Spoilers for the end of Season 3
A/N: In this reality, Zack didn't find the the package with the mandible in while Booth and Brennan were having an argument. Instead, he found it slightly aftwerwards.
On a sunny Thursday right after their first night together, they had a case to work on. She was locked in her office, filling in reports when he arrived, a broad smile on his face and the familiar energy she was so acquainted with.
Brennan raised her eyes to look at him, while he gave her details of the case after a long description of his morning's incident at the parking lot and she listened patiently.
He didn't mention that they had slept together or the sex they had. Actually, that seemed to never had happened until the moment he sat closer to her to read an extract of a report she wanted to show him. The familiar scent of his cologne and his own scent brought to her mind back the memories of that day.
"Do you want to order thai food tonight?" she said, out of the blue.
"Uh, yeah. We could get our notes together and wrap up our last case."
"No, I don't mean to work tonight. I wanted to have thai food and sex. With you. At my apartment. Would you like it?"
Her blatant honesty blew him away. He laughed, slightly nervous.
"Sure Bones. That would be nice."
She smiled and nodded at him. And turned back to the file in her hands and didn't talk about it anymore that day.
X X X
A week later she found a pair of his socks while she was going through her laundry and that fact, far from annoying her, amused Brennan and brought a warm a smile to her face. When she realized they hadn't spoken to each other since the day before, she picked up her phone to call him.
He interrupted a session of situps to answer the phone, running to it and throwing his sweaty body onto his sofa.
"Hey," She said, folding an old T-shirt of hers.
"Hey, Bones, what's up?"
"It's Sunday afternoon."
Booth chuckled "I know. That's what it said on today's paper."
"What are you doing?"
"Oh, nothing important, just working out. And you?"
"Laundry," she replied, images of him doing pushups and situps in his living room filled her mind.
"I think I'd like to try that pie you're always trying to convince me to eat."
He would probably never fully understand that woman, but she sure knew how to make his day brighter. He laughed and shook his head.
"Sure, Bones. Pick you up in 20 minutes?"
"Yeah, sounds good," she replied, putting away the sorted pile of dirty clothes "oh, and Booth? Don't take a shower, ok?"
He showed up at her door 30 minutes later, actually late; they ended up having that pie as a dessert for a very late dinner, instead of an afternoon snack. Instead, she spent most of the afternoon licking the salt off his body.
She still didn't like pies but she found out she really enjoyed the taut muscles of his inner thighs.
X X X
She found herself putting her hand atop his when a particularly difficult case crossed their way. A teenage foster girl was murdered and, although she wouldn't admit it, those kind of cases always got the worst of her.
She accepted the ride home he offered and the guy hug, as he walked her to her doorstep. From the hug to the kissing, she didn't know exactly how it went but then, again, they were fumbling with their clothes on their way to her bedroom and sharing coffee the next morning. He made her freshly squeezed orange juice while she blew her hair dry, as if it was the most ordinary thing in the world, for them.
X X X
Booth and Zack were in her apartment to try and find the crime weapon, that could help free her father. At the most awkward moment, she found comfort in his features, trying his best to set her stoic and logical self off guard. And then she finally told him how nice he really was to her. At that moment, she meant he was nice because he was helping her free her father, but she really meant much more. Booth was aware of that, the underlying and unspoken words in her eyes were enough for him. He could see her bare her soul to him through those beautiful blue eyes.
He held her on the stairs, as she silently waited for the veredict. He felt her hand tighten against his skin, she silently telling him how nervous she was about the outcomes. He understood her need to be silent, he always did, as much as he would understand when she just rolled on her side on the bed, after a really bad case, and didn't want him to even touch her.
To his utter surprise, that particular evening she showed up at his doorstep, when he had expected her to be celebrating with her family. Brennan pulled him into a hug and kissed him, on the lips, nearly devouring his mouth and then asked if she could come in for a while.
