Inside and Out
A/N: Because, for us Americans, reading and writing lists is a national pastime. :) Title taken from Feist's song of the same name.
A/N 2: I do not own Bones. I debated about whether or not to rate this as M, but ultimately did not. Let me know if you think I should up the rating, otherwise I would classify this as strong Teen.
Twenty Things About Temperance Brennan
The thing about being a vegetarian…
The thing about being a vegetarian is that it takes some real effort and often leaves her feeling hungry. It doesn't get easier—no matter how many sweet, red, organic tomatoes she brings home from the Farmer's Market.
And she finds she dislikes Booth most when he's biting into a hamburger.
If she had a grandfather she'd like to think he'd have gotten her out of the system. Maybe genetic ties would be enough to compel someone to do that.
In summer there's a brownout on Booth's side of town.
Her place is air-conditioned, cool, and he stays there until the lights are off and he's sitting with her at the foot of her bed. Booth stands to leave—for his car or her couch, she doesn't bother to ask which—and she looks pointedly at her very large bed.
She pulls back the sheets, reddens a little in the dark. "Stay."
"This is okay?"
"Yes," she murmurs into her pillow as she feels the mattress sink under his weight.
The doorman isn't discrete when he shoots a disheveled Booth a thumbs-up the next morning. She's not exactly sure what it implies, but she doesn't tip him at the end of the month.
"Sometimes it'd be the only word I said all day – 'Polo'."
'You're quiet, there's nothing wrong with that.' That's what her mother said.
'You're sullen.' That's what a social worker said.
She went to a professor's office hours once at the end of term in college, the sun shining brightly onto a glossy report card bearing a bad grade.
"It doesn't matter how much you show me you know in your papers, Temperance. In a class like this you've got to talk."
That's what Professor Sanderson said.
Anth 421: Anthropology of the Body—she lied to Booth—she's gotten a B before.
She can feel the heat radiating from the palm of his hand, through her glove and despite the chill of the rink. Already she knows she'd like to do this again.
In Guatemala she sees a well. A real hand-dug, hand-drawn water well—the type she's read about in books, fairytales maybe; she's never actually seen one before. There's no more water, but there's a Quiché Maya girl's bones lying in the damp soil at the very bottom. She sees the distal phalanges first and grabs hold.
And she's in that dark hole only moments before she's pulled out, the butt of a gun forcing her to her knees. She wakes some place pitch-black and cavernous, thirsty and alone. Alone until a hand pushes her back onto cold, cracked earth. She bites the tongue that gets plunged into her mouth then hears a gun cock under her breast. Her eyes shut against all of it, and she worries she might die, nameless like that little girl.
Seven years later she goes back, thinking that maybe the girl is still there, lying at the bottom of that well.
Brennan wonders what happened to her remains.
She tries not to imagine.
Repulsion. That's what she felt the first time she fired a gun, the first time she saw gunpowder residue spread across her forefinger and thumb.
She's a good shot, and she doesn't flinch at the sight or sound of her finger pulling the trigger. Over time it becomes simple, second-nature.
But that first time it was hard.
On that second shot she decided she wouldn't be a victim ever again. She took aim and fired, didn't bristle as her bullet tore through paper and lodged a satisfying hole in the blank outline's head. After that…well, the weight of a gun in her hand is a small comfort.
She hates Booth when he takes this away, he'll never know just how much.
She hates herself for deriving power from a loaded gun.
Still, she wants it back.
A deep-sea welder, a botanist, a FBI Agent turned sailor, an investment banker, a physicist, an oncologist, a journalist, a fireman, a dilettante photographer, an architect, an ornithologist, two forensic anthropologists, a cultural anthropologist, her thesis advisor, her Russian Literature TA.
That's a very long list, and that's not even all.
Angela tells her it needn't get any longer, that she only has to look at what's right in front of her.
With Angela, I don't know what that means no longer seems to suffice.
Angela is her best friend:
-Even when she forces her to watch a movie about the sexual and fashion-related exploits of women in New York City, twice. (Brennan admits it was a fascinating study of how closely consumerism is tied to every aspect of the average American female's life. She also liked the shoes.)
