Set after the Doctor in the Photo. Brennan goes on a month long vacation and doesn't come back alone..
Disclaimer: The characters you recognise - and anything else for that matter, doesn't belong to me :)
Booth was an idiot. He should have seen the signs sooner. God, the look on her face when she said she had missed her chance nearly killed him. This wasn't a sudden admission, Brennan didn't do anything without some thought to it. As he goes back through the memories, all the indicators were there, from the beginning, replaying in his head in slow motion and Technicolor. He groaned in annoyance. How hadn't he seen them before?
Because you were so wrapped up in playing happy family with Hannah, that you failed to continue seeing Bones who was right in front of you.
Booth wanted to shoot the voice in his head, but knew it was right. He'd been so caught up in how happy Hannah made him and how easy it was being with her, that he'd stopped almost all contact with Brennan outside of work. Yes, it was understandable that he would spend less time with her because he had Hannah in his life now, but still. He saw Charlie more outside working hours than he saw Brennan now. He should have eased Hannah into the groups lives, given Brennan more time to adjust to the change. But no, he was too excited at seeing his girlfriend in the US and in introducing the two most important women in his life to each other, that he didn't even consider the repercussions of doing that so quickly.
And now, thanks to you're bone headiness, Brennan now feels abandoned again and caused her to run across the world- again. Great work jack ass
One month. That's how long it had been since the night in the car. Since Brennan admitted her regrets and when he didn't give the response she needed to stay afloat, left with nothing more than an email saying she was going on a proper vacation. One lousy month he's been working with the squinterns instead of his partner, trying hard not to get impatient with them and shoot them when they annoyed him or sounded too much like Brennan. She still kept in contact this time, but only in brief emails addressed to everyone that came every two days. At least he knew she was safe and seemed to be enjoying herself and that was all he could ask for at the present time.
" Seeley," Hannah called from the door way, pulling Booth from his thoughts and making him smile. She had been the only thing that stayed good in his life for the past month. Their relationship had gotten stronger and more stable. He'd even started to consider looking at rings, but hadn't brought himself to start just yet.
" Hey honey, what are ya doing at the FBI?" He asked, as he motioned her to come further into the office.
" I'm coming to drag my boyfriend out to lunch," Hannah said. " I was thinking the diner?" Booth was about to object, it was his and Brennan's place, but stopped himself. There was no reason they couldn't go. He needed to stop thinking of different places as being only his and Brennan's, or he'd never be able to get over her.
Whoa, where'd that come from?
He was over her. Hell, it was why she went off running, because he had moved on.
" Sure, I could go for a burger," He said instead, getting up and giving her a kiss. As much as he loved Hannah and despite how chaste the kiss had been, Booth still felt a twinge of guilt, as if his conscious was making up for all the times they made out in front of Brennan without a second thought.
" So I was thinking, next time I have to go away, you could come with me," Hannah said as she finished off her burger. " You know, make it a nice little get away for the two of us."
" Don't think I'd be able to Han," Booth sighed. " FBI is pretty strict about their holidays. I had to fight them tooth and nail to get the sabbatical to go to Afghanistan. I'd rather wait until I've worked up enough time and go on a proper holiday, rather than just waste a couple of days to go to a conference where we wouldn't spend anytime together."
" I guess you have a point there," Hannah relented, stealing a chip off his plate. " So, any news on what Temperance has been up to lately? Where is she at the moment anyway? Nepal?" Booth shrugged his shoulders in what he hoped was a nonchalant manner. He hadn't managed to bring himself to open the email he got from her yesterday and read what was there. More importantly, what wasn't there. It hurt him that Brennan no longer shared all her thoughts with him, but he couldn't blame her after what happened.
" I'll check the email when I get back to the office and let you know," He said.
" You could do that," Hannah said, looking off into the space behind Booth's shoulder. " Or I could just call Temperance over and ask her myself." Booth spun around to look in the direction his girlfriend was indicating to. Sure enough, his partner breezed into the diner, laughing at someone over the phone as she made her way to the counter.
It amazed Booth how much the same she looked at first glance, yet at the second, completely different. She had kept her bangs short, but allowed the rest of her hair grow out a bit longer, which was framing her pale face in crazy waves. Though she was still her slender figure, Booth could tell she had gained enough weight so that she looked more healthy an vibrant, compared to the sickly frame she was begging to get before she left. But it wasn't just her physical appearance, but also the way she held herself. She always had the air of confidence of someone who was a genius and the best of their field, she still definitely had that, but the vulnerability and uncertainty with her interactions with other people was gone. Like she was no longer afraid to show what she was feeling. Booth wondered what the hell could have happened in a mere month that caused his partner to change so drastically.
