A/N -- Super big thanks to blc for all of her help on this story. You're great and I really appreciate the support!! If you guys haven't read her stuff, it's amazing.
This story is an addendum to the end of Science in the Physicist. I loved the episode, but I really want to see Booth and Brennan comfort each other at some point--thus, this story. It will most likely be 3 or 4 chapters with eventual Brennan / Booth hookup. Rating will probably change to M if I can get the guts to write it that way.
As a side note, those of you waiting for an update on Regaining Her Footing, it's coming soon. I've actually been a little stumped on it, but I think I know where I'm going with it now. Please be patient and hang in there with me.
Please let me know what you think as always. I appreciate your thoughts and reviews.
Disclaimer - Bones is property of Fox Broadcasting.
Relieving the Pressure
Seeley Booth let out a sigh, 'Man, what a case,' he thought to himself. He was currently seated at a small round table in the middle of the Founding Fathers Bar with Sweets and Vincent Nigel-Murray. He was half listening to Sweets as he rambled on and on about hockey. Honestly, Booth was tired of him trying to bond by talking about hockey and besides, he had been studying his partner the entire time they had been sitting and he had some concerns. He had to shut Sweets up. "Sweets, give it a rest. What did you do, read Ice Hockey for Dummies last weekend?"
The smile on the psychologist's face immediately disappeared -- Booth obviously accused him correctly. "No. . ." He took a gulp of his drink to push the embarrassment away so he could speak. "Well, yes, I did. I thought it would help me to understand a little of how you functioned and maybe give us a common thread to discuss in a more social setting."
Sweets hoped Booth wouldn't pummel him right there.
Nigel-Murray, ever the fountain of knowledge, had to chime in. "The first use of a puck instead of a ball in ice sports was in Kingston Harbor, Ontario in 1860," he stated dryly before continuing. "Ice hockey was derived from the ancient Egyptian use of a ball and stick in sports," he finished.
Booth opted not to comment. It wasn't worth it. He saw how the kid spouted off facts like an FBI agent fired bullets or Bones said she didn't know what something meant. The young man continued to ramble about some kind of history stuff, but Booth focused his attention back on his partner seated with Angela and Cam just a few tables away. His face grew long as he took her in. Something was wrong and he could tell. She had her head propped on her right hand, her hand cupped around her ear while she held her fork in her left hand, picking at her salad. He'd been counting the number of bites she had taken and was pretty sure she had only taken 6. He couldn't be certain, however, that he hadn't fallen asleep at some point during Sweets' diatribe on hockey.
Studying his partner was something at which he excelled. He could read her expressions, her thoughts, and right now, they screamed discomfort. He looked at Cam who gave him a slight shrug. She had picked up on something too. Angela, however, hadn't noticed – she'd been sitting with her phone glued to her ear for the last hour trying to get in touch with Hodgins to make sure he was still breathing.
Booth stared at her intently. He silently went over the events of the day in his head in effort to place his finger on what could be bothering her. 'Way to go hot shot,' he thought to himself. 'You spend all this time trying to get her to trust you, to trust someone and you call her creepy. Sure, she responded by calling you stupid, but she didn't mean that I'm stupid. She just meant that I'm not an intellectual. I can understand that. She can't understand the difference between creepy and saying she had a creepy mode. Even if I ever told her that I thought her creepy mode was hot.' He sighed and let an audible "Dammit." His voiced frustration grabbed the attention of Sweets and Vincent.
Sweets spoke – as usual. "Something the matter, Agent Booth?"
"No, Sweets, everything's fine. I just want to get Bones out of here." He explained. "She's had a rough afternoon."
Sweets nodded. He had heard about the experience in the resonance chamber. Booth had shown him the original report taken at the scene. It included a signature by Dr. Brennan refusing any medical treatment from the paramedics. "You don't have any lingering effects?" Sweets prodded.
Booth shook his head. "No, my skull's way too thick for that and besides I took a couple of Excedrin like the paramedics recommended. My ears stopped ringing when Collar punched me." He laughed a little as he spoke.
Sweets laughed. "Yeah, I never would have thought a blind man could pack that strong of a punch." All three of the men laughed a little at the statement.
Honestly, he was ready to get out of there, so he stood, said his goodbyes, threw a twenty down on the table and walked over to his Bones. He placed a hand on her small shoulder. She was out of it, so she jumped at his touch. She dropped her for and let out a very loud, "What?" as she jumped.
"Jeez, Bones, I'm standing right here and I can hear now. You don't have to yell at me," he said.
