Where You Lead

Summary: Alternate version of 'Beginning of Forever'. BB meet as teenagers in 1991. Follow their life story as they endure the hardships of growing up in this colossal saga.

A/N: This, ladies and gentlemen, is going to be a very long, very multi-chaptered story of Booth and Brennan, from when they were in high school to the day they died, and no - I'm not kidding. It's a love story, of course, and even though they have their ups and downs, Booth and Brennan in this story are always with each other.

Originally, I was going to focus on BOF and be done with it but since BOF has taken a teen pregnancy route, I thought it would be interesting to create an AU version of it to see how things would be if BB had the chance to act their age as opposed to being forced to grow up fast due to a baby.

Now, I'm reluctant to bring in a baby in WYL even twenty, thirty years into the future for these two so there's gonna be a lot of drama I can already see unfolding. I'm actually psyched to get to the future with this story as opposed to taking it slowly so we'll see how that turns out.

*IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ*

A few changes from canon to note:

- Brennan was born in September 1976 and Booth was born in November 1974.

- Brennan's parents - Max and Christine - left Brennan and Russ in 1988 when Brennan was 12 ½, instead of 15. Russ was 18, making him over 5 years older than her instead of 4.

- Booth and Brennan are 2 years apart in age instead of 5; they met when Brennan was 14 and Booth was 16 (early 1991).

- Brennan would've been in the system for two years (December '88/January '89 - December '90/January '91) when she met Booth.

Also note that for chapters 1 - 33, the chapters of WYL will be identical to the ones of BOF. Chapter 34 will be the first original WYL chapter.

Anyway, please read and tell me what you think. Thank you so much.

Disclaimer: Hart Hanson owns Bones, not me.


January 4, 1991

Fourteen year old Temperance Brennan kept her head down low as she followed the guidance counselor towards her new class.

About a week before the holidays, she had been called into the principal's office where she had promptly been told something she'd known most of her life - she was smart. Much too smart to be in a freshman class.

So the principal, as well as the guidance counselor, had proposed that they move her up two grades. Now here she was, about to start her first day halfway through the semester as a fourteen year old junior in high school.

Her first class as a junior was Biology II. She would be seated in Mr. Haversham's class. Her school's guidance counselor, Ms. Tierney, was going to walk her to her class, as if she were an incompetent child bound to get lost without an adult to hold her hand and guide her.

Ms. Tierney stopped at a closed door and turned to give Temperance a reassuring smile. "Are you ready, honey?" she asked, and immediately Temperance felt the urge to flinch. The social workers always called her that. Honey. As if adding some sort of term of endearment would make her warm up to them and become a naïve idiot who would believe everything that spewed out of their mouths.

But Temperance wasn't an idiot. Nor was she a naïve child. She might be only fourteen, but she was smart. Brilliant, even. And she didn't just mean by the books. She'd been in the system since she was twelve, almost thirteen years old. She knew how the world - this cruel, cold world - worked.

So she merely nodded at Ms. Tierney, determined not to let her see how awful she really felt at having to start classes as a junior so young. She didn't need the mean kids any more reason to tease her.

As if being a foster child wasn't bad enough already.

"Good!" Ms. Tierney chirped happily, beaming at her. She turned around again, in her flowing floral-patterned skirt and her white turtleneck. She was a pretty young woman, who could probably do better than being a guidance counselor at a high school.

Ms. Tierney knocked on the door, then twisted the handle and poked her head inside. She was disrupting the first ten minutes of class, so nothing really important was going on. "Mr. Haversham?" Ms. Tierney called out, and the teacher behind the desk immediately turned to face her. "Could I speak with you for a moment?"

He nodded, and told the class to wait for him, to read chapter nine while he was speaking with the counselor, and slipped out the door. His eyes immediately fell on Temperance, who stood there with a worn out second-hand copy of the Bio book used in his class, and a ratty backpack slung over her shoulder.

"Is this the freshman transfer?" he asked knowingly. He had already been informed last Friday. This wasn't a surprise to him.

Ms. Tierney nodded. "I just wanted to see her off for her first class," she explained. "You know, all her classes are different starting today. Could you maybe appoint someone to show her?"

Temperance felt an uncomfortable flush spread from her neck to her pale cheeks. "Oh, you don't have to do that," she said quickly, and both adults turned to look at her. She kept her head held high - while being shy was naturally instilled in her, she was also determined not to show weakness. Not since that first day in that group home where fifteen year old Marnie had torn up her favorite blanket and stolen her piece of chicken during dinner.

