Okay, so I decided to write a companion piece. Sorry. I CAN'T STOP WATCHING THE 100TH. I JUST CAN'T.
There were times in Seeley Booth's life when he had awakened after a night of debauchery and wondered exactly how it was that he'd managed to drive home, unlock his door, taken off his shoes, and gotten into his pajamas pants.
Yeah, this was kind of like that. Only he didn't have any vague recollections of buying everyone a round or getting some girl's number or singing a little too loudly when Chicago played overhead.
He had perfect recall of the worst night of his whole fucking life.
And the worst goddamned part was that he had to work the following day. With her.
Sweets. That fucking kid. It was his damned fault.
But Booth knew that wasn't true, so on top of the pain in his chest, he felt guilt take a big ole bite out of his stomach for putting blame on the kid. Yeah, Sweets had kind of dared him to do that. Booth never could resist a good dare.
What the hell had he been thinking to just lay it out on the line like that?
He knew. He fucking knew he couldn't, shouldn't push her. And he did it anyway.
But no, his mind screamed. She's a coward. It's her fault.
That made him feel worse, putting blame on her door.
She didn't love him. He'd always known that.
So why'd he do it?
Because, Seeley. Deep down inside, you really, truly believed that she did.
He laughed. Once again, Temperance Brennan proved just how much of an idiot he really was. Oonly now he'd have to face that knowledge every single damned time he saw her. She'd tilt her head, and maybe those icily soulful eyes would water with pity. Oh, he'd done it for real this time- now she knew. She could've gone on for years still not knowing while he "moved on", and he wouldn't've had to face her apologetic (and still glorious) eyes.
Nice one, Seeley. When you fuck up, you sure do it big. Hey, anything worth doing's worth doing right, right?
He got to his place and practically broke the key off in the door. He tossed his coat at the couch and missed; angry at himself for being childish, he went to the kitchen and got a glass, filling it with tap water and gulping it down. Tossing the leftovers in the sink, he braced his hands on the counter and tilted his head down, a near panic-inducing crush in his heart making him gasp for breath.
She didn't love him.
She didn't want him.
Well, at least he knew for sure now. Right?
He closed his eyes and tried to will the pain away, but it was no use. The image of her pleading with him, the "can we still work together?" repeating over and over in his head.
He'd wanted to say, "I don't know," because it was true. And he didn't want to lie to her. But in the infinitesimal pause before he said it, he realized it would've hurt her to say it, and he couldn't hurt her more than he already had.
So basically, he'd ruined everything, because they would go on. Working together. He'd go to work in the morning. He'd take her to lunch. They'd solve crimes. Because to change that would hurt her. No matter how much it killed him. God, it was going to suck.
He'd have to move on.
He didn't want to. Thinking of it gave him heartburn, and he hadn't fucking eaten anything.
But really, what was the point of pining? Like the wise Mick Jagger once said, you can't always get whatcha want.
Fuck you, Mick. Fuck you for being right.
He let himself go on autopilot. Stood up. Walked over to his tossed-aside coat and laid it carefully on the back of the couch. Sat down and flipped on the box. After three seconds, he turned it off. Kicked off his shoes and rebelliously left them there on the floor.
Bed. Go to bed. And pray for a dreamless sleep. ("You always dream, Booth," she'd once told him. "You only remember the dreams if your REM cycle is interrupted.")
Naturally, all he could do was lie there and think about her. Painfully, deliciously- a Bone slideshow, the (mostly) clean version. Hell, if he wasn't gonna sleep, might as well make the most of it. He considered jerking off to try to relax, but he got this horrifying vision of crying as he came, and he'd always associated that with serial killers, so that was out.
No, instead he went over the Smiles and Laughter of Doctor Brennan. The way the left side of her mouth curled up a bit when she was either amused or terrifically pleased with herself. Her low, breathy chuckle that made his heart feel lighter. The way she sometimes met his eye a half-second before laughing, looking for cues from him to make sure her joke was received as intended.
How her chest moved when she took a deep breath just before the laughter began.
Whoa, buddy. Not now. We're wallowing here.
I need a drink.
