Did Something Really Stupid
Disclaimer: stares:: ::blinks:: ::stares again:: Yeah. I still don't own anything…but, you knew that from the stares, right?
Summary: When a person's in lust, it makes them do crazy things. They can't eat, think can't sleep, they can't think straight. In Brennan's case, she acts really, really stupid. This is how she explains herself and tries to make amends. Set during 4x03: Man in the Outhouse. AU.
Part V - I Watched the Female Mind In Action
The next day, despite a restful, if meager, night's sleep, the situation with Booth was still weighing heavily on my mind. It had been the last thing that I'd thought about before I fell asleep (this time sans Mark) the night before. It had been the first thing I'd thought of this morning when I'd awakened (again, this time, sans Mark). And, it had consumed my thoughts as I'd rolled out of bed, while I'd stumbled into the bathroom to shower and dress, as I'd trudged to my car and driven to Starbucks for a morning indulgence of a Venti Latte, and when I'd finished my morning (if rather brief) commute to the Jeffersonian. I'd say that the only time I hadn't been thinking of Booth was when I was asleep and dreaming. However, that would be a rather inaccurate statement to make on my part since it was quite possible that I actually had been dreaming of him, but just didn't remember it.
So, as I walked from my office towards the platform―my thoughts still in what was taking on more than a slightly obsessive tint―I realized that, if perhaps I could get some advice on the situation from another person, it might help broaden my perspective. Then, as I remembered how asinine the situation had become the night before when Sweets unknowingly interjected himself into my love life, I amended my decision. I would talk to the first female with whom it would be appropriate for me to discuss the matter. Unfortunately, for her, Cam chose that moment to interrupt me.
After she'd nodded her good morning, and asked if I wouldn't mind taking a detour from the lab's platform to her autopsy suite, I promised myself that I'd at least wait until after she'd posed me whatever her question was before I brought up the topic of Booth. Content with that decision, I let out a deep breath as we walked to Cam's private domain. Unfortunately, this time, for me, my mouth again subverted my brain's logical decision. I'm not certain what did it. Perhaps, I was developing some type of disorder in being able to maintain my self-control. Maybe, it was the fact that Angela appeared out of nowhere and suddenly fell into step behind us. Sometimes, Angela's actions seems to lend credence to her claim that some people have inexplicable mental powers. I still don't believe in clairvoyance. But, I'm beginning to believe that she has some type of psychic radar (for lack of a better descriptive term) about when anything of a prurient or sexual nature is about to be discussed in the lab. It seemed as if she'd manifested from out of nowhere―or thin air, to use an inaccurate euphemism. And, her unexpected appearance unsettled me slightly.
Cam got as far as telling me, "I want to show you what I found lodged in Bill O'Roarke's lower intestine" before I spoke.
Somehow, my brain translated that statement as the equivalent of her asking a question and thus having satisfied my stipulation to wait to broach the topic of Booth. Then, in a process that amazes even me, said random part of my brain decided to bring up Booth…even though Cam wanted to talk about professional matters. And, there I was, the usual picture of professionalism, wanting to subvert a discussion that could prove pertinent to solving the O'Roarke homicide investigation. It was wrong…and so unlike me. But, I couldn't help it. It was as if―if I believed in such things, and I really don't―I'd been possessed by some unknown third-party who was making me act in so many uncharacteristic ways.
"I can't understand why Booth has an issue with me seeing two men," I blurted out, gesturing with my arm in what I knew to be a rather exaggerated and slightly melodramatic gesticulation.
Cam took up her customary position at the head of her metal examination table on Bill O'Roarke's body still lay covered with light lab sheet. She moved a microscope closer to the body, smiling as she seemingly contented herself with prepping the piece of evidence she wanted to show me.
For my part, I don't even know why I phrased the statement like that. I suppose, in a way, from a certain perspective, it might be accurate. That is, it might be taken to be truthful if one considered that of the two men I referenced, one had been Mark, and I was definitely finished seeing him. The other man, Booth, I hadn't started yet seeing because he didn't know that's what I wanted to do with him. And, I suppose I should add, I wasn't even certain if he'd agreed to that request on my part. So, even if I'm rationalizing slightly, perhaps my past tense seeing of Mark and my future tense seeing of Booth somehow equated to my present verb tense? At this point, I was having a great deal of difficulty applying logic to what was going on. I would just open my mouth and bad things would happen. It almost makes taking vow of perpetual silence―like some Buddhist monks in Tibet do in order to help focus their chakras and spiritual centerings―seem like a worth-while endeavor for me. If I were silent, at least I could stop putting my metaphorical foot in my mouth, and I might be able to figure out what I was acting more and more erratic as each hour, it seemed, passed. Yes, maybe that was what I definitely needed. Just in case, once I told Booth how I felt about him―and what I wanted from him―well, if that didn't go over in a particularly positive manner, then I'd still need to find another way to recover my balance and ground myself. But, then again…silence. Well, silence and I…it's never gone over very well. That's not to say I don't like silence, because I do. I just…I need to make a note of that so that I can research some meditation techniques and less drastic equivalents since my professional and career make even such a temporary vow of silence all but completely unreaslistic.
