Penance

By: Lesera128

Rated: K+

Disclaimer: ::stares:: ::blinks:: ::stares again:: Yeah. I still don't own anything…but, you knew that from the stares, right?

Summary: After three months of running, Brennan's ready to go home especially because of the penance she chose to endure to make up for how she hurt Booth by leaving. Sequel to "Purgatory." Slight spoilers for 8x01. One-shot. Complete.


I used to think that ninety days wasn't that long a period of time.

After all, ninety days is a fairly standard modicum of time that various people and institutions use as a common bench mark of measurement. A number of stores use ninety days as their upper limit during which a person can return or exchange a prior purchase. The finance industry uses it to measure their quarterly periods. As a result, I get my quarterly savings and 401k statements every ninety days. From a weather perspective, ninety days is only one season.

Now, I have to keep telling myself that it isn't that long a period of time.

Three months is a common period of time for summer vacations and for going on digs and other anthropological expeditions. All in all, it represented a mere 0.007% of my entire lifetime to that point.

But, then Christopher Pelant set out to ruin my life. For whatever insane reason, he targeted my family and my life with Booth and Christine was put at risk. It was rapidly getting to a point―before I took my father's advice and made a choice that needed to be made―where Pelant might've ruined our lives forever. So, I did what needed to be done. As much as it hurt me, as much pain as both Booth, Christine, and I felt because of the decision I made, I did what I had to do to protect our family. I don't regret that decision. However, that doesn't mean there hasn't been consequences, one of the most unexpected of which is that ever since that one day in mid-May, ninety days has taken on an entirely different meaning for me.

Now, ninety days is how long it's been since I took our daughter and left Booth on the steps of Holy Trinity Church in D.C. after Christine had just been baptized. It's been ninety days since I last saw Booth smile or heard his voice or felt his touch. It's also been ninety days since, in what my father called an ironic sign of Booth's Catholic guilt rubbing off on me, I decided to comply with his request that I alter my physical appearance in a very specific way.

In order to hide myself, I dyed my hair the one color I hated more than anything―I became a blonde.

My dislike of blondes is nothing new. I've harbored a secret dislike and distrust of them for more than eight years―as long as it took me to figure out that before me, Booth has had an unusual attraction and preoccupation with women who had such fair coloring. From Rebecca to Tessa to Hannah, and a number of other nameless women in between, he's always had a 'thing' for blondes.

This realization is why, on one day not long after we begun engaging in a long-term monogamous romantic relationship, he once asked me if I'd ever dye my hair for him if he asked me to do it as a personal favor to him. I think the conversation started off because I'd just pointed out how I much preferred it when he got a haircut that was short and tight on the sides, but long on the top, leaving just enough hair on his head where I could run my fingers through it. He really always has looked best with that type of hair cut, especially when the barber he goes to uses a straight edge razor to clean up the edges around his neck and ears. That was what had lead to his asking me if I would get my hair cut with bangs again or get my hair dyed a color he liked. I tried to explain to Booth that I have no problem taking his preferences in my aesthetic appearance into consideration―but for two things. I told him I'd never get bangs again, and I'd never dye my hair blonde because both acts were too loaded with symbolic mental and emotional baggage that caused me rather acute discomfort.

So, keeping that in mind, when I 'went on the run' with our daughter from Pelant, and I had to change my physical appearance, one might wonder why I chose to dye my hair blonde if I had such stong feelings. I can assure you, I made the decision not because I possessed any desire to emulate the physical appearance of actresses like Mia Farrow―despite the fact that my father had a crush on her in the late 1960s and early 1970s (before, in my father's words, Woody Allen 'got a hold of her' and she 'went off the rails completely).

At the time, I don't really know why I reached for the box of Garnier Nutriesse hair color in the drugstore that was labeled 'Light Natural Blonde.' But, I did. I bought it, took it back to the hotel, and over the course of four days of using lemon juice to treat my own hair color, I eventually was able to wash in the blonde color. Even as I did it, I couldn't really understand why I'd chosen that particular color. Because, after all, while I'm many things in life, I'm neither light or a natural blonde. But, still, that was the box of color I purchased, and that's the color I had to dye my hair three times. I couldn't bring myself to use a permanent dye, and so used a semi-permanent color that rinses out after 28 washes, i.e., if I stretch it out, color that needs to be reapplied about once every thirty days. Three times I've had to dye my hair that damn color and that's made me realize how long ninety days can actually be.

Our daughter is not quite six months old. And, for half of her life, she's been away from her father and probably doesn't remember what her mother really looks like. Such a realization has a way of putting things in perspective, I think.

I'm tired. I'm tired of running. I'm tired of being away from my home. I'm tired of being away from my work and the Jeffersonian. I'm tired of being away from Angela and all my friends. I'm tired of being away from Booth.

I'm so very tired.

The first time I came out of the cramped and dirty hotel bathroom where I'd dyed my hair blonde, and my father saw me, before he could help himself, he snickered and made a comment about how there was no need for me to punish myself. I didn't understand it at the time, but now I do. I'm sick of being what I'm not. I'm not a blonde, I'm not this normal, nameless, forgettable person.

I want to go home.

I want to go back to being me.

I want to go home as me to be with Booth.

I can only hope by the time this last box of hair color washes out, somehow, someway, my penance is done, and my wants can finally become a reality because ninety days really is quite a long time.


-The End-


Author's Note - I hadn't intended to do a follow-up to the 7x13 one-shot I did, but after having seen the preview for 8x01, I felt a need to toss this drabble out there. This piece also references another canon one-shot I did, "The Curse of the Bangs," but I don't necessarily consider it a requirement to have read that piece to understand this one since their all canon 'fill-in-the-blank' one-shots. I hope perhaps at least someone enjoyed yet another spewage that my muse seems to be operating under right now. Many thanks in advance.~