Writer's Note: I wrote this a long time ago, and then forgot I had it! Found it this morning while I was organizing my files, so I thought I'd share it with you. :) Enjoy!
Booth shoved another pile of papers to the side, and swiped a hand over his face in exasperation. The file had to be there somewhere.
I'll just call Bones…he thought. He figured that he'd done worse things than interrupt her date with a phone call.
Like interrupt her date with your presence…a snide voice at the back of his mind said.
That's different, he excused, immediately rationalizing his actions. Bones was a genius, but she had the worst taste in men. He had to check up on her.
As his hand reached for his pocket, he knocked over a pile that had sat on the near corner of the desk. Swearing, he dropped to his knees and started pushing papers back together into something that at least somewhat represented a pile. As he picked them up, a single piece of creased paper fluttered to the floor.
"Naugh." Booth bent back down and snatched the paper. He was about to toss it back onto the desk without another glance when he noticed his name, scrawled in hasty, dusty ink: "Booth."
His curiosity peaked, he drew the paper back, and examined it. It appeared to be the torn title page of the book Brennan had released a few years ago. Why would she tear out a page from her book and write his name on it?
He frowned and considered the dirt-smudged paper for a moment longer, before deciding that he should put it back in the pile somewhere. He wanted to know what it was, and he knew the curiosity would be killing him later, but he also knew it was Bones', and if she wanted him to know, she'd tell him.
And if she didn't tell him, he'd beat back the urge to ask her…for as long as he could.
Brennan walked through the Jeffersonian the next morning, a Medico Legal mug in one hand and the missing file in the other. She'd completely forgotten that she took the file with her the other day, and hoped Booth hadn't completely destroyed her office trying to find it. She'd just call to apologize later, for her mistake; it wasn't something she wanted to do, but it was something she should do.
She sighed. She wasn't looking forward to talking to Booth that day. It wasn't anything he'd done, it was more like…everything she imagined he would do. Would say. He had occupied her thoughts during her entire date. When Sean complimented the meatloaf, she thought about Booth's story about his mother's meatloaf. When Sean asked her about her day, she'd wanted to talk about Booth's goofy joke. When Sean asked her to dance, she remembered one of the first cases she'd had with Booth, in Aurora. What should have, by all accounts, been an exceptional date, was marred by her inability to keep her mind on the person in front of her.
Brennan knew this wasn't Booth's fault by any stretch of the imagination, but it still made her reluctant to speak with him.
When she entered her office, she groaned softly to herself. While the majority of her office was essentially unharmed, her desk was a mess. Her neatly constructed piles were all over the place. She dropped into her chair and leaned back, her mug resting on her thigh. She surveyed the damage through half-lidded eyes. Well, to work, she thought, and began to tackle the first haphazard pile.
She finished reorganizing the first pile – putting the files that were supposed to be in that pile in order, and setting aside the files that weren't supposed to be there. She reached for the second and pulled it toward her. Her eyes zeroed in on something she had thought for sure she'd hidden.
Crap. She ran her fingers through her hair and picked up the page. Brennan's stomach dropped. But…she'd hidden it! She hid it in –
She groaned again. She hid it in the third-drawer files, and she'd taken several of those files from that drawer and left them on her desk, in pile number two, before she left for her date. As her fingers probed the creased page, she supposed it was too unlikely that Booth hadn't seen it. Would he mention it? Demand to know what the page was and why his name was on it?
Brennan stilled, and glanced up to see her partner at the door. Booth strolled in, a mug of coffee in his hands. "Hey Bones," he said. "How was your date last night?"
"It was fine," she said. When his eyes dropped, hers did, too. Flushing, she realized he was looking at the page in her hand.
Booth rubbed the back of his head. "I, ah, couldn't find the file last night."
"I know. I'm sorry, I forgot that I brought it with me."
His eyebrow quirked. "You took the case file on your date with you?"
"No!" Brennan said. She laughed. "I brought it home and left it there before I went out on my date."
"Ah…" Booth seemed to accept that. Then his eyes fell to the page in her hand. "I found that when I was looking," he said softly. "I wasn't prying, I swear – it fell to the ground."
Brennan tilted her head. "I believe you," she said.
"Can I ask…?" Brennan nodded, and he continued, "what is it?"
She sighed and stood, handing it to him. "It's a letter…" she said. "I wrote it when Hodgins and I were –" She inhaled deeply, and spoke the last word on her breath's exit, "buried."
Booth's eyes shot to hers, and then dropped back down to the page in his hand. His eyes searched the page, and then the back side of it. "But…it's blank, Bones."
His expression looked pained just then. "What, you couldn't think of anything to say to me? You thought you were going to die, so you started to write a letter to me, but you couldn't find anything to say to your partner?" His voice was bitter.
"No, that's not it!" she protested. "Uh – well, yes, it was that, but not the way you think!"
"I…I was going to write something, but I couldn't," Brennan said. "I sat there, and I tried to think of what I should say. Of what my last words to you should be. But I couldn't find any. And when…" She laughed lowly, unhappily. "…And when I couldn't think of anything to say, I wondered why that was."
Booth waited to see if she'd continue. When she just sort of stared at him, he asked the next question, not sure if he wanted to know or not. "And what was the reason?"
"I didn't believe I was going to die," she said softly. "I just…I knew I would survive. I doubted my own method of escape would work, but I just…I knew. I knew you'd find a way to me."
She looked down and laughed again. "You know, when I said as much to Hodgins, before we tried the airbags, he said I had faith. When I denied it, I said I'd seen over time what you can do. But he said to me, '…we are out of air. We don't know if our message got out, much less if anyone understood it. And we are underground. What you have is faith, baby.'"
Booth bristled. "He called you 'baby'?"
Out of that whole recollection, what computed was Hodgins calling me "baby"? Brennan thought. "He said something about reflexes after that."
Booth's expression softened, the indignation and the earlier pain vanishing as the skin smoothed. "Bones…" Before she realized it, he crushed her to his chest.
"Oh!" she said, surprised.
"You have no idea what that means to me," he said throatily. "Thank you."
Brennan frowned. "But I told you I knew you wouldn't give up. I told you later, in the church, when you were done praying."
"I know. But there's knowing, and there's knowing."
"I don't know what that means."
Booth loosened his grip on her, and rubbed her back as he continued to hold her. "I know, but one day you will."
Later that night, Booth shed his clothes and climbed into bed. He laid on his side, staring at his dresser for some moments. There were several things on the dresser, some old and regular, and one new.
The usual things were, well, the usual things. His badge. His phone. The clock. A framed picture of Parker. A framed picture of himself and Bones – his favorite picture of them, snapped by someone at the opening of the Anok exhibit.
The new thing was Bones' letter. It sat between his badge and the picture of them. It was dirty, and it was empty of words, but it was full of trust. Her trust, her trust and her faith in him. It was perfect. Bones would argue against this, but she'd be wrong – it was perfect.
Booth switched off the light and rolled over, the covers bunching at his hips, and went to sleep with a smile on his lips.