Author's notes: Hey! Okay, so, this is a tiny one-shot based on recent spoilers. For those of you who would be unaware and unwilling to hear any of it, I would advise you not to read further. Although I doubt you would have clicked on that story in that case. Anyway, for those in the know, SN recently leaked that 6x19 would be pivotal as far as BB are concerned. Both trapped in an elevator to solve a case while a blizzard is raging and the power is out in DC, they will be forced to face certain truths. To be honest, when I read that, I squealed. Like a pre-adolescent. At a Jonas brothers' concert. I guess, because it's really not my thing. Anyway – again, this fiction thus takes place in that elevator, and forces all sorts of truths out of BB. Finally.
Disclaimer: Yeah, we know, we all accept the principle. This is kind of a point actually.
The Light in the Dark
The Light in the Dark
They were sitting in the dark, facing each other. Their cell-phone batteries had died five minutes before, and with it the prospect of escaping a conversation neither of them wanted to have. The enclosed, claustrophobic space in which they were trapped reminding them both of the desperately painful distance now separating them.
He pondered upon the tragic irony of fate, if there was any. He had once told her he believed in it, twice actually. Now, he was not so certain. Maybe fate had meant to merge both their tortuous paths, so that they could salvage what was left of their injured selves. Maybe. Or maybe this was all bullshit, and maybe he had fallen in love with her because he had seen his own self reflected in her eyes and had recognized it like never before. Maybe. Maybe he had taken upon himself to protect her because she reminded him of the child he had been, frightened and lost. Maybe. Or maybe fate had meant to screw with him and show him the best thing he could ever hope for without ever letting him have it. That was the irony, and it was indeed tragic.
She was there, he could feel the raw denim of her jeans pressed against his trousers. But she was not with him. He could not see her eyes, and even if he did, he doubted he would even be able to see past the shy melancholy they constantly reflected, since he had decided that she was not the best thing he could ever hope for anymore. Hell, he had not decided. He would have gone on his knees and praised the heavens if she had said those words before. He had prayed so many times to hear her utter them one day. But that was the irony, and again, it was tragic.
She had said it after months of uncomfortable silence. She had said it when he had lost hope that she ever would. He had mourned the loss of a fantasy, of a nonexistent love that had threatened to destroy what was left of him. And he had recovered. He had blamed her, but deep down he had never doubted that this hell was his own creation. She had chosen that moment to tell him that what he had mourned during those long, painful months was alive. It was there, so close he had been able to taste its salty despair. It was there, but not his to take. Not anymore.
She had not seen what turmoil her words had put him into. He had done his best not to let her see that his resolve was nothing more than the shadow of his outdated belief in a fate that mercilessly tortured him with the possibility of her. His self-flagellating habit telling him that he had lost the right to claim her when he had cast upon them this world of misery. He had been impatient, he had been inconsistent and she had fled. He had been the epitome of what he had attempted to protect her from, ever since he had met her, so many years before. Tragic, tragic irony.
"I never thought I deserved you," he let out, almost to himself. He felt her tense, expecting her trade-mark answer to such cryptic comments. But nothing came. So he continued. "You were the best thing that ever happened to me, except that you never happened to me."
She sighed. "I don't think this is wise for us to have this conversation now, Booth. The lowering temperature and the lack for sufficient lightning are undermining our perception of things. That and the fact that we both suffered from traumatic experiences in enclosed environments cannot..."
"Bones... If we don't talk now, we never will," he said, interrupting her rationalizing diatribe. He did not want her to escape. Not now. "It's been eight years of bad timing, of back and forth. We have never been at the same place at the same time. I was there too early, you were there too late. Today we're both here. It's time."
The metaphorical weight of his words did not escape her, but desperate for a way out, she used her most reliable weapon. "Of course we are both here, we are stuck in an elevator," she observed.
Instinctively, he smiled. "I know you know what I mean. But nice try." Emboldened by the dark, he took her hand and squeezed it lightly. He felt her shiver. "You are the best thing that never happened to me," he repeated, aware that she would correct him for this semantic barbarism.
"It doesn't make sense," she replied, certain that he awaited it, sensing his smile. Imagining him, she let herself squeeze his hand, still firmly holding hers.
