A/N: Every time I see one of those 'meaningful stares' between Brennan and Booth, I can't help but wonder what is going on inside their heads...and in the absence of the clairvoyant ability to read the thoughts of fictional characters...I turned to the muse. Hope you enjoy! -AnaG
And once again...a hundred and one thanks to the most fantabulous and patient of betas! - A
She stood quietly at the railing, savoring the time alone as she observed the scene on the floor below. Her life, their lives, didn't allow for moments like these often. Right now, he was on the platform, talking with Cam, one hand perched easily at his waist, the other absently turning the poker chip he carried everywhere. But it wouldn't be long before he sought her out. Already, his head was turning from Cam, eyes sweeping the lab area.
Her hands tightened around the cup of coffee she held, the heat emanating through the smooth surface comforting against her palms. She wasn't complaining, nor was she deliberately avoiding him. Far from it. Their time together was important to her, had become so essential in fact, that on another occasion, she wouldn't hesitate to announce her presence.
It was rare these days, that they fell from each other's orbit; rarer still for that time not to clouded with distraction and obligation. And she had come to appreciate the momentary distance and the opportunity it afforded her. The chance to step back from what they were and become an observer.
For someone that lived in a world of definitions and controls, it could be overwhelming sometimes. The consistent, meaningful presence of this man in her life. The sheer number of variables, elements of chance that had brought him to the lab that first time. How different would her life be now if another agent had walked through the door that day? Not too long ago, she could have ignored the brush with the unknown, rationalized the tension in her nerves when she thought of not knowing him.
Her eyes followed him as he left Cam and walked purposefully toward her own office. From sheer habit, she found herself analyzing the movement—the balance of his gait, the length of his stride—yet another constant. How familiar it was to her now. Memorized with time, catalogued as part of the intricate, intimate dance that drew them closer each day. In the beginning, it had been about establishing the rhythms of a partnership and then later, friendship—one of the few that she'd ever allowed herself.
She acknowledged that he knew her better than anyone. And sometimes, she thought she might understand more about him than anyone else that she knew. That alone made her brave enough to think of the possibilities, to even consider risking stability for the chance to see if the potential could be realized.
But four years ago, the choice to change the scope of her life had been hers. Now that was no longer true. The stakes had changed for both of them. There was more to gain, and so much more to lose.
Which was why, when the question was there waiting to be asked, the words ready to be spoken, she hesitated. Why she appreciated the tiny moments of separation from the tangle of emotion and expectation between them.
She straightened when he exited her office and his eyes found hers. The connection seemed to re-establish itself immediately, and in its wake the unbidden thought appeared in her mind.
I love this man.
She hadn't been aware that Angela was standing behind her. The unintended intrusion startled her and she turned to answer too quickly, before she could hide the thought, erase its imprint from her face.
She closed her eyes to the empathy in her friend's voice and waited for the questioning to begin.
Instead there was silence, broken only by the calming touch of Angela's hand on her shoulder and the sound of approaching footsteps on the stairs.