So today I was looking at my stats page and I saw that this story hit 300 reviews. And I said to myself "self, let's get that chapter done for those folks." So here you go, enjoy, and excuse me as I try and crank out Booth's next chapter.
Also, can I just say?
If you're reading this then you stuck it out. You trusted me. You're here.
And that means a lot.
It was a force of will to read the reviews from the last chapter. True Story.
Ready for the rest of the ride? 'Cause I should tell you, we're not even off the ground yet.
Note: This chapter runs parallel to the one before it, so this one is beginning prior to the end of the last one. Just so there's no confusion.
Written to: Friend is a Four Letter Word, Cake
Please for the love of this story listen to this song if you've never heard it before.
It's so very what's happening to Brennan right now.
Temperance Brennan walked into her apartment and kicked the door closed behind her, startling Angela.
"Sweetie? Are you okay?" Angela's head popped through the open window from her perch on the roof.
"No. I am in an emotional state that cannot be in any way defined as okay." Brennan said tightly.
Angela climbed through the window to the living room and she looked Brennan over.
"Michael has completely changed the lab shift and rotation schedule. He claims it is to assist me in recovering from this weekend. And there is no way for me to change the schedule back, because he hasn't done anything that's actually wrong. And he insists that he is making the changes for my benefit, but I don't see how this is remotely beneficial. And I attempted to discuss this issue with my advisor but he has 'confidence in Michael's decision making'. And-"
Brennan stopped and turned to look at Angela from where she had been pacing back and forth as she vented. Angela had taken a seat on the couch, her face furrowed with concern. She reached for Brennan with both arms, offering a hug. Brennan sat down next to her and leaned her head on Angela's shoulder, letting herself get enveloped in the comforting hold of her best friend.
"Ok, breathe. What happened?"
Brennan took a couple deep breaths, her eyes closed, as she isolated everything that had gone on that day that had upset her.
"Michael claimed to be concerned for my well-being and without notice has changed my lab hours and where I fall in the rotation priority."
"Ok?" Angela said, drawing it out.
Brennan sighed, "It means that I have access to the lab only at the new times, and should I need to reschedule I am near the bottom of the list, and am unlikely to be able to alter my schedule, should I need to."
Angela was silent for a moment, before responding, "That can't be the only thing bothering you. When your lab hours got shifted last semester you were nowhere near this upset."
Brennan sat up, pulling away from Angela, her jaw flexed involuntarily and her eyes narrowed, "Michael also recommended I work in a group with remedial students. He suggested it will expand my ability at teaching and interpersonal communication."
"But you're not going into education." Angela said, shocked. She released her hold on Brennan's shoulders, but took her left hand with both of her own.
"Can he do that?" Angela's hands squeezed Brennan's firmly, offering unspoken support.
"Not without Dr. Goodman's approval."
"What did he say?"
"He declined to put me in the remedial group as my focus does not necessitate my ability to teach and interact on such a low level."
"What did Michael say to that?"
"It is Michael's feeling that I have the wrong focus and that I should not be focused on the pure science, rather I should focus on the ability to teach. He went so far as to say that he could not understand why I had chosen this major and that I am not 'cut out' for serious anthropology."
Angela gaped, "He didn't!"
Brennan smiled slightly, "Dr. Goodman responded by pointing out that my thesis work is not only solid, but has on a number of occasions out shone Michael's." Angela guffawed as Brennan continued, "And if Michael is really concerned about who is and who is not cut out for pure science, he should go reexamine his own work."
"No!" Angela gasped before dissolving into gales of laughter, "What did Michael have to say to that?"
"Not much," said Brennan with a chuckle, "he was very irate."
Brennan grew quiet, thinking about Michael's actions, but finding no root for them.
"What?" Angela asked knowingly with another reassuring squeeze of her hand.
"I have always been serious about pure science. I've never been good at anything else." She sighed, "I do not understand why Michael would be so adamant that I not pursue my goal."
"Could it be that he's intimidated by you?"
"That is unlikely."
Angela's face was emotionless, and Brennan knew she not only didn't agree, but wanted nothing more than to address, at length, why she thought Brennan was wrong. Fortunately Brennan knew the face, and with a simple glare told Angela to drop the issue.
Angela sighed dramatically and pushed herself off the couch, releasing Brennan's hand in the process, "Just focus on tutoring Booth and to forget about Michael. Stare into Booth's eyes, and remember how he saved your life."
