Niah: How long did you say we were going to make this fic?
Jemb: About 5 000 words. (counts words) Wow, we went over by like 800 words!
Niah: We're writing machines!
Jemb: For a random idea we got so late at night, it sure turned into one hell of a story.
Niah: Yeah, we really went for it. I guess you could say we really JUMPED at the opportunity to write this.
Jemb: It's a bit too early for me to come up with a witty comeback to that line Niah - wait until midnight and I'll be in the zone.
Niah: You know, I could easily say something back, but for the sake of our readers I'm going to shut up now.
Jemb: Good, we might bore them before the story has a chance to. lol
It was creeping towards sunset when a beat up burgundy Chevrolet pulled to a stop in the centre of an old bridge. Two young men exited, one taking a moment to stretch his back out.
"Nice spot Mike," he commented as he took a look around the magnificent scenery. Surrounding the pair were luscious green hills covered in leafy trees and below them under the bridge was a wide but slow moving river.
"I told you, I always pick the best," Mike replied. He rubbed his stubbled chin as he made his way to the trunk of the car. As the other man joined him, Mike began pulling equipment from the trunk. His companion picked up one of the back-packs and walked with it over to the edge of the bridge. "Hey Toby, I need a hand with the chord," Mike called. Toby turned and after running a hand through his short blonde hair, he strode back across to the car. The two men lifted a heavy bungee chord from the trunk and staggered with it over to where Toby had dropped the first backpack.
"Sun's going down soon, we need to set up fast," Mike told Toby as he began pulling straps and clips from the backpack.
"Hey, I'm as anxious to get this started as you." Toby slapped Mike on the shoulder and let out a low chuckle.
"You gonna chicken out if this takes too long, huh?" Mike joked.
"I've been waiting months to do this…I ain't chickening out of nothin'."
"Well, we'll see once you get up on the edge, huh." Mike laughed as he handed Toby a harness. "Get this on, I'll fix the chord."
Fifteen minutes later the two men were ready. Toby was poised to mount the wall of the bridge and Mike stood with the bungee chord at his feet.
"So, this is safe right?" Toby asked, his voice filled with a first timer's nervousness.
"I've been doing this for eight years man. I know what I'm doing," Mike assured him.
"Yeah, but things can always go wrong, I mean…" Mike cut Toby.
"You don't trust me?" he asked harshly. Toby hesitated.
"It's not that…"
"Dude, I know what I'm doing. I've done hundreds of jumps with this very equipment."
"Look dude, you wanna jump or not? I ain't got all night to stand here and watch your pansy ass decide if you want to take the leap of faith."
"Hey, I'm jumping!" Toby turned and glared at Mike, not happy at having his manliness challenged.
"Well get the hell up there, we're losing light." Mike urged Toby forward, a wicked smile crossing his face as he watched the young man nervously climb onto the ledge.
"You sure I'm not going to hit the water?" Toby asked as he stared down at the river below.
"Look you big baby, just do the jump!" Mike yelled. Toby was taken aback by Mike's anger and turned to face him.
"Doesn't look like it." Mike shrugged and glanced at his watch.
"You calling me a chicken, Mike?" Toby asked, his own voice rising in anger.
"If it looks like a duck…"
"You wanna get into something here Mike, 'cause I'm not afraid to kick your ass!"
"If any ass kicking is going to go on, it's me kicking yours!" Mike yelled back. He squared his jaw and glared at Toby, getting severely pissed off. He only did first timer's as a favour to friends or friends of friends. The constant apprehension was just too much of a spoiler for the seasoned jumper. And as Toby stood on the bridge, debating whether to jump or not, Mike was just getting more and more frustrated. If this guy didn't jump soon, he wouldn't be held responsible for what he would do for having his time wasted.
The sun had just dipped below the horizon and darkness surrounded the bridge. Mike sat in the driver's seat of the Chevrolet, his face contorted in panic, sweat dripping down from his forehead. Frantically fiddling with the key in the ignition, Mike finally got the car to start and he pressed his foot down hard on the accelerator. The tyres started to spin, leaving treads on the asphalt of the road, before it sped forward towards the other side of the bridge and the road back to town. Mike's hands shook as he drove, his heart pounding faster than it had on his first jump.
"What have I done?" he muttered to himself. "What have I done?"
