Welcome to my first fanfic in almost two years! I hope you enjoy this sickeningly fluffy oneshot. Also, please note that I love Angela to pieces and she and Brennan are best friends, etc. But mentioning her disrupted the Bones-Boothness of the story so I cut her out.
Disclaimer: I don't even have a dog. What makes you think I own a tv show, especially one as fabulous as Bones?! (In case you didn't get it, that means I don't own Bones)
Fitting the key into the lock on her door in her dizzy and confused state was difficult. Normally, Brennan would have called Booth, and they would have discussed what was bothering her over Thai food. But tonight Booth was the cause of the problem, not the solution.
Earlier, he had driven her home and they had talked. She loved talking with Booth, maybe because they had such different opinions on the issues, but their moral codes were the same. As they pulled up to her building, he had turned to her and, instead giving her his charm smile and wishing her a good night, had very seriously told her he loved her. She had been shocked, mumbled that she had to go, and had run out of the car, slamming the door behind her.
She was all jumbled inside now, so she turned towards the kitchen. Times like this called for cocoa and snickerdoodles.
Seeley Booth felt his feet pounding the pavement in sort of a disjointed way. He heard the rhythmic pounding they made, the sound that to him was saying stupid…stupid…stupid. He really was stupid. After all the careful planning and waiting, the words had just slipped out. Now he had scared her off. Stupid…stupid…stupid. He had known that he needed to tread carefully, and now he had screwed it up unbelievably, trampled his caution in a second. It was probably midnight by now, but he couldn't go home. With any luck, the cold night air would make him sick so he wouldn't have to face her tomorrow.
In the end it was Brennan who called in sick.
"I think I just had some bad food last night," she told Angela when she phoned in, "I was up all night." The last part was true, but food poisoning was not the cause.
"Okay, you just rest up, sweetie, and we'll see you tomorrow," Angela said.
So she was free for the day and had nothing to do except think about Booth. She went out to her parking space, intent on getting some shopping done that she had been meaning to get around to, and realized how long it had been since she had driven herself anywhere. Booth drove her almost everywhere now, even picked her up to drive her to work in the morning. And God forbid that he ever let her drive, she thought with anger that was more from habit than from really being bothered. A kind of choked sigh came from Brennan's chest. Slamming the door, she resolved to walk.
Thirty minutes later, she was not outside a store or a boutique, or even the lab, but instead she was in front of an office. She pushed open the door and strode over to the receptionist.
"Hello, I know I don't have an appointment, but is Dr. Wyatt free right now?"
"Actually Dr. Wyatt is on personal leave at the moment, but if you give me your name, I can schedule you for when he gets back."
"My name is Temperance Brennan but that won't be necessary." She turned to exit the office, but the receptionist called her back.
"Dr. Brennan? Dr. Wyatt said that if you ever came by, I was supposed to give you this." She rummaged through her desk a minute and came up with an envelope.
"Thank you," Brennan said, puzzled.
Walking back to her apartment, she speculated as to what the envelope could contain. What did Dr. Wyatt leave behind for her?
As soon as she entered her apartment, she ripped open the envelope. A CD fell out. Brennan shrugged and put the disk into the CD player. Dr. Wyatt's voice came from the speakers.
"May 1st. This is Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt conducting the final evaluation of Special Agent Seeley Booth. Now, Agent Booth, I would like to bring up one last issue. Your partner, Dr. Temperance Brennan."
"What about her?" There was Booth's voice.
"Nothing in particular, just talk me about her."
"You've gotta give me more to go on there, Doc. What do you want me to say? That when we first started working together she was cold and distant and tried to blackmail me? That she used to be pretty unpleasant to work with?"
"Excellent start. But what changed after your first meeting?"
"She didn't change drastically. It was just little things. But when I compare her to Bones now, she's so different. She actually knows some of the movies I quote and we joke around."
"There we are. More."
"There you go again, Doc, with the prodding. What more am I supposed to say? That she's brilliant? We already knew that. That she has some really deep abandonment issues? That's obvious and well documented." His voice grew more serious. "That she's beautiful? That I have a picture of her in my wallet behind the picture of my kid? That sometimes I smell her hair when she's bent over a skeleton and it smells like oranges? That she's my best friend? That I trust her with everything? That whenever I'm somewhere else, I wonder what she's doing? That I would kill for her or die for her in a second? That whenever I see another guy touch her I want to kill him? That whenever I'm with another woman, I catch myself wishing it were her? That I wake up every morning and have to force myself not to hope to God that someone was murdered just so we can have a case and I can be with her? That I want to hug her close and promise her that I'll never betray or leave her? That I've tried not to love her, because she's my partner and she might reject me if I get to close, but I can't help it? That I love her because she's smart and beautiful and strong and opinionated and she works so hard to make a difference in a world that just kept kicking her down until she kicked back?" Booth's voice regained its amiable tone. "Cause I need a little more help narrowing down what you want me to say."
"That will do, Agent Booth. That's fine."
The CD stopped and Brennan ejected it dazedly. He loved her. He had been telling the truth that night. Despite all her flaws and problems, he loved her. He wasn't going to leave, like everyone else she loved had. He would stay and love her. But the question was, did she love him back?
A montage of memories flew through her mind: Booth's hand on her back, guiding her through a door. Booth hugging her; Booth making her feel better as she cried; Booth working with her to fight murderers every day; Booth coming to her rescue. When she was with Booth, she felt so safe. But that was part of a normal friendship, wasn't it? She remembered more: Trying to rationalize Booth being with other women; Sully; everyone calling her Brennan or Bren or Temperance or Tempe while Booth called her Bones. When they had first started working together, she had hated the nickname. But eventually it was her life's only constant. She found out that Temperance Brennan was not even her real name. All the years she had been on her own, with only herself to trust and now she found that she wasn't who she thought she was. Every time she heard Temperance Brennan or any variation thereof, it was just a reminder of her screwed up past. But there was Booth through it all, calling her Bones, a name and identity that she could create independently from her history. Everyone around her had seen her as the brilliant doctor or author or best friend. No one had attempted or allowed her to change herself except Booth. He made her better. He helped her see herself not along the lines of the stereotypes but as a separate person. She could be Bones, Booth's partner, without being Temperance Brennan. With Booth she could just be her logical and yet strangely compassionate self and that was okay. But did all this add up to mean that she loved him? Making a snap decision, she went to the phone and speed dialed a number.
"Booth," came the crisp reply from the other end.
"It's me. Can I come over now? I'll bring Thai food."