THE FRIENDS IN THE SADNESS
AN: About three weeks ago, I saw my first episode of Bones. In the meantime I have watched every episode, thanks to Netflix and Hulu, and I am totally obsessed now. Needless to say this is my first Bones fic, and I hope you all enjoy it. This is set after 6x9 and before 6x10.
It had been 12 days. Temperance Brennan sat at her coffee table staring at her laptop screen, trying in earnest to concentrate on her newest book. However she hit a roadblock when it came to a point in the book where the science had been explained, the facts were detailed, and Kathy and Andy were sitting at a diner together. That was when she could not stop obsessing over the fact that it had been 12 days.
At one time, Special Agent Seeley Booth was her best friend. Angela even proposed that they were a couple without the sex. Sweets repeatedly asked her how she felt about Hannah. Cam implied that she could not do her work properly because her emotions were getting in the way. Even her squint-erns made comments.
But all of these people, all of their insinuations, were beyond her understanding. There was no way to quantify a best friend or a couple. There was no empirical way to measure emotion. So why was the fact that 12 days had passed since she had spent time with Booth bothering her?
The "Dr. Lauren" case took a lot more out of her than she usually allows. She even used words like "feel", much to the shock of everyone around her; she thought Dr. Hodgins was going to explode!
But she did learn something during the case. She was alone. Angela was her friend but was married and pregnant. Angela and Brennan just were not as similar as they used to be. Jack and Cam are co-workers and even though often they engage in social interaction outside of work, they would never be truly close.
And Booth. Booth was so involved with Hannah that he kept his distance. Instead of reading her like he would in the past or helping her to work out her emotions and giving her a "guy hug", he pawned it off on Sweets. There is something very depressing about realizing that the only person left that wants to talk to you is paid to do so.
The team has only been back together for a short time, but a lot changed in those 7 months, and the old team can never be reassembled. Things have changed and evolved, both at the cellular and the interpersonal levels, and Temperance, the one who avowed these truths among the group was being left behind.
As Brennan deletes the last paragraph she wrote, she removes Andy and Kathy from the diner. That is another things that changed. She used to be able to separate her real life from the novels. But now, it was just too much emotion to write about a place that used to be so important to her and Booth. Now, Brennan has to order her own plate of fries. They sit at a counter instead of a back table. And instead of leaning in with a charming smirk, even when discussing a case, Booth now leans away from the table as if he is about to leap up at any moment.
Above all else, Temperance Brennan is a doctor of anthropology. Did Booth really think she would not notice or pick up on how his body language and demeanor has changed?
Frustrated with herself and giving up on writing for the night, Brennan gets up and escapes to the kitchen to find a glass of wine. Although she hears chirping from her cell phone in the other room, she doesn't rush to go answer it. There is only one person it can be and she just didn't have the energy left to deal with talking to Booth.
If there was a case he could call Cam. If there was follow up on paperwork, he could get the reports in the morning. And if it was personal… well Temperance knew it was better to stay away.
After an hour of working on case files, a wine refill and stuffing her phone under a pillow so she could avoid the incessant chirping, Brennan decided it was time for bed. While gathering all of her things, she was interrupted by a banging at the door and Booth yelling "Bones! Are you there? Open the door now! Bones!"
With an exasperated sigh, Brennan went to the door and flung it open. Standing there was Seeley Booth.
"Don't you know not to ignore your phone calls? Our job is to catch psychopaths. You had me replaying the beginning of I know what you did last summer on my way over here!"
"I don't understand what that means. I chose not to answer those calls."
"What the hell? Too good to answer your own phone now, Bones?" Booth exclaimed as he pushed his was into the apartment.
"I do not appreciate that you are implying that I have an inflated view of my self-worth. What is so important that you had to disrupt my night?"
"I have been calling you for an hour! Why aren't you answering my calls?" he said in a measured and tense tone.
"Why should I answer your calls? It is 10pm on a Thursday…I presumed you would be home with Hannah."
"What does Hannah have to do with anything?"
'Apparently everything' Bones thought to herself. Wanting to move on from this conversation and get her FBI liaison out of her apartment as quickly as possible, she asked with a sigh, "What do you need, Booth?"
"Nothing. I don't need anything," he sighed. "I just haven't talked to you in like a week and wanted to check in, I guess."
As Temperance observed him, it hit her. 'He just feels guilty. I cried in front of him and now he wants to ease his conscience.' Deciding that giving into his need to talk to her would get him out of her home she said, "OK, talk," as she stalked over to her couch and threw herself on it.
Not sure what to do next, Booth moved over toward the couch but decided distance was best so he leaned against the armrest of a chair. Knowing that Bones could outlast the battle of silence, he racked his brain for something to talk to her about. 'What is so hard about this, Booth, she was your best friend who you used to talk to everything about? C'mon, say something.'
