Title: A Risk Worth Taking
Rating: Just a fluffy kind of K+
Disclaimer: Well, the characters mentioned herein do not belong to me. I've been writing these stories since about 2005, do you think I should be permitted the liberty of no longer having to mention in every new fic that they aren't mine?
Summary: Post-Episode Fic for Harbingers in a Fountain. Booth decides that some risks are worth taking.
Author's Note(s): I don't know about everyone else, but I am delighted to have Bones back on the box! The new episode was fantismo and I hope the rest of the season continues on the same form! I would like to mention also that my website, which many will know as BONESFICTION is now back up and running after the lengthy process of debugging or something...? So for anyone who has been trying to visit since June, I am happy to announce you can go now! Please review and let me know what you think of my take on the new episode! Insomnia is a terrible thing and those of you who, like me, have suffered it will know how frustrating it is!
He couldn't sleep. Again.
At the last count it had been twelve days since he'd slept for more than an hour in a single stretch and nineteen since he had slept the whole night through. The walls of his apartment were beginning to close in, suffocating him. The nights seemed to stretch on in unrelenting endlessness and as the autumnal weather had taken a drastic turn for the worst, the mood hovering over DC was dreary, sombre and lacking optimism. This greatly reflected his own life, currently.
The insomnia wasn't the worst of it; those dreadfully long hours spent staring at the ceiling or watching American Dad on late-night television. His work was affected too; his social observations had come to a complete stand-still as he failed to notice most of what transpired around him. Sweets likened him to a zombie, an analogy he wasn't best pleased with. The doctor who had been overseeing his medical care since his surgery had prescribed him a dose of sleeping pills that were supposed to render him all but dead during the empty, lonely nights. The foil packet was un-pierced on his kitchen window-sill because a chemically induced sleep was too close a coma for his liking.
Brennan did not comment on the coffees he drank consecutively, just to keep his mind semi-functioning and the caffeine crashes were the worst; slumps of exhaustion accompanied by trembling hands and still no relief in the form of sleep. He hadn't been to the gym in a six days and one visit to the shooting range ended particularly badly when his usually immaculate aim missed the target altogether and hit the wall behind. He had given up, then.
It was the middle of the night now and even his rampantly horny neighbours had bedded down for the night. His bedroom was lit by the eerie multi-tonal glow of Fox News, playing on mute. Although the quiet was at times oppressive it was also a welcome relief. He didn't have to pretend to focus on anything or struggle to. On the screen mouths moved but no sound emerged and he found himself realising that he wished, at times, the world existed like this.
It gave him time to think in unobserved privacy. These days if he spent too long contemplating something his colleagues and friends automatically assumed that he had forgotten some detail of his life pre-coma. That his post-coma mind was somehow impaired. Sweets kept making all these implicative remarks about the brain's chemistry and healing times. Avalon Harmonia said he should follow his heart and that had always been something Booth had been inclined to do in life. That was why, he supposed, as a partnership at least, he and Brennan worked so well. Like yin and yang, they used two completely different methods of operation to get the job done. Heart and brain as opposed to heart and soul.
He had spent a great deal of time mulling it over; the pros and cons of telling Temperance the truth of his feelings. It was plausible in fact, that the weight of his thinking was responsible for his sleep predicament. As soon as he left the office in the evening and got into his car, his thoughts would redirect of their own accord, to her. It was infuriating in its impossibility to prevent this from occurring and for the past few days he had resigned himself to it and had stopped trying altogether.
He had analysed the situation from every angle, weighed it and re-weighed it. Most days he was resolute in his decision to keep his relationship with her totally platonic. Other days, like this one, he wanted her to know with such desperation that his heart began to beat noticeably faster when he thought of it.
That could just be the caffeine, though, he reasoned as he threw back the bed-covers and swung his legs over the edge of the mattress. It was too late – or early rather – to hope of any sleep tonight. He had watched the weather forecast so many times already that he knew conditions and temperatures for every major city in the continental United States for the coming three days.