The glass pane doors of the lab soundlessly slid open as Booth came striding in, oozing out dominance with a tad of nonchalance as always. With his ID pass in hand ready to swipe it at the alarm that guarded the platform, he scanned the area until he locked onto the one other person in the room whose air of dominance could rival his. Adjusting his tie, he kept his gaze on her bent over frame as he crossed the lab. For once not immediately calling out her name, he hopped up the stairs leading to the platform. Whether she was too caught up in her work to notice him or whether she was blatantly ignoring him he didn't know and didn't care for as he casually leaned against the railing, elbow on top of the iron bar and one ankle crossed behind the other. For a few silent moments he contented himself with observing her. When it concerned an ID for one of their cases, he couldn't bring himself to calmly wait. Patience wasn't a virtue when lives were at stake or when a murderer needed to be caught, but at other times---like right now---he enjoyed watching her communicate with the bones of a life that had been lost centuries ago. The gentle poking of her fingers clad in latex, the thoroughness of her stare as she studied the skull, the precision of her note taking. His partner sometimes made science look like an art.
Booth shook his head in disbelief. He definitely had spent too much time with Brennan if he began to consider taking a dead human being apart as a delicate process. To counterbalance his rather unwanted thoughts, he straightened up and decided to barge in on her concentrated examination. He strolled over to her, tapping the folder he was holding against his thigh. Once he had come to a stop beside her, he nodded at the remains clad in fur coats, arms folded over a rusty spear, and something that looked like a helmet covering the top of the skull. "What happened to him? Did a mad horde of evil PETA protesters kill him?"
Brennan's scrutinizing wasn't paused when she replied, "No Booth, these remains date from long before PETA. They originate from-"
"Bones," he interrupted her. "When was the last time I gave a damn about things dating from the Stone Age?" He nodded satisfied upon clearly spotting annoyance in his voice. As much as he liked admiring her pouring over that dead man's remains, he liked annoying her just a tad more.
"Not the Stone Age. The Middle Ages," she corrected him curtly. "Just because these remains happen to be slightly older than the bodies you bring me doesn't mean you can disrespect them."
"Whatever. Here, got a case file for you. A recent one." Sarcasm dripped from his last words as he handed her the folder. "I put the papers you need to sign on top." Brennan opened her mouth to---without a doubt---have the last say, but was left hanging in mid-sentence when Booth's phone went off. "No talking back, Bones. Not now. I just need a simple autograph," he shot at her before flipping his phone open.
"Booth." Brennan absent-mindedly fiddled with the papers as she witnessed his expression go from bored to concentrated. "Are you sure?" he asked the person on the other side of the phone. "I see…Local police is already involved? Hm hm…What? What did you say?" Brennan arched an eyebrow when she saw him remove his phone from his ear to give it a "what the hell did I just hear" stare. He briefly looked at Brennan before gluing his phone back to his ear. "Yeah, I'm still with you…Yeah, sure. We'll be there in thirty. And buddy, don't touch the remains, you got that? Great." Without a word of goodbye he snapped his phone shut.
"New case, Booth?" Brennan informed. Zach and Hodgins' heads snapped up. With interest written all over their faces they quietly approached the pair, intent on not missing a single word if it happened to be about a fresh new case for them to work on. As interesting remains dating from the Middle Ages were, there was just something extra about a victim murdered in their own era.
"Yeah, that was the local PD. They claim they found a body. A severely decomposed one. They'd ID it themselves if they had proper resources, but since they don't they figured to call us." Obvious mock resounded in his voice when he continued. "I have a feeling they're smoking crack over there. They said the body was hanging upside down."
"That's not unusual," Brennan interrupted him. "It could indicate the victim was tortured before he was killed."
"Well, you try torturing someone as they're dangling feet up down from a bridge." He put his phone away before gently pushing Brennan's shoulder. "Come on, Bones. You know the drill. Chop chop! Sign those papers, get your bag, and let's go. We have to leave now if you want to examine an intact crime scene. Local PD might claim they don't have the resources, but that sure as hell ain't gonna stop them from trying to get the body down...even if that's against my expert advice."
"If they so much as lay one finger on that body, they'll have to deal with me," Brennan shot out. In one swift move she pulled a pen out of her pocket, signed what needed to be signed, and handed Booth the file back. Already shrugging off her lab coat she quickly disappeared to her office to get her things.
