A Better, Happier You
Chapter Title: You're All Out, and I'm Your Man
Rating: PG13 - PG16
Summary: Yeah, okay, we all know the story...Booth made a boo-boo, Brennan made one back. Here is the resolve!
Tag & Spoilers: S01E05, "A Boy In A Bush"
Inspiration: "Giant," by Matthew Good Band
Disclaimer: Own not I the wond'rous world of Bones. That's Kathy Reichs. I do, however, own a new shipment of tempeh and veggie-bacon. Let's see you do that, Miss Fancy-pants-forensic-anthropologist-turned-novelist-turned-television-producer! HA! You can't, can you?!
Two days later, with no further word or appearance from Booth, Angela found Brennan where she herself had been found just over a week before; sitting on that same metal bench in that same lonely hallway of the Jeffersonian medical lab. The artist walked slowly, cautiously, and eyed her friend, knowing she knew she wasn't alone, but not acknowledging it. Finally, Angela said quietly, "Are you going to request a new partner?"
Brennan scoffed, "Ang, if I was going to do that, I would just request to be left out of field work all together."
A beat of silence, and then, "That wasn't the definite 'no' that I was hoping for."
The doctor tilted her head down to study her shoes, then licked her lips before answering in a small voice, "I'm not used to doubting myself, Ang; I'm not used to not knowing things. He..." she trailed off, throat contracting at just the nondifinitive pronoun, "He makes me doubt myself."
Angela laughed, quick and unexpected, making her friend look up, "Is that so bad?"
"How could it not be?" Brennan asked incredulously.
"Sweetie," the artist sighed and took her friend's hand, "Listen to me: you're bossy, overconfident, and too smart for your own good." She shook her head when Brennan started to protest and went on, "But--but--its because you have a system for everything; you're used to everything being a certain way. Your work. Your books. Your relationships," she shrugged, "Most everything in your life has been a constant, and you've always known what to expect." Angela leaned forward a little so that she and her friend were eye-for-eye, "But Booth is different. He challenges you, he catches you off-guard, he defies you. He wears his emotions on the outside and he lets things be personal, and that includes his relationship with you. He makes you doubt yourself because," she sighed and shook her head, "Because you can't wrap your mind around why a man like that should fit so well with a woman like you."
Brennan was quiet for a long time, letting the words seep into her mind, examining them closely, and then she said, "Did you just insult me?"
Again, Angela laughed, "I'm just saying that Booth feels a lot, and he never does anything without a reason. You're the analytical one; aren't you just dying to know what that reason is?"
"He was drunk."
The artist shook her head, "Drunk is not a reason. Its not even an excuse. I've been very drunk, a lot of times, and I never kissed anyone I didn't want to."
One of Brennan's eyebrows shot up, "Jack?" She asked, recalling the events of a New Year's party the year before, when a dateless and drunken Angela tugged a certain entomologist out onto a balcony as the ball dropped and kissed him furiously. Since then, the two had avoided each other at all holiday functions.
Angela patted her hand and looked away, "That is a conversation for another time. For now, I think you should really consider talking to Booth."
There was another long stretch of silence as Brennan debated whether or not to say what she was feeling. Then she decided that, if she were to confront Booth, this would be good practice in saying what she really meant, "He hurt me, Ang. And he doesn't even know how."
The artist's face crumpled in sympathy and she leaned her head on her friend's shoulder in a sort of awkwardly angled hug, "I know, sweetie; I know."
"Hello, Doctor Brennan!"
"Hello, Annie," the doctor greeted the FBI receptionist with a friendly smile, "Is Booth in his office?"
Annie nodded, shuffling through some papers to get to her phone, "Would you like me to call him for you?"
Brennan shook her head quickly, "Uh, no." It had taken the rest of the morning and all of the afternoon for her to work up the courage to even get to the FBI building. Another forty-five minutes to convince herself to go inside. Ten more just to get to the third floor. The only comfort she had in this whole thing was that she would have the upper hand. She could walk in without an appointment, tell him everything she wanted to tell, and then let him explain his piece. Or not. It all depended on how she felt afterward. And now, the only things stopping this plan from being complete were a tightly twisted stomach and an overly-enthusiastic secretary. "I'm just going to pop in."
"Ooh," Annie smiled deviously, as if it were some sort of scandal, "Like a surprise?" The way she said the word, it sounded as though she should have said "tryst" or "bootycall."
Instead of denying it, Brennan just shrugged, "Hold his calls until I leave."
At this, the receptionist burst into a fit of manic giggles, like this were the most deliciously obscene thing she'd ever been a part of. "Of course, Doctor Brennan," she said between dainty laughs, "Enjoy yourself." The doctor simply nodded and started down the hall to Booth's office; a path so clear that she didn't even have to thin about it. How many times had she traced these halls to get to him? Not all of them had been for business--some were for dinner, some for talks, and some just because neither of them wanted to be alone. Before the kiss, she'd never thought anything of it, but now she was examining every way he made her comfortable, and every way she so desired to be comfortable around him again.
