Title: This is Life
Rating: The rating throughout this story varies. In some chapters the rating will be K and in some M. Unedited versions of the saucy bits can be found on my website:
Disclaimer: I do now own any of the recognisable characters mentioned in this story. They belong to Fox and the creators of the show. I'm merely borrowing them for my own entertainment purposes – and theirs! ;)
Summary: Brennan and Booth discover what life is together and learn that sometimes, happiness comes at a price.
Categories: This has everything. Romance, angst, smut, pregnancy, marriage, miscarriage – if you can think of it, it's in here. Although generally speaking, it's a romance story.
It was Sunday.
She made a conscious point of never working on a Sunday.
Not because she was religious, but because Sunday allowed her the chance to recuperate before Monday.
On Sundays she done laundry, listened to music, read a few chapters and sometimes walked a couple of blocks to Starbucks and drank coffee by the window, watching live people for a change.
But her main priority was sleeping in.
It was ten thirty when her cell-phone rang. "Brennan," she said, turning unto her back, watching as the sunlight cast a long striking white beam across her ceiling. It was a glorious day, in the middle of June.
"Bones, it's me." She closed her eyes, stomach knotting. Three words, and her day off was ruined. Shit. Why had she answered at all? "You there, Bones?" She sighed.
"What's wrong, Booth?" He was quiet for a long time, the sound of only his breath concerned her. Seeley Booth always had something to say. What corpse would be that bad? Shit. She really should learn the art of screening.
"I was thinking about your parents. Like you said. I…" he paused again, and suddenly she wasn't thinking about work. "I know how important it is for you, to find out what happened. I have a day off… and I was going to head down to the FBI Archive… and see what I can dig up. I was wondering," he paused again, "do you want to come?"
She was stunned. So much for working. This was different and she was touched. He had not mentioned her parents since she gave him the folder. She hadn't been angry, though. Booth was a busy man and even today, she was surprised he'd use his day off to aid her. To help her.
"Booth…," she sat up, brushing her hair away from her eyes. "I would love to. I… thank you." The awkwardness melted into compassion, and even companionship. "Really," she added, "thank you, Booth." She felt him smiling at the other end. Although, not the outrageously flirtatious grin he normally reserved for jest or even just getting what he wanted. His smile was gentle. Maybe even appreciative.
Throwing the covers aside, she slid out of bed, resisting the urge to stretch and groan. "I'll pick you up about twelve?" Booth asked.
"Yeah, okay. Where are you Booth?" Brennan flicked her stereo on as she walked past, filling the room with the melodic sound of Tibetan music. Booth laughed at her taste, saying she ought to listen to 'the good stuff'. But cultures and sounds fascinated her.
"I'm still in bed, Bones. Jesus, it is Sunday." He was back to normal, now that the discomfiture has ceased. She pressed her head against the window, watching the street below. "I suppose you've been up since dawn? Studying remains from yesteryear?" She smiled, her cheeks flushed. He thought she was a workaholic.
Turning away from the window, she sighed, feigning annoyance. "Sunday is a day of rest, Booth. And you just woke me, actually. I sleep in on Sundays." Booth chuckled – the sound gruff and in a bizarre way, sexy. As though he were flirting with her. Again.
"Really? Jeez, this relationship could work," he joked. She rolled her eyes, pouring herself a glass of purified water.
"Twelve o'clock then?" Temperance asked, eager to change the subject of Booth and relationships. It had been a long time since she'd heard any mention of Tessa – she was pretty sure Booth had broke it off and in the office there was much speculation as to why. Angela suspected Brenna herself was the sole factor in the break-up.
Booth yawned. "Yeah. Do you want me to bring lunch? The sandwich vendor in the FBI building sells toxic waste." She smiled.
"Cesar salad and French dressing. Not so many olives, Booth," she added. He groaned, the sound muffled by what she assumed was his pillow.
"I was going for tacos and fries, Bones," he said. "Stupid women," he added. She pretended to be indignant. "Twelve, Bones. Don't keep me waiting while you… do your hair or something."
"When have I ever-"
He was already gone. Damn infuriating man! His attractiveness was the only reason she didn't hate him.
Well, maybe not. He did genuinely care about her, he was dedicated to his job and to the discovery of the truth. Underneath the façade of boyish cockiness, Booth was really a very decent man. And that's what she hated. That she couldn't hate him.
Turning her music louder, to drown her thoughts, Brennan tried to calm herself by pretending she was on a Tibetan mountain, meditating, relaxing – thousands of miles from Washington. Thousands of miles from Booth.
Damn it! There he was again.
Maybe she needed different music.
Her phone trilled again, and she snatched it up, barking her name through the line. There was a long silence.
