Fate Will Twist the Both of You
I've seen the worst of you too
I let it go see
Because I have to
And when I'm falling on my knees
You'll take my hand in yours
What will be, we'll be
Dreamer, Uh Huh Her
"Can you just..."
"Yeah. That's why I'm here. I'm right here."
He means what he says and she believes what he says, and she feels so far from impervious that she can't help but just cry. She cries for Vincent Nigel-Murray and she cries because her doubt in herself as a human being lingers on in spite of Booth's words of comfort. She cries and Booth is warm and solid, and she wants to be closer to him. Absorbed by him. She wants to crawl inside his skin and borrow his strength, because right now she can't find any of her own.
He holds her and he's exactly what she needs. He murmurs reassurances and he kisses the top of her head and he remembers what it's like to breathe in her soft hair and its delicious scent. And Booth knows he can be strong enough for both of them tonight. He's not quite human right now; he's more soldier than man. He feels the change in himself and when this is over he may obsess over what is implied by how easily he slips into this mode during these crises, but for right now, he's doing what needs to be done. He's calculated. Because no one else is going to die. Broadsky cannot take any more pieces of his partner's fragile heart.
What kind of person am I?
"Beautiful. Empathetic. Smart. Fair. Feisty as hell. Funny. You're so funny."
The shaking stops although the tension in her body remains. She tilts her head upward and the kiss he intends for her crown falls on her forehead instead. Her eyes are red and his eyes are grim, and she is suddenly aware of the glaring dampness of his t-shirt. She presses a kiss to his chest – whether it's to protect him from the chill or to apologise, she doesn't know – and her action coupled with his, shifts something between them. This is not the way partners comfort one another. This is not the way friends comfort one another. They can write dates on papers and burn them, they can hypothesize about anger and imperviousness and becoming one when their hearts have recovered, when they're stable and in the right place, when they're ready, but planning has never meant anything between them. They should have known that they would never come together when it was convenient or easy.
He had not chosen to fall in love with her and she had not chosen to trust him more than anyone, and they had most certainly not chosen to end up tangled together on his bed under these circumstances. And yet, here they are.
Brennan's face is still buried in his tear soaked shirt and Booth's head is again deep in her hair, and they both try to ignore the sudden intensity shared through every connected part of their bodies. But tonight, even Booth cannot find that kind of strength.
No, he can't pretend. But when Brennan ever so hesitantly repeats the soft pressing of her warm lips to his shirt, he thinks about what this could mean for not only their tentative decision to strive for more (eventually), but for their very existence. The centre is being held together by shoelaces and elastic bands stretched just this side of their maximum abilities; to risk losing the centre is to risk losing friends, family, forever. If they cannot hold, Broadsky will strike against the team again and he will win.
"No." His voice is a whisper and he tightens his hold on her and he prays to God that Brennan will understand. Even though he's a little pissed off at God right now, to be honest.
Brennan nuzzles her face against his chest and her body shudders as she inhales deeply. "Everything hurts."
"I know," he murmurs. "But you and I, Bones, we do really stupid things to each other when we're hurting. We don't- we can't afford to be stupid right now."
"The centre must hold," she says mechanically.
There's doubt in her voice and he can't fault it. They had thought of that as a certainty, once, and then the centre had broken apart and the earth had dared to continue spinning. But that had been before Broadsky.
He doesn't answer her, but he squeezes tighter and he can't keep from brushing his lips over the top of her head again. She lifts her head and they're caught staring into the very soul of the other for the hundred thousandth time, and they can't look away.
"We're close, aren't we, Booth."
"But not yet."
"No, not yet."
Even as he speaks the words, their mouths are drawn together. And it hurts more than it ever has before, because they're both so aware of what it is to lose all of this. There are things they've gained amidst the parts of them they've lost, and maybe they'll get everything they had been back and maybe they won't, but that's not the point. The point is that he feels that constant ache inside of him again that used to be synonymous with her presence. It's raw and it's painful and it's everything he remembers it had been before distance had allowed him to temperate it and move forward. The point is that she remembers what it is to be comforted by him when she feels she just might break under the weight of oppressive grief.
"Everything hurts," she repeats.
"This hurts less," she states, and she kisses him again.
And then words become both too much and not enough.
She wakes up naked in a bed that isn't hers, but Booth's familiar body reminds her of what has happened before her mind has a chance to panic. The sound of another heart – the feel of its rhythm – beneath her head puts her at ease.
It's well before seven AM, she feels exhausted throughout every fibre of her being, and she knows that this can only be somewhat accounted to her recent less-than-an-hour of sleep. She's shivering. She's confused. Her body aches, her throat feels thick, the pressure in her head is agonizing. An emotional hangover. Feelings often take a harder toll on her body than alcohol does.
Brennan carefully moves away from Booth and studies his body with unrestrained meticulousness. She knows her time is limited; she knows he won't sit still and allow her to observe him, memorize him, in this fashion while he is awake. She knows Broadsky needs to be caught and they both have work to do and they can't afford to lounge in bed. But there is something ethereal happening here in this room and she is uncharacteristically reluctant to disturb it.
Goosebumps break out along her bare arms and as her shivers become an outright distraction, there is the sense that time has just about run out, and she's still not ready. She has only the thin sheet for cover – God knows what has happened to Booth's blanket – and she's suddenly too drained to maintain her watch. Pulling the sheets tighter around her, Brennan lies back on Booth's chest and closes her eyes, and she concentrates on the sound of his heart.
