A/N: This is not a songfic, but is loosely based on Melissa Etheridge's I Want To Come Over. (The title is a line from the song, and so is the last line of the story, but that's it for lyrics incorporated into the text.) The idea came to me late last night, and actually kept me from sleeping until I finally got up and wrote it. Of all my stories, this may be the most OOC. The only thing that might make it acceptable in terms of canon is the precedent set by Brennan's behavior in The Doctor in the Photo. Whether or not it's even remotely plausible, I still hope you enjoy it. Thanks so much to all those who reviewed Bedside Manner and who continue to follow and review my Thursday updates.
Disclaimer: Bones isn't mine. Neither is Booth. If he was, I'd be doing something besides just typing out my fantasies.
The car was cold and getting colder with every 30 minutes she spent inside it virtually motionless. The simple solution would have been to drive straight home to where hot tea and warm blankets were easily to be had. Failing that, a slightly less rational remedy would be to at least turn on the engine and the heater. She did neither, for reasons she chose not to even try and understand. If she did, then she would have to attempt an explanation for the following sequence of events, which made even less sense than the situation she presently found herself in:
Getting up at the usual hour to go to work and discovering she had no desire to go into the office.
Going in anyway, spending hours laboring over a new identification, then abruptly departing at 2:00 without letting Cam know.
Walking around the Mall for hours, deliberately picking at old scabs by revisiting former favorite haunts.
Sitting on a park bench and watching the cars go by for another long stretch of time, time which she couldn't count because she'd deliberately left her watch and her cellphone in her purse, which were in her car, which was back at the Jeffersonian.
Breaking her meat taboo by buying a hot dog with the works and eating the whole disgusting thing, followed by a lunchcart pastry that might have remotely resembled pie, though she was no expert.
Observing a game of ice hockey on a solidly frozen lake, even as her fingers and toes turned the color of the playing surface.
Going back to the parking lot, retrieving her purse, and calling a taxi to take her to Avis.
Renting a gray Chevy Aveo and retracing her aimless steps from earlier in the day, this time with 4WD.
Arriving at his doorstep at 2:00 am, fully twelve hours from when her erratic behavior had first begun.
All of which brought her back to the cold, dark interior of the rental and the lone light in the apartment complex across the street, over which she had kept a lonely vigil for almost 2 hours. If he knew that she was, essentially, stalking him, he'd probably think even less of her than he already did, following her meltdown in his car. Humiliation flared within her, warming her with a deceptive rush of confused adrenaline. This was not Temperance Brennan. This person huddled behind an unfamiliar wheel, doing unfamiliarly needy things … she was as much of a stranger as her partner had become.
Shadows moved behind the blinds, pacing aggressively one way, then another. Two individuals leaned in toward each other, then back, then forward again, never intimately. Arms were waved. The blinds shifted, as if somebody had gotten too close in their rush to get some distance. A shadow receded from Brennan's field of vision, followed by its larger twin, before both rushed back into view again. Further gesturing was exchanged, all clipped, belligerent motions that gave away the inaudible dialogue. Then the pair disappeared a second time, and failed to return.
Much earlier in her stakeout, Brennan had stopped trying to convince herself to leave. At this point, her behavior was so ludicrous that to remain for the rest of the night would make little difference. Genius intellect notwithstanding, she was taken by surprise when the front door to the complex flew open and one blonde journalist strode out the door, nearly going face-first on the iced-over pavement. The shadow following her—that's all he looked like from Brennan's perspective across the street, and all he had looked like for months, metaphorically—reached out automatically to arrest her fall. He was good at arresting people, Brennan thought vaguely, wishing he was in the car to make fun of her terrible joke.
Hannah spun around. Given Booth's backwards reeling, it looked like she landed a fairly solid uppercut. The headlights of her nearby car flickered on as she stormed away, unlocked it and got in, then viciously attacked the windshield with her wipers. Accumulated ice and frost scraped away in a manner sure to leave scratches. Before the car had a chance to warm up or defrost in the slightest, she skidded her way onto the road and was on her way.