She shook her head in effort to try to clear some of the fuzziness and gave him a little smile. "Sorry, I suppose my ears are just still ringing a little from this afternoon." She said and took a sip of her water.
Booth looked at his watch. It was only 7:30, but it seemed so much later. Their little experience in the resonance chamber had only occurred 3 hours earlier, but since then, they had managed to get the suspect, get him booked, and call it a day. He hated that it was only Wednesday. He always liked it when cases ended on Fridays and he could plan on sleeping in the next day.
They usually had a couple of days between cases and they both liked it that way. They would both deny it, but each case took its toll. They needed some time to relieve the pressure that built when they heard each victim's story. Bones would call it compartmentalizing. Booth would call it clearing his head. Whatever you called it, they both needed it.
He looked down at his partner again. She really didn't look too hot and had just taken up rubbing her temples slightly. "Aww--Bones, come on. Let's get you home. I told you that you should have taken some Excedrin or something like the medics said after Pond Scum Scottie tried to turn our brains into Jell-O Pudding by beaming us up."
She moved her hands from her head, seemingly embarrassed that she had been caught rubbing her temples. "Booth, it's only a slight headache, it will pass with time. Besides, I still need to go back to the lab to finish up the paperwork on the case and prepare the remains for release to the family. I can't go home yet." She said it in a manner she hoped would be convincing, but honestly, she just wanted to curl into a ball and go to sleep.
Her head was throbbing, there was a constant roaring in her ears, and her right ear had recently started pounding. It was hard to hear, painful to swallow, and she could barely hear herself speak. She supposed that her copious amount of adrenaline from the days' earlier events had been depleted and the effects were beginning to catch up with her. She might be miserable, but she would never admit that.
It most likely didn't help that it was early April and the pollen in DC was exacerbating her allergies. It was beautiful with all the cherry blossoms blooming, but her allergies didn't appreciate that. She'd been battling sinus drainage and pressure for about 2 weeks and had only stopped taking medication 3 days earlier. The time in the resonance chamber seemed to have aggravated the pressure behind her right tympanic membrane. Hopefully some hot tea and a good night of sleep would do the trick.
Cam saw Booth's concern and the anthropologist's obvious discomfort, so she spoke up. "Dr. Brennan, I really feel that it would be best if you went home and rested. I'll have Mr. Nigel-Murray prepare the remains and all of the paperwork is not due until 5 business days from the time of arrest. You have plenty of time." Cam hoped that would give her enough reason to let Booth take her home. "Besides, I'm heading home myself. Michelle wants to have a movie night. Can you believe she's never seen The Breakfast Club?" She explained and raised her hand to a waiter indicating that she wanted her check. Cam looked at Brennan's puzzled face and said, "Let me guess, you don't know what that is."
Brennan shook her head and then bit back a hiss as someone from the other side of the bar squealed as they saw an old friend.
At that moment Cam realized a lot about her formal rival and new friend. She was abandoned at almost the exact age that Michelle was now. Right now, Michelle was so vibrant, so inquisitive, and so full of life. How awful it must have been to have all of those things stripped from you at such an amazing time. 'Instead of worrying about seeing movies, Brennan had to worry about surviving. That's something no child should have to worry about.' Cam now understood why Brennan encouraged her to take Michelle. She couldn't stand to see a child go through what she went through. Cam would always be thankful to Brennan for showing that to her. Cam made an internal commitment to incorporate Brennan into Michelle's life; hopefully she could learn a few things she missed as a teenager from Michelle. "I'll tell you what, Dr. Brennan, you go home and get some rest tonight. Soon, we'll all have a girl's night and we'll watch tons of 80s movies. Maybe I can even find one with lots of Cyndi Lauper songs," Cam said compassionately as she placed a reassuring hand on Brennan's forearm.
"Fine," she said, trying to keep her tone sharp but failing miserably. "I'll just get to the lab early in the morning and finish up. She moved to Angela, who was still on the telephone, and gave her a hug. Angela mouthed good night. "I'll see you in the morning Cam," she finished.
She collected her coat and purse and allowed Booth to place his hand at the small of her back as they walked out. "Is your car still at the lab?" He asked as he held the door open for her to pass him.
"Yes," was the only answer she supplied as she felt the wind and tightened her long coat a little.
Booth nodded, worried. He hated when she gave him one word answers. It usually meant she was in some kind of pain – emotional or physical. Right now he couldn't get a good read on which one it was that was truly bothering her more.