"Sweetie…? Are you alright?" Angela's concern never ended. The girl thought Brenna's life was going to collapse at any moment.
"I'm fine. What's up?" Temperance turned the stereo off altogether. The music wasn't helping anyway.
"Have you looked outside today? It's glorious. The guys and I are having lunch and you're coming," Angela said, determined and not likely to be dissuaded, either. Temperance ran her fingers along her CD cases – a collection that had taken years to make, contemplating the titles.
She had sounds from dozens of cultures around the globe. She liked the tunes from Mumbai and Ecuador the best.
"I can't," Temperance said, turning away from the cases. "I have already made plans." The silence was longer this time.
"Oh no… Bren… not another dodgy guy again?" Brennan rolled her eyes.
"No, Angela. I've made plans with Booth. We're goi-"
"Booth? Wow… really?" Angela had been speculating for months, now. Temperance found it funny normally, but today it just frustrated her that everyone believed there was something going on. Booth hadn't been hold her about his son. Nothing was going on. Not now. Not ever.
"He's looking into my parents. We're going to the FBI archives," she said. "It was nice of him to offer, especially on his day off. I can't back out." Angela chuckled.
"Oh I wouldn't want you to, sweetie. You enjoy your afternoon with that hottie now, won't you?" Temperance sighed.
"Ange…" she warned. Her friend bid her a chirpy goodbye, disconnecting the call with something of a laugh in her tone. Brennan left her phone on the coffee table, making her way to the bathroom, imagining that Angela would be relaying the story to Hodgins and Zach over their lunch. Zach would listen aptly, wondering how Booth did it with the girls and Hodgins would make crass comments that were totally inappropriate and one hundred percent Hodgins himself.
Showering and dressing while still distracted, Temperance found herself thinking about Booth again. His presence in her office had become frequent, lately. Sometimes, when he wasn't even required to be there, he called in, meddling in her business and prying into the bones she was analysing. He called them Squints, but she believed he liked them, really. He pretended to be a cool FBI agent, but inside, Booth was no less a geek than the rest of them.
At least, she liked to believe it.
At twelve o'clock precisely, when she'd just finished folding her laundry, she heard the honk of a car horn, and knew instinctively that it was Booth. A glance out the window, and the sight of his SUV confirmed her suspicion.
Grabbing her belongings, she took the stairs, because the elevator took too long and he had said not to be late. As she reached the front door, she felt the first prickle of trepidation. What would she find? Would something about her parents be revealed, hidden amongst thousands of dusty boxes and an abundance of newspaper articles?
Booth drummed his fingers on the steering wheel to Guns and Roses, his eyes fixated behind his sunglasses on something in the distance. He glanced at her sideways when she slipped into the passenger side, her palms damp with the anxiousness she felt. "Jesus, maybe you should have slept longer. Are you alright?" Booth asked, turning the radio down, turning to observe her properly. She shifted beneath the weight of his stare.
"I'm fine," she said, running her thumb nail along the edge of her door key. "I've never looked into my parents' death like this before. I'm a little…" She turned her head, watching as the sun glinted, brilliant yellow, through the leafy trees.
"It's alright to be afraid, Bones," Booth said, touching her shoulder. She sighed. "I know that, ordinarily, you're not afraid of very much… but this is different. Surely you know that in your mind?" She nodded mutely. "We don't have to…" He paused mid-sentence, his fingers tightening on her shoulder. Temperance shook her head, tossing brownish red curls about her cheeks.
"I want to. I really want to know." He removed his shades, turning the key in the ignition before turning back to her. She gnawed on her lip.
"We'll find out, Bones," he said. She suspected that he was going to add a promise. His lips parted, as though he had something else to say. But the silence stretched, and the moment disappeared. Instead, he shrugged. "We will." She appreciated that wasn't promising her anything. She appreciated that he was human enough to understand that twenty year old miracles didn't just fall into their laps – and that there was no guarantee they'd find anything in the archives.
He seemed to understand that she needed to be alone with her thoughts for awhile, and turned the music up again, pulling his SUV away from the kerb, doing a U-Turn and heading towards the city.
He hummed, absorbed in the sound of drums and guitars, his window rolled down, the summery breeze making her think of college and times when she was care free. When she was studying anthropology, she had still allowed time for enjoyment. Since joining the Jeffersonian, she'd worked herself to the point of near exhaustion, telling herself that her job was vitally important. Not just to herself, but to others too.
The truth was, she was just afraid to live. Becoming an adult had made her think of security instead of enjoying her life. It was ironic that she'd spent her whole childhood wishing her parents could have enjoyed their life a little more – and here she was, falling into the same foolish trap that so many cowardly people did.
