The Best Laid Plans of Agents and Anthropologists
TimeLine: Picks up two weeks after the Season 5 ended.
A/N: More Season Six Desensitizing w/ slightly less angst (slightly). If you have not read my 'A Bride For Booth' you will not necessarily understand the desensitizing comment (and no you do not have to read that in order to read this - totally different takes on a situation). This is to ensure that if we don't get a slow run toward each other at the reflecting pool with the music coming up and a camera circling them as they kiss, declare undying love with promises to never part and a walk off into the sunset (and in all honesty who would want that?) – this little ditty will serve as something that started out looking bad for Booth and Brennan but was able to be turned around (I hope). This one is not done yet, trolling for interest.
With respect to the creators, writers, cast and crew of BONES, this is for the FanFix Fans who need more than 22-23 shows a season in a place where Booth and Brennan can be explored in countless directions. Please take this as flattery and keep writing and producing the show. You know we will all keep watching (and reading).
Comments are encouraged.
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain.
For promis'd joy.
Still, though art blest, compar'd wi' me!
The present only toucheth thee:
But Och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects drear!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!
from "To A Mouse, On Turning Up Her Nest With The Plough"
by Robert Burns
Brennan entered her apartment two weeks after she had left. She was completely defeated. Maluku was a bust; a total hoax. It took her less than five minutes to recognize that the remains they had found were not from one being rather two skeletons patched together. Any first year grad student should have been able to come to the same conclusion. However there was politics and money driving the "find" - it had nothing to do with science. It took her ten days to force the sponsors to accept her findings before they allowed her out of her contract after forcing her to sign a waiver that prevented her from speaking or reporting her findings to anyone ever. Brennan had turned her life upside down, broke with her partner, friends and family to take that opportunity, to pursue pure science, to follow her first love - all for nothing, less than nothing. Science, research, pursuit of truth had turned their backs on her too. It was all about money, perception and the system as defined by amoral people. How was that any different than the U.S. justice system?
There was nothing left. Her life was in ruins. She couldn't go back to the Jeffersonian even if Booth hadn't gone back into the Army and Angela and Hodgins weren't in Paris. She couldn't go back to face the death, murder and mayhem; to look for truth and to know that it had little to do with justice - not any more. She couldn't go back to identifying the remains that were stored in limbo; there was no justice to be found for them either. Her publisher was pressuring her for a new book, but she had refused the last advance owning to the fact that she didn't expect to have time to write when on the expedition. Now she had all the time in the world but couldn't bring herself to sensationalize the taking of someone's life for entertainment purposes - even if that person was a fictional character. Her father was with Russ and his family for a year. Nothing was working. Her life was failing. It was time to adapt. It was time to change. She had no other option.
Very early in the morning, Brennan walked up the beach eventually finding her destination – a shack next to a large barn like structure. The doors were open on the barn and she saw him working diligently on something but she wasn't quite sure what. Other than the darker tan and sun bleached hair she would have recognized him immediately even from behind and at that distance. She paused one last time to consider the wisdom of her action. A woman emerged from the shack, she joined him and they shared a very familiar kiss. Brennan could not look away. She remembered his kiss, his taste, his touch as if he had left only the day before rather than three years ago.
"Sully," she whispered barely loudly to hear.
He was right – that life: the murders, the death and the destruction had finally taken its toll. Had it been a mistake not to go with him? Was it a bigger mistake to seek him out after so much time? Would he remember her? Would there be a place for her in his life even temporarily? Clearly he wasn't alone, but would he resent her choice then and now?
The woman kissed him one more time and proceeded down the beach toward where Brennan was standing. She was lovely – full of life, bright, happy – so unlike Brennan. "Hello," the woman called to her with some accent that Brennan couldn't place. "You looking for Sully?"
"Yes," Brennan said.
"He is right up there," she gestured casually to the barn.
For some reason Brennan felt the need to explain herself. "I am Temperance Brennan."
The woman stopped a few feet from her and smiled warmly. "So, you are Temperance." She examined Brennan quickly. "You are very beautiful … more beautiful than your picture."
"You know me?" Brennan asked.
"I know of you," she nodded toward the water. Brennan turned to see Sully's boat moored about 60' off the beach. "I had to know where the name came from," she explained. "Since it clearly wasn't a way of life for Sully." The woman flashed a knowing smile. "And I have seen your picture on the back of your books. I wondered if someday you would come looking for him."
"I was on vacation," Brennan started to explain. "I would have called -."
