AN: Well here it is, the final chapter to Wrestler in the Cave. I hope you enjoy and look forward to seeing you in the next story.
"What?" Brennan looked at Booth, not sure how to respond to what he asked. He wanted to stay married? Didn't he understand what kind of change that would entail to their relationship? Besides, it would mean that they wouldn't work together as partners anymore, and that was a big part of why she loved her job. Work on remains was so much more interesting when she could go out to the field and help solve the crime.
"I've been thinking about it, and I think we can do it, stay married that is. Look, I was planning to ask you to move in with me anyway and finally just announce that we're together. Cullen and the review board shouldn't be able to break up our partnership because they made me responsible for you when I took you out initially, plus you don't fall under the purview of the FBI anyway. Since we're already married, mistake or not, why don't we just stay that way?" He looked at her, his expression hopeful as he held onto her. Brennan opened and closed her mouth trying to find the right response to his request. After a minute, she sighed and looked away from him.
"I'm having annulment papers drafted." She felt him pull away from her and shut her eyes, knowing that if she looked at him, he'd be hurt. That was not something she intended for them.
"I get it," he said as he stood up and stepped away from her. "I've had to fight for this relationship since we started it. You didn't want to date me to begin with, so why would this be any different."
"Booth, you don't get it. I just don't want to be married. You know it's something I've never wanted."
"Well tough shit Bones, you already are. I was hoping that we could just adjust to the situation and take it in stride. It's already out there in the press anyway, so why not just let it stick."
"What the hell is so bad about being married to me? Is it because I have a son and you don't want kids, or is it something else I'm not aware of?"
"It's not you, okay? I don't like things being taken out of my control. I already can't choose whether or not to have children, and to have my right to choose whether or not to marry also taken away… I just don't want that."
"Well maybe it's fate, did you think about that? Maybe we're supposed to end up married."
"Then that should have been a decision for us to make, not a front desk clerk at a bed and breakfast. I don't want this Booth. I want the annulment and for things to get back to how they were."
"An annulment? You just don't get it Bones. To get an annulment you can't have consummated the marriage, and as I recall, we've had sex a few times since then. This whole relationship is already becoming a laughing stock because of the whole 'are they or aren't they' factor. A divorce is just going to make it worse."
"That's no reason not to end it." Booth turned away from her and ran a hand through his hair.
"You know what? I'm going to my room, and I'm going to bed. I'll see you around the Jeffersonian whenever I bring a case to Zack."
"You're breaking up with me?" Brennan stood and strode over to Booth, anger seeping from her body.
"Breaking up with you? That's a little hard to do without paperwork now isn't it? Oh, that's right; you were taking care of that yourself. Good night Dr. Brennan." Booth turned from her and stormed down the hall to his bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
"Booth, you're being ridiculous." She followed down the hallway and turned the doorknob only to find it wasn't moving. "You locked me out? You rat bastard."
"Get out of my apartment, I can't deal with you right now," came the muffled reply through the door. Brennan gaped at the door for a long moment before she could speak again.
"Stop behaving like a little kid Booth. We have to talk about this." She heard heavy footfall before the door was jerked open and a stony faced Booth looked at her.
"Talk? I think we've done enough talking. I've dreamt that we'd get married one day, that I'd be able to convince you that it's not a bad thing. I was hoping since this marriage was legal that you'd just go with it, but I guess I should have known better. If things don't go the way you want them to, they just don't happen."
"Unless the next words out of your mouth are, 'you're right Booth we should stay married' then I don't want to hear it." The two looked at each other for a long moment before Brennan shook her head and turned to leave. As she headed down the hallway to the living room, Booth had only one more thing to say to her. "I really thought we could make this work Bones. I hoped you cared enough to try."
"Sweetie, do you want to tell me why exactly you're back to work a week earlier than planned?" Angela leaned in the doorway to Brennan's office, her arms crossed and an eyebrow raised. "Does this have something to do with the messed up marriage thing?"
