Sorry about the delay in getting this out, but it wrote very slowly, and is a bit on the serious side, with a touch of humor put in. I hope that this format of trying to have a singular issue, or fear, per chapter, being dealt with in some manner, is working for the audience. Reviews always welcome.
Disclaimer: I don't own, or profit from, these characters or franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
Bones smiled as she watched Booth slowly make his way into the large main living room of the "cabin". He was wearing a hospital gown since he'd refused to put on a mu-mu under any circumstances. That had been the day before, so she had had some gowns sent to the cabin and he had been wearing them since. It had been three days since his little "accident" as he liked to call it, and this was the first day that he was really getting out of his room. Despite the mild anesthetics in the lotions and creams she was putting on the "damaged" areas, he was in quite a lot of pain. The one bright moment came that morning when he came out of the bedroom wearing the hospital gown, but it had been not been tied in the back. As she had been talking on her cell phone with Ange at the time, she quickly stepped behind him and snapped a picture of his bare ass sticking out of the back. Angela had squealed so loud on the phone that Booth had even heard it.
"Doing any better?" she asked with a smile. He'd managed a short shower just now, but the water had had to be pretty cool in order to stand it on the sunburned area. Booth had complained that he'd had enough cold showers since he'd met her, and that this was only adding insult to injury in his opinion. She'd simply laughed and walked out of the bathroom having made sure he could manage on his own. Her concerns had been more on his still healing gunshot wound than his sunburn.
"Just peachy," Booth groaned as he took a step down into the sunken living room. "Every step feels like I'm being skinned alive down there."
Bones watched him carefully as he lowered himself down onto a long sofa and laid across it. She had been cataloging in her mind all his movements and examining him for any indication of problems. "Do you need me to change your dressing?" she asked.
"If you don't mind," he said with a sigh of relief. At least he could get some relief from her light, but sure, touch. He only had to make sure he didn't let his mind wander into the gutter and get an erection, which still hurt like a son-of-a-bitch.
Bones went and got the supplies needed to change the dressing. That first time she'd changed it she'd managed while in there with him, but when she left his side so he could sleep, she'd rushed to her bathroom and promptly thrown up. After throwing up a second time, she'd cleaned up and then huddled on her bed for a time crying. The very fact of his mortality staring up at her, and the horrific memories of the two weeks she had thought he was dead, were too much for her. She could hold it together when she was with him, because Booth needed her to be strong, but inside she had been a wreck. It still wasn't much better for her, but she was no longer nauseous and was not having anymore crying fits.
When she came out into the living room with the supplies she walked over to him. He had taken off the hospital gown already and was laying there naked. Her more lascivious thoughts were forced down by the more logical ones as she knelt beside him and removed the old dressing. The wound was sealing nicely now, and only had minor suppuration.
"This is coming along very well," she told him as she cleaned the small amount of drainage. "Is it feeling any better?"
"Quite a bit," he replied, his eyes closed. "So did Angela enjoy the picture of my bare ass you snuck?"
Bones laughed. "She enjoyed it as much as I enjoy looking at it, Booth. You have a perfect ass," she told him. She leaned down and whispered. "But I, at least, get to see it live and not just in a picture."
"My Mother would be so proud, Bones," he chuckled. "Seeley Booth, exhibitionist and porno model."
Bones decided to tease him a bit. "You know, a nude photo portfolio of you wouldn't be a bad birthday gift for me," she told him. "It would give me something to hold my attention at night when you're away on cases we don't work on together."
"I don't think so, Bones," he replied with a short laugh. "You've seen all the goods and you have a photographic memory." He tried desperately to avoid the mental images of her pleasuring herself while looking at naked photos of him.
"Spoilsport," she shot back playfully. "It would have been the perfect chance to use my new digital camera."
"This is nice, Bones," he commented when he stopped chuckling.
"What is?" she asked as she placed the new covering on the wound.
"Being able to joke around like this," he observed.
"We've always been able to joke around with each other," she said, slightly confused. She hadn't removed her hands from the area of his wound, yet, and felt along his well defined chest. That was something else that was now commonplace. Each time she changed the dressing, she tended to keep her hands on his chest for a time afterwards, as if reassuring herself that he was still alive and well with her. He hadn't said anything about it so far, and she was not willing to end that bit of comforting confirmation.
