A/N: This is a fic that came to me while watching the movie "Closer", witch I love! A bit sad and long, but I hope everybody likes it. Also sorry for the grammar errors, I'm brazilian and I still don't have a beta.
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones.
It was crowded as he stepped through the threshold into the bright room of the Stardust gallery. The walls were white, colored only by the numerous paintings hanging and the oddly looking chairs placed in the middle of the room. A phone call placed in the early morning dragged him out of his comfort zone and into the only place he swore he would never go back to: Washington DC.
Standing by the door he took his time analyzing the people at the gallery. So many shapes, races and colors. It didn't matter how they looked, they could mingle. In separate groups or alone, they all seemed to be enjoying themselves, lost in good conversations and art. Seeing this, Booth couldn't stop the pride the swelled his chest. She really did put herself together and came along.
Wandering around the crowd, he caught himself admiring her work. The always strong colors and brushes and the distinctive shapes of unrecognizable people. As usual, through her work, he could even touch the so familiar pain it emanated. He could always fell that pain as his own, just as she could always feel his torment.
As the mass of a particular group dissipated he saw her. Standing next to a small woman wearing a very unique style he watched as she made small talk, trying to extract herself of her company. He smiled, thinking about how she changed, but still managed to stay the same. With her hair slightly longer now, she still had the same complexion, but for those who knew her, the way her eyes shone had changed brutally. They looked sad now, because her lips could curve into a smile, but her eyes didn't.
Booth dragged himself away from her, deciding to let her come to him when she was ready. All the time they spent separated broke then apart, and now he just wanted to act carefully not to upset her. She made the first move by calling him, so he would let her have her own rhythm. Walking among the groups, he distractedly looked at the painting hanging in the walls, resisting the urge to touch the canvas. Passing by a very disturbing guy ranting about something he didn't understand and didn't care he walked over to a particular piece he felt compel to look closely.
As he stood face to face with it, his heart drummed in his chest. Standing in front of him was not a painting but a large photograph in black and white. He could see the distinctive form of a man, his back to the photographer in a way his face was concealed. Standing in front of the man was a headstone, but the name was blurred protecting the person's resting place. In the man's hand was a single rose, and its scarlet petals was the only colored part of the photograph. He didn't need anyone to tell him who was the man. He could recognize himself anywhere.
Under the photograph there was a card. The name of this particular work was "Grief". Suitable, he thought. He didn't know anything worse than what he experienced in front of the cold marble stone. Feeling overwhelmed he decided to freshen up, worming his way to the bathroom. For his relief he found himself alone in the room.
Looking himself in the mirror he contemplated the changes in his face. He was still young, but the dark bags under his eyes and the small lines carving his once smooth complexion disagreed. He looked old, defeated. His outside reflected his inner being. He was defeated; by life and by fate. Splashing some water in his face he was met by a pair of curious eyes in the mirror.
Yes, there she was, staring at him with those blue sparkles through the reflection. Her lips curved in a smile, she was the pure vision of innocence, but he knew better. Haunted day and night, her sight only disturbed him know like a ghost claiming attention. Bowing his head and blinking rapidly he lifted his eyes again to find himself alone again in the room. This is getting old, he thought. Walking out of the bathroom he tried his harder not to seem affected.
Blending himself once again among the crowded room he found himself staring at his own back in black and white. He couldn't remember what day that had been. It was just like every day he spent staring at those silver letters.
Walking a little bit more he was stunned by the next piece. Another photograph, but this time it wasn't him. It was a woman. Her back was turned to the camera and her face was turned to the photographer. Her back was bare, stripped to skin, and showed her until the small of her back, her lower part covered by the sheets wrapped up around her waist. Her hair fell in waves in her back, but the face was what claimed Booth's attention. With her eyes focused on the photographer, it was obvious that she was crying. The tears ran down her cheeks freely and the emotion displayed was palpable. She was grieving for something. As the other photograph, the only colored part now was her eyes, a deep shade of blue.
"Do you like it?" a voice came from behind him. He turned to be greeted by the warm sight of Angela Montenegro.
"It's…," he couldn't find the words. What was it?
