AN- Although I missed the conversation, I was intrigued by Thnx4theGum's twitter challenge of resolving Hannah in 1500+ words with no dialogue. My stories are typically dialogue-heavy, so it was indeed a challenge! Hope I did okay… Let me know. :-) I'd LOVE reviews on this one!
Her heart skipped a beat as she walked into the Royal Diner. Automatically, her gaze moved to the table in the corner… and for the first time that she could remember, he didn't look up as she walked in. She moved to the counter and took the seat that had now become her norm. The seat she preferred was already taken. She ordered her lunch and tried not to torture herself by watching the couple in the corner.
He looked happy. Hannah made him happy. That was all she really wanted for him, right?
She wanted him. She knew that now. She was tired of being selfless. Her attempt at putting his happiness above everything else is what brought them here. One way or another, it was time to fix her mistake, but she didn't know how.
She knew before she left Maluku that she was in love with Booth. There was no denying it any longer, and she even found herself ready to tell him. The night they got back, she was so happy to see him that she practically threw herself into his arms. Although it felt wonderful to be in his arms again, she knew then that something was amiss. This embrace wasn't as tight as she'd remembered, and although she couldn't exactly put her finger on it, he seemed distant somehow. These were things that the less self-aware Temperance Brennan of a year ago may not have noticed, but today's Brennan was determined to move past it. She was ready. She wanted to have a real relationship with Booth and she was ready to tell him.
When they sat down on the steps together she'd been so hopeful. She told him she'd had no inclination for romance when she was away… she meant that she had no inclination for romance with anyone but him. She opened her mouth to tell him just that but before she got the chance, her whole world was shattered. Hannah. He looked so happy when he told her about Hannah. She tried to look happy for him. She tried not to look like her heart was being crushed within her chest. She tried not to laugh as she finally realized the correlation between her metaphorical heart and her physical one.
She decided right then to compartmentalize her feelings. She could do that. She would put away her own feelings and be there for him as he'd always been for her.
That was six months ago. She realized that she just couldn't do it anymore… the pain wasn't going away. If anything, it was getting stronger. The constriction around her heart got a little tighter each time she saw them together, and became almost unbearable when Parker was added to the mix.
She knew what she had to do.
He was stunned.
He sat back in his chair and stared at the door that Angela had just vacated. The artist had turned his world upside down in less than five minutes. She'd come storming into his office without as much as a hello, and demanded that he fix it. He'd asked her what the hell she was talking about and that was when she'd dropped the bomb. She was leaving. Brennan was leaving. Bones… his Bones was leaving.
According to Angela, she had accepted a position with the University of Cairo and would be leaving for Egypt in just a few weeks. Angela had blown him out of the water by telling him that if he didn't get his head out of his ass, they were all going to lose her. She told him that for years she'd held her tongue and waited for them to find their way but there wasn't any more time for waiting. It was now or never and someone had to do something.
He couldn't be sure, but he thought his heart had actually stopped beating when Angela told him that Bones had changed her mind. She'd come home from Maluku ready to tell him that she wanted to give them a try. She was in love with him and he'd moved on. Angela told him that she'd tried to compartmentalize as only Temperance Brennan could. But she had gotten to the point where she just couldn't do it anymore. It hurt too much.
She'd spent the past six months watching him play house with Hannah. And he realized that was exactly what he'd been doing.
What was he going to do about Hannah? He loved her. He truly did… but he couldn't lose Bones. He'd never really love any woman the way he loved her and he knew it.
Hannah deserved more. She deserved someone who could love her with his whole heart, someone who wasn't in love with someone else. So much for moving on.
What the hell was he going to do now?
That's what she had to do. He had said that he had to move on and she'd accepted it, now she knew that she had to move on as well. This was the only way she knew to do it.
She'd been putting off Dr. Halawani for years. He'd become more persistent in his offer over the past year or so, and so it seemed the perfect way to get away from Booth and Hannah.
She knew she was running away, but at the same time, it seemed the only thing she could do. She could no longer sit back and watch as the man she loved, most likely the only man she would ever love, built a life with someone else. The pain had become almost unbearable.
What surprised her most was not that she couldn't compartmentalize her feelings, but that she no longer wanted to.
Booth had taught her the importance of having an open heart. He had slowly and methodically torn down the invisible walls she'd built around her metaphorical heart. He had proven to her that love was more than a chemical reaction and that it did not have to be ephemeral. She didn't want to build those walls back up, but she knew that she would if she stayed in DC and had to continue watching Booth and Hannah making a life together and a family for Parker.
She didn't know why she had been so surprised when Booth had introduced Parker to Hannah. He had never introduced Parker to anyone he was dating for as long as she'd known him, but then again if Hannah was going to be living with Booth she would have to get to know his son.
