Chapter Title: You're dangerous, 'cause you're honest.
Characters: Rebecca, Booth, & Brennan
Summary: A series of one-shots in response to the 5 Things That Never Happened challenge. Each chapter covers something that didn't happen between Booth and Brennan, but could have. This chapter is set in the future—during the sixth year of their professional partnership.
Prompt: Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? by U2, one of my favorite bands. Thanks to alderaan_for the prompt. :)
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: If this reads a little weird to you, don't be afraid to tell me that. :)
Click here and comment if you'd like to leave me a prompt.
Click here to read Part I & Part II.
Click here for fic index.
"Thanks for coming."
"Seeley..." She trails off and shakes her head, biting her lip.
"I know, Rebecca." He smiles, not because he wants to, but because it is so clearly the right thing to do. "Be happy," he repeats. This time, the words come out stronger, because he means them. If she's happy, his son will be happy, and isn't that what matters most?
During their first dance, he slips out. As he lets the door to the ballroom close behind him without a sound, he realizes another chapter in his life has ended just as quietly.
A warm breeze washes over Booth as he steps outside, and he inhales deeply. He abandons his tie and suit jacket in the backseat of his car. Once he settles into his seat, Booth rolls all the windows down halfway. As he hits the highway and the car picks up speed, the air streaming in through the partially open windows thrums like a human pulse. With a sigh, he flips open his phone and dials. It rings twice before she picks up. "Hey, Bones."
Though it's a Saturday evening, she doesn't sound surprised to hear from him. For some reason, that makes him smile. "You eaten yet? No? Good. Meet me at the diner"--he tilts his wrist to check his watch--"in, say, twenty minutes." He listens for her confirmation. "Yeah. See you then. Bye."
The smile vanishes from his lips as he sets the phone down in the center console and switches on the radio.
Booth pulls open the door to the diner, and the artificially cooled air hits him with a whoosh. He scans the place, knowing she’s there even before he catches sight of her dark hair. The tension he's been carrying around all day starts to seep away.
On impulse, he slides in next to her instead of sitting across from her like he usually does. She raises her eyebrows in question, and he just shrugs. "Do you mind?" he asks, hoping she'll say no.
"No," she replies with a quizzical frown. "Should I?"
Brennan turns her head and studies him silently for a moment. He lets her, knowing she'll eventually tell him why she's looking at him like that. The years have taught him at least that much. Seconds slip by like beads on one of the chunky necklaces she's so fond of wearing. The frown leaves her face as if it had never been there. She opens her mouth as if to speak and then quickly shuts it again. As she leans in, he wonders what she's about to do. Then her lips are pressed to his cheek. The surprise washes over him the same as it did the first time she kissed him, as thanks for letting Russ see his sick daughter.
She sits back, regarding him steadily.
"What was that for?" he asks when he's finally found his voice again.
"You looked like you needed it."
"Oh," he says, and silently acknowledges the accuracy of her assessment.
"Well?" Her blue eyes narrow expectantly. "Was I right?"
His lips curve in a smile before he can think better of it. "Yeah," he says with a nod. "You were right."
The answering smile that tips her lips is a reward all its own.
"When did you get to be so smart, Bones?"
"Well, my IQ is—"
"Never mind," he says, patting her knee and flashing her an indulgent smile. "Where is our waitress?" he asks, craning his neck. "I'm starving. We need to order."
"Oh, I already ordered."
"Maybe you did, but what about me?"
"I ordered for you, too, Booth. You sounded hungry when you called. Burger, medium well. Fries with extra salt. Did I miss anything?"
"Uh, no," he replies, realizing he'd missed the part where she'd compiled a dossier on him. "I guess all I need is a drink."
To his surprise, she never asks him why he's in a dress shirt. Instead, they discuss the summer heat and the last case they worked together, before finally lapsing into an easy silence. Their meals are almost finished. She steals a fry from his plate, and he snatches a baby carrot from hers. The carrot crunches in a thoroughly satisfying way; he savors it before speaking. "Rebecca got married today."
