Title: Can't Walk Through Fire
Summary: He doesn’t look at her any more, not really. Brief one shot/drabble based on the promo for "The Doctor in the Photo".
Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, profit from this story and all creative rights to the characters belong to their original creator(s). Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Author's note: So it's pretty much been confirmed by ED that this isn't how things are going to go down but I like happy ending, okay?
He doesn't look at her any more, not really.
Before, with just one glance he understood. But now when he looks at her, he doesn't see her. He doesn't know.
She is (metaphorically of course) falling apart and he has no idea, and it only breaks her more.
Never in her life has she felt this way. Never in her life has she ached this way.
It is exactly what she was aiming to avoid. She knows that it is all a corollary of what she has done to them.
She knows that really, he can't be held accountable. She knows that he would never set out to hurt her, but he has done it anyway.
She despises how infantile it sounds, yet she can't help but think she was right.
Love does not exist.
To speak in Booth-like terms; he spent years slowly but steadily chipping away at the barricade guarding her heart, guarding her soul and feeling.
He taught her how to feel, he showed her how to believe, he helped her understand her that sometimes, not everything is a cold hard fact.
He showed her how to let go, he taught her how to share and he taught her how to love. But then he took it all away.
He didn't fight.
He doesn't see that she is slipping further and further backwards.
She is (figuratively) rewinding.
Clinical and cold is sneaking into more than her work, and he doesn't even blink.
Nights that were once filled with Thai and laughter are now filled with solitude and emptiness.
When she goes home at the end of the day (it's getting later and later), she isn't happy.
For the first time in her life, bones are not enough.
The old Booth would have known why well before she did.
The old Booth wouldn't have to ask. The old Booth would have known what to say, how to make it all okay again.
But this man driving her home is not her Booth, he is different. And it is all her fault.
"I made a mistake, I missed my chance."
At her words, he turns his gaze back to the slippery road ahead.
His posture straightens and his jaw tightens. Then suddenly he is pulling over.
The silence (bar her muffled sobs) is thick and heavy and has never been more uncomfortable.
He takes in a few long breaths and then exhales.
"You," he starts, "you cannot say things like that, Bones".
She barely hears him, but he continues, "It isn't fair. You made your choice, and now I am moving on"
She nods vaguely, desperately trying not to let the feeling of claustrophobia overwhelm her. "I know," she chokes, "I just didn't understand what I was losing".
He sighs and grasps her hand, "You haven't lost me, Bones. You could never lose me"
She's shaking her head this time, "But I have, don't you see? It's not the same, we're not the same".
"I know," is all he can say, "I know".
"I miss us, I miss you"
"Me too, Bones. We'll figure it out"
She turns away from him, because she doesn't see how. They are broken and cannot be fixed.
He manoeuvres the car back onto the road and back into the steady flow of traffic.
They are stopped at a red light on the way back to her apartment when he realises that he isn't moving on at all. By the time the light turns green, he has realised that he doesn't want to.
He walks her to her door, and holds her tight. Then he is unlocking his own front door, and finds Hannah waiting for him. "I am so sorry," he says, over and over again. But he doesn't know if she hears him because she's too busy collecting her things, and then he is alone.
He doesn't know if Bones is ready, but he doesn't mind.
He knows that someday she will be, and he's going to wait for her because he's damn sure that he won't be making the same mistake twice (or thrice).