AN: Dedicated to my beta and her boy, whose couple-y cuteness did not inspire this story in any way.
Booth wished he had brought his gun to the coffee shop.
If he had his trusty weapon, he might be able to compel the couple ahead of him in line to stop their never ending stream of endearments. During the five or six minutes he had been standing behind them, he had heard them call each other "hon" or "babe" or "baby" at least two dozen times. If they kept it up, he just might lose his mind.
"Do you know what you want, babe?" Asked the male half of the excessively happy couple, smiling at his female companion as they neared the counter.
The woman smiled back. "Not yet, hon. I'm still deciding between the coffee frappuccino or the coffee frappuccino light. The light isn't as yummy, but a girl's got to watch her figure, you know."
The man laughed and shook his head. "You don't need to watch your figure, baby. You're beautiful. You're the most beautiful woman in the whole world."
Booth rolled his eyes. The woman was pretty, but she was hardly the most beautiful woman in the world. He would give that title to a certain forensic anthropologist who had more brains than these two combined.
"And you're the most handsome man in the world," the woman said, slinging her arm around the man's waist.
Booth thought that too was blatantly untrue. Most of the men he knew had better looks than this guy.
"Love you, baby," the man said.
"Love you too," the woman echoed. They shared another goofy grin, followed by a lengthy kiss.
That's it, Booth thought. I'm done. He turned around and walked out of the shop, planning to get his coffee at a cafe a few blocks down.
As he walked to his second choice, he tried to put the obnoxiously happy couple out of his head. He found himself replacing their image with a memory of him and Bones from his coma dream. They had been so happy together…
No. He had to stop thinking about her that way. She was his partner and friend, nothing more. Maybe he could get over his feelings for her if he started dating again. He was an attractive guy with an impressive job, right? It wouldn't be too hard for him to find…
No. He couldn't use another woman to make him forget about Bones. He had tried that with Cam, and it hadn't been fair to either of them.
So instead of settling for anyone else, he was living like a monk. It wasn't an ideal situation, but he could handle it. Mostly. Most of the time. He told himself that he didn't need to be in a relationship; he could focus his energy on his career instead. There were plenty of single guys in the Bureau. The guys who were in relationships did nothing but complain about their girlfriends or wives, so he tried to convince himself he was better off. But he never quite believed it.
He arrived at the cafe and saw that it was swamped with customers. Depressed by the prospect of waiting in line again, he decided to forget about the coffee and go for a walk in a nearby park. He hoped that a long walk would distract him from his melancholy thoughts, as it often did.
But not today.
Everywhere Booth turned he saw happy couples. There were couples holding hands as they walked down wooded paths. Couples having picnics on the grass. Couples running side by side. Couples sitting on benches by the lake, giving bread crumbs to the ducks. Couples riding bikes. Couples pushing strollers with giggling babies inside. Couples throwing balls and Frisbees to their dogs. Couples sitting under trees, holding each other and kissing. It was as if the entire universe was conspiring to show him what he was missing.
He started walking faster, then broke out into a jog. A few minutes later, he was running as fast as he could. Ignoring the burning in his lungs and the aches in his muscles, he pushed himself harder and harder as he ran all the way out of the park and into a road. He was so busy running away from what he thought he would never have that he didn't even see the car coming.
Booth was confused when he woke up in a hospital bed. He remembered running from the happy couples, but what had happened after that? Had he collapsed from exhaustion? Or was he suffering complications from his brain surgery? He looked around the room for a doctor or nurse and saw Brennan was at his side. "Bones," he said with a smile. He felt better already. "You're here."
"Of course I'm here." She smiled too, grateful that this time he wasn't asking who she was. "How do you feel?"
"Okay, I guess." He could tell he had broken bones, but the hospital must have given him something for the pain. "What happened?"
"Witnesses said you ran in front of a car," she explained with tears in her eyes. "The driver didn't have time to stop. You have a few broken ribs and a broken femur."
Seeing her cry felt worse than the broken bones. "I'm sorry, Bones. I didn't see the car."
"You didn't see it?" She looked at him with concern. "Are you experiencing vision problems? Can you see me now?"
Booth managed a weak laugh. "I can see you. My vision is fine. I meant that I was so focused on running that I didn't notice the car."
"So it was an accident," she said with relief. "I thought that maybe…"
She shook her head. "It was a ridiculous notion."
"Tell me anyway," he asked. "Please?"
"Well, you've seemed very depressed lately. I briefly considered the possibility that you might have been trying to end your life."
"No way. I'd never leave you and Parker like that!"
"I know, but you have been depressed, haven't you?"
He sighed. He had thought he'd been doing a good job hiding his feelings. "Yes."
"Because you're frustrated that you're not recovering from your surgery as quickly as you'd like?"
"That's part of it," he admitted.
"What's the other part?"
She looked so eager to help him that he felt he owed her the truth. "When I wasn't working and you were in Guatemala, I had a lot of time to think about my life, and I realized…I realized that I'm tired of being alone."
"But you're not alone," she argued. "You have me, the squints, your son, and your colleagues at the FBI. You have several friends who care about you deeply."
"I know, and I'm grateful for them, but at the end of the day I go back to my apartment alone. I eat alone, watch television alone, go to bed alone and wake up alone. I thought I could handle the loneliness, but it's wearing me down. I want someone to share my life with."
"You should find a girlfriend then," she said, attempting to hide the sadness in her voice. She should have known that the 'surrogate relationship' she and Booth had wouldn't be enough for him. "I'm sure there are plenty of women who would be very happy to have you as a sexual partner."
"But there's only one woman I want, and I don't think that she'll ever love me the way I love her." He was surprised to hear himself talking so freely about his love for his partner; maybe the pain medication had lowered his inhibitions. Or maybe he was just tired of holding himself back. "How could she? She's a genius scientist, and I'm just a government agent who needs Dummies books. Someday, someone smarter or richer or more powerful than me is going to take her away, and then I'll have no--"
He couldn't finish his sentence because his partner had shut him up with a kiss. The kiss lasted for only a few seconds, but it was enough to rock Booth's world. "Wow," he gasped. "That was amazing."
Brennan blushed. "You were talking about me, weren't you?"
"Yeah." He grinned. "Every time I talked to you about love, I was always talking about us."
She was silent for a few seconds as she gathered the courage to make her own confession. "I was writing about us every time I wrote about Kathy and Andy. In the last story I wrote, I didn't even bother to change our names."
Booth's eyebrows jumped in surprise. "Really? Can I read it?"
"I deleted it," she admitted. "I'd convinced myself that it was foolish to hope that a person as warm and caring as you could love someone perceived to be clinical and detached."
"We were both wrong then. I want to share my life with you, Bones." He offered her his hand.
She smiled as she took it. "I'd like that. Just promise me that you won't run out into traffic again. I don't like having to visit you in hospitals."
He squeezed her hand. "I promise. I love you, Bones. I've always loved you."
"I love you too." As they kissed again, Booth thanked God that he would no longer have to go to sleep to be with the woman of his dreams.
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.