"Do you want me to prove it to you?"
They were in his bedroom. Booth and Bones. Bones and Booth. She on his bed, naked from the waist down, wearing his sweatshirt and a sheet and not a damned stitch more. And she remembered where the line came from.
Booth could tell, by this little self-conscious question that flashed in her eyes while she tried to figure out if he remembered.
Damn straight he did. Whether it was from the story she wrote or the coma dream that he had or some weird, psychic mind-meld that he'd never understand, didn't really matter. They were on the same page.
Bones tilted her head, her lips in a tight, regretful little line. "We have to work."
He'd expected as much. "Sure – I know that. But, you know, I could use a shower."
"Of course." She tried not to look too disappointed, and he loved her for it. "I'll just have some coffee, and – "
"Couldn't you use a shower, Bones?" he interrupted.
She looked at him. A second passed, maybe two, before her eyes widened and the light bulb came on.
"You mean we could shower together."
"We've both gotta get clean, right?"
She smiled. "And while we're in there, we could have sex."
"That was kind of the idea, Bones."
Her smile widened to a canary-eating grin – the one that made him feel like the sun had just come out; like everything old was new again.
"It's very sensible to shower together – it saves water."
"Well, I'm a sensible kind of guy, Bones."
The bed sheet had fallen down her leg, and a mile of creamy white Bones thigh was six inches from his right hand, right there for the taking. Booth's sweats were already tented, which made it tough to focus on witty banter. Bones met his gaze, her blue eyes smoky now. While he was still trying to figure out how to bridge the gap between talking about sex in the shower and actually, y'know, doing it, she moved closer. Looked him in the eye. Licked her lips, like she was a lioness straight out of the Serengeti, and he was prime rib. The tent in Booth's sweats got a little more tented.
His knuckles brushed her naked leg, and her eyes caught fire. He ran his hand up higher, still caught in that old place where touching his colleague and best friend and almost-but-never-quite-something-else wasn't exactly… Copasetic. But he couldn't deny that when they kissed this time, there was a fire there that had just been simmering the night before, lost in too many other emotions. This morning, those emotions took a back seat.
Her hand made it past the waistband of his sweatpants, and Booth couldn't remember anybody who'd ever turned him on quite so much. He found his way to her neck – there was this spot just below her left earlobe that he'd hit the night before, and she'd just about come off the bed. He found that spot again, just about the time her hand closed around his shaft, and they both kind of gasped at the same time.
"Shower," he mumbled, his lips still at her neck.
She found his mouth again, and this time when they kissed there was so much hunger Booth wasn't sure he'd ever get the will to leave the apartment again.
"The shower's too far," Bones said, in between kisses.
He'd been thinking the same thing.
He pulled her sweatshirt over her head, pausing for a second when the sunlight was streaming in and she – Bones, the woman he'd loved and fantasized about and been trying to get over for almost eight years now – was in his bed, her hair down and a sheet tangled around her… He shook his head.
"You're beautiful, you know? I mean…" He rolled his eyes, before she could interrupt him with some pat answer about how she knew she was beautiful and it was all about how balanced her forehead was or something. "Yeah, Bones, I know – you know. You've got good symmetrics or whatever. But I just… You've got a body like…" He shook his head again, realizing that he sounded like an incoherent idiot. "You're a knockout, Bones."
A blush climbed her chest, making it all the way up to her cheeks. She looked away for a second. It wasn't the response he'd expected. "I'm larger than other women you've dated," she said, matter of fact. "Males typically have a certain type that they're more attracted to than others – " Any other woman, and they'd just be fishing for compliments. Bones wasn't any other woman, though.
He took her hand and pulled her up off the bed.
"What are you doing?"
"Shower, remember?" he asked. He pulled off his t-shirt, wrapped her in his arms, and kissed her again. Her tongue made its way past his lips, doing a sensual dance that had him dizzy in ten seconds flat. "If we don't at least start moving in the right direction, Bones, we're never gonna get there," he mumbled.
She ran her hands over his abs, around to his back, and down past his waistband again. They kind of backed their way through the apartment, kissing the whole time, and by the time Booth managed to get the shower going he was ready to explode. They got under the spray, hot water raining down. Booth pressed her back against the wall, a hand flat on the wall on either side of her. Drops of water ran down her face, beading on her chest. Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes closed. She was, hands down, the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
"You're my type," he said.
