A/N: You guys, I am never awake this early, but someone thought it would be a good idea to call me at 8:30 am and wake me from my sleep, so here I am posting this fic. :) It's a tag for Beaver in the Otter. I hope you like it!
Brennan stumbles as she passes through Booth's doorway, her arms outstretched and pressing to his back as he flicks on the light. Warm, giddy, she feels that tonight she could really do something bad. Again.
"Well, you should move Parker's toys if you expect me to move around without tripping."
She sighs and rights herself, throwing her coat haphazardly onto his couch. It hits the well-worn fabric of the armrest, joining the cluttered accumulation of stuff that is his apartment.
The sight brings a slow smile to her face, if only because she feels there's something to be said for her coat, for her, being so consistent in sharing this space with him. Fridays, whenever they finish a case, whenever she feels like it. She feels like it a lot.
A whisper of my place? and she's here, letting him pry her hands from her eyes as she pretends to object to watching television. With a breathy laugh, she'll observe his smile from the slats between her fingers.
He smiles now as she turns to face him. "I'm not sure they'll ever let us back into the Founding Fathers. If we hadn't dined and dashed we'd still be able to eat there, get drinks there all the time."
"We still can."
"Not after what we just did."
Booth shrugs, leaning toward her on a low whisper. His body clouds her periphery and she takes an unconscious step back. "You know, I have my connections, Bones. We're covered."
"Because you're FBI?" she asks, raising a brow.
"Yeah. And I'll tell you when you've been really bad."
His hands fold into his pockets at this and he goes a little red upon hearing his handcuffs jangle and clink together. Brennan sees his fingers clench around them through the fabric of his pants, and she imagines his knuckles turning white from the tension. For just a moment she lets herself feel the danger of the situation, lets herself toy with the idea of how closely he could crowd her against a wall. Not flustered or blushing, but with a murmur of we're gonna do something bad—a smirk fixing itself to his face like before.
With an inhale, she pushes down the thought, feeling her cheeks burn a little hotter as he watches her. She shouldn't feel embarrassed; thoughts are harmless, she knows. And if he's this uncomfortable, his own thoughts can't be that far off.
"Booth, I felt this rush of adrenaline, excitement, when we did that today. And, I've never—you know I've never intentionally induced that feeling, but…" She takes a step toward him, maintaining a reasonable, rational distance away. Letting her fingers trail to the hem of her dress, she stifles an odd impulse to reach for him. His eyes follow the path of her hand before his face breaks into a grin. "Thank you," she finishes, meeting his gaze.
"For getting you to do something bad?"
"Yes, I suppose."
He leans in conspiratorially. She matches his movement. "If you could've seen yourself. That big ol' smile on your face. Oh my god, Booth. Oh, my god!" he says with an affected impersonation of her. She doesn't sound like that, she's sure. Her lips purse in disbelief. "From where I was standing, I could hear your heart pounding a thousand times a minute."
"That's not possible," she says, collapsing onto the edge of his couch. The cushion sinks when he joins her, and she'd knock her knee to his if their limbs weren't so close as to already be touching. The warmth against her arm and leg coaxes an almost nervous laugh from her mouth as she looks over at him. "Tonight—running away from the bar—I imagine that might have been how my parents felt when they robbed banks. There must be some implicit mutuality in trusting someone enough to do something wrong with them."
"You're right. I think you're completely right, Bones." She always is and he chuckles at the pleased look on her face; it's familiar, she's sure. He knows her too well. "Except generally, you know, we're the good guys."
She shakes her head. "Not tonight."
"I guess that makes us partners-in-crime."
Brennan laughs, and their shoulders rub as he angles closer to her. He does this now, more than ever before. On purpose. She's almost certain.
She stands, walking toward his kitchen. "That was very corny. But…yes." Her body turns half-way, and she points out her intended destination with a slight tilt of her head. Booth follows.
Brennan knows she can stay here for hours. She has stayed here for hours before, drinking and talking until Booth is just comfortable enough to slide a palm over her thigh; until the warmth and feel of the room, of his hand, is just heady enough to make her think it would be best to leave. Only she doesn't. In retrospect, she's had her fair share of feeling bad and knowing it feels good. With him, it's inexplicably very good.
Tell me if this gets to be too much he says slowly, almost nervously in her ear, and the rest is always unspoken. He'll brush the hair off of her face, letting his fingers linger, gentle and mostly just wanting her to stay. Or she'll knead her knuckles along his shoulders, easing away the tension there, and feeling it, thick, around her. Always, on nights like this, it comes to that point and stops there.
