Seeley Booth ran a hand through his hair and adjusted his "Cocky" belt buckle before striding into the Jeffersonian Medico-Legal Lab, intending to grab his beautiful partner and whisk her away to their latest crime scene. No, he wouldn't grab her. He was a gentleman, and gentlemen didn't grab. He would get her coat, help her put it on (if she let him), and then escort her to the crime scene with a gentlemanly hand on her back. When they arrived, she would kneel by the remains and do her squint thing, they would take them back to the lab and identify their owner, interrogate suspects, arrest the bad guy, and have pie at the diner to celebrate. Or Thai take-out in the Jeffersonian lounge. Or drinks at that bar they'd been going to lately. It didn't matter where they went or what they ate, as long as he could spend time with her. There was just one problem with his brilliant plan.
He couldn't find her.
He was about to call her on his cell phone when he recognized a curly head of hair bent over a microscope. "Hodgins."
Hodgins looked up from his microscope. "Hey, Booth. Got more bugs and slime for me?"
Booth chuckled at Hodgins' excitement. Most people tried to avoid bugs and slime, not seek them out for a good time. "Maybe later. Do you know where Bones is?"
"Yes." Hodgins knew teasing Booth was a bad idea--the man had a gun and wasn't afraid to use it--but for some reason he couldn't help himself.
Booth waited a few seconds for Hodgins to continue and then his patience was exhausted. "So where is she?"
"She went out to lunch with Angela."
"Oh." Booth's face fell. He had just assumed that he and Bones would have lunch together; they often did when working a case.
Booth looked so hurt that Hodgins considered giving him a hug, but ultimately he decided against it. Booth didn't seem like the type of guy who enjoyed guy hugs. "Ange asked Brennan out to lunch because she wanted Brennan's help finalizing the plans for her birthday party this weekend," he explained. "I think they're at the diner."
"Okay. Thanks." Booth turned and started walking out of the lab.
Hodgins followed him. "Speaking of Angela's party, have you gotten her a present yet?"
"Not yet," Booth admitted. He was a man of many skills, but shopping for squints who weren't his partner wasn't one of them. He figured he should get her something artistic, but what? "You're her boyfriend; do you have any ideas?"
Hodgins grinned. "Yeah, I have an idea. It's something that she would really love…and it won't cost you anything."
Booth wondered what gift he could possibly give her that would be free. Was Hodgins going to recommend that he do something creative, like write a poem or draw a picture or make a sculpture? That kind of thing was okay in elementary school when you didn't have the money to buy a real gift, but they were adults now. Then again, he and the squints had given each other handmade presents a few Christmases ago, but they'd had the old "we've been exposed to a potentially deadly fungus so we can't leave the lab to go shopping" excuse. "What is it?"
"You know what a romantic Angela is and she's been talking about getting you and Brennan together for years now, so I thought maybe you could--"
"Whoa, stop right there, Hodgins. I'm not having sex with Bones for Angela's birthday."
Hodgins laughed. "Dude, I wasn't going to suggest that. I was thinking you could give Brennan a kiss at the party in front of Angela."
"You're not serious." He couldn't be; this was obviously some sort of squint humor.
"I'm completely serious. It'd be the best present you could give her. Think about it."
"No." Booth walked faster, hoping Hodgins would give up and leave him alone.
Hodgins jogged to keep up with him. "Why not? You're not afraid to kiss her, are you?"
Booth glared at him. "I'm a FBI agent and a former army ranger. I'm not afraid of a kiss."
"Then do it. I'm sure it would make Angela very, very happy…and you and Dr. Brennan might enjoy it too."
"No." They were in the parking lot now, only a hundred feet away from Booth's SUV.
"But it would--"
"Final answer, Hodgins." Booth could see the SUV now and increased his pace again. Hodgins followed suit.
"I'll send Parker to space camp!" Hodgins blurted out breathlessly when Booth's hand reached for the door handle.
Booth stopped and turned to him. "How did you know about that?"
"You told Brennan, Brennan told Angela, Angela told me. The flow of information is a wonderful thing. Think about it, Booth: you give Brennan one kiss--a romantic kiss, though, not just a peck on the cheek--and your little boy gets his dream."
Booth was instantly suspicious. "This was Caroline's idea, wasn't it? Is she feeling puckish again?"
Hodgins frowned in confusion. "Caroline who?"
"Caroline Julian. Don't play dumb with me, Hodgins; you're too smart for that."
"I'm not playing, and you kissing Brennan was my idea. Why would Caroline Julian want you guys to kiss?"
"Never mind. I've got to get Bones." He reached for the door handle again.
"So will you do it?"
Booth hesitated. It wasn't that he didn't want to kiss his beautiful and brilliant partner--he thought about kissing her every day--he just didn't want to do it for an audience. After all, Seeley Booth was a gentleman, and a gentleman didn't engage in public displays of affection. Kissing Bones in front of Caroline last Christmas had been awkward enough, and she was only one person. There were bound to be dozens of people at Angela's big birthday bash, their closest friends among them. Could he handle a room full of people gawking at them? And what would happen afterward? Wouldn't the kiss give everyone who teased him about his relationship with Bones years of ammunition?
But what about his son? Parker had been begging and pleading to go to space camp for weeks, ever since his class had done an unit on astronomy. Booth had never seen him so excited about anything--well, anything non food related; burgers and French fries and ice cream sundaes certainly excited him--but neither he nor Rebecca could afford it. Hodgins, on the other hand, was a gazillionaire; a couple grand was nothing to him. What kind of father would he be if he didn't accept Hodgins' offer?
"Alright. I'll do it."
Hodgins shook hands with Booth. "Awesome. Thanks, Booth."
"I'm only agreeing to this for Parker's sake."
Hodgins suppressed a laugh. Did Booth really expect him to believe that the idea of kissing Brennan was so unappealing to him? "I know."
"Good." Booth got in the SUV and sped out of the lot, eager to go pick up his partner…the woman he'd agreed to kiss in three days. Three days would be plenty of time to prepare himself to kiss Bones in public. He would be fine. Totally fine. There was nothing to worry about.
Maybe he would buy some gum.
Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated.