When You Come Back Down
A/N: This is complete and utter fluff, but I had to write it when I heard the song. The story is set relatively early in their relationship. Bones isn't quite as socially adept as she becomes in later years. All reviews are very much appreciated!! :)
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters of Bones or the song by Nickel Creek.
You got to leave me now, you got to go alone
You got to chase a dream, one that's all your own
Before it slips away
"A year, Bones?" Booth's shocked, hurt face hovered in front of her eyes.
"It's an incredible opportunity," she argued as she wandered around the lab, packing.
"You already said yes, didn't you." His voice was flat and hollow.
"Of course!" Brennan frowned in surprise, glancing at him briefly before continuing the search for her favorite pair of forceps.
His head dropped to his chest and he gritted his teeth. "Without even asking me, you said yes."
Locating the forceps, she turned her attention to the large pile of paperwork on her desk. "This is exactly why I refused to start a relationship with you, Booth. I don't require permission to go about the daily business of living my life and pursuing my career!"
Booth lunged across the room towards her, taking her so off guard that even her lightning-fast reflexes didn't have time to kick in. He pinned her against the wall with the superior weight of his body, his beautiful eyes flashing furiously down into hers. His wide chest muscles flexed against her sternum as he leaned in even closer, lowering his head until they were almost nose to nose.
"I hate to break it to you, Brennan, but we are in a relationship." He slapped the wall with the flat of his hand. "You're my partner, dammit!"
"Booth, if the remains prove to be what we think they are, this find could change history!" She was uncomfortably aware that she was pleading, asking him for his understanding, even though she wasn't completely sure why what his approval should matter to her.
He waved at the lab around them. "What about the remains here?"
"Dr. Goodman has accepted my leave of absence. He will make appropriate provisions so that the work continues without my presence."
"And what about me, Bones? Huh?" His head was so close to hers now that she could see the flecks of gold in his irises and the wide, angry dilation of his dark pupils. "What about me?"
The warmth of his big body seeped through her, metaphorically scrambling her brains. Confusion clamored through Brennan. Why was he being so unreasonable?
"The FBI will assign you a new partner. Or you will work with my replacement. I don't understand why you're acting like this. I'm the only forensic anthropologist who has been asked to consult on this case. I thought you'd be happy that I've been awarded this incredible privilege!"
Abruptly, he stepped back and released her. Brennan felt a twinge of regret at the loss of physical contact. She comforted herself with the knowledge that such a feeling, at least, was natural. He was very attractive and if her body responded to his, it was only a harbinger of biological impulses.
"I am happy for you, Bones," he said quietly, jamming his hands into his pockets. "You deserve every honor the science fields offers and more."
In spite of his words, she could almost feel the sadness rolling off of him in waves.
"I'm just not so happy for me." His broad shoulders sagged forward as though all the energy had drained from him. Without another word, he headed for the platform stairs.
"Booth," she called after him, unsure of what it was she wanted to say to him. "Wait?"
He turned at the foot of the stairs and offered her the ghost of a smile. "Knock 'em dead, Bones."
She didn't have time to ask what that meant before he jogged to the door of the building and slipped away.
When you're flyin' high, take my heart along
I'll be the harmony to every lonely song
That you learn to play
The hum of a plane was generally soothing to her senses, but today Brennan found she couldn't relax. Her body felt wired with electricity and she couldn't even concentrate on the documentation she was supposed to processing prior to arrival.
She glanced around at her fellow passengers, most of them engaged in conversation with each other, or sleeping. Two rows ahead, a tall, buff businessman man—the type who would make Angela swoon before deciding he was corporate and boring—chatted animatedly with his redheaded female seatmate. From the loud conversation they'd initiated before the flight, Brennan was aware they had just met and that they were also intensely attracted to each other. The budding couple traded sarcastic quips about the airplane food and innuendo-laced complaints about the lack of seating space.
An uncomfortably heavy feeling stirred within Brennan, one she refused to acknowledge or name.
She flipped open her laptop, determined to accomplish at least something before landing.
An alert popped up, indicating she had mail and she clicked through to her inbox. The address was an unfamiliar one, but the subject line made her stomach flutter.
Missing you already.
6 weeks later
When you're soarin' through the air
I'll be your solid ground.
Take every chance you dare,
I'll still be there
When you come back down.
Brennan raised her head tiredly from the desk where she'd fallen asleep. Her neck and shoulders ached, and she was uncomfortably aware that she missed having a certain somebody carefully move her to the couch and cover her with his coat.
