A/N So this started as a little something, I was expecting it to be only a couple pages long, and like most of my writing projects got wildly out of control. Just a funny little piece. No specific timeline.
I'm posting this under crossovers and both Bones and NCIS, both under the same name.
"I hate men!" a more than slightly drunk Ziva declared, slamming her empty shot glass down onto the sticky bar. She motioned for the bartender to pour her another.
"I do, too!" an equally drunk Brennan agreed, slamming her beer bottle down onto the counter. Ziva turned to the woman next to her.
"They are shallow!" Ziva said.
"And rude!" Brennan agreed.
"They believe they are God's gift to women," Ziva spat, disgusted.
"They give you stupid nicknames! What, Bones is supposed to be clever?"
"Why Bones?" Ziva asked, confused.
"I'm a physical anthropologist at The Jeffersonian Institution," Brennan said.
"I work with Bones," Brennan sighed.
"Oh. Well they make fun of you for not knowing stupid phrases! How was I supposed to know that 'if Gibbs told you to jump off a bridge, would you' was not an actual question but a stupid saying!" Ziva complained, almost tipping right off of her barstool.
"I agree!" Brennan said loudly. "There idioms make no sense! I never know what Booth is talking about!"
"Exactly! I can never tell what Tony means, and he is always quoting idiotic movies!"
"And making sports references!"
"I hate men!"
Meanwhile, across town at a similar bar…
"Women suck, dude!" Tony slurred out to the man next to him. "You know?"
"Oh I know," Booth confirmed.
"They pretend they dunno, but oh, they know. And they think I dunno, but I really know they know. They can't hide it, you know?"
"Yep," Booth affirmed before going back to blowing bubbles in his drink.
"They do it on purpose! They smell nice, look pretty, all to screw with us man!"
"'Cause they're mean!" Booth said. "And smart. Why are they so much smarter? Compared to her, I'm as smart as a bunny slipper. Not even a pair, I am a singular bunny slipper!"
"Uh huh," Tony said. "Bartender! Another for me and my new buddy."
"I never get the last word in," Booth grumbled.
"Yeah?" Tony asked. "I've got a totally hot Mossad officer for a partner who could kill me with a pen cap and two thumb tacks!"
"Yeah, my partner might as well be an MMA fighter! Not good man, she shoots people too much," Booth whined.
"She shoots people?" Tony asked.
"Well, not everybody. The first guy was trying to light her on fire…but that's ok because I don't want her to be on fire," Booth said considering.
"Yeah, deep fried female isn't good," Tony said solemnly.
"I think it's a good thing my partner doesn't know your partner," Booth said, picturing Tony's faceless partner and Bones beating him up. Tony and Booth's heads snapped up.
"They don't…know each other, do they?" Tony asked.
"Dr. Temperance Brennan?" Booth asked.
"Ziva David?" Tony said. Both shook their heads and breathed a sigh of relief.
"Women, man," Booth muttered.
"Anthropologically speaking, Booth's an alpha male and I understand his antics. But as a woman I want him to grow up and, what's the phrase, grow a pair! I mean, you think they're finally going to admit it, they're this close, but no! They go a completely different way!" Brennan raged.
"Then they parade their 'conquests' in front of you!" Ziva said, disgusted. "Like I really want to see all the women Tony sleeps with."
"At least he didn't sleep with your boss," Brennan moaned.
"Only because my boss is a grey-haired ex marine," Ziva promised.
"Booth isn't THAT bad," Brennan admitted. "I guess he likes his privacy. And he is a good father."
"Tony would be a good father," Ziva mused. "And overall he is a good man."
"Booth catches the bad guys. And protects me. It's sweet if I ignore the fact that it is unnecessary, obnoxious and vaguely insulting," Brennan said.
"Tony does protect the people who matter to him," Ziva promised.
"Booth does care about me," Brennan said. "I think…no, I know."
"I do not know about Tony," Ziva groaned, hitting her head on the bar.