She didn't know how she was going to tell her partner that she was leaving. Angela had not taken the news very well. In fact, she had seemed almost angry.
It really was an excellent opportunity. Dr. Halawani ran a very strong program and they'd recently made some big discoveries. She was anxious to get back out into the field and onto a dig site.
He was nervous, pacing the room like a caged tiger. He hated what he was about to do, but he knew that he had to do it. It was the only way. He went to the sideboard and poured himself two fingers of his good Scotch… the one Bones had given him for his last birthday. The irony wasn't lost on him.
He sank down into the plush cushions of his sofa and waited for her to come home.
Hannah opened the door to the apartment and greeted him with a smile. She dropped her bag on the coffee table and sat down next to him. She leaned over for a kiss, and her face fell when she really looked at him for the first time. The look on his face told her everything she needed to know.
She had been waiting for this day to come.
She had known for a very long time that her boyfriend was in love with his partner. What she wasn't sure of was whether or not his feelings were reciprocated. She was really good at reading people, she had to be to do her job- but Temperance Brennan had always been an enigma. She'd never quite been able to get a read on her. She knew they had history, but Seeley never talked about it.
She had created a whole back story in her mind.
She imagined that the partners had been engaged in a torrid affair but had to keep it under wraps because of their partnership. This hadn't lasted because Seeley was too honest. He couldn't live a lie and he couldn't hide in the shadows. They decided to break it off for the sake of their partnership, but they remained the best of friends. They had each taken a sabbatical from their lives to separate themselves from each
That's where she came in. The rebound girl.
Hannah Burley had never been a rebound girl. She was a heartbreaker, the girl whose nomadic lifestyle had left a string of hearts in her wake. She had never before been able to give her whole heart because she could never stay in one place long enough to do so. She was always moving on. Of course, that was before she'd met Seeley Booth and before she'd given it all up to put down roots in DC.
They sat silently staring ahead. Neither one spoke… neither one knew what to say.
A wry smile spread across her face as she contemplated the irony of her situation. This time instead of leaving a broken heart behind her, she'd be taking her own broken heart along with her. There could be no other outcome. She could stand up and fight for him and for the love that they obviously shared, but she knew it would never be enough… and Hannah Burley could never settle for second best. She knew what she had to do.
She stood up, leaned in a placed a gentle kiss on his lips and silently turned as she went to pack her things.
As the sun rose over the capitol, two people sat next to each other on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Her arms were wrapped around one of his and their hands were entwined. They had spent the entire night talking, dreaming and planning.
Late in the evening, he had called and asked her to meet him at their spot. She hesitated… she wasn't yet ready to tell him about her plans, but she knew she couldn't put it off any longer. She agreed to meet him.
She'd had to fight back tears when she'd seen him standing there in the glow of the moonlight. That was how she wanted to remember him; he was smiling, his hands tucked into the pockets of his jeans and his jacket opened to reveal a faded Foreigner t-shirt.
His smile seemed to widen as she moved closer.
A feeling of warmth and contentment filled her, it seemed to start at her heart and spread from there. She hadn't felt this comfortable, or loved, in a very long time. Six months, to be exact.
As she approached, he opened his arms to her and instinctively, she moved into his embrace. She closed her eyes and allowed herself the luxury of being held by him. She took in everything about him…the way he smelled, the hard planes of his chest against her, the security she felt as his arms enveloped her. She wanted to memorize this moment. It would get her through many long nights to come.
What happened next had taken her completely by surprise. He'd pulled back just a little so that he could look down into her eyes. Still smiling, he leaned down and pressed his lips to hers. His kiss was sweet and gentle, and she found herself responding in kind. She never wanted this moment to end, but she knew it had to. Soon, she would be on her way to Egypt and he would go home to Hannah.
This was wrong, they had to stop.
It took everything she had to stop the kiss and push herself back out of his arms.
Before she could speak, he placed a finger gently against her lips. He'd asked her to be patient and let him explain. He told her that he couldn't live without her and he begged her not to go. He told her that he'd tried to move on, but there was no moving on from her. She was the standard… everyone else paled in comparison.
He told her that Hannah was gone. She'd left her position with the Press Corps and took a new assignment that sent her to Iraq just that morning.
She wanted to feel badly that Hannah had left, she told him she was sorry… she hated to see him hurting.
He told her that he wasn't sorry at all. That wasn't entirely true, he was sorry that Hannah had gotten hurt because he had sincerely cared for her… but Hannah knew the truth. Hannah knew that he would never love her the way that he loved his partner.
She told him that she wanted to try… that she finally believed that thirty, or forty, or fifty years was possible.
He reached out and took her hand.
Hand in hand, they had walked over the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and sat down. Neither noticed the chill of the night as they sat huddled together… laughing, crying, kissing-talking and dreaming of a future where the center would hold.