A/N: I've got a little leftover angst to get out of my system before I get back to Talk to Me. Don't hate me, k? It's just something that has to be done, and don't worry…it's not bad enough to need tissues or anything. As always, reviews are appreciated and all printed out so I can roll around in them in a big pile on the floor. Ok, that last part isn't really true, and is a little creepy to imagine. But the appreciation part is right on:-)
Of all things in the world, our excuse became baseball. I know. Baseball. It had been news to me that Bones even liked, or knew anything about baseball, but when Hodgins and I were discussing the weekend's Phils/Nats matchup, with me boasting about the Phillies' superior pitching, Bones jumped right in and reminded me how Ryan Zimmerman's consistent singles were enough to force an extra inning and almost cost the Phils the game. She told me that Myers shouldn't expect his curveballs to work for long, because the Nationals' players were starting to anticipate them. I was dumbfounded into silence for a few seconds, and changed the topic so that she would stop busting on my Phils. Baseball didn't seem like the kind of pastime that would hold her interest for long, I commented. It wasn't…academic enough.
She took on that patient, teaching tone that always got under my skin and explained how supporting sports teams increased affiliation between peers and state, and raised morale by allowing individuals to associate with something much larger, bigger, and more powerful than themselves. Of course she supported the Nationals…she wasn't immune to the rush that came with her team's success, or to the hope and loyalty that remained in their defeat. Remembering that the last I checked, she had no T.V., I wondered aloud how she even kept up with the Nats. I had to give her another blank look when she said the radio. It was a travesty. Baseball was meant to be watched. It just wasn't the same when you couldn't see the sweat on the pitcher's brow, or watch the exhilarating height of a straight-on homerun. I requested…no, insisted, that she come watch the next game with me, at my apartment. It took awhile to convince her, being that she would have to leave work by 7:30 pm (big sacrifice!), but right before I started to pull my hair out, she relented. Jeesh. What kind of fan would choose to miss a home game of her favorite team, broadcast on basic cable? I thought about how lucky she was to have a friend like me, who insisted that at least sometimes she be a normal person.
It was probably the alcohol that was the first mistake (if we are calling it a mistake). I tried to make the experience as American as possible for her, at that meant lots of pretzels and beer. By the fourth inning, I had a pleasant buzz, a looseness of the limbs and tongue that caused me to argue with her, playfully but loudly, about the best hitter of the game. By the seventh, both of us were off the couch most of the time, our faces glued to the screen, yelling at the players and trash-talking pretty good (again, who knew Bones could trash-talk?). By the ninth, we had both stopped drinking, mostly because we were exhausted, and she needed to sober up before going home. Not that this seemed like it was happening anytime soon…the game was tied. One extra inning…no score. Another…no score. By the third extra, her eyelids were drooping. She livened up when one of her Nats hit what was distance-wise a home-run…but it was foul. When she groaned I wrapped my arm around her and patted her shoulder with false sympathy, then I got distracted by something else in the game and didn't take my hand away. And that, my friends, was the second mistake. As the third extra inning wore on, she yawned, stretched, and rested her head against the couch, occasionally resting her eyes. And by the fourth extra (which, as it happened, turned out to be the last…although for the life of me I can't remember how it ended), she had fallen asleep, her head dropping closer and closer to me until it eventually rested on my shoulder.
If I hadn't been still slightly tipsy, I might of thought a little longer and harder about how to extricate myself from this compromising position (which, in case you need reminded, was my partner asleep on me while my arm was around her). But as I have already established, the alcohol was still buzzing through me warmly, along with some other sensations caused by our new closeness. Don't judge me…I know how important my working relationship with Bones is. But in case you hadn't noticed, on top of being a kick-ass scientist, she's also an unbelievably gorgeous woman. I'm not stupid, or blind, you know. And besides that, my feelings for her have grown considerably warmer since our first meeting, and I very much treasure and respect our friendship. Apparently, underneath that, there was…is…an attraction, as well. Again…who knew?