"You know, without them, life would be pretty boring," Tony said, pointing his drink at Booth.
"That's true," Booth agreed. "My tech guys are pretty bad. I wouldn't have caught as many bad guys without Bones."
"Your bad guys didn't have bones?" Tony slurred.
"Huh? Yeah they do," Booth said. "Oh! No, Bones is my partner. She works with skeletons and stuff, so she's Bones."
"Oh. Ziva…Well, she's Ziva. There are really no cute Israeli assassin nicknames."
"You could call her Izzie, short for 'Israelie'," Booth suggested. Tony snorted.
"She's kill me and feed me to a bird."
"I miss Bones," Booth sighed, motioning for another beer.
"Me, too," Tony said. "Except I miss Ziva instead of just her bones."
"Abby?" Ziva asked, confused. "What are you doing here?"
"Paulie called me!" Abby said waving to Paulie, the bartender. "He said you were drunk as a skunk and needed to be driven home, so here I am!"
"See, the stupid phrases!" Ziva said to Brennan. "Since when do skunks consume alcohol?"
"All right Ziva," Abby said, putting her hands on her hips. "You're WASTED. Is that better?"
"No," Ziva muttered.
"Didn't think so," Abby said. "Come on, time to bring you home."
"Wait, what's your number?" Brennan asked. "I'd like to talk to you when we're both in our right minds." Abby wrote down Ziva's number on a napkin while Brennan wrote hers on a business card and handed it to Abby.
"Whoa, an anthropologist at the Jeffersonian? I'm a forensic scientist with NCIS! I might just call you, too!" Abby said.
"Be my guest," Brennan said, rubbing her temples.
"Hey, do you need a ride, too?" Abby asked.
"No thanks," Brennan said, the alcohol beginning to wear off. "I can call my Angela friend. I mean, my friend Angela."
"Ok," Abby said. She started leading Ziva out. "Thanks Paulie! Come on my little Mossad assassin princess."
"I think I just met a vampire," Brennan muttered as she dialed Angela's number. "Angela! He took my keys!"
"Huh?" Angela's sleepy reply came. "Sweetie, it's one am, wha- oh! Where are you?"
"Paulie's, apparently," Brennan said.
"I'm on my way."
Less than ten minutes later, Angela walked through the bar's front door. She made a beeline for Brennan.
"Aw, sweetie, what is it?" she asked.
"Ziva and I hate men," Brennan said, waving the napkin with Ziva's number on it. "Though I think she actually doesn't hate men, she's just saying that because she loves her partner Tony and is mad at him." Angela smirked.
"Kind of like how you don't actually hate Booth, you love him and are just mad at him?" she asked. Brennan's head snapped him.
"No!" she protested. "I hate Booth. Stupid hockey-playing cave man." Angela laughed loudly.
"Come on sweetie, time to go home and sleep," Angela said, pulling her friend up. They made their way to the door when a drunken skinhead slapped Brennan's ass.
"You know what Booth would do if he was here?" Brennan asked Angela. "He'd take this jerk by the collar." She grabbed his shirt. "He'd give him a shake." She shook the startled drunk. "And he'd hit him!" She punched the drunk in the face, sending him careening into a table. "It's a good thing Booth isn't here," Brennan said as she started to the door again.
"Yeah, if he was someone might get hurt," Angela said, following Brennan out the door.
"For a genius, Bones really has some bad taste in men," Booth said, finishing off another beer. "I mean, what's the point of being super smart if you can't even see who is a good guy for you?"
"Like you?" Tony asked.
"Like how you'd be a good guy for her?" Tony said, winking.
"I didn't say that," Booth said. "Nobody said that. Who you been talking to, Angela? Hodgins, was it Hodgins? Figures, that buggy little nerd…"
"What I don't know," Tony whined, "is how she can be a Mossad agent and still not be able to see what's right in front of her!"
"Like you?" Booth chimed in.
