A/N: I know it's been a while since I posted, but I did not acquire Bones in the interim.
Trying for some humor this time. Sorry it took so long for this to get online. Also, this is going semi-unbetaed for now, so all mistakes are mine, not Scoob's. Love ya, babe.
But now I see that something inside...
It was an unfortunate fact that Dr. Temperance Brennan was completely tactless. It was, however, quite fortunate that most of the time, despite her objections, she had an FBI agent to mediate her interpersonal reactions. But on this particular summer Tuesday her FBI agent was at Disney World with his son. This was not a problem at the crime scene, where she quickly identified the remains of a federal judge and declared the case a suicide. Her lack of people skills did not matter as she went out with Angela for lunch or as she skipped through three limbo cases and did some paperwork. Actually, the problem did not develop until seven o'clock at night, as she was walking home from the lab.
She was not paying attention to where she was going because she had taken a moment to glance at the setting sun and wonder at how Booth had gotten her into the habit of going home while it was still light out. She was shaking her head in contemplation as a young mother with a stroller came around the corner. They crashed into each other, causing the mother to be jolted back and Brennan to fall against a building rubbing aching shins. The stroller in all its thick plastic glory was the only thing led unscathed but its passenger began to cry anyway. Seeing the mother torn between picking up the spilled things from her bag before they were crushed by oncoming foot traffic and tending to her fussing baby, Brennan knelt and began to place the item neatly in the young woman's purse. Wordlessly, the stranger went to soothe what Brennan could now see was a baby boy. Once the baby was calm, Brennan handed over the bag and the woman looked into her face.
"I'm Jean Fletcher," she said putting out her hand, "Thank you so much for your help."
"Temperance Brennan." Brennan took the offered hand, shook it firmly and tried to formulate an appropriately polite yet dismissive response. "I'm so sorry I wasn't paying attention..."
"Temperance Brennan the author?!" Jean interrupted her.
Brennan tried not to be annoyed by this flagrant breech of courtesy by someone who she was sure was considered to have perfectly acceptable people skills. "Yes," she replied after asking herself WWBD (what would Booth do) and deciding that he would be unflaggingly polite and cheerful no matter how high pitched and grating Jean's voice was and despite how her body had become accustomed to a set dinner time.
"Oh my goodness," Jean squealed in a breathless way that made Temperance sure that this story would be the center of the next family gathering. She dug in her bag for a pen and a book, which she held out to Brennan as if she were swearing in the president. "Would you please sign my book?"
"Sure," Brennan replied, her official Booth issue charming public officer smile firmly in place. She was just handing the book back to a wide-eyed Jean when an elderly man stepped up to her and gave over his copy of Bred in the Bone for her to sign.
"I just bought it yesterday," he told her eagerly as Jean trotted away while simultaneously whipping out her cell phone, "And I'm already seven chapters in. It's one of the best mysteries I've read in years, and believe me I know my mysteries. Just last night I was telling my wife Audrey- after Audrey Hepburn, you know- anyway, I said 'Audie, you really have got to read these new Temperance Brennan stories,' and she told me 'Herb,' (I'm Herb Madison, by the way, of Bethesda, feel free to look me up any time you're in the area) 'Herb,' she said, 'There is just too much cadaver in those novels for me.' She's a big fan of Agatha Christie, Audie is, but there's too much talking and deduction in those and not enough of the real murder. You're very good with the detail about the bodies. I know because I was a medic over in Korea. I was already in college when the fighting started in Nam, so I avoided the draft, but when they started asking for men to go to Korea, I figured it was my duty to sign up right away because. My pop fought in the Second World War, naval services, and he was so proud when he saw me in my uniform. I had just married Audrey and she cried and waved her handkerchief, just like in the movies, except she was much prettier..."
As Herb Madison of Bethesda continued to spill the story of his life to her, Temperance was frantically signing the books being shoved at her. The crowd had gathered to fill the corner and spill around the block.
"Please form an orderly line," she called desperately, but this time there was no publicist or bookstore staff to organize everyone and keep them from pushing each other like reporters at a press conference.