Booth sighed and rolled over, grimacing when he saw that about four minutes had passed since he'd lain down in bed. Maybe he should go to the bar or something. Talk to someone, anyone. He sighed and picked up his phone, hesitating before going for his contacts list.
"Seeley? What's up? Everything okay?"
"Yeah, Becs. I was just… Parker still awake?"
"It's a school night. He's been asleep for an hour."
"Right. Sorry. I'll just talk to him tomorrow." He went to hang up but her voice stopped him.
"Hey, you okay? You sound… defeated."
"Nah, I'm fine. Just missed the kid."
"You sure?" Her voice sounded disbelieving and he was tempted to confide in her, but that would be weird, wouldn't it?
"Yeah, I'm sure. Sorry to bother you."
"Seeley, if you need-"
"I'm fine, Becs." Really. Fine.
"Okay, then." He snapped his phone shut, then back open again. Shut, open. Stared at the lit display for a few seconds, then hit his contacts list again.
"Agent Booth," she said, her voice lifting in a grin as she realized who it was. He heard the sound of voices in the background and was both relieved and irritated that she couldn't talk.
"You, ah. Are you busy?" He sounded needy, desperate. Which he was. And he hated it.
"Not really. Just finishing dinner. What's up?" He recognized her Official Business tone over the friendly one, and he felt that maybe talking to her would help. Or not. When had he become so touchy-feely?
"I just… needed to hear a friendly voice, is all." Okay, Cam. Take the bait. Ask. I'll tell you everything.
"Hold on a sec." He heard muffled sounds for a moment and waited by picking at a frayed edge on his sheet. After a minute she was back, minus the background noise. "Okay, something happened. You okay?"
"I'm fine, it's just-"
"Dr. Brennan okay?"
He paused. "Yeah, she's-"
"Oh. No. Uh oh. Seeley, what did you do?"
"Hey, why do you assume it was me? She could've done something, too-"
"Because I know you, and you're calling me out of the blue on a Thursday night. Did you guys fight? No, wait. Sweets' book. Did it say something about you two? Something neither of you wanted out there? I don't know, I haven't scored a copy yet." His silence answered for him, and he kept pulling at that loose stitch, willing her to continue. "Look, Sweet is as desperate as the rest of us to see you two together, so you've gotta approach this like you would anything else. Talk to her. Keep communication open. She'll clam up if you ignore it. Seel? You hearing me?"
"You really know how to break things down, don't you?" He was quiet, cringing in anticipation of telling her just how dumb of a maneuver he'd pulled.
"Cam," he sighed, sitting up and leaning against the wall behind his bed, "I, uh. Took a chance. Laid it all out there like a fucking earnest kid going after his best friend's mom or something."
"Wow. So you- really. Wow."
"And I'm taking it she freaked out?"
"Well, kind of. She, uh. She doesn't feel the same way, Cam." Man, saying it out loud hurt. And it was embarrassing, too.
"Oh, Seeley. I'm sorry. What did you say? Were you clear? Because you know her, she prefers having things spelled out succinctly. You didn't use, like, a sports metaphor or something, did you?"
"What? No. 'Course not. I…" He sighed, suddenly regretting doing the girl thing and calling up a girl to talk. "I told her I wanted to give us a chance."
"Just like that."
"Just like that."
"And she responded with…?"
He paused to switch ears. "Oh, typical Bones crap about the FBI not allowing us to work together and-"
"She has a point."
"There was more."
"She-" He choked on his own saliva and had to clear his throat a bit. "She said she was- protecting me. From her. That I can't break through to her heart." Basically, that she didn't love me.
"She said that?"
"Well, no, but it was obvious that-"
"What'd she say when you told her that you were in love with her?"
He opened his mouth to respond and realized…
"I didn't." Wow. I didn't.
"Well, it was implied-"
"Seeley. Joseph Booth. 'I'm in love with you' is never implied. I should know," she said, laughing at her subtle dig. But he didn't have time or room to deal with old Cam guilt. He was too busy rolling in his own stupidity.
He hadn't actually said it, had he?
Did it matter?
"Look, Cam. It doesn't matter. I told her- exact words- that I wanted to give Us a shot. She told me no. What would be the point?"
