Good Enough For MeWritten by broilthesuspect
Summary: A short one-shot in which Booth reflects upon the hours before his brain surgery. Idea arose from my own questioning of what Booth was thinking as he searched for Brennan in the hallway before being taken to the OR. Told from Booth's POV.
The day started like any normal day. Okay, maybe not normal, but for me, it was pretty routine. I suppose If someone were to look at the life of Special Agent Seeley Joseph Booth, they'd find it to be pretty depressing—er—morbid. That's more like it. I deal in death daily—working in the Major Crimes Division for the FBI in Washington, DC, death is a pretty 'normal' thing to me.
But this day wasn't normal. Let me explain.
I woke up that morning and got ready for work. Bones and I were prepared to interrogate a suspect —whom I'd already picked out as the murderer. I could just smell it on him.
Our appointment was at 12, so we decided to get some breakfast at the diner. Alright, to be honest, I hadn't restocked my fridge in the last week save for some PBR and OJ so it was necessary that I get some kind of sustenance before layin' down the law. Like any breakfast with Bones, we couldn't possibly talk about the weather or who won the game the night before. Bones tends towards the scholarly, uncomfortable, or archaeological. This morning, she chose the second option.
You see, ever since we talked to Sweets in our stupid little 'partners therapy' session that week, Bones thought she wanted to have a baby. The hilarious part—okay, the ridiculously scary part – is that she wants me to be the father. But not be the father, in the help-raise-the-kid-into-a-good-human-being kind of way, but instead more like just a sperm donor. Believe me, I'm as surprised as anyone. This is the woman who swore off children. Sweets supposed it's due to abandonment issues. Regardless of the reason, she never wanted 'em. Now, she's spitting some serious game about how it would be 'selfish to not have a progeny.'
Don't get me wrong, I think Bones would be a great mom. She's comfortable with Parker, and aside from forgetting that seven year-olds don't have encyclopedias for brains like she does, she's good with them. But now that she asked me to donate my stuff, I felt weird about it. I wanted to say yes. I would do anything to make Bones happy if I could. She's my partner and my best friend, so making her happy just comes with the territory.
But this was not a 'let's-go-to-the-vegan-ethiopian-place-tonight' or 'can-you-bring-my-dead-people-magazines-from-the-office' kind of request. This was about bringing another kid into the world. I'd like to think that I could be understanding enough to let Bones have full custody with no strings attached. But the more I thought about it, the more I hated the idea.
I'd dealt with Rebecca doing the whole split-time thing with Parker. When he was a baby, it was easier because he didn't have sports, or school, or hell, an opinion for that matter. I want to spend way more time with Parker than I do, but because I was stupid and knocked up a woman that I probably should have known would never marry me, I can't. Who's to say it won't be the same with Bones? I didn't think I could possibly conceive a child and then have no say so or involvement in their life whatsoever.
It didn't really hit me until a friend said it to me. Okay, a few friends. First, Cam in my office, playing the 'I-know-you-Seeley-and-you're-crazy' card. Then Sweets making his open-mouthed little disbelieving duck face in his office when Bones and I talked to him about it at our next session.
And then Stewie.
That's where it gets weird. When I was getting ready to release the bulls in Pamplona at the clinic, I saw a vision of Stewie, ya know, the big-headed British kid from Family Guy? Just standing there on the TV telling me how to live my life just like the rest of 'em. Only this time it was a cartoon character who I was sure knew nothing about me. 'Cause he's not real. Right?
Which brings me back to that day. Thedayit all changed.
So here we are at the diner, enjoying our greasy fare – or me enjoying my bacon, eggs and hash browns while Bones picked at the crispy bits – when she decides to bring up once more that she needs a decision.
"Bones, I told you. I made the donation. Can we please just prep for the interrogation now? I really don't want to be talking about this."
She gave me that look she always gets when she doesn't understand something. The same look that usually accompanies 'I don't know what that means.' It makes her look like a little puppy with the tilted head and slightly crinkled brows. Only, it's a puppy with stormy grey eyes and great… well, you get it.
"I don't understand why you are avoiding the subject, Booth. I offered for you to get some legal protection."