"Please, don't say beautiful", she said in a serious tone. Beautiful. The woman in the photograph certainly was, but what about her pain? Was that beautiful?
"No, there's nothing beautiful about pain. The word I was searching was… real". That's what he was thinking. The picture showed the reality. She was bare, stripped to her core, unashamed in her true colors, in her raw emotions. And it was her pain that left her like that, shattered to a thousand pieces.
"Everybody that looks at this photograph says it's beautifully painful. Hypocrites. They don't know anything about pain, or they would see the truth; they would see my truth, hidden in her eyes. The reason why I displayed only these two photographs was because I couldn't find the truth on any other. That is why this piece is called 'The Naked Truth'." Booth could tell she was upset. She hated when people pretended to understand lost just as much as he did.
"I loved your exhibition, Ange. I don't know much about art, but everybody seams to be enjoying themselves".
"Yeah. You know an ironic thing?" she asked as she looked around "The only work I'm not selling has the highest offers" she said smiling at him.
"Her picture?" he asked.
"Yes. Her picture. Also yours".
"Thanks, by the way. For not revealing that it was me. I really didn't want to be bothered by question," he said with a smile, turning his eyes back to the photograph.
"I wouldn't do that. You have your private issues," she said understandably, "Have I ever told you how this picture was taken?" she asked with a small laugh.
"No, you haven't," he answered.
"I was planning the exhibition and I had a lot of material to work with, but I still wanted Brennan to pose for me. I always thought she was photogenic, but she wouldn't budge," Angela was smiling now as she thought back to the many cherished moments with her best friend, "So I had to use the old charm and tell her it would be a huge favor for her dear best friend."
"I never thought she would do a photo shoot naked," Booth said smiling.
"She wasn't too happy to do it, but I convince her after hours of protests and threats," turning to face the photograph, Angela had a nostalgic look on her face, "I joked about giving you a copy of the photos and she freaked. It was so funny."
"I can imagine that," said Booth, trying to remember the sound of her laughter in his head. It was such a delightful sound to his ears, but as the time passed, his memories started to blur.
"Yeah, but that day didn't go how I planned. During the photo shoot there was that call…"
"Come on, Brennan! Give me emotions, give me something to work with," said Angela as she maneuvered the camera in her hands.
"I don't know how, I never had a photo shoot like this before," said Brennan as she used her arms to shield her naked breasts, suddenly very conscious of her nakedness.
"It's easy Brennan. You're naked, facing the man you want. Just show me how much you want him," said Angela as she adjusted the lens, "Just think about Booth," she ducked just in time to dodge the pillow thrown in her direction.
"Ange!" Said Brennan, embarrassed and blushing profusely.
"See, it worked! Now just keep that look, I want emotions," Angela continued to snap the shots until the loud noise of a cell phone echoed in the room, "Not now," she said as she put the camera on a table and retrieved the device, handing it to Brennan, "But hold still," Angela warned before Brennan answered.
"Brennan," she said her normal greeting, half-expecting to be Booth bugging her about a case. But as the conversation went on and Angela realized that Brennan wasn't talking, she was just listening. Watching her best friend turn the phone off she waited for her to turn around and tell her what happened, but she just stood still.
"Bren, honey, what happened?" Angela asked with her tone sweet and caring. Just as she was about to ask again, Brennan turned just her head and the artist's breath caught in her throat. The tears streamed down her face freely and in her eyes she could see her pain.
"Just take my picture Ange," said Brennan, her tone strong but calm.
"Just take the picture," repeated Brennan a little stronger. Angela knew her friend and she knew it was pointless to argue. So she snapped the pictures, horrified and amazed at the same time by the raw emotion swimming in her deep blue eyes.
"I was so confused. She didn't tell me what the phone call was about until I finished snapping the pictures," Angela said as she stared at Brennan's deep blue eyes.
"She only told me about it late that day when she started making arrangements for the funeral. It wasn't until the next day that the M.E. released his remains," said Booth.
"It's not fair, you know?" said Angela, her voice shaking a bit now, "It wasn't fair with Russ or with Brennan".
"I know," said Booth softly.