That was the first time they had sex but didn't sleep together. She left him to spend the night with her father and brother.
"Thank you," she said when she was leaving. And she really meant it.
X X X
Please, don't die on me, please don't die on me, she chanted on the back of her mind, as the paramedics put him in the ambulance, he already unconscious.
During the drive to the hospital she felt as if in some kind of torpor, as if she was experiencing someone else's emotions. It was weird and awkward and Brennan didn't know where to stand. She saw the doctors taking him away, an oxygen mask on his face, into a long corridor where she couldn't follow him anymore.
A warm, delicate hand startled her, Angela tried to hold and consolate her. Brennan didn't understand why her friend was crying that much, as tears flood freely down her face. Booth would live. Of course he would, it was Booth. He must live.
It felt awkward to see Angela crying while her eyes felt so dry and her insides so numb.
"Sweetie..." she said, pulling Brennan into an embrace.
"He's going to be fine, Ange." And she was that sure back then.
X X X
She knew she should go home and change her clothes and that the blood stains on her green blouse and on her hands made people at the hospital look startled and worried at her. Not that she minded, she would only sit on one of those uncomfortable benches and watch time goes by. She saw Angela asleep by her side and looked up at the annoying television in the waiting room. How could people handle these situations? She felt like she was going insane, sitting there, unable to do anything but wait.
After what felt like forever, a doctor came up and told them he was in an induced coma. Yes, it was as serious as it sounded and her stomach sank inside her. But he was strong, he was healthy, he would recover. She silently nodded her head in agreement, yes. She had understood what the doctor meant.
"Can I see him?" she heard herself saying, in a odd and raspy voice.
He looked frail, vulnerable, lying on the hospital bed, connected to gadgets and equipments which she silently named in her mind. She took a quick glance around and found herself alone with him. And then she realized she didn't know exactly what to do. Talk to him? But he couldn't hear her, that seemed silly. Maybe just look at him and sit by his side for a while? She really didn't know what to do.
Brennan walked closer until he was within her reach and raised the non-bloody hand to touch him, caressing his hair. Damn it, he felt warm, but not as he usually felt, hot-blooded, smiling at her and lively. He looked as though he was just asleep, only she was aware of the implications of an induced coma.
She felt a lonely tear running down her cheek and it burnt her eyes. Soon her vision was blurry and she couldn't see him straight because she couldn't control those damn tears anymore and she felt angry. Angela would say that it was pretty normal that she cried, but still she felt just angry for her being uncapable to control her emotions right now.
Brennan leaned against him and kissed his forehead, letting a tear drop on him.
X X X
She sat outside the Jeffersonian for nearly two hours. It was a beautiful and warm morning and she was wearing too much clothes for that kind of weather, but she didn't even feel that.
Angela appeared at the door and walked towards her, sitting by her side on the bench.
"Hey, sweetie. What are you doing here?"
"Am I being needed at the lab? I'll be there in a second, I'm just... well, I just had a..." she waved the empty cup of coffee on her hand. Brennan closed her eyes and sighed. She felt so tired and still it was so early.
"Why don't you go home, Bren? You really should take some time off."
"I'm fine, Ange."
"How can you be fine? Booth's dead, Brennan," she said, looking at her friend in disbelief.
"I know that. But to be wandering around weeping and sobbing will be no help, will it? Or will it bring him back? So, the best I can do is focus on something useful."
"I'm just having some coffee, I'll be in the lab in a few moments. Can I please be alone for now?"
"You know, that thing you're doing isn't healthy. It'll all hit you harder than you're expecting any time now."
"What will hit me hard?"
"All those felings you're bottling up inside you. I just don't believe you're reacting like this to Booth's death. Your partner and friend is dead, Bren, and you're calmly sitting here drinking coffee."
She paused for a moment, staring at some blank spot in front of her.