-Especially when she greets her with a hug, a clever quip, and a cup of coffee after an early morning flight. Angela hates waking up early. So Brennan appreciates it and knows she would do the same for her.
She doesn't know what she would be if she weren't an anthropologist. That whole running away to join the circus thing was fun though, back in grad school and with Booth.
"I'm having a difficult time understanding what insight you manage to gain from our therapy sessions," she says to Sweets, point-blank.
He tilts his head, smirks, and starts off on a long tangent ("I'm very glad you asked that question, Dr. Brennan.") that earns a frustrated sigh from her. Booth's right, Sweets is smarmy.
She knows that nothing is what happens every time they go to therapy. Sweets smiles and they sit, quiet to the very end. Booth will never let her drive and he'll never eat tofu. She knows this. Topics exhausted, she'll glance sideways at Booth. Or he'll glance sideways at her. It doesn't matter. They're both about to laugh and Sweets doesn't get it at all.
There's really nothing to get. Sometimes they just like to laugh.
"If you keep playing dead, I'm going to tell mom on you," Russ told her as a little kid. He'd never tell on her, she knew.
"All of us die, Russ."
"Shut up! Now I'm really going to tell mom."
"If you just imagine, it's just like the stories Ms. Hansen makes my class write. So many ways it can happen."
He puts a garter snake in her backpack. She screams bloody murder during free writing time in Ms. Hansen's class when she reaches inside for her pencil.
The thought of death by a snake really does scare her. At recess, when she is made to sit on the punishment bench, she decides that it might be a good idea to stop acting out death.
Of all her grad students there's not one she likes most.
She doesn't visit Zack because she's far too busy. Then she visits him once a week because aren't these kerf marks interesting?, and don't French anthropologists suggest the most bizarre things?, and Hodgins did an experiment, a soda can flew at my head.
It stops and starts until finally she decides to stop. Just stop.
She does come to see him when she publishes a paper, because typically Brennan, et al. would have included Zacharias Addy. But it doesn't.
Of all the grad students she's ever had, he's the biggest disappointment.
She'd never thought she'd say that.
So, yes, sometimes she is wrong.
She'd been working at the Jeffersonian for a total of three weeks when she got a call one morning, asking her to come to New York immediately. Before her train could leave she got a call from Dr. Goodman telling her not to get on.
Someone with a badge, she doesn't even remember who, pulled her through the crowds gathered outside of the Pentagon. There was burning flesh and the sky was blue and cloudless as ever. She breathed and felt sick….the smell, the smell, the smell. Never before had it been that bad and she crouched down over a body, frowning at a fireman—more water could compromise the integrity of the remains— as smoke hastened a slow churning in her stomach and what felt like an onslaught of tears.
She pulled at her latex gloves then picked up her phone, speaking lowly when she got Goodman's machine. "Dr. Goodman, it's Dr. Brennan. I-I'm here, I just, I don't think I can. I can, just not until it's cleared out a bit. Otherwise, I think I'm in the way. Maybe. I know the state department wanted an immediate count and accurate IDs, but I'm not sure if that's possible just yet," she breathed, then coughed. "There's a lot…a lot of bodies, I'll try to get you a rough estimate. Okay, umm…"
She hoped Goodman didn't check his voicemail.
At night she was still there, standing amongst rubble and corpses; a policeman beside her paused for a moment to pray.
No rational, reasonable person could possibly believe in God.
On her birthday her father buys her trick candles. Again.
Except this time there are thirty-three rather than fifteen.
"Dad, I haven't even eaten breakfast yet."
"Remember, Tempe? Remember when I used to let you eat cake for breakfast on your birthday?"
She blows once and walks away rather than keep trying with the excited flames. The cake is sitting on her desk when she returns to her office a half hour later, not a candle in sight.
Does she feel bad? Guilty?
Yes and no.
There are certain traditions that she discarded a long time ago.
There are others she's picked up. She answers her phone, smiling into the receiver, when Russ and his girls call singing her happy birthday off-key.
Russ' daughters love her macaroni and cheese ("It's soooooooo good, Auntie Temperance!), and when she babysits them she finds she's not terrible at it. She forgets how many times she's had to tell them that Sumerian pots and Olmec heads are meant for looking, not touching. Still, they bring life to her quiet apartment; she thinks kids are good in that way.