"I would be good for her, you know?" Booth reverted to the subject of Brennan. "She needs someone strong, who knows about her past, loves her, would do anything for her, and who would never hurt or betray her!"
"So you're perfect for her because you're a badass, a softie and are in love with her?" Tony asked.
"I hate to break it to you, man," Booth said. "But you love your partner, too."
"What?" Tony laughed. "Ziva? Nah, no way. Sure, I want her happy. And safe. I think about her a lot. We talk…I have good feelings toward her…if any man came near her I threaten their life…" Booth watched as realization dawned on the NCIS agent's face. Tony sighed. "Damn it."
"Told you," Booth said, saluting Tony with his beer.
"You're in love with yours, too," Tony said childishly.
"Yeah," Booth said. "But mine examines dead bodies. She doesn't make them dead to begin with."
"Damn it," Tony said again.
"Angela," Brennan whined. "I am perfectly capable of getting myself to bed! This is an unnecessary attempt by you to play the part of my caretaker."
"Sweetie, have you even seen the movie 10 Things I Hate About You?" Angela asked, maneuvering Brennan away from a priceless antique lamp.
"What? No," Brennan answered.
"Then let me quote. 'Leave it to you to use big words when you're smashed'," Angela said.
"I am not that drunk!" Brennan protested . Angela pushed her backwards until she fell onto the bed. She started taking off Brennan's shoes.
"Oh really?" Angela asked. "Well we've been here ten minutes so far and you have yet to notice that we're at my apartment, not yours."
"Oh," Brennan pondered this for a moment before whispering, "Angela! I'm drunk!"
"Abby, I have dismembered men with nothing but plastic food utensils. I believe I can go to bed on my own," Ziva said, staggering around her living room.
"I thought so, too," Abby said. "Until you sat down next to your neighbor's yard gnome and started trying to swap stories about ex-boyfriends."
"Oh," Ziva said. She giggled and rolled onto her side on her bed. Abby pulled the covers up around Ziva's shoulders, thoroughly tucking her in. She leaned over and kissed Ziva on the forehead.
"Go to sleep Ziva," Abby said, flouncing out of the room. "I'll sleep on the couch, just in case."
"Just in case?"
"Just in case you get sick everywhere," Abby clarified.
"I don't get ill from alcohol," Ziva said indignantly.
"I don't think you've ever consumed this much alcohol at one time before," Abby said.
"Oh," Ziva answered. "Well, we'll see. Goodnight Abby, Queen of the Underworld."
"Goodnight Ziva, faithful servant who has sent me so many souls," Abby teased back. "Sleep!"
"So, man, what you're saying is…I love her 'cause she's crazy?" Tony asked. He tried to take his shot, only to realize the glass was empty. "Hey, did you drink this?" he asked. Booth frowned.
"Dude…no," Booth said, holding up his beer. "But yeah, you like that she isn't the typical chick! She's vibrant, exciting, strong…"
"Yeah, she is," Tony agreed, gazing off into space. "Wait, are we talking about your girl or my girl?" Booth frowned, then shrugged.
"I think mine…I forget," Booth said.
"You are really cool man," Tony said. "We should talk when we're sober."
"I agree," Booth answered. They both handed the other a business card, promising to make a man-date. Tony staggered to his feet, clutching the bar for support.
"I'm, I'm wasted," he stuttered.
"Yes, you are," Booth said, laughing.
"I'm calling a cab, you wanna share one?"
"Nah," Booth answered. "I'll stay here for a bit then call someone to pick me up. Good luck with your partner."
"You too!" Tony called, staggering to his cab. Booth made his phone call and ten minutes later, Hodgins was pulling Booth out of the bar and into his Mini.
"Dude, you brought the toy car!" Booth exclaimed joyfully. Hodgins just smiled.
"Yeah man. I gotta say I'm surprised you called me."
"Well I needed to call someone but for some reason, the Jeffersonian was the only number I could remember," Booth said thoughtfully. "I spend waaay too much time with you brain trust people."
