Title: The Other Brother
Summary: Takes place immediately after the close of The Conman in the Meth Lab when Booth discloses that his father was a drinker. B and B of course!
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. Don't sue me, I'm just playing!
Author's Note: It's been awhile since I wrote anything but I really liked the episode with Jared Booth and I felt there were SO many stories to be told there. No doubt many of the fantastic writers out there have already delved into it, but this is just my contribution. I hope you like it. Don't forget to visit my homepage (which I have to shamelessly plug...) and join bonesfiction! If you're reading this from bonesfiction anyway, good for you! Also let me know if you liked this story! Thanks for reading guys.
Brennan speared a morsel of chocolate sponge, letting her taste-buds fully appreciate the sugary goodness and an ample amount of time pass between them before she spoke.
"Do you want to talk about that?" she asked. Behind the shelter the restaurant door banged, a crowd of happily intoxicated diners ambling down the street. Their good-natured laughter faded as they disappeared around the corner but Booth kept his eyes distractedly trained on the spot where they had been, his head turned away from her.
"Nope," he sighed at last. "But I'm not stupid, Bones. I know Cam told you." He dropped the fork to the paper-plate and leaned back against the glass behind. Birthdays sucked and had done since he had been a little boy. Even chocolate cake and a legion of good friends couldn't change that. Temperance Brennan hated Christmas and he hated birthday celebrations. Jack Hodgins hated everything that required formality, Angela loved everything that required formality and glitz, Camille was typically indifferent and Sweets... he didn't really know, but it was true to say they were a fairly eclectic bunch.
Eclectic and dysfunctional.
"She was worried for you. And upset. You deserved the credit on that Rico case, Booth. Jared..." He lifted his hand, silencing an indignant tirade that he knew was inevitable. Once embarked on a spiel there was simply no stopping her and he was exhausted. "I'm sorry," she apologised, lining their forks side-by-side in an attempt to do something beside fiddle with the sponge crumbs that remained. "I kissed him, you know."
"Jesus Bones, spare me the gory details." Despite his words, there was none of his usual oomph or scandalised disbelief at her eagerness to be open about sexual conquests.
"He really led me to believe that you sabotaged yourself..." Brennan wondered if it was some sort of sibling rivalry or whether Jared Booth truly believed that his elder brother was afraid of success --afraid of climbing the ladder.
"He only showed you the direction for that belief, Bones. You led yourself." Booth slid from the bench, pulled himself straight and stretched himself tall. Like before, his words ought to have carried some measure of emotion but there was none. Indifference or resignation, she wasn't sure. But something was amiss.
"Tell me about your dad. He can't be worse than mine." Her attempt at humour fell flat as he turned to her with a depth heavy sadness that she'd never been privy to before. Even more than the war stories, the guilt of being a sniper – his soul, if she allowed herself to believe in souls, was weighed heavily by the bleak memories of a childhood even worse than her own or at the very least on par with.
"Maybe my dad never killed anyone," he conceded, "but he did put my mother in hospital nine times during their marriage. Jared twice." She looked up at him, overwhelmed by an almost loving instinct to protect him; to soothe away the scars and the horrific memories of abuse.
"And you?" she asked in a dry whisper. "How many times did he put you in hospital?" Seeley Booth might have been a strong man, large and powerful but underneath, a compassion for humanity reigned stronger than anything else. He was a protector, a heroic figure that stood up to the faces of evil and helped to squelch them. Tonight he looked as vulnerable as a child, stricken by her question and the bombardment of unwelcome memories that it resurrected.
"Five... but it was different, Bones. I was stronger than Jared, bigger. Less afraid." She set the paper-plate aside on the bench, standing. Booth took a tentative step back as though intimidated. She had never seen him intimidated before – by a rapid-firing of technical and scientific jargon, yes. But not like this. "Jared always had someone to protect him and that made him weaker and more susceptible than me." Brennan frowned, thinking that surely the opposite was true. "See," he hurried to explain, "maybe he wasn't more susceptible to the violence of our dad. But to the other things in life... Jared never had to stand on his own feet. I was always there to field off the difficulties and to march in when the going got tough." He was looking at her, directly into her eyes, but beyond her somehow. Brennan stood still, afraid to move in case she broke the contemplative spell that had been cast over him. As much as she knew it hurt him to talk of his past she was oddly curious about it.
"I know it was foolish to protect him this time... from the DUI charge. I don't know about violently but in so many other ways, Jared is just like our father. I've always been the protector. Always." His eyes found focus and suddenly he recognised that she stood before him and his features tightened and relaxed, pained and relieved all at once. "Do you know why I said no, Bones? When you suggested accompanying Jared to the party?" She did not speak, giving an infinitesimal shake of her head. "Women get hurt by my brother. They fall for his charm, his daring, his good-looks and the seemingly profound things that he says. He lures them into a false, saintly opinion that he has of himself and then... just when they've fallen for him..." Booth clapped his hands together and she blinked in surprise. "You deserve better than that, Bones."
