First of all, it's been a long time since I've updated anything but my Facebook, much less written any fanfiction. Second, maybe I'm in the minority, but I thought the season five finale was perfectly delicious. A kiss? No way. Every time those two have kissed, it's either been a circus-freak sideshow or a complete disaster. Instead we're offered this wonderful year for both of our protagonists to discover themselves before they discover each other. What is it that they both really want?

And maybe I'm in the minority here, too, but I don't think what either of them really wants is to jump each others bones when they see each other in 365 days. What they're doing – both professionally and personally – is serious business. A year is serious business. It should be enough time for them to figure each other and themselves out.

Maybe.

Thirdly, this story is told in first person, from Brennan's point of view. This is a stretch for me. I don't think I've ever written a fanfic in first person, and I rarely write from a woman's point of view. My stories are nearly always told from a male's perspective or at the least my writing tends to have testosterone overtones.

To me, Brennan is a fascinating character. She's a rational, logical scientist. That's a true fact and can't be disputed. But I also think that's a mask she chooses to hide behind, and not just to avoid emotional hurt. Her catch phrase, "I don't know what that means"? I think she understands exactly what's going on at least 40 percent of the time she offers up that excuse. She just wants to hear your explanation. Brennan is also a New York Times best-selling author. You can't forget that fact. So while she may have trouble verbalizing her emotions, I'm sure she has little trouble thinking or feeling them. I thought to tell this story from her first person perspective…what thoughts are rattling around in her head…would be interesting. What goes on in her head may be very different than what comes out of her mouth. And that little trip around the sun that she's putting between herself and Booth may be the perfect opportunity for her to learn to open her mouth and let what's really going on between her ears trip over her tongue in plain English.

The usual disclaimers apply. I don't own Bones. Even if I did, I don't think I would have changed the season finale. However, if one or both of these star-crossed lovers come back with new significant others in season six, I'm staging a takeover outside Hart's office. Care to join?

Cherry Blossoms

May 2011

Chapter One

Most people would call this a perfect spring day in Washington, DC. It's warm and there's that slight rise of humidity in the air that warns summer and her storms are on the way. It's hot enough to be hazy, but not uncomfortable yet. The cherry blossoms are long gone. In a way, that makes me sad. I hate the tourist traffic that always surrounds the National Mall, but every spring, I can't help but find myself admiring the pink blooms along with everyone else in DC. This is the second year I've missed those damn flowers. Last year I was too wrapped up in the Gravedigger trial to even notice them. I slowly circle the Mall, weaving in and out of the tourists and locals that are lining up for coffee at the coffee cart. There's an empty bench off to the side and I sit.

I sit and I wait. It's been a year. A year since he flew off to Afghanistan to train snipers and I flew off to the Maluku Islands. He left to go train soldiers to be better snipers. Teach them how to survive. Increase their odds of staying alive in combat.

I left to get away from it all. I told everyone it was the dig that was pulling me away from the Jeffersonian and them. These discoveries were too important, too valuable for me to sit on the sidelines and watch as another anthropologist directed the site. And yes, the dig was important. No doubt about it. But that wasn't the real reason I left. I'd already made my name in the field of anthropology. If I never set foot in another site, my fame in the field was already secure. The real reason I left was to get away.

Away from the murders and cases. Away from the trials and the precarious Lady Justice who isn't always blind or just. And I found that the Maluku dig offered all that and more. There was sporadic internet service. Cell phone signal was even more sporadic. I was literally at the end of the earth and away from it all. Away from everything except him – Booth. And the memories that I carried in my mind and my metaphorical heart for the man. Memories too big to get away from and far too large to compartmentalize.

So now I sit and wait and watch for the man, who for the past twelve months was thousands of miles away from me, yet I could feel him with every breath I took. Saw him around every corner. Felt him every time a co-worker accidentally brushed up against me. I arrived back in DC early this morning or late last night. My mind really wasn't sure and neither was my body. They were both still on Maluku time. My eyes, however, are on full alert, scanning the crowds for a tall, brown-haired, broad-shouldered solder. He'd be tired, I mused. Tired from all the army training and then the flights home. I was sure he'd have to go through some kind of debriefing. I didn't know exactly. We had no regular contact during the past 365 days, given my phone and internet situation, and the fact that sometimes what he was doing was highly classified and he couldn't contact me.

I'm just about to get my own coffee and sit back down again when I spot him, coming up the sidewalk to the coffee cart. Still tall. Still breathtakingly handsome. Still broad shouldered, but looking weary and a little older than he was a year ago. He sees me and to my delight, that crooked grin stretches across his face and I find my own expression matching his. "Bones!" he calls.

There are some moments in life that you know are in slow motion. The whole world spins at a lower speed and it seems like it takes forever for something to happen. This was one of those moments. It took Booth years to make it to my spot beside the coffee cart.

"You remembered," he says.

"As if I'd forget," I tell him, not knowing really whether to smile or laugh or maybe even cry.

"Ah, Bones."

And then he does it. He does what I had been longing for since I set foot on that muddy dig. He hugs me. Not a guy hug, but a tight-I-missed-you-like-hell hug and we stay that way until the people around us start staring.

"Bones, you are a sight for sore eyes," he finally pulls back and tells me. "You…you cut your hair…" He stops then and looks at me long and hard. "But you know, I like it. You look nice with bangs."

"And you," I begin and then sigh. "You…you look tired, Booth."

