Nothing Changes Unless Next A Nightmare

(Working Title: Cathartic Release)

By LizD

Winter 2011

Chapter 13

=|=.B.=|=.O.=|=.N.=|=.E.=|=.S.=|=

"Booth, I -."

Booth's phone vibrated on the table. Both startled and looked toward the device. Hannah's pictured beamed at them.

The moment was broken.

Booth reached over and hit ignore, switched it to silent mode and put it face down on the table. "Go on."

"It might have been important."

"This is important, Bones."

"She knows you're here?"

"No. Please … go on." Brennan hesitated. "You said something about a dream? A strange dream?"

"Yes. I had a very strange dream ..." She was too distracted by Hannah's call. It was so unlike Booth not to leap to talk to her or run off at a moment's notice to be with her. It unnerved Brennan a bit. "Booth I really think you need to call her back."

"It's not necessary." He saw that she was unmovable on this topic and relented. "Fine."

She got up and went to her bedroom to give him some privacy.

=|=.B.=|=.&.=|=.B.=|=

"Hey, missed your call … no, I'm not home … yes … yes … yes. Hannah, I'm fine." He was silent for a long moment. "That would be fine. Now is fine really." He was silent again for a moment. "Is that really what you want to do? … You're sure. … Then I'm happy for you. … Of course, I am. When do you leave? … That soon, huh? … Tomorrow lunch sounds fine. … I'll ask her. … No, I'm with her now. … No, not right now … because we're in the middle of something. … No, no … nothing like that. We are talking. … Ok … Ok … great … congratulations."

Booth ended the call and put the phone back down on the table. He really wanted to get up and walk around but he wasn't supposed to do that yet. In fact he really should be lying down. He had been sitting up more hours that day than he had in a week and it was taking a toll.

"Bones?" he called to her. "Bones?"

When she came back she had changed into something more comfortable – sweats and a t-shirt. Booth had always found her beautiful, but there was something about her when she dressed down; no jewelry, no make-up, no pretense at being formal. He would almost say relaxed. She was spectacular. She was somebody he knew he would still find stunningly beautiful in his old age and hers.

"Everything OK?"

"Yes, Hannah has taken an assignment in South America."

"Really?" She sat down on the couch but it was farther away from him. "I assumed she would want to go back to the war zone."

"The Canadians are pulling out. There won't be anyone left soon. There is some big story breaking in South America, she wants to be a part of it."

Brennan just nodded. She still didn't understand Hannah. "Booth, can I ask … when did you end your relationship with her?"

"Shortly before I came over here."

"This afternoon? When you got home from the hospital?"

"Yes." He looked a little embarrassed. "I had made the decision several days ago … To be honest I knew Hannah and I were over when I woke up after surgery."

"So you broke up with her hours ago and now she is going to South America and you are OK with that?"

He shrugged. "Yes ... Yeah, I'm fine with it. I've had several days to get used to the idea and the way she has been with me this week, she was pretty used to the idea too. I'm glad that she has something to move on to."

Brennan shook her head. "I don't understand ... people say I am cold and unfeeling."

"Bones, no ... don't say that." He reached for her.

"Why are you here, Booth?"

"Specifically?" He took hold of her hand. "To get you to change your travel plans."

"Done," she stated slipping her hand from his. "You should probably go home. You need to rest."

"I'm OK, Bones. I'd like to continue our conversation."

"I can't ... not right now ... not today." She stood up and moved away.

"When?"

"Soon."

"Will you come visit me tomorrow?"

"Of course." She realized that he was at her mercy to get home. He shouldn't be alone not the first day home from the hospital. "Will you be alone at home tonight?"

"Hannah is staying with a friend." He said thinking she was still concerned about Hannah. Interestingly enough, Booth had let Hannah go and she was gone - from his mind, from his heart.

"You shouldn't be alone." Brennan looked down and away. There was the responsible side of her telling her to do what was right. But there was another side of her that said she needed to take care of herself. "You'll stay in the guest room." She stated. "And you should probably eat something … have you eaten anything at all today?"

"Lunch … hospital lunch … would love a beer and some Thai."

Brennan looked warily at him.

"Come on, Doc … what harm could a beer do … just one and some meekrob."

