Author's Note: For those of you waiting for the sequel to Iridescent, let me just go ahead and say now that this is not it. I know, I know, what the hell is taking me so long, right? I honestly can't say. I'm almost done with the first chapter, but I'm having a hard time with it. I have this strange form of writer's block, where I have ideas, but no clue how to get to them. If that makes sense. So anyway, this just kinda came to me and I decided to grind it out in the hopes that it'll help me on the sequel to Iridescent. I'm undecided if I should leave this a one shot or continue with it ... perhaps you all would be so kind as to let me know whether you would be interested in a continuation? Also, I know this one is really angsty, but it's also supposed to be about the passion of anger. Hope it came out that way. :) Also, I've never really written in this tense, so if I made any mistakes I apologize. It's a new experience for me.
She's always equated the lab with safety and comfort, the one place where she not only has a purpose but a sense of belonging. The Jeffersonian is more of a home to her than her hand decorated apartment, and affords distractions the small two bedroom abode simply cannot. This is her domain, the virtual seat of her reign, and most days she takes care to rule her land with a firm fairness; today is not one of those days.
Brennan is already silently seething when she flips the light switch in her office, flooding the adequate space with fluorescent illumination. She does not know what brought on such tempestuous feelings, but she knows this anger; this is an old anger, seeping slowly from a wound she sustained in her years before she was Dr. Brennan, when she was simply Temperance. She has learned in her journeys to control this anger, even so much as ignore it and forget for long periods that it was ever there. Apparently unbeknownst to her friends, however, her ability to compartmentalize is far from perfect: there are small holes in her defense, like pitting in steel when it has been left unattended for too long. Most days, she does a good job of plugging each hole just as it's about to give way, but sometimes she is just too slow and there are too many and the damn erupts in catastrophic tidal waves that toss her carelessly amongst the rocks. Today is one of those days, when the injustices and wounds of her life simply refuse to be ignored, and she can do nothing but ride out the storm.
She goes about her morning preparations with an almost brutal deftness, wrenching her jacket from her shoulders and tossing it carelessly over the back of her chair instead of hanging it up as she usually does. She is late this morning, so the lab is waking up around her as she's typing in the password to her computer, and this pisses her off as well. All of her routines seem upended today, and she hates feeling like her world is even a little off kilter. There is so much in her life right now that doesn't make sense that having her well-oiled routines disrupted feels like a deliberate slap in the face, without knowing who exactly the offending hand belongs to.
Brennan takes a deep breath and tries to steady herself, but the cool control she's become known for evades her like sand in a sieve. This loss of control is a personal affront to her, and she can feel the rage bubbling so close to the surface that she has to take another deep breath and close her eyes to reign it in. Truth be told, there isn't much in the last few months that hasn't left her feeling strangely off balance, and if her self-control is the only thing she has left to be master of, then there is almost nothing in the world that will keep her from doing exactly that. Let her friends worry or call her a cold fish, or any other unflattering moniker they can come up with – she does not care. This was hers, and she was not going to relinquish it for anything. Or anyone.
The thought of anyone brings to mind an image of him before she can suppress it, and she's filled with the sudden desire to explode in unfettered rage. Two weeks have passed since she finally owned her regrets to him; two weeks with no communication. Two weeks for the agony and sadness to pollute her heart to the point of almost unbearable proportions. Two weeks in which she'd felt acutely her short comings, weeks in which she'd cried until she simply couldn't stand herself anymore.
Two weeks in which she hadn't heard a word from him.
Eventually, the sadness and grief had given way to this passionate rage that she now found herself engulfed in. The longer she went without hearing from him, the easier it was to dispel the feeling that she had fallen victim to inopportune timing; the more time that passed, the more aware she became of Seeley Booth's duplicity. After all, he was the one who'd spent years – literal years – shying away from any subject remotely resembling sex of any form, only to come home from that goddamn desert announcing to the world his sexual escapades under a fig tree. He was the one who'd proposed to love her fifty years down the line, only to turn around and come home claiming romantic love for some woman he'd only just met. This was all his fault – he'd come into her life determined to break down her walls and leave her vulnerable, and she'd been stupid enough to let him do just that. He should have just left her alone, found someone else to make a pet project out of and left her to her own designs.
She's done – with all of it. She's done believing that what they have is inevitable, done believing that if she trusts and believes in him enough he will pull her through. She's certain this rage is warranted, because she's done being the understanding and silently pining partner. She's done feeling like she's behind the curve, done feeling like she's finally caught up only when it's too late. He can have Hannah and his self-serving God and everything else that's important to him – she's done worrying about whether or not his words have double meaning and what happened to the world they had been creating together.
Brennan stands from her chair as if struck by lightning, and in the quick fire movement she slams her knee against the lip of her desk. A guttural hiss escapes her lips at the stinging sensation, and then she's pushing the feeling away as she very nearly stalks down the stairs to bone storage. There is no case today, and she is vindictively thankful for not having to look at the man she calls her partner. With a tenderness and ease that belies the dangerous anger that shifts and simmers beneath her exterior, Brennan pulls a box from its resting place and heads purposefully back to the platform.
She has no intern today, another small mercy that she is thankful for. The platform is empty, and she sets the bones out almost reverently as her super brain begins to catalog minutia of details. For whatever reason, her coworkers have seen fit to leave her alone for now, and she silently wonders if her bad mood has somehow broadcast itself through the work place. She is not surprised to realize that she doesn't care if it has.
By the ten minute mark, she's forgotten that there are other people in the lab.
By the twenty three minute mark, she's forgotten about Booth and his apparent duplicity.
By thirty eight minutes, she's forgotten that she's angry in any way.