She opened her eyes. "What?"
"You're my type," he said, again. His voice sounded a little rough, too intense. It just mattered, suddenly, that she get this. "From the first day we met, you've been my type. I told you before, Temperance – you're the standard. You've always been the standard." He had a hard time meeting her eye. "There's never been anybody, my whole life, who's meant what you mean to me."
She ran her hands up over his chest and wrapped her arms around him, burying her head in his neck. "Thank you." It was a whisper, fierce in that way that she got sometimes, and for a second or two they just stood there, holding each other. But then that whole thing where they were wet and naked and turned on as hell kind of came back, and Booth wasn't sure who kissed who next, but soon her left leg was wrapped around him and he was lost in her, the way he'd promised her it should be, and the urgency was cresting until everything came down to tiny fragments of the moment: the way she arched her back… the drops of water that clung to her breasts… the way her eyes opened when he moved deep. All the things he'd been dreaming of, late at night, when he was alone all those years.
It was the best damned shower he'd ever taken.
Later that day, after Broadsky was in custody and Booth had filed paperwork and just about fallen asleep at his desk and not called Bones three separate times after picking up the phone, he finally gave in, half-expecting a brush-off. Instead, Bones asked him to meet her at the Diner for coffee. It was a little after four o'clock. Which meant she was either having a crappy day, really wanted to see him, or was about to dump him. Either of the first two, he figured he could handle.
She was already there waiting when he got there. She had on a pretty yellow shirt, her hair in a ponytail, staring out the window with her chin in her hand. She looked tired. And a little sad. He slid into the seat across from her.
Her eyes lightened. "Hi. Thank you for coming. I hope you weren't in the middle of anything…"
"Nah, Bones – it's the end of the day anyway. I just have a little more paperwork to fill out on Broadsky. I can do it later, or get to it in the morning."
She nodded. The Diner wasn't busy – just a few people at tables, a few more at the bar, everything quiet in that pre-dinner-rush kind of way. Bones had a cup of coffee she hadn't touched, and kept playing with a bracelet on her right hand. The waitress brought coffee and a slice of cherry pie, before Booth could order. He raised an eyebrow at Bones.
"That's usually what you get. I thought I'd save you the wait."
"Thanks." He pushed the pie to the center of the table, and got up and stole a clean fork from the next booth. "You want some?"
She took the fork from him, but she didn't actually take a bite. Booth took a sip of coffee. Watched the other customers. Waited for Bones to tell him what was on her mind.
"It's awful at the lab," she finally said, the words coming out like they'd been wrestled from somewhere deep. She twisted a gold ring on her right hand, pulling it off and pushing it back on without really realizing she was doing it, and stared out the window some more.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I figured it would be rough today. I wish you guys could have just taken the day off. Instead, everybody has to keep their head down, acting like everything's okay and it's business as usual."
"I wish they would act like that." She took a breath, frowning. "Angela can't go past the spot where Vincent… Where it happened, without crying. Cam had to notify his mother, which was apparently terrible. And people keep calling and stopping by, asking if there's anything they can do."
"That's what happens when you lose somebody, Bones. They're just trying to help."
"I know. It doesn't feel helpful, however. Not to me. It would be better if everyone would simply focus on their work."
He didn't say anything to that. Bones was staring out the window, looking like the weight of the world was set square on her shoulders. He waited her out again, until she was ready to let him in.
"Cam wants us all to be there this evening, when they come to get the body," she said.
"That's a good idea – that'll be nice. What time?"
She looked at him. He caught a glimpse of something that took him a second to read. Impatience? Anger? Yeah. Anger.
Bones was pissed, and trying like hell not to be.
"I don't think I'll go," she said. Her eyes flashed to his, just for a second, before she went back to staring out the window. Gauging his reaction.
"Of course you're gonna go, Bones."
"I have work to do at the lab, Booth – getting in so late this morning didn't help." He kind of smiled at that, thinking, Here we go. "And after everything yesterday, and then trying to catch Broadsky today… I've fallen behind on everything."
"So you'll work a long day tomorrow." He shrugged. "You'll catch up – you always do. Everybody knows there've been some pretty unusual circumstances, these last few days. People understand if you guys are a little behind."
"It's easier to get things done at night, when no one is there. If I went this evening…"
"So, go in tonight," he said evenly. "After we all get together and say our goodbyes."