Booth wasn't a coward. Even with his job, he still allowed time for fun in his life. He liked to go bowling. He had trophies. He drank in bars, ate dinner out and went on vacations that weren't related to work.
Glancing at him, she noticed how his jaw worked as he concentrated on something that troubled his mind. When he wasn't wearing shades, she was able to see that Booth had expressive eyes that didn't hide his emotions. However unfathomable his eyes were, he kept all his feelings at the surface.
"Is this song meant to reference your son?" Brennan asked, breaking the silence and gesturing to the stereo. Booth glanced down, his brows marred by a frown.
"Excuse me?" His frown deepened. Temperance sighed, frustrated by how obtuse Booth pretended to be, sometimes.
"Sweet Child of Mine? Is it in reference to Parker?" She found herself often spelling things out for Booth. Things that he understood perfectly but pretended not to. It made her feel idiotic. Another reason why she wanted to hate him.
"It's a rock song, Bones. There's no hidden meaning behind it," he said, shaking his head. Brennan rolled her eyes, turning back to the window. It seemed everyone had hurt inside that they didn't want to talk about. "Just drop it, Bones, okay?" Her head snapped back, her irritation mounting.
"I didn't say anything!" She snapped. "If you have some kind of guilt about your so-"
"I do not have guilt!" Booth pressed his foot against the accelerator, careening along the highway, his lips parted, his breathing harsh and infuriated. "You say you think psychology is bull, but you analyse everything! Sometimes a spade is just a spade, Bones. Sometimes," he paused for breath, "a song is just a song." He jabbed the stereo with his finger and the CD ejected. "See? It's track number nine. I was listening to eight. It's called 'Think About You', oh what does it mean, Bones? Am I missing someone?" She lifted a tapered eyebrow skyward, blinking as though he was an idiot.
"Maybe you're missing Parker," she added helpfully, shrugging her shoulders. He slammed his hand against the steering wheel, thrusting the CD into the player again.
"Jesus Christ, Bones!" He was shaking his head, bemused and not quite sure how to answer back. She smiled, turning the music down. "Don't speak," Booth warned, his jaw tight again. She laughed, amused at her ability to irritate the composed FBI agent. He glanced at her sideways again, and the smallest smile played at his lips, too. Maybe he had over reacted, and he probably knew it. Brennan sensed Parker was a touchy subject with her partner.
When it was finally permissible for her to speak again, they had reached the parking garage at the J Edgar Hoover building. Because it was Sunday, the parking lot had only half the usual amount of cars. Brennan noted that when Booth parked his SUV, a woman with glossy blonde hair tapped the window and waved. Booth waved back, turning the engine off.
Brennan assumed she'd leave, but as Booth swung the door open reaching for their lunch, she was still there. "What are you doing here, Seeley? Weren't you meant to be bowling today?" Temperance frowned, rounding the car. Booth was shaking his head.
"Something came up," he said, locking the car. The woman tossed her hair, shaking her head.
"Oh Seeley, you work too much," she said, fiddling with her car keys. "Anything I can do?" She asked, casting Brennan only a cursory glance.
"No," Booth said. "We're fine," he smiled, the charming smile. The woman nodded, and slipped past them, to her car, four spaces down from Booth. When she was out of earshot, he sighed. "I can't stand that woman," he whispered and Brennan smirked. Booth couldn't stand the majority of people. "She's the secretart from the fourth floor." Temperance shook her head.
"Don't you mean secretary?" Booth shook his head, jabbing the button for the elevator.
"No, Bones, I mean secretart." They laughed together, stepping into the elevator car. As the doors breezed shut, Brennan turned her head, watching Booth as he followed the neon numbers ascend.
"Can you stand me, Booth?" Brennan couldn't resist asking the question that troubled her. He did a double take, his jaw momentary slack.
"Bones…" he sighed, his eyes wide. "Of course I can. Just because we have…," he shook his head. "Jesus Brennan." She recoiled. He never called her anything but Bones these days. She expected the novelty to wear off, but it had stuck. It was his name for her, and she didn't mind it anymore. She… liked it. When he called her Brennan, he meant business! "Of course I like you!" The doors breezed open again.
She stepped into the corridor. "I didn't say 'like' Booth," she joked. "Shouldn't I been signing in? Getting a pass?" Booth slipped his hand into his pocket and extracted a laminated visitors pass.
"I called ahead," he explained, stopping by a door marked 'Archives'. It looked every bit as storage closet as it possibly could. She could almost smell the dust from where she stood. "Bones? Whatever we find, if anything, I hope it only helps towards closure." She looked at the floor, thankful that her hair hid her eyes. She suspected she might be a little like Booth, with expressive irises. "Ready?" He took her hand, and her stomach fluttered.
"Lets go, Booth… I've waited long enough."