She appreciates the broad definition given to the term partnership, and she almost never wants more. They are good like this.
She's not sure Booth would agree. The way he looks at her sometimes…
The way he's looking at her now.
"I'm going to do something bad. And you can't tell anyone, Booth. You have to swear not to mention this ever again," she says, grabbing bread from his pantry and a knife from the drawer of utensils. It swings precariously in Booth's face as she punctuates ever again.
"It's gonna be kind of hard to mention anything if you cut up my face," he laughs, catching the knife between his forefinger and thumb.
She reaches into his fridge and plops a vaccum sealed package of turkey onto his counter.
"I am making a turkey sandwich."
Then he laughs and she feels her lips twist into an odd sort of shape—almost, but not quite a smile—before she abandons any pretense of this being a serious matter.
"If I had the opportunity to savor one final taste of meat, I believe I'd be more content with never again using my canines for their intended purpose."
He's still laughing, shaking his head at the pale stack of processed meat. Her mouth is watering for a taste. "I get it. But a turkey sandwich, Bones? Why not a steak?"
"Do you have a steak?"
"Good point." He grabs a plate and she grabs for two slices of bread, the act of making a sandwich becoming an exemplar of two people working in sync. It's a glimpse at some domestic existence they might in fact already share, and the happiness with which he watches her move about his kitchen doesn't escape her notice. "I'm all for you eating meat again. Makes my life a whole lot easier," he says.
"You saw my vegetable drawer thingy before you came along."
"I told you, it's called a crisper."
Ingredients all lined up, she turns to find him flipping through his collection of albums. She hardly needs a soundtrack for making a sandwich, but it's a habit of his. There's something about silence that he finds almost oppressive. She's noticed, and remembers how he lay awake beside her in the quiet of that trailer three months ago. Tossing, turning, then talking to her in the dark. Of all things he missed noise. Traffic he told her, it's real, something tangible like her voice, and he sleeps with his window open.
In Oklahoma they were out of their element. And maybe this, right here, is their element.
"Tomorrow, Bones. Tomorrow, I am taking you out for steak," he says, shaking a dented record case for emphasis.
"The entire point of this is that it's supposed to be a secret."
"Then I'll buy and cook you a secret steak. We'll get you some real turkey too, if you want."
"No." She frowns, squeezing hard at a nearly empty container of mustard.
"Here," he whispers, quickly choosing some music and reaching across her body for the mustard. She almost lets him take it too, but on second thought brings it close to her chest. Because Temperance Brennan is capable of making a sandwich by herself.
She doesn't need Booth.
He rolls his eyes and she looks away.
"No steak, Booth. At midnight, when it is Saturday and no longer Friday, I'm going back to being vegetarian again. And just your partner, not your partner-in-crime."
"What and your car's gonna turn into a pumpkin?"
"I don't see how that's possible," she says, words clipped as she cuts her sandwich in half. The turkey is not so much a loss of self-control, she reasons, as much as her being bad on a trial basis. She needs protein for her body to produce adenosine triphosphate; so really it's a more a matter of this being a biological imperative.
Booth restarts the song they had been listening to and begins singing—if it can be called that—as she contemplates which side of the bread from which she should take her first bite. "She's a good girl, loves her momma…" she hears, low in her ear, and she nearly flinches.
"Stop it, Booth." His head bobs in her face and he moves closer, blatantly ignoring her and pretending to play a guitar in midair. "You are a terrible singer."
He taps a slow rhythm on the counter beside her and with a smirk pulls the sandwich away.
"Stop." Her hand slides over his, halting the movement and making the plate tip precariously. "Booth, stop…"
I'm not in the mood almost passes from her lips. And what does that mean, really, when she's this close to laughing and the door is right there if she actually were bothered enough to leave? Clearly she's not annoyed, so she's not sure what she's doing when she pretends that she is, crossing her arms and leaning in toward his face with a reprimand, her eyes on his.
"Bones, you are about to eat meat," he says solemnly, grabbing for a sandwich half and moving it up toward her mouth.
"Just because I let you feed me a bite of a banana split doesn't mean…" she trails off, all the while leaning forward, parting her lips. And it's his smile she thinks, letting her gaze flicker to his mouth. He becomes quite persuasive, somehow magnetic, when wearing it.
The situation she's faced with is Booth and a turkey sandwich, and suddenly she feels quite bad. In the frontal lobe expanding, dine and dash, good sort of way. It's rather exhilarating.
