Seeley Booth threw his keys on the table just inside the door.
"I can't believe that Thompson let you past him." He was already in the bedroom, removing his stale clothing after a 10-hour stakeout shift.
"I can be very charming, Booth."
"No kidding," he mumbled to himself. "I don't care if you kissed him, he still shouldn't have let you past," he called down the hallway to the kitchen, where he could hear her putting leftovers in the fridge. She'd appeared during hour seven, with takeout and a smile that said she knew that he would not manage to be angry with her for possibly compromising a stakeout and putting herself at risk.
Now, she appeared in the doorway, leaning her shoulder against the frame and eating cold Mee Krab from a bowl with chopsticks.
"You really don't care if Thompson kisses me?"
He approached and wiped a gob of the tangy Asian sauce from the corner of her mouth before leaning in to meet her lips, lingering just long enough to graze her bottom lip with his teeth.
"Although, if you did kiss him, I'm certain he would not be able to resist letting you through."
"I'll have to keep that in mind." She had a charm smile all her own. Did she know that?
He watched as she waltzed to her closet, casually setting the bowl on her nightstand before changing into her sleepwear. Too tired to care that he looked away before seeing the silk slide down her curves, he turned off the alarm on his cell phone, set for only five hours in the future. He wasn't getting up tomorrow until his body said it was time.
After thirty minutes they both lay flat on their backs. He stared at the ceiling, insomnia unwilling to grant victory to his tired mind. By the pattern of her breathing, he was fairly certain Bones remained awake as well.
"Booth, are you awake?"
"Yeah. Are you?"
"Right. Something on your mind?"
"Why would something be on my mind?"
"Well, you're awake, Bones, and I can't imagine that there is ever a time when you are awake that you aren't thinking about something."
She answered after a sigh. "I'm not sure I'm comfortable being this woman."
"What woman?" he propped himself up to look at her.
"A woman who leaves the fascinating skeletal remains of a soldier from the Norman Conquest in exchange for takeout in a dirty federal sedan in Anacostia."
He racked his brain to try to remember if 'Norman Conquest' sounded at all familiar, and bit his tongue to prevent some sarcastic remark like, "Yeah, Bones, that sounds fascinating," from escaping. Instead, he pictured how amazing she looked when she leaned over her lighted table, staring at a skull and coaxing truths from it that no one else could reveal.
"What's so special about this Norman soldier?"
Her voice lifted in pitch and the pace of her words hastened like it always did when she was excited. "The skeletal remains are in amazing condition for someone of that period. I am trying to place tissue markers on the skull based upon other data we have from similar cases so that we can tell from Angela's facial reconstruction whether the man is Norman or Saxon."
"But I couldn't concentrate because…"
He found it impossible to hide a wicked smile that said he knew he was the reason she couldn't concentrate.
"Nevermind. If you're going to laugh at me, nevermind."
"I'm not laughing."
"You are laughing." She shoved him onto his back with a firm palm to the chest and quickly extricated herself from the covers before he could catch her.
So he found himself staring at the ceiling again, alone and unable to sleep, in her bed (though it seemed that it had become theirs), in her apartment (though it seemed that they'd become two people that lived in two places). He supposed that he shouldn't have laughed, but the idea that she missed him enough for her brilliant mind to be distracted was far too exciting to warrant a straight face. And though with any other woman he'd have followed her immediately to the living room, or kitchen, or wherever she was, and they'd be having fantastic make-up sex on the countertop by now, with Bones he could never be sure how much pressure was too much.
So he just stared at the ceiling.
The kettle whistled five minutes later.
Five minutes after that she reappeared, cup of tea in hand, and curled herself in the chair beside the picture window.
He knew what was wrong. She never set work aside for anything or anyone, but she'd set it aside for him. While that flattered him immensely, he knew it made her feel out of control. He figured she must have been as surprised and uncomfortable with her own actions as he was when she rapped on the passenger window of the fleet sedan.
"I miss the field," she finally offered.
"Bones, you're still in the field." He rose from the blankets and stood at the window.
"Agent Petrosky's a good agent, he is. He has important qualities that serve him well. He seems especially adept at talking to the victim's families and he has a superior understanding of basic forensics, but…"
"Not the same?"
"Not the same."
"I know." He took her tea and offered her a hand up.
So maybe the control thing wasn't as important as he thought, or maybe she didn't recognize it yet for what it was. Either way, he was content that she'd shared at least a bit of what was bothering her. Now was not the time to push.
"I was only laughing because I'm happy, Bones." He pinched her chin between his thumb and forefinger. "Really, really happy. I'm sorry if I made you uncomfortable."
She snuggled against him in an embrace that seemed to say her discomfort had passed.
"Why weren't you sleeping?"
"It's nothing important." He cradled her head and kissed it. "Let's go to bed."
She held back when he tried to lead her to the warmth of the covers.
"Every once in a while, you should tell someone something you're not completely certain you want them to know."
Her face revealed that she was making the statement in complete honesty, unsure of whether she'd said the right thing. Where had she learned to say things like that? He seemed to remember giving her similar advice a long time ago – long before socially awkward became cute, rationality became endearing, and when condescension was enough to make that fact that she was thoroughly sexy unappealing to him.
He sank to the edge of the bed and offered a bit of himself.
"It's not silent, Booth. We're talking."
"No, the stakeout, Bones. That's the first one I've done by myself in quite a while. I'd forgotten how much I hate silence."
"It must have been pretty boring, well, at least until I showed up." The way her eyes were rolled back in her head meant that she was trying to find the logic in his statement and a question was soon to follow. "But I don't understand how boredom keeps you from sleeping."
"Oh. But you said that the silence was why you weren't sleeping."
"Okay, so you hate silence because you get bored. Silence keeps you from sleeping but boredom doesn't?"
"So, from that information I can deduce that there has to be another reason that you hate silence."
Honesty again. She was following her thoughts to their logical conclusion with her own combination of directness and truthfulness that had become, in all honesty, sexy as hell. While she did sometimes fail to connect because of her awkwardness, when she did connect, he found it mesmerizing.
And in this moment, their connection seemed as strong as it had ever been.
"When you're a sniper, Bones, you lie on your stomach for hours, head tilted back until the muscles ache and burn. But you can't move. You can't change positions or tilt your head or tuck your chin to your chest for even a moment or you might miss the shot you've waited hours to take. And the whole time, it's silent. It's a silent death. Your targets have no idea who you are, or where the shot came from. But you know who they are. You study their faces so you can pick them from a crowd. You study their patterns so you know where they'll be when you're ordered to take the shot. It's not the anonymous death of battle. You have to look into their eyes before you shoot, even if it is through a scope. And sometimes…" He drifted off.
"Booth?" She had taken his hand in hers at some point during his little speech, he wasn't sure when.
"Sometimes, in the silence, I see their faces. It only happens rarely, but it's easier just to prevent the silence in the first place."
Her face revealed nothing of her reaction. She was still processing information before making a judgment. He looked at their clasped hands while he waited for her to speak, but her only reply was to run the nails of her free hand through the hair behind his ear and kiss his temple before standing, walking, and climbing into what had become her side of the bed.
"Booth." She whispered moments later as he pulled her to him a bit tighter than usual.
"Yeah?" He whispered back.
"I came to the stakeout because I miss you."
"I miss you too, Bones."
The room fell again into a silence both uncomfortable and not, both uncertain and certain, both logical and entirely not. But it he was content to lay in it every night for the rest of his life because in this silence, it was her face behind his eyes.