Disclaimer: Bones is not mine.
A/N:Thanks so much to brainysmrfs , ladychi and oldromantic for the beta for this fic. You ladies are amazing.
Cam was on the phone at the lab's platform as Brennan arrived at work.
"Yeah, okay." Cam agreed, writing down information on her notepad. "Yes, I'll tell her. Yes, Booth. You sound awful! Forget about everything and just rest for once. Believe it or not, the place will still be standing when you come back. Of course I'm going to see it. Who else? Now go to bed!"
Cam hung up the phone shaking her head.
"Is something wrong, Dr. Saroyan?" Brennan asked worriedly.
"Booth's sick." Cam said with a frown.
"He's coming in, isn't he?" Hodgins asked concerned.
"No. Good thing he didn't have to interrogate anyone today. Because he would have to hold up signs to ask any questions. He was literally croaking on the phone just now."
"So, Booth is really that sick?" Angela asked anxiously.
"Well, in the fifteen years I've known him, Booth only missed two days of work for a cold, this is the second one, so I would say yes, he's very sick."
"Shouldn't somebody offer to go to get him some medicine?" Brennan asked, getting worried for her partner.
"He said he had picked up something at the corner drug store last night on his way home. I guess he started feeling sick right after interrogated the suspect for hours. Mr. Avery was coughing up a storm all day long; he thinks that's how he got it."
"What about food?" Brennan asked.
"Oh, he won't want food." Hodgins chimed in, "You know, 'Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever!'"
"Isn't it 'Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever?" Angela corrected him.
"Does he have a fever?" Brennan asked.
"He didn't say, honestly." Cam said. She was enjoying Brennan's overreaction to Booth's condition.
"Well, either way, he should drink hot lemonade, sweating it out of his system's the best way." Hodgins said authority.
"Hot lemonade? Ewww," Cam said, making a sour face.
"Everybody knows chicken soup is the cure for a cold." Angela said offering her opinion.
"Lots of rest and fluids, that's for sure," Hodgins declared, taking his stance. "And Vitamin C under the tongue," he added decisively.
"Yes, fluids." Angela said.
"That's just an old wives' tale… Chicken soup. "Hodgins scoffed. "What's the difference? Soup is soup! Why would a stupid chicken cure anything?"
"Well, all your hot lemonade is going to do is pucker him up. Which might be fine if he had a lady friend with him," Angela said.
"And chicken soup is not stupid; it's a proven medical fact," Cam said coming to Angela's defense.
They started to bicker amongst themselves about the merits of their miracle cures.
Brennan's head was bobbing back and forth, watching the medicine ball bounce between self-prescribing doctor to the other.
"Enough!" Brennan yelled out.
Everyone calmed down. They exchanged glances realizing how ridiculous they were all being.
"Doesn't everyone have places to go and work to do around here?" Cam asked commandingly.
"Yeah," they all agreed reluctantly, going back to their own stations.
"Honestly Hodgins, lemonade?" Angela asked trailing after him.
"It works Ange," he said defending his cure. "Better than your chicken fantasy!" Hodgins said shaking his head in skepticism.
"Have you ever seen a chicken with a cold?" Angela said, proudly getting in the last word.
Cam looked after them smiling, then over to Brennan, who had remained behind.
"Grown-ups." Cam exclaimed, reluctantly amused. Brennan knew Cam was the mother who had to use tough love now and then. "Booth said he thinks he will be out of commission for a few days this time."
"Okay." Brennan understood. She looked at her office, thinking how different it would be without him stopping to make sure she was fed and taken care of.
"He'll be okay, Dr. Brennan. It's just a bad cold."
"I know. It's just… he's all alone. He doesn't have anyone to take care of him. What if he needs to see a doctor?"
"Well, you don't have any urgent cases or anything important going on today, do you?" Cam's eyebrows rose suggestively.
"You think I should…?" Brennan asked hesitantly.
"If you want to." Cam responded knowingly.
The idea of getting a glimpse of him at home sounded heavenly for Brennan.
"What are you waiting for, Dr. Brennan?"
"I don't know how he will like me barging in on him when he's so sick. He's so independent, he might feel like I'm over stepping. He might not appreciate it or he might not think it's a good…"
"Dr. Brennan, if there's one thing you should've learned about Booth by now, is that he never knows what's good for him."
Brennan smiled in agreement.
"You know, I just remembered, I have some papers that need his signature today. Would you be able to take them with you?" Cam asked innocently.
Brennan was on to Cam, but it was just the excuse she needed. She smiled at Cam appreciatively.