He squeezed back. "The hope of you... It kept me going, right from the start. It gave me balance, it gave a meaning to everything I was doing. When I lost that hope... I had to regain balance." He paused, determined to vanquish fate or rather, to meet it at last. "It was my fault. I wanted you. It made me lose sight of what mattered. It was us that mattered, not just me."
Taking a breath, she tried to respond, to diminish the impact of his confession or simply to rationalize it with an explanation, but she found herself disarmed by such raw honesty. "Booth..." she let out inaudibly. "I don't want to talk about this."
"Do you trust me?" he asked, sensing the opportunity in her feeble resistance. He realized that for the first time since they had met, he might not receive a positive answer. But he was willing to take that risk. She remained silent and despite his resolve, he began to panic. "Bones?" Still nothing. He let out a painful breath. "Okay... Okay. I..." he stuttered, his eyes filling with tears. "I deserve that."
Silence settled, almost suffocating. She could not let go of his hand, assimilating this need for a physical contact with him to an addiction she had been unable to overcome. She had once told him that emotional bonds were ephemeral. Now she was not so certain. Maybe these past few months of estrangement had taught her that flamboyant promises of eternal love were nothing but promises. Maybe. Or maybe it had been a valuable lesson, maybe she had realized that her love for him did not depend upon his presence in her life but on his intangible presence in her metaphorical heart. Maybe. Maybe she had run away from him to uncover that unwanted truth. Maybe. Or maybe she should never have left at all, and none of this would even have occurred. That was the flaw in such hypothetical reasoning. She did not do "maybes". She was a scientist and as such, she needed certainty.
"If I had called, would it have happened?" she asked softly. She knew he would not ask for specifications, despite the vagueness of her question.
It was his turn to sigh. "I don't know." he answered, tracing small circles on her knuckles with his thumb. "I guess things might have been different. But it's no use..."
She cut him off, "You wanted to talk about it. I am complying." Hearing him chuckle at her comment, she found the courage to continue. "I found that leaving permitted me to process the extent of my emotional attachment to you. This was probably the sole interest of that dig. Part of the experiment consisted in limiting our interactions. It proved... conclusive, in an unexpected manner. The general assumption was that your impact on me was related to the frequency of our contacts. Yet, the less contacts we had, the more I would think about you. Dream about you. However disconcerting, these events led me to realize that emotional bonds did not rely on physical connections. It forced me to acknowledge the reality of my feelings."
Guilt instantaneously invaded him. She had wanted to forget him, but had failed to. This was how she had realized that she loved him. He had done the same, and given her the impression that he had succeeded. This was how he had failed her. "Bones, it's not because you didn't call that I..."
"Booth, stop," she chastised him, unwilling to hear an apology she did not deserve. "I made the decision to leave. I made the decision not to call. However beneficial to me, this proved counter-productive as far as you were concerned. This is not your fault. I only needed to know if I had made a mistake... If making that discovery was worthwhile, regarding what I ultimately lost."
Letting go of her hand, he stood up abruptly. Before she could discern his movements in the dark, he was already sitting beside her. "Maybe that was fate," he let out cryptically. She could sense the smile in his voice. It felt like a revelation to him, yet it escaped her grasp.
"What do you mean?" she asked, anxiously.
"I mean," he said, while he reclaimed her hand to emphasize his point, "that maybe this is our moment. Now. Maybe every decision we made, every mistake, was meant to lead us here. Maybe there was no bad timing at all. Maybe it wasn't time yet."
"So, what you are saying, is that regardless of the consequences, my discovery was worthwhile?" He swore he could see her expression, the slight furrowing of her brow, the curve of her lips. That image alone made him smile once more. He had not smiled that genuinely in a long time.
"This is what I'm saying, Bones," he confirmed, his tone lower, more intimate.
She shifted slightly, leaning onto his shoulder. "I trust you," she murmured. "Sometimes against my better judgment. This is not something I can help. Like most things that concern you." Shaking her head at her own confession, she let out a disbelieving chuckle. "You once told me I had control issues. My only issue with you is that I was never able to control anything. Isn't that ironic?"
"What's ironic is that you did not want to talk ten minutes ago," he replied with amusement.
"Hey!" she interjected, nudging him slightly while suppressing a laugh. This was enough for him to know that the oppressing darkness which had been surrounding them for so long would subside. So patiently, sitting beside the best thing that finally happened to him, he waited for the light.