[A/N – I am laughing as I do another thing I never thought I'd do. I am too long-winded for one shots, and I am not nearly spontaneous enough to write quickly to meet a challenge. But I must have been really stuck in my other story because I got inspired tonight to try to write something for Thnx4theGum's twitter challenge of resolving Hannah in 1500+ words with no dialogue. This isn't half the fic the other challenge fics are (even though it's twice as long and rambly), but it's written. Hope you enjoy it.]
The Truth in Her Fiction
One typically quiet afternoon at the laboratory, Temperance Brennan received a call from her agent confirming plans for her upcoming book tour. Brennan had penned another soon-to-be best seller and would proceed to make the obligatory public appearances that accompanied such a successful publication. However, she'd already approved the schedule and was therefore slightly annoyed that her agent was calling to go over the plans again—she considered such calls a waste of her precious time. But when her agent explained the changes she'd made to Brennan's book tour itinerary, she had no way of knowing that she was changing the woman's life.
THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION… THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION… THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION…
Ever the keen observer of facts and circumstance, Temperance Brennan had become acutely aware that her own evolutionary development had halted in that moment when she'd turned down Booth when he asked her to give a relationship between them "a shot." Without realizing it until after it had happened, she'd become suspended in a limited existence which very closely resembled her early days at the Jeffersonian much more it did the bulk of the time she'd spent there. She'd become so isolated and lonely that she didn't share this realization with anyone. Like so many things these days, she simply locked that knowledge in the vault of her enormous brain and moved on.
As in those early days at the Jeffersonian, Brennan now worked extraordinarily long hours, surrounded herself with science, demanded too much of those working in her immense shadow of expertise, and spent inordinate amounts of time alone. For years, she'd done all of those things in an attempt to improve her expertise, broaden her knowledge, impart it to others, and improve her esteem in the eyes of colleagues and competitors. Although it pained her to acknowledge it, she no longer found those goals as worthy of all of her aspiration or nearly as capable of stirring her heart and giving her complete peace and satisfaction.
In more recent years, the scientist in Brennan had begrudgingly allowed other aspects of her personality and intellect to surface and vie for dominance her everyday life. She'd always be the consummate forensic anthropologist, but she'd also begun developing a more full life and existence. She'd spent significantly more time befriending others, developing her social skills, expanding her horizons, accepting her flawed family, pursuing activities for mere enjoyment, and building a partnership which had eventually become the rock upon which all other aspects of her existence were based.
It was that partnership—the one which endured but was no longer thriving as it once had—that had taught her that there was indeed a life outside that laboratory she'd always loved. Through that partnership, she'd learned to trust others, to rely upon instincts in addition to knowledge, to confess that there were things she had not yet learned, and to allow her happiness to relate strongly to her relationships with other people.
In some of her more quiet moments of reflection, Temperance admitted that she'd learned to love through her partnership with Seeley Booth. The man she'd grown to depend upon and respect had stood beside her through so many crises, willingly taken a bullet to save her life, encouraged her to reach out and accept her family's feeble attempts to remedy their mistakes, and shown her that life and love were brighter and more colorful when one shared them with someone special. By becoming a constant in her life, Booth had become as important to her as her beloved scientific principles. His presence in her life at any time she needed him or wanted a friend had become as inevitable as the gravitational pull of planets and as discernible as the shape and composition of each of the bones she worked with daily.
Even when it hurt to admit it, Brennan realized that she was extremely grateful to Booth for the way that he'd shared so much of his life and his heart with her over the years. As with so many things, Brennan hadn't begun to appreciate Booth and everything he'd done for her until they'd been separated. During those long, lonely months on the islands, she'd gotten the perspective she'd wanted. It had become all too clear to her that her partner—her friend-had sacrificed his own comfort and happiness for hers. He'd waited for years for her to care for him the way he cared about her. But it had only been after she was far from him and aching for him acutely that she realized how difficult it must have been for him to continue working with her after she'd refused his offer of a relationship. With distance sharpening her understanding and helping her achieve a clarity she'd not had before, she appreciated Booth's devotion to her even more. Ending their partnership or working with her less frequently certainly would have been easier. Yet he continued to be her friend, her confidant, her beloved partner even when it hurt him to do so. He'd shown her what love really meant.
Arriving home and learning that Booth had fallen in love with someone else had nearly shattered her. Instead of talking to him about actually giving a romantic relationship a chance, she'd been forced to do for him what he'd already done for her. It had been difficult and she knew that she hadn't been nearly as graceful as Booth had in managing it, but Brennan had managed to accept his news with poise and support for him. Somehow she'd managed to embrace the idea of him moving on and finding happiness without her because it had meant he'd be truly happy. Wincing internally, she'd also embraced physically and metaphorically—Hannah Burley, the actual woman who had taken the place she now coveted.
