Disclaimer: I own nothing…

Summary: Temperance has a difficult decision to make, and there's only one person who can help her through it.

Rating: PG

Author's Notes: Well, I honestly have no idea where this came from. It just randomly popped into my head. Apparently, I think way too damn much when I'm in the shower… Basically, it started when the first couple of lines got stuck in my head, and then it escalated from there. The original idea was nothing like this, but, like I said, I was in the shower, and by the time I got out, most of the original was gone, and this is what came out of it… I think I like it better this way anyway…

The lyrics here are from "It Don't Matter To The Sun" by Rosie Thomas. It's the song they used at the end of 'The Blonde In The Game', and I absolutely fell in love with it. I actually think it's the reason the story turned out the way it did. It felt like I was writing differently, mostly because of the song, and so I hope it still turned out okay. I sort of feel like it might need to be read in a certain way in order to make sense, so I hope it's not too confusing…

And also, if anyone's reading Friend Or Foe?, I should have a new chapter of that finished sometime this week. Tomorrow… crosses fingers… Hopefully. If I can get a few minutes to myself to work on it…

It Matters:

He wouldn't want to live like this… It's better this way… You can't be selfish about this, Temperance… You have to think about what's best for him… Let go.

Let go…

Two words. Two simple words… And they had pushed her over the edge.

I can't hear this… It's not right… How can you even think about doing this!… We've just found him!… I am not losing him again… It's not right.

Not right…

And so here she was, sitting in the hospital's chapel, not praying exactly, but… thinking. Trying her best to sort everything out, and failing miserably. She had left the hospital room, Russ protesting vehemently, and her friends all offering up similar opinions, though without all the anger. Hodgins, Zach… Even Angela agreed that letting go was the only choice…

But she simply didn't think she could go through with it.

And that terrified her.

She knew the facts. She knew… They were right. He wouldn't want to go on living like this. He wouldn't want to be kept alive on ventilators and machines, probably never to wake again. He was a religious man. Believed in an afterlife, and a God… And he wouldn't want this. Wouldn't want any of this.

But that didn't make it any easier.

It don't matter to the sun
If you go or if you stay
No, the sun is gonna rise, gonna rise
Shine down on another day
There will be tomorrow
Even if you choose to leave
'Cause it don't matter to the sun no, no
But it matters to me

She felt him there, watching her, before the hand on her shoulder drew her eyes to his, and he sat beside her, sympathy and… something else echoing in his eyes. When she offered him up a watery smile, he reached out to wipe away the tears, and when his arm stretched around her shoulders, she collapsed against him, burying her face in his chest and holding on tight. And then she was crying, and he was stroking her hair and just letting her cry, and it felt like the most natural thing in the world, and though the feeling terrified her, she just couldn't bring herself to run from it… She was already losing so much; she just couldn't bring herself to deflect his offers of comfort…

As frightened as she was to admit it, she needed him.

And so, with a few sniffles and a long, deep breath, she curled into him, closing her eyes and just letting herself feel.

Because that was exactly what she needed. She needed to feel him. She needed to hold and be held, and she need to let herself be comforted… She just needed to be close to him.

And he knew.

She knew he knew. Because he was silent, and he was holding her, but he wasn't for a moment still. He could sense her need, and he didn't let her down. He never let her down… His hand was stroking over her hair, his lips whispering words she wasn't entirely sure were words at all and stirring the hair at the top of her head just gently enough for her to feel it, and his arm was curled protectively around her as his fingers drew soft, tickling circles across her back, and she just knew that he knew.

When she felt the soft kiss he pressed to her temple, she let a sad smile slip over her features as she let out a shuddering sigh of relief.

Because he understood her.

Because he understood everything about her, and though he would question, he would never patronize, and he would always accept

Of everyone who had stood in that room with her, he had been the only one who had truly understood, and he had been all that had kept her going for so long, because she had felt him. There was something about him. Something warm, and soothing, and… perfect.

He had simply watched her through empathetic eyes as she had passionately argued her case, and the moment she had disappeared from sight, he had come after her… And he had known exactly where to find her.

Just like he always did…

It ain't gonna stop the world
If you walk out that door
This old world just keeps spinning round, spinning round
Like it did the day before
'Cause to them it makes no difference
It just keeps on keeping time
'Cause it ain't gonna stop the world, no
But it'll be the end of mine

"You don't think I'm being ridiculous and irrational?"

