When I needed a place to hang my heart
You were there to wear it from the start
And with every breath of me
You'll be the only light I see
A/N: It's been a long, long time since I've written anything. This little plot bunny had to be cranked out of my head before I could even think of going to bed, so here it is. Set at the end of 5x21, though not very spoilery. What if Booth hadn't let Brennan drive away from him? Returns to the 100th episode, and I posit my own speculation as to why that was so painful for all of us to watch. This may continue, it may not. Either way, please let me know what you think (keep in mind this was written in 20 minutes and unbetad). Thank you and enjoy!
"You know when a dentist gives you anesthetic and tells you not to operate any heave machinery or make any important decisions within twenty-four hours? Alright, this case was bigger than a root canal. Come on, let's just go back inside and have one more drink. Come on. Just one."
He reaches for her hand, hoping to encourage her with a gentle tug. It stings when she pulls away, turning so abruptly from him to hail a cab that he's a bit taken aback.
"No. I'm tired, Booth. I-I-I'm going to go home."
"Alright. Come on. Let's - we'll get you in the cab. I know, it's - it's been a long, long day. Alright, get in there, alright?" She slides into the cab, reaching to pull the door shut behind her, but he steps from the curb and bends down to look at her. "Hey. I'll see you tomorrow, alright?" When she doesn't answer immediately, he panics.
The logical thing to do would be to close the door and let her go home and get some rest. However, images of her booking a flight to the ends of the earth and disappearing without a word come unbidden to his mind, and he knows what he has to do. Years ago, he had let her get into a cab and drive away without him. He will never make that mistake again.
"Booth…" she protests when he slides in next to her, forcing her to the seat behind the passenger's side.
He gives the cabbie her address, muttering a quick, "Bones, please don't fight me on this," before settling into silence for the short ride to her apartment.
He's feeling a lot of things. Relief that Taffet is put away. Happiness for Angela and Hodgins. Terror that Bones might need more than a little time. He hasn't formulated a plan, an excuse for insisting that she let him accompany her home. She is being surprisingly tolerant, after her initial protest had fallen on his deaf ears. Maybe she is just tired – he knows he is, and that's what he's choosing to blame when seconds after her door closes behind them, he's holding her in his arms.
"Don't quit, Bones."
She stiffens in his embrace, but her hands automatically come up to rest against his chest.
"Don't quit? Booth, I don't know wh-"
He will do anything to make her see, to keep her here with him, as his partner.
"On us. Don't give up on us."
"You know I'm not a quitter, Booth."
Her hands have slipped around his shoulders and are smoothing circles over his back. He knows he must be startling her, and he appreciates her unconscious attempts to soothe the anxiety she must hear in his voice.
"I need you to be strong for me."
He can feel her sharp inhalation at his confession, and his arms tighten around her, anticipating an attempt to flee that never comes. Instead, he is surprised to see her eyes shining with tears, and her fingers curl into the fabric of his dress shirt, holding him closer.
"I was trying," she says quietly, tucking her head beneath his chin, "but you gave up on me."
Her words make his stomach sink. His blood runs cold, because she is so, so right. On the steps outside the Hoover that night, when she hadn't immediately jumped at the chance to give them a shot, he had backed away like a coward, had told her he needed to move on. He knew now that she had been looking for him to put his heart into overdrive, for him to lay everything on the line and prove to her that she could change, that they were meant to be. But, like a coward, he had given her an out, and a little part of him that had given up on them had given up on her.
He knows what he needs to say to fix this, to fix what he broke not so long ago with his desperate pleas for 30, 40, 50 years. His hand is shaking when he raises her face, brushing her tear-stained cheeks with his knuckles. He wonders if she knows how scared he is, but he doesn't hesitate, not this time, when he takes the second chance she is offering him.
"I need you, Bones. More than my next breath. And if you'll let me, I'll spend my life showing you."
Her lips are warm and soft when she presses them to his, and he can taste the salt from her tears on his tongue. He kisses her like he didn't before, like she is his next breath, his last breath.