A/N: Stop, don't run. Really. I'm quite sure you don't like Hannah (and in fact, you may hate her guts) and I bet the last thing you want to do is read a fic about her, much less from her point of view. But don't run. It's about her, but it's not. It's... just read it. Please. Pretty please? I think you'll approve. Give it a chance, for me? You're the best. :) By the way, I promise that I'm close to posting the next chapter of The Bodies in the Beach. I have about 1,500 words of Chapter 10 written, it's just been a painstaking process. But it's coming, seriously. In the meantime, give this a chance, and let me know what you think.
Love them, love them
Put it in your hands
Take it, take it
There's no time to cry
Put it in your heart
Where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing...
- Shiny Happy People, R.E.M.
She stood in the living room in his shirt, bare feet cold on the floor, blonde hair falling into her gaze. She pushed it back, hand hidden by the length of his sleeves, and sighed. He was gone—working—which was not unusual and did not bother her. They spent a lot of time apart, working. They also spent a lot of time together, mostly in bed, or at the kitchen table. They rarely spent time in his living room, which was something she had noticed from the beginning and not quite understood. It was easily the most spacious room in the apartment, though cluttered. It really served more as a storage unit for the time being, but with some organization it could be a very nice living room. With the right tools, she could make it work.
That was the theme of her life. With the right tools, anything could be done. With the right questions, anything could be answered, any truth brought to light. With the right words or the right coverage, any story could be a headliner. How did they think she won all those reporting awards? The right tools. Her face was a tool—she was attractive, and she knew it, not in a cocky way but in a pragmatic one. Her good looks were a tool to get her on camera, to propel her towards success, and ultimately, towards exposing the truth. That was her goal, her aim, the truth.
In that way, she understood his partner intimately. They were very different women, but at their heart they held the truth, above all. More than anything they wanted the honest facts, the lay of the land, the eye witness account. They wanted the hard truth, even if it hurt. So she understood Dr. Brennan, despite her quirks, despite her social awkwardness and sometimes blunt statements of fact. Because they were that, fact, and she understood it. She appreciated it. She appreciated the woman's candor more than anything else about her, even her intelligence, of which there was a great deal to be said. So she understood her, respected her.
The only way in which Dr. Brennan was not honest—and also in a way that Hannah could understand—was with herself. She could use all her wit and cleverness to unearth the truth of any incident with even the slightest of clues—she could reconstruct a life, and a death, from a pile of bones. But she could also use that intelligence to deceive herself, to abscond the truth with facts. Hannah laughed at the idea, the noise a husky ripple that cut through the quiet room like a pebble dropped in the water. To hide the truth with the facts. How could that be the case? But it was. The woman, Dr. Brennan, could rationalize any lie in her heart with enough of the 'facts' she constructed from her external cues. She could tell herself that she did not love him, to hide that truth, with the facts of their relationship. They were partners. They were co-workers. The same old rigmarole day after day. Hannah shook her head.
She sat down on the edge of the couch and picked up a small figurine off of the coffee table. It was a wise man, one of three who stood on the right-hand side of the crèche. It was a small porcelain nativity scene, one that Booth's mother had passed down to him when she… well, Hannah could still never get him to really disclose what happened to his mother, and she did not want to push him. But for whatever reason, it came into his possession, and he wiped the dust off of the wooden surface and laid it out shortly after Thanksgiving. The crèche itself was made of worn-out wood, but all of the little people were porcelain, painted with a shining lacquer-like paint.
She held him up and stared into his face. It was painted in excruciating detail for such small features, and he was incredibly happy. His smile reached from rosy cheek to rosy cheek, eyes wide and adoring. And why shouldn't he be? He was intended to stare into the face of the newborn King, Christ the Lord. He should be ecstatic. She set him down and picked up another, bearing the same expression, of jubilation. She set him down and reached for Mary, down on her knees, hands held palms-up as if to say, Hey, here's my baby, the infant Son of Man. Hannah chuckled to herself and let her own smile fall, chin resting on the palm of one hand as she held Mary up with the other, turning her slowly in the low light shining in from the kitchen. The reflection of the light shone off the paint. Glittered, even. She was a shiny, happy person. These were all shiny, happy people.
Hannah was not a shiny, happy person. Neither was Booth, and she knew it. They were not Mary and Joseph, they were not the wise men, they were not painted with shimmering lacquer and set up to dry. They could not be arranged on a tabletop and made to smile, though they had been trying desperately for months. His smile, it was like the wise man's—pinched cheeks, wide eyes, adoring. But it was not real. It was not the easy smile she saw when she came around the corner of the bar to meet him after they had both worked a long day. It was not the gentle grin that held between swigs of beer, between peals of laughter, between solid gazes.
That one was the one he reserved for his partner, his co-worker, the one he could not love. The one he could love only in his smile, only in those moments between drinks and laughs and pointed words, only in the moment before he saw Hannah round the corner. Then his cheeks pinched and his eyes widened and he smiled, shiny and happy, and it broke her heart every time. She glittered and shone like lights when she saw him, because she did love him, but only for a second. After that she was pinched and posed too, because if she was to be honest with him and with herself—if she was to be truthful—then she would be throwing beer mugs and screaming, Why can't you love me the way you love her? Why can't you smile at me the way you smile at her? Why did you tell me you could give me your heart when you obviously couldn't? Why did you lie to me? Why are we still lying?
There were so many questions she wanted to ask, but did not. She simply did not have the tools to, and that was something she was totally unaccustomed to. She had the tools to fix anything, to make anything happen, but in this—in this love, or this false love—she stood with empty hands, palms up, waiting to be saved. Instead of fixing her problems, she waited for them to be fixed. Instead, she hid the truth with the facts. Dr. Brennan could do it, and so could she. The truth was that he only smiled that way at Temperance, but the fact was that he was dating her, Hannah. The truth was that they were both porcelain dolls, smiling out of duty, but the fact was that they were together—they shared a bed together, ate breakfast together, watched TV together. They were in close physical proximity to each other every night, woke up that way every morning. That was a fact, and a fact she could live with, for now. But how much longer she could hide the truth with that fact, she did not know. It ultimately depended on which would hurt worse—the facts, or the truth.
The door opened, and she set the figurine down on the table with a gentle clink. She stood and turned, feeling her cheeks pull upward in painful routine to greet him. But when she saw the look on his face, he was no Joseph, no wise man, and she knew. She knew that tonight it would, finally, for better or worse, be the truth.