The Action In The Booth
Written Immediately Following The Boy With The Answer (before the season finale). After Thursday this story will be moot.
A/N: Stephan Nathan & Hart Hanson surprised me with the turn in THE BOY WITH THE ANSWER and I thank them for that. I like being surprised by TV. I look forward to the finale (let's hope I can stay off the spoiler boards until then). I also look forward to Season 6 and with any luck, 7, 8 and 9+ for all the new surprises they give me (well, us). I don't know how the finale of S5 will go, but I desperately want to see what they come up with next. On the other hand, I want Action Booth - here and now. I suspect that I won't get him. Not on my TV; not next week and not for at least 21 out of the 22 eps in S6. Since I want BONES to last as long as the whole cast and crew all are up to it (even though I think the "RST=Show Death" curse is just an excuse to not explore that side of Booth and Brennan), I am down with that. HOWEVER --- I still want Action Booth. So here is a little something for me and some other Bones FanFixFans to chew on as we anxiously await what the immensely talented writers, cast and crew have in store for us next. I do expect S6 to be whole new ground, and I trust it in their hands. I hope they keep doing what they do better than anyone else for as long as they can, and I will keep watching and may, on occasion make up my own stuff to tied me over.
It is with no disrespect to the writers and creators of BONES that I offer this little one shot. BONES is their creation.
The Taffet case was over. Guilty on both counts - at least on the charges she was accused, the rest of her victims would just have to be satisfied with that. Sentencing would be at least three weeks away, but whatever she got wouldn't be enough. Execution would be too simple. A life on death row would be too good for that psycho. Maybe she could be confined in a 6 foot x 2 foot x 3 foot box for the rest of her life ... maybe that would be enough to punish her for the torture she had inflicted on so many, but probably not. There was already talk from the people who had paid the ransom and gotten their loved ones back to bring a civil suit against her. Brennan was disgusted by the notion that people found solace in financial settlements. It made her sick.
Brennan glanced at her steamy reflection in the mirror. She found it hard to look herself in the eye. It was the second shower she had taken that night, the third that day. She couldn't shake the feeling of being dirty, dirty right down to her bones. Would she never be clean again? The system had failed her, or very nearly. She wanted a conviction on Taffet and for more than just that little boy. She wanted her jailed for Booth, for Hodgins, for the brothers who died in the beer vat, for the others who were taken and returned and for herself. The truth was on her side but the games that were played, the slant on the facts nearly let a murderer go free. Booth said it wasn't about facts, it was how the facts were presented. Brennan couldn't understand that. Facts were facts. You don't interpret facts. They are what they are. Facts were truth. Where was truth in the justice system? Would she have had to falsifying evidence or perjure herself to get a conviction? Was her father right to take the matter into his own hands? The fact that truth prevailed - well a partial truth - was just circumstance. Five years ago she believed in facts, in the truth, but the more she saw of the world, the more she realized that the system didn't care about truth, it cared about rules and opinions based on emotions. She had become part of that system and that made her feel dirty.
Five years ago she was so enamored of Booth; his passion, his desire for truth, justice and the American way that she offered her expertise to help him 'catch the bad guys.' She promised to help him to even the score for the number of lives he had taken. They had done that. They had put away as many killers as people he had killed - more than two fold. She had kept her promise, but it was never her mission. Yes, it gave her a different, more immediate and tangible purpose in life than identifying people who had long since died. Yes, her work helped the living and presumable gave the victims some peace (if she believed in that sort of peace, which she didn't). There was a great sense of satisfaction knowing that murderers wouldn't get away with it. It was good work. It was important. Society needed people like that. She was proud of her accomplishments. But she never owned it as her life; as her profession; as who she was. She was a scientist. So what kept her from going back to pure science? Booth, but she wondered how long he would be enough? She felt them drifting apart. He was moving on.
It hadn't all been death and destruction - these past six years - and that was due to Booth, Angela and even a little bit to Sweets. She had experienced the world in ways that she never would have on her own. She thanked her lucky stars that Booth was there to tenderly help her through finding her mother, her brother and her father. She had reconnected with her family again. The friendships she had formed, the camaraderie she felt with her Jeffersonian family was something she had never believed she would find in life. Her partnership with Booth was the most profound relationship she ever had or expected to have in life. She was no longer alone in the world and she was in a vastly different place emotionally, professionally and financially. Without Booth and Angela she never would have become a bestselling author. She had the luxury to do whatever she wanted to do; few people ever got to say that. It afforded her the ability to reevaluate. It was time for reevaluation.