=|=.B.=|=.&.=|=.B.=|=

Dinner was not as easy as it was familiar. They talked around safe subjects. She caught him looking at her a lot, like he used to. She wasn't quite ready to accept his switch. He went to bed early. He was exhausted. Brennan slipped out to go to his apartment and pick up his prescriptions, toiletries and a change of clothes or two. She was reluctant to go herself; she did not want to run into Hannah. She wouldn't know what to say. Luckily that was not an issue. Hannah had come and gone. It was odd how little she had impacted his house. There was a note by the phone Hannah had given him and other than those two items, his apartment looked the same as it always had. She wondered if that was why Booth could let her go so easily, because she was never completely in his life.

Brennan found it hard to sleep that night. She tossed and turned. Every time she closed her eyes she was back in that dream or some weird combination of the dream and reality.

Around four AM she got up and went to the living room. It was nights like those she was grateful she lived alone. She could read, or write or listen to music ... anything she wanted to do. But Booth was there. He needed his rest. So she sat in the dark looking out her balcony doors at the moon.

Booth must not have been sleeping either. He came out about ten minutes later.

"Can't sleep?" he asked softly.

"No."

"Me either."

"Should I make us some coffee?"

"No," he flopped down on the couch. "How about a scotch?"

"Booth your prescriptions say that they are not to be taken with alcohol."

"So I won't take any drugs."

They sat quietly for a long moment not saying anything. Brennan did not get him the scotch.

"Why don't you tell me about that dream you had," he prompted.

She turned to him. She could see the bandage in his silhouette. "What do you think will happen?"

"If we talk about it?" He inhaled deeply and let out a long slow exhale. "Maybe we will understand each other better."

She was going to argue the point. She was going to deflect and remove herself from the situation, but she realized that as an old pattern that she was trying to avoid. Since it was on her mind, her thoughts were pretty close to the surface she had things to say. Maybe it would be good to discuss it. "I'm not sure how to interpret it but it was as if I was looking in ... no ... it was as if I was living the life of those people from the book a year or so later." She looked over at him. "They were not in a happy place. The couple ... the night club owners were headed for a divorce and ..."

"And worse ... I know."

"How do you know?"

"I can't explain it ... but I was there too." He chuckled. "Maybe you talked in your sleep."

"It was very disturbing," she stated.

"It was ... very vivid, very real ... too real. I'll never forget the image of you in my arms with your heart ... No." He shook the image away. "I blame the anesthesia."

"I didn't have any," Brennan stated.

"It was very enlightening. Seeing how far such a perfect couple could fall when communication was lost." He sat forward slightly, sorry that there was so much distance between them. "Those people, Bones ... those people are not us."

"I know," she said her voice cracking. "But I feel an overwhelming desire to apologize to you for her actions."

"I know, me too."

She moved over to the couch. "But I have enough of my own apologies to make."

"No," he protested.

"And there is one I need to hear ... first I need to understand why."

Booth nodded. "I know. I know and I'm sorry."

"Can you please explain it to me?" Brennan asked.

"I'll try," he said nervously. He sat up and thought about putting his hand through his hair and thought better of it. No hair. Big bandage. Healing wound. "That night ... after we talked to Sweets ... well before we went to talk to Sweets ... I wasn't thinking that I would ask you to move our relationship to the next level. I had thought about it a lot, but was always afraid of your answer ... apparently it was not an unreasonable fear."

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm trying to explain."

"What does that night have to do with telling Hannah ... with telling Hannah what I told you ... what I revealed to you a couple of weeks ago?"

"Huh?"

"You hurt me, Booth. I shared something with you that was very personal and very raw, you had to appreciate that. You had to know how big that was for me. And to be rejected was very difficult too. But the final ... the final insult was that you told Hannah."

"I don't understand."

"You told Hannah my deepest secret. You broke my trust. We have always had trust - always. We worked for it. We earned it. And you ... you just... you have been treating me differently since you have been back. I accepted that because of our time apart and your new relationship, but I thought we were still partners."

"We are," he protested.

"You shouldn't have done that."

"It was something Hannah needed to know."