She swallowed an angry lump in her throat before rising to look around the room. It was outfitted exactly as she'd requested, with state-of-the-art forensic equipment that the Braintrust back home would have killed—metaphorically speaking, of course—to try.
In the corner lay a spread of partially fragmented female bones, awaiting her attention. She rose and moved toward the table, snapping on gloves automatically. The memory of who had taught her to wear those gloves was an unwelcome presence in her head.
With a frustrated sigh, she began to carefully examine the remains. In the back of her mind, she wished Hodgins or Zack or Angela would walk in and offer their insights to the puzzle before her, but she knew this was classified information which could not be shared or discussed with anyone. Not even her closest associates.
I'll keep lookin' up, awaitin' your return
My greatest fear will be that you will crash and burn
And I won't feel your fire
The coffee burned her throat going down. Brennan picked at her poorly seasoned meal and glanced surreptitiously around at her colleagues. They had all bonded almost immediately upon arrival, forming instant friendships that were helping them cope with the solitude and long hours.
She didn't fit in, of course. She'd managed to offend everybody within the first week, even though she'd only been attempting to be social. Now they treated her like some genius pariah.
But she had never fit in, a little voice argued within her. She had never needed to. Solitude and endless work were what she preferred. Right?
With a muffled oath, she shoved her plate away and stood to leave. Immediately, she sensed people watching her, judging her.
Tears as hot as the coffee filled her eyes and she hurried from the mess hall before they could fall and give her away as being just as human as her colleagues.
I'll be the other hand that always holds the line
Connectin' in between your sweet heart and mine
I'm strung out on that wire
Her cellphone rang as she made her way to the makeshift forensics tent. It was rare to pick up any kind of reception in such a remote location, and she snatched at the device eagerly.
"How's life in the sticks, Bones?"
His voice filled her senses, triggering an avalanche of emotions. She stifled a desperate sob before diving through the door into her office.
"Booth, why are you calling me?" She tried to make her voice rough and angry, but knew immediately that she had failed.
"What's going on?" he demanded from 10,000 miles away, immediately alert to her feelings. "Are you crying?"
She wanted to tell him everything.
"Earth to Bones. Talk to me, Brennan. These calls ain't cheap."
The warm concern and familiar, teasing lilt to his voice broke down the last barrier within her and she cried, brokenly pouring out her sadness. Somehow, his ludicrous outrage on her behalf and insistence that he was going to fly halfway around the world and bash her eminent colleagues' heads in made her feel better.
And I'll be on the other end, To hear you when you call
Angel, you were born to fly, If you get too high
I'll catch you when you fall
"Package for you, Brennan."
Kiana, the forensic anthropologist from Bolivia, watched with cool detachment as Brennan's eyes went wide in surprise. Mail delivery of any kind was an incredibly rare treat, and her envelopes usually consisted of forensic reports she was collaborating on in her spare time.
She carefully turned the yellow box over in her hands, scrutinizing it. The battered package had clearly traveled a long way. Any markers indicating origin had been erased at some point in transit. One side of the box was caved in, and she spotted a hint of fuschia within the dark recesses.
Kiana tried hard to conceal her curiosity, but failed. "Is it from somebody special?"
"You have no idea," Brennan muttered, hurrying away. She heard the gossip start up behind her immediately and hid a small smile. There was apparently more to her than they knew. More to her than even she knew.
In the privacy of her tent again, she ripped open the package, pulling away layers of tissue paper and bubblewrap before arriving at the treasure.
She extracted a warm, fuzzy hot pink scarf, carefully wrapped around a handmade coffee mug with a skull and tiny, bell-likeflowers painted on it. It had somehow survived the rough journey from the Jeffersonian and into her hands. A folded paper, written on Jeffersonian stationary, fell away as she unraveled the mug, along with a glistening, golden St. Christopher medal.
I'm learning to knit so the scarf might be way too long, Angela's note warned her. The medal's from Booth, obviously. He thinks you need protection. Zack provided the mug from somewhere, and Hodgins helped me add the flowers. He says they're calluna vulgaris—"a hardy variety, capable of sustaining life in the most inhospitable conditions." Just like you, Bren. We all miss you. Hurry up and finish over there, so you can come home! P.S.: Any hot guys in South America catch your eye?? :)
She tenderly set the mug aside and draped the scarf—way too long, as predicted—around her neck before removing the remaining gift from the box. The object was oblong and heavy, enveloped haphazardly by three additional layers of bubble wrap. It had way too much tape and was obviously packaged by someone who lacked the patience to create catalogue-worthy gift wrapping.
Her heart sped up as she began cutting away the tape. The gleam of metal caught her eye and she forgot all caution and ripped into the wrapping like a little girl on Christmas day, before her parents disappeared.
