AN: I generally hate it when people leave notes about why they haven't updated a story in forever so I'll keep this brief. I have a new job that is not conducive when put with my having two little kids to getting any time on the computer. I'll update when I can but it's really difficult to have any time to get things typed up. That said, some of you might hate me after this chapter, but stick with the story because I have a few things up my sleeve. Please let me know what you think.
Temperance sat outside in the Jeffersonian as she ate her lunch and watched as people strolled through the gardens. Tourists and residents alike took advantage of the beautiful museum grounds as the leaves turned to red and gold, falling in a riot of color as winter approached. One family walked by, laughing and playing as the young mother pushed a baby carriage along a path toward the large fountain in the center of the gardens. She smiled at her family before leaning down and tucking a blanket around the baby inside.
Brennan sighed and looked away from the tender scene as she began to pack up the remnants of her lunch. After running into Jared and Padme a month earlier, she began to avoid the couples that she knew for fear that someone else would turn up pregnant. It wasn't fair to anyone around her, but it hurt that others got to be so happy when her chance was taken from her because of a medical emergency. It didn't feel right that they should get to be so happy and she not. The self inflicted avoidance didn't work anyhow. Two weeks after Jared's news, her brother and sister in law announced their own baby news.
"We're going to have a baby," Amy said when she, Russ and the girls joined Temperance and Max for dinner two weeks earlier.
"Congratulations you two," Max exclaimed and leaned over to hug his daughter in law. Brennan offered them a smile, but promptly stood up and left the table. She could feel Russ' eyes on her as she left, but just couldn't muster up the enthusiasm to wish them well.
"What's the matter with Tempe," he asked and she scoffed rather loudly as she made her way to her bedroom. She might have trouble reading and expressing emotion but even he had to realize what was bothering her. They already had two little girls. Couldn't she be the one to have the next child? Now all she needed was to get word that her independent cousin Margaret was expecting or worse yet, Booth and Hannah and her day would be oh so complete.
She felt terrible as she flopped down onto her bed and stared at the ceiling, but it was incredibly difficult not to feel bitter about the sudden upsurge in fertility around her.
"Honey, are you okay in there? Can I come in?"
"The door's unlocked dad," she called out and turned her head to look at her father as he slipped into the room. He sat down next to her and smiled at her weary expression.
"You know, it's times like these that I think a vacation is in order. You should take one for a couple of weeks."
"I can't just leave. The last time I did my world changed irrevocably."
"Well, that's what worlds do you know? Life is all about change, but I'm just thinking that maybe you should do it to give yourself a bit of a break, get your equilibrium back in place."
"My equilibrium is fine."
"Well then do it to give yourself a chance to think away from your friends and family. Do you want to try again for a child or are you thinking about adoption?"
"I don't qualify for adoption because I have a felony charge on my record," Brennan said as she sat up. She sighed and picked at the hem of her skirt. "I don't know if I want to go through pregnancy again. What if I lost another one? I don't know if I could handle it emotionally."
"Honey, you pride yourself on your strength and whether you believe it or not, you're emotionally strong as well. Don't give up just because you're hurting now. If you really want a child then your stillbirth won't stop you from having one. Just take some time off, a couple of weeks maybe and figure out what you want to do."
"I think that idea has some merit."
"Good, then how about this, I'll make the arrangements for you and you get the time off. That way I know you aren't going somewhere just to work."
That was two weeks ago and she was scheduled to leave in the morning. Her only regret to the trip was that she still hadn't heard from Booth. His time away kept extending and she had hoped to say goodbye to him before leaving. She stood and gathered her belongings to head back inside the museum when a set of very familiar footsteps approached. Temperance turned around and smiled brightly at Booth as he reached her.
"I was just thinking about you," she said as he pulled her into a hug. "I didn't want to leave without saying goodbye."
"Saying goodbye? What's going on Bones?"
"It's nothing to worry about. I'm taking a few weeks off for a vacation. I just need some time away to work out my life."
"I don't think I've ever heard you talk like this. What's going on, are you okay?"
"I'm fine Booth, but I…" She looked away from her partner as she pulled out of the hug. Physical contact with him was difficult because she knew she was too late to win him. That conversation was had long before she returned to her desire to have a child. "Have you talked to your brother?"
"No. I haven't heard from Jared in a few months, why?"