"Don't even bring up the word marriage to me right now Ange." Temperance sat at her desk as she sorted through e-mails. Several of her grad students sent requests for assistance on projects and she had to get them answered.
"Uh-oh, that can't be good," the artist said as she sauntered into the office. "What's going on Bren?"
"Booth and I are getting a divorce." The artist's eyebrows shot up in the air.
"Is this mutual, or something that you want and he doesn't, because I've got to tell you sweetie, I really thought that this would work."
"Why does everyone keep saying that? I didn't want to be married in the first place, so now I'm suddenly the bad guy because I still don't want that relationship with him."
"Whoa, no one said anything about you being the bad guy."
"He kicked me out of his apartment last night after I left my family to make sure he was okay. Everything would be just fine if he hadn't decided that being married to me was the be all end all to our relationship." Temperance turned from her computer and faced her friend. The artist was surprised to see the tears threatening to fall. Angela came over and hugged the anthropologist before leading her over to the couch.
"You know Booth well enough to know that even if he didn't ask you, he had to be thinking about it. The man's a traditionalist. You know he wants to be married. Just give him some time to cool down and I'm sure you can work through everything."
"I tried to work through this last night, but he got angry and kicked me out. He left me Angela. I never thought he'd do that."
"Then maybe you should fight for him. I know you want to keep your single status and all, but is the idea of marriage to Booth really that bad? The man loves you, he looks after you, and he's always been there to support you. Hell, he was your husband before he was your husband." Brennan looked up, miserable as she sniffed and wiped at a stray tear.
"He doesn't want to talk to me."
"Just give him a little space so you both have time to think about this. He loves you, even if he is a little bit angry right now, and you know that. You hurt his feelings and he needs time to lick his wounds, okay?" Brennan nodded and the pair hugged one more time.
"Thank you Angela."
"You're welcome sweetie. Now what do you say we go grab something to eat and we'll come up with a game plan to solve all of this?"
"I think that sounds like great advice."
"Well, like I've said, I give good advice. Now come on, no one wants to see a moping anthropologist."
Cullen looked up as Booth walked into his office. The FBI agent held a file in his hand and wore a grim expression. The Deputy Director motioned to the chair opposite him and waited for Booth to sit before talking.
"What brings you in here today Booth?"
"Here's the signed paperwork on the case, and a request for a leave of absence." Cullen arched an eyebrow as he put on his glasses to examine the paperwork.
"You're asking to take a leave of absence? Does this have anything to do with your relationship with Dr. Brennan?"
"My ex is moving out of the area, and I want to take some time to spend with my son. I'd like the full amount of six months if that's possible sir." Cullen set down the paperwork and looked at his agent. Booth had circles under his eyes as though he hadn't slept the night before, and his expression gave nothing about what was going on in his mind away.
"Taking a leave to distance yourself from your relationship isn't going to save your partnership, you know that don't you? The review board set down the rules and I have to follow them."
"I understand sir, and that's not why I'm requesting the leave. I want to spend time with my son. You know how important that time is as a parent." Cullen pulled off his glasses and sat back in his chair. Whatever was really bothering the agent was obviously not going to be said.
"Fine, you're on a six month leave starting today, and Booth, whatever it is that's bothering you, you should talk to someone about it."
"Yes sir," Booth said as he stood up. He left the office and headed to the building's elevator. He had some packing to do if he was going to be in New Jersey for the next six months. Six months. That was enough time for the damn divorce to go through, and then he could look into moving on with his life without the one person besides his son that made things a little bit better.
AN: Oh, I know, I'm a mean, horrible person. Guess what though. There are still two more stories in which all of this mess will get resolved. I can't promise that there won't be anymore angst, but everything will get resolved. I promise. Look for the next installment of this series, Mordecai, to begin soon. Until then, I bid you a good day and happy reading.