A/N: Almost a year later, Truisms is finally done! I want to thank all of you who joined me on this journey, patiently putting up with my delayed updates and giving me feedback. Words cannot express how grateful I am for your continued interest in this story and for your support.
Chapter Seven: The Acceptance in the Agent
After driving Catherine back to her car at the bowling alley parking lot, Booth heads back to his apartment. He has some thinking to do.
He'd liked Catherine, really he had. It wasn't her fault she wasn't Bones.
He lets out a slightly bitter chuckle.
It isn't Catherine's fault he's still stuck on his partner.
Catherine was right… it isn't fair for him to go out with other women while he's still thinking about a specific one. But how is he supposed to move on from Bones without dating other women? For that matter, how the hell is he supposed to get over Bones when he has to work with her every day?
The unfairness of Bones' request that they remain partners strikes him anew. And yet… he doesn't think he could bear not being her partner. It's a little awkward and it's not what he wants, but he'll take whatever he can get. Somehow, without him being entirely aware of it, Bones has become the sun around which his life revolves. A life without Bones would be like a life without sun, and while he resents this fact, it holds true; he can't do without her.
It isn't fair. He wants this ache within him to stop, but that means getting over Bones. And he's not entirely sure he can get over Bones, let alone whether or not he wants to. (He's beginning to suspect that even if he wanted to, he couldn't.)
It's been six years since he first met her. He's gone out with exactly four women during that time, and none of them have even come close to taking her place in his heart.
What's wrong with him?
His stomach lets out a growl, and Booth belatedly remembers that he'd never finished his lunch after Catherine's declaration.
In a fit of something he refuses to call petulance, he grabs Bones' food out of the refrigerator and pulls out a fork. Bones doesn't want him? Then she doesn't get to eat the food he got her either.
Sitting down, he stabs a bite of gnocchi with his fork, and proceeds to eat. The stuff is actually pretty good, considering its lack of meat. In fact, it isn't long before he's polished the container off.
As the food hits bottom, he begins to calm down.
This mess isn't anyone's fault; not Catherine's, not Bones', not his. Well, OK, it's partially his and Bones' fault, but at least half of it is plain fate. What he told Bones that night in front of the Hoover is still true; he knew from the moment that he saw her that she was the One. Since then, he's been fighting that knowledge off and on.
Well, no more. There's no getting over Bones, no moving on from her. He accepts that now.
He'll wait for her for as long as it takes. No, it's not fair. But as Pops liked to say, "If life was fair, Seeley, we'd all of us get exactly what we deserved. And that's not much."
Pops kinda has a point. After all he's done, all the lives he's taken, he doesn't deserve much of anything. But thanks to God's grace, he has a lot: a roof over his head, clothes on his back, and food in his belly; a wonderful son, an amazing partner/best friend, a loving grandfather, and a job that gives him purpose. So yeah, maybe he's pretty damn lucky after all.
He grabs the phone and dials Bones' number.
"Brennan," his partner's voice greets him.
"Hey, Bones," he says cheerfully into the receiver. "How was your day with Angela?"
"It was… interesting," Bones says guardedly. "We watched The Thin Man and Angela consumed ice cream."
"Huh. What'd you think of the movie?"
"I liked it very much," Bones says, becoming more enthusiastic. "Have you seen it before?"
"Yep. There are more, ya know. Five more. Not as good as the original, but still pretty good."
"Perhaps… perhaps we could rent them sometime?" Bones asks hesitantly.
"Sounds like fun to me," Booth returns. "You know, you kinda remind me of Nora a little bit."
"Really?" Bones asks curiously.
"Yeah, you're both 'lanky brunettes with wicked jaws'," Booth says, doing his best Nick Charles imitation. (He leaves out the portion of the line where Nick says that Nora's his only 'type'.) "Feisty, independent women who can knock back drinks with the best of 'em."
"Well… thank you," Bones says. "You aren't much like Nick, though; you are by far the better investigator."
"Thanks, Bones," Booth says, warmed to hear her too-rare praise.
"So how was your outing with Catherine?" she asks, abruptly changing the subject.
"Uh, it was fun," he replies. "I don't think I'm going to see her again, though."
"Why not?" Bones asks. "I was under the impression that the two of you liked one another. You are certainly well-suited."
Booth shrugs, momentarily forgetting that she can't see him.
"She was smart and nice and pretty and all that," he agrees, "but we just didn't click, ya know? We didn't have it."
"Sexual attraction?" Bones questions.
