Finally! Chapter 6! A big thank you to hpaich for looking over this one for me and pointing out a few things that I didn't see. And a HUGE thanks to all of you that bugged me to get this done!!
Just an extra note - the title for this chapter is the Rosie Thomas song Farewell. I don't usually say this, but I highly encourage you to listen. Its so amazingly beautiful...
Brennan heaved a silent sigh of relief as she felt the plane jolt slightly beneath her as it was pushed backwards to begin it's taxied journey to the runway. It was like she herself was being disconnected from life here in DC, and like the plane, she was now free to disembark this place. She felt a small thrill at the thought of the next four weeks being spent in her element, with no expectations of her other than to perform her job. This was what she loved, and although her work at the Jeffersonian was in no way unfulfilling, it was starting to feel just a little bit...suffocating.
She reached above her head to adjust the flow of cool air pointed in her direction, suddenly feeling that she was overheating, even though her first class plane seat was more than accommodating. Her hands felt restless in her lap, and it was tempting to reach for the book that she had packed for the flight. Sighing, she leant her head against the window. The plane wasn't even in the air yet, so it was a little too soon to start a book that she hoped would last her until at least her connecting flight in London where she could purchase another if needed. The flight attendants were going through the pre-flight safety routine, but she certainly flew often enough for the information to be repetitive. Without anything to occupy her thoughts, she found them wandering in the very direction she hoped to avoid.
Unbidden, thoughts of last night and this morning blossomed in her memory. Her skin flushed warmly in response, seemingly oblivious to the cool air flow. She knew that it would have to be thought of – sorted out and catalogued. She had even planned on spending a portion of her flight doing just that, so that her mind could be clear of encumbrances once she reached her destination. But the thoughts that were pressing on her now were not the benign and careful considerations that she had intended. They were heated emotional memories that caused her chest to tighten abnormally as she looked out the window and thought about the man she was leaving behind.
Without fully realizing what she was doing, her fingertips rose to the window, where they pressed delicately against the acrylic pane. He was out there somewhere, maybe even waiting to see her plane rise into the air and head away…away from him. It was ridiculous, but she found her eyes scanning the area just looking for the familiar shape of his body or even the Tahoe. She knew he wasn't allowed passed security without a ticket, but Booth had a way of always completely surprising her. After a briefly indulgent moment, she let her fingers slip back into her lap while realizing the irrational aspect of such a silly act. There was nothing to see beyond the regular workings of busy airport runways.
She felt the jets rumble to life behind her, getting louder and louder as they powered up for takeoff. The plane began moving forward, building momentum very quickly. This was her favorite part of flying. She loved the feeling of the plane as it propelled itself down the runway, pressing its occupants into their seats. It was such a thrill to experience such raw mechanical power, and while her scientific mind understood what was going on, she couldn't quite stop herself from peering out the window and enjoying the feeling of her stomach doing a small flip-flop as the aircraft left the security of solid ground behind.
After watching the airport and surrounding city slowly disappear from view, Brennan leaned her head back against the seat and closed her eyes. She was free. Totally free with four whole weeks of doing what she loved ahead of her. So why did she suddenly feel an insane desire to beg the captain to turn back and let her go home? Why did it feel as though tears were hovering at the corners of her eyes, just waiting for the blink that would send them sliding down her cheeks?
Her thoughts returned once again to the emotionally charged ones of before. Last night had been…she didn't even know what words to pull from her vast vocabulary in order to describe it. She felt as though she had lost something to him, but she wasn't sure what it was or if she even wanted to get it back. It had been a night full of surprises, beginning with his quiet command coming to her in the dark of her living room, and ending with the shock of sleep coming so easily to her as she lay in his arms. It had felt as though she had barely relaxed against him before she was feeling the soft press of his lips against her shoulder along with his whispers that it was time to get up.
Having him there hadn't been nearly as difficult as she had thought it would be. It had its awkward moments, but it had mostly just felt…normal. He had fit into her morning with ease, making her a small breakfast and brewing a pot of coffee while she had been in the shower. And for some reason that she couldn't even begin to understand, the fact that he maintained a normal distance from her had her wanting to pull his mouth to hers and completely forget her impending flight. He'd helped her check that everything was ready in her apartment for its occupant to be gone for a while, and with a promise that he'd stop in and check on things once in a while, they had left.
"Would you care for something to drink?" Her thoughts suddenly interrupted, she looked up with a start at the flight attendant who was smiling down at her from the front of a beverage cart.
"Um, yes. I'd like a cranberry juice please." She lowered the tray in front of her to accommodate the small glass and napkin that was then placed there. She took a small sip, welcoming the cool taste of the juice into her unusually warm body. The thought of what had come next had her face flushing in remembrance.
The ride to the airport had been quiet. It could have passed for any of their previous trips in the truck together when they had both been lost in thought, except for the fact that he had reached across the console and took her hand as soon as they had pulled away from her building. He hadn't let go until he was stepping out of the vehicle to help her with her bags.
She had been adamant that they say their goodbyes at the arrival drop-off instead of letting him park and come in with her. It was windy and noisy with the coming and going of other cars, the bustle of travelers that were saying goodbye to family or friends and heading in to catch their flights, and the occasional horn that sounded in irritation as cars vied for a spot at the curb. He had pulled her two suitcases out of the trunk for her, and she had her carry-on already slung over her shoulder when she had turned to him to say goodbye.
