Summary: Booth and Brennan are back in DC after a year apart, two completely different people. He has a blonde on his arm, seemingly out of love with her, and she has heartbreak in her eyes, having come to terms with her love for him. The two of them bend and pull and push, but in the end, they are always meant to be. The story of how they finally get together, but not without its share of heartbreak. Eventually BB.
A/N: Hi, guys. Let me just say, first and foremost (because I always want to know at the beginning of an angst filled story), that this story most definitely has a happy ending that is most definitely filled with Booth/Brennan in love and where they belong - in each other's arms. I just had to put that out there - sorry if that ruined this story for you before you even began.
You and I both know very well that I am all about the fluff. I write angst constantly when it comes to my own characters in my own original stories (which I hope you will all get to read and even enjoy someday) but when it's characters of other writers, like BB or Bedward (remember that one?) I want them filled with joy and fluff and have a billion kids because the angst in canon was bad enough.
Then HH and SN came up with the completely ludicrous idea to give Booth a bimbo, one that he actually fell in love with! I mean, I could probably live with 'like' or 'date', but 'fall in love'? That's where I draw the line.
So there I was, cursing HH and SN to the deepest pits of hell and having a restless, sleepless night tossing and turning…And this story came rushing into my subconscious. It is, ladies and gentlemen, my first ever angst story and I'm surprised to say I'm proud of it. I'm shocked as hell that I could stomach to write it, but I did, and it came out not-so-sucky, IMHO. I'm not sure anyone else would love it, though. For diehard BB fans, let me just say that I am one too and it kills me to have them with anyone else.
Now, there isn't going to be any Booth/blonde bimbo love scenes because I just can't handle that, but he is going to be with her for a long time in this story. I'm sorry. But he won't be oblivious to his feelings for Brennan, either. And Brennan…Well, I know we've all come to know and love her as the emotional void/awkward scientist that she is, and she'll still have that, but I read a little comment somewhere that Brennan was going to surprise us all in season 6. I took that to mean, at least for this particular story, that she won't be all rational about her feelings for Booth and act as if nothing bothers her (despite what I've seen in the first season 6 promo, and the only one I could handle watching).
That's all the spoilers I'm going to give to you for my story. Just please read on and leave me a line or two on how you're enjoying it.
P.S. One more thing (and just one last spoiler for my story). Remember when Roxie came back into the picture for Angela, and Booth asked Brennan if she's ever been with a woman and she said no? Forget that ever happened. I'm changing that. A past lover of Brennan's, a woman no less, is introduced here. If that squicks you out…Don't read or don't flame.
P.P.S. Even as I write an entire story about what season 6 might bring us, I try and read as little as possible about the harlot Booth will be bringing back to DC. All I know is her name, the fact that she's blonde and a journalist.
Now, enough procrastination. Please go ahead, read and tell me if this was enough of a tearjerker because I sure as hell cried enough for two boxes of Kleenex writing it.
P.S. (again), I opened my iTunes as I wrote this, and was surprised at how many songs in there fit BB. I'll be writing the songs that inspired the chapter at the very beginning, so please give them a shot - I'm telling you, they're amazing and so uncannily fitting to the storylines here…I swear I didn't write the plot according to the songs. It just turned out that BB have a lot of songs written about them without them even realizing it.
I'll write out the entire playlist after the epilogue of this story, so check that out. I'll add more if I come across a song that fits.
Disclaimer: Hart Hanson owns Bones, not me.
Theme song for this story - Since You've Been Around by Rosie Thomas
Lie In the Sound by Trespassers William
Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall
"Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies or weariness, of withering, of tarnishing."
- Anais Nin.
Temperance Brennan took in a deep breath as she sank down on a bench by the Reflecting Pool. The coffee cart was just a little ways away, and she was on her lookout, head turning this way and that every few seconds, just waiting for a glimpse of Booth.
His flight had landed hours ago, and she had wanted to greet him at the airport but they had made a pact: one year later, at the reflecting pool, by the coffee cart. She was going to keep up her end of the bargain.
