It wasn't raining, snowing, anything when the two drunken souls stepped out onto the sidewalk side by side. They stumbled to a stop at the curb, and his arm moved naturally to hers to stop her before she stumbled out into the road. There was no laughter, no talking, nothing but the sound of cars rolling down the near deserted streets in the distance, and the low roll of the highways in the distance sailing through the now bare trees of fall.
Side by side they stood, his arm moving from hers as he recognized her stability and stubborn regard for doing things on her own, and together they looked out at the empty street before them. Both were far too inebriated to take their own vehicle home, and neither had the desire to even go home at this point. The sky was overcast, the clouds hanging low over the two of them, glowing with the lights of the distant monuments.
No words were spoken, for no words were needed, and everything that needed to be said had already been said hours earlier in a moment of anger and frustration. They had shared his moment of weakness, his moment of sorrow, his moment of self pity, and the ride home would simply be the first step in a series of steps of getting him back on the long and twisting course that his life seemed to be taking him on. The cab rolled up to the curb, slowing before them as it came to a stop, and they stood, side by side, staring at the handle of the door.
"Take it." He stated simply, his words inhibited by a guttural hiccup, and his eyes finally met hers for the first time that evening.
"You take it." She replied. Her inebriation was not nearly as severe as his, and she knew that if she just took a simple walk, she'd feel better, and would be able to drive in no time. He was the one hurting, he was the one that needed to go home, he was the one that was broken.
He looked into her stubborn eyes and even in his most self punishing mood, he could see that she wasn't about to allow him this. She did not hold pity in her eyes, something he expected to see in everyone's eyes when they learned of his newly failed attempt at happiness. She did not pity him, nor would she ever pity him for acting on his heart's desire. It was true that he was angry with her for breaking his heart in the first place, but even then she did not pity him for a moment.
He thought about taking the cab, about leaving her behind on the sidewalk as she waited for the next to come along. He thought of her watching as he climbed into the car, sliding himself into the seat alone and closing the door behind him, the car pulling from the curb without her. He thought of her standing on the sidewalk, her eyes focused on the lonely, pathetic man in the back seat as it drove down the street without her, teaching her once again that she was alone. He thought for just a moment, that leaving her behind would be an option, a lesson, an action that he had control over, but found that his brain and his heart knew better of this.
He reached forward and pulled the handle, fearing that the cab driver would be getting frustrated with their drunken pause at the roadside, and opened the door with no pretense. He then surprised her as he took her hand, his fingers slipping from her soft flesh the moment he had taken it, as he nodded toward the car. "We can share." He said, noting that she simply nodded her head, and with no argument or word, she slipped into the cab first. As soon as she was seated, sliding to the other side of the seat, he knew that he had made the correct decision. He didn't want her to be the one left standing alone on the sidewalk when that cab drove away. For all of the frustration and anger in his heart in that moment, for all of the pain that she had put him through, he could never leave her behind, even on his darkest day.
He slid into the seat silently, his partner's address on his lips, as he slammed the door closed and locked them in the closed quarters together. With a non committing glance at his fares, the driver pulled onto the street, and they made their way silently through the deserted streets of Washington with a simple understanding between them, and their sorrows sunk in the depths of the liquor in their bellies.
It wasn't long into the drive when he caught her eyes on him, and when he looked to her, she didn't look away. If she had, he would have been concerned that she was ashamed of him, of what he had done, of what he had attempted to do, and shame from this woman would be a burden that he knew that he couldn't carry. He held her gaze for what felt like such a long time, and her eyes implored his as she seemed to assess his emotional state with a simple checklist in her mind, an analysis that she had frequently done when she thought that he wasn't paying attention. He could see the pain in her eyes, not for herself, but for him, and for that split second he had regretted that he hadn't told her earlier the pain that he had felt about their situation, and the anger and resentment that he held for her deep in his mind, his heart, his soul.
He held her stare for a long time, until they heard the tapping of the cab driver on the partition. Both of their attention went to the driver, her mouth dropping slightly as she reached for her purse to pull the money for the trip. "No." Booth said, finding another thing that he knew that he could control. He pulled his wallet from his pocket and handed the money to the driver through the partition, he reached for the handle and pulled at it, pushing the door open, he pulled himself out onto the sidewalk and waited for Brennan to follow. She slid down the seat, taking his hand as he helped her to her feet a bit unsteadily. She was again studying his face.
"Come in for coffee."
"No." He shook his head. "No, thank you."
"Please come in for coffee." She said again, her voice insisting nearly as much as her words.
She must have seen it. She must have seen the terror and despair in his eyes, or maybe it was just the loneliness. "Just coffee?" He asked, as if there would be more, knowing that there was already so much more than just that.
"We have to start somewhere." She said, looking down to their entwined hands, she gave his fingers a gentle squeeze.
"We have to start somewhere."