The last piece of wrapping came away, revealing an object wrapped in Jeffersonian paper. Tears occluded her vision, falling hot and fast as she read the note.
So my wrapping sucks. But it's what inside that counts, right? Kind of like the beautiful bones underneath all the layers of skin, like you're always telling me.
The familiar belt buckle was heavy in her hand as she read, reminding her of Booth's solid strength.
Get cocky, Brennan. Show those jackasses what you're made of. They have no idea what they're missing. But I do, so hurry up and come home, baby. (I can call you that when you're not close enough to hit me…) :)
Your memory's the sunshine every new day brings
I know the sky is calling
Angel, let me help you with your wings.
She waited breathlessly, hoping beyond hope that he was home, even though his car wasn't in the drive. When he didn't answer after repeated blows to the door, she felt her face fall. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen, a childish voice whispered inside her, even though she knew seeing him tomorrow would be just as good as today. Except it wouldn't. He was supposed to be here, to open the door and be shocked and excited at her early return. Dammit. What if things weren't even the same anymore? What if her sabbatical had ruined everything?
She turned to leave, feeling tears prick her eyes again and cursing at how much she had cried this last year.
Her heart stopped and then restarted again with a vengeance as she drank in the sight of him. Clad in workout gear, he was propped comfortably across the elevator door, arms folded across his chest, grinning widely. His eyes. His eyes were full of … something that Brennan didn't think she'd ever seen before. Or maybe she'd missed it.
"When—what—how long—" The words wouldn't come and it didn't matter as he held out his arms to her and she moved toward him as though in a dream. He stepped forward as she stumbled on the shag carpeting, reaching out to catch her in his muscular arms.
He wasn't a dream. No dream—not even her wildest erotic fantasies—had that kind of upper body strength, wrapping itself around her in a protective embrace that promised never to let her fall. No dream whispered teasing, personal things in her ear that would have made her angry if anybody else had said them. And no dream held her back as she attempted to kiss him, laughing at her with dark, happy eyes.
"Did you miss me, Bones?" he teased, combing his fingers tenderly through her hair.
"You know I did," she said desperately, reaching for his mouth again.
"Tell me you missed me," he insisted, dodging her lips with a dark chuckle.
"I missed you already," she snarled, yanking his head down and swallowing his laughter.
The world went up in flames around them as he returned her kiss tenderly at first, holding her neck lightly with one hand, then became gradually more demanding, pressing her hips to his with both palms as he sought entry into her mouth.
"Mmmm." She moaned and opened willingly, grinding back against him as he explored the inner ridges and grooves of her mouth, tracing her teeth, gasping as she sucked at his own tongue greedily.
"You taste so good, Bones." His voice was an astonished, husky groan. "Better than I could ever have guessed."
"See why I don't hold to unscientific guesswork?" she teased, even as his hot mouth began a careful, methodical exploration of the nape of her neck that made her toes curl in ecstasy.
"Hmmm," he murmured into her soft skin. "Guess I need to do a lot more … scientific research in order to prove my theory."
"B—Booth." He was slowly working his way across the hypersensitive underside of her jaw, sending her insides into a whirling vortex of desire.
"What, baby?" His mouth was obscenely talented.
She wanted to chastise him, but that might mean he would stop what he was doing … and that would never do …. Ohhhh. Her knees buckled as he dipped into her cleavage and turned her bodily in his arms, pressing her against the wall as he dropped his head and kissed at the sensitive skin on the tops and sides of her breasts.
"You deliberately wore this shirt tonight," he accused, dragging his mouth across the flimsy garment barely covering her chest.
She gasped and clutched his dark head to her. "Yes …"
"So damn hot," he sighed, tracing circles around her nipples with his tongue. "Absolutely smokin' hot, Bones." It was clear that he wanted to be in the lead tonight and Brennan, strong, independent woman that she was, had no trouble giving in to that need.
"Please, Booth …"
He moved south of her breasts, lifting the hem of her shirt and pressing his warm lips to her navel. She jumped and he paused to smile up at her with teasing eyes.
"Is this okay, Bones?" The concern in his voice was almost as arousing as his lips. "Not too fast?"
"Not fast enough," she whispered.
He chuckled and returned to her skin. "So impatient. So beautiful." He lifted the cloth a little farther, kissing his way towards her bra again. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to do this."
Worry assailed her, making its way through her screaming senses and dulling the ardor slightly.
Obviously hearing the fear, he looked up and waited patiently.
She couldn't stop the words once they'd started. "What happens tomorrow if we do this tonight? Will this ruin … us?"
