The Price to Be Paid
By: Lesera128 & dharmamonkey
Disclaimer: Here we posit our normal rigmarole. No, we don't own anything from Bones or Angel... or anything else. Yes, we're wreaking what havoc we can with these characters that we don't own to create an awesome story. But, since it's only for the purposes of creative enjoyment and amusing distraction, we think we're okay. Are there any other questions? No? ::blinks:: , then—moving on...
Summary: Please see the first chapter.
Logistical Notes: Please see the first chapter.
A/N: Well, by the end of Part IV, most everyone knew where this was going, so there's no need to mince words, we think. So, let's get back to revealing exactly what did happen when Angel was taken from Brennan and the terms of the deal she made with The One are finally fulfilled.
UNF Alert: Sadly, none is needed for this brief wrap up to the story. However, we, the writers of Dharmasera, Inc., keep it here to proudly remind us that more unf-age will be coming in the not too distant future. ::cue sadly hopeful music::
Part V: The Bargain Fulfilled
She didn't see him for thirty days.
And, for thirty days, Dr. Temperance Brennan came as close as she'd ever been in her entire almost five hundred years of existence as she'd ever been to being honestly and truly depressed. It was a rather new experience for her since, before him, she'd never really cared enough about something or someone else to be able to experience such strong emotions. And, all things considered, she wasn't certain she enjoyed the sensation. As a matter of fact, she believed that she could rather do without being depressed. Still, it was a pay to pass the time. And, so she took each day as it came, one twenty-four hour period at a time as she knew she couldn't do more than that without doing the one thing Angel had asked of her before they were parted.
Be strong, he'd whispered to her. Be strong, and keep putting one foot in front of the other, Bren. Keep going forward, and one day—I'm not sure how or why—but, I promise...I'll come for you. We'll find each other. I swear. As long as you don't give up. Don't give up on me, don't give up on us, don't give up on yourself.
So, since he'd asked it of her, she tried to do her best—for him. Still, at first, it hurt too much beyond barely surviving. She couldn't take a breath, not think of him, and not feel an overwhelming sense of pain threaten to subsume her. Thus, since she didn't have any other choice, eventually...each day, she started to force herself not to think of anything that reminded her of her old life...and of him.
Instead, she concentrated on the beauty and rationality and logical constancy offered to her by science. Working in the lab, Brennan spent the majority of her waking hours each day occupied with identifying remains from Modular Bone Storage. She worked like an automaton, going from one set of remains to the next. For necessity's sake, she refused to think of anything beyond who she was in the context of that work.
She tried to forget that she'd been alive for almost five centuries, born in England, lived her life as a very powerful witch because of the deals she'd made, and that she'd fallen in love with an Irish vampire. Instead, she embraced the persona she'd adopted for this generation. She was Dr. Temperance Brennan, daughter of Matthew and Christine Brennan, older half-sister to Russ, native of Chicago, Illinois, and a graduate of Northwestern University. She was one of the world's most famous and most skilled forensic anthropologists which was why she'd gained a preeminent position in the Medico-Legal Lab of the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C. She did what she had to do to lock her chaotic feelings away in a metaphorical box, compartmentalizing her past, her present, and her future. She locked away those feelings, burying them as deep as she could, so that maybe, just maybe, she'd be able to get on with her life with the knowledge that she'd lost the one man she'd ever loved.
Each day, she made a concerted effort not to think of Angel. And, for the eighteen to twenty hours she spent awake each day, she did a fairly decent job not thinking of the once-ensouled vampire now turned human or wondering about what had happened to him. She went about her day-to-day life, working at the Jeffersonian, teaching her classes at American, delivering lectures and writing—redrafting her novel even as she tried not to concentrate on the new character, a cop named Andy Lister, who'd crept into the manuscript draft at some point. She did her best to fill her hours with distractions.
