I feel like we missed so much between the end of season 6 and the beginning of season 7 and the ideas will just not leave my head! This started out as just a one shot, but it felt like it needed to have some breaks. As of now, I'm not sure how many chapters this will end up being, but it won't be a long story, so hope you will hang in there with me. While it's not my first fanfic, it's my first venture into Bones fanfic, so please feel free to leave any feedback, good or bad. I'm open to constructive feedback. Hope you enjoy!
Staring down at the skull in her hands, she tried her best to concentrate on the intricate lines on the bone, but the ticking of the clock overhead was a constant reminder that the time had almost come. It was early. Early enough that she was alone in the lab. Brennan usually enjoyed these moments when she could experience the peace and quiet to do the work she loved. But now the quietness only made the ticking of the clock echo that much louder throughout the room. Any minute now, her partner…the father of her child…the man she couldn't seem to go a day without needing to see…would come walking through the door to say good-bye. She had told him it was fine, even encouraged him to take this undercover assignment. A decision she was beginning to regret. She thought back to a couple of years ago when she had confessed to Angela that she worried about him when he was out in the field. Worried that something would happen to him. Worried that she wouldn't be there to watch his back. Worried that he wouldn't come back. The Temperance Brennan of five years ago, maybe even a year ago, would have chided herself for being so ridiculous. The FBI was his life, his job. Booth was good at what he did and he knew how to take care of himself. He had been watching his own back long before she ever met him and he didn't need her there to keep him safe. That's what her rational brain tried to convince her of. But pregnancy hormones and the ache in her heart made her irrational reminding her how much she had come to count on him and what she had to lose if he didn't come back. What if…no, she couldn't go there. Not right now. Not when he would be there any minute. One look at the tears in her eyes and he would back out from the assignment in a second. And she knew how much he wanted this. He had been working on this drug case for over a year and he was so close to an arrest. But she knew with one word from her, he would give it up.
When he had first mentioned the possibility of the assignment, his words were telling her it wasn't a big deal and he could assign another agent to go, but one look in his eyes and she knew. This was the type of work that energized him. He saw the eyes of his son and soon to be daughter in the pictures of the kids who came across his desk. Kids dead from drug overdoses or kids whose lives had already been ruined beyond repair. But despite his own desire to put those drug dealing bastards in jail for life, he still would have given it all up for her. She knew he loved her that much. And she loved him enough to put aside her own worries and fear to give him her blessing. Now she wanted to take it all back.
"So, I'm heading out."
The sudden voice coming from the steps leading to the platform startled her out of her thoughts, causing her to sway on her feet. Despite her best attempts to hide her unsteadiness, her ever observant partner was by her side in an instant.
"Woah," he whispered as he quickly reached his hands to her waist to steady her. "You okay there, Bones?"
"Yes, I'm fine," she answered quietly, knowing the tears were on the verge of escaping. In turn, her eyes burned into the skull in her hands, reciting every scientific fact of what she held, in her feeble attempt to keep her emotions in check.
After seven years, he knew her well enough and he gently turned her around, using the crook of his finger to turn her face to him. His dark eyes softened when her eyes shone back at him. "Hey, what's wrong?" Despite her best attempts to hold the tears at bay, they began tumbling down her face. She dropped the skull to the table and wrapped her arms around him, burying her face in his shoulder. He returned her embrace, pulling her as close as her six month pregnant body would allow. Rubbing comforting circles on her back, he waited until she stepped back before speaking again, his thumbs reaching up to carefully wipe her tears away. "I can't leave knowing you are upset. Talk to me, Bones."
"It's nothing." Mad at herself for giving in to her emotions, she shook her head, but couldn't bring herself to remove her hands from him, not wanting to lose contact with his warmth. "I've spent the better part of the last five months crying thanks to these pregnancy hormones. I thought you had come accustomed to these biological episodes by now."
He might have bought her lame attempt at humor, if not for the fact that she was refusing to look at him. Her eyes were squarely planted on her fingers as she smoothed out the collar of his shirt. "Is this about my undercover assignment? Because I don't have to go, Bones. I can have Foster take this case over and he can go in my place. I can stay here, if that's what you want."
If that's what she wants. A part of her hates that he is putting this decision off on her. Why should she be the one to tell him to go or not to go? They had spent their entire professional partnership and more recently, their personal partnership, agreeing that they were both capable adults who had careers that were very important to them. Neither of them wanted to interfere with that. This was a decision he had to make for himself. She was not going to be the girlfriend or partner or whatever label society put on their relationship, to make him feel guilty for wanting to take an assignment that was so important to him. Just as she would expect him to not stand in the way of her career either. That's not who they were.
"I told you, Booth," she sighed heavily finally looking up to meet his eyes. "I know this is an important case to you and I told you I would not stand in the way. You know what you're doing and I trust your ability as an agent to complete this assignment successfully." His eyes continued to search hers for any underlying truths she wasn't telling him when she felt a sudden kick from their daughter reminding her of what he had to come back to. Gripping the front of his shirt, her voice was suddenly stronger as she pleaded. "Just promise me you will be careful. No playing hero, okay."
