Bodie paused in his decimation of a chocolate bunny as Doyle walked into the flat. “Washed clean of sin for another year, are you?” he asked casually, eating the bunny’s feet.
After discarding his blue tie and suit jacket, Doyle poured himself a cup of tea from the pot Bodie had waiting. He seemed thoughtful, stirring in milk and sugar. “High church, all the bells and whistles, including incense thick enough to choke a horse, and a glorious Bach piece for the offertory,” Doyle answered, sitting back with a contemplative expression.
“I hear a but there.”
“Easter’s the hard one, innit?” Doyle frowned into his cup, blowing across the surface.
Bodie could see the tiny waves Doyle’s breath made in the tea. He bit into the bunny’s ears, prepared to wait out his partner’s musing. He had time, there was quite a lot of chocolate left. It was one of the solid Cadbury chocolate bunnies, nearly half a pound of the best sort of chocolate. Smooth, rich and creamy on his tongue.
Doyle gestured at the window as if he could see something Bodie couldn’t. “Christmas is—“
“Christmas?” Bodie put in helpfully. “Pressies, huge meals with mince tarts and puddings, kissing under mistletoe and spiced wine.”
“Christmas is a baby in a manger, and…joy.” Doyle half smiled, taking a sip of tea. “Angels singing praises to the sprog, stars shining up above, wisemen with gifts. The emotion’s easy, and we can picture it.”
“In every crèche in every churchyard in England,” Bodie agreed, wondering where Doyle was going with this.
“Easter’s a riddle. When you’re small, everything seems miraculous.” Doyle shrugged. “But as an adult, I don’t know what to think about a man coming back from the dead. I’ve seen dead—they’re gone, it’s bloody final.”
Bodie thought about offering Doyle a piece of chocolate but didn’t. Doyle wouldn’t have eaten it anyway. Instead, he popped a large chunk of choccie in his mouth, listening. He’d always listen to Doyle, for the rest of his life, given the chance.
“I want to believe in His sacrifice,” Doyle put down the tea cup, all but apologising for his failings as a worshipper, “but I find myself parroting the prayers without a real sense of belief in what literally sounds like a naff fable invented by CS Lewis.”
“Trust you to find existential guilt in church.” Bodie laughed. “Not enough to have your transgressions heaped on your head by the priest along with the bread and wine, you’ve got to add a few more.”
Doyle shot him a thunderous look.
“Next you’ll be taking credit for nailing JJ to the cross.”
“Jesus Josephson.” Bodie tapped a finger on Doyle’s arm, reveling in the opportunity to do so. The possibility that he might never have been able to do that again still haunted him five months later. “We’ve got surnames, that’s his logical one, yeah?”
“Never thought about it from that angle.”
“Your problem, my son, is that you get all tangled up in the details until you can’t claw your way free.” Bodie interlaced his fingers with Doyle’s, soaking up the warmth. “Easter got far more believable for me last year.”
“You don’t even go to church, even on holidays.” Doyle shoved at him but didn’t let go.
“Wasn’t in St. Paul’s that I found my conversion,” Bodie said quietly, looking directly into Doyle’s marvelous eyes. Like a mirror to his soul; he could gaze in and find his whole being wrapped around Doyle’s. “I saw a man who died but came back to life, not divine, just a regular bloke. He took my heart and gave it wings when I thought I was the most cynical and jaded person on Earth. He made me believe in love.” Bodie placed their clasped hands over Doyle’s chest, exactly where he knew there was a healed bullet wound.
“Ah,” was all Doyle said before he kissed Bodie. “You taste like chocolate.”