Hi everyone! I hope you're all doing well! I wish I had more time to write this semester. I miss posting things on a regular basis like I (sorta) did when I was writing "26 Dates."
Anyway, as a warning, this is waaaaaay less fluffy than I normally do. There's still a happy ending, don't worry, but I wrote the first half of this a long time ago, didn't know what to do with it, and then got inspired by one of the less-than-fluffy prompts on the LiveJournal meme thing going on right now. I'll tell you which one at the end. And I think the long hiatus is making me want to write more dramatic stories. Also, there's a flashback in the middle of this story, and it's written in italics. B&B are in an established relationship.
As always, Bones isn't mine and please review!
"Is this awkward?" Temperance Brennan asked as she lay naked, sprawled across Angela's couch. Angela glanced over at her with a grin.
"I don't think so," Angela Montenegro said as she lit candles around the room, watching as the shadows from the flames danced across Brennan's bare stomach. "This was your idea."
"I know," Brennan said. "I guess I just hadn't thought it through when I asked."
"Well," Angela said, using her fingers to push Brennan's arm away from her chest and against her stomach, revealing her breasts to Angela's eyes. Brennan's arm stilled between her belly button and her hips. "You can change your mind if you're too uncomfortable."
"That won't be necessary," Brennan said, curling her other arm underneath her hair, resting her head to the right of her bent elbow. "Are you ready?"
"Almost," Angela said, running her fingers through Brennan's hair, positioning her long locks around her shoulders. "How're you feeling, sweetie?"
"Well," Brennan answered. "How are you?
"I'm fine, Brennan," Angela laughed. She stepped back and scanned the scene before her, slowly running her eyes over Brennan's body. "It's not like I've never done this before."
"You've never done this with me before," Brennan pointed out.
"That's true, but you're my best friend," Angela said. "It's not a big deal."
"You sure?" Brennan asked.
"Of course," Angela said. "Plus, Booth is going to freak out. I can't wait!"
"Do you think he'll like it?" Brennan asked nervously.
"Sweetie, you're going to be the best girlfriend ever, as far as he's concerned," Angela assured her.
Brennan smiled. "I hope so."
Angela finally sat down behind her easel and gathered her art supplies. She looked around the easel at Brennan. "Is that position comfortable? I'll need you to be still for a while."
"I'm comfortable," Brennan said.
"The temperature in the room's good?" Angela asked.
"Yes," Brennan said. "How long is this going to take?"
"Not too long," Angela said.
"Do I have to be quiet the entire time you're working because that…might be a little awkward," Brennan said.
Angela chuckled. "No, you don't have to be silent. I can draw and talk at the same time." She started sketching the outline of the couch Brennan was laying on. "You know, Brennan, I've got to admit. I honestly didn't think this situation would make you uncomfortable at all."
"It's not the being naked part of the equation that I'm finding unnerving. I'm very secure in my appearance. It's the…having someone closely stare at me while I'm lying before them naked part," Brennan admitted. "I've never posed for a hand-drawn picture before, much less a nude one, but I feel comfortable with you."
Angela smiled. "Thanks, Bren."
"You don't think Booth will think this is weird, do you? That I asked you to draw me naked?" Brennan asked, the thought that Booth may not like someone else seeing his girlfriend without any clothes on just occurring to her.
"Maybe a little when he really thinks about it," Angela said. "But, trust me, he won't be thinking about it when you give this to him."
"You're very confident in your artistic abilities," Brennan noticed.
"Well, it's been a while since I've drawn a real, live, breathing person, but this is how I started," Angela smiled.
"Right," Brennan smiled. She bent her legs a bit and pulled them towards her body.
"Brennan!" Angela yelped.
"What?" Brennan asked.
"Legs," Angela said. "Put them back."
"Oh," Brennan chuckled, stretching her legs back out. "Sorry!"
"Don't move!" Angela said.
"I won't," Brennan promised.
