Hello all! You may recall my hiatus last year... (thanks to all who kept in touch with notes and reviews. I appreciate your encouragement). This is the first Bones piece I have finished since taking the hiatus, and I'm offering it here, though I am sure many others have written similar pieces. This is a "missing scene" pieces to go with last week's episode. It's simple, but I hope you enjoy it.
As for those of you who might be wondering what my plans are for future Bones pieces, I am not sure yet. Time and my schedule will tell.
Thanks to HannahTaylor, as always, for her brilliant beta work and her friendship over the past year. Please do go to her profile and read everything she's written. It'll be worth it - I guarantee it.
I would love to hear from you - yes YOU. :-) Enjoy!
He held her while she cried.
Surrounded by his pillows and his white, down comforter, she lay in his arms, letting him comfort her. It had been so long since they were this close, and yet the feel of her against him was achingly familiar. She was imprinted on his heart even though he wasn't sure he wanted her to be anymore. He didn't want her to have that much power to hurt him.
Her fingers closed around his shirt and she curled further into him, sending clashing emotions charging through him. Part of him wanted to pull her closer, stroke her hair, whisper in her ear. The other part of him warned him to run – run before she could break his heart again. Before they broke each other's hearts again.
There was so much sorrow inside her, welling up, and pouring out. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw the face of her dying intern pleading to live.
She could feel her tears dampening Booth's shirt, his hand gently rubbing her shoulder. The bullet had been meant for him. One different decision, one split second of hesitation, and it would have been Booth bleeding under her hands, Booth looking up at her with panicked eyes, Booth leaving her forever. She wasn't a woman who dwelled on what-ifs, but the knowledge that she had come so close to losing him haunted her.
She clung to him now in a way she wouldn't even have considered a year ago. So much had changed since then. She had changed. She could let herself want different things now. Like a life to share with someone else. With Booth, always Booth.
Mr. Nigel-Murray's life had been cut short. Nothing prevented that from happening to her or to Booth. Would she lay there on the cold floor of the lab, looking up into her partner's face, wishing she had more time to show him what he meant to her? Would she beg the universe to give her just one more moment to try to tell him?
She looked up at him now, tears still coursing down her cheeks, and the sobering thought hit her. Neither of them were guaranteed another day.
He felt her look up at him. She was staring at him with those clear blue eyes, and he didn't dare meet her gaze. She was vulnerable and all he could think about was how good it felt to have her close again. He didn't know what she wanted from him. He never did. She was a puzzle. A warm, loving, puzzle of a woman whose compassion and heart constantly moved him. Like it had moved him tonight.
He took a deep breath and then cursed himself as he inhaled the aroma of her hair.
"Is my presence in your bed making you uncomfortable?"
His mind leapt back to their conversations weeks ago, and his explanation that he only lied to her for her own sake. "Nah, Bones. Everything's good. You okay?"
"I'm experiencing a number of emotions."
He tightened his hold on her. "Sure. Sure you are, Bones. Someone you cared about died. It's okay to let yourself feel that."
"I am experiencing regret over Mr. Nigel-Murray, but that… that is not my primary emotion at the moment."
He closed his eyes. "Something else bothering you?"
"Yes. I would not like to lose you, Booth. I know it's irrational, but I can't help thinking about how close you came to taking that bullet. It was meant for you, Booth."
"Sshh." He hushed her gently and shifted them so that he could see her face, his arm still around her shoulders, his other hand free to touch her face. "Bones, don't think about things like that. You can't. Aren't you always the one telling me there's no point on dwelling on things that didn't happen?"
She nodded, her red eyes locked on his.
"There is another thought bothering me."
He smoothed her hair back from her face even though he knew he shouldn't. Still, the small smile it brought to her face pleased him. "What is it?"
"If I had taken that bullet, and it was me who lay on the floor bleeding…"
"Bones!" He felt his arms tighten around her, a punch of fear hitting him just at the suggestion that it might have been her life that slipped through his hands today. "Nuh-uh. Don't even go there, Bones. It wasn't you. You're right here and you're fine and I'm fine and we're going to be fine. Okay?"