He got a partial answer, however, when they had to step down a slight curb to cross the street. The normally confident and sure footed Temperance Brennan stumbled a little as she stepped down onto the road. Booth's strong hands grabbed her under her arms and steadied her. He let out a small sigh, thankful that he had been there. He couldn't stand the thought of her falling to the ground and injuring herself.
Once he was sure she was steady, he pulled her into one of his comforting hugs. She let out a slight moan which disturbed Booth. Something was hurting her and he didn't like it in the least. "Hey, Bones, what's the matter?" he asked as he rubbed a few soothing circles in between her shoulder blades.
She took a deep breath, disappointed in herself for allowing the moan to escape and tipping him off to her discomfort. "I'm fine Booth. My head just still hurts a little from the time in the chamber and my ear is ringing a little."
That may have been the understatement of the year. The pain from her headache wasn't getting any better, but the pounding in her ear was mounting and would soon be more painful that the headache. Obviously, the pressure from her inner ear was disturbing her equilibrium as well. She just hoped she'd be able to collapse onto her bed or couch soon instead of collapsing in the middle of the street.
He nodded at her response and released her from the hug. He didn't want to let her go, but he needed to get her home, to get her comfortable if she would let him. He inwardly cursed himself for the thoughts that crossed his mind. 'Great, Seel, just great. She's hurting and you are thinking about helping her relax on the couch while she's wearing some skimpy pajama top.'
"Alright, Bones. Let's just get you home. Do you have some medicine there? I could stop and. . . ." He was going to offer to run into a pharmacy and pick up some things for her when she cut him off.
"Booth, I'm fine. I don't need to put any chemicals in my body. I just need to get some rest just like Collar recommended in the first place," she explained very logically.
The rest of the trip to the car was silent. Brennan focused on keeping her discomfort at bay and Booth focused on her. He noticed she was still walking a little crooked and she even seem to stumble a little a couple of more times. "Still okay?" he questioned.
She half nodded and he took that as an opportunity to slip his hand around her waist from the small of her back to support her a little more. Soon they were at the SUV and he opened the door for her and she allowed it. 'Not a good sign,' he thought.
He helped her in, closed the door, and jumped into the driver's side to take her home.
Forty five minutes later, Booth was situated on Brennan's couch while she showered. She had instructed him to find something on her television for them to watch while she showered and changed. He flipped around the channels and found Men in Black playing on TBS. 'I'll bet this will drive Bones crazy with all the aliens and stuff.'
He looked up from where he was sitting when he heard her emerge from her bedroom. He patted the couch beside him and she silently complied coming to sit beside him. He was truly thankful for the closeness of their bodies at that current moment. She smelled wonderful and looked hot despite the evident marks of pain on her face. He looked her over more closely. She was wearing a simple pair of plaid, flannel pajama bottoms and a very revealing tank top. "You okay?" He asked as he gave her a slight squeeze.
She gave him a slight nod and then went to lean her head on his shoulder as she had so many times in the past. 'Just partners,' he thought and bit back a laugh. 'If any of my other partners tried anything like this, they'd NEVER walk again.' His thoughts were interrupted by a slight wince from her as she pulled her head back. He gave her a concerned glance and just received an "I'm okay" nod from her. He opted not to push her at the moment. He'd just keep an eye on her and if he noticed it getting worse, he'd take some action.
Just as Booth expected, less than 5 minutes later, she was fidgeting, rubbing her temples, and finally let out a big sigh. Booth instinctively pulled her back into him, rubbing her upper arm as he squeezed her securely. "Is your head still hurting?" He asked.
She let out a breath and looked at him. "A little, but my ear feels like it's going to explode. I know it's irrational, but it feels like a train is rolling through my semi-circular canals."
Booth laughed silently at the mix of science and layman's terms she used to describe her pain. "Bones, let me help you. Parker's had so many ear infections. I've got a lot of tricks up my sleeve in that department." He hoped she'd take him up on his offer. He took in her appearance and expressions. Her forehead was completely scrunched, she was pale, and it looked as if there were a few tears trying to form in her eyes.
"Booth thanks, but we've got to work tomorrow and it's almost 9:30 now. You need to get. . ." She stopped mid sentence, let out a loud wince, and pressed her hand against her ear in attempt to equalize the still mounting pressure inside her head.
Booth shifted into completely protective mode when he heard the painful wince. "Alright that's it; I'm taking you to a doctor." He inwardly cursed for not cuffing her to a gurney and making the paramedics look at her when they were still at the institute.