Brennan takes a bite and chews slowly, savoring this. It's the best damn bite of sandwich she's had in her life.
"Delicious," she says, on a happy exhalation, snatching the sandwich from Booth's hand.
She nods, staring down at the half-moon cutout her mouth left in the bread, curved like a smile.
She's grinning at a sandwich, she knows.
Booth leans against the counter, watching her. Another delicious bite and his foot is skimming the tile around her own; she kicks at it, and he continues anyway—waiting, watching, until she decides to offer him a bite and he declines.
"I'm glad you decided not to go," she tells him. Whether he didn't go with his brother is because he too was not yet ready to lead a purposeless life, she doesn't really know. Or care. He's here.
"Yes, I feel it was a prudent decision, considering the fact that you wanted your brother to experience things for himself."
He shifts and rubs a hand across his jaw. Angela once whispered that she finds Booth most 'ravishable' when he's pensive like this. Objectively, there are moments Brennan finds him to be moreso than now.
"Jared, you know, he does what he wants. Does what he wants, whenever he likes," he says.
And she does know. She can still recall the distinct pressure of Jared's lips on her own, the lack of inhibition between the both of them.
Like many men she's kissed without inhibition, he proved to be an utter jerk.
"I mean, is that a good quality? The fact that he toes the line? He's done plenty of pretty bad things already, I'm sure. And it got him pretty far until he did something for me, Bones. He's my brother, you know? He used to tell me everything. I hadn't even heard from him since all of that Gravedigger crap. Did he have a job? I had no clue until he showed up the other day."
Did Jared possess good qualities?
She tries to imagine Booth doing bad things, toeing the line on a regular basis: drinking, wrecking cars, being social for the sake of ascending in the bureaucratic hierarchy, kissing her. Somehow she can't picture this at all.
"My brother knows very little about my personal life," she admits, moving nearer to him. "But if I had a brother like you, I think that I'd confide in him much more. I tell you a lot, Booth."
He shakes his head and when he looks up, frowning at her, she wonders what misstep she's just made. Swiftly, he grabs hold of her forearm before she can turn toward the other half of her sandwich.
"Just…I'm your partner, not your brother or anything close, okay?" he says, a stern crease in his brow, the okay? less a question than a formality. He doesn't talk to her like this and she narrows her eyes at him.
"I meant it in a-"
"Okay, Bones?" He grips a little tighter, moves a little closer. She swallows, feeling his breath, hot in her face, as she fumbles with piecing this all together.
Clearly one of them misconstrued…something.
"Okay," she murmurs. She shrugs, and lets his hand drop from her body as he moves past her toward his fridge. "I'm your partner," she says matter-of-factly, not quite able to grasp why hearing herself say this makes it sound like a revelation of sorts. Maybe it is.
He hands her a beer, fingers cold like the bottle. Their eyes meet for a moment and they smile warmly—comfortable, because they're partners.
"You know, I once pushed your brother off of a barstool," Brennan says, smile melting into a full-on grin.
Booth laughs. "I'm sure he deserved it."
"He did, he really did."
"Did Jared try to make a move on you?" he asks, nonchalant, as he motions toward her with his beer. "I wouldn't put it past him."
"What? No, well yes, he kissed me, but I pushed him off of the barstool because…" She pauses at the look on his face, his mouth pulled tightly in a grimace. But he says nothing and she continues. "Because, well…I'm sure you remember everything that happened around your birthday."
Maybe she should just shut up about this. Jared is obviously a sore spot. She betrayed Booth once, and she doesn't forget that.
"He kissed you," Booth says plainly, eyes sharp and focused on her own. He downs some of his beer, and she stares down into the mouth of her own. "He kissed you, Bones?"
He sounds angry, whether it's with her she can't be sure. She opens her mouth to object when he pries the beer from her hand, simultaneously crowding his body against hers, his hand sliding onto the cool countertop at her back.
Her even gaze meets his more heated one. "I had no knowledge of his many flaws at the time, and physically he is superior to-"
"To who?" He gives a long-suffering sigh, and for some reason it annoys the hell out of her. "Answer my question, Bones," he whispers.
"You are upset, though I don't understand why," she says, rational in her contention that a kiss is only a kiss. But perhaps not rational in thinking that being this bad, provoking him and feigning ignorance, could ever be good.