It wasn't a perfect solution, and the people closest to her—as close in any case as Brennan ever let people come, other than the one person closest to her who was now unreachably far away—noticed the change in her manner. Her father and Russ left concerned messages on her voicemail. Even Zack Addy, her assistant and protégé, noticed the difference, but wisely kept his own counsel and a safe distance. A very old friend, another witch, coaxed her into going out with her for dinner one night and had tried to pry out of her the reason for her melancholy. But still, Brennan held her silence and just tried to manage as best she could, enduring each day by staying busy.
However, each night when she slept, her subconscious was not as compliant as her conscious mind had been because she found that no matter what she did that she still dreamed of him. Each night, she dreamed of Angel, reliving the various times they'd spent together over the hundred and fifty years of their acquaintance. The most painful dreams were those based on memories of the last year before he'd been sucked into hell along with the rest of L.A., when the Senior Partners of Wolfram and Hart had decided to punish those whom they believed had betrayed them (including Angel). During those few precious months, Brennan came as close as she could ever remember to having been truly happy for a significant period of time since the five years Angel had lived with her in Chicago during the 1920s.
In turn, each time she woke up burning with want of him, craving his touch, yearning to hear his smooth, low voice murmur in her ears as she moaned his name and never ever received the hoped-for response. During those painful moments were the only times she eventually allowed herself to cry until the want was washed out of her with the shedding of her tears. And, she only allowed those tears to fall silently and in private because she didn't know how else to cope.
On occasion, the rational part of her mind supposed that her suffering was a part of what made The One with whom she'd made her deal to give Angel a new life where he'd be safe and happy―even if it was without her―rather pleased with Himself and the bargain He'd struck. He liked to see her suffer and to feel pain, particularly through a conscious choice of her own. But, knowing there was nothing she could do about that, since there was no undoing the bargain that had been made, she struggled through as best she could. Not knowing any other way, she continued to shut herself off emotionally and took each day as it came. Each day, she built the walls that surrounded her heart a bit higher. And each day, she made it just that much more difficult for anyone to see her as anything more than the persona she'd spent years cultivating as a cold, unfeeling, and arrogant scientist, isolated from anyone who failed to appreciate the neutral comfort offered to her by science. Ever the fast learner, Brennan had done a remarkable job in shutting herself off in the month since she'd last seen Angel, until one day—one day, something changed.
It took Brennan a while to put her finger on the change.
In some ways, she sensed the shift immediately. In others, she was completely oblivious to what was happening to her. When she awakened on the morning of the first day of the new month of August, she realized that she felt quite different than she had for the previous month. For some reason, Brennan felt almost...positive. She'd slept unusually soundly the night before, hadn't dreamed a single dream of any kind, and was quite well rested when her alarm woke her up to begin another day. For some inexplicable reason, she realized as she ate breakfast and took time with her appearance, she felt almost...optimistic. At first, she attributed it to the start of a new lecture series she'd agreed to participate in at the bequest of her Department Chair at American University.
It had been some time since Brennan had interacted with anyone outside the lab or the classroom. As she finished her breakfast, got ready, and gave the shift in how she felt some more thought, she eventually decided that her change in mood had to be because she was no longer bordering on toppling headfirst into the edge of depression she'd teetered on for weeks. She didn't know why the afternoon lecture had seemingly roused her from her funk, but eventually decided not to question the welcome emotional shift further since she felt the best she had in some time. Thus, she went about her tasks that morning with an almost happy cadence that had been missing for some time of which everyone from her assistant to security guards at the lab took note. Her morning passed quickly and pleasurably, and Brennan even enjoyed a quick lunch with her friend Stephanie in Cleveland Park before proceeding to American for her lecture. Yes, all in all, it had been a good day thus far. That should've been a clue to her that something—or someone—was coming and would change the course of her life in ways that afternoon that would've seemed unimaginable just that morning.
At first, she didn't see him enter the lecture hall because she'd been too wrapped up in her presentation bullet points about different defleshing techniques she was using to support her presentation on the connection between osteology and its applicable uses in different disciplines and fields. The crux of her lecture's thesis was that osteology actually had many more interdisciplinary uses than most people gave it credit for, but she'd gotten slightly sidetracked on a tangent when one of the students in the audience had asked her a question about how flesh could best be removed during the maceration process. She got into the normal mindset she took on when engaging in academic work and barely registered that didn't directly relate to maintaining that mental groove that she'd fallen into during the ebb and flow of her lecture.
