Well. That was the best episode of the season, in my humble opinion. Actually hearkening back to the first two seasons - I laughed, I squealed - I thought it was great! It was so good that I wasn't sure if I could think of a tag for it - what do you write when they actually gave you what you wanted? Anyhow, after some evil back and forth with my only-slightly-less evil twin, Gryphin, I came up with this. Hope you all like it - I know, yet again, I wanted the story to keep going, and this was the result. Happy holidays, everyone!


"I'm telling you, he was going to meet us here." Worry flickered across Angela's fine features. "I don't know, this isn't good. Do you think my dad could've…no," she finished decisively. "He promised that he wouldn't hurt him, and he's never broken a promise to me before."

"Do you really think your father would actually physically harm Hodgins? Has he ever done it before, to anyone else?" Both shocked and fascinated, Brennan tackled the cocktail her friend had bought her and leaned closer. This was a dismaying tidbit about Angela's father, and yet she felt closer to her because of it. I thought I was the only one with a father who defended his family with physical violence.

"Well, there was that one time in Cozumel, but well…Phillipe deserved it, he was a cheating, lying, stealing bastard who didn't deserve any less than he got." Angela thumped her glass on the bar, oblivious to the look of horror on Brennan's face. "But I don't want to talk about this. I'm sure Hodgins is fine – he probably stayed late at the lab to do another experiment, like, oh, I don't know, frying a chicken in sulphuric acid or something."

Brennan snorted abruptly, covering her mouth in acute embarrassment. "I did not just do that. Did I just snort?"

"You did! Oh, I love you, Sweetie!" She wrapped a slender arm around Brennan, dragging her half off her stool. "You're so good for me. Who else can you snort with, if not your best friend?"

"What is in these drinks, Angela? I think I should stop drinking them. They're obviously very potent." She swirled the brown liquid overhead, careful not to slosh any over the rim.

"You're fine, Bren. It's just a little iced tea." She pushed her card to the attentively hovering bartender. "Another for my best friend, here."

"What about me?" Booth leaned in between the two of them, grinning charmingly. "I'm in on that round."

"Hey, G Man!" Taking his arm, Angela tugged him more tightly between the two of them. "I'll buy you a drink, sailor, because you're cute…but then you have to leave, 'cause Bren and I are having a girl talk."

"Okay, first of all, I was in the Army, not the Navy. Second - girl talk?" His brow wrinkled. "Since when do you two do anything girly?" Too late, he realized how what he'd said sounded, and fidgeted uneasily when two sets of feminine eyes swung to him in derision. "I didn't mean it like it sounded, it's just…you two, you're uh, women, you know, not girls, and…" Abandoning his attempt at redemption, he grabbed his beer bottle and hastily ducked away.

A chorus of delighted laughter followed him, and they toasted their successful routing of a male of the species. "He deserved that," declared Brennan, gesturing wildly with her glass. "Maybe next time he'll think before he calls me names."

"Names?" Angela set her cocktail down with a sharp crack on the bar. "What did he call you?"

"He said I was creepy." She nodded vigorously in confirmation at her friend's look of disbelief. "He did, just the other day, during the investigation at The Collar Institute. He was talking about how the scientists were all creepy, and then he said I have a creepy mode, too." Not sure if she should be insulted or amused, she slid her drink back and forth on the bar. "I'm still not sure I know what he meant by that."

"How dare he!" Instantly sympathetic, Angela did what any best friend would do and threw her support entirely to Brennan. She laced a slim arm around her, pulling her close. "Why would he say that to you?"

"I don't know. I didn't ask him. But he said a lot of things during this case." She stopped short, looking at her hands. She hadn't meant to say that, she knew she hadn't. "Are you sure this is just iced tea, Angela?"

"Of course, sweetie! Just iced tea with a little something extra in it." Grabbing her seat, she hopped her stool closer to Brennan. "So what else did he say?" When she received no response she nudged her, a friendly dig in the ribs. "C'mon, tell me. If I'm gonna get my disdain on, I need all the details."

"I hate to disappoint you, but it's not all bad." She shoved her glass out for a refill. "Some of it was rather confusing, and one thing was nice." Grabbing up her refreshed drink, she spotted the subject of her ramblings at the end of the bar. "Look, he's watching us. Why is he watching us?"

"We made him nervous. Guys can't handle the girl talk thing – they know when they're outnumbered, and they run like little chickens."

She frowned. "I don' know, Ange – Booth doesn't look like a chicken."

Angela guffawed, her head in her hands. "Whoo! Okay, that was a funny mental picture. Although, he does have that sexy belt buckle…oh, God, I have to stop." She shook her head in an attempt to clear it. "I don't mean literally – I just mean that he's like all guys – he runs at the first sign of female solidarity. But he can't go too far, 'cause he has to keep an eye on his woman."

"Whose woman?" She peered fuzzily at her glass again. Hadn't she just gotten a new drink a moment ago? Maybe someone was drinking it when she wasn't looking. She glanced around accusatorily at the surrounding people, then shrugged. She'd just catch them the next time, and have Booth arrest them.