He leans in further, and Brennan's not sure why he never bothered to take off his jacket, but it flaps forward, brushing the fabric at her waist as his face comes dangerously close to her own. Her hand moves for something solid: the counter pressing to the small of her back. Instead she finds her fingers clutching at the soft leather of his coat, pulling it tighter against his forearm.
She watches his throat work as he swallows, his eyes on her hand. "He mentioned that kissing me was something you never would have done," she tells him and feels guilty instantly, upon seeing the look he gives her next. Like he can't believe what he's hearing.
"Booth, move," she whispers as his breath brushes the curve of her mouth.
"And you believed him?"
"I already apologized to you for all of this, Booth. And I can kiss whomever I want."
"Not my brother, Bones. Just…no." The words and his proximity incite something in her; anger, and a slow shiver she can't suppress. He sees it, she knows, and he says nothing, only slides his palm against her arm, as though to get the chill out. "Do you realize he only does things like that because anything good, I've always let him have it."
"And I'm the it in the situation?"
He pulls away and pushes back the sides of his coat as he turns to look at her, hands on his hips.
"You know, Jared was wrong, I actually have…" he trails off, shaking his head as he snatches his beer up again and leans against the counter.
"Kissed me?" she finishes for him.
Her eyes light with mirth, and what is wrong with him? Now he can't even say the word kiss?
"Oh yes, last Christmas." She looks up at him in question, screwing her face up in confusion. "Right?"
"Right." He rubs a palm across his face. And she thinks that Sweets has taught her, she thinks knowing Booth has taught her, that this expression he's wearing is sadness, dismay, hurt. "You know, if I remember that then so do you, Bones. You're a pretty terrible liar, so whatever it is you think that you're doing, I think you'd better stop."
She brings her beer to her lips and sucks at it slowly, feeling her face turn red under the dim lights of his kitchen. Her mouth pulls away from the bottle with a loud pop, and she feels thoroughly chastened.
She did absolutely nothing wrong. Everything she said was entirely true: factual and thus reliable. Remorse in this situation seems irrational. Yet, she feels…she does recall exactly how it feels to be kissed by him.
"I do remember, Booth," she says, slowly, quietly. "When I grabbed for your lapels, your heart was pounding under my knuckles."
He looks at her, but says nothing. Two tentative fingers reach for the plate holding the rest of her sandwich, and she pushes it toward him. Anthropologically speaking, a gesture like this would behoove some acknowledgment and reciprocity on his part.
"11:58, Bones," he says. "You have two more minutes of being bad."
"Yes, but it's not quite as fun when I'm doing it by myself."
And she's knows she is right. It isn't any fun. Two more minutes, and she decides to make proper use of it. No longer quite so sorry, she steps closer to Booth, as close as he was to her when he had her pushed against the tile of his countertop.
"You know, Jared…he wanted to kiss me. For some reason that felt important at the time. The fact that he didn't think kissing me was a ridiculous idea," she says lowly in Booth's face, breathing hard.
Or maybe it's him that's breathing hard. "Bones, how could you think…"
She bites her lip and he presses his mouth to hers on a short, chaste kiss. He slides his hand halfway in her hair, teeth gently pulling her lip from between her own teeth. His mouth is still wet from the beer, and that's the only note she manages to make, because a few seconds is as far as it gets.
The kiss is decidedly bad. And not in the way she would like it to be.
"I said he wanted to kiss me," she repeats, this time with feeling and little more force, as he pulls away.
He can only stare at her for a moment and she blinks, daring him. He steps into her space, his chest nearly pressing to hers. His palms smooth across her cheeks, thumbs tracing the skin there as his fingers slip into her hair. "Bones," he whispers, eyes a deep-set brown as he turns her face to look at him.
It's too much…she wanted no pretense, only his lips on hers. That's all.
Brennan leans up on her toes and captures his lips in a kiss. She needs for this kiss to be good. She wants to know, again, what this can be like with Booth. Seeley Booth.
And maybe he catches her intention, because he wastes no time in fastening his mouth to hers. She grabs onto his coat, feeling the soft leather in tandem with the softness of his lips as she lets him maneuver her between his body and the counter once again. The slide of her lips against his escalates in no time at all and she forgets about thinking, considering angles and the best way to do this in two minutes time. Rather, she simply allows herself to feel this; the taste of the inside of his mouth and his tongue slipping against her own, him moaning against her lips when she pulls away for air, the tangle of his fingers in her hair as he gives her exactly what she wants—there's no one better at doing that than Booth.
