I'm honestly not sure where this came from. I don't usually write pieces like this. But I heard this song and had to do something. It's just so beautiful. The song is If I Had Only Known by Reba McEntire. Enjoy.


Temperance Brennan stared out the window at the passing city. The rain beat down on the roof of the car, the sound her only soundtrack for her thoughts. Russ was driving with her in the front passenger seat; somehow it seemed wrong. It should be him driving…her thoughts trailed off abruptly as her eyes took in the looming form of the Jeffersonian Institute. It had taken a little persuasion (and some pull from Cullen) to allow them to detour this way. She thought it fitting today, and she could almost see his smile.

The procession paused for a moment, paying tribute to a fallen comrade and friend. Temperance heard Angela's quiet sobbing in the backseat, her head buried into Hodgins' shoulder. But Temperance didn't cry – wouldn't allow herself to. Instead, her mind drifted back to another rainy day not too long ago.

Six weeks prior…

"Hey Bones, come outside with me!" Booth was giddy as he nearly skidded to a halt in front of her desk. She looked up briefly from her work and shot him an irritated glare.

"Booth, you know I have work to do. Besides, it's raining." Her hand gestured absently toward the window across the lab, but he only seemed to grin wider. Moving to her side, he placed one hand on her desk and the other on her chair as he squatted down.

"Please? Just a few minutes. I promise it'll be worth it." She knew she shouldn't but she did anyway; her eyes lifted from her paperwork to his face and she was lost in his boyish smile.

"You know just because we're dating now does not –"

" – give me the right to come barging in here, yada, yada, yada. Come on, Bones." He lifted her from her seat with gentle force and she found herself following him before she knew what was happening. He led her to the courtyard doors and his intent became clear.

"No, I'm not going out there," she protested, stopping in her tracks. He turned around and grabbed her hands, engulfing them with his warmth.

"When's the last time you just walked in the rain?" he asked softly, his voice low and husky. She chewed on her bottom lip, trying desperately to come up with a response that would keep her inside and dry. Unfortunately, he took her silence as acquiescence and dragged her through the double doors out into the rain.

"Booth!" she shrieked, shielding herself futilely. His arms were spread out wide now and she watched him rotate in place with his head back. Thunder rumbled overhead as the rain poured over them. Then he stopped. His eyes opened and took her in, and she squirmed a little under his scrutiny. He reached out a hand and she took it automatically, letting him pull her to his body.

They walked slowly around the courtyard in silence, each listening to the sound of the rain blanketing the city. He felt her shiver next to him and knew their time was up.

"Come on, let's get you back inside. I brought towels and extra clothes." She paused for a moment, as if she never wanted the moment to end. But rationale prevailed once more and she nodded before following him inside.

Present

Her mind snapped back into reality forcefully and she fought back a sob. If she had known, she'd have kept him out there for hours. If she had told him why she had shivered; that his proximity and his warmth were all she needed to feel alive. At least she'd have that instead of regret.

She wondered briefly what he'd say to her now. Doubtless it would be some absurd religious spiel about being in a better place – that he was watching over her. She snorted derisively at the thought. He couldn't see anymore, and she'd never hear his voice again. Foolishly, she wished she had memorized everything he'd ever said, and wondered if it were possible to forget how someone sounded. She hoped not. Sometimes the soft timbre of his voice was all that kept her anchored during the hellish nightmares that visited occasionally. How would she manage now, without his steadying presence beside her? He had never, not once, failed her. And he'd paid the price for it.

Cynically, she thought it was exactly how he wanted it to go. He'd given his life for her, to keep her safe. And she found that a part of her hated him for it. He'd always told her that he would always be there, that he would never leave. And the child that she'd been railed at the pain of another abandonment.

She recalled one of the last things he'd said to her in the dark of the morning before the worst day of her life. He'd asked her where she saw herself in forty years, when age had taken her manual dexterity and the torch of responsibility had long since been passed on. At the time she'd thought it silly conjecture – no one could possibly predict where they would be even hours from now. And he'd laughed at her oh-so-typical answer and told her that was part of the fun.

Her breath hitched as she recalled the look in his eyes at that moment, the hope and determination, the love. She knew he wanted to hear her say it, that no matter where she was she hoped he was with her. But she hadn't been able to form the words. As the rays of dawn pierced the silence, she'd cupped his face in her hands and said nothing and everything all at once. When he'd smiled she felt whole again, ready to face whatever horrors the world could produce that day.

The car began rolling again and she realized the procession was making its final leg to Arlington, where he would be interred. In front of them she could see the SUV that held his immediate family, and beyond that the hearse. As they pulled into Arlington National Cemetery the hearse was saluted sharply by the guards. Numbly, she allowed someone – probably Russ – to pull her from the car and lead her to the grave site.

The flag-draped coffin marked the end of the line, and she felt a twinge of pride that he would be laid to rest among his comrades. He had given so much in the service of the country he loved dearly.

She had seen that devotion and that love unbridled in his eyes focused solely on her. And the realization that she'd never actually said the words, that he'd never heard her say it aloud, rushed over her like icy water. Suddenly she couldn't breathe, and they were lowering him down into the earth. Gunshots cracked in the crisp air and she jerked, her eyes shutting instinctively against the harsh sound. She felt a hand descend on her shoulder and shake her firmly, as if trying to rouse her from her panic.

"I'm sorry," she whispered over and over, her mantra of repentance to a man she could never repay. He had saved her in every way possible, had made her a better person. And she would spend every day of the rest of her life earning his sacrifice.

"Temperance," a soft voice filled her ear, and the shock of it forced the air from her lungs. No, it can't be. She tried to open her eyes but found she couldn't, and a warm breeze settled around her like a blanket.

"Temperance, open your eyes."

She shot up quicker than lightning, her arms and legs becoming tangled immediately in the sheets. As her panicked eyes roamed the landscape she finally found her anchor, and she gazed into his eyes for what seemed like an eternity. She was vaguely aware of his hand caressing her back lovingly, soothingly, and his voice a steady, calming cadence.

"It's alright," she heard him whisper. "I'm here. You're safe." But he didn't know what had plagued her dreams, that it wasn't the warehouse or El Salvador that she had been trapped in. Tentatively she reached out a hand and smoothed it down his cheek, feeling the warmth of his skin beneath her palm.

"You're alive." It was out before she could censor herself, and she saw the moment of realization in his face. Quickly he gathered her against him and laid back, using his strength to stretch her out on top of him. Normally she would resist the obvious show of dominance but she was so relieved that the entire ordeal had been a dream – nightmare – that she soaked up as much of him as she could.

When his whispers of reassurance became nonsensical murmurs she allowed herself to lift her head. They both knew he couldn't promise to always be there, just as she couldn't. It was the price they paid for living their lives. But they had each accepted the responsibility, the consequences, and they loved anyway. But she saw the determination in his eyes, the promise that he would do everything in his power to come home to her.

"I love you," she said quietly. She felt, rather than heard, his breath still. His eyes were searching hers and she made sure he saw no hint of doubt from her. Because Temperance Brennan was stubborn, demanding, and sometimes rough on the edges, but she was not stupid.

She'd once heard the saying "You don't know what you have until it's gone," and thought it the dumbest thing she'd ever heard. She knew exactly what she had and, from the look of pure joy in his eyes and the smile on his face, so did he.


I have to say, I'm rather proud of this one. I think it's one of my favorites so far. How about you?