A/N: Those of you who know me know that I am on Twitter way too much. What you may not know is that Jenlovesbones was my very first Twitter follower. And on this, the anniversary of her birth, I have pulled a fic out of my notes file just for her. Her prompt was: A post 100th fic where Booth realizes he made a terrible mistake and gets his act together. And I went, "Hey! I've been writing that for months now! Perfect timing!"
Happy birthday, love. You're one of the good ones and I'm so very glad that we are Gilmore Girls quoting, Bones and Castle watching, political ideology sharing, friends. :)
Very special thanks to Some1tookmyname for beta work and giving her support on this story when I wasn't completely sold on it. Thanks!
Disclaimer: I don't own Bones or Grace Potter's song "Things I Never Needed" but y'all should go out and buy it. It's so B&B.
Brennan was sitting in her office when Hodgins entered unannounced.
"Um, Dr. B? There's a British guy here for you. He says he's from the Maluku project." Brennan frowned as she thought about who it could possibly be. "He's waiting in the entryway." She promptly headed out to see who it was. As she turned the corner and he came into view, she couldn't help but smile.
"Dr. Powell! What are you doing here?" She asked as she made her way over to her visitor.
"I want my forensic anthropologist back." He said honestly.
'You can't have me." Brennan said confidently.
"I already knew that." He said with a wink. Brennan fought the smile that wanted to appear, but it came out as a crooked smirk instead. "What, are you seriously going to stand there and pretend that you aren't happy to see me?" He asked as he opened his arms for a hug.
"Anything's possible." She teased but she wrapped her arms around him anyway.
"It's good to see you, Bren."
"I feel like it's too soon to say the same for you." She said. "Did you really fly halfway around the world just to hear my refusal in person this time?" She asked. "Because if so, I know a psychologist who would love to talk to you."
"I'm in between places. Thought I would drop in and see how life post-Maluku was treating you. And yes, maybe, selfishly, try and win you back to science's cause." He said as he noticed the crowd of blue coats that was gathering behind her. "Do you have time for lunch?" He asked.
"Yes I do." She smiled. "Let me just grab my coat." She said as she motioned him back to her office. Dan went to work inspecting the place as she grabbed her jacket.
"Stanley!" He smiled as he looked into the iguana's tank. "How fantastic. He's just as I pictured." Brennan laughed.
"You know that you are the only person in the world that calls him that."
"An iguana ought to have a proper name, Brennan. It's a travesty that a majestic creature like this remains nameless. Don't you think that he looks like a Stanley?"
"I think that he looks like an iguana."
"Ever the pragmatist." He pouted at her denial to play along. "I'm sorry, Stanley. Try not to take it personally, mate."
"Oh, you're mates now? You've known each other all of thirty seconds." Brennan commented.
"We have a mutual understanding." Dan said stoically before cracking a smile.
Booth walked into the diner with a laugh as Hannah was telling her story about her crazy work day. He automatically headed for the usual table but stopped dead in his tracks when he realized that Brennan was already sitting there with a man he didn't recognize. It looked like they had just finished eating.
"Who's that?" Hannah asked, her reporter's curiosity refusing to be contained. "Does Temperance have a new boyfriend?"
"No." Booth said quickly. "I mean, not that I know of." He corrected as Hannah marched over to find out.
"Hannah!" Brennan said in surprise as they came into view.
"Hey Temperance." She smiled. "I hope we're not interrupting anything."
"Of course not. We were just about to leave, but please, sit down." She smiled back as Dan finished signing his credit card slip. "Dan, this is my partner, Special Agent Seeley Booth and his girlfriend Hannah Burley." Booth saw the flit of surprise at the word 'girlfriend', but Dan, for all of his credit, managed to keep it mostly hidden.
"It's a pleasure to finally meet you." Dan said as he held out his hand for Booth to shake.
"You too." Booth glanced at his partner for more information as he sat down next to her. She got the message.
"Dan and I were doctoral students together. He's was the person who invited me to work on the Maluku project."
"Luckily for me, the esteemed Dr. Brennan managed to fit us into her busy schedule for a few months before she had to go back to saving the world." He teased her. "I've been trying to convince her to come back and finish what she started." And with that, Dan had Booth's attention. Hannah found the words to speak before he did.
