TITLE: Where There's Moonlight
CHAPTER 1 of 2
DEDICATION: To Ataea, adorer of angstmance :D
Seeley Booth stood in the doorway of the Jeffersonian's Medico-Legal Lab, silently watching an oblivious Temperance Brennan wander around, shutting down machines for the night. He leaned on the wall near the door and crossed his legs at the ankle, head lowering as he sighed heavily. He didn't want to do this. Unfortunately, he had no choice in the matter. Orders came from above Deputy Director Cullen, after all.
Booth felt her eyes on him and raised his head, seeing her staring curiously at him from the forensics center of the lab. A lovely smile lit her features as she asked, "What are you doing here, Booth?"
He closed his eyes a moment. If she had been in one of her moods, it would have made this so much easier. Seeing that affectionate smile on her face, however, left him feeling even worse than he already did. He masked it briefly, giving her what she called his 'charm smile,' and responded, "I figured you'd be working late, so I came to offer you an escort to your car."
Booth's heart broke all over again when she tilted her head in that 'Bones' way and gave him a look. "You know, we have security guards that can do that."
He attempted a smile. "I know. Just call me an old-fashioned guy." He raised his eyebrows then, unsure if she would be receptive to his offer, or continue to rebuff him. "Will you let me walk you to your car, Temperance?"
He watched her pause in her footsteps at the rare utterance of her first name, "Temperance? What happened to Bones?" and she grabbed her jacket off the back of a chair.
Booth fought not to hang his head again. She'd actually gotten used to the nickname... liked it, even. He beckoned her close with an upturned palm. "Let's take a walk."
Once outside, Booth helped her slip her jacket on, taking a moment to subtly admire the silver moonlight in her hair... the moonlight in her eyes as she looked up at him, questioning silently. He took her arm and was surprised she didn't protest; he kept his eyes on the pavement as he began, "I got a call from Cullen this afternoon, about some orders that actually came down from above him." He raised his eyes to hers. "They're transferring me to the VCS."
Predictably, her brows furrowed and a crease appeared between them in that perfectly 'Bones' way as she replied without missing a beat, "I don't know what that means."
He smiled in spite of his aching heart. "It means that they're transferring me to the Violent Crimes Section of the Bureau." He slowed their walk to a stop and turned to stand in front of her, facing her, his hands still on her arms. "It means that this," he gestured between them, "has gotta be over, Bones. We aren't going to be partners anymore."
"What?" The moonlight in her eyes changed its shape; her eyes saddened, and his heart shattered.
"Yeah." He had to press forward, had to say everything he needed to say before he broke down and clung to her like his last living hope. "I won't be doing just regular detective work anymore, I'll be chasing after extremely vicious, violent killers, and rapists, and the whole gamut. Not only will there no longer be any need for a forensic anthropologist, but..." He shook his head. "I don't want to see you get hurt, Bones. Even if we could stay together, I wouldn't want us to. I'd be putting you at risk just to keep you close, and I'm unwilling to do that."
Temperance sighed out shakily, and shivered despite the rather warm D.C. evening. "So, that's just... it? We're just done working together?"
Booth nodded slowly. "Yeah, I'm afraid so."
Her mouth opened and closed a few times in succession, attempting to form words but failing. He couldn't help but muse -- a bit sadly -- did he just render Temperance Brennan speechless? "Well..." she finally whispered. "Alright then." She stuck out her hand. "It was nice working with you, Agent Booth."
Booth stared at the hand she'd extended, knowing just to shake it cordially wouldn't be enough. They'd always been more personal than that. Ignoring her extended hand then, he stepped forward and pulled her into his arms, twining his own around her waist as he rested his chin on her shoulder. "'Bye, Bones," he whispered.
Tempe closed her eyes over his shoulder in pain -- the nickname she hated to begin with would now be the nickname she would miss dearly, almost as much as she'd miss him. She would never tell him this, however. "'Bye," she whispered back, allowing herself to wrap her arms around his shoulders and embrace him.
They stood in the moonlight for what felt like hours, hugging goodbye morphing into a strong hold, until Booth reluctantly broke the embrace and took a step back. He exchanged with her a sad smile before watching her get into her car, start the engine and pull out. His eyes stayed on her car, leaving the Jeffersonian, until she disappeared over a hill.
He shook his head and sighed heavily, then got into his SUV and left the Jeffersonian behind for good.
Temperance hadn't slept well all night -- a rarity for her unless she was on a pressing case. On normal nights, she slept quite well -- like a baby, though she'd never understood the analogy. The previous night, however, she'd slept fitfully; tossing and turning and never able to fully succumb to the REM sleep she so needed in order to thrive during work hours.
She and Booth were not partners anymore. It seemed like a dream, and a bad one at that -- him showing up at the Jeffersonian late lastnight to walk her out to her car, and then dropping the bomb on her. Then his hug goodbye... she hated to admit it to herself, but she didn't want to let go.