"I just don't want to bother anyone," she explained. It wasn't like any junior would want to show her around, anyway. Ms. Tierney meant well, but the junior would probably just laugh at her and send her in a different direction or something. She didn't want to give them another opportunity to make fun of her.

Mr. Haversham waved it away. "Nonsense," he said gruffly. "No one's going to be bothered."

Ms. Tierney left, then, and Temperance was told to follow Mr. Haversham back into the lab. "Class," Mr. Haversham called out as soon as they were inside.

"Who's the dweeb?" one of the junior girls in the class asked. Temperance snuck a quick look at her and almost scoffed. She had long, flowing blonde hair and a gorgeous, curvy body - the typical popular cheerleader, no doubt.

Mr. Haversham pretended like he didn't hear that comment, as did most teachers. Maybe it was their philosophy that kids should fight their own battles. After all, all teachers had gone through high school before. Either as the popular jock or a geeky nerd or the invisible loner, they had all survived it, grown up and became completely different people. Maybe they thought these high school years meant little. But an adult's perspective and a teenager's perspective were very different.

"This is Temperance Brennan," he introduced to the class. "She was a freshman, but she's got brains better than yours so she's here. Say hello."

Nobody really did, but one of the jocks to the left did throw a balled up piece of paper at her. Temperance side-stepped it and shot him a glare.

"Temperance, would you like to introduce yourself to the class?" Mr. Haversham asked, and Temperance blushed darkly.

"No, thanks," she mumbled awkwardly. The cheerleader giggled.

Mr. Haversham rolled his eyes and nodded. "Well, then. Why don't you have a seat next to…" his eyes roamed the classroom. Suddenly, he stopped, and he smiled widely as if he were the cat that had caught the canary. "Next to Booth."

The class erupted in laughter, then, and Temperance ducked her head. Male voices rose, the jocks calling out 'ooh' to someone. Booth, she presumed. She heard some of the females outright giggling madly. One voice stood out, protesting. "But that's my seat!" a female said, and Temperance looked up to see an incensed blonde girl glaring at her.

Mr. Haversham shrugged. "And now it's not," he replied sharply. "Sophia, move. Temperance, sit."

It felt as if he were commanding dogs instead of students, but Temperance did as she was told, anyway. She went to the seat where the blonde girl had occupied, not paying attention as she huffed all the way to an empty seat next to a bald jock. Nor did she pay attention to Booth, her lab partner.

Mr. Haversham had already turned back to the board in front of the class so Temperance quietly slipped into her seat, propped her book open to chapter nine, took out a pencil from her bag and doodled silently in the margin of the page. She'd already read chapter nine - she had read all the chapters of the book, having started early on last week the moment she'd received it.

"Hey," she heard someone whisper softly. Turning her head, brows furrowed, she found herself looking into a pair of the deepest, most beautiful chocolate brown eyes she'd ever seen in her life. "I'm Seeley Booth. But…Please just call me Booth."

"Temperance," Temperance muttered, sure that Booth as well as everyone else in the class had heard Mr. Haversham introduce her earlier.

Booth nodded, his eyes twinkling. "I know." Temperance took a moment to study him, noticing that he had incredible bone structure and amazingly flawless, lightly tanned skin. He was naturally tan, though. She could tell. His skin was this beautiful golden color. His hair matched the color of his eyes, and they were set in this messy disarray.

Booth's lips curved into a smile, a cocky grin, as if he knew what she was thinking. Geez, of course he does, idiot. You've been ogling him blatantly!

Blushing madly, she scowled at him and turned away. She didn't need to waste her time speaking to him. By his letterman's jacket, and his impressive muscles, she knew he had to be a jock. By his stunning good looks, she knew he had to be popular and had girls fawning over him. He might already have a girlfriend, or was one of those polygamous teenagers.

Not that she minded, or cared.

Booth was a stranger to her. Just someone she had to share her lab table with. Sure, he was handsome, but it didn't mean that she needed to be distracted by an unrequited crush.

"So, how good are you at Biology?" Booth asked, speaking cheerfully as though she hadn't just given him an icy look and dismissed him. "'cuz this class is tough. Mr. H doesn't cut any of us any slack."

Temperance didn't look at him as she answered. "That's a smart thing to do," she murmured almost absent-mindedly. "You'd never learn if he were to take things easy on you all the time. You'd fail finals."

Booth just stared at her. For a teenager, a fourteen year old one at that, she sure sounded a hell of a lot like an adult. Like she was thirty or forty or something. Weird, but intriguing.

