This one will join the millions of post "End in the Beginning" fics sure to be written. Even though "Bitter," "Displeased," "Annoyed," "Angry," and maybe "Cheated" wouldn't begin to describe how that last one minute ruined what was for me an otherwise interesting and lovely episode, I nonetheless needed to write this. Maybe Season 5 will erase my displeasure, but for now I can't speculate any more, and I'm left feeling ... grumpy. I think my only other fic on this ep (besides my terribly behind Character Buildings) will be an M-rated slash between Cam and Brennan, because was it just me, or was that scene in Cam's "office" incredibly hot? Ahem. Sorry.
Many thanks to MickeyBoggs, doctorsuez, and celtic33 for their thoughts.
Finally, I've been rollercoastering with my antibiotics for this pneumonia and have been in and out of the doctors' office and hospital—I'm feeling much better but am desperately behind with my updates and reading your posts. Many thanks for your emails, PMs, reviews and kind thoughts. I'm truly grateful for all your expressions of friendship!
Prometheus, Mnemosyne, Chronos
She came every day to see him at his apartment after he was done working with his various therapists, trying to remember and getting almost nowhere. It was strange what he didn't remember-- no one at the lab, except Cam. But Parker, he remembered. He remembered their cases and all the things he'd picked up along the way-- but he remembered none of the people at the Bureau he worked with at all. It was hard to work with those patches, so they'd put him on leave until they could see how he stabilized. He remembered that he knew how to fire any rifle or gun-- and he remembered that he'd always hated it even as he'd always admitted the necessity, since he was better at it than anyone else he knew.
He knew he should remember her-- he'd dreamed about her and it had seemed so real. He'd loved her so much in the dream when he called her Bren and made love to her-- he sure as hell remembered that part of his dream. But when he called her Bren before she could answer his question about who she was in the hospital, it was like he had slapped her. She'd said, with tears in her eyes, "you used to call me Bones." But he didn't remember, and when he called her that name now, it sounded strange on his tongue and she looked even more mournful.
His dreams except for the one that seemed so real were all empty and vague-- even his subconscious lost memory. He'd done tons of reading about brains and memory ever since he woke up, but all it did was highlight his loss. So he read other things-- stuff that Parker was working on so he could help with his homework, as well as literature he remembered enjoying in college. He'd always liked reading the older things-- the Latin of Mass in his grandparents' throwback cathedral led to learning to love epic poems. He'd read some of the original Latin, and the Greek stuff in translation. The heroic, tragic-comic works often felt more real that what people wrote about now, another reason he didn't read much in his more recent life besides the papers and Bones' books. He remembered he read those, even as they didn't jostle his memory on re-reading them now.
He knew he and Bones were best friends because she was always there for him and he always felt relieved to see her, though he didn't know why. She even seemed to have developed a sixth sense for when he was wide awake in the middle of the night, aggravated and pacing as his disability pricked at him more. Half remembered flashes floated away before he could catch them-- sometimes waking, sometimes sleeping. But within twenty minutes of his waking and pacing-- I feel like a caged tiger at the zoo -- she'd show up, saying "I couldn't sleep, I thought I'd just drop some things off. Sorry to bother you." She always had cookies or chips or beer or some other thing he liked in hand, and he'd always say it was fine and invite her in. It felt natural for the two of them to be eating together in the middle of the night, and he'd said so maybe the third or fourth time it happened. She'd said "Yes. We did this a lot." Almost three months, now, and every three or four nights when he'd wake up and start pacing, she was always there in twenty minutes or less.
He knew this thing was taking its toll on her, but he didn't quite know how. He knew she was losing weight, and her face was always so grave, even as she'd put on these watery smiles that didn't fool him a bit. But she talked about the cases she consulted on for the FBI-- she said she stayed in the lab except to go out to recover the bodies, but somehow that didn't sound right, though he knew she wasn't lying-- and she'd describ her nine thousand year old bodies.