"We should get up."
His voice is gravelly with sleep and it sends her stomach fluttering. She has heard this voice before; on stakeouts, on overnight undercover assignments, when she has phoned him in the dead of night or simply shown up at his door. But here, naked in his bed, it strikes her differently.
"Yes," she agrees, but she doesn't move.
"Are you hungry?"
He hesitates with his arm half-stretched to rest across her back. He knows she's different, but there's this part of him that fears her reaction to this change - in the face of a new dawn - will be far from positive. But he ultimately does move forward and embrace her. And she doesn't flinch. And everything is good inside his bedroom. But they can't stay there any longer.
"I know, Booth. I know."
He shifts beneath her and she rolls to one side, and the loss of contact flips some kind of switch because she again feels this crippling rush of sadness and he is again this mass of capable muscles filled with tension.
They're quiet as they brush their teeth and take their turns in the shower. The scene is domestic and while there's the slight hum of change, it mostly feels routine. They can't think about what any of this means right now. So they choose to lock it up for another day – they've always been good at that; it's one thing that has remained consistent, even this year – and they prepare themselves for battle, because it's time for them to save the world. Again.
Booth is in the kitchen brewing the coffee when Brennan pauses before the living room window. It's going to be a nice day. It seems unfair in the face of such tragedy, but the sun is bright and inviting and she is tired of feeling cold and sad. A memory rushes forth unbidden; in it, she's perhaps eight or nine and she's sick and her mother is opening all the shades.
Let some light in, Temperance. Everything feels worse in the dark.
Her hand moves slowly to the chord and she fingers it with unconscious reverence, then she pulls firmly and the room floods with light. She shudders as the warm rays penetrate the window and fall upon her chilled skin. It's not rational, but there's the notion that if she can successfully warm herself on the outside, perhaps she can thaw out on the inside as well. Her eyes close and she lets her fingers rest against the heated glass, and that's when Booth comes running out of the kitchen and tackles her – tackles her – to the ground.
There's pain as the air is forced out of her lungs, and she gets caught between the unyielding hardwood floor and the equally unyielding weight of her partner. She grimaces and fights to take a new breath, but Booth is too focused on the window to notice her struggle.
"What the hell do you think you're doing? Keep the blinds closed and stay away from the windows, Temperance. Those were the only things I asked of you."
He determines that there is no immediate threat and looks to her face for the first time.
"Sorry," she wheezes.
Booth curses and raises himself off of her, and she inhales gratefully.
His pulse is still racing, but he stands and offers her his hand, and no one would know by looking at him. Not even Brennan. Because she is not the only one adept at putting her heart in a box when circumstances call for it.
"Are you alright?" His gaze is still shifting about the room in search of danger, but the question is posed with genuine concern. He can't bring himself to regret his action – he'd take her getting the wind knocked out of her over her getting shot in the head/heart – but nevertheless, he doesn't enjoy seeing her in pain.
"I'm- I'm sorry. I can't get warm. I just needed to feel warm. I needed to feel..."
As the words come out of her mouth, she realises their stupidity. Her voice trails off and her features contort in confusion, because it is so unlike her to take such grave risks without thought. The more she thinks about it the more upset she becomes, and while she's trying to rationalise away the agitation her behaviour has stirred within her, Booth firmly takes hold of her upper arms and forces her eyes to meet his.
"I need you to think, Bones. I can't do my job if your head isn't where it should be. I can't catch him if I'm thinking for both of us."
Brennan reacts to the unchecked honesty and focuses. "I understand."
"Please come away from the windows."
His voice is gentle now and her next clear thought is that Broadsky uses thermal imaging software and it doesn't especially matter whether she stays clear of the windows or not. But it's one of those thoughts that she has learned should not travel outside of her own head.
"Yes. Okay." Booth doesn't let go of her arms, and she raises a hand to cup his cheek reassuringly. "I'm fine now, Booth. I won't do it again."
Booth looks out the window once again and Brennan can't help but notice the way his eyes reflect the light. He looks back to her, and there is so much love in his face she is left with the sense that she could know Booth a thousand years and still not understand all of him.
"I've been waiting to kiss you in the sunlight."
His lips descend and cover hers, and it's a soft, lingering kiss that differs from the ones she remembers. They have kissed in the rain and under the blanket of night; they have taken their chances in darkness and they have retreated in darkness. And they have never, never kissed in sunlight. Not for themselves. Public encounters with puckish prosecutors hardly count as a chance taken.
When they come up for air, it's to the knowledge that they aren't taking chances anymore. This is what they are. Rather, this is what they will be, after Broadsky. Booth reaches around her and closes the blinds, and Brennan gives his hand a squeeze to show that she does understand all of this; both the literal and the metaphorical. She has evolved beyond the dark. She craves the sunlight. Craves him.
He lets go of her hand and they're in partner mode again. They don't talk about it, but Booth and Brennan both know that they won't slip back into this new physical and emotional intimacy they've found until Broadsky is caught. Still, the memory of soft lips and warm sun lives on and in it they find something to ground them. They tether themselves to one another.
Booth returns to the kitchen and Brennan stays away from the windows, and it's business as usual until they leave the apartment some twenty minutes later and reach the back door of the building.
Booth gives her a small half smile before he pushes the door open. Brennan returns it. And they both step into the sun.