Title: Could it be?
Disclaimer: I own only the dead body.
Rating: This is rated a T – because there is no sex but it's too adult for children, me thinks. Anyway, I've already provided you with a sexual helping this week – and it would be greedy to expect anymore. Soon, though – you guys have my solemn promise of more sex to come.
A/N: This is another one-shot. I feel contemplative tonight – which is essentially what this story is about. Booth is contemplatively looking at his friends from a stand point that he never has before.
I have been spending a surprising amount of time at the Jeffersonian, of late. Tonight, though, I feel queasy at the thought of being on the platform, with the scent of rotting flesh and the bloody remains of a twenty four year old pregnant woman. Perhaps I am losing what it takes, or perhaps I can only be expected to look at a certain about of dead bodies because it just becomes too much.
The Squints, with the exception of Angela, never seem overly bothered. Even now, as I watch them from the gallery, they seem at one with the corpse, rounding the table like savages, picking away what the require to make a whole and complete picture. They see a body as a jigsaw puzzle, pieces of flesh and bone are but part of a broad landscape and between Brennan, Hodgins, Angela and Zach, they merge their talents and solve murders. They are geniuses, each and every one of them.
And perhaps they are even my friends.
Resting my elbows on the railing, I shift my weight. I cannot quite comprehend where Camille lands in the relationship circle of things. She hasn't established herself as popular among the anthropology department – and I know it's because everyone, including me, as a fondness for Temperance Brennan that cannot be erased with a few nicknames. I know that, while Camille Saroyan might be more of a people person than Brennan, she has none of the fiery brilliance that make me enjoy Brennan's company.
I see her, hovering on the outside of the platform, forever excluded from the witty banter and friendly understanding shared by the dysfunctional group. I wonder at how we're both on the outside looking in. Do the scientists view me as a thorn in their sides too? I don't like to think so. I am fairly certain that we have all established a working relationship, forged during our Christmas quarantine. I like them. They're intelligent, dedicated, honest and if I dare admit it, even a little funny. I know that Camille doesn't understand them, and perhaps she never will. She wants to run a tight ship and neither Brennan nor Hodgins are prepared to relinquish their unique approach to crime solving. I quite like that they have no intentions of it, either.
Camille lifts her eyes, and notices me as I observe high above all their heads. The Squints remain oblivious - the way I like it. Their work is untainted if they are unaware of me. Their conjecture runs free without fear of unscientific input from me, and Brennan seems less… eager to be robotic. She seems fluid and eloquently human among the people who make her happy. I think I make her happy, too. I hope I do, at least.
She slips off her latex glove, tucking her hair behind her ear. She's kept it down, which is unusual, considering she hates it being in her way. I notice she's wearing earrings that brush her jaw and her mouth is curved in something of a permanent smile. She's in her element, solving a puzzle as though it's an enigma. An enigma that won't beat her.
When Zach says something I can't quite hear, she lifts her eyes and shows teeth in amusement. I am surprised by how much this amuses me, and I smile too. A chain reaction that is almost unfathomable. I have no idea what they have said, yet I share their joy. I should be saddened by the broken remains on their examination table, and I am, but I am more preoccupied by how at home I feel with these people. When we first met, I felt as though they were mocking me – but in truth, I feel more comfortable with them now, than with the federal agents with whom I should have more in common with. I have nothing to prove with the Squints.
I've been spending more time with Brennan, recently. In fact, if I am honest, I can barely get the damn infuriating woman out of my head. Underneath all the science and rational stuff, she's actually an extraordinary and interesting woman with the most inquisitive mind. Which is probably why she is so brilliant.
Camille is still watching me, I can feel her gaze on me, and I struggle not to look at her. She wonders what I have going on with the scientists, and more specifically, Brennan. All the women in my life, recently, have wondered the same. Tessa, Rebecca, Camille. None of them are entirely confident with me having Temperance in my life. I can understand why. I don't trust myself to be in a relationship with a woman, even if my current understanding with Brennan is completely professional. I am perpetually hovering on the line, moments away from stepping beyond the boundary and if – when – it happens, I don't want the emotional baggage of telling another woman what's going on, because sometimes you just know what's going to happen. With Brennan, I know our professional agreement will expire sooner or later. I'm willing to wait until the moment is right. There's a right moment for everything. There was a right moment for us to not hate each other, to become friends, confidants and eventually, something more. Perhaps not today, or tomorrow or even this year…
I smile again, watching fondly as she massages the back of her neck whilst she talks to Hodgins about dirt, or slime – I cannot be sure. Perhaps they're talking about something else, but she has that weary concentration written across her lovely, timeless features that I have come to love.
I realise that my fingers are tight around the railing, my knuckles white and painful. Could it be that I am actually in love with her? The thought knocks the wind from my chest, and I feel as though someone has punched me in the ribs. I haven't allowed myself to feel anything close to love for a long time. Not since before Rebecca and even then…
My eyes sweep aimlessly across the lab, frantic with panic. My mind plays back all my memories at lightening speed and I am light-headed after. When I settle on Brennan again, my eyes are wide and round as though I have endured an out of body experience. I can still feel Cam, and when I finally relinquish my stubborn inability to look at her, she looks startled too, as though she's read my mind, and I am suddenly aware that she has. She sees what I feel for Temperance Brennan and she is no amused. Spinning on her heel, she swipes her card and descends the stairs with hard, noisy steps that I can hear from high above. Everyone stops, watches her go and then look up at me, Brennan included.
Her hand has stilled, tucking her hair behind her ear again, and we watch each other for a long, silent moment. She questions me, her artic blue gaze distrusting and curious. I look as though I am terrified of her, and all at once, I am. I am terrified of what I feel for her. She frowns, her lovely arched brows drawing together and I look away, swallowing hard. My mouth feels like the Mojave.
Somewhere in the distance, I hear Camille's office door slam and I flinch. The Squints watch me as if I am responsible and I shrug helplessly. Essentially I did nothing expect realise I am in deep emotional trouble. Hodgins drops his hands to his hips.
"Get down here, G-Man, stop leaving all the work to us!" I prepare myself for several awkward hours in their presence and begin my descent to the platform. When I swipe my card and enter their little group, I am brought into their midst and I feel as though I've come home, in a bizarre way. Brennan stands next to me, my ever faithful partner, our arms touching, and she points to the body. I barely hear her. I am lost in my own thoughts, of us, of who we are now. After a long moment, she nudges me, her eyes burning blue.
"Are you even listening to me?" she snaps and I smile.
"Absolutely," I reply slipping back into the banter as though I am putting on an old glove. I adore her. I adore them all.