Temperance sat on a bench outside of the courtroom as she fiddled with the hem of her coat. It was a long road that brought her to this seat as she waited for Booth to get his decision. She closed her eyes and leaned her head back, determined to be there for him regardless of the news he received.
Her mind wandered back over the past year and she smiled grimly at what happened at the beginning of the long journey. She and Booth faced each other on the couch, her mouth opening and closing as she listened to his words. "You know how I feel about you, and I just have to know if we'll stay friends or if there's a chance for us to be so much more."
"Booth…We can't." They stared at each other for a long time before he nodded and looked away. Brennan placed a hand on his arm and waited until he turned back around to look at her. Her chest tightened up at the hurt so plainly telegraphing in his expression. "You owe it to both Taylor and Marianna to try and save your marriage. You left here earlier insisting that you were going to work things out, and then come back saying you didn't agree with her reasons for wanting to move. That isn't like you."
"She wants to leave the country to keep me away from you, and I just can't do that Bones." The two looked at each other a long time before Temperance sighed and shook her head.
"I love you, and I think you know that, but I can't allow you throw away the life you've built because of Marianna's concerns about me. You need to work this out, and if it means you've got to leave the country to do it, then so be it."
"You're really turning me down?"
"I'm sorry, but now isn't the time for this. Work on your marriage, go to counseling if that's what you need to do, but don't just give up on something because of one little disagreement. You know I'll still be here for you. I'm not going anywhere." Temperance reached up and cupped his cheek, her chest tightening at the way he leaned into her touch.
"It's funny, but I always thought I'd be the one to say that."
"Well, things change. You can stay here for now if you must, but you need to work things out Booth. Don't just give up on what you believe in because of me. It's not worth it."
Temperance sighed and pulled her coat tightly around her as she glanced at her watch. She'd been sitting here for what felt like hours, waiting for whatever news Booth would receive. He had done as she asked and gone back to his wife, though for a while their own relationship suffered.
Even in the beginning when they first became partners, there was never any awkwardness to anything, even their silences. Once she proclaimed that she wouldn't accept his affections, that changed. It took months before they could just sit in a room together and not try to fill the space with something. She watched from the sidelines as he and Marianna went into couples counseling, and after that proved to be unsuccessful then the divorce proceedings truly began.
By law Marianna had to remain in the States until all of the custody issues with Taylor were worked out, and that's why they were in court that day. The judge's final ruling on parental rights was today. Temperance was on edge, waiting for Booth to come out of the courtroom with news of the decision and jumped when her cell phone went off. She reached into her purse, fumbling for it to answer the call.
"Sweetie, it's me. Listen, it's not that I don't like spending time with Christy or anything, but she's been asking when you'll be back home. Any word yet?"
"Not yet. I'm still waiting. Just tell her I'll be home late this evening and see if she'd be interested in having a sleepover with you. I have a feeling that if this goes badly for Booth, he'll need some company."
"No problem. Just call me when you know anything, okay?"
"I will." They ended the call, and Brennan's attention moved back to the courtroom doors. Why did this have to take so long if it was just a review of their testimony? She blew out a breath and crossed her arms. None of this would have happened if they'd been open enough to each other to admit how they felt all those years ago. She had to admit, when she'd discovered Booth's true feelings by listening to that audio recording, she'd been tempted for a moment to blow off what she had in order to chase him down.
Booth had been right about one thing though. Even with Garreth's untimely death, she didn't regret a moment of their time together. She'd never know what it would have been like to enter into a relationship with Booth, but she knew what she had with her late husband and it had been fantastic.
Her attention was drawn back to the courtroom as the doors swung open and all parties left. Her gaze immediately fell onto Booth, and the ache in her chest left at the smile beaming on his face.
"You got custody?" She wrapped her arms around him, yelping a little in surprise when he lifted her off the ground and tightened his hold on her.
"Primarily, yes. She visits Mari all holidays and school breaks, but I have her the rest of the time."
"I'm happy for you Booth. I know this has been trying on you."
"I don't think any of this would have happened if you hadn't made me go back to Mari." Booth let go of Temperance and offered her his arm as they walked out of the court house and into the bright sunlight. Both turned their faces toward the heat of the sun and smiled.
"So you know why I said what I did?"
"Yes, I do. It hurt, but I understand why you kept your distance."
"Good, so what do you want to do to celebrate?"
"Actually I have a date tonight." Brennan's face fell at the news. It wasn't that he didn't deserve to have a new start with someone, but this was not how she pictured the evening to go.
"Oh? I wasn't aware you were seeing anyone. I mean you've never said anything."
"Well, this is sort of new, a first date actually."
"Where did you meet her?" She watched as a smile bloomed on his face.
"I met her at work. She's amazing Bones, seriously."
"Good for you Booth, really." Well, she at least tried to sound sincere. There was something about the way he was looking at her that made her feel as though she was missing something.
"So, what do you say Temperance? I pick you up at seven; we have dinner, maybe go out dancing? We've waited so long, unless you're not interested?" Brennan looked at Booth, confused. He was talking about her this whole time? She really wanted to be irritated that he would make assumptions about her that way, but the look of vulnerability on his face kept the emotion at bay. Instead, she smiled and clutched at his arm just a little bit tighter.
"Seven o'clock it is."