Long fingers worked over the smooth surface of the rib. The weight, density, color and texture was catalogued by memory as it was placed back on the table beside the other ribs. Temperance felt the strain in her back, her vertebrae stiff and sore, she stood straight and stretched, feeling the satisfying crackle of her spine, and the resounding pop of her arms stretched above her head. She lifted her wrist and viewed her Rolex through blurry eyes, noting the late hour, or early hour in most respects.
Temperance looked around the lab, the peaceful silence of the large room all to herself, the tools and tables and metal that surrounded her, the expansive glass roof above her, reflecting back the desolate state of the lab back onto her weary eyes. She swallowed the hunger pain that was rolling in her gut, closing her eyes for a moment as it quickly passed; she moved her eyes back to the skeleton.
Her thoughts drifted for just a moment, to a distant memory of what she typically would be doing on a late Friday night nearly a year ago to the date, and she quickly retreated when she thought better of it, immersing herself completely in the skeleton before her. It wasn't a murder victim, this skeleton, not this time. It wasn't found in a trash bin or a wood chipper, or a pile of mud or sunken in concrete. This skeleton was stored in a box, and had been in that box for years, pushed away, forgotten in bone storage. Today was his day to be brought into the light, today that box had been within its forgotten existence and piece by piece and placed on the lighted table on the lab's platform.
Temperance walked around the table to the other side, bending down slightly to get a closer look at the skeleton's sternum, she took it slowly into her hands and observed it carefully. She felt the pain in her stomach again, begging for sustenance, begging for her to stop being stubborn and to just make her way to the diner for a quick snack. She slowly sucked in a breath and cleared her throat slightly, hearing the sound echo against the stainless steel surfaces of the very open and empty lab. The sound of something across the lab made her look up, she noticed the guard outside the glass doors walking past, oblivious to most everything, and her attention went back to the skeleton.
Her fingertips graced the surface of the long bones, sliding down the femur unobstructed as she pictured it with muscles and flesh, pictured it as a whole, though still a part of a larger system and again, part of a larger world as a whole. She placed the bone down on the table, her mind wandering to places that she'd much rather keep in the dark recesses of her mind. She needed her mind to be blank, clean, free of all debris, much like the bones that lie before her.
Alone, undetected, and prepped. Security cameras were eluded and he was assured at the safety of his position. Weapon poised and ready, the light from below illuminated the roof as the target came into view. Shifting forward, he watched her fingers move deftly over the body before her.
He had no business with this woman, no need to know her profession or name, just her location and that she was alone. This was a job, just a job for him and no questions were asked as the money had passed hands, packed tightly away in a bag at his place, he adjusted the sights on the rifle.
Nearly three in the morning and he was still walking across the mall. His hands were shoved in his pockets, his mind was set on his conflicts, and his heart was torn.
If his heart were torn literally, he would be no more, but from the pain he was feeling, he'd guess that his heart was close to tearing, breaking.
It had been a week since he had seen his partner, his friend, his confidant, and some would say the reason for his confusion. It had been nearly two months since he had come home, seven weeks since Hannah had arrived, six weeks since she had moved into his apartment, and five since he had last had a meal alone with Temperance.
His partner had been understanding those seven weeks ago when Hannah had arrived in the diner unannounced. She had been kind and welcoming, and not at all the maladjusted partner that he had grown to expect. Perhaps those seven months apart had softened her, perhaps she was different, it wasn't as if she hadn't been trying before they had separated, though he had feared that the separation would revert her.
He mentally smacked himself for the thought, it was selfish enough of him to find someone new and have her show up unannounced, but for him to actually give himself credit for who Brennan had become? That was selfish to the extreme. She was her own person. She is smart, beautiful, engaging, funny, and caring. She didn't need him in order to be a contributing member of society. She had been doing perfectly fine before he had come along, and she was more than capable of taking care of herself now.
