A/N And here is the second one shot written for the amazing Rynogeny.
Now, I'm assuming that you will have checked out the '50ShadesChallenge' profile now because...well, why wouldn't you? But if you haven't, go now and spread the review love for all the wonderful writers who have written stories for Ryn's birthday!
I went rogue on this one and didn't use one of the prompts, which is always dangerous!
Thank you to the wonderful Jen for the beta.
I hope you enjoy it :)
Doctor Temperance Brennan had been many things in her life. Mother. Daughter. Sister. Lover. Friend. And in the last two weeks, six days and approximately fourteen hours (give or take an hour or two) she had added ex-fugitive to the list. She was no longer on the run. Her days spent flitting from motel to motel, constantly glancing over her shoulder were over. Somewhat naively, she had believed that when (or, in her darker days, if) she finally arrived home, things would get easier. She would be home, back where she belonged, and she could begin to breathe again. To live again. Yet she had found that, while everything appeared to be the same on the surface, scratch underneath and everything had changed.
Her first inkling that all was not well had come on her second day home, when she had woken late to find Angela, Hodgins and Cam in her living room, drinking coffee and making meaningless conversation while they waited for her to surface.
Brennan woke with a start, heart racing as she sat up in bed. Her gaze flitted around the room, and it took her a moment or two to remember where she was. She was at home, in their bed, and she was safe. She let out a slow breath and looked expectantly at the space beside her. She expected to see her partner, so the sight of an empty space had her frowning. She laid one hand on the spot her partner should have been filling, and she was disappointed but not surprised to find it ice cold. She glanced at the clock beside her, and the knowledge that it was not yet 8am saddened her. She took it for what it was; evidence that he had been absent for some time.
The sound of laughter reached her ears, and she recognized it for the sound that had awoken her. She lay in bed for another moment or two, the desire to slip back under the covers and into blissful unconsciousness almost overwhelming. She enjoyed the fantasy for a minute or two, before she forced herself to move. She had recognized the laugh almost immediately, and she knew Angela wasn't above dragging her out bed if she grew impatient.
As soon as she was ready and dressed she left the relative safety of her bedroom, refusing to give herself any further time to think. She entered the living room cautiously, unsure of the reception she was going to receive. In the end, she needn't have worried. Hodgins was the first one to see her, and before she could do any more than blink she found herself wrapped in a tight embrace. She couldn't say who was more surprised by the action, Hodgins or herself, but after only a moment's pause she returned his hug. A whispered 'Welcome home, Dr B' was all he said before he let her go and returned to his seat.
Angela demanded her turn next, and she clung to Brennan tightly, her sobs coming hard and fast at the feel of her friend in her arms. Incoherent murmurings were the only sound to fill the room, and all Brennan could do was let her friend cry on her shoulder. In one of their brief conversations since she had returned, Booth had revealed that Angela had held it together better than any of them had expected. It didn't take a genius to realize that she was only now letting herself feel the pain of the last few months. When she finally calmed down she pulled back from Brennan, framing her face in her hands as she watched her intently. The only sound that could be heard was Angela's somewhat uneven breathing as she studied her friend. Whatever she saw in her face must have comforted her, as a slight smile graced her lips.
"I have missed you, Bren. So much." Her voice wavered on the last two words, her eyes welling with tears once more. This time, instead of holding onto her friend for dear life, she took a small step back. Her legs weren't quite steady, and she moved back to take her place back beside her husband. As soon as she was seated, Hodgins reached out to grip her hand in his. She glanced at him with a smile, silently thanking him for his unspoken support before she turned back to Brennan. There was only one person left in the room yet to address Brennan's arrival, and Angela found herself waiting with bated breath.
Camille Saroyan watched the reunions quietly, fighting the sick feeling that had settled in the pit of her stomach. She avoided the gazes of both Hodgins and Angela, unable to bear neither the pity in the former nor the condemnation in the latter's eyes. She glanced at Booth, completely oblivious to the fact that her eyes were pleading for his intervention. He said nothing, a tilt of his head in Brennan's direction the only signal he gave that he noticed her. She glanced back at Brennan, disconcerted to find that she had edged closer. After a moment of heavy silence, she finally forced herself to move. She stood to face her colleague and friend, and braced herself, preparing to take whatever the other woman was going to deliver.