"So go already." Cam prodded her out the door.
Cam stood for a moment grinning, pleased with the way things were shaping up. She walked to her office, unable to stop smiling, knowing Booth's day was about to get a whole lot better.
Booth was lying on his couch. He succumbed to another fit of coughing, mumbling about the ungrateful suspect. That's what he got for being the best agent the FBI had. His voice was barely a whisper as he laid back on the sofa groaning in agony. He was sure he was dying. He pulled the threadbare blanket he had owned since his childhood over his shoulders, knowing he should change into something warmer but too lazy to make the effort.
Just as he got somewhat settled, the door bell rang. He banged his head frustrated with the intrusion. Didn't they know he was suffering? He stayed very still, hoping whoever it was would assume no one was home and go away. But the bell sounded again. "Damn it." He was trying to get some sleep; he hadn't gotten a wink all night.
He knew he must be a mess, bed hair and a Rudolph nose as a result of tissue burn. He just wanted some peace and quiet. There was no way he was going to answer that door. And who the hell could it be? Probably some misguided sales jerk who didn't know when to stay away. Booth considered getting a scary dog, just for such occasions, but then realized the dog would be living at his house alone since worked kept him busy most of the time.
The bell rang again; apparently this particular wholesaler was not too bright.
"Go away, I don't want any." He called out groggily.
"Booth." Brennan called timidly through the door.
Booth's mouth fell open, which was good since he was so stuffy – It was the only way he could breathe. He looked at the door as though it was the scary climax to a horror movie. He got up off the couch quickly; he hurried to the door stubbing his toe along the way. He cursed loudly as one could with almost no voice.
"Booth. Are you alright?" Brennan was startled by the loud noise through his door.
Booth stood by the door on one foot nursing his injured little piggy.
"Bones? What are you doing here?" He asked along with another gravelly groan of pain.
She didn't like the sound of him. Brennan figured he was terribly sick. She was having misgivings about showing up unannounced. "Cam needed some papers signed today, so I offered to come since I only have limbo to work on all day."
Booth surveyed his messy apartment, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror around the corner. He cringed at what he saw. The torn black Flyers t-shirt, hair sticking up every which way and his mind cringed as he pictured Brennan's face upon seeing him like this.
"Why don't you slip them under the door? I'll sign them and put them back under. I wouldn't want to expose you to this cold."
"What? Booth? I can't hear you!" Brennan called back.
Booth let out a resigned sigh. He made a futile attempt to smooth down his hair, and then opened the door.
Brennan stood, her arms filled with grocery bags. She looked absolutely beautiful, not a hair out of place.
"Hi," she said taking in his bleak appearance. "Are you okay?" Her voice was filled with concern. She didn't look grossed out at all. That was a very good thing for Booth and he managed to smile.
"Hey." His voice was barely a raspy whisper. "What's all this?" He asked, grabbing some of the bags out of her hands.
"Oh... well… I wasn't sure if you might need…" She walked further into the apartment surveying his mess. "I bought you a few things…" She explained as she looked into his adorably glassy eyes.
"Yeah?" Booth smiled at her. "Like what?" He asked curiously.
"Well… Hodgins said lemonade is good… hot."
Booth's eyebrows rose at her statement, wondering how many lemons she bought.
"And Angela said Chicken Soup never fails." Brennan went on down the prescription list from everyone. As she spoke, she took out lemons, and a container of Chicken Soup. She bought the Chicken Soup at the diner. She couldn't believe they actually had Chicken Soup on their menu.
"Chicken Soup and Lemons?" Booth repeated.
"Yes… and Hodgins also said lots of liquids and Vitamin C, under the tongue." She directed. She returned to the bag and took both Orange Juice and Vitamin C.
Booth was inwardly amused at her attempt to be Florence Nightingale and secretly very touched at her gesture.
"Didn't Cam have any suggestions?" Booth asked, humoring her.
"Actually, she did have one." Brennan wasn't sure whether to tell him what it was.
"So, what was it?" He looked over at the bags, anxiously to see what other ideas his overzealous team had offered to get him back to work.
"She thought someone should be here…. to take care of you." Brennan could not bring herself to take the rap or the credit, depending on how this turned out.
"You… want… to take care of me?" Booth asked, charming her, totally with one of his silly grins. Even when he looked like this, she found that smile irresistible.
"You shouldn't be up!" Brennan said, changing the subject.
"You rang the bell." Booth reminded her.
"You should be in bed."
"Yes, Doctor Brennan." Booth said returning to the couch.
