Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. No infringement intended.

Spoilers/Warnings: Everything is fair game.

"When's the last time we did something like this?" Angela enquired with a sigh. "You know? Just me, you, and a bottle of champagne."

Temperance laughed; that throaty, melodious sound that was always enough to lift anyone's melancholic spirit. "Having known you for years, now, I'm going to take the acknowledgement of an alcoholic beverage as one of the reasons you enjoy tonight so much to be a joke. But you're right," a genuine smile found its way upon the well-known author's lips as she raised her glass to the woman seated across from her, "I rather enjoy the company."

"Cheers to that." The artist laughed and held her glass up high before bringing it to her lips and taking a sip.

"Cheers." Temperance repeated softly, mimicking the raven-haired woman and taking a sip of the drink that was her own. "To new beginnings."

It was likely that Angela hadn't heard the scientist's last statement, because if she had, she'd have asked where it came from. And despite the fact that Brennan did intend on letting her best friend know where the idea had blossomed from, she thought to herself that it might be best if she handled this situation with discretion.

The night went on, another bottle of champagne was eventually opened, and the hum of female laughter rose high above any other background noises of police cars, honking horns, and displeased civilians. Angela was the one who'd taken the higher intake of alcohol; the forensic anthropologist not being fond of the feeling of loss of control. After all, her name was Temperance: self-restraint incarnate. It was moments after she began to notice Angela's irrational laughter and misplaced goofiness that Brennan placed the tips of her fingers over the diameter of the raven-haired woman's glass.

"I think you've had enough for tonight, Ange."

"But we're having a party!" The grown woman whined. "Party equals fun, and fun entails drinking."

Temperance beamed a soft smile and rolled her eyes, removing the glass from Angela's grasp. She said, "When one consumes too much alcoholic quantities, they either do things they afterwards regret—which does not classify as 'fun'—or they black-out and forget the very characterization of their 'fun' the next morning. Sometimes both. In addition, the definition of a party is a social gathering utilized for social interaction and entertainment, generally attended by a greater number than what we—"

"Sweetie." Angela interrupted her, the silliness of an alcoholic-induced haze still very apparent on her Asian features. "Can we not do this tonight? I didn't catch a word of what you said."

"Fair enough." Temperance had long-ago become accustomed to her best friend stopping her mid-rant to remind her that not everyone had had as intense an education as she'd went through. "Though the fact that you didn't catch a word of what I said merely proves my point in terms of—"

"Sweetie." The artist was looking at her with bulging eyes and a childish smile. She pointed to herself, giggling, and proclaimed with pride: "Drunk. I no comprenden."

"Was that Spanish?" Brennan's eyes furrowed as she eyed her best friend with a quizzical allure.

Angela shrugged, burped a rather un-ladylike belch, giggled, and fell to the ground head first with a thud. Her chair tipped with her as she fell, toppling over her and eliciting a grunted curse from the usually restrained woman when one of the legs hit her in the calf.

Temperance was immediately on top of her, gently lifting the back of her head and checking for any signs of severe physical damage while the artist continued to giggle and teasingly slap the scientist's hands away. The woman who's hands were delicately prodding around the back of the temporarily-inebriated lunatic's skull tried to suppress a smile at the sight of her friend's loss of control.

She sat cross-legged on the floor next to a hysterical Angela and concocted an improvised summary for the situation—even though she was well aware of the fact that the woman lying next to her didn't give a rat's ass about her condition. "Everyone knows I'm not good with flesh," the anthropologist began. "Not as much as with bones, anyway. But from what I can feel, you won't have any permanent issues with your physical well-being in the future. Had your skull been even the slightest bit shifted, or dented due to the fall, the pressure within might have been enough to cause significant damage to your cerebral health. As well as the fact that you're not in control of the every physiological capacity your body normally possesses merely accentuates just how dangerous this could have been. I strongly suggest you lie down on a flat surface to prevent further risk of falling."

By now, the generally sophisticated and reserved woman was mumbling the broken tune of Oh Christmas Tree and rocking her head to the inconsistent beat.

