Rating: T now, M another couple of chapters down the line.
Disclaimer: These folk aren't mine. I'm just playing. No infringement intended!
Summary: His life had shattered into fragments. The essence of his soul – his past – and ultimately who he was, had been taken away from him. How am I going to help him rebuild it?
Author's Note: I don't know what word is on the scene, but I loved the season finale. Now, yes, it was all just a dream – but it was a nice insight to how things could have been. I enjoyed all this season's lab assistants brought together in a very interesting and imaginative way and I very much enjoyed the open affection of Brennan and Booth and I think they captured how B and B would be if placed really in a marital situation. Anyway, my story is based around this concept. I had toyed with two ideas – one was that Brennan and Booth's "fictional" life wasn't fictional and the second, the one I'm going with, is them dealing with the aftermath of Booth's apparent amnesia. Let me know what you think. One last thing, Bones Fiction was down recently but once again, it is back up and running! Hope to see you all there again, soon!
I stand in front of our friends, their expectant eyes watching me in the same way hungry tigers watch for prey. Sitting side by side, a row of hopeful and tired faces – Sweets then Angela, Hodgins and Cam and Jared, moping in the corner. I struggle to compose my emotions, devastated that I would have to shatter their expectations with the kind of news they had been silently, privately dreading for days.
"There has been some... damage." No one speaks. Their expressions are a grim representation of the wreckage they feel within – and yet I know their pain doesn't compare to my own. "Booth appears to be suffering from some kind of amnesia. He..." My voice breaks, "doesn't remember who I am." I expect one of them to comfort me, but the line of bodies remains firm – shocked. I am secretly relieved that even my best friend doesn't leap to comfort me, for I'm uncertain of whether or not I can handle the sympathy. "The doctor seems to think it'll take some time before they can determine the extent of his injury." I run the tip of my finger under my eyes each in turn, brushing away rogue tears from my lashes. "It's probably best if you all go home and get some rest." I wouldn't leave – as much as a part of me wants to run and banish the vacant look in Booth's eyes from my memory for all eternity, I defiantly lift my chin and turn back toward his room at the end of the corridor.
He is sitting up against the pillows on his bed, watching the window with a grim emptiness that makes my heart break. "I think I know who you are," he says. A spark of bright hope flares inside of me, diminished by his next words. "Are you my wife?" The question tears a hole through me in a way I didn't think anything could. Just a few days ago I was asking this man to father my baby and now... now he didn't even know who I had been in his life – and I know longer know what we could have become.
"No, I'm not your wife." He slumps against the pillows again, confused. "We work together." I suppose I'd been in love with him for a long time, really. Sweets knows it, although he's kept quiet about it and for that I am grateful. At least I used to be. That's the thing about regret – one moment life is an empty canvas, where possibilities and rife and the next... it's a closed book. No more choices to be made. Booth can't remember who I am and I find myself wishing someone had pulled him aside and told him how I really felt.
"In a bar?" I shake my head again.
"You're an FBI agent, Booth. I'm a forensic anthropologist and we solve murders together." I sit rigidly on the chair by his bed, touching my hand to his. He watches me intently and I look for any flicker of recognition.
"We've slept together," he whispers and this hits me like a bullet to my chest. "We've been intimate, I know it. I know..." his eyes are staring at me – into me. "I know every part of you. Inside out." I shift uncomfortably, my cheeks hot. "Don't I?" He looks so expectant, so desperately hopeful that I can't shake my head again. I can't tell him no. Like turning down a child's request for candy after a nasty fall. I purse my lips together and nod slowly. "Yes," he breathes slowly. "You..." he lifts his hand from under mine, touching his fingertips to my reddened cheek. "You respond to me." This is true, because in fact I do. I have responded to him on a physical level so many times before. The lie in this truth, however, is that he has never been aware of it.
I close my eyes under his gentle touch as his fingertips search my face, like a blind man feeling his way to something he recognises. I am still, half relieved that I am not a total stranger to him, even if his memories of me are fake.
"What is your name?" he asks me, moving his hand away as his voice pulls me back into reality – back to the challenge in which I am about to face.
"Temperance," I tell him. "Temperance Brennan, but you call me 'Bones', mostly." No hint of dawning registers in his eyes as he continues to probe me with the vacant, empty stare. "We've been partners for almost five years, now." His chest heaves under the weight of a heavy sigh. He looks troubled.
"I thought I was a Ranger," he murmurs, squeezing his eyes shut.
"You used to be a Ranger," I tell him, resting my hand on his forearm. "You have a little boy... do you remember him?" I hold my breath, hoping beyond measure that Parker won't have to wait on his daddy regaining his memory to know who he is. Booth looks at me again, thinking in the darkest recesses of his mind. I can see the thoughts whirring there, building blocks of his life slowly falling into place, one after the other.
"Yes. My boy, Parker." Relief floods me and I smile.
"That's right," I soothe. "Well done." He looks tired, suddenly, straining to draw even the slightest of lucid memories from his mind. "Do you remember Camille Saroyan?" He worked with her a long time ago – long before he met me and before Parker was born. As much as it hurts me that he might remember Cam and not me, I force my mind to be clinical and logical. If it can be determined when his memory becomes blank, it could help progress his recovery.
"Yes," he affirms again. "Cam, she's a police detective." I let my hand slip into his, squeezing his fingers tight.
