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it will have been enough

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The weather is brisk and bleak and overcast and the leaves are brown underfoot. Perhaps it is symbolic; the end of an era, and the beginning of a harsh lonely winter.

He spots him and stops slowly, noticing that even like this, suit and tie and status gone, he still regards the world around him the way he always had. Always in the spotlight. Bill Haydon.

He lifts the rifle and aims, even as his brain tells him to stop.

Bill’s gaze catches his, and suddenly the memories of that party, that Christmas party all those years ago, are familiar again. Bill had smiled at him then.

Bill doesn’t smile at him now. His eyes are hard, the way they always were, but before he could always see happiness in them, could read him better than anyone else at the Circus.

His eyes betray him now, and Jim can see the thoughts rushing through his head.

None of them spell out regret, however, and perhaps he has never known Bill Haydon, perhaps nothing in his life was real the way he had wanted it to be, in this world of spies and betrayal and cold harsh war. Maybe they weren’t so inseparable.

you’re not going to do it, the eyes tell him, i know you jim, you couldn’t live with yourself if you did-
His brain chimes in: jim don't do it, don't-

Bill Haydon slumps to the ground, and Jim Prideaux leaves him for the last time.

He allows one single, lonely tear to fall.

One tear is enough.