For her part, Cam took my rather random statement in stride. It made me wonder if either Angela (somewhat unlikely, since Angela didn't gossip with Cam too much) or Booth (more likely, since she is one of his closet friends) might've said something to her about how strange I'd been acting lately.
"Guys like to think they're the only ones who should sleep with more than one person," she told me in what I found to be a rather surprising, yet sympathetic response.
It was, I admit, a rather interesting comment on her part because it wasn't an outright condemnation of my behavior. And, for some reason, I think that if I expected chastisement from anyone (who wasn't a male) to come down on Booth's side, it would've been Cam. Hmmm….
"They like to be in control," Angela state confidently, in her normally empathetic way as she nodded her agreement with Cam's statement. "Doesn't take a lot to throw the little darlings off their game."
Cam then looked up from the monitor she'd been studying as she added, "Oh, yeah. Then, you end up lying in bed holding them while they say, 'I don't know what's wrong, this has never happened to me before.'"
Again, another unexpected and curious response from Cam. If I didn't know any better, I thought I might be able to insinuate a slight chastisement of Booth since it appeared that her agreement with Angela's included him in the slightly pejorative grouping of men to whom she'd referred to in sarcasm as 'little darlings' also didn't counter that opinion in any way. I tilted my head as I considered Cam's most recent statement. It, too, was intriguing, but for a different reason. I wondered if she was referencing a past experience in which she'd been confronted with a sexual partner who'd suffered impotence before they were about to engage in coitus, or if she was just speaking hypothetically. After thinking about it for a few seconds, I decided that perhaps I should just wait until another moment to ask Angela about the situation in private, lest I inadvertently destroy the rather sympathetic environment of female camaraderie which I'd somehow managed to create by asking my statement.
Deciding it was safest to return to that initial point, I looked from Cam to Angela and back again as I bent over the examination table, even though I didn't yet know what I needed to look at, and sighed. "He should be happy that I've found a way to satisfy myself," I told them. Particularly since I want to satisfy myself with him, I added silently. I know I should've tried to tell him that when I saw him at the diner this morning, but it wasn't like we really had a chance to discuss anything but the case.
Almost as an afterthought, as I realized that if I wasn't careful I might let both Cam and Angela in on the fact that I intended to see if Booth was amenable to the idea of pursuing a change in the nature of our relationship, I then said, "It just happens to require two men." I suppose, technically, again, that was an accurate statement if I was going to go with the Mark(Past)+Booth(Future)=Two Men(Present) equation. At least, until I could think of something better that wouldn't take the decision to let Booth contribute to how we would tell our friends and co-workers of the change in the nature of our affiliation―should such a thing come to pass as I so fervently hoped it would―that approach seemed as good as any with which I could go.
Neither Cam nor Angela seemed to have noticed my slight distraction as the forensic pathologist was working with O'Roarke's remains and the other had a rather dreamy look on her face.
"I've done that," Angela finally told me. She had a slightly wistful tone as she added with a sigh and a subtle shake of her head, "I miss college."
Looking up from the slab in front of her, Cam tilted her head and looked at me as she suddenly asked, "And, the botanist?" I hoped I hadn't paled as I suddenly felt a knot in my stomach slightly twist at her question.
So, it was as I suspected. If Cam knew about Jason, there was only two sources from which she could've procured such data,. One such option was Sweets. I considered this possibility for a few seconds and then quickly dismissed it. Cam doesn't gossip that much as is, and when she does, her past behavior dictates that her preferred gossip partners aren't Sweets. Besides, Sweets had come into possession of that data less than fourteen hours earlier. For Cam to have contacted Sweets either so late last night, or so early this morning, would be even more unlikely. That left the second possibility. And, the second possibility was not only in possession of the same information as Sweets, he had a close friendship with Cam that did facilitate such casual conversations, and those conversations could've happened at such unusual times since they have been such good friends for so many years.
And, option two? The second possibility? Why…of course. It was Booth.
Damn it. Booth was talking to Cam.
But…why? Why would he do that? I don't understand. I just don't get why he would do such a thing.
I was grappling with this latest revelation even as Cam prompted me, "And biological imperative?"
Heh. Amusing. Most amusing. I think she'd given Mark a nickname. 'Biological imperative.' Heh. Maybe Cam does listen to me about non-forensic matters more than I think she does. Heh. Very funny, that.
"He's flirted with the intent to become intimate," I said truthfully. "But, Mark keeps me quite sated sexually." Or, at least he had until I realized that I want to have sex with my partner.
At this point, Angela took the opportunity to remind Cam and I that she was still a part of the conversation.
"You really got to learn some girl talk, sweetie," Angela began.
My head snapped up at her dual observation and wise counsel as I looked from the remains to greet the warm brown eyes of my best friend. I suspected that she had more advice that she was going to offer me on how to go about participating in and completing these social rituals of female bonding. Given the circumstances, if I could manipulate the conversation so that I could also get her advice on what to do about Booth―or, at least, see if she agreed with the plan I was tentatively forming in my head so that I didn't screw up again―I was quite content to endure her subtle chastisement since I would gain some valuable data.