Calm down, Temperance, she instructed herself silently, taking in deep breaths and closing her eyes momentarily. He doesn't need to see you so flustered.
When her eyes fluttered open again, Brennan stared out at the pool, her mind taking her back to her time in Indonesia.
The year apart had been…A learning experience for her, to put it lightly.
First had been her encounter with Dewi, whom she had a very life-changing experience with. Dewi had successfully transformed her way of thinking, in just the two weeks that they had known each other. Brennan was comfortably saying with certainty that she wanted everything that Dewi had to offer, and though Dewi wasn't available to her anymore, she would be looking for someone to share a similar experience with. And soon.
Secondly, while she had been in Indonesia, in the remote jungles as she led the dig that was meant to change the world - and yes. Yes, she had changed the world - Brennan had done a lot of thinking that hadn't pertained to the dig at all. In fact, instead of revolutionizing the world, Brennan had been revolutionizing her own world.
Dewi had helped her, most definitely, but what had helped the most was being so free. Being somewhere far from pressure and stress and the everyday hustle of her own life.
Brennan had thought of Booth, of their partnership, of their very first encounter and their very first kiss. She had thought of their moments that had occurred for five years, and she had thought of the night Booth had gambled on them.
And, finally, seven months into the dig, Brennan had come into one very shocking, very life-changing epiphany:
She was in love with Booth.
She wanted to be with Booth.
She had nothing to fear being in love with Booth, because he was Booth, and that meant that he was the one person in the entire world who wouldn't hurt her, wouldn't let her down.
She was going to do her best to live up to that standard so she could be his equal, his partner, in that love.
So now, twelve months after they had said their goodbyes for the year, Brennan was waiting, sitting on a bench by the coffee cart at the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool.
"Penny for your thoughts, Bones," she heard, and she started, jumping out of her skin. Her head whipped around to her left, her heart racing double-time, and her blue eyes caught sight of her partner, standing there with a big smile on his face, gazing at her in earnest.
Brennan jumped to her feet and was rushing at him before she'd had a chance to control herself and compartmentalize the overwhelming feeling of seeing him for the first time in twelve months. "Booth!" she slammed into him, her arms wrapped around his neck.
Booth grunted as Brennan rammed into him, but he only smiled wider and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her closer. Despite everything that had happened while he had been in Afghanistan, he had missed her so much. It wasn't like they had any contact at all during those twelve months. You spend five years with someone, you're bound to miss them when you're suddenly cut off from them.
"Gee, Bones, missed me?" he couldn't help but tease.
"Yes," she replied, her word muffled since her mouth was pressed against his shoulder.
Booth was a little taken aback by the candidness of her reply. I've just been gone too long, he assured himself. I'd forgotten how blunt she gets. "Well, I've missed you, too," he told her honestly, pulling back to look into her pretty blue eyes.
Brennan was taken aback by the look on his face - that happy, completely free-from-any-sort-of-torment look he was sporting. It wasn't that she was hoping for him to come back to DC morose and depressed, but it struck her as odd that he would be so happy.
Booth had always been a man willing to do anything for his country, but what he was asked to do always got to him. It always made him somber. She remembered him telling her about repenting for his sins seven years ago, and she knew that he still hadn't gotten over his job as a sniper.
This time around, he had gone to Afghanistan to train recruits to be cops in a war zone. It was different, but she still expected a certain sense of solemnity.
"What?" she asked, laughing a little as she gazed into his sparkling brown eyes. "You look so happy. What's with that look?"
To her surprise, Booth merely threw his head back and laughed, a carefree sound that filled her heart with warmth. "Can't a guy just be happy to be home, Bones?" he asked her, a coy smile on his lips as he stepped back from her embrace and moved next to her.
"Yes," she answered, smiling a little when she felt his arm wrap around her shoulders, the two of them walking side by side towards the coffee cart. "But I have a feeling there's a reason behind all of that happiness."
Booth grinned, unable to help himself as he thought of the reason. "A feeling?" he teased Brennan. "Since when are you all about your gut?"
Although she shrugged her shoulders lightly, and although there was a small smile on her lips as she answered, her tone and her words were completely serious. "A lot of things have changed since we last saw each other, Booth."
