AN: I've been wanting to do a Bones/X-Files story for a while now, and reading bredalot's "Spit in My Hand, We're Scully and Mulder" finally gave me the inspiration I needed. Hope you enjoy!
After a particularly hellish week pursuing the dregs of humanity while his partner was on vacation, Booth couldn't wait to get home. A few colleagues had invited him to have drinks with them after work, but Booth turned them down. The horrific cases he had been assigned lately left him stressed and depressed, and he didn't want company. As soon as the work day came to a close on Friday, he gathered his things and raced out of the FBI building, not even saying goodbye to his co-workers as he passed them. He hoped they would understand he was having a rough week and forgive his rudeness. If not, screw 'em. He had bigger problems.
When he got home, he dropped his belongings unceremoniously on the floor and headed straight for the refrigerator. He grabbed a beer and opened it on his way to the couch. He let his body collapse on to the soft cushions and turned on the television, looking for something that would numb his restless mind. The first channel was news. No thanks, he thought. I've seen enough tragedy this week. He changed the channel. This one had some dumb reality show. No way. I don't need anything else to lower my opinion of humanity. The next channel had a cheesy 80s movie. The next one had a kids show- bright colors and people dancing like idiots. The next one had a bunch of designers chattering about redecorating a room. The next one had people cooking something vomit-colored in a huge pan. As Booth approached the higher channels he felt his frustration mounting. COME ON! Something good has to be on! He had almost given up hope when he stumbled upon an old favorite- The X-Files. Happily he put the remote down and made himself comfortable.
I wonder what episode this is, he thought. Scully was knocking on Mulder's door, and he shouted "Nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted." She opened the door and introduced herself. Whoa, this is the first episode, way back before they were lovers or even friends. At this point Mulder thinks Scully is going to spy on him and degrade his work, and Scully thinks Mulder is just a weird guy with weirder ideas. He couldn't help but think back to the beginning of his partnership with Brennan. In their early days, Brennan and her team hadn't trusted him, and he had resented working with them. Now of course he had come to appreciate the squints, and they respected him as much as he did them. He wouldn't have thought it possible two years ago, but he considered Angela, Hodgins and Zack as friends, and Brennan...well, Brennan was definitely more than a friend.
As the credits rolled, an announcer's voice declared that another episode of X-Files was coming up next. This episode was about a sicko who mutilated women's corpses–then turned to live victims. Scully was having problems dealing with the case, but she kept telling Mulder that she was fine. That's so Brennan, Booth thought with a smile. She's so strong and independent. She'll never admit she needs help. Just when Scully thought she was done dealing with her inner demons, the bastard kidnapped her. Mulder was desperate to find her, a feeling Booth knew all too well. He knew Mulder would save her, just as he knew that whenever Brennan was in danger he would be there. Sure enough, Scully's kidnapper was moments away from killing her when Mulder and the rest of the FBI cavalry came to the rescue. For a few seconds Scully pretended she was okay, but then she broke down and embraced her partner. Oh my god, that was me and Bones when Kenton took her. He had her tied up and was going to shoot her, but I shot him first and she hugged me. Really hugged me. My ribs hurt like hell from being blown up, but I didn't care. I wanted to hold her forever.
A third episode quickly followed the second; apparently the channel was having a marathon. Booth wasn't sure if he could handle another serious episode, but this one seemed much lighter in tone. Mulder and Scully were going undercover as a married couple to investigate the disappearance of a couple from a planned community. Mulder was clearly enjoying the act, lying down on the bed and motioning for Scully to join him. Booth grinned as he thought of him and Bones in Vegas, pretending to be Tony and Roxy, who were "engaged to be engaged". God, when Bones came out of the bathroom in that dress! When he bought it for her, he had known she would look good in it, but he hadn't expected to be left breathless. It had taken every ounce of willpower not to throw her on the bed and kiss her. While he hadn't kissed her or done anything else his vivid imagination craved, his role gave him a perfectly good excuse to put his arm around her, to touch her like they were a real couple. Yet they weren't a couple after all, just partners.
Of course, Mulder and Scully were "just partners" in the beginning, he reasoned. But ultimately they're lovers, and she's pregnant with his baby despite the fact that all her ova were removed during her abduction, and then he's kidnapped by aliensand so on and so forth. Bones and I are like Scully and Mulder in so many ways; will we end up like they did? Not the aliens and stuff, but the lovers part? Booth thought about this for a long while. Eventually sleep overcame him, but the wheels of his subconscious kept turning.
Booth found himself walking through the halls of the J. Edgar Hoover FBI building. He knew somehow that he was in the FBI building, but he didn't recognize his surroundings. Where the hell am I? Where's my office? He looked at each door he passed in the hallway, hoping to see something familiar. These aren't even offices, he realized as he opened one door. They're storage rooms. Am I in the basement? When he reached the end of the hall, he finally saw a sign: "Special Agent Fox Mulder." The door opened from the inside and Mulder stepped out into the hallway. "Hello, Agent Booth. I've been expecting you. Come on in."
