AN: Hello! I would just like to send out a quick and heartfelt thanks to everyone who reads, reviews and even subscribes to story alerts. It is constantly reminding me not to be lazy! Anyway, the reason for the wait for this chapter is because a lot happens in it and I think I rewrote it about three times (the ending anyway, which I am still not 100% happy with). A quick note that there is probably only one more chapter to this story. I do intend on doing a sequel in December when I have more time to write. Oh, and beware of fluff... There is a lot of it coming. Enjoy!
Those Damn Clowns - A Bones Fanfic
"Ange, can you zoom in more?" Bones had her arms crossed over her chest, staring intently at the image splayed across the huge screen in Angela's office. I tried my hardest to figure out what she was looking at but it just seemed like blobs to me.
"Brennan, we've been through this before. The more I zoom, the more degraded the image becomes."
"I know Angela but... I just know that if we could look a little closer, I could figure out this pattern..." She trailed off and continued to study the image before us with her mouth open slightly, betraying her state of deep concentration. The usual vibrant blue of her eyes had hardened into a steely grey, which I realized often happened when something was perplexing her. Her back was slightly arched to counteract the weight of her large stomach and she had let her hair grow out so that her soft curls rested on her shoulder blades. Finally, her expression cleared and a small smirk spread across her face, "I know what it is."
Before Angela and I could react, Bones dashed out of the room – presumably to go to her office. Staring out the door, I couldn't help but smile. Moments like this were the reason why I love her. She is amazingly intelligent and so passionate about everything she does. It is so easy to get caught up in her enthusiasm and excitement, even regarding the more uninteresting topics. Sometime during my rambling thoughts, Angela moved to stand close to my right side. Elbowing me lightly, she smirked, "She's pretty amazing, isn't she?"
Hooking my hands on my hips, I mumbled, "Yeah... She is."
"And you had a chance with her," Angela muttered before walking back to her desk and taking a seat.
Sending her a sidelong glance, I tried not to betray any emotion in my voice, "What do you mean?"
With a loud sigh, she leaned back in her chair and stared at me thoughtfully. After a few moments, she inspected her nails while responding nonchalantly, "Well, she has been seeing Wendell a lot lately and quite frankly, I think she got sick of waiting for you to make a move."
"Make a move?" I echoed.
"Yes," She stated while crossing her arms, "You somehow managed to spend one passionate night with her and completely botch telling her how you feel about her for a solid seven and a half months. How you managed that, I have no idea!"
Glancing over at her, I narrowed my eyes, "Who says I have feelings for her?"
Laughing lightly, she raised her eyebrows and retorted, "Everyone that has ever seen you two interact. Besides, I don't like to brag but I am kind of an expert with this kind of thing."
Looking quickly down at my feet, I realized she was right. People have been asking about my relationship with Bones since we first became a team. While we continued to deny it, everyone continued to suspect. And she was severely understating a fact when she said she is kind of an expert. I knew that if there was anyone I could wholly trust regarding this kind of thing, Angela was it. With a heavy sigh, I nodded, "You're right... What do I do?"
Although she looked surprised for a split second, she quickly rose from her chair and strode over to me, "That is simple. You do something for her, something romantic, and then confess your love."
"Oh sure, it sounds simple when you say it like that," I scoffed.
Raising her hands in surrender, Angela chuckled, "Okay, maybe you're right about that. But you need to tell her how you feel. You're not helping anyone by bottling your feelings inside for fear of losing her."
Absentmindedly running a hand through my hair, I nodded again and suddenly a brilliant thought came to me, "I know exactly what to do!"
Without another word I bolted out of her office. Just before I was out of earshot, I heard Angela sigh, "It's so romantic."
A week later I had all the preparations in order and although she seemed suspicious when I asked her, Bones agreed to cancel her plans for Thursday of that week – her suspicions were likely aroused because when she suggested we postpone it to another day, I vehemently insisted that it had to be on Thursday. My only other concern was that she wouldn't be feeling well enough to want to go out that night. Since the beginning of May, she had been regularly experiencing Braxton Hicks and various other uncomfortable side effects of her pregnancy. And if she was feeling unwell on Thursday, I simply couldn't and wouldn't insist on her leaving the house – especially because I tried (unsuccessfully) all week to get her to stay home from work.