He nodded his head in agreement. Things have definitely changed. The last time he'd seen Brennan, he had been completely head over heels in love with her, his heart hurting so badly because she had been able to turn him down when she meant the world to him. And now…
"Yes, they have," he agreed.
They reached the coffee cart. The same guy was behind it, and he recognized them instantly. "Whoa, hey," the boy said - he couldn't have been older than twenty - surprise coloring his tone. "You guys haven't been around for a long time."
"A year," Brennan supplied. "I was off changing the world." Booth barked out a laugh at her words, squeezing her shoulders gently before dropping his arm. "And so was he," she added, surprising him completely.
He turned to give her a soft smile. "Thanks, Bones," he murmured. "That means a lot coming from you."
The barista nodded as though this all made sense to him. "Uh, so what can I get you guys?"
"Coffee, black, please," Brennan ordered.
"Mine with cream and two sugars," Booth added.
Coffees in hand, they strolled side by side away from the coffee cart. "So how was your trip, Bones?" he asked her, sipping at the hot beverage slowly. "You know, besides changing the world, did you have fun?"
Brennan grinned. "It was amazing," she confided. "I've made several…Life-altering decisions and I can't wait to share it with you."
Internally, she reveled in the sound of someone calling her 'Bones'. For months after she'd arrived in Maluku, her head had snapped up and looked around whenever someone had uttered the word 'bones'. The confusion would fade, and embarrassment would seep in, but the only one who ever really noticed and understood the reason for her reaction was Daisy Wicks. That wasn't really a good thing, but the overeager woman was easy enough to intimidate into keeping quiet about things.
Booth felt his lips curve into a smile. "Well, I can't wait to hear it," he assured her. "I have something pretty big to tell you, too. Why don't we go to the diner? Have some pie? God, I've missed pie from the diner…We can talk there."
Brennan laughed at his childish exuberance. "Sure," she agreed easily. "But I think I'll go for the salad instead. Much healthier."
Booth scoffed. "Please. I've been in combat training for a year," he reminded her. "Feel my guns."
She rolled her eyes at the cockiness of Seeley Booth. In a strange way, she had even missed that.
Della, the middle aged waitress who had been working at the diner ever since Brennan could remember, gasped and hugged the both of them when they entered, gushing about this and that. Brennan barely paid attention, only smiling politely and nodding at appropriate intervals. Finally, dabbing at her eyes, Della ushered Booth and Brennan to their usual seat. It was conveniently empty, and the ex-partners sunk down in their chairs opposite one another.
It was uncanny how they seemed like they had just picked off right where they left off, when really, everything had changed.
"So, Bones," Booth said, as he put aside his empty coffee cup. "Tell me about this life-altering thing that happened to you."
Brennan beamed at him, glad that he seemed so eager to hear what she had to say.
All they had talked about from the reflecting pool all the way to the diner were of her discoveries - she had kept it vague since she knew he'd lose interest if she kept babbling on about anthropology anyway - and his time in Afghanistan - he had kept it vague because other than the 'big thing' he couldn't wait to tell her, he didn't want to discuss the horrors of war.
She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, nerves setting in once more.
Here she was, sitting opposite the man she was in love with, for anthropology's sake, about to bare her soul to him.
She opened her mouth, the speech she had prepared days ahead of time in an attempt to give herself the chance to reveal to him the epiphany she had come to in the most articulate manner possible, when her voice died in her throat.
Booth raised an eyebrow, seeing the scrunched look on her face that only meant one thing - she was nervous. "You're nervous," he stated. At the back of his mind, a small, almost dead part of him taunted 'even after a whole year apart, even after everything, you still know her like the back of your hand.' He ignored that and leaned forward, sliding his arms onto the table to give her a reassuring look. "Bones, you know you can tell me anything."
Brennan nodded. "I know," she answered his rhetorical question, making him smile. "I just…" she heaved a sigh.