A small grin came to his face as he watched the varying emotions cross her face. His Bones. God knows he loved this woman with everything in him. She drove him crazy at times with her analytical way of looking at the world, but in moments like this, when she let her defenses down, he felt like he could see into her soul. She would dispute that theory of course, but it would never change what he believed.
"I promise," he whispered as he pressed his lips gently to hers. Separating enough to lean his forehead against hers, he pulled her closer, locking his hands behind the small of her back. "Now you owe me a promise in return." He saw her eyebrows arch in anticipation of what he would ask of her, though after all of these months, and in actuality years of overprotectiveness, she really should have already guessed. "No late nights in the lab, okay? I want you and baby Bones home at a decent hour. And no skipping meals. I've already told the squints, Angela in particular, that I expect them to drag you out of here if they have to."
"Booth, I keep telling you I can take care of myself," she groaned with a quick roll of the eyes. "I have multiple degrees, am an accomplished anthropologist and novelist. I think I can manage my eating and sleeping habits."
"Just humor me, okay?" He moved his hands to frame her face as leaned in to kiss her once more. "Just call it the alpha male in me that wants to take care of you and when I'm not here to do it myself, I want to make sure someone else is watching out for you."
"So remind me again when I can expect to be under your watchful eye again?" she sighed.
"Hopefully two or three weeks tops," he reminded, dropping his hands and lacing his fingers through hers. "Stan has been in for a few months now so my part should be minimal. We just need one last piece before Carolyn feels confident enough to prosecute. So I don't know how reachable I will be, but Hacker can find a way to get to me if you need me, so you go to him and tell him to find me."
Nodding her head slowly, she heard the buzz of his phone knowing that was the call that would send him out the door. She watched him glance down at the phone display before looking back at her. Swallowing hard, her eyes scanned his face as if she were trying to etch every minute detail into her memory. "I love you. You know that, right?"
His whispered response sent a flutter through her body. "I know you do, Bones. And I love you too. So much. I promise you that when I get back we are going to sit down together and start seriously looking at listings to find our house." His hand dropped so he could rest his palm on their daughter. "Because she's going to be here before we know it and I think she's going to want her own room."
Laying her hand over his, she reached up to kiss him again. What she meant as just a gentle kiss good-bye suddenly intensified when he wrapped his arms around her pulling her body as close to his as possible. In her mind, there was a small flicker of realization that they were standing in the middle of the lab where anyone could come in. She had been adamant with Booth when they started their relationship that she wanted their professional life to be strictly professional. In the lab, she was Dr. Brennan, world renowned anthropologist. In her office or at home, things could be different. But the prospect of spending at least the next two or three weeks without him pushed those thoughts quickly away.
When they parted, both breathless with eyes darkened with passion, they both smiled. "Sorry about that," he laughed. "Just wanted to give you something to remember and to look forward to when I get back."
"I won't forget," she promised, her fingers giving his a reassuring squeeze. "Just get back as soon as you can."
"Will do, Bones," he sighed, peppering quick kisses to her mouth, nose and lastly her forehead, where he lingered a few extra moments. "Stan is waiting so I have to go. I'll do my best to check in with you if it's safe, but don't worry if you don't hear from me, okay?"
"Just be careful," she whispered as he gave her one last kiss before turning to leave. As he reached the bottom of the steps, he turned around to give her another one of his smiles that made her knees weak.
"I love you, Bones." And with that, he disappeared out the door.
Eighteen days, eleven hours, and forty-two minutes had passed since Booth had left her standing alone on the platform. But to Brennan, it seemed much, much longer. It had been almost two weeks ago when, true to his word, he did get a message to her through Hacker that he was safe and still hoping to be done within the three week deadline he had given her. Unfortunately, things were progressing slower than he had anticipated and odds were not looking good for his return in the next few days. In some regards, she had been able to slip back into anthropologist mode, working on remains that had been waiting for her for months or maybe even years to identify. It had been a good distraction during the day to have something to keep her mind occupied. But at night, things were different. If she had had her way, she would have stayed at the lab longer, allowing her mind to not drift to wondering what Booth was doing or if he was safe. The "squints," as he so affectionately called them, had kept their promise to him to keep an eye on her. They had taken turns taking her to lunch or carefully reminding her at the end of the day that it was time to go home. Angela in particular had been keeping a close eye on her, commenting on more than one occasion that she was looking tired. Given that she was not getting a lot of sleep, she couldn't really disagree with her. Pregnancy itself did not lead to ideal sleeping conditions between finding a comfortable spot or getting up every hour on the hour because her bladder was screaming. But she had also become accustomed to having Booth in the bed beside her. She found it difficult to sleep without the quiet rhythm of his breathing lulling her to sleep. She had found herself reaching out for him in the middle of the night only to come up empty which had her waking with a start. Her heart would be racing until she got her bearings and remembered why he was not there beside her. She hated feeling this way. This is why she had spent all those years keeping her distance from any serious relationship, keeping her heart locked up nice and tight. But Booth had changed all of that and bit by bit he had broken away at that protective layer she had built around her heart. The last bit of that imperviousness had vanished that night many months ago in his apartment. And now here she was, not even sure if she could call herself strong anymore. How could she still be strong and yet be falling apart because he was not there with her? No falling asleep in his arms. No foot rubs after a long day at the lab. No meals at the diner to talk about their latest case. She was lost without him, almost as if a piece of her was somehow missing. How had she become this person?