Brennan was lying on her side, facing Angela, toes pointed, one leg slightly bent over the other. One arm was still slung across her stomach, while the other stayed curved under her head, supporting its weight. Her hair was curled and styled around her shoulders, the bottom of the longest curl stopping just above her nipple. Angela began sketching the details of Brennan's serene face.
"Hey, Brennan," Angela said. "Don't take this the wrong way because I mean this in a completely objective, non-lesbian kind of way, but you're…beautiful."
Brennan smiled. "Thank you, Ange. So are you."
"You know, I've always wanted to sketch you," Angela said, still concentrating on Brennan's face. "And I don't necessarily mean naked. Just…in general."
"You should've asked me. I would've let you," Brennan said.
"Really?" Angela asked.
"Sure. You've very talented," Brennan said. "That's why I convinced Goodman to hire you. Have you ever posed for a picture like this?"
"Yeah, I let Roxy do a few," Angela said. "They encouraged us to do it for another class while we were in art school, but…"
"I wouldn't expect you to be uncomfortable with this, either," Brennan said.
"It was the classroom setting that turned me off," Angela said. "A painting like this? It's…intimate…for lovers."
"But we're not lovers," Brennan said.
"But you're doing this for your lover," Angela said. "Can you tilt your head back?"
"Sure, what's wrong?" Brennan asked, tilting her chin up.
"Your head fell forward; your hair was covering your breasts," Angela said. "We can do it that way if you want."
"No," Brennan said, brushing her hair back into place. "Like you said, this is for Booth."
"Right," Angela said. "So what exactly was the inspiration behind this present?"
"He seems to get angry when I buy him things," she said. "I got him a Rolex for his birthday last year, since he was so obsessed with mine when I got one from my publishers, but instead of being happy, he just told me I spent too much money and called me Ms. Rolex again for a week. I try to get him nice things because I love him, and I'm able to get him nice things, but I think he feels like I'm flaunting my money at him when I do that."
Angela grinned and shook her head. "Seems like I need to have a talk with that man about taking advantage of dating a millionaire."
"He'll never be okay with rich people," Brennan sighed. "It took him seven whole months to accept that I would be the one paying for our apartment because we live in one that's more lavish than what he can afford on his own."
Angela cringed. "That doesn't sound good."
"I just try not to talk to him about money," Brennan said. "But I had to get him something for his birthday. It's next week. Don't tell him I'm paying you."
"You don't have to pay me," Angela said.
"Yes, I do," Brennan said. "You're providing me with a service, and you should be paid for that service when you're finished."
"If you insist," Angela said.
"I do," Brennan persisted.
"Okay," Angela agreed, sketching down Brennan's body. "So what led you to this specific idea? Surely there's something between Rolex watches and nude art."
Brennan was silent for a long moment before letting out a forced snicker and replying, "Probably. It's just the first thing that came to mind, I guess."
The girls grew silent as Angela sketched down Brennan's torso, shading and detailing the features of Brennan's body as she went. Angela began working on Brennan's stomach but hesitated when she reached the lower part of her belly.
"What's wrong, Ange?" Brennan asked, as she heard the scratching of Angela's drawing utensils against the paper stop. She unconsciously shifted on the couch.
"No, don't move," Angela said. Brennan moved back into place. Angela spoke again, in a quiet voice, "I just…umm…the scars. What do you want me to do about the scars on your stomach? Do you want me to leave them out?"
A glimmer of pain briefly flashed across Brennan's eyes as she tenderly dragged a finger against the small pink scars on her lower abdomen. "No. Draw them. It's a part of me now."
"Are you sure?" Angela asked.
Brennan paused before nodding. "Yeah," Brennan confirmed. "I need Booth to see that I'm not broken."
Angela froze again just before she was about to resume her sketching. Her face softened upon hearing Brennan's words. "Sweetie…"
"He acts like he's afraid to touch me," Brennan said. "I thought maybe he was afraid to hurt me, but the doctor said everything was fine a few weeks ago."
"He's sad, sweetie," Angela said. "You'll get your great sex life back. Give it a little bit of time."
