I don't know what I am thinking, starting another long story when I have others that need attention as well. (I am working on the next chapter of Never Too Old, for those who are reading it) But this one wouldn't leave me alone, so here we are. This one is set mid-season 5, but obviously not canon as there is an established B&B relationship. (At least, for now, it's not canon…)

I am hoping to be able to make this one a long, multi-chapter but we'll see how it goes.

As always, I do not own Bones. But since Christmas is coming, you never know what I'll find in my stocking.

Chapter One: The Girl in Question

Brian Flannigan was never one to shy away when presented with a challenge. When he gazed upon the lovely visage of Dr. Temperance Brennan at the American Journal of Anthropology's awards dinner, he wasted no time in striding to her side and introducing himself.

"Dr. Brennan? I'm honored to finally meet you! I'm Dr. Brian Flannigan, professor of anthropology at Georgetown." He smiled what he thought was his most charming smile and offered his hand.

Brennan looked at his face for half a beat before taking his hand and returning his greeting. "Dr. Flannigan. It's nice to meet you. How are you enjoying the dinner?" She tried to remain cordial, but the man's pseudo-charm smile was giving her the creeps.

"Until now, not as much. But things are looking up. You look ravishing this evening, Temperance." Flannigan couldn't help but use her first name, trying to establish some report with her.

"It's Dr. Brennan, and thank you." She scanned the crowd, looking desperately for her date to save her. "If you'll excuse me, Dr. Flannigan…" She tried to extricate herself from his penetrating stare. It was seriously unnerving her.

"Oh. But Dr. Brennan, I was hoping to get your thoughts on the journal article about identification by gait analysis and photogammetry. I thought it was fascinating." Flannigan affixed a hopeful smile as Brennan nodded, still trying to find a way to get away from the overbearing doctor.

"Ordinarily I would be interested in talking about that topic, Dr. Flannigan, but I am looking for my date." Brennan stepped to her left to put some distance between them.

"Really? If a beautiful woman such as yourself were my date I would never leave your side."

"Luckily for me I am an independent woman and as such I don't require constant hovering. However, my date has gone to get us some drinks. He should be back soon." Brennan breathed a sigh of relief when she saw a tall figure with two champagne glasses headed their way. "In fact, here he comes."

Flannigan turned to take in whatever flinty little intellectual Brennan had saddled herself with for the evening. To his utter shock, a very large and very handsome man was striding towards them, smiling charmingly at the beautiful doctor at his side.

"There you are, Bones! I thought you were hiding from me." Booth handed Brennan her glass and clinked his against it with a laugh. "Drink up, the evening is young!"

Brennan grinned in amusement and relief. "I wondered where you had gotten to, Booth. I was thinking you ditched me for the blonde at the bar who was hitting on you earlier."

Booth shook his head, dazzled by the happy gleam in Brennan's eyes as she looked at him. "Yeah, no thanks. She was a barracuda. I prefer a more subtle, slower approach in my women."

"Oh, you mean like five years of the slow approach?" She couldn't help but laugh.

Flannigan watched the exchange with inward disdain. Obviously, this man was more than just an escort for Dr. Brennan. The easy way they interacted, teasing and laughing, spoke of a deeper relationship than just an acquaintance.

Brennan realized that Dr. Flannigan wasn't going to go away without an introduction, so she turned to him while laying a hand on her date's arm. "I'm sorry, where are my manners? Booth, this is Dr. Brian Flannigan, he is a professor at Georgetown. Dr. Flannigan, this is my partner, FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth."

Booth shook the man's hand, immediately seeing the glint of jealousy in his eyes. "Nice to meet you, Dr. Flannigan."

"And you as well, Agent Booth. I do have to ask, though…'Bones'? Seems like an odd nickname." Flannigan thought that it was not only odd, but downright insulting.

"Oh, don't mind him." Brennan smiled at Booth again, looking at Booth while answering. "It's a term of endearment. It took awhile, but it's definitely grown on me."

"You love it and you know it, Bones." Booth wrapped an arm around her waist, making a silent statement that the other man did not miss.

"Yes, well…I will leave you to your evening, Dr. Brennan. As I said, it was an honor to meet you. Maybe we can convince you to guest lecture sometime this semester?" Flannigan glanced at Booth before turning his hopeful gaze to Brennan.

"Maybe, I'll check my schedule and see what I can do. It was nice to meet you, too Dr."

Shaking Booth's outstretched hand, Flannigan nodded. "Thank you, Dr. Brennan. Nice to meet you as well, Agent Booth. Enjoy your evening." With a nod, he turned away, heading to the bar.

Booth ran his hand up and down Brennan's back, watching Flannigan leave with a thoughtful expression. "That guy gives me the creeps, Bones."

Brennan shook her head. "Alpha male. He's just impressed to meet the foremost authority in forensic anthropology. Can he help it if he was dazzled?"

As he usually was when Brennan showed her amusing side, Booth was floored. "Very funny, Bones." He grabbed her empty glass and placed it on a nearby table. "And now that you've got some booze into you, how about a dance?"

"Good idea."

Across the room, sitting at the bar Brian Flannigan watched Brennan and Booth dance with an undisguised scowl. 'Why is it that when I finally meet the woman of my dreams, she's already with some loser? Could I be more unlucky?' he thought. 'No matter. I know that a simple cop isn't giving her what she needs. We'll see how dedicated they are to each other soon enough.' Turning back to the bar, he struck up a conversation with the blonde sitting next to him.