Summary: He had left without a word. He hadn't the courage to tell her, to even say goodbye. And every night she cried herself to sleep.
Disclaimer: I own the plot bunnies.
"Everyone in life is gonna hurt you, you just have to figure out which people are worth the pain."
Pain. That's what he was to her. Pain. Sometimes good pain--that tightness in her chest whenever he smiled at her--the way her head hurt when he wasn't around--good pain. But everything has two sides.
He was bad pain too. The kind of pain that made her heart hurt something fierce. The kind of pain that started the tears. The white hot liquid soul that fell across her face when no one was looking.
He had left without a word. One day he'd walked into the lab like usual. He'd dropped off reports for her to sign, made some glib remark about her ignorance of popular culture, flirted with Angela, made some sexual innuendo that she hadn't picked up on until Ange explained it later, and left the lab with a casual "see ya later".
She didn't notice the first day. Sometimes she didn't see him for a couple of days in between cases, although, often enough, he'd just show up, with some half-assed excuse as to his intentions. Those days, she smiled extra brightly.
So it wasn't unusual that he hadn't showed up on day one, but on day two…day two she noticed. She even voiced her realization to Angela. Angela made a remark about her and Booth's platonic relationship but hadn't any idea where the Special Agent had disappeared to.
After the third day, Brennan was getting worried. He hadn't called. He hadn't shown up at the lab for explained, or unexplained, visits. She had gone to Wong Foo's but Sid hadn't seen him in a few days. She even dropped by his home to see if she could catch him there. But he wasn't. He wasn't there. He wasn't anywhere.
On the fifth day, (she'd spent the fourth day worrying) she went to visit Cullen at the J. Edgar Hoover Building. It was what he told her that brought the tears hours later. She had left the building hurt and angry, but mostly angry. And a little bit disappointed. He hadn't the courage to tell her, to even say goodbye.
She went on being angry for almost three weeks. She aggravated everyone at work, including her dunce of partner, Special Agent Riquier, whom the FBI had sent over as Booth's replacement. She yelled at Zack, pointedly ignored Angela's sympathy and forced Hodgins into taking his vacation two weeks early, due to her constant corrections and critiques of his reports.
And every night she cried herself to sleep.
She was well into her fourth week of being angry--he'd been gone almost a month--when she had an epiphany. She stalked into Angela's office and slammed her file folders down on Angela's desk. The artist looked up from her sketch pad, surprised by her friend's violent actions.
"Fuck him," Brennan said.
"Who?" Angela, genuinely confused, put down her pad and charcoal pencil and stood up. Moving around the desk, she placed a tentative hand on Brennan's shoulder.
"I don't want sympathy Ange, I want answers. I want to know why he left. Why he didn't tell me that he was going. Where he was going. Why he had to leave. I just want answers.
"That's what we did together, we got answers. We solved dozens of cases. We found dozens of answers. Hell, I got answers before he showed up too. But now, when I really want--no, need, answers, I can't find out a damn thing. Why? Because for once, he's the one with the answers."
"Sweetie, I know you don't want to hear this right now but, maybe there was a good reason why he left," Angela offered as she directed Temperance toward the small couch near the door. Brennan sat down gingerly, anger still punctuating every move, but Angela was softer, more graceful, as she seated herself next to her friend.
"It's just…I wanna know Ange. I don't wanna spend forever wondering why he left. God, he left…he told me he wouldn't, ya know? He wouldn't be like them. He would stay put. Son of a bitch. I should've known. I should've known he'd be like them," Brennan put her head in her hands, resting her elbows on her knees.
For once, Angela had nothing to say. She couldn't think of a single thing to do to remedy the situation. Her 'good reason' comment had been more as a comfort to herself than to Brennan. The artist watched her friend; Temperance looked tired. No, she looked more than tired, she looked exhausted. And still, it surprised Angela when the woman beside her started to cry.
Without a comforting word in her head, Angela froze. Her hand was poised over Brennan's back; hesitantly she started rubbing circles on it, hoping to stop the flow of water glistening through her friend's fingertips. Angela had never seen a more pitiful, more destroyed woman than the one sitting right beside her.