She wanted to say it. It was right at the tip of her tongue. She found herself afraid, however, that this time, it would be her walking away with a broken heart. What then? Would she have to leave DC all over again? Would she have to go to another remote location, spend months away from home, from Booth, to try and get over him?
Brennan frowned as she noticed Booth moving his arm subtly, his gaze dropping on his watch for a second. "Do you have to be somewhere else?" she asked, masking her disappointment well.
Booth had the decency to look sheepish. "No, no," he shook his head. "We have all day, Bones. I just…There's something I need to tell you, too, and I'd rather tell you now before…"
He trailed off, and Brennan nodded, misinterpreting his meaning. "Of course. You should go first," she assured him.
Booth gave her a surprised look. "You sure?"
She nodded again. "It works out well," she said, smiling as she realized her words were true. "My revelation is a very big one. It would generate a very long discussion, I suspect. It's best for you to go ahead first."
Booth smiled his gratitude at her. "Okay, then," he agreed. Taking a deep breath, Booth ran a hand through his short hair. He thought of the perfect opening line to something like this, and images began to flood his mind, making his smile grow wider and wider until a chuckle burst forth from his lips.
Brennan shot him a confused smile. "Booth, I…Would you just tell me what it is already?" she asked in a tone reminiscent of Parker whining when he couldn't con Booth for an extra hour of TV time before bed. "I want to know."
Oh, she should've been careful what she wished.
Booth nodded, that ridiculously large grin still on his face as he leaned forward. She watched, mesmerized, as his eyes sparkled happily. "So, you know I was in Afghanistan," he said, beaming widely.
Brennan snorted. "Yes, Booth, I know," she rolled his eyes.
"Something happened to me there, Bones," he confessed to her, his voice low as though he was admitting something that was to be treated with utter reverence.
She raised her eyebrow, her lips parted and a 'go on' expression on her face, waiting to hear what it was.
"I fell in love."
Brennan's eyebrows shot to her hairline, the breath leaving her lungs in a whoosh.
She stared at him, unsure if this was a joke - a cruel, cruel joke - that was being played on her. But he was still smiling, and his eyes were still twinkling, and that warm expression that had made him look like a million bucks was still on his face - only this time, it wasn't directed at her.
"Hey, you're early!" she heard him say.
Brennan blinked away the tears that had accumulated in her eyes, composed herself and slid on the perfect, most neutral expression on her face. If there was one thing Brennan was good at that didn't involve her mind, it was putting on a beautiful poker face. It was something she had learned in foster care, and it was something she had brought with her to her adult life.
She employed it well as she looked up to see Booth standing up from his seat, embracing the lovely woman who had strode in.
Brennan eyed her, taking her all in. The woman wore a pair of jeans and one of those fashionable shirts that Angela had once tried to get Brennan to wear, along with a simple coat, but she looked like she could have been walking down the runway in Milan. She was tall, like a model. She was blonde, of course, with gorgeous wavy locks falling down her back. Her eyes were hazel, and the twinkle in them matched the one in Booth. She had pretty, delicate features.
"Yeah, I know," the woman replied, grinning widely as she accepted a kiss from Booth, the two of them breaking apart with a 'smack' and warm chuckles. "I hope that's okay."
The woman turned her attention to Brennan, a beautiful smile on her full lips. "Hi, you must be Dr. Brennan," she said. Brennan stood up to greet her as well, perhaps less enthusiastically than Booth had. "I'm Hannah Burley."
Brennan gave 'Hannah Burley' a warm, welcoming smile and shook her hand graciously. "It's very nice to meet you, Hannah," she said, even as her heart pounded so painfully in her throat.
"Seeley told me a lot about you, and the work the two of you did before he went to Afghanistan," Hannah told Brennan, smiling at Booth as he helped her into her seat before dropping into his own chair next to hers.
Brennan watched the interaction, her mind working a mile a minute. "Well, I can't say the same for you," she continued to smile as though her heart didn't feel like it was being torn from her body at the moment. "Booth had just started to tell me that he'd fallen in love when you came in."
A pretty blush rose to Hannah's porcelain cheeks. "Oh, is that so?" she asked, her tone coy as she gazed sideways at Booth.
