DISCLAIMER: Do not own Bones. It's starting to depress me that I have to keep saying that. One day. I have a supplier for the evil robots but the flying monkeys keep mutating into flying pigs…
"So. Bren. Why, exactly, in the name of god do you want to go out in the field?"
Brennan looked up.
Angela was perched on the end of her office couch, looking at her. Studying her, more like, with that familiar look, as if she were a particularly complex face to draw.
She took a deep breath.
"I felt I needed to gain experience in field environments in order to gain new skills. I'm an anthropologist, Ang. I need to be able to function in all possible environments."
Angela laughed. That wasn't a great indication of the success of her rehearsed answer.
"Honey, I know I'm the girl who believed six consecutive males when that said they were unattached, but even I know that's a lie."
She didn't deny it. She simply frowned, analysing the words she'd said.
"How did you know? It's a valid reason."
"Yes, it is, and maybe some part of you believes that. But a)- no one voluntarily swans through grisly murder scenes, and dangerous, uncontrolled situations, with no better reason than two expand their skill base,
She frowned. "I don't think swan-"
Angela continued over her. "-And two, you have already swanned through grisly mass graves and such all over the world. Trust me. You have the skill base."
She was silent, acknowledging the truth of the words.
Angela studied her. Brennan was sitting behind her desk, unconsciously straightening the folders and piles of paperwork. Everything neat and tidy. Everything in its place.
Angela spoke, her voice gentle. "Speak to me, Bren."
Brennan met her best friend's eyes. There was no judgement there, like there had been in Booth's when she'd told him she wanted full participation on the case. She only saw compassion and a wealth of understanding, like always.
She relaxed slightly, against the seat.
"Okay." She spoke neutrally, no emotion flowing underneath the words for Angela to fish from.
"I have a very structured life. I come to work, do my job. Go home. I go all over the world, but never make connections with the people. Only with the dead. I don't have many friends. I understand the ones that are already gone more than those that are still here…"
She picked up a post-it, carefully, precisely folding it into a tight square.
"…Pete was right. He thought I was cold, and I am. I function easily and well with dead bodies, but I have to- I need to figure out the world of people. Alive people."
She met Angela's gaze.
"I just didn't want to wake up one day to find I'm more corpse than human being, with nothing to give, nothing to learn."
She dropped her eyes to the post-it in her hands, giving a small half-laugh, shaking her head.
"It's ridiculous, really."
Angela stood up, and came around the desk to crouch beside her chair.
"No, honey. Not ridiculous. Profound. But, you'll never become a corpse. Know why?"
She stared at Angela, fighting the doubt spiralling through her.
Because you care far too much. You work relentlessly to find these people, give them a name and a voice, because you care. Booth would never take on someone without a heart-someone who's cold. He knows people, sweetie."
Brennan was silent. Angela saw her clench her fists around the paper in her hands, still upset. Still doubting she could belong in the real world.
Her smile became mischievous. Time to change the subject.
"And he knows you very well."
Brennan's head shot up, something akin to panic instantly replacing the misery in her eyes.
"He doesn't know me, Angela. I picked him because he gets all the interesting cases, and tend to interact with people the most. And he's an alpha male, so he gets through all the bureaucratic nonsense at a faster rate, thus enabling me to do my half of the job more efficiently."
She frowned a little as a thought occurred to her.
"Although he doesn't give me enough credit. And he can be very self-righteous. And bossy. But he doesn't completely shut me off, like the other FBI agents."
Angela chimed in.
"Plus he's hot, is very good at reading people and their emotions, and is developing a keen interest in reading you."
Satisfied she'd given her friend something more productive to brood about, she squeezed Brennan's arm and stood up, sauntering to the door.
Brennan stared at her friend, thrown by this new take on the matter. Surprise, definitely, was the fore running emotion, but under that, if she analysed the feeling correctly, she was a little intrigued.
But if she told Angela that she'd have a field day.
She shrugged, putting on a casual front.
"I will be working with Agent Booth on a purely professional basis, Angela."
"First lesson in dealing with people, hon. Nothing is ever what it seems." Angela rubbed her hands together, thinking over Brennan's habitual nature and Booth's reputation for being just slightly left of centre.
"He is going to drive you crazy, Bren."
Brennan raised her chin, firmly determined. "I'm sure Booth and I will-"
Angela raised her brows at her friend as Booth strode into the room, and waving a hand in greeting at Booth, sidled casually over to sit on the couch. No way was she missing this.
Booth waved a distracted hand at Angela, focussing on Brennan.
"Let's go, Bones, we've gotta live one."
Brennan blinked at him, puzzled.
"Booth, I'm a forensic anthropologist, not a medical doctor. I only work with the bones of the dead."
paused in the act of getting Brennan's coat for her.
"Bones, it's a turn of phrase- it means we have a dead body to go and see."
"Oh. Then, why didn't you just say that?"
He blinked at her. "You're kidding, right?"
Brennan turned to Angela.
"Are you following this conversation? Because I'm having trouble."
Angela grinned at her. "Every word."
She huffed and turned back to Booth, who was now stuffing instruments back into her examination kit.
You can't just barge in here and expect me to leap after you. I
have paperwork, and a meeting very shortly- I can't just
Booth looked at Angela.
"She's kidding, right?"
Angela shook her head sadly. "Unfortunately, no."
He fixed Brennan with a stare.
Angela watched in fascination as her friend wilted slightly, then stood tall, her eyes flashing and chin raised, staring back at Booth.
"Bones, you're the one that wanted to go out in the field. I can't just call up our victims and ask them please to die at a more convenient time for you, okay? Now are you coming?"
She pressed her lips together, considering.
She could always figure out how far she could push him another time. But it didn't mean she liked giving in.
Brennan glared at him. "Yes."
"Finally! Let's go, Bones. Move it or lose it."
He strode out, her examination kit and her jacket over his arm.
Brennan threw up her hands, casting a can-you-believe-that look at an amused Angela, and followed on Booth's heels, yanking her bag back.
"Lose what, exactly?"
Booth's frustrated growl was cut off by the sliding doors closing behind them.
Angela leaned back and sighed, then spoke aloud to the empty room.
"Yep. Nothing is ever what it seems."
Author's note: Started out as wanting to do a take on why Brennan chose to leave the lab and then thought I might expand it. What do you think? Oneshot or series? Guess it depends on the reviews…like how I slid that in there very not obviously? Thanks tremendously to all readers and reviewers equally, and have a fantastic week!