Sinking Like Stones, Chapter 3, Beating My Heart
Rating: M (PLEASE NOTE THE RATING CHANGE)
Summary: Follow-up of sorts to my OS "Good Enough For Me" (you're welcome to leave now and read that first, it's fairly short). Takes place as Booth wakes up from his brain surgery at the end of S4. My take on what would happen if the neurosurgeons were not able to remove all of the tumor in Booth's brain. AU, Brennan's POV.
Advisory: I do not own the show Bones or the characters involved in this story. I just enjoy filling in gaps and re-writing my version of the show we know and love. This story will not have fluffy bunnies running rampant, however, I am inclined to say that if you read it, you will be touched in some way by it. Hell, you might even enjoy it.
I watched you sleepin' quietly in my bed
You don't know this now but
There's somethings that need to be said
It's all that I can hear
It's more than I can bear
What if I fall and hurt myself
Would you know how to fix me?
What if I went and lost myself
Would you know where to find me?
If I forgot who I am
Would you please remind me?
Oh, cause without you things go hazy
-"Hazy," Rosi Golan ft. William Fitzsimmons
I examined the distal phalanx once more, assured that I could conclude beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt that the victim's fingers had been 'sanded' down post-mortem. This did not startle or shock me – the various forms of attempted anonymity I'd seen over my years as a forensic anthropologist limited my surprise exponentially. I briefly considered a conversation I'd had with Dr. Sweets about desensitization, but the thought left as quickly as it came.
I penned the results into the notes I was compiling and dictated my findings into a recorder to be revisited later. There was something very calming about completing this paperwork. For most of my coworkers, paperwork was a necessary evil that came with the job. However, I saw these documentations as victories in their own right. When I took pen to paper, that meant I'd made a discovery, a diagnosis, or had closed the case. Documentation meant that the identity or cause of death of the victim on my table was closer than before. These victories, while small, were often the only reasons I could remain as removed from the victims as I did.
And these days, my emotions were at constant attention.
I packed up my files and secured the body, locking the exam room door after myself. As I walked back to my office, I glanced at my watch as I noticed that the Medico-Legal lab was fairly empty for what time I thought it might be. 8:12. A little later than I'd intended to stay.
Also a little later than Booth had intended for me to stay, apparently. I fished my phone out of my lab coat pocket as I laid it on the back of my office chair. Two missed calls, one voicemail, and six texts from Booth. Thankfully none were urgent, but all were encouraging me to come to his apartment after work—sooner rather than later.
I smiled as I read the texts. I imagined Booth sitting in his office at the Hoover composing them, trying to walk the fine line between 'caring' and 'overbearing.' I could just see the tip of his tongue poking out of the corner of his mouth in determined concentration, his brow relaxing with the occasional laugh at his own joke.
I grabbed my coat and headed to the parking deck, tapping a quick 'See you soon' into my phone.
I entered his apartment and was welcomed with a different aroma than the usual leather, aftershave, and popcorn. I smelled rosemary, garlic, thyme, and… wax? I called for Booth as I entered the apartment, peering into the kitchen as I made my way to the living room.
"Heya, Bones!" He bounded out of the guest bathroom and approached me, eyes unabashedly focused on my lips. I dropped my tote as he enveloped me, lips locked on mine, arms restricting my movement far from uncomfortably. The kiss was long and singular, ending with a sort of smack that sucked the remaining air from my mouth and lungs and causing me to sharply inhale upon release. He held my shoulders and leaned back to look at me. He smiled and kissed me on the forehead, releasing me and walking with well-deserved bravado into the kitchen.
"I made dinner!" he proclaimed, beaming over the countertop at me. "Although, it has been sitting for a while because I've had it ready since six. Shoulda known you'd be late, what with Edward Stubby Hands on the docket for today." I shot him a disapproving look for the nickname, only to be met with a laugh as he turned back toward the refrigerator. "So, anything new?"
This was a new game we were playing. We were still partners at work, meaning we saw each other at least five days a week, typically more, as bodies tended not to discriminate exclusively to the workweek. Perhaps due to this frequency in contact, we hadn't exactly spent a lot of time outside of work together. He'd stayed at my place a few times and vice versa, but usually only after both falling asleep on a sofa after ordering takeout. The question was typically unnecessary, but as usual I answered, filling the silence hanging in the air.
I pulled myself onto one of the barstools at his kitchen counter, facing him as he rinsed a head of lettuce. "I've officially concluded that the victim's finger tips were ground off – like a sort of sanding, only probably with a much stronger medium."
