This is the first time I've really written for Bones and feedback would be greatly appreciated! Just a little drabble that grew much larger than expected. Part two of three should be up tomorrow.
She knew that disappearing into the warm, molten pool of his alpha-male, overly-caring eyes was physically impossible, but that didn't stop the notion from forming in her head, dismissed by years of habit.
She was a best-selling author, a highly-esteemed forensic anthropologist, a crime-fighter, the epitome of female empowerment and independence.
There wasn't much that she couldn't do.
There wasn't much that she could.
Not about the warm, uncomfortable yet comfortable, unnatural yet natural, unfamiliar yet completely familiar feeling that overcame her every time Seeley Booth showed her how much he had come to care for her.
She wondered how they had ever gotten this far.
She wondered why on earth they hadn't gotten farther.
Temperance Brennan was not a woman of emotions, or feelings, or dependence on irrationality.
Nor was she a sociopath, and so, her brain was wired to react to certain things in certain ways.
She had tried to prevent the tragedy that had riddled her life from defining who she became, but in compartmentalizing everything, by dealing with all sides of thing with logic, the losses she had experienced had indeed shaped her.
Her heart had not always been so hard to reach, but she had learned long ago that having it out in the open only invited people to do with it what they wanted.
She could be easily damaged, and so she removed the possibility as best she could.
Sometimes, though, she let people in, hoping that just that one time, her outlook on the world was a little bit flawed, allowing that one person to be good for her.
Usually she was wrong; usually she got hurt again.
Against all odds, Seeley Booth became a pillar in her life, a symbol of strength, of decency, of overcoming every obstacle to do what was right.
Somehow, though, in all of his goodness, he had managed to not be the one thing Brennan had seen him as, when they had first met.
When they had first met, she, in her usual, clinical manner, had seen him as a very fine specimen of a man.
She had immediately speculated that he would be very good in bed.
Perhaps, if he wasn't too atrocious to work with, he would find his way into hers.
What she hadn't expected was the deep friendship that they had now, a friendship that overstepped some boundaries and steered clear of others.
Secrets could be told, and indeed, it was said between them that they didn't keep anything from the other, lest one of them feel the icy sting of betrayal once more.
Brennan had no intention of alerting him to the fact that she had not, in fact, told the whole truth.
Because she was a woman of facts, facts first, facts as the ultimate decision maker, and the facts simply told her that Booth didn't want any part of what she wanted.
He had told her, countless times, in countless ways, that she could overcome her belief that love wasn't something worthy of myth, that she wasn't worthy of anyone's full and loyal devotion, that there wasn't, in fact, a man who would suit her every need.
His eyes, so brown and warm and full of platonic conviction, managed to chill and heat her at the same time.
Because every time he tried to tell her that she didn't need to hang onto rationality so stubbornly and blindly, she believed him a little bit more.
The only problem being, of course, that she could see everything he said about true and eternal and pure and transcendent love applying to him and only him.
Booth and Brennan, Seeley and Temperance, she repeated the names in her head until she wanted to scream, because everything they had ever been through convinced her that he would be with her forever, and that forever would slowly become more and more agonizing.
It would hurt her too much, to see that tender, caring smile and know that it didn't mean enough.
She had long ago convinced herself that fairytales simply did not exist (in fact, early in her literature experience, she had discovered the original Grimm's stories, and concluded that everything had become honey-coated and softened for children).
And yet, she had fallen into one of sorts, only this time there was no kiss of life from the knight in shining armour, only take-out Thai food and late night bottle of beer, all of which she could see him doing with one of his male friends.
There was no special romantic element to their bond, only years of closeness that seemed to mean nothing more than friendship to him, suggestive comments from her best girl friend sliding off of his surface, a sexual tension that she wasn't even sure was there anymore.
If he was content with what they had… well, there was no way he couldn't be.
Not when he had the ability to change it all in an instant, not when he had the powers of charm and charisma and confidence, not when… not when she wanted it so badly she ached despite her efforts otherwise, and surely he could pick up on that, because he was, after all, the heart of their partnership.
Not the blood-pumping, life-giving organ, although she supposed he was some of that too, but the part of their partnership that could feel things, sense when people were uneasy, know the connections and the history between people through a simple glance.
How then, could he possibly not know that she had fallen for him, despite her best efforts, despite all the evidence that told her falling in love with Seeley Booth would only lead her to pain?
How then, knowing that he could so easily end the suffering of the part of herself Temperance Brennan had tried to erase, could Booth not give her what she needed?
The only logical explanation was, of course, that he didn't want to make love to her, just like he described so reverently, and so, he let them remain partners and best friends, because it was important to him.
He just didn't feel that annoying, bad and yet oh so good burning on the inside that she felt when their eyes met in the way that made everyone else in the world disappear from her mind, if only for a few seconds.
Because of this, there was a time bomb on their relationship, the timer set to the amount of strain she could take before running off in search of a more pure science, because at least in pure science the evidence was discovered and reported and taken into account, not buried and kept secret and unconsidered.
Maybe she could survive off smiles and hands at the small of her back, maybe she could survive off Christmas trees and mistletoe kisses that meant nothing to him, maybe she could survive off fantasy and imagination, scenarios that she was painfully aware would come nothing close to the real thing.
Maybe friendship was enough.
Maybe she didn't want it to be.
But taking the plunge, diving off the ten meter board, was foolish, not without knowing how deep the water was beneath it.
