Disclaimer: ::stares:: ::blinks:: ::stares again:: Yeah. I still don't own anything…but, you knew that from the stares, right?
Summary: Brennan has a realization about her relationship with Booth on the morning she wakes up in his bed for the first time. Set at the end of 6x22. One-shot. Complete.
Author's Note: I know, I know, I've been a horrible writer. I've got several stories still in the fire needing updates, and I'm sure this is not the notification everyone wanted in their mailbox. The good news is that no, I haven't given up on any stories (most of my regular readers know this). The better news is that several of the stories have half-written chapters I just need to finish. The bad news is that I don't know when those might posted. All I can say is what I said before…they're in the pipeline and coming. But, for now…here's a bit of a drabble that my muse upchucked that I thought I might share.
When she was a little girl, one of the most confusing things she remembered learning about her father was that he had a secret weakness―he liked going to the horse track that was a forty-five minute hour drive from the suburb where they lived outside of Chicago. He did this, every so often, to do the other thing that confused Brennan―when he finally got to the track, he absolutely loved betting on a very specific type of horse. It didn't matter if he won or lost―no, for Matthew Brennan (or now, she knew, the man who was born as Max Keenan) what he loved most was placing the actual bet itself. He didn't do it often, and he was by no means an inveterate gambler. He snuck away to the horse track maybe every two or three months at the most. When he got there, he would spend no more than a hundred dollars and stay there for only a couple or three hours there indulging in his guilty pleasure. But, still, it brought him a tremendous amount of pleasure that Brennan grappled to comprehend once she learned about it.
She'd gained her knowledge one Saturday morning when he'd asked, as the pair of them cleared the breakfast table because her mother had taken Russ to baseball practice, if she wanted to come with him on an errand. She was eleven when she said yes, of course, because she loved spending as much time alone with her father as she could. So, with his mischievous grin, he'd nodded and took her for the first time. She didn't know where they were going until they got there because her father had said it was a 'surprise' for her. Once they pulled up in front of the horse track, and Brennan realized where her father had taken her, she'd become even more curious. At first, back then, she thought it might've been because he knew she loved horses or even because he was lonely and wanted to have some company or someone with whom he could share his secret.
What she didn't know until she was much older was that explanation was the correct one. No, Matthew Brennan―aka Max Keenan―had always been quite content to spend time alone. Or, if it had just been about company, he could've taken Brennan's older brother Russ with him. But, as he explained why they were they and what they were going to do, he told her that she was the only one he wanted to come with her. Brennan was the only one that he took there and would be the only one with whom he shared that particular experience. He did this, she later found out, for a very specific reason. The reason he did so―she later discovered as an adult―was because her father wanted her to learn something very important. He wanted her to understand the art of the longshot.
That was what Matthew Brennan's secret weakness was, the longshot. He adored it in no uncertain terms almost as much as he loved his wife and children. His guilty pleasure was that he loved betting on the longshot.
To say it confused and bewildered Brennan was an understatement.
Brennan remembered the first time he explained to her what a longshot was.
"Listen, baby girl," he'd told her with his imploring smile and bright blue eyes staring at her with a pleading look in them that Brennan couldn't recall as ever having seen before that point in time. "I know you don't understand it right now, but one day, okay? One day, you will. I promise. And, so, you're gonna need to be prepared for it…The longshot is hard to explain, but you know it when you see it. It's something that you've got to use your instinct to identify…to know which one is a longshot worth betting on. It can't be analyzed…it's not a puzzle to be solved using your brain. A longshot…it's all about feeling, Tempe. Now, I know you probably want to start doing numbers in your head, but that's not what this is, baby girl. It's all about feeling and knowing in your gut which one has the slimmest chance in hell of pulling it out and winning, and choosing that one when no one else does…because, you know why? The longshot, baby girl? When the longshot wins? It doesn't happen often―it's quite rare, really. But, when it does? I can't explain it, Tempe. But, it really is the best feeling in the world. The absolute best. And, that's what I want for you, Tempe…only the best. You deserve only the best. You deserve the longshot, baby girl, and I hope one day you get it. I really do. I want it for you more than almost anything else. Because, I know if you get the longshot, you'll be happy, Tempe. No matter what happens, if you have that, you'll have everything you deserve and more."
When she'd gotten home that day, she'd been very confused by what he father had said. When she went to her desk and pulled out her beloved copy of Webster's Dictionary, and looked up the term, she'd been even more confused by what her father had told her.
The dictionary defined longshot as a 'noun: 1. a horse, team, etc., that has little chance of winning and carries long odds. 2. an attempt or undertaking that offers much but in which there is little chance for success.'