"His woman. You. Temperance Brennan. Who did you think I was talking about when I said that?" An exasperated sigh burst from Angela's lips. "Are you listening to me?"

Angela's last statement succeeded in drawing her attention, and she swung back to her right, shocked. "What? Of course I'm listening. Why would you say I'm his woman? First of all, I don't belong to anyone, and I can't believe you just said that. Second, we're not involved. I keep telling you that, but you don't listen." Taking another sip, she kept her hand curled tight around it, safeguarding it. "We're just partners, Angela."

"Oh, really?" She swiveled on the stool, nearly falling off, but recovering in time to face Brennan. "Tell me what else he said."

"Well, he said I am the only smart person that he really licks…I mean, likes…" Her mouth dropped as she realized her slip.

Angela's dark eyes sparkled gleefully as she roared with laughter. "Honey, if he was licking you, we wouldn't be having this conversation." Kindly, she slid Brennan's drink away from her. "I'm going to be a good friend and cut you off, now. What else?"

Fighting a wave of quite-pleasant dizziness, she struggled to focus her thoughts. "Um, let's see…oh yes. He told me that he knew that Dr. Collar was going to ask me out…and he was right."

"Oh, really?" This was better than her soap opera. Way, way better. Angela leaned even closer, peering into Brennan's eyes. "How did he know?"

"He said it would be the rational and smart thing to do, and that he'd noticed how Dr. Collar looked at me." She frowned. "He explained to me how he saw a blind man looking at me at the time, but I'm having some difficulty remembering now. Ange, what kind of iced tea was that?"

"The kind from Long Island." Impatiently, she brushed Brennan's glass further down the bar before she could snag it and study the contents again. "Never mind, that doesn't matter. What did you do when he asked you?"

"Well, I told him that I had thought about what I would say if he asked me, and that my answer was no."

"Okay, I promised myself I wouldn't say anything else to you about this, but since I'm not getting any, I have to at least try to help my friend get some."She grabbed Brennan's hand. "Sweetie, do you really not see what's happening here?

"I don't understand…getting what? And what am I not seeing? I wish you'd speak more plainly, Angela. It's quite apparent that I've had too much to drink, and even when I'm sober, I have trouble deciphering euphe…euphemisms." She dropped her head onto her folded arms, enjoying the dark and yawning hugely.

"Bren, he convinced you to say no to Dr. Collar. Don't you see that? Booth didn't want you to get involved with that guy because he wants to be involved with you." She threw her hands in the air. "Am I the only person who sees this?"

"What? He doesn't want to be involved with me. And he didn't convince me to say no – I considered all the logical points and arrived at a reasoned, rational conclusion. Booth had nothing to do with it."

"Oh, I don't believe that for one second. Tell me why you decided it wasn't logical to go out with this guy. Was he ugly?"

Brennan heaved a sigh. "No, he was quite handsome, although that would not be my initial deciding factor."

"Was he a jerk?"

"Well, Booth thought so, but I disagreed. I thought he was very intelligent and quite evolved." Catching Angela off-guard, she darted her hand past her and reclaimed her drink, taking a long swig. "Umm, yummy…"

"Come on. There had to be some reason you said no…you might as well tell me, because I'm not going to stop until you do." She shoved Brennan playfully, almost knocking her off the stool in the process. "Tell me."

"Fine. I felt that…that he was moving on too quickly after the murder of his fiancée. It was off-putting."

"That's not logical! There is no way you thought of that – that's not like you at all. It was Booth, wasn't it?" Angela chuckled and kicked her toes against the bar, enjoying the moment. "That sounds just like something Booth would say. Not that I think he's wrong, mind you…it is too soon for that guy to be asking you on a date. His fiancée hasn't even been buried yet!"

"Booth said that good people leave marks on each other, and when one is gone, the marks on the other should be allowed to fade naturally, and not be covered up or hidden." Her brow wrinkled. "Strangely enough, I understand what he meant."

"Okay, I have a question for you. What would you do if Booth asked you out on a date? What would your answer be?"

"What? Angela, Booth is not going to ask me out on a date! You're just dwelling on this because of your 'sexual anorexia'." Snickering in an entirely un-scientific manner, she hailed the waiter again. "You're playing out your fantasies on me."

"Honey, believe me – if I had a chance with Booth, I'd be 'sexually obese'. Oh God – that sounded much worse out loud than it did in my head." She massaged her temples, groaning slightly. "Oh, I have had way too much to drink."

Brennan chuckled mischievously, her blue eyes twinkling. "Maybe you would be 'sexually stuffed'?" They dissolved into gales of laughter, hanging onto each other to keep from tumbling to the floor. "I am never drinking this cocktail again – it is entirely too strong…"

After a moment, Angela settled down, turning on her friend with alarming decisiveness. "Just answer the question, Brennan. What would you do? If Booth asked you out, what would you say?"