The mere two days between Thursday and when I asked Bones to spend the evening with me seemed to drag on forever. But when the day finally arrived, I found myself absurdly nervous and yet completely unwilling to change my mind about my planned confession. Somewhere along the line I came to the decision that not knowing was worse than being rejected – at least then I could move on. That day was one of the longest I have ever experienced and when the clock hit six, I was out of my office and in the medico-legal lab in record time. Upon arriving, I found Bones in her office with her coat laid across her lap and her purse sitting on the desk in front of her. Smirking at her, I motioned towards the door, "Shall we?"
With a small laugh, she let me lead her out of the lab – past a group of smirking squints – and to my SUV. When we arrived at her apartment she sent me a slightly confused look, to which I responded, "This is a dress up kind of dinner."
"Thanks for the warning," She muttered despite not looking the least bit upset.
Upon entry to the suite, we headed off in separate directions to prepare. I didn't have much self preparation to do (other than psyching myself up, which I had spent the whole day doing), so I spent my time confirming the details of the evening. After about a half an hour, I headed out into the living room to wait for Bones. Shortly after seven o'clock, I heard her coming down the hallway from her room and I stood immediately to receive her. When I laid eyes upon her for the first time that evening, I was suddenly short of breath. She was dressed in a deep purple strapless dress that pulled tight under her bust and cascaded to her knees, flowing over the curve of her abdomen. She had pinned her hair in a half updo leaving the majority of her soft curls free around her shoulders. Clearing my throat finally, I offered her my arm, "Temperance, you look... wow."
As she took my arm, Bones almost imperceptibly blushed and laughed, "Thank you."
On our way to the SUV, Bones tried to probe me for information as to where we were going but I refused to divulge anything, claiming that it was a secret. Luckily for her, she didn't have to wait long as our destination was only five minutes away at best. After parking across the street from where I planned to take her, I got out to open her door and offered her my arm again. Without hesitation, she accepted it – which I perceived as a good sign. Even that simple contact of our skin made my heart beat a little bit faster, made me want her in my arms forever.
When we had crossed the street and headed down towards the pier, she gasped and turned to me, "Are we at the pier?"
Without responding, I smirked at her and continued to lead her through the pier and out to a moderately sized yacht. Sending me a look of disbelief, Bones asked quietly, "A dinner cruise?"
Nodding slightly, I led her further up the dock to where a man in uniform was waiting with a list. Upon registering my name, another man in a uniform led us down the dock, through the boat and up to the yacht's upper deck. The cabin he introduced us to was reasonably sized with large panoramic windows around the entire perimeter. Set into a corner was a large round table with a u-shaped plush booth seat and a candle center piece. Extending from either side of the booth were long rows of low cupboards and on the adjacent wall was a small kitchenette. Arranged along the top of the cupboards were a dozen bunches of daffodils in short, clear vases. The middle of the room was left open under a small light fixture, whose glow cast out to reach all corners of the suite but was dim enough to provide a calm intimacy. Opposite to the staircase we had entered by, there was a sliding door which I knew led to a large open air deck. After inspecting the room for a few minutes and tracing her fingers over the flowers tenderly, Bones turned to me and said, "You didn't have to do all this."
"I know," I replied softly, "I wanted to..."
We spent the next half an hour exploring the rest of the yacht, which began to fill with other people. Finally an announcement was made that we were setting sail and requested everyone find a table for dinner. Bones and I returned to our suite and sat down to a glass of sparkling apple juice. A few moments into a light conversation, I noticed Bones wince faintly. When I asked if she was feeling all right, she shrugged, "I am just sore. Braxton Hicks, you know."
Furrowing my brows at her, I rebuked, "Bones, why didn't you tell me? We didn't have to do this today."
Laughing softly, she leaned back against the booth, "You insisted that I cancel my plans for this evening. I assumed it was important."
Clasping my hands together, I leaned forward, "Yes... It is. But not more important than your health."
In response, she simply smiled at me. That smile, the genuine one I love so much, made my legs turn into jelly. Motioning to the spot next to me, I winked, "Come here. I'll give you one of my famous massages."