The restaurant door banged again and they turned to Camille. "Are you two going to stay out here all night? This is your party, Seeley." She was an authoritarian was Camille Saroyan; always forcing those around her to toe-the-line and keep things running smoothly. Brennan knew she was also a fiercely loyal friend and despite their initial differences, she appreciated that Cam had offered her some insight into the troubled past of the Booth brothers.
When she had disappeared back inside Temperance turned to him again. "What do I deserve instead, Booth? A man like you?" His dark eyes sparkled and he threw his head back and laughed out loud.
"Ah Bones, I'm not sure about that. I require more effort than any person should be worth." He had never conveyed such an impression of self-doubt before. His confidence wavered as he chuckled merrily to himself. "You oughta chat to some of my previous girlfriends... they'll tell you... especially Rebecca." He pressed his hand to the curve of her spine, leading her to the door. "Nope, I'm no saint either." She thought of his indignant responses when she tried to pry into his business, his impatience when things didn't go his way, his down-right refusal to ever admit when he was wrong even when it was abundantly clear that he was and she had to admit he didn't quite qualify for sainthood yet.
But then neither did she. Or anyone else they knew, for that matter. "Sometimes you're too hard on yourself," she reflected aloud. "It would be nice if we could stand up and honestly say we didn't make mistakes, that we were patient and accepting and tolerant and untarnished by our past. But those things make us human, Booth."
"C'mon Bones, it's my birthday. I'm another year older. One year less to achieve all my dreams. Talking about profound things that I can't get my head around...? Not a good-" She stood on her tip-toes and positioned herself at an odd sideways angle, protecting her wounded, sling-bound arm. Booth frowned at her awkward stance, parting his lips to protest and silenced by the hard, urgent press of her mouth to his.
Neither moved, lips meshed and taut from surprise and confusion on Booth's part. Their eyes were wide and the kiss less than romantic, light years away from pleasurable. In fact, Brennan thought mid-way, it was actually somewhat painful kissing this hard. Their lips parted with an audible smack, puffs of pent-up breath heaving from their lungs.
"That was..." Booth's dark brows drew together as he eyed her, clearly wondering if she'd lost her mind. "What was that?" Brennan broke into a grin, chuckling to herself while offering him a not-so-apologetic shrug. "Is that how you kissed Jared? There I was, feeling jealous." He touched his fingertips to his lips, half wincing. "I feel like you socked me." She laughed, marginally embarrassed by her own determination and somewhat confused. When he laughed too, Brennan fell silent, watching the residual memories flitter away and a light-hearted ease slip back into his physique. I did that, she thought. I made him smile. I made it better. She had never been responsible for that before.
Stepping forward again, Brennan sank her free hand into his hair and with tentative grace, brushed her lips across his. The laughter disappeared in an immeasurable short time as he kissed her back. His arms folded around her, bundling her against his chest, aware of her grazed arm. Her hair felt soft and smelled like passion flower and something else that he couldn't quite place in his euphoric pleasure.
Pleasure, he thought. Yes... definitely pleasurable. Her lips parted, her hot tongue meeting in with a degree of urgency. She tasted like wine and chocolate cake and he found that he was hungry for her. He wanted to be worth her effort, to be the man she kissed and not his younger brother. For once he wanted to get the girl – this girl.
Their mouths parted and she slipped from his tightened embrace, coy this time. She shivered and folded her arms across herself pretending that the chilly November air was to blame and not, as she knew, the effect of his kiss. "I'm not sure what to say... except that I hope you didn't feel like I punched you. That's about as good as it gets and my ego would be wounded if-"
He clamped his hand over her mouth, her soft fiercely-kissed lips puckered against his palm. A tremble of arousal swept through his body. "Enough chatting now, Bones. What's say we go inside and enjoy the rest of my party?" Under his hand, she smiled and her violet blue eyes shimmered.
"Okay, but I have to warn you, Sweets is just dying to corner you about your troubled past. He died and went to Heaven this afternoon." Booth reached out and pulled the door open, grinning.
"Sick bastard," he said.
For now. You know me guys, there's no guarantee of more. I'd love to dig deeper into Brennan and Booth's relationship, make this an angsty story with some delving into Booth's past, him learning to open up, them becoming unified and all that. It sounds good in my head but God dammit, it takes so much time to write and I have so MANY things to do these days. Still, I'm optimistic I might write more sometime.
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