" Hey Bones!" He called once he finished his appraisal of her. Brennan turned her head and smiled when she saw them. She said a quick goodbye to the other person on the phone and made her way over to them, alerting the waitress of her actions. Hannah stood up to greet her with a hug, one – much to Booth's surprise- Brennan accepted with a chuckle.
" Hannah, it's nice to see you again," She said as she sat down. " You too Booth. In fact I found that I missed every one while I was away."
Could have fooled me, Booth thought bitterly.
" I didn't realise you were already back home Bones," He said instead of voicing his comment. " If I did, I would've picked you up from the airport." Brennan frowned at him.
" Don't be absurd Booth, I was fine getting home on my own," She said. " And as for not knowing, I did say in the email I sent yesterday that I was returning to DC today. Didn't you get it?"
" Haven't had the time to read it yet," He said with a shrug of his shoulders. He was secretly happy that Brennan hadn't seemed to change as much as he had initially thought.
" Oh, well that's understandable," Brennan said. " But I suppose that means that you don't know about the get together I wanted to have at the Founding Father's tonight."
" No, but luckily we didn't have any plans so we'll still be able to come," Hannah said. Brennan smiled at her.
" Good, I've arranged so every one will be there at 7. Though Russ and my dad can't make it, they're with Russ' in-laws for the weekend," Brennan said. " But of course, it's only if you want to."
" Of course we do Bones," Booth said. " We haven't seen you in a month! We have lots to catch up on."
"I don't doubt that," Brennan said as the waitress came over and gave her the plastic bag that contained her order in it. Brennan thanked her and got up.
" The food is my cue to leave," She said. " See you tonight?" Booth had to stop himself from laughing at the absurd uncertainty in her voice.
" Seven O'Clock," He said to assure her. With a quick smile, Brennan left. Booth stared after her for a minute. If he didn't know any better, he'd have thought that the past year had never happened. But he did know better, and they were both suffering the pain it's caused.
" Temperance looked like she had a relaxing holiday," Hannah commented as they started to leave.
" Yeah, she really needed one after the Lauren case," Booth said, not going into any more detail. He didn't have to, Hannah was there when he came home and knew enough to know that ignorance was bliss.
" Yeah, well I'm surprised that she actually took my advice about the taking time off," She said.
" You told Bones to go trekking around the world for a month?" Booth asked, casting a glance at her.
" No, I told her it might do her some good to take time off for just herself that had nothing to do with work," Hannah clarified. " I didn't think she'd take off across the planet to do it. But I seem to be right anyway." Booth gave her a small smile.
" As you always are," He teased.
" And don't you forget it," She shot back. Booth chuckled. It was easy being with Hannah. No arguments over what to eat or who drove, no correcting pop references. He didn't have to worry about saying the wrong thing and end up sending her running as far as she could. They could just be together without worrying about the future. It was nice.
" Okay, I really have to go," Hannah said, pulling Booth out of his thoughts. " Meet you back at home? I want to change before we meet up with the others."
" Sure, I don't want to rock up in my suit either," He answered. With a quick kiss they parted ways. Booth whistled happily as he made his way back to the Hoover building. Today was a good day. The sun was shining, he had an amazing girlfriend and his partner was back safe and sound and happier than he had seen her in a time that was longer than he'd have liked. Tonight, he was going to spend with his friends and trade stories with his partner, slowly returning to their old ways.
" Sweetie, you went on an actual vacation," Angela said. " One without gross remains or skeletons. That alone is something that needs to be celebrated, and seeing as the little one is preventing me from drinking this amazing occasion, you have to do it for me."
" Using your logic, I would suggest that Hodgins is your better choice seeing as he was the one that got you pregnant in the first place," Brennan said.
" You are totally right, drink up Jack," Angela commanded, pushing the pink cocktail towards her husband. Jack spluttered the beer he was already drinking and tried to get out of drinking the cocktail. Everyone laughed as Angela forcibly shoved it down his throat.
" So Brennan, how was your trip?" Cam asked once it was clear that Hodgins would be fine. Brennan, who looked slightly distracted, looked at her.
" Huh? Oh, it was very interesting, I went to a lot of places," She started to talk about the different places she went, looking adorably proud when everyone laughed at her stories. She was half way through her story about a hike to a temple in Budapest when a waiter came over and gave her a white lily. While the flower confused the others, it made Brennan's smile grow and she looked around the bar. Finding the person she was looking for, she ran off into the crowed without a word.
" Alright, I have to know what that's about," Angela said, straining in her chair to get a better look. The group watched as Brennan went over to a tall guy with sandy brown hair and hugged him as he lifted her off the ground.
" And now we know why Brennan looks so happy," Cam said.
" He's hot," Angela said as Brennan and the guy came over to join them again.
" Every one, there's some one I'd like you to meet," Brennan said. "This is Liam Vartan, my boyfriend."