A/N: This story hit me after a post on the message board I'm a member of so I can't claim totally originality for it, but I did ask if I could use it. This has the potential to be my longest Bones story yet. It's post finale so spoilers up to there.
Thanks to Melissa for reading through it. Reassuring me that I wasn't crazy to try this storyline out. I'm excited to have this play out. (And see how close it ends up to my original outline.) I hope you enjoy.
Disclaimer: I have no claim over Bones, it's original characters, or the football teams mentioned. (Though, maybe one day.)
Under the Indonesian sun Dr. Temperance Brennan was up to her knees in dirt, artifacts, and bones from centuries before. The impact the dig has already had on the anthropological world is gaining attention and she knew she was at the forefront of it. She just wished she felt more fulfillment from the history changing work she was doing. Instead though, she was just missing him.
She gently fingered the pendant around her neck and allowed herself a few moments to see his face in her mind. It had been over six months since she had to watch him walk away from her before she boarded the plane to here. She can remember the feel of his hand in hers and she keeps herself from letting a tear escape down her face.
It had been a struggle the first several weeks in Indonesia for her to allow her feelings to make sense in her mind. And even then, her brain and her heart were in conflict. Brennan knew it hadn't helped to watch Daisy deal with her breakup with Sweets. The young scientist had begun to fully understand the effects of her decision approximately four hours into the plane ride. Brennan hadn't been sure her tears would ever stop.
They had, of course, and Daisy forced herself to focus on nothing but the work around them. Brennan, on the other hand, had allowed herself to wonder what it would be like to open her heart up to someone completely. To be like Angela and allow herself to realize the feelings that had begun to bubble up inside of her. She knew that her feelings for Booth had surpassed the normal for someone who she claimed to be just her partner, just a friend. But, just like that night in front of the Hoover building, she was scared.
She fingered the pendant around her neck again and this time the motion was noticed by a colleague working next to her.
"Thinking about him again?"
"He seems to be on my mind frequently," she answered honestly, "and I'm not completely sure what that means for me."
"You know that isn't true, Bren," Kendall Bison argued. "You love him. You should tell him that."
Brennan sighed again. Kendall was a very gifted anthropologist out of Sydney, Australia and Brennan had connected her with instantly the first day in the camp. They had worked closely over the months, their friendship growing until Brennan had finally felt secure enough to share her story with the fellow scientist.
"I can't give him what he wants Kendall," Brennan argued. "He wants promises of forever and marriage and a family. I can't guarantee him that."
"We've been over this before Kendall."
"And I'm still certain that I don't understand your reasoning."
"I don't do well with change."
Kendall laughed, her smile showing white under the large straw hat, and shook her head. "That may be true, Bren, but that doesn't mean you can't have what you want."
"What I want?"
"Can you really say you don't want to try a relationship with your sexy FBI partner."
"There are too many variables in the equation and I can't quantify the result."
"Love, Brennan, true love isn't supposed to be quantified. It can't be explained. It wasn't ever supposed to be."
"I don't understand your logic Kendall. You are a scientist. How can you so easily believe in something that can not be explained?"
"There are some things Bren that you just have to take a leap of faith on. Love is one of them."
Brennan watched her friend as she continued to work on her area of dirt and then turned to continue her own work.
"This is the last thing I'll say on the matter today Bren," Kendall started again after several moments of silence. "Because you need to think about it this way. You don't want to loose him as a friend or partner. You see yourself working with him for years to come. I know you do. There is nothing different about loving him. Committing yourself to him would be like your partnership. You'll still have to work together everyday. Love, love is a choice. It's a decision for you to make. Falling in love, that initial attraction to someone that is the hormones and pheromones taking root. Choosing to love someone, that goes beyond the feelings and the lust. You know you'd do anything for him. You desire his safety and you are concerned about him. I know because I can see it in your face every time a letter from him arrives or he's able to video call you. You have to make the choice on whether or not you're going to allow yourself to stop being miserable and denying yourself what you both want. Just give him a chance, it a chance. You'll never know how you'll feel in fifty years unless you try. Just take it day by day."
"Just think about what I've said. Mike will be expecting my call, I should go."