Brennan had stared at the word's definition for a very long time. She tried to wrap her head around it, within the context of what her father had told her. However, the more she thought about it, the more confused she became. It just didn't make any sense. She didn't―or, more accurately, back then perhaps she couldn't―make the connection between the dictionary's definition of the phenomenon and her father's explanation of it's connection with emotion. In her mind, the more she grappled with it, the more she couldn't make a logical and rational connection between the longshot, feelings, and why her father wanted her to have it in her life so badly.
For many years, particularly as her relationship with her father soured―first, when she thought him dead after he and her mother had abandoned her and Russ on one cold December afternoon, and later, when she realized who and what he really was―Brennan didn't often think of it. But, then, for some reason that was inexplicable to her at the time, the memory of what she'd termed 'the longshot conundrum' remerged in her mind with a vengeance the day she met Special Agent Seeley Booth of the FBI. It didn't really surprise her that she'd thought of 'the long-shot conundrum' when she met Booth. After all, he was just as bewildering and frustrating and strange as she tried to make sense of him―and, more importantly, how she felt about him and because of him―as when she'd tried to analyze what her father had told her about the longshot. The entire situation with Booth, like her analysis of the longshot, continued to defy her attempts to categorize and quantify it for many years. It's continued resilience to surrender her stubborn logical persistence only spurred her on more to solve the riddle it offered her. It didn't matter how long it took her, Brennan had vowed, she would solve the riddle of the longshot just as she knew that one day she would solve the riddle of Booth.
Years passed, and still Brennan had no luck in her task. Indeed, the more she got to know Booth the more he seemed to flagrantly defy her attempts to quantify and classify him in her attempt to understand him and how he made her feel. And, then, one day…not so many months after she'd come to the painful conclusion that she didn't necessarily need to understand Booth in order to enjoy having him in her life, she finally achieved both goals when she finally stopped trying to attain them.
The morning she'd woken up in Booth's bed, the day after Jacob Broadsky had almost taken him from her but for one slight of fate's hand that had resulted in the death of Vincent Nigel-Murray, she'd awoken naked and twined in her partner's arms. They'd crossed a line, moved past a point of no return, and in the aftermath of that act, Brennan wasn't nearly as panicked as she thought she'd be. It was almost as if what had happened between the pair in the pre-dawn hours of the morning―what had happened when a moment of comfort and solace had given way to a heated moment of passion that was but the first in a series of heated moments that followed―was neither surprising or unwanted. It was almost as if the step they accidentally took was no accident at all, but merely the natural evolution of what had existed between the pair for years. Neither was ahead or behind the other. Finally, the two of them were in the same place, at the same time, and able to go on to the next stage together. And, for Brennan…who had shut off her brain and merely felt as Booth had often counseled her to do, it had felt wonderful.
She knew that the ensuing hours and coming days and weeks would bring challenges for the pair. There was much to be done, much to be settled, much to be said between the pair. But, in that moment when she first stirred, and she awoke to realize where she was and with whom, in that moment, simply being with him was enough for her. She enjoyed the touch and feel of how his warm body felt pressed against her, his strong arms wrapped around her back as he kept her safe from where she'd sprawled onto his chest when they'd dozed after they finished making love. It was all about feeling for her in that moment. She didn't need anything more than him, she didn't need anything more than what she had…what they had to be pleased.
And, with that effectuation, on that morning when she woke up in Booth's arms for the very first time, Brennan suddenly realized she finally understood what her father had meant all those years before when he'd tried to teach her about the longshot. The longshot, she now knew, wasn't logical, wasn't rational, and never made any sense. It couldn't be understood through analysis. The brain was not the key to solving the puzzle offered by it. No, instead, the only way it could be understood was by feeling, by surrendering, by accepting it for what it was and enjoying it all the more. That, Brennan realized, as she woke up in Booth's arms, was what the answer was to the puzzle of both Booth and the longshot…because, for her?
For Dr. Temperance Brennan…the longshot? For her? The longshot, she finally realized, for her…her longshot was Booth.
Their relationship? It made absolutely no sense. It wasn't logical, wasn't rational, and it should never have worked. But, in that moment, as he held her in his strong embrace, she knew that logic and rationality didn't matter. All that matter was what she felt for him, what he felt for her, and how they made each other feel.
And, on that morning, although Brennan wasn't quite certain she was ready to call what she felt for Booth love, she did know that she had no qualms about knowing her was her longshot…and that, finally, she knew what her father had meant.
She'd finally bet on the longshot…and the longshot―she and Booth―had finally won. And, having finally won, she knew that nothing had ever felt better to her in her entire life. Her father had been right. The longshot? When it won? It really was the best thing―the best feeling―in the world.
Author's Note - continued - Again, I know this was nothing more than a bit of self-reflective drabble, but hopefully it was pleasing to some of you on some level. If so, I'd love to hear what anyone thinks. Thanks in advance.