Just an idea I had :) Hope you guys like it, leave a review as always! Let me know if you think this should just be a oneshot or if I should expand it.
Disclaimer: Bones is not mine...as you guys already knew.
Monday morning started off completely normal. Booth showered, brushed his teeth, and adjusted the new red tie that Parker had gotten him. He combed his hair into some form of obedience, downed some leftover coffee from the night before, and grabbed the case files he'd left on his coffee table.
It was still normal when he found that he was stuck behind the Monday morning traffic he hated. Usually, he left early to avoid it, but his alarm clock had inexplicably died on him, and he hadn't woken up until nearly nine. So he idled behind a long line of cars for another hour or so before finally making it to the Jeffersonian.
Monday morning was completely normal right up until the moment Bones, pausing from her examination of some cleaned skeletons, looked straight at him and said in greeting, "I'm no Fred Flintstone, but I sure could make your bed rock."
He choked on the coffee he'd bought on the way. He choked so hard the cup tilted and spilled steaming coffee all over his hand. With a yelp, he just barely managed to keep his grip on the paper cup, transferring it to his other hand so he could shake the burned one out.
"Are you okay?" Bones demanded, hurrying off the forensic platform to help him steady his hands.
"What!" he gasped, his voice strangled.
"I asked if you were okay."
"No, not that," he exclaimed, staring at her incredulously. "What did you say before that?"
"I'm no Fred Flintstone, but I sure could make your bed rock," she repeated calmly, like she hadn't just conjured up to his mind images that had been thought up only in the safety of his dark bedroom or shower. By the way she was looking at him innocently, she had absolutely no idea of what she did to him.
"Why?" he managed, almost certain his face was on fire. He tugged nervously at his tie, which was suddenly way too tight.
She shrugged, glancing curiously at his reaction. "I was wondering who Fred Flintstone was and thought you might want to know the context."
"Where the hell did you hear that, Bones?" he demanded, caught between outrage that someone had said that to his partner and amusement that someone knew her so little as to try to pull a stupid pickup line on her. He decided on the outrage. "Seriously, I'll beat the crap out of him for saying that to you."
She paused, looking genuinely confused. "Why would you do that?"
"Why would I do that?" he echoed. "Why wouldn't I do that? That's just so—so inappropriate!"
"Is it a sexual innuendo then?" she guessed.
"Sex—" he choked. God, she just had to go say those words when his thoughts still weren't quite under his control. His overactive imagination instantly thought up a hundred ways he could demonstrate that particular pickup line for her right there, right then. To hell with the fact that they didn't have a bed handy. He'd just pick her up and—
Stop it, Seeley, he told himself firmly, shutting those thoughts away. He took a deep, steadying breath and hoped she wouldn't pick up on how red his face was.
"If it is, you don't have to beat anyone up, Booth," she reassured him quickly. "I can assure you he isn't being inappropriate."
"He?" Booth spluttered. "Who? And of course it's inappropriate! How could it not be—"
"Because I'm seeing him," Brennan stated matter-of-factly.
He stared at her, struck dumb by the revelation. She was…she was seeing someone? A thousand questions rushed to his mind, effectively drowning out his less-than-professional thoughts. How long? Who? What was he like? Was he a scientist? Did Booth know him? More importantly, how the hell hadn't Booth figured out until now?
"You don't need to look so surprised, Booth," she said, sounding a little injured. "I am perfectly capable of securing dates and balancing casework with you."
"I'm not surprised about you getting a date, Bones," he answered, still shocked. God knows she was beautiful enough to snag any man on earth. "It's just…it's been a while. And I can't believe I didn't notice." He thought back and wondered if this new guy was the reason she hadn't gone with him to the diner last Friday, or the reason she hadn't let him in when he'd shown up on her doorstep with Thai the night before. What if her…boyfriend…had been lying naked in her bed as he'd tried to tease his way into her apartment with some noodles and egg rolls? Oh God, he felt his head spin at the thought.
She took in his dazed expression and smiled reassuringly. "Your investigative skills aren't in question, Booth. I kept the relationship purposely quiet."
Relationship. Like it was set already. "How long has this been going on?" he demanded. How many subtle hints had he missed?
She shrugged. "Only about a week. I wanted to see if we could make it past a second date before I told you about it."
Before she told him about it. He felt a wave of relief at the knowledge that she'd intended to actually tell him, eventually. At least he wouldn't be kept in the dark while she went off with the guys she seemed to pull from thin air. And it had only been a week. Only seven short days. The jealousy that had been roiling low in his gut abated slightly.
