C h a p t e r F i v e – T u e s d a y N i g h t
He'd led her to the couch and let her continue crying on his shoulder without asking any more questions. She was grateful; although few questions had been asked, she'd been growing weaker with each new question mark at the end of his words.
"Can I show you something?" She retrieved the picture of Lucy on the swing out of her bag and looked at it herself before handing it over. The sheer delight on Lucy's face was still there. How well an inanimate object can capture a moment in time that will never be repeated.
"Is this you, when you were younger?"
"No." Taking a deep breath, Brennan sat back on the couch beside him and gently took the picture from him so she could look at it again.
"Then who…" She knew he'd be running through the relations he knew about and realising that, no matter how much he dug through the messy makeup of her family, he'd never uncovered a hidden sister. Which left…
"This is Lucy."
"Lucy?" She knew the confusion was still there, but that it would clear quickly if she explained. But did she really want him to look at her and imagine her with a child. A dead daughter that had never been spoken of before, had barely been seen by her own mother. The rare contact between her and Lucy was as contrary as it could be to his relationship with his own son. She was afraid it might reinforce the idea she knew others held of her; that she was cold, and unemotional, and unable to love.
But she had loved Lucy. In her own way, the only way a sixteen year old with a relatively nonexistent future could love. She'd loved Lucy so much that she'd given her up to people who should've been able to give Lucy everything Temperance hadn't had after fifteen. That knowledge was enough to finalise the matter in her mind; she had done the best she could for Lucy at the start. Everything after that; the lack of contact, the reluctant visit, she would take whatever blame Booth chose to place upon her. But the first abandonment was the right thing to do.
"Lucy was…" It was still so hard to say them, these words that had seldom passed her lips before. She remembered whispering them at the baby in her arms all those years ago.
"…My daughter. She was my daughter." Brennan barely registered Booth's intake of breath but his sharp silence made her reluctantly look over to him, unwilling to see the look in his eyes.
"She lived in Teven Valley with her adoptive parents, Ray and Linda Vanault. She just had her sixteenth birthday. Her middle name was Grace and she could play the violin." Averse to looking into his eyes any longer, Brennan looked back at the picture she held, continued filling the silence with something she could deal with; facts.
"This picture is from the last time I saw her. Lucy was six and we fed ducks in the park. Her parents wanted us to stay in touch. The contract was a card on her birthday, a card at Christmastime." Another look at Booth assured Brennan that he was still speechless, struggling not to implode from the bomb she'd dropped on him.
"Ray Vanault rang me Friday afternoon… He told me…" A stray tear slowly traced its way across the left plane of her face and before Brennan had time to flick it away, Booth's thumb was there, drying it, turning her face towards his.
"Lucy was murdered on Tuesday. Her funeral was on Monday. And I never got to tell her how much I loved her, how much I hoped her life without me was better." Brennan bit her lip, only let go when she felt blood well to the surface.
"Booth?" She needed him to say something.
"The body… Under the swings."
"I couldn't look at it without seeing… Without it turning into Lucy." Booth nodded and looked down. Brennan's hands, still holding the photo, had dropped onto the seat between them. Booth used his free hand to pick up the picture.
"She was beautiful. Just like her mother." He said softly, one hand still outstretched, nestling at Bones' throat.
"You don't hate me?" His eyes lifted off the photo as he handed it back and met hers without a trace of malice, only deep sadness.
"Bones, you… You were sixteen." Obviously he'd done the math.
"Yes." She'd been so miserable at the group home, so alone. She'd always been solitary as a child but she'd always had Russ and her parents; a backup if she didn't want to say anything, put her ideas into the world. Without them she'd been truly alone. Then there'd been Grange. Older than her, charmingly different, a family story to match her own. He'd unfailingly pursued her from her first arrival at the home and she'd needed something to stop her feeling like there was never going to be anyone other than her in the world. And for a while it had worked, until she became pregnant and he faded back amongst the street kids, leaving her alone again.
"But since then… I should've called maybe, written more. Seen her more than once." Brennan's voice was self-deprecating and she felt Booth's hand move down to unclench hers, prevent the picture from rumpling.
"You did the best you could for her." Booth's voice was fierce, but it didn't make Brennan look up from his hand on hers, both loosely holding the picture of her child.
"You were so young, Bones. Too young to make any sort of life for a child. You were a child yourself." The softness at the end of his sentence made Brennan shake her head. She'd always imagined that was the case, but with Booth voicing it she realised that wasn't why she'd given Lucy up.
"I didn't want her, Booth. My own child and I didn't want her. The whole time I was pregnant, I was so… I wanted to fall down the stairs, to have something happen to me so she would just go away." Brennan took a deep breath. She'd never expressed this before, not even to herself. Saying it now made the self revulsion she already held score deeper into her flesh.
"And then, after I'd signed all the papers, after the home had told me about the family she'd live with, about the life she'd have without me and how much better it would be…" Brennan had kept her eyes down throughout her last few sentences but she lifted them now, met Booth's.
"But I held her, and I wanted her. She was so small, but she was perfect, and she was something that was all mine. And then… They took her away, and I was back to being alone." Brennan carefully detangled her hand from Booth's and set the picture gently on the table in front of them.
"I decided it was safer, being alone." Her eyes went back to Booth's, reluctantly straying from the image, the glee on the six year olds face.
Silence reigned between them for a moment, and Brennan tried to decipher anything from Booth's eyes but they were shadowed by his brows.
In time, he spoke.
"Bones..." His hand found hers again and for a moment she felt the internal warmth that was so unfamiliar to her; Russ yelling polo through an open school window, her mother and father waving as she crossed a street, Lucy's hand coming to drift along her cheek, tiny fingers furling and unfurling like butterfly wings on the way down. Those moments where she felt she truly belonged.
In Booth's touch there was the promise of more, but between now and then there was Sully and Parker, Rebecca and their working life. There were other things that needed to be done before either of them would be ready, and there would be Lucy; to remember, to grieve for, to never forget as completely as she had been forgotten when she was alive.
But right now, there was just warmth.
She laid her head on his familiar shoulder and drank in the warmth. Because Brennan knew too well how brief these moments could last, how quickly they flared before dropping back to the coldness of the everyday.
"You, Bones, are never alone." Booth's voice drifted across her hair, so similar in colour to Lucy's, and Brennan shut her eyes. In an instant she was back in the hospital and that little hand was gliding so softly along her cheek, and she was savouring the moment, the helpless cries. They faded to that day in the park, Lucy's bright screams as she fought harder to soar high, the excited giggles.
Then, they just faded.
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And fade to black.
I realise this has been a terribly long time coming and therefore may be anticlimactic to some who were expecting a big, emotional, drawn out scene. But that's not Booth and Brennan, at least the way I imagine their relationship.
This is the last chapter, so I hope you enjoyed. The reviews have been wonderfully encouraging and I would like to thank all of you, reviewer's or not, for reading.
Dedicated to Lucy G. 1993-2004.