Author's Note: Many thanks to cathmarchr for her beta-talents. Please note: This fic is not happy, it is not fluffy and it is not BB romance or even friendship. If you don't like reading unresolved angst, this may not be the story for you.
She'd just knocked back her fourth shot when he walked in to the Founding Fathers. Everything inside her told her to gather her things and leave. She hoped he hadn't seen her. But considering he was supposed to be at a parent teacher meeting at that precise moment and Angela had been fretting in distress when she'd left the Jeffersonian, she was sure he'd been sent there after her. So she did the only things she could: she signaled the bartender for another shot and waited resignedly for him to appear at her side.
Her shot arrived at the same moment he did and she gave her attention to the drink rather than to him.
"Bones," he said at the exact moment she said, "I suppose Angela called you."
He took the empty seat next to her and she wished she sat between the two men several seats down so he wouldn't have been able to sidle right up next to her.
"Yeah, she called me. She was worried about you."
"There's no reason she should be worried about me."
"You're," he counted the shot glasses with emphatic points, "one, two, three, four, five shots in on a Tuesday night and there's no reason she should be worried?"
"When she saw me I hadn't been drinking. So, no, she shouldn't have been worried. Of course," she said fiddling with one of the shot glasses in front of her, "I've been drinking now. So maybe she was right."
"The way I heard it, you left the lab near tears."
He's right, she had. And no amount of trying to hide it would have been able to, considering she'd barely made it to the parking garage before she broke down entirely.
"Aren't you supposed to be at a parent teacher conference?"
He shrugged. "As it turns out there was somewhere I needed to be more."
"More than attending to your son's education?"
"It's not like I've abandoned him, Bones," he said with exasperation, "Rebecca's there. She understood."
She snorted. "Sure. She understood. And she's going to take it out on you for months. You know where you should be right now."
Booth waved the bartender over and ordered a beer. "Yep. I do know where I should be. I think you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on exactly where that is."
"Really? I didn't think this sort of thing fell within your job description."
She was prickly and he felt a need to try to smooth that over. "You're part of my job description. Besides, I'm usually around when there's something going on with you."
It had to have been the alcohol talking when she said, "Not these days," under her breath. With something that sounded a little more like the usual her she said, "Honestly, Booth, I'm fine."
"You just felt a need to get drunk – alone – on a Tuesday night?"
"Yeah, that's exactly it. And, if you don't mind, I'd like to get back to it."
"Oh yeah, you're doing terrific."
"Can we just…not? Can we not do this right now?" She honestly couldn't help the pleading tone in her voice. She hated that it was there but she couldn't have kept it out at that moment if she'd tried.
"I think this is exactly the right time to talk about it."
"I think," she spit his words back at him, "we're going to have to agree to disagree."
"Are you honestly trying to make believe this isn't anything? That running from your best friend after she invites you to a baby shower is normal?"
"She didn't invite me to the shower, Booth, she asked me to plan it."
"Which, generally speaking, doesn't cause women to flee a room in tears."
"I did not cry in that room," she said emphatically.
Well, she was certainly well on her way to drunk – Temperance Brennan didn't really do emotional emphatics. "Okay," he drawled.
He raised his hands in surrender. "I believe you. But I also believe you cried somewhere between there and here."
"Tears are a common expression for several emotions."
"And I'm thinking the particular emotion you were expressing was sadness."
"I'm not sad."
"Okay, then, what are you?"
"Right now? I'm bordering on drunk." She chuckled to herself. "Well, I was bordering on drunk. A couple shots ago."
"Bones, you're gonna have to help me out here – I'm not a mind reader."
"Clearly. And not a very good listener, either. If you were, you'd have left me alone like I asked you to."
He signaled the bartender for her and indicated two shots of whatever she'd been drinking. He waited until the shot glasses had been set in front of them before he said, "Does this have anything to do with the fact that Angela is having a baby," he took the shot in front of him, "and you're not?"
She refused to look at him as tears welled up in her eyes. "Of course not," she mumbled into her own shot glass before she downed the contents.
"Look, I'm a man so I'm not very good at this by default, but where's this coming from? You haven't mentioned having a baby in a year and a half."
"Remember that old song You Can't Always Get What You Want?"
"Sure," he said with a slow smile. "But remember – after that it says 'But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need.'"
