Genre: Drama/Romance – Booth and Brennan pairing
Summary: Booth and Brennan uncover a conspiracy while they face choices that will change their lives in their lifetime and the next.
Timeline: Alternate Universe. Ancient Rome.
Disclaimer: The characters of Bones belong to Kathy Reichs, Hart Hanson, Barry Josephson and FOX.
"I'm going to be strong. I'm not going to cry." Temperance chanted in her mind as she shifted on her seat and looked back through the coach's window. She watched her mother and brother's waving hands grow smaller until the dust produced by the horses' hooves clouded her vision. She lingered, perched on the back of the seat until their figures disappeared and got replaced by trees that went on forever.
"You'll see them again, Tempe. I'll take them to visit as often as I can." Her father gently tapped her shoulder.
Temperance nodded her head, afraid that words would trigger the tears and she wouldn't be able to stop. Her father explained that their journey to Rome would be an adventure. This trip would be her life's greatest honor; to be presented to the high priest, and if selected, to be a priestess in training. Her six year old mind tried to understand what her father meant but failed.
She recalled her mother that morning, who tearfully donned her with her most favorite dress. "Tempe, this gown will look beautiful on you. The high priest will think you the most worthy little girl in Rome."
Temperance obediently stood still as her mother tied the ribbons in front of her. She attempted one more time to sway her mother's favors. "Mama, I'd rather be plain and stay here with you. Don't you want me to stay? I promise to be good. Even to Russell, I'll be good with him too."
Her mother's fingers stilled. She leaned down and planted a kiss on her cheek. "You're my angel and don't ever forget it. I will always want you. Letting you go breaks my heart. But sometimes, the gods require us to make sacrifices."
Temperance hugged her mother's waist. Her small framed rocked as she sobbed her grief. Her mother held her until the tears stopped.
"No more tears. Okay. Promise me, no more tears for papa." Her mother wiped her cheeks with her thumbs and run a wet cloth over her face before going with her downstairs.
Temperance looked up to see her father gazing at her with concern. She tried to smile for him to ease his heart, but all she managed to do was lift the corners of her mouth, a gesture that resembled a quiver more than a smile. She took her father's arm instead and hugged it as she laid her head against his shoulder.
"Tempe, wake-up." Her father nudged her gently as she felt the couch slow down.
Temperance rubbed her eyes with the back of her fisted hands, hands that would grow long and lean but were still filled with flesh of a child not deprived of sustenance. "Are we in Rome yet?"
"No, Tempe. But I'm glad this road has been worked on so our passage was smooth and you were able to get some sleep." Her father traced a hint of darkness under her usually vibrant blue eyes. "I know you didn't sleep well last night."
Not wanting to upset her father, Temperance nodded and looked outside. She saw a little boy with dark skin and curly dark hair playing at the side of the road. His wooden sword sliced the air in front of him, his movements mimicking a soldier in battle.
"We're passing by a village to rest the horses for a little while. Would you like to eat?"
Turning her attention back to her father, "I'm not hungry papa, but I want to take a walk. May I step outside while the horses take their rest?"
With her father's permission, the maid who rode in another couch was fetched to accompany Temperance outside. She did not wander too far, but stood under a tree that gave her shade under the intense heat of the sun. Her maid sat beside her, wiping her wrinkled forehead with her forearms.
The houses in the village was unlike her own, their design more simple, clusters of small thatched huts built with wood and clay. Most inhabitants must have gone indoors as the sun reached its peak, except for a few children playing outside, including the little boy who seemed determined to win his imaginary fight.
Temperance observed him until he caught her watching. She wanted to look away but his reaction stopped her. Instead of reprimanding her as her brother would do, the little boy smiled and put both hands behind his back to make a grand bow. With a grin, he resumed his sword fight.
Intrigued, Temperance walked closer to him. She stopped when an elderly man approached the boy. He too had a wooden sword.
The newcomer greeted her. "Good day. Here to watch a good fight, my lady?"
Temperance, not used to being addressed as a lady, beamed and nodded.
Before starting, the little boy asked. "What's your name?"
Hesitating, but not wanting to deny the first friendly face she saw upon leaving her home, she replied. "Temperance."
"Well, Seeley, lets show Temperance how soldiers win a war." The elderly man stroked his sword down and this was easily blocked by the boy's own. The father and son displayed their sword fighting skills as Temperance watched with fascination.
"You're both very good." She commented politely as they took a break for a drink.
Handing the cup to his father after taking a few gulp, Seeley said proudly, "I'm going to be a soldier one day, and serve the emperor of Rome. That's why I practice with the sword everyday."
Temperance, reminded she has left home and going to an unknown place called Rome, sobered. "I'm going to Rome too. But I don't have any friends there."
The little boy walked up to her, he was a head taller. "I'm going there when I'm grown-up. I will call on you if you'd like."
Appealed with the idea, Temperance nodded. "I shall like to see you. My papa is taking me at a Temple; you can look for me there."
"Are you ready, Seeley?" His father called and they resumed the practice.
Temperance watched until her father called her name. Not wanting to interrupt, Temperance picked up her skirt and walked back to the coach where the horses were being readied for travel. Unknown to her, the little boy turned to see her go and missed a hit that landed him on his back with the tip of his father's wooden sword on his chest. She also didn't hear the father say, "Seeley, you've just learned the most important rule in fighting. Don't lose your head over a pretty girl's face."
Seeley wouldn't know the truth in these words until years later when he met Temperance again.
Temperance settled back in the coach and just as she started, she watched as father and son continued their sword fight until they too got lost in the cloud of dust and distance.
It would be another twenty five years before she saw him again.
A/N Feedback would be nice :)