Disclaimer: 'Bones' belongs to Fox and Hart Hanson & Co.
Author's Note: An AU inserted scene into 'The Pain in the Heart', probably replacing that scene where Bones barges into Booth's bathroom (priceless as the image of Booth in his tub was…) because really, Booth "dying" and coming back to life really needed to have been talked out more.
What Came of Grieving
Booth stepped into his apartment and let out his breath.
God, it felt so good to be back home. He'd spent the past two weeks in a "safe house" the FBI had set up for him and he'd thought he might go insane with boredom, once he finally recovered enough from the shooting to feel restless. He'd been able to see Parker twice, for brief visits, but other than that and the daily briefing calls from Cullen, he hadn't had any contact with anyone else.
He sighed, reaching up to touch his jaw gingerly. Ouch. His Bones had one hell of a right hook, he thought, flinching a little at the memory of her anger. He'd never seen her so angry, so utterly out of control of her emotions, and if that little package from Gormogon hadn't distracted them all, he had the feeling she might have just flown at him again and given him the beating of a lifetime.
But God, he'd missed her so. Even angry at him, she'd been beautiful, a sight for sore eyes. These past two weeks without her had been the longest ones of his life and he'd realized more and more just how much she'd worked her way into his life—and his heart—with every hour he'd had to spend away from her.
He scowled at nothing in particular. She was supposed to have been told! He'd given the Bureau a list from the beginning once Cullen had suggested the idea of faking his death. First had been Jared, then Rebecca and Parker and then Bones.
He hadn't even dreamed that she might have been grieving for him these past two weeks…
Booth stilled, distracted from his thoughts on Bones as his senses pricked.
Something about his apartment was… off… somehow. It was… different. Had his apartment been broken into while he'd been "dead"?
It didn't look disturbed, though…
He stilled as, one by one, his eyes wandered over his apartment, noting things.
The small potted plant in the corner hadn't died.
Newspapers were stacked on one corner of the side-table.
He sniffed, realizing what it was that had first caught his attention. There was a faint scent, at least a day old, by now but still detectable in the stale air in his apartment—a mixture of lotion and a faintly floral shampoo, a scent he knew as well as he knew the smell of his own cologne.
Bones had been in his apartment.
More than once, by the looks of it.
His heart clenched a little as he imagined Bones in his apartment, believing him to be dead. Grieving for him here, in his apartment…
God, what had these past two weeks been like for her? In the hours since his "funeral", he hadn't had a minute to even think about what it must have been like but now, he did and he flinched inwardly.
He needed to see her, needed to apologize, even if it hadn't been his fault.
He moved quickly into his bedroom and then stopped again.
Wait. She'd slept here too?
His bed was… neat. Not exactly made up but certainly neater than he'd ever left it. Slowly, he made his way over to his bed, picking up his pillow and sniffing at it, even though he knew what he'd smell—her. It was very faint—it must have been at least a few nights ago when she'd been here-- but it was there and it was unmistakable.
She'd slept in his bed. To feel closer to him, thinking he was gone?
His heart clenched at the mental image of Bones curled up in his bed, clutching his pillow for comfort… Fanciful, yes, since he couldn't quite imagine Bones doing such a thing but still… She'd slept in his bed…
He let out a brief, humorless laugh. Figured. After three damn long years of fantasizing about having Bones in his bed, the first time it happened, he wasn't even there and knew nothing about it.
His gaze fell and he stilled, yet again, as he saw the small trash can that was usually in his bathroom on the floor.
It was full of… tissues… And one crumpled piece of lined paper.
Slowly, feeling rather as if he was in some nightmare where everything he discovered just made him feel worse and his limbs were weighted down so he couldn't move, he reached for the lined paper, carefully smoothing it out over his knee.
He let out a shaky breath at the sight of her familiar handwriting. How many times had he seen her handwriting over these past couple years?
At the top was just his name: Seeley Booth.
And then… Bones had been trying to write his eulogy?
