It's a rainy day, and so I came back to this after barely starting it a few weeks ago. I hope you enjoy! (Although... it's a bit sad to be enjoyable...)
Disclaimer: Very sadly, I don't own Bones. But, if I did (I wish)... don't worry, I wouldn't be this mean to them.
There is an apartment in Washington, DC. It's empty. The brass lettering on the door reads 2B.
Her best friend always found that ironic... the two B's.
Now there is no movement. There is no one present.
No one's been there in days.
The books stand on the shelves... side by side... no one has touched them. They are alone here, in this room. No one is going to read them. Not in here at least.
A faint collection of dust has built up on the counters, the table, the shelves... everywhere. It would never have gotten that way if the owner was around. If the person who lived there for so many years was ever coming back.
There is a tv mounted on the wall. A large flat screen. It is on; the dull voice of the woman on the screen echoing in the apartment. There is no reason for it to be on; there is no one there to watch it. And so there is no one to turn it off. It seems out of place, and it is. It was hardly used; it was only there for a week before... this. The silence. The emptiness.
And its not just empty here. This isn't the only place where silence encroaches from not only the shadows, but the very air itself. Nothing can stir, no hope can be brought about. Nothing can change the abysmal existence of everyone and everything that comes in contact with this dark place.
It is empty also in another, much cleaner, location. Everything there is sparkling and bright... and yet it is still dark. Mostly it is cold. Because the source of warmth, which was slowly getting stronger with every passing year, has been extinguished in a single second. In a single action. In one heart-breaking moment. Everything went away. Everything is staying away.
There will be activity here again, and activity at that lab. Life goes on.
A light rain falls outside, and the rain drops splash one by one in a continuous pitter patter of sound and motion into the gathering puddles on the sidewalks, on the roofs, in the petals of flowers, and the leaves on the trees. On the stones that stand lined up one after the other in a pattern that is organized, rational... painful.
A line of people stand there, and they are like the stones. They are each unique, and yet from a distance they all share so very much. They all are focused on the same thing. They all watch. All of their hearts are torn, all of their minds are blank, wiped of the usual thoughts and ideas. Only pain.
The man on the end stands upright, and yet his figure appears hunched. Perhaps because in his heart he is struggling to stay afloat, to stay upright... to not drown in the shock and the sorrow and all the other emotions that he is so used to feeling now. And yet this time is so much worse than all the other sufferings he's been going through. Nothing he's felt yet can compare. Nothing that he will ever feel seems to be able to compare in his mind. He cannot imagine a worse day. He does not want to.
His curly hair catches the raindrops, and they sparkle in it and in his beard. No one notices the tears that are mixed with the water from the sky. No one is looking at him. No one wants to. They are all caught in their own suffering. They do not wish to add that of the others' to it as well.
The woman next to him makes no effort to hide her pain from the world. There is no purpose to doing so. They already know; they can already see it and sense it. The tears flow freely down her cheeks. The salty tang that she can taste on her lips is mixed with the cold and clear taste from the droplets of the heavens.
The whole sky seems to cry with her, and it has been this way for nearly every single day since that first glimpse into what the pain that was coming would be like. Unlike the others, her mind is not focused on the memories, or the fears of the future and the loss... it has already been focusing on that for far too many long, sleepless hours these past weeks... it is focused on colors, on the swirling gray and white turmoil overhead, and the dull faded greens of the grass and the plants... on the red roses so nearby that are slowly dripping rain from their buds and petals. They are all like a watercolor turned on its side before it has had time to dry, before it has had time to reach its potential, before it has gotten to share all of its wonder with the world to the fullest... the paint runs and drips. Falls to the ground like rain. Like tears.
Beside her stands the one who for once fits in with his confused and blank face. He looks lost, like a small child who has just stumbled down the wrong path... never to find his way back again, and destined to roam the world without guidance or aid from those who loved him but vanished like smoke. He does not know what to think. He only knows that he feels something he doesn't usually feel. Sadness. The feeling scares him, and yet, it groups him with the others.
He doesn't know if he should feel this way. He is not used to understanding the emotions around him. And yet... for once he knows exactly why they all stand there, why they are lined up on either side. And why every one of them has that same look as him.
They are all lost. Together. And none find much solace in the fact they aren't alone in that... because they feel as though... they are.
And nothing can ever be the same.
He reaches up to touch his face, frowning and at the same time feeling the confusion deepen as he wonders, to himself, if the water on his face came from within, or from the skies. He has not cried before at a place like this, though he's been here many times before. But it is different this time.
The woman on his other side lowers her head to stare at the ground for a long moment. She isn't one to cry either, but there are times when she will let it go. This is one of them. This is a time when she doesn't know anything anymore. She usually feels control, she usually has control... and now she has none. She lifts her head back up to stare ahead, to face once more the scene before her. She wishes it was not there, that when she looks up perhaps there will be an empty field, and the pain will have gone away.
