Nothing Changes Unless Next A Nightmare
(Working Title: Cathartic Release)
A/N: I understand that many of you didn't like the Season 4 finale with the coma/dream/book AU. If that is true, you can stop reading right now. For myself, I liked the episode. I thought it was a lot of fun. I didn't realize that it was a set up for the downward slide of B&B. It would have been so much better to just leave that episode as standalone, rather than have it overshadow all that was to follow for our heroes. But since I'm not the creator or writer of Bones, I'm only a fanfix writer; I can use anything that is in cannon to meet my needs - and I need a cathartic release.
This will not be a long saga. It is nine chapters that are finished and I will post them all in very quick succession. In case you are new to my Bones' Fics, I'm not enjoying season six at all. It's not so much about the new girlfriend as it is about the execution and how far the show has slipped in my estimation. Where is the fun? Where is the friendship? Where are the interesting cases? Oh well. There could have been a Hannah, but the show I fell in love with didn't need to be blown apart in the process. So given that - lots of angst in this one. And just like in any nightmare events and people are exaggerated. Let's hope this dip into this AU has the same reverberating effect on Booth and Brennan.
If you are as frustrated as I am, I hope this little ditty will give you some cathartic release as well. Comments are much appreciated.
Brennan waited outside the hospital for Hannah to arrive; Booth asked her to explain to Hannah what was happening. Booth never shared that he had a brain tumor with Hannah or any of the other events surrounding that time. He pleaded with Brennan to tell Hannah what she needed to know, as his friend, as Hannah's friend. Brennan understood that she was not to share the personal details leading up to the discovery, during the recovery or the months that followed. Brennan was really uncomfortable with that request, but as usual would refuse Booth nothing. In order to keep her promise to him, she would have to lie to Hannah. That was not an issue for Brennan even though she didn't like lying in general; she accepted that their history should not interfere with Booth and Hannah's future. Brennan wondered how much longer she would be able to tolerate being Hannah's friend, being Booth's partner or tolerate her third wheel role. Her world never did right itself after she told Booth that understood that she missed her chance. It was getting increasingly harder to maneuver her way around Booth, Hannah and the dull ache coming from deep within her chest at the sight and thought of them together.
"Temperance!" Hannah called as she ran up. "What's happened? Where's Seeley?"
"He doesn't like to be called Seeley," Brennan said without thinking.
"What?" Hannah didn't understand.
"They are prepping him for surgery."
"Surgery? Temperance, what happened? Did he get shot? What's going on?"
"Booth has a cerebellar pilocytic astrocytoma. He needs surgery to remove it." Brennan wasn't handling this well. It wasn't her fault; people's emotions were not Brennan's forte. Booth shouldn't have asked her to be the one to tell Hannah. The horrified look on Hannah's face was a clear indicator of that. "Booth has a brain tumor. Mostly likely benign. He should be fine."
"Oh my God!" She grabbed Brennan's hand and squeezed.
Brennan could not comfort Hannah; she was holding her own self together by a thread. She pulled her hand away slowly. "Come, I will take you to him."
There were so many other things that Brennan was supposed to say but with all the restrictions, she opted for less. Brennan directed Hannah to Booth's room. She waited outside as the lovers greeted. Booth was putting on a brave face for Hannah. He told her not to worry. He smiled brightly and assured her that he would be fine.
Brennan watched. The ache in her chest felt heavier; she was constricted and found it hard to breath. She needed to leave. She shouldn't be there. It was not her place anymore. One thing did change after Brennan's revelation before Christmas; Booth was nice to her again, nicer, unlike how he was treating her since getting back from Afghanistan. He actually started looking at her again, looking her in the eye. Conversations weren't limited to obligatory case related subjects. He would driver her to a crime scene, he waited for her to interview witnesses, they started speaking again about the cases and not just about the science. They laughed. They had post case drinks. They talked like they had before and he said things that comforted and unnerved her at the same time. He still hadn't come to the lab. And he still did not reach out to her unless there was a case; still no just coffee dates. It was all very confusing to her. Were they partners? Colleagues? Friends? Or were they just two people who had intimate knowledge of each other with a mountain of unsaid things left between them?
Brennan wanted to challenge him on the changes as she had been consistent with him in spite of her newly acknowledged feels and his lover, but opted not to. She hoped that time would fix it, but there was little hope of that. As time passed it became harder for Brennan to be with him, with them. It was harder to watch and be happy for Hannah and Booth - the couple in love. It was partly due to jealousy, some due to envy, most due to sorrow at the loss of her partner and friend. The loss was complete when she found out that Booth told Hannah about her feelings. He gave Brennan no warning and allowed her to be blindsided by Hannah. There was a time when his loyalty to Brennan would be superseded by no one or nothing. What was between them was theirs; he had said so, he demanded it. That was not the case anymore. Brennan could not deny or justify that pain and sorrow it caused her. She could not defend his actions and inactions. She could not forgive him for that betrayal. She was beginning to understand why Angela and everyone else were surprised that Brennan and Hannah could be friends. The truth was they couldn't. Brennan was trying to replace the friendship she had lost with Booth, with a friendship with Hannah. It wasn't going to work and it had to stop.
Brennan was still listed at Booth's medical proxy. He probably just forgot to change it since his return. She would suggest that he do that when he came out of surgery. The administration came to Brennan to ask her to sign waivers and authorize procedures. She was distracted for a moment and didn't see Hannah get escorted from the room as the nurses did the final prep and the surgeon discussed the procedure with Booth.
