In the big bowl of spaghetti that is the ongoing plots and turmoils on Bones this season, I've been trying to pick my way through and find a reasonable excuse for the end-of-season spoilers. This is the second in that vein, Impasse having been my first. This is a tag for The Beaver In The Otter. I fleshed out one of the scenes, adding my take on what Brennan could have been thinking. Also, I couldn't possibly resist spinning out that last scene, since it was just so darn cute! What he did for her? Sigh. If that ain't love, I don't know what is. I hope you enjoy this. Thanks so much for taking the time to read. And to those who have been reading my multi-chapter fic, I am almost done with the next chapter, so it won't be too long, I promise!


"Jared wants me to go to India with him."

It happens, just like that. The thing I've been dreading. The outcome against which I've steeled myself quickly becomes a possibility with that one short sentence from my partner. India. On the other side of the world, gone for an unacceptable period of time. Maybe gone forever. Gone.

I never really thought he would consider this option. I assumed that if it happened, it would only be our partnership that would be severed when he grew tired of me. But I never thought of the possibility that he might actually leave. I can't concentrate; I have to buy some time. "Indiana?"

"India, okay? Taj Mahal, cows, tigers, cobras, Slumdog Millionaire..."

I have to say something quickly, he expects a response. "I know..." I want to ask him what happened, but another question is more crucial, and it forces its way past my lips before I can think clearly. "Are you going?" One of the most important questions I've ever asked him – so far. If he says yes, what will I do? What will I say? If he says yes, then he's made his decision. And there wasn't enough to keep him here.

"We don't like each other."

"So, not going." But the respite is short-lived.

"But, I mean, he's my brother, so I love him..."

I don't know what to think now – he seems as bewildered as I feel. "I'm are going?" A nearly palpable sense of relief suddenly hits me as I think of something. If he hasn't made up his mind yet, then I can try to convince him to stay. What do I say? My mind touches on various arguments at lightning speed, but quickly discards them all as irrelevant. Perhaps I should mention Parker – he won't want to leave his son. But he must already have considered this. He loves Parker too much to take lightly the possibility of leaving him. His job? He loves his job as much as I love mine. But apparently I judged him incorrectly regarding this fact, if he is seriously contemplating leaving.

He makes a face, brows lifting in an exaggerated fashion. "Jared should not go to India alone; he'll get in all kinds of trouble."

Wait. His words trigger a memory in me, a memory of what he said earlier. An idea springs into my head, and I speak without forethought. "You said he's never been alone."

"Exactly. He'll be eaten alive."

"Well if you go with him, then he won't be alone. You won't let him be bad, and his frontal lobe will always be the size of a raisin. That's what you said." I shake my head, compelled to discount his reasoning no matter how much I'm clinging to it now. "Makes no scientific sense." He says nothing at first, and I hold my breath. He seems to be carefully considering the point I just made. Maybe I said the right thing for once. Please let me have said the right thing.

"Yeah, you said. Got it." As he speaks, his face brightens up, and his mood seems lighter. I cautiously inhale. Does he actually want to stay? Perhaps he was just being the responsible person that he always is, and simply wanted to ensure Jared's safety. I can't help but watch him out of the corner of my eye, my body braced in case he changes his mind. Maybe he's not tired of his job, of his life. Of me. I feel as if I've just been given a glancing blow. Shaken, but not actually hurt. Not yet, anyway.

"Bones? You okay?"

I realize I've been silent for several minutes. "Of course, I'm fine."

He's glancing over at me in that probing way he has, that way that sees too much. "You just seem a little quiet over there. What's on your mind?"

"Nothing. Well, I was just trying to make sense of Dean Warner's behavior. It's very confusing." I couldn't be telling a bigger lie, and I'm so scared that I don't even stop to consider whether or not he knows it. I'm swamped with fear, and the knowledge of one salient fact is crowding my brain. I'm running out of time. Someday soon something will call to him, something stronger than what's holding him here, and he really will be gone. I have to do something before it's too late.


She's chattering. Actually chattering like a teenager. It's amazing. And beautiful. Since we pulled away from the Founding Fathers, she's been talking nonstop, her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkling. She seems younger when she's like this, and so happy, and I know there's not much I wouldn't do to see it again. She's been quiet for the last day or so, and I can't quite figure out why. But whatever it is seems to have passed, and she's way more relaxed because of it. If I thought she'd tell me what she's been upset about, I'd ask her now. I might still, if I get the right moment.

"Let's do something else!" She leans over and grabs my wrist, her eyes widening as the daring thought hits her.

I chuckle with true enjoyment at how she's latched onto the idea. And how she's latched onto my arm. Casually I let go of the wheel so I can grip her hand. "Wow, Bones, that's a pretty dangerous proposition. I don't know - it's probably not a good idea."

"Oh – why not?"

She actually seems disappointed, my wannabe criminal. "Well, for starters, you might get a taste for it and start a one-woman crime wave. Then I'd have to arrest you."

"I don't care. You've arrested me before." A brilliant grin flashes on her face. "We should do something else, something bad. What can we do?" She's bopping in her seat, too excited to sit still.

"I don't know. What do you want to do?" She'll probably want to jaywalk or something. Maybe litter.

"We could – maybe we could vandalize something, or trespass somewhere!" She smiles as I gape at her.

