Story: What Hurts the Most Is Being Far Away for Far Too Long

Disclaimer: I own nothing, only the scotch tape holding posters to my wall. No claim to Avril Lavigne lyrics, Bryan Adams lyrics, Rascal Flatts lyrics, or Bones here, sadly…

Spoilers: Minor for the Skull in the Desert

Pairing: Booth x Brennan

Chapters: Here is the last chapter! Thank you for all the reviews, they were lovely! And so inspiring, mwaha!

Summary: They were so close, but everything he couldn't say fell to pieces when she walked away.

Chapter 3: I Will Always Return

Rating now 'T' for some Booth-related language issues

Note: Please review this story it makes me happy plus it'll inspire me to write the next part of it sooner! Now COMPLETE!

Yet Another Note: OMG SEASON FINALE NEXT WEEK! Freak out, dude! I'm so excited and the end of last night's episode was so amazing with the hands and wow! Yes, in other words, Ash is excited.

Yet ANOTHER Note: I decided to get this up even faster than what I originally planned with the finale coming out and all because poor Tempo had Hot Blooded blast out in the middle of the library because of me. Silly girl, you know what a freaking volume button is:D on with the story!

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"I'm waiting in the dark,

I thought that you'd be here by now.

There's nothing but the rain,

No footsteps on the ground.

Isn't anyone trying to find me?

Won't somebody come take me home?

Won't you take me by the hand,

Take me somewhere new.

I'm looking for a place,

I'm searching for a face,

'Cause nothing's going right,

And everything's a mess

And no one likes to be alone."

-Avril Lavigne

The heavy rains played a solemn march as they drummed steadily against the windshield. Lightning and thunder added to the bitter symphony, Booth's mood darkening with the sky. He still sat at the airport, not moving from the parking lot where he now sat in his car, brooding. He contemplated going to work, but he would be too distracted to do anything productive, so work was out of the question and he had nowhere to go.

No sooner had he called in sick then Angela's name and number flickered across his incoming call screen. Booth smiled ruefully to himself and flipped the phone open, wondering if that was the smartest thing to do. She would keep calling if he didn't answer, anyways…

"Booth." He knew it was Angela, but old habits die hard.

"Well?" Angela cut right to the chase, but she guessed from his voice that all had not gone as planned. The gnawing fear inside her increased tenfold as Booth sighed.

"Her plane left," he checked his watch, "twenty three minutes ago."

"With her on it?"

"Yes," was the terse reply.

"Did you even tell her? Oh, God, Booth! I mean, men can never say the right thing at the right time but-"

"I couldn't get there in time, alright?" Booth exploded into the phone, taking his pent-up frustration out on the artist. "There were too many damn people in my way and the line for security was huge and the man in front of me didn't get the idea that you take ALL of the metal objects out of your fucking pockets the FIRST time through the damn machine, not a nickel and a dime every time the system beeps at you!" Booth shouted. He heard Angela sigh from the other end.

"Booth, sweetie, I'm so sorry." She said, smartly ignoring his comments about the airport. "Really, I am. I should have tried harder to get her to stay…" Booth heard Angela sniff over the line and he felt guilty.

"No, Ange, don't beat yourself up. She was going whether or not you locked her into her office." Booth tried to comfort her.

"Thanks. But, she shouldn't be gone to long, right? I doubt she'll be able to stay away from you." Angela made an attempt at humor, covering up her own need for a hysterical outburst at the situation.

"Think so, Ange?" Booth tried to help keep her mind on something else besides her own guilt.

"Yes, Booth." Her sympathetic voice replied. "I have work to do, but I'll talk to you later."

"Bye. And Angela?" He told her, "Don't be so hard on yourself. You don't have to be this strong for everyone. She's your best friend, and a little emotion every once in a while never hurt anybody." Except me and Bones… He kept his last thoughts to himself, but he was sure Angela was thinking the same thing.

His response was a dial tone, but he didn't mind much. He hung his own phone up and sighed; three months was too long. Still, determined to try and move on in case Brennan decided not to come back, he finally started his car and headed back home through the now flooded streets of D.C.

As he pulled up into his driveway, a flash of lightning illuminated a familiar car in front of him. The flash of recognition accompanying the lightning made his heart race and mouth go dry. The silver Mazda that was now parked next to his car could only be hers.

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"He couldn't get to her in time." Angela shook her head slowly as she approached the two men of the team, or 'squint squad' as Booth had so affectionately dubbed them. Only now, they were without a leader.

"Swing and a miss…" Hodgins muttered, the tight curls atop his head shaking in an echo of Angela's own black locks. Zach remained silent.

A short beep broke their concentration as Dr. Goodman approached them from the lab's stairs.