If heartbreaks were real, this would be shattered…
About two months later…
Three months. He'd spent three fucking months in Phoenix before he couldn't take it anymore. Before he wanted to go home. To see her. To apologize. To pull her into his arms and tell her that he wasn't leaving again. That it had been a mistake. Actually, all of that had happened about three minutes after he'd left the Jeffersonian. After he'd walked away without telling her. After he'd said his last goodbye.
He'd played it off as some gallant sacrifice for the greater good. That separated, he'd work better. In truth, he was just a coward. He was afraid of the pain that pulled at his heartstrings every time he walked into the office and saw her smiling, and every time he wasn't with her because he knew. He knew that she was with Dick431, and when she wasn't, those smiles were because of Dick.
The stupid son of a bitch had popped up at exactly the wrong time. They had gotten closer after the warehouse. Close enough to even say they were something unexplainable, somewhere between friends and lovers. But the scale could never tip to the preferred side when Dick showed up.
Running through that warehouse, he remembered when Dick had asked if he was getting in the way of something, and that's when it finally hit him: Dick was getting in the way of something. For months, he and Brennan had bickered and fought, laughed and joked, but never cried. And crying with her, clinging to her, realizing that she was the one woman that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with, all that killed him. It killed him.
But not like a bullet to the head; no, much more painful. A slow burn. A burn that flared up when they were in New Orleans, or when she had held his hand after the funeral, and especially when he had seen her kiss David at the lab.
And then finally, he gave up.
He told Cullen what he wanted. He said goodbye to his son. He packed his bags to the sound of Rebecca's screams about commitment and responsibility. He leased out his place and he got on a plane. And the whole time he kept having to tell himself that he wasn't being stupid and cowardly. That this was for the good of the victims. He couldn't concentrate on the cases if he was worrying about Bones all the time.
Boy did that theory backfire. He worried about her tenfold when he wasn't with her. He sat up late at night, looking out his balcony at the desert night, and it reminded him of Colorado. And that made his head and heart hurt worse.
So, he'd given up again.
He called Cullen. He said goodbye to the few friends he'd made. He packed his bags to the sound of a thousand conversations with Bones. He handed in the key to his apartment and he got on another plane. The whole time he was wondering what she'd say when he saw her again. Then he remembered that David was probably still in the picture and he wanted to vomit.
It was dusk when he reached the parking lot of the Jeffersonian. In three months, it hadn't changed. Not that he'd expected it to. But still, something had to be different. Deep down, he knew what it was: he was no longer welcome here. He'd sealed that deal the moment he walked out.
He followed the familiar path that took him inside the museum toward the lab. He passed several security guards that he recognized, all of whom gave him an astounded look. The lab techs and assistants froze when they saw him. Apparently, everyone knew what had happened.
He stepped into the lab and looked up at the platform which customarily held the Squints. Dr. Goodman was clearly making his rounds, as he was standing on the platform with them. He saw Booth and stopped talking. Angela gasped her hand flying to her mouth. Hodgins turned around sharply, and Zack's eyes grew wide.
Booth stood stock still, watching them watch him. He caught them all, their eyes, flitting nervously towards Brennan's office. He felt the familiar tingling in the pit of his stomach. He never questioned if Bones made him nervous, she always had. Not just her violent tendencies, but her intelligence and beauty as well. Oh, and the fact that he was in love with her, that always made him nervous too.
He trekked the distance between him and her sanctuary. The door was open, so he moved into the frame. She was reading something on her desk, her back to him and her attention focused completely on that, thankfully. He fought the urge to stare at her and go into the damn room but his feet wouldn't move.
A prickling on the back of her neck alerted Brennan to the fact that someone was watching her. Booth had once called it her 'Spidey Sense,' she hadn't known what that meant. She felt a pain in her chest at the thought of her former partner. But she became aware that it wasn't the reference that reminded her of him, it was the feeling of being watched. It was the same feeling she used to get whenever he came into the lab. A sort of nervous-excited feeling.