"Bones, are you crazy?" I shake my head in disbelief. Only Bones. I should have known. Once she makes the decision to do something, she never does it halfway. "Alright, I'm not letting you outta my sight, now. You can't be trusted."

Suddenly she gasps and squeezes my hand even tighter. "Oh, I know! Let's break into the Jeffersonian."

"What?" Rather than keep trying to drive while she shocks the hell out of me, I quickly pull to the side of the road and turn to her. "Why would you want to do that? You have unlimited access to the place."

"I know, that's why it's perfect! If we get caught, we won't get in trouble because it's okay for me to be there."

Sometimes her logic is truly frightening. "Uh, Bones, it doesn't matter if you're allowed to be there – the government doesn't like it when you try to sneak into that kind of place." Her shoulders sag, and I quickly add more weight to my argument. "You don't really want to get arrested."

"No, I suppose not. Although, when you arrested me it wasn't that bad."

"That's because you're my partner. What, did you think I was gonna throw you against a wall and cuff you?" And that visual is one I could do without. "What about New Orleans?"

"Oh. Well. That was rather unpleasant." She sighs gustily, her sensible nature reasserting itself. "I suppose you are right. Besides, security is so tight now at the Jeffersonian, there's no way we could get in without them knowing it."

Well, I could, but she doesn't need to know that. It would just start a barrage of questions I'd rather not answer. "Atta girl. Now, what say I bring you home and we have one more beer for the road?" I pull back out into traffic and head east. We're almost to her place when I realize she's started it again. The swiftness of the change is stunning. She's quiet, and darting quick looks at me when she thinks I won't notice – something else she's been doing for the past few days. Impulsively I whip the truck out of traffic again and park on a quiet side street. Apparently this is that right moment I've been waiting for. "You need to tell me what's going on."

She stares at me, pretending that she's confused by my behavior but I know she's not. Not really. "What are you talking about?"

"C'mon, Bones. You've been quiet for days now, and you keep eyeing me up on the sly – what's the deal?" I can see that she's nervous now, and something else. Something – but it can't possibly be fear. Why would she be afraid? Maybe it had something to do with her nightmare of a foster family. I knew for a fact that dredging up old memories like that could hurt like a bitch. "Talk to me."

"There's nothing to talk about, Booth. Nothing's wrong."

My partner is the queen of mixed signals. Her voice is saying everything's normal and her eyes are chock-full of anxiety. "I don't believe that, alright? Something's up, and I want you to tell me. Is everything okay with your dad, with Russ? Are they in some kind of trouble? Because if they are..."

"No, they're fine, everything is fine. Really." She grips her hands together in her lap, obviously fighting for control. "It's simply that it's late, and I'm tired. I'm just going to walk home from here; it's only a few blocks."

She has the door open before I can stop her, so I vault out my side, rounding the truck before she can even shut it. "Bones, you really are crazy if you think I'm going to let you go without you telling me why you're so upset. Come on, we're partners, remember? Partners help each other."

She looks at me then, the tension in her face replaced by a raw sadness I can't pin down. "Yes, partners do help each other." A sigh escapes her, and the strain in her body is evident. "You've always helped me, Booth."

"Yes, I have." Now I'm really worried. What is this? 'Cause now I'm remembering the other times she's acted weird lately, and the feeling that she has something she wants to say to me just keeps increasing. I remember that night outside the diner after I was done talking to the Gilmour kid. Something was going on then, too. Something that upset her. But she never told me. I have to get this out of her one way or another. She's never kept anything from me for this long, and I'm starting to really worry. "I'll help you now, Bones, but you need to tell me what's wrong." I grab her hands and stare intensely at her, willing her to trust me enough to tell me. When a minute passes and she's still just looking at me with those big damp eyes, I realize she's not going to. Not tonight. I shove the disappointment down inside of me. She'll tell me. I know she will.

"I'm sorry, Booth. I promise you I will tell you, but I'm just not ready yet. I will tell you, soon."

I sigh and nod. I don't really have a choice. There's nothing else I can do. If I push her now, she'll just back even further away. At least she admitted that something's bothering her, and that's a step in the right direction. "Okay. You take whatever time you need. But remember I'm here for you, Bones. Whatever you tell me, I'm here for you." Probably the truest words I've ever spoken, although she doesn't know it. And I can't tell her that I wasn't planning on going anywhere that was away from her. I'm here for her, no matter what. Whatever she needs, anytime, anywhere. I'm so grateful to her that she gave me a believable excuse to tell people why I stayed. I smile at her, hoping to ease her mind. "Now, how's about you get back in and let me take you home?"

She responds in kind, dredging up a shaky smile and allowing me to help her back into the truck. I talk about nonsense things the rest of the way, determined to put her at ease. But it's clear that whatever's worrying her isn't going to go away. I'd have to be an idiot to not see that something's about to break. Something big. Every nerve is attuned to her, and the vibes I'm getting are pretty extreme. I won't let this go on for much longer. If she doesn't tell me, well, I'll have to have it out with her. She's too special - I won't let anything happen to her. She may not know it, but she's not alone.

Well, off I go to run errands - late again! I hope you liked this - if so, feel free to drop me a line. I'm always happy to hear from you guys. Thanks for reading!