Hello everyone! Since this is my first posting of 2010, Happy New Year to everyone, as well. Hope it's going well so far!
This is based on very minor spoilers from Hart and Stephen's recent tweets. Basically, all they said was that there's going to be an episode with Brennan's high school reunion involving a murder, old classmates, and Andy Fluger (mentioned in "The Boy in the Time Capsule" as the guy who taped Brainy Smurf to Brennan's locker.) I don't really consider this story to be spoiler-y since that's all that's been revealed about the episode so far, but I figured I needed to put a warning on it anyway.
As always, Bones isn't mine, and I hope you like it! Please leave a review if you've got some time!
The universe worked in mysterious ways. That was the one thought that filtered through Temperance Brennan's mind as she swayed with her partner on the dance floor. He had just happened to follow her up to her apartment the day the invitation to her fifteenth high school reunion had arrived in the mail. When she realized it had been fifteen years since she graduated, she knew the invite would be coming soon, but she had planned to simply trash it without opening, just as she had done with the invitations to the five-year and the ten-year reunions. He started trying to talk her into going almost immediately, but she kept refusing. The only people who liked those kinds of events were those who had the kind of social status that he had in high school. She didn't have any good memories. She didn't want to go.
Seeley Booth just wouldn't accept that for an answer. He thought she must have had at least one good memory between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Even if she didn't, he wanted her to go and show them all how amazing she turned out to be. She refused. He offered to go along with her for moral support. She refused. He continued to nag up until the very day of the reunion, but nothing was getting through to her. It seemed she had won when his boss called with a new case for them. The smirk on his face when he told her they had to go out-of-state to look at a body immediately told her she wouldn't like it.
Brennan almost sent Wendell to Illinois with Booth when she heard a body had been discovered at her high school during preparations for the reunion, but, ever the professional, she knew she had no choice but to go. The flight to Chicago seemed so long. He spent most of the flight teasing her about having to go to her reunion after all. She sat, a bundle of nerves, in the seat next to him, dreading having to once again interact with her former classmates.
Even Booth sucked in a breath when Angela had given them the ID of the body found at Brennan's reunion. Andy Fluger, former varsity lacrosse captain, had been found dead underneath the auditorium stage. The reunion was rescheduled for a week later, and Booth and Brennan closed the case within five days.
"Case closed," she had said in the hotel as she packed her suitcase. "Let's go home."
"What? No, Bones," he said. "We're here. We've got to go to the party."
"No, we don't," she protested.
"It's only a day away," he said. "Besides, you'll be the star of the show, Bones. Swooping in and solving a murder like that..."
"I don't want to go, Booth," she had said softly. "I don't want or need attention from those people."
At the reunion, Brennan chuckled to herself as she thought about the past week. She didn't even know how he had talked her into going, but there she was, her arm wrapped around his shoulder, dancing to some song that must have been popular the year she graduated. She didn't recognize it, but she smiled as Booth quietly sang the lyrics into her ear as they danced.
Booth knew he was playing with fire with the intimate way he was treating her at the party. He knew that, despite all of her crowning achievements that were definitely worthy of admiration and praise, she didn't really want to draw much attention to herself among her former classmates. He also knew that, since they were the ones who had solved the once-popular Andy's murder, the whole reunion would probably want to talk to them. So he pulled her onto the dance floor almost as soon as the dinner ended, holding her close to him, giving the illusion that, as far as they were concerned, they were the only two people in the room.
The other attendees had taken one look at the close dancing, the soft whispering, and the shared smiles, and they had mostly left them alone, thinking they were looking at a couple too in love with each other to notice anyone or anything around them. Brennan was fine with this arrangement, as it enabled her to keep to herself as much as she could at a function like a high school reunion. Booth, however, wanted people to notice her. He wanted them to recognize her accomplishments and how far she'd come, as he was proud to be the one dancing with her that night. Every few songs, Booth would encourage her to go talk to someone, hoping to get the chance to show off his partner.
"How about her?" Booth asked, pointing to a woman alone at the bar. "Who's that?"
"Diana Kensington," Brennan said. "Former cheerleader…she knew Russ."
"Yeah?" Booth asked. "Let's go talk to her."
"When word got around that Russ left me alone to go into foster care, she told me she was surprised he didn't abandon me sooner," Brennan revealed.
"Oh," Booth said, his face falling as he saw the pained look in her eyes.
"Let's just…stay here," Brennan whispered, clasping his hand tighter.
"You got it," he whispered back to her, moving her gently to the tune of the music. "You know you're the most brilliant person in this room, right?"
"I knew that in high school," she scoffed. "My IQ is well above the conceived average. Nobody in my class came close to beating me for valedictorian."