She should know it's not about the legal protection, I thought. Hell, I work for the FBI. I've got a federal prosecutor up my sleeve that would defend me in a murder trial if I just smiled sweetly enough. The issue wasn't avoiding responsibility, it was wanting it. But I could never tell Bones that. She wanted this baby on her own. I couldn't have possibly risked our friendship and partnership just 'cause I was getting cold feet.
"Well, Bones, I'm just a little preoccupied with the case right now," I said. "I just need to focus so we can pin the guy that did this."
"But in the future you will be comfortable talking about it?" She sipped her coffee not out of nervousness as I was, but nonchalantly, as if this was just another conversation about the weather or the game the night before.
"Yeah, Bones. I'd love to talk about it later."
That frustrates me about Bones. Always has. She somehow manages to take issues that are of a ridiculous importance and rationalizes them to the point of triviality. I get it, you know, with her compartmentalization gobbledygook, she uses it as a way to avoid the pain of the major let-downs she's faced.
All of that is fine and dandy until she tries to get others to feel the same way. Hell, she's welcome to rationalize all she wants, but that doesn't mean that I have to be okay with it. I mean, if the Apocalypse is coming, you better believe I'm getting on my knees and praying for forgiveness for all the times I've fucked up. I won't be sitting there sipping my goddamn coffee like it's just another day in the neighborhood. (Sorry, Lord, for taking your name in vain but I'm sure you'll agree it's forgivable given the circumstances, right? Thanks.)
We sat through the rest of breakfast without much more conversation. I dropped Bones off at the lab and silently thanked my same blasphemed Lord for the alone time in the car to just sit and think. Honestly, I'm not actually sure if being left alone with my own thoughts was a blessing or a curse.
Anyway, the squints called about an hour later to tell me they discovered that this winery owner had been making counterfeit bottles of a competitor's wine. Selling knock-off wine at a snobby price seemed like a good enough motive for murder. My hunch could be proven right within the hour. It was always a good feeling to be right, which is a feeling I don't get a lot considering my partner is a certified genius who is very rarely wrong. It's nice to be the one that gets the right answer every now and then.
I sent a batch of techs out to the winery while I waited for Bones to get to my office. Sure enough, they found twenty dozen cases or so of the knockoff Bedford Creek wine. The guy was an idiot, leaving the bottles in plain view. The cases arrived at the Hoover around the same time that Bones did, so we took a little time to glance over the notes and to let the guy sweat it in the interrogation room. Besides, I needed to brief Bones on our procedure in the room. Sometimes she gets right to the point with suspects, giving them warning to lawyer up and formulate a lie before I can crack 'em. This one was in the bag, so it didn't take much convincing on my part for her to let me lead. Little did she know I was just going to employ her straightforward tactic anyway.
Sure enough, we walked into the room and that dumbass Dunwood's head rose up and his body tensed like a little kid that just got caught coloring on the walls. "We found cases of this in your warehouse," I said. "You were counterfeiting Bedford Creek Wine."
Not wasting any time, Bones jumped in. "You charged $100 for a $3 wine."
The guy was such a dumbass. I've been known to drink expensive wine, sure. But mostly out of a desire to be seen as romantic by my date at an expensive dinner or a candlelit evening at home. (What—like I'm not the romantic type? Seeley Booth has never had any complaints in that department, thank you very much… but I digress.)
So I called the guy on it. We were probably on the same page as far as wine snobs were concerned. The whole reason why his counterfeiting business worked so well was that people didn't know the wine was total crap. Bones gave him the lowdown in her trademarked matter-of-fact tone, that we knew the dead wine critic was going to rat him out to the owner of Bedford Creek. From the look on his face, I knew we had him. But like any reasonable murderer, he tried to redeem himself by telling us about his struggles and how his family had owned the land for years—blah, blah, blah. I like to call this phase of the interrogation the 'Irrelevant Bullshit Phase.' This is the phase in which a suspect will spin a sad web of a tale, trying to get sympathy for their actions. Bones is especially good at stonewalling these bastards. It's kinda hot when she does it.
But anyway, that's when it all really went downhill. Suddenly, there he was, Stewie. Sitting right next to Dunwood at the table, confirming my own thoughts. This guy was an idiot.
