He was drinking himself into a stupor again.
It happened every year about this time. A few days after the anniversary of the horrific car bomb that had taken the woman and child, his friend watched helplessly as he crawled into a bottle for one night of blind drinking.
His friend had a date that night, and he'd come to check up on him later than expected, to find the man sitting in front of the TV in a darkened living room, watching the images of the dark-haired woman with the laughing eyes and the dark-haired toddler with the smile as big as heaven itself. The volume was turned off as the videotape played on.
His eyes automatically went to the holster and he relaxed a bit seeing the gun safely in the holster, away from the man's hands. Then the friend turned his attention back to the man sitting in the floor watching the videotape.
The only sound in the room was the perverse clink of bottle against glass as it was filled again and again. The bottle was nearly gone. A CD was playing softly, its music somehow fitting and agonising at the same time.
"...when I feel cold, you warm me
And when I feel I can't go on, you come and hold me
It's you and me forever --
Won't you smile awhile with me....Sarah...."
Suddenly the images and words were just too much. With a scream, the man flung the glass at the TV. It shattered against the side of it, and the images rolled on as the alcohol dripped down. He doubled over, holding his hands over his face and rocking back and forth, letting his broken heart pour its agony out.
Without a word, and with tears filling his own eyes, the friend snapped on the light and strode to the stereo. The music was cut off with the press of a button. The TV followed a moment later. He didn't bother to turn off the VCR, he knew from experience it would shut off by itself and rewind once the tape had run its course.
He then sat down beside his friend and pulled him close, wordlessly carding his fingers through his hair, giving him whatever comfort he could.
After a long moment, a strong pair of arms snaked across his stomach and the tortured man whispered the same words he spoke every year. Spoke of the hole in his heart, in his soul, that would never fully heal.
"I loved her too," he whispered. "My family...my life....God, JD, I loved her too....."
"I know ya did, Buck," he whispered back, looking up at the ceiling and praying silently for this night to end. "I know ya did."
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