"Ms. Brennan," a tall man shouted, using his height to try to hand her his book.
"Actually it's Dr. Brennan," she corrected, taking the book and hastily scrawling what she feverishly hoped was her name or something that could pass for it.
"Yes, you stupid cow," a solid looking matron said scornfully, "didn't you know she's a doctor?" The middle-aged woman elbowed to the front of the crowd and handed her book over. "I'm Eleanor Crowley. I'm a huge fan," she said, her tone changing to sweet honey.
"Lovely to meet you," Brennan replied, her nose already in the next person's copy. The light was beginning to dim and she pursed her lips at the thought of what Booth would say when he asked what time she had gotten home.
Officer Jim Cochran of the DCPD was usually even tempered, but right before the evening shift his eldest had rushed out the door informing him that he had promised to let her go to Florida for spring break (he most certainly had not), wife had handed him the phone bill that his second eldest had pushed up with calls to her foreign pen pal (wasn't the point to write to the other kid?!), his son had crashed his bike into a telephone pole (the new ten speed he had gotten for his birthday, damn it) and his youngest daughter had told him that he couldn't read her a bedtime story anymore because Mommy was so much better at it. The last probably hurt the most because he was still stinging from the previous evening when little Maddie had informed him that the daddy of one of the boys in her class (Paul? Patrick?) had come in to read a story and he had done funny voices.
So when he saw a crowd shoving at each other at the corner of 15th and V Street, a grin spread over his face at the chance to take out some of the frustration inside him. Pushing his way through the mass of people with a combination of badge flashing, yelling "Police!" and brute force. When he reached the center of the assemblage, there was a beautiful woman frantically signing books. The blue of his uniform caught her eye and she looked up.
"Oh thank God," she blurted, starting to autograph more books after she had caught his eye for a second, "Would you please have them form an orderly line?"
Jim's earlier grin disappeared so quickly that it couldn't even be called fading. "I'm afraid I can't do that ma'am," he said gruffly, inwardly wincing as he realized that his voice was an octave lower than usual.
"Why not?" She asked, surprised enough to glance up at him for a second. "All you have to do is wave your badge and shout 'DC police' and I'm sure they'll listen. I would do it myself, but I'm not tall enough and I don't have a badge."
Jim's blood boiled. He had come in to do some yelling and save the damsel and now this witch was expecting him to do crowd control?! And treating him like an idiot as well.
"Ma'am, you're going to have to come with me," he informed her.
"Thank you for the escort, but I'm afraid that if I leave now they'll hurt each other. I'm a New York Times best-selling author, you know, and they really want my autograph"
"I'm arresting you for causing a public disturbance!" Jim shouted, his control snapping. Just his luck that the woman he thought he was saving from the menacing crowd was actually a snobby egoist.
"Causing a public disturbance?!" Her voice was scornful, showing how ridiculous she found him, but her anger was betrayed as she almost shut a fan's finger in his copy of the novel. "They all gathered here. I'm just trying to keep them happy."
"Ma'am, you're holding a book signing in the middle of the street," Jim protested, trying not to feel cowed under her glare. He took a breath and regained some of his professional equilibrium. "I'm going to have to take you in."
She pursed her lips and signed one last book. "Sorry everyone, that's all. I'm being arrested," she shouted over the protests.
Jim had never played an instrument. He was not old enough to have worked at a Vietnam protest or a banned concert. He had no experience with being booed. But here was this crowd booing him as he handcuffed the vain author. People were throwing pens, balled up paper and even shoes at him. The only thing he was able to duck was the latter. The crowd dispersed, grumbling, as he led the woman to the squad car.
Under normal circumstances, Brennan would have used her phone call to get Booth over to the jail. Unfortunately he would still be in Florida for another day, so Angela was pulled away from her date to come help out her friend.
"Bren, this is the second time this year," Angela complained as she breezed into the precinct. She was still dressed up from the expensive restaurant where she had been eating and Jim's gaze was riveted to her backside. "What were you doing this time?"