"Well, I suppose I would do with Booth what I did with Dr. Collar – I would weigh all the rational points, the advantages and disadvantages, and arrive at a logical assessment of the situation."

"By which point Booth would already have his hands firmly planted on your 'assessment'. Listen, sweetie – there's no logical with Booth. Not with all that hunkitude. Sometimes you just gotta grab hold of what's right in front of you."

"You're being silly, Angela. I'm not going to grab anything."

She smiled - a beautiful, beaming smile. "Or what's right behind you, for that matter. Hi, Booth."

"Hi again, ladies. What's going on over here?" He tried to look at Bones, but she was busily gazing in the other direction, and was sporting what appeared to be a rosy blush. "Everything alright?"

"Oh, everything's just ducky, Booth. Brennan and I were just discussing the merits of a certain…life choice."

He stared at her, bewildered with their choice of bar talk. "What, like paper or plastic?" The things women talked about; he'd just never get it.

"Mmm, something like that. Actually, we were just talking about you –" Her sentence cut off abruptly as Brennan's hand clamped over her mouth. She pulled away, giggling madly at her friend's desperate lunge. "Relax, I promise I won't tell."

"Tell what?" Really, either the one beer he'd limited himself to had been spiked, or they were even worse off than he'd originally thought. He looked at Bones again, who was busy staring daggers at her friend. "You know what? I think it's time I brought you two ladies home." Ignoring their protests, he flipped a pile of cash onto the bar and began extracting them from their stools. "Okay, let's go, no more cocktails for you, time for squints and artists to be tucked into bed with aspirin and water and maybe some toast. Come on..." Since Bones was loudly claiming that she didn't need any help, he turned to Angela to help her with her jacket.

"What about Mr. Nigel Murray and Sweets?" Brennan struggled with her blazer, finally managing to get her arm in the sleeve before staring dumbly at the label inside the neck of the garment.

Wordlessly, Booth plucked the blazer from her, neatly turning it around and folding her into it. "Sweets is bringing your little probie home. He was spouting off factoids about pick-up lines and percentages of one-night stands to anyone who'd listen. That British accent'll only get you so far - dumb kid nearly started a riot." Fastening her buttons, he leaned close, looking into her eyes. "You're welcome." He chuckled at the blank stare she aimed at him. "C'mon, let's get you home before you reach your expiration date."

"I don't know what you're talking about." In a fog, she allowed him to herd her toward the door, Angela stumblingly in tow. "People don't have expiration dates, unless you're talking about death, in which case I'm sure I'll be home before that happens."

As the brisk air slapped them, he wrapped an arm around each of their waists, pulling them close for the walk to the truck. "Never mind, Bones. Just keep walking, one foot in front of the other, that's a girl."

Comforted by the press of her partner's body, Brennan leaned forward, peering across the expanse of his chest. "Angela!"

"Sweetie, why are you yelling? I'm right here." She craned her neck, trying not to feel just how well-muscled Booth really was under all his clothes. Well, sort of trying, anyway. A little bit. "What?"

"I've been thinking about what you asked me earlier. When we were in the bar." Saved from falling to her knees when she stumbled by Booth's firm grip , she raised her eyebrows meaningfully. "You know, about the thing? What I would say?"

"Ohhh, yeah…that question. What about it?"

"I've been thinking about it, and…I might say yes." She flinched back at the high-pitched whine emitting from Angela, burying her face in Booth's jacket to help muffle the noise. "Angela, stop! Ow, my head."

"Oh my God, sweetie, are you serious? Oh, I'm so happy…" She dissolved into incoherent, but mercifully softer ramblings, her head dropping onto Booth's shoulder. "I knew it, I just knew it…"

"Alright, Bones, what in the hell was that about? I feel like I'm back in that chamber." Painfully he worked his jaw, hoping his hearing would return soon. He was surprised that squeal hadn't broken the nearby windows. "Bones?" He glanced down at her, surprised to find her studying him quite seriously. "What's up?"

"Nothing. Just a little more of the girl talking." She smiled at him, a quick, tipsy ripple of her lips. "Thank you for bringing us home, Booth. Do you know where Angela lives?"

"I do, but you girls are having a sleepover tonight."

"With you?" Her lips curved even wider.

"What? No, not with me!" he choked out, shocked at her statement. "Angela can stay at your place tonight." A slightly evil grin softened his features, and he leaned in. "You can hold each other's heads tomorrow morning."

"I don't know what that means." She was getting fuzzy, everything fading to a pleasant pastel landscape around her. Except for Booth's arm – she could still feel it tight against her. Finally she gave into the urge and followed Angela's example, laying her head on his shoulder. A tired sigh leaked from her.

"You will, Bones." Hearing her sigh, he tucked her more tightly to him. "You most definitely will."

So there you have it - hope you enjoyed! I had a great time writing it. And if you ever wind up ordering a Long Island Iced Tea at a bar, and you haen't had one before, be very, very careful - they can knock you on your butt!