Disclaimer: While I want Bones to be mine, mine, mine – wanting is not getting. And in this case is definitely NOT having. Boo.
Chapter one – A moment of clarity
They sat together in the communal lounge above the lab, beers in hand, trying to unwind from a tough three-week long case that saw none of them get much sleep while trying to find a serial killer. Between chasing down a suspect list as long as your arm and a body count that could be counted on two hands and a foot – to say the pressure had been on for the FBI special agent and the squints he worked with – is probably the understatement of the century.
They relaxed discussing the finer details of the case, while sinking back into the soft cushions on the large lounges, taking the occasional sip of beer. All of them had felt the heat on this case, not just Booth and Brennan. And all of them looked exhausted as a result of it.
Brennan quietly stood up and walked over and lent her arms on the railing. She sighed wearily as she watched the other staff down below slowly pack up and head off for their weekend. She turned back to her team and in her exhaustion, watched them with the detached air of an anthropologist watching an undocumented social ritual. And it was in that moment she had a rare flash of clarity: she saw for the first time the dark circles under their eyes, the slumped shoulders and the effort it took them to even move. They were mentally, physically and quite possibly emotionally exhausted – although she might have been wrong about that – emotions are not her strength
– that's Booths.
Her eyes flickered towards him, as they often did, and she was a little taken aback at what she saw. His normally handsome face was deeply etched with the worries and the stress this case had caused them all. They might have found the serial killer, but it didn't mean that he didn't feel the pain of the twelve sets of parents and families that had lost their children to a sociopath masquerading as child care worker. She knew that for every child's remains they found, he went through untold turmoil of imagining it was Parker, and in her moment of insight, she thought could see the shadow of residual pain in his haunted eyes.
She sighed again and shook her head slightly, taking a closer look at the people in front of her. This moment of insight was showing her just what this kind of case cost them all. She saw that it wasn't just etched on Booths face, but it had pervaded the very beings of all those that she considered her second family.
After Zach's betrayal, the one thing she'd never expected was for her team to grow closer. The shared pain of grief and guilt they had felt were not going to drive a wedge into a dynamic team
– both the Jeffersonian and the FBI were adamant about that. After many individual and group therapy sessions, anger, grief, a river of tears and a lot of silence, Sweets' patience and tenacity – and a lot of clout given to him by both entities to threaten his patients – ensured all five of the elitist team were more or less healing and adjusting to the horrendous circumstances. As a result they were all more open and understanding of each other than they ever had been in the past, helping to strengthen their bond and thus over time, reinforcing it.
My second family, that thought always made her smile. She raised her eyes to look at them again, and she felt a small pain and tightening in her chest. That moment of clarity had shown her just how much her family was suffering - and suddenly that thought crystallised in her mind. This was a time to put the scientist in her aside, take the brain and put it in neutral – take the heart and pop it in overdrive. She smiled to herself again as she remembered Booths words to her when her father was on trial.
What they needed was a little time out. Her head snapped up and her eyes widened as her mind quickly came up with the perfect solution – and how she was going to get it all done in the next couple of hours. Booth was concerned when he noticed Brennan's wide-eyed look and he walked over to her and lent on the railing with his back to their friends. "Bones, you ok?" he kept his voice quiet so he didn't startle her too much. She looked like she was in a trance.
She turned to face him and noticed his furrowed brows framing his coffee-coloured eyes, then smiled as she said "I was just thinking about something you told me once". He looked at her with quizzical eyes, when she continued "Order some take-out for everyone Booth, my treat. And whatever you do, don't let them leave here until I get back, otherwise you ARE going to be sorry". He saw the twinkle in her eyes, something he hadn't seen the whole time they had been working on the case and was about to make a smart retort when she suddenly took off towards her office, her shoes clunking loudly on the metallic walkway high above the lab.
"Hey, where's Brennan going?" Angela asked, slowly standing up, her face filled with worry. "I really don't know" he answered, "but she's just told me to order take-out for all of us – her treat" he rubbed his hands together with glee, "so what will it be boys and girls... Thai? Chinese? Pizza?"
