This is a post-ep for 'The Finger in the Nest.'
Thanks for all the support on my last fic, 'Surrogate Relationship.' I can hardly believe its success!
She leaned into him a little longer than necessary, but neither party complained.
"Thank you," she whispered as she sniffled and pulled away.
"You can use my shoulder anytime, Bones." His tone was light, yet appropriately somber.
"I meant for coming out here and digging the hole. You didn't have to do that."
"Hey, that's what partners are for. Besides, someone had to carry Ripley out here."
"Yeah," she sighed.
"I'm sorry it had to happen like this."
"Yeah, me too," she replied. She took one last look at Ripley's burial site. "Come on, Booth."
He grabbed the shovel and followed her to the SUV.
"You want some coffee or something?" he asked once they were back on the road.
"No, I think I just need to be alone."
They fell silent and she stared out the window as he drove toward her apartment. They pulled into the parking lot of her building before she spoke again.
"What was I thinking, Booth? A dog? I mean, did I really think I'd be a good caregiver to Ripley with my schedule?"
"You would've been excellent, Bones. You already had the dog walker and doggy daycare. And I saw the way you were with Ripley in your office. You loved him."
She looked at him as he continued.
"You had a connection. But even though he killed someone, you saw the good in him and gave him the benefit of the doubt."
"Like Ripley and the rest of the dogs?"
"I wasn't comparing you to a dog, Bones…"
She laughed slightly and it took him a second to realize what he'd said.
Dog, Bones. Dog bones.
He shook his head in awe and joined in with a chuckle of his own. Leave it to Brennan to find something humorous in a serious conversation. She never ceased to amaze him.
"I've changed my mind, Booth. I think I'd like that coffee."
He nodded in agreement and backed out of the parking space.
"Did you think about getting another dog? There are plenty of them in shelters who are waiting for good homes."
"I don't know." She sipped her coffee then placed the mug back on the table. "I'm sure they're all cute, but I don't think they'd appeal to me in the same manner as Ripley."
"Because of his—what did you call them—'warm and reassuring brown eyes?'"
"Yeah, he was one-of-a-kind."
"Hey, I thought you said he reminded you of me."
"Then Ripley and I would be two-of-a-kind."
"Well, not really because you're two different species. Ripley was a Canis lupus familiaris, and you're a Homo sapiens sapiens."
"Can't you just say 'dog' and 'human?'"
"I was trying to explain the difference scientifically."
He grinned at her in an attempt to diffuse the Brennan-bomb before she exploded in his face. "So what you're saying is that Ripley was the dog version of me, and since he was a one-of-a-kind dog, I'm a one-of-a-kind human."
"There's certainly no one like you," she told him as she quickly brought the mug to her lips.
"With warm and reassuring brown eyes…"
Brown met blue and genuine smiles were exchanged. Brennan-bomb diffused.
"Just drink your coffee, Booth."
"No, I want to know what else distinguishes me from the rest of the Homo sapiens sapiens?"
Thanks for reading! This one was a little hard for me to write because I had to put all three of my dogs to sleep within the last year and a half (for medical reasons, not because they killed people), so that end scene really had me bawling.