Title: Two-Way Street 3/3
Spoilers: Up to The Beaver in the Otter
Disclaimer: HH owns my OTP. FBI owns Hoover. Thomas Harris owns Hannibal Lecter. I own a pile of debt. Thank you school loans.
A/N: Say what? this isn't dead? Apologies. I thought I was done with this. My muse ran away with my money and left me for dead. I jumped on another ship. But lo and behold! My muse has returned and was angry about the character assassination that occurred in the last two episodes, demanding that I ratify it immediately. Be advised, there is no sexin', nor is there any baby insinuations. I can't write sex and I after studying all the havoc that pregnancy reeks on the body, I do not believe in these cuddly parasites and neither will Brennan.
This is unbeta'd, and written frantically while I studied for my Pharmacology final… because pharm is my muse's agonist. If you get that, you get to prompt me for a ficlet.
Booth clutched the steering wheel tightly as he turned into the garage below the Hoover building. He'd just endured an agonizingly long trip in the car with Bones and Sweets, bickering about God knows what. He'd tuned them out nearly thirty minutes ago, focusing instead on the Current State of Affairs.
As it were, his dearly beloved co-pilot over there, genius that she was, still had not puzzled herself out of any corners. In fact, he was pretty sure she'd just made it more complex. Which was fantastic. Booth glanced over at Brennan as she tucked her hair behind her ear and huffed.
He grinned at her irritation, but it quickly reminded him of his own ire. How much longer would he have to wait? How much longer was he going to have to drop subtle hints or prod her along, only to have to retract at the last second? Booth was all for being patient and just rewards, but this was pushing it.
Booth parked the SUV and climbed out, purposefully striding ahead of his wildly gesticulating partner and Sweets, who looked like he was about to have a conniption. Walking towards the elevator, he received doleful looks from passing agents, even a chuckle or two. Rolling his eyes he continued on toward the elevators, he choose to hop in one that was nearly full right before it closed. He shook his head at their obliviousness as he pressed the button to his floor, exhaling deeply as he moved out of the way for others to get off and on.
When he finally exited the elevator, the one across the way pinged and let out Brennan and Sweets, still at it, still unaware of the raucous they were making. He deserved a medal, or a plaque, no wait… a statue. That's right, he deserved a statue for having to endure this kind of torture for hours on end.
"Yes, well. I find your science distinctly lacking," argued Brennan as she walked next to Sweets.
"Guys, knock it off," said Booth as he turned the corner, stopping to face them. "Congratulations for perpetuating the longest-running debate in history. Personally, I don't care if Sweets' job entails that he pick pansies and eat kittens for a living. As long as we catch the bad guy, that's all that matters. So please, just… give it a rest."
Appropriately chastened, Sweets glanced at Brennan whose look was similar to his own. Except hers bordered on mild indignation.
"Booth, maybe I should talk to the suspect. I don't think you're in the proper mindset for an interrogation."
"Mindset? You want to talk to me about mindset? I just had to sit in a car for two hours listening to you two," he waffled his fingers between them in exasperation, "argue over hard and soft science. You're lucky I didn't try to climb out with the car still moving."
He turned quickly and walked into the viewing room outside interrogation, leaving Brennan and Sweets in the hallway.
"Eat kittens? How long has he been like this?" asked Sweets, fist at his waist and his other scratching his forehead.
"Irritable or insufferable?"
"He's always been a little of both, but it's gotten much worse lately. Much worse. Probably since we had that cannibal with the wired jaw — the one everyone kept calling Hannibal Lecter."
"That was over two months ago," said Sweets as he started pacing. "Although, a lot of stuff has happened since then. I mean, he had that concussion, he got kidnapped, Jared left for India… the list goes on."
"Yes but —"
"I'm fine doing the interrogation solo, but I will not repeat what happened. So you might want to get in there," Booth interrupted as he waved his arms towards the viewing room. He gave them a disapproving look while he walked into the interrogation room.
"Something's up. Maybe you should take him out, get him to wind down."
"He can do that just fine on his own."
"I just think he seems like he's stressed out."
Though Brennan seemed to get a look of understanding on her face, she didn't betray her thoughts. Just pinned Sweets with a mildly withering look.
"Is that your clinical diagnosis or is that just an observation?" snipped Brennan as walked into the viewing room, waiting for Booth to begin.
Sweets wisely kept his mouth shut.
"Bones. Got the judge to sign the warrant. Not going to tell you how many favors I called in but —" Booth stopped as he entered her office, caught short by the sight of his partner in very non-business like attire. "Woah there hot stuff. Where you goin'?"