"I'm not saying I don't feel it, Ange. Of course I do, Booth was..." she paused, trying to find a word to define exactly what he was to her. She simply couldn't just voice it right now, she didn't even want to think about what they've been. "But life just won't stop for people to grief, the best we should do is continue doing what we're supposed to do. I guess that's what he'd expect from me."
She considered telling her friend the little secret she and Booth had been sharing all this time, she even opened her mouth to say so, but stopped as Angela sobbed louder. Brennan turned her face to Angela, who had, again, tears running down her eyes. She looked truly miserable.
"I'm really sorry, Bren. You know that, don't you?"
"Yes, I know. Thank you, Ange," she said, holding her friend's hand.
Angela would be fine, eventually. She knew she would. Brennan knew that they both would be fine and that the mourning period was necessary and even socially required. She knew that and still she couldn't force herself to feel it. She couldn't feel anything right now, except for a hollow feeling in her chest. That was normal, she supposed, when a close one was deceased. She felt something similar when she realized she wouldn't see her parents again and she overcame that horrible feeing. She would overcome it again.
The awareness the emptiness in her chest would go away was the thing she clung to the most fiercely she could right now.
X X X
"Passion, because anger is a passion. Anger for being manipulated!" she said, the anger rising in her voice as she leaned closer to his face.
"Oh, you know what? Forget it..." he turned away from her, leaving the platform. "We'll talk again later, when you're not hysterical anymore. I'll be in your office."
Booth walked towards the stairs, climbing his way up to her office.
"Hysterical?!" she was furious now. Actually, she felt as if the blood in her veins was boiling about 99 degrees.
Brennan walked down the platform, following him, as the others stared in some sort of morbid curiosity.
"What do you mean, hysterical, Booth? How would you feel if someone you trusted had manipulated you? I'm sure you'd feel the same justified anger!"
"Not justified, Bones, because I've just given you my reasoning and you completely ignored it!"
"Because you should've called me!"
"Why didn't you just break protocol, you do it when you think it's okay for you to do it, didn't you think you should break it to spare me from the hell your dying had become?" she was nearly yelling by now, waving her hands to emphasize her words.
He stopped and looked at her, a small grin on his lips.
"Hell, uh? So you really missed me, Bones!"
"Of course I did, Booth! I'm not as cold as you might think! I have feelings, you know?"
"Aww, you missed me, Bones, that is sweet!" he said, wrapping his arms around her.
That was enough, she thought, what on earth gave him the right to make fun of her like this? She punched him on the chest, as strongly as she could and, as he ducked, she continued trying to hit him, wherever she could reach, just punching towards him and following him as he moved away from her, trying to avoid being hit again.
"They told me you were in a coma, you bastard!" she yelled at him "And then I got a call in the middle of a night where I couldn't sleep to tell me you were dead! And all the while you were alive and well and allowed the FBI lie to me!"
She was punching him harder now and, before she could do him some serious demage, he managed to hold both her wrists.
"Stop it, Bones, stop!" he yelled back at her. She now tried desperately to get free of his tight grasp, shaking her arms furiously. "I don't get why you are so angry!"
"Because!" she said, her voice shaking like her hands "I thought you were dead!"
Booth looked at her and understood it. The moment he stopped fighting her back she also stopped trying to punch him; his grasp on her loosened and he rubbed the way up to her shoulders.
Brennan's lips seemed to twitch lightly and soon she broke into sobs, tears flooding down her eyes.
"Bones..." Booth pulled her into his arms, into a tight embrace. He should've known it, the minute she was forced to face his death, she put her feelings in a box, which it didn't mean they stopped hurting her. When she realized how worthless all she's been through actually was because he was alive, she felt angry and, deep inside, relieved.
"I'm sorry, Bones, I really am."
"They told me you were dead."
Booth held her tighter and she wrapped her arms around him, wetting the collar of his jacket with her tears, breathing in his scent. She then realized she wasn't angry anymore, but suddenly she was oddly happy to be in her office, in his arms, his scent filling her lungs once again.