Brennan watched it all in a kind of stupor, tracking Booth's movements a couple of feet from the shelter of the building. He took a step forward and his eyes swept across the road, lingering over her unfamiliar car. Beneath the layers of ice, she burned with memory.
I just feel like, um, this is goin' somewhere … I just, I feel like I'm gonna kiss you.
So you're afraid that when I look at you in the morning I'll have regrets?
Here we are, all of us, basically alone, separate creatures, just circling each other, all searching for that slightest hint of a real connection. Some look in the wrong places, some just give up hope because in their mind they're thinking "Oh there's nobody out there for me." But all of us, we keep trying over and over again. Why? Because every once in a while...every once in a while, two people meet and there's that spark. And yes, Bones, he's handsome and she's beautiful and maybe that's all they see at first, but making love...making love...that's when two people become one.
I love you. In a professional, attagirl kind of way.
When you talk to older couples who, you know, have been in love for 30 or 40 or 50 years, alright, it's always the guy who says, 'I knew.' I knew. Right from the beginning... I'm that guy. Bones, I'm that guy. I know.
I believe in giving this a chance. Look, I want to give this a shot.
The jangle of her phone brought her back to her present reality, from which Booth seemed to have vanished both physically—he was no longer anywhere to be seen—and symbolically. She grabbed the phone with numb fingers and answered without checking the Caller ID.
"Hey, uh, Bones. It's me. You asleep?"
Brennan straightened from the huddled position she'd retreated into in an attempt to provide body heat. His familiar voice had never lost its ability to bring her alive from an emotionally comatose state. And even though he rarely ever called her for anything unrelated to work anymore, she found herself responding with a surprising lack of anger. He was using her, yes. Then again, she had used him in similar fashion many times.
"Even if I had been asleep when you called, I would have to be awake in order to answer the phone."
"Ha. Yeah. Uh, Bones, uh, Hannah and me—we're, we're done."
The deep-freeze Brennan had been living in for almost a year sloughed away shamelessly and she felt her body finally begin to unthaw all the way down to her pericardium, where Angela erroneously posited that the core of all human emotion resided.
"We had this big fight about stuff and she stormed out. I'm guessing she's planning on cashing in a one way ticket to Afghanistan."
In spite of everything that had happened between them, the tired, defeated tone to his voice made her sad. "I know how important this relationship was to you, Booth. I'm sorry." Her words were sincere.
"Yeah …" There was a long pause. "What's weird is, I'm not. A little, yeah. But, mostly, not really." His nervous laugh echoed through the phone line, sounding so close that Brennan turned her head to see if he was standing next to her window. "Guess that makes me sound like a real ass, huh."
"I can think of better pejoratives."
More nervous laughter. "Listen, Bones. I was just wondering if maybe we could talk one of these days."
More warmth overtook her, sweeping away the debris of frozen tears and lonely evenings without anybody to share paperwork or Thai. "At the diner?"
"Yeah. We haven't been there in a while."
Again, she let the opportunity for a barbed reply slip away. Instincts she was not aware she had rose to the fore, warning her that now was not the time to name her many valid grievances. "Hannah seemed happy. What ended the relationship?" She unbuckled her seatbelt and reached for the lock on her door.
Booth coughed slightly. "That's about right. Hannah was happy. That's part of what I wanted to talk with you about."
Brennan was terrible at innuendo and subtlety. She tried not to read into his words as she carefully crossed the road, treading on coarse piles of salt rather than the slick patches of ice. Nevertheless, the stranger who had taken over basic motor functions of her body, and was now guiding her to open the door of Booth's building, started to hope again.
His voice came back on the line, sounding strained. "I get it if you don't want to. You have every right—it's just, we really need to talk. About the partnership, at the least."
"The partnership," Brennan repeated, stepping inside. The guard on duty acknowledged her with a brief nod before going back to his televised football game.
