Disclaimer: I don't own Bones, or any of its characters. Unfortunately.
AN: Enjoy. That's what this story is here for. I hope it serves its purpose.
Without You – Chapter 1
After all they'd been through, there was a lingering question on everyone's minds: What next?
Next, everyone went back to their usual business, of course. Like nothing happened. After everything, everyone just crawled back inside their little boxes and refused to admit anything had happened.
Everything had gone on as normal until a few weeks after Amy Cullen died. Angela was always quiet and didn't seem to smile as much, and Booth hadn't once been to the Jeffersonian. Not a call for a favor, no new cases…nothing. And usually that didn't bother anyone, but it had been two months.
"I'm paranoid," Brennan admitted, walking into Angela's office.
Angela looked up from a sketch, her feet propped up on her desk. It was odd that Brenn would admit to such a weakness. "Why don't you call him, then?" she replied, almost offhandedly.
A confused look appeared on Tempe's features. "Call who?"
"Booth," she answered, returning to her drawing. "Remember him? Tall, dark and cocky?"
Brennan shook her head. "I wasn't talking about him. I was talking about this Native American I have out on the table. I think there's more to it than I can find, and I'm know I'm missing something."
She paused, waiting for something from her best friend. When she didn't receive, she thought she might switch to a topic Angela liked a bit more.
"Why would I be paranoid about Booth?"
Angela looked up momentarily and raised her eyebrows. "You're kidding, right?" Temperance just looked at her. "God, I'm paranoid about him and I don't even – well – you know…" she dirtily implied, raising an eyebrow.
"Ange…he's my partner."
Angela sighed and took her feet off her desk and set her sketch face down on her desk, giving Temperance her full attention. "Fine," she agreed, rolling her eyes. "Let's go with that aspect of it. Think, Brenn. Partners work together. Usually on a daily basis. Booth hasn't been in here for almost two months. Aren't you even a little curious?"
Brennan shrugged. "I guess I've just seen this time as an opportunity to work on non-FBI cases. It's been a nice break. I figured Booth has been working on cases that didn't require my assistance. It's a break for both sides. There's no reason to worry."
"Yeah, whatever, Brenn. Take your 'break'," she said, using air quotes. "But I wanna know what's going on, and if you're not going to find out what that hunky piece of man-meat has been up to, then I will."
"Sir, I just wanted to know why I haven't been put on any field cases recently."
"No reason, really. We just had some paperwork that needed to get done," Cullen replied.
"For almost two months?"
Cullen shrugged. "I can put you on the next field case that comes up, Agent Booth. All you have to do is ask."
"But Sir, I wasn't talking about just any cases, and I do appreciate the opportunity to do the next case, but I haven't been sent to the Jeffersonian recently, or…at all. I wondered if there was a reason for that."
A smile played at the corners of the old man's mouth. "We just haven't needed those facilities recently. But when one comes up, I promise you'll be the one over there."
"Thank you, Sir," Booth said and headed for the door. He turned the handle, but then –
"You don't need my permission to go and visit your lady scientist and her squints," he said with a smile, one of the first genuine ones he had seen since Amy died.
"Thank you, Sir."
Back in his office, Booth was contemplating going to visit the Jeffersonian like Cullen had suggested. But he knew that Bones would want him to have a reason to be there or the situation would make her uncomfortable. Or he could just tell her the truth: he missed being at the Jeffersonian.
As he grabbed his suit jacket and headed towards the door, the phone on his desk rang. He looked at his watch. 4:30. Who ever it was could leave a message.
As the sliding glass doors to the lab opened, Booth took a deep breath and headed towards Bones' office. He hoped she would be happy to see him. On his way, he ran into Angela.
"Booth!" she happily greeted, embracing him. "Where have you been? We haven't seen you in forever!"
"Cullen put me on a bunch of paperwork-centered projects. I confronted him about it today and he took me off of them."
"So…you're here with a new case?"
"Actually…" he started, but didn't finish. His eyes had caught onto something much more interesting.
Brennan was walking his and Angela's way, only about two yards from reaching them. She held a file in her hand, and though it was closed, she was staring intensely at it as she walked, as if she thought she could see right through the cover.
And she walked right past them, seeming to not even notice their presence. Booth threw a confused glance at Angela, who shrugged, equally surprised. Brennan was getting farther away. "Bones!" he called. She kept walking.