"But we've always been pretty careful when we do," Booth pointed out. "Sure sometimes we'd go a bit far, but mostly it was without any real deeper meanings."
Bones nodded in understanding. "It is nice," she agreed. She looked down a his, now covered, sunburn. "Need anymore lotion?" she asked. It had been a few hours, after all.
Booth smirked a bit. "Can't get enough of me, huh?" he teased. He loved the small blush that appeared on her cheeks.
"I love my work," Bones shot back with a wink. She may be a slight bit flustered with his teasing, which in itself was unusual, but she was not going to let him get the best of her. "And you are a lot of work, Seeley Booth."
Booth admitted defeat in his own mind, though his Alpha Male side to his personality was mentally strutting at the innuendo. "I'm fine, Bones," he told her.
Bones knew that he was doing much better, discomfort and lack of ease in movement aside. The skin tone on the sunburn was now a bright red instead of the dark, burnished red of a couple pf days ago. That alone was a relief to her as she hated seeing him with such an angry injury, though it was his own damn fault.
"Do you mind if I go do some work on my book for awhile?" she asked. "I can bring you in some snacks for while you lay here and watch the game," she offered.
"That'd be great Bones," he said with a smile. As much as he loved watching games with her, especially Hockey, he wanted to watch this baseball game without having to explain the rules so often since it was a really good match up.
Half an hour later Bones' cell phone chimed. She smiled. It was the specific chime that she'd programmed for Rebecca's phone since she had told Booth's ex that it was okay for her or Parker to call her at anytime. Rebecca has called a few times checking on how Booth was, and Parker had called twice.
"Hello?" she said as she saved the portion of the new chapter that she had just written.
"Hi, Bones!" Parker said in that excited tone he used. "How are you today?"
"I'm doing very well, thank you," she told him. She talked to him like any other person, that is as an adult, and she knew that while she had to sometimes explain some things to him, he loved that she thought so highly of him not to talk patronizingly to him. "What are you doing? I would have thought you'd be out with your friends."
"I just got back from church camp," Parker told her. She remembered that he was attending a morning camp for a few weeks that the Catholic Church sponsored. Booth had been pleased that Parker was going to it, and she knew that he was also very happy that Rebecca had always maintained a dedicated religious upbringing for Parker. "I'm going to have some lunch and then go to Tommy's to play in his tree fort."
"I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun, Parker," Bones said with a smile. The more she spoke with Parker this week, the more she would look forward to his calls.
"Is Daddy doing better?" came Parker's next question.
Bones wanted to laugh, but held it in. Parker had been told that his Father had gotten a really bad sun burn, but not where he'd been burned, so it wouldn't do to make fun of it with Parker. "The burn is healing nicely, Parker," she let him know. It was the truth, so she had no problem saying that. She still had issues with lying to kids about anything, but she was a bit more flexible than she had been in the past. Another thing to thank Both for.
"You're taking care of him, aren't you, Bones?" Parker asked, deadly serious. In his opinion if Bones was caring for his Father, then it would be okay really soon. Bones was the best in his opinion and knew everything.
"Even when he's being a bad patient," Bones assured him. She had always wondered how Parker always seemed to have such confidence in her. That was something she would have to ask Booth about.
"Good," Parker said after a minute. "Can I call again tomorrow, Bones?"
Parker asked that every time he called, and she was secretly thrilled that he wanted to talk with her. From the first time she'd met Booth's son, she'd really liked Parker, and enjoyed being able to talk with him.
"Of course you can," she assured him.
"Cool," Parker said. "Good bye, Bones."
"Good bye, Parker," she said as they hung up. Smiling, she went back to work on her book.
Bones came into the living room just as the game was ending. She noticed that Booth had finished off the whole tray of snacks she had prepared. In deference to his carnivorous side, she had even added meat to the tray of snack to go along with the cheese and crackers. She had rounded it off with some carrot and celery sticks to satisfy her desire to see him eat healthier. He'd even finished all of those. The three empty beer bottles on the coffee table told her that he had paced himself very well on the beer.
"Good game?" she asked as she took a seat across from him.
"Great game, Bones," he smiled at her with her favorite charm smile. "The Phillies won 5-4 in eleven innings."
"I'll take your word for it," she chuckled, not wanting to have him explain all she didn't understand about what he had just told her.
"Get much done on your book?" he asked.
"One full chapter and part of the next," she replied, taking in his relaxed appearance. He seemed more comfortable than he was before.