He shrugs and looks away for a split second. "I'm okay. Just glad to be home." His eyes catch mine again. "Look, Bones…there are some things we need to talk about…"

I nod. We had both promised each other we would talk again when we both returned to the states. So much had been left unsaid when we both left. Too much left unsaid and too many emotions tapped down. "I know," I tell him. But I can tell he's distracted, looking over my left shoulder at something. "What is it?" I ask, half turning to see what he's looking at. And then I realize what "thing" we needed to talk about.

She was petite. Shorter than me. Maybe about five foot two. Auburn hair. Big green eyes. A light dusting of faint freckles across her nose. No doubt a byproduct of the harsh Afghan sun. And young. Younger than me and dressed in army camo.

There are other moments in time when you think your heart stops beating. It doesn't, of course. Not really. You know the muscle is still working because you're still standing and your braining is working a million miles a minute. But I felt like mine had stopped because I was having trouble getting my next breath and my chest hurt

"Seeley," the red-head calls out to him and Booth reaches out to catch her hand before giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. Then he turns to back to me.

"Bones… I'd like for you to meet Jill."


I attack the carpet with the vacuum cleaner with a little more force than necessary. After a week of living out of my suitcases at Cam's and Michelle's, it feels good…settling even…that I'm back in my own space. I had sublet my apartment before flying out to Maluku and my renters hadn't vacated until the day after I got back to DC. Between hauling my stuff out of storage and getting re-established at the Jeffersonian, I had ended up staying at Cam's for a week. But now I was home.

Sort of.

I was back in DC, but nothing felt the same and I realize just how naive I was to think that a year consisted of only 365 sunrises and sunsets. I didn't take into account just how many emotions could go through the minutes and seconds of each day and how these feelings twisted and turned even the best intentions into something you didn't recognize. And a twenty-four hour time span leaves lots of opportunities for new variables to mix into your experiment and turn your hypothesis upside down. Nothing would change in a year – nothing major, anyway. That had been my hypothesis.

And I had been soundly proven wrong.

I slide the couch over and vacuum under it. I probably need to just hire a carpet cleaner.

Wendell was gone from the Jeffersonian. A position had opened up in England and he took advantage of the opportunity. No one could blame him. I would have done the same thing. Clark was now our only intern and had been working well with the FBI. Once he completed his dissertation, Cam was prepared – if I agreed – to offer him a job with us. After looking over the work he had done while I was gone, I could do nothing but concur. Clark was good. He was better than good, really. He wasn't Zack, but he was more than competent.

Daisy Wick's true love turned out to be ancient remains. Not that this was any surprise to me. But I don't think even she realized just how passionate she was about them until she was elbow deep in Maluku soil and mud. Miss Wick had returned with me to complete her dissertation, but I knew at the end, she'd be right back up to her armpits in ruins and remains. The question still was, where did Sweets fit into this picture? I shook my head as I slid the couch back into its rightful position and fluffed the pillows with determination. I knew they had talked while she was gone, but I had no idea of what had been said. Not really. Daisy had quit moping about Sweets as soon as our plane landed on the island and she was able to get her hands on the skeletons. After that, I really didn't hear a lot out of her about her former fiance. So either Daisy was more private than she appeared to be, or it was well and truly over between her and my former FBI psychologist.

I'd bet my next meal it was over.

Vacuuming now complete, I wind up the cord and hose and push the thing back down the hall to the linen closet. I had promised myself that I would have my apartment back to looking like mine again by seven o'clock tonight and I had done well. It was 6:45. I had time to take a quick shower before…

Before what?

Before Thai delivery and beer and talk over old cases? I shook my head again, this time at my own foolishness. There would be no Thai food unless I ordered it. I could drink the whole six pack setting in my refrigerator and no one would be there to complain. I could flip through my own files and determine what questions I had about old cases we left hanging before I flew off.

I could do all this by myself and order all vegetarian food because there would be no Booth dropping by tonight. Tonight and probably any night in the future. I sigh and tuck back a strand of my almost-too-short hair that has escaped my pony tail.

I had met Jill. After that meeting on the mall – where I never got my coffee, by the way – Booth insisted we go to the diner. Still numb and reeling from the revelation, I obediently followed him and Jill inside the restaurant and over to our old booth. From there, I honestly remember very little. I must have asked questions, because Jill had fed me the information that still ran through my mind in an endless loop. She and Booth had met eight months into his one-year tour. She was rotating through as a nurse. She was from Indiana. She had a mom and a dad and three brothers. A dog and a fenced in backyard. She graduated third in her class at Old Miss and joined the army three years ago because "she wanted something different in her life." She was in DC, because like Booth, she was rotating out of the army and would be placed on reserves. She was hoping to land a job at Walter Reed.

In short, she was nothing like me with my dysfunctional family and ruminating issues. She was chic and socially aware and completely adored my former partner. I wasn't complete sure that adoration was returned, but by the light in those chocolate eyes, I could see Booth had sincere affection for Nurse Jill. I reminded myself, somewhat bitterly, that the light in his eyes used to be reserved only for Parker and me. But I somehow swallowed that sourness down my suddenly-clogged throat and managed what I could only hope was a believable smile. ""I'm happy for the both of you," I manage to get out without choking.

Or pulling her auburn hair out by the roots.

I slam the door to the linen closet and stride back down the hall, heading towards the kitchen. Opening the refrigerator, I pull the first bottle of beer out. The hell with Thai tonight.