Finally she turned around. Booth had already jogged a bit to catch up with her, so they stood in front of each other. "Agent Booth," she said in greeting. Blank. Hard.
Her tone caught him off guard, but he chose to be ignorant. "Happy to see me?"
"Let's talk in my office." Cold. Emotionless. Detached. Almost…angry?
That kind of scared him, but he followed her into her office anyway. Throwing one last confused glance at Angela, he saw that she didn't seem to understand – or like – whatever was going on.
As her favorite couple retreated into Brennan's office, Angela sensed that something was wrong, and decided to stick around by the door. Just an hour earlier, she and Brennan had been discussing her and Booth's partnership. And she seemed perfectly fine with it, possibly even enjoying it, smiling at the very mention of Booth's name. And now she was acting like she hated him or something. And that something was definitely not right.
And of course, it just so happened that where Angela positioned herself, she could hear every word said in the office.
"Agent Booth? Since when do I deserve such a formal title?" he asked her.
"Well, what do you want me to call you?" Brennan asked coldly.
Booth shook his head. "It has been a really long time since you've called me anything but 'Booth', so –"
"It's been a long time since I've called you anything at all," she interrupted.
Booth sighed. "Okay, Bones. I've obviously done something to upset you. If I asked you what it was, would you tell me?" he asked honestly. He didn't remember offending her. But then again, sometimes he did do that without noticing.
"No." Again – Cold. Frank. Blunt.
He raised his eyebrows and stuffed his hands into the pockets of his slacks. "Okay, then…what did you want to talk to me about?"
Temperance walked over to her desk and sat down, turning on the computer. Silent. Ignoring.
The set of her jaw unnerved him a bit. "Well?"
Temperance looked at him, and her eyes were iced over. It sent a chill through him. "Why haven't you been in here recently?"
"Cullen wouldn't put me on any field cases, and we didn't have any cases that were so old we needed you," he answered, still standing. He guessed it gave him a little sense of authority. Authority he apparently felt he needed because that look she was giving him was truly terrifying.
"Yeah. That's all."
"Then why are you here?" Her tone was just so…scary that Booth almost didn't want to answer.
"I…came to visit. To see how things were going on around here. I mean, come on, Bones, I used to practically work here. I missed this."
She didn't flinch. No response to his smile, no reaction when he was basically trying to tell her that he had missed her.
"Booth – I've been thinking."
"…And I think that, circumstances being what they are…" she paused, re-organizing her thoughts. She then shook her head. "I understand that this institute is a resource to the FBI, and I have no issue what that. I just think that over time, you've grown too comfortable with these resources and you've taken to stepping over your bounds." Logical. Impersonal.
She paused and let that sink in for a second, letting him be confused.
"I'm a scientist. Not a cop, as you've repeatedly liked to tell me. So I think that you should stop taking me out into the field like I am one. Stop taking me places with you. Stop taking me…anywhere. This is where I work," she said, giving a small gesture to the institute. "This is where I belong." All Business. Emotionless, but truthful.
"Bones, what is all this? Why the sudden problem? I thought you liked field work…"
"I do, but I just went along for the ride because I was curious. And that's not what I should be doing with my time." Rational. Thought through. Possibly even practiced.
She continued. "I don't want to be a cop. I don't want to be your partner. I don't want to be 'Bones'. I don't want anything to do with you."
That hit him hard. She didn't want anything to do with him. Her choice of words made him wonder if this was not strictly professional. "You don't want to be my partner," he repeated, choosing one of the less painful statements.
"Yes." Not a blink. Not a waver. Nothing. Nothing to show that she even realized what she was doing to him. "So just stay the hell out of my lab."
So simple. So honest. Like it was easy for her.
And he hated it.
And then he was gone. Far away from her.
She didn't want anything to do with him? Fine. See how she liked it.
As Booth made his exit out of the Jeffersonian, his cell phone began to ring. Without looking at the caller ID, he answered it.
"Booth." Pause. "What? No! I wouldn't…" Pause. He stopped walking. "Yeah. Of course I do!" Pause. "God, Rebecca! Why didn't you tell – "
What she said next sent panic through his mind and a chill to his soul.
AN: Please review and tell me what you think. I really appreciate the feedback because I want to know if I should continue posting this story. I'll try to update as soon as possible, but reviews are especially inspiring. Thanks.