Her feet were feeling a bit tender, the constant rubbing of her heels into her feet, but she would never tell him that, for they walked in silence and in a combined solitude, and she wasn't willing to break that silence for anything. He had draped his arm around her shoulder as they made their way to the rain soaked mall, the grass squishing beneath their steps, and the cool water seeping up into their shoes.
Silence was a stranger to the both of them, for communication had always been their specialty, at least between the two of them. They were always talking, discussing, bickering, arguing or joking with one another, but tonight was different, tonight was not about the individual, it was about the unit. They walked together as a unit, and came to rest eventually at a familiar bench along the reflecting pool. He swiped at the puddle wooden slats, and held his arm out for her to wait, as he pulled his coat off.
"Booth, we're already soaked through." She whispered, her eyes sparkling at him as he carefully lay the jacket across the bench, his eyes moving up to meet hers as he sat down solidly upon it, his hand reaching up to take hers. He entwined his fingers in hers and gave her a gentle tug, smiling when she gave in and sat beside him, allowing his arm to wrap around her and pull her close.
"You're going to have to keep me warm now." He whispered against her hair.
She did not reply to his request, only pushed her body farther into his, resting within the crook of his arm and against the warmth radiating through the white dress shirt that he wore, now dry from the rain, but wrinkled and disheveled. His fingers danced over her jacket, strumming to a tune that was neither music, nor silence, and if she wasn't mistaken, was matching the beating of their hearts at that moment.
Her head was resting on his chest, her eyes focused on the lights from the monuments reflecting in the pool.
She found herself drifting off slightly, her eyelids drooping as she fought to keep herself awake, the drumming on her shoulder was lulling her, the sound of his heartbeat was soothing her, and when he spoke, it only managed to further the progress of her inebriated slumber, until the words he spoke seeped into her liquor soaked mind and permeated her comprehension.
"What did you say?" She whispered, lifting her head slowly, as not to collide with his chin that was so close to her head. Her eyes met his, and the lights from the monuments were reflected in her eyes, just as they were in the pool before them.
"I said that I have threatened the lives of many men to keep you safe, and I have never once felt guilty for that." He said sincerely, his eyes dark and clear, his brow showing his sincerity.
"I don't know what that means." She whispered.
"Does that make me virtuous?" He whispered back, tipping his head, his eyes narrowed just slightly, blocking the glitter from the lights, they appeared deep and dark, as if she could fall into them if she came too close.
"Of course." She replied, her brow furrowing in confusion at the question. "When have you…?"
"The Gravedigger case…" He interrupted. "I was scared to death I would never see you again... and there was that case really early on, when you beat up that gang leader in the Hoover." He admitted, watching her nod her head, her brow still furrowed in confusion. "He put a hit out on you."
"You never told me that." She whispered.
"There was no reason to tell you, Bones. It was called off almost as fast as it was put out." He said, his jaw clenching and unclenching, she focused on that for a moment and moved her eyes to his.
"Because you threatened him?"
"I told him that if anything…" He cleared his throat, feeling the emotions beginning to creep in, he internally chastised himself for a moment, clearing his throat again. "I put my gun to his head and guaranteed… that if anything happened to you, that I would find him and kill him." He was sure that he heard her gasp at his admission, and was unsure if he should be ashamed of his actions or not. Her mouth was just slightly agape, and her eyes had widened, but he was not sure if she approved or disapproved of his actions, and he found himself unable to speak until she did.
Her surprise faded slowly, and she couldn't find her voice at first, hidden within a shroud of untold secrets, she took a slow, deep breath. "I am also guilty of being overly protective of you." She sucked in another breath and the intensity in her eyes grew tenfold. "I've come very close on many occasions to injuring your brother on your behalf." She admitted. "When I thought that he had ruined our relationship, when I found that he was driving a wedge between you and I… when I learned how he takes advantage of you…" She paused.
"It's okay, Bones."
"It's not okay, Booth." She whispered. "It is not okay for anyone to hurt you. It is not okay for anyone to threaten you, to threaten us. It's not okay. I have to protect you from that."
"I understand. We're partners, Bones. It's what partners do." He spoke, the words that he had said so many times over the past five years, but this time it was different. Her eyes darkened slightly, her brow furrowed at his words, and she turned her head from him as she stood up. "Bones?" He said, his voice soft and tired, his hand on the handle of the bench as he thought of standing up.
"No." She whispered, or that was what he heard as he followed her with his eyes as she walked away from him. He felt his heart wrench with each one of her steps, and felt as if she had a chain wrapped around his heart and with every step she took, she pulled harder at that chain, squeezing the life and breath from him. It wasn't until she stopped in the sidewalk and turned toward him, her eyebrows raised in expectation that he began to breathe again.
He stood immediately and took heavy steps toward her, purposeful steps, until he had her hand in his, and pulled her to him. "What do you mean, no?" He managed to gasp. Her only response was to drop her eyes from his and tug his arm as she pulled him down the sidewalk along the reflecting pool with her.