"Hmm. That accountant she was seeing?"
"Yeah. It was kind of sudden." He waits a beat. "She's pregnant."
"Oh." She blinks. "Oh."
"She married him," Brennan says, pointing at him with a fry. "She didn't marry you."
"Yeah," he says with a sigh.
"Do you wish it was you she married today?"
The question is as honest as she is, so he decides to answer it in kind. "No, I don't." He pauses, considering his words carefully. "I'd be lying if I said I never wondered what it would be like if we were all together. But me and Rebecca, we don't work like that," he says, and realizes he means it. "It's just that, before, it was just me, Rebecca, and Parker. Not together, but connected. Now, Parker's gonna have a step-dad and a half-sibling." Booth sighs and feels his shoulders slump. "And me...I..."
"And you will always be his father, Booth. You're still connected." She rests her hand on his shoulder; the weight and warmth of it comfort him. "In every way that matters, you're his dad. Parker knows that."
Unlike everyone else in his life, she doesn't say things she doesn't mean. So he accepts her words at face value and reaches up to cover her hand with his own. He gives it a light squeeze and then lets go. "Thanks, Bones." He clears his throat and looks out the window, noticing that the last remnants of pink in the sky are just barely holding on. Then he glances back at Brennan. "You want to go for a drive? It's a nice night."
"What about my car?"
He shrugs. "Leave it. We can come back later, or I'll bring you by tomorrow morning."
Brennan cocks her head, considering his offer. He sends up a quick prayer that she'll say yes. Being with her after the weirdness of the day feels good, easy. "All right. Let's go."
Her answer, and the decisive nod that accompanies it, make him happy, so Booth grins and rubs his hands together. "Now that's what I'm talkin' about." Booth spots their waitress and motions her over for the check.
Later, they zoom down 95, pushing eighty-five. The wind whips through the car and snatches the music from the radio. Night unfurls, and Booth rolls his sleeves up over his forearms as he gazes at the stars that wink all around them. Brennan says something, but he can't make out the individual words. "What?" he shouts.
She rolls her eyes and shakes her head, so he turns off the radio and closes the windows. "What did you say?" he asks.
Her elbow rests on the door, by the window, and she props her cheek on her hand. "I asked if you ever wondered what it would be like if we were together. Romantically, I mean."
The words are spoken in typical Brennan fashion, and they render Booth momentarily speechless. How should he answer? Should he answer at all, or just change the subject? What should he say—uh, only every day for the past four years, and maybe even before that? No, so not smooth.
With a start, Booth realizes that he's taken his foot off the gas, so the car is rapidly decelerating. He puts his foot back where it should be and clears his throat. "Do you?" he asks, slanting her a look.
She folds her arms across her chest and glares at him. "That's not fair, Booth. You can't answer a question with another question."
"No, you can't."
"Huh. Ok." He falls silent, waiting.
"Booth," she says, giving him a verbal nudge.
He nearly smiles at the irritation in her voice, but he catches himself just in time. "Yes, Bones?"
"I’m waiting for an answer to my question."
"Oh. Yeah. So, can I hold your hand?"
"I said, can I hold your hand?"
"I don't know, can you?"
Booth groans, feeling like he's back in elementary school, having his grammar corrected by the teacher as he waits, desperately, to go to the bathroom. "Aw, come on, Bones. Give a guy a break." He heaves a sigh. When no response is forthcoming, he sighs again. "Oh, all right. Fine. May I hold your hand?" He removes his right hand from the steering wheel and holds it out to her, holding his breath as he does so.
"Yes, Booth, you may," she finally answers.
He exhales. "Oh, thank god. I thought my arm was going to fall off while you made up your mind."
Brennan flicks him what he thinks of as her Mona Lisa smile and links her hand with his. "No, I was waiting for you. I made up my mind quite some time ago."
Once again, he can't speak, so he settles for squeezing her hand and flashing her what he thinks of as his Bones smile.