Booth returned the loving look Hannah sent his way, leaning in to brush a kiss to her warm cheek. "Yes," he murmured, tenderly tucking a lock of her golden hair behind her ear. "You all settled in, babe?"
Hannah nodded. "You know I have so little," she shrugged.
Brennan's brows furrowed together. "I don't understand," she admitted.
Hannah and Booth both turned to look at her the same time. Brennan noted, with hurt that she concealed completely, that both of them looked as though they were surprised to see her sitting opposite them. As though they had forgotten she was there at all. As though he had forgotten she was there.
"Hannah lived in New York City before she went to Afghanistan," Booth explained to Brennan. "Since we didn't want to have a long distance relationship, Hannah decided to come live with me here in DC."
Brennan nodded. "That sounds logical," she said even as her stomach dropped at the thought of Booth getting a happily ever after with someone else. "It's not like Booth could move to NYC - he has Parker." She noted with sadness that Hannah didn't seem like she was confused by the name - Booth had clearly told her about his son, the most precious thing in his life.
Hannah beamed at Booth, taking his hand and entwining it with hers. "I don't want him to uproot his life, anyway," she said softly. "He's got more here than I had back in NYC. It was a simple decision."
Brennan took a bite of her salad, hoping that swallowing it would help to soothe her throat which had tighten so painfully that it was becoming hard to breathe.
"So, tell me how you two met," she said, a bright smile on her face as though she was perfectly happy for him.
Temperance Brennan sat there, staring at the man she was in love with and the woman he was in love with, listening to him recount every last detail of how he had met the amazing Hannah Burley and how he had fallen for her so completely, trying her hardest to ignore the way she wanted to badly to weep.
She learned about how Hannah was a journalist, who had gone to Afghanistan to report on the war coverage. She learned about how they had met at Booth's unit's base camp, where Hannah had been interviewing the recruiters. She learned about how Booth had asked Hannah to join him at the campfire and how they'd talked all night, well into morning. She learned about how they fell in love with each other in the span of one weekend, five months ago.
"That's quite a story," Brennan said, as Booth and Hannah finished retelling the events of their lives meshing together. She shook her head and smile as though she was amused by him, "Only you, Seeley Booth, would go to a war zone and fall in love…I'm very happy for you."
Booth gave Brennan a warm smile. She knew better, though, than to assume that that warmth was meant for her. She knew better now.
It had been strange for her to see him like that earlier by the reflecting pool - she had never seen him in love before. Not when it wasn't with her. In all the seven years they'd known each other, this was the one time he had been truly happy, and she knew it wasn't because of her.
"Thanks, Bones," Booth exhaled, leaning back in his seat, one arm draped over the back of Hannah's chair. He frowned as he realized that, as he and his girlfriend had babbled on about their love story, Brennan still hadn't had a chance to tell him about her big news. "So, what's your big news?"
Brennan's head snapped up and she stared at Booth, her entire body frozen. "What?"
"Your big news?" Booth prompted. "You know, you said it was life-altering."
Brennan fixed her gaze on the subject of her epiphany, a certain lightheartedness about him, with the subject of his love sitting right next to him.
Irony was a pain and karma was a bitch.
The words from her 'I-went-to-Maluku-and-discovered-I'm-in-love-with-you' speech floated around in her head repeatedly, taunting her.
Booth was still waiting, Hannah stealing fries off his plate as she, too, gazed at the quirky anthropologist, wondering if she should leave the partners alone to speak - maybe Brennan wasn't comfortable sharing something that was life-altering and so clearly personal with her around. After all, she was a stranger to Brennan.
Before she could turn to Booth and suggest she leave the two alone, however, Brennan had opened her mouth and blurted out the only thing she could think of that would've met the standard of 'life-altering'.
"I almost adopted a child in Indonesia."
Booth's jaw dropped and even Hannah stared. "Whoa, seriously?" Booth muttered, looking flabbergasted. "You were gonna be the Angelina Jolie of DC?"
Brennan frowned at him. "I don't know what that means," she told him blankly.