"Ange…" Temperance sighed and brought her best friend's head to gently rest against her thigh, shifting positions to accommodate the weight of a new person. The voice she had utilized to breathe the artist's name had been exhaled with a detectable note of disappointment, and even in her inebriated state, Angela was capable of noticing it. She tilted her head upwards to give Temperance puppy-dog eyes.

"I'm sorry, Bren. I didn't want tonight to be about—" she paused to hiccup, "—this. And me being stupid."

"I forgive you." The scientist found herself stroking the temporarily incapacitated woman's hair, finding the action soothing for both herself as well as Angela. "But that doesn't mean I'm going to let you anywhere near an alcoholic substance for the rest of the night. You'll end up hurting yourself worse than you already have."


Angela wasn't listening anymore. No, she'd effectively been shushed by the skilful way Temperance's fingertips moved upon her scalp and was content with basking in the sensations the anthropologist could offer. Soon enough, the artist was sound asleep; a heavy and deep breathing replacing the shallow inhales and hiccups that filled her lungs with oxygen while awake. Her lips, Temperance noticed, had parted slightly in her slumber to permit an easier flow of air to travel through her system. Though there was a perfectly logical reason for the unconscious opening of the raven-haired woman's oral cavity, the action roused something within the scientist that she'd once vowed to keep leashed. Beyond all rational inhibition, Temperance deemed it appropriate to rise her free hand and run the tips of her fingers ever-so-gently upon the plump, soft tissue of Angela's parted lips.

The sleeping beauty responded with a breathy exhale, followed by a grunt; she turned over in her sleep, nose now pointing directly towards the author's inner thighs. To top everything off, Angela slipped one of her skilled hands underneath Brennan's thigh—curling it around the surprised woman's leg until she could rest her cheek upon the back of her own hand like a pillow.

"Angela?" Temperance shook her best friend softly, not wanting to startle the poor woman and yet considering it necessary to inform her of her position. Angela's bicep squeezed around the uncomfortable scientist's thigh, face scrunching up in displeasure as Brennan shook her once more. "Angela, wake up please."

"Five more minutes." The adult whined like a child, curling her arm tighter around Temperance and exhaling in a huff of discontent.

"Five more minutes…" The anthropologist repeated the words aloud in a whisper, taking their meaning literally. She brought the fallen chair to stand up behind her, resting her back against it and sighing, "I can handle five minutes."

One minute and twenty-six seconds passed, and Angela's position was truly beginning to rouse something within the scientist. With every deep inhale in her sleep, the artist's chest rubbed the length of Temperance's thigh with a near-unnoticeable graze. But Temperance noticed. She could feel the every ripple of their clothing brushing up against the other's—her jeans, and her best friend's blouse. With fists curled at her sides, the rational woman resumed her internal stopwatch. Twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine…

Two minutes and thirteen seconds. Not even a minute had gone by and the scientist had found a new obstacle to her peace of mind: Angela was moaning in her sleep. Sleeping Beauty replaced approximately one out of three exhales with a breathy moan; nothing sexual, and yet enough to have Brennan question the whereabouts of her best friend's thoughts. Logic told her that it could be anything—that it was possible that the sounds weren't even remotely related to the dream—and yet that small voice in the back of her mind was whispering unfounded quirks. She fell asleep on you. She unconsciously curled her hand around you while sleeping. And now, in the comfort of your presence, she every so often emits a moan…

Three minutes and forty-nine seconds—impatience begun to gnaw at the ligaments beneath the usually calm and collected scientist's flesh. Angela's arm had wrapped itself tighter around Temperance's thigh, the sleeping woman unconsciously turning her unblemished visage so that her lips were pressed against the material of jeans. Through the thick fabric of her garments, Brennan was actually able to feel the warm breath being exhaled from the artist's parted lips. The whiffs of hot air seeped through the tissue and seemed to seep through Temperance's flesh; entering veins and using them as roadways to travel to every possible expanse of the anthropologist's body. Rogue emotions had always been easy for the rational woman to locate, trap, and make vanish—but in this instance, with Angela breathing as if directly upon sensitive living tissue, the uncanny notions and wicked racing thoughts were too many to catch and cease. She wants you. Take her.

