Laughing during Sex

By: Lesera128

Rated: M

Disclaimer: I own nothing... Obviously. Just playing in someone else's sandbox for a bit.

Summary: Now that Booth and Brennan have finally hooked up, why will no one believe that they're actually together? To what lengths will they have to go to prove it, and what role does a bet about laughing in bed play in the outcome of the events? Fluff and smut abound. Set during season 4. AU.

A/N: For those readers who have just stumbled across my work for the first time, welcome. This story is a direct sequel to my earlier story "Competing with Cam." Now, you don't necessarily need to have read that story to understand this one, but it might help. The short summary is, during the early events of season 2, Brennan successfully bagged herself a Booth. They have been in a romantic relationship since that point in time. This story takes place during early season 4. One should assume that, unless an event directly conflicts with the idea of Brennan and Booth being in a romantic relationship, then it can be considered as having happened in this story. I'm only going to deviate from episodes on those things that would effect the BB relationship issue. For those who are also wondering, this story will continue the light and fun and sexy tone of "Competing with Cam"… at least, I hope that's the vibe you were getting from that story because that's what I was going for… I don't know if I can fairly call this a pwp story since a little story arc sneaked in (a la the story summary), but it is definitely fluff and will contain a fair amount of smut, as evidenced by the rating bump from "Competing with Cam." If you have a problem with that, then vaya con Dios and happy fic hunting. If not, let's get ready to rumble. Enjoy!~


Prologue – Taking It Seriously


Any discussion involving sex, Special Agent Seeley J. Booth of the Federal Bureau of Investigations thought, was one that had to be handled very, very, *very* carefully under even the most normal of conditions. However, if one changed normal conditions so that they became abnormal by adding Dr. Temperance Brennan, world-renowned forensic anthropologist, as one of the discussion's primary participants, all bets were off. After being in what could be termed, more or less, a stable, long-term relationship with Brennan for almost two years, no one knew that better than Booth. Expect the unexpected had more or less become Booth's motto since he and Brennan had began dating. It had served him well, thus far, but it also required him to stay more than the two or three steps ahead of Brennan than he usually aimed for on a good day. Now, here in London, Booth felt like being a dozen steps ahead of her still wasn't enough. While the hows and whys of how they had found themselves in their current predicament was not surprising to Booth, it didn't mean that he wasn't frustrated. And, it had all started out so well, with a lot of promise, potential that seemed to evaporate as soon as Booth and Brennan switched from Eastern Standard to Greenwich Mean Time.

It had seemed like a good enough idea at the time. Booth had received an invitation from Scotland Yard to participate in an exchange program as the FBI's representative while a DCI would be sent to Washington to take his place for two weeks. Booth liked the idea as soon as it had been pitched to him because it reminded him of other similar experiences he had enjoyed in the past, like one that had resulted in him getting to stay in Tokyo for a memorable span of time some years earlier. Within only a day or two of Booth getting the offer, and trying to think of a way he could entice Brennan into taking some time off to accompany him, Brennan had also received an invitation from Oxford University to visit the campus to guest lecture as a visiting don on American forensic anthropological theory and methods. Though Brennan steadfastly refused to concede that things like fate and destiny existed – even after all this time, the most that Booth had gotten Brennan to admit was that certain situations could be 'ironic' – Booth saw the arrival of the two invitations within forty-eight hours of each other as kismet. Of course, even though Brennan had wanted to go. she still hemmed and hawed about being away from the lab, squint squad, and her normal work schedule. Booth realized a token protest when he heard one. Even still, as he knew she expected him to do, Booth had laid on the charm with images like London at night, a cozy hotel bed, room service, and the squint squad three thousand miles away not impeding their ability for a bit of personal (read: private) downtime. As anticipated, Brennan had caved instantly. Invitations were accepted, plane and hotel reservations were booked, and Brennan went out to buy a new set of luggage for the trip after her last jaunt to South America had killed her rolling suitcase in an unmerciful and ugly manner.

