He’s not sure when he started to live on these moments. Not for, on. They sustain him. Her smile, the way it begins in her brilliant eyes like morning. The touch of her hand on his arm. The way her gaze meets and holds his: across a room, over the body of some lost soul, over the rim of her wine glass at the end of the day. Or just her words, spoken without guile as always, innocent of manipulation in a way that clutches at his heart.
I trust you, Booth.
Four words like that, from her lips, could keep him going for days.
Patience and hope, a wise man had counseled.
She lays her hand over his on the bar, smiling. The warmth of her skin shoots through his veins like a shock, electric; it holds him still, transmutes him into light, into stone. He does not breathe.
He wonders if this is like an addiction. He gave up gambling. Then he met her.
He thinks, temperance.
It’s enough, for now. It gets him through the week. A week without bones.
* * *
When a man can’t have the woman he loves, he gets a little crazy.
He wonders what he has become. A desperate man, building his dreams, his life, around a woman who believes that love is a delusion arising from runaway brain chemicals and social expectations. Who lumps God in with Greek myths and the Church in with any fly-by-night tribal cult she’s encountered in the wilds of wherever.
She makes him feel so stupid, sometimes. Her cold analysis makes the articles of his faith sound small and silly. Pitiful under that harsh light, like bones on a table: neatly deconstructed, categorized, explained. Does it have to be dead before she can see the meaning in it?
But then, every so often, something will happen. There will be a crack, a child lost or found, a memory, frustration or fatigue. She’ll turn to him and in her eyes he will see, not the scientist, but the little girl abandoned by everything she ever believed in.
She doesn’t have faith because she can’t. Love and her gods betrayed her when she was too young to know the difference.
He wants to be the one to make her believe again.
* * *
He almost told her. He did tell her. Those three words. And as he said it he saw her face change, cloud over. Saw the fear in her eyes.
Stupidest thing he’d ever done. He took it back as fast as he could.
Because he knew better. Knew that it was only this boundary that had let them get so close. If it weren’t for their professional distance, if he had slept with her when he first wanted to, he would have become just one more in her ongoing progression of sex partners, men who never stay long in her life once they start talking about making one with her.
She doesn’t trust love, but she does trust him.
It’s all he can do to remind himself of that when she introduces him to her latest “friend.” Remind himself that if the other man gets to touch her, to taste her (oh, God), even if he gets to have her in every other way, he will never know her. Not the real Brennan, not all of her. Not like Booth has.
Maybe he’s crazy, but it doesn’t matter. He is hers. Whatever she needs him to be. If she needs him not to say he loves her, than he won’t say it. He can lie for both of them.
He tells himself it’s enough.
He’s good at lying.