Thanks so much for all the support for my last fic, 'Holding Hands.' I never expected it to be that well-received, but I certainly appreciate it! And kudos to everyone who caught the, "You went to Jared?" line.
This is just a little something-something that came to me while I was munching on some candy hearts (or conversation hearts). Everyone knows what those are, right? I mean, they're everywhere! I don't own the candy hearts or the sayings; I'm just borrowing them for the purpose of this fic (which started out as 2-3 pages, but somehow ended up as my longest one-shot to date). Anyway, on with the fluff… Seriously, you might need a dentist after reading this one.
Temperance Brennan entered the main doors of the Jeffersonian Institute and made her way across the lobby to the elevators. She pressed the button for the elevator and waited for the doors to open. Finally, they opened, and Brennan stepped onto the elevator. As the doors started closing, a woman Brennan did not recognize rounded the corner and rushed toward the elevator. Brennan pressed the button that opened the doors, and the woman hurried inside.
"Thanks," she said breathlessly. "Twelve, please."
Brennan pressed the requested button and the doors closed.
"I just love Valentine's Day, don't you?" the woman asked. "My boyfriend fixed me breakfast in bed. That's why I'm so late. I didn't think I'd have time to eat it, but he took the time to make it, so I felt like I had to eat. He's so sweet."
Luckily, they reached Brennan's floor, and she quickly stepped off the elevator. She was sure the woman would have continued had the elevator ride been longer.
Brennan made her way down the hall and nearly ran into Angela, who exited the break room holding a box of chocolate. "Happy Valentine's Day, Sweetie," Angela exclaimed. "Want some candy?" she asked as she offered Brennan the open box.
"Uh, no, Ange. It's not even nine. How can you eat that at this hour?"
"Hey," Angela said with a smile. "It's never too early for chocolate. Besides, it's Valentine's Day. I'm splurging."
"That's the third time I've heard those words in the last minute and a half. What is everyone's obsession with this day?"
"Oh, you're just bitter because you don't have that someone special," Angela replied with a friendly nudge.
"Ange, it's just a day. I don't see what the big deal is. There shouldn't be one designated day for people to share their affection with a significant other."
"Just wait, Bren. The hunk of your dreams will come along and take you in his arms…" She sighed happily. "He'll tell you he loves you…"
Brennan rolled her eyes. "I'm a brain person. I don't believe in all that stuff."
"Maybe someday," Angela replied, her voice hinting at a smile.
"Talk to you later," Brennan said as she offered another eye roll and walked away from her friend.
Brennan finally made it to her office where she traded her winter coat for a lab coat. She put her bag in the desk drawer and noticed a small, candy heart on the desktop. Puzzled, she picked up the pink heart and read the message: '#1 FAN.' She looked at the desk again, hoping to find a note or something to explain the mysterious appearance of the candy. She stepped around the desk thinking the note might have slipped to the floor. She searched around and under the desk but came up empty.
Her phone rang at that moment, and she dropped the candy into the pocket of her lab coat as she answered the phone.
"Dr. Brennan," Hodgins said. "I found something I'd like you to take a look at."
"And you need me there?"
"It would help."
"Okay," Brennan sighed. "I'll be there in a couple of minutes."
They ended the call, and Brennan left the office.
Fifteen minutes later, Brennan returned to the office after confirming Hodgins' findings. She was barely inside the door when she noticed another candy heart—this one green—on her desk. She quickly stepped back into the hallway and looked for anyone who could have left the heart. Not seeing anyone, she sighed heavily and walked back into her office.
She sat down in the chair and picked up the newest heart. It read: 'PERFECT.' Once again, no note was included. She pulled the first heart from her pocket and laid them on the desk.
She studied the candy hearts, and her forehead crinkled in concentration. Who left them? And why? She thought about the questions but couldn't come up with any plausible answers.
Finally, she put the hearts back in the pocket of her lab coat and tried to focus on the numerous reports she needed to review and sign.
Booth knocked on the door, but entered before Brennan acknowledged him. "Hey, Bones. Want to grab some lunch?"