It does not. Nothing changes, because the change has already occurred. The rip has been made in the fabric of their lives. The hole has formed in their hearts. No stitches, no repairs, can ever replace what was lost, can ever take away the ache and the throbbing pain that is ever the more evident with every beat of their hearts. Because their hearts are the ones that still beat.
A pale man, far younger than many others present, with his short black hair combed neatly, looks anything but composed in his eyes and on his face. He bites his lip and shifts from foot to foot. He knows what he is feeling. He can categorize it. He can tell himself exactly how to overcome it, to begin moving on. He can talk to others, he can grieve... he can move on.
Somehow he cannot take his own advice. Somehow, the tears in his eyes, which he never really noticed forming or falling until the rain contrasted them so sharply on his skin, are keeping him from it. Later... maybe later he will try to fight against the pain, but for now he cannot. The cut was too deep for him to rationalize, to understand. He remembers everything; every time he was ever with these people flashes before his eyes.
He has regrets; he has sorrows about what could have been... and he wishes it was not so. He almost wishes he'd never become tangled within their family, their close-knit web of friendship that went beyond anything he could understand. Because, in this deep, he is no longer watching, no longer observing. He is a part of it, he is one of them, and the tears in his eyes seem to make the fact only that much more evident.
Next are a group that stand closer together, who do not seem to belong as fully, but yet still group themselves among the members here. They feel the loss, even if they never were as close as some of the others. It may be that fact, the fact that they think they are intruding here, that is keeping them from stepping closer, or from even looking at one another.
The taller one, with the hunched stance, always looks that way. But today... somehow the light in his eyes has darkened further, has been extinguished even more so than on any other day. He would be the one they would expect to not be shocked by events like this... to have anticipated and therefore been prepared to suffer and voice that suffering. But he stands there in silence and stares ahead. He is left to wonder on that question that is so familiar to him, about what there is in the world that is good, and that question is ever more painful than before. Because he knew the one that was taken from them.
He ignores the cold trickle of the rain on his head and down his back. This is life. It is meant to be suffering. And this is another horrific event to prove the point only further to him.
To his right is a man with dirty blonde hair, the spikes of it bent down with the droplets of rain. Occasionally one falls to the ground or onto his shoulder. Leaving another dark spot that does not bother him. Nothing really bothers him except for the events of this past week. The events of right now.
Next is a man of Indian decent, his dark brown eyes downcast as he murmurs an almost inaudible prayer under his breath. He does not care that the religion the blessing comes from means nothing to these people who are here suffering. It is the gesture that they will appreciate. That the lost one would probably appreciate.
On the end is a smaller man with pasty white skin. He's British, and he's the one whom they all know to be the talker, the fact teller.
He is silent... completely silent. That along conveys his emotions.
On the other side of the group are two people, detached from the rest, and yet with the same purpose, and the same hurt on their faces and in their eyes. The older one is staring in silence, his mind whirling through images of his daughter, and of his wife. So similar, both of them... and both of them taken from him.
The man beside him lets the tears slide one by one down his face. He cannot believe her to be gone, when he's only just begun to know her again. He whispers a single word under his breath, as though hoping that perhaps he will hear a response, which he does not. "Marco."
The speech being said sorrowfully out loud, by the heavy woman with the normally sharp voice, the words they are all listening to... all silently agreeing with or sobbing along to when the words cut a particularly familiar memory to its core... stop suddenly. The man at the far end, the one who stands so far apart from the rest that it doesn't seem as though he is even a part of the events taking place, suddenly steps forward, suddenly appears. All eyes turn to him, then turn away.
None can watch him. None can bear to.
A single daffodil. A single daisy. A small plastic pig. All lain together on the smooth wooden surface. Three tears fall distinctly beside them as he stands for a long moment, just staring, as though perhaps he can see through the surface, can see right to the center, to where his loss now lays, where the heart of his suffering is centered.
Then he is gone; as quickly as he came forward he vanishes back into the background and watches in silence from a distance as the others step forward one at a time with their roses. With their farewell gifts. He notices the older man placing a small glass object. A dolphin.
He cannot bear to say goodbye. He cannot bear to leave her there. But he must, because he also cannot bear to be here any longer. To listen to anymore words about the life that was led by the person they all miss more than anything else. The life that touched them all, the voice that brought them together, and the strong-minded will that made them all stand back and listen, made them all watch her in wonder while she did things that only they understood.
He had watched, then, too. He had always watched.
She was beautiful when she worked. She had been at all times, of course... but when she was working, he could always see right through her and he could watch her emotions and her passion displayed so clearly on her face.
She had loved her work. She'd loved everything about it, and he'd never doubted that fact. That was why she had never stopped. That was why she'd spent those long nights in that lab that she cared so much for, and those full days with barely a single break in between alongside those who were her family.
Then there were those days with just the two of them; just him and her, in the SUV, at the Diner, getting drinks, interrogating suspects, chasing down leads...
Ice skating. Eating Thai food at midnight.
