|Don't Ever Look Back
Author: K. Elisabeth PM
Booth and Brennan carve jack-o-lanterns, have important talks, and play with pumpkin guts, among other things. Sweet like Halloween candy. BB, oneshot.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Romance - S. Booth & T. Brennan - Words: 1,559 - Reviews: 22 - Favs: 25 - Follows: 2 - Published: 10-31-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6440603
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I know I haven't updated The Bodies in the Beach in forever. I know. I haven't forgotten about it, I promise. In fact, I have half of the next chapter written. But I am overwhelmed in every possible way in my life right now, both positive and negative, so writing has been a luxury that most nights I simply cannot afford. Today is Halloween though, and I love this holiday, and come hell or high water I was going to write a Halloween-y fic. It's tradition. In 2008 I wrote The Pretty Women in the Pumpkin Patch. In 2009 I wrote Trick or Treat. And this year, I wrote this. It's tradition, and you can't mess with tradition, no matter what else is going on in your life. So enjoy, and give me a little holiday treat by letting me know what you think. :)
You think I'm pretty
Without any makeup on
You think I'm funny
When I tell the punchline wrong
I know you get me
So I let my walls come down...
- Teenage Dream, Katy Perry
Brennan spread newspaper over the hardwood dining room table, feeling the oily ink beneath the pads of her fingers. The smell of newspaper always made her think of her father, the way he would sit at their dining room table early in the morning and lay it out on the surface, turning the pages one by one, scanning each article and making the occasional hmming noise as he sipped his coffee. She would stand at the edge and look at the black and white papers spread across the table like sheets. What's black and white and red all over? She could never remember the punchline to that joke.
"Bones?" She snapped out of reverie when she finally heard Booth repeating her name, standing in the doorway between his kitchen and dining room. Well, it couldn't really be called a room as much as a dining space, because she was quite sure if they stood next to each other with their arms stretched out, they could probably touch either wall without straining.
"Hmm?" she asked, turning to face him. He grinned and shook his head.
"You were in your own universe there for a minute," he said, setting down the two bright orange pumpkins he had been holding in each arm. Why they had decided to carve pumpkins at the last minute, neither of them really knew. They did not live in neighborhoods where children knocked on the doors, and yet when presented with a fall afternoon and no murders to solve, this was how they chose to entertain themselves.
"There's only one… oh, right," she stopped, having identified the figure of speech. "You're using a non-literal language representation to describe my lapse in the executive control of my attention."
"Uh… yes, I am," he said. The corners of her lips turned up.
"I'm getting better at this," she noted.
"At what?" he asked.
"Identifying your wordplays and abstractions. I'm much better at discerning literal from non-literal than I used to be." She said this with a hint of pride, pulling one of the heavy, freshly-washed pumpkins in front of her.
"Yeah, you are," Booth agreed. "It's almost like talking to a normal person now."
"Hey," she said.
"Oh, you know I'm just kidding," he said, then after a pause added, "talking to you will never be like talking to a normal person." She harrumphed, and he leaned over and bumped her with his shoulder. She smiled despite herself.
"I find normalcy highly overrated," she said, pausing to pull her hair up in a bun, sweeping a few stray pieces out of her face before she picked up the knife and began cutting into the top of the pumpkin.
"Me too," he said, looking down at his sock feet. Today they were bright purple and dotted with—as the holiday would demand—pumpkins. "Parker gave me these, last year."
"He certainly knows you well," she said. He nodded, cutting a round hole into the top of his own pumpkin, sawing the stringy goo off of the top and setting it aside.
"Yeah," he said. "I wish we could spend Halloween together, but this just isn't a trick-or-treating neighborhood." They both looked out the small window, which was thrown open to catch the cool autumn breeze. He was right, the streets beneath his apartment complex were not made for this holiday. "He'll have more fun at Rebecca's house anyway, and she'll take a bunch of pictures, so it'll be fine." The way he said this indicated that it was not fine, but he wouldn't let on to that.
"I imagine it's very hard not to be with Parker during all the holidays of the year," she said, the tone in her voice one of offering. His expression dampened a little, and he scraped the inside of his pumpkin with more force than was probably necessary.
"Yeah, it is," he admitted. "I feel like I miss out on a lot of things, like taking him out on Halloween, or seeing him wake up first thing on Christmas morning. And the fact that her boyfriend is seeing those moments with Parker and I'm not, it just…" He stopped, at a loss to explain his feelings further. She carefully separated the seeds from the guts of her pumpkin, giving him a careful sidelong look. He stared resolutely out the window.
"He knows you love him," she finally said, in a moment of intuition atypical of her. But she remembered her father at the table with his paper, sipping coffee, and the way he would pull the funnies out of the center and give them to her. She remembered the slick pages between her small fingers as she sat in the other chair, not laying hers out but folding the page backward at the crease the way her mother did, browsing through the bright Sunday morning cartoons with more intensity than most children could muster. She remembered her first Halloween without her parents, and the way she hurt for loss of them. She remembered finding her father, and his love, and knowing that he had left because he loved her, not because he didn't. She remembered those things, and the look on her father's face several years ago now—sitting in a jail cell, begging her to see that love, destroying himself because he could not make it more clear to her—and how it mirrored Booth's expression right now.
"Thank you," he said. "Really, thank you. I needed to hear that."
"You're welcome," she said, feeling a light heat rise to her cheeks. It always happened when he spoke to her in that tone, she couldn't help it.
"Between not having Parker here and not having Hannah here, I thought today was going to be pretty lonely," he admitted, referring to his split with Hannah two weeks previous. He didn't talk about it much, in particular not to Brennan, so the fact that he mentioned it was note-worthy.
"And it's not?" she said. He finally broke a smile.
"No, it's not," he said. "You're here, and we're carving pumpkins, and it's good."
"It is good," she agreed, stepping back to check the symmetry of her budding jack-o-lantern's eyes.
"You know what would make it even better?"
"What's that?" she asked. She waited for his response, but instead she felt his hand smearing a gob of cold, gooey pumpkin slime against her cheek. She gasped in shock.
"Booth!" He laughed in a mischievous way, like a child who knew they were in trouble for what they had done but had enjoyed themselves so much that the trouble was worth it. He stopped laughing, however, when he saw Brennan coming at him with a handful of her own pumpkin's guts. She caught him by the cheek, rubbing the left side of his face with the orange stuff, feeling the stubble on his jaw. Not one to be outdone, he reached back into his pile of innards and went for her hair. She shrieked, running away like a little girl on the playground running from a boy with a worm in his hand.
And that is how anyone looking through the open window would have seen it. Him chasing her, hurdling the couch as she ran around it, catching her in front of the coffee table, pulling her into his chest and smearing her hair with pumpkin guts. They would see it stick to her face, and the way she only fought him half-heartedly as he held her around the middle, arms pinned to her sides, laughing breathlessly. Nobody would hear the words spoken, but they would see the change in their faces, the way they both stopped fighting. They would see her turn in his arms to face him, nose level with his lips, her eyes hesitantly finding his. They would see him take a leap from which he could never look back. And then they would look away, because it is impolite to stare while two people kiss.