"Not the couch. Your bed!" She insisted, pushing him towards, what she assumed was his bedroom, since she had never been to that part of his apartment.
"Bones… I don't sleep in the bathroom." Booth's muffled voice was interrupted by a gigantic sneeze.
She changed the direction, and was pushing him towards the only other option. "Bed!" She barked like a drill sergeant. "NOW!"
"Did anyone ever tell you you're bossy?" He whispered.
"Yes, you. Many times!" She teased him, but she didn't ease up on him one bit.
"Hey, do I get to use the restroom?" He asked like a shy child.
"Yes, but after it's straight to bed. I'm going to the kitchen to put away the food when I get back, you better be in that bed!" Brennan instructed him pointing to the bed.
"Well, I'm not likely to argue with a woman who wants me in bed…" Booth loved seeing her blush, his dull eyes managed to twinkle just for her.
"Get!" She scooted him and went to the kitchen.
Brennan returned to his room just in time to watch him follow orders as he got into the massive wrought iron bed. She shook her head as she saw him pulling up the untidy covers and his delectable toes ended up peeping at the bottom. As cute as they were, they needed to be covered as well. She approached him in the bed a little shyly, because for the first time, she was totally aware of how intimate a look this was. But she had a mission and she intended to carry it out to completion. She grabbed all the covers off the bed leaving Booth totally exposed.
"Hey!" His raspy voice called out. But before he could say anything more, she was rearranging all the covers to perfection. She pulled the sheets this and that way, then added the blanket and quilt until Booth was expertly tucked in, not an inch of his skin exposed to be chilled.
By the time she was finished, she had him smiling contentedly. No one had tucked him in for a very long time. She took a moment to survey her handy work, and she was very satisfied. She gave his appearance another once over spying his flushed face.
"Do you think you have a fever?" she asked worriedly.
"Yeah, probably. I feel hot, but I have the chills too." Booth hadn't noticed anything about his cold since she entered the apartment, but he wasn't about to tell her that.
"Do you have a thermometer?"
She seemed lost for a moment in recollection then quietly sat down beside him on the bed. He enjoyed the close up and personal attention he was getting more than he ever dreamed of. He wondered what was coming next that would send him on the road to recovery.
Brennan's hand reached out to touch his forehead, her gentle cool touch felt so good. Booth sighed deeply wondering what she was up to, but not about to complain. His head felt hot to her, so she touched his cheek with the back of her hand to make sure. Still uncertain, she bent her head toward his, gently touching her lips to his. Definitely hot! Booth sat perfectly still; the little zingers that vibrated through him when her lips touched his had nothing to do with being cold. She pulled back after a few seconds. It was all Booth could do not to pucker up and make the best of being contagious.
"What are you doing?" Booth asked wishing very much it was what he had in mind.
She looked at him a little embarrassed. "Oh… when I was little, before my parents…" She didn't need to tell him what happened. "My mom always took our temperature this way… she would feel our foreheads first, then touch our cheeks with the back of her hand, and then a last test, she would put her lips to our lips."
"Well, I definitely like her methods. Only, I would skip the first two, and head straight to the last one." Booth nodded playfully winking at her.
"Who's joking?" He said making her blush.
"Now…" She said getting up from her perch on his bed. "The question is… do I feed you, or starve you?"
"Excuse me?" Booth shook his head thinking maybe the cold had affected his ears.
"Well, Hodgins said you 'Starve a Cold, Feed a Fever' … but Angela said it's the other way… 'Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever' … but you have both, so I'm not sure which way to go. I bought a bunch of food too. But if I feed you and it backfires, you might get worse!"
"Bones, if I take all those things you brought, I'm not only going to have a cold, but I will give myself quite a case of the stomach flu too."
Brennan laughed, knowing there was truth to what he said.
"Why don't you just relax, and not worry so much?" he suggested patting the place on the bed she had just vacated; he didn't like it so much when she left.
"You need to take something to help you feel better. I'm just not sure what." Brennan had no experience in caring for sick people and Booth being the one who was sick made her wish she knew more. She should have paid more attention to her parents when she was little.
"I got to tell you Bones, of all the crazy remedies today, I like Cam's the most."
She looked at him, thinking how adorable he was, he looked like a little boy, and his usually perfect hair was all askew. He was all cuddled up in his covers; she wondered what he was like when he was a baby.
He patted the bed again, and she sat back down beside him. He lied back against the pillows, closing his eyes contentedly.
Her eyes were glued to his face. She could look at him all day and she would never get tired.
