Spoilers: Sorry, deviation from my current fic. I'm inspirationless (which, apparently, is not a word)! I'm working on like four hours sleep, here, too, so.
Disclaimer: Not mine, yadda, yadda, yadda. Oh, and you're not really supposed to know where they are; that's up to you. Lab, diner, apartment… Wherever.
Author's Note: I've come to the conclusion that my problem with inspiration is that I have too much. Does anyone play piano, by the way? I've got a few questions…
Brennan's gaze refused to falter as Booth's met hers with fiery voracity. For the briefest of moments she thought that he might just explode; push her against a wall; pull her to him; self-destruct. But he didn't, instead staying rooted in place: feet firmly on the floor, torso forward, at the very brink of her personal-space. His hand was closer to her than the rest of him, finger pointing accusingly. The other, she surmised, was clenched by his side.
His eyes showed neither signs of holding off nor of beginning anything. It hit her that he was waiting, waiting for a response, perhaps. Or waiting for her to explode; even to give up. Though, she knew he wouldn't expect that. It was something that made her who she was, and no matter how much it annoyed him, she knew he would never change that. He wouldn't change her, like she was trying to change him right now.
And then she was hit with guilt; an emotion she had felt just enough of to know she didn't like. But no matter how guilty she felt, it was just so hard. So hard to let it go, or to give in – to accept what Booth was telling her. She didn't want to hear what he had to say because it wasn't rational, wasn't logical, and that was still hard for her.
The smoldering russet eyes seemed to understand the flash of guilt she knew would be present in her own eyes and Booth's jaw clenched, angry and hurt, but knowing that now was his chance. And on that, she wasn't going to fight him. She would hear him out, whether she wanted to or not, because that was what partners did; what friends did.
So her mouth stayed pressed in the firm line it had been in since the silence had enveloped the pair, but she allowed her eyes to show just a hint of acceptance. She knew that he would understand that – he always did.
He opened his mouth once, twice before actually speaking; whether he was trying to calm down or think of what to say, she didn't know. But she certainly knew which was the most likely. Finally, the expression in his eyes changed – from furious passion to an unnamable but unmistakably profound emotion – and Brennan knew he was ready to begin.
"I've seen men with broken knees – after having been beaten – kneel on a pew to pray," he told her, emotion deep in his voice, etched into every syllable. "That, Bones, is faith."
She wanted to argue, to tell him that that wasn't necessarily faith, but a combination of desperation, adrenaline and folk-tales, but something in his eyes made her stop. Made her rethink her eagerness. She knew, like she always had, that he was not going to change his mind, just as she was not going to change hers. They were both too proud and too stubborn to allow that.
She also knew, suddenly, that she didn't want him to back down. She didn't want him to change his mind, to concede to her point of view. Not because of the guilt she had felt, but because she liked the fervor with which he was looking at her. She had never in her life met anyone with such intense emotions; at least not anyone who put them on display. To have this kind of openness directed at her, and her alone, was a kind of trust she'd never had.
She knew why she enjoyed niggling, now, scratching the tip of the proverbial iceberg that was Booth's temper. But making him angry - really, truly angry - was not something she enjoyed because there was a difference between having wrath directed to you, and having wrath directed at you. A difference that determined more about a relationship than she cared to admit.
Booth took a step closer to Brennan as she considered, lowering his head to meet her thoughtful eyes. The anger in them had dissipated, leaving a strange mix of desperation and zeal and what Brennan thought might be unformed tears.
She wondered what he saw in her eyes. She knew that if she could see this much of him, he could surely see so much more of her. That was a prospect Brennan didn't care for. Out of fear, and almost out of spite, she lowered her eyes and made to turn away completely.
She couldn't lose if she left, but she couldn't hurt Booth any further, either.
Booth, unfortunately, wasn't having any of that. His strong hand caught her arm almost automatically. When she looked at him again, the only thing in his entire stance that had changed was his outstretched arm. His head remained bowed the same way it had been before, eyes still speaking volumes and she wondered, suddenly, if he was letting her see this.
See him. And that was a frightening prospect again. Booth held reasons for things, and if she could see this much of him – if he was allowing her to do so – there must be a reason.
"Bones," he stated, and she knew. She knew that she was right, that he was letting her in. When she allowed her eyes to meet his, tilting her chin defiantly, his expression deepened impossibly. "Stop thinking," he ordered softly, firmly, his voice much deeper than usual, rougher with emotion.
Brennan's body reacted in the most primal of ways to the tone, but she didn't allow herself to recognize it for more than a second. Her mind had more control than to let that happen; always had when it came to Booth. It had to. So all she could do was stare. Booth, once again, had her entirely speechless. Her mind was so focused on not allowing him to see that she was wavering, that coherent thoughts weren't forming properly.
The combination of his voice and that damningly passionate expression was one to contend with.
His faith was strong; she knew that now. Respected it, even, and that was an incredibly confusing revelation. She respected faith as an individual thing – never as a whole – but Booth's, for whatever reason, had never figured into that same box. Whether it was because of their line of work or because she knew him, she wasn't sure.
Religion – faith, or whatever he wanted to call it – was not something Brennan had ever really faced on a personal level.