He had more and more dreams of that alternate world he'd dreamed about, where they were married club owners in love and having a baby, though it never got farther than that scene in her office where she said she was pregnant-- it was a taunting reminder of what he now felt had killed off the real memories, as ridiculous as that notion seemed. One night, he woke up and began pacing, angry at the fact that in his dream they made love but not in real life, when it felt like they should. Ten minutes in, he picked up the phone and called her-- "are you going to come over?" he asked, impatient to see her. Why did she always wait twenty minutes? Was that just how far away she lived? How did she even know he was up?
"I was buying cookies," she said, her voice choked on the other end of the line.
"Chocolate chip, please," he said, relieved to hear her voice, no matter how choked.
When she arrived, he took the cookies from her and set them down by the table at the door so he could pull her into a hug. It felt natural. And he breathed in her hair, that smell he remembered in his not-real dream. He'd never told her about the part where they made love, not since she'd gotten upset when he'd confusedly told her that first day in the hospital that he thought they were married. "You're my best friend," she'd said, voice choked, and he knew it was true, though it felt like they should be married. He didn't bring it up again, though, because he didn't want to see her upset.
As he held her now and remembered how there were so many things he didn't remember, he could remember one thing that was real. She hadn't liked it at first when he hugged her, though he couldn't remember why. And he knew somehow that he'd lied to her about hugging in order to make her let him in the first place. He also remembered that he'd hugged her a lot, even when he vaguely thought maybe there weren't many other people he wanted to hug aside from his son.
"I wish ... Bones," he said in her ear, and those three words undid her. She started to sob, though like everything else about her it was somehow dignified and beautiful. He hated that he clearly was the cause of it. And he hated most of all that almost as soon as she started to cry, she stopped. She was afraid, he could tell, of upsetting him. And of course he was upset-- she'd been his best, most consistent friend since this new thing had started, and the fact that it clearly ripped her heart out every day to be with him-- like she was a kind of Prometheus-- made him angry at himself. But right now, she was stuffing it down and he just wished she wouldn't. She'd come over so many times to listen to him rant and rave and express fury, only to find himself sitting on the couch with her and her sitting there with her hand on his arm, gently squeezing. That contact always made him feel better, but tonight he remembered-- at least he remembered this-- they used to hug.
"Come on, Bones," he said then. "I'm not the only one who's sad here," he said softly.
She pulled away, face pale and tears glittering, and said "But you're the only one who matters."
She loved him more than anything, he realized. And suddenly, it didn't matter that he didn't remember why-- because even though he didn't remember what happened before, she still loved him and still stuck around, even though they'd lost whatever they'd been before this all happened. So even though it felt new, he kissed her because the urge felt so very natural. He was sure they must have done it before, that he just didn't remember, like so many other things. But when their lips came in contact, it was that old cliche of being hit by lightning. He jerked back, feeling dazed by even that first brush of his lips over hers.
"Mistletoe?" he asked. "I kissed you once under mistletoe. But just that once."
She nodded, tears still slipping down her cheeks, and he remembered something more. She hated crying, and he was the only one she let see her cry. And then he remembered-- she used to smile and laugh around him when she wouldn't around others. She'd had smiles just for him.
He'd loved her more than anything aside from his son, he realized. And he still did, even though there was so much he still couldn't remember. He knew one thing, though. Even though he'd only kissed her that one time, wanting to kiss her was something he remembered feeling all the time, and he had no idea why he hadn't gone through with it.
"Well, whatever reason I had for not kissing you more, it was incredibly stupid," he said, then brought his lips back to hers, withstanding the lightning this time even as she sobbed in his mouth when he wrapped his arms around her more tightly.