Hannah laughed slightly, "You're kidding…" She trailed off, her laughter dying when she realized that Brennan wasn't joking. "Oh. Well…Um…"
Booth interrupted, throwing Hannah a reassuring smile. No one really knew how to deal with Brennan at first meeting. Lord only knew he hadn't. "What happened?"
Brennan shrugged. "I met this little girl…" Her smile grew soft as she remembered Dewi. For a moment, just a moment, the pain she was feeling due to Hannah's presence faded into the background, leaving only a certain joy she wanted desperately to hold onto. "Her name is Dewi. She was orphaned at a very young age and had been raised by neighbors her whole life. It wasn't a stable environment, and I…Well, Dewi is a very…She's a very beautiful child."
Brennan dropped her gaze to her salad, poking at the vegetables with her fork. "I wanted to adopt her," she admitted in a low voice. "But I was…I guess I was afraid. It was very fifty-fifty for me, and in the end…I mean, I couldn't adopt her then decide I didn't want her."
She shook her head, dropping her fork and pushing the salad away, her appetite completely gone, "I find that I'm warring with myself to hop back on a flight to Indonesia to take her back with me."
Booth could only stare at his partner. Ex-partner, his mind silently reminded him, making him wince.
It hadn't been a secret that Brennan had wanted a child before - it was obvious, at least to him, that she had been very taken with Andy a few years back. Then there was that bizarre experience where she had asked him for his 'stuff' to get a child that was half hers, half him. But that desire had faded, or so he'd thought.
After all, she had never once mentioned it again after his surgery.
He'd catch her smiling at the sight of an adorable child once in a while, but most women did that, and his partner wasn't immune to the charms of little children, even before she'd expressed desire to have one of her own - look at how well she'd taken to Parker the first year of their partnership.
"Wow," he breathed, finding himself smiling at the sight of the wistful smile she wore as she spoke of 'Dewi'. "That is huge, Bones."
He thought he saw her grimace, but he couldn't be too sure - it was gone far too fast for him to catch.
Brennan simply nodded at his words, swallowing hard as her throat had gone completely dry now. "I decided that, if after a few months back here, I still decide on adopting a child…" she trailed off meaningfully.
Booth's eyes widened into large saucers. "You're going to go back to Indonesia and adopt Dewi?"
Brennan shook her head, laughing softly. "No, no…I mean, I only knew Dewi for two weeks, and she…Well, she changed my life," Brennan admitted honestly, running a hand through her hair. "She's a sweet child, but I observed her with her village and I found that she…Loves it there."
Her face fell minimally as she thought of the little girl, barely four years old, running around with the other children in the village, being loved by every member of her community. "I couldn't take her away from all of that," she sighed. "So I wrote a check, to support not only Dewi but the village, as well. I have received word from the chief that I will be getting updates on Dewi's life as she grows, and I would probably go back to visit her someday. But Dewi belongs in Indonesia, with the people her parents entrusted her to."
"So you're going to adopt here," Hannah clarified, chancing a part in the conversation she had been right about - too personal to have in the company of someone you had met just barely a half hour ago.
Brennan's eyes flickered to Hannah's, electrifying blue and bright hazel meeting, and she nodded. "Yes," she confirmed. "If I still desire a child by that time."
She knew she would. The decision to have a child of her own hadn't been made rashly. It had been a well thought out conclusion that had been derived from countless of sleepless nights thinking of Dewi, of Andy, of the child she had imagined herself having with Booth.
Maybe if I'd broached the subject again a few months after his surgery, Brennan found herself thinking. Maybe we would be together right now, and he would've never left for Afghanistan, and met Hannah.
Della came by the table once more, eyeing Hannah curiously and being very surprised when she was introduced as Booth's girlfriend. Brennan didn't miss the fleeting, sympathetic look Della had thrown her way. She absolutely hated it.
"I'm going to take my evals on Friday," Booth informed her as the three of them sat and ate. Well, Brennan pretended to eat, pushing her food around her plate to make it seem like she'd made a dent. Her appetite hadn't returned and the nausea she had felt the moment Booth had told her he'd fallen in love had returned full force. "If everything goes according to plan, I'll be back at work on Monday."