"Good morning." He greeted them solemnly. The other three nodded in return. Dr. Goodman seemed lost in thought for a moment before concentrating his piercing gaze on one Zach Addy.

"Mr. Addy, I need you to come with me. We must discuss your upcoming certification process." He motioned Zach towards his office and prepared to follow him. A look back at Angela and Jack, though, halted his progress.

"Oh, don't look so down, people!" He exclaimed, snapping everyone out of wherever they were at the un-Goodman-like behavior. He settled a stern look on each of them as he studied the shorter scientist and artist before him.

"Agent Booth will go after her, we know that. Sure he failed the first time, but Booth is determined just as Dr. Brennan is. It is only a matter of time before Temperance returns to us at the Jeffersonian." The lab director explained. "Please, do not fret. Return to work; Dr. Brennan will be back within the week." The man seemed confident in his prediction.

"Month." Hodgins challenged. Dr. Goodman raised an eyebrow.

"Day." Zach piped up for the first time since Booth had left, earning him not one but three strange looks.

"Is that a bet, Mr. Addy?" Dr. Goodman directed the comment at both Hodgins and Zach. Angela threw her hands up in the air and stalked off.

"Men…" She muttered.

"I do believe we have upset Ms. Montenegro." Goodman pondered. Hodgins shrugged.

"Every individual person deals with loss a different way. While some people joke and cover emotions up with various tasks, others tend to brood and become easily agitated. It's probable that Angela sees us as insensitive people and is thus annoyed with us for the moment." Zach rationalized Angela's behavior, sounding dangerously like the missing forensic anthropologist. Hodgins shrugged again and the three walked to Dr. Goodman's office.

Angela was fuming as she slammed her office door and began pacing back and forth, the normally comforting art failing to provide the solace they had soothed her with in the past.

How could they joke about such a thing, even Dr. Goodman? She sunk into her desk chair and flopped her head on the desk, anger gone and replaced by an overwhelming sadness in her heart. The jet black waves fell across her face, concealing the distressed eyes and trembling lips. As she fought the sudden tears back, she allowed her thoughts to wander.

Brennan was the most independent person she knew, even with Booth around. She was also one of the smartest, but with the two continually butting heads for dominance or whatever else they chose to argue about on a particular day, it both amused and distressed Angela at how oblivious Brennan was to love. But even she couldn't deny the obvious attraction, so Angela hadn't expected her best friend to jet off across the country at the first opportunity. Maybe before Booth, but not now. Brennan was dedicated to her work, but still. Angela lifted her head from the desk and shuffled through a drawer, looking for something. She finally found a small picture frame buried beneath piles of old drawings and she removed it from its paper bound hiding place, gently wiping off the dusty glass as she gazed at it with a small, watery smile.

It was a picture of Tempe and Booth from some FBI gala or another. Brennan's hair fell around her smiling face in loose auburn waves, her bright blue eyes magnified by the eyeliner and mascara Angela had coated on before the party. Her dress was a long, elegant black one with a bold slit running up the side of her leg. Booth's hair was spiked in his traditional way, and his black suit complimenting Tempe's dress beautifully. The two were smiling at each other, laughter dancing in their eyes. The two were in the middle of dancing, the arm Booth had wrapped around Tempe's slender waist pulling her tight to him as he whispered some grand secret to Brennan. She was bent backwards slightly as he leaned into her, and her arms rested loosely on his broad shoulders, the perfect picture of comfort and belonging. Her smiling expression as she stared into his eyes was soft and caring, and her affections were mirrored in Booth's face. All of this caught in a single photograph and Angela with the only copy. The two hid their emotions so well the rest of the time, but when they decided to let something out every once in awhile, it was beautiful. An old picture of Kirk covered the picture of Tempe and Booth, and as Angela slipped the careworn photograph back into the silver frame, she felt tears once again threaten to fall from her dark eyes. She smiled sadly at the glossy picture of her dead boyfriend, sighing. Angela could only hope that her two friends might discover what they had before it was too late, like it was for her.

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The rush of hope and excitement of seeing Brennan's car was quickly deflated in one ugly revelation as Booth's hand found her car keys in his pocket. He pulled them out and looked at them, lightning flashing off the gleaming metal. There was her house key, her office key, her billions of other keys, and the skull keychain. Those keys brought back memories, the worst in ones from a warehouse. But for now, Booth's thoughts settled on last night.

"Look after my car for me?" Her eyes pleaded with him as he studied her from where he stood in his doorway.

"Does that mean you're coming back?" He casually countered, his grip on the doorframe involuntarily tightening.

"Maybe." She dismissed his casual question with a casual answer, her tone airy and unassuming. She held her keys out in front of her, a peace offering for the time.