Four minutes and thirty seconds hit, and Temperance couldn't keep her hands curled into fists at her side any longer. Her right hand twitched, and she lifted it to trail her fingers delicately across Angela's exposed cheek. The sleeping woman breathed out in a displeased huff, tensing up before releasing each and every of her muscles at once to fall limp in Temperance's lap. Disgusted with herself, the scientist recoiled as if Angela's flesh burned through the material of jeans, sizzling living tissue. It was inhuman of her to take advantage of her best friend during slumber; irrational to believe that it would arise to anything in the future. What was the value of a secret fondling session if it could entail mistrust within their relationship and potentially destroy everything Temperance had strived to build ever since she laid eyes upon the glory that was Angela Montenegro. Your presence is comforting to her. Soothe her further—she will do nothing but thank you. Make the first move and save her the temptation of having to do it herself.

Five minutes on the dot.

"Ange?" Temperance shuffled nervously beneath her sleeping friend. "Wake up."

The artist hiccupped and groaned, squeezing her eyes shut. "Five more minutes."

"It's been five minutes." Brennan insisted, trying her hardest not to sound annoyed when all that she could feel were the rabid butterflies eating away her insides. "I'll drop you off at your house if you want to sleep, but you can't stay here. Not tonight."

Angela mumbled something that sounded vaguely like the words five more minutes before she repositioned herself snugger into jeans, stroking Temperance's leg as if it were a puppy that needed to be soothed. The anthropologist groaned with what was a mixture of frustration and something else, thrusting her head back against the seat of the chair to make a thud resonate throughout the room. She didn't know what it was about the gorgeous Asian woman that attracted her with such strong magnitude, but the simple thought that there was someone out there who could send her to her knees with a simple touch was almost frightening.

Temperance had tried hard over these past few months to make certain the two were hardly ever left alone; partly because she had never wanted to give Angela the impression that friendship wasn't enough. If the scientist could know the pure-hearted Goddess only through friendly bonds, then that was already too much. Mainly, however, had Temperance strived to stay astray of the proximity of her best friend because of the fact that something within her whispered plausible notions that the raven-haired beauty was intentionally luring her closer. That she was purposely asserting the role of a temptress to entice Brennan's first move—whether it be because she'd wanted to be certain of the anthropologist's emotions, or that she was simply too timid to approach the situation first.

Should the former be the case, Temperance thought to herself, the temptress had effectively managed to tie each of her limbs to strings. A single tug from one of those strings and rationality became irrelevant—time ceased to move forward; ceased to exist. In a state of slumber, the puppeteer had managed to reduce Temperance's thoughts to slush. Imagine what she can do when she coils the strings around her hands for better grip, smiles that innocent smile of hers before curling her fingers into fists and tugging on each and every one of the strings at once. You will crumble at her feet.

The anthropologist had honestly desired to share emotions with her best friend this night; her aim not necessarily to find an answer to any questions, but to remove the kilograms of weight crushing her sternum with their enormity. Angela had the right to know. Angela needed to know. And perhaps—a fleeting thought taunted Temperance with its implausibility—it would be the exact words Angela would have wanted to hear. But either way, the raven-haired beauty was now fast asleep, and even if she were to be woken, chances were likely that the alcohol was coursing merrily through her veins—not the best state of being to intake serious conversation topics.

Brennan sighed, playing the mumbled words of five more minutes through her mind over and over again as she rested her head against the seat of the chair. The intense sensations had dissipated over time, but that was only because the scientist had allowed despair and gloom to overcome racing anticipation within her thoughts; the negative emotions rapidly plaguing any hope that she once clung to like a raft.

Keeping her eyelids open rapidly became a burden, and Temperance felt the world around her vanish as she entered the land of slumber with one arm draped around her best friend's shoulders, and a growing heat pooling between her thighs…