Title: One And One Makes Two, Not One
Pairing(s): Brennan/Booth angst
Summary: Brennan tries, she really does, to make this work. But she can't change who she is, or the inevitable conclusion their relationship must reach.
Notes: Rated for a little bit of sex. Hooray for angst! Unbetaed, enjoy!
She doesn't call him Seeley. The name sounds foreign on her lips, and even though she's always been good at learning new languages, this is one she cannot master. that Booth seems to know the language of familiarity and intimacy so well, he sinks right into it, as if the fact that they are sleeping together has changed their relationship in some imperceptible way that she cannot fathom. Oh, she knows that things have certainly changed between them; there is no way she would allow herself the liberty of staring at him so openly before, a pleased smile gracing her features as his eyes pierce hers. But Brennan cannot adapt like he has, cannot see how their names have changed. He's still Booth and she's still Brennan and she wonders how he can call her Temperance every time he comes, their bodies slick with sweat and his breath hot against her cheek. Brennan, on the other hand, doesn't say anything at these heightened moments. At least not any words, only sighs and moans as he brings her to the edge, consumed by a feeling she tries too hard to quantify when her mind begins to wander.
He hasn't broached the topic and she has no idea whether he's noticed or not, whether it bothers him that she doesn't speak his name like he speaks hers. She knows Booth well enough now, but there are still certain things that elude her when it comes to his thoughts and reactions. Once again, she ponders those epic tales told in every culture, of lovers who were one in body and mind and soul. There is no rational explanation for how such a thing is possible, and she wonders if Booth will one day help her find the answers that she seeks.
Now, when they're not doing anything except lying with each other, content and naked, Brennan knows that she's given him more than she's ever given anyone before. But she can't give everything. That's not who she is. Temperance Brennan is an singular individual, independent of any other person on the planet, has been and always will be, no matter how much she loves the man laying next to her. He gazes at her with such an intense look in his eyes that she feels like she's drowning and being burned at the same time.
It's like an exquisite torture, almost, watching herself from the outside as she sabotages her own chance at happiness. Then again, it wasn't much of a chance to begin with. Booth has changed her for the better, it's true. But there's only so much she can change. As Booth himself once said, a tiger cannot change its stripes. (Obviously not; a tiger's stripes are the direct result of a millenia of specific genetic recombination and there's no known way to alter something as detailed as superficial markings on a large mammal without completely disturbing said mammal's DNA.) She is the tiger and her stripes cannot be changed, no matter how long she hopes the routine of being with Booth will sink into her skin. There is a piece of her that is unchanging and resolute, something that goes deeper than the mere trifles of relationships, beyond the superficial trappings of societal expectations. It is what makes her who she is, and she cannot erase her past and her personality at the whim of another human being.
Theirs is not a fairy-tale romance. There is no happily ever after. They knew, going in, that there would be difficulties. She becomes angry when he abruptly leaves her alone with Parker and he gets angry when she abruptly leaves for a conference in Tuscon. She says things that she doesn't really mean, things that are meant to hurt him. Neither of them are innocent; he strikes back at her as well, his words cutting through her skin like a dull knife, severing arteries and spilling veins. They fume and fight and needlessly make things difficult for each other, because as much as they love each other they cannot find that elusive harmony that usually comes to other people.
It's not that Brennan is looking for harmony. Not with Booth. She knew that from the very beginning. And maybe that is their very downfall.
"This isn't working." She's the one to speak the words. This isn't enough. This isn't fair, neither to you nor myself. She doesn't say anything else, simply watches Booth's face. His reaction is a mix of resignation and determination that she cannot fully comprehend. She takes it as a sign that she's been right all along, this is the right choice. If she still can't read or speak the language of his body and mind, then what have they gained from this? Whatever this was.
He must have known, deep down inside. Quietly, he closes the door behind him and the silence in her apartment is profound. Brennan sits down on her couch and watches the sun's rays move across the wall, once again finding solace in her unbroken solitude.