Brennan stared at the pieces of the skull laying in front of her. Her eyes were unfocused as she tried to concentrate on putting it together. She looked at them, but she didn't see it. Her mind was somewhere else. She was thinking that today she would put her big brother six feet under ground. Her only brother would now become one of the skeletons she so eagerly studied. That thought alone was enough to evoke a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach.
Angela observed as her best friend fought her emotions, trying to keep herself together.
"How is she?" asked Jack beside her.
"She's Brennan," Angela simply said as if it was enough explanation. No one noticed the man crossing the glass doors of the Medico-Legal Lab. They never saw the man pull the gun from his coat, and their attention only focused back on the anthropologist when the loud noise of the alarms echoed through the lab.
Distracted, Brennan had no time to react when she turned around to see what caused the alarm to trigger. The last thing she saw was the barrel of the gun as everything started to spin and she felt the table behind her as her body convulsed with the force of the bullets ripping her skin. Her knees crumpled beneath her and she felt her body slide to the cold ground. The last thing she remembered was the screams coming from her best friend as the entire world disappeared.
Everything happened in slow motion as Angela saw her best friend fall to the ground. She didn't notice the other man being shot by the security guards, and she didn't hear the alarms anymore. She ran to her best friend, and the bleeding woman lying in front of her was the only thing she saw. She screamed her name, shaking her, begging her to wake up, but her eyes remained closed as the pool of scarlet liquid continued to grow from under her.
"We never said goodbye," said Angela as she swallowed her cries.
"No, we didn't," said Booth, lowering his head to hide his tear-filled eyes, "And she never knew how much she meant to me, how I loved her". Angela walked closer to Booth, her eyes firmly on his.
"I still dream of it, you know?" she said, putting a strand of her dark hair behind her ear, "People tell me let go, to forget. But how can I easily forget when I wake up at three in the morning from a nightmare with my best friend's death?"
"I dream of it too," said Booth with a sympathetic smile.
"But I'm the one how saw everything. And I can still remember the smell of her blood as it ran out of her body, and the fell of her cold skin, or the pale look on her face as her life was draining out," said Angela as a tear ran the length of her cheek, "Jack is great and supportive, but he doesn't know what is like to fell the life of someone you love running out. He's trying, you know, supporting me with my art, talking to me, and I really love him for it".
"So, are you ever going back to the Jeffersonian?" asked Booth.
"Are you ever going back to DC?" retorted Angela.
"No," answered Booth.
"Neither am I. I can't even step in the museum without thinking of her. It's too much for me. Painting is a better alternative," said Angela, "It's at least better than ripping the canvas".
"You ripped your canvas?" asked Booth.
"Every single one that I had in my office the day after her funeral," answered Angela.
"I repeatedly punched my mirror and also three reporters who were bugging me for an interview," said Booth.
"I guess we grieve alike. You, for a lost love, I, for a lost sister and friend," said Angela, turning her eyes back to the picture in front of her. Booth stayed silent for a minute, contemplating something is his head.
"I still see her," he said, getting Angela's immediate attention, "Behind me in a mirror, in the shadows at night, in the reflection of a glass window, I always see her, smiling at me".
"I wish I could," said Angela, fresh silent tears in her eyes, "Sometimes, all I wish is that I could see her again". They focused on the picture for a while as they continued to ignore everyone around them.
"I got a package yesterday," said Booth.
"From whom?" asked Angela.
"From Max. It was instructed to be delivered to me in case he died," said Booth, "The person who sent it probably didn't heard of his death until now".
"What was in the package?"
"Everything he could find about the people who murdered his family. Addresses, pictures, documents".
"But why would he send this to you?" asked Angela confused.
"He wants me to finish what he started".
Booth stepped in the hall of Jeffersonian for the first time since her death, two days before. With the purpose of collecting her personal belongings left in her office he walked through the silent lab. Above him the dark night had taken over the sky, but the stars refused to shine, hiding away.
Letting his eyes scan over the platform he felt a pain in his heart at the thought of never seeing her concentrated over a set of remains. She was gone, and this painful truth was enough to send him to his knees. Waking in her office he was assaulted by the vanilla sent of her perfume, still lingering in the air.
