Disclaimer: In Opposite Land, I own Bones. Here in Real!Life, I'm stuck with my Bones DVDs instead of ownership rights to the actual show. I also don't own Castle or NCIS, both of which are briefly referenced in this fic.
A/N: Happy Valentine's Day and an early Happy Half-Price Chocolate Day to those of you who celebrate them!
[Music plays and lights focus in on two women sitting in a filming studio. One is a well-coiffed blonde, the other a somewhat bored-looking brunette.]
"Good morning and welcome back to Wake Up, D.C.!" the blonde woman says cheerfully. "I'm Katherine Coolidge, and I'm here today with author Dr. Temperance Brennan to discuss her latest book, Chilled to the Bone."
The blonde – Katherine – leans towards her companion and says, "Dr. Brennan, first of all I have to say that I'm a huge fan of yours. My name's Kathy, so I've always loved following Kathy Reich's adventures. Like yourself, she's a forensic anthropologist who often works with the F.B.I. to solve crimes. Can you explain your job to those of us who are unfamiliar with the field of forensics?"
Leaning forward in her chair, the brunette-haired woman – Dr. Brennan – replies, "I identify human remains by looking at the bones of people who have been murdered, or eaten by insects or animals, or burned, or blown up, or just generally decomposed."
Katherine nods in comprehension. "Ah. Very CSI of you."
"No, I work with the remains that CSI is unable to identify," Brennan corrects in what appears to be her version of helpfulness.
"No, I meant CSI. The TV show?" Katherine says hopefully, looking for a glimmer of recognition in the doctor's eyes.
Brennan shakes her head blankly. "I don't watch much TV."
"You don't know what you're missing."
"If I am missing something, then logically I must be aware that I am missing it."
Smiling noncommittally, Katherine asks, "So, did you always want to be a writer?"
"No," Brennan says pointblank.
"Then what inspired you to start writing?"
"Well, I had an idea. So I turned on my computer and wrote it down."
Patiently, Katherine continues, "Yes, but what gave you that idea?"
"As you are aware, I am a highly-skilled forensic anthropologist…" Brennan's words trail off as she tries to find the correct words. A few seconds later, she continues haltingly, "Over the years, I have seen many terrible cases. Although my work is purely fictional, I will not deny that the crimes that I helped to solve played a role in instigating my writing career."
"What about the characters? Are they based on anyone?"
Brennan sighs. "Everyone always asks that. I don't understand where they get that idea. My books are fiction, therefore they are not based on any real people or events."
"Your husband disagrees with you on that matter, I believe," Katherine points out, smirking.
"Yes, well, Booth has always thought that Andy Lister is him," Brennan says in a tone half amused, half long-suffering. "He isn't. Booth is neither a Harvard graduate, nor a former Olympic boxer, and he only speaks two languages. He is ex-military, and thus a much better shot than Andy. I don't understand how anyone could confuse the two of them."
"Perhaps because he and the heroine work together to solve crimes just as you and Agent Booth do."
"That's just superficial ephemera," Brennan says, dismissing the notion with a flick of her hand.
"Ah, but Agent Andy and Kathy are also engaged in a personal relationship that – according to friends – closely resembles yours and Agent Booth's."
"Where are you getting this information?"
"It's a matter of public record, Dr. Brennan. I looked through some past interviews that you've done, and your friend –" Katherine checks a paper in her hand "– Angela Montenegro Hodgins, in particular, was very vehement that Kathy and Andy were stand-ins for you and your husband."
"Angela's statements on that matter are inaccurate. My characters were engaged in a sexual relationship long before Booth and I even considered entering into such an arrangement. Clearly, they could not be 'stand-ins' for us."
Ignoring Brennan's denials, Katherine smoothly changes the subject. "Back to the book. I noticed that your cases have been growing a lot darker. Is there any reason for that?"
"I was unaware that the lighting in my books had changed."
"No, darker as in more depressing, more dangerous."
"Murder is always depressing and dangerous, particularly for the victim."
"Very true," Katherine concedes awkwardly before changing the subject yet again. "So, I hear that this latest book is going to be made into a movie too. How do you feel about that?"
"I am not surprised. The other films were financially successful enough to make producing another movie a worthwhile investment," Brennan says calmly.
"But it's got to be such a thrill to see this universe that you've created come to life, to see your characters on the big screen. Do you think that the screenwriters and directors have stayed true to your vision of the books?"
"The movies are different, of course. My books would not translate to the screen nearly so well without the adjustments that they have made. However, I do find their treatment of my characters to be a bit… simplistic."
"How so?" Katherine asks.
"They have turned fully formed characters into these metaphorically two-dimensional figures. Kathy, for example, acts far more provocatively in the movies than she does in my books," Brennan states with a hint of frustration. "I understand why they have done this, of course; numerous studies have proven that people are more likely pay attention to – and pay for – products which use physically appealing individuals in conjunction with sexually suggestive stimuli. It's biological imperative, pure and simple. Nonetheless, I find it irksome when people focus on the actress' physical attributes more than they do on the character."
Katherine nods, low-cut blouse shifting to better reveal her impressive cleavage. "I completely agree. Sex appeal sells, certainly, but that doesn't make it right."
"Actually, that's not what –"
"Moving on, though. Dr. Brennan, not only are you a forensic anthropologist, a best-selling author, and a proficient in multiple martial arts, now you are also a mother of two. I have to ask, how do you do it?"
