Title: Something More
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. Let's skip on, shall we?
Summary: How Brennan's conversation with Sully might have gone. Scene from The Boneless Bride in the River.
Author's Note: I just keep coming back, don't I? This archive has a hold on me and this wee story just bit me on the ass this morning.
She knew the topic was going to come up again and her bones were stiff with tension as she held her breath and waited for inevitable.
Beside her, Sully, who she had spent so many languid hours with was looking at her sideways while each of them pretended to be watching Booth's fierce interrogation of Jackie Burrows. Brennan opened her mouth to speak, to tell him, when Sully turned to face her.
"So, have you thought about it?" he asked and despite knowing so completely that he was eventually going to want an answer, she was still astoundingly unprepared for it.
"I haven't thought about much else," she admitted casting her gaze anywhere but on him. She felt guilty and in many senses, hated her inability to reach out and grab life and love in her fists and take hold of it. Treasure it. "Sully…" she began passing her tongue across her dry lips, biding time.
"It's alright," he replied with a soft tenderness in his tone. "I understand." The flashing pain in his dark eyes told her that he did not and she wanted to explain. "How sick is it that a person could remove someone's bones?" Brennan reached out, touching his arm. She saw how difficult it was for him not to pull away and she admired his ability to be so polite, so kind. He truly was a wonderful man and a wave of anger rose in her chest. Anger at herself.
"Sully," she said as Jackie Burrows started to cry beyond the glass. "I'm not brave enough to sacrifice all the things I have worked so hard for. I can't leave my life without knowing that it is the right thing." Sully glanced at her before quickly readjusting his gaze to the interrogation room. "Can't you stay here, just for a few months more-" He shook his head at once.
"No, Temperance." She was somewhat surprised at the immediate dismissal. "I want to experience life and enjoy it. I'm tired of Washington. I just want to… live." Brennan knew that he was trying hard to remain calm, but she caught the glimmer of censure in his irises and felt almost embarrassed at herself. She had always prided herself in her bravery – but it had deserted her now.
"I understand," she conceded with a nod and the statement contradicted her feelings completely. Of course she did not understand. If she did, would she still be standing here or would she be backing bikinis and shorts for the Caribbean?
"Do you?" Sully asked as though reading her mind. Instead of admitting that she did not, Brennan nodded her head. They lapsed into silence again, watching Booth as he continued to recite how he theorised the murder, much to Jackie Burrow's horror. After a moment, Sully slid away from the window. "You're not staying here because of your work," he stated and she felt a dart of fear that she could not explain pierce her chest.
"I suppose my friends have a lot to do with it, too," she admitted softly. Sully crossed his arms across his chest and she realised that she would miss his strength and his light-hearted attitude to everything.
"You're staying because of Booth." Brennan hoped that her features did not betray her as her heart began to pound inside her ribs. "You've spent months in other countries working, Temperance, and friends did not bother you then. But that was all before you met…" a lesser person would have hissed 'him' at this point, but Sully merely finished, "Booth." Brennan thought it was a testament to how kind a person he truly was.
"I was working when I was away," she insisted quickly. Sully shook his head, perhaps disappointed that she would lie to herself. After a long moment, she sighed heavily and her shoulders seemed to physically deflate. "What do you want me to say? They mean a lot to me… Booth included." Her eyes flew to the window, to the man behind the glass who was unaware of their conversation about him. Occasionally, he would look at the mirror, as if trying to gauge their reactions beyond his own reflection.
"Booth especially," Sully insisted. "It's okay, Temperance. If a woman asked Booth to go to the Caribbean he wouldn't go." She nodded in agreement. Of course Booth wouldn't go; his crusade to capture criminals was mightily important to him. "I don't know if this will help," Sully said, taking her face in his warm hands now, "but if you made the first move… if you told him why you're staying… he'd admit to you and to himself… how much you mean to him." She couldn't look in Sully's eyes because she knew her emotions could not be submerged. "I'll miss you." He bent forward and kissed her – not as he would have during one of their bedtime sessions, but a tender kiss that signalled his official goodbye.
"I'll miss you too," she whispered back, never comfortable with affection.
When he was gone and Jackie Burrows was left in a cell to contemplate her crimes, Brennan met Booth in the foyer and he realised immediately that something was amiss, for she could barely look at him and when he spoke she was brisk and almost dismissive.
"Have a tiff with lover boy?" he asked, leading her out into the parking lot. Brennan's expression must have told him that he was close to the truth for he murmured 'oh', striding on towards his SUV. "Is everything alright?" He asked eventually, when both their seatbelts were clipped into place.
"Fine," she lied stiffly.
"So… are you going on your sabbatical?" Booth fired the engine, barely looking at her. She bit the inside of her cheek before running her tongue over the wound.
"No," she replied, glancing at the sky and realising that it was most certainly going to rain. The weather had been so nice recently, too. She supposed the city was due some rain but she couldn't help but regret the loss of the spring warmth.
"Why?" Booth pried and she was tempted to answer sharply that it was simply none of his damn business. But it was. He was the primary reason why she had turned down Sully's wonderful offer and eventually she would pluck up enough courage to tell him as much. Perhaps when he told her what they talked about in his therapy sessions.
"Wasn't right for me at this time," she said, satisfied that her answer was neither vague nor too open. Booth glanced at her at the same moment the rain started, plummeting heavily on the wind shield. Above their heads, the sky was a swirling maelstrom of silvery grey and she hoped tomorrow would be better.
"When will be right, Brennan? What are you waiting for?" he asked but she detected no hint of malice or reprimand in his tone. Turning to him, she felt the smallest of smiles pull at her lips.
"Something better," she replied softly and he turned to look at her now, his eyes meeting hers. She refused to look away. "Something more."
This was just a very brief little oneshot because I have to go to work now, but I hope you like it and you know that reviews make me SO happy. So… please?