It was almost ninety minutes into the lecture—almost at the tail end of the presentation—when the door to the lecture hall silently opened and a single person walked with purpose into the room where she was speaking. A very small part of Brennan's rational mind registered the fact that a small pulse begin to hum in her heart and mind. But, knowing if she interrupted her rhythm—that she'd never regain it in the few moments remaining before the lecture was over—Brennan ignored it as she kept talking.
"―works quickly but the bone itself, is cooked; transforming the marrow," Brennan had explained about how remains could be boiled as one way bones might undergo maceration. "The first step is to use conventional surgical instruments being very careful that the scalpel and forceps never come in contact with the bone. Any questions?" she finished, her eyes scanning over the audience.
She had a small smile on her face, less because of the appreciative look she saw on the faces of the members of her audience and more because she was relatively satisfied with her grossly oversimplified explanation of her academic topic. It hadn't been an easy task for her, modifying the wording of her topic for the purposes of her audience that she knew was comprised primarily of undergraduates forced to attend her talk because other professors in the Anthropology Department were offering much needed extra credit to students who were in the final week of the summer semester. However, still she'd done it, and she was happy that she'd done it in a way that both conveyed the information, but wasn't inaccurate or misleading.
Such were the thoughts going through her head when, in the span of a single second, Brennan's world turned upside down. She heard his voice before she actually saw him. Of course, she'd known at some point that they'd run into each other again, that their paths would cross once more since that was a part of the deal she'd struck. But, she definitely hadn't expected it to happen that soon, with him coming to her just as he'd promised and so she was completely unprepared when she saw him walk into the room. He walked in, calmly and judiciously even though his eyes had widened the moment he'd drawn upon the door as spotted her there. He was tall, wide-shouldered, and when he walked through the door, he did so shoulder-first, pivoting a bit at his waist so that as soon as his head and shoulders were inside, he was free to scan the entire room, from floor to ceiling and corner to corner. He seemed to take particular attention to soaking in details like this, a quick mental cataloguing of the environment by skimming the whole place with his wide brown eyes in a matter of seconds, before bringing his eyes up to hers again. As soon as their eyes met again, Brennan felt her heart pound as her pulse started to race and her respiration grew shallow. She hoped she wasn't flushing too badly when she saw him make his way down one of the lecture hall's side aisles with his hand slightly raised as she came towards him.
"Yeah, I have a question," he said with a lightly playful tone in his voice, holding his chin confidently high and his head cocked slightly to the side as his eyes focused on the angles of her face and on the way her soft, pink lips moved as she stood there. "It seems to me if you, uhhh, remove the flesh," he said, his mouth hanging open in a lazily slanted, cocky grin as he putzed with something small in his trouser pocket like a coin or a lighter. "Aren't you, uhhh, destroying the evidence?"
She blinked at him when she suddenly realized she'd been staring at him and didn't know how look she'd stood there speechless. Quickly, scrambling to recover, she took several deep breaths and tried to process what she was seeing as she hungrily drank in the sight of him. He looked slightly different than the last time she'd seen him in her apartment. His hair was different, cut a bit shorter at both the back and on the sides than she remembered it. More surprising, it was parted on the side, combed over and styled with what looked like to be too much hair product in what was a rather unimaginative style. His clothing was also different. He was wearing a simple black suit, plain black tie, and crisp pressed white Oxford dress shirt. His skin was also slightly more tanned than she remembered it being. But, as her cool blue eyes locked with his, she realized that some things were the same. His brown eyes still were just as warm and expressive as she remembered, and the smile that tugged at the corner of his lips didn't seem any different.
Taken aback by how much he'd changed and how much he appeared to have stayed the same, Brennan swallowed once as she tried to say in as confident and even a tone of voice as she could muster, "On the contrary. I am revealing evidence―" She was suddenly cut off as the bell rang signaling that the session was over. Reluctantly breaking her gaze with his, she turned her head towards the rest of the audience and said, "Thank you. See you next week."
