Disclaimer: I own nothing, all for FOX. Sad for me.
"The brightest light moving away from us, unless it be reflected, it darkness to us." Author unknown
Brennan exited the courthouse, unwilling or unable to bring herself to hear her father's near-certain guilty verdict. The jury's decision, the possibility of the death penalty wer horrible enough, but in her attempt to throw doubt on the prosecution's case, she had forced Booth to help paint her as a killer. She paced back and forth on the courthouse steps, tense, wanting to scream at someone. She sighed in frustration, lowering her head to her hands. Then suddenly he was there, walking toward her, drawing her into his arms, just holding her. Relief, and the beginnings of something else, something she wasn't yet ready to name poured into her; they would be okay.
She didn't understand how he could be gone - he'd come through surgery; his injuries had not been as serious as they'd first appeared. How could he have simply crashed overnight, his heart stopping? This was why you didn't let people get close to you, couldn't really let them in. They ended up leaving you alone, sitting and longing for the sound of their voice. Booth had only been her partner; that was all. She could do this. Standing up, she wiped a single tear from her cheek, grabbing her purse and getting ready to leave. There were remains at the lab for her to examine, to discover who they were so she could bring them home to their families. These were the things you could trust.
Brennan didn't know it was possible to feel so happy, so furious, and so wounded all at the same time. Part of her never wanted to speak to Booth again; how could he be so blasé about her not knowing he was alive? Even after she had explained it over and over again, he still didn't seem to understand why she was so hurt. Sure, he had apologized, but he was the one who, theoretically, was so good at reading people. Why didn't he get this? Why hadn't he called her? She wanted to hit him again. She also wanted to throw herself into his arms and hold on, physically connected to him, reassuring herself even more strongly that he was okay. And, unbidden, her mind lingered on how amazing he had looked, standing there, naked and unashamed - in that awful dumb beer hat - enraged she would suggest he didn't care about her. She was not supposed to notice how attractive he was, and that made her even angrier.
She mourned the loss of a friend again, not from death this time, but betrayal. Booth's arm around her, Brennan sat on the stairs, filled with self loathing for not realizing there was something wrong with Zach, that he had needed all of their help. Angry most of all with Zach for betraying the convictions they fought for day in and day out, letting go of the law, allowing himself to become what they opposed. This had been a truly awful few weeks.
Life continued, even when she just wanted to quit. Another body is unearthed, someone with a family, someone who needs justice. They went back to work, bickering amongst themselves, finding their groove again. Remains examined, tests run, results compiled, suspects interviewed, but her perspective had shifted. She didn't even know when it started; when partners changed to best friends, to something more. But after almost losing him, she couldn't seem to deny what she was feeling to herself any longer. It had been there, growing quietly and insistently.
Now, when he leaned in to tease her, tweak her nose, she felt little more aware of him, her breathing became a little faster. As he rested his hand on the small of her back, ushering her from the room, a tingly sensation ran up her spine. She thought about him when she didn't mean to, in the lab, working, writing; anxious for the moment he would just show up, looking for test results, or just laughing and joking. What was she going to do about this?
One night, after eating at Sid's, rehashing the case they had been working on, debating silly things they disagreed about, she thought he might kiss her. He leaned close, whispering something smart ass in her ear, and just for a second their eyes caught and something passed between them, their faces so close. But the moment ended, filling her with intense disappointment.
Another time, when she had injured herself in the field, falling when chasing a suspect, and they bickered about her role in their field work, that awareness flashed again. She was the one who drew away this time, afraid she would expose the longing she felt inside; refusing to give in to something that could potentially ruin their partnership, to something he might not feel in return.
Brennan tried talking to Angela about it, explaining her need to work through this...whatever it was…and leave it behind. Reiterating a conversation she and Booth had once, about never being able to be involved with someone you worked with, how it made you make dangerous choices. She let Angela in on her fears that these feelings would destroy Booth's and her friendship.
Angela just rolled her eyes, said, "Sweetie, he's been in love with you for years. Besides, Jack and I work together, and you have always been totally supportive of us being a couple. You need to go for this. You deserve to be happy."
It finally happened one night, late, in the lab. She awoke with a start, Booth's hand on her shoulder, realizing she had fallen asleep at her desk. This time, when their eyes caught and lingered, neither one pulled way, no one glanced down. Slowly they leaned closer, lips brushing once, twice, before turning into something deeper, hands tangling in hair, bodies turning toward each other.
As the kiss broke, she pulled back, shaking her head, saying "What are we doing?"
"Just listening to our hearts, Bones. Something we should have been doing for a while now," he answered, wrapping tightly in his arms, brushing lips across her forehead.
She watched him sleeping in her bed, filled with contentment and warmth. Sometimes, she supposed, lines needed to be crossed, and rules ignored; some things were worth the risk. People did leave; they might betray you, no matter how hard you tried to protect yourself against it. But sometimes people could surprise you, support you, and make your life better, whole even, as they entangled themselves around you. And sometimes it was ok to be ruled by feelings instead of logic. Life without all of that wouldn't really be worth anything.
A/N: Thank you to Mrs. Pollifax for her betaing skills. I know life's pulling you a thousand different directions right now, so I appreciate you taking time out to help me!