A/N: This is a song-fic written over the summer in response to the prompt "Mama, He's Crazy," which is an old Judds' song. (There's no real timeframe for when the piece is set. It's AU in the sense that Hannah has never entered the partners' lives. That said, I did take one tiny potshot at the character … She's not a bad person. She just needs to find someone who's better suited to her than Booth. He'll only break her heart in the end when he goes back to Brennan. ) I'm almost at the end of my backlog of one-shots that are polished enough to post. Several pieces I do actually are extremely short—in the 800 word range. If you're interested in seeing anything like that, let me know and I'll be happy to oblige.
I'm really sick right now and have taken almost the whole week off work, which is a first for me. So if this piece is less than up to snuff, I beg your indulgences. I don't feel good at all, but wanted to keep to my promise of a weekly Thursday update. Thanks so much to all who commented on The Night is Thin. Your reviews have given me a reason to smile in the middle of the coughing, sneezing, sweats, chills, and general inability to breathe, eat or sleep the last 7 days.
The traffic was horrendous. Bumper-to-bumper backed up, with no sign of letting up anytime soon in spite of the relatively late hour, meant Brennan's personal appointment with memory would have to wait just a little bit longer. Her radio channel kept cutting out, interfering with her enjoyment of an old jazz melody. She sighed in frustration and flexed her fingers where they'd tightened convulsively around the steering wheel.
Reaching for her iPod without looking, she hit shuffle and waited. A moment later, a wholly unfamiliar guitar and piano refrain began, causing her to glance in surprise at the device on the seat beside her.
Mama, He's Crazy.
It wasn't any tune she'd downloaded, that was for sure. So it had to be something Angela had managed to sneak into her playlist on the sly. Brennan decided that she should at least listen to the song before cutting it short. Her best friend tended to have a reason for her actions, however irrational they often seemed.
A husky female tenor began to sing, momentarily distracting Brennan from her aggravation at the delay in her evening plans.
Mama, I found someone,
Like you said would come along.
The anthropologist rolled her eyes. Rarely were Angela's intentions so clear from the get-go.
He's a sight, so unlike
Any man I've known,
I was afraid to let him in.
In spite of her overall bad mood, Brennan found a smile beginning to tug at the corner of her lips as the song continued. Sight unlike would certainly describe the man who daily occupied more of her mind or, as Angela would have it, her heart, as well as her life. He hadn't kicked down any of her walls the way he was prone to do with closed doors, but his annoyingly endearing charm and steadfast love of her, in spite of all their differences and all her resistance, was starting to make a dent in her defenses.
'Cause I'm not the trustin' kind
But now I'm convinced
That he's heaven sent
And must be out of his mind.
She made a mental note to remind Angela that she didn't believe in heaven anymore than she believed that Booth had been placed in her life by some benign deity who saw fit to pick people up and move them around like pieces of a giant chess puzzle.
On the seat beside her, her cellphone buzzed insistently. She hit pause on the iPod and picked it up without bothering to glance at the Caller I.D., her eyes trained on the cars ahead of her.
"Sweetie, where are you?" Angela's voice was staticky with the same interference that kept shorting out the radio.
"I'm in my car," Brennan replied, deliberately going the literal route that everybody expected from her. This time it at least provided her with a momentary escape from detailing exactly where she was heading.
"You could've at least told me you were leaving the lab," Angela scolded. "I thought you'd be working on the Burley cadaver until midnight."
"Usually you're pleased when I leave work early," Brennan reminded her, frowning as the wail of a siren almost drowned out Angela's reply. "Have you heard anything in the news about an accident down by the pier?"
"Actually, yeah. There was some kind of motorcycle collision, but for some reason it looks like foul play was involved."
Booth would be headed toward the potential crime scene; Brennan knew that without a doubt. He lived in the area and would probably be one of the first to arrive.
"Where are you, Bren?" Angela asked again. "I do remember, you know."
Brennan scanned the cars around her for a possible exit. "I knew you would, Angela. You have an excellent memory for events that you consider particularly emotionally symbolic or significant. However, it's not something I want to discuss at the present moment."
"You need to talk about it, sweetie," Angela prodded gently. "This is an important anniversary."
"Not now, Ange." Brennan answered more sharply than she'd intended. "I'll call you when I get home."
She endured her friend's well-meaning pleas for another minute or so, before ending the connection and resuming her tight grip on the steering wheel. In her rearview mirror, she spotted one of the sources of the sirens racing up behind her, forcing a path through traffic that somehow managed to open up just enough to let the fire truck through.
Brennan swerved out of her lane and directly behind the fire truck, before the cars could close back up behind it again. Ignoring the furious honks, she floored the accelerator and followed opportunistically in the wake of the emergency vehicle.
As she trailed the fire truck, she hit play on her iPod again, tuning out the angry curses around her and the threatening movements several cars made in her direction, as though intending to follow her. Booth would be just as angry with her if he were in the passenger seat beside her, probably rambling on about driving more safely, when she knew very well that he would have done the exact same thing had he been in the driver's seat.
