Genre: Angst / Drama – Booth and Brennan pairing
Summary: CBPC March – "Great Expectations" Booth confronts Brennan.
Timeline: Post - Judas on a Pole
Note: Entry for Cullen's Bull-pen Challenge – March.
Disclaimer: The characters of Bones belong to Kathy Reichs, Hart Hanson, Barry Josephson and FOX. All dialogues belong to the creators/writers of "Great Expectations" with Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow.
Booth stepped in the bedroom, holding a tray with two glasses of iced tea. He paused by the doorframe, leaning against it as he observed Brennan working. She faced the wall and held a long-handled paint roller; her movements smooth as she rolled dark blue-colored paint. With expert ease, she had managed to complete the first coat.
Brennan was wearing a black tank top, with a belt over her hips. Booth wasn't sure why she wore a belt at all; her tight blue jeans seemed to fit perfectly without any help. Her hair was up in disarray, with strands of curls loosely clinging on the back of her neck.
Booth was sure that painting on a Saturday afternoon would not have been Brennan's activity of choice. However, she had been the one to tease him about his place, commenting that Agent Kirby's flat was a lot better. She could hardly refuse when he asked her to help him paint.
The brightness of the day shone through the windows, illuminating the paint with an almost iridescent glow. It would have been a lovely urban day; if not for the neighbors next door having another verbal fight. Booth set the tray of refreshments by the stereo and turned the music in full blast, drowning out their noise.
Brennan glanced back and smiled as she bobbed her head up and down to the tunes, meeting his eyes to say she approved. Another mutually favorite CD was on, with Booth quickly learning that he and Brennan shared the same taste in 'guilty pleasure' music.
Booth picked up his brush, dipping it in paint to do the intricate job of painting the wall and keeping the moldings paint-free. He kicked off his shoes, allowing socks covered with bear-footprints to meet each step of the ladder as he ascended up to reach the ceiling.
Booth noticed that Brennan paused to look up as he took each step; he wanted to believe it was because she cared and would be ready to assist should he fall.
They made their way around the room, with Brennan finishing her task before Booth had completely done the bottom part of the wall. Being Brennan's curios self, Booth wasn't surprised when he felt her hovering over his right shoulder, analyzing the way he was painting close to the lines of the blue tape.
He felt a cool drop of liquid on his bare shoulder, sweat from the glass of iced-tea that Brennan was sipping. Brennan leaned closer; he could hear her breath close to his ears. With furrowed brows, he looked up. She quickly stepped back, pressing both lips together to stop a smile. She made a motion of taking another sip of her drink.
Booth heard her pace behind him, growing inpatient. It wasn't long before Brennan kneeled beside him, on his right. He expected her to take his brush to finish the job; she was, after all, quite adept in the fine motor skills and dexterity area.
But she surprised him when she closed warm hands over his, and gently guided the brush to caress the wall at the correct place. Her focus was on the task, unaware that each heave of her chest caused her left breast to touch the back of his bare arm as she breathed. She pressed a palm on his back as she settled herself more comfortably in a full kneel position.
Booth paused to control the drumming in his chest, to regulate blood flowing down away from his head. She noticed and looked at him, both suspended for a few seconds before Brennan leaned back, now aware of where her hand and breast had touched.
She smiled sheepishly and stood up, clearing her throat. She did as they had always done, stepped away in good humor when the intensity of their closeness got too much. It was an unwritten rule. So she looked confused when Booth didn't smile back, a signal that released the tension and cleared the air, allowing them to be partners and close friends again.
He had learned the many ways she said his name. He knew her needs with the varying intonations she used when she called for him. Without any other words, he knew her meaning as she repeatedly called him while he had his gun pointed to her father and brother. There was no contemplation necessary, his decision was made to let her family drive away as soon as he heard the plea in the way his name escaped her lips. But this time, there was question and confusion in her tone.
"Booth?" She repeated.
It must be the paint fumes because Booth stood up and stepped closer, his expression remained serious. Part of him knew he should step back, crack a joke, and make her laugh. But she was so damn beautiful, and he couldn't – no, shouldn't – do anything about it.
