Title: Between the Lines
Chapter Title: Pretense
Words: 1435
Rating: T for some language
Timeline:
Set not too long after 3x13: The Verdict in the Story.
Notes: This grew out of a writing prompt posted by willgirl. If this looks familiar, that's because Chapter 1 was in All That Lies Between Us.


Watching her apply lipstick shouldn't be this interesting. Booth stood in the doorway of Brennan's office and found himself nearly hypnotized, his gaze tracking each stroke of red pigment on Brennan's mouth. Cultural significance blah blah blah, he could practically hear her say. To him, it just looked hot. "Objectifying yourself, Bones?" he asked, sarcastic smile firmly in place.

"I have a date," she replied, glancing down at a small mirror in her hand and sounding way too preoccupied for his liking. When she pressed her lips together, Booth nearly groaned at the sight, his body choosing that inconvenient moment to notice for the thousandth time that his partner was a gorgeous woman with a gorgeous mouth.

"Really?" He injected a note of skepticism into his voice as he strolled toward her.

"Don't sound so surprised, Booth."

Shrugging he said, "It's just that you hadn't mentioned you were seeing anyone." Leaning against the edge of her desk, he watched her retract the lipstick and stick the cap back on. When he'd decided to stop by, he'd expected to find Brennan nose deep in bone fragments or paperwork, not doing something girly like putting on makeup. For another man's benefit, his brain helpfully added.

"Do I tell you everything about my personal life?" she said.

"Actually, yeah. Usually you do." He barely repressed a shudder as her question reminded him of Sully and every excruciating detail of their relationship that she'd shared with him.

"Then I must have forgotten to mention it. It's a first date." When she reached for her purse, Booth snatched the tube of lipstick off the desk.

"Give it back," Brennan said, swatting his leg.

Satisfied now that he had her full attention, Booth ignored her and turned over the lipstick. "Ooooh, Scarlet Temptation." He snickered and glanced at Brennan. "Who the hell comes up with these names?" Not that she needed lipstick; her lips looked pretty damned tempting completely bare. Not that he'd noticed. Much.

"I'm going to be late." She shoved back her chair and stood, grabbing for the lipstick. He danced away from her, holding the treasure over his head. "Could you please stop being childish and give it back?"

He grinned. "Nope. Not till you tell me about the tool of the day."

"What?"

He rolled his eyes. "Who's this guy you're going out with tonight?"

"That's none of your business," she shot back, frowning.

He raised his eyebrows. "Since when?" If it had to do with Brennan, it was his business. Simple as that. He'd stopped asking himself exactly why that was the case a while ago. An anthropological inevitability. Or something. The sky was blue, grass was green, and Brennan was his business -- whether she liked it or not.

"Well, it's not as if you tell me about all the women you date -- or the ones with whom you satisfy your biological urges." She made another grab for the lipstick, but he palmed it with his other hand and held it behind his back.

"That's different." He really wished she'd stop talking about biological urges. The squint speak he'd gotten used to. But hearing those two words had the unfortunate effect of reminding him of the urges he'd been having whenever he came within ten feet of her.

"Oh? How so?"

"For starters, my track record's better than yours. None of the women I've dated are murderers or—"

"I'm going to ignore that comment," she said, giving him her snootiest look, "but only because I don't have time to engage in a debate with you right now."

"Oh, so now you don't have time for your partner?" he asked, annoyed by her changing priorities.

"Did you need something?" she asked, raising her arms in a questioning gesture. "From where I'm standing, it appears that you're only here to irritate me."

Moving more quickly than he thought she could given that she was wearing heels, Brennan lunged, catching his hand and trying to pry his fingers open. Booth stepped back, pulling her with him. She collided with his chest and he grinned. Having her this close wasn't exactly a bad thing.

Her blue eyes narrowed. "Give it back," she said, her warm breath puffing against his face.

"No." Laughing, Booth yanked his hand free and shoved the lipstick in his right pocket.

Arching an eyebrow, she smirked at him. "You think I wouldn't put my hand in your pocket?"

She'd do it. He didn't doubt that for a second. "I don't know. Would you?" he countered.

With her eyes locked on his, Brennan reached toward him. He captured her wrist before she got too close. "Trust me, Bones" -- still holding her wrist, he stepped forward, his free hand curving around the back of her neck -- "you don't need lipstick."

He kept his eyes open until the last possible second, watching her watch him as he leaned closer and closer. To his surprise, she didn't pull away. Even though she could have stopped him, she didn't. Her lips parted, and she inhaled. When her eyes finally closed, he let his slide shut, too.

Her lips were softer than he remembered. Warmer. Moving slowly against his like every single fantasy he'd never admit having. Like she wanted this, him, as badly as he wanted her. There were no holidays at stake and no family members to disappoint, he realized with satisfaction. This was purely about them, and if she didn't want him, well, she could just pull away.

No steamboats to count this time. Good thing, too, because he couldn't have kept count if he'd tried.

He flicked his tongue against her bottom lip, tasting lipstick she didn't need. A distant part of his mind recognized this was way over the line, but he didn't fucking care. Who knew why he'd done it? The only thing that mattered -- the only thing Booth cared about -- was that he'd done it, and now she stood pressed against him, arms wound 'round his neck, while he swallowed the tiny noises she made in the back of her throat.

Awareness returned slowly, but return it did. Booth finally had to acknowledge they were standing in Brennan's office making out. Yeah, it was evening, so many people would have left already, but anyone who looked through those big, sparkling windows would see them. There was one small problem: he didn't want to stop. He wanted to touch her -- wherever and however she'd let him.

Booth pulled away, reluctantly breaking the kiss. His hand drifted up from her hip, and he brushed his thumb over her naked mouth. "I told you you didn't need lipstick." He'd kissed it off her, he thought, smiling.

"I have to go," she said, sounding guarded. Without looking at him, she retreated, dipping her head to look at her watch.

"Go where?"

"How many times must I tell you this? I have a date." He watched as she marched to her desk and gathered her purse and a stack of manila folders.

"You're seriously going to go out with this guy? After we..."

"After what, Booth?" she asked, eyes flashing. "What? One more kiss that didn't mean anything?"

"The hell it didn't," he replied. How many times were they going to play this game? "And for your information, you kissed me back."

"So? That was a reflex response."

"Reflex? That's lame, even for you."

"I don't know what you expected." She shrugged. "Did you think you would kiss me and I would just fall at your feet?"

"No. Of course not."

"Then?" she asked, regarding him coolly, lips pressed into a thin line.

He hadn't planned to kiss her. He'd just done it. Now, with her staring at him like that, the right words wouldn't come. "Bones..." Frustrated because he could feel her slipping away, Booth sighed and wiped a hand over his mouth.

Brennan bowed her head for a moment before turning and walking away, the click of her high-heeled shoes echoing off the floor. Frozen, Booth watched her go. When he could no longer see her, he collapsed on her couch, hands balled into fists and stomach tied in knots.

Shoulders slumped, he reached into his pocket and pulled out her lipstick. He rolled it in his hand, staring at it and seeing Brennan's face during those heartbeats before he'd kissed her. He laughed, the sound as hollow as he felt.

Man, had he fucked that up.