Expression and tone cool, Brennan states, "I have three children, Ms. Coolridge. Parker is my child every bit as much as Christine and Zachary are."
"I didn't mean to imply otherwise," Katherine says, rather taken aback. Regrouping, she continues, "Still, you have to admit, a new baby takes up a lot of time. I know that there are lots of mothers out there in the audience, most of whom are overwhelmed by just one job and a child. Where do you find the time for everything?"
"That's a misnomer, actually," Brennan says briskly. "Time is merely a social construct which human culture has created. It is impossible for me to 'find' or 'make' it."
"Very well then," Katherine says through a smile of gritted teeth, "how do you manage to manage your time?"
Pointblank, Brennan says, "Well, it helps to be rich."
Katherine chuckles politely.
Continuing, Brennan adds, "And I am a highly organized person. Furthermore, I rarely watch television, which provides me with ample time that I might otherwise have been wasting on mindless programming."
Katherine's smile grows even more strained.
"Well, we're running low on time," she says, barely disguising her relief at this fact. "Is there anything you'd like to tell your fans?"
"Get proper nutrition and exercise?" Brennan says puzzledly, a frown of confusion creasing her forehead.
"Thank you for being with us this morning, Dr. Brennan. It's been a pleasure," Katherine says, her smile firmly fixed in place.
The two shake hands.
"You are welcome," Brennan replies.
[The camera zooms in on Katherine Coolidge.]
Katherine says breezily, "That was Dr. Temperance Brennan, author of Chilled to the Bone… now available in bookstores. Next up: Do you really know what's in your food? How that fruit smoothie could be wrecking your diet."
[Cut to commercial.]
-–- -–- -–- -–- -–-
Booth sits back on the couch and turns off the TV, sighing. Another interview, another interviewer who will never again request to interview Bones.
Shaking his head, he gently rocks a sleepy Zach.
"That's your mama," he murmurs quietly. "Can you say 'mama'?"
Zack yawns and waves his tiny fists.
"Mama will be home soon," Booth half-croons and Zach blinks his blurry eyes approvingly. Keeping up the patter of soft words as background noise, Booth only stops talking when his infant son at last falls asleep.
Thirty or so minutes later, Brennan returns home, almost bursting with barely-constrained excitement.
"So, what did you think?" Brennan asks eagerly, dropping her purse on the counter.
"Keep it down, Zach just fell asleep," Booth whispers. "Uh, it was… engaging."
"Engaging," Brennan says slowly, before asking, "What did I do wrong? I mentioned that I love my children, I discussed my work without going into excessive detail… oh! I know! I forgot to tell a funny story."
"Yeah, that's it, Bones," Booth says wryly, moving in to kiss her.
She returns the kiss, then breaks away and asks, "Did you get Christine to school on time?"
"Almost. She couldn't decide which pair of socks to wear today," Booth says.
"She inherited that trait from you," Brennan points out.
Smiling, Booth replies, "Yeah, I know. But she got that little gem about 'haste being improvident' from you."
"Actually, she must have been quoting the Roman historian Titus Livius," Brennan corrects, before reciting, "'All things will be clear and distinct to the man who does not hurry; haste is blind and improvident.'"
"Uh-huh, but she learned that Livy guy's quote from you, Bones. And used it to justify stalling."
"True," Brennan concedes, trying (and failing) to conceal her pride.
Yeah, maybe Bones still sucks at interviews. But in the grand scheme of things?
That's not so bad.
Inside the Chilled to the Bone dust jacket:
From the award-winning author of Bone Voyage, comes another spine-tingling forensic thriller…
When a frozen body is discovered at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Dr. Kathy Reichs and Agent Andy Lister are called in on the case. As they investigate, however, they begin to realize that all is not as it may appear. International espionage and interdepartmental politics are so tangled that it's hard to discern where the lies end and the truth begins. And OSI isn't exactly being helpful.
In the meantime, a woman has shown up at the Madisonian claiming to be Dr. Lesty's half-sister. He doesn't believe her, but Amanda thinks that the woman might just be telling the truth. Telling the truth or not, however, what's her agenda?
As the trail of bodies mounts, Kathy and Andy must put aside their personal issues and focus on the case. Their very lives may hang in the balance…
-–- -–- -–- -–- -–-
Back of the dust jacket:
Critics are raving about Chilled to the Bone!
"The victims' bodies may be frozen, but the tension between Kathy and Andy sizzles…" — Elaine McLean, The New York Times Book Review
"[…] as always, Dr. Brennan skillfully manages to blend forensics and law, fact and emotion. A real treat!" — Patrick Lee, Rolling Stone Magazine
"The latest installment in the Reichs series typifies what readers have come to expect of Brennan: mordantly witty dialogue, accurately detailed forensics, and steamy sex scenes." — Tina Fenshaw, The Atlantic Monthly
"Drawing on her experience as a real life forensic anthropologist, Brennan constructs a rip-roaring morgue mystery. […] Highly recommended." — People
"A tour-de-force of a forensic thriller. Brennan has done it yet again!" — Thom E. Gemcity, author of the Deep Six novels
"Elegant prose, precise science, and a shocking plot twist that you won't see coming. Damn good beach reading!" — Entertainment Weekly
"Brennan's writing style may be reminiscent of that of authors such as Patricia Cornwell and Tess Gerritsen, but her fully-developed characters are what set her books apart from the pack [...]" — USA Today
"Red-hot sex, gruesome bodies, cool gadgets… what more could you ask for?" — Richard Castle, author of the Nikki Heat and Derek Storm series