Point of No Return

Disclaimer: Neither the characters nor the song (Don't Forget About Me by Enrique Iglesias) are mine. I only wish they were.

A/N: Well, here we are; at the end of the road. Sorry, I was watching the Lethal Weapon movies and that song kinda got stuck in my head. But it's true. This is the last one shot for this series! Yay!!! Sometimes I thought I would never finish it. But here it is! It's a big shorter than the rest and not quite as angsty as I'd planned but even in his despair, Booth couldn't stop thinking about Brennan. *shakes head* What can you do? Anyway, I will changed the status to complete after this one shot but I reserve the right to add any more if inspiration strikes again. Don't hold your breath on that, however, as musie seems to be more interested on Criminal Minds than Bones this days. I will start writing the sequel: Turning Point, but I make no promises as to when I'll start posting, again, musie has her own ideas as to what I should be writing. I've enjoyed writing this series and if it weren't for my current lack of inspiration, I would have continued. Sadly, I'm just not as fascinated with the show as I was when I started writing. And I can't figure out why; I think I'm just kinda tired of this 'will they, won't they' dance we've been on for five years and knowing that it's already been renewed for another two makes me think they're going to make it even longer. Still, I promised I was going to write the sequel and I will, just don't expect it very soon, k? Anyway, thanks to everyone that's still reading and that takes the time to review. Especially to pup for all her work betaing and brainstorming; to Kerrie who loves this universe but still puts up with the crossover, to Mendenbar, whose reviews help me be a better writer. Your encouragement means the world, guys, Thanks!!!

-------

Booth blinked to find himself standing in the middle of his living room, with no notion of how he'd gotten there. The last half of hour was nothing but a blur; everything from the moment he'd gotten into his car and left Brennan and Angela in the restaurant's parking lot was hazy as if it had been a dream he couldn't quite recall. Frankly, he wasn't sure he wanted to remember because the half hour prior to that was crystal clear in his mind and he fervently wished he could forget it.

They say love is just a game
They say time can heal the pain
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
And I guess I'm just a fool
I keep holding on to you

He couldn't believe it was over; he just couldn't believe that after four years it was over. He shook his head and decided that he couldn't, didn't want to think about it. A beer, he needed a beer; some alcohol to numb the pain that was beginning to spread from his chest onward. But even as he walked into the kitchen, he knew that there wasn't enough alcohol in the world that could permanently numb the pain of losing his Bones. He would have to stay plastered for the rest of his life and even then, he doubted it would do much good.

As tempting as trying to drown his sorrows in a bottle was, Booth was much too disciplined to do that. Having beaten one addiction, he had no desire to develop another and he was always conscious that as a father he had to set a good example. As such he only took one bottle from the fridge and decided he would only have two that night. He was going to have to get used to living with the pain of losing Bones so he might as well start then.

His hand automatically reached for the remote when he flopped down onto the couch. And even though the TV was tuned to his favorite sports channel and his team had just won an important match, he paid no heed to any of it. Instead, all he could think about was the fact that he'd walked out on Bones. He had actually driven away and left her behind in the parking lot, calling to him that she wanted to talk. Part of him, the part that had fallen for her almost the moment they met, the part that spent the next three years teaching her to trust him and showing her what it meant to love, the part that spent the last four years working with her to make their relationship work and which never thought he could give up on her felt guilty for leaving her behind.

But the biggest part of him, the part that had spent the past few months watching as she slipped further and further away from him, watching as she retreated so far from him that the distance between them was bigger than when they first met, the part that watched, waited and hoped that their relationship was still important enough to her that it could be saved but had sadly come to the conclusion that it probably wasn't – that part of him knew there hadn't been anything else he could do but walk away because she hadn't given him any other choice.

He'd been by her side from practically the moment they met, through thick and thin and everything in between. He risked his job and reputation for her, had put his life on the line more than once to keep her safe and had given her his heart and soul. He'd been with her through all her neuroses, panic attacks and drawing back; he'd been the one to hold her when her past came back to haunt her and made her doubt who she was. And he was the one that had calmed her down whenever the thoughts of the future got too scary for her.