Booth was left staring after her rubbing his hands in content. "You gotta love it when she's all "touch my crime scene and you're dead"."
"Save us the mushy talk, man. Keep it for your dates," Hodgins joked coming to stand next to Booth. Booth raised his eyebrows in response. Sometimes it was for the best to keep your mouth shut.
As soon as Brennan got back, Booth absent-mindedly raised his hand to wave to Hodgins before guiding Brennan down the stairs. Hodgins watched them rush across the lab, shoulders nearly touching and fighting over whose turn it was to carry Brennan's bag. He chuckled at their antics. Sometimes those two were too funny for words. Right before they disappeared around the corner, Hodgins remembered something important. Hurrying to the top of the stairs, he yelled after them, "Don't forget my pictures, dude! I want to see that crime scene!"
They arrived just in time at the crime scene to see a small boat move to the remains.
"What the hell do they think they're doing?" Brennan exclaimed as she jumped out of the car and hurried to the edge of the bridge to look down on the river. Booth followed suit carrying her bag and pulling his badge out on the way. What he had predicted had happened. Local police were trying to get the body down even though he had ordered them to leave it alone.
"Hey!" he shouted at the men on the boat as he flashed them his badge. "Get the hell away from those remains. You're compromising our scene!" For a moment he was perplexed by what he had just said. He glanced at Brennan who fortunately hadn't noticed his slip of the tongue because she was busy sending the people in the boat pointed glares. "Great," he mumbled. "Just peachy. I'm channelling Bones here."
Fortunately local police were smart enough to listen and stop reaching for the remains. This enabled it for Booth, Brennan, and the team they had brought with them, to get their climbing equipment out and set it all up so that Brennan could repel down. She had hoisted herself in her climbing harness in no time. Within five minutes she was hooked up to an anchor point and was looking down to judge how far she'd have to descend before she reached the body. Booth squatted down where she was sitting on the edge.
"You going to be okay, Bones?"
"Sure," she assured him. "I've done this enough times. No need to get worried, Booth. You have obviously forgotten about the time we repelled down those tunnels." She checked her harness one more time and then asked, "Hand me my camera, will you?" Booth gave her what she asked for. After Brennan had hung the camera around her neck, she turned and lowered herself until she was hanging in mid-air. "I'll see you in a few, Booth," she threw at him before she began her descent to the remains.
"I'll be interviewing the police in case I'm gone when you get back up," he shouted after her.
Brennan gave him a quick nod and then turned her attention onto the body that was dangling several feet down. This was certainly going to be one of the most unique retrievals she had been involved in. Booth watched her for a moment before he got up and went off in the search of someone who could lead him to the person who had discovered the remains. Once the interviews were conducted and Brennan safely retrieved the body, they could head back to the lab and set about finding out just what happened to the victim in this remote location.
In the centre platform of the Medico-Legal lab, the victim retrieved just a few hours earlier by Brennan was laid out awaiting examination. Booth had gone off to check on the information given by the locals at the scene while she was preparing to find out whether this was a murder or not. Zach had dutifully reassembled the skeleton after cleaning it of all remaining flesh and ensuring any particulate evidence had been securely sent to Hodgins for analysis. Since the retrieval had resulted in several body parts separating from the skeleton and falling into the river, a few bones were missing. It was unlikely they would be found after being washed downstream and as she prepared to begin her examination, Brennan hoped that the missing bones would not be crucial to establishing the cause of death or identity of the victim.
With her hair secured in a ponytail and her hands covered in latex gloves, Brennan stepped up to the silver examination table and took a cursory look over the remains. Her eyes travelled from the skull down past the ribs to the pelvis and all the way to the feet, mentally confirming her initial analysis of the victim being male, aged between 21 and 26. As she focused her attention on individual bones instead of the whole, the first thing she noticed was how intact the majority of the bones were. The only damage seemed to be from exposure to the elements. But her eyes did lock onto the vertebrae and hyoid bone, along with the talus bone on the ankle. All were severely crushed and upon closer examination she established it could only have been a result of extensive force. Given that the victim had been hanging from a bungee chord, the damage to the talus bone was expected. But it was the damage to the vertebrae and hyoid that she was more interested in as it suggested the victim had been strangled.
"Zach, can you give me a hand here please," she called out.
