DISCLAIMER: Don't own anything associated with the show… I just like playing with the characters in it from time to time. Dance Monkeys! Dance!
RATING: T for Teen
SPOILERS: Through US Aired Episodes (Specifically Season 4 Finale)
WORD COUNT: 1046
SUMMARY: The aftermath of that final moment in the Season 4 Finale.
A/N: I was having this very interesting conversation with a friend after the finale aired. It really got me thinking, so I watched all of Season 4 with this idea in my head, and this story is a direct result of that. Also, super huge thanks go out to my long suffering beta for putting up with another session of word torture.
REVIEWS: Reviews are the way I know if people are enjoying the work or not. So, if you leave one, THANKS! And if not, I hope you found at least a little something to brighten your day, and thanks for taking the time to read.
In the span of a single moment, Temperance Brennan was swimming in the full awareness of the weight in her heart. The millions of little things her subconscious had hidden away suddenly rushed forward to strangle out her ability to speak. The confusion in Booth's eyes and the words spilling from his lips were enough to bring her entire world crashing down around her.
Watching the doctors and nurses poke, prod, test and question Booth was like a bad dream. But it was their words leaking out into the hallway that unnerved her. Words like amnesia, trauma, benign, anesthesia, wait and see. Combined with his complete failure to recognize her, it was all too much, and she just had to get out of there.
Stepping out into the bright sunshine of midday nearly knocked her over as it attacked her senses. Five solid days inside the sterilized walls of the hospital was more than enough to disorient even the most rational person. With a hand to her face, an attempt to block out the vibrant spring rays, she tried to find her sunglasses, and that was when she realized her purse was still in Booth's hospital room.
It was a small thing, but it was the last straw that broke the back of her battered resolve. Stumbling to a bench, Temperance dropped down onto it and fought for every breath of air. It was a reaction she found to be completely outside of her character, as were the tears welling up in her eyes. It was weak and it was illogical. Booth had just undergone an intricate and dangerous neurological procedure, and it was only rational to assume there would be a certain amount of damage to that region of his brain. So, why was she inordinately surprised by his lack of recognition?
The truth of the answer to that question cut harshly through her ability to rationalize. The reason she was reacting in such a visceral manner was because…
"Want some company?" Temperance turned to find her father holding out a handkerchief as he sat down beside her. The moment she felt the warmth of his closeness she was overcome with a feeling absent since her childhood. As he raised his arm her final shield fell away and she melted into his embrace. "Looks like Angela was right," he said as he pulled her in tightly, rocking slightly to comfort her.
The supportive comfort she found in her father's arms was strange, yet familiar. Temperance was not used to needing comfort from anyone or anything, but her father's presence at that very moment was exactly what she needed. He smoothed a hand over her hair, and made whispering shushes into her ear while he continued to rock them back and forth. There was no rational explanation for her reaction, but she was past the point of caring. She simply buried her face in his shoulder and took all he offered her, much as she had when she was a little girl.
The warmth of her father's embrace made her feel protected and secure from everything. Temperance knew that it was merely a purely ephemeral response to the need for relief from the act of denial. But that failed to change the facts; it felt good to have someone there for the sole purpose of comforting her. Life had forced her to stop relying on anyone else, but it had also shown her the benefits of such relationships. Still, those relationships were few and far between for her.
When her power for speech returned, she turned her face and laid her head on his shoulder. "Angela called you?"
"Other way around…" She looked up at him with confusion. He pulled out another handkerchief and wiped some of the tears from her cheek before shrugging. "When I heard Booth was in trouble, I wanted to check on you, and Angela is the logical next rung in the ladder. You know, when I can't ask Booth."
Temperance sniffed as she took the second handkerchief from her father, "You talk to Booth?"
He shrugged again and begrudgingly admitted, "Yeah, well, he might be a Fed and all, but…" He paused as she shifted around to hold onto his arm when she looked into his eyes. Her father smiled and finally said, "I trust him to lookout for you. Knowing he's here…it makes it easier for me not to be."
"You know, you didn't have to go." She sniffled again, "I told Cam I changed my mind."
"I know, Honey. But I didn't change mine. And it's better this way." He pushed a strand of hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. "Besides, you appreciate me more with a little distance." His playful wink brought some relief from the tension.
Very matter of factly, she changed the subject, "He regained consciousness."
"What?!" Her father smiled at the news. "That's fantastic…" He saw the lack of enthusiasm in her expression and his face betrayed his confusion. "Isn't it?"
"It's good." She swallowed the lump trying to rise in her throat. "It means the effects of the anesthesia weren't permanent, and it enables the neurologists to better assess the current status of his condition, and it means…" She continued to drone on until he stopped her.
"Tempe… I didn't ask for the man's complete medical history." He took one of her hands in his and asked, "Is Booth okay?"
With his question the lump had returned and she fought against it to give him an answer. "He's awake."
Her father's face told Temperance he was not going to be placated with a non-answer. "And…" She struggled to speak aloud the truth that haunted her. "And he has amnesia... Booth doesn't know me anymore."
It took a few moments before he spoke again. The silence hung in the air until her father sighed and pulled her closer to him again. "The mind is a tricky thing, Honey. And if I know your Agent Booth, he still knows you." It was foolish and illogical, but she wanted more than anything to believe what her father was telling her. And despite the laws of empirical science, she took comfort in the lie and in the warm embrace of her father.