"Cam works for the Jeffersonian Institute, now. She's my boss. She is also a coroner." He reflects on this in silence, no doubt recalling passionate trysts he shared with Camille long before he met me. I take a deep breath. "And Angela, do you remember her?" He shakes his head now.
"No." He sounds frustrated and helpless, angry at himself for being unable to conjure the people who had been such a significant part of his life. "Who is she?" he asks.
"Angela Montenegro is the Jeffersonian's artist. She's also our friend." Our friend. I sound as though we are a couple – with a joint life and joint interests. "Let me get you something to drink," I say, getting to my feet. "We can continue in some time, just relax." He has been relaxing in a coma for days, dreaming wild dreams and allowing his mind to get more and more confused. "What would you like?"
He frowns, still deep in thought. "Just some water, thanks." I slip into the corridor, taking a deep breath. The row of chairs is empty now, our friends having left upon hearing the news. Even Jared is absent – but this doesn't surprise me.
My cell-phone rings as I am slipping quarters into the vending machine. It's Angela. "Hi," I say into the phone, my mood sober. "Where are you?"
"We're having some food before going home. How are you, Bren?" I don't know how I am. A mixture of emotions I haven't felt before are overtaking my body. I feel both exhausted and pumped. Adrenaline is mostly what's keeping me functioning – of that I can be sure. I merely sigh in response to my best friend. "Yeah... it's not good." I had convinced myself of his safety. Until the doctors informed me of his reaction to the anaesthesia I had refused to believe anything could possibly go wrong.
"No, it's not." A cradle the bottle of mineral water in my hand, watching the parking lot through the upstairs window. On the ground people are milling about, unaware of the personal torture I am experiencing up here, above their heads. I've never envied anyone as much as I envy those people right now, not carrying the burden of doubt and uncertainty. "He'll get his memory back, Angela," I announce firmly. "He will." She doesn't reply to me and her lack of optimism, when she has always been so optimistic, discomfits me. "Listen, tell Cam I'm going to need some time off. Indefinite leave."
"Okay sweetie, I'm sure that'll be fine." We bid each other goodbye and I make my way back to his room. His eyes are closed and his lips are pursed tightly together in thought. He doesn't immediately sense me in his room, continuing his mental inventory of those he did know and those whose faces reminded a blank silhouette to him. Like playing a game of Guess Who?
"Big guy," he murmurs to himself. "English." I pour him a glass of water from the bottle and his eyes open again. "Who's the English guy?" He gulps the water in three mouthfuls, his lips parched.
"It could me Vincent Nigel-Murray. He's one of my grad-students, this year." I can't imagine that Nigel-Murray would have made such an impact on Booth that he would have remembered him, rather than me. But the mind was a complex organ – a mystery as grand as the universe itself. "Or it could be Doctor Wyatt. He was your court appointed psychologist a while back." Booth began to nod slowly.
"Yes... Highly cryptic. Quite theatrical." Definitely Gordon Wyatt. Although there were distinct similarities there that I had seen in Vincent too. Perhaps it was an English thing. "Maybe he can help me get my memories back." Booth looks haunted, like a man grasping at straws. I sit again, my knees tight together as I take his hand in mine.
"You have a different psychologist now. His name is Lance Sweets. He works for the FBI." I watch him kindly. "Sweets is also our friend." I explain about Hodgins too. There are more grad students to introduce him too, but I think it's too early. Fisher, Clark and Wendell will have to wait for another evening. Maybe tomorrow. "I will talk to Sweets tomorrow," I say, "and see if he can recommend any treatment which might aid in your recovery." I sound like a doctor – strictly detached and clinical. I decide to offer him a part of me – an intimate part of us, to remind him that I'm not merely a spectator in his life. "Before your surgery, we decided to have a baby." I am conflicted by the look of amazement, surprise and delight on his face. "Please remember me, Booth..." I find myself selfishly begging him. He can't. It's not his fault that the memories are gone, and yet I am begging him as though he has some measure of control over it.
"Right now I can't," he says softly. "But I know we had something... special. I can sense that much. I will get my memory back, just to know what it was." I don't have the heart to tell him that he's never taken me to bed and made me writhe with pleasure like he imagines he has. Like I have imagined hundreds of times that he might. I blush and he mistakes this for affirmation that his belief is correct. "You look really tired, Temperance," he tells me. I look up quickly. "What?" he asks, confused.
"You never... really... call me Temperance." I feel weary and deeply exhausted as I sit there by his bedside, four days of non-sleep suddenly hitting me. He swallows.
"Do you disapprove me calling you by your name? Do you prefer this nickname I've given you?" I almost laugh. For so long I objected to being called 'Bones'. I found it derogatory – until it suddenly made me feel special that he had this name that only he called me. I started holding this term of endearment close to my heart – like a private joke shared between lovers.
"I don't disapprove," I reassure him firmly. "And once you get your memory back, I'm sure I'll be Bones again in no time." Despite myself, I hope so.
"Put your head down," he tells me, patting the mattress beneath his hand. "I will still be here when you wake up." My eyes are heavy and I would like nothing more than to crawl into bed and sleep for a week. Stifling a yawn I press my cheek to the sheet, comforted by his fingers lacing in my hair, stroking my scalp in an almost hypnotic way. "You have to remember me..." I whisper as I doze off. "You have to..."