Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Caught up in circles confusion -
Is nothing new
Flashback - warm nights -
Almost left behind
Suitcases of memories,
Time after -

Sometimes you picture me -
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you've said -
Then you say - go slow -
I fall behind -
The second hand unwinds

If you're lost you can look - and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you - I'll be waiting
Time after time

After my picture fades and darkness has
Turned to gray
Watching through windows - you're wondering
If I'm OK
Secrets stolen from deep inside
The drum beats out of time -

If you're lost...

You said go slow -
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds -

If you're lost...
...Time after time
Time after time
Time after time
Time after time

Time After Time by Cyndi Laupner

Brennan saw something glimmer in the ocean; it was a key. Though, she wondered if it would fit and if so, what, if anything would the box hold?

Brennan took the key over to the lock attached to the chest lying in the in the ocean and inserted it, but nothing happened. It wasn't the correct key to unlock it and she sighed sinking down onto her knees in the ocean. After being with Hannah for such a long time, she had to admit - it was lonely.

As she sat in the ocean, tiny waves lapped at her legs in a constant steady rhythm. She looked out at the large ocean, she was alone. She looked to the bottle in her hand. There was no new piece of paper in it and she dared for a moment to contemplate the irrational possibility that she could actually be in some sort of insane limbo. A limbo, where she received messages in a bottle when her friends spoke to her from 'the other side'. She smiled at the asinine thoughts swirling about in her mind. She looked out at the now calming sea and thought and thought some more.

Though, out of all the confusing thoughts swirling around in her head, like a smeared oil painting. Out of all the shades of grey her complex mind thought up. One color, one thought, caught her attention the most. It was a matter that stood out amongst all of the rest, a shade of bright teal in a kaleidoscope of grey and black. It was actually funny, ironic maybe.

It seemed ironic that out of everything she and Booth had been through, out of all of her desperate and confusing thoughts about her dark yesterdays, and of the image of Booth and Hannah. It was those three simple words that Hannah said that held her attention the most. Those three words that kept her where she was right now, sitting in thought mulling over the fact that Hannah had countered her 'But you're going to be a mother!' with a glossy eyed, 'No, you are' – Brennan was momentarily confused at this. She was not pregnant.

Though, as she tried to understand she finally understood when she watched Hannah try her best to hold the tears back unsuccessfully. Hannah was asking her to raise her child, but could she be someone's mother? Did Booth even want her in his life anymore? She did vaguely remember walking the corridors of the Jeffersonian with him and asking him if he still cared? She remembered his answer or lack there of as well. Suddenly it was as if she remembered it all.

The little girl's name was Ashley, Ashley Faith Booth. Brennan smiled thinking of her. If she let her mind wander far enough down that path she could vaguely see Ash's smile, hear her laugh, feel her fingers brush through her soft blonde bangs, feel Ash's small hand on her face telling her 'don't cwy' and taste strawberry pancake batter. Taste the batter just as real as she had felt Booth's lips on her own only moments ago, or was it hours? Time seemed to escape her while at the beach. Though, didn't it always? The ocean is a soothing place.

She looked out at the horizon and caught a pod of porpoises jumping in the surf and exploring the damage the storm had caused their home. The storm was over, but it had left quite a path of destruction. It had shook up a lot of old sunken and lost treasures up from the depths of the ocean and tossed them out into the shallows. Treasures that had been hidden in the depths of the ocean for years were now brought to light.

Her blue eyes snapped back to the old wooded box beside her, a treasure chest. They then flicked to the bottle in her hand curious she held it up. Something rattled around within it and she stood up holding the bottle to the light, a key. She held the key! Brennan was suddenly very nervous and very excited all at once. She looked to the key she tried prior to the one in the bottle, the key that had failed her and threw it back to the surf.

After retrieving the key from the bottle she knelt down and smiled a lopsided grin when she heard it unlock and felt the key turn in her hand. She smiled for yesterdays, because in retrospect Hannah was right. It wasn't up to her anymore to stay here on the beach and watch the porpoises play while mulling over yesterdays. Life was not going to stop for her and while the past was – that is just it – it was the past. The present needed her. She had made a promise to a little girl and her mother that she would be there for her if anything ever happened to her mother and she intended to keep that promise.

Chest unlocked she hesitated thinking before she opened the chest. Now that she had cleared the oil streaked grey matter from her mind. The bright teal stood out even more so then before. Though, she wondered what Booth felt, because she knew she still felt for him. He knew she did too – and she knew he felt something for her because of the incident on the couch.

She had set her hand on his knee comforting him of Hannah's loss or what she thought to be Hannah's loss and then he said, 'No, no Bones, it's not okay to cry over certain things.' Meaning his fiance had just died, yet he was crying of Brennan and his past. Crying because he still loved her, but he was too afraid to let himself love her when he needed her most. Because he was afraid he would be doing the wrong thing. She wondered what had happened to her gambler. How had they suddenly switched roles?

She inhaled nervous as her fingers slid over the lip of the wooden chest. Then she closed her eyes and lifted the top open and with a moan the old wooden chest was open. She mustered all of the courage she had and peered inside. What she saw surprised her, because what she saw was her own reflection? It made no sense.

As the stare at her reflection confused her brows furrowed as the image rippled into a picture of Booth and her walking down a corridor. They were young, God they were young. She smiled as she recognized the image as their first case. Suddenly, the setting changed to another moment in time she recognized oh so well. A memory she had cataloged away in the depths of her soul that very night. It was raining, pouring and she was kissing Booth outside a bar. He fired her; he would have slept with her that night if she agreed. She didn't. She smiled, because she knew to this day that was one of the main reasons he was enamored with her. She wasn't an easy catch, plain and simple. She always kept him guessing. Angela might have been the love guru, but she didn't know Booth like Brennan.

