Disclaimer: Characters from The Professionals are © Mark-1 Productions Ltd
and are used without permission but with no intent to defraud.

From Switzerland, not deepest, darkest Peru ...

The phone rang insistently through Doyle's head. He had tried ignoring it but whoever it was, they weren't going away.

Hoisting himself onto one elbow, Doyle squinted in the early morning half-light at his watch. 5.15 a.m. This wasn't morning; it was still the middle of the night ...

Cursing as the phone continued to send its strident message out, Doyle rolled out of bed and made his way out to the lounge. "Hello?" he growled into the handset.

"Morning. What took you so long? Got a bird tucked away in there?"

Bodie. It had to be. Who else would be disturbing him at this hour, except maybe Cowley? "My morning doesn't start yet, Bodie. This is still night. And for your information I was getting a good night for once ... "

Bodie's earthy chuckle sounded down the phone. "I had a good night myself. What's her name?"

"I'm talking about sleep, you moron ... " Doyle gave up, and ran a hand through his hair in an attempt to wake up. "Why are you calling?"

"We've got a meet. You remember that shifty merchant I was trying to pin down about the missing guns? Well, I finally caught up with him and he agreed to meet me."

"I thought he was shy. Would only meet with you alone."

"Yeah, well - " Bodie's tone sobered up. "That's the thing; he was more shifty than usual. Thought it might be useful to have back-up."

Doyle sighed. Much as he would've liked to tell Bodie to get lost, and crash back into bed, they were partners. "When?"

"Pick you up? Half-hour?"

"OK." Doyle put the handset down, and yawned. A shower and caffeine, that was what he needed, not necessarily in that order, and he headed for the kitchen.
 

Dropping tiredly into the passenger seat beside Bodie, Doyle grimaced at his partner's bright grin. "OK, you've got me. Where are we going?"

"Tomkins gave me an address. Warehouse. Said if we were looking for that consignment of missing P220's that might be a good place to start and he'd meet me there." Turning the car swiftly in the near-empty street, Bodie put his foot down. "But as I said, it sounded a bit sus, so I thought I'd take you along for the ride."

"Yeah." He definitely felt like he was being taken for a ride. Doyle glanced at his watch, still unable to believe the early hour. "Afterwards, you're buying breakfast."

"Deal." Bodie cast a glance over his partner. "Was it a good night?"

Allowing himself a small smile, Doyle didn't answer him. "So, what do we know about the P220?"

"Expensive, Swiss-made. Reliable; you know what they say about Swiss watches."

Doyle grinned. With very little encouragement Bodie would soon be spouting all the technical details; he always kept up with the market. "Ammo?"

"9mm. Carries one more in the clip than that Walther of yours." Catching the grin, Bodie cut short the lecture. "Thinking of buying one?"

"Not if they're expensive. Maybe Cowley will treat us, if we recover the consignment?"

"Not on his budgets, mate ..."
 

The warehouse area was deserted at the early hour; Bodie pulled up right outside the door of 'Unlimited Imports of Switzerland'. "This is the one."

Doyle cocked an eye at him. "Unlimited Imports? Bodie - what exactly are we looking for?"

Bodie allowed himself a grin. "Not the sort of thing you're thinking of. I told you; Tomkins said we might be interested in what was being hidden here. Come on, let's find the little weasel."

The lock on the door to the main showroom didn't hold the partners up for more than a few seconds, and they glanced around them. On the face of it the import business appeared innocent; around 10 different types of cuckoo clocks hung on the walls and various cuddly toys adorned the shelves. Doyle picked up a large teddy, brown, with a green bow tie, and as instructed pressed the button in the middle of its chest.

The bear produced an unexpectedly deep growl, and Doyle chuckled, regaining his sense of humour as he came more fully awake. "Sounds like Cowley." He tossed it over to Bodie, who inadvertently pressed the button as he caught it, setting the bear growling again.

"Sounds like Cowley on a good morning," Bodie agreed, tossing the bear back at Doyle. He'd never liked the things himself.

A slight noise behind him caused Bodie to spin, reaching for his gun - and Doyle burst out laughing as all the cuckoo clocks struck the top of the hour at once, and Bodie was confronted with little yellow birds popping in and out of gaily-painted doors without the slightest harmony amongst them.

Sense of humour fully restored now, Doyle was hard put to contain himself as Bodie picked the lock into the warehouse, and Bodie could see Doyle's shoulders shaking with suppressed amusement as they made their way in.

Although not particularly large, the warehouse was untidy. Cardboard boxes stood around in staggered heaps; some clearly marked with the contents, others unidentifiable.

Sobering up slightly, Doyle glanced at Bodie and spoke quietly. "Any idea where he'll be?"

Bodie shook his head, eyes scouring the warehouse, particularly the upper gantry. His suspicions about Tomkins hadn't gone away. "Hiding, probably." He drew his Browning and flicked the safety off. Doyle, picking up the same trouble vibes, did likewise with his Walther, and they moved forward.

Everywhere was quiet; too quiet. Bodie motioned Doyle to silence, and called out to his contact. "Tomkins?"

