Disclaimer: All characters are the property of Kathy Reichs and Fox TV. They're not mine, and I won't make any money from this - so don't sue!
A/N: This is another take on how Booth and Brennan might eventually get together. It might be fairly long (I've planned 21 chapters), a bit angsty in parts, and fluffy in others. It's set anywhere - I'm English and we're a few episodes behind - so I doubt they'll be any spoilers. Chapters are fairly lengthy, and I'll try to update everyday.
Thank you to Transgenic Girl for the inspiration for the title, and to Laura Dugan for beta -ing.
Two Bodies in Denial
Chapter 1 – A Date
Rain poured heavily down, saturating anything that happened to be unfortunate enough to be outside in it. Large puddles had been created, deepening rapidly as the water pounded, the noise breaking up the otherwise soundless night by its rhythmic drumming on the bonnets of cars, dropping hollowly on the flimsy canopies made by the leaves on trees and soaking anything solid that happened to be in the way, including Agent Seeley Booth.
The day had been almost too warm and the evening had been filled with the type of humidity that made people argumentative and uncomfortable, the atmosphere reaching what felt like breaking point before the skies collapsed with a clap of thunder that had made most sensible people bolt inside and regard the storm from inside dry, air conditioned houses. Booth had not had that luxury.
About the time the first roll of thunder had boomed down from the heavens he had just reached his destination by a river that flowed through the residential outskirts of the city. This stretch was a deep, wide, fast flowing bed of water, surrounded by trees on either side. At the banks it was either rocky or a neat drop in places, the water then staying shallow until it dropped ferociously a couple of meters in. The river then went round a bend and slowed some, providing a place that was popular with fishermen throughout the year. Booth had been fishing there a couple of times himself, although never when it was raining like this.
He had had a call from Cullen two and a half hours ago, asking, or rather instructing, him to go a check out an anonymous tip that had come in about a body being sighted along the banks of the River Huyana. The caller had left few details as to where the body actually was, only that it was emerging out of the soil before the fisherman's bend, and Booth had rapidly come to the conclusion that the call was a hoax and there was no body. He was thinking this for certain when the rain began to fall with greater force and his torch battery died. Also, just to put him in an even better mood, he was wearing a new suit, only picked up from the tailor's two days ago, and it was getting wet, as was his hair and everything else on him. The downpour of rain had quickly drenched through his jacket and shirt, and he figured that having to actually get in the river would make no difference to his appearance.
He walked a little further along the banks of the river, eyes alert for any sign of disrupted earth or strange occurrences and narrowly missing tripping over a thick root that jutted out of the wet soil. No one was around; the weather deterring any lovers from taking an evening stroll down by the river. Booth sighed. Tessa would now be at his house, armed with a bottle of wine and the menu for the local Chinese take-out. She would not be best pleased that he wasn't there, again. He clamped his lips together, the thought of the possible conversation that they would have later distracting him from the rain. He doubted that they would last much longer as a couple. If he was reading the signs correctly – and he was sure that he was as that was part of what he was trained to do – then she'd met someone else; probably someone a lot more reliable, who didn't have to leave in the middle of romantic dinners and wasn't getting soaked walking by a river, looking for a dead body at eight thirty on a Friday evening. Still, that was his job, his career, what he lived to do, almost.
He was interrupted by his thoughts by an unusual sighting on the other side of the river. He was now at the point just before the river bended round and slowed down, widening out and becoming slightly shallower. He drew closer to the banks, mindful of the wet soil on the ground and the possibility of slipping. He squinted, focusing in on the object.
More often than not, Booth did his thinking around the same time as his acting, his brain quickly processing what needed to be done as he was doing it. It had been a useful skill in what he tried to think of as his previous life, as it was proving to be useful now. He made a mental note of what it looked like on the other side of the river and began to run as quickly as he could given the conditions past the fisherman's bend and further up, when the river would become shallow enough to wade across, although given the rain that was adding to its depth and force, it would not be a pleasant task.
He descended down the bank of the river around two miles from where he had seen what looked to be a corpse, holding on to a few rocks that seemed stable enough to take some of his weight. The river, although shallower here, still came up to the top of his thighs and was streaming fast enough to almost knock him off balance. He set his eyes on the opposite bank and waded across, wondering if Cullen would foot the bill for the dry cleaning that would have to be done after this little excursion.