"What was your graduation speech like?" he asked.
"I…didn't go to the ceremony," she said, the sadness returning to her expression.
"How can the valedictorian not go to the graduation ceremony?" he asked.
"I didn't have anyone to watch me graduate," she said. "It didn't seem worth it."
"Right…" he replied softly. "Hey, who's that guy scowling at us over there?"
Brennan laughed quietly. "Ben Langley," she said. "He was my lab partner in AP Chemistry. He hated me because I refused to let him copy my lab reports, so, even though we had to do the experiments together, he always received considerably lower grades than I did. I actually can't remember if he even passed the course or not."
Booth chuckled and absent-mindedly began drawing small circles against the small of her back. "Why doesn't that surprise me?" he said. She grinned at him, a sense of safety washing over her as he soothingly touched her. "Hey, how about that woman over there? She's spent a lot of time looking at us, too."
Booth danced her around so Brennan could see who he was referring to. Brennan stiffened in his arms again, and he knew he had hit another nerve.
"That's Lizzie Henson," Brennan said slowly. "Her father was the local police captain…she was the one who told the entire school details about what had happened to my parents because her father was leading the investigation."
Booth stopped dancing and looked down at his partner, suddenly realizing why she had protested so strongly against coming to her reunion. "I'm sorry, Bones."
"For what?" she asked, still wrapped in his arms.
"You said you didn't want to come tonight. I should've respected that," he said.
"No, Booth, it's…okay," she said.
"Do you want to get out of here?" he asked.
"Yeah," she said, cracking her first genuine smile of the night.
She followed him to their table to grab their jackets and her bag, and they headed for the gymnasium's exit. The doorways were filled with portraits of Andy Fluger, and Brennan's eyes lingered upon them for a moment before she and Booth entered a long, darkened hallway lined with faded blue lockers. They passed three or four rows of lockers in silence before Brennan let out a deep breath and lowered herself to the floor, pulling her knees up to her chest. She leaned back and shuddered as the cool metal touched the bare skin exposed by her black halter dress. Booth looked down at her for a moment before sitting down next to her.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I didn't expect to feel sad," Brennan said. "When I found out the body was Andy, I mean. I shouldn't…I shouldn't feel sad."
"Why? You knew him," Booth said.
"He humiliated me," Brennan said. "He made me hate my intelligence. He turned the one part of myself I had always been proud of into a bad thing."
"Oh, Bones," he sighed. "It's okay to be sad. I mean, you had a crush on him, right? So he must have had one redeeming quality about him."
"Aren't you the one who always teases me about my terrible taste in men?" she asked.
"Still, I refuse to believe that someone as smart as you would've liked someone that was completely terrible," Booth said.
"No, he was!" Brennan laughed. "I can't believe I wanted him to be my…"
She trailed off, leaning forward to rest her head on her knees. Booth scooted closer to her and brushed some hair out of her face.
"To be your what?" he asked.
"Don't laugh," she said softly, the vulnerability showing in her voice.
"I won't laugh," he promised.
"There was a time in high school when I wanted Andy to be my first kiss," she admitted, picking her head back up.
"Why would I laugh at that?" he asked.
"Because you were having sex at a younger age than I had ever even been kissed," she said with a forced laugh. "Girls would walk through these hallways, holding hands with their boyfriends, kissing them before they left for class…I was always jealous. I never had anyone to kiss before going off to pre-calculus or biology."
"You didn't?" he asked softly, surprised at how open she was being. He glanced around, picturing her walking through the hallway fifteen years ago. He was always surprised by just how normal she was when she was younger. She had listened to Cyndi Lauper with her friends and worried about fitting in and having a boyfriend, just like every other high school girl.
"I was shy and gawky and absorbed in my studies…not to mention all the family issues that everyone knew about…" she said. "I wasn't pretty or cool or…very comfortable around the other students. Nobody wanted to kiss a girl like that in high school."
"Hey, I saw your senior picture. You were beautiful," he said honestly. "I would've kissed you in high school."
Brennan laughed. "You would not!"
"You don't believe me?" he asked, his face only inches away from hers.
"Why should I? You won't even kiss me now!" she laughed, her mouth forming into a nice 'o' shape when she realized what she had just said. "I…I don't know why I said that."
"Do you want to take it back?" he asked, giving her an escape route.
Her blue eyes traveled back and forth from his parted lips to his dark chocolate eyes. "Why?" she asked quietly.