Yes, all had seemed very promising. And, then Booth and Brennan had arrived in London and had met Dr. Ian Wexler - who was not the charming octogenarian with snowy white hair and a bedtime of 8pm that Booth had intiially imagined. No, instead, as soon as the spry, athletic, and witty forty-something Englishman met them at Gatwick, Booth hell began. The only thing that proved to be true in Booth's original assumption was that he *was* charming... too damn charming, and apparently had more than a slight crush on Brennan. Wexler's actions, flirty looks and sly comments directed to Brennan while he almost exclusively ignored Booth, seemed to compound Booth's heretofore unknown hatred of all things English. Amused by his annoyance with both Wexler and English culture, Brennan commented on the irony of his responses, given the fact that half of Booth's family, through his father's side, was of English descent. Brennan may have ventured to make a passing observation along the lines of the fact that, even though she hated psychology, if she hadn't, Booth's reaction could be an interesting commentary on self-hate. However, the scowl Booth shot Brennan silenced her from sharing any other witicisms, and the pair hadn't actually resumed any prolonged conversations of a personal nature once they became involved in the murder investigation of Portia Frampton – until, with Brennan's normally stupendous timing, this very moment, it appeared to Booth.

They sat in the rental car that Booth was coming to hate more than clowns, the idea of Brennan with a gun, and Dr. Ian Wexler all combined together when she suddenly stopped talking about the Frampton case and quickly shifted the topic of discussion.

"You still appear to be very stressed, Booth. Would it make you less agitated if I told you that I didn't sleep with Dr. Wexler last night?" Brennan asked.

"What?" Booth said, turning his head quickly in Brennan's direction. "What the hell, Bones? Of course, I know that."

"I did go to dinner with him, and we were quite late in returning to the hotel," Brennan pointed out. "I just didn't want you to think that Ian had been successful in attempting to seduce me into a sexual encounter."

"I know you wouldn't cheat on me, Bones," Booth muttered. "You know I trust you."

"Yes, but even still," Brennan agreed. "I also know that you sometimes need to have a constant verbal reassurance to bolster your confidence in situations where you feel insecure, and it's seemed as if, since we got here, that you've been very sensitive about our relationship—"

"I don't feel insecure," Booth told her. "I'm fine. Wexler, he just… I don't like him, Bones. And, I'm perfectly capable of not liking a guy without feeling insecure."

"So, you're saying the reason you don't like Ian is because he's been trying to sexually proposition me for days, and after witnessing such blatant and continued intrusions into a social space to which you have proprietary rights, his actions don't make you feel threatened?" Brennan asked.

"Did you just refer to yourself as a social space?" Booth asked, a bit amused and exasperated at the same time.

"Yes," Brennan said. "In this particular context—"

"And," Booth interrupted her. "Did you just admit I have proprietary rights to said social space, which you just admitted is in reference to yourself"

Her lips pursing a bit in annoyance, Brennan immediately knew what inference Booth was drawing as she attempted to interrupt his chain of reasoning with an emphatic shake of her head despite her verbal agreement with Booth's assessment. "Yes, I did. But, only—"

"Naw uh, Bones," Booth said, with a cheeky smile coming onto his face, interrupting her. "Stop right there. You just admitted I own you."

"That is a gross mistatement of fact, Booth," Brennan retorted, mildly annoyed. "Now, quite trying to bait me with your alpha male behavior and stop trying to deflect the conversation from the focus of your sexual insecurities that I believe have resulted from an increased level of agitation that you've been displaying for several days now."

"I'm not sexually insecure!" Booth yelled, a bit too loudly. Lowering his voice, Booth said, "Okay, look. I'm not agitated because of any sexual... whatever you think I've got, okay? I'm only agitated because of driving this little car, that's all. Look, Wexler is just- I'm not agitated because of you and Dr. Wexler. Wexler's just another guy looking for a one-night stand. That's it."

"So?" Brennan asked.

"So," Booth said.. "He doesn't take it seriously."