"Is this man a complete dunce?" The voice took me by surprise. I've had these… well, visions… but I've never really had them except when I was by myself. Well, that one time I saw Luc Robitaille, everyone else was there, but I was unconscious. So that doesn't count, right?
Regardless, I'd never really seen one of these guys with other people in the room. I'd told Bones about what happened when the Gravedigger tried to drown me, and about Luc when I was playing hockey. But this time, she was there, and asking me questions as this little cartoon baby was talking to me about the child that Bones wanted to conceive. All of a sudden, I had Bones, Stewie, and Dunwood all lobbing questions at me in a rapidfire way that I couldn't properly answer.
Before I knew it, Bones had a vice grip on my arm and was pulling me out of the interrogation room. My head was spinning: a mess of reality and what I hoped to God to be imaginary washing around in my brain. As she yanked me through the doorway, I felt as if I was being sucked into a black hole. This thing with the sperm and the kid and the cartoon baby was really getting to me.
We got into the hallway and she let me go. "Hey," she said softly, "what is going on?"
What's going on? I thought. What's going on is that you just want to make a kid and then cut me off from them. I became like a drunk, vomiting my innermost thoughts as if to ease the pounding in my head that seemingly threatened to explode at a moment's notice. "I can't do it," I blurted out. "Listen, I have to be involved. If I'm the father, I have to be the father." I choked up a little at the thought that I was so close to letting this happen without being clear that any child of mine would be anything but that. I imagined if I had done this with Parker like Rebecca wanted. If they'd moved off somewhere and I didn't have that little pipsqueak running around my apartment every now and then.
"You were seeing something in there," she said. "What were you seeing?" A wave of concern washed over her face. She looked right into my eyes as if she were looking for the answer to her question without my help. Her eyebrows remained high as she waited for my answer.
In an effort—albeit unsuccessful—to keep her from worrying, I answered as if it didn't bother me. "Stewie," I said. "The baby from the Family Guy." I sat on a bench, hoping that it would steady me and allow me to catch my breath again.
You know, for a self-proclaimed 'disconnected' person, Bones has a lot of natural skills to make others comfortable. She sat on the bench next to me, coming to my level. "You… you saw Stewie? In there? In the interrogation room?"
I knew that tone. The concern had grown into a tinge of distress. Her words were becoming more frantic and fragmented. The way she only gets when she is discovering something or uncovering some kind of hidden truth. Although this time, it wasn't a murder weapon or a cause of death. I wasn't giving in to this change in subject. I had something I needed to know.
"So," I pressed her. "What do you say about the kid?"
She didn't hesitate for a second. "Fine, I won't have a baby."
This woman could make decisions at the drop of a hat. The only way I could do that was if there were a gun in my hand—or one pointed at me. "That's it?"
"It doesn't matter now, we're going to the hospital." She pulled my arm once more as we both stood up.
I pulled my arm away from her. "It's no big deal, okay?" I really believed it. I'd been seeing these things for months, more than I'd even told Bones. I was getting used to it, you know? It was like a daydream I could have a conversation with. Not terrible, if you asked me—at least it gave me a good way to pass the time while stuck in D.C. traffic. Bones felt differently, obviously.
"It is, Booth!" she leaned in closer and her tone became stern and urgent. "You thought you saw Luc Robitaille, then the ghost of a dead friend, and now a cartoon baby." I dipped my head low to avoid the crazed glare she was giving me, but she persisted as usual and dropped her head to look in my eyes once more. "Trust me," she said. "Something is wrong. Trust me." She spit the last few words and I could see it in her eyes. Something was wrong. It hadn't really hit me until that moment. The room spun again as she led me to the elevators and feverishly pressed the down button until the doors sprang open with a ding.
She pulled my keys from my pocket as we walked through the parking garage. As I was still in a sort of wacky I-just-talked-to-a-cartoon-baby-who-I-think-I-know-isn't-real haze, she loaded me into the passenger seat and hoisted herself into the other side.
