Hey everyone! I'm not dead! Just been on a sort of writing hiatus. Haven't really had time because of school and RL and such. But I'm going to try to keep active, even if I'm only able to spout out oneshots like this little gem. Thanks to all of you though for continuing to poke at me! It was just what I needed! :D
Disclaimer: Own not. Profit not. Sue not.
The incessant knocking on her door was impatient, at best. She'd so been looking forward to a quiet night alone with her bathtub and scented candles. When she finally tugged it open with an irate "what?" and patented glare of displeasure, it quickly molded into surprise at the sight of the G-Man darkening her doorway at this hour.
"Booth?" Angela uttered. "What brings you by to interrupt my bubbly candle time?" she went on after his prolonged silence.
He looked chagrined. "I'm a horrible person," he lamented pitifully.
Her mouth opened and closed several times like a fish. "What?" Angela's fine brow knit together in puzzlement. "What happened—is everything all right? Come inside, sweetie," she quickly ushered him indoors and closed the door behind him.
Booth stood directionless and fidgeting in the middle of her entryway as she did so, dark eyes combing the area as a distraction. When finished, Angela hurried over and fretted about him like a mother hen. She looked ready to break under his lack of explanations and how they failed forthcoming from his lips.
Large brown eyes were wide with expectation, and her wild hands flapped at him to get on with it.
He swallowed hard, seeming to shrink under her speculative gaze. "I snapped on Bones." The declaration only seemed to further castigate him.
The confusion was back full force. Angela shook her head, dark curls bouncing about her face. "Huh?" He might have been amused by her expression if the situation weren't so dire. "What do you—" her eyes widened, "—Seeley Booth," she growled, "if you hurt her… did you say something terrible to her? Did you make her cry? 'Cause buster—"
The lost artist had quickly morphed into hurricane Angela before his very eyes. She closed in on him, ready to resort to smack-titude, if necessary.
He rushed to amend her assumptions. "No! Angela, stop! No, I—I didn't mean like that…"
"Then what?" she demanded.
At his look of extreme worry and terror, combined with his blatant inner turmoil, her annoyed, flummoxed expression slowly began to alleviate.
"Oh," she said, realized. "Oh."
"Yeah," he cringed.
She ventured closer to him, dropping her voice into a stunned hush. "Big man… did you spill the beans?"
Scared brown eyes glanced to her anxiously. "Yes," he confessed finally, breathing erratic while he remained unable to stand very still. "All of them. There were beans everywhere." His voice rose in pitch with his anxiety. "Like a… bean massacre. It was awful." He collapsed into the nearest seat, which happened to be a fluffy tye-dye butterfly chair.
He frowned at his choice of seating and rose back up, only to start pacing again.
"Oh my God." Angela's hands flew to her mouth to stifle her thrilled laughter. "Oh ho ho… honey," her voice took on a caring edge, "do you need a hug?"
"A drink would be better."
Angela giggled delightedly. "Nope, nuh uh. A clear head for you, Mr. Brave Pants," she declared. "Come here."
He eventually obeyed, for she was not to be denied, and she seized him into an embrace.
Booth mumbled, and Angela tried to keep any shrieking to a minimum. Especially so near to a sniper's ears.
"I'm very honored you came to me with this, Booth," she grinned happily.
"Yeah, well… I thought about going to Sweets," he explained, finding a deep interest in the stitching of his boots. "But then I remembered what a terrible idea it would be."
"Aww," Angela chuckled, "that boy worships you, Booth."
"Exactly." Booth's lips twisted into a moue of distaste. "He'd start acting like my wingman and probably would've tried to get me drunk on amateur liquor. Or… tell me just to pass her a note, or something."
This time Angela's laugh was quite loud.
Booth turned more serious when she quieted, his eyes earnest and unwavering. "I needed someone who… who can see things from both sides. Who's not afraid to call me an idiot."
A radiant smile met his explanation. "Well, I'm glad I could be of service. And you are an idiot," she poked him hard in the chest, "for waiting so long to tell her."
"See? Thank you. And, um… it was kind of Sweets' fault I waited so long."
"Ugh. I'm gonna kill that little twerp."
"He meant well," Booth justified, but then frowned. "I think. I don't know. Whatever. Help."
Angela snickered at his sweet plight. "Alrighty, G-Man. I shall render unto you my vast romantic wisdom."
Another knock, hesitant this time, forestalled the rendering.
Angela and Booth exchanged glances.
She sighed. "Just a moment, big guy. Seems my fate tonight isn't going to be including bubbles, after all. Who is it?" she called while approaching the door.
"Brennan," came the quiet reply.
Booth looked instantly panicked, eyes widened with dread. "No, no!" he whispered imploringly.
Angela always did have a wicked streak. She yanked the door open without remorse. "Hey, Bren!" she greeted excitedly.
Booth froze, and Brennan paled significantly at the sight of her partner hiding behind her friend.
"A mighty pleasant surprise," Angela enthused with a brilliant smile, "my two favorite crime fighters visiting me tonight."
Neither partner summoned the courage to speak.
Angela instantly began to connive. "A shame though, because I was just going to head out," she pouted dramatically.
Booth pounced on that like a drowning man. "What? No—I thought you had bubbly candle time?"
But Angela was already grabbing her coat. "No, you're mistaken. Sorry, but I had this really spectacular night planned at that new club near K Street. The band playing tonight is supposed to be fantabulistic."
Angela hurried for the door. "I'll just leave you two alone…"
Brennan finally activated, panic evident in her own eyes as well. "But… Ange, this is your house—"
"Yes! And feel free to utilize it as you please—or at your pleasure, whichever the case may be!" Her bright expression was positively devious. She shoved Brennan unapologetically into the house. "Bye now!" she bid while squeezing out the door and making a quick getaway. "Have fun, you guys!"
Silence flooded the room.
Booth cleared his throat. Brennan hid behind her hair.
They each stood aimlessly, very near but miles apart.
Finally, finally, Brennan raised her eyes, a tiny bashful smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "Hi," she murmured.
Booth's head snapped to her at her voice breaking the silence. The smile didn't leave her face, and she looked incredibly adorable in her gray pea coat and scarf. Those boots he thought looked cute also.
Brennan noticed her partner looked particularly nice in those jeans and leather jacket. She'd seen him in such clothing before, but something about him seemed different. She caught herself paying more attention now to the smaller details—the shadow of neglect on his jaw, the specific color brown of his eyes she couldn't quite identify other than warm and reassuring. Made even darker than usual in the low light of Angela's home.
A tentative smile broke out over his handsome face. "Hey," he returned softly.
His eyes roamed over her face—the tinge of pink on her cheeks and nose from the chilly outdoors. The bright shade of her eyes he never could put a name to.
His smile was infectious—always—and she found hers growing in his own's wake.
His broad shoulders shrugged. "So…" Booth began.
And so would they. Begin.
Everything would be different after this, Brennan realized with great clarity—and awe, that she no longer was afraid.
She breathed a laugh. "I'm going to kill Angela."
"Yeah," Booth agreed with a nervous chuckle. "I mean… if anyone could kill someone and get away with it, it'd be…"
Their eyes locked.
"Us," she finished.
Us. Them, we. As a unit, a whole.
This time, their smiles both meant the same thing.