"Yeah, and you were the only one crazy enough to still be working at 2 am, so here you are!" Booth said. "Speaking of, why were you working at 2 am?"
"Just thinking," Hodgins answered a little too quickly.
"Oooh! There's more! What are you thinking about at 2 am, huh?" Booth pestered. "Oh, I know, Angela!" Hodgins grimaced. "I knew it! So what's the dealio man?" Hodgins sighed.
"It's, you know…I love her," Hodgins said, keeping his eyes firmly on the road. Booth sighed.
"Seems to be the night for the stuff."
"Keep the change," Tony said, throwing money at the cab driver. He dashed up the driveway, noticing al the lights were off. He fished out the key Ziva had given him for emergencies only and carefully unlocked the back door. He crept down the hallway and knocked lightly on Ziva's bedroom door. He heard a mumble and pushed it open.
"Ziva?" he called into the dark room. "Ziva, are you awake?" He heard some rustling and the light next to Ziva's bed turned on.
"Tony?" she asked, confused.
"Yeah, it's me, Ziva look-"
Before he could even finish his sentence, Ziva flew out of bed and wrapped her arms around him. Before either of them could think, they were kissing fiercely and pawing at each other's clothes. Ziva kicked the door closed.
Angela had gotten Brennan to sleep and had barely fallen asleep herself when an obnoxious ringing invaded her ears. With a groan, she rolled over, realizing it was her phone, and toppled off the couch in the process.
"What?" she hissed into the receiver.
"Angela? It's Booth!" came Booth's vaguely hysterical voice. Angela shot straight up.
"Booth? What's wrong?"
"Where's Bones?" he asked. Angela paused, confused.
"What?" she asked, still hazy.
"Where's Bones?" Booth repeated, still panicking. "I'm at her apartment, she's not here!"
Angela sighed. She knew it was a bad idea to say Brennan is with her, but worse if Booth didn't know where she was. He'd probably dispatch the whole damn FBI as a search party.
"Booth, breathe," Angela commanded. "She's with me, she's safe and she's fine." She's passed out drunk in my bed, potato, po-tah-toe.
"Oh," Booth said, relaxing instantly. "Oh, ok. Bye." Angela looked down at the phone as he hung up.
"Looks like Bren wasn't the only one trashed tonight," she mumbled before rolling over and going back to sleep.
Forty minutes later, in the middle of a very complicated dream involving Hodgins, lots of sex and a pink typewriter, Angela was startled awake by a series of loud bangs on her door. She shot straight up, eyes wide. The echoing bangs only got louder. Adrenaline rushing through her, she grabbed the heavy brass lamp next to the couch. She clutched it like a baseball bat, fearfully approaching the door.
"Angela!" Angela immediately relaxed, recognizing Booth's voice. She opened the door, lamp hanging at her side.
"Booth, it's past 4 am," she said, putting a hand over her hammering heart.
"Yeah, I know, I-" he glanced down at the lamp in her hand and took in the hand over her heart. He pointed at the lamp. "What's that for?"
"Oh," Angela said, swinging the lamp. "I thought you were some crazy guy. I was going to smash in your face."
"What?!" Booth asked, outraged. "If there's ever a crazy guy at your door, don't open it! You call me, all right? I'll take care of it!"
Angela smiled slightly. She saw what Brennan meant by the whole 'alpha male' thing.
"I'll keep that in mind," Angela promised.
"Good," Booth said sternly. "Now, where's Bones?"
"Booth, you're drunk, do you really want to discuss this with her?" Angela asked.
"Discuss what?" Booth asked, confused. "We talk all the time at 4 am. A lot…" Angela rolled her eyes and stepped aside to let him in.
"I can smell the beer on your breath," she pointed out.
"Yeah, it's gonna be a pretty crappy hangover tomorrow," he said. "But I'm not drunk. I was, oh believe me, I was, but I'm not now. I promise, now please I need to talk to her."
