Those of you who have stumbled across my LJ or read my profile page will know that I've been struggling to reconcile the 'Bones' that I'm seeing nowadays with the one I fell in love with back in Seasons 1 & 2, but I thought I'd seize the opportunity to capitalise on a couple of moments that have really resonated with me lately.
This fic may well be my last contribution to the 'Bones' fandom, so let me take this opportunity to extend a huge and heartfelt 'thank you' to everyone who has taken the time to read and review my stories over the past year. I really appreciate your support! :)
The title of this fic was pilfered from The Pretenders' song of the same name.
Brennan knows that jealousy is irrational, in and of itself. But being jealous of someone's ability to love freely and unconditionally? That defies her better judgement to a ridiculous extent.
Her own experiences have taught her that developing an… attachment to certain individuals is a self-defeatist and painful process. Her parents, her brother, Michael, Will, Sully… Zack; it took a long time before the mere thought of them stopped causing her an unacceptable amount of distress. It's not prudent to crave a connection when connections are invariably severed – especially not when she's familiar with the discomfort that ensues. And yet, when she looks at Booth and feels that unprecedented surge of warmth kindling in her stomach and flowing through her veins, she finds herself saying something that is – rationally speaking - shameful,
"You believe that love is transcendent and eternal. I want to believe that, too."
The realisation – and the fact that she has finally verbalised it – almost brings her to tears, and she has to struggle to retain her composure. She looks at Booth with an expression of longing, knowing that he is the only one who has the capacity to make her believe in the unscientific (and really quite clichéd) notions of true love and soul mates and happily ever after. Whether he wants to, however, is another matter entirely - and that's why her plea is implicit, because she isn't quite brave enough to be explicit yet. Still, Booth is a master of subtext, and she hopes he can grasp what she's really trying to say here – and why she chose to divulge it to him - because even she isn't entirely sure why she felt the impulse to drive across town and knock on his door at such an unreasonable hour.
Brennan's breath catches in her throat when Booth softly validates her (senseless) wishful thinking, and her heart pounds against her ribcage when he shifts from his current position and sinks down besides her. He's closer than usual – their thighs are pressing together, and it's both comforting and exhilarating, until he echoes the sentiment again - this time with a caveat.
"I promise, some day, you will."
And that's the thing with Booth… it's always, "everything happens eventually," or, "some day, you will." Doesn't he feel the (pressing) urge to close the distance between them? The intangible (and inexplicable) magnetism that compels her to seek out his embrace, time and time again? It's a need that's beyond her control, and she hates it, because it prompts her to act impulsively - kiss his cheek, knock him to the floor at his travesty of a funeral (and then rest her head against his shoulder a few days later), reach for his hand… and suffer the indignity of being blackmailed purely so she can feel his lips against hers, however fleetingly.
She thinks about his initial reluctance to partake in that kiss, how he squirmed uncomfortably when Sweets made them press their hands together – palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss - and she mulls over that impenetrable line, and who he really drew it for. She wonders why he shied away from her touch the first time she offered to fix his back, and considers how, when she walked into his apartment and sank down onto his couch, his first instinct was to steer them back towards neutral territory. Was he really planning to go out to eat, given that his hand was buried in a box of cornflakes when she arrived? More than anything, she wonders why he doesn't reach for her now, when other men have always required far less encouragement. She can't conceal her disappointment, and she tries not to sigh and roll her eyes as she shoots him a surreptitious glance, hoping to at least see some evidence of him waging an internal war.
She's not sure what she sees, but he doesn't seem to be struggling to the extent that she is. She wants to question his blanket statement and ask how he can make a promise that he is (clearly) in no hurry to fulfil, but it's not the first time that she's been terrified of seeking clarification.
"There's someone out there for everyone… you just have to be open enough to see it."
And she does see it, she feels it, every time his hand comes to rest against her back or drapes around her shoulders, every time he stands so close she can feel his breath caressing her cheek. She can feel it now, as he leans even further towards her, clinking her glass with his own, and in the way he looks at her sometimes, leaving her struggling to process the intimacy and intensity of it all. The feelings Booth elicits within her can't be explained rationally and, for that one moment in Sweets' office, she'd almost dared to hope that he would elaborate on his sentimental assertion. But he severed the (searing) eye contact and ushered her out of the door, and the sweeping generalisation had remained unqualified.