"Famous?" She questioned with an eyebrow quirked. After a short pause, she scooted over and turned so her back was to me. Gulping slightly at the idea of touching her creamy skin again, I brushed her smooth curls over her left shoulder and traced my finger along the curve of her pale shoulder, eliciting a soft sigh from Bones. Slowly working my fingers over her tense shoulders and back, I tried my hardest not to blurt out my feelings. Patience is a virtue.
Halfway through my massage there was a knock on the suite door and a man entered with a tray of food. We separated upon the intrusion but we remained seated in the booth closer than before. Dinner was spent enjoying the soft sway of the yacht, spectacular cuisine and even better company. Over the months I spent living with Bones, we had grown a lot closer. Our previous issues with only talking about work related topics had disappeared completely – in fact, we avoided talking about work unless we were at work. I think it helped us (or at least me) to distinguish our partnership from our... I'm not sure what to call it at this point, friendship or relationship.
As we finished up dinner, the beat of my heart had rapidly increased and my stomach began to feel uneasy. When our plates were finally cleared, I slid out of the booth and offered her my hand, "Want to take a look outside?"
A look of intrigue immediately overtook her face and a soft smirk played on her pink lips. Taking her hand in mine, I didn't let go as I led her across the room and out the door to the deck. Stepping out, a warm breeze and thick spring air greeted us. The rail that circled the edge of the platform was illuminated by golden lights running under the rim of the white handrail. Bones almost immediately headed to the edge and leaned over to look down at the passing water. It truly was a beautiful night and as I watched Bones' hair and dress blowing ever so slightly in the wind, my previous anxiety seemed to melt away. From the rail, she pointed excitedly at a row of interconnected houses, "Look at the architecture of those houses, very classic colonial style."
Chuckling at her enthusiasm, I walked over to the rail and looked out with her, "Yes, it is beautiful."
Glancing down at her hands, she sighed contently, "Booth... This has been wonderful."
Turning towards her, I leaned sideways on the rail, "Temperance. I want to talk to you about something."
At the sound of her first name, she also turned towards me and nodded. Waiting patiently for me to speak, she kept a straight and serene face. Taking the plunge, I tried to keep my voice steady as I spoke, "I have been confused for a long time. First it was between dream and reality. Then it was little things like why I wear this 'cocky' belt and crazy socks. And finally clowns... those damn clowns. I know that I was afraid of them before the tumour but I just can't find that fear anymore. And it has held me back for so long. I just kept thinking how can I trust my feelings if I don't know that they're true-"
"Booth," She interrupted with a worried expression marring her face, "I don't mean to interrupt but I think I need to sit down."
"Oh, of course. Let's get back inside," I agreed as I took her hand and guided her back into the suite. Once she sat down I grabbed her a glass of water and after taking a few sips, she looked more at ease. Setting the glass on the table, she shifted in the booth so that she was facing me and leaned an elbow on the table, "Please continue."
"Oh, uh..." I started while beginning to pace, "Where was I? Those damn clowns... I just wonder if that means that something is still wrong with me. But will I always be broken like this or will I get better at some point?"
"I like apple pie," She interjected.
"What?" I asked incredulously.
Smirking at my expression, she repeated, "I like apple pie. I never used to, despite your continued attempts to persuade me. But now I like it. Maybe things change sometimes, even without our knowledge."
Looking down at her plain expression, I thought about that for a moment. Maybe she is right. It has been over a year since my surgery and the only residual effect is the clowns. I need to stop thinking of myself as broken and just accept these new changes. Interrupting my thoughts, Bones commented, "Somehow I highly doubt that you did all of this just to talk to me about clowns."
With a sheepish smirk, I turned to her and nodded, "You're right. I was going somewhere with this. It has just been since the surgery that I have been able to admit to myself that I... have feelings for you. And not just in a friendly, 'atta-girl' kind of way. Bones, I..."
As my voice trailed off, I stopped to kneel in front of her and that's when I noticed the pained expression take over her face. My heart dropped into my stomach and I felt the world fall away. When I asked if she was okay, she gulped but then nodded, "Yes... but when I told you that I was just sore, I kind of lied. I think I am in labour."
