A/N: You like puddles. I know you do. Everyone loves puddles, because they bring out the best in us. The part that is still five; the part that likes bare feet and dirt and seeing just how much water we can send spraying up into the air. The part of us that isn't worried about getting sick or looking like an idiot. We love puddles. I love puddles.
Today I was taking a walk near the end of a very rainy afternoon, and I saw this huge puddle in the middle of the road. I smiled, and my self-control went out the window. Then I thought of this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy puddle-jumping. :)
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones, Fox, Led Zeppelin, or any related entities. I'm just having fun.
It is the summer of my smiles
Flee from me, Keepers of the Gloom
Speak to me only with your eyes
It is to you I give this tune
Ain't so hard to recognize
These things are clear to all from time to time...
She swallowed the last of the tea in the mug, making a bitter face. It had chilled to room temperature an hour ago, probably—she had been so wrapped up in reviewing the details of the case file, she had all but forgotten its existence. Out of sheer habit she reached out for the ceramic mug and took a swig from it, and the tepid drink relegated her to the present.
Brennan's eyes settled on the window, or more accurately, the world beyond it. It had poured all day, from the time her alarm sounded in the bleak early morning, beating the glass ceiling while she poured over assorted remains, all the way through the lunch she had forgotten to eat. It made her think of the myriad flood myths cross-culturally; from the forty-day flood of the Bible, to the Zhuang story of Bubo versus the Thunder God, to the Lakota cautionary tale of Kangi the crow and the Turtle Continent. From virtually every civilization across the globe, there was a story of a massive flood that wiped out most of the population. Rain like this, Brennan though to herself, probably inspired their stories.
Brennan stood and stretched, feeling her lower back pop in several places and realizing just how long she'd been sitting. When one can't see the sun traveling across the sky and the clock on the wall is behind you, it's easy to loose track of time. Just as she became acutely aware of the empty grumbling in her abdomen, the phone on the desk buzzed loudly. She looked at the front screen and smiled, flipping it open.
"Brennan," she answered.
"Hey Bones," Booth responded. She could hear road noise in the background—he had been out questioning potential suspects all day while she was in the lab. Divide and conquer, they'd decided, but the result had been a lonely, quiet day in her office. She was happy to hear his voice, as little as she wanted to admit it to herself or anyone else.
"Did you find out anything?" she asked. She could almost hear him shake his head.
"Nothing," he said. "Nothing important anyway. Hey, I'm starved, I was wondering if you wanted to grab dinner."
"Yeah?" she said. He cleared his throat.
"And, you know, you could bring the case file if you wanted and we could go over it again. Work stuff. For work. If you want to, I mean…"
"Dinner sounds great, I was just thinking about how hungry I was. Your nose must have been burning," she said, attempting a colloquialism she had heard previously. Booth laughed, his previous tension dissipating.
"It's ears, Bones. Your ears must've been burning. And besides, your ears only burn if someone calls you when you're thinking about them. If you're both thinking about the same thing, you say it's ESP." Brennan cleared her throat loudly, not willing to argue that her usage of the phrase was still correct, whether he knew it or not.
"Well, regardless, I am hungry so yes, I would like to have dinner."
"Great," he said, seeming to miss her awkward tone. "I already picked up some food and I'm almost home, so if you want to come here and eat…"
"You already got the food?" she asked. He made a peculiar throat noise.
"Well I just figured if you were busy, I could eat the rest myself," he explained. She smiled silently.
"Okay, I'll see you in a little bit," she said, and hung up the phone. Shaking her head and still smiling, she collected her coat and purse and left, case file still sitting on her office desk.
The drive over to Booth's was an easy one, albeit wet. It was the kind of drive you make in the back of your head, without thinking about it. Brennan could get into her car, pull out of the parking garage, and suddenly be parked in Booth's driveway without recollecting the entire period of time between. Something worn out, familiar, not unlike walking around one's own house in the middle of the night—the light is unnecessary when you know just where everything already is.
The engine cut off, and she stepped out of the car. It was still drizzling, but hardly—the storm seemed to have finally passed this side of town. Spitting might be an apt term Booth would use to describe the precipitation. As her mind settled on him—yet another of those comfortable nighttime houses for her—she realized that none of the lights were on. He wasn't home yet.
She walked to the edge of the driveway, hands shoved into the pockets of her pea coat, and looked down to the end of the paved road. She felt like she was seven, waiting for the school bus to come pick her up in the morning. As her eyes traveled down the asphalt, she noticed a large dip in the road, filled with rainwater. It had collected in the center of the street like a tide pool, but devoid of life. That's not entirely true, she chided herself mentally. There are millions of bacteria swimming around in there.
Seeing the puddle, she felt a peculiar surge deep in the pit of her stomach—a sensation she recognized after a moment as excitement. It was the same way she used to feel when she was a little girl, after the rain let up. Her mother would grudgingly allow Temperance and Russ to pull on their rubber boots, slip into their raincoats, and go splashing in the puddles in their neighborhood. She would stand at the water's edge, looking down at her smooth reflection in the water before leaping into it.
How many years had passed since she had leaped into fresh rainwater? By the time she was thirteen, Russ had heckled her so greatly about her affinity for the childish act that she had given it up altogether, except on walks home from the library when nobody else could see. Then she would still roll up her jeans, set her book bag aside, and take a running bound into the water, watching the displaced droplets leap up into the air around her.