He's not normally a cruel person, so it startles him to realize that he wants to hurt her. Not physically, but he wants to cause her pain nonetheless. The thought is not a noble or honorable one, but it is one he's had often in the last two weeks. She drives him to the brink of insanity, he's come to understand, and sometimes he wonders if she does it purposely. In dark moments where it feels like his soul is slowly being poisoned by the chaos that now surrounds him, he fights the desire to see an answering pain painted on her porcelain face.
She had to have known what her confession would do to him. She had to have known how it would tear him asunder to actually hear her say that she regretted her decision … he halted that thought. Were she any other woman, then he could easily believe that she had done it out of some vindictive sense of accomplishment, but this was Bones. She was no scholar in human interactions, or any kind of interpersonal relationship for that matter. He knew of her brutal honesty first hand; she spoke her mind on any subject at any time, regardless of whether or not it were warranted or appropriate.
He knew this, and it did nothing to quell his anger at her. Her words had colored his every exchange and interaction with Hannah, to the point of making it almost uncomfortable to be around the woman he was living with. Bones had finally given him the confession he'd spent no small amount of time hoping to hear, and she could not have picked a worse time. He's spent the last two weeks trying to forget her words, but they plague him worse than even his gambling addiction had all those years ago. Worse, even, because she had been his reason for giving up his gambling habit; she had been his reason for so many things, and look where it had gotten him!
He's furious with her for being who she is, and he knows it's unfair and irrational and he can't help himself. He knows that his life is the way it is now because she refused him, because she was afraid of being truly open and vulnerable; he knows that this isn't the way he'd planned for things to be, and he's just so goddamn mad at her for making the wrong choice. He wants to scream at her for taking so long to catch up to him, for choosing that night in the rain to finally understand what they could have been. He wants to do any number of unjustified and downright cruel things because he feels so trapped by all the wrong moves they've made that brought them to this point. He wants to force her hand, to burst through those carefully fortified walls and wreak havoc, just as she's done to him.
He's sweeping up his jacket and bounding down the stairs before the idea is even finished forming in his mind, too impatient to wait for the elevator. He slams the SUV into reverse with more force than necessary, and only the strictest discipline keeps him from peeling out of the parking garage as he hurtles the vehicle down the street. He thinks about anything other than the disastrous outcome this little outing is undoubtedly going to have on his life, because he's simply too fed up with staring at the brick wall that has become his life. He can't stand the inconsistencies and the feeling of growing stagnant with each passing breath, and the anger is egging him on.
The closer he gets the more acidic his blood becomes, and as he's parking the vehicle in the open space near Bones' car he feels as if he's burning from the inside out. He goes for the stairs again, riding the red cloud of passion as he takes them two at a time. With a force akin to a small explosion he erupts out of the stair well and storms down the hall, the sliding double doors to the lab the only thing in his line of sight. Two weeks of nearly frothing at the mouth has brought him here, to the doorstep of her world, and he's about to wage war.
The edges of his vision fade as he stalks into the lab; there is nothing here for him except her, and she is exactly where he knew she would be. Her back is to him, a stroke of luck that he is thankful for. He knows it is despicable and Pops would be ashamed, but he feels as if he can get the drop on her for once (instead of the other way around) and maybe force something from her in sheer surprise. The tactic is a dirty one, and his stomach wrenches in disgust even as he's readying his attack.
"You had no right," He growls, in a tone so low that he barely recognizes it as his own
She spins to face him, and although he's gotten the first point, the look on her face warns him that she is more than ready to do battle. Her whole body is humming with barely contained electricity, and the spark in her blue eyes is both dangerous and haughty.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," She spits
"You had no right to drop that bomb on me," He explains, eyes narrowing, "Not now."
"Not when you have Hannah, you mean," She elaborates, and the disdain in her eyes makes him want to scream
"Wow, Bones, you actually got that one right," He retorts, and knows it's a low blow
"What the hell do you want?" She asks, glowering
"I want to know why you did it," He answers, moving forward until he's invading her personal space, "I want to know why you chose then to change your mind."
"Your attempt to intimidate me is not going to work," She tells him, straightening her shoulders so that they are the same height
"Answer me, damn it!" He snaps
"No!" She retorts quickly, "You don't deserve an answer!"
"The hell I don't! I waited six years for you, the least you could give me is an answer!"
"It was the truth!" And she was yelling now, despite their closeness, "And don't come to me preaching about how long you waited or how patient you were! I never asked for this – you should have just left me alone!"
"Oh right, left you alone to play with your little chemistry sets and you're brittle old bones, all so you could hide from the big scary world! Well I'm sorry that your genius super brain didn't leave room for other more human things, like a heart!"
The words have left his mouth before he knows what he's saying, and his dark wish of seeing his pain reflected on her face is granted. The words cut her to the quick, and he's standing at ground zero watching the carnage as it spreads. Every iota of his being revolts at what he's just done, but the venom in his veins has not abated; he is at war with himself, at war with her, at war with the whole world.
"Get the hell out of my lab," She manages to grind out, "I never want to see you again."
"Do NOT call me that!" She erupts, "Do not call me anything. Do not speak my name ever again; go home to your girlfriend and get the hell out of my life! You are cruel, Seeley Booth, cruel in a way that I have never been, and I despise you."
The venom in her words spills into his heart, and he knows that the dance they've been doing all these years is over. The pedestals they have elevated each other upon have come crashing down, crushing them beneath their intangible weight. They have crossed some unknown line, bombed the fortress' of their respective hearts and left nothing but smoking piles of ash in their wake. The center, their center, has been utterly demolished, completely unrecognizable in the aftermath.
He watches Temperance Brennan walk away from him with a sick twisting in his gut, fighting not to empty his lunch right there on the platform floor. Together, they have destroyed something in mere minutes that he had always believed to be indestructible.