He pulled away, holding her face in his hands and stared at her.
"God, how I missed you," he said, pulling her to his lips and kissing her soflty. Booth thought about doing that since the moment he had woken up on the hospital bed, where the only familiar face he recognized was his boss'. He had expected to see her first thing but instead she was informed of his death.
They parted the kiss and held each other, as her sobs faded away.
"Doctor Brennan?" Zack's shy voice interrupted them "There's a package for you"
X X X
She hated when things caught her off guard. She hated when she just didn't see what was right in front of her eyes and that made her angry.
Booth sat by her side and read the letter to her, trying to convince her she did gave something to Zack. She should've known better. She should've paid more attention to her grad student while he still was a grad student.
As she leant against Booth and felt him leaning slightly against her as well, she thought that she actually should pay more attention to people in general. She haven't even told Booth how much she appreciated his company before he was shot and when she was told he was dead... she didn't want to think about it right now, it was useless to mull over things that had already happened and that she had no control over.
"Booth?" she said softly, not looking at him.
"I'm glad you're not dead."
"Me too, Bones. Me too."
They shared another quiet moment and he searched for her hand, holding it between his. She was cold, her hands were much colder than usual and he rubbed it lightly between his palms, bringing it to his lips to plant a kiss upon it.
"I told Sweets you were just a partner, but I lied," she said, sitting up straighter and staring at him. Booth looked mildly baffled at her words.
"What are you talking about, Bones?"
"You're more than a partner, you're my friend. I want you to know that."
"Thank you. And you..."
"Maybe even more than just a friend, you're probably my best fiend, I have never shared such deep connecton with anyone else. Maybe Angela but I don't have sex with her on a regular basis like we do."
Booth chuckled lightly, not knowing exactly what to say, but it wouldn't matter anyway because she hadn't finished just yet.
"And thank you for not pressing me into a relationship. I really appreciate that you don't force me into changing things just now. I like what we have at the moment and the fact that only you and I know about it makes it... more enticing," she finished her sentence with a small smile.
"You know, I think you're more human that you give yourself credit for, Bones. Only I am the only one who get to see it."
"I just wanted you to know that. In case you die again, it's been said."
He laughed and held her hand tighter.
"Same here, I feel the same, baby. I took a bullet for you, you should know that by now."
"That's highly questionable. I could have gladly taken that bullet."
"Gladly? That thing hurts like hell and I did it so that crazy psycho didn't kill you and you say that you'd gladly take it? You should just have said 'No, Booth, you're my hero! Thanks for saving my life'" he mocked her in a falsetto "And then thank me properly, instead of punching me at my own funeral."
"It couldn't be your funeral because, you know, you weren't dead."
"You were supposed to know that."
"Well, I didn't and you should've called me."
"Here we go again..."
"I'm trying to be nice to you but you make it impossible, Booth."
"How many times are we going to argue over the same things? I couldn't tell you!"
"But you were supposed to... fine. I'm officially giving up."
"So that means I actually iwin/i this argument?"
"Yup, whatever you want, Booth. You're the one who came back from the dead."
"Well, but what's the fun of wining the argument if you're all pouty at me now? No, you can win this argument."
"I've given it up to you, Booth, you win. You couldn't have called."
"No, you were right. I should've called you."
Brennan's face slowly turned into a grin.
"Wait a minute! You knew I was going to say that! You're manipulating me!"
"I don't know how I did it, but if that's what it took me to get you to agree with me, then, yes, I just manipulated you."
"You did, you little weasel," he said, wrapping her arms around her into a tight embrace. He was getting more comfortable each day with the idea that he simply adored that irritating creature in his arms.
She also had leaned how comfortable it felt to be in his arms. Addictive, even. Brennan closed her eyes and let her head fall against his shoulder.
"Just promise me won't become a serial killer's apprentice," she said quietly, and he identified the hint of pain in her voice.
"I promise I won't."
And they would be fine.