Chapter: 2/? [WIP]
Characters: Brennan, Booth
Spoilers: Through season 2
Notes: Post-ep for Stargazer in a Puddle. Honoring Hodgins' and Angela's request, Booth and Bones attend their friends' wedding reception and find that sometimes, circumstances change even when you're not looking for them to do so.
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
Click here for Chapter 1
Author's Note: As always, many thanks for reading and reviewing. I so enjoy hearing what you think — even if what you think is that I suck. ;) Seriously though, constructive criticism is always welcome. I won't break.
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Chapter 2: "Everyone's invincible, but it's just pretend."
Temperance Brennan: "Sometimes people need to explain things to me, I guess."
Russ Brennan: "Then, you have to let them talk to you."
When Booth removed his finger from Temperance's lips and tried to ignore how desperately he wanted to kiss her, she released a shaky sigh and got to her feet unsteadily. Before she averted her face, he noticed the sheen of tears in her eyes. His fists clenched involuntarily. He swallowed, scared of the emotions coursing through him. If he'd had a sword available, he would gladly have slayed her dragons — every last one of them.
"I think I should go change."
"You don't need to hide from me," he said, his voice quiet. Brennan's back stiffened, and she froze in mid-step.
"That isn't what I'm doing."
"Sure looks that way to me, Bones." He rose from the couch.
She crossed the room to switch on another light before returning to face him, head held high. Tears slipped down her cheeks, but she made no move to brush them away. It almost made him smile — knowing that she let him see her cry. Almost. There was a time when a show of vulnerability like that would have been unthinkable. "You think you know everything, don't you?"
"Not everything, Bones. Just you."
She scoffed and shook her head. "Suddenly you're a mind reader." She crossed her arms over her chest and arched an eyebrow. "So tell me what I'm thinking, Booth."
He tilted his head. Tear-stained cheeks. Too many emotions to name swirled in blue eyes that were too big in her pale face. "You're thinking about your family."
Brennan's lips twisted in a smile that told him he was wrong even before she spoke. "Wrong," she replied smugly. "I was thinking that I miss Sully."
For a second, he could have sworn his heart stopped. A flash of cold followed by a blast of heat, as the rage built. "You miss Sully," he repeated, struggling to keep his voice calm and even, though he would gladly have kicked the ass of the man in question if he hadn't been on a boat in the Caribbean.
"Yes, I missed him today, seeing Angela and Hodgins. Even though they didn't get married, it's obvious to any observer that they are happy. I'm happy to see my friend so happy. But I admit there's a part of me that's envious — that wants what she has."
"You want to get married?"
"No, of course not. Marriage is an antiquated—"
"Please don't start with the lecture on marriage right now. Tell me, what do you want?" The answer suddenly seemed very important, and he strained to hear what she would say.
A deep breath that made her chest rise and fall. A slim hand at her throat. "I want... I want someone who stays. When Angela turned down Hodgins' proposal, he just kept trying. When that didn't work, he just let her be Angela. He accepted her. He stayed. I just wish Sully had stayed, too. That's all." She dropped her hand and fiddled with the purple fabric of her dress. "The sex was great. We did things. We had fun. We would have continued to have fun if he'd just stayed."
"Why are you telling me this?" Just imagining her with Sully made him want to hit something. He had to be careful. At that moment, a hundred crazy ties wouldn't have lessened his rage.
"You asked. I'm sharing. Isn't that what you're always telling me to do?"
Having the words he'd spoken to her so many times thrown back at him in that context didn't sit right. He shifted and rolled his shoulders, trying to ease the stiffness there. "Let me ask you something. If things with Sully were that great, why didn't you sail away with him?"
"You remember what Dr. Wyatt said — I'm not ready to lead a purposeless life yet."
"Yeah, that's what he said. I want to know what you have to say. So I'll ask you again: why didn't you go with Sully?" His hands felt empty, useless, now that he wasn't touching her. He stuffed them into his pockets and held his breath, waiting for her answer.
"Why are we even discussing this, Booth? Why does it matter to you why I didn't leave with Sully?"
He released the breath he'd been holding. "Because I stayed." He touched his hand to his chest. "I'm still here." If you want me.
"So what? You don't count. Sully liked me."
"Of course he liked you, Bones. What's not to like?"
"No, I mean he liked me. Not because of my job or what I can do — just me."
"Is that what this is about? You think I don't like you?" He pretended he didn't understand a lot of her scientific explanations just to keep her talking. Because he liked the sound of her voice. He wore his flashiest socks on the days he knew he'd see her, hoping he'd be able to show them off — so he could watch her shake her head and smile that little smile that always felt like a gift just for him. He made excuses to see her when they weren't working a case.