"Yeah, well, sometimes you don't."
"Get what you need?"
"But…you don't still want a baby, do you?"
"You don't know everything about me."
"Sure I do," he said confidently. "We're partners." The words sounded empty, even to him. He had a strong feeling he didn't know everything about her anymore, but he was in for a penny, might as well stick to his guns and all that.
She wanted to slap the cheeky grin right off his face. Instead, she tipped up one of her shot glasses that had just a little liquid left in the bottom and let it trickle onto her tongue. "Yeah, partners."
"And friends." His earlier confidence slipped a little.
She heaved a sigh. "Of course I still wanted a baby, Booth. I made a conscious decision. It wasn't a flight of fancy."
"Wanted? Past tense? Have you changed your mind now?"
"I thought I told you I didn't want to talk about this."
"Well, we're talking about it anyway, aren't we? You might as well tell me what's going on in your head."
She glanced over at the wall clock. "It's after seven. Hannah ought to be home by now."
He glanced at his watch. "Actually, she's meeting me here at eight. We had dinner plans for after the thing."
Great. That's exactly what she needed. "I think I'll leave you to your dinner plans, then." She stood, if a little shakily, and collected her purse from the hook beneath the bar. She fished two twenties out of her wallet and laid them on the counter.
"Bones, you don't have to go. Have dinner with us." The words were out of his mouth before he'd really though the idea through. It probably wasn't the best one he'd had all day.
"No, I don't think I will."
"Well, we've still got some time if you want to talk privately…" he led.
"I don't want to talk at all."
"Why didn't you mention still wanting a baby," he said as she turned her back.
She sighed and turned back to him. "Because it didn't concern you."
"Well, it kinda did," he said with a small chuckle.
He looked at her with a shocked expression she almost enjoyed. "You mean you're looking for an outside donor?" As the words tumbled from his mouth he wished it were anatomically possible to kick himself. Outside donor? Like he, himself, wasn't an outside donor to her now? And what would his girlfriend think if he fathered another woman's baby? Could he possibly justify that to her? To himself? He hadn't thought about his donation in months. Had pretty well considered the whole moment had passed. Looks like he was wrong.
"I looked for an anonymous donor, yes." Was he kidding with that wounded expression? He couldn't have possibly thought she wouldn't understand the potential ramifications for him and his relationship if she'd gone ahead with his contribution. She might not be all that savvy on such matters but she certainly knew one didn't become pregnant with someone's child when there hadn't been any sort of agreement struck.
"And you found one?"
"So you're still going to try?"
Then, for some reason she didn't want to examine too closely, she sneered at him. "I told you, you don't know everything about me."
She could almost see the light go on behind his eyes. "You did try." When she didn't say anything his mouth tipped down into a frown. "But it didn't work."
"It worked fine."
"So…you're pregnant?" That feeling of being kicked in the gut? Probably not the usual reaction to hearing your 'friend' was pregnant. But there it was – an overwhelming sense of loss. She was having a baby – with some other loser who'd never even know he was a father. Yeah – that's the part he was upset about. Some poor bastard out there somewhere with a kid he doesn't even know about. Get on the high ground, Seeley, you don't want to get too involved in this.
She considered not answering but his expression was hovering somewhere between happiness and despair. "No, I'm not pregnant." She leaned against the stool she'd been sitting on a moment ago and wished for strength. "Not anymore."
He studied her for a long moment. Pregnant and then not could only mean one thing. And even as his demons struggled with his better angels about what part of the whole situation was the worst, his heart broke for her. "God, Bones." He moved as if to hug her but she took a step back. "I'm so sorry." He couldn't pretend things between them were any part of okay but he still cared for her – even if he couldn't quite assimilate how with his relationship. She had to be devastated.
She shrugged, trying to feign nonchalance, then tried for a wan smile. "You can't always get what you want."
"When did this… I mean, when did you…"
She could tell he couldn't bring himself to say it so she said it for him. "I miscarried three weeks ago."
"You had the flu three weeks ago."
She merely shook her head in response.
"How far along were you?"
"Nine weeks. I hadn't told anyone yet."
"No one at all?"
She shook her head again. When he made another move toward her she took another step back.
"You didn't have to go through that alone," he said in lieu of physical contact.