"Alright." Booth relented, fingers closing around the metal when she dropped them into his hand. Brennan smiled at him from his steps.

"Thanks. I'll catch a cab home." She turned to leave, but stopped at the foot of his steps.

"Will you be okay, Booth?" She didn't turn around as she voiced her thoughts.

"Do you have to leave?" He didn't answer her. Her shoulders rose and fell in a sigh or a shrug, he couldn't tell, before watching her walk down the sidewalk to go find a cab, the wind whipping her hair from her neck, revealing an earring Booth knew well.

The depressed FBI agent sighed heavily, lamenting his loss once more. His head dropped to the steering wheel and he squeezed a concealed tear from his brown eyes, the salty drop pausing as it caught on thick eyelashes before splattering on the black leather. How could he have been so stupid as to let such a prize get away? He knew there had been a reason he ended it with Tessa, and he wanted to pursue that reason. But he couldn't even get the damn words out when it mattered. Why couldn't life be like his dreams? It was so easy there, those three little words, five happy years, then beautiful children running around their yard in front of a huge, gorgeous house on the outskirts of D.C. Booth angrily brushed the tear away, mad at himself for being weak, for being afraid. He turned the car off and defiantly, if stupidly, stepped out into the rain as lighting cut effortlessly through the choked skies, thunder rumbling after it.

Booth turned his face to said sky, letting the rain wash over him and whisk away his frustrations, if only it were that easy… The cold water crashed into his tense body and soaked his clothes, the fabric sticking to him like a second skin. It ran down his face in rivulets, the frigid temperature and soothing noises around him a welcome distraction. Another echo of thunder threw his common sense back at him with a whipping wind, chilling him through the soaking clothes. The grass was soggy beneath his sloshing shoes as he trudged up to his door, glad the rain would conceal his surely teary face.

In the dark of the storm, he didn't see the large black shape across his steps and he tripped over something soft as he tried to get to the door. The shadow yelped and pulled its head from its hands, leaping up from the steps and moving away from the surprised man who stood next to his house door. Another streak of lightning crackled across the black clouds, illuminating a soaking Tempe Brennan. Booth wasted no time stepping back down to her level.

Brennan opened her mouth to say something, but instead of listening or even letting her begin, Booth pulled her to him and crushed her lips with his, a furious passion moving through him into her. Without hesitation, her arms found their way around his neck, one hand tangled in the dripping hair on his neck and the other holding his head to her own soaking skin. He held her against him with one strong arm around her waist and the other holding the back of her neck. He turned them so she was against the railing of the steps, her head tilted back and their bodies still pressed tightly together. Everything that ever needed to be said flowed between them in that connection, every word left unsaid, and every confession that needed to be voiced. At last the need for air halted the ardent dance of tongues and they separated an inch or so.

"I thought you'd left me." He whispered against her lips, kissing them gently once more.

"I thought you didn't need me." She replied. Booth closed his eyes tightly, her words piercing his heart and reminding him of what could have been.

"Never say that again." He punctuated each word with a tender kiss. Brennan laughed softly against his lips.

"I couldn't get on that plane. I tried, but I couldn't." She whispered.

"I was there, you know." He murmured against her mouth. He felt her lips curve up in a smile.

"I figured." Her mouth found his again and they shared another kiss, frustration and time fueling the fervor. Brennan pulled back and gave him another gentle peck on his lips before nuzzling her nose into the crevice where neck met shoulder. Booth tightened his grip around her and softly pressed his lips to her temple.

"And don't ever leave me again, either." He murmured, rocking her back and forth against his body.

"I won't." She whispered into his neck, his own words sending pleasant vibrations through her body as he spoke to her.

"Promise?" Thunder crashed again as lightning seared the blackened clouds, the dark atmosphere around them tightening their grip on each other.


"I hear the wind call your name

The sound that leads me home again.

It sparks up the fire – a flame that still burns,

Oh it's to you I'll always return.

I can't stand the distance – I can't dream alone.

I can't wait to see you – Yeah I'm on my way home.

Now I know it's true,

My every road leads to you,

And in the hour of darkness darlin'

Your light gets me through.

It's to you I will always, always return."

-Bryan Adams

"And God bless the broken road that lead me straight to you."

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It is finished! Hope everyone enjoyed that, so please leave a review on the way out to let me know if you did or not! Now, Tempo, you are not allowed to string me up by my poor little tootsies with your furby breathing down my back because I have finished. And disabling the off-button is just MEAN! Yes, so, REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW! There's a nice little purple/blue/lavender/lilac/mauve/indigo/violet WHATEVER button down there on the left. Go push it, don't worry, it doesn't bite. Again, review, my duckies! Cookies and chocolate-covered Booths to all! -Ash