Booth winced at the 'sanding.' "Well, as much as that jump-starts my appetite, I meant you—how are you?" He smiled crookedly. I wasn't positive that Booth was capable of a fully symmetrical smile. I'd only ever seen him offer half-witted or devious smiles that engaged one side of his face. And that irresistible dimple.
As I drank in the beauty that was my partner's face, I let the question sink in. How am I? Seems like a reasonable enough question. One that could be exchanged between colleagues that met on an elevator and hadn't seen one another in a few weeks. But from Booth, questions like this with such…shallow… meaning were never what they appeared on the surface. He smiled at me sweetly, albeit with a slight twitch as he watched me contemplate his question further.
I thought about a line that I'd heard Angela use once: "Better now that you're here." She'd sounded so sexy and confident in the moment. Then again, Angela could probably read the ingredient list for hot dogs and sound sexy. There were some days I wished I had this talent—not that I lacked sexual prowess or the ability to arouse a man, but there was something about Booth that made me feel nervous and childlike in flirting with him.
Before the newest development in our relationship, there was near-tangible sexual tension. The tension, most likely formed by a joint subconscious hesitation to conclude that the other had the same feelings for the other, had now morphed into a sort of wall that was no longer based on the FBI's useless regulations, but rather on something I didn't understand.
If Booth and I were both attractive (and attracted to each other), sexually experienced (and apparently both quite skilled), and committed (in a way I'd never imagined), then why was it that we hadn't yet had sex?
"I guess I needed to sing the Jeopardy song, Bones. I didn't know it was such a tough question." He gazed at me with that goofy smile and with his auricular muscles contracting, causing his now-flushed ears to wiggle a bit. I pressed my lips into a quiet, almost shy smile.
"It was the question I was contemplating, Booth," I said matter-of-factly, "not the answer."
He shook his head and laughed, turning again from the bar to pick up the pot of pasta from the stove. "Are you ready to eat then, Bones? Because I'm starving!" He carried the pot to the table and placed it on a colorful asymmetrical woven mat that I recalled was once a gift from Parker. Booth sat at the table and threw his arms out. "Bon appetit, Bones!"
I couldn't stop staring at him. He was so handsome – elegantly disheveled hair, well-formed triceps and biceps that filled his dark grey shirt sleeves, his strong and pebbled jaw. He was cute, encouraging me to come sit in a fake Italian accent, sweet in that he wasn't eating yet and waiting for me.
For a moment, I forgot the tumor even existed.
I jumped off of my barstool and strode to him slowly, but with purpose. I reached him and placed a hand on his cheek, a five o'clock shadow pricking my fingertips and palm. His face softened, no longer covered with the laugh lines I'd memorized in our years together. His arm took my waist and his hand landed in its rightful place on the small of my back. I watched my fingers trace the curve of his pectoral through his worn shirt, and felt his torso convulse slightly.
I looked up at him, his eyes now suddenly darker and deeper than before. His arm around me tightened as he stood, bringing my body flush with his. Still wearing my boots, he and I stood eye to eye. His mouth hovered in front of mine, his breaths coming in hot pants that I could feel enveloping my own open mouth and wisping around my chin. The tip of his nose grazed mine as he moved his mouth closer, keeping his eyes seemingly magnetized to mine.
Our lips were mere millimeters apart now – it felt as if this moment was the calm before the storm. While I enjoy the still, calmness that the moment provides, I much prefer the thunder and lightning that follows.
His lips crashed onto mine. His other hand found its way beneath my shirt and caressed the skin of my waist, wanting for more. I reached a hand over one of his shoulders and scraped a fistful of his shirt from atop his trapezius. He plunged his tongue into my mouth greedily as I pulled on his shirt, desperate to feel his skin on mine. He assisted in yanking the shirt over his head, then made quick work of helping me match his efforts.
We paused if only for a moment as Booth appeared to be taking in my breasts, a comical and flattering silent "wow" gracing his beestung lips. I took the moment to reach behind my back and unclasp the basic nude bra I was wearing. I rolled my shoulders forward and allowed the bra to fall haphazardly to the floor with our shirts. Booth's eyes grew larger as he placed his hands on either side of my ribcage, sweeping his calloused thumbs along the undersides of my breasts. I let out a rushed sigh as my head fell back. Booth took no time in taking advantage, placing wet kisses along my neck, and licking along the line of my clavicle.
