Well, another sad finale. I got over the last one, but this is just super depressing and I think even if the characters end up happy, which they probably will, I will still be depressed. So probably a lot of this story is really just me talking about how I feel about the show.

Booth regrets it immediately.

He wants to run upstairs, grab her, hold her, tell her he didn't mean it, he takes it back. Only one of those things is true, though. Once a thing has been said out loud, it can't be taken back. It lingers. Like an old injury that only hurts when the weather is damp. Booth knows this because he feels it himself but, he reasons, only if he makes a point of dredging up those old memories. Most of the time, most of the time, he is happy. Which means that eventually Bones will be happy too. Most of the time.

Perhaps it would not be quite so bad if he hadn't made such a point of telling her, teasing her, that she would ask him.

"You're gonna ask me to marry you."

She was put out at the suggestion he remembers her pretty little pout, the toast warm in his hands, her magazine in his oatmeal. He misses that apartment if only because Brennan would not be able to avoid him as easily as she does now.

But he can hardly blame her.

"She's going to propose to me," he told a total stranger, in front of her.

He smirked when she caught the bouquet. He put a lampshade on his head and practically dared her to do it.

So it all just seems like some horrible, cruel joke, he supposes. And when Brennan takes to bringing home more beef jerky, and flinging it at him with practiced carelessness, it seems obvious that she thinks so too.

Their friends think he's crazy.

"What the hell were you thinking, Seeley Booth," is what Caroline says.

Cam says much the same thing, but she says fuck. A lot.

Angela doesn't get it. She turns up at the oddest times in the oddest places to tell him this, repeatedly.

"I don't get it, this is what you always wanted," she says in the parking garage at the Hoover. At the coffee cart. In the men's bathroom.

Hodgins doesn't say anything, he just gives Booth increasingly quizzical looks. Booth looks for him at the lab one day - he needs test results - and sees an article about brain tumors on Hodgins' computer screen. Maybe he could blame the tumor. But Bones would insist on taking him to a doctor of course, like last time. Which seems a very long time ago. He hardly remembers.

Booth expects Sweets would be the one to pry hardest and is surprised and more than a little disappointed that the psychologist says nothing. He'd been hoping for an excuse to confide in someone. But Sweets has apparently learned his lesson about poking into the lives of his friends. He expresses quiet disappointment, curiosity (which he quickly hides), and then turns his mind back to his own problems. He'd like to take some time off, he explains.

And now, Booth is just angry. Of all the times for Sweets to finally learn how to mind his own damn business.

The problem with being angry is that Booth doesn't know how to turn it off. So he's angry all the time, at work, at the lab, at home.

At home.

Brennan pretends everything is fine, and having done so for most of her life, she's very good at it. Eat, work, play with Christine, sleep. Some variation of these four things happen every day.

Sex happens too. At first, Booth goes all out, an extra effort to reassure her that despite what he said, that's not how he feels, he loves her see? So much, see? She responds, or at least her body does. Biology. He can hear her voice in his head, patience bordering on condescension as she explains about biological, hormonal, responses.

The one night he opens his eyes to look down at her and realizes that she is staring at a spot beyond his shoulder. A fixed location. He knows that expression, he's worn it before but never in this context. It is a look that says "I can get through this. This will be over soon."

He decides it should be over right then and whatever happens, the blood is on Pelant's hands, not his. He tells her the truth.

And it doesn't matter. Well it does and it doesn't. Things are better in some ways but worse in others because "why didn't you trust me enough to tell me" looms large, the words like balloons that float in the air between them, even if she doesn't say it.

He could say it right back, he thinks pettily. Then he's just tired. So tired to the bone of all this back and forth. His turn, her turn, his hurt, her hurt. He cannot remember a time when their relationship did not contain some element of pain except perhaps those five minutes in the park when she asked and he accepted.

Well they aren't going to break up, of course. They have a child. And they have been together for so long, in one way or another, that neither of them can imagine themselves with anyone else. And there is love, of course.


These things take their toll.

One day, months after Pelant is caught and dead, they finally take a family vacation. California. Booth wishes once again that he'd taken the job he was offered there. God, it seems like such a long time ago. Why does he suddenly feel so old?

They take Christine to the coast, to watch the waves. Crash and recede, crash and recede.

Booth thinks - that's how he and Bones are. Strong, like the cliffs. No matter how powerful the waves may be, their efforts are for nothing. The cliff remains.

Christine asks a question. Her mother answers.

"The cliffs are formed by attrition. Waves cause pieces of rock to collide, grinding and chipping at each other, becoming smaller and smaller."

Coastal erosion, she calls it.

Christine jabbers, points to the sand on the beach below. Bones says something about longshore drift and explains that when the waves take the sand away, they only bring some of it back.

It looks the same, but it's not. It's diminished. It's less.

She looks up at him when she says that then goes on to say (as much for his benefit as Christine's, he realizes) that the beach is very big and this process takes a very long time and so the beach won't disappear, the cliffs will not wear away anytime soon.

But it will happen. If the waves don't stop coming.