There was no reply. Doyle spoke into the silence. "Do you think he's hiding because of me?"

Bodie shrugged. It was possible. He carried on scanning the building, attentive for any sound at all, but there was nothing. Moving forward again, he thought he heard a sound ahead of them and called again. "Tomkins? Get out here, you little - "

The bullet passed him close enough for Bodie to feel it tug at his jacket sleeve before he threw himself flat into cover.

A few feet away, Doyle had thrown himself the other way, and they looked across the gap at each other. "Tomkins?" Doyle asked him, and Bodie shook his head.

"Doesn't have the balls." In fact, he possibly didn't any more. Literally. If the missing guns had been stolen by the outfit CI5 thought responsible and they'd caught Tomkins splitting on them, they weren't the forgiving kind.

Doyle was waiting for him to signal a move. Bodie hadn't seen the gunman but had the impression that the shot had come from above, from the gantry. Raising an eyebrow and pointing upwards, he received a confirming nod from Doyle; he'd thought the same.

He signalled Doyle to go forward whilst he indicated he would try to get to the staircase and up onto the gantry. There'd only been the one shot; hopefully only the one gunman.

Doyle nodded, and moved back the way they had come. If he could, getting under the gantry seemed like a good idea, and retreating to the warehouse door he started to make his way along the warehouse, keeping close to the wall.

Bodie meantime was moving quietly towards the staircase, keeping his head down. Coming to the end of the stack of boxes, he realised he couldn't get to the stairs without getting into the open, and slid his R/T out, hoping the gunman wouldn't hear him. "Doyle?"

There was a pause before Doyle responded. "Yeah?"

"I can't get to the staircase. Are you able to give me any cover?"

"Hold on." A few seconds later Doyle opened the channel again. "I think I can see him - give me a few seconds. And Bodie - I found Tomkins."

Presumably dead. Bodie didn't ask where; time for that later. Straining his ears, Bodie listened for a signal, and suddenly shots rang out. Trusting that the gunman would be shooting in Doyle's direction rather than his, Bodie leapt from cover and ran for the stairs, reaching the top of the gantry in seconds.

As the gunman spun and fired at Bodie, Doyle's shot from below took the gunman square in the back, and he slammed against the gantry railing before dropping back onto the gantry.

Bodie felt the bullet tear into his arm, the impact slamming him against the railing, and heard the crack as the railing gave way and he fell through.

From his position, Doyle hadn't seen Bodie fall, but the crack and crash were unmistakable, and he hared under the staircase. "Bodie!"

In true stuntman fashion, Bodie's fall had been broken by cardboard boxes. Cardboard boxes filled with teddy bears. Growling teddy bears, each wearing a green bow tie.

Although Bodie had been winded by the fall, the fact that he was struggling to get out proved to Doyle that it was nothing serious, and he started to laugh. The more Bodie struggled, the more bears he pressed down on, and the louder the growling. As Bodie reached the edge of the squashed boxes, Doyle sobered up slightly, seeing as much from the pain on Bodie's face as the blood on his left arm that he wasn't entirely uninjured.

As he stepped forward to help, Bodie was sarcastic. "Oh no, don't worry about me. Just taken a bullet in the arm, and twisted my ankle or something - "

As he spoke he put his right foot to the ground and fainted clean away. Grabbing Bodie and lowering him to the ground, Doyle checked his ankle before chiding his unconscious partner. "Twisted it or something - you've broken it, you silly sod."

Stripping one of the teddies of its bow tie, he bound it round Bodie's arm; that would hold the bleeding. The bullet had made a mess of his upper arm but Doyle didn't think anything was broken. The ankle however was definitely a different matter.

As Bodie came round, he was looking confused. "What happened?"

"Your ankle's broken." Doyle gave him the bad news. "Don't try and move it!" he added, as Bodie sat up, looking slightly green.

Bodie had already discovered moving his leg was a bad idea. "Shit." He breathed the curse out on a wave of pain. "That hurts."

"Not surprised. Now just stay there for a minute. I should check on chummy up there."

Whilst Doyle ran up the stairs, Bodie ignored his instructions and shifted round to prop himself against the boxes, trying hard to ignore the renewed growling his weight caused.

"Doyle?"

"Yeah?" Doyle's face appeared over the railing. "You OK?"

Bodie looked up, pleading. "Hurry up and get me out of here. Before I start dismembering these things ..."

Doyle hurried back down the stairs. "He's dead, whoever he is." He considered his partner. "Do I get you an ambulance?"

Bodie tried to get up. "No. You help me up, and out of here. Now."

"If you're sure." Doyle helped Bodie up, grasping him firmly around the waist. "OK?"

Bodie put his good arm over Doyle's shoulders, feeling decidedly lop-sided. "Sort of."

Slowly, Doyle managed to get Bodie moving. "Where's Tomkins?" Bodie suddenly asked.

Doyle gestured with his head. "Over there. Knifed; not a pretty sight."

Bodie nodded, deciding that maybe he didn't want to take a look; he didn't want to admit it to Doyle but the pain from his ankle was making him feel nauseous.