Brennan closed the final distance between them until they were face to face. She could see the other woman's discomfort, and she knew that what she was going to do next would only add to that feeling. But she had something that she required the other woman to hear, and while it may be uncomfortable for both of them, she wanted to say it. She needed to say it.
Cam saw something flicker in Brennan's gaze, but before she could pinpoint it she found herself encased in the anthropologist's arms. The embrace took her by surprise, and she tensed for a moment before allowing herself to return it. Cam couldn't have said exactly what reception she had expected to receive, but if asked that morning she would have told you that, at best, she had expected silent recriminations. Some had felt that the actions she had taken had ruined this woman's life, and in her darkest moments Cam had found herself doubting her own choices. Could she have done more? Should she have chosen a different route? But if anything could put her mind at rest, and assure her that she had acted correctly, it was that same woman hugging her as if her own life depended on it.
Over the shoulder of Brennan, Cam saw the reaction of the others in the room. Booth had remained motionless, as he had been ever since they had arrived. Hodgins, she saw, looked relieved, and Angela looked…well, it was hard to say exactly how Angela looked. She didn't look pleased, that Cam could see with no question, and even as she felt a keen disappointment she couldn't say she was surprised. The relationship between the two women had been tense and edgy ever since Brennan had disappeared, with Angela making her disapproval of Cam's choices clear. Cam had hoped that, with Brennan's safe return, their relationship could get back on track but she could see now that that wasn't going to happen. Not for some time yet.
Brennan was oblivious to the thoughts running through her friends head, instead focusing on the message she wanted to impart.
"Thank you," she whispered into her ear, gripping her harder, "thank you for doing what they couldn't have."
A loud bang dragged Brennan back to the present, and she jumped to her feet as she recognized the sound of the front door being slammed shut. She clasped her hands in front of her, gripping them together tightly as she waited for her partner to come through the door. She could hear the sound of him moving through the hallway, and she took a deep breath to calm her nerves.
In what seemed like hours later, but was in reality only minutes, her partner came through the door. He had discarded his jacket on the way in, and was in the process of removing his tie as he entered. He glanced at Brennan as he moved through the room, sending her one tight smile before he walked straight to the cabinet to poor himself a drink. Brennan watched him silently, her heart heavy as they repeated the routine of the past few days.
In her first few days home, Brennan had been so distracted by everyone that had come and gone that she hadn't noticed the distance Booth had placed between them. It was only when the circus surrounding her return had calmed down that she understood just how far apart they had come. While they still shared a bed, Booth made sure he rose before she was awake and came to bed long after she had fallen asleep. So far, he had been careful not to initiate any contact between them. When she had first arrived home Brennan had made an effort to bridge the gap, reaching for his hand, or stroking his arm. On every occasion he had tensed, and while he didn't verbalize his thoughts Brennan had felt the rebuff just the same. After the fourth incident she ceased trying, forcing herself to be patient until he was ready to make the first move.
But then one day passed, and another, and another, and still he kept his distance. The only real interaction between them came through Christine, and Brennan had come to cherish those moments together. For a few hours every day she could let herself hope, as Booth went back to being the loving, caring man she knew him to be. He loved his daughter, and though she may be young he refused to let her see any discord between her parents. He laughed, and he smiled, and they went back to being a family. Brennan took to doing anything she could to lengthen the time together, but as soon as Christine was in bed Booth reverted back into the cold stranger she had come to know.
As Brennan watched him now, his back still facing her, she knew that she had to force a conversation, regardless of how difficult it may be. She couldn't continue living the way they had been, and she didn't think he could either.
"Booth." She watched as he tensed, straightening himself even as he refused to turn around. "Booth, please." She hated the begging tone in her voice, but she couldn't prevent it from creeping in.
He turned to her slowly, one hand gripping the whiskey glass tightly. He took one look at her and sighed to himself. He recognised the expression on her face, and he knew that she was going to force the issues between them. Part of him was surprised that she had let it go on so long, but the other had hoped that she would just leave him be. Just for a little while longer.