"Nothing will ruin us," he said firmly, getting to his feet and placing his hands on her shoulders. "We'll take it day by day, Bones, and whatever happens, happens. If you go off on another expedition, I'll be waiting when you get back. If we fight, we'll make up. If you freak out, we'll slow things down. You're worth every challenge that comes our way, Brennan, and you can't get rid of me, no matter how hard you might try."
The tenderness in his voice made her teary all over again.
"But you want a woman who believes in God. Who will nurture your child and who harbors the possibility of marriage in the future …"
"You're wrong." Booth smiled at the startled look on her face. He knew she didn't often hear that. "All I want is you, Bones Brennan, exactly as you are today."
He kissed her renewed tears away, drawing her into a salty, sweet kiss that held the promise of changing seasons: frozen winter to thawing spring to heated summer and crisp, comforting fall.
"Booth," she murmured in between kisses.
He whispered back into her flesh, eternally patient. "Baby?"
She traced his chest with her fingers. "You were always well-muscled, but it seems that you've achieved even more definition since I left."
He threw back his head and laughed. "Had to do something with my sexual frustration," he teased, laughing at her obvious confusion. "Lots of time in the gym, Bones."
"I can tell," she said seriously. "Your deltoids have significantly more muscle mass and your pectoralis minor—"
"Whoa, whoa, hey!" He arched an eyebrow and frowned. "There's never been anything minor about my pecs, Brennan."
"It's the name of a muscle—"
"Want scientific evidence?" Before she could react, he'd stepped away and dragged his shirt up and over his head.
He stood there, grinning, as she contemplated the perfect, proportionate structure of his chest. The latissimus dorsi was particularly impressive, as was the rectus abdominus, in all its flat, six-pack glory. Everything within her screamed to lean forward and conduct a "scientific exploration" of her own, but she had to put him in his place first.
"That's a little cocky, isn't it Booth? Ripping off your shirt and expecting me to swoon?"
"The belt buckle says it all, Bones," he grinned. "Speaking of which, I can have that back now, right?"
"In your dreams!" she retorted. "That was a gift!"
In response he scooped her up into his arms and kicked the door to his apartment open.
"You're the only thing in my dreams," he growled heatedly into her lips. "And everything about you is a gift. But if you want to wrestle for ownership of that belt, I'm all for it …"
"Booth, are you gambling again?"
"Just on us, baby. Nowadays, I'll only bet on a sure thing."
"The only sure thing is that I'm going slug you if you don't quit calling me that!"
Their shared laughter echoed momentarily through the apartment, before being replaced by delighted sounds of another, entirely different, kind.
When you're soarin' through the air
I'll be your solid ground
Take every chance you dare
I'll still be there
When you come back down
Booth snored quietly beside Brennan and she lay comfortably in his arms for a long moment, before slipping out of bed and padding into the kitchen for a drink. She rooted around in the fridge, locating an unexpired carton of milk that she could add to any coffe or tea she found in the house.
She began searching through the cabinets, trying to find some source of caffeine that would help awaken her well-sated body. Much as she wanted to stay beside Booth for the rest of the night, there was paperwork to catch up on before returning to the Jeffersonian tomorrow. There was always paperwork, she sighed, pulling at a drawer. It was jammed shut and she braced her knee on the counter and yanked, hard, sending the contents flying everywhere, including several bags of tea.
She scooped everything up and replaced it where it belonged, then spied a piece of paper she'd missed beneath the kitchen table.
It was an airplane ticket, she realized as she retrieved it. She ran her eyes down the flight details, searching for the place of origin and destination.
Washington, D.C. to
"Looking for something?" Booth's wry voice made her spin guiltily.
"I was hoping for some tea …" her voice trailed off uncertainly.
He raised an eyebrow from where he stood in the doorway to the kitchen, running his hands through his hair sleepily. Wordlessly, she held up the tickets, needing to know.
"You beat me to the punch," Booth admitted. "I was gonna go visit you."
She frowned. "How would you have found me? Nobody was supposed to know the location of the dig."
He sighed, making his way toward her across the cold linoleum. "FBI, Bones." He took her hand and squeezed it lightly. "FBI. Remember?"
"Why?" she demanded. "Why would you go to all that trouble?"
"You sounded like you needed somebody on your side," he said simply.
Paperwork evaporated from Brennan's list of priorities as her partner took her in his arms again.
"Think I might get lucky at least once more, before the sun rises?"
Her kiss was all the answer either one of them needed, even though Brennan was suddenly, vividly aware of who was the truly lucky one in this relationship.
Take every chance you dare,
I'll still be there
When you come back down.