TITLE: The Valentine in the Lights
SPOILERS: Series through the present date.
DEDICATION: To all those that left reviews on my first two stories -- you have definitely kept up my inspiration for writing Bonesfic, and I love you all!

"I really don't want to go to this."

"Well, there's no getting out of it this time, Dr. Hodgins." Daniel Goodman's deep voice was firm as he stepped into the lobby of the Jeffersonian, gesturing for his employees to follow him outside. "The limo is waiting, so let's go."

"You're not the only one who doesn't want to be here right now," Temperance Brennan said sotto voce to her colleague, receiving a smile from Hodgins in response.

Angela Montenegro rolled her eyes. "Please. We're all flying solo." She nodded toward the doors, and at the person jogging through them. "At least you get a hot escort."

Seeley Booth threw the anthropologist a handsome, slightly apologetic, smile. "Bones! Sorry I'm late. Traffic."

She shook her head dismissively. "Don't worry about it. I might be more annoyed with you if I actually cared to go to this gala."

He furrowed his brow as he approached, immediately holding his arm out to her. "So why did you ask me to go with you?"

While Brennan looped her arm through his, Angela butted in, "I told her to ask you." She shrugged and smiled flirtatiously. "Some of us are in need of a little eye candy this evening."

Booth grinned back at her, and Brennan rolled her eyes, shooting her best friend a look over her shoulder. "Ange..."

"Sorry, Sweetie. I'll behave, I promise." She winked, which Booth luckily didn't catch. "He's all yours tonight."

"People!" Dr. Goodman clapped his hands. "Limo! Now! Let's go."

"Wow... when you guys throw a party, you really go all out," Booth commented upon stepping inside the lush ballroom. The interior was decorated with red balloons, white streamers, and pink crepe paper, some of the balloons in the shapes of hearts. Beautiful white tablecloths covered all the tables, and large pieces of gold and silver glitter adorned the tabletops and the bar.

"Did this party really have to be on Valentine's Day, though?" Angela complained, from behind Booth and Brennan. "I could've easily found myself three dates tonight if I wasn't roped into going to this thing."

"Ms. Montenegro, I have no control over the dates on which the Board of Trustees decide to hold formal events. I'm merely in charge of making sure the lot of you attend," Goodman replied.

Brennan sighed to herself as she and Booth, still arm-in-arm, made their way further inside. The sigh drew Booth's attention. "Y'alright, Bones?"

"Yeah, just... don't want to be here."

"Well, gee thanks. I feel real special," he teased, and winked when she looked up at him apologetically. His free hand grasped hers which was still looped through his left arm, and he leaned toward her ear. "Tell you what. We'll eat, mingle a little bit to please your boss, and then I'll get you outta here. Sound good?"

She smiled gratefully at her partner. "Sounds great. Thank you."

"It's what I'm here for..." he tilted his head slightly, "other than being Angela's eye candy, of course."

Once inside the ballroom, they each took their seats at their designated table, and Angela immediately rose to her feet and jerked her thumb over her shoulder. "I'm going to the bar. Who wants something?"

Zack and Hodgins placed orders for beer, and while Brennan was busy glancing around the ballroom, Booth smiled at her and said to Angela, "We'll take two glasses of champagne, please."

Angela raised her eyebrows at this and smiled at Brennan, who had just resumed her attention to her colleagues. "Wow, ordering champagne for you? How gentlemanly..." She grinned at Booth. "Or chauvinistic, I'm not sure which."

He glared while she giggled at him and set off for the bar. Then, turning back to Brennan, he enquired, "So Bones, while we're stuck here for a bit anyway, whaddya say we dance a little after dinner?"

She smiled, somewhat shyly, and toyed with a piece of silver glitter on the table. "Booth, I am not dancing with you."

He pouted childishly, "you did once before," which earned him a stern look through her lashes. He shrugged nonchalantly and sighed, draping his arm over the back of her chair. "Fine. If you don't wanna get out of here, I suppose then--"

"You're going to hold me hostage here unless I dance with you? What kind of escort does that?"

He leaned close to her ear with his arm still around the back of her chair, allowing his thumb to brush her bare shoulder and delighting in her shiver. "The kind of escort that might just want to dance with a beautiful woman on Valentine's Day."

Brennan felt her cheeks pinking but could do nothing about it, as she drew in a shaky breath and met Booth's eyes. The look she saw in them caused her own to widen slightly, and when Angela interrupted with their drinks, she was all too grateful, and downed her champagne within two minutes.

"Maybe I am glad I came," Hodgins commented, around a mouthful of food. "This prime rib is orgasmic."

Angela eyed him warily. "Just keep the orgasms on that side of the table, please."

Zack wrinkled his nose. "Gross."

Booth chuckled at the interaction, always amused by the 'Squint Squad' but never wanting to admit to it... and he turned his eyes to Brennan. His eyes flicked over her attire briefly -- a simple, but stunning black halter dress that dipped dangerously low in front and left her back enticingly bare, the flared skirt showing off her fantastic legs. He guessed that Angela had probably picked out the dress and forced her friend into it, for he knew that his Bones was not likely to keep a dress like that in the back of her closet. Or was she? Suddenly he was dying to know.