"Why? You know me Booth. You have known me for years. You know me better than anyone else in the world. I would never have done anything to interfere with your relationship with Hannah in spite of what it was doing to me."

"Doing to you?"

"Yes, it was very painful watching you two, seeing you two so in love, witnessing you two building a life together."

Booth winced at her assessment.

"I assume that part of the pain was because I knew that I had no place in your life anymore. And the pain increased when I finally accepted that it came from envy, jealousy; that I had an opportunity to have that kind of relationship with you and I rejected it out of fear. I would never have that chance again because you had found Hannah. But none of that matters. I loved … I cared about you enough to want you to be happy – regardless of my feelings. I would never have intruded or done anything to ruin your relationship, or challenge our partnership, or affected my friendship with Hannah. I feel I have demonstrated that over and over again these past months. Hannah did not need to know, and you did not need to tell her."

Booth was very uncomfortable. "I felt like I was keeping a secret from her."

"Yes, my secret. As I have kept many of yours and would have kept yours from her - the brain tumor for example or any number of things we discussed in confidence. It's what partners do. You taught me that."

Booth was floored. He thought she would be upset about the other woman - most women would take that as a personal affront - but one more time Bones proved to not be like any other woman.

"I'm sorry, Bones ... I really felt that Hannah needed to know that we had a bit of a past particularly since you-."

"It was not your right to tell," she stated.

"Sweets said -."

"You spoke with Dr. Sweets about this?"

"Yes, but -."

"Why didn't you discuss it with me? Why couldn't you have allowed me to prepare myself? All I knew was that Hannah was avoiding me and when I challenged her on it, she blindsided me. I was hurt, confused and I felt betrayed by you. How could you do that?"

Booth sat back. He hadn't thought about it from Bones' perspective. In fact he really didn't think about Bones at all - consciously. Maybe Sweets was right. Maybe Booth felt the need to tell Hannah because he was feeling guilty about harboring feelings for Brennan. Maybe telling Hannah was an act of sabotage. It was hard to know what he was thinking before. The dream had messed with his head and confused a lot, it clarified much more.

"I don't know why I didn't tell you," he said after a long moment. "It was not my intention to hurt you." He looked away. "I see now that it did and you're right." He looked back and looked directly into her expectant eyes. "I trust you with everything I am and everything I was. If you had shared any of that with Hannah or anyone else, I would have seen it as a betrayal. I'm sorry. "

She nodded but didn't say anything.

"Do you accept my apology?"

"Yes," she said. "But if we are to continue our working relationship, the trust will have to be earned again."

"I accept that. I'm not going anywhere, Bones. I want us to be more than colleagues, more than partners - no matter how long it takes."

She didn't know how to respond to that.

"I need to confess something to you that I'm not sure I fully understand." She looked up into his eyes. He was earnest. She nodded for him to continue. "These past months ... this past year … longer … since we parted at the airport I have been struggling to figure out how to fit you in my life. I loved you but couldn't have you. You didn't want me, but yet you were still there every day, day in and day out. You held yourself just out of reach. I wanted to hope that things might change ... that you might change your mind, but ..." He leaned closer. "But then you were gone. Poof ...gone. We were completely cut off."

"Yes." She didn't understand what the problem was.

"Bones, you may be able to move people in and out of your life like turning off a switch, but I can't."

She wanted to suggest that he had just done that with Hannah, but felt that that was not what he was trying to say, he was not looking for a debate, he was trying to tell her something. She needed to hear it.

"I went from seeing you every day, all day to nothing. Not an email, not a letter, not a text message from you … nothing. It was as if you erased me from your existence."

"Not true at all. I didn't contact anyone. I responded to Angela a couple of times."

"But not me?"

"You didn't write to me. I didn't get an email, a letter, a text message."

"I was waiting for you. You were the one who needed to leave. Who had become disillusioned with the job, with the partnership."

"No, not you ... I didn't leave you."

"Yes, you did Bones," he pressed. "How could you just cut me out of your life like that?"

"You should have told me," she protested.

"There are some things that you shouldn't have to tell people." He swallowed. "I was pretty pissed off with you about that for a long time in Afghanistan. When we met up again back here in DC, you acted like you wanted to just pick off as if no time and nothing had passed between us. Seven month, Bones. Seven long months of nothing. Things change, people change, lives change."