Excitement engulfed me and I could almost hear the pounding of my heart in my ears. Then it dawned on me that we were out in the middle of the Potomac River on a yacht that probably didn't employ a doctor. Moving automatically, I reached for the cabin phone to find out where we were in our journey and if there was even a nurse to assist us. Luckily we were only about twenty minutes from the pier and one of the passengers was a med student looking to help. The hospital was only a ten minute drive from the pier, so we should have enough time to reach the hospital before Bones had the babies.
The rest of our voyage was spent anxiously timing Bones' contractions and trying to make her more comfortable, which was definitely my job. I sat with her talking in a low voice while rubbing small circles on her back. By the time we reached the dock, her contractions were about ten minutes apart. The med student offered to help me transport her to the hospital and I made a quick decision to drive her myself considering that my vehicle has a siren and was already at the dock. When we finally arrived at the hospital, Bones was breathing deeply and upon a quick examination was dilating quickly. While waiting for her contractions to become more regular, I made a few brief calls to ensure everyone knew what was going on.
I stayed with Bones throughout the entire process and tried to provide some useful coaching. Not surprisingly at all, she dealt with the pain quite well and never requested any medication. The girls were finally born around twelve thirty in the morning on May 21 – which by the way was after about five hours of labour – at a healthy weight of 5.8 lbs, Zooey Alexandra and Jaime Christine Booth. Both girls were born with wisps of medium brown colored hair, one blue eye and one brown eye which the doctor later explained to us was heterochromia (she also did a quick examination and determined they were both healthy). It is really hard to describe the feeling of seeing and holding your own child for the first time. Absolutely nothing can compare.
When we were finally released from the hospital the next day, it came with a high measure of relief. Attempting to sleep at the hospital had been incredibly difficult and we were both exhausted. Sometime during the drive from the hospital to Bones' apartment both of the girls fell asleep and although they hadn't cried much previously, it was also a relief to us both. Upon opening the door to her apartment, Bones stopped completely in her tracks and a small gasp escaped her lips. Glancing up at me as we both set the girls' car seats down, she questioned, "Forget-me-nots?"
She was referring to the small cluster of blue buds set on the ground just past the entryway as a part of last night's confession. Nodding, I removed my shoes and explained, "They symbolize memories and we have a lot of them, good and bad. I always want to remember the first time we ever met."
Stepping carefully around the little blue petals, she came upon another bunch of flowers – this time yellow roses. As she stared up at me with wide eyes, I continued my explanation, "Yellow roses for the friendship we created and I hope we always continue to be best friends."
Following the trail of flowers that led down the hall, we treaded lightly around the next four groups of delicate blooms and my speech persisted, "Red carnations for the admiration that grew within me for your: magnificent beauty, calla lilies; strength, gladiolus flowers; and intelligence, purple irises."
At the end of the cluster of irises was a swirling display of daffodils, "Then daffodils which symbolize the unrequited love I finally realized I felt for you," She glanced up at me sharply as I said this but I continued without pausing as the daffodils led to pink and red roses, "And these roses for the intense passion we somehow found along the way."
As I spoke, we turned the corner into her room where the trail of roses stopped. Bones flicked on the light and laid eyes on the single lotus flower resting on her pillow. The silence was nearly killing me as she walked over to it and traced her fingers across its creamy surface. Remaining at the end of the roses, I said softly, "The lotus... to give my promise of undying devotion to you for as long as I live."
She remained frozen for what felt like an eternity and I finally had to speak again, "Temperance. I... I have struggled with this for so long but there is no denying it anymore. I love you."
After another anxious moment, she turned to face me with tears in her eyes. At first I couldn't decipher whether they were good or bad tears but she made it clear as she whispered, "I love you too, Seeley."
Stunned, I couldn't move at first but forced my legs towards her. Pulling her tight against my body, I found myself overcome by a host of emotions – surprise, happiness, love, relief. Stepping back slightly, she looked up at me and smiled in her most genuine and unrestricted way. Burying my hand in her soft brown hair I took her lips for a slow and deep kiss – the kind I was looking forward to experience much more often. Before I would have readily separated from her, I heard one of the girls start to cry from the living room, which forced us apart. Smiling down at her, I realized contentedly that this was my family for now and forever, "Come on. Our girls are calling us."