"Sure Dr Brennan." Her young protégé hurried across the platform and snapped on a pair of gloves.
"I'd like you to take a closer look at the vertebrae and hyoid, see if you can work out what caused the damage."
"Do you have a theory?" Zach asked.
"Zach, we don't posit theories. We examine the evidence and let that tell us what happened," Brennan scolded.
"Sorry Dr Brennan," Zach mumbled as he removed the required bones and placed them on a tray to take to his station. As Brennan watched him go she couldn't help but think that Booth and his 'gut feelings', were having an influence on the young Doctor.
With Zach working on establishing the cause of the damage to the vertebrae, the next step was to find the victim's identity so the family could be informed and an investigation get started.
"Angela!" Brennan called out without lifting her head. She knew the artist was waiting nearby for her services to be called upon. Angela was always patient, biding her time until she was needed.
"You ready for me?" Angela asked as she glided up the steps to join her friend, a sketch pad tucked under her arm and a pencil behind her ear. Brennan carefully lifted the skull from the table and focused on it as she turned it in her hands.
"The skull is perfectly intact." Brennan passed the skull to Angela. "You should be able to get a reconstruction easily."
"Hey, this is me you're talking to. There's no "should" about it, sweetie." Angela smiled. "I'll have something for you in about an hour."
"Thanks Angela." Brennan nodded and turned her attention back to the remains.
True to her word, an hour later Angela returned with a sketch in one hand and a computer printout in the other. "His name was Toby Thomas, aged 25, from Virginia." She passed Brennan both pieces of paper. "His mother reported him missing ten days ago."
"Good work, Angela," Brennan complimented. She scanned the printout then looked at the sketch of the young man. A small smile tugged at her lips when she saw that Angela had drawn the victim with a smile and a sparkle in his eye. On more than one occasion, Angela had pointed out that someone so young should not look anything but happy since they should have had their whole life to look forward to. Drawing them with life in their eyes was her way of giving them back what should rightfully have been theirs.
"I'll call Booth and give him the information," Brennan nodded.
While Brennan was updating Booth, Zach was dutifully working on establishing the cause of the damage to the vertebrae. However his conscientious work was interrupted by the arrival of Hodgins.
"How's "bungee Toby" doing?" he joked as he strode over and snapped on a pair of gloves.
"It would appear that his neck was crushed," Zach replied without taking his eyes off the bone he was intensely studying.
"Man, I wish I could have gone to the crime scene." Hodgins shook his head. "Pictures just don't do it justice."
"You seem very interested in this particular case."
"Dude, the guy was found hanging from a bridge. That's hardly your run of the mill murder."
"None of our cases are particularly normal."
"But this one is…ah forget it, Zach. You don't get it." Hodgins shook his head and began to poke at the bones on the table. "You figured out how his neck was crushed yet?"
"Not conclusively. I'm working on establishing the force required to cause this amount of damage to the bones. So far our killer would have to be superhuman to manually strangle the victim."
"Are you saying we should bring Clark Kent in for interrogation?" Hodgins incredulously replied.
Zach put the vertebra he had been studying down on the table. He frowned as he replied, "How are we going to do that? Clark Kent's fictional."
Hodgins sighed and turned his eyes upwards to plead for patience. When he looked at Zach again, he smiled and said, "Once again you're right Zach-o. Reading all those comic books has really paid off."
Zach's frown deepened upon hearing the edge to Hodgins words. "Are you being sarcastic?"
"No, I'm most definitely not."
Zach gave Hodgins a weird look before he went back to his examination. Sarcasm really wasn't his kind of humour.
Several hours later the squints congregated around the Angelator while Angela uploaded the numbers and performed the calculations to create the possible scenarios leading to the death of their victim, Toby Thomas.
"Hey, you guys got anything yet?" Booth strode confidently into the room, drawing everyone's attention.
"Using Zach's calculations, I've ruled out manual strangulation as cause of death," Angela stated as she tapped at the handheld pad with a pointer pen.
"That leaves a limited number of scenarios for his death." Brennan nodded knowingly. "The most probable is that he was thrown off the bridge with the chord wrapped around his neck."
"Maybe he was just stupid enough to get the chord tangled around his neck when he jumped," Booth suggested. Everyone turned to look at him, a similar quizzical look on their faces. "What?" he asked defensively. "It's happened before."