"It's not even about sex," Brennan laughed nervously. Her tone shifted to one of sadness as she said, "I don't care about sex. I'm grieving, too, Ange. I miss our intimacy more than anything. I'm lucky if he kisses my mouth more than once every few days now. He used to kiss me all the time. He used to come to the Jeffersonian just so he could kiss me."
Angela noticed the tears threatening to spill over her best friend's eyes. She set her art materials aside, grabbed a blanket from a chair behind her, and walked over to Brennan, wrapping her naked body in the soft cotton sheet.
"Brennan," Angela said, grabbing her hand.
"Statistically…" Brennan started.
"You want to talk statistics right now?" Angela asked in disbelief. Brennan shot her a look and sighed.
"Statistically…couples who lose children are more likely to separate. Booth did a wonderful job of taking care of me after the surgery, but now…I'm afraid we're going to be a statistic," Brennan admitted.
"Have you talked about trying again?" Angela asked.
Brennan immediately began shaking her head no. "We haven't, but having one ectopic pregnancy increases the likelihood of having another. Plus, since I required a surgical procedure, the doctors said it might be difficult for me to conceive in the future. Even if it were medically possible, though, I just…the risk is too big. I don't want to go through this again, Angela."
"I understand," Angela nodded. "I don't think I'd want to try again, either."
Brennan took a deep breath, refusing to let her tears fall. "We weren't trying this time. I…it was only seventeen days. We don't even know whether it would've been a boy or a girl."
"Sweetie, it doesn't matter how long you knew you were pregnant. You lost a baby. That's devastating. No one's going to fault either of you for being shaken by what happened," Angela said, softly stroking Brennan's hand to calm her. "What has Booth said?"
Booth and Brennan silently filed into their apartment, arriving home from the hospital for the first time in three and a half days. Brennan wore a soft, baggy tank top and comfortable track pants, while Booth, his face showing the signs of three days without a shave, was still dressed in the work suit he had been wearing when he had rushed Brennan to the hospital after she collapsed in pain in the middle of the lab. He watched Brennan aimlessly wander into their living room as if it were a completely foreign place to her.
"Bones…" he said softly. Once he got her attention, he realized he had no idea what to say to her. "Do you, uh…do you need some more medicine?"
"I took a painkiller an hour ago," she mumbled, drawing her eyes away from his again.
"Okay, well…uhh…we should probably get you in bed since the doctor said to take it easy. Do you want a bath or something first?" he asked.
"I…sure," she shrugged. "Shower, though. The surgeon said no baths yet."
She started walking towards their master bed and bath suite but stopped halfway there, hovering between the couch and the bedroom door. After three days of nothing but quiet, "I don't want to talk about it, Booth," whispers from her hospital bed, he was really beginning to worry about her. They had barely spoken to one another since the doctors had informed them of what was going on inside of her. Booth slowly walked towards her.
"Bones…Temperance," he breathed quietly. "Please, just…please talk to me."
"I can't…" she whispered, her voice shaky. "It hurts to talk, Booth. I don't want to…"
She dissolved into tears the minute he walked forward and wrapped her in a close hug. Brennan hadn't cried at all yet, so her sobs were loud and heavy as she struggled to settle down, gasping for air. Booth had broken down when he had called Rebecca to tell her he would be needing a different weekend with Parker, but he felt tears spring to his eyes again as well. Booth helped her sit on the hardwood floor when he felt her legs begin to wobble, and he lowered himself to the ground, too, sitting across from her.
She cried into her own hands for a moment, shielding her face from his view before looking up at him. When she saw the silent tears falling down his face, she sobbed and pulled him to her for comfort. They held one another, crying together in the middle of their living room floor for a long time before she finally calmed enough for him to help her into the shower. He climbed in behind her and gently washed her skin as the occasional tear fell down her face. Her crying ceased by the time Booth handed her a loose sleep dress to wear and tucked her into bed. He crawled in besides her, allowing her to bury her red and swollen face into his t-shirt, and smoothed his hand against her back until they both fell into a deep, healing sleep.