"I was just signing some autographs," Brennan protested, "It started with one person and then there were a hundred."
"Sweetie," Angela sighed, "You work with geeks all day. When will you learn that the quiet mystery novel lovers are the most dangerous?"
"Well at first I thought it would be courteous to give one to a woman I bumped into..."
Angela waved a tired hand and took out her wallet. "How much is your bail?"
"Well they didn't set me bail."
"Why did you call me if they didn't set bail?! The purpose of calling a friend is so they can come and pay money to get you out of whatever shenanigans you've gotten into."
Jim cleared his throat, looking slightly sheepish. Now that the woman was in a cell, the whole incident seemed like a foolish result of his bad temper. Of course he couldn't let the author, her gorgeous friend or any of the other officers know that he had arrested an author for signing some books. "The court won't be in session until tomorrow morning. Dr. Brennan will have to stay overnight."
"Can't you take her to night court or something?" Angela asked pleadingly, now glad that she hadn't reprimanded the officer for his wandering eyes.
"Night court isn't what you see in the TV show," Jim blustered, "It's better for Dr. Brennan just to wait here until tomorrow morning."
"You don't think I can handle night court? I hitchhiked through China with just the clothes on my back and I managed to esca-"
"Sweetie, this is not the time to get defensive," Angela muttered out of the corner of her mouth. Luckily for the protesting anthropologist, the phone at the front desk rang.
"I'm going to go answer that," Jim told the women, "Don't touch anything."
"Oh, you mean like my cot? Or the bars of my cell?!" Brennan shouted after him before plunking down on the cot in the corner to mutter, "At least the jail in Zimbabwe they had propaganda pamphlets to read."
Angela decided to forgo the obvious questions of 'You were in jail in Zimbabwe?' 'How many languages do you know?' and 'What language do they speak in Zimbabwe anyway?' and instead got down to business. "Sweetie, we're going to have to flash him."
"WHAT?!" Brennan whisper-shouted, her eyes wide.
"That man is having a bad day and he's taking it out on you," Angela said, her trained mantenna picking up on Jim's mood.
"And how does that lead to us flashing him?"
"Not flash flash," Angela clarified, "Just a tasteful little display to put old Jim there in a better mood. All you have to do is go 'I'm so hot,' and shrug off your jacket."
When Jim returned he found the author sitting in her cell while her friend had dragged over a chair. The two of them seemed to be laughing over something that had happened at work that day.
"And then Hodgins accidentally smashed the case with the helium," the brunette recounted.
"Good thing Booth wasn't there," the author chuckled, "He'd never let him forget it."
"Bren, mentioning Booth while he's on vacation? Definite sign that there's something going on with you two."
"There is nothing going on with me and Booth," Brennan protested, "We're just partners."
"Sure," Angela said teasingly/knowingly, "You know, I'm a big fan of friends first, but you've been partners for almost a year-"
Angela continued as if her best friend hadn't said anything. "-And that man isn't going to stay single forever. I mean, have you looked at him lately? He's a hottie!"
Brennan glared at the artist. "Speaking of hottie, it's getting quite warm in here," she bit out.
As Jim watched, she proceeded to slip off her jacket and one of her t-shirts, leaving her in only a tank top. "I just hope I don't have to sleep in this heat all night," she ad-libbed, hoping that Officer Cochran would be induced to let her out. Angela winced furtively at her friend's loud voice and overacting. The two glanced at Jim out of the corners of their eyes. Brennan deduced from the way he was shuffling papers that he was working and hadn't noticed her new state of undress. But Angela caught the shiftiness in his eyes, the slight blush across his cheekbones and the way he was flipping through papers without really looking at any one. She knew that he was all too aware of what was going on in the cell. He just needed a little more pushing to be just where she wanted him. Maybe he wouldn't become jolly enough to let Brennan out, but they could embarrass him enough to make him cave.
"It is hot in here," Angela agreed, stripping off her own top shirt. Jim didn't make a move, not even to pretend to work. Almost there...
