Title: The Thinner The Line
Author: smitha-r
Rating: PG
Fandom: Bones
Pairing: BoothxPritchard
Summary: Pritchard is in Washington and wants to meet with Booth. If only a simple lunch date was really as simple as it should be.
Notes: I totally ship these two; they had so much chemistry! As usual, unbetaed for great justice. Bones and its characters are not mine, etc.

-

"Nice work in court this morning, Bones." Booth flopped onto her office couch. "I don't know about you but I needed something like three cups of coffee just to make sure I wouldn't fall asleep on the stand."

Brennan stopped typing on her computer to look at him. "You know, excessive caffeine consumption can lead to side effects such as diarrhea, copious urination-"

"I'm urinating just fine, thanks."

"- not to mention that caffeine dependency may lead of withdrawal symptoms like headaches, anxiety, and in some cases depression." She stood up and gathered her belongings. "You should switch to a herbal tea, they promote wellness and a relaxed state of mind."

Booth looked at Brennan with sudden confusion. "Wait, where are you going?"

"Aren't we going to the diner for lunch?" Brennan asked.

Booth frowned. "Oh. I guess I forgot to tell you."

"Forgot to tell her what, Agent Booth?" Sweets questioned, walking through Brennan's doorway.

"Nothing." Booth retorted before turning back to Brennan. "I'm meeting a friend for lunch, sorry I didn't say anything sooner."

"It's no problem." Brennan said, putting her things back down on her desk. "This gives me more time to identify more of those 16th century remains that were brought in yesterday."

"Okay, great." Booth turned back to Sweets with a smirk. "See? Crisis averted."

Sweets looked unconvinced. "You know, the human mind is capable of retaining huge amounts of information, so the fact that you forgot to tell Dr. Brennan about a simple lunch date? Makes it look like you're hiding something."

"I am not hiding anything." Booth protested turning back to his partner. "It's just lunch. And then I'm dropping her off at the airport. Bones, you can come too if you want, but she's law enforcement like me; I'm sure you'd be bored by the conversation."

Sweets gave Booth a curious look. "She?"

Even Brennan stopped reading through her file to look at Booth. "Who are you meeting with?"

"Pritch."

"Who?" Brennan and Sweets said at the same time.

Booth sighed. "Agent Pritchard, from the Scotland Yard, remember?"

"Oh, yes." Brennan looked sympathetic. "We've been exchanging emails since we worked on that case with her; she's on a sabbatical right now."

"Yeah..." Booth didn't quite know how to respond. Pritchard had been in contact with both himself and Bones over the past few months and told both of them about taking a break from the Scotland Yard temporarily. But she hadn't told Bones about being in Washington for a conference. iMakes sense; it's probably a cop thing she wants to talk about./i

"I think I'll pass, Booth. Tell her I said hello, and that I hope she finds her sabbatical to be informative and educational." Brennan said, going back to her file.

"Uh, sure. See you tomorrow, Bones." Booth got up and gave Sweets a triumphant look as he left the room.

-

Booth had to admit to himself that maybe there was a reason he had conveniently forgotten to mention that he was having lunch with Pritch. Seeing her standing in the lobby of the FBI Building, he realized he had forgotten her mysterious eyes, her no-nonsense charisma, the unexplainable way they clicked with each other. He just felt really comfortable around her, despite the fact that she was a tea-swilling loyalist with a funny accent.

Be honest with yourself, Seeley, the fact that she's a Brit doesn't matter at all, it's the fact that she's someone who understands what you do for your country, every day.

They went to a restaurant close-by, nothing special, just another run of the mill steakhouse. As they ate she talked about her conference, the interrogation techniques she was learning about, all the while keeping things light and casual. But there was something off about her that Booth couldn't shake. Something in her eyes...

"So how are you doing, apart from all the professional mumbo jumbo?" Booth asked, turning serious for a moment.

"Well, my sabbatical ends in a couple months, then it's back to the grindstone." She sighed a little tiredly. "To be totally honest, I'm rather liking this whole not-working business. I could get used to it. The idea of going back to the field seems..."

"Does this have anything to do with losing Wexler?" Booth suggested cautiously.

"Maybe." Pritchard admitted, toying with her food. "I'm not sure. I mean, we weren't just partners, we were friends. More than friends, in some ways." She added with a knowing look that Booth could not ignore. "My life won't be the same without him, so I'm stuck figuring out ways to get that sense of normal back, so that things aren't so strange and..."

"Empty." Booth finished for her, at which she nodded in sad agreement. "You have to face the truth, Pritch; things will never be the same as they were before. You lost someone you care about. And as hard as people like us, people who face death and murder every day, as hard as we try to be in control and calm? It affects us. You know what the best thing we can do in situations like this is?"

"What's that?"

"Spend time with someone else who cares about you. That way, even though we've lost someone, we don't feel so alone." Without thinking, he reached out to put his hand on top of hers.

"That's good advice, Booth. Thank you." She softly said. Her smile was grateful and the spark was back in her eyes. For a long moment neither of them said anything, just looked at each other, and Booth was struck by the sudden feeling that time was holding its breath.

-

"Thanks for the lift."

"Anytime, Pritch." Booth cut the ignition and got out of the car as she hauled her luggage out of the trunk. "But don't think I'd let you leave without a gift."

She shook her head and laughed. "Oh, Booth, you didn't need to get me anything."

"No, no, it's only fair after you guys gave me that neato bobble-head." Booth pulled a wooden box out from behind his back and held it out to her. "Happy 'going back to London' day."

Pritchard took the box, giving him an amused glance as she opened the lid. The amusement faded away to surprise as she opened the box all the way. "Agent Booth, this is a gun."

"Not just any gun, it's a Colt Police Positive revolver, the exact same gun James Bond uses." He grinned happily. "You like it?"

"It's amazing, of course, but I can't take this with me." She countered.

"Actually, you can. I cleared it with Scotland Yard and everything. You're the registered owner."

Pritchard closed the box, her smile bright enough to light an entire room. Without another word, she pulled Booth towards her and kissed him. He could taste the gratitude on her lips and as he brushed her cheek, he broke the kiss.

"I don't want you to miss your plane." He tried his best to sound serious, but she was still smiling and it was infectious.

"I'll be back, Booth. You can count on it now." And with another quick kiss she was off, the wooden box tucked underneath the crook of her arm.

"I hope so." Booth replied to no one in particular, wondering how much a round-trip flight to London would cost him.

-end-