The moment I really knew something was fuckin' screwy was when we exited the garage. Bones flipped on the siren with not even a hint of satisfaction. On the rare occasions that I let her drive, it is even more rare that she gets to use the siren. When she does, she gets this childish grin on her face that is simultaneously the most adorable and sexy thing I have ever seen. This time, she had no change in her facial expression, only a quiet look of distress. About halfway through the ride, I couldn't take it. I grabbed her hand and choked out a "Bones…" before she simply responded, "I know."
We came to a screeching halt outside of the hospital. Bones led me into the Emergency waiting room to be processed. I'm sure using her bestselling-author-forensic-giant-with-impeccable-good-looks, I was in a private room within an hour getting changed into a hospital gown as Bones clicked off a few text messages I was positive were to Angela. She walked alongside my gurney as they wheeled me to another department for a head CT. Interestingly, Bones held my hand through the entire process. Something tells me it was more for her benefit than mine, but hell, who was I to complain?
They rolled me back to my room to await test results. Doctors and nurses came in, introduced themselves and tried to stay collected in the presence of celebrity. Bones nodded curtly and smiled politely at their compliments, but even a squint would've been able to see the worry and anticipation in her eyes. Finally, a Dr. Jurzik (apparently a well-known and respected neurosurgeon) came in and explained what they'd found – a cerebellar parawhoozie astro-something-something. A brain tumor putting pressure where it shouldn't be, causing 'vivid hallucinations.' No shit.
The doc spoke with Bones for another minute or two, asking a million questions about my history, my health, and explaining a procedure that I only gleaned the words 'risky but necessary' from. Bones turned back to me, telling me her recommendations. I nodded to most of them, not really knowing if I was agreeing to a ride on the carousel or a lobotomy. The woman is a genius, it's not like I'm going to disagree when it comes to her field of expertise.
Once they'd come to a decision, the doctors filed past me and shook my hand before leaving. Bones received a call a few minutes later and left the room. I was alone.
I watched some documentary accidentally—yeah, it's possible—the other day on TV that talked about the process of dying. A real lemon-sucker of a woman talked about how people that are facing the potential of death often find clarity in the moments before seeing the white light or whatever. For people that are given a set amount of time—in my case, about thirty minutes until I'd be in the OR—there was a certain amount of reflection that occurs that a person's brain sorta forces on them in an attempt to pacify or calm the person in their last minutes—or potential last minutes, I guess.
I thought about Parker. I'd made the decision to not call him before the surgery. As much as I knew it would be painful for him if I passed in the process, I felt that worrying him in the event that I came out alright would cause more damage in the long run. I'd received calls on many occasions from Pops telling me that my father was in the hospital, supposedly dying. I'd ignored the voicemails and the panicked conversations, and somehow my old man was still alive and kickin'. I wasn't going to do that to Parker, despite the change of circumstance.
I thought about the FBI and my work. I selfishly wondered if I would go down in history with Bones as the highest solve rate in the Bureau. I wondered if I'd be honored in any way by the government, given some kind of posthumous medal or recognition for my service to society. I'd seen my own funeral once before—I was disappointed with the turnout then, but I wondered if it would have been different if it hadn't been a sting op.
Then I thought about Bones. After the day we'd had and the conversations that went down, she deserved a thought. Or a million. If this surgery was going to happen (which rumor had it, was, since I'd hazily agreed to it through Bones), there were things I needed her to know before I died. Not just the combination to my gun safe, my burial preferences, or the location of the paperwork for her to be taken off our cases. I needed her to know how I felt about her. And the baby stuff. If I was going to be gone from this world, I wanted to know that she was taken care of. If that meant being tacky and offering up my Olympic swimmers again, so be it.
I knew from the moment I saw Dr. Temperance Brennan that she was different. There was a certain… I don't know, essence about her. Her confidence was overwhelming. It was no wonder Cam practically idolized her until she became her boss. The woman dressed to kill with a body to back her up. I thought I wouldn't be able to stop myself from trying to rip off that flowered skirt she was wearing that day at American University. She had legs for miles that begged to be spread apart, and breasts that were barely contained within her crisp collared blouse. Her most striking feature was her face, the highlight of which was her eyes. Those insanely grey-blue eyes, delicately framed by a square jaw line and those irresistibly kissable lips.