"Fine," Angela said, pointing him in the direction of her bedroom. "But she's sleeping off her own drunkenness, so beware."
"Is she ok?" he asked immediately.
"She's fine, she's feeling fairly anti-male at the moment though so good luck. Try to keep it quiet though, I'm going back to sleep," Angela said collapsing onto the couch.
Booth walked through the unfamiliar hallways until he found the bedroom door. He knocked and when he didn't hear a response, pushed the door open. He crept in and sat on the edge of the bed Brennan now occupied. He reached over to wake her up, but couldn't bring himself to do it. She looked so exhausted, he just couldn't wake her up.
Booth just looked at her sleep. After a few minutes, as if she could tell he was there, Brennan rolled over uneasily.
"Booth," she murmured.
"Yeah, Bones, I'm here," he said softly, not sure if she was really awake or not.
Brennan opened her eyes, finally fully awake.
"Booth?" she asked sleepily.
"Hey, Bones," he answered.
"What are you doing here?" she asked.
"I just, I needed to talk to you," he said. He noticed her face turning pale. "Bones, are you ok?"
"Yes, I'm fine," she said. "What do you need?"
"Well," Booth started. His carefully practiced speech was crumbling around him. "Well, I, Tony and I realized that even though I'm just a bunny slipper, that's ok. Actually, it's good. You know that we're great. We love each other and you know we're perfect."
Brennan, genius that she was, just stared at him in slightly drunken confusion. Booth realized she hadn't understood a single word he said. He reached forward and cupped her face in his hand, rubbing her cheek with his thumb as he just stared at her. Brennan covered his hand with hers and a smile slowly spread over her face. She frowned suddenly, turning green. She lurched to the opposite side of the bed and emptied the contents of her stomach into a well placed garbage can.
She groaned, eyelids fluttering. She blindly reached for Booth. He grabbed her hand and pulled her against him. Wrapping her hand around his, she leaned heavily onto his firm chest. He leaned back, settling her against him. Sighing, Brennan relaxed in his arms, fading from consciousness.
Ziva woke up groaning, slowly groaning as the weight of her hangover headache hit her like a semi truck. She grimaced against the light coming in through her open window. She froze, suddenly aware of a masculine arm flung casually around her waist. Realizing she was naked, she turned her head to discover the identity of whoever was next to her, bracing for the worst. Her jaw dropped.
"Tony?" she hissed in shock. He stirred, waking up at the sound of her stunned voice.
"Hi, Ziva," he said, shielding his eyes from the morning light. Ziva scooted around until she was facing Tony, sheet clutched to herself. She put a hand to her temple, trying to remember what had happened the night before.
"Tony, we, uhm, we did-"
"The nasty?" he supplied. Ziva winced.
"What happened?" she asked.
"Well, I was drunk," Tony said. "And so were you, apparently. But not at the same place. I met his guy, Boone, Breath, something like that. Anyways, we got to talking. Well we figured out that the reason I'm in love with you is that you're, you know, a crazy badass. Booth! That's his name. Then I got a cab and we-"
"Had sex," Ziva finished, the memories rushing back. Tony had come into her bedroom. In her drunken state, she did the only logical thing to do when she saw the man she's been in love with for years. She punched him in the face. Then they had sex.
"Lots and lots of sex," Tony said. "And you told me you love me." Ziva winced again, then sighed.
"Yes, yes I did," she admitted.
"I knew it!" Tony said. He jumped to his feet, giving Ziva an eyeful, and started dancing. "I knew it, I knew it!"
"Oh shut up," Ziva laughed. She hit him in the shin and he collapsed next to her, grinning.
"I love you too, don't worry!" Tony promised. Ziva rolled her eyes and pulled his face down for a kiss.
"Well, now that's settled," Ziva said. "But I cannot help but feeling that I am forgetting something."
"Damn straight you are," Abby said from the doorway, hands on her hips. Tony and Ziva's mouths hung open. Abby glared, drumming her fingers on her hips.