They traveled along the darkened sidewalks of the city, though the sky had a strange hue of light that appeared to be breaking through, a halo of light that could not be blamed on the light pollution of the city, but a dim glow of the sun attempting to make its way into the sky, chasing the moon, the stars, and the darkness of night away yet again.
She refused to speak a word to him, her steps purposeful and grand as she took each step down the sidewalk. The pavement before them was drying under the increasing warmth, and the trees that once dripped with rain water had mostly been shaken dry by the wind. He allowed her to lead him through the city, across streets and boulevards, through small patches of grass, dirt and gravel. He let her pull his arm to speed them along as they made their way to this unknown destination that he was certain she knew of the moment they had started their journey, but couldn't be sure. He trusted her completely, and she had never given him a reason not to.
They crossed the road at a familiar place, the looming Hoover building in front of them as he tugged her arm toward him once they were on the same side of the road. "Bones, where are you taking me?" He whispered as she turned to face him, her eyes reflecting back knowledge of the unknown that she was sincerely taking advantage of now. She simply smiled and tipped her head, as if to tell him that if he couldn't figure it out, she wasn't going to reveal it. She knew that if he thought about it, he'd know, and the moment they entered the courtyard, she heard a sharp intake of breath. "Bones."
They stepped up the stairs toward that infamous spot, the spot where since then, Booth had avoided completely, because the memories had become far too raw for him. "Booth." She whispered, pulling him along with her until they reached the top of the stairs. Once they reached the top, she turned and pulled completely into his arms, feeling his warm, strong arms surrounding her in a tight embrace.
"What are we doing here?" He asked, knowing the answer to his own question, he needed her to say something.
She suddenly took a step back, her eyes looking into his as she reached for, and clasped his hands in hers. "I want to give this a try." She said, the serious tone in her voice was strong and confident. "I don't want to ask permission from anyone, I don't want to worry about the risks. I don't want to be afraid anymore. I don't want you to say that you're doing something for me because that's what partners do, because… yes, there is a high probability that partners will have to save one another's lives. There's a high probability that on more than one occasion, partners have been forced into situations such as ours, but partners don't kiss, and partners don't make love, and partners don't stand beneath the dim lights of the Hoover at night and make overtures at one another, Booth… I want to give this a try." She said, turning away from him with her body, though her eyes remained on his. She stopped several feet from him and turned to face him completely, watching him for a moment.
"Why?" Was his only response, his eyes dancing over her beautiful features as he watched her bare her soul before him. "Why do you want to give this a try, Bones?" He stepped forward, and she did not retreat.
"Because you are the most virtuous man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting." She whispered. "I have come to realize that I am a very lucky woman to have someone like you in my life. You are kind, pure, and honest. You are generous… willing to sacrifice anything and everything to keep me safe." She said as she stepped forward, forcing them to stand just two feet apart, their eyes searching for answers, and their words lighting the way. You are loyal and patient, persistent, and modest… you are everything that a partner should be, both in life and in your work. You're a true hero to me, Booth." She nodded, stepping forward, she felt his hand rest on her waist, a place that it had found itself many times, not just in moments like this.
"There is one thing that I don't have though." He whispered, watching her eyes reflect back a dazed confusion that she wished that he could erase right that moment. "One thing that I have always craved… one virtue that I have tried, so very hard to obtain and never could, and the more I think about it, the more ironic it has become. The more I attempted it, the more I couldn't resist." He whispered as he left his eyes on hers. He could see that in the reflection of her eyes, the light from the sky was becoming brighter and more profound, the dampness of their bodies were no match for the heat that was mounting between them. His hand lifted to her face and she watched his dark eyes become darker, despite the light in the sky. She tilted her head, questioning his words, for she knew that any words would come off desperate and confused. She stared into his eyes and let a slight smile lift onto her lips.
"Temperance?" She whispered, her own name slipping from her lips so casually, that it sounded like the ringing of a bell. Soft and delicate, rolling forward from her lips to his ears, he pulled her just a little closer.
"Temperance." He whispered. "Restraint…"
A breath left her body and traveled across the distance to him. He smiled, and she tipped her head questioningly.
"Restraint, Bones… self control, abstention, moderation between self interest and the needs of others…" He smiled. "I've lost that battle."
"You've lost the battle of self control?"
"Only when it comes to Temperance." He whispered, leaning closely, he pressed his lips to hers, closing his eyes as their lips touched, he let it last for a moment before he looked into her eyes. "I want to give this a try, Bones… because I refuse to resist it any longer."
"I want to give it a try, because I am afraid to love, and you are the only person that I know who could show me how to do it properly." She whispered against him, as her arms encircled his neck, and their eyes locked once again, on the steps of the building where they had said their last goodbye, though instead of the rising moon as their backdrop, they had the rising sun, and all of the warmth and love of the promises it would bring.
The End. I hope you enjoyed! I look forward to your comments!