No matter what, the next mistake that I made was the most egregious. At some point, I stopped thinking about how to move away from my sleeping partner, and started to look at her. Really look at her. Her expression was so much softer in her sleep…it made her look younger. She was wearing casual clothes, too, which hugged her curves in a way I wasn't used to. And my eyes ran over her body, from her long, shapely legs tucked beneath her on the couch, up to her round hips and flat belly, and up to her chest, which was rising and falling slowly, almost hypnotically, and her protruding nipples, poking against the stretchy fabric of her t-shirt and oh God in heaven I think that's when most of my control was pulled away by some unseen, powerful force. I had seen women's breasts before—plenty of women's breasts, thank you very much—but for some reason hers mesmerized me, the soft roundness topped by those hard nubs the epitome of forbidden fruit which I had denied myself so long.
I don't know how long I stared at her, from her breasts, up to her sleeping face, and then back down again. From inside rose a horrified voice: "You're not thinking of actually touching her, are you? Touching her while she's sleeping and defenseless, taking out your perverted desires on her while she's lying there, full of trust for you? You are a sick, sick man, Seeley Booth. You are going to Hell for sure." And another voice, much quieter, but much more seductive. "It won't hurt…just to satisfy your curiosity. Just one touch. She'll never know, and nothing will have to change."
And, God help me, I might go to Hell, because with just one trembling finger, I first stroked her face, whisper light—and then, with multiple internal voices now screaming at me, I ran the pad of one thumb over the nipple that was the closest to me. The touch lasted a fraction of a second, it was barely there, even. But in that miniscule amount of time, with the lightest of pressure, I felt her body respond to that touch, and the softest of groans emanated unbidden from the back of my throat. I touched her for that instant, and I was suddenly more aroused than I had ever been in my entire life, with anyone. It unleashed something in me that I am still deeply embarrassed about, even after what happened next.
If I hadn't allowed myself that little touch, I might have been saved, might have snapped out of it. But after that…I just couldn't not touch her again. It seems so crazy now to say that—I honestly, truly do have some level of self-control. Have to have had it, to have been by her side so long without giving in to what was between us. Maybe that's what happened…I tapped it dry, and that's why, even knowing how insane it was, I ran that same thumb back and forth against her, gently, one, two, three times. And with that lingering touch, I could really feel it now, feel her nipple becoming harder and harder against my finger, full and pebbly, and then I felt I might pass out from the ridiculous level of stimulation that this was causing me.
Then her eyes opened. I'll never forget that moment—forget passing out, I was pretty sure I was going to die. My hand was still on her. I couldn't pull away. Her face, as usual, was completely unreadable—was she even really awake?—but reflected in her eyes I could see my panic, while at the same time feeling it spread through my body like some powerful, fast-acting drug. She was going to kill me. She was going to kill me, or call 911 and report a sexual assault in progress at the apartment of Special Agent Seeley Booth, and I deserved it, so I should probably let her. And everything was going to change, all because my tipsy lust-addled brain refused to exercise some modicum of the willpower I know I have. I'm pretty sure my heart stopped right then.
But then, a miracle happened. Out of all the scenarios that raced through my mind in that second, she did the one thing that I hadn't even considered she might do. Her hand rose and covered my own, pressing it into her breast. And she arched into it.
I almost died then, from a different reason than I had expected. Instinctively, I squeezed gently, and heard the rush of air leave her lips and her eyes fell shut once more. As usual, she wasn't shy about making known what she wanted, even though she used no words. She guided the hand (the one that had already been touching her) up her shirt. Then, she guided my other hand between her legs, over her clothes. All of this I allowed, still dazed, but more than willing. Having thus situated me, her fingers reached over and found the hardness throbbing between my own legs.