Confusion clearly evident on her face, Brennan asked, "Seriously? What do you mean? You never laugh during sex? Because I do-" Brennan interrupted herself to stop to consider her statement. Tilting her head as she mentally replayed several images in her head, Brennan mused, "Hmmm… you don't, do you? I can't remember you ever - whoa, do you see that lorry?"

Sputtering in annoyance, Booth said, "I see that lorry. It's a truck, okay? We're an American, and that is a truck." He then added, again a tad of defensiveness coming into his voice, "And, you already know the answer to that. I laugh during sex."

"No, you don't," Brennan said. "I have an excellent memory, and I must admit that, in all the times we've had sexual intercourse over the past two years, I can't recall a single occasion on when you've laughed."

"I've laughed when we've, ahh… been in bed," Booth muttered, getting a bit red. "You just don't remember—"

"No," Brennan said. "I would remember something like that given its representational value of being a distinction aberration in your pattern of behavior, Booth. You've never laughed when we've had sex."

"Well, neither have you," Booth shot back. "*I'd* remember that. You've never laughed while you've been in bed with me, Bones. Two years. Not once."

Considering his point, Brennan inclined her head at him. "I'm not saying I necessarily agree with that statement, Booth, but I'm willing to admit, that perhaps... *perhaps* it's accurate, but only because I know I wouldn't want to laugh in bed with you lest you to misconstrue my response as a commentary on your skills as a lover and become increasingly insecure sexually about your performance—"

"I do *not* have performance anxiety, Bones!" Booth yelled. Forcing himself to sigh, as he tried to focus on driving the car, Booth said, "It's just, it's not that kind of serious."

"Well, I think Dr. Wexler is serious about having sex with me. Very interested," Brennan said smugly, wanting to tease Booth a bit more, since he seemed to show no indication that he would gain reassurance from her efforts. He was *so* easy to play with sometimes, it made Brennan giddy with amusement.

"Okay, news bulletin for ya, Bones. There's not a guy in this country who wouldn't want to have sex with you, myself included," Booth retorted. "Probably half the gay men, too...whoa, easy."

"So, does that explain why we have not engaged in coitus since we've been here?" Brennan said. "Because, I was beginning to believe that your growing sexual insecurities and increasing agitation might have a correlation with—"

"For the last friggin' time, I'm not sexually insecure, I'm not agitated, you may be mouthy in bed, but you've never, not *once* ever laughed during sex with me, and we haven't had sex because you're never awake in bed long enough for me to make a move, Bones!" Booth rambled.

Brennan stared at him open-mouthed, a bit surprised, but watching him carefully nonetheless. Booth turned a bit redder in the face, but stared back at the window as he maneuvered the car again.

"I've been jet-lagged," Brennan muttered.

"For two weeks?"

"We've been busy—"

"Yeah, well, one might almost take it personally and might think it the weirdest coinkydink ever that you conk out the minute you fall into bed with me and have every night since the same day met Ian-stupid-Wexler," Booth said.

"You're jealous!" Brennan said, suddenly pleased.

"No," Booth said. "You just… like I said, you're special, Bones. And, Wexler's been trying to bed you since he picked us up at the terminal at Gatwick."

"You're being figurative again, aren't you, because, aside from violating several public decency laws, I know that Ian didn't try to initiate sexual intercourse with me at the airport—"

"Wexler's not the only one, you know. Half our flight, three-quarters of his students in that tutorial, and at least every other guy on our hotel floor have been shooting you looks, Bones," Booth said.

"Are you being nice about me or awful about British men?" Brennan asked, an eyebrow arched.

Shaking his head, Booth muttered, "Wexler is not special; you are."

Suddenly, Brennan's phone rang. Picking it up, turning her head away from Booth's direction to concentrate on the phone call, Brennan responded, "Brennan."

Dr. Camille Saroyan's voice came through very distinctly on the line as Booth growled at the car refusing to allow itself to be parked.

"Am I interrupting anything?" Cam's voice came through the line.

Turning her head to look at Booth's scowling face, Brennan said, "No, I... I'm just helping Booth drive."