Brennan nodded. "I'm taking the weekend off, to visit my dad and Russ, but I'll be back on Monday, as well," she said, the two of them eyeing each other with small smiles on their faces.
"You still wanna catch murderers with me?" Booth asked her, waggling his eyebrow ridiculously.
Brennan rolled her eyes, but she nodded anyway. "Yes, of course," she replied, sounding a little defensive.
He shrugged. "Okay. It's just…Before you left…You were all 'I need space', and now…" he trailed off, unsure what had brought this on.
Brennan took a sip of her coffee. "I did get my space, Booth," she reminded him. "A whole year's worth. I'm good now. We'll get right back to work on Monday, everything will be fine."
Booth grinned at her. "That's the spirit, Bones!" he enthused. "You know, for a moment there, I was sorta worried you wouldn't want-"
Whatever her soon-to-be-partner-again was going to say was cut off when his cell phone vibrated, moving slightly on the table. Booth snatched it up and answered it immediately upon looking at the caller ID. "Hey, bub! Yeah, I'm real excited to see you, too! Make sure you pack an overnight bag, okay? Your mom said you could stay over. Alright! Yeah…Hey, I've got something important to tell you when we see each other later. No, it's nothing bad…No, I'm not leaving again. It's a very good thing, actually…Yeah, okay, bub. I'll let you go. See you later, Parks. Bye."
Brennan eyed Booth with surprise as he ended the call, a goofy smile on his face. "You haven't met up with Parker yet?"
Instead of Booth answering, however, it was Hannah who did. "No, Parker is still in school," Hannah said, speaking with such familiarity that it was as if she had actually met the ten year old before. "We'll be picking him up and taking him out for dinner later."
Brennan smiled. "That sounds nice," she managed to choke.
Booth grinned. "We gotta get going, babe," he said to Hannah, downing the remaining of his coffee and placing his empty mug down on the table. "We've gotta get some things for the house before picking Parker up."
Hannah nodded, standing up along with Booth. Brennan stood as well. "It was really nice meeting you, Dr. Brennan," Hannah said sincerely, smiling widely at Brennan.
Brennan took the offered hand, shaking it gently. "You, too," she answered as politely as she could. "Have fun with Parker later."
Booth pressed a swift kiss to Brennan's cheek, and Brennan noted that Hannah's eyes didn't even flash with the tiniest bit of jealousy. "See ya Monday, Bones," he said cheerfully. "C'mon, babe," he turned to Hannah, leading her away from the table.
Brennan watched, the smile on her face getting more and more painful to keep in place, as Booth placed one hand on the small of Hannah's back and led her towards the diner's exit.
Once Booth and Hannah were out of the diner, Brennan sunk back down on her chair. She stared at the space where her partner and his girlfriend had just sat, two empty cups of coffee and one plate of fries between them.
The incredulity of what she had just found out an hour ago hadn't quite disappeared, the shock still omnipotent.
"Hon?" she felt someone shaking her by the shoulder. Brennan blinked and looked up blankly, seeing Della by the table. She was still wearing that sympathetic look on her face. "You want something else, hon?"
"No," she answered immediately, and winced when her voice cracked. Brennan cleared her throat and gave Della a forced smile. "Thank you. But I have to get going."
"Of course, hon."
Brennan stood from her seat, dropping a suitable amount of money to cover the price of the food she had ordered and barely touched and a nice tip for Della. She grabbed her coat and put it on as she made her way to the door.
She was surprised to find, as she stepped outside the diner, that the sky had darkened considerably. Apparently, she had sat there, staring at Booth's empty seat, for quite some time.
Zipping up her coat, Brennan wrapped her arms around her middle as she walked down the sidewalk away from the diner.
She bowed her head, feeling her throat closing up all over again. This time, as the tears welled in her eyes, she allowed them to spill over onto her cheeks, biting her lower lip as hard as she could without drawing blood to stifle the sobs that threatened to escape her mouth.
"One of the hardest things in life is watching the person you love, love someone else."