Disclaimer: I do not own Bones, but I am obsessed!
Author's Note: Hello friends! A not so brief one-shot that got stuck in my head today. Enjoy.
Hannah Burley looked around Booth's empty office. She had popped into the Bureau on a rare day between stories to take her boyfriend out to lunch. However, she had mixed up his schedule and he was stuck in a meeting with Caroline Julian that had no hope of ending in the near future. So she had gone exploring. She decided that she could go say hello to Lance. For some unknown reason, he usually avoided her; well not just her, everybody. When everyone was together, he was very pleasant, but she noticed that he tended to observe things, not take part in them. She reasoned that he was a psychologist, and observing things was his way of life. It didn't mean that she couldn't go annoy him while waiting for Seeley. A playful grin appeared on her face as she made her way towards the elevator. A few minutes messing with Sweets would make up for missing lunch with Seeley, almost.
Sweets had been alone in his office when she had burst in without knocking. He appeared flustered for a moment, and then composed herself and chatted idly. They talked about mundane issues, and Hannah's journalist senses were tingling. It was like he was purposefully not pushing her, not trying to glean information from her, like he was trying to not get to know her. So she was trying to get to know him, to press him, try and figure out why exactly he wasn't open with her. But Sweets was saved by the bell, or the office phone ringing, anyway. He had forgotten to sign some form and an annoyed secretary needed the signature immediately. So he politely excused himself from Hannah's presence and said that he would be back in a moment and invited her to make herself comfortable. He rushed out the door, and Hannah couldn't decide if it was because he didn't want to raise anymore of the secretary's ire or because he needed the escape route.
She sat on the couch for a moment and then decided that he had invited her to make herself comfortable. She was most comfortable being a journalist, exploring. Feeling impish she made her way over to his rather impressive bookcases. She scrolled a finger across many titles, most looking exceedingly boring. On the bottom shelf she noticed a mini Freud collection and remembering a long repressed Women's Studies course, she picked up the thickest volume and flipped through it idly for a moment. As she went to put the book back in its slot she noticed that it didn't thunk against the wood of the bookcase as she had expected. Instead, the back of the case felt soft. Curious, she pulled off the entire Freud section from the case and hidden behind it was a manuscript encased in a plastic cover. Even more curious, she removed the book, "Bones: The Heart of the Matter." Was this Sweets' secret, why he seemed to always be on the outside of the group of squints? Was he in love with Dr. Brennan? Was that it? He seemed like a nice kid, was he actually some sort of psycho stalker? She hastily hid the manuscript under her jacket, replaced all of the books with a satisfying thud in the back of the case and exited the office.
Sweets returned to an empty room, confused but relieved. Hannah was awesome as a person. But as the woman interfering with his Mama and Papa Duck, she totally sucked. He went back to his files and continued with his appointments, completely oblivious as to what was missing from his office and where it had gone.
Booth returned home that night to the smell of a chicken and rice casserole hot from the oven and some cold beers in the fridge. It was nice to come back to a home cooked meal and a smiling girlfriend. Instead of a smiling girlfriend however, there was a pensive one. She gave him a quick peck hello on the cheek and began dishing up dinner. There were each onto their second helping and a second beer when Hannah shifted focus from everyday topics to the manuscript that she had been reading for the past six hours while waiting for him to finish his day. "So you didn't tell me that Sweets wrote fiction."
Booth's head snapped up from his bite of food. "What are you talking about?" He knew Sweets wrote research papers and books, and one ill-timed manuscript, but he didn't write fiction, did he?
Hannah smiled, "I found this ridiculous book in his office about you and Temperance." Booth dropped the fork that had hung in midair between the table and his mouth. It echoed as it hit the plate. He picked up his beer and gulped the three-quarters full bottle until it was bone dry.
His voice cracked as he tried to act nonchalant, "It wasn't ridiculous. Just misguided."
Now it was Hannah's turn to chug her beer. "You read it? You read the book about you and Bones?"
"Yeah, I did."