But besides the obvious looks, she had a whole lot more going for her. She touted her own intelligence freely—and for good reason. The woman is a certified genius and it shows. I won't lie and say I'm not attracted to smart women. For the most part, the women I've dated have been more educated than me. I don't consider myself to be stupid by any stretch, but look at Rebecca, Cam, and Tessa at least. All successful, intelligent, beautiful women. (Boy, I sure know how to pick 'em, huh?)
But Bones was different. Unlike the others, she wasn't wooed by charm alone. In fact, she'd rejected me that night I'd fired her from working with the Bureau. There was something about that rejection that made me want her even more. I knew she'd wanted more herself, but saw this invisible line that we battled through our entire partnership. She knew she could get any man she wanted. Naturally, this made every man—including me—want her even more.
So here I was at the precipice of what could be the end of my life, and I was finally coming to grips with the fact that I am in love with Bones. I'd always sorta known it, but now with this end-of-life-reflection thingy weighing over my head, I needed to get it out in the open.
I searched the hallway for a glimpse of her. Surely she'll come back, I thought. She wouldn't leave without saying goodbye, right? I'd dealt with her rejection once, I didn't need to go through that again. Anxiously I waited to see her face as nurse after nurse poked and prodded and attached heart monitor leads to my chest. They bustled around me, speaking only when they felt the need to explain what a wire was doing or what a certain IV was for. Today was routine for them. How nice.
Finally, she appeared in the glass. Her eyes were sad but kind. I smiled, letting go of what was left of the tough-guy façade that had crumbled over the course of the day. She curved the corners of her mouth up ever-so-slightly before releasing them to rest in an expression of quiet resignation. I like to think the reality hit her in that moment. She slowly walked in the room and wasted no time in protecting herself. She presented the facts. "The surgery should take about two hours," she stated. I'd seen it before—the eyes give it away. It's like she looks through me and not at me. Her voice drops to the same clinical tone she uses when she's identifying wounds on a victim. But hey, I wasn't going to complain. It meant she felt something, and that was an improvement on nothing at all.
I'm not gonna lie, I was hoping she'd beat me to the 'dying-and-trying-to-make-things-right-in-the-world' punch by confessing her undying love for me, but I settled for her clinical approach and nodded. "I was getting used to hallucinating," I joked. "It'll get lonely." She laughed and recognized my deflection, answering with her own. "You're going to be fine, Booth. Dr. Jurzic is one of the best."
I wasn't convinced. "Why don't you come in there with me?" I asked. "Into the operating room?"
"No, I'll see you in Recovery." She didn't understand what I was getting at. Did she ever?
"Oh, c'mon," I said, trying to use a bit of humor when what I really wanted to do was beg. "What are you gonna do, sit in the waiting room and read all those old magazines for hours?" I was a bit disappointed with my pitch thus far. Surely I had more heat to throw at her than the threat of outdated celebrity scandal.
"I'm not a neurologist Booth. Or a surgeon." Her eyes once again betrayed her. She broke from the thirty seconds she'd held it together to tell me I was going to be alright. Although the circumstances were shit, vulnerability looked good on her. Kind of sexy, as weird as that may sound.
"But you're a genius," I replied, "and that's good enough for me." The words came out more as a whisper than I anticipated. I was on the verge of losing it. The stress of the day, the case, the month, the realization that this may be the last conversation with the woman I'd fallen for those years ago threatened to pour down my face. "Plus you'll know if they're screwin' up." My near-breakdown must've gotten to her, because she then agreed to ask.
At that point, I couldn't do anything but stare at her. This woman, this exquisitely beautiful woman, had to feel the same that I did about her. There was something in the way she looked at me that acknowledged that she too could be losing something that meant a great deal to her. With one more weak smile, she turned and followed the doctor into the hallway.
It looked like Bones had to do a little convincing to get them to allow her in the room with me. I swear to you, she has learned a thing or two from me about the power of body language (no sexual pun intended). She smoothed her jacket out real nice, threw on a mildly convincing charm smile, and even reached out and touched the doctor's arm. The doctor smiled back and nodded, uncrossing his arms. She had him. My Bones has more than squinty tricks up her sleeve.