"Can I read it?" he asked just like he always did.
"When it comes out in the bookstores like everyone else," she told him, again just like always. She decided to ask him something that had been bothering her for as long as she had known him, and while they had debated the subject, they had never really had a genuine discussion about it. "How does a person have faith?" she asked.
Booth raised on brow in surprise. "Bones?" he asked, with a slightly warning lilt to his voice.
She knew what he was worried about, and tried to reassure him. "I'm not talking about any specific element of faith, Booth," she told him quickly. "I'm speaking more generally. How does a person have faith in something, or someone?"
Booth tried to fathom what she was trying to figure out. Obviously something was bothering her, though she didn't seem upset about anything. "I think it depends on how a person actually defines faith, Bones," he started. "What faith is for me may be something totally different for you."
"But that's the problem," she tried again. "I don't believe in faith, but I know you do. I want to understand how a person can have faith."
That threw him. In the past she had always had derogatory things to say because the faith in question was about something specific, usually religion and faith in God. This was much broader in scope, and infinitely more complicated. At the same time, paradoxically, it was much simpler and finite. The intangibles. That was the key.
"How do you rationalize something that has no empirical evidence to support it?" he asked. "What makes you believe something with that kind of circumstance?"
"Scientifically you can't rationalize it," she said instantly, but she thought she saw what he was getting at. "Your gut," she directed at him, making him reply to something.
He nodded. "It's a feeling, Bones, that comes from a word, a phrase, a sudden clarity of thought that just makes sense," he explained. "Do I know that God exists? Of course not, in the empirical sense, but on the inside, in my gut, I know he does. The sheer complexity of the world around me, hell the whole universe, is so staggering that the idea of random sequences of events simply makes no sense to me, but a higher power does."
"What makes you have faith in me?" she asked. She had just made the subject extremely personal, but the way in which he had been there for her in the aftermath of the revelation about Zack had made her realize in a much stronger way the kind of belief in her that he had.
"Your honesty," he replied after a moment, not quite sure if he should answer her.
"I don't understand," she said with a confused look on her face.
"When we worked together for the very first time, you annoyed the hell out of me, Bones," he said as kindly as possible. "But something struck me, though. You never shirked from being exceedingly honest with me, no matter how much I may not have liked what you were saying. That to me let me know that while it may be a rough road, I could work with you and not worry about anything to do with the investigation, or the conclusions we drew. After that it was only a matter of time before you became my best friend, for largely the same reason."
"So nothing concrete, just some element of our interaction that you felt, for lack of a better word?" she asked.
"Exactly," he agreed. "Why are you bringing all this up?"
Bones looked a bit uneasy answering that, but decided to anyway. "Parker called me a bit ago and I was surprised, as I always am, at just how much he seems to trust me," she told him. "All week he's been implying that just the fact that I'm here with you making sure you're alright, will guarantee that you'll get better. I'm having trouble understanding that."
"Parker adores you, Bones, and he also hears me talking about you all the time," Booth tried to explain. "You treat him with respect, and he picks up on that. He has faith in me, as his Father, and he knows that I have faith in you, so he has faith in you from that also. Kids are rarely wrong in reading people, Bones, and they place their faith in the people who they have a good sense about, regardless of circumstances." He watched Bones nod, slightly noncommittally, but with a bit less doubt than she'd seemed to have at the beginning of the conversation. "Is there anyone you have faith in Bones?" he asked, not really sure if he wanted to know the answer since she may just reply she doesn't believe in faith.
Bones was torn. If anyone else, under different circumstances, had asked her that she would have either ran, or said what she always said about faith: that she didn't believe in the concept. But she had brought up the subject, and he had been willing to discuss it with her, despite the numerous arguments about it in the past. He deserved an answer. What's more, he'd earned an answer to that question. The entire week since he had come back from the dead had been a whirlwind, and their honest dealing with their true feelings for one another had broken down her fight or flight instincts when it came to him. That didn't mean she wasn't nervous, or mindful of her past when it came to getting so close to people, but Seeley Booth had always been someone to be an honest broker with.
She stood and then leaned over, kissing him lightly on the lips before standing straight. "You," she told him quietly. "I have faith in you, Booth," she repeated honestly. "Are you okay in here for a while?" she asked. "I need to do something."