Booth was probably stuck in traffic. If he hadn't been able to circumvent the onslaught of commuters from the D.C. metro on their way home, he could potentially be quite a while. Maybe even another half hour. Brennan walked back to her car, setting her purse in on the dry seat. She pulled her shoes off, one at a time, and set them in next to the bag. Placing her foot on the edge of the seat, she grabbed the hem of her jeans and slowly rolled them upwards, revealing inch by inch of leg. When they fell just beneath her knee she stopped, and started up with the other one.
She walked in shy steps down the wet driveway, feeling the rough cement on the bottoms of her bare feet. She lingered on the edge of the curb, letting her toes tip into the roadside collection of water and wiggling them. She smiled; she had not been outside barefoot in a while. It was one of life's simple pleasures that most adults forwent without knowing why. Even just walking out to the mailbox outside of her building, she put on slippers—it was as if adult feet were too distinguished to feel the heat of the pavement, the tickle of grass, the ooze of soft summer mud. They were only meant for children, and would-be children at heart.
Brennan looked down the road in both directions once more; just to be sure she was alone. Aside from the trill of a mockingbird, she had no company to speak of. She marched to the puddle's edge, peering down into the water at her reflection.
She felt foolish. Temperance Brennan, world-renowned forensic anthropologist, New York Times best-selling author, did not splash in puddles. Puddle-jumping was for children, for the immature. There was no sense in it—you would only get wet, then cold, then in an attempt to warm your extremities your body's immune system could be compromised and you would become sick. There was no imminent reward, no purpose for the action. She turned her back to the water, looking up at the empty two-story house at the other end of the driveway.
Then, as if she were three-sheets-to-the-wind drunk, she spun around and leaped into the puddle, sending a broken wall of water up in all directions. It engulfed her feet, all the way up to her ankles, and her legs prickled from the coldness of the water.
She looked down into the rippled water's surface, and saw a distorted vision of herself.
She could have been seven again.
Then she took to the air again, landing with another mighty splash. The water jumped up to her jeans, soaking the bottommost edge despite her attempts to keep them try. The material clung to her skin, chill bumps creeping up her arms. She kicked at the water, sending it spraying like the slap of a whale's fluke, and laughed again. She leaped and twirled, landing ungracefully and nearly falling over. She did it again out of sheer amusement.
In all of her footloose and fancy-freeness, she had not noticed a large black Toyota pulling up to the curb outside of the house. The engine was quiet, and she was loud—caught up in the sparkle of her own childish joy, and unaware that she was being watched. From inside the car, Seeley Booth grinned so broadly his cheeks hurt, and he subconsciously covered his mouth with his hand as if she could see him. But she couldn't, or wouldn't—she was in her own world.
She reminded him quite a bit of Parker in that moment; the way he would wait impatiently by the window for it to stop raining, only so he could ask permission to slip into his oversized rubber boots, hastily close the snaps on his jacket, and seek out the largest puddles to commandeer.
He finally stepped out of the car, shutting the door behind him quietly. By now the clouds had parted, allowing a few beams of sunlight to fall onto the scene. Her hair shined in the sunlight as it floated around her with each gravity-defying leap. Her laughter sounded to him like brass bells, sounding somewhere far-off, calling him in.
She jumped up, arms out to her sides like an albatross as she flung herself around, facing him as she landed. She stumbled when she saw him, mouth opening slightly and face reddening. He raised his eyebrows and she gave him a sheepish smile, letting her arms fall lamely to her sides.
She had expected him to laugh. To double over from the pain in his sides, howling at her foolish behavior. To point his finger and laugh, and harass her about it for days after. To tell everyone that the serious, uptight, rational Temperance Brennan had been caught in a child's act.
What she had not expected was for him to kick off his shoes, peeling his socks off of his feet and dropping them onto the wet pavement. To roll up the edge of his pants, revealing thick calves and dark hair. To approach her in long, even strides, until they were both standing ankle-deep in water, nose to nose. Well, more accurately, nose to chin. She peered up and he tilted his face downward, their eyes matched.
She smiled back.
Then he leaped into the air, higher than Brennan had ever imagined his well-built frame could, and landed. The water sprayed up around them, catching the weak sunlight and sparkling wildly. She threw her head back and laughed, bouncing around in the large puddle with him as if they were oversized children, unfettered and happy.
At a point she lost her footing, falling over into Booth's solid chest. He caught her around the waist, supporting her weight as she regained balance. Suddenly in his arms, she felt cold and wet and fully vulnerable. She stood upright on her own two feet, but he did not let her go. She shuffled towards him in the water, her bare feet resting on top of his. His hands reached into her open coat and settled on her waist, and her muscles coiled beneath his touch, like an eager cat. Her fingers gripped his lapels, and she tugged him forward slightly, gently—less of a demand, more of an invitation.
He accepted, and despite the still water and failing sunlight, she was not cold anymore.
These are the seasons of emotion,
and like the winds they rise and fall
This is the wonder of devotion
I see the torch we all must hold
This is the mystery of the quotient
Upon us all, a little rain must fall
- The Rain Song, Led Zeppelin
A/N: Reviews are love and make me almost as happy as puddles, so let me know what you think of the shot. :)