"Don't be ridiculous."
"Hey, if you don't want to stare into his eyes all night then I'll do it."
"Staring into his eyes is not going to help him study at all." Brennan checked her watch, "I should go I'm going to be late."
"How far are you going?"
"The coffee cart by the library."
"Wait, wait; you're meeting him for coffee?"
"No we are meeting to study. We have merely selected the coffee cart as the location by which to meet."
"Who suggested it, you or him?"
"I did. Why?"
"Oh, ok then. Nevermind."
"What?" Brennan demanded with a glare.
"No, it's just when you ask someone out for coffee it's really a code for wanting to have sex."
"I am unfamiliar with that code."
"No surprise there sweetie."
"Do you think Booth thinks that I-"
"-no." Angela interrupted, "I don't think he does."
"But what if-"
"Forget I said anything." Angela interrupted again.
"I have a very good memory." Brennan said with a scowl.
Angela locked eyes with her, and exasperated expression on her face that Brennan knew to mean, 'forget it'.
Brennan huffed but did not press the issue, and with an efficiency that Angela could only admire, she picked up what she needed for her tutoring session and left. She walked across campus to the library, enjoying the biting autumn wind and the fiery leaves falling around her. A familiar figure walked towards her, going the opposite direction, and she hoped that he would pass her by.
Alas he did not.
"Where are you going?" Michael asked, turning to walk along side her.
"The library. I have an appointment." Brennan replied brusquely.
"Oh? What for?"
"I have agreed to take on a student as a tutor." She replied without slowing her pace.
"Anyone I know?"
"I doubt that. He is a student at the University of Illinois in Chicago."
There was a falter in Michael's step, "Please tell me you haven't agreed to tutor the Neanderthal from the party?"
"The Neanderthal race is classified as extinct, therefor there cannot have been any at the party this weekend."
"Damn it Tempe you know what I mean."
"No, Michael, I don't." she said, stopping and poking him in the chest with a finger, "I don't have any memory of the party. What I do know is that I have agreed to tutor the young man who took me to the hospital and arguably saved my life."She spun on her heel and continued towards the library.
Michael kept pace beside her as he looked at her with something of a condescending expression, "Do you really have time to tutor someone? I mean, shouldn't you be working on your paper for the Jefferson internship? That thing's not going to write itself."
"I am not prone to procrastination, as you seem to be. My submission for the Jefferson was sent in last week. Other than my regular coursework I have nothing to hinder my ability to help another student."
Michael was silent but still beside her as the coffee cart came into view. Looking ahead she could see Booth on a bench to the side of it. Brennan felt what could only be described as butterflies in her stomach as she looked at him.
It's merely my endocrine system sending blood from my internal organs to my extremities to aid in the fight or flight response.
-Feels like butterflies though doesn't it?
Suddenly she felt Michael grip her arm and spin her towards him, "Tempe, that's him."
"The Neanderthal who carried you up the stairs. That's him."
Brennan glared, "Your point?"
"You can't tutor him. Who knows what he did to you when you were alone."
Brennan took a step closer to Michael, meeting his eyes with steely determination, "What I know is that he took me to the hospital. And you left."
"But-" He began as he turned to look at where Booth was sitting.
"No!" He turned back to Brennan's fury, "'But' nothing. You watched someone you didn't know carry me up the stairs and you did nothing to stop him."
Michael took a step back, his eyes wide with shock.
"If that's the way you feel I'll leave you to tutor your remedial student." He turned and walked away, calling back over his shoulder, "Who knows, if you don't get the Jeffersonian internship the practice might come in handy. You know, for teaching."
Brennan stared at his retreat.
Angela is right. He's an asshole.
She turned back towards the coffee cart to see Booth walking towards her. His muscles were tense and his jaw was set, his eyes hard and determined; but he wasn't looking at her, he was looking past her, focusing on Michael as he walked away.
Do they know each other?
Brennan carefully thought of any time they may have interacted, with the only possibility being the party.
But wouldn't Michael said something if he was acquainted with Booth?
-No because Michael's an asshole.
Brennan smirked at her inner monologue and turned back to Booth who had almost reached her.
His gaze had shifted and she met his warm brown eyes, the hard determination gone. His expression had softened as well, his mouth curved into a small smile.
And as he came to a stop in front of her she felt the same fluttering as before, only stronger.
Fwew. I'll just leave this here while I go work on the next one.