Reading a rough—very rough—draft of your own eulogy was a surreal experience. He had the odd sense that he was intruding on a very private grief that he had no right to see—except this was his Bones who'd been hurting because of him…
I don't believe in God… (that was crossed out)…
He called me Bones… (blotted out by a tear)…
Seeley Booth was a good man. He never felt like he was good enough, always felt he should do more, but he was wrong about that. He was a very good man, the best man I've ever met, I think. He died as he'd lived, a hero. And I-- (ending abruptly and then a large gap followed)…
Damn you, Booth, I can't do this! How could you leave-- (almost viciously scribbled out but still legible)…
He was my partner and my friend…
Booth blinked back the tears in his own eyes at all the pain and the grief he could see in what she'd written. It was… amazingly precious… to know what she really thought of him. After all these years of bickering and bonding, of friendship and disagreements, to know she thought he was a good man, the best man she'd ever known…
Carefully, he folded up the piece of paper, slipping it into his nightstand.
He needed to see her now.
He'd been planning to shower—his own shower!—but now, he couldn't wait even for that and even though just minutes ago, he'd been looking forward to relaxing in the comfort of his own apartment and enjoying being home as the absolute height of happiness, he headed straight out of his apartment without a second thought. Because this was Bones and making things right with her was more important than anything else.
He made it to her apartment in record time, the words she'd written playing through his mind, filling his heart with painful, poignant emotion.
He knocked sharply on her door, waiting impatiently until he heard her voice and winced at how sharp her tone was. She was still angry.
"Go away, Booth. I don't want to talk to you."
"Bones, let me in. we have to talk about this."
"Damn you, Booth, leave me alone!"
"No, Bones, I'm not leaving. I'll stay right out here all night if I have to," he warned her. His tone softened. "Bones, I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry you had to go through that but I thought you knew. I swear, Bones, if I'd had any idea that you didn't know, I'd have busted out of that safe house and told you myself."
He waited and then finally, heard the door unlock and then saw her face.
"Even though it was against the law?"
He gave her a small, serious sort of smile. "Bones, you should know by now that there are very few rules I wouldn't break for you."
She stepped back, letting him in, even as she said, flatly, "I'm still angry at you."
He sighed, even as he closed her door behind him. "I know, Bones, but you have to believe me when I say that I thought you knew. I gave the Bureau a list of people to tell the truth to and you were right at the top of that list, just after my brother and Parker. No one else needed to know but you—I wanted you to know the truth. I thought you did know the truth. I'd never have let you go through these past two weeks otherwise. Believe me, Bones."
He looked at her and she looked at him for a long, long minute until he saw tears sheening her eyes.
"Damn you, Booth! You said you'd never betray me—but you did. You should have told me, Booth, should have told me yourself."
"I know. I'm sorry, Bones. If I'd known… I would have told you somehow, called you, but I never thought… I'm so sorry…"
"Do you have any idea what it did to me to think you were dead?!" She swiped angrily at her tears, turning away from him, but he stepped forward and caught her by the shoulders, pulling her into his arms.
She stiffened and for half a moment, he thought he might just end up flat on his back for pushing her, but then he felt a small shudder go through her and in the next moment, she was clutching at him, burying her face in his shoulder.
He closed his eyes in silent relief as he held her close. Thank you, God. (Although there were times he had to wonder, half-guiltily, how much power God would have over making Bones forgive someone. She was amazingly stubborn…)
It was a few minutes before she finally stirred, drawing back to meet his eyes. "If you ever do that to me again, I swear I'll shoot you myself."
He daringly let himself cup her cheek with his hand, loving the feel of her soft skin. "Never," he promised. "I promise, as long as there's a breath left in my body, I'll never leave you again."
"I'm sorry," he apologized again. He would apologize every day for the next five years if she wanted him to, would regret that he hadn't somehow made sure that she knew the truth every day for years… He lowered his head to rest his forehead against hers. "I missed you, you know," he told her softly.
She sighed and their faces were close enough now that he could feel her breath mingling with his, sending heat skittering up his spine at the realization. And she hadn't pushed him away…
"I missed you too," she admitted, so quietly he almost had to strain to hear it. "I tried… to compartmentalize… but it was so hard… It's never been so hard before…"
He flinched a little at this revelation. "Bones…" he breathed.
To his surprise, the slightest of smiles curved her lips.