"Say goodbye to what?" she burst out, anger and hurt and frustration boiling over. He felt a surge of sympathy for her - for these things that cut her so much that the best she could do was just shut them out completely. "I don't understand why people have to do this – it feels to me as though it only makes things worse, dwelling on it like this. He's gone. Vincent is dead. Putting the box carrying his body into a car and watching it drive away won't change that."
Her voice rose. A couple at the next table turned to look at them. Booth caught her hand in his.
"Nobody said it'll change anything, Bones," he said quietly. "But it's what people do – you get a chance to say goodbye. To be quiet for a few seconds, maybe shed a tear or two. And then you hug the people who love you, the ones who are still here, and you go back to your life. You remember the people you lost. Trust me here, Bones… This is important."
Her eyes welled. She risked a glance at him, swallowing hard.
"I hate this. It feels horrible."
"I know, baby. It gets better."
The word slipped out before he even realized it. Bones looked at him, the sadness and anger forgotten for just a second. She raised her eyebrows at him, a little smile playing at the corners of her lips.
"What did you just call me?"
He could feel himself turning red. Damn it.
"Uh – What do you mean? I called you Bones."
"No, you didn't." She lowered her voice and leaned across the table. "You called me baby," she whispered – though it wasn't exactly the quietest whisper ever. "You have to be more careful. People will know."
"I know – sorry, Bones. It just slipped out."
"I don't think it's wise to tell anyone for a while," she kept on.
"And I'm right there with you – like we said last night. This is ours. Just between you and me, for now."
"Exactly." She hesitated. "Well – you and me, and Angela."
"What?" It came out louder than he'd meant it to. The same couple as before turned and looked at him. He shot them a quick glare, then moved in and lowered his voice.
"Bones, I thought we were pretty clear about this this morning. You really think Angela will keep the lid on this?"
"I couldn't help it, Booth – she knew. I was going to lie, but she would have figured it out."
He blew out a quick breath and leaned back in his seat. "Well, you're right about that, anyway."
"Angela's very good at reading people."
"And, let's face it, Bones, you're pretty much the worst liar on the planet."
Her eyes got huge, eyebrows up – you would have thought he'd said she was a crappy dresser, or a second-rate forensic anthropologist, she looked so offended.
"I can lie."
He scoffed. "Yeah, sure you can."
"I can lie as well as you can – I'm not always honest."
"Bones, you're so honest you make the nuns I had back in Catholic school look like pool sharks. You can't lie your way out of a paper bag."
She went from offended to pissed off, right before his eyes.
He held up his hand before she stormed out. "Okay, fine – you wanna prove it? Two truths and a lie. Right here."
"Fine," she spit out. Then hesitated for a second. "Wait – I don't know what that means."
"It's this game Parker plays all the time. You tell me two things that are true about you, and one lie. I have to guess which one's the lie."
"All right, fine."
She thought for a while. Booth sat there, waiting, until about five full minutes had passed, and she still hadn't come up with anything. He glanced at his watch.
"Sometime today, Bones. I still need to wrap up a few things at work."
"I'm thinking." She shot him a pissy glare. He wasn't sure what it said about him, that he got as turned on by that glare as he did by her smile. Maybe more.
Another couple of minutes went by. The waitress came by and took away his empty pie plate and freshened their coffee. He told her they'd take the check.
Finally, once she was gone, Bones looked at him with a gleam in her eye.
"I have one."
"All right – hit me."
She sat up straighter in her chair. Licked her lips. Folded her hands in front of her.
"One: as a child, I had two chameleons, named Louis Pasteur and Marie Curie. Two: I have always secretly thought it would be nice to live on Mars." Her eyes skated from his on that one, her smile deepening for just a second before she got a handle on it. Oh yeah, she was a great liar.
"And three – I've crossed the Sahara twice by camel."
"Second one," he said, before she'd gotten the last word out.
"What? How do you know that?"
He sighed. "Because you've told me about six times, all about crossing the Sahara on a camel. And I've seen pictures of the scientist lizards. And Mars is way too cold to live on – you're not exactly the whimsy type, Bones. And," he took a sip of his coffee, trying to hide a smirk. "You're a crappy liar. Sorry, Bones - you have a whole bunch of stuff you're great at. Lying isn't one of 'em."
"Let me try again."
He glanced at his watch again. "Bones, I've gotta get going."
"Just one more."