"Brennan, it's almost 6:30," Angela's voice broke into her thoughts. "Don't you think it's about time to call it a day?"
Looking up, she saw her best friend approaching with arms crossed as if she was expecting an argument. "I have this identification almost complete and then once I finish the report…"
"I think the report can wait until the morning, Dr. Brennan."
The additional voice catching her by surprise, she turned to see Camille and Sweets approaching, obviously as back up for Angela. "I appreciate your concern, all of you, but I am certain that I can determine how much longer by energy level will sustain. And I can assure you that I will be able to complete this identification and the report before I leave." She knew her voice held an edge sharper than she had intended, but her nerves were frayed and her patience with the eyes that had been watching her at every turn was wearing thin. Not to mention the pounding headache that seemed to be intensifying left her without much concern for her response.
"Dr. Brennan," Sweets began, "I feel you are suppressing your real feelings about Agent Booth's absence and attempting to bury yourself in your work is not in your or your child's best interest."
"Dr. Sweets, I do not appreciate your condescending remarks nor are they needed. I have allowed all of you to monitor my every movement for the past three weeks and have not rejected your attempts to follow through on your promise to Booth. I no longer have the patience to deal with this nonsense, so if you will excuse me, I have work to complete." With that, she turned on her heel to return to the skeletal remains lying on the table before her.
Angela was not going to give up that easily though. "Sweetie, you are a strong, independent and incredibly stubborn woman. I know you know how to take care of yourself, but right now, you are missing Booth and you are not thinking clearly. I have watched you bury yourself in your work, but I know how worried you are about him. And I can understand that. I would probably be doing the same thing myself, or probably even worse. Since I know firsthand that you barely ate lunch and you said you barely slept last night, it's time to call it a day and get you and that baby home."
When Brennan jerked her body around for a rebuttal, she felt a sharp pain high in her abdomen as the room began to spin around her. Reaching for the edge of the table to steady herself, all three of her colleagues quickly reached for her arms to keep her from falling.
"Brennan, what's wrong?" Angela's voice held the same fear that the others were feeling. "Are you dizzy again?"
"Again?" Cam asked incredulously. "You mean this has happened before?"
Brennan remained still as Angela and Sweets moved to either side to help her to a nearby chair. "A couple of days ago she got dizzy as we were leaving to grab lunch at the diner. She hadn't eaten so we just thought that was why."
"It's just this headache," Brennan tried to assure them, squeezing her eyes tight trying to block out the blinding lights above. "And I haven't had dinner yet. That's all it is. I'm fine." Her attempt to convince them fell short when she felt another sharp pain radiate just below her ribs and grabbed her side with a grimace.
"Headache, dizziness, pain in your abdomen," Cam began. "You are not fine, Dr. Brennan. I really think we need to get you to the ER."
"Hospital?" Sweets voice cracked as his eyes darted between them. "You think there is something serious going on here?"
"I am not qualified to give a diagnosis, Dr. Sweets. I just think it would better to be cautious and have Dr. Brennan examined to be sure." Cam turned her attention to Brennan who had remained noticeably quiet during their exchange. "Angela, why don't you help me get Dr. Brennan to my car and Dr. Sweets, see if you can get in touch with Mr. Hacker so he can find Seeley and have him meet us at the hospital."
At the mention of her partner's name, Brennan suddenly broke her silence. "No!" They all visibly jumped at the sudden outburst. "Booth is undercover. If you try to reach him now, you will compromise his cover and put him in danger. I will go with you to the hospital and let a physician examine me, but I do not want Booth contacted. Am I clear?"
They all reluctantly nodded as Cam and Angela each grabbed one of her arms to help her stand from the chair. "Angela, my car is in the front lot. You and Dr. Brennan head on out. I just need to run to my office and I'll meet you there." She hesitated as she watched the two women begin the slow trek out the front door of the lab. Once she was sure they were out of earshot, she turned to Sweets once again. "You call Hacker and tell him to get Seeley to that hospital. I don't care what he has to do, but get him out of that assignment and get him there."
"You think this is serious?"
"It could be," she sighed, her voice tinged with concern. "And I know Seeley. If something happens and he is not there with Dr. Brennan, he will never forgive himself."
To be continued...