"No, Booth," she winced mid sentence again. "I'll be fine. I just need to get to sleep to see if the ringing will stop. Besides, you went through the same thing I did. You're head must be . . . owww. . . hurting too." She was struggling to speak. Every word sent another jolt of pain through her ear.
Her words tugged at his heart. She was trying to be strong, trying to keep her walls up but he could tell that she was in a lot of pain. "Bones, please, let me just try to make you feel better."
At his final plea, she nodded and a single tear slid down her cheek. She wasn't sure if it was from the pain, the embarrassment, or a combination of both. Her brain was too foggy to think clearly at that moment, since it felt like she could hear every wave on the Pacific Ocean roaring in her ear.
Booth pulled her into another hug. He spoke softly as he released her, "Bones, do you have some Advil or Tylenol and a heating pad?" He hoped she did so he wouldn't have to leave her to get those things. It would be a very long night without them. He'd spent many a night trying to comfort Parker through ear infections. He didn't know if that's what was wrong with her, but it sure seemed like it.
She had her eyes closed, gritting her teeth against the still increasing waves of pain. She cracked her eyes and focused on his face before shaking her head. She didn't get sick and didn't take any medicine other than her prescribed allergy medication when she couldn't get by on herbal teas and vitamins during the fall and spring. She had no need to keep medicine or a heating pad around. She did keep a bottle of ibuprofen in her laptop bag, but a lot of good that would do her with it at the Jeffersonian.
"That's alright, I'll take care of it," he said as he released her from his warm embrace and stood up. "Which ear is the worst?" He asked.
She simply pointed to her right one as she leaned her head back on to the couch. He was working to grab a couple of pillows and place them on the end of the couch so that she could lie down on her right ear. "Lie down," he said and she complied immediately. He covered her with a blanket and sprang into action.
"Bones, I'm going to run out to the truck for just a second. I'll be right back." He said and looked at her with compassion as she didn't move, just popped her eyes open and gave him a blink of approval.
Brennan lay completely still as she heard her apartment door shut. She wasn't sure what he was doing, but she hated the idea that he, of all people, the man she probably loved—if it existed—was seeing her like this. It was painful, yes, and she wasn't sure that her head wouldn't explode in the next few minutes, but she should be strong enough to push through it. She shouldn't be acting like a 7 year old.
Brennan could pretty much mark time by the pulses against her ear drum and an excruciating 105 pulses later, she heard her front door open and close again. She wasn't sure if she heard his footsteps over the roaring in her head, but somehow she knew he came back in. She heard muffled beeping and didn't even bother to open her eyes to see the source. She worked on her breathing and tried her best not to break her teeth gritting them against the pain.
42 throbs later, she sensed (and smelled) Booth kneeling beside her on the couch. She popped her eyes open slightly and found a very worried looking Booth staring at her. "Here," he said as he wiped the hair hanging in her eyes off her face. He slid something wrapped in a washcloth under her ear. She exhaled slightly at the small amount of relief it brought. Booth must have gone out to the car and gotten some warming packs from his survival kit in his truck. "Better?" he asked.
She gave him a simple nod. She didn't dare move too much or the motion might make the pain worse.
He smiled. "There's a cup of that herbal tea stuff you like on the coffee table if you need it," he explained. "Careful, I put it in the microwave for a long time so it would stay warm. I'm going to run to the pharmacy and get you some Advil and a heating pad. I won't be long, but if need anything, just call my cell." She nodded again and he rubbed her arm. "Just be really still and try to rest some." She closed her eyes again he pulled the blanket onto her shoulders as he stood to leave. "Oh yeah, I wrapped another warming pack in a washcloth in case you need it. It's on the table. Just pop the little bubble in the middle if that one gets too cold."
Normally, he would worry that she would get up and start working, but he didn't really think she would try to do anything right now. It worried him that she was in so much obvious pain. The warming packs seemed to offer her a little relief though. Hopefully the heating pad and a good dose of Advil would help them both get a good night of rest. It was still relatively early.
Brennan still didn't move as she sensed Booth leaving, but she did utter a simple thanks to him as she tried to focus a few thoughts through the pressure in her head. 'I can't believe I even said the word stupid when talking about him. He's obviously highly intelligent, who else would think to use warming packs from an FBI survival kit to soothe throbbing ears. He's a genius in his own way,' she thought as she began to drift into a light sleep.
Booth quietly exited her apartment and ran to his SUV. He didn't want to leave his Bones alone for too long. As he ran, he laughed to himself. 'I wish I could remember when she wrapped me around her finger. I like it though, no matter when it happened.'