Crossing the desk, he stopped in front of the hanger where her lab coat was forgotten. Picking it up he walked further and sat in the chair she once occupied. On her desk he started to gather her belongings. The toy pig Jasper, her laptop, her last manuscript still undedicated and some framed pictures of her, the squints and himself. Putting everything in a small box he brought with him he rested his back in her chair, letting the images of her flow in his head.
"Hello Agent Booth," said a voice in the shadows startling Booth. Only then he realized he wasn't alone.
"Who's there?" he asked.
"Max Keenan". As he pronounced himself he stepped out of the shadows. To Booth, he didn't seem like himself, with dark bags under his eyes, pale skin and what looked like lost weight.
"So you know," it wasn't a question, it was a statement.
"Yes, I know," his voice was heavy, thick with emotion, "Tomorrow you will bury two of the three only people I ever loved. My Ruth is dead, and now my boy and my baby girl will join her. I'm the only Brennan left".
"I'll find who did this," Booth said, his tone laced with rage.
"No, Booth. I will. I always acted carefully in order to protect my children, but now…" he paused, taking a deep breath, "Now nothing holds me back. Now, I'll kill them one by one, until no one is standing". As a federal Agent, he should arrest Max right there, but as a man who was going to bury the love of his life in the next day, he could only hope the older man succeeded.
"You'll get yourself killed," said Booth.
"I don't care!" screamed Max, "You don't know what it's like! No parent should have to bury their child, and I'm burring both of mine!" he was angry, raged and Booth could only imagine his pain. He couldn't think of what he would do if something happened to Parker. "I held my little boy when he was born, Booth. I watched him grow up, get in trouble, have his first girlfriend, his first break-up. And then to see him being blown up…" he fought to keep himself together, he didn't want to break in front of Booth.
"I'm sorry," Booth said.
"And my baby girl… with those big curious blue eyes, always begging me to take her to the library to get new books. My sweet little Temperance, who once dreamed of being a ballerina, gunned down by those animals… she never got a chance in life, always in her own little world. I wanted to see her get married, have children, but now… it's all gone. My babies are dead," Booth could hear his tears, the deep unimaginable pain Max was going through. Turning his back, Max made his way out of the office.
"I'm sorry, Max," said Booth again.
"I know. Despite everything, I'm just glad my girl was loved by someone," and with that he left.
Booth turned his attention back to desk. Scanning the table he decided that everything that mattered was with him. Making sure not to leave anything behind he opened her drawers. At the last one he found a music box. It had been a present from him, supposedly to calm her. Opening the lid he was enveloped by the sweet music, so he reclined in the chair and held the lab coat to his chest. Her scent was impregnated in it, so his mind was overwhelmed by the memories of her. Closing his eyes, he let himself be rocked by his desperate sobs, and the tears he was holding since the news now flew freely down his face.
"And are you finishing what he started?" asked Angela.
"Yes, I have to," he said, "I owe it to her, and to her family," his thoughts lingered on her family, now all murdered, lined up in four marble stones.
"She wouldn't be mad if you decided to move on, you know?"
"I know, but I need to do this. It's something Max said or better yet, wrote," he handed her a small piece of paper.
If you love my girl, you will finish what I started.
"Once, I promise him I would take care of her, but I failed. I won't break another promise," he said, "It was wonderful to see you Ange, but I have to go. I have somewhere to be".
"And I know what it must be about," she said as she hugged Booth tight, hoping it wasn't the last time she saw him, "I love you, my friend. So be careful".
"I will," he turned his back to her, waking to the exit. Near the door he stopped as his attention was caught by a message written on a large card hanging in the wall.
This exhibition is dedicated to Temperance Brennan and her family.
He smiled. She was loved more than she ever knew. Waking out he spotted his car and entered the vehicle. Buckling up he turned his head up to check the rear view mirror, and there she was. In the mirror he could see her bright eyes and her sweet smile.
"I love you," he said. He didn't turn to look behind him, afraid that she would disappear. He simply turned the car on and exited the building on his way to New York. There he would start his path to redemption. There, he would get his revenge, his justice.
He didn't know how everything would end. There was a big chance that he would die and he didn't know anything for sure anymore. But the one thing he knew in his heart was that, one day, he would see Temperance again.
Please, please, please, review!!! I could really use your opinions!!!