Brennan must have sensed his frustration, felt that feral male whose lust was unrequited. She looked around the room, and finally down to her self where she saw splashes of paint on her clothes. She stammered, and uncharacteristically sounded unsure, "Booth, I have to go. I have dinner in one hour, and I look a mess."
Booth knew it was an excuse; Brennan could be conceited about her talents and status, but never vain about her looks.
"What are you doing?" Booth asked, following Brennan as she grabbed her black purse from the coffee table in the living room.
She paused by the front door before blurting out, "You forgot your shoes."
Booth looked down. He had, indeed, forgotten his shoes. He didn't know how he wanted her to react, but it certainly wasn't neither with avoidance nor nonchalance. She confused him, and based on her behavior, he confused her too.
Booth slowly and intently walked towards Brennan. He didn't want undying love; he didn't even know if either of them was capable of that. The depth of their relationship had evolved so that there was a mutually understood knowledge that they could trust the other to be present during times of need. They were partners – and friends.
He didn't know what else he wanted but for respect and affection, which he knew he had. But something, he wanted something from her…perhaps to acknowledge that she felt it as intensely, that heat and rawness when they touched. "What is it like not to feel anything?" The words came out wrong; Booth knew he hurt her even before he saw the pain in her eyes.
She was out the door and halfway down the driveway when Booth caught up with her.
"Get the fuck out of here!" His neighbor yelled out, the sound escaping from the windows.
Booth and Brennan were startled by the profanity. It was easy for him to lead her back inside the house before they became another soap opera for the elderly couple down the street who had two seats set up in their front yard.
In the middle of the living room, they looked at each other awkwardly before Booth realized his mistake. Without thought or preparation, he had just asked both of them to acknowledge the elephant in the room.
He sat down on the couch, crouching with his head buried in his hands. He waited to hear the door open and for Brennan to leave, so he bolted up when he heard her talk.
Brennan was looking out the window, almost speaking to her self. "Let's say there was a little girl, and from the time she could understand, she was taught to fear…let's say she was taught to fear daylight."
The words were quite poetic, especially for Brennan. But perhaps the use of metaphors made it easier to explain. Booth knew she was recalling a time when her brother drove away to leave her with no family at the age of fifteen.
Brennan's voice was hoarse and heavy as she said, "She was taught that is was her enemy. That it would hurt her. And then one sunny day, you ask her to go outside and play. And she won't. You can't be angry at her, can you?"
Booth's expression darkened as he recalled her father and brother driving away again, almost a week ago. No, he couldn't blame her for not wanting to connect more than they already had.
But Booth was different, he would never leave her. He had proven this many times.
He took her arm to turn her around, aware of unshed tears. "I knew that little girl, and I saw the light in her eyes." Booth had her picture ingrained in his mind, the one she gave him with the files of her missing parents. Brennan was an image of a charming little girl with long bangs, almost covering her trusting blue eyes. The photo had slightly faded, but the intensity of the yellow vest survived to match the glow on her face. She had her forefinger under her chin, much like the way he held her in front of the diner last week.
Booth cornered Brennan against the window, locking her between two strong arms without making contact. The dark expression he held softened when he added, "No matter what you say or do, that's still what I see."
Brennan tried to turn her head away, but Booth leaned closer to prevent her. Their lips were almost touching, her sweet scent made him want to close his eyes with need. Booth recognized her dissonance, her thoughts being contradicted by the way the world, one that included Booth, turned around her.
She looked like she was trying to hold on to something stable when she whispered, "We are who we are, Booth." Roughly wiping a tear on her cheek with the tips of her fingers, she desperately added, "People don't change."
Booth's earlier frustration was quickly replaced by the need to protect. He didn't hesitate to close the gap, and except for that one time in her office when she resisted his touch, she had never denied him the chance to comfort her.
Brennan leaned into Booth's arms, though her own remained at her sides. When she did not pull away from his embrace as he held her closer, Booth thought, You've already changed, Bones. You're almost there.
We're almost there.
Author's Note: Feedback would be nice. Thanks for reading!