Brennan was comfortable in the salty water as she watched her treasure chest filled with memories. She was leaning against the edge of the chest just watching case after case, memory after memory. So many guy hugs that were anything but that, sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial with a drunk Booth shooting the breeze as he leaned his head on her and laughed into the night, Thai take out, brainy smurf, and Jasper. They were all so good, all so happy and so many.

Then all at once she watched as she left for Maluku and Booth met her at Reagan International, watched as they hugged reunited from their travels and sat and caught up on the steps of the Lincoln memorial. It was then Booth pulled out his cell phone and showed her a picture of his girlfriend whom he met in Afghanistan. Her life story continued to unfold before her as a blonde woman walked into the diner and interrupted their lunch hugging and kissing Booth in front of her.

She didn't want to watch anymore, but the next image she couldn't tear her eyes from. It was Booth at her door soaking wet. She watched as they sat down on the couch together and talked of the future or lack there of and then she watched for a second time as he kissed her then walked out of her door leaving her behind. She cried again as she watched herself slide down the back of her door landing on both of her broken hearted knees as she cried racking sobs. Booth had become a mere ghost; he had made her feel like one too.

She didn't bother to wipe at her eyes, but only questioned the present and had started to wonder – had almost made up her mind. It wasn't worth the pain to go back, Ashley had Angela she would be fine. They didn't need her, she was fine alone. She closed the chest, stood up and walked away.

"Did you kiss her all better?" Ashley asked hopeful and Booth locked eyes in defeat with Angela.

Angela spoke up, "You have to have patience Ash. Brennan needs her rest, say goodnight to your daddy and we will see him in the morning. Uncle Hodgins and Piper are waiting for us."

Ashley looked to her daddy then to Angela and back. She put her little hands on her daddy's cheeks, "It's going to be okay daddy. Just hafa have pashunce." Ash smiled and kissed Booth goodnight. "Night daddy I will see you tomowow." Ashley waved at Booth now in Angela's arms.

Angela kissed Booth on the cheek, "Listen to your little girl Booth, Bren is strong. Keep talking to her, If you dreamed the two of you were married I know she can hear you." Angela smiled a cherish cat smile. "See you tomorrow big guy."

"Night Ash, night Angela, love you guys." Booth said as they walked out of the sliding glass doors.

"Ditto." Ashley said as she blew him a three year old kiss. Though, when it was just Booth and Ange and Ash were out of site. Booth finally broke, hearing that one word – everything was too much. He laid his head on her arm, soaking it with tears as he cried for so many dark yesterdays and today.

Brennan's salty tears left tracks down her face. She looked at the trail of footprints she left in the sand as she walked farther and farther away from the chest. She didn't care anymore – too hell with all of it. She wandered away, feeling more alone, confused and lost than before she had opened the damned chest.

The surf was starting to become angry and restless again as deafening waves pounded onto shore. She thought it odd, her arm was soaking wet. She lifted it to notice she had never released her death grip on the empty bottle, now full. She held the bottle up about to throw it back to the waves that were so ready to claim it. Then she heard a voice.

"Don't Temperance. Don't throw love away, it's too hard to find sweetheart." Brennan spun around, but couldn't see anyone. She knew the voice very well.

"Mom?" Brennan asked.

"You have to see the bad times, the ugly times to truly appreciate and understand the good times Tempe." Said Christine

"The treasure chest and memories?" Brennan asked as the wind whipped around her. Was the storm over or was it a facade? "Mom they are just that, memories." Brennan answered the wind.

"You write your own story baby. You hold the key. Only you can see the big picture. No one else can figure it out for you. You have to write it on your own. You learn quickly Temperance, but love – love, well that takes a little luck and maybe even some fate to find, and time to fully understand. Even then you will never truly understand it, only that it is. But you are so close, I've never known you to walk away from something before, so why this?" Christine asked.

Brennan contemplated her mother's words. It was late and growing dark. She looked out to the now grey horizon and saw a lone ship sailing through the turbulent waters. She remembered she saw that same ship about a mile back where the treasure chest was. It was following her. "There is a ship lost at sea." Brennan stated to her mother, her words hanging a whisper in the wind.

"I know sweetheart, I know. Everyone aboard is very scared and worried." Said Christine

"Well I imagine so; they are lost in a turbulent storm. I'm surprised they made it through at all. They should find a safe harbor quite soon or they are not going to make it." Brennan stated matter of factly.

"Sweetheart, you are the safe harbor." Christine's voice blew around Brennan and then she was gone.

Booth struggled to stay awake as his tears soaked not only Bones' arm but now her bed sheets. She had become his pillow. He choked back more tears realizing she was the one holding him up, even if she didn't know it. He sat up not bothering to wipe his tear stained face and touched his lips to the scratches Ashley had pointed out on her forehead, then he lightly placed another on her nose and then he softly pressed his lips against hers. Tears fell in a steady cadence from his face onto hers.

Brennan stared out at the ghostly looking ship sailing through grey waters. She stopped walking transfixed by the ghostly ship out at sea. Her fingers lightly brushed her face, which was tear stained, but she wasn't crying. She looked down at the bottle in her hand and remembered the message it held. She had nothing left to lose so she emptied the contents into her hand curious.