DC was predictably gloomy.
His cell-phone rang on the night stand and he brought a lazy stretch to an abrupt end as he snatched the government issue phone, half expecting a breathless call from a junior agent about a grisly just-discovered murder. There had been too many such nights in his career except on those occasions he had been woken from his slumber.
It surprised him that it was Brennan's number that flashed up. His surprise was quickly replaced by panic and fear.
"Hello?" He was unable to disguise the edge of concern in his tone.
"Oh... hey... it doesn't sound as though I woke you?" She didn't appear to be in distress, but a call at three-thirty in the morning was highly unprecedented.
"Uh... no. I was just dozing really," he lied. "Is everything alright?" He paced the carpet at the bottom of his bed, listening intently for the smallest indication in her voice that something was amiss. Silence stretched along the line for almost fifteen seconds and he wondered if she had been disconnected. "Hello?" he prompted, glancing at the screen.
"Yeah," she said at last, almost hurried. "Everything's fine. I'm downstairs in the lobby, can I come up?" The noticeable shift in his heartbeat resumed, fluttering with manic persistence.
"Of course," he told her, far more nonchalant than he felt. "I'll open the door."
"Okay... bye." The line clicked and he stood still for a moment before snapping into action when he realised she would soon be knocking on the door. The gentle rap sounded at the same second he reached the hallway and as he drew back the bolt and pulled the door open , he was still frantically trying to imagine why she would come to him in the middle of the night.
The weather had cooled a considerable amount in recent weeks and she wore a light organza scarf of saffron colour around her neck and a heavy brown sweater. Her russet hair was pulled back from her face in a brisk, wavy ponytail. Judging by the pinkish tinge on the edge of her cheekbones she had been standing outside in the cold for awhile. This suggested hesitation, which worried him deeply.
"Come in," he said. "Jeez Bones, you look cold." She half shrugged.
"And you look exhausted. Which is why I'm here, really." Straight to the point, no nonsense Temperance Brennan. Although he was startled by businesslike sobriety of her voice he was overcome with affection and devotion for her. "Angela mentioned that you hadn't been sleeping." He had the look of a guilty man, he knew. "When I asked how she knew that, Angela said Hodgins told her and that Camille told Hodgins and Sweets told Camille." It was too early in the morning and he was far too tired to decipher the flow of information passing. "Which tells me that everyone knew but me..." Her voice was filled with accusation.
"Are you... hurt?" he asked tentatively. She looked confused.
"No... why would I be hurt?" He withheld the smirk that almost arose at her innocent lack of social understanding.
"So... why are you here? Do you want to put lavender on my pillow?" She didn't chuckle.
"I deducted that since everyone knows about the insomnia but me, I must be in some way related to that. You tell me everything else." She couldn't have been more accurate. "So I have been doing some thinking and I figured I must have offended you somehow." Right here was where her accuracy took a nosedive. "You're not the most rational person in the world and your feelings are quite easily bruised... it seems. Have I been derogatory about your God... recently?" He blinked rapidly, his mind reeling.
"Whoa, whoa, hold on a second there. For someone so logical, your so-called logic is making no sense to me – and certainly not at this time. You think you've offended me? Jeez, Bones, I'm not eight years old. It takes more than that to make me lose sleep." The notion was a hilarity, really. "And for the record, you don't have to say 'Your God' like I own him or something." Brennan straightened considerably.
"Or her," she added quickly.
"What? No, no..." His heart quickened at the fleeting smile that flickered across her cheeks. She was angelically beautiful, he thought. Porcelain skin, vibrant shiny hair and the brightest and most bewitching eyes. He wanted to reach for her and divulge to her the deepest, darkest depths of his emotions. A maelstrom though they were, he was beyond certain in his mind that this feeling could not be related to his surgery. His brain was not recovering from these pseudo feelings and he decided it was because they weren't pseudo.