"Hey, sweetie, do you want to play cards?" Angela pulled out her obligatory deck of cards from her purse.
replied, unsure where this was going, "What do you want to
"How about poker?" Angela suggested wickedly, "Strip poker?"
Ten minutes later Brennan had lost her shoes and Angela her watch. Jim was frozen behind his desk hoping that both the women would suddenly become tremendously adept at cards and would come to a deadlock so that neither would lose any more clothing. He was saved as the door to the office opened and Seeley Booth rushed in, demanding to know what the hell was going on before turning to his arrested partner.
"I'm away for less than a week and you manage to get yourself into the big house?"
Once he had stopped yelling, he had a chance to take stock (two women, cards, various items of clothing strewn around, a cowering police officer) and he froze.
"Why do I feel like I'm in the middle of a porno?" He asked uncertainly at the same time that Brennan shouted, "You called Booth?!" (She seemed to have forgotten that she had thought about doing the exact same thing. It now seemed very embarrassing to be gotten out of trouble by Booth.)
"No!" Angela protested, "I was on the phone with Booth when you called and said you needed help. I told him not to come."
"No," Booth countered, pointing a finger at Angela, "What you said was 'Brennan's in jail and she needs bail money.'"
"Wait, Booth, why are you back?" Brennan asked, distracted.
"Turns out my coupon was for a free stay for three days and two nights, not the other way around. It was cheaper just to grab a flight back than to fight for a hotel room during spring break."
"And you called Angela first instead of me?" She continued to badger him, trying to hide the hurt in her voice.
"No," Angela interrupted, "He called you first and then he called me to ask why you weren't picking up."
"All this is lovely really," Jim snapped, coming to stand in the middle of the three before turning to Booth, "But who are you?"
With an easy, practiced gesture, Booth whipped out his badge. "Special Agent Seeley Booth, FBI. What are the charges being laid against Dr. Brennan?"
Jim drew himself up. "Dr. Brennan was a public disruption of the peace."
Booth raised skeptical eyebrows. "Bones? What was she doing, lecturing everyone about how to properly use a sinus probe?"
"I was signing books, Booth," Brennan informed him tiredly.
"Signing books, huh," he looked over at her with humor in his eyes before turning towards Jim. "Can I talk to you for a second."
The two men stepped over into a corner and began to talk in low voices.
"What do you think they're saying?" Brennan asked quietly.
"Booth probably read his mood, realized that the charges were trumped up bull, told him so and promised not to embarrass him in front of his buddies. You'll be out of here in no time."
Sure enough, after a few minutes of negotiation, Officer Cochran brought out his keys and opened the door to Brennan's cell.
"Sorry for the inconvenience, Dr. Brennan," he grumbled, "Have a good night."
Brennan opened her mouth to argue about the application of the word 'inconvenience', but Booth pulled her towards the door. As she fell into step on his left, Angela on his right, she realized that maybe it was a good idea to have her FBI agent around to work with the people.
"How was Disney World?" She asked, trying to remind him that she could be polite and make small talk as well as the next person. She was independent and didn't need him to guide her all the time. Except, you know, when she was in jail. "Did Parker like it?"
"Of course, he loved it," Booth replied enthusiastically, "His favorite ride was the Peter Pan ride at the Magic Kingdom..."
Jim Cochran collapsed in his chair and listened as the voices faded down the hallway. Something niggled at the back of his mind and it wasn't until he had sat down to write a report of the whole humiliating incident (how in the world was he going to manage to keep himself from sounding completely ridiculous?) that he realized what it was. The story voices dad that Maddie had been so enamored with was not Payton or Palmer's father, he was Parker's father and if he was not mistaken that was the author's "partner" who he had just met. Scrubbing a hand over his face, Jim remembered the women standing on either side of the FBI agent. Apparently Seeley Booth was popular with ladies of all ages. Cochran shook his head. 'The eyes are probably the draw. Women always love big puppy dog eyes. That'll be it.'