Angela looked in Brennan with surprise and disbelief. "That's it?" she asked.
"Yeah," Brennan shrugged.
"Sweetie, you haven't talked at all? It's been two and a half months!"
"I'm very aware of how long it's been, Angela," Brennan mumbled.
"Sorry. I'm just surprised that you haven't talked to Booth at all, but we've talked about it more than once," Angela said.
"I can talk to you! With Booth, it seems like all we can do is cry whenever that topic comes up. I mean, I've cried with you, too, but not to the point where my language is entirely incoherent," Brennan said. "Neither of us has really said anything about it since the last post-surgical doctor's appointment, anyway."
"Maybe he's withdrawn because he wants to talk to you," Angela said. "He's probably worried, Brennan."
Brennan pulled the blanket away from her nude body. "Can we just finish this, please?"
Angela shot her a small, reassuring smile, nodded, and helped her get back in position. "Sure, sweetie. Whatever you want."
The following week, Booth and Brennan were eating a candlelit dinner in their apartment on his birthday, still dressed in their work outfits from the day. She had made his favorite macaroni and cheese and picked up his favorite apple pie from the diner. His eyes had lit up at the sight of the pie and he had kissed her cheek before blowing out the single candle she had placed in the dessert and digging in.
"Ready for your present?" Brennan asked as Booth finished the last bite of his slice.
"This wasn't my present?" he grinned, gesturing towards the remnants of dinner.
She smiled shyly and shook her head. "I have something else for you."
"Okay, where do you want me?" Booth asked.
"Couch, please," Brennan said.
Booth walked over to the couch while Brennan disappeared into her home office. He put his feet up on the coffee table and watched as she returned with a rolled up piece of paper with a big red bow on the top. She sat down next to him, and handed it to him.
"Happy Birthday," she said.
He gleefully unrolled his gift, as eager as a little child on Christmas morning, and she watched his eyes grow wide as he looked at the picture before him.
"Bones," he said, a huge smile on his face. "That's you!"
"Yes," she said.
"You're naked," he grinned.
"I know," Brennan said.
"Where did you get this?" he asked with a hint of concern. "Who drew you like this?"
"Don't worry; I asked Angela to do it."
Booth kissed her cheek again as he glanced at the photo. "You look gorgeous."
"Now or in the portrait?" she asked, confused.
"The portrait…now…both," he stuttered. He sighed. "I meant in the portrait, but…definitely now, too."
He watched as a hint of sadness traveled across her face. She looked down at the portrait, then up at him. "So do you see?"
"That I'm not broken," she said quietly.
His goofy grin turned into a serious look as he sat up, placed the portrait on the coffee table in front of him, and grabbed her hand. "What do you mean by…you think that I think you're broken?"
"You do," she said.
"No, I don't," he told her.
"But you barely ever even touch me anymore," she said. "Ever since…"
"Are we actually going to talk about this?" he asked. She stayed silent, maintaining her visual contact with his chocolate brown eyes. He looked at her until she finally nodded just slightly enough to tell him to continue. "Bones…I'll admit that I may have been a little reserved lately, but…broken? Honey, I don't think you're broken."
Brennan clasped his hand a little tighter. "I think I'm broken."
"Why?" he asked quietly.
"I told you once that I have faith in the ability of logic and reason to determine a corresponding cause for every effect that there is in this world," she said. She paused for a long while before adding, "I can't find the cause, Booth. I don't know why this happened."
"I don't either, Bones," he said. "Sometimes these things just happen."
"But you're able to reconcile that because you believe that this happenstance was just part of some grand design or divine plan, and that's enough for you, but I don't have that. I can't find a reason, so it has to be something within me that instigated this because biology failed me. That's the effect. I know the effect. I can't ascertain a cause."
"Temperance," Booth said. "You didn't do this. The doctors told you that nothing you did caused this. It just happened."
"I know," she whispered. "And I know that that's true, but I was feeling like I did something wrong, and then you drew back, so I thought maybe you thought I was decrepit, too."
He couldn't help himself. He chuckled at her choice of words. "Decrepit, Bones?"