He started to get up, but she stopped him with her hand on his and her eyes wide and, seriously, where the hell else did he really need to be but here?
"All right, fine – one more."
This time, she got really serious. Back straight, competitive edge in her eye, hands folded in front of her.
"One: In foster care, I once lived with a family who had three biological sons, all named Tom. Two: I once shoplifted a tube of lipstick from a pharmacy, on a dare." And, again, the eye skid and the secret smile. "And, three, I have traveled through all fifty states at least three – "
"Second one again," he said.
He thought she might throw something at him, this time. "There's no way you can tell that. I never told you about the foster family with all the Toms, and unless you've calculated all the places I have ever traveled in my lifetime. – "
He tossed some cash on the table and stood. "It's not what you're saying, Bones – it's the way you say it. You've got about a dozen tells."
She got up. "I do not! Let me try again."
And she did. About six times, actually, while he walked her to her car. By the sixth time, they were both standing at her parking space, and she looked like she might brain him before he got out of there.
"I think you're cheating."
"How would I cheat, Bones? You tell a lie, I figure out which one it is. Unless I've got a lie detector in my back pocket, there's no cheating."
The frown got deeper. "Well then, you try it. I'll tell you when you're lying."
"Fine. Uh…" He thought for a second. "I won my first trophy in hockey when I was seven – that's one. Two," he held up two fingers, "my favorite color's blue, and, three…" He took a step closer, glancing around to see if anybody was watching, and lowered his voice. "I think you're sexy as hell when you're mad at me."
He leaned in and kissed her for as long as she'd let him, but then she pushed him away. "The first one," she said. The spark in her eye might have had a little to do with the kiss, but Booth would lay ten-to-one odds it was actually because she won that round. "Your favorite color is blue. And you were nine when you won your first trophy in hockey."
"You got me, Bones. You happy now?"
A second or two passed. They were standing so close that he could feel the warmth of her body, smell the sweetness of her shampoo. Her eyes warmed when she looked at him.
"I'm much happier than I was when I got here. You always know how to do that." She ducked her head, a little flush climbing her cheeks. "It was why I wanted to see you."
He rubbed her arm, and wished like hell he could just hold her. "You'd do the same for me - that's the way it works with us. That's the way it'll always work, baby."
She shot him a glare, but didn't say anything. They stood there until Booth finally had to accept that he was either gonna have to take her home then and there, or end the eye sex and get back to work.
"So... I'll see you tonight for the goodbyes, right?"
She nodded, sad and serious and heartbreaking and... His. All his. "Yes. I'll be there."
"That's my girl," he whispered, a little low.
Their eyes caught for a second or two more, an understanding passing between them that, it seemed to Booth, went beyond everything that had and hadn't been said so far. He opened the car door for her, waited 'til she was inside, then shut it again. She drove off. Booth stood on the streetcorner for a while after she was gone. The sun was warm on his shoulders, the street busy with traffic. He thought of Bones and Vincent in the Diner the day before, laughing about things Booth would never get. And then, of her in his arms the night before: how hard she'd cried; how convinced she'd been that that the squint's last words were for her. He shook his head.
For a woman so secretly convinced she was an ice cube, Booth had never met anybody who cared quite so much as Bones did.
They drank in the Jeffersonian that night - nobody seemed too interested in going out to Founding Fathers by the time the hearse had pulled away. Cam's guy came by with a bottle of pretty decent Scotch, and they hung out in the lab with the lights dimmed, talking about the people they'd lost over the years and the friends they still had. Interns kept showing up as the night wore on, until pretty soon the place was buzzing with squints and squints-in-training, tears and laughter and drinking and stories - all the things that, in Booth's experience, made death bearable.
Bones sat across from him. Every so often, she'd look up and catch his eye, and that same unspoken conversation would pass between them. Angela was watching them most of the night, he knew, but he stopped caring after a while. She'd either tell or she wouldn't, but it wasn't like that would change anything. Not now.
Around eleven, Bones started looking like she was about to pass out cold on the crappy, uncomfortable Jeffersonian sofa she was sharing with Angela and Hodgins. Booth stood and stretched. Angela smirked at him, and he just hoped the lights were down enough to hide his burning cheeks. Damn her.
"I'm gonna head out - it's been a pretty long day."
Bones looked at him. She'd had a couple too many, he knew, besides already being completely wiped out from no sleep and way too much turmoil in the past thirty-six hours.