I know what you are thinking (other than that I'm an asshole who took advantage of his partner)—you're thinking that this was foreplay, leading up to the first time we had sex. But you'd be wrong, as long as you traditionally think about sex the way that I do. We didn't undress. I never got to feel the bare skin of her breasts, or what I imagine to be the wet heat of her sex, nor did she touch me like this. We didn't hold each other, or kiss, or even leave our position on the couch. Her hand caressed me firmly through the material of my pants, clasping, squeezing, rubbing. I gasped, hard, and choked back a moan, terrified that any louder noise that I would make would break this spell. I stroked her at the same pace she was stroking me, and that rhythm seemed to hold me captive. I couldn't believe the heat that she was creating against my hand, even through her underwear and her pants, and it felt ludicrously that I might set a fire with the friction of my fingers moving on her. Desperately, I wanted to strip her down, taste her everywhere, but she made no moves to further this exploration, and my guilty conscience would not allow me to take any more liberties with her. So we touched with barriers, and stayed as silent as we could, save the heavy breathing that we couldn't control.
When I saw her head tip back once more, a pink tinge coming to her cheeks, heard her breathing began to hitch, I for a second felt triumphant, high, knowing that I was going to cause her to orgasm—right before I realized that she wasn't the only one who was going to come in her pants. Instinctively I tried to hold back, but she was having none of it, stroking faster and harder. She knew. And when she held her breath and strained against my hand, I couldn't have prevented my own orgasm even if I fainted first from the pleasure of the build-up. It was all I could do to keep my own hands on her as I shook and she bucked against me frantically. I always knew, somehow, that she would be energetic, demanding at the height of her climax. And that, she was.
I kept my hands pressed against her until I heard her breathing slow, so that I wouldn't deny her one second of pleasure. And then, I pressed a little longer, because my insides were still quivering and I didn't trust my hands not to shake once I took them off of her. When there were no more excuses to keep touching her, I almost guiltily pulled my hand from out under her shirt, lifted my fingers from the crotch of her pants. Immediately, my fingers felt cold without her.
I hazarded a glance at her face. Our eyes met…and there was our opportunity. Our opportunity to acknowledge it. Talk about it. Come to some sort of understanding about whatever just happened, what had been happening between us for awhile now. A million things that I wanted to say rushed through my head. My heart felt full to burst.
But I couldn't say it…any of it. I knew…knew…what she was going to say if I opened my mouth. How it was only natural that partners of the opposite sex, working so closely, would become attracted to one another. How the release that we just experienced was a biological one, and how, from now on, we should really find more acceptable ways to relieve this tension, so that it didn't compromise our working relationship. Maybe I should have let her say it…at least we would have communicated about it, and recognized the elephant in the room for what it was. But the moment came, and went, and neither of us said anything. I was terrified of what it would mean if we did. And, as I would acknowledge later…I was worried if we talked about it, it would eliminate the chance of it ever happening again.
So after the moment passed, she excused herself to the bathroom. While she was there, I went to the apartment's second bathroom to clean myself up, before the evidence of our activities became far too noticeable to deny. When we met again in the living room, she said that she should go—it was getting late. I agreed. She thanked me for letting her watch the game. And I told her—do you believe this?—that anytime she wanted to see a game, she was welcome to come over. That's how the night ended. Well, at least the part with her physically present. I came twice more that night, in my hand, thinking about what had happened. In the morning, I wasn't entirely certain that I didn't imagine the whole event, and that it was just another of my masturbatory fantasies that just happened to be particularly vivid. But the leftover beer bottles and her scent that lingered on my couch told me that she had really been there. There was no way I could forget the feel of her under my fingers.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I saw her the next day. This would be awkward; how could it not be? But, miraculously, it was not really. I showed up at the Jeffersonian. Greeted her with a smile, joked a bit. We talked about our newest case. She was undeniably Bones, and I saw not one hint in her eyes of remembrance. I was very relieved. And also disappointed. I felt like I was going crazy. I couldn't tell if I was imagining that she wasn't quite looking me right in the eye anymore.