"I was plenty attr– you know what, I'm not discussing this with you," Booth groans. "But for the record? I was not talking about sex, OK? I was talking about that intangible something."
"That is not very specific, Booth," Bones remonstrates. "If you do not know what that 'something' is, how will you ever find it with a woman?"
Oh, Bones. He loves this woman, but some days it feels as though she's being purposefully obtuse. Doesn't she understand that he already has that something with her? Doesn't she understand that she's it for him?
"I know it when I feel it, Bones," Booth tells her firmly. "And Catherine and me? We didn't have it."
"I am sorry to hear that," Bones says awkwardly. "I know that you enjoyed spending time with her."
"We had a good time," Booth agrees, "but it wasn't enough. Besides, the slot in my life for a brown-haired, blue-eyed squint was filled long before she ever came along."
In her most matter-of-fact tones, Bones babbles nervously, "Actually, you have two of those. Both Hodgins and myself fit that description."
"Fine, add female to the list, then," Booth says. He pauses. "Hey, do you wanna grab lunch tomorrow? My treat."
"The Royal Diner?" Bones asks.
"Nah, I was thinking we should give somewhere new a try," Booth says. "I discovered this great Italian place, Rosetti's. I think you'd like their pesto gnocchi."
"That does sound appealing," Bones admits.
"Great," Booth says, rubbing his hands together. "Noon sound good?"
"I would prefer 12:30," Bones says. "I have a meeting with my editor tomorrow that goes until noon."
"You're injured, Bones," Booth says exasperatedly. "You know the doctor said you weren't supposed to work for a couple of days."
"My arm was injured, Booth, not my brain," Bones replies a tad acidly. "I am perfectly capable of holding a conversation with my editor about her corrections to my manuscript."
"Yeah, but how are you going to get to her office, huh? You can't drive while you've got a cast," Booth points out.
An image of Bones stubbornly swerving down the highway pops into his mind, and he winces.
Hastily correcting himself, he asserts, "You shouldn't drive while you've still got your cast."
"The meeting is over the phone, Booth," Bones says, sighing. "I am not entirely without regard for safety for myself and others."
"Oh. Right. I knew that," he mutters. "So I'll pick you up at 12:30, then?"
"It's a date," Brennan says, then quickly adds, "in the sense that it is a prearranged social engagement for a particular time and day."
Booth won't deny that he felt a twinge when he heard the word 'date' come from her lips, but he'd known what she meant before her clarification. Bones isn't ready yet. But someday…
"I'll see you at your place tomorrow afternoon," he agrees. "Take it easy until then, OK?"
Bones replies, "Of course. I intend to catch up on the latest issues of my anthropological journals. I'm particularly excited to read an article about a full set of interspecies hominid remains that were recently found in the Maluku Islands; apparently they could provide a crucial link in the evolutionary chain!"
"Right," Booth says, shaking his head in fond bemusement at the anthropologist's idea of fun. "Well, enjoy."
"That is my objective," Bones says cheerfully. "I'll see you tomorrow!"
And with that, she hangs up.
No, life isn't fair. And yeah, this isn't what he wants. But maybe he doesn't know what's best for him. After all, he'd once wanted the picture perfect life with Rebecca, hadn't he? And he's never been gladder that he didn't get it. So maybe… maybe both he and Bones need this, for whatever the reason. And while Booth knows Bones doesn't believe in God or fate, he does, and he trusts that there's some sorta bigger plan out there for them. He just has to believe.
What's that truism again? Oh yeah, that's right. Good things come to those who wait.
He'll wait, have the hope and patience that Gordon Gordon counseled last year. Bones is going to catch up to him someday. And then instead of moving on, they'll move forward. Together.
A/N #2: I had a difficult time with this chapter; words wouldn't flow, the dialogue felt wooden, and the characters flat-out refused to cooperate. Since so many of you wanted Booth and Brennan to get their acts together, I tried to get them to hook up, really I did. They told me to stuff it. So I hope that this chapter is a decent compromise between what you wanted and what my muse ordered. Booth has accepted that his feelings aren't going to go away and Brennan is one step closer to her own realization. If this version of AU Season Five were to continue, you'd see that although both partners would go their separate ways in the Season Finale, they'd stay in contact with one another. Booth would come back to D.C. sans Hannah in AU Season Six, and Brennan would return ready for a relationship. Around the ninth episode of AU Season Six, they'd get together.
Once again, thank you for reading! If you have the time, please take a second to click on the pretty little 'review' button; constructive criticism helps me to improve as a writer.