AN: I hope you enjoy this series. There will be at least four, probably more, one-shots. Thanks, as always, goes to my faithful editor, redrider6612.
Junior agent Joseph Munez, Joe to his friends and family, sat at his desk, staring at the stack of paperwork that still needed to be done. He couldn't believe he'd gotten so behind. It was going to take hours to finish it all.
Glancing at the light coming from a nearby office, he thought, 'At least I'm not here all by myself. It's too quiet when I'm the only one here.'
The occupant of the other office emerged with a small duffel bag tossed over his shoulder.
"Hey, Booth. Headed for the gym?" he asked.
"Uh huh," Booth replied shortly.
'So much for having company,' Joe thought as he turned back to his desk.
He was still hard at work an hour later when the other man returned from his workout clad in casual clothes.
Joe was just about to ask how his day had been when the strains of Hot Blooded started to echo in the empty room.
Booth grabbed his phone and answered, "Hi, Bones."
He paused to listen and then said, "Yeah, I'm still here. I have to finish up a few things."
He walked into his office, but left the door open. Although he had to strain to hear, a moment later Joe heard him say, "Okay. I'll see you soon. You wanna do pie afterwards?"
The junior agent sighed quietly and returned to his slowly dwindling pile of paperwork.
Ten minutes later, Dr. Brennan walked by on her way to Booth's office. They had never been formally introduced, but everyone knew who she was – one half of the best investigative team in the building. What nobody could figure out was the exact nature of the relationship between the two partners. They denied being involved, but their body language told a different story.
As he watched, Booth lifted his head from its slumped position over the desk and greeted her. Joe turned back to his paperwork. They might be interesting to watch, but he really wanted to get out of here.
In Booth's office, Brennan dumped her purse and coat onto one of the chairs and pulled another around the desk until it was next to Booth's chair. She could tell he was exhausted. The case they had solved and were now doing the paperwork for had been hard – a sadistic child killer had gotten three kids between the time they'd identified the first body and when they caught him.
"You ready to do this?" she asked, smiling at him. "If we work together I think we can get it done in an hour or so and then we can get that pie you mentioned." She tried to sound upbeat, but she was as exhausted and frustrated by the case as he was.
It wasn't until he reached across his desk for a pen that she noticed his knuckles. They were raw and red and a few of them were bleeding.
"Taking out your frustration on the punching bag again?" she asked softly.
He looked at her a moment and then answered, "You know, sometimes this job just gets to me. Working homicide isn't easy."
"I know, Booth," she responded in a soothing tone. "Before we were partners, all I saw were the bodies and what I could tell about them from the bones. But now, we meet the people who knew them and that makes it hard to stay detached."
Although the pair weren't speaking loudly, the open door combined with the acoustics of the larger room made it impossible for Joe to ignore their conversation. He gave up trying to work on his paperwork and surreptitiously observed the pair with the "rear view mirror" he had put on his computer monitor. He usually used it so he could see who was walking into his cube, but with a minor adjustment it worked just as well for this purpose. He watched as Dr. Brennan opened a drawer in Booth's desk and pulled out antiseptic ointment and Band-Aids.
Gently she bandaged Booth's knuckles. Then she turned his hands and dropped a single kiss on each palm. He started in surprise, partly because the action was so unexpected and partly because of the fire that raced from his palms through his body.
"Um, Bones?" he said hesitantly.
Almost as surprised as he was, she apologized, "Sorry, Booth. I'm not sure what came over me."
He looked at her for a long minute before opening a folder and buckling down to work.
Now Joe was confused. Before, he had been certain they were involved, but now he wasn't so sure. The surprise on Booth's face was genuine. They were an unusual pair.
Since they were diligently working, he turned his attention back to his own paperwork. He finally managed to concentrate and his stack of work started to diminish more rapidly.
"See you later, Joe," Booth said as he and his partner headed toward the elevators.
Joe glanced at his watch. An hour and a half had passed. He grabbed his jacket and followed them. As the three waited for the elevators, Booth introduced him to Dr. Brennan, who shook his hand politely and asked how he was.
The three rode down the elevator in silence. As they parted ways in the parking lot, Booth said "See you tomorrow, Joe," and Dr. Brennan said "It was nice to meet you." As the partners headed toward their cars, Booth slung his arm around her neck in a friendly fashion and they began to argue about whose car they would take and what flavor of pie to order.
Joe watched in amusement, shaking his head at their antics.
'No wonder nobody can figure them out,' he thought. 'It seems like they're a bit of everything.'
He'd better change his bet in the office pool though; they definitely weren't dating yet. He climbed into his car and headed home for the night, dreading his empty apartment, wishing he had the kind of a partner Booth did.