The noise that erupted from the lounge was almost deafening as it echoed loudly around the otherwise silent and empty lab.
-- x x x X X O X X x x x --
Brennan sat at her desk and quickly made up list of people she needed to call and the arrangements that needed to be made.
I may as well start at the top because without their approval, this will amount to nothing, she thought as she dialled Dr Goodman's office. Thankfully he was working late, and after some fast talking, pleading and a few minor white lies, she managed to talk him round and agree to her idea. She only hoped her second and third calls on the list were going to go so well. To her absolute astonishment, they did go well, very well in fact – she was surprised her heart-felt plea didn't fall on deaf ears. She smiled, now the rest will be a snap.
In a little over an hour and nine calls later, everything was set. Now she only hoped everyone would be ok with what she'd done. It was pretty presumptuous of her. Doubts started to creep in as she nervously walked back upstairs to her friends. She smiled as she listened to them laughing and joking with each other. A little take-out and a few beers was just what they needed, she thought. Booth was right, letting her heart do the driving for a change instead of her brain was a good thing. She took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders as she walked into the lounge. Angela and Booth were wrangling over some fried rice, but Hodgins looked up and smiled "Hey Dr B! Come and grab some of this Mee Krab before Booth eats it all", he shuffled up the lounge to make room for her to sit, but it was Cam who noticed the odd look on Brennan's face.
"Dr Brennan, are you ok?" Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked over at her. She blushed a light shade of pink as she realised all eyes were focused on her. Ok Temperance, this is it. She put her head down, hoping no-one would see her embarrassment, "I uh" she stammered, "I, uh, I was just thinking how nice it would be to get away for a bit. You know, especially after this case". She heard everyone murmur their agreement. Okay, just do it. If they hate it, then that's fine too. I'll just make some calls to undo the plans, she tried to rationalise her nervous state to herself. She lifted her head then took out four envelopes from her pocket and as she handed them to each of the she said "I hope you don't mind, but I took the liberty of arranging a little time-out for all of us. There's this nice little place I know that has something for everyone". No-one moved. All eyes stared at her and she was increasingly becoming uncomfortable at the scrutiny.
"It's all arranged. Goodman and Cullen have agreed to give us five working days off as fully paid leave – and it doesn't come out of our holiday entitlements either. So counting the weekends, that's nine days away", she looked around at the unblinking eyes and open mouths still staring at her. Oh God, why did I think this was a good idea? No more spur-of-the-moment heart-stuff for me, she thought glumly.
She gulped, then continued ,"A mini-bus will be picking us up here at 9pm tonight to take us – I really didn't trust that any of us could drive after the few weeks we've had" she ventured a smile, but no-one had so much as moved a muscle or uttered a word since she sat down. Her smile faltered in the deafening silence, and her mouth had suddenly gone dry. She took a sip of beer so she could continue, "Cam, I've talked to Richard and he'll be able to join us for most of the get-away, he'll be here with your stuff in an hour so" Cams eyebrows looked like they were going to join up with her hairline.
Cam had been dating Richard for about four months after meeting at a Jeffersonian soiree. Everyone on the team had really come to like the lanky, blond-haired man who not only made Cam very happy, but was very amusing in his own right. As the head of archaeology at the Jeffersonian, he seemed to fit in well with all of them.
She then turned to face her partner and irrationally felt butterflies in her stomach and she tried to cover her nerves with a small half-smile, "Rebecca has allowed us to pick-up Parker on the way – he can come away with us for the nine days too". She watched his face as his eyebrows raised even higher on his forehead – if that were possible – and his mouth only gaped wider.
She dragged her eyes away from his face and turned to look at all the stupefied faces in front of her, and her brows came together in consternation, have they even breathed since I sat down? But still there was just utter silence in the lounge, for that matter, everything was so still you could hear an ant pass wind from the far corner of the lab. Suddenly she couldn't cope with their response – or lack of it – anymore and she desperately had to get away. This wasn't going according to plan at all.
To be continued...
A/N: This is my first ever fanfic, so please review. And a special thank you to the lovely Montreal Squint for being my beta!