"I was made acutely aware of how much can change in the time. However I did not change. Me and pyramids, right Booth?"

"Yeah," he half laughed. "I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was. It made me ... I don't know ... annoyed with you. I have been keeping my distance, personally and professionally. I haven't been very nice to you," he announced.

"I've noticed."

"Well I should have been more upfront with my feelings. I should have told you why."

"If I had corresponded with you, would it have made a difference?"

"Of course."

"Any real difference?" She nodded toward his phone on the coffee table.

"Real Difference? You mean with Hannah? Yeah, maybe. If I thought that we had a chance at all, I never would have gotten involved with her. If we had opened a dialog maybe we would have ... I don't know, come to a better understanding. We wouldn't have wasted so much time ... and nearly lost everything."

Brennan got up and went to her desk. She pulled out a leather bound manuscript and brought it back to Booth. She handed it to him.

"What is this?"

"That is a book I wrote while I was in Maluku."

He was confused. She never let him read her work. He had to buy the book just like everyone else. "When is it coming out?"

"It's not. My editor rejected it. Said my readers don't want to read … let me see how she put it … my readers don't want to read such sentimental crap. Told me to take it home and add a few dead bodies and some really complicated science and bring it back."

"And?"

"That is not the story I wanted to tell, so I won't get it published."

"You want me to read this?"

"If you're interested in what I was thinking about you while I was away, but you certainly don't have to."

"No, No ... I want to. I'm honored that you asked."

"Angela called it a love letter, but it's a piece of fiction."

"Is it?"

She shrugged a nod. "Booth I feel like we have been given another chance - that we have given ourselves another chance."

"We have."

"But it's too soon. Too many misunderstandings have come between us. I will need some time to work through them."

"I understand."

"You need to recover from your surgery."

"I do. But we can keep talking, right? Working together, being together?"

She smiled. "Yes ... I most definitely think we should keep the lines of communication open."

He reached over and took her hand. She pressed it back. "I feel like I just got home and I have been away far too long."

She agreed.

"Welcome home, Bones."

"Welcome home, Booth."

=|=.B.=|=.&.=|=.B.=|=

Booth's recovery was quick - Brennan's book helped. It was a love letter; one she dedicated to him. It brought him closer to understanding her thinking. He was back to work in four weeks. No issue with brain being scrambled this time. Brennan helped him through his recovery. Sweets continued to try to help them, but was rejected at every turn. He had done enough. Hannah's departure was easy as well. She came to see Brennan before she left. The talk was civil. If she was affected at all, Brennan couldn't see it. It was clear to both women that their 'friendship' was solely based on their connection to Booth and would not continue. The topic of Hannah was not taboo between Booth and Brennan, no topic was taboo, but they didn't dwell on the past year, they focused on the future.

For ten weeks after Booth returned to work, they resumed their partnership and their work. It quickly became what it was before. They worked well together - the whole team. If there were comments about Hannah's departure, nothing was said in Brennan's presence. Parker didn't seem to notice that Hannah was gone and was particularly nice to Brennan. He enjoyed his time with his father and Brennan.

They were at a crime scene, a particularly gruesome one at a video and electronics store. The only light was coming from the wall of TVs all turned to the same channel that cast an eerie flickering shadow on the victim. The sound that boomed out of the TVs filled the space. Booth had bellowed twice to cut the feed on the TV and get the lights on, all to no avail.

They had assumed their normal positions: Brennan squatting down next to the body and Booth standing nearby taking notes. The light from the TVs grew bright and it caught their attention. They both looked over and watched in stunned silence as a familiar face reported on the recent unrest in Guyana.

"That is all we have for now, this is Hannah Burley reporting from Guyana for CBC."

The line to the TVs was cut and the lights came up. Booth and Brennan exchanged a look but didn't say anything. They finished processing the crime scene. Brennan chose not to ride back to the Jeffersonian in the truck. She rode with Booth.

"Are you OK?" she asked.

"I am." He glanced toward her. "You?"

"Yes."

"Do we have to talk about anything?"

She shook her head.