The dichotomy between how he viewed his actions and hers, in a sentimental haze where he couldn't see past his need to protect her to the consistent logic of her behavior, never failed to annoy Brennan. Secretly, however, it was starting to grow on her, like mold on one of Hodgins' cultures.
Angela would dislike that highly unromanticized analogy, Brennan mused with a smile, hitting play on her iPod again.
Mama, he's crazy,
Crazy over me
Sometimes his behavior around her could be described as crazy. That was an accurate enough description.
And in my life is where he says
He always wants to be.
It was becoming increasingly clear to Brennan that he had no intention of leaving.No matter how hard she pushed him away, he dug his shiny shoes in and stood firm. The man was stubborn as … as … as a bone that would not give up the evidence of what had caused it damage, Brennan decided, unable to come up with a better idiom.
I've never been so in love
He beats all I've ever seen
Mama, he's crazy
He's crazy over me.
Abruptly, the fire truck veered to the right and Brennan finally saw the scene of the accident. She missed the next verse of the song as she pulled to a stop in the emergency lane, grabbed the extra forensics kit she always kept in the backseat and jumped out of her car. She was hurrying towards a cluster of paramedics who might be able to give her some pertinent details when a warning shout caused her to stop in her tracks.
She turned, anticipating the look on Booth's face from the scandalized tone of his voice.
Her partner stalked up to her, outfitted in his usual immaculate suit, even at 10:00 pm. He placed his hands on his hips and glared. "What the hell did you think you were doing? Following a fire truck? Seriously?"
"It was the fastest way for me to get here," she pointed out, knowing her argument would make no difference against his concern. "I needed to arrive before the forensic evidence was compromised."
She started walking again, only to have him reach out and grab her arm. Immediately irritated, she turned on him, but found the anger drained from his face, replaced by something entirely different.
"I was gonna come over tonight, you know. I didn't forget, Bones."
"I knew that you and Angela would not forget," Brennan sighed. "You're less likely to forget than even I am, even though my mother's death has no direct connection to your personal lives."
"Hey," he scolded lightly. "Huge impact on my partner's life? Huge impact on my life. End of story."
As they walked together toward the crime scene, Brennan leaning just a little bit more on his shoulder than she might have another day, she reflected that perhaps this wasn't an ending at all.
They walked from Christine Brennan's tombstone, where Brennan had awkwardly placed some very wilted flowers, to a small creek that ran near the west end of the cemetery. She sank down onto a small wooden bench and waited for Booth to join her. He did, his broad thighs brushing against hers as he settled himself.
"I still don't understand what message placing flowers on the grave of a deceased loved one sends," she commented, staring out at the moonlit sliver of water. "It's not as though my mother will have any awareness of my actions."
Booth slid an arm around her shoulders casually, guy-hug style. "It sends the message that you remember," he said quietly. "I'm proud of you for doing this, Temperance."
She decided a guy-hug wasn't sufficient for her emotional needs at present. Turning her body toward his, she opened herself up that little bit more that Angela had been pushing for, for so many years.
"I don't want to be alone tonight," she admitted. "Will you stay with me?"
"Sure." His response was deliberately casual, designed not to alarm her. "My place or yours?"
"Yours," she replied, seeing the immediate surprise on his face. "I feel the need for physical reassurance, Booth. Will you hold me?"
He pulled her closer and pressed a gentle kiss to her temple. "You know I will. All night long, Bones, if you'll let me."
"I will let you," she whispered, resting her head on his shoulder.
His big hand cupped the side of her face, stroking away the slightest hint of moisture on her cheeks. "I get that we're taking this slow, Bones. Just know—just know I love you. Okay?"
Brennan nodded. It was in his eyes, his voice, even his posture. "I know."
Booth angled his head and very gently brought his mouth down to hers. Their lips touched, her eyes closed and Brennan let go of the painful memory of the bones, the box, the remains of her mother that she'd so unexpectedly uncovered in the bowels of the Jeffersonian's limbo. She let go of everything except Booth, who more than fulfilled his promise to hold her until the painful anniversary slipped away, replaced by the promise of a new morning. A new anniversary.
In the back of Brennan's otherwise occupied mind, the lyrics of the song played over and over again, in concert with Booth's tender kiss.
Mama, he's crazy.
He's crazy over me.
Post-narrative A/N: I've started work on my next multi-chapter and should hopefully begin posting that in the next few weeks. Just one thing: It does deal with Hannah angst. It's resolved, and all is left as it should be with Booth and Brennan, but I want to check in with readers. Can you handle a chapter or two of sadness, in order to establish a plausible scenario for the partners being properly 'reconnected'? I ask because I know everybody is really angsted-out right now, and I don't want to post something nobody will read. I'll tally votes and post accordingly.