He held his cell phone in his hand, way above the rising water level so it wouldn't get damaged and debated who to take his temper out on first. Cullen would be an obvious first choice, but he was his boss. Rebecca would be the one person he would like to give a few choice words to, be they wouldn't necessarily be about work and wouldn't particularly help his chances of seeing more of Parker. Bones, he thought as he began to scramble up the muddy bank, dragging his legs out of the water and not even contemplating the damage done to his suit. Bones would be the first person to call if this unusual sighting did turn out to be a body, and she would be the one who heard about his heroics, and ruined suit.
He began to run again. From what he had seen, the body was precariously balanced at the side of the bank. Given that the rain was pelting at full force, and that the soil and earth was none too stable, he had to consider the possibility of the body falling into the river. It was a hard two mile run in wet clothes that couldn't possibly be more saturated, but Booth simply focused himself, not even out of breath when he got there.
He edged close to banks, looking across to the opposite side where he had stood twenty minutes ago. He crouched down at the oddity, a thick woollen blanket that looked like it had probably survived the second World War. He took hold of one corner of it, the slimy dampness telling him that it had been there some time, and peeled it away, finding small, too small, bones. A child.
He held his cell phone in his hand and pressed down five to call Brennan. He imagined she would be at the lab still, classifying, microscoping, generally squinting away. There was no answer. He frowned; it was unusual for her not to answer her cell. He tried the lab, at least expecting Zack to pick up the phone, but again, no answer. Booth felt worried. They could always have gone to Wong Foo's, but they didn't usually do that without him, and that wouldn't explain why Bones wasn't answering her cell.
He diverted his thought away from the anthropologist and called in for assistance from the scene of crime people and Cullen. To all appearances this was the remains of a murdered child. The best he could hope for was that someone had developed a liking of grave robbing, a la Burke and Hare, but the niggling voice in the back of his head told him that it was unlikely. He stood up, mindful not to disrupt the body in any way, and also aware of its proximity to the edge of the river. Booth glared at his cell once more and debated calling Angela to see where Bones had gone to. Cursing himself, he found where he had saved her number and dialled.
"Booth?" An unbelieving voice came on the other end of the line, the noise of a bar adding to Booth's annoyance.
"Angela – where's Bones? She's not answering her cell," he said, not in the mood to deal with, well, anything right now. The cold of the river and the rain was now setting in to his bones and he was starting to shiver.
"And here was I thinking that you had called for a friendly chat," Angela answered sarcastically. "She has a date."
Booth fell silent, the temperature ceasing to bother him. Suddenly he felt rather warm. "A date?" He said, not quite sure he wanted to have heard correctly.
"Yes, Booth, a date. With another scientist. A professor from some university who was here today to discuss her co-authoring an article with him," he could easily hear between the words of what Angela was saying. He knew what she meant.
"I need to find her. We have a new case," he almost shouted down the phone.
"I'm not sure where she's gone. I think it was for an Italian, but I don't know which," Angela said. The background noise had diminished and he assumed that she had now gone outside.
"Will she have taken her cell?" He asked, knowing the answer.
"I doubt it. If she had it will be on silent. She won't want to be interrupted while they're taking about neck vertebrates and broken hyoids," Angela replied. "Look, I'll go and have a walk round and see if I can see her in one of the restaurants near where I am."
"Thanks, Ange," he said, feeling the rain get heavier on his back.
Temperance Brennan was enjoying a pleasant evening with a man she deemed to be both attractive and intelligent, and with excellent choice in wine. Dr. Stuart Duggard was well renown in his field of cultural anthropology and so far she was enjoying both the conversation and the physical aspects of the man sat opposite her, eating linguini puttanesca. He had not baffled her with pop culture references, made her feel socially inadequate or called her 'Bones'. She sighed into her wine and wondered what Booth was doing tonight. And then felt shocked that she had actually thought about him while she was on a date with another man.
"Are you alright, Temperance?" Stuart asked her, ceasing his talk about the Trobriand tribe and the female-based roles within it. She realised that she had not heard the last few minutes if what he had been saying, and mentally cursed Seeley Booth.
"I'm fine, Stuart. I think I'm just going to powder my nose," she replied, using the euphemism that Angela had taught her. She left the table, aware of her date's eyes upon her back as she walked away and headed for the bathroom. She looked in the mirror and finger combed her hair and debated adding a touch of lipstick. She liked Stuart and it had been a long time since she had last been on a date, in fact the last man she had been out with had been Michael Stires. Briefly, her mind wandered back to that time and the resulting argument she had had with Booth over what he had said in court. She added the lipstick, safe in the knowledge that Stuart was flying back home tomorrow and there would be no need for any emotional connection between them. He could simply address a need, and, just for a change, she would enjoy a little of what it was like to be Angela.
