Hey, everyone! I am slowly getting feeling back in my fingertips, haha, and that means I am slowly continuing the stories I have pending. My goal was to get everything finished by the 100th episode, but that is not going to happen. My new goal is to post the below and another chapter of All Talk. That seems a bit more doable. Thanks to everyone for all of the kind comments.
Anyways...for this story, if you remember, the first chapter takes place as sort of the middle of the story. At this point, we're going to go back six and a half months or so to see how the story begins. I hope this beginning intrigues you a bit. It's a different idea than most stories I have read, and I realize that there is still a lot of story left between the end of this chapter and the beginning of the chapter you have already read. But please stick with me, and I promise to make it worth your while (I hope, at least!).
Booth smiled and nudged his plate of fries toward the center of the table, surprised when his partner didn't even notice. "What's the matter, Bones?" he finally asked, watching as she looked over toward the bar.
Booth's eyes followed her movement, wondering if something was upsetting her, but when he turned back around, she was looking at him, slight concern on her features.
"I've actually been doing some thinking, Booth."
Her eyes were clear and he really had no idea what she was going to say next. "Okay…well, that's not really anything new, so…" His joke fell flat and he cleared his throat. "What's on your mind, Bones?"
Her lips pursed to the side, and he realized she was nervous. A slight chuckle escaped his lips and he leaned forward, resting his elbows on the table. "What's going on?"
"Well…" Brennan pulled in a deep breath. "I've been thinking I should go to Haiti."
"Yes," she peered at him, trying to gauge his reaction. "Not forever, but just for awhile. I received a request, and normally I turn those down, but I used to do that kind of work all of the time, and…I don't know…there is just a lot of need, and…"
"And you're the best," Booth conceded, leaning back in his chair. His hand rested just around the bottom of his beer, his fingers slightly cupping it as his other hand smoothed over his face. "No, yeah. That makes sense, Bones."
"It's not that I don't like our work here," she insisted, figuring he was probably going to take it personally. "It has nothing to do with you, Booth. But…I mean…" when she sighed, Booth nodded, leaning forward again.
"Yeah, I know," he murmured. "I've seen the photos too. It's important that people get laid to rest, Bones."
Their eyes met, and she searched for his acceptance. "Identifications. I've spent my whole life trying to help people. I feel…I feel that the team at the lab will be sufficient to help you, but…and I don't mean this the wrong way, but right now, there is a higher purpose. I need to help these people."
That she thought he'd want to prevent her from doing that hurt Booth inside. "I know you do, Bones. You're doing the right thing."
When her eyebrows rose, he gave a half smile. "I mean it."
Their eyes held for a long moment and then she smiled shyly and looked down her own glass of wine. "I was thinking maybe you'd like to come too."
"What?" Booth scoffed with a laugh, tilting his head to the side. "To where, Haiti?"
"Yes," Brennan bristled slightly. "To help."
"With what? Carrying around your evidence bags or something?"
A flicker of hurt registered in her eyes, and Booth's jaw straightened. Brennan moved off of her stool and began putting her coat on.
"Ah, hell, Bones…"
"No," she shrugged a casual shoulder. "I just thought you might like to help. I thought you were interested in helping people, that's all."
When she was passive aggressive like that, it never failed to break his heart. "Bones," he placed a hand on her arms and waited till she looked at him. A slight insecurity shone in her eyes, and his broken heart felt scraped. "Okay, maybe. I mean…I guess it might actually work. I'm sure the FBI is partnering with some sort of relief group, so yeah…"
"Don't go if you don't want to, Booth."
"I know," he insisted, "And I probably can't be gone for months or anything because of, you know…Parker and everything, but…yeah, it might be nice to do your work for a change." When her eyebrows lifted, he grimaced. "I didn't mean that. Your work is my work. It's…it's our work," he stumbled over his explanation. "Bones…help me out here."
She just stood and looked at him, but then a small smile curved up her lips. "I knew what you meant."
"Bones!" he huffed, pretending to be annoyed. "Making me feel bad for saying the wrong thing. That's just not right."
She smiled wider and pulled her wallet from her purse, taking a few bills and placing them near her plate. Booth did the same and then motioned toward the door. "Haiti."
"Haiti" Brennan nodded and glanced at him, her eyes lingering over his face. "Have you been there before?"
"Nope" Booth shook his head and opened the door, letting her pass under his arm before he followed her outside. "I never have. Have you?"
"Yes," she answered simply. "Although I expect that this experience will unfortunately not be for pleasure. It will be really hard work, Booth."
He leaned against her car as she put her key in the lock. "I know. I'm not afraid of hard work. I'm um…" he grew serious. "I'm proud you asked, Bones."
Brennan tucked her chin to her chest and smiled. "I'm glad you said yes. Sometimes…" a frown crossed over her brow for a moment, but then she shook her head and got into her seat. "I'm glad you said yes," was all she said as she closed her door.
Booth felt pleased that she was glad and also curious about what else she'd wanted to say. He'd never once imagined going with her on one of her anthropological digs or anything, but yeah…this, he could do.
His mind began to process what it would be like, working side by side. He knew he'd be second fiddle to her expertise, but was beginning to realize that he might not mind that for awhile. As he watched her drive away, he realized he'd carry her evidence bags, her evidence…hell, he'd carry her all over Haiti if she asked him to.
Her words, "higher purpose" struck a chord in his heart, and he continued to think about it. He knew the work they did was important, and he knew that SHE knew that too. But he also remembered some of the humanitarian projects he'd been a part of with the Rangers, and the sense of satisfaction he'd gotten by helping with those. He'd forgotten about that. Feeling bone tired but almost wired with energy at serving people, helping people.
There had been a time in his life when he'd promised himself he would dedicate his life to service. And yeah, his job was public service, he knew that. But he knew that sometimes, a little more was expected. His chest expanded with what felt like cleaner air, and his feet felt lighter as he walked to his SUV, his thoughts filled with more optimism and passion for doing good than they had been in a long, long time.