Disclaimer - Bones and all its lovely characters belong to someone else.
A/N - Started out as 'mmm... Booth running...' but I think it's ended up as what will be the start of a series of fairly fluffy meal / snack based BB encounters. Go figure.
Booth was running.
His face was a blank mask and his breath steamed warmly in the chilly, early morning air.
The greyish dawn had been and gone, but the newly risen sun was still struggling to illuminate the city.
Booth's long stride was relentless and deliberate.
He headed past the East Building of the National Gallery of Art and towards the Capitol Reflecting Pool.
Ice and frost glittering dully in the sluggish light.
He'd never much liked jogging. While he'd acknowledge that it was good exercise, the main motivation for his early morning runs was the opportunity to think and clear his head.
So three times a week, he'd get to work an hour early and set out on a long loop around the manicured paths of the National Mall.
He wasn't the only one out there, despite the time of day and the temperature, but most of his fellow joggers were plugged in. Booth preferred to run with no musical accompaniment; just to the steady, regular thump of his feet hitting the tarmac.
His eyes were tracking the passing scenery as he moved, but his gaze never lingered on an object or a person for very long. Looking, but not seeing. Focused internally instead.
The Reflecting Pool hardly registered as he passed it.
Heading down the Mall, he began his stepped progress across the gridline main paths. It made his route longer, but also meant that he was not constantly staring at the towering Washington Monument, wondering if it was getting any closer.
His sports kit was deliberately scruffy amongst the steady flow of lycra and high tech fabrics. He wore a loose, short-sleeved t-shirt with a faded logo over a thin, but warm long-sleeved base layer. In deference to the near-freezing conditions his legs were encased in jogging pants. His shorts wouldn't make it out of the drawer until late spring.
Only his running shoes, the only equipment that actually mattered, were top of the line.
He'd opted not to wear a hat, knowing that he'd heat up unbearably if he kept his head covered, but that meant that his ears were glowing pink in the cold air
Although the grass all around him and each bench, railing and lamp post were coated in a heavy frost; the path was clear of ice. His shoes crunched on the salt crystals from the grit.
He powered on past the National Air and Space Museum.
While a small part of his mind was occupied with tracing his route and feeling his body strain to meet the punishing pace he was setting, most of his attention was elsewhere.
The first five minutes had burnt off yesterday's frustration with an uncooperative suspect.
Half a mile and he'd decided how he would approach Rebecca about having Parker for an extra night in two week's time.
Until his second mile, he deliberated over some of his live cases. The introspection afforded by exercise allowing him to recall disparate bits of evidence and make connections. He had cracked more than one case from a flash of inspiration that came to him while running.
But come mile three, there was only one thought in his head: Bones.
It was always the same. His route took him not far from her building, but it wouldn't have mattered if he'd been running on the moon. When all the incidentals, minor problems and work had been got out the way, there was no way to avoid thinking of her.
He upped the pace again, hoping perhaps to drive her out of his head, but it seemed that she couldn't be dislodged from his consciousness even by a lung-straining sprint.
He hadn't seen her for a week.
Not since they'd closed their last case.
It had been straightforward and they'd had it licked in four days.
Cue the usual satisfaction that greeted 'case closed,' a shared smile, a few words of genuine praise of the other's contribution and then a polite goodbye.
She'd gone back to her real job.
He'd gone back to a mountain of paperwork.
It wasn't as if he wanted some awful case with skeletal remains to identify, he told himself.
It would be wrong, totally wrong for a law enforcement agent to be wishing for such a thing.
He just wanted to see her.
He'd reached the lowest point of his loop and started to head back, taking the opportunity to push the pace again.
He was struggling to stop himself gulping in air to feed his overtaxed and straining muscles. He didn't need the insistent beep of the monitor on his arm to tell him that his heart rate was well over his training zone and pushing his maximum limit.
Focusing on steadying his breathing, he wondered if it was just want. It felt a lot more like need.
Just like his body desperately needed more oxygen; he needed to see her.
He remembered their light-hearted discussion about whether she had missed him, months before.
If he'd thought he'd missed her then, how did he quantify his feelings now?
There wasn't enough of his run left for him to figure that one out.
Then he remembered the suggestion he'd made to her then: 'Next time you know, you miss me, pick up the phone, call me, we'll do lunch or something.'
As the Hoover building began to loom larger in his vision, he had to admit that it was an option.
He could call her after his shower, a casual invite.
No big deal.
A friend thing.
That was settled then.
As he wondered if she'd be free today, he realised that his pace had slacked right off and he speeded up again.
The clock on a nearby building told him he had twenty minutes to shower and grab something to eat before he had to present himself at his desk.
He stopped at the light, waiting to cross Pennsylvania Avenue, hanging onto the signal box as he tried to bring his breathing under control and wiped his sleeve across his forehead.
The walk sign came on, and he jogged across the road. His pace slowed as he approached his building, his attention riveted on the figure wrapped up against the cold, standing in the shelter of the Hoover Building's looming entranceway.
He peered at the figure wondering if he was imagining things. No, he'd know that slight, upright figure anywhere.
He closed the distance and found himself face to face with the object of his fixation.
"Bones?" He asked, before leaning over to rest his hands on his knees and catch his breath.
She smiled at him shyly and pulled two brown paper bags out from behind her back, "I thought you might like breakfast..."
"Breakfast? " He repeated in confusion.
Her smiled faded, "Uh, I've got a meeting in the hotel over the road. When I saw your office... I..." She trailed off, "I'm sorry, I should of called... you're busy."
She started to edge away, but Booth's brain finally caught up with what was happening and his arm shot out to forestall her.
"Breakfast sounds perfect." He smiled at her widely, then settled his hand on the small of her back and guided her towards the doorway, "You know the way up to my office. I'll be up in five."
She turned to look at him questioningly as they stood in the doorway.
"Come on Bones, I seriously need a shower."
She inclined her head in agreement, but her eyes lingered on his flushed face, the sheen of sweat on his skin and the rapid beat of his pulse in his neck.
Then they turned and walked into the building, shoulders touching, walking absolutely in synch.