"And what? It was his right to make observations, and he realized a critical error and he never published it. Where did you get a copy of it anyway?"
Hannah looked relieved for a moment and she hazarded a smile, "In his office, he didn't hide it as well as he thought he did. So he realized how big a mistake he made when he said that you two were in love with each other?"
"No, Cleo Eller wasn't our first case," he said honestly.
"So what. Nothing ever happened between us. And I'm with you now. And we are all happy: you, me and Bones"
"Wait, back up. You were in love with each other, but nothing ever happened between you, and you just go on everyday as partners and nothing else."
"Well, we are friends, but yeah. That's the idea. She said no, no to the idea of being more than that. Friends and work partners, that's it."
"You told her you love her, and she said no?" Hannah sounded incredulous. Who on earth would say no to being loved by this man?
"Yeah, of course, I told her..." His voice trailed off and then his mouth opened and shut several times, realization dawning on his face. He had said it once, and then qualified and negated it. And then that night, that awful night, he had never said it. He had meant to, but somehow he never had and before he had another chance, he was in another country and heart-crushed and Hannah was there. He practically whispered, "No. No, I never told her."
"Then what are you doing here, with me?" Hannah did not sound angry, just a little pitiful.
"Hannah, I love you. I'd never betray that."
"Seeley, I know. You've been wonderful, just answer one question. Do you still love her?" He hesitated, he knew that his honesty would hurt her.
"Yes. I do. I'm sorry, I'll always have feelings for her. But we can make this work. We can work this out."
"Seeley, don't worry about it. I know when to bow out gracefully."
"Shh, we had a great thing, but I'm not a rebound, and I am not a homewrecker. That book, how could anyone read that and get in the way of true love?"
"She doesn't believe in love."
"Yes, she does. She may deny it, but she believes in you. Please, don't give up. I promise that I won't get in the way anymore." She got up from the table and grabbed her purse and Sweets' book and made her way toward the door. "I'll get my things in the morning, and leave the key under the door. I'll see you around sometime. Take care, of you and Temperance. And say good-bye to Parker and the squints for me. I'll miss all of you." She gave a friendly wave and made her way out of the apartment, leaving a shocked Booth in her wake.
Brennan sighed at the incessant knocking at her door. Wearily, she set down her laptop and made her way to the door. It wasn't Booth's knock, but there was no reason for it to be. Not anymore, not at this time of night when he should be at his own home. She peered through the peephole and saw blond, wavy hair.
Brennan slowly unlocked and opened her door. Before she could even say any sort of greeting, Hannah was pressing a manuscript gently into her hands. Not just any manuscript, the manuscript, the one that had ultimately forced Brennan and Booth to opposite ends of the globe.
"Temperance, why didn't you tell me?" Hannah's voice was not accusatory, just curious and oddly concerned.
"Tell you what?"
"To back off, to get out, to not move in with him..." Hannah's voice grew even softer. "Why didn't you tell me that you were in love with him?"
Brennan's face had paled and tears had filled her eyes, but she was quiet and calm as she responded. "I want him to be happy, and you make him happy. I didn't want to get in the way."
Hannah sighed and pulled the scientist in for a hug. Brennan, frozen to the floor and clutching that stupid book to her chest, accepted it. Hannah released her and looked into the shocked face. "Oh Temperance, why don't you think that you could make him happy? Do you know how many stories that he told about you in Afghanistan, how many stories he tells about you to me and to Parker? Do you know how many times he and Parker watched the DVR of you on the Science Dude's show? They loved it. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. You do make him happy. Everyday."
"I can't. I can't be in love with him. I don't have an open heart. He wants forever. I can't give him that. What if I decide that it isn't worth it? What if he decides... what if he decides that I'm not..."
Hannah cut her off. "Dr. Temperance Brennan, you are worth it. Totally and completely worth it. And as for your heart, I was there when you told me about the rotary phone and being sure about moving in with Booth. I've seen you work, how dedicated you are. I know what kind of heart you have. I wouldn't have broken up with him and walked away if I didn't honestly think that you and Seeley belonged together. Especially, after reading that." She glanced towards the book.