Booth has proven to be an exemplary colleague and a considerate friend, and a part of her knows she should be satisfied with that, because it's more than she's ever had before (she can't confide in Angela like this, because Angela doesn't seem to realise that she has a threshold for self-analysis… but Booth - Booth pushes her, but never further than she's willing to go). Or maybe.... maybe there simply isn't a limit where Booth is concerned. Even though she knows that she's lucky to have him in her life, Brennan still struggles to quash the irrepressible desire for more. However, now that her appeal for more has gone unheeded, she can only wonder when 'someday' and 'eventually' might be, or if she and her partner are even (toiling) towards the same destination.
Their conversation flows easily after she forces a smile and changes the subject, and if Booth notices her discreetly surveying him as they steadily work their way through three more measures of scotch, he doesn't say anything. Seeing him suppressing a yawn, she eventually makes to leave, and they bicker about her ability to walk unaided to the cab, which Booth (naturally) insisted on procuring for her. He accompanies her downstairs, and she is acutely aware of the pressure of his hand against her back as he guides her into the rear of the vehicle. He bids her goodnight with a jovial smile, and even though it makes her heart ache a little, she returns it with a softer version of her own. The surge of emotion as the door slams shut is unexpected, and she can't comprehend why her eyes are burning as the driver pulls away.
That night, Brennan battles with insomnia, and considers that it might be dangerous to lose herself in another person. It's a need she can't begin to justify… rationally, or (she flinches at the thought) psychologically. Why would she envy other people their pain?
She forces herself to recall the look of horror on Dr Saroyan's features when Angela identified Andrew Welton's remains. There was no mistaking the anguish in Cam's tone when she recognised her former fiancé – he may have been a face from the distant past, but the wound was still raw, even after all those years... so raw, in fact, that Brennan was able to perceive the pathologist's pain just as keenly as everyone else. It was clearly something that Cam had compartmentalized over time… but it never really went away.
Heaving a sigh, Brennan acknowledges that love is always going to be too emotionally intricate for her to understand. Angela and Hodgins were obviously misguided in thinking that relationships had the capacity to last, but that doesn't explain why she often observes her colleagues gazing longingly at each other across the lab. Why did they break-up in the first place, if Angela truly believed that she had found a 'once in a lifetime thing?' And, if they want to be together, why are they holding themselves apart?
Brennan squeezes her eyes shut, and pictures Sweets' youthful face crumpling when she informed him of Daisy's infidelity… for all his psychological expertise, love had blinded him, and he couldn't conceal his devastation at being duped. The pang of remorse Brennan felt while watching him process the information was exacerbated later on that evening, when she realised that her assumptions about Miss Wick had been erroneous. Still, Sweets had readily doubted Daisy and the sanctity of their relationship before he'd had the opportunity to confront her. Perhaps love made you insecure and prone to jumping to conclusions... and surely that was another reason to discredit it?
Brennan doesn't fail to notice the tumult of conflicted emotions in Booth's eyes, or the way his shoulders tense on the rare occasions when he speaks of his relationship with Rebecca, either. She wonders if it's worth loving someone in the first place, if you have to live with the knowledge that you were never good enough for them in the end?
Was she good enough for Booth? Could she offer him what Rebecca never had?
All of the evidence suggests - proves - that love (when considered beyond the scope of a mere chemical reaction), is an ephemeral and often agonizing process. This week's case only reinforced that notion. The victim was a woman whose quest to find the perfect partner amounted to a string of failed, empty relationships, where she was simply biding her time until a better candidate came along. Her life had been a vicious circle of hope and disappointment, and her pursuit of the perfect relationship had ultimately led to her untimely death. The murderer was a pitiable man who was so crippled by the sting of rejection that he felt compelled to eradicate its source – another foolish individual who wanted to attain the impossible and couldn't cope with the consequences.
Eventually, Brennan reaches for the pillow lying on the unoccupied side of her bed, cradles it against her chest, and berates herself for her own moment of weakness.
But when she finally succumbs to a fitful sleep, she dreams of disco balls, gleaming ice, and Booth's hands reaching for her without hesitation.