She shrugged, a small smile dawning on her face as well. "Yeah. Decrepit."
"Look, I've been leaving you alone because I thought you wanted to deal with this by yourself," he said. "I didn't want to make it worse for you. I know you've been hurting, but you've got that compartmentalization coping mechanism of yours, and I just…thought I'd stay out of your way until you were ready to reach out to me and process what happened."
"I tried to compartmentalize this like I normally do, but it appears that I have been unable to properly do that in this instance," she said.
"So we can deal with this…together?" Booth asked. "We can be there for each other?"
She nodded instantly. "You really don't think I'm broken?"
Booth grabbed Angela's portrait and held it so that it was facing away from his body and at her. "Bones…look at you. Do you look broken in this picture?"
"Objectively…no," she said. She leaned forward a little. "You can barely see the scars on my stomach, and I know they're there. I told Angela to include them."
"So what does this portrait tell you?" he asked.
She stared at it for a long time before looking into Booth's eyes and biting her lip. When she spoke, she spoke softly. "That I'm okay."
"Yeah," he said, matching her tone. He placed the portrait back onto the table and cupped her cheek in the palm of his hand. "You're beautiful. You're more than okay, honey."
"So we're not going to become a statistic?" she asked.
"A statistic of what?" he asked.
"Just another couple that breaks up after lose…after losing a child," she said, finally vocalizing it for the first time in front of Booth.
"No…we'll get through this," he promised.
They began leaning towards one another, eyes slipping shut when their lips met in a tender kiss, their first truly passionate kiss since Brennan's surgery. He held her face in the palms of his hands, and she clutched onto his upper arms as he gently leaned her back on the couch, resting by her side without ever separating their lips. They allowed their tongues to dance together once, twice, before Brennan broke the long kiss with a quiet smack.
"Booth," she whispered, breathless. "Do you love me?"
"Yeah," he smiled, brushing some hair out of her face. She grinned at his answer. "Do you want me to prove it to you?"
"Yeah," she said, leaning in for another kiss.
The next morning, Booth walked with Brennan into the Jeffersonian. He pulled her in for a loving goodbye kiss outside of her office and told her he'd be by later to pick her up for lunch. After she retreated into her office, Booth headed for the Imaging Unit. He found Angela powering up her Angelatron.
"Hey," Booth said, placing a kiss on Angela's cheek.
"And to what do I owe this pleasure?" Angela replied flirtatiously.
"Thank you," he said. "That portrait was just what we needed. I think Bones needed to see herself from someone else's perspective, though I would never expect her to admit that."
Angela chuckled. "Please tell me you made love to that woman last night."
Booth glared at her. "That's none of your business."
"Aw, come on!" Angela begged. "It's the least you can do."
Booth sighed. "Fine. We made love on the couch and spent the night talking in bed."
"Good," Angela said, placing her Angelatron controller aside. "She needed to talk to someone other than me. So what are you going to do with the picture?"
"I think I'm going to frame it…hang it in the walk-in closet," Booth said.
"You're going to hang my artwork in the closet?" Angela asked, almost insulted.
"I don't really want to explain to my son why there's a naked picture of Bones on the wall," Booth said. "I don't really want my son seeing a naked picture of Bones on the wall."
"Oh," Angela laughed. "Good point."
"But it's beautiful," Booth said. "You're amazing."
Angela shook her head. "The beauty of that painting is all Brennan."
He smiled and nodded to himself. Booth looked up at her again as he walked backwards towards the door, now more than a little late to work. "Thanks, Ange."
"Give your son a kiss for me!" she called. She smiled proudly as Booth turned and left her office. When he was out of earshot, she heading out of her office as well, mumbling to herself, "I wonder where Brennan is."
So, if you haven't already guessed, I was inspired by the prompt that said Brennan suffers a miscarriage and Booth helps her through it. I just modified that a bit since I already had the first scene with Brennan & Angela written.
I'd really appreciate some feedback on this one since it's so different than what I normally do, so please review! Thanks for reading!