"I just ate," Brennan said, not looking up from the report.
"No, you didn't," Booth replied.
"Yes, I did."
Booth walked closer to her desk. "Look me in the eye and tell me you just ate."
Brennan huffed and laid the report on her desk. "I just ate."
As if on cue, her stomach chose that moment to grumble loudly.
Booth chuckled. "I knew you were lying."
Brennan looked at the clock and was surprised that it was nearly 1:00 p.m.
"I must have lost track of time, Booth. I've been reviewing these reports for nearly three hours."
Booth sat on the edge of the desk. "So you lied," he countered.
"Not intentionally. I honestly thought I just ate."
"I'm kidding, Bones. So," he clapped his hands together once. "Where do you want to eat?"
"Why did you come here? You could have called," Brennan replied, not answering his question.
"I wanted to see you," Booth said. "And I knew you wouldn't say 'no' to lunch if I came here in person," he finished with a huge smile.
"I've said 'no' to lunch before," Brennan argued, though she couldn't remember when.
"Just have lunch with me," Booth said as he took the pen from her hand and laid it on the desk. "Afterward, you can come back here and sign off on reports until your heart's content."
Conceding, Brennan got her bag from the drawer, then stood up and walked to the coat rack where she changed out of her lab coat and back into her winter one. She turned back toward her desk to see if Booth was ready, only to find him standing within two feet of her.
She gasped in surprise.
"Didn't mean to startle you, Bones," Booth said as he ushered her out the door.
An hour and fifteen minutes later, Brennan returned to her office alone, Booth called away by an important call. Not that she expected him to walk her back to her office. She changed coats again and noticed something small and purple on her desk. Another heart. Amused, yet slightly irritated, she quickly walked to her desk and picked up the third heart. 'YOU & ME.' This was getting ridiculous.
She was still staring at the heart when Angela entered the office carrying a brown folder.
"Hey, Sweetie. I saw you leave with Agent Hottie. Did you two have a nice lunch date?" She then noticed Brennan's serious expression. "Bren, what's wrong?"
Brennan held out the purple heart for Angela to see. "This is the third one today."
"You got three? Aw! You have a secret admirer!"
Brennan pulled the other hearts from her pocket and handed all three of them to Angela. "Are you leaving these here for me?"
"I love you, and I'm flattered that you think so highly of me, Sweetie, but I'm taken."
"Then who's leaving them?"
Angela smiled. "My guess would be Booth. You know, Agent Eye Candy professing his love for you with real candy. That's really romantic."
"No, it can't be Booth. He's been working all day. Besides, he couldn't have left the last one because we went to lunch together. He didn't have time to get here before I did."
"Well, it has to be someone who works here or has clearance to be here," Angela added.
"It can't be Hodgins because I was with him when the second heart arrived. The first one was already on my desk when I got here this morning."
"And there's no note?"
Brennan shook her head. "I looked under and around my desk, but nothing."
"So Hodgins, Booth, you, or I didn't leave them. That leaves Cam and Sweets."
"You think Cam or Sweets has a crush on me?"
"I don't think it's Cam. No offense, but she really enjoys a man's company."
"He's the only one left. Sweets from Sweets?"
Brennan groaned. "This is not good."
Angela chuckled. "Booth's going to go bananas."
"I'm not going to tell Booth."
"Are you going to confront Sweets?"
"I don't know." A mental change of subject. "Did you need me for something, or is this a social call?"
"Oh, right. I finally finished the drawings you requested." She handed the folder to Brennan.
"Good. That's the report I was going over when Booth came. I'll just put these with the rest of the report. Thanks, Ange."
"Sure," Angela replied as she handed the hearts back to Brennan and backtracked to the door. "Good luck with your secret admirer!"
Brennan shook her head and walked around the desk to the chair and sat down. Bag once again in the drawer and hearts in the pocket of her lab coat, she tried to concentrate on the remaining reports. For an hour, her eyes skimmed over the lines, but her brain refused to comprehend the words. Never before had she been so distracted by something other than science. Frustrated, she put the folder back on her desk and stood up. She hoped a break would clear her mind.