"Did you talk to the family?" Brennan asked Booth, choosing to ignore his statement about method of death.
"Right, yeah. Toby was last seen two weeks ago by his girlfriend." He began to snicker as he spoke.
"What's so funny?" Brennan asked.
"Nothing…just, well her name was Fannie." Hodgins, Zach and Angela all turned to stare at Booth, looks of disbelief on their faces.
"Is she French?" Brennan merely asked. Booth looked a little surprised and nodded his head. "Fannie is a common French name derived from the Latin name meaning 'From France'. It may be an unusual sounding name but its nothing to laugh at," Brennan scolded and immediately Booth felt shame. He hated when Brennan put him in his place.
"Uh, right. Anyway, apparently he was going to meet some guy called Mike Devlin to do a bungee jump. He wasn't expected back for a few days but when he failed to show up after four, his mother and girlfriend grew concerned."
"They had every right to be concerned. He was dangling from a bridge decomposing for two weeks."
"So he was killed on the day he met up with Devlin?" Booth asked.
"We don't know for sure he was murdered, but he certainly died the day of the jump," Brennan nodded.
"I've got some guys tracking this Mike Devlin down. He hasn't been seen since the night of the jump. Looks suspicious," he responded.
"Okay guys, I'm ready to go." Angela pushed the button to activate the Angelator and a hazy image of a bridge and the victim appeared. "We've established that the victim was not manually strangled so I've skipped past that and created a scenario whereby the victim is strangled with the bungee chord on the bridge." The squint squad and Booth watched as the scene played out in 3D.
"In order to create the amount of damage to the bones, the killer would have to have exerted an enormous amount of force for a sustained period of time," Zach explained. "This scenario would certainly have killed the victim but I doubt it would create the amount of damage we found."
As Angela began to load the next scenario, Booth turned to Brennan and whispered in her ear. "How about a little bet Bones?" he asked. She pulled away from him and threw him a quizzical look.
"A bet?" she asked.
"Yeah. You seem to think my idea of Toby getting his neck trapped in the chord is nonsense. If I'm right, you have to do a bungee jump with me."
"And if I'm right?" Brennan asked quickly.
"I'll do something you want to do, like going to one of those boring exhibits or something," Booth nodded. Either way, he figured he would win because doing something with Brennan would involve spending plenty of time with her. She contemplated the idea for a moment then smiled.
"Sure. You're on." Her voice carried confidence, not for a moment believing Booth's outrageous suggestion to be correct. Suddenly Angela cleared her throat to draw their attention back to the Angelator.
"Sorry Ang." Booth nodded meekly.
"Yeah, I bet you are," Hodgins threw in. "We're trying to solve a murder here, man. Make plans for bungee sex another time."
Angela rolled her eyes and lightly slapped Hodgins before throwing everyone a smile. "Okay, so next scenario is the killer used the chord to strangle the victim while he hung off the edge of the bridge." Angela clicked another button and a second scenario appeared, one where the victim had the chord wrapped around his neck and he was knocked off the bridge, his own weight causing the strangulation.
"The most plausible scenario," Brennan nodded. "Zach?"
"I concur. However my calculations show a greater force was exerted on the victim. I do not believe the victim's weight would be enough to cause the damage." Booth turned to Brennan and nudged her, a cheeky grin tugging at his lips. She glared at him and folded her arms across her chest.
"Our last scenario." Angela clicked one final button and the team watched as the victim climbed onto the bridge, jumped off then as he bounced back up, his neck becoming tangled in the loop of the chord.
"The force exerted on the victim would be more than sufficient to cause the damage." Zach nodded as he cocked his head to the side, scrutinising the Angelator image.
"This means it was an accidental death, not murder." Angela stated.
"Right, case closed." Booth clapped his hands together and moved over beside Brennan. He nudged her arm and leaned in close. "Hey Bones..." She turned and glared at him, knowing what was coming.
"You know what this means," he whispered as he rubbed his hands together and grinned like the cat that got the bird.
"You ready to go, love?"