Brennan, still in shock despite her failed attempts to recover her wits, moved to the podium and attempted to appear to busy herself with gathering her belongings. In reality, she felt so light-headed at seeing him again that it took every bit of self control she had not to run towards him, throw her arms around him, and never let him go. Brennan was quite sure if she did that, she'd end up either arrested (in a best-case scenario) or hospitalized (in a worst-case scenario) and didn't relish either particular outcome. Instead, she tried to remain patient since she knew the only hope they'd have to ever be together again was if he came to her.
And, after a minute, when the lecture hall was almost emptied, Brennan was only mildly surprised when he did just that.
Walking up to her, he had a strange look on his face, one that Brennan knew meant that he was slightly confused about something and was trying to work through the problem in his head. Nodding at her, he said, "Ahhh, just, uhhhh, one more thing." Brennan felt her heart skip another beat as he came close enough so that she thought she could smell his scent. She wondered if her mind was just playing tricks on her as she inhaled deeply and thought that she might have smelled the faint mingled scents of menthol and sandalwood. Forcing herself to remain calm, she allowed herself the indulgence of staring directly into his eyes as he continued to speak. "I mean, isn't all the good evidence in the flesh?" he asked. "You know, like, the poison and stab wounds and the bullets?"
Brennan couldn't help but smirk as she replied simply, "All of the important indicators are written in the bone if you look carefully."
He quirked an eyebrow at her and gave Brennan a smile that he'd given her countless times before when she knew she'd amused him. Slowly, he cocked his head to one side as he looked at her and said with a lazy grin, "So that's your thing."
This time, Brennan smiled the first genuine smile she'd smiled in some time as she nodded. "Yes," she said confidently. "I am the best in the world."
He again stared at her for another long minute, staring into her blue eyes with a twinkle in his own deep brown eyes as he studied her. After a minute, when she hadn't looked away or said anything more, he merely gave her a slight grin that she'd come to realize long ago could render her completely helpless against his charms. "Oh, okay," he said with a light laugh. "You're serious."
God, I've missed you, she said silently since she knew she couldn't say it to him out loud. I've missed you so much, so very, very much.
Again distracted by the swirl of thoughts and feelings he was eliciting in her, Brennan couldn't help herself as she struggled to find the right words to say to him, and in her distracted state, she could only come up with the rather lame question, "Are you a student here?"
Tell me your name, she silently pleaded. Tell me who you are. Tell me what you do. Tell me that you're happy. That's all I need to know. If you can tell me that you're safe and happy, then it will have all been worth it. Everything that I had to do, everything that I had to sacrifice...all the pain and suffering I've felt? All of it will have been worth it...and then some. Just tell me who you are now. I won't be greedy and hope to ask for more from you. I won't think, despite your promise to me, that you came here for me. Just let me know how I can find you so I can watch over you and make certain that you get to live the life you deserve to live...even...even if it's without me.
He stared at her for a minute and then said with an easy grin, "Special Agent Seeley Booth from the FBI."
Booth, huh? a voice echoed in her head. Is that your name? Seeley Booth? She furrowed her brows then smirked at the notion that her longtime lover, a Galway-born former vampire (who could still sport a good honeyed brogue after all these years) would've been reborn—as it were—with an English surname. For all the banter he heaved her way about her being an Englishwoman living in England with an Irish surname and sharing her bed with an Irish vampire, she mentally laughed at the irony that her Irish lover had apparently taken on a new life with both a first and last name as exquisitely English as any around. She felt her heart flutter at hearing the sound of his new name. So, if that's who you are now...then who am I? She paused for a few seconds, and then fell back on reciting the mantra she'd spent the last thirty days repeating to herself as she tried to get through her depression and all the pain she'd felt at the loss of him.
She was Dr. Temperance Brennan, daughter of Matthew and Christine Brennan, half-sister to Russ, would-be Chicago native and graduate of Northwestern University. She was one of the world's most famous and most skilled forensic anthropologists which was why she'd gained a preeminent position in the Medico-Legal Lab of the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C.