In the times in which existing in this new environment became most painful, Brennan remembered the things Booth had told her about love and relationships. She now had confirmation that she loved him—she could always muster the determination to do what would ensure his happiness without considering the personal cost. She contented herself with the knowledge that they were still family—grateful that there really could be more than one kind of family and that Booth would still consider her family even though he had moved on and found another woman to share his heart as well as his bed.
Admittedly, some days were easier than others. One of the recent harder days had been when Booth had told her that he and Hannah were becoming more serious—that they had begun talking more about the future and that he was grateful that it appeared that this relationship might be one that lasted for the long term. Unbidden tears carefully hidden through recent practice, Brennan had smiled at him and told him sincerely that she was happy for him. He'd smiled at her the way he'd done long ago—back when they were becoming fast friends. Knowing that the fact that he'd shared this information with her meant they were still close should have helped. But nothing could have consoled her. She'd felt his withdrawal from her physically and ached to do something to stop it.
After he'd left, her mind had flashed haphazardly through a whole range of thoughts about what would happen if—no, when—Booth married Hannah. Despite the fact that she would have sworn to anyone who had asked her that Booth and Hannah deserved to find happiness together, a part of her now felt irreparably broken. Missing Booth for a season had been painful but endurable. The thought that she'd be relegated to the periphery of his world permanently was a nearly crippling concept.
She could see clearly how all of her friends and family members would continue to evolve—they'd date and marry and have children and continue to expand their relationships and the depth of their experiences. She would continue to be alone the way she'd always planned. Only now those plans disturbed her greatly. She knew that she would continue to stagnate—longing for a more full life and finding no way to have one. She'd continue to observe others as they evolved and grew and experienced life. She'd remain only an anthropologist immersed in the study of others' lives, and she'd lack the perspective of experiencing the thoughts and feelings and relationships that added such vibrant detail and happiness to the lives of those around her.
Resigned to her fate, Temperance persevered, working and reading and spending her evenings in the lab or alone in her apartment. She no longer wrote fiction—her inspiration had resulted from her relationship and partnership with Booth, and writing about the imaginary world of their partnership was now just another painful reminder that she'd turned her back on the true source of inspiration for the books so many loved.
As she had when faced with other unpleasant tasks, Temperance began reminding herself that her life would be unchanging and that experience would condition her to spend time alone and to watch those she loved mature and grow in ways she'd only experience from a distance. She'd learn not to miss writing over time the same way she hoped that she'd somehow learn to pining for the opportunity she'd passed up to have a relationship with her partner.
THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION… THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION… THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION…
Her heart had already been heavy the afternoon that Temperance Brennan had received that call from her agent confirming plans for her upcoming book tour. Eager for any opportunity to escape her mundane existence, Brennan had agreed to go out and publicize the book she'd written while in Maluku. She'd compartmentalized her emotions about the fact that the book would be released soon adeptly. But when her agent called to tell her that she'd shifted many of the public appearances to the two weeks around Christmas, Brennan's heart sank. Her agent had gone on to explain that, because she knew that Dr. Brennan had no family and did not celebrate Christmas, she knew that she wouldn't mind spending the holidays jetting around the country and signing books for strangers. Pre-orders for the book indicated that it would sell well and quickly, and signing copies during the holidays would provide her readers with the chance to provide a personalized gift to their loved ones.
Brennan knew that she was being irrational. She didn't celebrate Christmas and she had no plans for the holidays at all. But being told blatantly the sad facts of her current existence was a painful blow. Her voice shaky with emotion, Brennan consented to the changes. She tried to tell herself that perhaps spending the festive season among strangers would ease her loneliness. She doubted that would be true, but she had no choice but to force herself to hope. Miserable, she tried to hang up, but then her agent asked her to explain the title for her latest book. Unable to struggle through emotions her memories of developing that title stirred, she muttered something about e-mailing a statement to her agent and hung up.
Caught up in overflowing emotions she'd been repressing since her return to a world now fully decorated with Booth loving Hannah, Brennan rushed out of her office. On her way out the door, she half-crashed into her partner. Upon seeing him there and being faced with losing him all over again, her tears increased exponentially. She had to leave immediately. She was in no condition to see Booth in that moment.
Concerned for her, Booth tried to stop her, asked her what was wrong, and offered to help, but Brennan struggled to press past him until he allowed her to leave. In moving past his outstretched arms, she dropped most of what she'd been carrying. He scooped up the items and chased after her with them, but she was determined not to let him follow. Promising that she would be fine and that she'd call him later, Brennan escaped, yelling back over her shoulder that she'd pick up the mess in her office later.
Stunned by her abrupt, emotional departure, Booth stood there staring after her long after she'd left. Puzzled and worried for her but knowing from experience not to press her when she wasn't ready, he stacked the items that had fallen neatly in the center of her desk. He'd come by to remind Bones to prepare for an upcoming hearing. They didn't have a current case, and he knew that she'd prepared well for this case already, so he decided that she deserved the time off to calm down and deal with whatever was upsetting her. He'd check in with her again in the morning and remind her about her testimony. He sighed, wishing that he knew what was troubling her and feeling guilty that he didn't.