So our working relationship was mostly unaffected, at least on the surface, but I wondered if our friendship would still be the same. As the week went by, we didn't really have the opportunity to socialize. She turned me down for lunch twice. It was giving me a complex, but I didn't blame her. I probably wouldn't trust myself to be alone with me, either. But she surprised me a few days later. There was a Nats game televised this weekend. Could she come over and watch it? I tried not to let my eyes bug out as I agreed. I wished to God I knew what she was thinking, but didn't have the guts to ask.
So she came over. I had bought her a Nationals baseball cap, and slid it onto her head playfully when she came in, grumbling about wasting money on the team's merchandise; she looked adorable in it. She turned down a beer, and I thought it best myself to stay clear-headed on this night. We cheered and booed and talked to the screen as we watched the game, and just like before, it was fun. Truly. On her way back from a trip to the bathroom, she asked me if I wanted anything from the kitchen, and I asked her to grab me a can of soda. She brought it to the couch and stood in front of me, holding it out expectantly. Suddenly, I couldn't focus on anything but her, filling up my field of vision. When I came to my senses, I reached out for the can, wrapped my fingers around it. She didn't let it go. We hung there in suspension for a moment, staring at one another, me sitting, her standing, our hands overlapping over the frickin' soda can like it was some kind of idol we were worshipping. It felt like a tiny electric current passed from her hand into mine, pushing me again into that spellbound state where I forgot that I knew better. My other hand reached up, took the can away and sat it on the table next to me—our hands and eyes stayed joined and we hovered for a second like this before I pulled her gently toward me.
Once her legs hit my knees, she seemed to be confused for a moment, and I wasn't sure what else to do. Then, almost gracefully, she swung one knee up beside me, then the other knee to the other side. She was astride me, and I was immediately dazed by her scent and her warmth. She rested her chin on my shoulder, probably so she wouldn't have to look at me. My hands went to her hips, pulled her to me and pressed down at the same time. The weight of her on top of me like this was perfect, and I again found myself struggling to hold back vocalizations as she began to slide herself back and forth against my lap, stimulating both of us at the same time with the pressure. I wrapped my arms around her waist tightly and hoped that she would take it as encouragement for her movements, rather than an embrace; somehow, I felt she would have an easier time with that. Strangely, though, under the starbursts of sexual sensation that were washing through me was the thought about how really, really nice it was to have her in my arms. She ground herself against me, rubbing herself against the ridge of the erection in my pants; I thrust upwards against her as well, greedily seeking a similar stimulation for myself. This time, I immediately recognized the sound of her breath catching in my ear as the signal for her climax, and delighted in those tiny sounds, as well as the rhythmic clasping of her fingers on my shoulders. I imagined I could smell her right then—the pure, sexual heat of her, which was similar to but more intense than the perfumed wisps that I caught being next to her day after day. Overstimulated from most all of my six senses, I burst immediately after her. It was the second time in a week that I had made such a mess, and I felt like a teenager again, back when third base was the most exciting sex act imaginable. We rocked, and I held her, taking a risk by hanging on for several minutes after our bodies had settled. She didn't protest, and I wondered if she was humoring me.
The aftermath was exactly the same as before. She left that night, no words spoken about what had transpired. At work, we were Bones and Booth, the dream team of crimefighting, bickering our way to the highest rate of solved cases in the FBI. But this time…I could tell she wasn't looking me in the eye anymore. It couldn't have been my imagination. At home…well, I was a bit of a mess. What the hell was happening to us? These brief, explosive interludes we were having weren't sex, at least not the way I conceived of it. Everything about being with her that way—responding to her, feeling her respond to me—felt inevitable, the way it was supposed to be, but the whole staying-silent, keeping-clothes-on thing was like the new line we had drawn. It was craziness. It was like we believed if we didn't cross this artificially-drawn boundary, then we didn't have to admit it was happening, didn't have to deal with it. It was too confusing, and I wanted the madness to end. At the same time, I waited anxiously for the next home game. Couldn't stop thinking about it, really.
