Title: Dark Seed
Author: smitha-r
Fandom(s): Bones
Pairing(s): None, really... omfg.
Rating: PG
Summary: After the trial is over, Booth has a lot on his mind.
Author's Notes: Spoilers for 3x12 - The Verdict in the Story. Unbetaed. I'm so proud of myself for writing what is essentially gen. And yes, I have been watching that one scene over and over again. wibbles

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I wasn't lying up there. I didn't commit perjury. I wasn't lying. Booth repeated the mantra inside his head, all the while smiling and laughing and having a couple drinks. After being divided for so long, Bones and her people could not resist the chance to come together and celebrate with everyone. Never had Booth seen a happier group of people on a losing prosecution team.

He went through the motions, accepting a warm and thankful handshake from Max, who thanked him for taking the stand at the eleventh hour. Then Booth reassured Zack (with a firm slap on the back) that he was no less smarter for not having known the trick with the red dye. He found Sweets and let him know that he and Brennan were fine with him watching them interact, at which point Sweets broke into the goofiest grin ever and started using the words wicked-awesome a lot. Cam bumped into him and told him that he had done well, working for the benefit of both the prosecution and defense.

But he didn't talk to Brennan.

Booth knew that he had only done what Brennan had wanted him to do, that she wanted the jury in doubt. He knew he had done well; Brennan's fierce hug on the steps of the court house, the thankful look in her eyes, let him know as much. What he had done... as long as it ended with Brennan hugging her father, who walked away a free man, everything should have been just fine. But it wasn't.

Because maybe he had lied.

He had never ever once entertained the thought of Bones committing murder. The very idea was preposterous. She was a kind person with morals, who valued the weight of every human life she came into contact with. But thanks to his own words, thanks to the path the defense attorney had led him down, a dark seed had been planted in his mind, burying its roots deep.

She had time. She had known what and where the murder weapon was. She had motive. She was deadly with or without a weapon. She was clever beyond recognition, and therefore had the smarts to pull off and hide a murder. And there was that methodical, rational, detached frame of mind she demonstrated. Sweets' words had disturbed him before he had gone up to testify and now he knew why.

He knew that he and Sweets had only been tools in developing reasonable doubt in the jury members. But Booth couldn't stop himself from turning the thought over and over in his head. He would never be able to wipe out that mental image of Brennan standing before the flaming body of the Deputy-Director, with nothing but cold resolve in her eyes. And it felt like he was betraying her each time he did. Maybe he had lied on the stand; maybe Bones was capable of committing murder after all.

Angela sidled up to him as he sipped his beer and watched Brennan laugh with Russ. "You're awfully quiet. What's up?"

Booth nodded towards the scene. "I'm just thankful that Bones has her family back. It's nice, seeing her happy like this."

"True. But that's not why you're quiet." She countered, ever observant.

Booth didn't reply for a long while, gathering his thoughts. "It's just... I can't stop thinking that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, y'know?"

"Unless a hurricane passes through the orchard and drops the apple a thousand feet away." Angela replied with a frown, turning to face Booth. "You really got blind-sided by those questions, huh?"

"You could say that." Booth swallowed the last of his drink before continuing. "Do you think she could do it?"

"Yes."

Booth looked at Angela with shock. "You didn't even hesitate! You think she could have killed Kirby?"

"No, I think she's capable of murder." Angela said as he looked at her with surprise. "Booth, you have to remember that we all are. Given enough of a threat to our survival or the survival to the ones we love, everyone has a limit."

Booth sighed. "I just wish... I keep wondering what would have happened if things had been different, her mom and dad stuck around, one or two bad choices, suddenly she's taking part in the family business. I don't want or need to think about Brennan living like that, but I can't stop my brain from imagining it."

"It's only natural that you're thinking about it, given the way the defense all but beat your testimony out of you." Angela patted his shoulder comfortingly. "But she's not a cold-blooded killer, Booth. She's not her father. She's our Dr. Brennan, champion of justice and ignorer of social cues."

"Yeah, that sounds like Bones." Booth smiled. "Thanks, Angela."

"You're welcome." Angela suddenly smirked. "But she can be dangerous, believe me."

"Do I even want to know?" Booth looked at Angela with mock suspicion. Anyway, I already knew that. Maybe that was what was making all of this so hard for him. There was more to Bones than met the eye.

Angela didn't answer Booth's question, instead pulling him back into the crowd so that they could join in on this happy moment that their Brennan would never forget.

--end--