"We didn't have any big cases this week, did you get a lot done in Limbo?"
"No, actually. I decided my time was better spent this week by doing research for an article I was asked to write for the Jeffersonian quarterly publication. I haven't had the time to expound on how our insignificant findings in Maluku affected the current views of human evolution yet."
"I see. It was a nice break this week. I got to spend time with Parker after school a few days. It's easier to see him when I'm not chasing after a murderer."
"Are Parker and Hannah still getting along?"
"Yes…why are you asking about that?"
"It's a logical question. You were concerned about their meeting not too long ago and the three of you haven't come swimming here yet. Does Rebecca approve of Hannah?"
"Yes, not that it matters. Can we stop talking about this?"
Noticing that Booth was now agitated, part of her thought she should drop it. But the other part of her was ready for this discussion. After all, how much more did she have to lose? "Why are you misdirecting conversation away from Hannah? You are in a committed relationship with her. It is only natural that she be a topic of conversation."
"Why do you want to talk about her?"
"I assume for similar reasons that you are trying to avoid talking about her with me. You don't want to talk about her because I made an error last week and let a case cloud my judgment. I continue to ask about her to acclimate myself to the reality that she is not a "consolation prize" as you put it."
Seeley Booth sat there in shock trying to process what his partner had just said. He could make a joke ('Jeez, Bones, you've been talking to Sweets too much') but didn't think that would go over very well with his hyper-literal partner.
In his silence, Brennan decided it was time for bed. "Look, Booth, maybe it's best that we strictly have a professional relationship for a while. Hannah is great and I am happy for you. But I don't think I can be around you socially when my mind is being affected by all of these emotions that I have yet to rationalize and compartmentalize. I am going to bed. Please see yourself out."
Turning and making her way to her bedroom, she was glad that the tears she had been holding back all night didn't start to fall until she was well away from Booth. Having changed and completed her nighttime routine, Brennan turned to go lock up and turn out the lights. As she made her way into the living room, she realized that Booth was still there, in the same position she had left him in.
"Booth? Why are you still here?"
Startled, his eyes quickly rose to meet hers. As his dark brown eyes met her light blue crystals, they both saw sadness. After what felt like minutes, he softly murmured, "You said no."
Breaking eye contact and hanging her head, Bones felt the tears start all over again. Booth stood and came to stop in front of her and continued. "You said that you couldn't change. You told me to move on. I'm not the bad guy here, I just did what you told me."
Mustering all of her strength to finish this conversation once and for all, she looked him in the eye again. "What I said that night was that I am protecting you from me. That I wanted to still be friends. I realize I am not as proficient in emotional conversations as you are, but I thought I had made myself clear.
"What you want, I didn't know if I could give that to you. A lot of things have shaken my belief in the fact that love even exists. I didn't even know what friendship was before you were my partner. Can't you see, there is a lot you still don't know about me and my past. No matter how much the alpha-male in you might want to "fix me" you can't. I'm broken, Seeley, I don't know if I am capable of more than friendship. I was offering you the best I could at a time when all of my empiricism and logic was failing me."
Tears were streaming down her face now as she finished the speech. Booth silently wiped a few tears from her cheek and pulled her in for a hug. As Bones continued to cry, Booth tried to sooth her as he had done in the past, but was wondering if he was just hurting her more.
When she had calmed down and pulled away, Booth spoke up. "I can't lose you, Temperance."
"How is that logical when I have already lost you?"
"You haven't lost me. I'm still here."
"But you aren't Booth. Part of who we were before Hannah is gone. You don't smile at me, or joke with me, or talk to me the way you used to. All of those things are reserved for Hannah now. Logically, that is how it should be."
With a sigh, all he could say was, "I miss that too." She nodded and pulled away. "Bones, I can't agree to not be friends with you anymore. I can't agree to keep it professional. After 5 years, our relationship isn't black and white anymore, no matter how much you want it to be. All I can give you right now is as much as you could give me on those steps."
"I understand." Realizing that this impasse was not to be solved during this one conversation, she did all that she knew how. She held her head high, said thank you for coming by and see you at work and showed her partner out. Recognizing that she could not be pushed anymore tonight, Booth followed her direction and promised to talk to her tomorrow.
Both leaned against the door with a sigh once he had stepped into the hall and she had shut him out again. Tomorrow was not going to be easy. There would be awkwardness and stilted conversation and raw emotions. But right now, it's all they could give each other.
AN2: So this didn't solve anything, but this is what came out when I started writing. Can't wait to see what happens tonight! Please review and let me know you liked this!