"Our solve rate's way down. Cullen isn't happy."
"So this middle-of-the-night phone call is about solve rates." She started up the stairs, going slowly in order to avoid slipping in puddles of slush.
"Wait, Bones, I didn't—that's not what I—"
"I have a hypothesis as to what is preventing our partnership from functioning as successfully as it previously did. And I'm no happier than Cullen about the situation." Before he could stammer a reply to that, she went on, "Tell me, Booth. Am I a consolation prize?"
"No." That reply, at least, was firm and devoid of fumbling. "The way I handled that whole scene—that's why we really need to talk, Bones. I need to talk. I owe you way more than just an apology."
She pushed open the heavy fire exit door on his landing and started down the hallway to his place. "Face-to-face would be preferable."
"Great." He sounded relieved. Grateful, even. "Thanks, Bones. Maybe we could meet after work, or something?"
"After work," she repeated, stopping in front of his door. "I'll consider it."
"I guess I should really let you go right now," he muttered. "It's late."
"It is late," she agreed, knocking loudly. "A year late. Longer, perhaps. And I don't want to miss a third chance."
The door swung open almost immediately, as though Booth had finally caught up to speed. Even if his famous gut had given him any inkling of who was knocking, he still looked shocked at finding her on his doorstep. They stared at each other, feeling the tension that had unspooled between them for so many months go tight as a guitar string.
His hair was so mussed that she had to resist the urge to reach out to smooth it. A bag of frozen peas that he was still holding in place partially hid the beginnings of a nasty black eye. His jaw was stubbled with 10 o'clock shadow that looked like it would be appealing to lightly rub her cheek against. Without thinking, she did.
Booth exhaled heavily but didn't pull away. Tentatively, his hand crept up to stroke her hair. She closed her eyes for a moment and sank into the gentle touch. Then Brennan lifted her head and stared into his no-longer shadowed eyes. He was there again—the man she loved, the man she'd missed. The months apart had been a veil over his personality, not an erasing. In his warn gaze she read doubt. Desire. Fear. Hope. Regret. Maybe even …
Brennan cut him off, pressing her lips to his.
His arms wrapped around her waist, unhesitating, even as she threw her own arms around his neck and pulled him tight to her chest. Booth kicked the door shut, never breaking the kiss. He pivoted with her, backing her towards somewhere, anywhere, everywhere, and Brennan followed his lead blindly. The frozen peas fell to the floor. She felt them, cold and pebbled under her toes as she kicked off her sandals in the same motion that she began tugging at the work-shirt still tucked into his pants.
He shoved her own shirt up her midriff, pushing, pulling, all the while still kissing. Somehow they managed to divest each other of both their shirts with only a moment's interruption, and the garments joined the peas on the floor as the partners renewed their assault on each other's lips.
Brennan felt the back of the couch behind her and moaned as Booth's mouth joined his big hands on her breasts. She kneaded his broad back and called out his name, then reached for the clasp to his boring belt at the same time that he divested her of her bra. Brennan grabbed his head and dragged it back to hers. Her lips vied with his for control before she broke away and demanded access to his bare pectorals, drawing a frustrated groan from him as he attempted to simultaneously satisfy his own intense interest in her bare chest.
Hands were everywhere. Lips. Tongues. Teeth. Fingernails. Fingertips. Intertwined bare feet. Their remaining clothes were shed almost as quickly as their collective inhibitions. Tomorrow there would be the fallout to deal with. But tonight, there would be no more sexual stalemate.
Oh, god, baby …
The world went up in flames, the partners becoming the timber the fire was kindled upon. It was hot. Good. So damn, unbelievably laws-of-physics-breaking.
The same thought flitted through both their minds, though neither was coherent enough at present to acknowledge it:
This had been far too long in coming.
To hell with the consequences.
Maybe she's 'moving on' in Hart's world, but she's definitely not moving anywhere but closer to him in any of my fics … See you next Thursday. :)