The ride to the Jeffersonian was quiet. There was no reason that Hannah should shake them. They were back and had been for a while. They were both just so comfortable with the way things were, that neither one wanted to disturb that.

Brennan climbed out of the SUV and moved to the rear of the vehicle to grab her bags. Booth fumbled with the back gate. They both reached in to grab the bag and their hands touched. Their eyes snapped to each other. Booth took her hand and turned toward her. She smiled and her eyes lit up. He stepped closer. He could fee his heart rate quicken, his breathing grew shallow. She stepped toward him.

"Would you have dinner with me tonight?" he asked looking deeply into her eyes.

"Of course," she said easily. They had been sharing many meals in the past couple of months.

"Not just dinner ... a date ... you and me, good food, good wine ... no talk of work." He leaned toward her.

She felt her stomach tighten in the way it does when she is excited or nervous. "I'd like that." She leaned toward him.

He smiled. "I would too."

He closed the distance between them and lightly pressed his lips to hers softly, tenderly and all too quickly. They leaned back to look into each other's eyes. He had imagined so many time how and where he would kiss her again. There were times at the Founding Fathers over drinks when he wanted to and nearly did. There were times leaving her apartment late after a working dinner that he really wanted to and nearly did. There were times that he swore she wanted it too, but he was waiting for the right time and place. He never imagined it would be in the parking garage at the Jeffersonian, in the middle of the day, with cars coming and going at the start of a murder investigation. Booth assumed that the next time he kissed her it would not end until morning - at least he hoped it would last all night. Brennan felt the same way and had the same hope.

The Jeffersonian van pulled past them and Cam, Wendell and Hodgins climbed out. "Come on you two, we have a murder to solve," Hodgins called to them.

Booth and Brennan hadn't moved. They were millimeters apart, close enough to share the same oxygen, their eyes locked. He didn't move. "Yeah, we have a murder to solve."

She cocked her head in that way she does that had caught his attention from that very first day. "Yeah, we have a murder to solve," she echoed.

He reached up and brushed some hair off her face and let his fingers curls around the back of her head. He pulled her toward him, but she was already there. Their lips met again and parted. Arms tangled around each other. They used the SUV for support as the physical world around them faded; they were consumed by the electricity they were creating between each other.

Booth couldn't help the stupid grin that spread across his face. So much better than the first time. Brennan put her hand on his chest which kept him from backing away too much. She clearly wanted to be kissed again.

Cam, Hodgins and Wendell were walking toward the lab. Booth and Brennan were obstructed from view. "You guys coming?" Cam called.

A flash of desire and recognition passed unspoken between them. Brennan was the one who spoke. "You guys get started; we have a lead we want to follow up."

"OK."

With great reluctance they parted to go to their respective side of the vehicle. They climbed in and looked at each other. "We can't make a habit of this?" he said with a grin starting the engine and putting the vehicle in reverse.

"We'll see about that." She nodded for him to watch the road and not her, but she put her hand on his thigh which actually made it harder for him to concentrate on the road.

=|=.B.=|=.&.=|=.B.=|=

Four hours later they were back at the lab. They weren't fooling any one. The stupid grins that they couldn't wipe off their faces were mirrored in everyone else around them. Their concentration level was only good for about ninety minutes. Booth found Brennan in the bone room and gave her some information he was just given by the FBI. She wasn't listening.

"Bones," he said playfully. "We need to stay focused."

"I am focused," she said.

"The case, Bones ... the case."

She let out a string of facts that she had uncovered. Booth was having a hard time keeping up. "I can multitask, Booth."

"I have recently learned that about you." He leaned in and whispered in her ear. "Looking forward to learning every detail there is to know about you?"

"I'm an open book."

He leaned in and kissed her. It was supposed to be a little kiss but he couldn't help himself. Cam cleared her throat in the doorway. "So ... about the victim ..."

They were back to work. They would need some time to balance the work and play but they were up to it. They were ready for it. It was the right time and the right place - FINALLY.

=|=.B.=|=.O.=|=.N.=|=.E.=|=.S.=|=

A/N: Thanks for playing along. It was cathartic at time and it was FanFIXion at times. Who knows what the writers, cast and crew will throw at us next. Let's hope we all survive. Lizzie - out.