"But what if they split us up as partners? The FBI has rules, regulations."
"That is not an excuse. Don't let it be. You will work it out."
"No more buts. Here," Hannah poked her finger at the manuscript. "Reread page 113, and think about what the kid said. And then go talk to Booth. I'm staying on my editor's couch tonight. Go to him."
Without another word Hannah turned towards the door, opened it and worked her way out of the apartment. The door had almost closed when Hannah flung it back open and looked once more at the scientist who had still not moved a muscle.
"Oh and Temperance, I expect an invite to the wedding, and Hannah is an excellent name for a baby girl. Just so you know." And with the final word, the door closed. The gentle thump reached Brennan's ears and she shivered back to life.
Booth was several glasses into his good scotch, having polished off the remaining six-pack when he heard a soft knock on the door. He knew that knock. Slowly, he got to his feet, Bones was waiting for him. He couldn't imagine why she was here. Had something happened to Angela? To Max? Bones never came over anymore, not at this late hour, at least not since Hannah had moved in. Booth's heart constricted. Hannah was gone, Booth had once again failed at keeping a relationship going. He was an idiot, a loser. He had finally reached the door, and he opened it slowly, as if it were a great weight. Brennan stood there, holding Thai food and looking very nervous. Nervous, but there was another emotion that Booth had rarely seen on her face. If he didn't know any better, he would have called the look hopeful.
Brennan spoke, but without her usual confidence. "I know its late. I brought food. I'm sorry, its cold. I sat in the car for an hour before I got up the nerve to knock."
Booth opened the door wider and ushered her in, but he was silent.
Brennan set the food down on the counter and Booth methodically began to get out plates and heat up containers in the microwave. Brennan said nothing as he put her favorites on a plate, his own favorites on a second dish and picked them both up and walked over to the couch. She followed with silverware and they both just sat in silence, not touching the food.
Brennan sighed and started talking, "Hannah came to see me."
Booth's head snapped up and he looked her in the eye for the first time that evening. "Yeah, she left me. She found Sweets' book. That stupid book."
Brennan's voice was so quiet that Booth wasn't sure that he heard her right, "It wasn't stupid."
"No, Booth. It wasn't."
"Bones, did you come over here to say something to me, or just to rub in the fact that I suck at relationships?"
She swallowed. "I wasn't trying to rub in anything. Booth, I don't know that I can promise you thirty, forty, or fifty years. But I want to promise you today, and tomorrow. I can commit to one day at a time."
"What are you saying exactly?" Booth put his plate on the coffee table and removed Brennan's from her lap and placed it next to his. It was slightly difficult at first, as she was clutching the dish with a death grip, but eventually her hands loosened their grasp and rested in her lap.
"What I'm saying is that, I love you. And I know that Hannah just left and the timing is bad, but she sort of told me to come over, to talk to you, to tell you everything. And I don't want to deny my feelings anymore. I'm tired of pretending that you are nothing more than a partner. I don't want to lie anymore, not to you, not to Angela or Cam or Sweets, or myself. I want to..." But what she wanted, he never found out exactly because his lips were on hers and then their arms were wrapped around each other. After a minute he pulled away, looking into her confused eyes.
"I'm sorry I never said it before, but I'm saying it now. Bones, I love you. I love you, Temperance Brennan. And I can take today, and tomorrow, and the next day. As it turns out, days turn into weeks into months, into years, and into decades." He paused, trying to sense the amount of panic that must have crept into her eyes. To his surprise, it wasn't there, just an expression of amusement. She leaned in to kiss him again. After another minute, she pulled away and looked into Booth's eyes with a smirk on her face.
"You know what this means? Sweets was right, all along."
Booth leaned towards her again, eager to bring their lips back together again. "Eh, as a thank you, I'll buy him a car when he turns sixteen." They both laughed and went back to kissing, unable to keep the smiles off of their faces.