"Who is he?" Booth asked, hoping he sounded casual.
"His name is Eric," Brennan answered.
She frowned. "Booth, if you intend to run a background check on him—"
"No, I'm just curious." That, and the fact that he was absolutely going to run a background check on him. He was going to run three background checks on him. And then he was going to take the guy aside, show him his gun, and explain to him in detail what would happen to him if Bones so much as got a bug bite in his care.
"Oh. Staten. Like Staten Island."
Making a mental note of the name, Booth asked, "So what is he? Scientist? Let me guess, he's got two dozen Ph.D.s?"
"No," she said, brow furrowed. "He's much too young to have that many degrees, Booth. And the reason that I told you that a background check was unnecessary is because he's involved in law enforcement too."
He rocked back on his heels for a moment, surprised. A scientist, yes. Some professor who played chess for fun, yes. The guy who investigated atoms colliding and stuff, heck yes. He could imagine all those people for Bones. But a law enforcement officer? A man with a significantly lower IQ than her, a man who probably liked sports and was an athlete in high school, a man who'd rather spend his afternoons with his friends rather than watch a boring-as-hell documentary on TV? Someone…someone like him?
Somehow, he'd always imagined he was the only non-squint of all her friends. He felt somehow…less special to find out that he wasn't.
"Law enforcement?" he repeated eventually, a bit stiffly. "What's he do?"
"He's in the local police department," Brennan answered, smiling. "I thought you might like that."
No, he didn't like that. He didn't like it at all.
"And," she added quickly, a triumphant gleam in her eye, "he has a gun."
"Bones!" he groaned, rolling his eyes heavenward. "Don't tell me…"
"He says he'll let me practice with it," she proclaimed victoriously.
Oh yeah. Any good feelings he'd been predisposed to feel for the guy went promptly down the drain. Anyone who let Bones of all people near a firearm was instantly blacklisted in his book. Blacklisted, excommunicated, the whole shebang.
"He's obviously never seen you shoot before," he muttered.
She slapped his arm, clearly offended, and said defensively, "I'm a good shot."
He shook his head dismissively. "Yeah, so you've been telling me for almost seven years now."
"And I've proven it to you too."
He cocked his head and pretended to be deep in thought. "Oh yeah. Like that one time you shot me in the leg. I seem to remember that."
She flushed adorably. "That was an accident."
"I would think a scientist like you would know that a bullet would ricochet off metal," Booth teased. "That sounds…logical."
"I was under pressure!" she protested, glaring at him. "And I don't know why you keep bringing that up. That happened years ago."
He lifted his leg. "Feels like yesterday."
"It's healed," she retorted. "And it won't happen with Eric."
"You never know…" Booth said, raising an eyebrow. "Just hope he'll still be your boyfriend after you shoot his foot off." He hoped they'd never have to find out. Actually, no. Hopefully she'd shoot his foot off so the cop could just get the hell out of their lives already and quit making Booth feel jealous. Stupidly jealous, seeing that Bones was his partner, for goodness sake, and the two of them didn't have a chance in hell together.
Breathe, Seeley, he thought to himself. No need to get all worked up over this new guy. Nothing was set in stone yet.
Bones shook her head. "Nothing like that is going to happen. We're going to be in a controlled environment."
"Shooting range?" he guessed in dismay. Bones around one gun was bad enough; Bones around multiple guns was unthinkable. "That's not exactly reassuring, Bones."
She shrugged. "I thought it would be." Sliding her card through the scanner, she returned to the platform and pulled on a new pair of gloves. "So will you tell me who Fred Flintstone is?"
Oh jeez. Way to pull back thoughts he'd been desperately trying to hold at bay. Sure his cheeks were heating again, he muttered, "It's just a pop culture reference, Bones. Nothing to worry about."
"But it's a sexual innuendo," Bones summarized. "That's helpful to know."
How could she say it so calmly? He was nearly blushing to death at the thought of it. At the thought of her pictured in it.
"Jeez, Bones," he groaned. "Let's just stop talking about that, okay?"
"Right," she said, seeming to notice his discomfort, finally. "I forgot that your conservative Christian values make it embarrassing for you to openly discuss sex."
"You make me sound like a prude," he grumbled. When she opened her mouth to reply, he said hurriedly, "Never mind. You want to hear about this case or not?"
He swiped his own card before climbing up the platform and nodded. "Yep, body found out downtown. You up for a ride?"
She nodded, stripping off her gloves. "These bones can wait. I'll get someone to return them to bone storage."
"Great." He twirled the SUV's keys in his hand and grinned at her. "I'll drive."