Minutes later in the break room, she poured a cup of coffee—at least, that's what it was supposed to be. She added sugar and creamer and took a small sip. Horrible, just as she suspected, but it would do.
She walked back into her office expecting to find another heart. This time there was none. Rationally, she knew she should be happy there wasn't a new one, but a small part of her was disappointed.
She sat down and took another sip of the sludge, then placed her mug on the desk. Determined to put the candy hearts and secret admirer out of her mind, she picked up a report and her pen and forced herself to read.
Brennan signed report after report, and finally finished all the ones on her desk. She vowed never again to let that many reports pile up. She was tired from all the reading and irritated that she'd been so distracted by those stupid hearts. All she wanted to do was go home and soak in a warm bubble bath.
Once home, just as she moved to unlock the door, she saw a little yellow heart taped to the door. Her hands began to shake as she pulled the heart from the door. 'AMORE.' This was insane. And bordered on stalking. The last thought was enough to make her hurry inside. She locked the door behind her and pulled out her cell phone. She pressed the familiar speed dial number and heard the phone ring—through her phone as well as somewhere in her apartment.
Immediately alarmed, she ended the call and searched in the dark for something she could use as a weapon. She wished she could make it to her bedroom to get her gun, but instinct told her to arm herself immediately. Her hand grazed over the nearby table and landed on the phone. It wasn't much, but it was better than nothing.
She crept slowly in the direction that she'd heard the ringing phone, portable phone held high over her head, ready to strike. She stepped into the living room, heart racing, adrenaline pumping, hands and feet ice-cold with fear.
Just then, the lights came on, and Brennan fired the phone across the room in the direction of the only other light switch.
Stunned, the man jumped, and barely missed getting pummeled by the phone, which smashed into the wall and shattered into tiny pieces.
"Booth?!" Brennan exclaimed as she rushed across the room. She clenched her hands into fists in an effort to stop the shaking. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"What do you think I'm doing here?" he asked as he motioned to a small table in the corner. It was set for two, candles in the middle ready to be lit.
"What is this?"
"Happy Valentine's Day."
"You've got to be kidding me!" Brennan exclaimed.
"Did I miss something?" Booth asked. "What's wrong?"
"This..." Brennan exclaimed, indicating the table. "I don't do this."
"Hey," Booth said quietly as he walked to her. "Just because you don't, doesn't mean you can't." He gently cupped her cheek with his hand. "The question is do you want this?"
Her eyes drifted closed and she felt herself leaning into his touch. The next thing she knew, his lips were on hers. Blue eyes flew open wide, and she pushed away from him. Almost immediately, her open hand made contact with his face.
"Damn it, Bones!" Booth exclaimed as his own hand covered his stinging cheek. "Why'd you do that?!"
Brennan stomped across the room, eagerly trying to get as far away as possible.
Booth hurried after her, but Brennan made it into the bathroom, where she slammed the door and locked herself inside.
Booth knocked on the door, knowing she wasn't going to let him in. "Come on, Bones. We need to talk."
"At least tell me why you slapped me."
"I'll stay out here as long as I need to." He sat down in the floor and leaned against the wall opposite the bathroom door.
Time passed slowly as he stared at the closed door.
"You kissed me," Brennan said on the other side of the door.
"Huh?" Booth asked, surprised she'd broken the silence.
"You asked why I slapped you. I slapped you because you kissed me."
"That's not the usual reaction when someone kisses you."
"It is if I'm not ready for it."
"I'm sorry, Bones. I thought closing your eyes meant that I could kiss you."
The door opened and Brennan stepped from the bathroom. She smiled slightly at Booth and offered him a hand.
He grasped her hand and got to his feet.
"You surprised me. I was already on edge, and I just reacted."
"It's okay. It doesn't hurt that much."
"It's puffy. You could probably use some ice."
"Since when do you use words like, 'puffy?'"
She tossed a glare over her shoulder and headed toward the kitchen, leaving him to follow.
