Hello, everyone! I know you're probably waiting on an update for LitFL (which I promise I'm working on to the best of my ability!), but in the meantime, here's my little contribution to the post-6x09 fanfiction explosion. Thoughts on the episode after the chapter.

Hand in her pocket, searching for the key. Her fingers close around the cool metal, remove it, teeth chattering in the cold December rain. Several tries, and the bolts are sliding home. The door creaks open, and she steps inside. Turning, she sees where he's waiting in the car to make sure she gets in safely. She tries to smile, but it's cracked down the middle, a broken sort of grimace. Closing the door, forgetting - unable - to wave back as he pulls away, she leans against the wooden surface.


A hand dashes at her face, wiping away any remnant of tears. Even in the sanctuary of her own apartment, she feels her own weakness accusing her. Temperance Brennan, the invincible - not so invincible anymore, are you? It was incredible what a few moments could do. What one case could make you realize.

What once was, was no more.

In three days, the world turned upside down.

Shedding coat and shoes, she walks gingerly into the living room. Eerie was the stillness harbored there. After the turmoil she'd just felt within her mind, within her metaphorical heart, everything normal and in its place seemed impossible, but there it was, looking utterly unchanged.

Later in her shower, stripped of clothes and pretenses, she wondered if anything could really go unchanged. Entropy, she'd once told him, was a natural force that pulled everything apart at a subatomic level. Everything changed. It was just the way it was. And another law, stating that an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Change made other changes. Endless ripples having endless effects. One change could make everything else different - pull everything apart. She'd be a fool to pretend she could go on in the same way as before.

But it led her to wonder, back when they were in motion, something stopped them. Ripped them apart on every level.

She gazed into her eyes in the hazy mirror, still rimmed by smudges of black and tinged with hints of red, and wondered what had stopped them. Long before he'd gone to Afghanistan, long before she'd fled to Maluku. Before they returned. Before he met someone else. Before all that, she'd had a chance - he'd given her that chance, laid it all before her and begged her to do the same.

The real question was, what had stopped her?

Fear? Yes, that was mostly it, she guessed as she padded into the bedroom, flicking the lights off behind her. But of what? Everything failing? Things falling apart? Losing her lover and partner all at once? Hurting him? Him hurting her?

They all seemed like such pointless, little fears now. Pointless compared to what could have been, all those things she'd imagined over their break, all those things she'd imagined in the past few weeks. And it was all those what if's she'd been thinking about in those past few days.

Lauren's death had shown her what resulted from not living life. It had prevented her from going down the same route. She'd told him, regardless of the adrenaline of fear that sang through her veins and told her, with the practice of years, to stop, stop, hold it back, don't let him know, don't open your heart because when you do it gives him the power to break you.

Yes, she'd told him. She'd relinquished control to prevent any regret. But maybe not soon enough.

She could change, from now on. She could live without regrets. Remain enthusiastic in her work, yes, but take time for other things. For friends, for family. For sleeping in on Sundays. For reading a good book. For opening her heart to the wonder all around her, and the things she'd been missing, had she not learned from Lauren and Micah and following her heart.

But it still wouldn't change the fact that he had no more regrets, either. He'd moved on. Whether or not she told him, she'd missed that chance, and she wouldn't get a second one. Was it harder, she wondered as she slipped under the covers, hair fanning out against the pillow, to go on now, knowing she'd told him too late? Or had it been harder living with the burden of keeping everything hidden within herself and not saying anything at all? Having been exposed, she felt raw, and empty. As if revealing everything she tried to keep from prying eyes had left her with less energy than hiding it kept.

She knew that the knowledge that he could not accept her now was devastating. It, more than anything, had left her confused and broken as they drove silently home. His heart belonged to another.

"I missed my chance."

Silent sobs racked her small frame. Shuddering breaths were accompanied by tears that tracked lines across her skin, blossoming in stains across her pillow. Thoughts of all she'd lost in those moments left her drained, and destroyed. How could someone just stop loving you when they promised 30, 40, 50 years? If he'd known, really known, how could he now believe a different truth? How could he move on?

Now, how could she move on?

In the morning, sunlight streaking across the tired marks of her face, though, the change began to firmly take root. She still felt the keen pain of her loss. That might always remain. But what she'd gained, what she'd discovered - it changed her, fundamentally, to her core. She understood now that she'd been exposed, yes, but like film, the right amount of exposure could reveal something… beautiful. Having been relieved of carrying what she'd kept on her shoulders for so long, she felt… lighter. Yes, there was an ache in her chest, and a pounding in her head from her tears, and a deep scar that might take years to heal, but there was also a lightness in her soul she hadn't felt for much too long a time.

Moving on. It seemed odd, that someone like her would have to focus on that. Usually, she compartmentalized. Neat little boxes keeping everything packed away; ones labeled, "Fragile, handle with care." But soon enough, those boxes were piled up too high, and it left things more cluttered than before.

Emptying it out was a foreign concept, but maybe it was time: time to reexamine, go through all those old boxes and come to terms with everything. Finding closure, and at the same time, finding herself.

Temperance Brennan was not, and could never be, the same person. One event, changing everything she ever knew, and all she would ever know, until new changes made a life impossibly different from what she'd ever imagined it could be.

She was in motion again, but maybe that is what would send her world back to being right-side up.

Hope you enjoyed! I know I probably switched tenses and wasn't making sense a whole lot of the time, but I just had to get something up here :) I might continue this as the season goes on, but we'll just have to wait and see.
As for the episode, my goodness, it was beautiful andheartcrushing. S6 has not been, in my opinion, the Bones we used to know. But this episode made up for all of that - Emily's superb acting definitely made me cry more than once, and haven't we all been waiting to see Brennan come to terms with everything? Good case, good lesson-learned, and it took me through my entire emotional range, leaving me totally drained - but definitely in a good way :)
So how about as we wait for January to roll around, you leave me a review telling me what you thought about the episode/the fic? Much appreciated, and thanks for reading!