Brennan looked up at him from where she stood behind her desk, leaning over her keyboard as she typed. Silky looking black dress, V-neck, to the knees. He was trying not to gawk openly as she continued on in ignorance of her effect on him.
"Why, what time is it?"
"Nearly eight o'clock. So… where are you off to?" Booth was trying hard to not let his eyes drift downwards, but she was leaning over and the cut of her dress definitely enhanced the view.
"A date," Brennan replied as she stood finally, brushing her hair behind her ear.
"Oh." Booth cast around for something, anything to say, but all that he had was either a curse word or a monosyllable. Looking down at the warrant, he remembered his sole excuse for dropping by. He pocketed the paper as he tried to hide his frown.
"I uh, I guess I'll head off then, see if I can get a peak around Mr. Mullet's house."
Brennan fixed him with a stern look. "It's pronounced Moo-lay, Booth. And no you aren't."
"Why not?" he watched as she grabbed her purse and walked up to him, her heals clicking softly.
"You're coming with me."
"Ha! Ha, no. As fun as it would be to see you bond with some… muscle-bound paleontologist or something like that, I think I'll pass."
Booth stood and walked around her, fiddling with his tie.
"Booth," she said in a tone that made him stop and swallow hard. He'd been waiting months for her to say his name just like that, and now that she did it, he wasn't sure what to do. When he heard her footsteps approach him again, he turned slowly to face her.
"I've got a table reserved for two, you're hungry, I'm hungry. Let's go."
He wasn't sure how to interpret that.
"Did you get stood up?"
The sad grin that crossed her face made him regret the question, but he needed to make sure she knew what she was doing.
"And you… you're asking me… on a date?" he said it hesitantly; confused to her intentions since her approach was so blasé.
"If, by date, you mean a meal shared between to people who have a mutual interest in one another and wish to expand upon their relationship, then yes. A date."
His quirked his head to the side, looking Brennan directly in the eye trying to figure out if she full understood the gravity of the situation. Either she had no idea, or her bluffing skills had improved exponentially.
"I'm not sure that's such a good idea," he said finally, choosing the former. A frown crossed her features and he caught the genuine hurt in her eyes. She'd been bluffing. She was trying to be smooth like him and he totally missed it. Completely.
"But… Sweets said that—"
Wait. Wrong again. No bluffing at all. She didn't have a clue. If they were going on a date, it would be with the full knowledge that he didn't just want a date. He wanted a date. He wanted romance and soft whispers and bedroom eyes, not a pity meal because Sweets suggested it. If he got a hold of that meddling shrink within the next twenty-four hours, he'd instruct him on how best to stay out of other people's business.
"Ah! I knew it. I knew there was no way you had any idea what was going on. So what happened? Sweets put you up to this? Or was it Angela. I know she's been laying it on heavy the past few weeks."
"Booth I don't—" Brennan's brow was furrowed, she clearly had no idea what he was talking about. But it didn't matter. Nope. He wasn't going to take a pity date just because she was following doctor's orders. No sir.
"Look, it's nice that you think I need food and all, but no thanks. If you want to grab some dinner with me sometime, that'd be swell. But do it on your own terms, Bones. Do it when you fully understand what you're asking."
He turned around and headed towards the exit. He actually believed for a good ten seconds that all his waiting and encouraging had finally paid off. Of course it was too good to be true.
"Booth!" Brennan said his name like he was a disobedient dog that just ate her Manolo Blahniks. He stopped and tilted his head up to the ceiling, but refused to turn around. He was a little too angry for that.
"I don't know what you're talking about. All I was saying was that Sweets said you seemed stressed out lately. Not like I would listen, but he didn't tell me to do anything. Neither did Angela," she huffed out as she tossed her purse on the nearest chair, arms akimbo.
Booth slowly turned around, slightly mortified at his over-reaction. Way to go. When he saw that fiercely oppositional look in her face, he knew he'd done one better than shut her down, he'd gone and made her angry and defiant. He needed to back-peddle quickly and carefully.
"All I wanted to do was have a nice meal with you away from the diner that didn't involve work. Something that… explored possibilities beyond the realm of cases and co-workers."
Booth's ears were ringing. Did he hear that correctly?
Brennan seemed to cool a bit with his quick switch and light tone, but she also seemed to grow a little uncertain.
"Yes. You know… potential," she paused a second as Booth started walking slowly to her.
He took another step, and her arms fell to her side, making her look a bit flustered.
"Yes. Potential. For… more."