Brennan opened the freezer and got an icepack, then wrapped it in a dish towel. "Put this on your face," she told Booth as she handed him the icepack.
He did as instructed and leaned against the counter. "You know what would make me feel better?"
"Dinner," he replied with a grin.
"Booth…" Brennan groaned.
"Hey, we've got to eat, right?"
"Fine. But no lit candles."
"Deal," Booth agreed.
Booth put the icepack on the counter and followed Brennan back into the living room.
"You brought Thai?" Brennan asked as she peeked in the take-out bag.
"I knew I couldn't go wrong with Thai. And I thought something homemade might be a little overwhelming for our first…" He cut his sentence short as he realized what he'd almost said. "Uh, never mind."
They got the take-out containers from the bag, and Booth removed the candles from the table. They didn't bother with plates, instead choosing to eat straight from the containers. They stole bites from each other's containers and soon slipped into their usual camaraderie. Once they finished, Booth stood and took the trash to the kitchen.
While Booth was in the kitchen, Brennan moved to the sofa. Booth joined her a moment later, a small red and white box in his hand.
Brennan's pulse quickened as he used her first name, and she knew he was going to say something serious.
"I'm not trying to rush you, but I believe in us. I'll wait forever if I have to, but when you're ready…" He trailed off as he opened his hand and revealed a tiny white heart with the simple message: 'BE MINE.'
Brennan gasped. "It was you."
"What was me?"
"All day. With the hearts. Angela and I thought they were from Sweets."
Booth busted into laughter.
Brennan's eyebrows crinkled in confusion. "What's so funny?"
"Sweets is scared of you. There's no way he would've had the guts to put them in your office."
"How did you manage that, anyway?" she questioned.
Booth grinned. "I put the first one there before you got to work. Then, I came to ask you to lunch, but you weren't in your office, which gave me the perfect opportunity to leave another one. Get it? Perfect?"
Brennan grinned as she remembered that the second heart said 'PERFECT.' She took the latest heart from his hand. "So, when did you leave the last one?"
"Before we left for lunch."
"Which explains why you were so anxious to get me out of the office," Brennan mused, the pieces starting to fall into place.
"I thought you knew they were from me, Bones. That's why I left one taped to the door. So you'd know I was here and wouldn't be scared. I guess that plan backfired."
"Yeah, a little," Brennan agreed. "How'd you get in here?"
"I have my ways…"
They shared a laugh, then silence momentarily filled the room.
"Booth…" Brennan took a breath and tried to gather her thoughts. "What you did was incredibly thoughtful and generous. No one has ever taken the time to make me feel this…"
"Loved?" Booth supplied.
Brennan sighed and looked down at her hands. "Yes, loved."
Booth slid his index finger under her chin and tilted her head up so he could look into her eyes. "You don't have to be ashamed to feel loved. Or to love."
She held his gaze for a long moment, then made the first move and pressed her lips to his. The kiss ended as quickly as it started, and Brennan leaned back and closed her eyes.
"This is crazy. I don't do love," Brennan groaned.
"Just because you don't…"
"…doesn't mean I can't," Brennan finished for him. "I know. You already said that. But I must warn you, I'm not very experienced in loving, Booth."
Booth smiled and took her hand in his. "We'll take it slow."
"Really?" she asked as she reopened her eyes and sat back up.
"Really. I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm glad. What's in the box?" she asked, indicating the small red and white box.
"Candy hearts. I figured we might as well eat them now." He poured some hearts into her hand.
"You don't want to leave me anymore messages?" she smirked.
"I won't be needing candy hearts to tell you how much I care about you."
Temperance Brennan didn't blush often, but she couldn't hide the color rushing up her neck and into her face. Receiving compliments was going to take a lot of getting used to.
She picked an orange heart out of her palm and grinned widely. "I'm not comfortable saying certain words yet, but this heart is for you."
She dropped the heart into his open palm, and he returned her high-wattage grin when he read: 'TIGER.'
Thanks for reading! So, anyone need that dentist yet?