Nah, he didn't like her.
"Look, Booth, I know you tolerate me. Yes, we get along better now than we did in the beginning. But I embarrass you. I don't get all your jokes, I rarely know the 'right' thing to say. Even your boss doesn't like me."
He waved away her comment. "Cullen doesn't know you like I do. Bones, first and even second impressions can be deceptive." He gestured at himself. "Look at me. What do you see?"
Her gaze swept him from head to toe, and her face assumed the intent expression it did whenever she examined remains. "I see a male, mid-30's, Caucasian descent." Her lips quirked in a small smile. "Well-structured—"
"—Height, approximately 6 feet 1 inches. I would need to measure the femur and humerus to be certain. Weight—"
"Not just my appearance," he said, interrupting her analysis. Trust her to interpret his question in the most literal way possible. Not that he minded her looking at him. "When you think of me, what else comes to mind?"
Booth watched, fixated, as Brennan looked away, her clinically detached expression dissolving into...what exactly?
"I think of how much you love your son," she said softly. "How much you love this country. I think of how hard you work to catch criminals, and of how good you are at doing so."
"Ok. Now, think back to when we started working together. What did you think of me then?"
Without hesitating, she answered him. "I thought you were arrogant, hotheaded, and not very bright."
"Gee, thanks, Bones."
"Well, you asked. If you can't handle the truth, you shouldn't ask for it."
"Now it's your turn."
"But I think I've already made my point."
"Come on, Booth. It's only fair."
He took a deep breath and considered her question seriously. What had he thought of her in the beginning? "I thought you were smart. Incredibly smart. But a little weird."
"Weird? How so?"
"Let me finish, Bones," he chided. "And I thought you were beautiful."
"Now I see how good you are at your job. And how much you care about the truth. Just...how much you care." Booth paused and stepped closer. Dark hair curling over white shoulders that would feel thin but strong, he knew, if he only had the nerve to reach out and curve his hands around them. "I still think you're smart...and beautiful."
He paused and let his mouth tip up in a smile. "So you see, Bones, first impressions can be deceptive." He reached out and cupped Brennan's cheek, savoring the smooth, warm, skin under his palm. "Now tell me why you didn't go with Sully. And please be honest." He stepped back, giving her space, wishing she'd stopped him from moving.
Moments ticked by in silence. Her eyes were dry, though tear tracks gleamed silver on her cheeks. Finally, she spoke. "I didn't go with Sully because I couldn't imagine not being here. I didn't want to leave my job, my life." She sighed and shrugged, avoiding his eyes. "I didn't want to leave Angela. Or you."
Or you. The words reverberated in the air.
She wouldn't look at him; he thought he knew what it cost her to say those two words. He moved toward her soundlessly, though his pulse pounded in his ears. One step, two steps, and he felt the warmth coming off her body, smelled the ghost of her perfume. He lifted his hand to trace her cheekbone and map the tiny lines around her mouth. When she didn't move away, he angled his head down and did what he'd been wanting to do for a long, long time. With a sigh, he touched his lips to hers.
"You're crossing that line, don't you think?" Brennan stepped back from him and folded her arms across her chest. "I didn't realize I was on the list of people you would consider going to for sexual release."
If she had kicked him in the crotch, he would have been less surprised. He scrubbed his hand over his jaw. The things that came out of her mouth sometimes. "After all this time, that's what you think of me — that I would try to use you like that? Especially now, when you're upset? That's harsh, Bones, even for you."
"If you can't handle the truth—"
"I think I've had all the truth I can handle tonight," he ground out, barely able to speak around the tightness in his throat. He had to get out of there before he said or did something he'd regret.
"Booth, I'm not judging you. Sex is a biological imperative."
"Fuck biology." He knew he was cursing, and he didn't care. Damn her for making him feel things he didn't want to feel — and for trying to rationalize every last sacred thing. Temperance Brennan didn't believe in God, but she worshipped all the same — at the altar of science.
And damn him for being so sure that he understood her. He'd held her when she cried, broken the law for her, threatened to kill for her. All for her. Not because she'd asked him to, but because that's what his gut and his heart had told him to do. But did he really know her? Did she know him? Maybe he'd just been deluding himself. He'd just assumed, and conveniently forgotten that, "Assuming makes an ass out of you and me." He sure felt like an ass.
Her voice scraped him raw. Booth turned and walked away, pausing at the front door.
"Don't forget to lock up."
To be continued...
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