Pairings: B/B, Russ/Sarah (OC)
Summary: With the help of the squints, Russ and his girlfriend play matchmaker.
A/N: Comments and criticisms are appreciated, and flames will be used to grill the hufu.Chapter One: History of Us
The muffled boom of thunder woke her up, and in an instant she was five years old again, leaving her bed and heading for the living room. The pounding rain and eerie 3am shadows only added to her fear, and by the time she reached the pull-out bed, she was trembling. She poked the blanket-covered lump harder than she'd intended, and Russ woke up with a muffled curse.
The bright flash of lightning and near-instantaneous boom of thunder drowned out her reply, but it didn't matter, because he was already scooting over, making room for her. By the next strike, she was cuddled against his side, laying on her stomach, her face buried in a pillow, and he was soothingly rubbing her back and singing softly into her ear.
"Oh the shark, babe, has such teeth, dear …"
She didn't care that she was thirty years old and shouldn't be afraid of thunderstorms. She didn't care that she and Russ had been separated for over fifteen years, and that it had been (mostly) her fault. All that mattered was that he was here, now, and he knew how to take her irrational fear away.
When he got to the third verse, she was almost okay, and the familiar words were doing their part.
"Oh that cement is just … it's there for the weight, dear…"
Russ had never been able to carry a tune, and the ability hasn't improved over the years. By the time he's finished singing, she's laughing, all fear gone, and he's laughing with her.
"Aren't you a little old to be scared of storms?" he finally asked, rolling over and staring at the ceiling. She shrugged as she did the same.
"It hasn't been this bad since you left. Of course, I haven't had a week this bad in awhile, so…" she trailed off, because she sure as hell didn't want to think about it, and she figured he felt the same.
"Yeah," he said, and sighed.
"I don't know what I would have done this week, without you and Angela and B - … everyone." Tempe hoped he wouldn't catch the near-slip, but he was already grinning, she could tell.
"About Booth," he began, and she suppressed a groan. Angela's insinuations were bad enough; she really didn't need this conversation with her overprotective big brother.
"We're just partners, colleagues. Friends. That's all. That's all, Russell!" She whacked his chest, but he continued laughing.
"Uh huh," he finally managed. "Just friends … friends with benefits?" And he was off again.
"You sound like a hyena," she muttered, crossing her arms and working hard to ignore him.
He was down to the occasional chuckle when she gently elbowed him. "Who's this woman you're seeing?"
He smiled. "Living with, actually. For about six months now. Her name is Sarah Wilson, and she's absolutely amazing. Smart, beautiful, a great mom. You'd like her."
"What does she do?" Tempe settled more comfortably against him, resting her head on his shoulder. Strangely enough, their proximity wasn't at all uncomfortable; it was almost like the years hadn't disappeared.
"She's an English teacher at the middle school, and the advisor for the school's Teen Book Club. She's also a member of the PTA and the local missionary church, and she occasionally volunteers at the library."
She couldn't help smiling. Sarah sounded like the exact opposite of the girls Russ had dated in high school, but it was obvious that her brother was in love.
"And she has these two great daughters, Jordan and Abby. Jordan's eight, and she reminds me of you at that age. Smart, always reading, loves school. But she's got an actual social life, something you never had.
"Abby's five. She's really cute, all blond curls and blue eyes, but she can be a handful. She'll throw tantrums if she doesn't get her way, and once you get her wound up, she can go on for hours. She's pretty funny though. Conversations with her are usually very entertaining."
"They sound like fun, Russ."
"They are. And they would love you, I know they would." He sounded happy, contented, and she was pleased for him. Russ deserved something good in his life.
The storm had finally moved on, and she was about to fall asleep again, when Russ cleared his throat.
"You may not realize it, or you may just be denying it, but you and Booth are more than 'just friends,' Tempe."
She kept her eyes closed, pretending to be asleep, but he didn't say anything else, just kissed her forehead and snuggled under the blankets. Within minutes, he was out, an ability she had always envied.
His last words ran through her mind. Was she just denying these supposed feelings? Russ had only known Booth for a few days, and hadn't seen her in years, but already he had formed an opinion on their relationship. She had to wonder: if Russ could see it, was it true? Were she and Booth more than just good friends?
Tempe didn't fall asleep for a long time.