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Bones Fic: That Girl
Broken!Bones - lerdo
only_more_love
Title: That Girl (1/1)
Characters:
Temperance Brennan,
Seeley Booth
Rating: PG-13 or T
Spoilers: Through 6x09.
Prompt: Brennan, drowning. Written for amilyn, for an old Bones comment fic meme located here.
Summary
:
Set post-6x09. Sometimes the burdens merely crush us with their weight.
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: 
To lurkers and commenters alike, thank you.

Feel free to friend for updates. If you'd like me to add you back, please say something; I don't bite. :) 

***

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That Girl

"When you love someone, you open yourself up to suffering. That's the sad truth. Maybe they'll break your heart. Maybe you'll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable. That's the burden. Like wings, they have weight. We feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens which allow us to fly."  -- Jack Hodgins


Temperance Brennan does not want to be the type of person who has regrets -- who passes days couched in the hazy, illusory warmth of nostalgia and what-might-have-beens. Time, after all, cannot move backward. This is a scientific impossibility. She wants to live decisively, shouldering the burden of her choices with stoicism and practicality. What has been done cannot be undone; what has never been cannot be, she knows too well, remembering her father’s eyes; her mother’s smile; her apprentice's trusting face.

Sometimes a weathered trash bag and fading bruises are the only constants one is permitted to carry from moment to moment; house to house; transient life to transient life.

It isn’t her to deal in signals and missed opportunities, those mysterious, amorphous things that cannot be held in one's hands or viewed under a lens. (Those have always been the province of the man whose face has alternately held kindness, near-comical frustration and--and something else she only now understands, now when it is too late--when he looks at her.)

But if it isn’t, who is the pale woman with sad eyes she avoids in the silvered surface of her bathroom mirror as she girds herself for battle against the world each morning?

+

Sometimes she is still that girl: with the too-small or too-large clothes and the trash bag and the flowering bruises and the clumsy, shaking hands and the mouth that can never, ever speak the right words.

“Everything happens eventually.”

“Making love: that’s when two people become one.”

“I’m that guy.”

Pretty, pretty words...

But why would anyone wait, steadfast, for that pathetic girl?

+

She doesn’t sleep well most nights.

Dawn’s weak, gray fingers reach out to pull her from dreams she can’t recall, the sound of rain on a car roof receding from her ears and taking something with it -- something essential. Leaving her feeling oddly bereft.

Roll over. Stare at the ceiling. Fold back the blanket. One foot on the floor, then the other. Move, Brennan, move.

The silent directives run on a loop in her mind, sometimes for ten minutes or more, as she wills herself to do, even if she doesn’t care.

+

Dirty snow the color of ash crunches beneath the soles of Brennan’s winter boots with each step she takes. Chill January air kicks up strands of her hair and lashes her cheeks until her face goes numb. Booth moves ahead of her, tall and broad-shouldered in his long, black coat, shouldering open the door to the Royal Diner and gesturing for her to go first.

“After you,” he says, with a gallant flourish and an irrepressible grin. His face, his expression, the lights dancing in his dark eyes, are achingly familiar. This is the happiest he’s been with her, the easiest it’s been between them in so long. Too long.

A bell hanging from the door tinkles cheerfully, heralding their arrival, and this sound coupled with the sight of Booth’s cheeks, ruddy from the cold, lifts her mood. She sends him a tentative answering smile. For a moment, for this one shining moment, missteps and missed chances are swept away: anything is possible once again.  

“Coffee?” he asks, tossing his black leather gloves onto the tabletop as he slides into the booth across from her.

“Certainly.”

“I could eat a horse,” he exclaims, exhaling gustily as he flags down a passing waitress.

Brennan wrinkles her nose in distaste. “I should hope not.”

“Why not?” he replies with a wink. “Tastes like chicken.” He wags his eyebrows at her over the worn edge of a menu she is certain he has memorized as thoroughly as she has memorized his dear features.

Though Brennan rolls her eyes, her mouth nearly turns up at the corners before she catches herself.

+

Later, back at the lab, they sit side-by-side on the couch in her office, encompassed by a warm halo of lamplight, completing the paperwork that never seems to be complete. Booth’s suit jacket lies carelessly slung over the back of the couch, and his slim tie hangs loose around his neck. The top button of his snowy white dress shirt is unbuttoned, and his sleeves are rolled up to his elbows. Brennan swallows, mouth dry, trying not to gaze at the bare skin revealed at his throat.

