In the Blink of An Eye
In the blink of an eye, Booth's world changed.
Things were finally getting back to normal, well normal was relative.
Normal for who?
Normal for when?
It would be more correct to say that things were settling down – at least in Booth's mind. They had pulled their second case in as many days and seemed to be working well together and it was (dare he think it?) OK. But then, in a blink of an eye, he got blindsided and his world changed. Not just his world, but everyone connected to him.
The holidays were strained and uncomfortable for him; actually it started before the holidays with Brennan's revelation. He couldn't get it out of his mind every time he looked at her, spoke to her, heard her voice. She had never broken down like that with him and never about him or her or them. She just looked so sad. He was sorry that he was the one to cause her pain and he tried to convince himself that it was not intentional nor could it have been helped. It was just bad timing. He let her down as gently as he could. Not the first woman he had to 'let down' but certainly the most important one. He couldn't bring himself to ask if they could still work together; he didn't want to give her an opening to say 'no.' He had meant what he said about his feelings for Hannah, but he couldn't help feeling guilty and a little sad. He tried to believe that he was sad for Brennan, but he was really sad for himself. Sad to be happy when she wasn't. Sad to know he missed what he could have had with Brennan – whatever that would have turned out to be.
In Booth's mind Brennan slipped back into her super-genius, over-analytical, completely detached-from-the-world shell almost immediately which naturally made him feel responsible. She barely looked at him, not like she used to anyway. No searching stares hoping to see … who knows what she was looking for when she looked at him that way. He had known what he was looking for, but he never got it – well hadn't gotten it until that rainy night after he had given up all hope and moved on. He had never known what she was searching for, but clearly he hadn't given it to her.
Her voice was distant and professional now – in his mind – not the soft private tone she saved just for him. Personal conversation evaporated into the thick air that divided them. He didn't feel right talking about Hannah, she didn't ask and since Hannah was all over his personal life, there was nothing left to discuss … on his side. On her side, he couldn't ask her about anything personal; he suddenly felt like he didn't have the right to know, the right to care, the right to have an opinion. The lunches and drinks after work had already been fewer and farther between, but now invitations weren't extended at all. There was no pretense at normality. They didn't have a case over the holidays and they didn't socialize, so for nearly six weeks they spoke briefly on the phone most days. Brennan had gone out of town from Christmas Eve though New Year's Day to visit her brother and his family, so Booth was off the hook for contacting or seeing her on Christmas. The weeks since then it was awkward, but luckily they didn't have a case and since work was all they shared anymore, there was no reason to be together not even for coffee.
Hannah seemed like she was blissfully oblivious to all of it. She didn't seem to notice that Booth didn't mention Brennan anymore, and didn't have much to say when asked. 'Fine' was the word he used most often not bothering to point out that he hadn't talked to her. Hannah didn't seem to think there was anything wrong when Brennan didn't accept an invitation for shopping, lunch or any other event. Hannah was busy; Brennan was busy. They were busy women. And in all honesty, Booth had to wonder if Hannah really liked Brennan, of if she was only making the effort because of him and if he wasn't making the effort there was no reason she had to anymore.
So anyway, things were finally getting back … on track. Booth and Brennan had been working this new crime scene for about an hour. Cam, Brennan and Hodgins were all there gathering evidence from the explosion. At first look Cam and Hodgins had declared it an accident; a minor traffic accident, a fluke, that caused one car to roll over and explode. The presumption was that it was the gas tank that exploded. The family inside the sub-compact car died, so it was much more severe than a MINOR traffic accident. The driver of the SUV was fine physically. Brennan of course would reserve judgment until all the evidence was analyzed. The only reason the FBI and the Jeffersonian were involved at all was due to the fact that the driver of the smaller car was on the Homeland Security Watch List.
Booth was being his typical self; pacing, taking notes, trying to coax a definitive answer out of Brennan before she was ready to give it. He almost commented about how normal it felt to be working together again, but didn't want to bring up the recent awkwardness between them. He just wanted to go back to the way they were. Truth be told, he missed her in his life. Without his daily dose of Bones, he just wasn't complete.
"Come on, Bones, you gotta give me something here," he pleaded. Just then his phone rang. He held up a finger for her to hold her thought. Keeping his eyes on hers, he answered the call without looking at the caller ID. "BOOTH," he barked. Upon recognizing the caller, Booth broke eye contact; he blinked. "I understand, thank you for calling." He continued to listen to the person on the other end. "Yes, absolutely. … Yes. … Yes. … Right away." He snapped his phone shut. He finally looked back at her. His eyes were red and wet. "Rebecca's dead," he stated. He looked around: confused, lost, helpless. "I need to get to Parker."
A/N: So is anyone interested in this story? Big changes for Booth. Who will rise to the occasion and who won't? Though you probably know the answer, would you like to read my little story? Alerts and comments are always welcome, appreciated and very much considered.