"Uhm, Abby," Ziva started. Abby broke into a huge grin and ran over, flinging her arms around both of them.
"Oh my god! I'm so happy for you guys!" she squealed, hugging them both. "Seriously, it's about time!"
"What?" Tony asked, not thinking he heard her right.
"You two have been dancing around each other for years," Abby said grinning.
"You…you're happy?" Ziva asked, incredulous.
"Of course! I've wanted you two to get together for so long!" Tony and Ziva smiled tentatively at each other. "But you have to tell Gibbs."
Brennan groaned, waking up. She felt horrible, purely horrible. She remembered drinking entirely too much. She also had a vague recollection of a very pretty Israeli woman. And Angela. And Booth. Booth? Her eyes opened slowly as her mind tried to process everything. She remembered up until Angela put her into bed. Something else tugged at the corner of her mind, she couldn't remember if it was a dream or not. It involved Booth.
She rolled the idea of Booth around in her mind. Booth…Booth and her talking…love…bunny slippers…throwing up…him…him holding her. She suddenly remembered the night. She was also very aware of a warm presence at her back. She hadn't noticed it before because it just felt so right.
Now that she thought about it, she could feel the line of his body pressed against her back. She could feel one of his arms flung protectively around her waist and the other pillowing her head. She could feel his face pressed against her neck. She could feel his steady heartbeat and even breaths. And she could feel the she was completely comfortable and at ease. It was as if every fiber of her being, every cell in her body, was telling her that being with him was right.
She knew that was ridiculous, her cells couldn't tell her anything quite that literal. But it was a term that Angela had used to describe herself and Hodgins. Brennan knew that that was very close to her and Booth. She didn't know how she knew, but Angela said that was the point.
She leaned against him, and grabbed his hand around her waist with her own. Booth smiled into her neck. She feigned ignorance of this fact in order to bask in the feeling for awhile longer. She was afraid that when Booth woke up completely, he would leave. He was taking care of her like he always did. Drunken statements of love meant nothing. They both already knew they had a very strong platonic love, that was all he meant.
She told herself that and sighed. Booth felt the sigh and frowned. He hated not knowing what she was thinking.
"Bones?" he asked tentatively. "Are you ok?" He was so grateful for his high tolerance to alcohol and therefore, light hangover. Brennan sighed again.
"I'm fine," she said. She squeezed her eyes closed against the headache. "I drank a lot." Booth chuckled lightly against Brennan. She shuddered as the sound passed through her.
"Yeah, I'd say you did," he said. Brennan grimaced against the leftover taste in her mouth. She gently pulled away from him. He clamped his arms down around her. "Where're you going?"
"I need to get this taste out of my mouth," Brennan said. "Right now. I am very glad that I keep a toothbrush in Angela's bathroom." She disappeared out the bedroom door. Booth leaned back against the headboard and ran a hand over his face. He knew something had changed between them last night, he felt it. He wasn't sure how or what would come of it. Hell, he had no idea how Brennan would react. That scared him more than anything else.
Normally, he could guess at how people would react to something, and most of the time, he was right. With Brennan, he could tell most of the time, generally when she would react badly or violently, though. Here, he had no idea. Brennan slipped back into the room softly, sitting back on the bed.
"Better?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered. She started to speak a few times, only to cut herself off. Finally, she settled on being blunt. "Can you explain last night please?" I'm confused, especially what you meant about bunny slippers."
Booth nodded. She was giving him a chance to explain, he would make the most of it.
"Well, I was at a bar and I met an NCIS agent there, Tony D-something, anyways, we got to talking. He was having problems with his partner," Booth said. "The point is, there are two bunny slippers in a pair. Tony and I decided I'm one, the stupid slipper. There's no point in having one slipper without the other, what would you do with just one slipper? You're the second, smart slipper. I'm the slipper that works well with others, you're the slipper that's smarter than all the others. We work well together. We're prefect."