"I'm aware of that. But in the hypothetical situation…"
"Bones." There was a warning in his voice that she ignored.
"… I believe that I would have a request of the universe."
That made him curious. Curious enough to allow her to hypothesize about her own death, just for a moment. He looked down at her, waiting.
"I believe I would request the universe to allow me more time to discover a way to more accurately convey my feelings to those I care for." She blinked at him, her body still against his. "Do you understand what I mean?"
He swallowed hard. "Sure, Bones. You'd want to leave knowing people knew you cared."
"Yes." She nodded thoughtfully. "But of course, the universe is not a being that can grant fanciful wishes. My request would be met with the same silence that Mr. Nigel-Murray's was." She lifted a hand to his chest. "Which is why I feel it is important to attempt to explain my feelings now and not wait until the last moments before my imminent death."
"Bones…" He wasn't at all sure he was ready for where she was headed, and yet he knew there was little he could do to stop her. Especially when he wasn't even sure he wanted to.
"Please, Booth. Let me speak."
He nodded, feeling a little lightheaded.
Somehow her hand found his and held on as she spoke. "I would like to tell you what date I wrote down on the piece of paper you burned. I wrote down the date that we spoke to Sweets about his book, almost two years ago now. I realize that it was an irrational date to write down, considering it passed long ago, but your ritual was far from rational to begin with, so it didn't seem to matter much."
He threaded his fingers through hers, all doubts flung from his mind as he tried to grasp what she was telling him. His voice was deep and soft when he spoke, "Why that date, Bones?"
She held his gaze steadily. "Because I don't believe in regrets, but I have one. I regret my response to you that night. I don't believe you presented your case well, but I wish… I wish that I had responded differently, and maybe…"
He pulled her closer so that their faces were only inches apart. "Maybe what?"
"I don't know." She confessed. "Maybe I would not have left, and you would never have gone back to the army. You would never have met Hannah, and our relationship would..." She broke off, letting out a soft sob and he pulled her flush against him.
"Ssshh." He stroked her hair, her back. "Don't cry, Bones. Don't be sad."
She pulled back. "I'm not sad, Booth. I'm frustrated. My emotions conflict with my logic and I am constantly perplexed. I hate that feeling. And I hate that I expend energy wishing away a year of my life and an incredibly rewarding project for my career. It isn't sound thinking, Booth. There is simply no way to know what would have happened two years ago, had we decided to redefine our relationship."
"You're right." He tucked her hair behind her ear. "For once, Bones, I agree with you. There's no point to wondering what might have been. There's only now. Maybe… maybe we needed time apart. Maybe we needed to recognize what we mean to each other. But none of that matters right now. Not Maluku, not Hannah, not anything. I just need to know, Bones. Even after everything I've done to you, everything we've done to each other, are you saying you want a relationship? A real, committed relationship? Because if that's not what you're saying…
She cut him off with a kiss that was tentative and tender, two things he'd never have expected from her. She pulled back and he drew in a shaky breath.
"That's what I'm saying, Booth."
"Yeah, okay." He smiled at her, holding her gaze for a long moment, cupping her cheek with his big hand. "Okay." Turning onto his back, he pulled her into his arms, resting his cheek on her hair. "You're sure, Bones?" He couldn't help but ask.
"Yes, I'm very sure."
He grinned up at his ceiling. "So if I ask you on a date when this case is done…?"
"I would say yes."
"Good to know. And for now?"
She curled up to him, fitting her body flush against his. "I would like to share your bed tonight."
He chuckled, "That's very forward of you, Bones. But I guess under the circumstances I can allow it."
She was quiet and he hugged her tighter, remembering that her mood was less than jovial.
After a long moment of quiet, she spoke, "Booth?"
"Mr. Nigel-Murray really was my favorite intern. Do you think… do you think he knew that?"
He felt a strong tug of love for the woman in his arms, and his lips touched her forehead. "I know he did, Bones. I know he did."
Until Thursday, when Hart may or may not crush my heart, I choose to believe this is what happened. :-) Four days to the finale! Feel free to help pass the time by leaving me a note :-) Have a great week, everyone.