Title: The Mouth of Loneliness
Characters: Booth, Brennan
Rating: K or PG
Spoilers: Through 1x01.
Timeline: Set sometime after the shooting range scene and the scene where Brennan finds Booth watch a video of Cleo Eller's graduation video.
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
Story Notes: The title comes from a poem in Nayirah Waheed's salt. Consider reading it; the whole book gives me shivers.
Author's Note: So, it looks like I haven't written anything Bones-related in 6 years. Rusty? Um, just a little. ;) I don't know if I'm back for a while or just back for this ficlet, but here I am, and yeah, it feels like coming home - at least in a fandom-y way. I am a total sap; I admit it without (too much) shame.

I watched the very first episode of Bones again yesterday and still loved it. Now, I'm many seasons behind, but I'm contemplating trying to catch up. We'll see how that goes...

Come say hi if you feel up to it; there are a lot of old aliases I'll remember if I see them again. I am: 39, have a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old, am still a shipper in several fandoms, and am still reeling from the US presidential election. (Yes, I'm American.) How are you? What's new in your life?

If you're a new reader, welcome.

Thank you for reading, and if you leave feedback, thanks for that, too.

The Mouth of Loneliness

Booth pressed his palms to cold tile. Hot water - almost scalding - beat a punishing rhythm against the muscles of his back, and he bowed his head, clenching his teeth and letting his hair soak through and the world narrow to steam and -

Her eyes.

At the shooting range, he'd intentionally crowded her, thrusting his body into her space to argue about Senator Bethlehem, and whether it was cops or squints who solved crimes. He'd wondered how far he could push her before she'd retreat, but she had held steady against his challenge, spine straight and lips twisted in a sneer he'd burned to erase with his own mouth. Would her condescension taste sweet or tart on his tongue?

Standing that close, her breath had puffed along the skin of his face and he'd almost forgotten what he'd wanted to say. Standing that close, he'd seen the flashes of blue, green, and gray that made up her ridiculous, unnerving, gorgeous eyes.

Pictures didn't capture the reality of those eyes. He'd seen the photographs in her file, of course, but they hadn't prepared him for the raw emotion he knew he saw in them when she stood in front of him. Oh sure, she was all logic and rationality and "Your gut is not scientific, Agent Booth," but her eyes whispered secrets her mouth did not.

Booth lifted his head and slicked back his hair with shaky hands, remembering the footage he'd watched of Cleo Eller, wearing a brilliant blue cap and gown, grinning for the camera with her mother at her side. An ordinary moment for ordinary people - people who'd loved and been loved.

Temperance Brennan had more degrees than he'd know what to do with. But had anyone hugged her proudly at her graduations? Had her eyes lit with joy like Cleo's, or had they been shadowed with loneliness because her parents and brother hadn't been there? At least he'd had Pops and Jared; who had stood for her and by her? Who had loved her?

With one hand he switched off the shower, and with the other he scrubbed at his tired eyes. Sighing, he roughly toweled his hair, impatient with his own muddled thoughts.

He was so screwed.