"It's been a long day, Bones." He hoped that that would be enough to silence her, but he could see his luck wasn't in.
"They've all been long days, Booth." She accused softly. Booth said nothing, his only acknowledgement a slight nod of his head. Brennan took a deep breath and pressed forward. "I need to know if," she stumbled slightly over her next words, fearing his answer but unable to stem the question, "you're ever going to be able to forgive me?" The only thing that greeted her question was silence, and Brennan could feel panic beginning to claw at her throat. "I understand that I hurt you, and I know that there's nothing I can do to change the last three months but I," her voice broke, and she took a moment to calm herself before continuing, "I didn't see any other possible scenario. And I couldn't tell you, because I needed you to be in a position to do what only you can do." Booth raised a questioning brow, but made no other comment. "I needed you to save me." His only reaction to this was to down the remainder of his whiskey, and the tenuous control Brennan had on her emotions began to slip. "You were the only person who wouldn't stop fighting for us, and if I had told you I was leaving you wouldn't have been able to. It was the only available option I could see, Booth. The only one."
One tear slid down her cheek as she finished her impassioned plea for his understanding, and that image alone broke Booth out of his self imposed silence.
"Dammit, Bones." He all but growled, slamming his glass down as he took a step toward her. "You think I don't know all of this? That I didn't spend the three months you were gone running through this in my mind, over and over again, almost driving myself mad with what ifs?" He took another angry step towards her, tension radiating off him in waves. "I know you had no other choice. I know that you did what you thought you had to. I know all of that and more, in here." He tapped his temple once, before lowering his hand slowly until it was held over his heart. "But here? All I know is that you left me, and took my daughter with you. I had to watch my family drive off without me, never knowing if or when I'd see them again." He closed the final distance between them. He lowered all barriers, letting her see for the first time just what her absence had done to him. "And it damn near broke my heart."
Brennan took a sharp step back, the pain and intensity in his voice causing a physical ache in her chest. For the first time since she had been home, she began to doubt her belief that everything would be okay. The man in front of her was almost unrecognizable, and she hated herself for being the one responsible for the changes she saw.
"Do you think," she tried to hold back the tears, but after a brief struggle she gave in, allowing them to fall freely. "Do you think you'll ever be able to love me again?" Or want me again. The unspoken question hung in the air between them, and Booth's eyes flashed with something familiar before the mask came back down.
"I never stopped." He admitted slowly. "But I need more time."
Brennan nodded shortly, the relief she had initially felt fading at the qualification added.
"And space?" She forced herself to ask the question, even as she braced herself for his response.
"Maybe." He admitted quietly.
"Okay then." She accepted. She swiped one hand across her face quickly to wipe away her tears. She froze when another hand replaced hers, and looked up at Booth as he swiped his thumb across her cheek.
Brennan stepped under the hot spray of the shower, enjoying the slight pain as the heat hit her bare skin. She closed her eyes on a sigh, holding her face up to the water and letting it beat down on her. She knew that the tears were falling freely now, but she made no effort to stem the flow. This part of her day had become her haven, of sorts, and it hadn't taken long for her to use it as a release from the emotions of each day. In daylight, surrounded by friends and strangers alike, she was forced to pretend that everything was okay. And in the evenings she was forced to pretend that Booth's distance wasn't eating her up inside. But in here, be it for five minutes or fifty, she didn't have to pretend.
Brennan reached out one hand for her body wash, wrapping it around the bottle before she stilled. She removed her hand slowly, refusing to turn around despite the fact that she was now aware of the presence behind her. She felt him move up behind her until he was near enough to touch, and the relief at having him so close was overwhelming. She stood still, hardly daring to breathe as she waited to see if he would close the final gap.
When his arms wrapped around her, hands resting on her stomach, she almost staggered under the weight of emotion that hit her. Her head fell back against his shoulder, and his face turned into her neck.
"I still need time, Bones."
Brennan forced herself to focus on his words, his close proximity making it difficult to hear anything but the beating of her own heart. When she finally processed what he was saying she grabbed the arms that were around her, fearing for one moment he planned on leaving her alone. Again.