Brennan looked at him and he could see her trying to work out his metaphor correctly. He leaned forward, inches from her face.
"Look, Bones, I'm not going to dance around this anymore. I thought everything out and I'm going to be blunt like you. I love you, Bones, Temperance. I have for awhile. I'm tired of listening to regulations and ignoring this, I love you. I. Love. You."
Brennan just stared at him in shock. She briefly thought he was playing a sick joke on her, but immediately dismissed that thought. He wouldn't do that to her.
"Booth," she said slowly.
"I just need to know,Bones, do you love me, too?"
"You have to ask?" she said incredulously. She closed the inch distance between them. She pressed her lips to his, pouring all the passion and sexual tension from the last four years into the kiss. He clasped the back of her neck in one of his large hands, and she wrapped her arms around his shoulders. Using his other hand, he stroked her back. They finally broke apart when the desperate need for air overpowered them. "And I love you, too. I don't know if that was clear."
Booth gathered Brennan to his chest, laughing. "It was clear, Bones, don't worry." They both felt their exhaustion taking them over. Booth pulled Brennan down to the bed with him, still laughing. They slowly drifted to sleep, more at peace and comfortable than either could even remember being.
12 Months Later…
Ziva and Tony sat at a small table in The Royal Diner. They'd never been before, but it was recommended to them by mutual friends Agent Seeley Booth and Dr. Temperance Brennan. A few weeks into their new relationships, the four people had discovered that the new friends they'd met at the bars were connected. Laughs were exchanged and a new, inter-federal organizational friendship was born.
"Tony!" Booth boomed, walking into the diner. He had an arm wrapped around Brennan's shoulders, as usual, but he disentangled himself enough to shake Tony's had. Brennan and Ziva hugged, smiling.
"It's been a long time," Brennan said, talking the seat opposite of Ziva.
"Too long, my friend. I have some new techniques if you are interested," Ziva offered, smiling. Tony and Booth exchanged slightly panicked looks. Ziva and Brennan practiced different forms of martial arts, but they liked to practice together. This expanded both of their knowledge bases and made their significant others extremely uncomfortable.
"Always," Brennan said with a grin. Booth shuddered and Tony's eyes were wider than dinner plates.
"Anyways," Tony said hastily. "How have you guys been?"
"Good," Booth said, smiling. His hands played lightly over Brennan's, which were clasped on the table. "Very good, you?"
"We are doing very well," Ziva confirmed. Neither Booth nor Brennan missed Tony's hand alternating between Ziva's back and knee. "Our boss knows, of course, but he pretends not to, and we pretend not to know that he knows, so all is well."
"Cullen knows about us, but he seems too amused to do anything to stop it," Brennan said.
"That, and Bones threatened to keep her entire lab from helping the FBI in an way if he tried anything to mess us up," Booth said, grinning.
"Woooow," Tony laughed. "I'd pay to see that."
"Oh, you'd love it," Booth promised.
The four friends ate, exchanged stories, and laughed well into the night. When they finally parted ways, Ziva and Brennan had an ass-kicking date set, during which Tony and Booth would have a lazy movie afternoon.
Ziva and Tony drove in a comfortable silence back to Ziva's, which was closer to the diner. They made a beeline to the bedroom, maintaining eye contact the entire time. The rest of the night was entirely too graphic to share, but they both knew that being together was definitely the best thing they'd ever done.
Booth and Brennan retreated to his apartment. They collapsed onto the bed and within minutes were wrapped around each other. Some time later, Booth leaned back, Brennan pressed closely to his chest. Out of breath, he said the same thing he did at every opportunity.
"I love you."
Brennan answered the same way she always did, suppressing the thrill that shot through her whenever Booth proclaimed this.
"I love you, too."
Booth smiled goofily, holding her tightly against him.
In the corner of the bedroom, lined up against the wall, were two pairs of fluffy and very worn bunny slippers.