The next game we watched went much the same as the first two, except it was getting easier and easier to transition into…into…well, into whatever the hell we were doing. But this time, I kissed her. I couldn't help it. She was straddling me again fully clothed, we were moving together, and she came, shaking against me. For a brief moment when she seemed completely finished, her head lifted from my shoulder, and she was facing me. I'm not sure why she made that move, but suddenly she was right in front of me and I was doing this intimate thing with her, and I felt if I didn't have her mouth on mine right then I might drown in the confusion that was spiraling through me. She made a small sound of surprise when my lips desperately fell on hers, and I might have felt a second of resistance. But before I got too discouraged, she was kissing back, her lips and tongue silken and delicious against my own and her hands in my hair. And for the first time, this thing we were doing felt not just good, but right. She surprised me by coming again, jerking her hips against me. I was set off, as much from the taste of her as from the friction of her body against my own. Yes, yes yes…I didn't want those feeling to ever end. But they did. When I finally, reluctantly, pulled my lips from her, I saw a single tear fall down her cheek. She wiped it away quickly and climbed off of me, doing her same wash-up-and-go routine.
I never felt so lost in my life. For a moment, I felt terrible, thinking that this was hurting her in some way; I had set something in motion that, for all the pleasure it brought, brought more pain and turmoil than anything else. In the process of feeling sorry for her, a new wave of self-pity also came over me. I was being hurt by this. This is not what I wanted a relationship of mine to be like. Bones' and my relationship deserved better than this…it was worth more. When she left that night, there was sadness in both of our eyes, although our words were, as usual, friendly. I wondered if this was goodbye to this part of our relationship. I ached when I thought about that, but also wondered if it was for the best.
It was getting harder and harder to behave normally at work. We had always been honest with each other, sometimes to a fault. Now, we were living these dual lives, and keeping them under wraps, even to one another. It was starting to feel fake, and I hated that. We used to be partners, and friends. Now…I had no idea what the hell we were. I knew I couldn't do it anymore. If she came over for another game, it would have to be, truly, for the game. This wasn't something I could handle anymore. I couldn't be physically close to her without intimacy. I couldn't be in any kind of relationship with her, without honesty.
I felt depressed most of the time. Those little mistakes I had made were turning out to be the biggest ones of my life. My internal voice had told me it wouldn't change anything. That lying little bastard.
I laid on the couch several evenings later. I felt lonely, and I missed being close to her. I missed our baseball games, our less complicated working relationship. But I also missed her body against mine, and I couldn't forget what her kiss felt like. And I was somehow convinced that those things could never exist together. Not as long as we needed a cover—an excuse—to be together like that.
There was a knock on my door. I hadn't been expecting anyone, and was indeed half asleep when I heard the rapping. I considered for a moment not answering it. I didn't feel like company. My common courtesy (damn it) won that battle.
It was her. She stood in the doorway; her hair was a little messy, she had on no makeup. She didn't look so put together at this time of the night, and it was endearing. My heart throbbed a bit painfully at what could never be.
"Bones," I said. She regarded me silently. "Sorry, Bones. There's no baseball game on tonight. There's nothing to see."
She looked down at her hands, nervously. "I know."
I looked at her questioningly, and she was quiet for a long moment. Finally, she spoke up again, for the first time in a long while looking at me right in my eyes.
"I couldn't wait until we had another excuse."
It took me a second to understand her acknowledgment, but when I did, a slow smile spread across my face as relief poured through me as I recognized that I was not alone in this. I held out my arms to her, and she stepped into them willingly. We held each other as if to keep from sinking. When we pulled apart, I held her face in my hands. "No more excuses?" I begged.
"No more excuses," she agreed.
We kissed tenderly, and I felt the weight of a thousand fears lifted off my shoulders. With an honest effort, we had an honest chance. And this time, the games would just be for fun.
A/N: Ok…shaking off that crazy angst…feel much better now:-) Thank you for humoring me! R & R please.