"Tell Mike I say hello," Brennan told her with a smile, still pondering the words Kendall had said. "You are lucky with a husband so understanding."
"I'm not the only one with a thoughtful man in my life." Kendall teased and Brennan laughed a little bit. She had to admit that Kendall was correct. Booth was very thoughtful. Very understanding. She wondered if she would ever have the courage to find out just how much.
The evening air was sticky, the warmth finally returning to the desert. He'd forgotten how cold it could be at night here and was almost thankful for the warm air that blew the sand around. The noise coming from the mess hall told him that a football game was being shown and he was glad for some sense of normalcy that technological offered this time around.
"Didn't think you'd want to miss the Eagles game Sarg," a voice said from behind him and Booth turned around. "Though, they're getting spanked by the Colts."
"Damn Manning," Booth said with a small chuckle. "Wish he'd retire already. Might give someone else a chance to rule."
"Ain't going to happen anytime soon boss," Staff Sergeant James Mitchell answered, "and I'm not saying that just 'cause I'm a fan."
"Sure you aren't Mitch," Booth answered, "think they'll make another run to the Superbowl this year?"
Mitch shrugged, "it's definitely doable. Only team left with a perfect record this season, again. How many years in a row is that?"
"Too damn many, that's for sure. I'm headed in to catch the rest of the game. Just finished my weekly call to Parker and I'm ready to relax for a while. You coming?"
"Wouldn't miss the end of this game," Mitch answered.
Booth walked with the young sergeant to the mess hall and couldn't help but feeling old. He'd befriended Mitch not long after getting to base, the sergeant reminding him of Wendell and home. Mitch was from a small town in Indiana, still in his twenties, with a wife at home and he looked to Booth for guidance and friendship. They talked sports and women, and Mitch was the only one on base that knew of the Sergeant Major's tenuous relationship.
Booth reached up and absentmindedly touched the chain and charm that rested against his heart under his fatigues.
"Heard from her recently?" Mitch asked and Booth shook his head.
"Not since her letter last week," Booth answered. "They're busy and it's understandable."
Mitch ran a hand over his blonde head, "why don't you just call her?"
"I don't know," Booth answered honestly. "We've talked a couple times on the video phone, but it's easier not to see her face. I can barely deal with the letters."
"How are you doing with everything here?"
"Are we really going to be all girly Mitch?" Booth growled, wishing this conversation had never started. "I'm not talking about this right now. Let's just go watch Manning and your Colts beat up on my Eagles."
"Okay," Mitch answered, knowing that pressing the matter would only have Booth's walls go up more. "But only if you promise not to cry over another Eagles loss."
"Stop gloating Mitch."
Bunking down later that night, Booth pulled out a small box from under his bed and ran his fingers over the paper inside of it. There were sixteen envelopes, all from the same person, that he kept in that box. It seemed pathetic to him, but he wouldn't have it any other way. There was something romantic about letters that he'd wanted to try so he'd bugged Angela into the address where she was staying and started their correspondence. Since the letter writing had started he'd spoken to her only once on the video conference and that had been to wish her a happy birthday.
He was sure that he had memorized the contents of all the letters by now. But it was relaxing to read her words and picture the islands she was describing. They had kept the letters light, with descriptions of their work and surroundings. She told him about the people she had met, including a friend that had been mentioned several times and he told her about the soldiers he was training and the friends he'd made, including Mitch. Only once had she mentioned that she missed home and he didn't push the subject. He kept her updated on Parker and she mentioned Daisy's gloom over the breakup with Sweets. They talked about their friends and pondered how the interns where doing.
It felt good. It felt right.
There were more times than he could count that he'd had to destroy a draft of letter because he'd let too much slip. He'd started to say too much. He'd written the three words that were sure to push her further away.
Booth hated that he had to be that guarded around her. But until he could be certain that they could have a chance he didn't have any other option.
He just continued to hope that one day he would.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the first chapter, the foundation to the rest of the story. Kendall is probably my favorite original character I've ever written and meant to a mix of Angela and Cam and Brennan. Please leave me a review and let me know what you think. I'd like to know!