"Male," Bones said, leaning over the skeleton. "Mid-30s, Caucasian, abnormally short."
"Cause of death?" Booth prompted her, notebook in hand.
She leaned closer. "There are some nicks here on the sternum. It could indicate a stab wound. Also, the lower ribs here are cracked, and one is broken. Given its position, it easily could have punctured the lung, caused a pneumothorax."
Booth raised his eyebrow. "So, murder."
She nodded. "It looks like murder," she confirmed.
"She's good, isn't she?"
Booth turned in thinly veiled annoyance to look at the uniformed officer standing next to him. All blond-haired, blue-eyed, all-American police officer, equipped with a gun that he'd so generously allowed Bones to practice with. Booth had taken one look at his name tag, saw it read STATEN, and groaned inwardly. Of course. Of course he and Bones had to be assigned to the same crime scene her boyfriend was at. It would just be so un-cruel of the fates not to have this happen.
"Yes," he said stiffly, "she's good." Of course she was good. What did the guy think?
"She's my girlfriend," Staten added proudly, giving Bones such a blatant once-over that Booth nearly snapped his pen in half to avoid punching the guy in the face.
"Yes," he said tightly, staring resolutely at his notebook. "I heard."
"I told him about us," Bones said to Staten. "I needed some clarification on—"
Good God, she wasn't just about to launch into a conversation about sexual innuendos in front of him and her boyfriend, was she? He could just imagine himself dying of embarrassment on the spot.
"Do you need the remains sent back to the lab?" he interrupted loudly over her, coughing into his sleeve.
Pausing, she gave him a look. "Of course, Booth. What kind of question is that? I always need the remains shipped back to the lab."
"Good," he said quickly, tucking his notepad away. "I'll make the arrangements. Are we going back to the Jeffersonian now, or what?"
"Sorry, Eric," Bones said apologetically. "I have work to do."
He shrugged. "No big deal, I get it. Duty calls." He stepped in close and lowered his voice, obviously intending to keep Booth from hearing. "But you'll make it up to me tonight, won't you?"
Jealousy, hot and overwhelming, swamped him at the sight of the two of them standing so intimately close. Booth clenched his fist and whirled on his heel, knowing that if he watched for even another second, he was going to make an absolute fool of himself punching Staten's teeth out.
"I'll be in the car," he called over his shoulder through clenched teeth. "We don't have all day, Bones."
He didn't have to look back to sense her confusion. "Actually, we do, Booth. Why wouldn't we?"
With a sigh, he just shook his head and stalked back to the car, wondering what on earth he'd ever done to deserve this. A moment later, Bones joined him in the passenger seat, her eyes curious.
"You don't like him?" she guessed, scrutinizing his expression. "Why?"
"Why?" he repeated, wondering which of the thousand reasons he should give. How about the fact that Staten had the idiocy to let Bones handle a gun? No, that wasn't quite it. How about the fact that Staten had the idiocy to try and feed Bones pick-up lines, when anyone with half a brain could tell she'd never get it? Yes, that was closer to the truth. And how about the fact that Booth had totally, stupidly, fallen head over heels in love for her? Yes, that was exactly it. That was also something he'd have to be absolutely crazy to confess to Bones. Instead, he just muttered, "It's nothing."
She looked at him doubtfully. "I know when something's bothering you, Booth. You can tell me."
No, I can't, he thought. Not if I want to keep from wrecking our partnership. Aloud, he sighed and said, "I'm fine, Bones. Just a little tired, okay?"
She didn't look convinced, but she sat back in the seat and stopped staring at him as he pulled out of the parking lot. "Then can I ask you something?"
Relieved that she was dropping the subject, he said, "Fire away, Bones."
"There's nothing to fire, Booth, and I doubt—"
"Ask me the question, Bones," he interrupted, smiling at her. God, he loved her literalness.
She sighed. "I was trying to before you confused me about the fire."
And sometimes, her literalness made him want to bash his head against a wall in frustration. With a sigh, he said, "Just ask me, will you?"
She nodded. "Where is Wonderland, and who is Alice?"
Booth snorted. "Tell me you've heard of Alice in Wonderland."
"Why? I haven't."
He shook his head incredulously. "You're telling me you've been alive this long, and you haven't heard of Alice in Wonderland? Have you been living under a rock?"
She looked at him, confusion apparent in her eyes. "No. You know where I live, Booth."
He heaved a sigh and shook his head again. "Alice is this girl who sort of…well, she falls into this rabbit hole and ends up in a place called Wonderland. She gets through a lot of adventures there, and it's all this wacky and crazy stuff. It's a book by Lewis Carroll."