She could vividly recall the look of pain on his face as he had stood there and listened to her short speech about being back in a month and how she'd see him later. She had held herself aloof from him, with her suitcases between them in order to discourage any close contact. He had cleared his throat in what looked like an effort to control his emotions and uttered a soft "Goodbye Bones. Be safe." With a small nod of her head, she'd picked up her luggage and headed though the doors leading into the terminal.
But it had felt like each step of her feet became heavier and heavier, pulling her heart down towards the floor. Four weeks. It would be four weeks until she would see him again. And if things would be the way she was planning for them to be, then this was her last chance. It was now or never.
Without even realizing what she was doing, she had spun around and was running back outside. He was just getting back into the truck when she exited the door, and she was calling his name to get his attention. Nothing else mattered right then and there except reaching him, and for one terrifying moment she had thought that he wasn't going to hear her – that he was going to get into the Tahoe and pull away from the curb without seeing her frantic attempt to get to him. She dropped her bags carelessly on the sidewalk and called his name again as she approached the curb. The noise of the busy drop-off seemed to drown out her voice, making her feel like she was going to be too late. But to her immense relief, at the last moment, he had looked up. There had barely been enough time for her to register that his face looked as desperate as she felt before he was catching her in his arms and she was crushing her lips to his. She kissed him as if it would be for the very last time, suddenly beyond herself at the thought of that being true. She hadn't wanted to let him go – not now and not ever.
If Booth hadn't eventually reminded her that she would miss her plane if she didn't get going, she would have been able to completely forget where she was and what she was supposed to be doing. He had put his arms around her and hugged her fiercely to him while he spoke in urgent tones in her ear. Even now, far from him as she sat in her seat on the plane, she could still feel her skin burn where his words had landed on it.
"I know what you're doing, Temperance. I know that you think that you can leave for a while and come back with some kind of newly found resolve. But let me tell you something…" As he said that, he had pulled her back to look directly into his eyes. "…it doesn't matter how far away you are, or how long you'll be gone. I will never stop loving you. And no matter what you do, that's the man you'll be coming back to. Your leaving isn't going to change anything."
She had placed her hand on his cheek and looked at him with all of the heartache she was feeling. "It has to." With a quick kiss and a whispered "Bye, Booth" she had turned and run back inside.
With a concerted effort and a small sigh, she returned her mind to the present. They had reached cruising altitude and the fasten seatbelt sign had just been turned off. One of the flight attendants was announcing the in-flight movie that would begin shortly, but she had no interest in watching it.
It wasn't that they aren't good together. They are great together. She knows this, and has no problem accepting the fact. Actually, she knows that it is a fierce source of pride for the both of them, that they are so successful as partners. And even she would never truly claim that they are only partners. She knows that they are also friends. Good friends. The type that can be relied upon, leaned on, and even cried on occasionally. They are steady and constant and she very much enjoys the dynamic that they share. There has always been a mutual attraction that the two of them share, and it was only logical. Both are attractive, available, and successful representations of their gender. In her mind, this was a fairly easy conclusion to come to, and truthfully she's always known it.
But the reality is that Booth and she can never be more then what they are without destroying what they have. They are very, very different people. And while she knows that people don't need to be the same to have a successful romantic relationship, she does know that there are some things that simply have to be seen eye to eye. Those differences didn't hinder their partnership, or even their friendship, but it would certainly spell death to anything more than that.
And THAT was absolutely unacceptable.
So why was this so hard? Why was the thought of doing whatever it took to ensure the survival of their partnership and friendship such a difficult task to swallow? She turned once again to stare out the window, even though there wasn't anything but a thick veil of cloud cover beneath them. And as she watched the occasional wisps of white that flew by as the aircraft sliced through them, she was suddenly flooded with an emotion that was almost completely foreign to her. It was so intense that it took her by surprise, leaving her momentarily breathless. She didn't really have any good descriptors for the experience, despite her vast vocabulary and oral skills. She didn't feel like she was missing her partner, or even the company of a dear friend, although those emotions were surely present here. This was so much more.
Right now, in this moment, she found herself wanting things that she was not even able to fully articulate. She had spent most of her life feeling alone, but the instant she met Booth's heated gaze, glowing brightly as she had surrendered herself to him; she had felt as though she belonged to someone. This final thought had her shaking her head and sitting up a little straighter. The complete lack of logic was overwhelming. Not only could a person not belong to another, she would never find comfort in the knowledge that she herself did indeed belong to, or at least with, another human being.
Reaching into her carry-on bag below her feet, she grabbed a magazine to lose herself in. Obviously, she wasn't thinking clearly. What she needed was exactly what she was going to get. Some time away. Away from Booth, away from the Jeffersonian, and away from thinking about strange feelings and imaginations. She stretched out contentedly, flipping the magazine open. When she got back, everything would be back to normal, and she was certain that the next time she saw Booth, she would experience only the happiness of seeing a friend missed, with maybe a little undercurrent of the sexual tension that was now familiar to her.
She would not feel...whatever that had been.
Because deep in her subconscious, where she would never admit to feeling it, she couldn't help but wonder what to do if, unlike simple physical attraction, this thing just might be worth risking it all for.
Please to be telling me what you thought... =)