Sighing and turning to leave, he looked down and realized what the item on the top of the stack of papers and binders was. It was Bones' latest book.
Ever curious about her writing and eager to get a sneak peak, he picked the book up and carried it over to the sofa, arranging pillows so that he'd be comfortable while he read. Settling onto the sofa, he pulled the book into his lap and looked down at the cover. Ironically, he squinted at the words on the cover and the artwork Angela might have created for it. He had been unprepared for what he'd see and immediately lost all capacity to stop himself from opening the book and beginning to read it quickly.
THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION… THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION… THE TRUTH IN HER FICTION…
At three-thirty in the morning, a restless Brennan was pulled from her fitful sleep by a knock on the door of her apartment. Stumbling out of bed and toward the door, she stopped and pulled the wooden baseball bat Booth had left in her umbrella stand out before checking the peephole to see who was knocking.
She should have expected Booth to be the only person who'd knock on her door at such an inappropriate hour, but seeing him there was still a shock. Her body trembling, she opened the door and stared at the man standing there.
When he stepped into her apartment and turned to look at her, she made no attempt to hide her distress or exhaustion from him. He confessed that he'd read her book—most of it—all the important parts of it, anyway. She started to protest and complain the way she had so many times before when he'd tried every trick he could think of to look at one of her manuscripts. But her half-hearted scolding of him sounded as hollow and empty as she now felt.
Booth looked at her carefully for a long moment. When she looked away, he stepped closer, pulling her gaze involuntarily back to meet his. He tilted his head and smiled crookedly at her, his eyes betraying emotions he'd not yet found a way to voice.
Swallowing hard and gazing at her to implore her to be honest with him, Booth asked her what had inspired her book. She attempted a typical Brennan-style explanation about how she'd written a light, fluffy story while in the islands to counterbalance the seriousness of the work she'd been doing. He told her to cut the crap. Afraid and a bit angry, she glared at him, but the tenderness in his expression melted her frustrations away.
She spoke his name, hoping to stop him from pressing her for information she wasn't capable of sharing with him, but he would not be silenced.
Terrifying her, he lifted her book up and read from the dedication.
"To the man who taught me that love can matter more than anthropology. May I find the courage to tell him how much Kathy really loves Andy."
Brennan had forgotten the lines she'd penned while on the high of realizing that she had been ready to come home and reach out to Booth and ask him to start a relationship. She'd tried to have the words retracted, but the book had already gone to press. Over time, she'd forced herself to assume that Booth would have been too busy to read her book. Now she was faced with the fact that those two sentences—and the other happy parts of the story in which the fictional character based on her finally confessed her love for her fictional partner—would tell Booth more about how she felt than she'd ever done herself.
Tears rimming his eyes, he whispered her name. Then he asked her if there was something she wanted to tell him.
Barely able to move, she nodded at him through her tears. He took a bold step closer and took her hands in his. Then he asked her to tell him what he needed to know. When she hesitated, he whispered that he wanted her to tell him what he'd always wanted to hear from her.
Moving even closer to him and drawing strength from his presence and from her raw need for him to know that she loved him, she looked up into those eyes that had watched her, teased her, scolded her, and adored her for so long and confessed that she loved him. Once the initial words slipped out, Temperance found a voice for the feelings she'd denied and kept hidden for years.
She'd still been telling him how she felt about him and how much she'd missed him when he'd reached out and pulled her tightly to him, enfolding her in a tender embrace that told her that it might not be too late for them. Holding her and saying silent prayers of gratitude that he was finally hearing words her heart had been speaking to his for years, Booth allowed himself to relax and to hold the woman he wholeheartedly loved.
Moments later, Brennan grew silent and her fears of rejection started stirring. But when Booth pulled back to look at her, she realized she no longer had anything at all to fear.
He whispered to her that he'd rushed straight to the apartment and confessed to Hannah that he had to break off their relationship. She'd been stunned and fought the idea, but he'd insisted that he couldn't give her his heart because it already belonged to someone else—to her.
Reeling from the shock of the fact that she'd told Booth how she felt and that he seemed genuinely thrilled, Brennan embraced him again and held him tightly. When she next pulled back to look up at her partner and friend, his eyes told her that he loved her more than ever and that he'd soon be her lover. Booth leaned down and kissed her, gently at first and then with the fervor of a man convinced he'd fallen in love for the last time.
They immersed themselves in one another fully, relishing the new sensations as well as the return of the intimacy they'd known for years. As they held each other and whispered how much they loved each other, the copy of the book he'd been holding fell to the floor loudly but without being noticed. As the partners shared the most intimate of reunions, they celebrated the fact that the book had been aptly titled. It was called Andy's Bones.