"Ohhhh," Cam said, instantly grasping the situation. "That's not a good idea, Dr. Brennan. Booth shouldn't be behind the wheel. He isn't adaptable."

"I heard that, Camille!" Booth said loudly. "I'm Mr. Adaptable, okay? And, the mirror is the size of a thumbnail."

Holding the phone a bit away from her mouth, Brennan told him, "Well, what do you expect when you rent a car the size of your thumb?"

Trying to complete the purpose of her call, Cam chimed in, "I don't think there's enough fetal tissue to get a DNA reading, but..."

"Cam, can we just be quiet until we get into the flow of traffic here?"

"I thought you were trying to park," Cam said over the phone's speaker.

Booth scowled again as he heard a colorful metaphor lobbed at him by a random driver passing him. Suddenly, Booth noticed that Brennan had gone quiet. He looked at her, recognized the sign of her brain processing a delayed bit of information.

Turning her head to him, a soft smile playing at the edge of her lips, Brennan asked, "You think I'm special?"

Softening his own reaction in response to hers, Booth nodded and said, "Of course I think that you're special, yes."

Immensely pleased and satisfied, Brennan nodded, "Thank you." She leaned across the small space that separated the passenger's seat from the driver's seat and gave him a soft kiss on the cheek. "I will take your romantic advice under advisement. Now, you're too far to the left."

His head snapping back to the task of driving, Booth ignored Cam's twitterings through the cell phone as he jerked the steering wheel.

"Ohhh!" Brennan's body tensed as she shouted, "You're gonna hit the curb!"

Immediately, the car finally slid into position, parallel to the curb with a fast jerking sensation. When it stopped, Booth grinned at Brennan with a nod of his head. "See, Bones? I told you. We're good."

Booth's words were ominously followed by a loud pop and the steady sound of air deflating. Brennan inclinedher head in aggravation at Booth, and he merely shook his head, clinched his fists, and again mentally cursed all things English.


Several days later, things still quite tense with Booth, Brennan was starting to feel overwhelmed between Wexler's murder and the hostility she now felt was being targeted at her by Ian's former partner. Deciding she couldn't stand the increasing negativity anymore, Brennan made the decision to confront Pritchard, assessing it to be the easiest of the three sources of stress to eliminate and remedy.

"Inspector Pritchard?" Brennan began, lengthening her stride to catch up to the detective as Pritchard made her best attempt to distance herself from the forensic anthropologist after they had finished visiting the crime scene of Ian's flat one more time. Brennan knew Pritchard was attempting to avoid her. However, Brennan wouldn't give up that easily, and continued walking and speaking. " I just wanted to—"

Realizing she wouldn't take such a nonverbal hint, Pritchard suddenly stopped and spun on her heels to face Brennan. "Oh, I am not the jealous sort, and you are painfully naïve if you think my sex life was limited to Ian, as I'm sure yours was not."

"Is that what this is about?" Brennan asked. "Is that why you've been so hostile to me?"

"Pardon?" Pritchard asked.

"You're behavior has changed towards me in recent days. Is that because of my relationship with Dr. Wexler?" Brennan inquired.

Pritchard's face tightened, but remained silent. At last she said, "Whatever that status was of your relationship with Dr. Wexler, I can assure you, Dr. Brennan, it's of no consequence to me." She turned away from Brennan and took a step to resume walking to her car.

"But, I didn't sleep with Ian."

Suddenly stopping, Pritchard turned to face Brennan, who had also unceremoniously halted in her stride quite unexpectedly to match Pritchard's sudden cessation of movement.

Her voice a bit softer, Pritchard asked, "You didn't?"

"No," Brennan answered.

A look of obvious confusion washed over Pritchard's face as she replied, "Why not? You obviously fancied each other."

"I can't be dishonest. Yes, I noted several physiological responses to his presence that I had, which can only be explained by a form of sexual attraction—"

"So, why didn't you sleep with him then?" Pritchard asked.

"Well," Brennan said, her tone being the one to soften this time. "Because of Booth."