His stomach growled and he lifted his eyes to his watch. He looked up and could see the lights of the diner in the distance, his stomach grumbled knowingly as he pictured the cup of coffee in front of him, the plate of half eaten pie and the plate of fries that sat between them.
He stopped walking for a moment and wondered for a moment.
When did they become 'them'?
He pulled his phone from his pocket, not caring if she was asleep or awake. Selfish. He dialed the familiar number.
She jumped at the sound of her phone ringing, distant and alarming, she glanced at her watch. Nearly three in the morning, she was certain that it could be only one person. She stared at the open door of her office, the bones at her fingertips forgotten for a moment as she waited for the ringing to cease.
There was no time for talking.
Only bones. Work, lab. Nothing more.
The ringing stopped and she lifted the tibia of the man on the table, content with the silence that was now ringing through her ears, she continued her examination.
In the crosshairs, he watched her pause. He shifted slightly in his spot, his eyes following her carefully as she stared off across the room, he wondered at the reason for such a long look across the lab, and wondered if someone had entered. He waited, watched, keeping her in the crosshairs, keeping his eyes on the target, keeping his thoughts on the money that would be his when the task was complete.
He needed his moment.
Cell phone, home phone, lab phone. No answer.
He had known her long enough to know that when she didn't answer the phone, it was because she didn't want to talk, not necessarily that she wasn't available. His brow furrowed and he found that his feet had led him to the Jeffersonian.
He paused for a moment, knowing that she was probably working, working her fingers to the bone, working herself to exhaustion. He stopped and thought for a moment at his selfish thoughts that she couldn't take care of herself, his stomach twisted again and he pushed the thoughts aside. He walked down the quiet path, the nighttime felt cool, and his stomach twisted slightly as he neared the service entrance. He scanned his badge and stepped inside.
The phones had stopped ringing thankfully, her concentration was teetering and with each sound of the ringing phone, it was faltering. She was thankful for the silence finally, the silence of the lab and the safety that enveloped her when she was here and everything was quiet.
She only wondered for a split second what he was being so insistent about. There were no cases that wouldn't wait until morning. He should be out, out with Hannah, or sleeping. Sleeping with Hannah.
She placed the fibula down on the table a bit harder than she had expected, and the tap of the bone on the table made her jump a little, her eyes closing as she felt her stomach flip. She shook her head at her ridiculous reaction, the envious lurches in her stomach would have to stop eventually.
She sighed and leaned on the table for a moment. Resting.
She had stopped moving, stopped turning toward her office, stopped everything. She was resting. He took position and lined the crosshairs.
He approached the lab doors, his eyes focused on the lights that were centered on the platform. Like a spotlight, it was the only thing lit in the lab, and like a vision she stood, leaning against the table. She looked tired and worn, thinner if that were possible.
The door to the lab slid open silently, at least she gave no indication that she had heard.
She heard the door to the lab open, the sound of feet walking across the floor, she expected nobody but the security guard, so she paid no heed.
She turned just then, and out of nowhere the simultaneous sound of glass breaking and a hot streak across her cheek as the world blurred in pain mixed with confusion as a spray of hot red hit her face. She watched Booth stumble backwards into the darkness of the surrounding lab, his eyes widening in a sickening state of surprise as he fell to the ground with no arms to catch him, only the cold tile floor as his body and head connected with it solidly. She literally leapt from the platform to his side, and everything she knew, all that she had ever worked for, loved, hoped for and dreamed changed with that one shot.
She had been in danger, and he was there to save her, sacrifice for her, protect her. Even in a state of unknowing, in a moment of pure innocence, he had given for her completely.
I apologize if the abrupt ending was not something that you expected. I prefer to leave the continuation of this story to your imaginations. Whether he lives, whether he dies, that is your choice, the point is that he rescued her. If you're interested in more, let me know (it isnt as if I don't have more of this story in my mind)... if you have your own version of what happened, Please... send me a personal message or e-mail with your thoughts, or your version.
Thank you in advance for your words.