"I missed hearing you call me Bones," she finally admitted, with palpable reluctance.
He smiled slightly. "Bones," he said again just before he gave in to irresistible temptation and did what he'd thought about doing every day for the past two years (at least) and kissed her. Just closed the small distance between their lips and kissed her…
Some small part of him half-expected, was even waiting for, another punch or a slap but then—but then her lips parted and she'd wrapped her arms around his neck as she pushed herself in closer to him, returning the kiss, deepening it…
His head spun as he slid his free arm around her waist, his other hand sliding back to tangle in her hair. Bones, he was kissing Bones, and it was… incredible…
He finally dragged his lips from hers with every ounce of self control in him, drawing back and reluctantly letting his hand fall from her hair, although not even he could make himself completely let her go. He was never going to let her go again…
"Bones, I…" he trailed off, not sure what he was going to say.
She cut him off before he'd managed to decide. "I- I love you, Booth."
He stared, feeling his lungs seize and his heart suddenly start to clatter in his chest. What? He couldn't believe it. In all the times he'd imagined telling her the truth, he'd always said the words first. It had always been him… "You- you do?" he finally managed to say.
She nodded. "I- when I thought you were dead, Booth, I knew and I thought I'd never be able to tell you. Now… I don't want to waste any more time, no more excuses, no more lines between us."
He inwardly grimaced at the mention of that infamous, stupid line of his. Fat lot of good it had done in keeping his feelings for Bones purely professional; it had been about a year too late for that from the moment he'd come up with the idea of it. "No more lines. I love you too, Bones."
And then she kissed him. She took a small step forward, catching his face between her hands as she kissed him with enough force and enough passion to steal his breath and his mind. Holy God… He didn't know how in the world he'd been able to keep from kissing Bones these three years (aside from that one mistletoe kiss in her office that he'd tried, very hard, to forget about because thinking about it could only lead to thinking about other things he wanted to do to and with his partner)—but he was beginning to think he deserved a medal for his self-control.
And then she did something with her tongue that he swore he could feel all the way down his body to his toes and he broke off the kiss with a gasp before it reached the point of no return.
"God, Bones… that was… wow," he gasped with something less than coherence.
A slight smile curved her lips until she looked so pleased and so aroused, all he could think about was kissing her again and he had to step back, steeling himself against the temptation.
"Bones, we're… okay, right?" (He couldn't believe he was about to say this, putting off something he'd been dreaming about for three years now, but it occurred to him that along with a medal, he might be in line for a sainthood.) "With Gormogon back and sending you creepy presents, we can't be—this isn't the time for distractions. We need to keep our heads in the game until this is over."
The mention of the serial killer doused the mood as effectively as anything could have and she sobered. This was his Bones, the serious scientist, his partner, first and foremost—and he loved this side of her, the razor-sharp intellect and her fierce concentration, just as much as he loved every other facet of the complicated individual who was Temperance Brennan.
She met his eyes honestly. "The center will hold," she said simply—and it was a promise. They would hold, partners, together.
He almost smiled at the memory of his words that day when they'd first found out about Gormogon. "The center will hold," he repeated softly and then added, a definite smile tugging at his lips, "You did kiss my hand that day." It wasn't a question.
For a second, Bones gave him a look that should have taken some skin off but then she gave in. "Yes, I did, happy now? But it was an accident and only because I was surprised," she immediately added.
He grinned at her. "I knew it."
She tried to look irritated, he could see her struggle, but a smile persisted in tugging at the corners of her lips before she finally gave in to it. And this time, he really couldn't resist it any more and took a quick step forward, cupping her face in his hands as he kissed her. He'd meant for it to be brief but she—and his own body—had other ideas and it lingered on until he finally managed to drag his lips from hers. (He was addicted to the feel of her lips against his, he thought.)
And for that moment, as he looked at her, he couldn't even care that there was a cannibalistic serial killer on the loose. They would get him, put him away, he was suddenly sure of that, because it was what he and Bones did.
Let Gormogon do what he would; they would hold and they could face anything together.
A/N 2: Thanks for reading and now it's time to review… You know you want to tell me what you thought of this… Please…