He saw her frown out of the corner of his eye. "Well," she said, her brow creasing adorably, "I don't understand then."
"Just now, Eric told me that my body was Wonderland and that he wished he was Alice." Her frown deepened. "However, given what you've just told me, I don't see the correlation. If he was making a sexual innuendo, I prefer him to be clearer about it."
He choked and nearly caused a ten-car pileup right then and there. Shooting her a furious glare, he exclaimed, "God, Bones, could you please stop saying 'sexual innuendo' like that?"
"Like what?" she asked curiously, looking at him.
"Could you please stop saying it at all? It's—it's—" He couldn't find the words for it.
She smiled indulgently at him, and he tried to drag his eyes away from her lips. "Does it make you uncomfortable, Booth?"
He shut his eyes briefly. "You know it does, Bones. So quit it, will you?"
She shrugged. "I'm sorry. It's just that Eric seems to like saying these things to me, and I don't know anyone else to ask about them."
"Angela?" he suggested, knowing that the artist would have a hell of an easier time listening to Bones spouting suggestive pickup lines than he would.
"I'm around you more," she reasoned, "so it's more convenient."
Of course. He was just going to have to grin and bear it, wouldn't he?
"Anyway," she continued, "I promise I'll stop saying sexual innuendo if you just explain to me what he's talking about. Will you?"
Would he? Would he sit there and explain to Bones what her boyfriend was saying to seduce her? It sounded crazy. He was setting himself up for some major embarrassment, and he was probably going to regret this very, very soon. But how the hell could he refuse her without using the words No, Bones, I won't because you have no idea how hot you make me when you say stuff like that? Yeah, that probably wouldn't go over so well.
So he just sighed. "Sure, Bones. Whatever."
She smiled. "So will you tell me what Wonderland has to do with sex?"
And there he was, blushing like hell again. "God, Bones, what did you just agree to?"
"I agreed to not say sexual innuendo," she protested, frowning. "Sex is not the same thing."
"Stop—stop saying that!"
"Stop it! Stop saying sex!"
Because the way it rolled off her tongue made him hot as hell. He groaned aloud and snapped, "Let's just agree not to say it, okay?"
She crossed her arms and huffed. "Fine! Sometimes, you're frustratingly conservative, Booth."
"And you're frustratingly shameless," he countered, clenching his hands on the steering wheel to keep from touching her. God, if she kept going with this sex thing, he'd probably be mauling her in the passenger seat before they reached the Jeffersonian. He couldn't think of a worse way to completely destroy their partnership.
After another moment, she looked straight at him and asked, "Okay, so what does Wonderland have to do with my relationship with Eric?"
He breathed deeply through his nose. "It's…well, he means that your body…" He was blushing scarlet, wasn't he? Talking about Bones's body was definitely not something he should be doing, especially in association with physical…intimacy. He kept his eyes resolutely on the road and away from her.
"My body…" she prompted impatiently.
Deep breaths, Seeley. One, two, one two…
"Your body is nice, and he wants to…to…" he struggled, clenching the steering wheel. "Your body's wonderfully…" He couldn't quite take it anymore; his mind leaped to a dozen adjectives to describe Bones's body, and he finished hurriedly, without thinking straight, "Your body's hot, and you're beautiful and gorgeous. And your hair looks best down, and your eyes are incredible, and they match really well with that green blouse of yours. And because you're so unbelievably gorgeous, I really, really, really have a hard time keeping my hands to myself when I'm around you."
She was silent for a long moment. He didn't dare look over at her, knowing if he did and that if she was looking at him with those eyes of hers, he wouldn't be able to keep his hands to himself unless he handcuffed himself to the steering wheel. And maybe not even then.
He heard the smile in her voice. "I?" she repeated slowly, her amusement plain.
Oh hell. Damn it. He hadn't said 'I', had he? He couldn't have…Damn it!
"Speaking in general terms," he explained in a rush, clearing his throat in embarrassment. "I mean, that's what Staten must have been thinking when he fed you that line."
She smiled. "Oh." Somehow he got the feeling she was onto him, and he nearly groaned when she continued. "Because for a second there, you sounded very passionate. You sounded very much as if you were the one who couldn't keep your hands off of me." She paused for a moment before asking innocently, "Would you like to make love to me, Booth?"
All right, that was it. That was it. There was no way in hell he could drive safely and adhere to safety regulations with her blindsiding him with stuff like that from the passenger seat, and if she said anything along the lines of sex one more time, he was going to strangle her, or kiss her, or both. And none of that was good.
