"Skipping Pleasantries"

Rating: K+

A One Shot

Pairing: Booth/Wyatt & Booth/Brennan

Sitting forward in his seat, the man cupped his tumbler, half full with an untouched liquid the color of amber. He spun it around twice.

The other man, older with a wisdom that was often misunderstood, sat back, arms clutched around a buxom midsection. He was the first to break the silence with a crackle in his throat. "Shall we sit here all night? Not even an exchange of pleasantries?"

The other man smiled weakly. "I dunno, doc. How about we just sit here for a bit more?"

"Mind if I ask you a question, Agent Booth? Nothing but the most innocuous of questions."

He chuckled and nodded. "Sure, why the hell not?"

The doctor leaned forward, grabbing the neck of the decanter. The liquid chugged into his empty glass, but he didn't lift it to his lips. "Your father was the gruff type, wasn't he?"

Booth raised his eyes. A guarded look.

"Don't get me wrong, Agent Booth. I'm no mind-reader. Your psychiatrist Dr. Sweets happened to spill the beans, so to speak." A pause. "I read your file. I meant no harm by it."

The alcohol in Booth's hand seemed even more repulsive than a second before. He pushed it away, then folded his arms over his chest and eyed Dr. Wyatt. "My old man..." He touched his chin. "I've only ever talked to Bones about this--"

"Dr. Brennan, your partner?"

"One and only." He let out a heavy sigh. "My dad wasn't the best guy in the world. He was faulty, but I loved him."

"Faulty? You make it sound as if he were one of your old cars you enjoy 'fixing up' so much. I sincerely doubt he was a automobile..."

Booth laughed lightly. Maybe it wouldn't hurt if he talked to this guy after all? "He was a drunk. He was a wife-beater."

"Did he... lay a hand on you or your brother?" Wyatt ventured.

"I--I don't want to talk about this..." Booth stood and went to the refrigerator. Anything but alcohol. Milk?

Gordon-Gordon swiveled on his chair to face the agent. "How would you describe your relationship with your 'old man'?"

Booth's hand froze on the refrigerator handle. His eyes fell on a collage of photographs, pictures, notes on his refrigerator door. Parker, he and Parker, Bones, Squints, grocery list, a drawing of Booth made by Parker-- "Distant-- at times."

"At times?"

Booth jerked the refrigerator door open, but didn't do any searching. "We were really close there for a while. Then he started drinking and my mom backed out-- Maybe he blamed himself. I dunno." He reached in, grabbed the jug of milk, closed the door. "Milk?"

"I'll pass, thank you."

Booth reached for a glass. "My grandpa was the man who raised me, mostly. I couldn't have asked for anyone better." He poured, then took a seat opposite of Dr. Wyatt once again.

"You say he blamed himself--for what?"

After another pause, Booth spoke, "In '77 my dad got drunk, drove down the wrong side of the highway and killed a man. He wasn't the same after that."

"And you had to watch as your brother walked down that same path."

"Kid's gotta make his own decisions..." He watched the milk for a moment before saying, "He saved my life--He and Bones. Guess he didn't turn out half bad after all."

Gordon-Gordon examined his client for a few moments before breathing in sharply and saying abruptly, "You seem to mention Dr. Brennan a lot-- Ironic since I only asked about your father, but in the stretch of five minutes' time, I've learned two things--"

"And what's that?"

"One, you trust her whole-heartedly with things that you would never tell another human being--except yours truly--"

"Bones is my partner. I trust her with more than my life, doc."

"What if... What if I were venture to say that you two were not merely partners in the professional sense of the word? What if I were to say that you were inclined to want to trust your partner with more than your dealings with murderers and death?"

Booth shook his head. "Mm, nuh-uh. You got it wrong, doc. What Bones and I have is strictly work--"

"Oh, yes, of course." Wyatt nodded. "I apologize for the assumption. Of course, the definition of a partnership must have shifted since my day. It must be a new undertaking of sorts, partners telling one another about their fears, their darkest secrets, their loves, their hatreds..."

"Yeah... something like that." Booth hardly believed it himself as the words escaped.

"You told her of your days of serving your country in the military, no doubt."

"There are few people who understand that kind of stuff. Bones just happens to be one of those few people."

"She loved me for the dangers I had passed, And I loved her that she did pity them," he quoted.

Booth cracked a smile. "Quoting Shakespeare now?"

"Precisely."

"Well, Bill only got that one half right, doc."

"Is that so?"

"Bones doesn't believe in love. She thinks it's all chemicals. She's the only woman I know who can boil down love to a bunch of cold scientific principles."

"And yet you find her appealing althemore."

Booth was quiet for a second. "I think I'm taking the Fifth on that one."

"No need, Agent Booth. You forget that I'm trained in Forensic Psychology."

"We're... partners."

"Not so forthright with that word any more, now are we? What would you suppose, Agent Booth, would happen if you were to tell those words to a certain Forensic Anthropologist? Those three words that make the world turn, hearts skip beats, cheeks blush rosy-red?"

Booth laughed. "I'll tell you what she'd do. She'd castrate me."

"I don't know about that. Love is an unpredictable thing. It often strikes those who are looking for it the least."

"Yeah..." He shook his head. "It ain't gonna happen, though."

"A heart to love, and in that heart, Courage, to make's love known."

"More Shakespeare?"

"The man had a way with words, but who am I to speak of courage when you are clearly so brave? A man of valour, a decorated veteran..." Dr. Wyatt stood. "I should be on my way. Ta-ta, Agent Booth. I shall see you tomorrow."

Booth walked Gordon-Gordon to the front door and closed it as he disappeared down the hallway.

Twenty minutes later, Booth waited for an elevator. It was on the sixth floor and the numbers were moving so ridiculously slow that he began to run up the stairs by threes.

His knuckles rapped at the front door.

He knocked again.

The door opened, revealing a tired Temperance Brennan clad in black tank-top and yoga pants.

"Booth?"

He skipped the 'pleasantries', stepped inside of Brennan's door, cupped her face in his hands and brushed his lips against hers.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing him closer, deeper, then kicked the door closed with her foot.