He opened his eyes, catching her by surprise and enjoyed that she was a little flustered. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…. to stare."
Booth was embarrassed suddenly as he remembered his appearance. Now she was taking pity on him, he could imagine her long list of his imperfections. "How can you help yourself? I mean, look at me? I don't think I've ever looked better, do you?" he teased her.
Brennan smiled at him, and didn't realize she said what she was thinking out loud. "You always look good to me, Booth." She put her hand over her mouth, her face turned many shades of red. "I mean… you … you look…"
Booth was smiling at her, pleased beyond words. In sickness and in health, he decided – there was definitely hope for a future. He closed his eyes again, day-dreaming of that future.
"Do you want me to leave?" She felt like she was intruding on his down time.
"NO! You're supposed to be taking care of me, remember?" he said, his eyes opening and closing again.
"I haven't done anything yet!"
"I wouldn't say that." Booth's eyes creased in a smile.
"Tell me, what would make you feel better?"
"Well… I do have a headache, I already took two aspirin, and it's still not gone. What did your Mom do if you had a headache? Do you need to check my lips again?" he offered invitingly.
"You're hopeless, Seeley Booth." She scolded him, laughing.
"I don't think you should be saying that to the infirmed!" Booth's face scrunched in mock pain.
"Oh really, can't take the truth when it hurts…" Brennan chuckled.
"Doctor Brennan, what are you going to do about this headache?" he persisted.
"Well, I could massage your head." she offered.
"Let's see, a beautiful woman, running her hands through my hair to take the pain away… yeah… I think I could live with that." Booth snuggled back against the pillows expecting to feel the soft hands touching him. When he didn't feel her hands, he opened his eyes to look at her. Her face was turned slightly away as she tried to control a few tears inspired by his offhand remark.
"Bones?" Booth's fingers made their way gently under her chin and he saw the hint of tears. He realized why instantly as though he could read her mind.
"You are, you know?" Booth whispered the words so sweetly but she couldn't believe that he meant them; he just didn't want her to get hurt. She shook her head, doubting his words.
"You ARE!" He told her loudly, his eyes flashing in adamant confirmation, "You don't even know do you… just how beautiful you are…" Booth wanted her to know and to never doubt it again. "Don't ever let anyone try to take that away from you Bones, ever again." His hand stroked her hair until he felt the nearly imperceptible nod that told him she was beginning to accept his word for it.
She swallowed hard to hold back tears. It felt so good to have someone tell her that, and she knew Booth didn't expect anything and she trusted him.
"Are you okay?" Booth asked looking deeply into her eyes.
"I'm okay… I'm better." She said realizing it was true.
"I'm here, Bones, if you…"
"I know…" She moved a little closer to him on the bed, he couldn't take his eyes off of her. If only he didn't have this damn cold.
She reached out, touching his head gently. She started at his temples, and worked her fingers slowly, around his head. His eyes closed as he allowed his entire body to relax. Relaxing had never come easy to him, but now with her, he found it so natural.
He felt more alive when he was with her, even today with his body feeling half dead. She brought peacefulness to him, something he rarely experienced. No matter what they did together, working alongside each other, talking or just sitting in silence. He loved the fact that they could be arguing one minute and teasing each other the next. He found clarity to his life that he had never known.
He would need to be patient and move slowly. She had been through so much, when it finally happened, he wanted to be sure. It was as wonderful for her, as he already knew, as it would be for him.
"Does it feel better?" she asked interrupting his musings. She noticed his smile and wondered what thoughts brought such a happy look on his face.
"Mmmm… hmmmm. It's almost gone. You have the magic touch." His eyes remained closed; he didn't want her to stop.
"Is that so?" she asked, amused at Booth's contentment. She continued massaging his head. She was a little surprised he was so at ease with her in this intimate setting, but even more so she was totally amazed at how at ease she felt too. She almost felt like she belonged here with him. She had never felt that way about anyone before.
She felt his hand move up to take hers; he held it against his cheek. They gazed at each other basking in the flavor of the moment. Who needed lemons and oranges? Booth loved having her here so close to him, he imagined what it would be like to wake up next to her every day, to have some someone who would look out for him and to have someone he could be there for every moment. He knew he could be happy with Brennan. The quiet calmness of her healed him. The beautiful smile inspired him and the tinkling laughter delighted him. He could definitely do this every day of his life, minus the cold of course. She glanced at the watch on her free wrist and realized time had raced by. She reluctantly moved from the bed wishing she could stay forever where she was.
"I'm going to get some soup. Just promise not to tell the others we went with Angela's cure," she said, getting up from his bed.