She exited the bathrooms and walked back into the restaurant, sitting down in her seat near the window.
"I ordered us another bottle of wine, I hope you don't mind," Stuart smiled.
She gave him her best smile and nodded. "The wine is superb, there's no reason for me to mind."
"Shall I?" He picked up the bottle and offered to pour.
She was distracted by something familiar appearing from at the other end of the street. Shrugging herself away from it she gave her attention back to Stuart, who was still holding the bottle, but as the familiar figure came closer she stood up and rather confusedly looked out of the window. She heard Stuart's voice asking her what the matter was but it merely fell into the mull of background noise.
"Booth," she muttered under breath, and began to push past the table. She saw Stuart stand up, looking perturbed at what was going on. A few other people had noticed also, her furrowed brow and worried expression letting them know that something was clearly amiss.
She felt the cool air as the door swung open and saw her partner enter, her eyes opening wide as she noticed that he was drenched. She raised her eyebrows and tried her best to pull back a smile as he was clearly annoyed and she knew that the suit he was wearing was the one he had only just bought. He came over to the table and Brennan was aware that they now had the attention of most of the restaurant's patrons.
"Hi," he directed at Stuart. "You must be Bones' date. I'm Seeley Booth, her partner," he held out a hand which Stuart took rather tentatively, giving fleeting glances to Brennan that belied his confusion with the word 'partner'.
"My work partner," she automatically clarified, her eyes fixed on Booth. "Why are you here?" She asked. He pulled a vacant chair away from a table and sat down.
"We have a case," he explained, an expression on his face that looked as if someone had put something disgusting under his nose.
"I'm on a date!" She said firmly, ignoring the strange feelings that had began churning in her chest since his arrival. She noticed Stuart flicking his head from one person to the other.
"I can see," he replied, his voice steely. "And I'm very sorry," he nodded at her date. "But you are needed at a crime scene," his tone was that of a teenager who had just been told by the headmaster that she should be in detention.
"Get someone else to do it," she said dismissively. How dare he come in here and disrupt her private life like this. She took a gulp of wine and hoped it would soak away the pounding feeling in her chest.
"Bones, I have just waded through a river in the pouring rain to make sure a skeletonized body of a child is not washed away by this downpour that we're having. This is my case. You are my partner. Let's go," he stood up and her attention was drawn to the fact he was soaking wet, and not just from the rain. Clearly he had been in something like a river or a lake.
She stood up and looked at Stuart, annoyance gripping her tight. "I'm really sorry," she said shaking her head, her expression full of woe. "I have to go," she glared at Booth.
Stuart stood, and she saw Booth looking him up and down, assessing him as he had done with Michael. The grip of annoyance became vice like, and she half closed her eyes, trying to persuade herself not to maim Seeley Booth.
"I'll email you about the article," he said, obviously intimidated by the FBI agent. She hadn't told Stuart much about Booth, just saying that occasionally she did some work for the FBI. "Maybe its best if you have a think about whether you will have time enough to do this. It is something that needs to be done fairly quickly, and," he looked at Booth, "it appears that you are occupied with other matters."
Brennan sent Booth her best death look; her breathing had increased and her heart rate was up. She inhaled deeply and slowly. "I'll pick up the check on the way out," she answered the professor, aware of Booth's body heat next to her, aware of every movement that he made, which infuriated her even more. She could see that smirk spread across his face and debated the best way to get rid of it.
Stuart nodded. "That's kind of you. I'll make my way back to my hotel. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening."
She tried to smile, but failed miserably, taking her coat from the waitress who, seeing the situation, had brought it over. She hooked it on her shoulders, glancing outside at the still pouring rain. Within seconds of being out there the mascara she had carefully applied would be running down her face in black rivulets and the white shirt would be almost transparent. She looked at Booth; he obviously hadn't been lying when he said he'd been wading through a river. She left the two men to have what seemed to be a staring competition, to pay the check, before walking out of the door, hands in pockets, bracing herself for the wet.
She walked a few paces, waiting for Booth to catch her up. The sound of squelching feet told her that he was approaching. She didn't slow down for him, if anything, her instinct was to speed up and show her annoyance by making it harder for him to reach her.
"Bones!" She heard him call. She didn't turn round. The man was so infuriating sometimes. "Bones!" He called again. She stopped and waited, the footsteps got nearer.
She reached her and she looked at him, the sight causing a rush to whip through her body. "What is it, Booth? You've already spoiled my night," she said coldly.
