The Art of Letting Go
Spoilers: Post Season 5 (yes, a reunion fic) but no spoilers
Pairings: Booth/Brennan in a very angsty way.
Rating: E for Everyone who can tolerate the bittersweetness that is B/B.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of them. I've learned to accept it.
Summary: It has never been up to her to hold them together. Until now…
A/N- I think this is what heart-broken looks like, but I'm not sure. It makes me write different—less lyrical, more…broken. Yup, definitely broken. Jagged little pieces that don't quite fit, no matter how hard I try to make them. How much do I love HH? A lot. A whole lot.
In retrospect, she realizes, it shouldn't really come as a surprise.
When she thinks back
To that moment in the airport.
The possibility presents itself quite clearly.
She can't help but pause—turn around, seek out his eyes.
And for an agonizing heartbeat, she can't breathe.
Because she knows.
Somewhere deep inside.
What this is.
He is letting go.
In one frightening instant,
As she watches him turn and walk away,
She wants to scream—to howl.
It claws at her throat, burns at her eyes, squeezes around her heart.
But she doesn't.
Because she had told him the truth.
She had told him no.
And he had listened and believed.
But what she didn't say
What he didn't know
Was that she was going to try…
Try to process it.
Try to make it make sense.
Try to risk it and just let go.
It would be okay.
Because she was going to come back ready.
She was going to come back with perspective and an answer.
The only problem was
The thing she didn't know
Was that he wasn't going to be asking the question again.
So when she did return.
To meet at the reflecting pool.
Beside the mall.
At the coffee cart.
It went something
She was exhausted; she was jet lagged, but she was there.
And he wasn't.
So she waited.
And for a fleeting moment she remembered what it felt like to have him let go of her hand—
and so she started counting the seconds, minutes, hours.
This was Booth.
He would come.
He always comes.
And finally, he did.
Her first thought was that he looked the same.
Physically, he was different—leaner, tighter, tougher, but he still radiated "Booth."
And so she thought he was the same.
Until he got closer, and she saw his eyes.
There would be painful quiet moments in the days to come where she would wonder if it had all been worth it.
She had soul searched, human searched, science searched—for truth, discovery, objectivity.
But looking at Booth, seeing his eyes, made it all seem rather questionable.
Especially in the days that would follow.
She will wonder briefly, in the not so distant future, if she would change it (if she could)—the decision to go, to let him go. But she can't change it, so she brushes off the contemplation.
When he gets close enough to touch, he simply stops. A tired quirk of the lips is all she is going to get.
"Hiya Bones." An edge to his voice she doesn't recognize.
He's doing it again. The forced thing. Pain—bracketing his eyes and furrowing his brow in a desperate attempt at a smile.
She can't help the tears that well up. Without thought or restraint, she wraps him in her arms; she doesn't consider anything else. Not changes, or time, or distance. Not the space between, or behind, or in front. It is simply him, and her, and them.
And she holds them together.
For they must hold.
They are the center.
It is when he pulls back and flicks her new short strands that she sees a glimpse of the man from before, and a little breath escapes—he is not all gone.
But the moment passes and he once again seems burdened by something even she can't touch, so she tugs on his arm and sits on the bench.
"I missed you." It is truth, and it is simple. And it is something she realized 3 days into her dig.
"Yeah? Well I missed you too Bones."
He is sincere in his tone, but…aloof…distant…she struggles with the exact inflection. She has never seen this side of Booth. She is starting to feel lost.
"I made some monumental discoveries."
Personally and professionally, but she doesn't tell him that. She is stopped by the raw look he is giving her. And she almost feels…guilty.
"I thought about you often." She struggles. For once, he is not helping. She is not used to this Booth—doesn't know how to handle him.
He has yet to touch her, and it is almost causing her physical pain.
She has become bold in her year away, so she reaches for his hand. It is only once she has settled the entwined extremities on her thigh that she realizes he is barely holding on.
This is how it will be.
She is holding on, while he is letting go.
She tightens her grasp and realizes…
She can do this for him.
She can be the one to hold them together.
She can be the one who knows.
They are the center.
And the center must hold.
He has taught her that.
And so she will find a way to help him let go.
And give him something else to hold onto.
She will start with her hand.
And end with her heart.