All the Toy Soldiers


Post-Fall Girl

He blamed Doyle. He knew he shouldn't, somewhere in the back of his head, but in the front of his heart, in a dull, relentless ache, he blamed Doyle. If Doyle hadn't...well, he wouldn't have been chasing after Marikka if Doyle hadn't now, would he? And he would never have felt the need to see her again, after all these years, and she would still be alive now, wouldn't she. He blamed Doyle. But still it was Doyle's door that he ended up outside, late, late at night, because where else was there to go?

Packing boxes lined the little flat, some with their lids aslant, some still sealed, pregnant with the possibilities of a new home--at least that was how Doyle saw it. The daft git had looked forward to moving out of his old place, into somewhere "homier" he'd said, despite the fact that it was his third move in less than six months. "This one'll be for a while," he'd said, "This one'll be home."

He set a store by "home" did Doyle, everything strewn around where it should live, knick-knacks in their own little places on the mantelpiece, or bookshelf. Those damned toy soldiers all had somewhere to be at the end of the day. Somewhere they belonged. By comparison Bodie's flat was sparse, his decoration flimsy--posters torn from a succession of Mayfairs. They were pretty enough, but light as the air itself. There was nothing so solid as home about them. Why was Doyle always trying to make a home?

He was waiting for him of course, had been ready since he'd heard the scrape of boots on the outside wall. He'd let Bodie open the door himself, just in case he changed his mind, and he let him replace the security locks as well. Barefoot, halfway to bed, he'd stopped and waited. But Bodie could only get so far, his advance faltering and failing in the shadows of the boxes and the empty bookcases.

So it was Doyle who approached him, wordless still, as he had been that afternoon in the face of Bodie's rage. Doyle who stood in front of him and let his eyes speak the soft words that brought them back together. Doyle it was who reached out first, not just with those eyes, wide in the dulled night light, but with his hands, and his body, and his lips. And Bodie felt himself lean in to it, to where he belonged. Home at the end of the day.

-- THE END --

November 2005

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