Title: By Proxy

Author: Cardiogod

Rating: PG

Word count: About 400

Characters/Pairings: Mostly just Brennan this time. A little Booth/Brennan if you squint.

Spoilers: Post "Pain in the Heart." References to "A Boy in a Bush" and "A Woman in Limbo."

Summary: It is later, at home, when the darkness overwhelms the room and her that she realizes she did give him something.

Author's Note: I know I explored this theme a little bit in "Stripped Bare," but I just couldn't let it go.

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It is later, at home, when the darkness overwhelms the room and her that she realizes she did give him something.

Cam gave him a title, a metaphoric reign over the lab that he'd loved, a position of royal importance, and it had made him happy. Hodgins had given him independence and a shot with Naomi in paleontology, and it had made him feel like a man. Booth had given him a source of solace in a time of trouble, and it had made him remember that he wasn't alone, even though his friends were thousands of miles away. Angela had given him an image of himself, and in doing so, had made him see himself through her eyes.

But she had given him something different, something immaterial and intangible, but something that had, nevertheless, changed the course of his life.

"These are the smallest remains I've ever worked on," he had told her once about a little boy found in a bush.

"That's not relevant," she had replied.

"I'm always going to feel terrible?" he asked her.

"Put your heart in a box," she had told him, "Focus on the details."

She had given him the ability to compartmentalize, gives him a piece of herself, and it had made him a killer.

She wonders if that makes her an accomplice.

She looks at her partner who is staring out onto the city, his tall frame silhouetted against the window by the wanton moonlight, and she recalls a time when he held her to him and told her that he knew who she was.

Does he still know, now? Does he know who she's become?

She is Dr. Temperance Brennan and she is a forensic anthropologist who works at the Jeffersonian. She is his partner. She is a best-selling author. She is a daughter and a sister and a lover (though she is none of these things to him). She is a woman of science, of logic and of reason.

She is a murderer by proxy.

The thought hits her hard, but she says nothing. She merely walks to the linen closet and pulls out the extra set of sheets to prepare the couch for Booth before letting the darkness envelope her.

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Fin.