At the moment she was just weary; she couldn't think straight. She was weary of dealing with murder, murderers, victims, sadness and the system. The only thing she knew for sure was that she couldn't do it anymore. Should couldn't be a part of it - not anymore. But she had to go and not just quit - she had to physically leave DC. Maybe it would only be for a little while, maybe not. She had to go away - that much she knew.
The idea of walking away scared her as much as it attracted her. In order to rid herself of all the darkness, sadness, bleakness in her life, in order to open herself up for a new opportunity, she would have to give up everything that that she had just found. Angela and she would always be friends, but Angela was married and if Brennan left the Jeffersonian they would drift apart. Leaving town would distance herself from her father and brother again, but many families lived apart. And then there was Booth. She had to walk away from him too. The thought of not having him in her life was like a knife twisting in her gut, but it was necessary. She couldn't give him what he wanted; if they weren't partners there was nothing left. She could deal with the hole it left in her life - the ache in her soul - she was used to it. Better to make a clean break - better for him.
Her face came into focus again in the steamy mirror. She didn't like what she saw. She reached for the shower knobs again ...maybe one more - extra hot.
There was a knock on the door. It was nearly 2:00AM. The knock came again; it seemed urgent.
Booth was standing outside her door as he had been for the past hour - on and off. He thought about going home, but he thought better of it. He thought about breaking it down, but thought better of it. He had been knocking, but she didn't answer. She wasn't picking up her phone either. He knew she was home. He didn't think she was asleep - not after that day. She wasn't avoiding him, that was not her way. He wasn't worried for her safety, Bones could take care of herself in spite of the number of times he felt the need to rescue her. But she still wasn't answering. He had to see her. He had to talk to her. He had to do something. It couldn't wait until morning.
Her face as she drove away in the cab that night tore out his heart; so much sadness; so much pain behind her eyes. He caused that. By taking her into his world he had taken her into a place that she never belonged. It wasn't his choice, it wasn't even his idea. He knew better. He knew what it was like. He knew how dark, ugly and dirty the underside of humanity was. What made him think that a squint could handle that? Bones was not the typical squint. She was objective, practical and just plain cut off from the normal people of the world. She said she could handle it loudly and clearly. She demanded, nay blackmailed him into taking her on as a partner. But on that one topic she was an idiot. He was the genius and he made the wrong call. For his own selfish reasons he made the wrong call and Bones paid the price.
Bones was not like any woman - any person he had ever known. He never believed that she was so detached. In fact it was her feigned detachment that attracted him. So much about her had captivated him right from the beginning and every day since. It took him a year before she would talk to him again. It took a staged rescue to get her to even acknowledge his existence. She could be frustrating, irritating and downright annoying at times. But she was also passionate, engaged and real. She was so very real. What you saw was what you got with Bones - up to and including her utter denial of feelings - that was real too. She had them just like everyone else, but she only truly felt the pain - never the joy in life. It broke his heart. The loneliness that edged her eyes. He wanted to be the one to take that away. There were glimpses over the years, moments when she looked happy. Moments when he felt that he was truly breaking through that wall, that armor. But he wasn't enough; not for Bones. No one can be responsible for another person's happiness, but he wanted to be. He would take that responsibility and work toward earning it every day for the rest of his life. He offered - sort of - in round about words, but she refused him. Should he respect that? Or should he push her to change her mind - for her own good? Who was the idiot here and who was the genius?
He knocked on the door again.
All he knew was that she was leaving. She hadn't made her mind up a few hours ago, but it would have been a done deal by morning. He had to see her. He had to convince her not to leave - at least not leave him. What could he say? What could he do?
He knocked again more urgently.
Her hair was wet and combed back. Her skin was red and warm. Her bathrobe clung to her still damp body. In her eyes he could see her pulling away from him - slipping away. She was asking him something. He wasn't listening. His head was full of things to say, to not say, arguments for and against, but no words came out. Words got in the way. It was time for action. In one swift motion he reached for her, pulled her mouth to his. Lips and tongues collided, arms and bodies entangled. She came to him completely and without reservation. He pushed the door closed behind him, swept her up and carried her to the bedroom. They made love. He was not surprised that she was just as captivating, engaged and real as she was in all other parts of her life. She was not surprised at his tenderness, generosity and passion. They were in total sync physically.