Booth loves her seven-layer dip and says she can observe a football game with him if she promises to bring some with her.
"Wouldn't it be better to observe this from a stadium seat?" she asks after the first quarter ends.
"That costs money, Bones."
"So does cable."
"Come on, a couch, The Steelers, seven-layer dip, you. Hey, that's the best seat in the house, right?"
She's not sure, she's never had stadium seats—depending on where she sat, she thinks it could be more visceral than HD. Booth disagrees.
The first and only time it happens, she's sitting on her couch after having left Booth at the hospital. Her head is swollen and she's supposed to be on a date.
It's boredom or instinct—she slides a hand over her breasts, under her bra, back and forth. She teases herself like this for a few moments before her fingers and thumb slip under the material of her skirt.
And Booth's fingers, well they're thicker, longer, and would ultimately be more satisfying, right? Booth would be satisfying.
She comes quickly against her fingers, shaking as his name falls from her lips, unbidden. Her face is hot, just like her hand, and she exhales, eyes closed because surely this must be wrong. If they're partners…well, that's just not allowed.
Smoothing back her hair, she wills herself not to let this happen again.
And it doesn't.
She's that compartmentalized.
But it's never quite the same. Never quite as good.
Not like she knows it could be, if she let herself go there again.
One day she knows she'll slip and she won't be able stop herself.
She lays her award on the kitchen table, kicks off her heels—her feet would have been blistered and aching whether she'd spent the last night looking for Booth or shaking people's hands. She's tired, but she tosses and turns until she doesn't want sleep anymore.
She writes Kathy and Andy like this:
"I don't think I've talked quite so much in a very long time," Kathy said over the din, just loud enough for Andy to hear.
He leaned against the wall beside her. She really hadn't seen him at all that night; he looked good in a tux. "So you're hiding?"
"No. I'm thirsty."
He chuckled a little, prying her empty glass from her fingers. "You've got nothing in your glass."
He poured half of the contents of his tumbler into her champagne flute before handing it back. He clinked his drink to hers, breathing out a low laugh against her face, before taking a liberal swig—ethanol only makes a person thirstier. She watched him swallow before speaking again.
"Alcohol won't actually help," she looked down ruefully into the flute, but took a sip anyway, before setting it down.
He stared back toward the room full of people and gestured toward a cluster of graying, somewhat scruffy looking men. "Now those guys look like they look at bones for a living."
"And I don't?"
"You talk like someone who does." She consciously furrowed her brow, attempting not to look amused by his nonobjective observations.
He watched her for a few moments until fed up she turned toward him. "What?"
"Look at that smile." He pulled her into the light, grabbing for her hand. She wanted to step away, but he held fast, starting to sway as she stood stock still in his arms. "I think Professor what's-his-name really wanted to dance with you."
She shook her head, laughing then leaning into him. Neither of them could dance very well, but it was worth a try. "You can't honestly expect me to know who you are talking about."
"And that guy with the Hitler mustache and the guy whose family owns Nabisco," his grin grew even wider as she rolled her eyes. "Free crackers, Kathy."
"They should have just asked me."
"They should have," he said solemnly.
She looked pointedly at her hand in his, raising an eyebrow. "Just like you did?"
Does art imitate life?
She deletes the conversation, undecided.
Had she and Booth gone to the gala last night she thinks she might have an answer, or some idea of what happens next. Instead, she stares at a blank computer screen, contemplating her editor's request for forward movement when it comes to Kathy and Andy.
She loves the Jeffersonian, plain and simple. If ever she had a home…well, that would be it, wouldn't it?
Some people find no appeal, no comfort in science, steel, and glass—sharp edges and sterility that's considered unnatural.
But appearances can be deceiving, she knows.
Love: pronounced [luhv]: (1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties
If that is the definition of love and she bears strong affection for Booth, is she not, by definition, in love with Booth?
Does she not, by definition, love Booth?
She doesn't like syllogisms.
A/N: The 9/11 part was difficult to imagine, and thus difficult to write. I hope my use of that event in fanfic doesn't seem flip, that definitely wasn't my intention.
There will be a part two. How about, Seventeen Things About Seeley Booth?
Let me know what you think!