And there was no way to know without swimming down to the bottom.
When the most innocent of smiles turned into something forbidden, her throat would close up and the answer to the question her partner just asked her had to squeeze its way out.
Because sometimes, even though it didn't seem like such a complicated thing, Dr. Temperance Brennan found breathing to be completely out of reach.
Hope had come fluttering brightly into her life, along with the pain that had accompanied his memory confusion, for surely it was no coincidence that he, too, could allow a world where there was no line to cross to become his reality, if only in his dreams.
Then again, she had read what she had written, to him, about him; hadn't that been a hint? Hadn't the fact that she had fleshed out what she desired and told him while he was in a coma enough to make him realize that no, she was not content with the way things were?
She had been desperate, and so, boundaries no longer seemed important.
Temperance Brennan had waited a long time for Seeley Booth to tell her that he loved her, even though over the years it had evolved from the need for some sort of acknowledgement that they had a romantic connection to the actual desire to hear the words, but once again, she had been slighted.
Obviously he had been uncomfortable with the possibility of fathering her child, an act that was most commonly associated with a romantic bond.
Obviously when he told her that he loved her in a professional, atta-girl kind of a way (which she still, unfortunately, does not entirely understand), he had been expressing gratitude for her friendship, for why else would he have tacked on such unexpected, awkward words?
Obviously they were what they were, and would never become anything else.
She was grateful for what they did have, for it was unlike any relationship she had ever had before, and yet…
She, selfishly and irrationally, wanted more.
Who would mess with something so good, for the opportunity for a bed partner?
Who wouldn't take the risk, for the opportunity to have everything?
It was a constant battle, two sides within her arguing over pros and cons as she examined evidence, watched over by the very man that caused her internal conflict.
He was so good for her, and yet, in being so good, he was the worst thing that had happened to her since her parents left her.
Her carefully laid barriers would crumble, she would revert back to her fifteen year old self, clumsy and scared and unsure of how to proceed.
He would be with her while she broke down, comforting her while she wept, and it would hurt so much, but she wouldn't be able to throw him away, for who else would offer her such unadulterated comfort?
Who else could heal her and harm her at the same time, all with a charm smile and a twinkle of the eye?
Perhaps she wasn't meant to have it all, perhaps she was meant to forever search for second best.
Perhaps she wasn't made for diving.
Not when every opportunity to jump was met with a pounding heart and heavy breathing, the air not making its way to her brain.
Who could think like that?
Who could judge distances, temperatures, signals and depths with all that noise in their heads, every little breath and movement exaggerated as adrenalin coursed its way through their system?
She certainly couldn't.
She preferred to remain in control.
She preferred to be safe, confident; even when danger was apparent, she could deal with it.
Not with him.
Not when every smile could mean pain or pleasure.
Not when every hand at the small of her back could mean safety or danger.
Not when the water looked so cold, and yet so invitingly refreshing.
If the time ever came, she was sure she would take the chance.
She had been ready to, when they had almost kissed (she was sure of it, that they were about to touch lips) at the Egypt exhibit, but her friends had interrupted.
Or perhaps prevented a disaster, because who knew what would have happened?
Maybe he hadn't been gravitating towards her face, but noticing something on her cheek, a spare bit of hors d'oeuvre.
And maybe he had brushed aside the piece of hair that was never out of place because he felt that he needed to balance out the strangeness of her fixing his uncrooked tie, maybe he had noticed that she had done it not out of platonic affection, but out of desire for what the never-kiss would have accomplished.
Maybe he would never want the same thing she did.
Maybe it was better that way.
Maybe she didn't want to believe that.
Maybe she needed to.
She needed to stop all of this speculation, because when had speculation ever gotten her anywhere?
No, Booth was the guts man; Booth was the man to string little clues together to come up with a theory.
She couldn't do that.
She needed her equipment, and her knowledge, her training, to figure things out.
Perhaps there was something in the little looks he gave her, in the way he stared at her for what seemed like hours, something in his need to protect her.
But you cannot measure the mindset of a look, the emotions behind a stare, or the intentions behind protectiveness.
And so, she was lost, in desperation for the unknown to be over.
She held together, as she always had, the appearance of an iceberg on the surface, so who was to say that that wasn't what lay beneath?
Those who were brave enough to dive beneath the surface of the ocean of facts surrounding her still couldn't travel to her core, and because of that, she still remained a mystery, to those who knew her, to those who didn't.
She could be content with that.
She didn't want to have to be.
She wanted Booth to be able to explore the innermost recesses of her personality, but how would she know he'd like the underbelly?
How would she know he wouldn't run away after hearing her admit she had finally find love?
There was no test, there was no experiment to be done that wouldn't be ruined by bias, there was no way to know for sure that everything would work out.
She was not a risk taker.
And yet there was a part of her, growing angrier and stronger at every charm smile and offered slice of pie, that wanted to become one, just to see what would happen.
Nevertheless, her overly-rational mind weighed the pros and cons, and decided that there was too much to lose.
Too much to wake up to and not see, too much to find in a Jane Doe box, too much to see sail away from her, too much to see confined to an asylum, too much to never be brought to life in her womb.
So that was why, when Seeley Booth came knocking at her door, 11:08 in the evening, to bring her a case file or takeout or a movie or a case of beer or something else that in no way would come anywhere close to meaning he was in love with her, she got up, swallowed everything she wished she could scream at him, and answered the door with a smile and a sigh.
"Booth, what are you doing here?"