He'd always been there, holding on to – to her and their relationship because however hard it had been on her, he had always believed that it was worth it, that she was more than worth it. And he would have continued to keep on holding on to her and their relationship for the rest of his life if that was what was needed but there came a time when everyone and everything reached their breaking point and he'd reached his. There just didn't seem to be anything to hold on to anymore. She had even started to pull away at work; the one thing they had always been able to share and she was pulling away there too. She no longer wanted to go out into the field with him; it seemed as if she no longer wanted to be his partner at all – in any sphere of life.

I told you once you were the one
You know that I'd die for you
Although it hurts to see you go
Oh this time you should know
I won't try to stop you

So, he was letting go – of her and their relationship because a relationship of one was not a relationship he wanted any part of, nor was it one worth fighting for. But as sure as he was that he was doing the right thing, he still couldn't believe it had gotten to that point. He couldn't believe he had actually walked out on Bones literally and was ready to do it figuratively. He'd sworn to her and himself that he would never walk away from her and yet, here he was doing exactly that. He was breaking his promise because there was nothing else he could do – nothing else she would let him do.

It hurt, as much as anything in his life had ever hurt; letting her go hurt – on a number of levels. It hurt because he was a man of his word and breaking it did not sit right with him; it also hurt because now Bones would equate him with everyone else in her life that had walked away and left her behind and because she would never trust anyone else again and it hurt because he was losing the love of his life and he knew life would never be the same.

It hurt but sometimes life hurt and there was nothing to do but feel the pain because sometimes that was the only thing that reminded you that you were still alive when all you wanted to do was get in bed, draw the covers over your head and never come out again. And as pathetic as it might sound, he wasn't sure what hurt the most: the idea that he would have to live the rest of his life without Bones in it or the fact that he knew that by him going she was losing her best chance at happiness. Because he knew as surely as he knew his name that she just wouldn't opened up to anyone ever again; after what she was sure to perceive as a betrayal, she wouldn't be able to let anyone else in – ever.

Don't you forget about me baby

Don't you forget about me now

As much as the thought of losing her hurt, Booth knew that he could and would recover – someday, somehow, he would recover and go on. Bones was the love of his life, there would never be another one like her and losing her was a blow unlike any other but he'd had blows before and he'd been able to get up and continue. This time would be no different. He would grieve; he would mourn and would not want anything to do with the opposite sex for a long, long time and yet, someday, way in the future, he would be able to look back at this time and smile with bittersweet pleasure. He might not fall in love again but he could be happy finding someone to keep him company – someday.

It wouldn't be fast; he was going to hurt for a long, long time but he knew someday he'd be okay. Bones, however, would probably never recover. Whatever the reason for her pulling back had been, Booth was pretty certain that it hadn't been because she had fallen out of love with him. It had probably been that her fears got the best of her and that made him incredibly sad. He was hurting but he would be fine; she, on the other hand, was denying she was hurting and he knew she wouldn't be fine. There were no some days in her future because she wouldn't allow them. And the thought that she would be all alone, stuck in her academic ivory tower, never letting anyone in close enough to reach her hurt him as much as the thought of never holding her in his arms again, of going to bed and waking up without her by his side.

He would be miserable without her but he would let himself feel the pain and work through it; she wouldn't allow herself that weakness and that was why, in the end, she would be the one that wouldn't be able to forget him, to move on. He was sure she would deny it until her dying day but of the two of them, she would be the one that suffered the most. And given how much Booth was hurting at that moment, that was saying something.

Some day you'll turn around and ask me, why did I let you go?

So you try to fake a smile
You don't wanna break my heart
I can see that you're afraid
But baby it's too late
Coz I'm already dying

With a groan, he realized that he'd finished his beer. The last thing he wanted to do was get up but one measly beer was no where near enough to numb him – not that two would be much better but it'd be something. With another bottle of beer as a reward, he pushed up from the sofa and walked into the kitchen where he threw away the first beer bottle and took the second one of the evening from the fridge. When he left the kitchen, he turned off the light and plunged the apartment into shadows as the only light came from the TV. It created an almost spooky atmosphere and on any other night, he might be tempted to leave on a light to combat it but on this particular night, it suited his mood.

He slumped back down on the couch and tried to turn his attention to the sports news but it was no use. His head was filled with Bones and the end of their relationship. By that point the disbelief was gone and an indifferent calm has started to settle over him, though he knew that was only a thin layer that masked the cauldron of pain and anger that was at his center. And like all thin layers, it could crack at the slightest pressure. So, he tried not to think about it.