Lost in her forbidden thoughts, she blinks, startled, when Booth’s knee bumps hers.

“Earth to Bones.” Body angled toward hers, Booth waves his hand in front of her face, and she shoves it away with a half-hearted frown. “Have you heard anything I’ve said in the last five minutes?”

“Yes, of course. You said...  You posited that...”

Watching her fumble for the correct response, Booth’s lips twitch into an infuriating smile.

Mustering her most severe look, she narrows her eyes. “Oh, all right,” she concedes at last. I can’t recall what you were saying because I wasn’t listening.”

“I know.”

“Don’t gloat.”


“I’m not,” he replies, gazing at her with eyes that have gone slightly soft. The way he’s looking at her, it’s touched with a hint of... fondness, maybe. Or indulgence. It’s difficult for her to identify it with precision; she simply knows she hasn’t witnessed that expression on his face since she left for the Maluku Islands.

Something inside her catches; begins to hope.

He reaches for her hands, clasps them lightly in his. “Listen, I need to tell you something.” There is a slight tremor in his hands where they hold hers. “I know it’s been... tough between us lately, but you’re my partner -- and one of my closest friends.” He dips his head to look at her more closely. “I want you to be happy for me.” He clears his throat and releases her hands, his gaze shifting from her to the floor.

She should know better than to hope. Her stomach turns over, the hope inside her flickering and dying as swiftly as it rose. Whatever he is trying so hard to say, she knows instinctively it is not something she wants to hear. Trying to keep her expression neutral, she folds her hands together tightly in her lap. “I want you to be happy, Booth. Always.” Her voice sounds thin and pitiful to her ears -- not at all strong and certain.

“Good,” he says, on a sigh, “because I asked Hannah to marry me, and she said yes.” Their eyes finally meet and hold, and even she can see how badly he wants this. I had my chance. I had my chance. I had my chance. “And I want you to be happy for me,” he repeats, his voice much stronger than hers had been. I had my chance.

And now it is gone.

Brennan looks away first, picking at a tiny thread on her pant leg.  “I... Congratulations, Booth. I hope... I hope you will both find great satisfaction in your married life.” It is irrational and stupid, but somehow she cannot bring herself to say the other woman’s name. The other woman who will soon officially be the only woman for Booth. As if she were not already so.

“Thanks, Bones. That means a lot to me.” The words are overlaid with such sincerity that it makes her stomach twist and roil even more violently. She cannot risk looking at him.  If she does, she doesn’t know what she’ll do or what he’ll see in her face. His well-trained eyes have always seen far too much, ferreting out all her secrets.

“Excuse me, Booth,” she says, rising stiffly, carefully. She wants to be capable of more than this. She wants to pull her dignity around her and shut out Booth’s happiness and his need for her approval. She wants--

“I need to use the restroom.” A weak excuse, but it is nearly more than is capable of. She feels brittle, unsteady. As if she could stumble or turn into a pillar of salt if she looked at him. Without looking back, she leaves her office, feeling Booth’s eyes on her as she walks away.  

One foot on the floor, then the other. Move, Brennan, move.

Sometimes she is still that girl.


Heartbreaking. Painful. Beautiful.

Oh, sweetie - took my breath away! So heart wrenching. Can we friend? :)

Of course we can friend. Just added you. :) Hello!

And thank you. I can't seem to write anything remotely fluffy for these two anymore, but I'm glad this worked for you all the same. ♥

Oh, Jesus, this got to me. So perfect. Especially these parts:

Sometimes she is still that girl: with the too-small or too-large clothes and the trash bag and the flowering bruises and the clumsy, shaking hands and the mouth that can never, ever speak the right words

and

Roll over. Stare at the ceiling. Fold back the blanket. One foot on the floor, then the other. Move, Brennan, move

But seriously, the whole thing.

Punch me in the chest, why don't you. (in a good way, don't worry) That was wonderful.

P.S. Why "Katherine" and not Hannah? What'd I miss?