I could feel the dampness building between my legs as he began to back me toward his bedroom. We remained locked at the lips as our hands worked at each other's pants, belt buckles clanging to the floor to join the collection of articles there. I kicked my boots off just before we collided with the wall – making it needlessly apparent that Booth was ready for the next phase of the evening. His body pressed against mine, slick with only a few beads of sweat, constricting my breath just enough to cause me to realize how heavy it was already.
Our tongues tangled for dominance, something I sensed neither of us would ever win—or lose for that matter. I managed to press myself off the wall just long enough to redirect our bodies through the doorway of his room. I shoved my pants as far down as I could without losing contact with Booth and stepped out of them, then taking to Booth's waist to do the same. In one swift move that would have been impossible with any two other people, my thumbs hooked his boxers and pants and yanked them down as Booth hoisted me to his midriff and seamlessly transitioned our evening into a horizontal plane.
Booth trailed swift kisses along my jawline as I struggled to maintain composure. While each caress of his somewhat chapped lips was pleasurable, I couldn't help but yearn for penetration. I'd always been curious about Booth's sexual prowess, as he'd made it pretty clear that he was talented in the boudoir. But more than raw angst and curiosity was a desire to be one with him. Sure, physically this was impossible, but Booth's assertion years ago remained with me.
Booth dropped the burger back to his plate and gave me a disapproving look. "What, does it taste like horse meat?" He sneered at me, obviously affected by my comment.
"Maybe you should consider going vegetarian too," I quipped. I quite enjoyed teasing him like this. While I knew Booth would never consider giving up the steaks, tacos, burgers, and bacon he so enjoyed, it was endearing to see him defend himself against me.
He smiled matter-of-factly, "I didn't lose my appetite because you mentioned horse meat, I lost my appetite because you made me think of all those people parading around pretending to be something they aren't just so they can have crappy sex."
I asked him why he thought it was crappy. In my mind, I imagined that even if Booth was incredible in the bedroom, he probably wasn't that imaginative. Very basic, perhaps even animalistic, but never terribly creative. Before I'd even taken a breath, he'd responded, "Gotta be, Bones. C'mon, it's gotta be." He looked incredulous, as he often did when we did not see eye-to-eye.
"Why?" I could see the metaphorical 'wheels' spinning in Booth's head. He was either uncomfortable with the conversation or unsure of what to say next. Perhaps both.
Booth leaned onto the table towards me and looked directly into my eyes. "You wanna know why?" His voice was low, almost a whisper. "I'll tell you why. Here we are, all of us, basically alone, separate creatures, just circling each other, all searching for that slightest hint of a real connection. Some look in the wrong places, some just give up hope because in their mind they're thinking "Oh there's nobody out there for me." But all of us, we keep trying over and over again. Why? Because every once in a while...every once in a while, two people meet and there's that spark. And yes, Bones, he's handsome and she's beautiful and maybe that's all they see at first, but making love…" His eyes narrowed as he dropped his chin. "Making love...that's when two people become one."
As he finished, I found myself to be somewhat entranced with him. The sound of his voice, the concentrated eye contact, and even the feel of his breath as he spoke from across the diner table had me temporarily dumbfounded. I composed myself a bit, still stumbling through my thoughts. "It is scientifically impossible for two objects to occupy the same space."
"Yeah, but what's important is we try." He paused for a moment and flashed a brief and lopsided smile. "And when we do it right, we get close."
Scientifically, I knew he was wrong. A fourth grade-level textbook could tell him that. But for some reason, the certainty and conviction with which he said it lead me to believe that not only did he believe it to be true, but that it was indeed a fact. Booth had the unique ability to give credence to things that would otherwise be conveyed as false. Perhaps this was why he was so talented in the arena of Special Operations warfare.
Still, despite my agreement, I upheld my feigned disbelief a moment more out of nothing more than pure stubbornness. "To what? Breaking the laws of physics?"
"Yeah, Bones. A miracle."
Booth released our lip lock as he hovered on all fours above me. His chest heaved as he drew in air; the occasional breath turned ragged and wavering. In the light slipping into his bedroom from the kitchen, I could see his eyes searching mine. I nodded him on, bucking my hips into his pelvis as encouragement.
