Chapter Title: Leave me paralyzed.
Characters: Brennan, Booth
Summary: "Yup, the mighty Temperance Brennan was sick."
Notes: This is pure, unadulterated fluff. If you don't like fluff, don't read this. Takes place after Season 3, Episode 4. No spoilers in this part, but there may be some in future parts.
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
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A/N: I am finally almost totally caught up on responding to comments. I have a couple more to go and then I'll be completely done. Thanks for your patience and for making the effort to write me. You are wonderful.
For the Americans out there, Happy (almost) Thanksgiving. One thing I'm thankful for this year is you. All of you.
And a request: are there any Catholics out there? I'm neither Catholic, Christian, nor religious, and I may have some questions for future fics.
Chapter 3: Leave me paralyzed.
Booth jerked awake, assailed by the sensation of falling. It took a moment for awareness and memory to return. After massaging Brennan's forehead until she'd slipped into dreamland, he'd scooted up on the bed and leaned back against the headboard, intending to close his eyes for just a few minutes. He hadn't planned to fall asleep, hadn't expected he'd be able to, what with Brennan's noisy mouth breathing. He grimaced as his neck protested, and he gingerly turned his head. She lay curled on her side, her body a comma. He smiled at the sight of her open mouth and the tiny spot of drool that decorated her pillow. That he could work with.
Only a little light seeped in through the closed blinds. A quick glance at his watch told him it was 2:00 in the afternoon. Honestly, he couldn't remember the last time he'd taken a nap; it had felt good despite the aches and pains he was only now discovering as he moved from the awkward position he'd assumed. He'd slept in much worse places and in much worse positions, he thought, remembering Kosovo and the Gulf. Here, with Brennan, was a pretty good place to be. There was something unexpectedly peaceful about knowing that his partner lay beside him. He worried about her -- maybe more than he should. But having her within touching distance made him worry a bit less. How much trouble could she possibly she get into while lying next to him?
Well, now that he thought about it, a hell of a lot of trouble. Yeah, definitely time to get out of her bed. He moved as quietly and slowly as he could, determined not to wake her. She needed rest. She was always doing too much. Booth had no doubt that she'd be at the lab right now, sneezing all over a pile of bones if he hadn't shown up. He'd make sure she stayed home — even if he had to tie her to the bed to keep her there. He tugged at the collar of his shirt, suddenly feeling hot. Oh God. Absolutely time to get out of her bed.
She murmured something in her sleep, her brow furrowed, as he shifted. He stilled and allowed himself to look at her, just look. If she'd been awake, he wouldn't have been able to watch her as he did now, his eyes lingering on the stubborn curve of her jaw and the gentle arch of her eyebrows. It wouldn't have been appropriate to stare at the pure temptation of her lips as he did now...and wonder just how soft they'd feel under his.
He remembered drawing a line in the sand and telling her they couldn't cross it, but lately the damn thing seemed blurry and indistinct — and he couldn't always tell which side of it he stood on.
He hesitated, knowing he'd be taking his life in his hands. The instinct for self-preservation warred with something else. The something else won, and Booth bent to brush a chaste kiss beside the corner of her mouth. He held his breath, fully expecting those clear blue eyes to shoot open as she sat up in the bed and punched him.
One shot to the kisser for the chance to be a breath away from her? Probably a fair trade.
But her brow smoothed out, and she remained asleep. Booth eased his legs over the side of the bed and shook his head, half relieved and half disappointed. What the heck was he doing? Cursing himself for being a fool, Booth left Brennan's bedroom, leaving the door slightly ajar so he'd hear her when she woke.
Booth sat down on the couch and stretched his legs out in front of him as he switched on the TV, making sure the volume was low enough that it wouldn't carry to the bedroom and disturb Brennan. Trying to distract himself, he flipped through the channels. Unfortunately, it looked like she only had basic cable, and there really wasn't anything worth watching at the moment. He shook his head and sighed. Did he have to teach her everything? At least she'd finally a bought a TV. He supposed he should be grateful for that. Baby steps, Seeley. Baby steps.
Muttering something about squints, he rose and made his way to one of the numerous mahogany bookshelves that lined the walls of her living room. It didn't surprise him one bit that the books were arranged alphabetically by author. He rolled his eyes and grinned. Probably a miracle that they weren't sorted according to the Dewey Decimal system, like at a library.
His eyes searched for the B books and found them easily. A-ha. Temperance Brennan. Rubbing his hands together in anticipation, Booth crouched to reach the bottom shelf and pulled out Cross Bones. Target acquired, he strode back toward the couch. Peering around the room stealthily in order to make sure Brennan wasn't standing there ready to pounce, Booth then placed his socked feet on the glass coffee table and settled back onto the couch with a sigh, getting nice and comfortable. Time to do a little research of his own.
He'd read a couple of her books, but not Cross Bones. Of course he'd meant to, but with the kind of hours he worked, and then his days with Parker, he just hadn't gotten around to it. He cracked the book open and stopped at the page with the dedication. Yup, it still said, "This book is dedicated to my partner and friend, Special Agent Seeley Booth." He remembered she wouldn't let him read the manuscript, even though she'd let that loser — what was his name again? — Dingleberry? Dick? David? — look at it. But he'd snuck a peak at it in her apartment and seen the dedication. So he'd known about it, but he was still surprised to see that it had actually made it into print. She could have decided to change it at the last moment. But no, there it was in black and white. Bones had dedicated her book to him, Seeley Booth.