"But I need you, too."
A soft kiss behind her ear accompanied his words, the action prompting Brennan to release her hold on his arms to turn to face him. She reached out to turn off the water, the silence that followed almost deafening. It had been almost four months since either had been in this position, and neither Booth nor Brennan were willing to wait any longer. Booth lowered his head as soon as she was facing him, taking her lips eagerly with his. As he deepened the kiss his hands roamed her body, familiarizing themselves with the shape and feel of her. When they came to her hips he moved closer, sliding his hands around her bottom to pull her tight against his body. He groaned into her mouth, the feel of her pressed tightly against his groin almost his undoing. As soon as he had made the decision to join her, his body had been ready, and he almost regretted the fact that this time was going to be hard and fast. Almost.
At the sound of his groan Brennan pressed herself closer to him, reveling in the feel of him hard against her. Four months had been far too long without him, and she couldn't get close enough. She felt herself being moved backwards, and in the next moment she found herself braced between the shower wall and Booth's hard body. She gasped at the move. Booth pulled his mouth away from her lips to settle on her shoulder, before he began to alternate between kissing and nipping his way up and down the smooth column of her neck. The gasps and moans leaving her mouth inflamed his senses, and what little control he had splintered. His hands were rough as he manipulated her body, lifting one leg to hook it around his waist. He wasted no more time, aligning their bodies quickly before entering her in one smooth slide.
At the feel of her wrapped around him he groaned, his head falling back onto her shoulder as a shudder ran through his body.
"God Bones," he thrust once, "it's like coming home." He turned his head, and whispered the words into her ear. "Every." He withdrew all the way before burying himself inside her again. " Damn time."
Brennan felt the words against her ear, but she was in such a state of bliss she struggled to focus on the words. Instead she wrapped her leg tighter around him, urging him to move harder, faster. Booth read her unspoken request and he moved quicker, feeling himself nearing the edge and wanting…no, needing her to go with him. He started to pull back, a change of scenery in mind, but Brennan's whimper of disapproval stopped him.
One husky plea was all she uttered, and as Booth thrust forward once more she let out a keening cry. Booth felt her begin to clench around him, and he forgot anything else but the need to see her come apart in his arms. His movements became more erratic as she shattered around him, and even as she called his name he was groaning hers, thrusting one final time before he emptied himself inside of her.
As the sounds of their cries died away he slipped out of her. He took one small step backwards, testing the steadiness of his legs. When he was confident that he could move without sliding to the floor, he looked back at Brennan. She was slumped back against the wall, eyes shut and her breathing ragged. When her breathing had slowed she still refused to look at him, unsure if she was more afraid that he wouldn't be there, or of the look on his face if he was.
When she eventually opened her eyes, the look on her face was one of such wariness that Booth winced. The fact that they had got to such a stage saddened him unbearably, and while he wasn't ready to let go of the past just yet, he also couldn't bear to spend the rest of the night as he had so many others. Alone.
He reached out a hand, relieved when she only kept him waiting for a second before she covered it with hers. They walked out of the bathroom and into their bedroom together, hands still clasped together as Booth pulled back the duvet. He let go of her to climb into the bed, lying down before patting the space beside him. Brennan didn't delay, climbing in behind him and pulling the covers over them both.
For the first time since she had been home she didn't hesitate, moving to his side and curling up beside him, confident in her welcome. In return, Booth wrapped one arm around her to hold her to his side. Despite everything, Brennan realised that nothing had really been fixed between then. She knew there was a very real possibility that, come morning, Booth would revert back to the stranger of the past few weeks. But for tonight, none of that mattered.
He was still there, she wasn't alone and in spite of everything she had put him through he still wanted her. And he still needed her. Nothing else mattered.
"I love you." She whispered into his side, eyes fluttering closed as she gave into her desire to sleep.
Silence followed her announcement, and Brennan was almost asleep before he whispered his reply.
"Love you too, Bones."
For one final time Cindee, happy birthday! You are one of the nicest, kindest, kick ass people I have never met, and I am lucky to know you ;)