Brennan ignored him as she shuffled closer to the edge of the bridge. In just a few moments the short broad-shouldered man with a cockney accent standing behind her would hook the bungee chord to her ankle harness. He'd lead her to the edge of the bridge and then she'd have to take the leap. Brennan gulped at the prospect. She wasn't scared easily, but the thought of diving off a bridge straight at the broad river below unsettled her more than she was willing to admit. Brennan straightened up, tilted her head back, and tried to gain control of her rapid breathing. A hand being suddenly placed on her shoulder startled her. When she turned, she found Booth beside her.
"Hey Bones, the man asked if you're ready."
As she went back to staring at the sky, she waved him away. "In a minute, Booth. I just need another minute." She got exactly ten seconds of quiet before he burst out in laughter. Brennan turned around again, annoyance written all over her face. Booth tried his best to calm down when he spotted her scowl.
Ending his laughter with a subtle cough, he grinned at her. "Very cute, Bones. The whole breathing thing is just adorable. If I didn't know any better I'd say you were using breathing techniques meant for when you're in labour." He leaned in and whispered loudly, "You're not scared of jumping, are you?"
If he had already been attached to a bungee chord, Brennan would've gladly pushed him over the edge. Instead she had to shuffle closer and invade his personal space. Bringing her face close to his, she darkly stared at him. "Of course I'm not!"
"Good," Booth lightly replied. "Because for a second there I actually believed you were thinking about fleeing the scene and leave this whole bungee jump thing up to me." His tone switched to teasing when he smiled at her with a twinkle in his eyes. "Though I have to admit that rubbing a sudden dash for your car in your face for the rest of your life is quite appealing."
"Do you see me running, Booth?" Brennan shot out, shuffling closer to try and intimidate him.
He held his hands up in surrender. "Chill Bones. I was just messing with you."
Brennan's shoulders slumped as she backed away. "I know, Booth. I was just..."
"A tad worked up?" Booth offered.
Brennan gave him a look as she shuffled over to the edge of the bridge again. Booth followed her lead. He had to shuffle as well thanks to his ankle harness limiting his movements. They both stared down at the deep blue river running hundreds of feet beneath them. As Brennan carefully calculated the distance between them and the river with a worried look, Booth furtively studied her. A soft breeze was playing with her hair while the late afternoon sun set her reddish locks on fire. For the briefest seconds he allowed himself to get lost in the way the sun spilled over her features, highlighted her high cheekbones, and gave her eyes a mysterious glow. He shook his head and quickly averted his eyes to the yellow rubber boat bobbing up and down at the side of the river. After their jump, someone would come and collect them with that rubber boat. If they ever jumped, that was. Seeing as how Brennan was nervously drawing her bottom lip between her teeth, it was safe to say she was worried. A slow grin spread over his face. She was just begging to be teased.
"I can't believe this! Not once I thought I'd live the day Temperance Brennan was close to chickening out. Really Bones, I can't believe you! You've trekked through Tibet avoiding the Chinese army, you've worked in war areas where you risked having your head blown off by a stray hand grenade, you've repelled down a similar bridge days ago, and now you're actually thinking about making a run for it!"
She glared at him as she landed her elbow painfully hard in his side. "Shut it, Booth!"
"Are you two lovebirds ready or not? We don't have all day you know," Tom, the guy with the cockney accent, interrupted. He gestured at the two other men who were with them on the bridge and the people down below in the rubber boat. It was nearing the end of their working day. They wanted Booth and Brennan to jump within the next three minutes so that they could pack everything up and go home.
Brennan sighed and grabbed her hair band to twist her hair up in a pony tale. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this," she mumbled at Booth. Maybe she should've mentioned that the thought of diving down from a great height slightly unnerved her. There was a huge difference between repelling down and swan diving head first---at least in her opinion.
"Come on Bones. You'll survive. I'm jumping with you, remember?" Booth spread his arms a little and waggled his eyebrows. Brennan hesitantly smiled. At least she wasn't jumping alone.
Before either of them could change their minds, they were ordered to stand close to each other while Tom checked their harnesses and attached the heavy bungee jump chord. "Right, you're good to go," he said satisfied. "Remember to hold on tight to each other. We wouldn't want you to bump heads at the bottom." He gently ushered them closer to the edge.
"I read about these tandem jumps. They're claimed to be dangerous. If one of the jumpers doesn't jump, the other one gets dragged down," Brennan said.
"Yeah, he's called "the chicken"," Booth replied. "So...You ready, chicken?"
Brennan grumbled in response. "Booth, I'm not a chicken!"
