Spoilers: WitW and the Season Finale, PitH
Summary: "Spiritus" is the Latin term meaning "Breath." It is also a recurring and relative term in this fic.
He had told her he'd wait in her office.
His echoing voice reiterated the simple mantra over and over again—a sweet and graceful melody to her ears. When the inevitable arrived, when she would enter her office, she would hear it again. That thought alone encouraged the quickening of her pace, wide heels clunking against the extravagant tile of her House of Reason. Her stomach flipped, and her most vital organ leapt in unequivocal joy.
After the initial confrontation which involved the introduction of her small (though anything but delicate) knuckles and his jaw, things had eased into a less aggressive atmosphere. The heartbreak on his face upon learning she'd held no clue of his living was enough to forgive him. Though, if she had to be honest, the mere sight of him, tall and brilliantly alive, had already done that. His apologies had followed, streaming and pain-laced. Later, she'd learned it hadn't been his fault at all.
Sweets. The juvenile therapist had been the betrayer. All for some cruel, thoughtless experiment. A test of her veiled feelings. When Booth had towed the protesting young man into her office, to which the therapist's confession soon followed, she'd never seen Booth look so furious. Sweets now sported a shiner to match her partner's jaw.
Shortly after the primary shock of his ambulatory form moving about the lab, if a little gingerly, and his not forgotten voice rejuvenating the dullness in her ears, those buried emotions she'd locked away had begun to rise increasingly to the surface. Now that her Key was back, there was no sense in keeping them locked away.
When her breaking point had arrived, he was there (just as he'd always been) to steady the broken floodgates of the damaged figure sheltered in his hold. She'd unraveled in his arms, clung to him like he was her only connection to the living world. His breath and pounding heartbeat beneath her ear was like a heavenly choir. Her gasping sobs had racked through her chest as the overload of emotions came pouring out of her.
He was an enigma. One that allowed her to see into his soul on a frequent basis, and yet she still didn't know all his secrets. One day, maybe she would. She was only grateful that she had been granted a second chance with him. Another opportunity to learn the buried secrets and mystery beneath the surface. To unlock the labyrinth of complexity that made up the man, the father, (the lover?), rather than the Agent.
As she approached the threshold of her office, she stilled. Riveted at the sight.
At her desk, the object of both her salvation and glorious downfall lay asleep in her chair. He was reclined somewhat back, arms loosely crossed over his abdomen. His cheek rested against his shoulder, youth rekindled in the peaceful expression on his sleeping face.
She watched the steady rise and fall of his broad chest with enchanted fascination, clear eyes glimmering in the low light. Her lips parted on a gentle breath, unwilling to wake him.
He couldn't have been in her office for more than ten minutes. His strength and abilities had once always prevailed, seeming everlasting. She had to remember that this man was not invincible, despite some rather convincing evidence to the contrary. His first case back just so happened to involve their former cannibalistic nemesis, and naturally, things had spiraled out of control from there. She wasn't even certain he was supposed to be back yet. But that confidence he wore and those sparkling eyes were insistent. This case was too personal, and he was concerned for her.
The foolish man had already forgotten about his own still healing wounds. Still, he'd almost begged her to comply, to voice her blessing. Doing nothing was not for Seeley Booth. Recovery life was apparently driving him mad. Angela had explicated that he'd really only needed to be around her.
Brennan felt a tingle in her chest once again, and recalled her eventual agreement. Though his desire for action seemed a little premature, she could only be grateful for his constant presence in the lab once again. Even so, she'd made him promise to be careful, swear by his son that he would remain cautious and not overwork himself.
It appeared the medication he was still under was on her side, thankfully. It had put him to sleep where her persistence and his stubbornness had only collided. Perhaps he wasn't quite suited yet for field work, but she was quick to admit that she needed him. Needed him by her side, especially now.
Her swimming thoughts soon faded, and she found herself once again drawn to the slow, continuous pattern of the rise and fall beneath his t-shirt.
She was so focused that she hadn't heard the approach of the artist until Angela was at her side. The two women shared in silence for a healthy time before Angela spoke quietly, a gentle smile gracing her face. "Watching him sleep?"
Brennan didn't bother to deny. Instead, the sight of him there, shrouded in the innocence of slumber, was like a truth serum to her beating heart and pale lips. "Breathing," she corrected, her voice full of quiet awe. Her expression reflected the same, cheeks radiating color. "He's breathing. It's beautiful."
Angela watched her friend carefully, the smile never fading. The tentative update she'd originally come to deliver was lost in the back of her throat—it could wait. She placed her hand on Brennan's shoulder, who had yet to look away from the sleeping form of her partner. Angela nodded in kind understanding, leaving her friend behind as she walked away.
Brennan had barely noticed the artist's arrival or departure. She stepped into the room, moving slowly over to him. His seated position was somewhat awkward, and she didn't imagine it was all that comfortable. Her close proximity appeared to have erased that slight worry-line between the dark wings of his brow, however. Even in his sleep, it seemed he could sense her familiar presence.
She couldn't take her eyes off of him. Couldn't stop looking at him.
She imagined that with the threat of never laying eyes on him again, this was only natural. The need to see him and be near him was accepted. Whether it was or wasn't, however, she didn't care. He'd been back barely twenty-seven hours, and already her impenetrable defenses were crumbling down. The wall she'd fortified with a chilling calm had been immediately demolished with the revelation of his living. His reappearance had been cataclysmic in the most beautiful, breathtaking way. Her broken heart, lying in shattered glass shards, had healed itself. The process was equally painful, a consequence she readily embraced.
Hesitant only at first, she reached up her hand and softly traced her fingers soothingly through his dark hair. His lashes fluttered at the contact, but remained closed. A quiet murmur of appreciation whispered in the back of his throat. Her chest constricted at the sound, and she knelt beside him.
Placing her hand on his shoulder, very near to the still tender area, she whispered, "Booth?"
He shifted slightly in her chair, emitting a nearly silent sigh. The stubble on his jaw was testament enough to the long hours they had both been faced with.
She shook him gently, her other hand finding one of his. "Booth."
His eyes slid open, and it was like seeing the sun breaking through the clouds on an otherwise stormy day. Those eyes that had been so lifeless in that bar as she held him, now replenished with their familiar shine. And just like in that bar, he seemed to be aware of her only, his attention locked on her eyes while their surroundings slowly faded into focus. "Hey, Bones," he mumbled, his voice still thick with sleep. He sat up a little straighter. "I didn't mean to fall asleep on your throne, here."
She was unable to keep the smile from her face, a smile that spread all the way to her eyes. She displayed it for him lovingly. "It's all right. Why don't you go rest on the couch? I'll let you know when something comes up."
A lazy grin brightened his features, though a pale shadow of its usual glory, warming her like nothing else could have in that moment. "Sure."
Giving her hand a squeeze, he sat forward before getting to his feet. His brown leather jacket rustled as he moved, and she commandeered her chair back, watching as he settled himself tiredly into the encompassing cushions of her sofa. A vision of Christmastime flashed across her eyes alone, when he'd taken up residence in that same place, waiting for any news. Her attention briefly flickered to the ceiling where a small little sprig had once dangled.
His exhausted groan attracted her interest back, and as he pulled the intricate afghan over himself, she had half a mind to join him.
Taking note of the way her own eyelids drooped—thanks be said to the grueling case they were immersed in—it wasn't looking to be such an awful idea. For now, though, she was content to the silence, lulled into a healing calm by the sound of his breathing.