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Bones Fic: Imperfect Choices
B/B Partners Gray Distance
only_more_love

Title: Imperfect Choices
Rating:
T or PG-13 for language
Characters: Booth, Brennan
Timeline:
Set at the end of 4x25: The Critic in the Cabernet.
Summary: This isn't how he imagined it.
A/N:  OK, so maybe I've got a couple more in me. :)

Thanks for reading, and if you leave feedback, thanks for that as well.

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***

 

Imperfect Choices

It's all happening too fast. One minute he's in the interrogation room, and the next he's in the hospital. Booth hates hospitals. The sound of shoes squeaking on those linoleum floors makes him wish he had his gun on him right now instead of a hideous gown that gapes open where it shouldn't. Sweets would probably have something know-it-all and annoying to say about that. Which is why Booth's never going to tell him.

He'd rather listen to Hodgins talk about bugs and dirt for three hours than spend time in a hospital. Hell, he'd rather eat bugs and dirt than be in a hospital. He'd rather have Zack ask him for advice about sex than-- See? Hospital equals bad. Parker is the only good thing in his life that's come out of a hospital. Everything else has been about pain and blood and I'm sorry. We did everything we could.

Unfortunately for him, there isn't a multiple choice option in this test.

They're prepping him for brain surgery. "Prepping" -- as if there's really a way to get ready for major surgery. This morning when he nicked his jaw while shaving and compiling a mental to-do list for the day, brain surgery didn't happen to make it onto that list.

"Cerebellar pilocytic astrocytoma," they say. What matters is they're going to cut open his fucking head and God, please don't let them mess up anything; I have too much left to do. His eyes are dry but his stomach is crawling up his throat and everyone is watching him and damn it, he can't afford to lose it right now.

Booth wishes he could just push a button and pause everything long enough for him to unwind the plot of the crazy movie that's happening around him and to him right now. Except this isn't a movie: It's his life. There's no magic remote control in his hand, waiting to be clicked -- just imperfect choices.

He doesn't want Parker to see him like this, but he's too smart not to know that surgery's always risky. So a quick phone call and an I love you he nearly chokes on are all he gets. Parker has Rebecca, and Booth's never been more grateful for that. If the worst happens, he'll also have Booth's life insurance payout. With what he does for a living, there's always been the chance that the worst would jump out of the realm of possibility and into the one of reality. But he never thought it might end like this.

God, this is all such a fucking clichė. None of that changes this unchangeable fact: Booth needs his son, and his son needs him.

+

There was always supposed to be time -- more time; time for everything to happen eventually; time to show his favorite scientist how two people could break the laws of physics; time for them.

There is someone for everyone...You just have to be open enough to see it.

This isn't how he imagined it.

He's on a hospital gurney, about to be wheeled into the OR. But there's just no room left for cryptic words and half-truths meant to protect them both. No room for the right words or the right time or the right place, either. Sometimes life just happens, leaving nothing but imperfect choices.

"Can we just stop for a second?" he asks the nurses beside him. "Can you just give me a minute, please?"

As they step back, he looks up, and she's there. Because he asked her to be. It's the one thing he can control in this mess, and even though it might not make a difference, he feels better with her by his side. What he feels, it matters, doesn't it?

"Listen, " he says, then clears his throat. "Bones, if I don’t make it…"

"Booth, you're going to be fine," she says, voice firm and gaze locked on his face. She's trying to sound reassuring. He appreciates that, but they don't have time for anything but brutal honesty right now.

"Yeah, but if I'm not, I need you to know something."

"What?" She lays her hand on his arm, and he exhales slowly.

Booth glances down at her hand, then up into her eyes. "I love you."

Her mouth drops open as her grip on his arm tightens "I..." She shakes her head, beautiful eyes a little wide and a little wild. It's the image he wants to hold onto during the surgery.

He smiles. "You don't need to say anything right now, Bones. In fact, I don't want you to."

The frown that pulls at her mouth nearly makes him laugh. "Booth, you can't say something like that and expect me to not respond."

"Oh, I'm sure you have a response, and I intend to hear it. Later." He covers her hand with his own, ridiculously happy when she doesn't pull away. "After the surgery, we'll talk." If there is no after, he's still told her the truth. After carrying it inside him for so long, he feels lighter. This, despite what's about to happen to him.

She wants to argue; he knows this the same way he knows she thinks about Zack every morning when she steps into the lab. But after giving him a long, silent look, she nods. "All right. We'll discuss this later."

"Yeah, later. " He takes a deep breath. "I'm ready," he says, still holding her hand. "Let's get this show on the road."



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YAY MORE LERDO FIC YAY!

*ahem*
This was so so good. I've not rewatched the end of last season for ages and this brought it all back so hard. I wish we'd seen some more of this kind of worry on the show (and obv, the ILU would've been nice too.) Yay that you're still being inspired to write - this was wonderful. :)

*blinks* Bertie, is that you? I didn't know you still read Bones fanfic. Happy to have you here, of course. *snorgles you*

Love your icon, bb. *g*

I wish we'd seen some more of this kind of worry on the show

Me too. But hey, they left room for fic. ;) I'm so glad this brought back the ep -- in a good way.