A look of comprehension suddenly dawned on Pritchard's face as she wagged her index finger lightly in Brennan's direction. "Ohhh, you know, I suspected that you two might be more than just partners."

"Booth advised me not to sleep with Ian because Booth didn't want me to be another notch on Ian's bedpost," Brennan said, neither confirming nor denying Pritchard's assumption.

"See, I rather saw it as climbing Everest. Of course, it's been done before but the experience is still breathtaking," Pritchard said wistfully, her eyes trailing off at a spot on the horizon as she seemed to be lost for a minute or two in her own thoughts and memories.

Eventually, with as much admiration and approval as she could muster in her tone, Brennan said, "You have a strong sexual appetite, and you're not hamstrung by social moralizing. I can empathize with that."

Turning her head back to look at her, Pritchard nodded her own approval. "Thank you."

Inclining her head in the direction of her car, Pritchard resumed walking with Brennan following her down the sidewalk. As they continued on, Brennan at last chanced a question she had been wanting to know for some time.

"Why didn't you tell us you had a relationship with Wexler?" Brennan asked.

Sighing, Pritchard said, "Because, if I told you, I thought you'd report it to Scotland Yard, and then I thought I'd be taken off the case."

"A rational fear—" Brennan agreed.

Pritchard nodded and said, "I mean, if Agent Booth was murdered, wouldn't you do anything in your powers to make sure that you found the killer?"

"Yes, I would," Brennan said simply. She would do more than that, truth to be told. She would not only find the killer, but a small part of Brennan reluctantly admitted that she would probably do everything she could in her power to enact her own plan to plot, carry out, and get away with the perfect murder if anyone ever hurt Booth. However, Brennan didn't tell Pritchard any of these details. Instead, she asked, "Have you withheld any other information?"

Shooting her a look, Pritchard asked, "Why on earth would I do that?"

Very matter-of-factly, Brennan explained her chain of logical reasoning to Pritchard. "Because you called a meeting to talk to us, then Clark called to give us cause of death, and then we basically accused you of murder. So while Booth went to get our car, I followed you to your car, and we began discussing mountain climbing and sex with Ian and—"

Chuckling a bit, Pritchard interrupted Brennan as she said, "Yes, thank you, Dr. Brennan. I believe I'm up to date now." Reaching her car, she stopped and opened the driver's side door. However, suddenly snapping her fingers, Pritchard said, "Oh! You are absolutely right. I did forget to give you this." Reaching into her purse, Pritchard withdrew an envelope and gave it to Brennan.

Looking at the envelope with a burning curiosity plainly evident in her gaze, Brennan reached for it and then quickly tore it open. Taking out the single piece of paper that lay folded inside the envelope, Brennan quickly unfolded it and scanned its contents. Turning her gaze to meet Pritchard's Brennan said, "Hmm. It's a writ of release on Frampton's building site."

"Yes," Pritchard agreed. "The site has been certified as having no historical importance whatsoever. Signed and dated, Dr. Ian Wexler - shortly before his death."

Shaking her head in disbelief, Brennan said, "This document would be worth millions of dollars to Frampton."

"Then, I suggest that you and Agent Booth ask Mr. Frampton if he forced Ian to sign that before killing him," Pritchard told Brennan.

"Okay," Brennan said with a nod.

Looking at her with an apprising stare, Pritchard said, "So, can I offer you a ride, Dr. Brennan?"

Brennan considered Pritchard's words. "I don't wish to impose."

"I wouldn't have made the initial offer if I considered it to be an imposition," Pritchard said.

"Then, yes," Brennan said. "It would be a very considerate gesture which I would greatly appreciate."

"Come on, then," Pritchard nodded. "Get in, and I'll take you back to your Agent Booth."

"He's not mine in the strictest sense of—" Brennan began to protest.

"Oh, word to the wise, Dr. Brennan. I'd encourage you not to forego Everest," Pritchard said, with a knowing look to the forensic anthropologist.