Quite unluckily, Cam chose that minute to become focused on the O'Roake investigation. It wasn't surprising, really, since the case was the whole reason she'd originally sought me out. Using her forceps, she manipulated a point on O'Roarke's intestines on the high def screen that showed what the high power microscope was showing us. Cam lifted up a small object into the light so that I could see it.
"Okay," she said with a quietly impressed nod. "Look at that."
Taking a step closer, my professional curiosity was piqued, and my thoughts of Booth was temporarily forgotten, as I recognized the item that Cam held in the clutch of her forceps for what it was.
"How did a wire get lodged in his intestine?" Angela asked, the mild disgusted confusion that was present in her voice as she spoke the question I'd been thinking.
"Not sure yet," Cam responded. She moved away from the examination tray and pointed to the computer screen that had the tox screen results displayed on it as she added, "And, the tox screen's even stranger. Tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride."
"Eye drops?" I asked for clarification. I wanted to make certain that I'd understood what she was telling me so that I could think about all possible ramifications for the total evidence that we'd so far accumulated.
Cam nodded before she also added, "And, sildenafil citrate."
"Viagra," I said with a slight laugh, as I turned to shoot Angela a look. This time I'd made more of a statement and than a question since I definitely knew what that drug was as it was becoming so common as a finding in many of the cases I'd worked with Booth in the last three years. Talk about one of the most overused, if understandable, prescription drugs that people elect to consume.
Angela, as usual, summed it up best when she said, "Bloodshot eyes and wood in a pill." She smiled at her own witty euphemism as she then added, just in case there was any doubt as to her assessment of the situation, "Party time."
I was about to open my mouth to comment on Angela's assessment when the three of us where interrupted by the rather overly boisterous and somewhat overly energetic arrival of what appeared to be a very young woman with brown hair and excited brown eyes.
"Dr. Brennan," she said, her voice high pitched and breathless as she said my name. I tried to avoid cringing, not just in annoyance at having what was a productive conversation in terms of both my personal life and the case, but also but also because of the draining persona that she was projecting. "I'm Daisy Wick, your new grad assistant."
My brow furrowed, as I gave her a look that I knew would convey my clear lack of being impressed by her. I gave it to all my students since one can't be too informal or approachable with first-years. I'd found from watching other professors that one only gets a single chance to establish yourself as a person in a position of authority over graduate students. I was (and never had) wasted mine. That way, I rarely ran into difficulties with the students with whom I continued to work on a long-term basis. It was how I preferred it, and I still believe it makes managing our mentor-mentee/supervisor-supervisee relationship more productive for both of us in the long-run. True, it does tend to give me more of a reputation for aloofness than some other professors. But, as I said, I prefer that. I don't have the time, energy, or inclination to coddle my students. I can't waste my time with those students who need to be micromanaged or be watched all the time as some of my other colleagues choose to treat their students. By engaging in such 'hand-holding', they not only needlessly create more work for themselves, but they also do their students a disservice. It hinders, in my opinion, the crucial skills that graduate students need to develop to survive in the world of academia and in more professional settings, i.e., confidence, independence, initiative, and self-reliance.
That's why I stared at the excitable young woman―in a way that both Angela and Booth have told me is a look I give to people when I see them, but that I'd rather pretend that they weren't there in front of me for one reason or another―and then frowned before I spoke again. Hoping she was adept enough at reading body language that she would take my warning for what it was, when the giddy smile that was on her face failed to disappear, I felt it important to clarify my opinion of her verbally. "I'd rather not learn your name until I've assessed your work," I said. I suppose because I was attempting to be less brunt, I didn't speak the rest of the thought that accompanied my verbal remark: that I doubted I'd have to learn her name because I didn't think she had the bearing or mindset to be able to last for any significant or substantial period of time in the lab. Or, in plain English as Booth is so fond of translating my thoughts, words, and actions into common parlance: I didn't think she'd last very long as my intern.
However, despite my veiled warning to her, the young woman still had a look of awe on her face as she responded, "Oh, of course. I'm the same way." She didn't pause even long enough to take a substantial breath before she leaned in, nodded at me with what seemed to be almost a conspiratorial wink in her eye as she added, "We're two of a kind. You're like a hero to me."
I blinked at her, not quite believing the idiocy I was hearing fall away from her lips as I finally deepened my frown into what I knew to be as close to a Booth-like scowl as possible. Then, I told her with what I knew to be a very clear tinge of displeasure in my voice, "Hero worship exposes a lack of independent intellectual examination."
There, that was it. She was dismissed. Deciding that I'd spent enough time on the strange woman, I turned back to Cam and Angela with a nod, "I'll tell Booth what we found."
For once, the issue of how to handle the situation with Booth was pushed from my mind. Between the new development in the O'Roarke investigation and the rather unsettling meeting with the new graduate assistant, unfortunately, I couldn't spare him any more time. Personal matters would have to wait―at least for now.