She straightened and turned sharply. Her breath caught in her chest. The object of her loathing and heartache stood in the doorway to her office. He looked a little worse for wear. His shirt was un-tucked, his hair was messed up, he wasn't even wearing a tie anymore. For a moment, her anger and sorrow dissipated. For a moment, she loved him again.
"Hi," he said meekly.
And then she hated him again.
He acted as if he'd been gone for a day, maybe two, without telling her. Like it was no big deal that he had disappeared for three months to leave her hurt and confused. His hands were in his pockets, and he slowly shuffled inside the room.
"What do you want?" her voice was more breathy than she would've liked.
She would've rolled her eyes and commented on the obviousness of that statement had she not been so frustrated.
"Oh, I see, you let me know when you're back, but not when you leave, that makes sense," she snapped callously. He winced. Good, she thought, feel the pain.
"I'm sorry," he answered.
"So's everyone else," she replied, the bite still laced in her voice. She gave him a glare before side-stepping him and starting to her door. She stopped when he caught her elbow and spun her back toward him.
"I need to talk to you," he said firmly.
"Really? I'm sorry, I'm busy. It's too bad I was free to talk three months ago."
"Don't call me Bones."
He winced again. She hadn't said that in such a long time. His grip on her arm loosened ever so slightly but he did not release her. He stared down at her, eyes connecting. Blue meeting brown. Fire meeting ice. Rage meeting suffering.
"Temperance," he said slowly.
"What?" she didn't wait for him, "What is it? Huh? Because I've been waiting for this moment for three months, waiting for the day I saw you again, when I could finally ask you why? Why did you leave?"
"I--…" he trailed off, bending his head.
"Please tell me. Tell me," her voice was betraying her, her resolve starting to crack, "Tell me. Tell me what it was that made you leave? Was it me?" he looked up to see tears lacing themselves down her cheeks.
"Bones…" again he could say nothing.
"I don't know what I did!" her voice broke completely, and the tears came freely. She sobbed openly, and even though she was mad at him, even though she hated him for hurting her, even though her brain was telling her to turn around and walk away, even though she knew all of this, she didn't struggle when he pulled her into his embrace.
"Please tell me what I did," she cried into his shirt.
When she had calmed slightly, she pulled away. She wiped the tears from her eyes. Her heart hurt when she saw that she wasn't the only one who had damp cheeks. She looked up at him, setting her resolve once more.
"I didn't mean to make things difficult for you by coming back," Booth finally managed. His voice was soft, however, and anyone besides Temperance would have to struggle to hear him.
"I just wanted to give you answers."
"I know." She looked at the floor. The pure hope that he returned to be with her faded and she felt tears start to warm the corners of her eyes.
"I realized something and I thought I was saving you from dealing with it, 'course it didn't go exactly as I'd planned, but…"
"Huh?" Booth frowned in confusion.
"What did you realize?" Brennan asked. She'd spent the last few minutes preparing herself to hear the worst things in the world. That he didn't really like her. That he thought she was too ignorant of the world. Everything that would make him leave again.
"I realized when something good happens to me, there's one person I want to tell. When I'm lonely, there's one person I want with me. When I go on vacation, there's one person I want with me. When I'm in pain or upset, there's one person I want to comfort me. When I have to get out of my house, there's one person I want to see…you."
He said the last part quietly. She was almost unsure that she had heard him at all and it hadn't just been her imagination. Wishful thinking. Still, she looked up at him. Again their eyes met. Both filled with fear, hope and suffering.
"What?" She hated that her voice sounded filled with hope.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
"Don't go back."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"Can you kiss me now?"
"Yeah," he smiled as he pulled her towards him. She wrapped her arms around his neck as he pressed his lips to hers. And in an instant, the world changed. When he pulled away he looked directly in her eyes, frowning.
"Whatever happened to David?"
"Didn't work out."
"No, apparently, he thought I was in love with you."
"Looks like he was right after all."
Then the world changed again.
A/N: This was just something that had been bugging me to put down for a little while now. It's cool though. I like it. I hope you do too. You know the drill, R&R! Love ya much!