Thank you for commenting, sweets. ♥ It was such a pleasant surprise!

I so wish they had ended the season this way. [kicks TPTB at Fox]

Love this - as usual. :-)

I ♥ you -- as usual. :D

Thank you, M. So pleased you liked this.

What a wonderful present to come home to. After the big discussion over at TT's journal, it was so lovely (and unexpected) to find a wealth of new fic this afternoon. So glad that you shared this with us! I loved this line: What matters is they're going to cut open his fucking head and God, please don't let them mess up anything; I have too much left to do. His eyes are dry but his stomach is crawling up his throat and everyone is watching him and damn it, he can't afford to lose it right now. This really brings to life what we saw onscreen as Booth sat in that hospital bed.

Yay for new L fic!!

Margaret! Hi there. :) I missed the discussion you mentioned, but I think I just found it. *g* To be honest, I don't have as much time to read fic as I'd like these days. (That's why I'm so ridiculously behind on yours.) But I agree that there is a SHOCKING amount of questionable fic out there. Just reading the summaries at FF.net can be pretty entertaining -- or soul-killing -- depending on your mood.

So I'm doubly grateful that this didn't make you want to gouge your eyes out with a spork. You are such an excellent writer, which makes it just that much sweeter to read your generous comments. Thank you, as always, for your kind words; I really appreciate them. ♥

Perfect! I now have to go rewatch that episode and pause it near the end so that I can insert this where it really belongs. Love!

Oykamu

Oh, thank you for the wonderful compliment! I appreciate it.

Love this hun. Love it <3 :)

*hugs* Thanks, honey! Glad this didn't make you gag. *g*

It's such a joy to read your work.

Thank you.

Thank you, witchy. Just -- thank you.

Oh, lovely. And I wish he had said it.

This morning when he nicked his jaw while shaving and compiling a mental to-do list for the day, brain surgery didn't happen to make it onto that list.

Great Booth voice.

Thanks, R. Hey, wanting her to have his "stuff" is equivalent to a declaration of love, isn't it? :P

I think I understand why the show isn't just letting Booth and Brennan make a go of it, but it feels pretty artificial and outlandish to me at this point.

Talk about your ultimate fantasy missing scene!

This was beautiful:

She wants to argue; he knows this the same way he knows she thinks about Zack every morning when she steps into the lab.

Well it all was - not least the mention of Parker. THANK YOU!

*mems*

*snorgles you* Aww... You are being too nice, but I'll take it. :)

Thank you, sweetie.

Well, I have two things to say:

1. I shall take everything you say with a pinch of salt from now on.
2. moreLerdoficmakesmydaysomuchbetteromgwooo!!

*ahem*

You get the message, I am sure. ;)

1. *g* Well, I did say that nothing was solid yet. It just felt like maybe I was done. But I'm happy that doesn't seem to be the case just yet!

2. Your reaction makes me ridiculously happy, so thank you very much for that. ♥

I got the message, and I'm truly grateful for it.

lerdo!fic! Yay!

I loved this. And I wish it would have happened that way, that we didn't have this "Do I really love her?" Booth.

*hugs* Thank you very much, D. As I said to a2zmom above, I think I understand why they aren't simply allowing Booth and Brennan to attempt to make a go of it on the show, but it feels pretty artificial and plot-point-ish to me at this point.

As for Booth wondering about his feelings for Brennan, that doesn't seem quite right to me.

BONES LERDO ILU.

Oh we understand Booth so much better than HH does.

Carry on.

LMAO YOUR ICON IS TOO PERFECT.

And thank you. *g*

*sigh* I know it's preposterous to believe that, but sometimes I do.

Excellent rewrite. Wish they could have used the ILU on the show, but I understand their problems. I thought you had great insight into Booth's inner mind.

Thank you very much. I'm thrilled that you thought I caught a bit of what might have been going through Booth's mind during that time.

Yay two Lerdo fics :) Loved both of them.

This is so EXCELLENT! Most of all, the title and your references to it in the piece are just dynamite!

So glad to have you back here in the Bones fic world. I hope you'll stay inspired.


Thank you so much! I'm happy you enjoyed it. :)

So glad to have you back here in the Bones fic world. I hope you'll stay inspired.

Ha! It's a combination of inspiration issues and time issues, too. It's funny how all-consuming a baby a can be. *g*

Oh, I really loved the way in which the story veers off canon and into "what might have been" territory, because it's simply beautifully done.

For the record, I read this as a sort of instance of wishful thinking from Booth (or even Brennan). You know, when you go back wondering whether you should have or could have done things differently at specific moments in your life, and then you imagine full-blown scenarios where this does happen. We all do this, why shouldn't they?

In any case, I loved the way that the "what has been" flows into the "what might have been" in your story. It's seamlessly gorgeous.

Thanks!

Sweets would probably have something know-it-all and annoying to say about that. Which is why Booth's never going to tell him.

If only Booth knew that Sweets was anxious, too...he told the Squint squad that he wasn't their usual shrink that day, didn't he? That he was somebody who was concerned about their friend...

Booth is a sincere friend, a protector through and through...
I do believe that people around him love him in their own different ways. :)

Including a lady who still denies her feelings for him.


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