Everything else that happened after that third kiss of their lives felt natural too, but he knew it was totally new. It was so much better than what he remembered in that dream, because now he knew for sure that that hadn't been real, and this was. This time he didn't mind having to learn something new, because it really was something new to them both, not just to him. And while she cried the whole time, she begged him not to stop, and he remembered he could never say no to her, so he didn't. He just tasted and held and explored her and she finally stopped crying not long after they were finally sated and she lay in his bed in his arms, limp and exhausted. He reveled in the fact that now he had a new memory, one that hadn't happened before but was as real as anything was.
"You need to eat more," he said as he held her. He suddenly remembered a diner and a bar not far down the street from her lab and how he was always dropping by at odd hours to her office-- pink walls, lots of pottery and bones, a grey couch and throw that felt like home -- to make sure she'd eaten. No wonder she'd been getting so thin. "More french fries," he added, remembering a mischievous smile on her face as she pretended to steal them and he pretended to be annoyed. He was pretty sure the waitresses always added a little more to his plate than to anyone else's.
She choked on another sob then as her head lay on his chest, and it only then fully struck him how much it must hurt every day to have your heart ripped out of your chest. He didn't have the contrast of what he didn't remember to make it even more bitter than it already was. So he started all over again-- after a bout of hysterical crying when he told her he loved her and she choked out her response between sobs, he kept making love to her, and finally she smiled at him. It was a smile only for him, he knew, but he somehow also knew it was one he'd never seen before.
So she slept, and he watched her, and eventually he slept too, but not before muttering Mnemosyne to himself. He wasn't sure if it was a prayer, but it felt like something he knew.
How was it possible to put four years into four hours of dreaming? It still happened. He woke suddenly, looking at her clasped in his arms, the first sight he saw with old memories and new striving for place in his brain. And he remembered why Bones hadn't quite seemed right in his mouth ever since he woke up. Yes, he'd called her Bones all the time-- but it was because Temperance was what he called her in dreams and those dreams were too intimate for him to tell her about. Brennan had quickly become too formal. And even though Bones had annoyed her at first, he still kept on with the name, because the dreams of Temperance came fast and hard, and he was sure if he said her given name aloud she'd know how he felt and the game would be up. He'd called her Bones because he'd convinced himself he couldn't have Temperance-- he'd denied that he loved her as more than a friend for a long time, even as he still dreamt of her. When he called her Bones then, it had never felt natural-- but it had been a habit he'd forced on himself.
He'd called her Temperance last night, though. He'd called her Bones when they started, but Temperance was what he'd shouted that first time she'd held him while he shuddered inside her.
Mnemosyne was the greek goddess of memory, the mother of the Muses, he now recalled. She was a Titan, and gave names to things so it was possible to know what they were. Some people thought she was the first philosopher, which made sense because she was the first one to remember things that required thinking about.
He'd been living like a hermit, he suddenly realized. He went out and got groceries. Went to the library and the bookstore and the video rental place. He saw Parker and built more memories with him. He went to the gym, went to places besides work that he was told he used to enjoy. The ones he didn't remember he didn't return to. But he realized then he'd never even gone in the first place to her work or apartment-- she always came over here, and he met the people who told him they'd once been his "Squints" at the small burger place down the street from his apartment.
He suddenly needed to go to her place, because as much as he'd always enjoyed having her here, now he remembered that it had felt more like home there because it was the first place they began to spend so much time together. He felt restless, his body raring to go to see things he remembered, and that energy woke her even as he tried to lie still. She made a small noise and he couldn't wait to kiss her again, so he didn't wait and he kissed her again until he had to breathe.
"I called you Bones because I always dreamt about Temperance," he said solemnly.
She drew in a breath, eyes glimmering again, and he knew she saw that he finally remembered it all. "You can call me whatever you want. But I did come to like Bones. Only from you, though."
He nodded, swallowing a lump. "I always wanted you to call me Seeley."
She choked on a laugh. "You told me you hated your first name."
He closed his eyes for a moment before looking back at her. "It would have been different from you." It already was-- she'd called him Seeley a few times last night when she was at her most completely abandoned.