A small smile curved his lips as he nodded his head and ran his fingers over the small print. Instead of starting at the beginning, he flipped through the pages and skimmed the text in an attempt to find the good parts and see if Bones had been telling the truth about her editor advising her to do research because her scenes needed more heat. Just what had Kathy and Andy been up to lately? Booth stifled a laugh, already looking forward to finding out the answer. Brennan might never admit it, but Booth would bet his badge that Andy Lister was based on him.
As Booth turned the page, a piece of paper slipped out and fluttered to his lap. The neat, precise fold intrigued him, so he set the book down next to him and opened the stray sheet of paper. The jagged edge and the number at the top right corner alerted him that it had been torn from the book, but it was the smudged handwriting in the margin that caught his eye. The breath left his lungs as he stared at the page, reading words he was never meant to see, unless circumstances had turned out differently.
Hodgins says I have faith in you. It's not faith; I know you did everything you could. Don't blame yourself.
Please look after Angela and Zack. Thank you.
I don't mind anymore that you call me Bones.
He read and reread the note, eyes wide, until the words blurred in front of him and he could no longer see the page. But he didn't have to see it because one word, goodbye, was burned into his brain. And it was that one word that brought it all back. That made him shake with the knowledge of what the Grave Digger might have stolen from him one autumn day nearly a year ago.
Everything had changed that day. Everything and nothing.
They'd never talked about it again after he took her to church. She hadn't even let him stay over that night. But he'd needed to know that she was safe, that he could protect her, then, even though he hadn't been able to do it when it counted. Nothing could stand in the way of that need, not even Brennan herself. So he'd camped out in his car with a flask of coffee for company and kept vigil overnight. He and Cam had still been together then. When she'd asked him to come by that night, he'd simply told her he was busy. She hadn't pushed for details, and he'd been grateful for that. If she'd asked him what his plans were, he didn't know that he could have told her the truth...and he hadn't wanted to lie to her.
He'd said a prayer of thanks earlier that day. Every night thereafter, he included Brennan in his prayers, adding her to the list that included his parents, his brother, Rebecca, and his son.
Time had dulled the memory, but it hadn't erased it. As Booth stared at the page with unseeing eyes, he remembered how his heart had stopped when he'd gotten the call that she was missing. It had stopped for a second, and when it had resumed, it had beat hard and fast as the seconds became minutes and the minutes became hours and hope had dwindled and despair seemed inevitable.
A puff of smoke and he was running down the hill of the quarry. His lips moved as he silently mouthed the Lord's Prayer, heart in his throat, hands in the earth. Our Father who art in heaven...
Only when she lay on the ground beside him did his heart resume its normal rhythm. Deliver us from evil.
What would he do if he never again saw her marching ahead of him, long legs devouring the distance between her and her destination? What would the world, his world, be like without her careful fingers methodically reassembling shards of bone?
Why did she matter so damned much? His mind could barely begin to answer the question, and yet...And yet his body, his gut, already knew.
Feeling tired even though he'd just had a nap, Booth tucked the note back into the book and walked to the shelf, sliding the book back into position and hoping against hope that he could push away the unwelcome thoughts just as easily.
Lost in his thoughts, Booth didn't hear Brennan come into the living room. He only became aware of her presence when she padded to a stop right in front of him.
"Hey," he said. "You're up. Feeling any better?"
"Slightly." She sighed and sank down beside him on the couch, her shorts riding up on her legs as she did so. "Thanks."
The begrudging tone made him smile in spite of himself. "You're welcome." He looked at his watch. "It's 6:00. You hungry?"
"You should eat. You managed to keep the toast down. That's a good sign. You ready to try some vegetable soup?"
"What's with the one word answers, Bones?"
"Sorry, Booth. I just feel a little..." She waved her hands.
"Groggy?" he supplied.
He looked at her more closely then, noting her bedhead and the pillow creases on her cheeks. "Tell you what, why don't you take a bath, and I'll make you some soup."
"Is that your way of telling me I smell?" Her brows drew together in a frown, and it was all he could do to resist brushing back her hair.
She narrowed her eyes at him and he laughed. He gave her a brisk pat on the leg and then stood. "I'll run you a bath. You stay there," he said, pointing at the couch.
"I'm not a dog, Booth."
"Have I told you lately that I hate you?"
"Yes, as a matter of fact, you have. You've also threatened to shoot me. Repeatedly."
"I would, but I don't think I have the energy to pick up a gun right now."
"Lucky for me. Now, don't move until I come back," he ordered.
"And you complain that I'm bossy," she said, eyebrows raised above watchful blue eyes.
"That's because you are," he shot back.
"I may be bossy, but I get the job done."
"Always," he replied, all traces of humor gone from his voice. He eyed her seriously. It scared him that even sick, with tired eyes, limp hair, and a nose to rival Rudolph's, she made his heart beat a little faster. "Always," he repeated, keeping his gaze locked on hers as he backed out of the room.
What the hell was he going to do?So, what did you think? Please comment and let me know. Thank you!