"Yes, I really did."
"But, your family. Angela. Me."
"My reasons for keeping it to myself were my own and I'm not going to justify them to you."
He shook his head emphatically. "I'm not asking you to. I'm not asking you to justify not telling them. I'm asking you to justify not telling me. I mean, our work." He cringed. Well, hell. He hadn't really meant work but it seemed a lot safer than pointing out that their relationship didn't even begin to resemble what it once had – a relationship that would have allowed her the option of coming to him with the single most devastating news she had to have gotten since she was a teenager.
"It didn't have any affect at all on our work."
"Only because you miscarried!" Stick to your guns, Seeley. If you're going to be mad, make sure you're mad about the work thing. But he wasn't – not really. He was mad because, between the two of them, they'd fucked up the whole situation but good.
She didn't want to admit, even to herself, that those words hurt, but they did. "So you're not actually upset that I didn't tell you I miscarried, you're upset I didn't tell you I was pregnant in the first place?"
Shit. Maybe he shouldn't have stuck to his guns quite so much, "Well, no. Both. I'm upset you didn't tell me either thing."
"But you're more upset I didn't tell you I was pregnant because it would have affected our work? You're more upset about that than you are about the fact that you – my self-proclaimed friend – weren't able to be there for me emotionally," she fairly spit the word, "after I wasn't pregnant anymore."
"What affects you affects me."
"At work," she said slowly.
"Yes." And other places, too. But dammit – he's not supposed to care. Because if he cares, even a little… Hannah couldn't understand and he wasn't going to try to make her. He was happy with his girlfriend. He wasn't going to screw that up over the might-have-been woman standing in front of him.
She just stared at him for a long, uncomfortable moment when both of them were just wishing she could ream him up one side and sown the other. "Then we're not friends, Booth. I might be a bit slow when it comes to social interactions, but I do know what friends are. And we were friends."
"Were?" Damn it, but she was right. They were friends. Back before he'd tried to push her into what he wanted. Back before she'd confessed to regretting turning him down. But not since they've been back. Not since he's had to remove himself from her entirely just to make sure his current relationship doesn't suffer for the amount of his energy she requires, if he were to let himself get carried away again.
"Yeah. We were friends."
"I never said I didn't want to be friends with you after you shot me down."
He sounded angry. Angry she could handle. "You didn't have to say anything at all, Booth. You haven't been all that interested in maintaining a friendship with me since you've been back from Afghanistan."
"I've been a little busy, Bones, in case you hadn't noticed."
"Oh, I've noticed. I'm not taking offense. I'm just trying to point out, we aren't friends anymore. Coming to you with news of my miscarriage didn't seem right."
"You're drunk. That's why you're thinking like this." But it wasn't the only reason and he knew it. And he knew that being friends with her wasn't enough for either of them but it was still just too much.
"I am drunk. But I can assure you," and she frowned a little at her sluggish speech, "I thought this way before the drinks tonight."
"Bones," he said pleadingly, "of course we're still friends." What was that old saying about flogging a dead horse? Why was he fighting for this when he knew damn good and well friendship wasn't going to work here – not really and not anymore?
"We're colleagues and we're friendly. Let's not blow things out of proportion."
"Look, okay, so maybe we're not as close as we used to be, but that was to be expected, right? But that doesn't mean I don't care about you." That much, at least, was true. He did care about her – part of him always would.
"I believe that you care about me. But what I needed you couldn't give. And I'd rather have nothing than just part of something that reminds me what I'm missing."
He bit down on his lip and took a moment before he spoke. "What are you trying to say?"
She took another step back. "I guess all I'm trying to say is that I was pregnant and now I'm not. Business as usual." Then she turned and fled, desperate to get out of that restaurant and away from him. As she suspected, sharing the news with him hurt – and it hurt badly.
Before she'd turned him down, life would have been different. If only he hadn't pushed her to do something she wasn't ready for, everything would still be as it was – even if they did have a surrogate relationship. It was good. Why did he have to push? If he'd known so much about her how did he not know she'd run?
But he had changed things. He'd opened his big, sanctimonious mouth and pushed. Predictably, she ran. And then he moved on just like he'd said he would. She had no choice but to move on, too. She wasn't happy about that yet but she hoped she would be.
But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.