Smiling at him, taking comfort in her mantra, she replied simply, "Dr. Temperance Brennan from the Jeffersonian Institute."
The man she'd once known as an Irish vampire named Angelus, who'd become ensouled and had come to call himself Angel, the individual who'd been her lover and friend, and who was the keeper of a piece of her soul—even if he didn't know he had guardianship of such a charge—stared back at her, interest clearly writ in his dark brown eyes. She felt a flush of warmth as she saw his eyes roam up and down her body in appreciation before he leveled his gaze at her. After a minute, he licked his lips, his tongue darting out the corner of his mouth, and his brown eyes couldn't look away from her blue ones.
The next words out of his mouth were the last ones that Brennan would have expected to hear. She saw a bright glint in his eyes, then a faint smile hang his lips as he narrowed his gaze and asked her quietly, "Do you believe in fate?"
As soon as the words were out of his mouth, she couldn't help herself as her bright pink lips curved slightly upwards into a smile. "Absolutely not," she told him. "Ludicrous."
His brown eyes twinkled as he considered her response and then shot her another strange look, one that almost seemed to say that somehow he knew she was lying.
Because, in that moment, she was lying to him. And, in the grand scheme of things, as Special Agent Seeley Booth, Special Agent of the FBI, stared quizzically at Dr. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist of the Jeffersonian, she was glad she was lying to him because Brennan knew one thing. If Angelus/Angel/Booth was staring at her like he always had, then there was hope for the future—for their future.
She wasn't quite sure what would happen between them, or when, or where, or how. But, if Temperance Brennan was one thing, it was patient. She knew she had time. She would wait. She would wait, and eventually, he would come to her just as he was doing now. And when he did, they would find a way, and at last, maybe—somehow, someway—they'd find a way to be together.
And, until that time, Brennan knew she'd do whatever she had to do to wait, staying close to him, protecting him and watching over him until such a time presented itself so that she would know their moment had finally come.
It was only a question of time before their minute would come. Because, come it would, Brennan knew, and when it did, because she was patient, she would be ready and waiting.
A/N2- Ah, yes, so there it is.
Some of you might have guessed that was coming. You know, because this is an Angel/Bones crossover series, and the two worlds were starting to merge there. So, did it blow your mind? (Maybe just a little?) Did it break your heart and then glue it back together with an Elmer's Glue of boiled-down reader squees? If anything, we hope we gave you something else to think about next time you see that little scene in Episode 100 when he walks into her lecture hall.
There are other Angel/Bones crossover pieces out there in Fanfic Land that offer up some sort of AngelBooth hybrid, but we're pretty sure no one has ever delivered one like Dharmasera did. So, what do you think? Does anyone else agree?
The series isn't done yet. For those keeping score, we gave you some Angelus stories (three of them, in the last of which you saw a glimpse of Angel) and some Angel stories (three of them, in the last of which you saw a glimpse of Booth). Now, it's time to see how Bren gets on with Booth (or, rather our very AU AngelBooth version of him). Time for some AngelBooth stories. So, coming up next, Washington D.C., 2007. That special every fifth Halloween anniversary thingy is coming up for Brennan and her FBI partner. How will she cope...and more importantly, how will Booth? That sound interesting to anyone? Are you excited about that prospect? We know we're definitely excited about being able to share them with you.
Well, you have to know these pieces are hard to write, melding together two universes into something that makes sense, isn't hideously complicated (any more than anything else Dharmasera writes), and is entertaining to read. Did we pull it off? We wanna know how we did. So, please, let us know what you thought of this piece. We really appreciate the time you folks take to read and review our work. We really, really do. If you can spare a few minutes and let us know what you thought of this piece, and tell us what parts moved you the most or left the biggest impression, we'd be forever in your debt. Take a moment, let us know what you thought. (And, if you want us to know who you are when you review, log in or sign your name to it. The goofy FFnet system is a bit wonky and has a tendency to turn us all into anonymous Guests.)
In any case, thanks for reading and supporting this kooky project of ours. You guys are great.