"Sully doesn't have a phone," she stated. "He will be very glad to see you. I am Lilliana. We are just friends – good friends – but just friends. I must go." She smiled again and left.
Brennan appreciated her stating the nature of their relationship. It made it easier for Brennan to approach him. If he has been involved, committed or married (all of which were possible) the trip would have been for naught and would have been more than a little uncomfortable. Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly Brennan continued up the sand to the edge of the barn area.
She saw what he was working on. It was a chair, probably the finest workmanship she had seen. There were three more like it in various states of finishing. He was hand-sanding each rung of the ladder back. Booth had told her he was a master carpenter, but it had never come up during their time together.
She watched him for a moment, marveling at his concentration, at the dedication and commitment he clearly put into the workmanship. It was how Sully had done everything. When she first knew him she thought he was indifferent and undisciplined. She came to discover that he had many interests and gave each one one-hundered percent attention when it was right in front of him, but easily moved from interest to interest. She particularly appreciated his focus when it was on her. He was leaner than he had been, but tighter, toner and stronger. The time away had been very good for him – physically.
"Sully?" she called to him tentatively not wanting to disturb his concentration, but needing to get his attention.
He looked up. Slow recognition spread across his face. He of course knew who she was immediately. The recognition was for her purpose for coming. She could be there for any number of reasons, but she was there so that had to say something. He stood, wiped his hands on his shorts and crossed over to her. He put his hands on either side of her face and studied the changes he saw. She looked tired, defeated and lost. "Temperance," he whispered. He pulled her to him for a full body embrace. "Are you OK?" he whispered in her ear.
"Better, now." She hugged him back hard. All her fear and trepidation at seeing him again vanished. She was glad she came. She felt tears welling up in her eyes and she fought them back.
"It's OK, Temperance." He held on tighter rubbing her back. "It's OK."
"I have missed you," she said with her voice cracking.
"Me too." He pulled back to look at her face again. He didn't hesitate. He kissed her. They would have to talk, talk about what had brought her there but that would all wait until after. "Oh I have missed that too." He smiled down at her. Embarrassment shot down Brennan's spine. She looked down and stepped back. He let her go. "Can I get you something to drink?" He offered.
He shook his head. "Caffeine free zone here … sorry."
"I'm fine." She nodded over to his work area. "Thought you would be running charters."
"I do that too. In fact I do everything – everything I ever wanted; whenever I want to."
"Sausage and Peppers?"
"Every Thursday night," he grinned. "Band plays Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I run the charter as often as needs be. Have a plane on the south side of the island and I run hops around the islands. I volunteer with the Fire Department here and occasionally I help out the local police but only on rare occasions."
"And you make furniture." She stepped over the chair and admired it. "Very nice."
"Thank you … it relaxes me."
"You sound like you have a very busy schedule."
He nodded slowly. "I stay busy." He held up his arms. "But I don't own a watch … don't own a suit … haven't put my feet in anything other than deck shoes or sandals in three years."
"And you are happy?"
She nodded. "I was told after you left that the reason I didn't go was that I was unable to live a purposeless life."
The use of the word purposeless stung a bit. "I thought the reason you didn't go with me was because of Booth." She looked down. "You don't have to answer this … 'cause it really doesn't matter to me but I imagine it does to you and that is important to me." He waited until he was sure he had her attention. "Why are you here?"
"I found I had time on my hands … in fact I have a lot of time on my hands. I took a year away from the Jeffersonian."
"And you came here?"
"I went to the Maluku Islands to head up an expedition into what should have been the greatest find since 1974 and the discovery of Australopithecus. It could have changed the course of our understanding of human evolution."
"Full of purpose," he commented. "And is better than digging up clues to put murders away."
"It was a hoax," she stated. "It was a total waste of time and money."
"So instead of going back to work … you came here."
"Booth has reenlisted in the Army and is training soldiers in Afghanistan."
"Well that has purpose." He slumped down into an overstuffed chair that had seen better days. "So you had time, and Booth was gone, so you came here."
She hesitated. "You were right," she said. "You can't do that job for too long, it warps you."
He nodded. "So the time off … the sabbatical from the FBI, the Jeffersonian and Booth were not just coincidental. Maluku gave you a place to go that had purpose."
"I don't know if I can go back – not in a year, not ever."
"I understand that … but things will look different once you put some time and space between you."