He draped his arm over the back of her chair again and leaned slightly toward her, watching her pick at her food. "Hey Bones? You in there?" he teased, tapping the finger of his free hand against her temple lightly.

She glared and swatted at his hand, causing him to raise it in surrender. "Hey, I come in peace," he chuckled. He then regarded her seriously, cataloguing her expression and the somewhat lethargic way she pushed her food around on her plate with her fork. "You sure you're alright?"

"Fine," she snapped. "I told you, I just don't want to be here."

Booth glanced up and met Angela's eyes, catching her mouthing something at him and jerking her head toward the dance floor, where the DJ had started to play the first song of the night -- a female cover of an old Paul McCartney song. He caught the hint immediately and nodded to Angela, then tossed his napkin onto his plate and rose to his feet. Extending a hand toward the cranky anthropologist, he asked, "May I have this dance?"

Brennan tossed a glance toward the dance floor, the song lyrics floating toward her...

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you love me all the time, maybe I'm afraid of the way I love you

On autopilot, she placed her hand inside Booth's, warmth enveloping her as he gently pulled her to her feet and gave her a winning smile. He led her onto the dance floor with his hand claiming its usual spot on her lower back. So consumed was she in the way his fingertips felt against the bare skin of her back, she didn't even notice the nod he gave to Angela, who nodded back and headed for the door.

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you pulled me out of time, and hung me on a line

He pulled her into his arms, quite a bit closer than in Aurora, and she draped an arm over his shoulders. Looking up into his calm, sable eyes, she found herself unwinding... relaxing. When did he develop the ability to do that to her? And just when did she start to need that feeling?

Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you

"Now that we're alone, Temperance..." Booth murmured, his lips featherly brushing the outer shell of her ear. "Tell me what, about being here, has you so down."

Brennan found herself closing her eyes at his voice in her ear, unconsciously drifting closer to the safety he emanated. She sighed out slowly, "I just don't like this holiday. I don't know why I don't, I just... don't."

Maybe I'm a girl, maybe I'm a lonely girl who's in the middle of something that she doesn't really understand

"Well, that certainly clears things up," he teased softly, winking at her when she glared at him. He chuckled and pulled her in a little tighter, his arm now possessively secured around her waist.

"Do you like this holiday?" she heard herself asking.

He pulled away slightly to properly look down at her, giving a facial shrug. "Well... if there's somebody around I care deeply for, then..." His slow-spreading smile, unbeknownst to him, incited a riot of butterflies in her stomach. "Then Valentine's Day isn't half bad."

Maybe I'm a girl, and maybe you're the only man who could ever help me

"What about this year?" She began to wonder why she started this conversation in the first place.

"This year?" His smile grew even more charming. "Well this year, I've gotten a free dinner and drinks on the Jeffersonian's tab, and I'm slow-dancing to a great song with a beautiful woman in my arms. This year, Valentine's Day is going pretty damn well."

She blushed at the compliment. "You don't mean that."

"Sure I do. This year, it's been a pretty nice--"

"I mean about me being beautiful."

Baby, won't you help me understand

He gently slowed their swaying to a stop, and furrowed his brows as he looked down at her. "You don't believe that you're beautiful? Or you don't believe that I think that you're beautiful?"

"Either one, take your pick."

He shook his head. "Bones... Temperance, if you could see yourself as all the rest of us see you -- as I see you -- then..." He trailed off and shrugged one shoulder. Sighing, he met her eyes as they began to sway once more. "Bones, will you be my Valentine this year?"

At this, she raised her eyebrows. "What?"

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you're with me all the time

"Come on." He grinned rakishly. "Be my Valentine, Bones, you know you want to."

She couldn't help but chuckle. "What's involved in 'being a Valentine'? I've never had one before... or been one."

Maybe I'm afraid of the way I leave you

"Well..." He frowned thoughtfully. "I guess I'm not completely sure. As far as dancing goes," he grinned, "I'm pretty sure it means that your dance card is full for tonight. I'm your only dance partner."

She smiled back at him. "That shouldn't be a problem. Zack has two left feet, and Hodgins thinks dancing is the music industry's way of controlling the masses."

Maybe I'm amazed at the way you help me sing my song, right me when I'm wrong

"Alright, good then. So you'll be my Valentine?"

She blinked slowly, realizing Hodgins may have had a point -- she was feeling very seduced by the slow swaying, and by Booth's eyes. Was it getting warm? "I..."

Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you

Booth quirked his eyebrows momentarily, expectantly, while his 'charm smile' began its journey across his lips. She was finding it hard to breathe, and exhaled, "I... need some air," before breaking from his embrace and running for the door.


Author's Notes: In this chapter, I borrowed the lyrics from Jem's cover of "Maybe I'm Amazed" (originally done by Sir Paul McCartney). Just a warning -- a lot of my inspiration for fics comes from (other than reviews) music, so there is bound to be a lot of mention of different songs in my fics. I also highly advise you to download these songs (if you can) and listen to them -- I am all for spreading my love of music.

I'll hopefully have the final bit up either on or before V-day!