Title: Waiting Forever
Rating: Probably just a K+
Disclaimer: No infringement intended.
A/N: Hi everyone – just thought I'd post a short oneshot. I'm back to work tomorrow after a short holiday. I hope everyone in the fanfic world is keeping well! Thanks for all the reviews I've been getting and the continued interest in my stories. It means a tremendous amount to me!
I don't want to wait for our lives to be over.
I want to know right now, what will be?
The rain hadn't relented for over twelve hours. The city, whose atmosphere usually burned with an unquenchable fire, had been doused, and even the most seasoned native had retreated indoors and the metropolis looked dreary and dark. Desolate. In her opinion, it was perhaps the bleakest of all her recent days. Or weeks.
Standing outside the diner, she folded her arms across her stomach, watching the slanting rain as the droplets caught the orange street lamps, glittering momentarily. The wind whipped at her hair, tugging on the stands as if drawing them magnetically towards an invisible target.
Somewhere in the distance, a train rumbled by, clicking on the tracks with a steady beat. The sound distracted her muse and her eyes flickered in the general direction of the noise. Behind her, the door breezed open and the bell tinkled. She recognised the diners as they left – a dark haired gentleman, probably in his forties, distinguished, dressed always in a suit. Tonight he wore heavy gloves and as the woman, a blonde, linked her arm with his, he looped a scarf around his neck. Together, they ambled towards the subway, chattering, their laughter tinkling just like the bell. After a few moments, their arms dropped and the man put up an umbrella.
She pulled on the collar of her coat, catching a whiff of sleet in the falling rain. Winter was almost upon their city, and it seemed as though everyone had noticed. Heavier clothes replaced summery dresses and linen slacks, hats and gloves were pulled from the closet and air conditioning units were packed away for another year.
"Ready?" she turned, sheltered suddenly by an umbrella placed over her head. Stepping unto the sidewalk, her eyes were drawn to the flickering orange droplets of rain again, caught almost majestically in the lamp light. Beside her, Booth shifted, his arm brushing hers. "You alright, Bones?" he asked, maintaining her determined stride with practiced ease.
"I'm good," Brennan replied, her head jerking. "It's been a tough week." It had felt as though one professional catastrophe after another had plummeted atop her shoulders. Angela had been experiencing unrest again, Goodman had reprimanded her for damaged artefacts and Booth... how many times in seven days had he cheated death? Too many. "Tomorrow is Friday," she said, as though it offered her a small amount of comfort. In truth, it didn't. She had plans to work the whole weekend. To somehow appease Goodman's irritation.
"Tomorrow is Friday," Booth conceded and for a long moment, the only sounds on the street were their footsteps, the noise running along alleyways and up walls, going on forever in a chain of lingering echoes. "Do you have exciting plans for the weekend, then?" Booth asked and her shoulders sagged, a sigh passing through her nostrils.
"I should complete my primary examinations on the package that arrived in my office this morning. I'm excited to find out if the remains are authentic." She saw his brow crinkle and his lips draw together as though he'd sucked on a lemon slice.
"You don't sound excited," he replied, his suspicions aroused. She almost resented his ability to read her. Despite placing such little credence in psychology and all it represented, she had long since admitted to herself, if only herself, that Booth had a peculiar knack for reading people. Especially her.
"Well I am," she insisted, tucking a length of hair behind her ear. "It's not everyday an Asian emperor arrives in the post." Booth nodded jerkily.
"It's not everyday a stark raving lunatic takes the occupants of a brewery hostage. But that doesn't mean I'm excited when the news falls upon my desk." She trembled inside at the mention of Gary Matthews. The hostage had taken him away from the Jeffersonian, and the bullet that had missed his head by a quarter of an inch almost took him away completely.
Yet she was too emotionally defected to tell him how glad she was that he was alive. That the warmth of his body, radiating against hers, was a welcome relief. So far, the closest she'd come to admitting her relief, was buying him dinner and telling him she was glad he was okay. Glad? She had understated her happiness, and consequentially, he knew nothing of how integral a part he played in her life.
"My job is different to yours," she said lifting her shoulders. "We are all exhilarated by different things." Booth smirked, a sparkling mischief rising in his eyes. She suppressed a sigh.
"So now you're exhilarated by this emperor? He must have been some man." Slipping her hands into her pockets, Brennan curled her fingers into fists, willing away the tight ache in her shoulders. "You could just be honest with me, Bones," Booth said, and she snapped her head towards him, levelling her eyes on his face. "Tell me why you're really walking around as though someone's placed the troubles of the world on your... acromion..." she blinked, a small smile tugging at her lips, despite herself.
"You remembered?" she said.