Her words echoing her earlier sentiments about Wexler, in confusion, Brennan said, "Well, it's too late. Ian's dead."

Not sure whether Brennan was being genuinely obtuse or just actually could be that naïve, Pritchard smiled and merely said, "Oh, yes, of course. To whom else would I be referring other than Ian?"


Several days later, on their final night in London, Booth held Brennan in his arms. Despite the heat that had been generated by their earlier activities, a chill in the air had caused Booth to wrap his arms around Brennan and cover them in the bed's down comforter as they chatted in a drowsy haze that usually settled over the pair after any particular vigorous round of lovemaking… of which, this particular session, had most definitely been.

"So, no more jet lag?" Booth said, a teasing note coming into his voice.

Brennan, who lay nestled against the crook of Booth's side, snuggled in a bit more closely. Sighing in contentment, Brennan shook her head as she said, "No."

"That was a hell of a lot of jet lag, Bones," Booth joked. "Does this mean when we get back home that we won't be having sex for another month due to the rigors that trans-Atlantic flight seems to have on your delicate constitution?"

Taking her finger and poking him in the stomach, Booth guffawed as Brennan said, "Very amusing, Booth."

"I thought so," he chuckled.

"I'm *not* delicate," Brennan said.

"Of course, you're not," Booth humored her.

Brennan poked him again.

"Hey!" Booth protested. "Cut that out."

"Then stop teasing me," Brennan said.

"You deserve it," Booth laughed. "Do you know that before I left, Pritchard threatened to confiscate my Bobbie Bobblehead if I didn't give her an honest answer to a certain question she had?"

"And, what was that?" Brennan said, her head rising in curiosity.

"Apparently," Booth said. "Pritchard was somewhat confused at to the exact nature of my relationship with my partner."

"Did she proposition you?' Brennan said, sitting up a bit, a flush of warmth shooting down her body as she tensed in anticipation of Booth's response.

Recognizing Brennan's reaction, Booth pulled her to him and gave her a very long and very involved kiss. Immediately, the tension that had manifested in Brennan's frame at the mere mention of Pritchard disappeared. Once more, Brennan was a warm pile of malleable goo in Booth's hands… the exact way her usually liked her best.

Brennan watched Booth, and said, "Why did you do that?"

"Do what, Bones?"

"Kiss me," Brennan said. "Why did you kiss me like that just now?"

"Because," Booth said, rubbing her upper arm in short, but reassuring strokes. "You're very cute when you get jealous, but I also thought it might be a good idea to diffuse the situation before you marched straight over to Pritch's flat and called her out for some type of girl-on-girl smackdown to make certain she understands the fact that your territory is sacrosanct and uncontestable."

Brennan considered his words for a few seconds before she said, "So, does this mean, in your euphemism, that you referred to yourself as my territory?"

"Maybe," Booth admitted with a wink. "But, don't let that go to your head, Bones."

"So, what did you tell Pritchard?" Brennan said, ignoring Booth's taunt.

Shrugging his shoulders, Booth said, "Oh, you know. The normal stuff."

"What normal stuff?"

"What we usually tell people. We're partners, and we have a terrific sex life that's immensely gratifying and satisfying, and have for almost two years," Booth said.

"She didn't believe you, did she?" Brennan said, arching her eyebrow at him.

Shaking his head, Booth said, "Nope. What did you tell her anyway?"

"The truth," Brennan said. "Or, most of it, anyway."

"Yeah, well, is it just me, or do you find it as funny as hell that for the first two years we knew each other, everyone thought we were having sex when we weren't. Now that we actually are in a relationship, we've spent the past two years telling everyone that we are having sex, and no one believes us besides Hodgins, Angela, and Cam," Booth said.

"You mean, do I find the irony amusing?" Brennan asked.

Booth nodded.

"It *is* highly ironic," Brennan conceded. "However, I think the even more important issue here is to discuss the situation regarding your claims about whether you do or do not laugh during sex."

At this, Booth groaned. Shaking his head, he said, "I thought you'd forgotten about that one."