She curled into his embrace and rested her head on his shoulder. It was safe - the little haven they had made in the wee hours of the morning. But dawn would come and decisions would be made. He had to make sure he was part of that.
"I know what you are thinking," he whispered pulling her closer and kissing the top of her head.
"I doubt that very much."
"You want to quit." She didn't respond. "This one was too close. You want to walk away. To go back to your first love."
"I do. That is not my world, Booth. It's yours."
"I know. I'm sorry I got you into it."
"It's not your fault."
"I know that too, but I can still be sorry."
"Will you be alright?"
He leaned back trying to find the right words. "I can't let you go."
"Booth, I can't stay. I can't do it anymore. It takes too much out of me. I don't have that much to give."
"You are stronger than you know and you have more to give than anyone I have ever met."
"I'm sorry. But I just can't ... can't do it anymore."
"You should take some time to think about it."
"I need more than a vacation, Booth. It's your world, not mine."
"It doesn't have to be," he announced. "Look, I had a idea ... a goal when you and I met. To put away as many murderers as lives I had taken. Well that debt is paid with interest. I don't want to stand before God when my time comes with a scorecard. I don't think God would want me to either. The best thing I have ever done in my life was to be a part of Parker's creation. But I can't take credit for him."
"You're a good father."
"On the weekends for a few hours. I have a lot more to give ... to him and ...." He turned her face up toward his so he could look at her. "And to the woman I love."
"I love you ... I don't care if you don't want to hear it." She started to pull away but he held her close. "And you know what, I know you love me too ... even if you don't want to say it. I can't let you go, Temperance. We are partners."
"Booth." She got up and pulled on her robe.
"I am not asking you to stay, Bones." He sat up. "I am not even asking for you to reconsider. But I can't let you go without me. I am asking you to let me go with you ... let us find a different path ... together."
"You would quit the FBI?"
"In a heartbeat." He got up and slipped into his boxers. "In fact, if you leave there is no reason for me to stay at all. I will quit anyway."
"I don't think ... I mean ... "
"Temperance, think about it. There is nothing we can't do together."
"I expected to be alone."
"But you don't have to be."
"And I thought you wanted to ... move on."
He chuckled at that notion. "Nowhere for me to move on to without you."
"I think you are being overly dramatic."
"Tell me you weren't here just now." He pointed to the bed. "Tell me that you don't think that we have something more? That we can't have something great ... something they write about in books, poety ... the movies."
"Yes, the sex was very enjoyable."
"Enjoyable?" He exclaimed. "It wasn't sex, Bones ... It was making love and it was fantastic ... better than. You can try to rationalize it all you want. You can dissect it, analyze it, cut it up and put it through some fancy piece of machinery at the lab - but in the end I know. You know. We connected. That was love, Bones and it doesn't get any better than that. If I have to prove it to you every day for the rest of our lives together that that connection is real? That the love is real? Then so be it."
"Booth," she hedged.
He closed the distance between them and kissed her. She pulled away quickly about to protest but the look in his eyes, the love she saw there, the desperation and desire changed her mind. "Accept it Bones. Let me love you. Let yourself love me. What we do, how we make a living, how we spend our days and nights is just filler ... the flesh over the bones ... the plot ... the story ... the real story is us."
"Us," she repeated. "The story is us." For the first time in her life she believed that she could be part of an 'us.' Her resolve was weakening. "What will we do?"
He saw her changing her mind and drew her into an embrace. "Who knows?" He kissed her sweetly. "Maybe we can open a night club."
Her smile broadened. "A night club ... hmm ... Maybe."
They both laughed. "Maybe not," they said in unison.
"You're right," she said. "It doesn't matter what we do or where we do it ... the story is us."
"See ... pretty smart." He grinned.
"You like being right." She bantered back at him.
"It happens so rarely."
"No, you get it right ... a lot of the time."
"Yeah, well not like you."
"Well, I'm smarter than you are."
"Nice, Bones ... nice. Modest."
"Just stating a fact ..."
"Right ... just the facts."
"That's me ... truth and facts."
"But you were right about something else."
"I love you."
"Do you always have to have the last word?"
She nodded. "Yes."
"Fine, you win."
There was no hope to get the last word in, so Booth did the one thing he knew would get her to stop talking. He kissed her. No better last word than that.