"He and Padme are pregnant, as are Russ and Amy. It feels as though everyone is getting what was taken from me and I just need to escape for a while."
"So that's why you're going on vacation?"
"Yes. I need a change in my life and maybe this will lead me in the direction that I need to go. I don't like feeling so unsure of myself but I'm tired of being alone and I missed one chance for happiness. I don't want to miss out on another."
"Bones, I told you how I feel. You have to realize how much I love Hannah. I don't like feeling that I hurt you but it's not fair to think that I would just drop her and come running to you. You turned me down and I said I had to move on."
"I know, and I accept that decision. That's why I have to leave. I need to find my own happiness and maybe this will afford me that opportunity."
"When do you leave?"
"My flight leaves late this evening. I have some work that I need to finish up and then dad is taking me to the airport."
"Where are you going?"
"I'll be flying down to the Bahamas and chartering a boat to take me around the islands. Dad made all of the arrangements so I wouldn't have the opportunity to focus on work." Brennan smiled a bit and shook her head. It felt good that someone knew her that well.
"I don't think I like the idea of you out on a boat in the middle of the ocean with some complete stranger. You have this way of drawing trouble to you."
"You're forgetting one thing Booth. My father made all of the arrangements and there is no way that he would allow me to be in any type of a dangerous situation." Brennan turned her smile on Booth before heading back into the museum. She glanced once over her shoulder as she walked away to see him watching her. If she couldn't be happy with him then maybe she could find happiness with someone else. Wasn't it her turn to have a good moment in life?
Temperance walked along the harbor as she looked for the charter company her father booked for her. The warm sun beat down on her and a breeze washed over her, lifting her hair up off of her shoulders as her skirt rustled around her legs. The few days away from Washington invigorated her and gave her the chance to really mourn the loss of her son. With so many people around and more people constantly becoming pregnant she didn't have the chance to allow herself to focus on her feelings. How could she be happy for them when she couldn't even be sad for her own loss?
The change in scenery was just what she needed and the time on the ocean between islands would allow for her to be away from everything in a very literal sense. She pulled herself from her musings and glanced down the dock, finally seeing the small desk of the boat charter company. There wasn't anyone there as she approached and she looked around to see if the captain was nearby.
"Hello? I have a boat chartered here," she called out and jumped back a little in surprise as a man popped up from behind the small desk.
"Oh my god, Tempe?" The man stepped out from behind the desk to look at her and she gasped in realization.
"Sully? What are you doing here?"
"I run this little charter business. One of my guys is running a little late today so I'm covering the desk until he gets here. You look fantastic. I didn't think I'd ever see you again."
"I was going to say the same thing about you. This is your charter company?"
"Yeah. Business has been really good for me and I've been able to purchase a couple other boats. They aren't as big as the Temperance, but it's enough for now. Are you the one booked for the next two weeks?"
"Yes, although I'm finally understanding why it was that my father said it was fate that he booked the company he did."
"And you're here by yourself? I would have thought you'd be with your boyfriend or whatever." He took the reservation sheet from Temperance and began to process it as they talked.
"No, I'm still single. What about you?"
"I'm not currently seeing anyone. You mean to tell me that you and Booth broke up? I never thought that would happen."
"Breaking up with someone would require that we were together to begin with, and since Booth is currently in a relationship with someone else, it's not practical that we would be dating."
"You never… then why did you say no to me? I thought for sure that you stayed behind for him."
"No, there were other reasons that I didn't leave with you. I merely realized too late what I lost." The pair looked at each other for a long moment before Sully tore away his gaze and finished up with the paperwork.
"My only regret was that I didn't fight harder to keep you," he said as his employee made his way toward them, "although I can't say that I regret coming here. It's been good for me."
"Yes, I have to admit that the time away from home has been refreshing," she said and followed Sully toward the Temperance. Her heart squeezed a little as she saw the ship. Even though she let him go, she knew even then what it was she gave up. Sully was a wonderful man and he genuinely cared about her, maybe even loved her. Was this her chance to have a forever person too?
"Look, maybe I'll get burned by asking this, but no harm, no foul right? Since it's just you and me for the next week and a half, why don't we just see where things take us." Brennan looked at her ex for a long moment as he helped her up onto the boat. She lost her footing a bit and fell forward, his arms steadying her back onto her feet. Their eyes met and she smiled at him.
"I think I'd like that very much."