"I never forget anything, Booth," Brennan said. "I have an *excellent* memory. You know that."

"Yeah," Booth admitted. "But, maybe *I* was kinda hoping to forget about it for a minute."

"Why?" Brennan asked. "Does this mean that you're willing to admit that you were wrong about making the claim that you've ever laughed while you've had sex with me?"

"No," Booth said. "Just like I'm sure this doesn't mean that you're willing to admit that you've never laughed when you've been in bed with me?"

"That is factually inaccurate—"

"You're wrong—"

Suddenly, Brennan, took her hand and placed a finger to Booth's lips. Very familiar with how the such an ensuing exchange would likely proceed between the two bantering partners if she didn't do something to interrupt it… more heated exchange, more taunting, followed by a physical movement by one them that would result in another sexual encounter – particularly as they were *already* naked and in bed with one another - and distract them from the topic of discussion at hand, Brennan smiled at Booth instead.

"Can we stop for just one minute?" she asked.

Nodding, a wry grin coming onto his face, Booth waited for Brennan to remove her finger and explain before offering a verbal response to her actions.

"If," Brennan began, an idea suddenly percolating in her mind, "Neither one of us had to concede we had been incorrect regarding the issue of whether either one of us has actually laughed in bed with the other in the past, would you be willing to conduct a little experiment to see who actually does laugh during sex in the present?"

"Such as?" Booth asked, suddenly becoming interested in Brennan's line of reasoning.

"For a predetermined period of time," Brennan said. "We'll keep track of who actually laughs during any sexual encounter we have in order to establish a solid evidentiary baseline to see who's claim is more accurate."

"How long?" Booth asked.

"What would you suggest?" Brennan replied.

"A month?"

"Mmmmm," Brennan said, a small frown coming onto her face. "That might not be a large enough sample size, Booth. Since there's no real way to anticipate how many sexual encounters we might have in one predetermined period of time—"

"I'm not scheduling when we have sex, Bones," Booth interrupted her. "I've come not to mind a lot of your little quirks with the lists and calendars, but we aren't doing that."

"Nor would I ask you to," Brennan reassured him. "That's not what I meant, honestly. Given the unpredictability of our work schedules, combined with your custody visitations with Parker, my writing obligations, and our own inability to know when we might need sexual gratification, planning such encounters would be almost illogical given the impossibilty of an prearranged schedule designed to achieve an optimum outcome of sexual graitifcation."

"Okay," Booth agreed. "Then, how long?"

"Ninety days?" Brennan asked. "It's a fairly standard time sample."

"So," Booth said, "For a period of three months, we keep track of who can get the other one to laugh during sex."

"Yes," Brennan said. "And, if either one of us succeeds, than we'll know who was really telling the truth earlier."

"Hmmm, I don't know Bones," Booth said. "It seems like a fairly anticlimactic ending to something that could have a lot of potential. I mean… just bragging rights? That's it?"

"Why do I get the feeling you are going to take the suggestion of this scenario in a more competitive spirit than which I had originally intended or envisioned?" Brennan laughed.

"Things are always competitive with us, Bones. I thought you knew that," Booth chuckled.

Leaning in close to him, Brennan placed a light kiss on his lips. "I do. And, I wouldn't have it any other way."

"Then," Booth said tentatively. "Does that mean that you'd be open to making this a bit more interesting?"

"What do you propose?"

"If I get you to laugh during sex more times in that 90-day period than you get me to laugh, at the end of it, as the winner, I get to pick out what clothes you wear for a month," Booth said.

Immediately, Brennan frowned, thinking of how Booth's taste in her clothing seemed to mirror Angela's style more than her own. She specifically flashed back to a certain black dress and heels in Vegas and Booth's claims of Brennan needing to be less like a school teacher spinster who lived with her sister and more like the hot one that drove all the boys crazy. Shaking her head in reluctance, Brennan said, "I don't know. The last time I let you pick out one of my outfits for the Jeffersonian Benefit Gala, I almost ended up having my breasts fall out of the bodice when you dipped me as we danced—"

"Oh, come on!" Booth immediately protested. "I said I was sorry about that, Bones. It was an accident. And, nobody really saw anything anyway—"

"You did," Brennan countered. "And, oogled me for several very long seconds as I recall."

