Disclaimer: Bones isn't mine. But how I wish it were. Oh, woe.
A/N: I just finished marathoning this show, which believe me, took quite a bit of time and dedication. And now I'm completely and utterly obsessed/in love with it. And since my brain has recovered from the melting that occurred at the season four finale, I thought I'd write a pointless piece of fluff, mostly because I adore these characters and their development and want to play with them and unfortunately probably ruin them. Hm. Well, I tried. Brennan's dialogue is especially fun to write. So I hope once you read, you enjoy it and review!!
A/N the second: It occurs to me to say that the title doesn't imply anything (although I would greatly like to see an episode in which a skeleton is found in a booth and can be titled thusly, as that would just be hilarious). I blame my utter lack of sleep, and besides, to be gutter-worthy, it would have to be "The Booth in the Bones", right? Anatomically. Now I feel the pressing need to rate this "T"...
The Bones in the Booth
"You can see here," Brennan was saying, gesturing to the immaculate white bones, "that the octagonal puncture indicates—"
The anthropologist stopped mid-sentence, glancing away from her current mystery skeleton in favor of looking upon her hailer. Booth had taken the steps into the lab proper two at a time, and he had barely managed to swipe his ID card before triggering the blaring alarms. Angela and Hodgins dodged out of the way and exchanged bemused glances as the FBI agent made a beeline for his partner.
"Booth, what is it?" Brennan protested as he snagged onto her arm, and with her usual stubbornness, she dug her heels in and refused to be budged another inch. "I'm in the middle of your investigation, so if you would please not interrupt me when I'm incredibly close to identifying—"
"Bones, come on, humor me for once, will ya?" the agent wheedled, flashing her a grin that was more nervous than charming, and his fingers tightened on her arm.
She frowned, puzzled. She already had the body, and if he would just let her look at that suspicious puncture in the sternum for one more second, then she would have the murder weapon and he could have his arrest. She really didn't see what was so hard with the concept, and she opened her mouth to say so, but something in his eyes made her stop. She was no expert at reading people—and she was admittedly a little surprised that Sweets hadn't butted in with some psychological mumbo-jumbo as he was so wont to do—but she felt fairly confident that she had gotten good at reading Booth, and there was definite anxiety in his eyes. Perhaps apprehension?
"Well, okay…" she allowed, relaxing her immobile stance. He guided her away from the tables and the instruments, back down the stairs. He halted then, and his free hand came up and grasped her other arm as well. She looked down at his hands for a moment, her confusion only increasing, and was peripherally aware that her team had assembled at the top of the stairs and was watching them avidly like an audience on the edge of their seats.
He bowed his head, fingers flexing on her shoulders, and exhaled a curt sigh.
"Bones, I…" he began, and then he shook his head, one sharp motion to the side. Still without looking directly at her, he sighed again, heavier this time. "You should already know that this one cuts pretty close to home."
"I know," she acknowledged, although her brow remained furrowed. Their current case involved the murder of another agent, and the victim's partner was practically catatonic with grief. She could see similarities in the fact that she had experienced considerable duress when her own partner had been in danger or presumed dead, but she stood by her decision to treat this case with her usual objectivity. Booth ought to know that, too, but he never had favored logic, much to her quiet dismay.
He nodded, but absently, as if he weren't really listening to her and were only trying to spit the words out. "I mean, we've been through hell and back—and I know you think there's no such place—but you catch my drift. It's been tough. Both of us have almost died, more than once, and…and now this…" He clenched his jaw tightly, a muscle working back towards his ear. "Our luck, ya know, could run out."
"Empirically, there's no such thing as luck," Brennan chided. The edge was missing from her tone, though; as unperceptive as she typically was, the underlying tremor in Booth's voice was worrying her.
He grinned, again fleetingly. "Yeah, yeah, of course you'd say that. I'd say our number might almost be up, but you never were good at those sorts of things."
Her frown acquired a more world-weary nature. "If you're referring to colloquialisms, then yes, you're correct, I rarely understand. And I can't imagine which number you mean," she added, returning to vague puzzlement.
He laughed softly, but like his smiles, it was evanescent and forced. "Bones, sometimes, you're just so…you."
She fixed him with a somewhat sharp look. "If you dragged me over here to have this pointless discussion, I would appreciate your letting me return to my work." She paused, mulling something over, and continued, "It holds true statistically that in our professional field, both of us are more likely to be murdered than the average civilian. While I approve of mathematical estimation, it still is merely an estimate."
Booth finally raised his eyes, brown meeting blue. "Was that an attempt at reassurance?"
The sharpness melded briefly with haughtiness. "I provided a rational comeback to your vague allusion of our present or future danger. And considering that statistics are all based upon numbers, perhaps that would be the number to which you referred. Now, please," she said, reaching up to gently but firmly grab his arms, just above his elbows. "Let go of me so that I can do my job."
He simply stared levelly at her, his jaw tightening again, and made no motion to obey her request. "You haven't asked me why I brought you all the way over here."
