A/N: In my last story, she watched him sleep. Here, he turns the tables. It's extremely short and fluffy, but I had fun writing it anyway. Please R&R! :)
Disclaimer: The characters are not mine, nor is the TV series.
He loved to watch Bones work. At any other time, her always-alert senses would have been immediately aware of his presence. But, focused as she was on the task in front of her, Booth knew he could lean quietly against the doorframe and observe unnoticed.
However purposeful the platform structure was—and Bones would undoubtedly argue that each and every part had a specific scientific rationale—in Booth's eyes the set-up seemed designed to intimidate, particularly at night. Furniture in the room was at a minimum and primarily utilitarian in function—chairs, computer desk, various large work surfaces, microscope stands, file cabinets, storage drawers and multiple monitors hanging overhead. An iPod docking station with speakers was a small concession to humanity. Tall steel columns, akin to construction girders, held up a vast ceiling otherwise unseen in the darkened room. Elevated as it was from the rest of the room and surrounded by metal railing, Sweets had once commented that the platform resembled the bridge of a starship. Bright white carbon lamps spotlighted the glass-surfaced, glowing table at the center of this 'ship,' with Bones at its helm, in her natural element.
As usual, she worked standing. Arms crossed, she scrutinized the thousands of bone fragments before her, clearly turning the pieces of the puzzle over in her agile mind.
Booth wondered, as always, what she read in the remains. What exactly did she see on that table? How could she tell the bridge of a nose from an eye socket, for example? In all those thousands of tiny fragments, how did she see far enough ahead to reconstruct a forehead, a jawline, a chin? In his mind there was no question that the bones spoke to her as clearly as people's emotions spoke to him.
When she finally responded, it was with purpose. She leaned forward to slide one tiny bone chip across the glass surface until it met with another seemingly identical splinter. Apparently disliking this new arrangement, she propped an elbow on the table and shifted the bones' position again. Then she rested her chin in her hand and resumed her scrutiny.
He could think of a thousand adjectives to describe her, but none suited her so well asthe first word that came to mind every time he caught her like this, completely unguarded. With her red hair pulled back in a loose bun that glinted copper and gold under the harsh lights, her full lips pursed in concentration and the wrinkle of a curious frown creasing her forehead, she was stubborn, endearing, committed and brilliant. But, above all, as she patiently called forth the facial structure which a murderer had sought to erase from living memory, Booth's partner was beautiful.
Occasionally, she smiled as she worked and Booth felt privileged to witness this unusually tender side of the pragmatic scientist. Her long fingers skillfully manipulated minute shards into place until, apparently satisfied, she finally sank down into the chair and reached for the ubiquitous bottle of Elmer's.
Knowing that she was planning on pulling an all-nighter, Booth had stopped in at the lab intending to drag her to dinner first. His own stomach growled rebelliously as he realized that plan was thoroughly shot. He was not a patient man, but seeing the person's identity emerging beneath her fingertips and the satisfaction she derived from her work was enough to keep him glued to the door all night long.
As she finally affixed the last pieces of the skull, he slipped away momentarily.
A cup of coffee materialized at her elbow just as she was about to nod off completely. Brennan turned her head sleepily where it lay pillowed on her arms and raised an eyebrow at her partner.
"When did you get here?" She wrapped her hands around the cup, relishing the warmth as it seeped into her tired body.
"A little while ago." Booth rested a hand on her shoulder lightly and eyed the skull on the table. "Nice work. You must have been at it all night."
She sat up, hunching her shoulders to ease some of the kinks. "I still have to put in the tissue markers. We haven't located the remains of the body, but zygomatic structure and mandible dimensions, along with the nasal arch and occipital measurements suggest an African-American male, likely in his twenties."
Booth smiled. "You gave him a face, Bones."
She frowned and stifled a yawn. "No, that's Angela's job. I just recreated the underlying facial architecture so that she could input—"
"You gave him a face," he cut in quietly, oddly intense. "Angela can't work her magic if you don't work yours first." He held up a hand as she started to argue. "Let's go get some pie and then you can go home to bed for a few hours at least."
"What is it about you and pie?" she muttered. "Didn't you have dinner already? Why are you still wearing work clothes?"
"I had a late night, too, and I didn't get to eat." He pulled out her chair. "Besides, pie's good anytime, Bones. Day or night. C'mon."
He supported her arm as she rose tiredly and they made their way toward the platform stairs.