"You look terrible."
Seeley Booth had been resting his head on a pile of paperwork and staring blankly at one of his office walls. When he sat up to see who had spoken, he found a blond psychic standing in his doorway. "It's good to see you too, Avalon," he replied bitterly. He was tired of people commenting on how awful he looked. He had a mirror; he knew. "Are you here to report another mass grave under a fountain?"
"Not this time." She sat down in the chair across from his desk. "The only dead bodies I see these days are on cop shows. It amazes me that there are so many of them on the air. You know what? They should make a show with you and Dr. Brennan! You both do excellent work and you're very attractive people." She stared at him for a few moments. "Well…you're normally attractive."
Booth sighed. "I'm sorry that I don't look like a TV star right now, but I've had a really rough week, okay?"
"I know," she said sympathetically. "That's why I'm here. Angela asked me to come to you." She took a pack of tarot cards out of her purse. "She thought I might be able to help you heal your broken heart."
"Bones would say that the heart is a muscle, so it can't be broken, only crushed." The mental image of his partner speaking squint brought a temporary smile to his face. "And I really don't think a tarot card reading is going to help me."
Avalon shrugged. "Maybe it will, maybe it won't. What's the harm in trying?"
"I've got a lot to do here." He motioned to the pile of paperwork he'd been using as a pillow moments earlier.
"I could see you were busy when I walked in," she teased as she shuffled the cards. "So pick a couple cards out of the deck and I'll let you get back to work."
Assistant Director Hacker chose that moment to poke his head into Booth's office. He smiled when he saw the cards. "Are you relying on tarot cards to solve your cases now?"
Booth bit back a sarcastic reply. "No, sir. This has nothing to do with a case. Avalon is here as a…" As what? His psychic adviser? "…friend."
"I see. Well, don't let your 'friend' keep you from finishing your paperwork. I expect it on my desk ASAP." He made a clicking sound with his tongue and walked away.
Avalon saw Booth glaring at his boss's back. "Don't mind him. He's just jealous because he knows that Temperance will never love him as much as she loves you."
Booth laughed. "Really? Your psychic powers tell you that?"
"Just pick a card, Agent Booth."
"Fine." He closed his eyes and put his hands in a prayer position. "Oh, all knowing tarot cards, please tell me how to heal my crushed heart," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He opened his eyes and picked a card out of the deck.
The card he selected had the Roman numeral XIV at the top. Below the number stood an angel with a radiant halo and outstretched wings. She was holding a golden cup in each hand, and water appeared to be flowing between the cups. At the bottom of the card was a single word. His mouth dropped open when he read it.
"Are you going to show me your card?" Avalon asked, smiling at his shocked expression.
"It says 'Temperance.'" He dropped it on his desk.
Avalon's smile grew. "Interesting. The Temperance card represents moderation, balance, healing-"
"It's my partner's name! Is this a joke? Did Angela put you up to this?"
"No one put me up to anything, Seeley. The cards have a mind of their own, and they've told you the answer to your question. But you already knew the answer, didn't you? You know that the two of you are destined to be together."
He lowered his head. "I spent years waiting for the day Bones and I would be together, waiting for the perfect moment that would change everything. When I finally decided to take a chance, I screwed it up, and then I rushed into a relationship with Hannah to make myself feel better. I've been such a jerk to Bones lately; I don't deserve another shot with her."
"Try anyway." Avalon picked up the Temperance card and held it out to Booth. He didn't take it.
"Avalon…I can't handle another rejection right now. Especially one from Bones."
"She won't reject you." She placed the card back on his desk. "Trust me."
Three weeks later, Booth was standing outside Brennan's apartment with a bouquet of daffodils. Yet, he couldn't bring himself to knock on her door. What if Avalon was wrong? He shouldn't be doing this. There was too much at stake, too much to lose…
He was still debating with himself when the door swung open, revealing Brennan in her white trench coat. Her purse was draped over her left shoulder and her car keys dangled from her right hand.
Her eyes widened when she saw him. "Booth! I didn't hear you knock."
His cheeks burned. "I…I was just about to." He held out the flowers. "These are for you."
"Thank you." She smiled as she took them from him. "What's the occasion?"
"No occasion. I just…uh…wanted to get you flowers." He felt as awkward as a high school boy on his first date.
"Do you want to come in?"
"Is this a good time? You're obviously on your way out."
"I was going to do some errands, but they can wait. Come in."
Taking a deep breath, Booth followed her into her apartment. He watched her hang up her coat, drop her purse and keys on a table by the door, put his flowers in a vase and fill it with water. She placed the vase on a coffee table and then sat down on the couch beside it. He sat at the opposite end.
After a minute or two of silence, Booth gathered the courage to speak. "Bones, I want to…I need to apologize for the way I treated you when I was with Hannah. I wasn't a very good partner or friend."
"It's understandable, Booth," she said softly. "The release of dopamine, oxytocin and other hormones that one experiences when in love can easily overpower the rational part of the brain."
"I know…but I still regret the way I acted. My relationship with you is one of the most important in my life, and for a while I forgot that. I hope that, in time, we can be as close as we used to be." He took another deep breath. "Or maybe even…closer."
Her heart rate accelerated. "Closer?"
"When I was with Hannah, I would tell myself that I'd gotten over you, but I knew, in the back of my mind, that I was lying. I never stopped loving you. You're still the standard, Bones, and you always will be."
A tear slid down her cheek. "You're still my standard too." Slowly, slowly each moved closer to the other until their lips united in a tender kiss.
"Is this our 'eventually'?" She asked when the kiss ended.
He smiled as he stroked her hair. "If you want it to be."
She smiled back. "I do."
As they shared another kiss, Booth could feel his crushed muscle beginning to heal.
"So you finally talked to Temperance," Avalon said when Booth called her the next day.
"I told her I wanted to be closer to her and she didn't push me away! You were right. Thank you for encouraging me to take another gamble on love."
"You're welcome. I'll expect an invitation to your wedding."
"Bones and I are going to get married?" Imagining a life with Bones as his wife made him giddy. "Will we have kids too? How many?"
"I'm not going to tell you everything! You'll just have to wait and see."
She grinned as she hung up the phone, knowing that Seeley and Temperance-and their children- were going to live happily ever after.
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.