Booth stared in disbelief. "What? This is crazy! You're not a real person... I have to be dreaming."
"I feel real," Mulder said.
"You're not. You're a character on tv," Booth said firmly.
"Are you sure about that?" Mulder asked. "Maybe I'm real and you're the character. Maybe I'm the one dreaming."
"No, this is definitely MY dream. I don't know why I'm dreaming about you, though." Usually my dreams involve Bones and me doing things we never do in real life.
"Maybe I can help you there," Mulder offered. "I studied psychology at Oxford."
Bones hates psychology. Sometimes I do too. But it is my dream, so I might as well play along. "Alright. Why am I having this dream?"
"Because you fell asleep while watching X-Files. And because you want my help," Mulder answered.
Booth rolled his eyes. "Your help doing what? Chasing aliens? Exposing government conspiracies? I have REAL cases to solve."
Mulder chuckled. "You're very cranky for someone who's supposedly sleeping. You must have had a hard week."
"Yeah, you could say that."
"I understand. You see so many terrible things on the job; it's disgusting what one human being can do to another. It's easy to get discouraged." Mulder motioned to his office. "Come on in and we'll talk for a minute."
Booth was still a little uneasy about all this, but he followed Mulder into the office and took a seat across from the desk. "So that's why I'm dreaming about you? So we can share horror stories?"
"No, that's not why you wanted my help. You wanted to ask me for advice about Dr. Brennan." Mulder smiled. "After all, I know a thing or two about lusting after your partner."
"I don't lust after Bones," Booth said. Of course he did, but he wasn't ready to say it out loud.
Mulder didn't buy it for a second. "It's okay. Despite all of our flirting, all the innuendo, all the looks we would share, it took me a long time to admit that I had real feelings for Scully. I was afraid that she didn't love me as much as I loved her, so I kept telling myself that we shouldn't have a relationship because we worked together. What if it didn't work out? I would lose my partner and my best friend. She was the center of my universe, and I knew that universe would collapse without her."
Booth couldn't count the number of times he had had those thoughts. "I know what you mean."
"So I tried to repress my feelings. Some days I could get away with it, other days it was torture. She would look at me a certain way, or say something, or touch my arm, and I would want to tell her I loved her. But the moment would pass, and my doubts would return. She was so goddamn scientific and logical; could she really love crazy, impulsive me?"
"But you guys did end up together," Booth pointed out. "So what happened? What changed?"
"It was a gradual change," Mulder reflected. "Somewhere between the alien abductions and the government conspiracies, I started opening up to her. It was scary at first, scarier than our cases. What if I shared too much with her? Would she see what a damaged person I was and run away? Yet she didn't run. She listened to me and offered words of comfort. Eventually she started opening up to me, letting me do the same for her. We became closer than either of us thought possible. When I finally told her I loved her, I knew that she felt the same way."
Booth fervently wanted to believe the same would be true for him and Bones. "So you're saying I need to be patient."
"I know how hard it is to work with her so closely and not say how you feel, but, yes, you do need to be patient. You also need to start confiding in her more. Take off the strong guy mask and let her know when you're having a bad week. If she sees you showing vulnerability, she'll be more likely to show you her own. As soon as you wake up I want you to call her. "
"Alright. I'll call her. Thank you." He shook his hand sincerely.
"Anytime, Booth. Good luck."
When Booth opened his eyes the next morning, he felt horribly disoriented. I'm not in my bed. I'm on my couch! What the hell am I doing sleeping on my couch? Then his memories returned in a single burst. He had fallen asleep watching television and dreamed about meeting Fox Mulder. That was so weird!But the things he said made a lot of sense. Remembering the promise he made to his fellow FBI agent, he picked up his cell and dialed Brennan's number.
"Brennan," she answered.
He smiled at the sound of her voice. "Hey Bones, it's me."
"Do we have a new case?"
"No, I just wanted to talk to you for a while, if you have the time."
"Okay. What's on your mind?"
Booth told her all about his awful week.
"I'm sorry you've been so unhappy, Booth. What can I do to help?"
"You have helped, Bones, just by listening." There was a pause on the other end, and Booth wondered if he had lost her. "Bones, you still there?"
"I'm here," she answered. She had been silent because she was wondering if she should share the details of her week. "I had a rough week myself."
"Do you want to talk about it?" Booth prompted.
"If you have the time."
"Bones, for you I always have time."
They spent almost an hour talking on the phone, and when they hung up Booth felt better than he had in days. We may not be lovers yet, but we're still partners and best friends, and right now that feels pretty damn good.
Thanks for reading! All comments make me deliriously happy.