When she got to his office, she stopped. One glance through the window told her he was alone, leaning over a pile of paperwork, one hand buried in his hair and holding up his head, the other holding a pen and moving furiously over an old file. He looked horrible, and Brennan found herself wondering when the last time was that he'd slept. His white dress shirt was untucked, the top two buttons undone, jacket and tie nowhere to be seen, clothes wrinkled and worn. His hair was a mess and he had deep bags under his eyes. There was a soft music floating through--a heavy beat with gentle vocals that she couldn't place, but recognized instantly as what Angela called "mellow music." The doctor felt herself soften; could she do this? Could she scold him--demand things from him--when he looked so utterly and completely beaten?
But she had to.
She pushed the door open and stood in the doorway, staring her partner down. He looked up with annoyance, but his face changed when he realized it was her. It went from aggrivated to stunned to confused to guilty to worried to a little angry, right back to stunned again. He opened his mouth, but couldn't seem to form any words. That was exactly what Brennan needed from him now--silence--and she started in, "I'm not happy with this." It was a simple start, but once she'd said it, the rest just rattled off, "I'm not happy that I've had to avoid you. I'm not happy that we both seem to be on the bad end of this whole situation. I'm sorry that I wasn't willing to talk about it at first, but I was upset and you seemed to be so passive about it, like it was nothing, that it just made me angry and irritated and scared." Booth once again opened his mouth, but Brennan was already launching into her second wave, "You kissed me, Booth. You kissed me, and then you walked away. And...and I don't care how drunk you were," she repeated Angela's line from that morning, "Drunk is never a reason, or an excuse."
"I know," it was almost a whisper, "I'm sorry."
The doctor shook her head, aggrivated and desperate, "I don't want you to be sorry; I want you to explain."
He sighed and pushed his papers aside, running a hand through his hair and looking away briefly, "That case," his eyes flicked back to her, "You changed when we were working on that case. You actually connected with that little boy. I felt like..." he pressed his lips together in thought, "I felt like I was actually seeing a real part of you. So when you came to Wong Foo's and I'd been drinking, it all seemed..." he trailed off again, unable to think of how to describe it. At least, not in a way that wouldn't permanently mortify him. He shrugged, "So I did it."
Silence. Silence as Brennan stared at him, then she took a few steps forward and lowered herself into the seat on the opposite side of his desk. "No," she said slowly, quietly, "I meant, why did you walk away?"
"You heard me."
Booth stared at her before answering slowly, still a little shocked that this was the part she was most concerned about, "I have a girlfriend, Bones. I have a career that depends on me being able to keep a clear head."
She swallowed, "Oh." Why hadn't she thought of that? She could figure out anything, but the inner-workings of this man's mind were somehow a mystery. Tessa. The FBI. There were probably at least a hundred other reasons to ward him away from kissing her again. And that hurt even more than watching him walk away. "Plus," he was saying now, "I didn't want to put you in that position."
Honesty. She kept having to say it over and over in her head, Tell the complete truth. "I don't know how drunk you were, Booth--maybe you don't remember," her voice was rough, dry, "But I did kiss you back." His soft eyes went wide and his jaw dropped slightly. Brennan smirked sadly and stood, walking around the desk to perch on the edge, where she could stare down at him. She covered one of his hands with her own and told him, "I understand about Tessa. And about your job. And I don't want you to feel guilty about this anymore, okay?" He couldn't speak; he could only nodded in a slow, lazy way. She stared at him for another couple of beats before standing fully, "Well, I'm glad we settled this," she began to turn, "Now we can get back to our--"
"Wait," a firm voice told her. When she turned back around, Booth was standing, the few inches he had on her now made him seem like a giant, towering high above. He took the step that divided them and now they were so close that their chests were almost touching. "In the future," he told her evenly, "We need to be able to talk about these things right away."
Just when she was starting to feel okay again, all of the nerves in her body sparked, coming to life and tingling at the proximity. Her throat was like sandpaper, "These things?"
"These things," he repeated surely, then leaned down to press his lips against hers. As much as she tried to fight it, Brennan found herself looping her arms around his neck and using the leverage to pull herself closer to him, molding her lips against his frantically. Then he was pulling away, and her chest felt afire. Not again.
Shaky, like a child, she asked, "What are you doing?"
He smirked at her, meeting her eyes, "I wanted you to see that I wasn't walking away."
"Tessa and I broke up four days ago."
"And the job?"
"My mind will be clearer if I don't have to imagine what this is like."
"Looks like you've covered all your laces."
He smiled and shook his head, "Bases, Bones," he started leaning in again, "Bases."
The last chapter of my very first Bones fanfiction. Did I totally peter out? It feels like I petered out. I suck. Oh well; my next one will be better; I promise! Just keep readin' and leavin' them lovely reviews.
Oh, and check out my featured ficcer for the month of June...CSI-4077. Best Bones fluff stories I've read since I got into the show!