"Go back to the Malukus?" She clarified.
"I keep telling him that he's wasting his time but he loves to hear the word no." Brennan said, feigning exasperation. Booth was certain the sigh of relief he exhaled was noticeable to the rest of the table, but he didn't care.
"Well, when it's coming from you, it doesn't seem like such a waste of time." Brennan rolled her eyes but chuckled, clearly charmed by his statement. "Besides, I'm not giving up on you just yet. You never know when a change of heart is going to come along." He said.
"She's happy where she is." Booth answered for her. Brennan was clearly surprised by Booth's territorial response but he didn't care.
"For now." Dan smiled confidently.
"I think the men are fighting over you." Hannah smiled slyly.
"It's highly unnecessary." Brennan said as she stood up. "Miss Wick will have finished the reconstruction by now. I'm going back to the lab. Dan, did you want to come along or would you rather stay here and see if you can annoy Booth until he shoots you?" He laughed.
"Oh, Agent Booth knows that it's just a little professional competition." Dan said, waving his hand. "No hard feelings for trying to steal your partner away from you, I hope." He smiled.
"Everyone wants to work with the best." Booth smiled through a rather tight jaw.
"I'm glad that we agree." Dan said. "Enjoy your lunch." Booth watched as they exited the diner before turning his attention back to his girlfriend.
"So? What do you think?" Hannah asked with a flair for gossip that only a reporter could manage.
"I don't like him." Booth said certainly, his eyes still on the menu in front of him.
"Well he's better than most of the other guys who have tried recently." Hannah said. Booth looked up from his menu. Given their situation, the fact that his girlfriend knew more about his partner's love life than he did was completely unsettling. "Anyway, I think they would be good together. I'll have to talk to Temperance about him." Hannah decided as she picked up her menu. "I mean, they have so much in common. Everyone knows how important that is to a relationship." Booth felt his stomach turn over. What was it with people and that statement? First Bones, then Sweets, now Hannah? If he never heard it again, it would be too soon. He turned to look out the window at the pair waiting to cross the street and he was just in time to catch the kiss that Dan left on his partner's temple. Booth dropped his menu and folded his hands in front of his mouth.
"Do you know what you want?" Hannah asked. Booth stared at her for a second before realizing that she was talking about the food.
"You know, I'm not really hungry." He lied poorly. "I think I'm just going to have a coffee." He told the waitress. Hannah didn't seem to notice as she placed her order. By the time that Booth mustered up the strength to look out the window again, they were gone.
"What the hell was that?" Brennan whispered harshly as soon as they exited the diner.
"I should be asking you the same thing!" He said. "He has a girlfriend? That's the sort of information you open the conversation with! 'Hi Dan, nice to see you. Remember that guy I'm in love with? He has a girlfriend now'."
"Shh." Brennan glanced back at the diner as if Booth could somehow hear the whispers through the glass.
"When did this even happen?"
"They met in Afghanistan. Hannah is a war correspondent and Booth saved her life." Brennan said as she turned her attention towards oncoming cars. She didn't need to see Dan's face when he heard the news.
"Wow. That's, admittedly, a little hard to compete with." He acknowledged.
"They seem to be very happy." Brennan said.
"Bollocks." Dan said, not buying it for a moment.
"It's not." Brennan said definitively as she turned back to face him. "I've seen the way he looks at her. I don't know a lot about people, but I know Booth. He's in love with her." Dan watched the resigned look cross her features before he let out a sigh of resignation himself.
"I'm sorry." He said, placing a kiss to her temple as he squeezed her shoulder. "I just hate the idea of him strutting around with a girlfriend when you're sitting right there. It's cruel." He defended.
"I actually like Hannah. We're friends, in a strange way."
"Oh, don't say that." Dan said. "Now is not the time to be noble. Wouldn't you rather hate her?"
"I could never hate anything that makes Booth that happy." She said honestly. "We're quite similar actually." Dan stared at her. "That being said, I will admit that I may have entertained a passing thought or two regarding a way to kill her and make it look like an accident." She confessed, a small wicked grin creeping into the corner of her mouth.
"That's my girl." Dan said proudly as he took her arm and crossed the street.