Title: Operation Caribbean
Rating: M in later chapters.
Disclaimer: These characters do not belong to me. They are still belong to Fox and shall do so for forever more.
Summary: Brennan is craving attention and she's decided to visit Sully in the Caribbean. It's up to Booth to convince her that he can provide more than that in DC.
Author's Note: It's been one of those Sundays were I desperately, desperately did not want to go to work. I decided to remedy the situation by doing some writing and hopefully the product of my decision (this) will be enjoyable to some people. Don't forget to review, please.
"I brought food," he said cheerily, holding two brown bags of greasy food (his speciality) for her inspection. Her stomach immediately growled in protest of so many hours without indulgence and she leaned back in her chair. The fact that she did not remain hunched over her desk was a subtle indication that he was allowed to proceed into her office.
The closer he stepped the stronger the scent of spicy Thai food became and Brennan felt her mouth water painfully. She needed to remember to eat if she wanted to avoid such ravenous moments.
"Noodles?" she asked hopefully and Booth's brows drew together in a look of disbelief.
"Need you ask? I brought two." She beamed at him, standing. It was really rather considerate that he remember to bring food during their evenings of mind-numbingly boring administration. Crossing the room to her couch, where Booth had already secured one half for himself, she stretched her arms skyward and felt her spine readjust in relief.
Pulling the coffee table close to his shins, Booth set out the containers in a row before offering her a set of chopsticks. "Sit," he commanded as though they were in his office and not hers. Brennan was used to his strict nurturing behaviour and knew better now than to resist it.
For a long moment she did not eat, preferring instead to inhale to mixture of spices and soy. Beside her, Booth was already chewing noodles, humming his approval, as he always did. "Amazing," he said through a mouthful and she smiled, twiddling her chopsticks through her fingers. "Aren't you hungry?" he asked when he noticed that she had not dove into her food with her usual eagerness.
Brennan tapped the end of one chopstick against the table, sighing heavily. "I was thinking of taking a few weeks off," she said. His hand stilled over chilli beef. "I might go to the Caribbean." The implication resonated through the office, unspoken yet screeching. She did not look at him.
"On vacation?" he asked after a long pause. Brennan nodded, her russet hair bouncing with each fierce dip of her head. "Well…" he swiped his tongue over his lower lip. "That's a nice idea." Brennan reached for a carton of noodles, fiddling with the lid.
"I'm hoping to catch up with Sully." Booth uncapped a bottle of water, buying himself enough time to formulate an answer that was not acidic in nature.
"I'm sure he'd be glad to see you." Brennan's blue eyes lit and she beamed.
"Do you think so? After what happened?" He tried to smile reassuringly, just to ease the frown that marred her forehead. Instead, he choked and began coughing manically, when only proved to deepen the creases with a more serious kind of anxiety. "Are you okay?" she asked, bending forward, dropping her hand to his back and thumping fiercely. He wheezed.
"I'm fine," he gasped. "Fine." She retracted her hand, offering him his own water. She looked bemused, slightly. "Your food is getting cold." His eyes watered and his throat burned but he was distracted by the thought of her running off to paradise with Sully. What if she chose not to return?
"I just think," she said, folding her legs, "that I should be trying to integrate happiness into my life, too. You know?" He met her eyes now, holding her gaze for long enough for it to be somehow poignant. Brennan found that she could not look away and she felt almost trapped.
"Yes," he said eventually. "I agree." It was as though a weight had been lifted from her shoulders and the tension eased from her body. He supposed she liked to have his acceptance and understanding. "Do you wish, sometimes, that you had left with him?" Brennan seemed to contemplate this for a moment before shaking her head.
"No. I had too much to lose here. I just miss the… companionship." If only she realised how much he wanted to bridge the gap in their relationship to become her companion, she might not have been so eager to take a vacation. But then, he thought morosely, perhaps she would. Perhaps he was not the companion that she wanted. The thought made his chest feel heavier than it did whenever he was choking on Thai beef.
"We should work," he said sharply, gesturing to the pile of unfinished and much debated reports behind the cartons of food that Brennan had not yet touched. She felt better after speaking with him but somehow traitorous. Recently they had remained curiously celibate and she was driving herself mad wondering if perhaps there was an unspoken agreement between them. It was her fear that it was a one-sided agreement that had urged her to take a vacation in the Caribbean.