"I'll believe that when you jump."
Mumbling a curse under her breath, Brennan curled her arms around his waist before she threw another glance over the edge. Her worries hit her full-force again. "Booth, are you sure..." she began.
"Yeah Bones. I'm absolutely sure," he retorted before wrapping his arms around her shoulders and pulling her close. "Now...Less talking, more jumping!"
The next few seconds passed before Brennan could object. Under loud cheers of Tom and his crew, Booth counted to three. The moment he said "three", he tipped over the edge taking Brennan with him in a firm embrace. Brennan was so surprised that it didn't even occur to her to close her eyes. A feeling of weightlessness tickled her stomach as they dropped down faster than she had imagined. Gusts of wind tugged at their clothes and for a moment the setting sun blinded them. As they held on tight to each other, it seemed as if their flight down was lasting forever. All the way down she kept staring at Booth. He hadn't closed his eyes either. Her worries faded and were replaced by utter joy upon feeling adrenaline surging through her body. Booth felt it too. She could see it in the grin he was giving her and in the glint in his eyes as he tightened his grip on her. That one moment where they got lost in each others gazes, those few seconds they were soaring in between heaven and earth, Brennan knew she'd never forget them. They were engraved in her mind to be treasured later.
Their head-long dive came to an end sooner than she expected. Booth broke their eye contact to check how close they were to the river. When he saw it approaching rapidly, he stretched out his left hand---just in time to dip his fingertips in the chill water before they were pulled up again. Both of them hadn't made a single sound on their way down, but when they bounced back up and dove down again, they both burst out in a fit of laughter. The second time they came close to the river, Brennan reached out to touch it like Booth had done, but the bungee chord jerked her up again before she made contact with the water. They made two more small dives before the chord stopped pulling them back up. While they were waiting for the yellow rubber boat to come and collect them, Booth grinned broadly at Brennan.
"So," he said before switching to a Joey-from-Friends accent. "How you doing?"
"Booth," Brennan laughed, hitting him square in the chest. "Ditch the accent, will you?"
He feigned hurt as he put his hand on his heart. "I beg your pardon, Bones? That hurt!" He shook his head, his grin still plastered on his face. "Let me rephrase that...So, what's a girl like you doing dangling in a place like this?"
Laughing softly, Brennan squeezed his waist. Booth's exaggerated flirting attempts were keeping her mind from the fact that they hanging upside down over a river. From the corner of her eye she could see the two men steer their rubber boat toward them. Right before they reached them, she stared at her partner memorizing the sight of him dangling upside down with the setting sun behind him. They had just shared a warm smile when one of the men in the boat pulled them down by tugging at Booth's outstretched arm while the other man unhooked the bungee chord. With a soft thud they fell down in the rubber boat. Brennan quickly sat upright and began fiddling with her ankle harness. One of the men of the bungee jump company soon came to her help. As he was loosening her harness, Brennan glanced to the side to find Booth staring at her. He softly smiled when he tentatively placed his hand on top of hers.
"You did well, chicken," he kindly said. Brennan pulled her hand from his grasp to smack his shoulder. Booth mumbled teasingly as he rubbed the sore spot, "Fine. No more compliments for you."
Brennan didn't respond. She leaned back on her hands to look up at where they had jumped off the bridge. "This was fun, Booth."
"Yeah," Booth agreed. "It's something to do again some other time." She glanced at him, surprised.
"Really? Are you going to do a solo jump then?"
"Nah," Booth replied, draping his arm around her. "No solo jumps for me. I'm sticking with tandem bungee jumps. It wouldn't be any fun without my chicken."
Niah: I can't believe this is already our second collaboration! (remains silent for a few minutes) Oh right, this is the part where we promote our website, right?
Jemb: Right, let's do some shameless plugging.
Niah: Do we have to? Just tell them to haul their asses over to the SLP homepage so we can get back to having pointless but funny conversations.
Jemb: You might want to tell them what SLP actually is, Niah...
Niah: You're kidding, right? I mean, who DOESN'T know what SLP is? You might as well ask me to explain the Easter Bunny's job description!
Jemb: Btw, did you notice how long this story is, Niah?
Niah: Haven't we been over this before? I thought we already had 800 more words than we intented to? Though I have to say that with our lengthy convos, I'm sure it's 2 000 words by now. lol