Author's Note - This one started out as another of my "Goodbye, Hannah" one-shots… but became a multi-chap story of its own. What is the story Hannah is pursuing, and what will it mean for the future of BnB? That is what we are going to find out…eventually. I hope you enjoy the ride. And as always, please review- it makes my day and keeps me going.
Big props to my buddy Ceeray3 for the beta and the encouragement! (This doesn't mean you're off the hook for reviewing, LOL!)
The Love in the Story
Chapter One- The Beginning
"So, did you meet anyone special?"
"You mean, did I have sex with anyone?"
"I missed that about you, you know… you just cut right to the chase…"
"I was working," she said. "So there was no time… or inclination for sex… or romance…"
Time seemed to stop for her as she paused, a fierce debate raging inside her head… should she tell him? She decided that she'd waited too long already.
"…that's not exactly true," she said. "There was inclination, but the only man I'm inclined to engage in sex or romance was sixteen thousand miles away, training police recruits in Afghanistan…"
"Bones," he said, stumbling over his words. "What are you saying?"
She couldn't be saying what he thought she was saying. God, not now…
"I'm saying I was wrong, Booth," she said, smiling that smile that made his heart melt. "I'm ready. I want us to take a chance… to be a real couple… Booth, I love you…"
"There you are!"
Before either of them could respond to Brennan's statement, they were interrupted by the appearance of a bubbly blonde.
"Baby, I've been looking everywhere for you," the woman said as she leaned in and kissed Booth full on the lips. Booth automatically returned her kiss. But then, almost as if he'd realized where they were, he abruptly ended the kiss and pushed back from the other woman.
"Hannah," he said, stunned. "What are you doing here?"
"What do you mean?" she replied. "You told me you were going to the Mall to meet your partner…"
But I didn't invite you to come along…
"I've got to go," Brennan said, standing up abruptly. She felt as if her heart was going to leap out of her chest. "Booth, I'll see you at the lab. I assume Caroline expects us right away."
Before he could say anything else, she was on her way down the stairs.
"Bones!" he called out. "Wait! They're at the Hoover… "
But it was too late, she was gone.
He turned to the woman who was now standing next to him, hanging on his arm.
"Seriously, Hannah," he said. "What are you doing here?"
"I got bored waiting at your place," she said. "I'm dying to know what this case is that had them call you back so suddenly."
She was smiling that wide smile that got her so much information. The look of innocence was a perfect weapon for a shrewd journalist who always got her story. When she'd stumbled upon Seeley Booth in a war-torn town square outside Kabul, she knew there was more to his story and she was determined to unearth it.
She hadn't expected to fall in love with him.
Now, she was torn between the story and the man. She'd grown to know him well enough to know that he would hate being the focus of her story, but she also knew that he had quite a story to tell. And a big part of that story would be Dr. Temperance Brennan.
She couldn't miss their reunion.
She'd been watching from the edge of the Reflecting Pool. She could tell when the moment was becoming intense, and as much as she wanted to follow the story that Booth had laid out for her in Afghanistan, she felt an innate need to stake her claim on him. The woman and the journalist were engaged in an intimate battle. The woman won out.
She chose that moment to make herself known.
She purposely interrupted Dr. Brennan's declaration of love. She could see that Booth was stunned by the good doctor's revelation and the woman in her couldn't allow the chance of his immediate reaction. She knew that he was in love with Brennan, and she wasn't ready for him to own up to that fact.
"I've got to go, Hannah," he said. "I still don't know what's going on and they're going to be waiting for me at the office."
"I want to come with you," she said.
"No way," he responded, back-pedaling when he saw the pain etched on her beautiful face. "I'm sorry," he said, reaching out to rest his hand on her cheek. "I still don't know what's up and I don't think they'd appreciate me showing up with a journalist in tow."
"That," she said, "or you don't want them to meet your girlfriend."
He sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. The one thing that he hadn't liked throughout his relationship with Hannah was her tendency to pout to get what she wanted. He'd thought it cute at first, but it got old-really fast.
"You know that's not true," he said firmly. "But I'm working. Go back to my place," he said. "I'll be there as soon as I can… and I'll fill you in as best as I can."