"No," she stated emphatically. "What I have experienced. What I have done. What I have been forced to do. I have taken lives. I live in constant fear that someone else will die – someone I care about. I have lived with death and destruction for too long. I wrote about it. I dreamt about it. For five – no six years it was my entire life – waking and sleeping." He waited. "I have tried to beat it. I have tried to fight it. I have tried to give justice to its victims. To make the killers pay for what they have done. I used everything I was to fight but they just keep coming. Time and time again I am told that the truth doesn't matter. The facts don't matter. Only the law matters and the law twists and distorts the truth, the facts to meet its own end. I can't fight both the murderers and the system. Then ... just when I thought I was getting away from the system, I run into this hoax in Maluku that I was expected to play along with. I was expected to use my science, use my reputation to validate their lie for fame and money. It disgusted me. Science has been ruined for me. They - the SYSTEM has taken away everything I thought I was, everything I expected to be, everything I had believed in – and ruined it."
She was clearly upset but talking around the real issue. "Tempe, what happened?"
She fought back the tears. "Booth would say that I have lost my faith, but –." She hesitated. "But you can't lose something that was never really there."
"Do you remember the Gravedigger?" she blurted out.
"I heard she was convicted."
"Barely! The system nearly let a psychopath loose. On some ridiculous technicality all the evidence that proved her guilty of Booth's abduction, of Hodgins and my abduction… and all the others, was throw out of court. Do you know what it feels like to see the person who tried to kill you - kidnapped you for money - standing less than five feet from you and there is not a damn thing you can do about it."
"Why was it thrown out?"
"I don't know ... something about not obtaining the warrant legally. If we had waited for the SYSTEM to give us legal right to obtain the evidence Booth would have been dead. How is that justice?"
"I'm sorry." He was sorry. He has his own faith shaken a number of times. His partner had been killed because information had not been disseminated to all the people who needed to know; another example of the system breaking down.
"That woman would never have crossed my path if it were not for the work I was doing with Booth."
"She would also be out on the streets abducting and killing others if it weren't for you – as would countless others."
"You don't know that … I don't." She shook her head. "I can't carry the weight of the world on my shoulders."
"No one is suggesting that you should." He reached for her and directed her to sit down on the table in front of him. She did reluctantly. He took her hands in his. "Did you come here to hide?"
"No," she said a little too sharply. "I came here hoping to find another way to live."
"And you think I can help you with that?"
"I hope you can … I hope you want to."
Sully did want to. He wanted what he had always wanted for her; for himself. However, he needed to protect his heart. He had been in love with her back then. He knew her heart wasn't easily touched. He didn't believe that she didn't have the capacity for love, just that she wouldn't permit herself to experience it fully. It made sense with her history and with the way she had chosen to defend herself against the world. Still there was something in her, something about her, something that was so close to the surface he could almost see it. He truly believed that if she ever did let herself love it would be a force more powerful than nature. But he didn't believe that he would be her choice. Three years before the timing was off for Sully and Brennan. Somehow he knew the timing wasn't any better this time, but he would do what he could to help her get her faith back and maybe even find a new way to live.
He took her in. Showed her his life. He opened a world of possibilities for her. He introduced her to people; people who were not driven to fight for justice or find the facts. People who wanted to just live. She wanted to try her hand at new employment; he taught her to sail, to fly, to make a jerk chicken to die for. He also showed her how to enjoy her downtime: swimming, eating, drinking, laughing. It was a whirlwind but he saw her walls coming down. He saw her getting comfortable in her own skin without trying to control everything. He saw her enjoying sunsets, talking philosophy with a local fisherman, failing at something and being OK with failure.
One night about six weeks after she had arrived they were sitting on the beach with a fire and looking out at the ocean and up at the stars. Until then they had shared only a few kisses, some very nice hand holding and an occasional cuddle at the end of a long day, but they hadn't made love. It was a mutual decision but it wasn't talked about. That was about to change - the talking and the making of love.
Brennan tucked into his embrace and sighed. "I see now why you find this life so attractive."
"Probably won't be forever, but for now and the foreseeable future."
"You do like to keep your options open, don't you?"
"Never know what is around the next bend, over the horizon, down the next road."
She liked that about him. He made it safe to take a chance, to try something new. He would never ask for 30, 40 or 50 years. "What haven't you tried that you want to?" she asked.
"Lots of things." He pulled her closer. "There are a lot of things that I probably never will."
"Lion tamer ... I don't like lions ... don't really like cats."
"Booth and I went undercover at a circus ... he was a knife thrower."
"I guess he was good considering you are still with us and apparently have all your parts."
"I found the experience quite exhilarating." She sat up. "I even tried my hand at the high wire."