Tempe prepared for her day rather sluggishly, realizing that, if this had been a normal day she would have sped through her shower and makeup routine, just to get to work quicker and see what case Booth had in store for her. No more. She just barely remembered where to stop, where to turn, and where to exit on her way to the Jeffersonian -- she was so lost in her thoughts she wasn't sure if she even saw anything along the way. Her mind had just kept chanting Booth's name, over and over, incessantly chipping away at her already bruised heart.
When she trudged into her office and tossed her purse onto her couch, Angela was right on the ball, entering the office with a cup of coffee ready and waiting. "Morning, Brenn! Sleep well?"
Tempe turned and watched her best friend's smile immediately fall, her brows furrowing a moment later. The cup of coffee was set on the desk and forgotten as Angela made her way over. "Sweetie, what's wrong?"
"Booth and I are not going to be partners anymore."
Angela's eyes widened. "You guys broke up?"
Tempe's own eyes rolled skyward in response. "You say it like we were dating or something. The partnership is over."
"Why? What happened?" She steered her obviously-dazed best friend over to the couch, gently shoving her enough to make her sit down. She sat beside her. "How did this all come about?"
"Booth got a transfer to... the V-C-something, I don't remember. Something to do with really violent criminals."
Angela nodded knowingly. "The VCS. Okay. Well, so what? Why can't you guys still work together?"
"He said that there isn't really a need for my assistance anymore, and even if there was, he didn't want us working together anyway. He said that he'd be putting me in danger just to 'keep me close', and he didn't want to do that."
"He said that? Really?"
Tempe's nod was slow as she stared at her glass coffee table, seeing through it as she mentally relived last night. "So then, that was just... it. We said goodbye, and I went home." She shook her head. "It wasn't even much of a goodbye, really, except for the hug."
Angela's eyebrows raised at this tidbit of information. "There was a hug?"
"Sort of. It started out that way, but... somehow it turned into--"
Tempe rolled her eyes. "No. It just... ended up being longer than a normal hug would be."
"So why do you two have to stop seeing each other?"
She inclined her head at Angela, her look incredulous. "Did you not hear what I said?"
"I heard all that about the partnership ending, but why do you and Booth have to end?"
"Because that's all there was to me and Booth. The partnership."
Angela snorted, grinning when she received a glare from her friend. "Sorry, but... Sweetie, I think you know as well as I do -- as well as Booth does -- that you guys were way more than just partners."
"Well, we were friends, I guess..."
"More than that, honey. Whether you see it or not, there was more than even that. And you should go talk to Booth. I mean, maybe he wasn't sure if you would want to see him anymore after the partnership ended. Maybe that's why he made it seem like it was just the end. Go see him and tell him that just because you guys are done working together doesn't mean you have to be done hanging out together."
Tempe shook her head sadly. "I don't think it could work like that, Ange. I'll just... go see him and say a proper goodbye, and then that will be it."
"Seriously? That's all he means to you?"
Tempe stared through the coffee table again, falling silent in thought.
Booth glanced around his now-empty office as he placed the final item -- a stapler -- into the final box of his belongings, preparing to move to his new office today. He knew he should be thrilled to start a new job, should even be thinking about that new job, but... at the moment, he couldn't think of anything but Bones.
He desperately hoped he hadn't hallucinated the sadness in her eyes lastnight. That look in her eyes, as they said goodbye, would stay with him forever -- whether he saw her again or not. He should have left things open so they could see each other again. Why the hell did he have to make it seem like they'd never speak again?
Booth pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and hit the first speed dial button, knowing it would connect him to her. His thumb hovered over the 'talk' button... contemplating. After a moment, he sighed and closed his eyes, snapping his phone shut. He shook his head and grabbed the final box of his belongings, hitting the lights on his way out.
Tempe punched the button for Booth's floor upon stepping into the elevator, exhaling slowly as the doors slid closed. Her foot tapped against the elevator's tile floor incessantly as she watched the numbers light up in succession. She often didn't mind riding in elevators, but today, it was moving far too slowly.
It finally gave a ding and the doors slid open; she stepped off immediately and took quick strides toward Booth's office, still wondering what the hell she was going to say to him. Should she tell him she was there to say a proper goodbye? It seemed so impersonal. Then again, she'd always been very careful to keep things impersonal between she and Booth.
Tempe turned the corner and gasped. Booth's office was empty, dark... as if he'd never been there. She immediately grabbed her blackberry and hit the first speed-dial button, knowing it would connect her with him in an instant. Her thumb hovered over that little green button... contemplating. After a moment, she sighed and closed her eyes, shoving the blackberry back into her pocket. She shook her head and touched the metal doorframe, heading back the way she came.
It really was over.