Booth had been stunned. He'd figured that if she decided to answer the question she would say her Father. Despite everything, and the lost years, Max had proven himself to be someone who would do anything for his daughter, and his family. That deserved a great deal of faith in Booth's opinion.
"Yeah," he told her. "There's another game on in just a bit."
"I'll bring in some more food in a while," she nodded. Then she walked out of the room.
For a good time afterward, Bones sat in her office thinking about the conversation. She'd just faced one more fear, and that was the fear of being heart broken by having faith in someone, or rather, admitting to having faith in someone. The words spoken the previous Friday had been words of love, and deep caring, but not something as profound as faith. If she were to be completely honest, they had demonstrated that faith in that conversation on her couch, and in her bathroom, but today she had actually spoken the words. Still, though, there was something lacking in what had just been expressed. An idea occurred to her. Pulling out a sheet of paper, and a pen, she set to work.
That night Booth walked slowly into his room to go to bed. Bones had insisted on putting more lotion on his burn despite his assurance that he was fine. It was pretty humorous to hear her tell him that she was going to put rub more lotion on him whether he liked it or not. He didn't dare tease her, though, as it would be going pretty far to come out and accuse her, even if in a joking voice, that all she wanted to do was basically give him a hand job. Considering how eager she still was to begin a sexual, or rather intimate, relationship with him, he would have probably hit the nail right on the head if he'd said that. Better to keep his manhood safe from a pissed off girlfriend as deadly as Bones. As he sat down on the bed, he noticed an envelope on his pillow with his name written on it in Bones' distinctive, and elegant, script. He opened the envelope and took out a sheet of paper which had more handwriting on it. Turning on the bedside light, he read the letter.
I'm sorry that I didn't elaborate on the answer to your question a little while ago. You deserve more than a short, pithy answer to such a large question, especially when the answer is so deeply personal between us.
You said that you have faith in me because of my honesty. I'm not sure if it was honesty that I was expressing to you, or a reverence for the remains that are the basis for our cases, but if you believe that it was honesty, then I trust your opinion enough that I can accept that. That you feel that I am honest, which is a foundation for integrity and accomplishment, means more to me than I can possibly ever articulate. That you admitted that to me with no real expectation of receiving a positive response given my usual demeanor when it comes to personal issues, last Friday night aside, means the world to me.
I have faith in you, Seeley Booth, because no matter what was happening, regardless of the danger we were facing, or if I was involved in any of my many sexual affairs since meeting you, or if you had every reason to hate me or be angry at me for my attitudes, you never once turned your back on me, or left me alone. I've hurt you countless times, I know, and I doubtless will again for any of a variety of reasons, but I know in my mind, and my heart, that the one real constant in my life, you, will be there. You give me a reason to have a bit of hope for the world around us, and a true purpose to my work and the skills I have.
If this relationship works, and I am hoping that it will since I really do love you, I know that I have someone by my side, both professionally, personally, and intimately who will be able to give me the intangibles that I have always lacked, and the desire to be something more than I was. You've slowly taught me how to be a person, Booth, not just a mechanical woman who hides behind work and frivolous sex to escape the world around her and pretend to have a semblance of a life.
Do you realize how grateful I am that you came to find me on that stair case last Friday after all that had happened with Zack? I was so horribly devastated when I realized that I had never really given Zack something physically tangible that I was ready to withdraw again and become who I was before you met me. You literally saved me from myself that night, Booth, this time taking a metaphorical bullet for me instead of a real one. The bullet was the painful reality of my fears.
I could probably say more, and should, but those words need to be spoken aloud, not written on paper. I may have been discourteous when I abruptly left the living room when we were really breaking through on the subject, but I sincerely hope you will grant me the courtesy of addressing the topic again sometime soon.
With all the love of my heart, and my head,
"I thought you should know," Bones said from the doorway as he finished reading the letter.
"Bones," Booth tried to say when he looked up and saw her.
She held up her hand. "When you're better and we can talk about this properly," she told him.
"Good night, Bones," he said with a sigh.
Bones smiled. She knew he would want to continue, but she wanted him well when they had this deeper discussion. "Good night, Booth," she said as she pulled the door closed and headed to her own room.
A/N: Maybe a bit anticlimactic, but I want to use this story to work through some thoughts and issues that I feel that the two of them would have as a relationship begins, or becomes possible. I hope that you all enjoy these discussions and I would love to read any comments or reactions you may have. Gregg.