just an itty bitty little hurt/comfort oneshot that begged release from my brain. i don't really believe in capital letters for the most part, and while i usually go back and add them, this one felt that it should be in its raw form.

for those of you following "feels like home," i should be adding the next chapter soon, and it's much cheerier and fluffier than this.

note that this ain't no happy tale. if happy is what you're looking for, you'd be better off elsewhere. also, i should add the disclaimer: don't drink this much, it really isn't good for you.

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we give them their names back, but all too often giving them peace is beyond our abilities.

booth sat on the couch in brennan's office, she leaned her elbows on her knees in a chair across the table from him. a large bottle of whisky and two small glasses sat momentarily untouched on the table between them. it seemed that the lines on their faces were considerably deeper tonight than they were yesterday. the lines would have lightened tomorrow, but by then they would have taken their toll on their everyday faces. even their future smiles would bear the markings of this night's grief. every hard case did.

each shot was toasted in another language. the two of them managed to cover an impressive number of them on their way through the bottle. while booth had no real schooling in foreign languages, nor fluency in any but a couple, he sure knew how to drink in an impressive number of countries. she quickly lost count. but then again, her mind was elsewhere.

"this isn't healthy, is it?" booth asked.

"not particularly," his partner replied in a haze.

booth poured two more shots ("Prost") and they downed them quickly.

"and not helpful," he added, rubbing his forehead and running his hand over his face as he'd been doing all day.

she watched his hands' empty caress and responded, "not in any practical way. maybe psychologically."

he looked at her. "you don't believe in that."

"nope," she rolled her head and looked back.

they each emptied another slug of liquor into their systems. ("Zivjeli") and they didn't stop until they'd emptied the quarter of jack. ("Na zdravie," "Sláinte," "Skaal")

she licked an amber drop that had escaped the side of her mouth. "this is really going to hurt tomorrow."

"it's a tribute to them," booth spoke firmly.

"you won't remember it that way in the morning."

despite the alcohol, stiffness was beginning to envelop his form. "the pain of it, it's a sacrifice."

"this isn't a sacrifice, booth. this is numbing." her eyes pierced him with the honesty.

he paused, fingering his glass before admitting, "yeah, you're probably right."

"but it isn't working." she was drunker than she'd been in a very long time. she wasn't talking about the effect of the alcohol.

"maybe a little bit."

"but is that little bit of unhealthy, unproductive numbness worth all the pain tomorrow?"

the long stillness that followed was broken by a mildly sardonic chuckle.

now she thinks of this? questioning their actions posthumously was not a common occurrence for his partner. it spoke volumes about her own desire to forget. he looked into her eyes, speaking clearer than he had all night, "yes. that tiny bit of relief is worth a hangover the size of texas."

the cases were never easy. though they tried to keep a certain distance, the tragic situations they encountered daily occasionally hit just a little too close to ignore.

"let's go home," brennan said quietly.

booth called a cab. they stumbled out together and piled in. booth leaned forward and gave the bespectacled old driver brennan's address. the whole way home brennan's head was on his shoulder, his remained upright.

when they arrived she leaned further into him and spoke the last words of the evening, "come up." he pondered a moment before paying the cabbie and blankly following her.

they entered her apartment and dropped their dark coats wherever their limbs decided to let go of them. shoes slid off of feet. she took his hand and led him to her room. they didn't pause, but both climbed into her bed, disregarding the fact that they were both still in their day-clothes, facing each other and pulling the covers up to their chins like children hiding from a nightmare. for a long time they looked into each others' eyes in the dim from a shockingly white streetlight outside. their breath disturbed the air between them; now slow and smooth, now jagged and panicked, now stilled.

when the tears began to leak through his tough exterior, she moved closer and pulled his head to her neck. he silently drenched her shirt and she buried her own face in his hair. he didn't really feel his arms as they snaked around her and clung to her as though to a too-tight bridge across a deep chasm. on nights like this the two took comfort in the partnership that extended beyond working together, beyond sharing most of their waking hours, beyond shared meals and shared words. they fell asleep in each others' arms, grieving for the people they'd never known, yet had somehow known all too well.

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it was in my head and wanted out. so here it is. not written for the reviews, but please feel free to. it is always appreciated and always a joy seeing them in my inbox.