Disclaimer: I neither own them, nor profit from them
Author's Note: Yes, this is yet another 100th episode fanfic. I'm sure you're tired of them, but I loved the episode, and I'm hoping that writing this little one-shot will clear my head and allow me to focus on the much longer story I have in the works. I also wanted to experiment with writing in second person. If you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy!
The 'What If?' in the Kiss.
You know, the minute his lips touched yours for the first time in too many years. You know how this could end. It isn't how you might have thought this kiss would be, considering the build-up. It isn't tentative, but it isn't passionate either. It isn't strong, forceful or demanding. It isn't desperate or frenzied. No, if anything, it is determined. Determined, and...pleading. Yes, pleading, that feels right. You have never been good at deciphering the emotions behind an act (that's his job), but you are pretty confident that you've gotten this one correct. For a moment (a fraction of a moment, the kiss itself lasts only a moment), you picture him grinning at you like he does whenever you've caught on to something that typically belongs in his realm. Gold star, Bones.
This is no time, though, to dwell on your minor accomplishment. A plea demands an answer, and you allow yourself to imagine what would happen if you gave him the answer he wanted (the one you so desperately want to give). You could do it... everything in you is screaming for you to just give in, to part your lips and melt into him, to fall. The evening would end with him inside you, both physically and metaphorically. You would enjoy some humorous 'figuring it all out' moments and some awkward explanatory ones. You would roll your eyes as Angela squealed and feign irritation as Sweets gloated. You would convince the FBI that your relationship would not negatively affect your partnership, and you would keep your word. You would argue, because some things stay the same, but you would always go to bed together at night. You would trust him. You would trust yourself. You would be happy. You would be loved for 30, 40, 50 years. You can picture it, you know. The feeling of euphoria is dazzling.
But (And isn't there always a 'but'? Isn't life always decided in the conjunctions?) all of the dazzling and all of the euphoria in the world cannot turn you into someone you aren't. No, you're still you, and you know that there are always multiple possible endings to any beginning. You could hurt him. WIthout ever meaning to, and without ever realizing it, simply by being you (with your closed heart and your single-mindedness), you could do irreparable harm. You could drive him out of your life completely, and how would you be able to live with yourself?
Or (See? Conjunctions.) he could be the one to change his mind. He insists he won't, that he knows, but he can't know. Not really. He could decide that 30, 40, 50 years is too much. He could do irreparable harm. He could leave, and where would that leave you?
There are multiple scenarios, the variables are incalculable. There is no way to know for sure. He, of course, doesn't see it that way. He thinks that things will either be good or bad. To him, the odds are 50/50, and those are odds he's willing to take. He's the gambler, and he's decided it's time to go all in. So here he is, giving you a kiss that's really a plea, urging you to make him a winner.
He's forgotten, for a moment, that you're not a gambler, that you never could be. He's forgotten who you are, what life has made you. You have to remind him. You have to let him know that you could never go all in. You refuse to win big for fear of losing big. Better to hedge your bets. Better to settle for part than to risk everything for the whole. People like him need people like you, people who can temper them, protect them. Remind them that happiness may be better than contentment, but contentment is better than pain.
So, you pull away without ever parting your lips. You call off all bets. You ask if you can still work together. It's a question that's really a plea, and he gives you the answer you want, though you know it costs him to do so. He says he'll have to move on, search elsewhere for those 30, 40, 50 years. You say you know, but you doubt you do.
Somewhere, in the back of your brilliant mind, you realize what you've done. You're the one who taught him about entropy, after all. He was the one who promised (wrongly) that things would never change. You want to stay who you are right now. Well, who you were before you walked into Sweets' office. You want to have him, your best friend. You want to be sure of your place. You want everything you had this morning. You weren't the one to make the bet, so how could you be the one to lose? Of course, you have. There has been a shift, and something has been lost. There will be moving on, and you have a sinking feeling that in the process you will lose even the part you refused to sacrifice for a chance at the whole. It seems so unjust that one could lose without even gambling. So unjust, that you decide it can't be true. You wrap your arm tightly through his, placing your head on his shoulder. You anchor yourself to him, hanging for dear life to the part that is yours. Somewhere, in the back of your brilliant mind, you hope this won't be your last chance to gamble.