"I love you," he said fiercely, the words blurring seamlessly from one to the other. Then his expressed changed to one of horror – like a child who had only just realised he had said 'fuck' in front of his mommy. Brennan surprised him by laughing, a full-bellied laugh. Her eyes crinkled at the corners.
"Attaboy," she said, slapping his arm.
He shook his head. "No, Temperance," he said. It was as though his mouth was moving of its own accord. He wasn't even sure what he was saying – he was like the news anchors on his television when it was on mute. "I love you... in a... I can't sleep because you are always on my mind kind of way. In a... everything you do makes me fall in a little bit more in love. In a ridiculously clichéd – want-to-spend-my-life-with you kind of way." He was gushing and she didn't have the expression of a woman swept off her feet. Her eyes were narrowed and her brow furrowed as she tried to grasp and then separate the words into a comprehensible sentence. The declaration was decidedly anti-climatic. "God..." he shook his head in despair. "This is a disaster."
"You can't sleep because you're... in love with me?" she asked, incredulously. "But that's stupid, Booth." His shoulders sagged.
"I can't help how I feel about you, Temperance." He felt immeasurably wearier now that the weight was off his shoulders. Like an athlete finishing a marathon and giving into exhaustion once the adrenaline was gone.
"No," she said unwrapping her scarf. It appeared she was staying. That was a small consolation; at least his confession hadn't scared her away. "I'm not talking about that. Like you said, you can't help how you feel about me, so why lose sleep over it?" She was genuinely baffled.
"You seem way more concerned about my sleeping patterns than you do about... about what I said." His stomach felt tight. Sooner or later she would laugh at him and tell him there could never be anything more than a platonic relationship.
"Well, you haven't been sleeping in weeks and that's a more pressing issue." She smiled, softly. Her eyes were patient and understanding, lulling him into an almost magical sense of calm. He felt emotionally safe-guarded around her when, logically, Brennan was an emotional minefield. "You're still going to be in love with me tomorrow, aren't you?" she asked, touching his arm and leading him from the hallway – where they had stood through the entire exchange – into his bedroom where the weather was playing once again on its intermittent loop.
"Absolutely," he insisted with fire. "I am certain of it." She rearranged his pillows and smoothed the pale blue sheets until they were crease-free.
"Then you can sleep tonight and tomorrow we will discuss the details of how this is going to work." He sat on the edge of the mattress when her hands pressed down on his shoulders. He was concentrating neither on his actions nor the thought of sleep.
"How what is going to work?" Her face was serene in the glow of the television.
"Us, of course. There will be particulars to discuss, how we can divide our lives personally and professionally. Co-working and romance doesn't always work so well, you know. Look at Angela and Hodgins. But I think we can work something out that will be mutually comfortable for us both." Businesslike, as always. His heart soared of its own accord.
"Do you love me too?" he asked, his voice stronger than he felt.
Brennan laughed again. "Oh don't act as though you invented the concept of love, Booth. I've been in love with you far longer than you've been in love with me. You don't come second in a race and then say you won." She ruffled his hair and kissed his forehead quickly. "Now get into bed and go to sleep. You've been the worst partner an anthropologist could have, these past few weeks." He obeyed, pulling the duvet around himself as she switched off the television, plunging his room into darkness. He was thinking intently about the things she had said and wasn't totally aware of what was transpiring around him. His eyes adjusted to the murkiness and he saw her silhouette in the doorway. "I will be here in the morning," she promised.
"Temperance?" he called as the door began to slide shut.
"Yes?" she replied, patiently.
"I love you..." He heard the melodic chuckle from across the room and could imagine the curve of her supple lips as she smiled.
"It's about time, too," she said and the door clicked shut.
He was asleep in minutes.
I have been working on this today while I've been at the office so there may be the occasional typo etc. Forgive my mistakes. I know I say that a ridiculous amount of the time. Please send me a review and don't forget to visit BonesFiction dot com for all your Bones fan-fiction needs! Thanks!