Properly chastised, Booth said, "Well, yeah, but I'm me. I'm allowed to oogle."

"And the master of the bandstand?"

"He didn't see anything," Booth said. "At least, I don't think he did."

"Even still—"

"Oh, come on, Bones," Booth said, pulling her to him with a grin on his face. "It's not like it's that big a deal since you think you're going to win anyway, right?"

"True," Brennan conceded. "And, if I did win, then I would get something equally appealing to me, correct?"

"What'd ya have in mind?" Booth asked, a bit of uncertainty coming into his voice.

"You have to go with me to buy a gun," Brennan said, a sly look coming onto her face.

"Oh, no!" Booth said, immediately sitting up straight in bed and shaking his head in protest. "No, no, no. No guns, Bones. You know the rules."

"Why?" Brennan countered. "It's not like you'd be agreeing to let me take it into the field. You just have to come with me when I buy one. You know I've always wanted to go to that dealer in Cheverley where all the agents get their ammunition. He usually won't sell to civilians."

"How do you even know that?" Booth said.

"Because," Brennan said. "Jester's one of the best gun dealers in the entire DC Metro area, Booth. I did my research. Now, if you-"

"Nope," Booth repeated emphatically. "No, no, no. Not gonna happen, Bones."

"Oh, come on, Booth. What's the big deal?" Brennan parroted his words back at him, an evil grin coming onto her face. "It's not like you're not going to win anyway, right?"

Booth pursed his lips together and pointed at her, the taunt clearly working its magic. "You know what? Okay, fine."

"Excellent—"

"But, just to be clear, if I win, I get to pick out all your clothing, for an *entire* month… and that means everything from your bras and panties to your shoes and everything else in-between… all the time. Work, casual, dates. The whole she-bang," Booth said.

Brennan laughed. "I had no idea that you were this controlling, Booth. Even though I don't, if one gave any credence to the field of psychology, one might almost see your position as an attempt to dominate me into submission."

"I just have better taste in clothing than you do, Miss Buys-all-her-clothes-at-Frumpy's-R-Us. Now, do we have a deal?" Booth said.

"A real gun," Brennan specified. "As in, an actual working firearm from Jester that can shoot bullets at things. Not any model, replica, or toy handgun, Booth."

"I got ya, Bones. A real gun that goes bang. From Jester's. Fine," Booth said. "So, we agreed or what?"

Extending her hand so that Booth could shake it, Brennan said with a sure smile, "Agreed."


-TBC-

A/N2: I know this is almost unheard of for me to put a second author's note in a story, but I did want to convey a bit of information. Some of my regular readers may have noticed a lag in my posting schedule of the normal rotation of my story updates, most notably "More from Brennan's Journal" and "Revisiting a Big Mistake." The bad news is that I'm behind on those stories because of the good news I have to share - at least, I thinnk it's good news. The past few weeks, I've been working on a new story with a co-writer that shall be named shortly (she doesn't know I'm posting this note here yet, so I don't want to surprise her too much until I tell her the cat's almost out of the bag). The experiment started out as what was supposed to be a simple hot smut piece of BB goodness... and, like, with most things I get involved in, its developed into something much, much more. We're going to be posting the first part here at ff dot net very soon under her account to start and then posting the second part under my name. For those interested, keep a look out. All I'll say is that the title is "Costly Signals" and when you see it pop up on the Bones section, yeah, that's the one I meant, it's half mine. It's been a REALLY fun collaboration, and I've very excited about it. So, if the impending smutty goodness of this story isn't enough for you, keep your eyes peeled because it's definitely one of the hottest things I ever read in fanfic, let alone written, and lucky for all you readers who are so inclined, it's coming soon to a Bones fanfic section near you. Stay tuned. :)~