He couldn't deny she was pretty, either. A little young, especially for a sixteen year old guy like him, but pretty. She had soft, silky-looking auburn hair, pale, creamy skin, a lovely face framing two sparkling deep blue eyes and she looked pretty curvaceous, too. He couldn't really tell cuz her clothes were so baggy. But still. She could be really beautiful if she wore a little make-up or something. Her natural beauty still stood out.

He blinked once, then shook his head a little at her answer. He was just opening his mouth to say something else when Mr. Haversham spoke up. "Booth! Since you and Temperance seem to get along so well…Why don't you show her around to her classes today?" he suggested, in that way that adults do that usually meant he had to do it - no exceptions.

Temperance noticed that even though Booth's ex-lab partner protested, and a few of the guys sniggered, calling out their 'sympathies' to him, Booth never actually uttered a sound. She snuck a quick look at him, only to be surprised to find him staring at her with an open face. His warm brown eyes were still twinkling, and the corners of his mouth were still lifted in a small, happy smile.

He didn't look like he was unhappy at all.

The rest of the class passed by uneventfully. Booth didn't say another word to Temperance, and Temperance was mostly just paying attention to the teacher though she already knew the material inside and out. There was no saying if the teacher would slip in something useful or mention something important. It was best not to miss a single word.

When the bell finally rang, Mr. Haversham reminded Booth of his duty to show Temperance to her next class and watched with a hawk's eye as Temperance and Booth left the class walking side by side.

"Oh, you have O'Malley next," Booth said, taking in Temperance's schedule in the hallway, eyes raking over each slot.

"Seeley!" someone called, and Booth winced slightly, turning his head to look as Katie Quinn, his girlfriend, came sauntering over. She was wearing that tight red top again - the one that showed off her breasts - and while he enjoyed the view, he definitely didn't enjoy the name.

"Katie," he grumbled. "Don't call me that! You know I hate it."

Katie pouted at him, completely ignoring Temperance's presence. "I'm your girlfriend, Seeley," she rolled her eyes at him. "I can't just call you 'Booth' like I'm a guy. It's weird."

Booth shook his head, but kept quiet. He'd argue with her later, with no one around to hear or watch. "Come on," Katie said, making a grab for his hand. "Walk me to my next class."

Booth shook her grip off gently. "I can't," he stated simply. "I've gotta walk Temperance to her class."

Temperance blushed slightly, "No, you don't have to do that. I'll just take that…" She made to take her schedule back but, misunderstanding her actions, Katie slapped her hand away.

"Don't you touch my boyfriend!" she hissed. "Just because Mr. Haversham has the delusional idea that he has to be nice to you, doesn't mean he will outside the classroom. Know your place, dweeb."

Booth looked shocked for a moment at Katie's blatant rudeness. He had seen her being sort of mean before to others - it was the social hierarchy in high school. She was a cheerleader, they were nobodies. It was normal. But he'd never really paid attention before, and they'd really only gone out for a few weeks. He didn't know her well enough.

This was sort of…Appalling.

"Wha…Kate," he said seriously, eyes flicking over to Temperance. He sincerely hoped she wouldn't cry. He couldn't stand that - seeing girls cry. It was awkward and he never really knew what to do, which just made him feel guilty.

To his surprise, Temperance didn't seem like she was going to cry at all. In fact, her face flushed and her mouth twisted into an angry scowl. Eyes flashing dangerously - and, whoa, could blue really look that dark, that…Striking! - Temperance eyed Katie up and down as if she were looking at scum at the bottom of her shoe.

Katie scoffed incredulously but Temperance merely rolled her eyes. "I wasn't going to touch your boyfriend, Blondie, I was going to take my schedule back. And I do know my place - it's somewhere higher than being walked around like I'm some sort of a dog," she smirked at Katie's outraged expression.

Snatching her schedule back, she raised an eyebrow at Booth - who was still standing there, gaping helplessly - and said, "Nice bitch you've got there."

Walking away, she felt strangely liberated. Sure, she was probably going to get lost and be late for her next class, but at least she'd had the pleasure of standing up to herself to a cheerleader… Right!

Well, high school's going to be a hell of a lot more painful now, she reminded herself and winced at how stupid she'd been. The euphoria she'd felt as talking back was quickly fading as she remembered one important rule, in foster care and in high school.

It was best just to keep your mouth shut.

Aw, crap.


Thank you for reading!

Juliet.