He leaned over me once more and kissed me - this time more hungry than before. He then stroked himself a few times before lining the tip of his cock against my wet, ready entrance and slid deeply inside of me, eliciting a primal and uncharacteristic 'ohhh' from my own mouth. He slowly pulled his hips back again and stroked into me, finding a rhythm punctuated by barely audible grunts. His eyes closed and his face relaxed slightly with each rocking of his hips. I spread my legs and drew him in further, desiring for every inch of his hard flesh to be buried inside of my tight walls.
I let my hands slip along his ribcage and then torso, my fingers curled to drag my nails along his goosebumped skin. I slid flat palms along his pectoral muscles as he drove into me, his balls colliding wildly with my ass. I rested the tips of my fingers along Booth's clavicles, swiping my thumbs side to side until I felt something.
Booth's rhythm stopped suddenly, his eyes shooting open to meet mine. My left thumb grazed over a small raised scar, a few inches from his sternum. Memories flooded back of the day he received this scar and the events thereafter. I craned my neck up to place a delicate kiss on his chest, my thanks for knowing that I might never have seen this day without Booth's protection.
When I lowered my head, Booth paused for a beat. Letting out a guttural growl, he then crashed his mouth onto mine and claimed it, exploring my mouth frantically with his tongue. His hips tilted back and then forward again, making his pelvis completely flush with mine, pounding into me over and over and radiating an electric pleasure throughout every cell in my body.
We maintained eye contact between rushed kisses, and it seemed that Booth could not control himself any longer, sliding into me with the the fervor of a (marvelously experienced) college freshman. I could feel my walls begin to squeeze tighter and tighter and by the speed with which he slid in and out of me, I knew we were both on the precipice of release.
Booth closed his mouth and eyes now, his jaw clenched with restraint. With every plunge he took, he grunted, now matching my growing moans. I felt all control being ripped from me; I moaned Booth's name in euphoria, throbbing around his swollen cock. The waves of pleasure continued as his hands squeezed my waist greedily. With one bellowing "FUCK," Booth emptied himself into me and fell to his elbows, hovering just close enough to feel the sweat of his chest against my breasts.
Booth took several ragged breaths and rolled off of me and onto his back. My body was still humming with the aftermath of my climax, and I felt like there needed to be some sort of praise for the kind of sex we'd just had. A card. A fruit basket. A fucking parade. My mind was swimming with thoughts—a mix of pleasure, regret for lost time, and love for this man. I got lost in these thoughts and didn't notice Booth's odd movements beside me until I heard him sniff loudly.
His chest convulsed in hiccup-like bursts. His right arm was draped over his head, with his left holding his abdomen. I rolled onto my side and placed my hand delicately on his chest. He sniffed and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and index finger, wiping away an abundance of tears. He gave another little sniff and gazed up at the ceiling, nostrils flared, attempting to maintain composure.
I smoothed my thumb across his skin. "Booth…"
He shook his head slightly and licked his lips. "Bones, I…" he breathed out. His words came in quick pants as he closed his eyes. He shook his head and continued, "...I'm so sorry I didn't tell you sooner." Booth's Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed hard and clenched his teeth as his mentalis muscle fought to maintain what little visceral control he had left over his emotions.
Although I knew what he meant, I somewhat irrationally desired to hear him echo the words once more. "Tell me what?" I whispered.
His eyes shut once again as his nostrils flared and his lips pressed tightly together, fighting along with his mentalis to try and 'hold it together.' When he opened his eyes, they were damp again with tears. Until I heard what he had to say next, I felt quite guilty at the thought that I might have upset him more with my unnecessary question.
"I love you, Bones." He blinked and released a few of the rogue tears onto chest. "I knew it all this time and didn't tell you. And now…" he paused, drawing in a labored breath, "...now there's not much time for us to do… this. To be together. To be… us."
I leaned over him and placed my hand on his cheek. He leaned into it, closing his eyes and reaching his mouth to kiss my thumb. I turned his head towards me and smiled at him, now matching his flooded eyes with damp ones of my own.
"I guess that means we need to do more of this from now on, then?" I asked, a mischievous smile mimicking Booth's own appearing on my face.
He smiled and let out a little laugh. "I guess so, Bones." He leaned in to kiss me and leaned back with a concerned look on his face. "Hey Bones? Just don't tell anyone I cried while we… you know."
I threw my head back and laughed. Sometimes he became so concerned with these trivial things, but that's what made him Booth. Made him a good man. A good father. A good agent. A good lover.
"I won't Booth." I placed another kiss on his forehead and added, "Oh, and I love you too."
AN: Thank you for your enthusiasm and patience, and going on this heart-wrenching journey with me. That is all. -broil