Russ's words, not hers, but it didn't matter anyway because she knew the answer, and the question was really just her way of letting him know that she was ready to talk and she knew he knew that. She hadn't moved from her place against him, and so, rather than seeing it, she felt the smile that spread over his lips when she spoke, though she assumed it had more to do with the fact that she had taken his hand in hers and was now playing absently with his fingers, than it did the question itself.

"You could never be irrational, Temperance."

He was still stroking her hair, and she smiled at the soft, gentle tone of his voice… It was as though he feared he would break her.

Which was exactly why he was using her first name… It was something he just did when he worried about her, and he was the only one she would accept it from. When it was anyone else, it unnerved her; felt condescending and wrong… But from him it wasn't.

From him it felt right.

She nodded in answer to his comment and cuddled closer to him, tears still slipping slowly from her eyes. "I don't know what to do, Booth."

"I know." He was so quiet, it came out as hardly a whisper, but she heard him clearly, and she closed her eyes as she relaxed against him, awaiting the advice she knew only he could offer. "I know you're confused, and I know you're scared, and I know you think you're supposed to agree with them, because that's what your head is telling you, but Temperance, you have to listen to your heart sometimes…"

"I don't know if I even know how to do that anymore." she told him honestly, her voice wavering as she tangled her fingers with his, desperate for that reassuring contact only he could offer her.

She felt him lean closer to her then, his lips just a breath away from her ear, "Isn't that what you're doing right now?"

A hesitant smile touched her lips at his comment and she let her eyes drift to their twined fingers. When her gaze swept up to meet his, her eyes wide and vulnerable, she knew exactly how right he was… In those moments, they were so close-- both physically and emotionally-- and there was simply no denying it.

But that didn't change the uncertainty she felt about the current decision that lay in her hands. "Can't you just tell me what's right? You're so good at reading people, Booth… Can't you just look at me, and know what I need to do?"

"Not this time."

She could see the regret in his eyes as he looked at her, and she knew how desperately he wanted to be able to take away all the pain and sorrow she was feeling… Because he cared for her more than anyone she had ever known, and that alone was enough to lighten the burden, if only by a little.

"Do you at least have a little more advice for me?"

He nodded and wrapped her up just a little bit tighter in his arms as he rested his head against hers and contemplated his response for a moment. "Let's look at the facts first, alright?" When she nodded he continued, never loosening his hold on her. "We know that he's been comatose for three months now…" Another nod. "We know that the doctors are telling us that it's nearly impossible for him to wake up from this, at this point…" He pauses for a moment, and she nods again, to be sure he understands that she's with him, and then he continues and she suddenly understands his brief silence. "But there's that word… nearly. People have woken up from this, Temperance. It's not a complete impossibility… So where does that leave us?"

She wasn't entirely sure she understood his question, and so she shifted against him, making it easier for her to meet his eyes and return his soft smile with a little lift of her lips and a question in her eyes, and he just watched her for a moment, his eyes sweeping over her features. For a fraction of a second, it was unnerving… because she had never before been comfortable with such a look in such close proximity and suddenly it didn't bother her… So technically she was unnerved by the fact that it didn't unnerve her…

Until she decided to take his advise and follow her heart…

And suddenly, she understood.

"He could still wake up…" She told him with certainty, even though she knew how ridiculous she must have sounded, because in reality she was simply repeating his words from only moments before.

It was his turn to nod, and she wasn't sure what else to draw from their conversation… It seemed so obvious, so simple, but she couldn't quite wrap her mind around the thoughts that were floating there, because she knew better than anyone that they weren't rational, and she wasn't used to those kind of thoughts.

"For this next one, I want an answer from your heart, Temperance…" He paused again, allowing her to soak in the statement and waiting until she gave a slight acknowledgement that she understood and would do her best, before he continued, "Do you believe that your father is going to wake up from this?"

It took her a moment, as he had known it would, because she simply wasn't accustomed to the feelings she was letting out by searching for the answer within herself, rather than through the facts…

But after a moment, her eyes swept up to meet his, and her tears were suddenly slipping once more, and a tiny smile was touching her mouth as she allowed one little word to slip shakily from her lips.


He smiled at her then, before reaching up to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear, only to let his hand slip down her back, pulling her against him to hold her in his arms once more…

Only this time, the tears falling from her eyes weren't those of sorrow.

'Cause it ain't gonna stop the world, no
But it'll be the end of mine