"Temperance," she said when she was standing at Brennan's side. "I don't understand how this happened. How did they know it was a brain tumor?"
"Booth was suffering from headaches again - hallucinations."
"How do you go from a headache to a brain tumor? He had hallucinations? He never said anything."
Brennan had to tell Hannah about the time before but would have to hold so much back. She needed to be careful - for Hannah's sake as well as her own. "Because this is not the first time this has happened."
"Two years ago Booth was diagnosed with the same type of tumor. He had surgery and was ..." She swallowed hard. "He was fine eventually."
"Two years ago? What do you mean eventually?"
"With any type of surgery there are risks. More so with brain surgery as the surgery itself might cause damage."
"What aren't you telling me?" Hannah demanded.
What Brennan was not telling Hannah could fill a book. "The last time Booth had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. He was in a coma for four days." That was enough. She didn't need to say more. "He was back to work in six weeks and it took him a little longer to get back to where he was, but there was no lasting damage." Right, no lasting damage at all, except that it had set in motion the destruction of Booth and Brennan. It seemed appropriate that another tumor, another brain surgery should bookend that period in their relationship. When this was over, maybe Brennan could finally move on too.
Hannah sunk down onto the nearest chair. "Oh my God!"
"Dr. Brennan," the nurse said. "Dr. Campion would like to speak with you."
Hannah puzzled a look at Brennan. "I'm his medical proxy," she explained. "You should have him change that when this is over."
"No," Hannah said desperately. "No, you know more about this than I do. I trust you. Seeley trusts you. We're so grateful to you."
Brennan left to go to the surgeon thinking that she didn't want Hannah's or the loving couple's gratitude. And Booth doesn't like to be called Seeley! Why does he allow her to call him that?
"Dr. Campion?" Brennan asked with voice cracking.
The doctor turned to Brennan. He was tall, dark and had the deepest green eyes she had ever seen in real life. She reactively smiled. He flashed a smile back indicating he liked what he saw in her as well. "Dr. Brennan." He extended his hand. Brennan extended hers and when skin touched skin she was instantly calmed. She didn't know why but she liked and trusted Dr. Campion. "I'm embarrassed to admit this Dr. Brennan, but I am a bit of a fan. I have enjoyed all your books and am anxiously awaiting your next one. I hope it won't be too much longer."
Brennan did not know how to respond. "I have not begun the next novel, but I'm thinking about not doing another Kathy Reichs story."
"I'll read whatever you write; loyal to the author, not the characters." Again he flashed a disarming smile.
"Now, before I embarrass myself any more, Agent Booth has asked if you would be present in the operating room." Brennan wasn't aware that Booth requested that again. "It's not my policy or the hospital's to allow guests in the OR, but I'm inclined to make an exception for you."
"That's not necessary, Dr. Campion."
"I understand you were present the last time."
"Well, honestly, if it would make the patient more comfortable, I will allow it. Again, only for you." He was flirting with her. It had been a long time since anyone flirted so opening with Brennan at least someone Brennan would consider a viable candidate.
"Thank you." She looked to Booth. Hannah was back in with him. They were holding hands and whispering to each other. The tension in her chest tightened. "Doctor, I'm sure you are aware that Booth had a bad reaction to the anesthesia two years ago when he underwent the same procedure."
"Yes, I have spoken to the anesthesiologist and she will be very cognizant."
"We will begin in thirty minutes. You can scrub up down there." One more smile and he was gone.
Brennan didn't want to be in the operating room. Booth had no idea what it took out of her last time to watch them operate on his brain, and then when he didn't come out of the anesthesia for four days she felt responsible. Why did he ask that again? How could he expect her to do that? She wasn't his partner, she wasn't his friend. She was no one to him anymore yet she was supposed to stand by and watch them cut into his brain to what end?
"Temperance?" Hannah called and waived her into Booth's room.
"So?" Booth asked trying to make eye contact with Brennan. "OK?"
Brennan nodded once.
"OK what?" Hannah was left out.
"Bones will be in the OR making sure they don't screw up."
"I will be observing, at Booth's request," she corrected. "Dr. Campion is very well respected in his field."
"I trust you, Bones." He said still trying to catch and hold her gaze. Brennan was looking everywhere but at Booth. "This time watch the anesthesiologist too, OK?" He grinned. "Wouldn't want a repeat of last time."
His smile felt like a slap in the face. Brennan felt her heart slowly being crushed and had to fight not to show the pain.
"Oh yes, Temperance said something about a coma." Hannah pressed Booth's hand. "That must have been horrible. Do you remember anything from when you were out?"
Brennan watched Booth's eyes flickered with recognition of what they shared. They never talked about it but it was very much a shared memory. He didn't look at Brennan, but he remembered, he remembered all of it in Technicolor that much was obvious. Booth was just about to open his mouth to lie to his new love, to spare her, to spare himself. He no longer cared what his words, his actions, his generosity to her were doing to Brennan. He would deny it, or minimize it, or ridicule it as an odd dream and leave out all the salient points. Brennan couldn't stand to watch. She cleared her throat and said that she needed to go scrub up. She would see Booth in the OR and would come find Hannah in the waiting room to tell her when it was over.
As Brennan scrubbed her hands and nails she remembered her book, her story of Booth and Bren, the nightclub owners suspected of murder. She remembered their bliss. Their joy at discovering they were pregnant. She remembered how connected they were and how nothing could shake their love for each other. Even as she wrote it she knew that it wouldn't last. She wondered how it all went wrong.