Each memory is like a blazing firework, lighting up the sky in its brilliance, in its wondrous light and miraculous shape before it falls, before it crashes into the reality of the pain he is left with.
She was like that. Like a brilliant blue firework, shooting into the sky, giving him no option but to look at her, to focus on her, to care about none else in the world but her, to look past the stars and the other wonders of the universe so that she was all that mattered... until slowly she faded away, until she was no longer there and he is now just left with the imprint of her light glowing behind his eyelids whenever he closes them.
Her face is all he can see, no matter where he goes, no matter what he does, no matter who he is with.
Her eyes, aglow with excitement and knowledge, sparkling with that rare light they got when she laughed, or when she understood some reference that he made. And that soft and caring look they had when she got something right; when she said something and he just reached out to put his hand on hers, showing her that she'd said the words he needed to hear.
The way she'd let him in, behind those walls... the way she'd let herself trust him.
And the way he'd failed that trust.
The way he'd failed to save her. The way she had died right in front of him, without so much as a farewell, or a last word, or even a chance for her to hear him cry her name... to beg her to stay with him. She'd already been gone before he'd shouted that first "No!"
He watches as each one of those she called family steps back into the line. Then he watches as she is lowered down, as she vanishes from sight even further away than she already is. This is the finalizing action. This is the true goodbye. He doesn't need to be closer to read the words on the stone that she now lies in front of. He knows them by heart. And it is on his heart that they will be forever etched. That they will never be erased from.
They are the words of closure, even if that closure is never enough.
Nothing can ever close this off. Nothing can make this better, can make this any simpler or any more understandable.
But the words are hers, and they will be held close.
He turns away, and he walks away between the rows, between the places where others lives were shattered, stepping on the ground where so many other tears were shed. And adding his own to them, mingled with the bitter rain, which begins to fall harder as the others disperse.
They all stand together for a moment. They all watch his retreating form. He is more alone than any of them, and they know it.
His retreating form vanishes.
None know when they will see him again. If they will ever see him again.
The door to the empty apartment opens, and the man steps inside. It is no longer empty, now that he is here, but his heart is, and the room seems barren and cold. It is no longer familiar, no longer welcoming.
He hears the tv, and he steps into the other room, his eyes landing on the screen.
He has come to see this place... for one last time. And to find out if maybe there is someplace that he feels closer to her. Where he can just sit and feel her around him... feel as though maybe a bit of the weight has been taken away. That maybe there is hope. The lab could not do that for him.
But this place... it holds only memories of her and him. It cannot make anything less real... not when he is here alone. That makes it more real, if anything.
He doesn't turn off the tv, but slides silently down onto her couch and stares at it. He made her buy it. He remembers the day they'd gone out shopping for it as though it was only yesterday. It might as well have been yesterday, the way the raw pain cuts into him at the reminder of how so very shortly ago she was here, she was with him.
And that now she is no longer.
The reporter on the screen is saying her name, and his eyes focus on it rather than staring blankly through it as he has been doing.
"Dr. Brennan was a renowned forensic anthropologist and can be most noted in many of our minds as the mystery writer and the creator of the beloved character Kathy Reichs and her FBI partner, Andy Lister. The funeral was held today, and although the circumstances of her death have not been made public as of yet, it is certainly true that she will be greatly missed in the hearts of many."
He doesn't even realize he's picked up the remote until he hits the off switch and the screen goes black. He stares at it numbly for a moment, the picture of her, from the back of her third novel, still burned into his mind and not yet vanishing from the screen.
Those who miss her are few, he knows, not many. True, many will miss the writing she provided, or the expertise she gave to the field she had dedicated her life to... but there are only a handful who knew her, and truly knew her. And none quite like him.
None will miss her like him.
None loved her like he did.
He gets back to his feet. He doesn't know where he is going, he just knows that this is not the place to be. There is nothing here for him anymore. Not without her.
He has nothing without her.
This place is just a place... just an empty apartment with the things that were hers... and yet he knows it's the last tangible thing of hers that he might ever see. He doesn't intend to return. He doesn't intend to help clean it out, no matter how bad he might feel about leaving the task to her other friends. But he can't stand to do it... and he knows that helping will only make things worse for those he is working alongside. They will see every time he holds up an item, every time his mind flashes back to the memory attached to it, and they will have to suffer all the more because of the pain on his face.
And he can't stand the look of pain on theirs either.
He opens the door again, and then pauses as he places his copy of her key down on the table by the door. They will understand what that means.
They will know he's not coming back.
He turns away from the room, her face filling his mind as he closes his eyes and listens to the sound of the door clicking shut behind him.
With the sound, he utters two words. The only two words he's said in weeks, with the words from the stone echoing again in his mind.
Dr. Temperance Brennan
There is more than one kind of family. You were and are part of ours.
Rest now; You worked so hard for others, now get some closure of your own.
There is no one more deserving.
You were more than just a scientist, more than just a daughter, more than just a partner...
and you were loved far more than you let herself believe.
We miss you. We love you.
What did you think? Review, please?