"You know Cowley's not going to be happy about this." Doyle tried to take Bodie's mind off the pain in his ankle. "You out of action for what - 10 weeks?"

"6. 7 at the most."

"You'll not be fit by then - "

"I will if I don't have a plaster on it."

Doyle stopped. "Don't be ridiculous."

"I'm not. Come on, Ray. You know what a cast does to your muscles. If I just keep it strapped up it'll heal just as quick but I won't have to build up the muscles again."

Doyle started moving again. "I'm not going to argue the toss with you. I'll leave that for the doctors."

Managing to manoeuvre Bodie into the passenger seat, Doyle left the door open, reading the colour of Bodie's face correctly. "Don't be sick in the car."

Getting into the drivers' seat, Doyle called in. "4.5 to Control. We're at the industrial estate on Western Road. Could you find me a team to clear up? I've got to take 3.7 to Casualty."

The girl on duty in the Communications room had a crisp voice. "Priority?"

Doyle cast a glance over Bodie, slumped back with his eyes closed, before replying. The arm wasn't bad but the ankle was. "Not priority A. But immediate."

"Received. Control out."

Bodie opened one eye. "Not priority A?"

"You're not dying, Bodie."

"What do you know?"

At his words, Doyle suddenly began to get concerned - had Bodie injured himself more than he realised? That had been quite a fall; Doyle had assumed the boxes had taken the worst out of the impact ...

As Bodie shifted in the seat, unintentionally moving his ankle, he opened his eyes and swore loudly and inventively, and Doyle relaxed. If Bodie could summon up that much energy to swear he was OK.

"Anyway, I suppose this means I don't get breakfast," he commented. "Pity. I could just go a nice marmalade sandwich."

Bodie stopped swearing and looked sideways at Doyle, needing to ask the question but sure he wasn't going to like the answer. "Marmalade sandwich?"

"Like Paddington Bear?" Doyle's grin was in danger of earning him a knuckle sandwich, never mind the marmalade.

"You're going to regret this, Doyle."

"Never mind, Bodie. I'll keep it under my hat. Like Paddington and his marmalade sandwich ..." Seeing the car pulling up behind them, Doyle left Bodie to simmer. "I'll be five minutes."

"Doyle?" As his partner looked back into the car, Bodie swallowed, fighting back the nausea. "No longer, eh?"

"No. OK."
 

Alerted by Control, Cowley met Doyle at the Casualty department. "Well? How is he?"

"Being his usual, pig-headed self."

"I meant - " Cowley took a deep breath. "What are his injuries?"

"Not serious. His arm will heal quickly. The ankle will take a bit longer."

They both heard Bodie's voice, and raising his eyebrows in exasperation, Doyle led the way to the curtained booth where Bodie was being treated.

Bodie was feeling a lot better now the painkillers had kicked in, and the doctor was losing the battle. "I am not having a plaster cast on it. It'll be fine with a bandage."

"Bodie."

Bodie glared at Cowley for interrupting. "Sir."

Recognising a higher authority, the doctor appealed to him. "It would be much better to have a plaster cast fitted."

"Not if he doesn't want it." Cowley saw Bodie's temper subside slightly. "But you're not going to find it easy to cope, and it won't get you back on duty before I think you're fit."

"I'll look in on him, sir." Doyle grinned. "After all, he's had a bit of the stuffing knocked out of him ..."

Bodie glared belligerently at him and spoke warningly. "Enough of the bear jokes, Doyle."

Cowley stared between them in bemusement, then decided not to ask, turning to leave. "Doyle, I want to see this warehouse. I gather that the consignment of P220s was hidden there."

Before following Cowley, Doyle grinned back at Bodie. "I'll come back and take you home."
 

By the time Doyle returned, Bodie had been on the point of grabbing a taxi; would already have done, in fact, if he hadn't been having so much trouble with the crutches. The fact that his arm was hurting like hell meant he couldn't put much weight on the left crutch, and his greeting to Doyle showed his frustration. "Where have you been?"

"Shopping." Before Bodie could explode, Doyle explained. "Cowley thought you might not have much stuff in; bread, milk and so on? So I stopped off at your place to check what you needed before I went shopping for you."

Bodie bit down on the annoyance at being kept waiting. "Very domesticated. You'll make someone a lovely wife. Come on, I want to get home."

On the way, Bodie caught Doyle grinning at some private joke, but ignored it. That crack about having the stuffing knocked out of him wasn't so far off the mark; he was knackered.

Doyle was still grinning as he assisted Bodie through the door to his flat. As Bodie flopped back onto the sofa, vowing not to move for the rest of the day, something caught his eye.

Staring down at him from the top of the bookshelf were three brown teddy bears; each with a green bow tie. Bodie fixed Doyle with a glare. "What," he ground the words out, "are they doing there?"

"Well, you're always calling me Goldilocks; those are my three bears. They're called Paddington, Victoria and Waterloo. I thought I'd leave them here to keep you company."

Doyle retreated as Bodie grabbed the nearest thing to hand, a cushion, and hurled it at him, and dived out of the door before Bodie found something more solid to despatch in his direction ...


© Carol Good - January 2000