"Maybe you're going with Angela's, but I'm sticking with Cam's," Booth disagreed, looking at her appreciatively. There was no way he ever thought he could feel so good when he was feeling so bad.
She brought his soup to him on a tray, and watched him eat. They talked a little about what they had been working on. Time passed by far too quickly for both of them, and soon Brennan had to leave.
"Promise me you will get some sleep now, Booth? You need to rest."
"Will you call me, and let me know how your time in limbo goes today?"
"You can barely talk Booth! You should rest, your voice too."
"I promise I will only listen. Call, okay?" Now he knew in addition to the cold, he was going to be experiencing Brennan withdrawal very soon.
"You keeping quiet? This I got to see… or hear… or not hear…" She laughed, knowing he will have plenty to say to her.
"I will be waiting," he said to her stubbornly.
"Only if you promise to sleep," she bargained.
"I said I would."
"Okay, I will call you tonight. You take care of yourself." She looked at him one last time.
"I will, I promise…" He smiled gratefully as she took the tray away setting it on the dresser and then she returned to plump up his pillows and rearrange the covers.
"Okay… Behave yourself." She smiled finding it hard to tear herself away. She turned to walk out when she heard his soft whisper of her name. She turned back expecting to have to get after him some more. But he seemed totally content in his big inviting bed.
"Bones, no one's taken care of me in a very long time. It was nice," he admitted.
"Thank you." His eyes were filled with appreciation. His arms longed to reach out and keep her right here where she belonged.
"It's time someone did, Booth." She smiled sweetly as she walked out the door.
Booth sank back against the pillows, falling asleep instantly.
The all-important papers Brennan brought for him laid unsigned on the bedside table.
Booth was in bed, reading one of her books when the phone rang. He picked up before the first ring ended hoping it was her.
"Hi… Are you feeling better?"
"Yeah… well… sort of…" He held back his progress a little hoping for some sympathy.
"You sound a little better?" Brennan noticed.
"But, if I tell you, I'm better, my doctor won't come back, will she?" He smiled at the thought of a return house call.
"It depends on how well you follow instructions," she warned, happy inside that he wanted her back.
"Well, don't kill me in suspense. How did limbo go? Find anyone famous?" Booth interrogated in his endearing partner way.
"Hold on just a minute. Did you sleep?" she asked taking control away stingily.
"Like a baby, until about an hour ago," Booth told her obediently.
"Good so far… Did you eat?" Her tone was not unlike that of a mother hen.
"I wasn't sure I was supposed to." he joked.
"Booth, you got to eat." Brennan's irate tone raised a chuckle over the receiver that set the smile almost permanently on her face.
"Now you sound like me," he threw back at her. "And I ate, now out with it," he ordered, taking back the reigns.
"In that case…." She told him about her afternoon in detail, and he tried hard not to make comments.
They started bickering about something unimportant.
"We will discuss everything else tomorrow," he said decisively in regards to their case they had been working on.
"No way! You are not to come back until at least 24 hours after your fever goes away."
"I'm fine. I'm coming in," he insisted not about to be kept away another day. The whole team might explode without him.
"We won't perish one more day without you, Booth, but we might if you come back too soon because you'll get us all infected!" she reminded him, knowing the only way to keep him at home was to make him worry about everyone else.
"Can you imagine, chicken soup and lemons everywhere?" Booth laughed at the invasion of the chicken picture in his mind.
Brennan loved hearing him laugh. He didn't laugh or smile nearly enough at work. She intended to see that change. "So, you will be good boy and stay home one more day?"
"One whole day?" He grimaced, thinking maybe he could manage another half day.
"A day, Booth." She said, stubbornly reading his mind.
"Behave or I will make that doctor come back and give you a shot."
"Promise?" Booth's silly tone brought him the chiming of laughter, a sound that was sure to cure the worst ailments.
He heard the 'ahhchoo' next and that brought a frown to his face instantly.
"God bless," he offered consolingly. "Hey, what if you get my cold?"
"Well, I'm a big baby when I'm sick," she warned him.
"Whatever you do, don't buy a thermometer!" He advised as if it was a prerequisite to getting well.
"Why?" She asked smiling.
"Because I learned a great way to take temperatures today, and I'm anxiously to try it out."
"You would take care of me?" she asked surprised.
"Somebody has to." Booth had every intention of doing just that.
"You are feeling better." Brennan decided.
"Want to come back over and see for yourself?" Booth was only half teasing.
"Good night, Booth."
"Good night, Bones."