She nodded solemnly. "Seeley it is, then."
They made more love after she called in to work, saying only "Booth remembers and I'm not coming in."
"I want to go to your place," he said after she'd had a shower and slipped on some of his clothes-- a wonderful new memory, how baggy they looked on her. "You need fresh clothes anyway if we're going to go to the diner." She startled a bit as he said it, but then nodded and pulled on her sneakers and one of his sweatshirts.
He followed her down to the street in confusion, the old and new memories fighting for space and attention as she did something he wasn't used to. "Bones, Temperance ... your place is a fifteen minute drive from here."
She shook her head, biting her lip. "Just follow me." She crossed the street, walked two houses over and let herself in, heading to the third story walk-up. She opened the door, biting her lip hard and walking to the back of the house as she let him look around for himself.
It was sparsely furnished, nothing like her old place, the one he remembered. There was no artwork to speak of. It was painted a light and yet somehow murky grey. It had one bedroom, one bath, a small kitchen, and a living room that had nothing in it except a few piles of books, a reading lamp, some scattered woolen throws in heaps on the floor and a soft leather arm chair placed in the window, looking out toward the street. He sat in the chair and looked, shaking. It had a perfect view looking down to his second floor living room window, though not into his bedroom-- it was far enough away that there was nothing visible in detail-- but it was close enough, he was utterly sure, to see the lights on.
She was changing her clothes in her impersonal bedroom when he got up and found her, after five minutes of staring in shock at a room whose only real feature was whether he was awake and pacing again. The only things in the bedroom besides the bed, more books, a lamp, and a closet and mundane bureau with clothes was a little pink pig and a small blue figurine.
He sat down with a hard thump on her bed, noticing idly that it hardly seemed slept in. "How long," he asked, his voice strangled.
"The day before you came home from the hospital," she said. She'd come in a few hours later than she usually did, he now remembered. He'd wondered then where she'd been, his constant and unknown but somehow familiar visitor, but he hadn't asked her because she looked even sadder than she usually did.
"What about your place?"
She gave him a wavering smile. "My Dad's been keeping an eye on it."
She balanced on one leg as she watched him, pulling on boots.
"Why twenty minutes, then?"
She bit her lip. "Sometimes you would get up and I think get some water and then go back to bed after five minutes, so I waited ten to make sure. And ... sometimes the convenience store was out of your cookies or chips and I had to walk down the street to the liquor store for beer. I suppose I should have stocked up, but ... that felt ... permanent."
She's been living in limbo, a grey apartment in a cheap neighborhood, waiting to see if I'd wake up and maybe remember-- and kept me company still when I didn't.
Their clothes found the floor again and he was the one who cried this time, but he eventually stopped after she kept calling him Seeley. They lay there, limbs tangled, as he watched the dim walls, neither light nor shadows touching the room.
They slept some more, and when he woke again all the old and new memories felt like they'd settled in place. He pushed her into the shower, itching to get out of an apartment that felt haunted by nothing, jostling impatiently even as he nuzzled her while she dried her hair and generally got in her way as she tried to get dressed.
"Come on, Bo- ... Temperance," he said when they returned to the street. "I want some french fries and pie. And ... maybe you'll finally try some?"
He waggled his eyebrows and she laughed-- oh, how she laughed even as she started crying again. He handed her one of the hankies he always kept in his jacket pockets-- you never knew when a victim's family would cry or you'd find evidence that needed to be examined more closely-- and watched as she dabbed at her eyes, then smiled as she said self-deprecatingly "It's going to take me a bit."
"We've got all the time in the world," he said, meaning it, and slipped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer than a hand at her back or an arm over her shoulder. He remembered something else, then. Chronos, the greek god of time. Heartache, Prometheus. Mnemosyne, memory. Chronos, time. They could make up for lost time.
A/N: Yes, there's a lot of this that's cliched, but so was the episode's ending. Grrr. At least we got "real" sex in my version.