"Running away and joining a circus ... that is pretty brazen of you, Dr. Brennan."
"Well we didn't literally run away."
"Not like now," he said a little too seriously.
"You think I ran away?"
"Didn't you?" he asked. "Does anyone know where you are?"
"I am free and well above the age of consent," she stated. "I have no responsibilities that I am shirking."
"I get that ... but -."
"There is no one looking for me, what makes you think I am hiding," she accused.
"I don't care if you are ... I just want you to be sure."
"Is that why you haven't wanted to have sex with me?"
He winced slightly at the directness of her question. "Yes," he answered. "Tell me ... did you walk away from the job or Booth?"
She turned so she could look at him fully. "It is hard to separate one from the other."
"Did you and Booth ...?" He left the question implied.
"No," she answered directly knowing that it wasn't enough and it wasn't exactly correct. "Booth had suggested that he wanted more, but I said no."
"Do you know why you said no?"
She almost laughed but it was too sad. "I was trying to protect our partnership ... ironically I lost that too."
"Why are you so afraid of relationships, Tempe? Why not allow yourself some happiness even if it is fleeting."
"You are not talking about Booth."
Actually he was but he was including more than just Booth. "Well him ... me ... who knows who else?" He took her hand. "Why didn't you come with me?"
"You know the reason."
"I want to hear you say it."
"The only person I can rely on is me. I couldn't give that up for ..."
"You couldn't give that up for me," he offered. She nodded. "I wasn't asking you to give yourself up, just your job." He pressed her hand. "I'll bet Booth wasn't either."
"Are you suggesting ..."
"No, I'm not suggesting anything. I'm saying that when you do allow yourself to love completely ... I hope I am around."
"I am here now," she said suggestively and leaned in toward him.
"Yes," he smiled. "Yes you are." He could no longer resist. He kissed her and they made love on the beach, near the fire, under the stars with the soft surf lapping at the shore.
Brennan was still on the island. Time had flown by. She had taken a little bungalow near where Sully's shack was. Nothing had really changed in their relationship, but they were enjoying each other's company and were "dating." She had become a very integral part of the daily life on the island with more than just Sully. She ran some charters by herself for Sully, helped out at the bar, taught at the school and she had started a new novel.
The book was what took up most of her time. It was a historical novel set on the island at the turn of the twentieth century about a teacher and a sailor. She had intended it to be a love story with lots of historical accuracy. They had a small library on the island that she used for some research but there were plenty of people who loved to tell stories. At the end of chapter 4 her story took a turn. The sailor had been murdered and a marshal entered to find his killer. The turn surprised her. She hadn't thought about murder or death or the life she left behind - at least not consciously. Clearly it was still affecting her. There was something else; something about the marshal. He was very familiar. He was very real. The instant connection that the teacher and the marshal had was so much deeper, more profound, more interesting than the teacher and the sailor. She hadn't intended for it to happen, but the teacher and the marshal fell in love, but they were unable to act on their feelings for various reasons mainly because Brennan wouldn't let them. One night she was rereading chapter 15 and she had a very clear picture in her head of a scene where the marshal comes to her, professes his love and she rejects him. Her reasoning wasn't sound. Brennan worked it and worked it, but there was absolutely no reason for the teacher to reject him. She sat with the unfinished novel for six weeks until she finally rewrote Chapter 15. And the rest flowed out as it was meant to be. She had finished her love story.
She would often dream of her characters. Usually she had imagined Cam or Angela as the teacher and some faceless man as the marshal. The first night after she finished the book, she dreamt again about her characters: she was the teacher and Booth was the marshal.
For the first time since May, she was homesick but there was no reason to leave – Booth wasn't at home.
One day after returning from a charter with four young men from Miami, Sully met her on the dock.
"Hey?" she said with a bright smile and a quick kiss. "Miss me?" Sully didn't look very happy.
"I've got her," said a man standing behind Sully. She looked past Sully when she heard the familiar voice. "We'll be back on the next plane." He snapped his phone shut and turned to glare at her. He was more than a little angry.
"Booth?" He was not dressed in fatigues or in a uniform of any kind.
"Get your stuff ... we need to get back to DC," he barked.
"Nice to see you too," she returned his ire. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Yes, you are ... Taffet is out."
The very sound of her name made Brennan's heart sink into the pit of her stomach. "Out?"
"Out ... as in escaped ... you would know that if - She is out and looking for payback. So get your stuff, we are headed back to D.C."
A/N: So … testing, testing, is this thing on? Anyone want to see this play out? Won't be easy.