The worst part was that he knew she had no idea what had happened. He was sure she hadn't meant to hurt him and was probably still wondering why he had walked away. She wouldn't understand that it had been her own actions that had left him no option because in her mind, she wouldn't have done anything wrong. She could be so clueless sometimes and usually he found that to be one of her more endearing qualities but sometimes it could be . . . tiring. Sometimes it could be beyond tiring.

Despite his new numb state, he couldn't quite erase the look on her face when he drove away. He hadn't seen her quite that lost in a while but what else could he have done? When was it time for him to worry about himself and not her? How much would he have to hurt before it was okay to stop feeling guilty about walking away?

With a snort, Booth shook his head, he was being pathetic – she had been the one that pulled away from him, the one that had effectively ended their relationship and still, he was the one that felt guilty, the one that was worried about her. Enough was enough, he'd walked away; it was no longer his problem what she did or didn't do, what she felt or didn't feel. He had enough problems trying to figure out how he was going to get out of bed the next morning and the next and all the mornings after that, trying to figure out how he was going to tell his little boy that Dr. Bones wouldn't be around anymore. He had to figure out how to explain to a not quite eleven year old that the person that had helped tuck him in, tell him stories and answer all his questions for the last four years would no longer be around and he had to make sure to let him know it wasn't his fault. It wasn't an easy task and not one he was looking forward to.

Don't you forget about me baby
Don't you forget about me now
Some day you'll turn around and ask me, why did I let you go

Booth closed his eyes and took a deep breath before attempting to put all that aside; tomorrow would be soon enough to figure it all out. After all, he had three days off because there was no way he was going into the office in the morning. He was going to take a long weekend and figure out where he went from there. Maybe requesting a transfer would be the way to go because God knew working with Bones was not going to be easy. He had to figure out how to live his life without her in it, without being able to hug her, kiss her or hold her during the night. All that might just be easier if he wasn't constantly around her.

He made another attempt to pay attention to the television when he heard a noise from the front door. He straightened and thought to go check it out but couldn't find the energy to get up; besides, he had a pretty good idea who was outside his door. He should have known that she wouldn't be able to leave it alone. When had the woman that needed evidence before she made any kind of determination ever left anything alone she didn't completely understand? When had she stopped poking at something before she was able to fully dissect it? In a word, the answer was never. He should have known it was too much to hope for that she would follow his lead and let things be.

He let his head drop down on the back of the couch and waited for her to finally get in. Surprisingly, it took her a full five minutes before she finally entered. Even then, it took her longer than he would have thought to make her way from the entryway to the living room. When she finally made it all the way to living room, she hovered on the threshold, observing him without saying a word. And when he broke the silence, she jumped as if startled. Maybe she wasn't feeling as confident as usual. That was good; why should he be the only one that was feeling completely out of sorts in the presence of the one person in the world who usually made him feel completely at ease?

"There's nothing to talk about," he protested when, after months of avoiding it, she suddenly said they needed to talk. "I have nothing new to say and you haven't had anything to say in months. So . . ."

She continued to plead her case, going so far as to say she loved him but it wasn't until she attempted to put the blame of what was happening on him that he finally turned to look at her. And immediately wished he hadn't. Even though he maintained his 'Ranger face', he knew he was starting to weaken; seeing her look sincere and apologetic always had that effect on him. And when she tried to make contact but stopped herself at the last moment and then repeated, softly that she loved him – well, he was lost. He had never been able to resist her, even when he knew it was in his best interest to do so. With a sigh, he figured there was really nothing to lose if he listened to her. So, he did.

A/N2: I'm not being mean by leaving it here. For those of you who haven't read it, this leads right into chapter 5 of Breaking Point. The rest of the talk is all written out there. I just wasn't going to write it again. Actually, when I first thought of this one shot, I wasn't even supposed to get this far into the talk. It was going to end with her walking in but again, Booth had other ideas and so it didn't end up being as angsty as I wanted. At least, I don't think it's that angsty. And there's a happy ending - just go to Breaking Point and you'll read it. That fic is all done, just waiting for you guys!!