bodie growled. "Is he alone?"

"Two men with him - and the girl of course. He's heading this way."

"We'll be ready," Doyle said.

Murphy bobbed his head and disappeared out of the curtain.

Bodie was shaking his head in mild disbelief. "I still can't believe it. Turkel escapes from prison only to risk it all by bringing his kid here?"

Doyle shrugged. "He only gets to see her a few times a year. Must be hard when you can't have your kid all the time, so any little thing like this becomes a big deal."

Bodie snorted and opened his mouth to reply but paused when they heard a slight commotion outside the curtain. Voices leached through.

"I'm sorry, sir, but your friends will have to wait outside." Murphy was speaking loudly.

The response was muffled but angry.

Murphy was placating. "I am sorry, but Santa's grotto isn't all that big and it's policy that only the child and parent go through…" A pause and then; "…thank you, sir, I'd get in big trouble from my boss if I let them in. They can wait right out here."

There was the sound of movement and then the curtain was pulled open fully, revealing Murphy in an outfit identical to Doyle's. "Welcome to Santa's grotto," Murphy said brightly and he gestured them inside, the silver bells on the end of his tunic sleeves tinkling.

A small blonde haired girl stumbled into the darkened room, the imposing figure of Henry Turkel silhouetted in the entranceway.

Turkel blinked in the dimmed light and ushered the girl towards Bodie, taking a few steps forward to let Murphy tug the curtain closed.

"Ho, Ho, Ho. Merry Christmas," Bodie boomed, rocking from side to side in his seat, hands resting on his padded stomach, playing the part for all he was worth.

The little girl stared at him warily and took another step closer, looking back at her father for reassurance.

Turkel nodded. "Go on…sit on his knee. He won't bite."

She turned back and looked at Bodie, who plastered on his most charming smile. "Come on and tell Santa what you want for Christmas."

Hesitantly she stepped up to him and perched on his knee, as Turkel waited near the doorway, idly looking around the grotto.

His eyes trailed from his daughter and Bodie, to look at Doyle standing in the shadows, fiddling with the edge of his green tunic. Turkel's eyes narrowed and he stared hard at the curly hair flattened down by the little cap. The man looked familiar. He'd seen him somewhere-

"It's a trap!" he yelled and started to pivot around, his intention to run outside to his minders.

But his minders were having problems of their own. Shouts and scuffling had broken out on the other side of the curtain and Turkel jumped back as one of his men fell through the material and sprawled at his feet, his face bleeding.

A dishevelled elf, looking suspiciously like Anson, ripped the curtain off its hooks and pulled the man back out into the shop, handcuffs glinting in the light as they disappeared from view.

Turkel turned, eyes darting frantically around looking for an escape route.

Bodie stood swiftly, lifting Turkel's daughter as he went and passing her over to Doyle who held her firm.

"We're CI5. You've no place to go, Turkel," Bodie said firmly. "Might as well just give it up."

Turkel let out a howl of rage and charged at Bodie, sending them both sprawling over the chair and in amongst the presents stacked behind.

Taken by surprise, Bodie fell heavily, the large suit hampering his movements. Turkel was on his feet first, and powered by adrenalin he crashed his way out of the boxes, heading at speed towards the grotto entrance.

Bodie struggled up and went after him, white beard flapping as he raced to catch the older man.

As Turkel ran through the doorway, Bodie launched at him, tackling him to the ground and sending them both sprawling out onto the shop floor.

Turkel tried to scrabble free, feet and fists flying as he strove for freedom but Bodie was younger and fitter and he had a hell of a right hook, which smacked into Turkel's jaw as the man turned to face him.

Immediately Turkel collapsed to the ground and Bodie pushed himself up, shaking his hand out and wincing at the pain.

"You'll need some ice for that," Doyle observed as he walked over to Bodie.

Bodie lifted his eyes from his already bruising knuckles. "What the hell happened to you?"

Doyle nodded over to Murphy who was consoling Turkel's sobbing daughter. "Someone had to keep an eye on the kid. Anyway, you seemed to have everything under control."

"Yeah right," Bodie said, looking down at the unconscious Turkel. "You got your cuffs?

Doyle frowned at him. "Where the hell would I keep my handcuffs in this get up?"

"Murphy had his," Bodie observed.

"Well I don't," Doyle retorted.

"Neither do I," Bodie said and scratched his eyebrow. "So what are we going to do?"

Doyle looked at him brightly. "I know. Back in a sec…" He jogged back into the grotto and re-emerged brandishing a roll of Sellotape and a big ribbon. "We can wrap him up with this."

Bodie grinned. "Well that's Cowley's present sorted. Now can we go for a pint?"

Doyle tinkled the bells on his sleeve as he tossed the tape to Bodie. "Just the one, mate, since it's Christmas."