Disclaimer: I don't own Bones, never have, never will. This is strictly for fun.
He doesn't remember ever being this agitated on a plane before. Or maybe he's never been this agitated. He isn't sure. All he knows is that he isn't where he wants to be.
Nobody wants to go to war, he reminds to himself. But there's more to it than that and he knows it. He's afraid of the regret that will surely grip him if he allows himself to dwell on things that can't be helped. Adjusting the shoulder straps of his parachute, he feels a tightness in his chest that has nothing to do with the harness that hugs his ribs and hips securely.
Booth has been here before. He knows what that freefall feels like as the solid floor of the plane's large cargo hold disappears from under his feet and he plummets into the still-dark desert air. He knows what to expect when that moment comes. Part of him is even looking forward to it, that moment that, when it finally comes, will block out everything and allow him to plunging head first into the mission. That is what he needs if he is going to survive this again.
Get in. Get out. Go home. That is his mantra, and he doesn't want to be distracted from it. It is too important that he make it come true. He will never forgive himself if he fails those three simple commands. Those promises that he made to those that he was forced to leave behind.
He is tapping his feet impatiently, both heavily booted heels connecting solidly on the metal floor that vibrates beneath him. He feels a pleasing sting of gratification with each clop of boot on metal. The physical manifestation of his frustration at least gives him a small outlet, even though his gut is dying to slam his knuckles against the humming walls until he hears the crunch of bones being forced beyond their limit.
Bones have no limit. He smiles at his thought. He can almost hear her long-winded sigh and the confident, almost-but-never-quite-patronizing explanation of everything incorrect about his statement.
The soldiers on either side of him don't comment on his tapping, just as he politely ignores their own slight distress signals. Within moments after take-off he'd sized them up, along with the eight other stoic, resound faces. He knows them all well enough to relax some of the tension in his shoulders. The camaraderie is there, backs will be watched, orders will be followed, cover-fire will be offered. But now, in the quiet before the storm, it is the time for individual reflection as each man prepares himself as best he can.
Booth isn't afraid to die. He believes whole-heartedly in an afterlife, and although he still isn't convinced his soul deserves the reward of heaven, he likes to think that he has done everything he can, that his efforts might have been enough. He has always tried. He isn't afraid to die.
But he is afraid of what he could be leaving behind. To never see his son grow into the man Booth knows will make him proud. To never again experience that sweet tart flavor of a perfectly baked apple pie. To never pull another breath of crisp, burning winter air into his lungs after a long morning run. These are all things that he will miss when he is gone, if he can't make it back.
It's a painful thought that bites at his stomach, filling him with a regret that wasn't there the last time he found himself steaming into combat. It's the regret of never-taken opportunities.
He's not sure why he's being such a defeatist. He's been to war before and survived to return to the life he left behind. Although when he takes the time to think about it, which isn't often because it stirs memories he'd rather leave buried in the sand, he realizes that it was actually his life that left him behind, not the other way around. The world continued to spin… he just returned to find that he had spun in a different direction.
Never mind the duty to his country… he doesn't want to be there on that plane. He'll do it, of course, like a good soldier he'll go marching into battle hoping that he's really fighting for the reasons he's being told because he needs to know that the lives he is going to take are worth the sacrifice to his soul.
That his own life is worth the potential sacrifice of his failed dreams and hopes.
It wasn't this bad the last time, that much he knows for sure. Not that he'd been relaxed about the prospect of combat at the tender of a twenty-four, but it had been a different sort of agitation. He distinctly remembers just wishing be anywhere else as that unavoidable, instinctual voice kicked in, warning his primitive senses that death was of imminent concern. He really hadn't cared where that "anywhere else" was, just as long as it was remotely familiar.
Just as long as it wasn't the middle of the damned desert.
The animal instinct in him growled that he shouldn't be there, that survival was all that mattered and that pride was for the foolish and the dead. But Booth was far too human to be garnered by his primitive side. Nobility and pride won out, as it always did with him, and he would sacrifice himself for his humanity.
But that doesn't stop him from wishing, from wanting.
Now, even as he sits on the bench in the large cargo hold, the canvas straps digging into the underside of his thighs from the weight of his gear and the feral roar of the four blurred propellers tearing through the twilight, he has a distinct picture of the one place he wants to be. Just anywhere, just somewhere to get away from where he currently is just isn't good enough this time around. If he isn't there, then he might as well be here on this plane because anywhere else would feel just as wrong, just as empty. This time, he only wants to be home.
But home isn't his apartment, or his childhood house, or his office back at the FBI. Now when he thinks of home, he thinks of cold metal slabs and platforms bustling with skittering squints and lab equipment with names he can't even pronounce, let alone spell. Home is guy-hugs and "their" table at The Diner. Home is playful bickering and stares that last a little too long and faces that come just a little too close.
She is home. He can feel it in his bones.