"That crazy assistant of yours is useful for something. I've been getting anatomy lessons." Brennan blinked skyward, raindrops splashing against her cheekbones, across her forehead, almost blinding her. It barely mattered. "What's wrong?" he asked again, resting his hand against her elbow, ushering her to a rain soaked bench. She hovered over the wood, then dropped her weight and sat for a moment, until her coat had soaked the whole way through and her backside felt wet. "I'm not going to do all the guessing, Bones," Booth said, folding his long coat over his legs, sitting next to her. If the water bothered him, she saw no sign of it on his face. "I hate guessing." She dropped her head back against the bench, icy rain pressed against her scalp, sending a shiver along her spine.
"I was worried about you this week," she admitted, sounding defeated. Sounding small and young. Very young. "I'm not used to being concerned about other people." Realising how selfish she sounded, Brennan frowned. "I don't mean-" Booth smiled, taking her cold hand in his. She stiffened, relaxing only when his fingers slipped between hers.
"Welcome to real life, Bones," he said. "Where real people are really concerned about the important people in their lives." She brushed her hair again, annoyed at the rebelliousness of it. Or perhaps she was just irritated by the strength of her emotions. Emotions she worked so hard to keep in check.
"How do I protect myself against this?" she asked, crossing her legs. Booth watched her, his eyes narrowed, only a small glimmer of light passing beyond the thick line of his lashes.
"Against what?" he asked.
"Well, if you get hurt. Or die," she said, "how do I protect myself against how that would make me feel?" His features softened, and he smiled, displaying a row of perfect teeth that tinkled like pearls in the light.
"Oh Bones," he said with laughter in his voice. "You can't. You have to embrace life. The life of your friends. You can't prevent death – and you know that."
"Yes," she agreed. "But I don't want you to die. Not with a bullet by a madman." Booth chuckled, shaking his head.
"That's my job, Bones."
"I don't want your life or my life to be over," she said.
"It's not over, though, is it?" he asked and she shook her head. "I know it's been a tough week, what with you being confined to the lab and me running around DC, but next week, everything will be normal again." She scoffed. What was normal? There was no normal in police work. Normal was the constant ticking of a time-bomb, always waiting to explode in their faces. To kill them.
"Yeah," she agreed reluctantly. "I'm just glad you're okay, Booth." He nodded.
"I know, Bones, you already told me." He squeezed her fingers again, and her forehead creased.
"But like I wanted to though," she said, her voice such a lowly whisper that an updraft in the wind almost carried the sound away completely. He leaned closer.
"What?" he asked, his ear a few centimetres from her lips. Brennan trembled again, this time from his proximity and not the mention of a vulgar criminal.
"Sometimes we repress things, Booth. To save face. To protect the truth of our identities." He leaned back, his eyes dancing along the street as he tried to digest the riddle within her cryptic message.
"Are you a superhero, Bones? Hiding behind Temperance Brennan?" She glared at him, annoyed that the importance of what she wanted to convey was not being received. He sobered at once, straightening his spine as though he were a slacking student, trying to pay attention. She cleared her throat.
"I want to tell you things sometimes. Things that my image was straight-laced Dr Brennan won't allow." She sighed. "My reputation would be seriously compromised if I said the things I wanted to say." Booth leaned forward on the bench, looking up and down the street again.
"Well, there's no one but us here. And I promise, I won't tell anyone." She eyed him with distrust, hating that slowly, Booth was pulling her guard away. "What did you want to tell me, Bones?" She sighed.
"I'm really glad you're okay." He laughed, shaking his head, a cascade of droplets showering around her. Stretching, he stood.
"I think you're reputation will remain in tact for now," he said, holding his hand out to her. "Lets go home. It's getting late." Brennan accepted his outstretched palm, marginally hurt by how he wasn't absorbing the message she wanted him to understand. She had exaggerated the terms of her emotions, but the revelations had washed off his shoulders as though he were impervious.
"Booth," she said, dropping her hand. "I'm trying not to be emotionally reserved." He slid his hands into his pockets now, a droplet of water tracing the hard, chiselled features of his face.
"You're failing, Bones. But practice makes perfect." He strode away, leaving her paces behind. Brennan hurried until she was almost jogging, stepping before him to block his path. Pressing her hand to his chest, he stilled, pulling a breath of marginal impatience into his lungs. "Look, Temperance," he said, his tone strained.
"No, Booth," she shook her head, hair clinging to her throat, "you look." Perhaps she didn't need to say anymore. Perhaps she could have turned and walked away – for he would have dwelled on her statement and realised she was asking him to open his eyes and understand what she wanted to tell him. He could easily have deciphered her message himself. But she did not.
Stepping close, she slipped her arms around his shoulders, sinking her fingers into his hair and drawing his head down, close enough that it only took a few millimetres to bridge the gap between their lips. He was motionless for a long couple of seconds, and around them, the only sound was his lungs, filling with air. She tilted her head, passing her tongue over his lips, wondering at how soft and cold his skin was.
When she stepped back, his eyes were wide and round, his shoulders tight and motionless.
"I'm more than really glad you're okay," she said slowly. "Will you give me a ride home, Booth? It's been a long week."
Please review. Please, please, please? I've nothing else in my meaningless life... hehe.