The Hibernation of Chivalry

Summary: Booth walks into Brennan's office with a black eye. Oneshot, pure fluff. No pretense of plot. Seriously.

Rating: K+

Disclaimer: I am going to kidnap Seeley Booth someday. But till then, well . . . no profit from any of this. PS . . . does anyone want to help me kidnap him? I offer everyone some share time with him . . .

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"Hey, Bones."

He sounded sheepish, Bren noted, not glancing up from the microscope. "I'll be with you in just . . ." Her voice trailed off as she scribbled down a few last notes and turned around. "What do - Booth! What happened?"

His left eye had blossomed with fresh bruises that promised to grow into a vivid black eye, and a little dried blood in his nose, coupled with a cut above his eyebrow, looked both new and painful, though it seemed he had done a half-hearted job of cleaning himself up. It hadn't helped all that much.

"I tripped."

"Go." She pushed him into her office and quickly found an icepack, tossing it to him as she pulled out her mini first aid kit and found her iodine and cotton swabs.

"Who were you fighting with?"

"Who said I was fighting?" He winced as the iodine stung against his forehead. "Owww, dammit, that hurts."

"Your eye was hit by a right-handed assailant, close-fisted, and there are bruise patterns suggesting -"

"Okay, fine, fine! I got into a fight." Booth sighed. "I should have known better than to come straight to you."

"You don't seem ashamed of getting beat up."

"Yeah, well, this is nothing. You should see the other guy."

She set down the swab and started looking for a bandage. "What was it about?"

"Nothing."

"Booth, clearly it was about something."

He sighed. "Seriously, Bones, it was nothing. Just Williams being a jackass."

"Williams?" She thought for a moment. "You mean the agent down the hallway from you? The one who always stares at me when I'm in there?"

When he didn't respond, Bren looked down at him and was surprised to see that his jaw was suddenly clenched. Suddenly it all started to make sense. No wonder he didn't want to talk about it.

"Am I involved in this?"

He frowned, but didn't say anything.

"Booth, did he say something about me?"

"Bones, c'mon -" but they both knew she was right.

"Was it about my work?"

"No."

"My intelligence?"

"No."

"The way I dress?"

"No - Bones, please, let it go -"

Booth's anguished expression told her she was on the right track. She stood up straight and folded her arms.

"Was it about my body?"

"Bones!" His sudden flush was proof enough.

"What did he say?"

He stayed silent, his face dark.

She rolled her eyes and went back to his battered face. "After thousands of years of cultural and social evolution, I can't believe you revert so quickly back to alpha male possessiveness."

"He shouldn't have said it," he mumbled as she pressed the bandage onto his skin and sat down facing him, arching an eyebrow.

"It's perfectly normal for men to notice physical characteristics of a woman's sexuality. You told me I was structured well. How is that different?"

"I meant it respectfully. He -" he broke off, scowling at the memory. "He won't say it again."

She sighed. "I don't know what to say."

"You could try a 'thank you.'"

"For what? Reversing millennia of social progress?"

"Defending your honor."

"You subscribe to the most antiquated notions of behavior."

"I consider myself a gentleman."

Bren tried to glare at him, but a smile kept creeping over her lips in spite of herself. He was just so ridiculously male. "'Defending my honor?'"

Sensing her backing off, he grinned. "Absolutely."

She rolled her eyes and moved to stand and put her first-aid kit away, but Booth tugged at her hand and held her there, his eyes far too innocent to be real. She gave him a skeptical look. "You do know that your charm smile doesn't work when your face looks that bad?"

"Anything you say, milady." Tugging her back down onto the couch beside him, he leaned over and kissed her hand gallantly. She scowled and tried to pull back.

"Booth, let go of me."

"Why?" he teased, still not relinquishing her hand.

"Because it's stupid."

"Oh, come on, have a heart, Bones. I'm being polite."

"I'd prefer if your politeness wasn't so sporadic. And annoying."

"Fine. Be boring."

She stood, picked up her first aid kit, and put it back in her desk drawer, looking back to find him watching her with an unreadable expression.

"What?" she murmured, running a hand through her hair, suddenly self-conscious. Why was he looking at her like that?

He shrugged, grinning in spite of himself. She was so cute when she was embarrassed. Maybe the black eye was worth it. "Nothing. I just -"

He paused. She prodded him. "What is it?"

Booth smiled. She was going to kick his ass for this.

"You make a cute damsel in distress."

The scowl on her face, coupled with the heavy book in her hands, were a good indication that it would be wise for him to split. He escaped quickly, only stopped once on his way out by a very curious Angela, who wanted to know just what he'd done to piss off Brennan so badly that she'd really kicked his ass this time.

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Author's Note: I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEW EPISODE ON VALENTINE'S DAY!!! SULLY SAYS BOOTH HAS THE HOTS FOR HIS PARTNER!!! MY ROOMMATE AND I BOTH SQUEED WHEN WE SAW THAT ON THE COMMERCIAL!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyway, please review.