"Bones, you need a ride home?"
"We can give her a ride," Hodgins piped up.
Angela looked like she was gonna brain him.
"...Or not," Hodgins said.
"Sorry, sweetie," Angela apologized to Bones. "The car's full of baby junk - you know how it is." Now there was a woman who could lie.
Hodgins stared at her like she'd gone nuts. "Uh... Yeaaaaah - sorry, Dr. B. You know how it is."
"So, I'm leaving anyway," Booth said. "If you, you know... Need a lift."
He waited for what he figured would be the worst act in history, once Bones had to pretend nothing was going on when they left together. To his surprise, she pulled it off without a hitch. Apparently, booze and exhaustion were the keys that Bones had been missing, to a good poker face. They said their goodbyes, got in his truck, and headed for her place without any discussion on the subject. Once they were on the road, Bones surprised him by scooting over and laying her head on his shoulder. He smiled and wrapped his arm around her.
"That wasn't as terrible as I thought it would be," she said.
"They never are. It's not fair to lose somebody like Vincent - especially not the way he died. But once it happens, you've got two choices - it either breaks you, or you go on."
"I keep thinking of the way he looked when he was lying there. How much he wanted to live."
Booth kissed the top of her head. "I know. I wish I could tell you you'll forget, but something like that stays with you. It'll get easier, though. You've just gotta give it a little time."
She snuggled in closer. He could feel her battling with sleep - her body would get a little heavier, and then she'd force herself awake again. It felt weird, having her this close - and weirdly, at the same time, it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
"You have Parker this weekend?"
"Saturday afternoon 'til Sunday. We could do something - the three of us. He's been bugging me to come over and use the pool."
"I should probably work."
"It's all right. If you have some spare time and want to hang out, though..."
"That would be nice."
Traffic was light, so they ended up back at Bones's place sooner than he'd expected - it didn't matter, though. She was still sound asleep by the time they got there. She woke up when he opened the passenger side door, looking disoriented.
"C'mon, Bones. I'll walk you up."
Once they got to her apartment, he wasn't clear on whether Bones had invited him to stay, or he'd invited himself and Bones had just been okay with it. Either way, he found himself stripping down to his boxers in her bedroom, the lights low and everything like some kind of dream. When he was a prisoner in Iraq, he'd gone seventy-two hours where they wouldn't let him sleep - everything became muted and unreal, then. This was sort of like that - only without the torture and the wishing he was dead, of course. He smiled at the thought, but figured he wouldn't let Bones in on that one. Hey, Bones, two truths and a lie - One, spending the night with you makes me feel like I used to feel in an Iraqi torture chamber. Okay, maybe he was a little more tired than he'd thought.
By the time Bones came into the room, Booth was under the covers with his eyes drifting shut. She was wearing cotton pajama shorts and a pretty, pale blue pj top with a low neckline. His fatigue took a backseat for a second or two, as other parts jumped to attention. Bones got under the covers and rolled over so they were facing each other. She kissed him - a toothpaste kiss that held more promise than he would have expected from somebody on only a couple hours of sleep.
"I thought of three more," she said.
Booth just looked at her, clueless.
"Two truths and a lie." She snuggled in closer, her hands drifting along his sides.
He laughed. "Bones, let it go, huh? Just accept the fact that you'll never be a worldclass poker player, and set your sights on somethin' else."
"I can learn anything - look at all the things I've learned since I met you. Interrogation techniques, how to read people, colloquialisms and metaphors." She kissed him a little deeper, her body pressed closer. His hips rocked into hers and there was this soft intake of air when she felt him, hard against her. He found the hem of her shirt and ran his hands up her stomach, pushing the shirt over her head. He kissed his way down her chest so he could spend some time on her breasts, which were without question two of his favorite things about this new arrangement. She squirmed against him, riding his knee while he memorized every sigh and every moan, cataloging exactly what prompted each one of them.
"Do you want to hear them now?" she asked, breathless under him, while he kissed his way farther down.
"Bones," he shook his head, trying not to laugh. He made his way back up her body so he could look her in the eye. "This weekend, I'll teach you how to lie, okay? I'll give you all my best secrets. Now... How about I show you a few other things?"
She grinned. "Only if you'll let me co-facilitate."
And that, he realized suddenly, would be life with Bones. Compromises and equal ground and sex talk with words like co-facilitate.
And he was looking forward to every minute of it.
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