Brennan tilted her head slightly to the side, considering various explanations. At length, she said, "Given the nature of our conversation, I would hypothesize that you wished this to remain private, hence my relocation."
He chuckled, genuinely amused this time. "Yeah, maybe, but you'll notice that your squints are watching us like hawks."
She glanced sidelong at her team, who were indeed paying very close attention and not attempting in the slightest to conceal their interest. "Considering that some of them do have their eyes narrowed, I will for once concede the usage of the term squints."
"It's almost like you made a joke," he teased, but the humor was already gone from his demeanor, and he sounded grim more than anything.
She huffed and dropped her hands from his arms. "Then I don't know why you took me over here. Could you explain so we can move on…?"
Booth swallowed, the reflexive action executed with difficulty. His fingers flexed again on her arms, a brief spasm as he fought to retain his composure. And then he said, hoarsely, "I know that you're all weird and rational, Bones, and that maybe if I died, you'd be able to compartmentalize or something else that sounds like bullshit, but I can't, see? If that was you, lying on that slab, stripped down to your…your bones…God, I wouldn't be able to stand it because I wouldn't be able to recognize you anymore. Little differences in skull ridging or whatever the hell you call it—it wouldn't help me. You'd be gone and I'd be talking to your…your…your headstone, irrationality be damned, and…that is, if I managed to stay out of jail after hunting down and tearing apart the bastard who ki—who killed—"
"Booth, stop," she ordered, more unnerved than she would ever care to admit. "You're babbling. More than that, you're assuming events that have absolutely no basis in fact at this moment in time. So please. Just stop."
He took a deep breath, perhaps in an attempt to calm his heartbeat. If his hands hadn't been so tight on her, she would've been able to feel him trembling. "We've been partners for almost four years now," he said, much more quietly, his tone carefully controlled. "How many more times does one of us almost have to die before we find the guts to act? Before we realize we can't keep up this dance forever? That we shouldn't?"
"What are you trying to say?" she wondered, slowly and half-suspiciously.
One of his hands released and rose; his fingers skimmed across her cheek, the heel resting against her jaw, and she unconsciously leaned into the gesture. His palm was rough and calloused—an athlete's hand, an agent's hand, a warrior's hand—but overwhelmingly, it was warm.
"I brought you over here," he revealed, tiptoeing on each word, "so that you couldn't possibly complain that this might have somehow contaminated the evidence."
She had a moment for her confusion to stagnate before he leaned in and firmly pressed his lips to hers. And suddenly, the heavy, suffocating pressure released in her chest, as if she'd been holding her breath for years and finally remembered to gasp for air. Her fingers fisted in his suit jacket and pulled him closer, needing him like that oxygen she'd taken for granted even though she knew that made no sense. But for once she didn't care that reason had no place here.
For once, she simply let herself be.
When he eventually eased back, she let her eyes drift open again and simply soaked in the sight of him and thought that maybe, just maybe, she liked apple pie after all.
"Buh…Booth," she stammered at a whisper, recent events finally falling into order and calling a blush to her cheeks. "I don't think that…that kissing me would've contaminated…"
"Better safe than sorry, eh, Bones?" he replied, grinning ear to ear in that boyish way he'd all but perfected.
"I…I suppose that is a reasonable assumption," she acknowledged, still off-kilter. It didn't help her composure any when he kissed her again, as if only to prove that he could.
"C'mon," he declared, slinging his arm around her and guiding her away from the gawking squints. "What d'ya say to a nice cup of coffee?"
She would've frowned if she'd found a way to stop smiling. "I…I…but Booth, we always drink coffee together. It's not exactly different than our usual interaction…"
He pressed another kiss to her temple as they strolled out the doors and into the sunlight. "Ha, ya know, I don't suppose it really is," he agreed musingly, pleased with that revelation.
Back on the lab platform, Angela finally managed to shut her mouth. "Well," she said, "I didn't see that coming."
Cam shot her a sidelong glance, eyebrow arched. "Really?" she inquired dryly, her own lips twitching at the corners.
The artist laughed. "Alright, alright, it was only the most obvious thing in the world."
"What about the murder case?" Clark muttered, but as per usual, the core team ignored his attempt to return their focus to the task at hand; gossip was always just a bit more alluring, even for a bunch of squints.
Lance raised a hand to his chin in thought. "It would appear that Dr. Wyatt was correct after all," he said, sounding as if he were settling into a vein. "I largely misread their interaction, but here we have it proved, something I'm sure Dr. Brennan would appreciate, at least on its empirical level."
Hodgins rolled his eyes. "I suppose you would have a point, right?" he grumbled.
The psychologist attempted to look put upon, but he relented soon enough and explained simply.
"Brennan isn't the brains or even the bones. She's Booth's heart."
"Awww," Angela cooed. "That's so sweet, Sweets."
He pouted again, as if to say Never heard that one before, but as he watched the retreating figures of Booth and Brennan disappearing into the haze of the Jeffersonian's grounds, he couldn't help but smile at the sight and the thought that occurred to him: now, perhaps, they really would need couples' therapy.
Somehow, though, he doubted it.