Knowing that was probably the best she was going to get at this point, she decided to listen to him. She kissed him goodbye and took her leave. She decided it was time to learn more about the very accomplished Dr. Temperance Brennan.
Brennan made it all the way to her car before the tears began to fall.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid," she said to herself as she unlocked the door.
She got in to the car, closed the door and let her head rest against the back of the seat. Her tears were falling in earnest now. She should have known. She should have listened to her rational mind… it would always protect her from her frivolous heart. Her traitorous heart. Her crushed heart.
He told her he had to move on. She said she understood… hell, she actually encouraged it. But she never really believed he would… not deep down. She'd seen him try. Catherine, the marine biologist, didn't last long. It had been too soon, he wasn't ready.
Just like she wasn't ready.
She hadn't been then. She was right when she said she'd needed to get away to find some perspective. She'd done that… it wasn't long into her seven months in Maluku that she realized that she did have an open heart, and that open heart was full of love for her partner.
She wanted to tell him.
She'd wanted to rush to him, but that wasn't practical. And telling him she loved him from sixteen thousand miles away over the broken connection of a satellite phone just didn't seem like the right thing to do.
So she'd waited.
She waited until Caroline called and told her that her family needed her. She had debated the merits of going home. She wasn't sure that Cam's case really necessitated her leaving the project. Then Caroline told her Booth was coming home, and her mind was made up.
Booth was coming home… and so was she.
She knew she would tell him as soon as she saw him. She'd waited long enough. She went straight from the airport to the Mall. She couldn't wait to see him. She couldn't wait to tell him. She was back, Booth was back… now was their moment. Her mind and her metaphorical heart battled for a brief moment before her heart won out. She'd blurted out that she loved him… not the romantic declaration that she'd planned. Did he still love her?
Before he could respond to her declaration, she had shown up. It was like she'd materialized out of thin air at just the perfect moment. Hannah. Beautiful, smiling, perky…perfect… Hannah. She appeared to be everything that Booth had always been drawn to in a woman. And the way she'd called him 'Baby' and grabbed his lapels… passionately kissing him like it was the most natural thing in the world…
She pulled herself together.
Dr. Temperance Brennan was strong and she didn't need anyone. She knew now that believing in love had been a mistake- a mistake she wouldn't make again. She decided at that very moment to put away those feelings. She stuffed them deep into a metaphorical trunk, locked it tight and stored it back in the hidden recesses of her soul. She'd tried it and failed. Love was for other people. Dr. Temperance Brennan was meant to be alone… not that she believed in fate, of course.
Emotions locked up tight, she headed for the lab. Did Booth say the others were at the Hoover?
Booth arrived at the J Edgar Hoover building shortly after Brennan. They were immediately caught up in the whirlwind that is Caroline Julian and soon everyone's focus was on Cam's plight.
Bones had thwarted every attempt he'd made to get her alone, and it was making him crazy. As much as he cared for Cam and as much as he was intrigued by the case of the missing boy… they had a conversation to finish.
Finally, everyone was making their way out. Sweets and Daisy had gone, Caroline was on her way down the hall, Angela and Hodgins were in the doorway and Bones was talking alone with Cam.
It was now or never.
He walked up to the women.
"Bones," he said gently, reaching out to touch her forearm.
Cam was startled by the way Brennan recoiled from his touch and Angela instinctively turned toward the action.
"Go home, Booth," Brennan said. "Go home to Hannah."
"Bones," he pleaded. "We need to talk."
"There's nothing else to say, Booth. Go home to your girlfriend."
Girlfriend? Angela mouthed in Cam's direction. Cam just shrugged, as lost as Angela.
"Temperance," Booth tried, desperate to get her to talk with him. "Please, talk to me."
"There isn't anything else to be said, Booth," Brennan replied, calmly and rationally. "We have a case to solve and Hannah is waiting for you."
He reached for her one last time, stopping himself as he saw the desperate pain in her eyes… pain that had been belied by her words. She was right, now wasn't the time. He dropped his head, his gaze settling on his dusty boots as he finally turned and made his way toward the door.
He pushed past Angela and Hodgins, who were glued to their spots, and without another word Seeley Booth disappeared down the hallway.
"What the hell was that all about?" Angela asked.
"Wait," Hodgins said, "Booth has a girlfriend?"
"Color me surprised," Cam added. "I was sure that when the two of you returned you'd be a real couple."
"So was I," Brennan answered quietly as she moved past her friends and down the hallway.
"Okay, seriously?" Angela was flabbergasted. "How do you go off to war and come back with a girlfriend?"
"I don't know," Cam replied, "but we're not going to find out tonight."
"She's right, babe," Hodgins said, entering the conversation for the first time as he wrapped his arm around his wife's waist. "Let's go home. You can talk to Brennan in the morning."
"No," Angela said, tears filling her eyes. "She needs me. I need to talk to her now."
"Angie, I think she just needs some time. Let's leave her alone tonight. You can go over there first thing in the morning."
Across town, Hannah Burley was sitting Indian-style on the floor of her boyfriend's living room with her laptop in front of her. She had spent the last several hours researching Temperance Brennan. At the moment, she was reading a blog entitled "KathyLovesAndy." She'd found that very often, the internet fans had all the dirt. They were the ones with their finger on the pulse of reality… or not.
She discovered a few that disagreed, but the overwhelming majority of "Brennanites" believed that Temperance Brennan was in love with her partner and that her books were an outlet for the feelings that she tried to keep hidden. There were a handful of fans who were absolutely certain that the partners were either secretly married or having a torrid affair, but Hannah knew that both of these theories were way off base.
She thought back to those first nights in Kabul.
They sat together in a dark corner of the mess tent, sipping horrible coffee. She had been intrigued by Sgt. Major Seeley Booth from the moment she'd met him. She'd seen him in action when he'd rushed in that town square to save her from those insurgents. She was immediately drawn to him. He was strong, and sexy. And brooding. There was something going on behind that strong, silent exterior… and the journalist in her was determined to find out what it was.
He was hot, there was no doubt about that. But there was so much more to him than that.
"So," she said on their third night in camp. "Tell me about her."
"Who?" he asked.
"The woman you left behind," she answered. "Nobody who looks as good as you doesn't have someone waiting for him at home."
"I do," he answered with a smile that lit up his handsome face. "My kid. My son is who I've got waiting for me at home."
"What about his mom?" she asked, unsure herself if it was the journalist or the woman who was asking.
"That was over a long time ago," he said. "She's married to someone else now."
"There's definitely someone," she pushed.
"My partner," he said.
"Oh," she replied.
"I'm FBI," he said. "This is just a temporary assignment."
"I would think the FBI wouldn't allow romantic liaisons between partners," she said, sipping her coffee.
"They don't," he answered. "But Bones isn't FBI, she's a scientist. But it's not like that anyway. She's my best friend."
"It's a nickname," he said, smiling.
"I figured," she said, laughing.
"She's a forensic anthropologist," he said. "She helps us identify bodies. If nobody else can give them a name or a face, Bones and her team can. She's amazing."
Hannah watched as the dreamy smile spread across his face. This was interesting.
"Tell me about her…"
And tell her he had. It was obvious that Booth was in love with his partner. But they weren't together, and therein lie the story. They had spent the past few months enjoying each other's company. She had given him someone to confide in, to lean on… she'd given him some much needed comfort.
For her, he was a distraction. Another soldier with a sad story, she became enthralled with the way he handled himself and the way he handled his men. They soon became friends, and quickly became more.
Seeley was an incredible lover. He was as giving and generous in bed as he was in the rest of his life. It had been a long time since Hannah had experienced that kind of relationship. She hadn't expected it to really become a relationship, she had truly considered him a distraction and didn't expect it to go on beyond this story.
Hannah was a nomad… a free-spirit. She wasn't the kind of woman who had a guy in every port, but she had been through a series of liaisons not usually lasting much longer than the story she was writing at the time.
She'd become embedded in his unit shortly after the incident with the insurgents from which he'd saved her life. Their easy camaraderie had turned to friendship and soon friends had become lovers. When he'd been called back to Washington, she'd immediately decided to go with him. She wasn't sure when exactly she'd fallen in love with him, but she did know that she wasn't ready to give him back to Temperance Brennan.
So now, here they were… all three of them in Washington and all three of them well aware that Brennan was now ready to have more than a business relationship with her partner. None of them knew what would happen next, but Hannah was sure it would be one hell of a story.