Booth couldn't hide the slow grin that was coming. Nor could he calm his increasing heart rate.
"More? As in… more dates?"
"That is the way it tends to work, yes," she replied, seeming to calm slightly… at least until he started approaching again.
"And you want those… dates to happen between you and me?"
He was about a step from her now and he could see the fear and doubt in her eyes — the sheer vulnerability. Being blasé was all smoke and mirrors, this is what was hiding underneath and he'd been too absorbed in her words to miss it.
"Well, unless you see any paleontologists around," she said with a small smile, finally catching on to his approach.
"Sorry, they're all gone," he said as he inched forward a little more. "And what if the date is awful? What if I spill my wine and you hog the conversation?"
"Then it wasn't meant to be and we go back to the diner and drink coffee and talk about work," she shrugged uncertainly, but that was clearly how she planned to handle the situation. "It doesn't have to be earth-shattering, Booth. Just a date. See if there's potential."
"For more?" He smirked as he echoed her words.
She rolled her eyes as she took a step back and grabbed her purse.
"Yes, Booth. I think you have a general understanding of how this works."
Booth finally gave in and nodded as they turned and left her office. "Yes, I'm pretty sure I know the logistics. But I just need to be sure of one thing," he stopped abruptly, causing her to pause as well.
"What?" she looked back at him then fully turned around, her wariness returning.
"Promise me that you aren't going to run away if this gets to be too much for you. Just be honest with me, that's all I ask. I can always take a step back, but I can't chase you forever."
She took a beat to contemplate, but she apparently weighed the odds in his favor.
"Okay. I'll do my best."
"You do realize that this could change everything, right?"
He wanted so badly for her to understand the consequences of this evening. That this would alter their lives for years to come. There was no way they'd be able to go back to the way things were before. It wouldn't be enough for him and sooner or later she would have to understand that. He watched her eyes as she started to smile slowly, causing his breath to catch in his throat slightly.
"Yes, Booth," she said his name quietly, intimately, and his heart stuttered a bit. She took a step closer to him, leaving only a few inches to spare. He could feel her breath on his lips and the heady scent of her hair and perfume. It was all a lethal combination and he couldn't help but feel a little dizzy.
She cocked her head to the side as her smile broke, "I understand that this could change everything."
He wasn't quite sure when it happened, but somehow, his hands had climbed up to her hips, thumbs rubbing along the sides of the smooth fabric sheathing her warm skin. Then again, her hands were slowly working their way up his arms, so he wasn't quite sure who the guilty party was. No matter.
"You're okay with that?" he wasn't smiling now. He was dead serious. He watched as she took in a breath, sucking in her bottom lip and biting it nervously. That act alone nearly did him in. But the slow, confident nod that followed completely pushed him over the edge.
"Yeah," she said as she leaned forward, smiling against his lips. His fingers traced her jaw, sliding back into her hair as he opened his mouth to hers, flicking his tongue out lightly against her lips. Welcoming him completely, she raked her own tongue against his, wrapping her arms around his neck tightly. Someone, or possibly both, emitted a soft moan and he felt the hair stand up on the back of his neck as she drug her fingers lightly against his skin.
When they parted seconds or minutes later, neither was counting, he was greeted by a dazed look in her eyes and delectably swollen lips. He leaned in and stole another kiss, but felt her pushing him slightly and he pulled apart.
"Dinner, Booth. First dinner. We have to do this right," she said seriously as she took a step back and inhaled deeply. He was glad. Serious was the approach he wanted her to take. He smiled and nodded, holding out his hand for her to take. No, he didn't need to admit his undying love for her, but he wouldn't sit idle and let her wonder about his intentions either.
"Right. No pressure. Doesn't have to be earth-shattering," he smiled at her as they walked down the corridor towards the exit.
"Just a date," she said primly.
"That may or may not change everything."
"Not everything, Booth. It's not like I'm asking you to father my children or anything."
"Ha. That'll be the day."
Together, they walked out into the night, hand-in-hand with the soft breeze whispering of promise and futures. Perhaps Booth was absolutely certain of his convictions, but Brennan was slowly coming around, approaching this bond with the care and courtesy it deserved.
No puzzles, no coffee, no corners. Just the two of them, learning to open themselves up to each other in a way that neither had ever experienced. No, the relationship didn't need heralding trumpets announcing its existence, just steady devotion and explosive passion…their specialty.
A/N: Sorry if this was dreadful. I just needed to express my irritation over the unlikelihood and cop-out of the last two eps. Thanks for reading!