"You weren't going to sleep with that guy, were you?" He gave her his grin, a note of ironic laughter hanging on at the end of his question.
"What business would it be of yours?" Bones kept on walking even through she wasn't sure where she was going.
"He's a nerd, and he even let you pay for dinner," he answered.
"He's not a nerd, he's just interested in the same things as me. His evening was ruined – by you – so it only seemed fair that I should pay," she said haughtily.
"It was the way he did it. And then he said that about your paper – where do you find these guys, Bones?" She wanted to hit him badly, but remembered that she was a grown woman and that type of behaviour wasn't acceptable.
"Why don't you just quit while you're ahead, Seeley Booth, and tell me why you've dragged me away from the first date I've had in ages. You know," she carried on her rant, "it seems that you keep telling me I should get out more and live a little and when I do you find some way to make sure that it gets spoilt! Is there something you want to tell me, Booth?" She heard him make a deep sound, rather like a growl, and wondered if she'd pushed him too far.
"There are many things I'd like to tell you, Temperance, but I'll start with what's important right now. We've got a body," he began. "It's of a child, I think, found by the river. We had an anonymous report of a body being seen and I was sent out to check it. The report was correct and the area around it has been secured. Now I need you to look it over, and help identify it."
She looked at him through the curtain of rain between them. The rain was staying persistently heavy, which would likely have washed away any evidence where the body had been found. His face looked contorted with conflicting emotions and she knew that this case was automatically going to be difficult, with the body being that of a child's. He was obviously soaking wet too; his suit jacket and shirt clinging to him, his hair flattened by the force of the water, and his trousers heavy. She found herself looking at him a little too much.
"Before we had out there can we at least stop of at the lab and get some waterproofs? You need to change, Booth. You'll get sick if you stay in that clothing for much longer," she said, having been calmed slightly by the sight of him looking a little vulnerable. She mentally kicked herself. Why Booth was able to create so many different feeling in her she didn't understand?
"You've gone from shouting at me to being concerned rather quickly, Bones. Is there something you want to tell me?" He grinned through chattering teeth as they approached his car. He went to the passenger side and held the door open for her. She glared as she got in.
"There are lots of things I want to tell you, Booth, none of which you'd probably like." She retorted as he started up the engine. She could feel her clothes sticking to her skin. Her coat had become saturated with the rain, and soaked straight through to her shirt. She could just tell that the make up she had applied was now running down her face and her hair was matted to her head. She thought she would become angry again, but the thought of what they were heading out to do pacified her.
"Where do you want to stop off at?" Booth asked after a couple of minutes of silence, both of their tempers having calmed a little.
"The lab," Brennan replied. "How come you knew where I was?" She asked, suddenly curious as to have he'd known where to go.
"I didn't know. Angela checked round the restaurants near Wong Foo's for you, and I took an educated guess and figured you wouldn't have headed too far from the nice hotel area and found you that way," he drove with one hand on the wheel as usual, a style that had made Brennan a little nervous at first, but now she found it oddly relaxing. He looked very in control and the sight was soothing, although she wouldn't be able to explain why easily.
"You went looking for me in weather like this?" she said, surprised.
"Just because it's raining like there will be another flood, doesn't mean that murderers stop doing their thing. I did try your cell, several times in fact, but you weren't answering," he said and she noted the pointed tone in his voice.
"I left it at home," she felt half guilty admitting that. Booth had quite clearly had an awful night, having to wade through a river, secure the body of a child and then come and find her. His silence at her words distressed her. She liked to argue with him, she enjoyed the tension it created, but she cared for him enough to not want to push it.
He pulled up at the lab. "Think you've anything in there that would fit me?" He asked. "I've a change of clothes in the boot, but I think we could both do with something that'll keep this rain off."
The rain banged loudly against the windscreen, and played a tinny tune on the roof of the car. She slumped back in her seat for a second, wishing the weather away. "We will have something," she answered him. "It may be something of Dr Goodman's, but it will keep you dry." Bracing herself, she got out of the car and headed for the lab. Booth followed her, the sound of water squelching in his shoes causing a smile to come, unwanted, to her lips. She looked at him through the corner of her eye, and knew that he had noticed the expression. She turned her head, and they made eye contact, a jolt of a flame burning through her, causing her quickly to turn away. This was something she did not yet understand, and she refused to contemplate it any further.
I hope you think it was okay... Please review and let me know what you think. (All reviews are appreciated, cherished and adored, includng anonymous and one word, or even smiley faces!)