Oh, dear god. You missed NOTHING. I missed something BIG. *blushes furiously* And THAT is why I should get a beta. Katherine is an example of a fandom collision in my addled and muddled brain. Katherine is a devious wench on my other love -- The Vampire Diaries. Or maybe I was thinking of Katheryn Winnick, the actress who plays Hannah. Who knows what I was thinking? You can't hear me, but I am laughing my ass of over here because of my mistake. Thank you so much for catching my error, no matter what its source. *mwah*

I'm so glad you liked this, especially the litany of self-commands. I worried it might be a bit much, but then I thought about what even mild depression can feel like for people sometimes, and away I went. It still might strike someone as too much, but hey, at least it worked for you. That is enough for me. :)

Punch me in the chest, why don't you.

I'll take that from you any day. So thanks a thousand times over.





Edited at 2011-01-15 08:03 pm (UTC)

Temperance Brennan does not want to be the type of person who has regrets -- who passes days couched in the hazy, illusory warmth of nostalgia and what-might-have-beens. Time, after all, cannot move backward.

For these sentences alone I would have loved this, not matter what the rest had been. But it is all loveable. You bring poetry into the pain and with the recurring One foot on the floor, then the other. Move, Brennan, move. you bring life to Brennan's state of mind.

Your comments are like captured sunshine. :) Thank you for your generosity.

My heart is broken for her. I love at the end how she has this hope and that even before she knows, she knows.

:( Mine too.

I love at the end how she has this hope and that even before she knows, she knows.

I think that once upon a time, before, she wouldn't have known. But they've influenced each other and changed over the years...

Thank you for reading and commenting!

I'm glad that I am pretty sure this isn't going to come to pass 'cause it would break my heart just like this fic.

There is no way Booth is marrying Hannah on the show, thankfully, but here in fic-land, we can play with the what-ifs. ;)

Thanks for reading this, and for letting me know how it made you feel. ♥

I almost can't bear how sad this is and it's so perfectly Brennan too. Great job! :)

I'm sorry this is so sad, but I'm happy it felt like Brennan to you. ♥ Thanks for reading and feeding! :)

heartbreaking, and very much in canon.

My heart breaks for her (maybe that's why I can't watch anymore; I have a daughter who's close to Brennan's age...). I just want to hug her and protect her from any more hurt.

Thank you very much for your kind words, M. I can certainly understand how the show might be hitting too close to home for you. :( There is no doubt in my mind that Brennan is in a great deal of pain right now.

I especially appreciate your reading this story in spite of your feelings about the current state of the show. ♥

Wow that one hurt a little bit. Gorgeous as always!

Wow that one hurt a little bit

I'd say I was sorry for that, but I think this one had to hurt. :(

Thank you, Doc. *hugs*

*wails* If this actually does come to pass, I will at least be braced for it. This was beautifully written.
I am friending you because I don't want to miss any of your wonderful fic. I try to comment on what I read (I figure if you take the time to write it the least I can do is comment), but otherwise I'm not a huge contributor to LJ

Thank you very much. I am thrilled this worked for you.

If Booth and Hannah get married on the show, I will be completely dumbfounded. I just can't imagine that they'll take it quite so far. But never say never, I guess!

Thanks for letting me know you added me. I'm happy to "meet" you, and I've added you back. :)

Ouch. So well done, but painful to read.

It is hard to see either of them suffering like this; thank you for reading and commenting on this story regardless. I appreciate it!

Oh honey, you've really broken my poor heart this time. Very moving. I was right there with Brennan through the whole story, so much so that when Booth broke his news I teared up. She has tried and continues to try so hard and it's just not ever enough. She is a survivor, but somehow we all end up in that moment where you think things are going to finally turn your way, only for it to become something far worse than you expected.

Your writing is different in this story. This may not be the best word, but I keep wanting to say, more theatrical. It reminds me of the voiceovers from "The End in the Beginning," but not just because of the opening quote you included. This style works very effectively to evoke the same lost feelings we're left with at the end of the episode.

I really enjoyed this: "Dawn’s weak, gray fingers reach out to pull her from dreams she can’t recall, the sound of rain on a car roof receding from her ears and taking something with it -- something essential. Leaving her feeling oddly bereft."

That was my favorite line too!

Well, this is just heart crushing.

Ouch. I really hope I never have to see this except in my mind's eye, because that would be so awful. Wonderful imagery and writing from you, as always.

You're great, you just killed me.
It's beautiful, but I really hope this doesn't happen or I'll be devastated.