P.S. This has two parts.
Timeframe: This is set sometime after Santa in the Slush.
Presbyopia: The loss of the eye's ability to change focus to see near objects.
Chapter 1: Diagnosis
And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me...
Oh she makes me feel like I could be a tower
A big strong tower
She got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see
- KT Tunstall
Brennan was watching him with what he (mostly affectionately) thought of as her pinchy face. Her lips were kind of puckered, like she'd just eaten something really sour. When her face wore that expression, he never had to wait long to learn what had caused it. "Why are you holding the report so far away from your face?" she asked. Bingo.
"It's called reading, Bones. It involves trying to decipher squiggles on paper." He dropped the report next to him. "You should try it sometime." His head pounded so hard he thought the room might actually be shaking.
She sniffed and raised her chin. "Your sarcasm is not appreciated."
"Sorry, I guess I'm a little cranky." Booth groaned and rubbed his temples.
"Do you have a headache?" she asked, her tone noticeably softer.
"Yes," he said through gritted teeth, "I do."
"Do you often get headaches when reading?"
"No. Maybe." He sighed and tipped his head back, squeezing his eyes shut and wishing he could just sprawl out on her office couch and take a nap. Would she freak out if he laid his head in her lap and asked her to massage it for just a minute? Yeah, probably. No sense in asking; she'd most likely kick his ass seven ways to Sunday. Definitely not what he needed at the moment. "Yes," he finally said, trying not to whimper.
"You should make an appointment with an optometrist. I suspect you have presbyopia."
He opened one eye and squinted at her. "Presbe-wha?"
"Pres-be-O-pe-uh," she said, patiently sounding out the word for him. He closed his eyes again and slumped down on the couch, wiggling a little in an effort to get comfortable. He tried to tune her out. "Age-related farsightedness caused by–"
His eyes shot open and he sat up straight. "Hello, I'm thirty-five, Bones. Thirty-five," he said, pounding the couch for emphasis. "And, might I add, in peak condition. Age-related, my ass." He huffed and crossed his arms over his chest, consciously flexing them.
"It can begin as early as at age 35, Booth. It's nothing to be ashamed of. With time, the crystalline lens in the eye hardens, causing a progressive decrease in focusing ability."
"Fantastic," he said, throwing his hands up in the air. "So what you're telling me is that I'm going blind."
"No, blindness is defined as–"
"Oh, for crying outloud. What should I do?"
"As I suggested, consult an optometrist. He or she will first perform an exam in order to assess how severe the problem is, and then prescribe the correct lens power."
"You're welcome." She gazed at him expectantly.
"Don't look at me like that; I didn't say thank you, and I'm not going to."
"I'm aware of that. But you should have." The corners of her mouth quirked up, and she slanted him a glance out of the corner of her eye. "Fortunately for you, I won't charge you for the advice."
"Did you just crack a joke?"
"Yes, I believe I did." A pause. "How was it?"
"Eh, not bad. Now... Could you please be quiet? Just for five minutes?" There was a definite pleading note in his voice, but hey, desperate times called for desperate measures.
She rose from her spot beside him and walked over to her desk. "I'll get you a Tylenol.""Thanks, Bones." A massage would be nice too—she looked like she had good hands—but maybe that would be pushing his luck. He shut his eyes again.
1 week later...
The doorbell rang, and Booth jumped, jarred out of the light doze he'd fallen into. "Hmm... Coming," he mumbled under his breath. It rang again just as he stood up. "Jesus, I said I'm coming." He shuffled to the front door, feeling every one of his thirty-five years, only unbolting and opening it after he'd looked through the peephole.
Brennan stood in the hall, looking him up and down and frowning when her gaze stopped at his mouth. "You were asleep, weren't you?"
"What? No. I was reading through the notes on the case while I waited for you to get here."
She stepped inside, and he caught a whiff of her perfume as she brushed past him. Mm. Nice. "I'm surprised the Mitchell file elicited such a reaction from you," she called over her shoulder as she marched into his living room.
"What reaction?" He had no idea what she was talking about, so he scratched the back of his neck and snuck a peek at her ass. Damn, the woman sure knew how to fill out a pair of jeans.
"What?" he asked, hoping she hadn't caught him staring.
She raised an eyebrow, and her lips twitched suspiciously. "You have a bit of saliva right here," she said, pointing her index finger at the corner of his mouth.
"Ha ha. Very funny. I do not."
When she turned away to take off her coat, he took a quick swipe at his mouth, wincing when his fingers came away damp. Great, so not only did he own his first pair of reading glasses—and fall asleep at 7:00 in the evening—he now drooled in his sleep. From there it was a slippery slope to, God forbid, Viagra and Depends. He shuddered. They'd be carting him off to a nursing home before he knew it.
Ignoring the knowing glance she flicked him, he sat down and picked up the file. Flipping the page, he reached for his glasses and slid them on. They still felt funny sitting on his nose, but he had to admit they made it easier to read. And, as a bonus, no more headaches. "So, I think we need to go back and talk to that neighbor, Mrs. Sanderson, again. She definitely knows something. What do you think?"
He glanced up from his notes and tipped his head down to look at her over the rims of his glasses. She was staring back at him with the oddest expression on her face. If he didn't know better, he'd think... No, there was no way. "Bones? What's wrong?"
"You went to the optometrist." A tilt of her head and one long, slow blink. His heart thumped in his chest.
"You're wearing glasses." Temperance Brennan—master of the obvious. She licked her lips and edged closer, twisting the top button of her shirt and staring at him with an intensity he wasn't used to having directed at him. Toward the bone puzzles she liked to piece together at her lab, yes. Toward him, definitely not. He wasn't sure yet if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
At the very least, a weird thing. "Uh yeah, I am. What can I say? You were right." He laughed and shook his head. "I gotta tell ya, as much as I hate them, they do make it easier to read."
Her hand brushed his as she reached out and took the papers from him. He watched, unable to look away, as she straightened them so that all their edges lined up neatly, and then gently set them down on the floor. "In the interest of disclosure, I think I should tell you something, Booth."
"What?" he said, giving her his full attention.
"I'm finding you strangely attractive right now."
His eyebrows shot up, and he fumbled for an appropriate response. "Why strangely, Bones? Why not just attractive?" Idiot. He mentally smacked himself in the head.
"All right, then," she said, nodding. "I'm finding you very attractive right now." His mouth went dry.
"Oh. Ok." With hands that shook a little, he took off his glasses and set them down on the couch. He only needed them to read, thank God. And uh, no reading happening at the moment.
Then he turned his attention back to Bones, and watched, transfixed, as she bit her bottom lip. Watched as it first whitened and then reddened as she released it, and the blood rushed back in.
Truth be told, his own blood was rushing. South.
Booth almost jumped when she picked up the glasses and put them back on him, her fingers grazing his face and his hair as she did so. She was eyeing him like he was dessert. Which, if he thought about it, both kinda scared and turned him on. In roughly equal parts.
Clapping his hands on his thighs, he dove into the first topic that popped into his head. "So, have you eaten yet? How about dinner? You hungry?" The words tumbled out, one after the other.
"I'm starving," she said, a slow, predatory smile curving her lips.
He gulped. Uh oh.