Studied it, yes. Seen it build and destroy civilizations in her mind's eye, yes. Remembered wars waged, fought, lost and won because of it, yes. But never had she had the ideas, the philosophies, the beliefs thrust upon her so vehemently.
It wasn't as if he were preaching; that she wouldn't have put up with. He was simply trying to get her to see the way he saw, feel the way he felt. Which, though it had taken her years to admit, was not what she was trying to do to him. Not at all.
She had been trying, however benevolently, to rid him of a thing she saw as illogical.
The more she thought about it all, the more guilt she felt, the more confused she became. She was never going to see Booth's side of this, nor would he see hers; it just wasn't possible. It was possible – perhaps even probable – that they would finally learn to just leave the issue well enough alone.
As the thought hit her, Brennan felt Booth relax ever so slightly; his grip on her arm loosening almost to a caress, as if agreeing with her silent revelation. Surprised, and slightly worried, she looked up again.
And he was smiling.
Not scathingly, as he had been at the beginning of their argument, but warmly. He was pleased, which horrified and relaxed her at the same time. She knew, somehow, that the root of his amusement must be her, but she was still curious. Cautious and almost afraid of what he saw that made him smile like that: with more than a trace of the burning that had been in his eyes before still there.
Oh, yes, the passion was still there; but softer, not driven by anger anymore.
He took another step closer, the brink of her personal space now covering them both, he was so close. She felt his hand move from her arm to her hair, his thumb resting on her temple as his fingers laced through her hair. There was slight pressure on her temple, and Booth's smile flickered a little.
"Stop thinking, Bones," he whispered. Amazingly, she did.
And now she understood why he was smiling. It hadn't really occurred to her that his earlier words had been anything more than a plea to get her to comprehend.
His hand fell to her shoulder.
"Do you trust me, Bones?" he asked cryptically, his voice remaining undemanding, though she knew he expected an answer. She frowned at his question. Speaking the first words she had in over ten minutes, she began to ask him the relevance of his question.
He cut her off.
"No, Temperance: don't think, just answer," he said, and it was not a suggestion. "Do you trust me?" he asked again.
"Yes," she answered automatically. Instead of the cocky grin she was expecting to receive in return, Booth's expression sobered and he nodded. She wasn't sure where this was going – didn't think she wanted to know, really. The sudden turn in mood had been enough to put her off, but this… This conversation bordered on the entirely-too-personal.
"That, Bones, is a kind of faith," he told her sincerely. She fought the urge to roll her eyes.
"It's different, Booth," she said, readying a tirade in her mind. Booth, again, cut her off, his voice barely above a whisper.
"No, it's not. The only difference is that you have something physical to trust; you have me," he said, his voice incredibly sure. He was determined, it seemed, to put this argument behind them and to come out the victor.
Brennan didn't say anything for a few minutes, knowing it would be useless. He was just going to keep pushing, and she knew that she would only push back. And then they'd both be angry again.
She held Booth's eyes, trying to read any signs of something other than determination. She found about as much as she could handle. She had noticed with some surprise the change in his eyes when she had said yes. His expression had softened ever so slightly, giving it an almost affectionate quality; a quality that was still there.
She fought the urge to squirm under his heavy gaze, instead holding it for a few seconds before deciding to play martyr and end the argument.
"While I do not agree with you," she started pointedly, "I am… not disinclined to accept your position on the matter of faith." She spoke carefully, giving him something without really giving him anything.
Booth seemed to think about this for a few minutes, most likely pondering the reason for her acquiescence. While it wasn't like her to assent, he knew she wasn't letting him win the argument; she had too much pride for that; her opinions were too strong. The emotions played across his face so openly, yet so fleetingly, that Brennan saw everything, then immediately wondered if she had.
Booth took a step closer as he fought inwardly, and she forced herself not to move; to stand her ground until he responded.
When he finally did, it was not in the way she had expected. She had expected an angrily huffed debate, or a proudly grinned approval. Perhaps an invitation to lunch.
She most certainly had not expected him to kiss her.
Something like a more intimate adaptation of their forcedly-forgotten Christmas Kiss, Booth pulled away with a surprisingly calm expression. She could only imagine what he was feeling, given the unanticipated vigor of her own emotions.
"What the hell was that for?" she asked finally, sounding so comically bewildered – almost accusatory – that he couldn't help but smile. She fought to keep her body language neutral as he shrugged and grinned, his face still less than a foot from hers.
"For trusting me," he said simply. He flashed her a Charm Smile, despite the sincerity she read in his expression, and she couldn't help the flick at the corners of her mouth. Giving up on neutrality, she smirked a little and arched an eyebrow, knowing very well that her expression was as good as unreadable. His expression matched hers, though he raised an eyebrow in question.
Turning before she felt the urge to smile sincerely, she headed out the door, knowing she wouldn't be leaving alone. In her mind's eye, she could see Booth watch her leave before grabbing his jacket and following her.
Like a faithful puppy, she quipped to herself.
"Without trust, there is… no love!" Tee he he. Gotta love narcoleptic Argentineans.
So what do you think? Like it?
And how about those piano players…