He spied a break in the traffic and slammed on the brakes. The SUV pulled to a stop on the side of the road, and he breathed deeply, resisting the urge to look at her. He didn't think he could take any of her beauty right now; his self-control was already fracturing left and right.
"What?" she asked, clearly confused. "I didn't say sex this time."
He took a deep breath. "When I tell you not to say sex, Bones, that means not saying other words that mean the same thing too."
"Oh. Then you should have been more specific."
He got the feeling that no matter how specific he got, she would find a way to embarrass him. Glaring at the speedometer, he demanded, "And what the hell was that question for, Bones? Asking me if I wanted to…to…" He couldn't say the words because the vivid image of them in bed made his mouth run dry.
She shrugged. "It's a valid question."
"No, it's not," he spluttered. "It's not professional, Bones!"
"But we're friends."
"Even friends wouldn't say that to another friend!" he cried, exasperated. "And to answer your question, no, I would absolutely not like to make love to you."
He didn't know what he'd expected from her, but he sure as hell hadn't expected a look of abject hurt to cross her face. Realizing exactly how his words had sounded, he hastily amended, "I didn't—that didn't come out the way it was supposed to."
"How else was it supposed to come out?" she asked, turning away.
"Bones…" God, how could she make him all hot and bothered like some sort of seductress (hah! Bones, a seductress!) and somehow make him feel all guilty in the end, like he was the bad guy? She was the one tempting him, for goodness sake!
"You don't think I'm attractive," she said stiffly.
He groaned. "I think you're gorgeous."
She frowned. "Then why wouldn't you like to…" She hesitated, clearly trying to express herself without using the word sex or a synonym. If he hadn't been so hot and bothered, he might have laughed. As it was, even all flushed, he was still touched by her effort on his behalf. "…do something to me?" she finished finally.
He sighed heavily. How could she think he didn't want to do something to her? Probably every man who'd ever laid eyes on her had fantasized about her at some point, and he was no exception. But how could he? He was her partner, her friend. Nothing more.
He closed his eyes and sighed again, leaning his head on the headrest. "It's…it's not that, Bones. It's just that we're partners, okay? It wouldn't be right."
She snuck a glance at him. "But you do think I'm pretty?"
He barked a laugh. "You're beautiful, Bones. But since when have you needed my approval?" He said it teasingly, but when he looked over at her at last, he saw the truth of his words. Her eyes, clear and reserved, told him everything. She did need his approval. She did want his opinion, valued it even. He had no idea why—she'd been independent all this time, and she'd always known she was beautiful—but what he told her now mattered. What he told her could hurt her, get past those damn walls of hers, touch her underneath.
She smiled without answering. "Thank you, Booth. Your facial structure is very pleasing too."
Well, her moment of vulnerability had apparently passed. He shook his head and exhaled slowly. "Thanks, Bones. I guess. Is it really so hard to just say I'm hot?"
Her brow furrowed. "Why would I say that? It's much easier and more accurate to describe your facial structure. Which is pleasing."
Easier. Right. He'd keep that in mind next time he had a date. Compliment her on her cheekbones or something. Bones would get a kick out of that.
With another shake of his head, he started up the car again and said, "So no more talk of…you-know-what. Okay, Bones?"
Thankfully, she seemed to guess what you-know-what meant. Nodding, she agreed, "All right. For now. But what if I need help understanding Eric in the future?"
He closed his eyes. Then I'll shoot the guy, of course. Right between the eyes. Aloud, he sighed. "You can ask me, Bones, you know you can. Just…not in the car, okay?"
She stared at him in confusion. "Why not?"
She probably wouldn't understand the connection between them discussing sex and him subsequently driving headlong into a car accident. So he just said, "That's a rule, Bones, okay?"
She shrugged. "Okay, Booth, fine." After another moment, she added, "Thank you for your help. I'm hoping that with your help, Eric and I can establish and maintain a successful relationship."
Oh-ho, that was the last thing he wanted her to be doing. He didn't want her in any relationship save one with him, which, decidedly, wasn't happening. Dutifully, though, he nodded and said, "I hope so too, Bones. You deserve some happiness."
They lapsed into silence, and Booth managed to pull into the Jeffersonian without incident. As he took the keys from the ignition, Bones said suddenly, "Booth?"
He nodded. "Mm-hmm?"
"I understand the Wonderland reference now," she said innocently, "but what does Alice have to do with it?"
He groaned and rolled his eyes heavenward. It was going to be a long, long day.