He leaned forward, capturing her lips in a sweet kiss. Her eyes slipped shut slowly, and she returned the kiss, lightly sucking on his lips the way he was sucking on hers. They pulled away and, keeping their eyes shut, moved back together again for another tender kiss. She shifted away from the blue locker to reach him, gently caressing his face with one hand while the other curled into his hair. He slipped an arm behind her, wrapping it protectively around her back. His other hand stroked down her bare lower leg as his tongue smoothly curled around hers. She moaned quietly into his mouth, and he placed one more short, soft kiss on her lips before pulling away and resting his forehead against hers. Her eyes fluttered open and met his gaze.
"You didn't do that just to prove a point, did you?" she asked hesitantly.
"No, I wouldn't do that," he said, caressing her leg again. "I've been wanting to kiss you for a long time, Bones."
She tilted her head to softly peck his lips before pulling away. "That was wonderful…but I still don't think you would've kissed me in high school."
"Why not?" he asked, faking offense.
"Because," she said. "You were a jock. Kids like you didn't associate with kids like me. It's the standard social hierarchy of any high school in America, Booth."
"Who cares about the social whatever? I would've kissed you then," he protested.
"You don't know that," she argued.
He glanced at one of the lockers besides her and noticed that it was open. He shot her a charm smile as he leaned over her, pulled the door open and found a few textbooks lying inside. He grabbed one, stood, and offered his hand to her.
"Stand up," he said, grinning.
"Are you stealing that?" she asked, remaining on the floor.
"No," he laughed. "I'm going to walk you to class."
"What?" she asked, glaring at him.
"You always wanted someone to hold your hand and walk you to class, so…let's go."
She grinned and grabbed his hand, allowing him to help her stand. He laced his fingers through hers and started walking down the hallway with her, the textbook in his other hand.
"This is ridiculous," she laughed. "And I would've carried my own books."
"No way," Booth said. "Not if you had been my girlfriend."
He led her about halfway down the hallway before stopping outside of a random classroom door. He pressed her against the wall next to the door and handed her the textbook. She enveloped the book into her arms and shot him an amused glare.
"You know I don't want to leave you, but we're gonna have to make this goodbye quick if I want to get to Algebra on time," he said. She chuckled, their fingers still laced together.
"Booth," she said.
"So you have a good…" he started, pulling the textbook slightly out of her arms to read the title. "Economics class, and I'll see you at lunch, okay, babe?"
"Booth," she said again. He smiled and tilted his head, indicating that she should play along. She chuckled, shook her head, and said, "Okay, honey."
He grabbed her cheek and leaned in for a kiss, and she struggled to kiss him back, unable to fight the smile on her face.
"See you," he winked. He dropped her hand and headed off down the hallway.
She expected him to drop the charade, double back, and come get her. When he kept walking, she jogged after him, her high heels clicking against the linoleum floor.
"You're just going to leave me there?" she asked.
"Well, I'll miss you, too, baby, but I really can't be late for Algebra again," he said.
She tossed the economics book onto a nearby chair and held his face in her hands, bringing his mouth to hers for a kiss. "Thank you," she whispered.
"You're welcome," he whispered back. "So do you believe that high school me would've been interested in you now?"
She pursed her lips. "I'm willing to entertain the possibility."
"What changed your mind?" he asked.
"I'm skeptical as to how much people really change after high school," she said.
"What? Come on, Bones," he said.
"You are five years older than me," she said, poking his chest. "Let's go to your twentieth high school reunion and see what you think."
"I am not the same person I was twenty years ago, and you're not the person you were fifteen years ago," he said. "You're the anthropologist here. Aren't you supposed to be the one preaching about change and evolution?"
"Evolution is a process that takes thousands of years," she said.
"Bones, in high school, I was the conceited MVP who only really cared about himself. You don't think I'm like that now, do you?"
"No, of course not," she said. "You became a kind, considerate man who always puts others before yourself. Your little game just now proved that much."
"Yeah," he said. "And you became a brilliant, sophisticated woman who doesn't need validation from your peers to feel good about yourself."
"Well, I was brilliant then," she said.
"I don't mean brilliant like intelligent. I know you've always been amazingly smart. I meant, like…radiant," he said, smiling at her with admiration.
"Dazzling?" she asked, the voice of Angela's psychic suddenly popping into her head.
"Yeah, exactly! You're not that lonely little girl anymore," he replied, wrapping his arm around her waist as they began walking towards the door. They were quiet for a few moments until she leaned her head towards his.
"I'd like to think we wouldn't have been together in high school, though," she said.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because if we've changed so much since then, it's unlikely that, if we had been together then, we'd still be compatible today," she said. "It's okay that high school Booth and high school Brennan wouldn't have liked each other because we progressed…we became us."
He smiled and turned to face her, grabbing onto both of her hands, pushing the door open with his back. "We became us…I like that."
She stopped for a kiss before pulling him towards the parking lot. "Me too."
Thanks for reading! Reviews are always greatly appreciated :)