Once I was prepped and ready and Bones had a spiffy set of scrubs on, we started on what I really hoped wouldn't be my last ride down these hallways. I'd had enough. I had to tell her how I felt. I think I shocked the nurses a little bit when I asked if we could stop. Granted, Bones had already lectured them on the importance of scrubbing well and even attempted to threaten them with the force of the FBI. Atta girl.
When I had her alone, I started carefully. "Bones, if I don't make it…"
"Booth, you're going to be fine." Easy for the one in the scrubs to say, not so much for the one with a tumor the size of a melon ball throwing a trippy rave in their brain.
I decided to avoid the loaded 'love' confession first. "But if I'm not, I want you to have my stuff. Ya know, for a kid."
Her mouth fell open just slightly as her head tilted. She let out a little sigh as her eyes fluttered open to meet mine. "Booth…"
"I want you to." I was barely hanging on. Her eyes were glossy and a brighter blue than they'd been before. They always got that way when she'd been crying. It made it impossible for her to lie to me when she had been in the past. "You're gonna be a really good mom."
Not out of character for long, she blinked a few times and retreated to her shell. "You're going to be fine, Booth." If my other confessions were going to put her over the edge, was it even worth my death-bed confession to tell her? To let it hang over her head for the rest of her life?
"I'm ready," I lied. I held my hand up to her to hold. She didn't hesitate in grabbing it.
Once in the OR, they repositioned me on a table that was somehow less comfortable than the awful flame-retardant one I had been on. They elevated my head slightly and began to explain what they were going to do during the procedure. I gripped Bones' hand tightly, wanting to remain as alive as possible for as long as I could. The surgeon paused and looked to Bones, sensing her holding it all in. He turned back to me. "Do you have any questions?" he asked. I heard this as 'have any last words?'
Before Bones could answer, I turned to her and softly spoke. "Temperance?"
Her eyes snapped up from looking at her hands wrapped protectively around mine. There was a sort of wonder in them that I hadn't seen in a while. She smiled. I continued, "You need to know something…"
"Booth," she started.
"Are you going to interrupt the guy with the brain tumor, or are you going to listen?" She chuckled and nodded me on.
"I need you to know that since the moment I saw you, I knew you were something different," I said. "Something special. Even after you hated me after our first case, I knew that I had to get you back. So I held you at that airport and somehow forced you to come with me – until you forced me to take you out in the field. There were some days that I thought you were a lost case, that there was no way in hell that I could put up with your arrogance and demeanor. I'm glad I waited. I'm glad I took the time to find out that that arrogance was founded – and in all honesty was your way of showing confidence.
"You've made me better. Not just professionally, but personally. You've encouraged me to strive to be better, faster, stronger, and more determined every day that we go out. You remind me that the object of our professions is not to right some cosmic balance sheet I've come up with, but to make our little corner of the world a safer place.
"You've saved my life, Bones. Literally and figuratively. I'd probably be homeless and gambling my life away by now if it weren't for you. So here I am, laying here as weak and exposed as I can be. I need you to know that I love you. I love you with every one of the 206 bones in my body."
She smiled at me and let the first few rogue tears trickle down her cheeks. I reached my unoccupied hand to her face and drew my fingers along her jaw. "I need you to know that you are loved," I said.
She leaned her head down to mine and placed a chaste kiss on my lips. Fed up with being the one to settle for second best, I went for broke. I rested my hand on the nape of her neck and pulled her back in. Our lips met in a frenzy. Our lips smacked noisily against one another's as we became more and more greedy for what we'd denied ourselves for so long. Soon enough, our tongues were in a mêlée for control. Her tongue glided swiftly over my teeth. She placed her hand on my chest; gentle at first, soon morphing into claws that dug into my flesh.
We went at it like this for another few good minutes until Dr. Jurzic cleared his throat in a sort of laugh, reminding us of the time and place. We both laughed briefly as we came up for air, then exchanged a longing look before Bones reclaimed her seat and a hold on my hand once more. She looked at me sweetly and confirmed the only thing I wanted to know at this point.
"I'm right beside you Booth."
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