Happy Holidays, friends! As some of my Twitter peeps know, story ideas always seem to come to me in the shower, and that's how this one found itself here, when Last Christmas (I believe the Glee version) came on the radio. Is this technically a song fic? I'm not sure. Nonetheless... this one-shot happens about a year from now.
Props go to Mali Bear's Buddy for her excellent beta work on this holiday one-shot. How is it that we just met a few weeks ago? : )
Also, if you haven't been over to Bonesology (link's on my profile page), you should come join us. A Bones fan site run by Bones fans. Tonight (Wednesday), we're starting our FanFic 'Book' Club… a discussion of some of our favorite stories written by Bones fans. Come check it out!
Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
But the very next day, You gave it away
This year, to save me from tears
I'll give it to someone special
Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance but you still catch my eye…
Today was her first day back to the city in three months. Her stop was to be brief, intentionally. She wanted to say hello to a couple of old friends, check in with her colleagues, do some holiday shopping, and leave to see her family for the holidays. She missed Christmas in this city and the thought of taking in the holiday sights and sounds helped to put her in the right spirit. But she knew if she stayed too long, she was just tempting the universe to cross their paths. She hadn't talked to him since she left. She hadn't spoken to him since he couldn't, in the end, choose her. Fight for her. Love her enough.
But the universe knew of her plans of avoidance. And laughed at them. Because she'd been in the city 186 minutes when their paths crossed anyways.
She stared at them from across the street, watching him laugh with and smile at the woman he loves. They had stepped out of a store, both carrying shopping bags, talking animatedly about a purchase they had made.
She almost had to look away.
But she's glad she didn't. Because she saw something that surprised her. Something that made her happy and sad at the same time. He put his arm around her shoulder. He put his arm around her shoulder, and just momentarily, she tensed up.
It wasn't a very noticeable reaction. To anyone just passing them, they would have seen nothing to note. But she knew him. And she could tell he noted it too. There was tension there, as if she wasn't used to him touching her. He kept his smile steady, but his arm came back down to busy itself with readjusting his shopping bags as they continued on.
They were walking in her direction on the opposite side of the street, and she truly believed if she didn't move, they wouldn't see her. And they didn't. But she did.
She watched her say something to him and he took both of their bags and walked inside the restaurant. Then she crossed the street to speak to her.
"Hi," she said, too enthusiastically to not note her trepidation. "When did you get back?"
"Just today. I'm just stopping through on my way to see my family for the holidays."
"How've you been?"
"Fine. I've been really busy. I made a major discovery while in the Middle East and…"
"I heard, or more precisely, read about it."
"Oh really? I heard it got a little attention back here," she said with a shy smile, which led into an uncomfortable silence. "How have you been?"
"Busy. Work's been really busy, but he convinced me that I needed to spend a day away from it and do some shopping for the holidays." They both smiled at each other at the mention of him. She wanted to ask about him as much as she didn't. And what's worse was that they both knew that.
"Would you like to come say hello? I know he'd like the chance to see how you are," she asked.
"No," she answered rather quickly. "I'm not here very long, and I don't think… we haven't talked since I left."
"I know. He feels bad about that." More uncomfortable silence, as neither woman could quite look at the other.
"Well, I should get going."
"Of course. I didn't mean to keep you. I just wanted to say hello."
"Thanks for that," she said with a sincere smile.
The other woman turned away from her, to begin to cross the street and head back to the restaurant.
"Temperance?" Hannah shouted, stopping her.
"You guys aren't together yet, are you?"
Brennan considered how to answer the question, how to address the 'yet' in her question, because it seemed more complicated than a 'yes' or 'no' answer would indicate. Why she hesitated though, she was unsure, as the absolute truth is always what she spoke.
"If by together you mean… No, we aren't together. Just partners."
"But after I left, he went to you, right?"
Brennan looked down and slowly nodded her head. Hannah grinned knowingly. "You're making him work for it, aren't you?"
"I don't know what you…"
"Yes you do," Hannah cut her off, knowing full well that the good doctor had her heart broken by him first. "Good. I'm glad you're making him work for it. Not just falling into his arms, making it easy for him. He deserves to sweat it out a bit."
"Hannah, I…" but strangely, Brennan was at a loss for words.
"It's okay. I should have known. Should have seen it. In fact, I think I did. Granted, it was all veiled in a heavy coat of denial, but the important thing is I know it now. And the world is trying to right itself again."
"He loved you, you know. That was very real," Brennan said sincerely.
"I know he did. But never as much as he loves you. When he looks at you… all I know is I want someone who looks at me like that. What we had was special. But what you two have is epic."
Another moment of silence fell between them. "I'm sorry that in the midst of this, whatever this is, that you got hurt," Brennan said.
"I'm sorry you were hurt as well," Hannah added. "Keep him working for you, but give him something too. He loves you. You love him. You guys deserve the chance to be aware of that love and live in that reality, at the same time, together. Life's too short to wait too long."
There was a part of Brennan, deep down that wasn't sure she could trust Booth. Her faith in him, not as her partner with the FBI or as a friend who would risk his life for her safety, but as anything beyond what they've always had, had been shaken. One minute, he told her he always knew she was the one for him, and in the next, had resolved to move on to love someone else. Which he did, going as far as proposing marriage to the woman who stood before her. Brennan had convinced herself that Booth was simply wrong about love, as the scientist in her was always sure he was. When Hannah left, she didn't question his reappearance in her daily routine or his surprise visits to spend time with her. But her lingering doubt has remained. She didn't want Booth to think of them, together, as a gamble. For once in her life, she wanted something stable, a sure thing and she needed him to believe that, believe in them, for the moments when her overly logical brain doubted it all. Because the only thing worse than never having taking a chance with Booth would be to gamble and lose. She couldn't lose. But in their line of work, with the death and mayhem they regularly see others experiencing, she knew Hannah's point should… needed… to override any of her fears.
"Life is too short. Thanks Hannah."
"Merry Christmas, Temperance."
Hannah waved, and watched her cross the street to the restaurant's door, only to see Booth exiting with their takeout.
"Where'd you go?" she could hear him say.
"I saw an old friend, and wanted to say hello," she answered.
Hannah was relieved that Brennan hadn't revealed her presence, and adjusted her luggage to turn and walk away. But before she did, she watched Brennan take all of the bags from his right hand, shifting them to her right hand and slipping her left hand into his free hand.
The woman and ex-girlfriend in her felt a brief moment of jealousy. But the writer in her could appreciate the circumstance for what it was: three months later, the world was writing itself, telling a story always meant to be told.
I'm not one to ask and plead for reviews. I'm not. See… it hasn't happened. But who'd you think it was up until the time I told you?
Trust me... I'm the last person in the world I would have thought could write something that made Hannah and Brennan sound like friends on some level... because no matter how much the writers tell us they're friends, they're not. Uncomfortable diner conversations and the demanding of the other's sunglasses does not make two people friends. *sigh*
However, depending on the day, I really don't hate Hannah, as an idea. But I think she has a lousy story line and I do not appreciate the randomness of her "Where's Blonde, Half-Naked Waldo" placement into our favorite show. Her big job in the Doctor in the Photo? A Google Search. Seriously? I'm pretty sure finding a victim's identity is Angela's job… and I'd like it to stay that way. So I'm hoping that not only does she leave soon, but that they let her leave with a little dignity. And that Brennan doesn't fall to Booth suddenly. I have always been a shipper… but Booth has some work ahead of him to make me believe he's worth Brennan, again.