She opens her eyes to see the time on the clock then pulls away on a short gasp. "It's midnight," she murmurs, flushed and wishing she hadn't wasted time on a sandwich.
"I figured that."
"That was what you would call toeing the line, correct?" she asks, smoothing out her hair as his hands move away from her face. "And I stopped. I understand the need, the relevance of a-"
"No line, Bones. No line."
"What significance am I supposed to extract from that, Booth? I never understood what it meant in the first place."
"It was stupid."
She sighs and grabs for the plate, dumping the uneaten half-sandwich in his garbage can. A twinge of self-pity hits her then and there, because how can she say she savored her last bite of turkey sandwich when she can't even remember it?
"You know, we're good together, whether there's a line there or not."
"We make good…partners." The last word comes almost as a question, and she lifts a brow upon seeing the look on his face. "If that was the incorrect thing to say, then you should just tell me, Booth. I don't know the requisite response to what you just told me."
"There is no requisite response," he says, wrapping an arm around her shoulder as they walk toward the living room. Before they sit on his couch he pulls her body a little closer to his. They are good people, and she thinks that maybe that is why they've so adeptly reverted back to little gestures and movements such as this.
"You know, I can't stand the old guy who lives below me," he says, turning to her with a glint in his eye.
"You're changing the subject."
"Do you want to talk about this more?"
She smiles, shakes her head no. "I can't stand the old guy who lives below you either. Mr. Jennings?"
"Yeah, that's him."
Booth turns, propping himself onto the cushion of his couch so that he's sitting on his knees. Brennan follows suit, staring out of his window as her arms flatten along the headrest.
"Why don't we like Mr. Jennings?" she asks, a huge grin forming on her face. Booth moves to open the window. He smiles over at Brennan when the wind hits their faces and tangles her hair again.
"Parker comes over and he complains," he whispers, his voice barely audible over the sound of a car alarm down the street.
"About the noise?"
On a whim, which is something she rarely gets, she jumps up from his couch and goes to stand in the middle of his living room.
"What are you doing?" he asks, and her face lights as she brings a finger to her lips.
He narrows his eyes in question and in one sudden motion she jumps up then hears the heels of her boots hit the wood of his floor. Hard.
She jumps, again. Higher this time and hitting the ground harder.
He starts laughing and they haven't even had much to drink, but she wants to not care that it's after midnight, wants not to care that it's no longer Friday, but now Saturday.
"Is this bad? Is this bad, Booth?"
She hears the sound of a window pane sliding up and the sound of some grumpy old man yelling below, and her hand flies to her mouth.
She feels excitement flood her body as Booth takes a tentative step toward her. His hand slides over her forehead and up into her hair. "I can feel your frontal lobe unshrivelling at this very moment," he whispers, ignoring the sounds of shouting and what sounds like the end of a broom hitting against his floor.
"When I get old, if I ever get like that. Take my gun and shoot me," Booth says with a laugh.
She wonders if she'll really know him for that long. She would like to.
"I am going to jump again," she nearly shouts, over the din of tires on asphalt, the broom against the floor at her feet, and someone's ornery grandfather making threats.
"It's after midnight."
"I really am going to jump. We can take Mr. Jennings if he decides to climb up the stairs."
"I can hear you little bastards!"
"Oh, god. Booth!"
"Hey! Give us a sec, Jennings!" Booth yells out the window.
"I am going to jump one more time to relieve a bit more of the tension in my brain related to impulse control. I think you should do it too." She pauses, considers, and then laughs. "I realize that that makes no sense whatsoever…"
"Let's do it."
"Be more impulsive."
"But being bad is good."
"You and me, we good?"
"Yes. We're good. This is good," she says, matching his earnest nod with her own.
She feels good and bad and as though the two of them, together, are capable of getting away with a whole lot more than she could ever have fathomed.
His hand slips into hers, and she bites her lip then lets it go, not even attempting to suppress her smile. Booth talks of love and forever and knowing, and she gets by on nodding her head, agreeing to promises he's in no position to keep.
But she loves being here with him. That she knows.
"Tomorrow, can you still cook me a steak?" Brennan asks, her words carried out on the wind.
"Yeah," he says on a laugh. Booth springs up onto his toes, ready to jump. He looks down at the floor beneath them, then smiles back up at her. "You still wanna do this?"
The traffic outside is loud in her ears and she nods, rolling up onto the balls of her feet, squeezing tightly to his fingers.
He stands there; watching, waiting.
"Bones, just say when."