Brennan had not missed Sully in the truest sense of the word. Their banter had always been light-hearted and he was fun. When she had spent hours debating the laws of justice, morals and religion with Booth, she sometimes wanted to unwind over a glass of wine and sex. Sully was more than obliging and since he had left, she had felt lonely. However she did not believe that she was pining for Sully specifically, just someone.
"Would you agree with that?" Booth asked and she frowned, entirely perplexed. "I think you should eat. You're fading out and that never happens." Brennan obliged, leaning back against the couch. She felt embarrassed almost that she had been lost so completely in her own thoughts. "Maybe you really do need that vacation," he joked and she nodded.
Raking her fingers through her hair, she sighed loudly, rather annoyed at her lack of focus. "What were you saying?" she asked.
"That Richard Morris was murdered out of jealousy. It was premeditated right down to where she would hide the murder weapon…" Brennan, who would usually have began a lengthy debate, nodded mutely. She was in no mood to discuss Katherine Morris' intentions and it was so unlike her that she felt almost guilty. What if Booth wanted to mull over the details? What if something bothered him as it would usually bother her? "You know," he said, pushing aside the empty container, "we can do this tomorrow."
"Would you like to share a bottle of wine?" she asked and the dramatic change in topic surprised him. They rarely discussed anything outside of work because Booth was so immediately defensive if she broached the subject of his personal life. This was another way in which Booth and Sully were so different. Sully's life had always been an open book – so accessible if only she'd just asked.
"I'm not much of a wine drinker," Booth replied, his eyes narrowed. He looked so suspicious of her that she felt embarrassed again. "But I'll take a beer instead." Brennan smiled broadly, shifting forward on the couch. Booth wiped a spot of soy-sauce from the corner of his mouth, watching her with open curiosity and wonder. "You are a peculiar woman, Temperance Brennan," he said as an after thought and she kept her head bowed as she slipped into her coat, surprised at how nice it felt that he would say something that she deemed so complimentary. It was resolutely unlike Booth.
"Come on," she urged, leaving the containers on her table, knowing that her office would permeate the aroma of Thai food in the morning. "Let's live a little." Booth chuckled, the sound reminiscent of when he had choked. He sounded oddly disbelieving. "Who are you dating these days?" she asked as they made their way along the labyrinth of corridors from her office to the entrance. They were, as they had been so many times before, the only two left in the building aside from security.
"Bones," Booth replied in his usual warning tone. She shot him a glare that was icy and annoyed. He sighed heavily. "No one. You know that. I thought mind games were beneath you." Her eyebrow rose and she smiled cheekily.
"Angela said mind games are a woman's secret weapon. She said I should utilize the gift." Booth couldn't squelch the laughter that rose in his chest. Angela was perhaps too savvy a woman, sometimes. God help Hodgins, he thought, trying that one under control. Brennan was looking at him as though she wanted to say something and he wished she would, because he had nothing very articulate to say himself.
In fact they didn't say very much at all as Brennan directed him to a pretty little wine bar on the outskirts of DC. It was a mild night and their jackets were not really necessary. The stars were out overhead and the twinkling fairy lights wrapped around the trees that decorated the terrace were mini-replicas of the diamante sky. Brennan opted that they sit outside and they insinuated themselves between other patrons of the bar, all of which were sipping aromatic red wines. He felt somehow unsophisticated when he ordered a bottle of beer. The waiter looked scandalised and Booth was tempted to ask Brennan if she wouldn't prefer Wong Foo's instead.
She had her head turned towards the bay trees and her slender fingers were flicking the white bulbs, making the pin-prick lights tremble. She looked fascinated by them, lost in a far-away place. Booth studied her features, wondering what she might have been thinking about. Was this a place that she frequented with Sully? Did she miss or love him enough to stay with him in the Caribbean?
He would miss her, he knew. She was such a fundamental part of his life, now. When she had suggested leaving before, he had thought his heart might break. They were dancing around the obvious because they were afraid to tarnish the spectacular brilliance of their partnership. But she was fantastic, he knew. Sully had known it, too.
Sully almost got to keep her.
He couldn't let it happen. She couldn't go to the Caribbean. He would have to stop her. Somehow.
I don't intend on making this a long story. Now I know we have all head this before and, you know, whatever. This really will only be three maximum four chapters long. Please let me know what you think.