Cam heaved a big sigh. "For a guy who's got the heart of a lion, I'd say that's a cowardly statement, Booth. I'm going to have to call bullshit on that one."
"Well, thank you very much."
"Look. It makes a difference, okay? I think we all know that Dr. Brennan is well-aware of how great she is, right?"
He chuckled. "Well, she's right."
"Yes, but here's the thing. She doesn't think she's quite good enough for you."
"Me?" He laughed at that. His biggest obstacle here was that she was a thousand times better than he was. He'd taken such a huge gamble, and he should have known better. You can't win when the odds are stacked that high against you.
That's why he'd gone for it, really. When you know you aren't going to win, it makes it that much sweeter when you do. Unfortunately, it hadn't paid off this time. Fuck, this is why he'd quit gambling in the first place. He'd have to lose big eventually.
And boy, did he ever.
"Seeley? Did you hear a word I said?"
She sighed. "Look, give her time. She'll come around. You can't just spring something like this on someone who's so used to charting her own life developments on a predictable timeline. Okay, so you put it out there, great. Next time, be more specific. Quantify the data. She likes quantifiable data." Cam's voice was full of amused pity, and he could just see her dimpled face teasing him.
He heaved a sigh. "Thanks, Cam."
"Don't mention it."
"Look, I'm going to say this just once- this is going to work out. I used to be a tad jealous about you two, you know. But now I'm just frustrated. Make it work, okay? My life's soap opera enough as it is without my top forensic anthropologist employee getting emotional over my ex-boyfriend."
"You're good enough for her, Seeley. Trust me. I'm not wrong. Now let me get back to my date."
"Okay. You're a good person, Camille."
"I know. 'Bye." He hung up, only feeling better because he hadn't been focusing on her for twenty minutes. But now it all came pouring in. His mind went into a spin cycle of Bones- getting tied up, explosions, the stubborn set of her jaw- Cam's attempt at comforting him- all in one furious barrage of never-ending thoughts, spinning, spinning, choking him, making him feel nauseated, elated, deflated, hopeful…
He awakened, shooting up with a start and swiping at his sweaty brow. The fuck was that?
He knew. Who else would be banging down the door at… 2a.m. on a Thursday night?
His usual anticipatory thrill that she was there was replaced with an overwhelming feeling of dread. He should've guessed that she'd come by eventually, because who did she talk to about matters of non-science? Angela, maybe, but even the slightly unaware Brennan would probably have realized that Ange would be pissed at what had happened.
So, she came to good ole Booth instead. Great. He'd have to comfort her while trying his damnedest to give her space. Fucking perfect.
Man, was it so much to ask for a slice of happiness? Was it? He was a good guy. Served his country. Paid his taxes. Recycled when it was convenient. Caught bad guys. All he needed out of life was
God, she looked sad. Amazing and sad. Like she'd been crying. He ached to hug her, to soothe her, to take it all back. But then she started saying shit that made no fucking sense and his mind was reeling because she was talking about some blonde and his first thought was how did she know I talked to Rebecca? but then she mentioned a dream and her sweet confusion coupled with her anger about some other woman had the worst goddamned affect on him because he was tired physically and spent emotionally and the last thing he needed was having her inches away and in need of comfort but fuck, man.
He tried to make himself not think it, the hope was hurtful, but as he reached out, his mind was screaming at him.
She doesn't want you to move on.
She'd thought about it. Dreamt about it, whatever. Didn't Sweets once tell him that dreams were the mind's subconscious-ness manifesting itself in some sort of tangible whatever?
As he stood there holding her, it took every ounce of willpower he had to not grasp her to his chest and never fucking let go. Maybe you don't love me now, baby, but I will not stop trying to make it happen.
Yeah, he was gambling again. But honestly- how could he move on from this, from her?
He knew he couldn't. It made him feel weak, to be so helplessly, wonderfully in love with such a ridiculous too-good-for-him woman, but he seriously didn't give a shit.
"One step at a time, Bones."
One step at a time, Booth.
Anyone else like, hear a wonderfully tragic song about lovelorn heartcrushing awfulness and start thinking about the episode? 'Cuz right now, mine is "Silver Springs." D: D: D: