A/N This is number 1 of 2 one shots I wrote for the wonderful Cindee (aka Rynogeny). It's her 50th birthday today, and she can be found over on twitter as Rynogeny, so go wish her a great one!
It was written as part of the '50 Shades of Booth and Brennan challenge', so check out the '50ShadesChallenge' profile so you can read all the other amazing stories written for the birthday girl :)
Thank you Jen and Tracey for the look over/beta, and thanks Jaime for the title.
Prompt - Set in current canon, what if Brennan finds out that Booth threatened Ortiz to get the hit taken off?
Agent Phillips approached the door slowly, file clasped in her hands as she tried to contain her nerves. Being a rookie agent, she'd been tasked with the duty of delivering a message to one of their more experienced field agents and she was not looking forward to it. While she remained in the dark about the relevance of the message she had to deliver, she had been informed that it would not be to the other agents liking so she was apprehensive, to say the least. She was looking forward to a day when she could pull rank and avoid these more unpleasant tasks.
As she approached she saw that the door was ajar, and she could just about make out part of a conversation taking place within the office.
"Now come on Bones, when have I ever led you wrong?" A husky male chuckle drifted out of the room, and Phillips could feel her heart rate quicken slightly as the pleasing sound hit her ears. "I promise you, you'll love it." Silence followed as his listened to his partner's response, whatever answer she gave making him smile. "And if you don't," his lowered his voice intimately, and Phillips could feel herself leaning forward to catch his next words. "I'm sure I can find some way to make it up to you."
Stood frozen by the door, Phillips could feel heat flooding her face and she knew, without a doubt, that her face would be slowly turning an unbecoming shade of red. Great, she thought with a grimace, just the first impression I was hoping to make.
She allowed herself one more moment to wallow before she straightened her spine, and bridged the final gap between herself and the partially open door. You're an FBI agent, she said to herself, mentally slapping herself up the back of her head, get a grip. She quickly tapped on the door, and the weight of her fist pushed it open a few more inches, allowing her a full view of the room and the man occupying it.
She was met with a small smile and a hand waving her into the office, and she moved into the room. As he finished his call she shuffled from foot to foot, clasping the file in her hands harder as she glanced around the room. A photo on the desk in front of her caught her attention, the grinning faces of a cute blond boy and an attractive brunette shining up at her. She shifted forward to get a closer look and noticed the infant cradled between the both of them. A small smile touched her lips at the image, before she continued her inventory of his office.
"You're still meeting me for lunch though?" At the affirmative answer he smiled. "Good," he paused as he listened to her response, "You're on your way now? Ok, don't bother coming up, I'll meet you downstairs. I may be a few minutes late. Looks like I need to handle something first," he smiled briefly at Phillips. "Yeah, ok. That's fine. See you soon," he paused briefly, and glanced at Phillips again to see how much attention she was paying. He could see that her attention had been captured by something just behind him, so he felt no compunction at his next words. A soft smile touched his lips, "love you too, Bones."
He hung up the phone and placed it on his desk before finally giving his full attention to the agent in front of him. His couldn't deny that his curiosity was piqued, both at why she was there in the first place, and what had her so fascinated behind him. He turned slightly in his chair, and followed her gaze. A grin broke when he realised what had her attention, and he swung back to her.
"Flyers fan, Agent…" Booth searched his memory banks, finally settling on a name, "Phillips, right?"
Phillips jumped at the sound of her name, and she clutched the file to her chest as she willed her heart rate to slow.
"No, Sir," her voice came out at a squeak unbefitting to an FBI agent, and she took a deep breath before continuing. "The Pens." She breathed a sigh of relief as she sounded much more like herself, and she managed a small smile. Her smile dimmed slightly, however, when she noticed that the agent opposite her was no longer grinning.
"The Pens? And that pathetic excuse for a human being 'Cindy'?"
"Yes sir." She agreed. "Although," she began slowly, unable to let his insult pass even if it was the smart thing to do. "I've never heard of anyone called Cindy. I do, however, know of a Sidney Crosby." At the long stare being sent her way she swallowed, pausing for a moment before forging on. "Youngest player ever to score a 100 points in one season. 2007 saw him become the youngest team captain in NHL history. Then obviously you have 2009, when he became the youngest NHL captain to lift the Stanley Cup."
Silence followed her words, and she could feel herself fidgeting under his gaze. They continued to watch each other in silence for a long moment, before a grin broke out over Agent Booth's face.
"You know your stuff." He said with a smile, and Phillips allowed herself one sigh of relief. "I like it. The Pens still suck though, and Cindy," his grin widened, "still needs to learn how to take a hit without sobbing like a baby. Now," he sobered slightly, though a small smile was still on his face. Phillips knew what he was going to ask, and she clutched the file harder, "what can I do for you?"
"I have a message for you from Agent Burns, sir." She loosened her grip on the file she held, and opened it slightly. "He wanted to let you know that a," Phillips glanced down at the now open file in her hand, "Roberto Ortiz was bought in about half an hour ago for questioning. Well," she corrected, "it's probably more like 40 minutes ago now."
Any remnants of a smile on Booth's face left, and he sat up straighter.
"Well…it's been a while." Booth said to himself, his voice low as he thought back to their previous meetings.
Booth glanced back at the other Agent, having temporarily forgotten that he had an audience.
"What's he in for this time?" he asked, choosing to ignore the question.
"He is a, and I quote, 'person of interest in relation to multiple homicides'."
"Code for, 'we know he's guilty but have no evidence.' Some things never change." He added darkly, his frustration almost palpable. He'd had more conversations then he cared to remember about this particular matter, and the lack of any kind of progress never failed to sour his mood. "Well, thanks for letting me know. Just call up when he's released, and keep me in the loop, okay?"
"That's the thing, sir. They've got nothing to hold him with, and Agent Burns wanted to let you know because he's just about to be released, and he wasn't sure if you wanted to have a word or two with him again?"
"He's about to be released?" Booth shot to his feet.
"Yes, sir." She watched him for a moment longer, taking in his agitation before finally asking the question that was on the tip of her tongue. "Um, is everything okay Agent Booth?"
"My partner is on her way in." Booth spoke quickly, barely sparing a glance at the other agent as he burst into action. He grabbed his jacket and phone, holstered his gun and headed for the door. "And the last time those two were in the same building, she kicked his ass and he took a hit out on her."
Phillips eyes widened. "Want me to alert security?"
"Nah." He spared her one final look, and Phillips felt herself go cold at the hard smile that crossed his face. "I've got it covered."
Temperance Brennan pressed the button for the elevator of the Hoover, her foot tapping impatiently as she waited for it to arrive. While she knew she was supposed to be waiting for Booth, patience had never been her virtue and after two minutes of sitting idly she'd had to move. It didn't hurt that, by making her way to Booth herself, she could avoid the stares of the agents coming in and out of the building.
She may have been home for almost six months, but that didn't mean people had forgotten the three months in which she had been absent. It didn't mean they'd forgiven them either. She'd found herself the subject of more cold stares than she'd care to remember, and even as she forced herself to ignore them it didn't stop the small stab of hurt from hitting her chest each time. agents she had previously had cordial, even somewhat friendly relationships with would barely look at her, and while she understood the why of it she couldn't help but wonder when it would stop. Or if it would.
Even Booth had been unable to shield her from the full brunt of her ostracism, although he had tried. Quiet words here, not so quiet words there. All he had succeeded in doing was making people force a smile when he was in her presence, and ignore her if she was lucky on the rare times she was alone in their building. Every time a familiar face looked the other way, she could only be grateful that Booth was more forgiving of her then his fellow agents.
While her first few weeks (few months, if she were truly being honest with herself) back were difficult, for both of them, they'd finally reached a place where they were almost 'them' again. Four months after she had arrived home they'd finally been given the okay to work together again, and it was the catalyst they needed to truly get their relationship back on track. There was still the occasional moment when a thoughtless comment from Brennan would lead Booth to get that far away, lost look in his eyes as he remembered a darker period in their lives, but those times were few and far between now and even so, Brennan was there to sooth the wound.
The arrival of the elevator interrupted her musings, and she shook off all thoughts of the past as the doors opened. After one glance inside she moved to the left, allowing the two men inside to exit. She paid them no heed until she went to enter the elevator, pausing as a figure in front of her prevented forward movement. She finally glanced up, looking at a man who was gazing at her with an unnerving expression.
She stared at him blankly for a moment, until a small spark of recognition struck her. She observed him silently, cataloguing the differences. A fair few years older, hair thinning and turning grey, another tattoo or two, but…yes, it was definitely him. So much so that Brennan was almost disappointed in the time it had taken to name him. Ortiz.
"Miss me, querida?" He smirked at her, his voice full of a cocky self-assurance even as his eyes darted quickly around the room.
Brennan watched him curiously, intrigued by the contrasts in his behaviour. All smug arrogance on one hand, and yet a nervy undertone as he glanced around them. She turned her head herself to look behind her, and she saw only the Agent that must have accompanied him stood a few feet away, filling out the final few forms to facilitate the release of the man with her. Nothing to warrant Ortiz's nerves.
She glanced back at him, and shrugged lightly.
"People like you, who lead the life you do…" she shrugged again, leaving her words hanging between them before she continued, "I assumed you were dead."
Brennan watched him closely as the smirk on his face died to be replaced with a cold smile. His eye narrowed and his fists clenched, causing her to brace herself. She didn't think he was stupid enough to try anything with agents so close, but she readied herself just in case.
"Stood here all alone, como una niña perdida. Maybe you need me to keep you company, no?" He took a small step forward, cutting the space between them in half. Brennan held her ground, refusing him the satisfaction of seeing her retreat. "We can go somewhere real quiet, mami, and you can finally get to know what a real man feels like."
"You seem to be under the illusion that you can intimidate me. Is your memory so poor that you've forgotten that I'm not afraid of you?" She asked, taking her own small step toward him. "I wasn't then and I'm not now. I've met people like you, and I've dealt with people worse than you."
Any pretence of a smile left Ortiz's face, and he bridged the final gap between them until they were a hair's breadth from each other.
"Try it," Brennan goaded, "I remember how this ended last time around. Do you?"
He opened his mouth to answer, but before he could utter any response he found himself with a hand around his throat and his back to a wall.
Brennan watched in disbelief as her partner ignored her, removing his hand only to place his arm across the other mans windpipe.
"What did I tell you, hmmmm?" Booth asked, shifting his arm higher. He was eerily calm, no inflection in his voice as he restrained Ortez. "Now, if I was in a forgiving mood I could let you get away with forgetting our first little chat. But our second?" He pulled Ortiz forward before shoving him back against the wall. "Our third?" He loosened his grip slightly, allowing the other man a second of breathing room. "We're okay here, thanks." He didn't even glance away, and it was only then that Brennan noticed the other agents that had gathered around them. Whether to help or hinder Booth she didn't know, but one word from him and they dispersed.
"Booth," she tried once again, unsure of exactly what he was referring to but willing to forgo her understanding for a moment, to ensure he didn't do anything he would regret…or anything he wouldn't.
"One moment Bones," he remained focused on the man fighting for breath in his hands. "Now, let me try this one final time. You don't touch her. You don't talk to her. You don't even look at her. If I so much as believe you have thought about her, you will live to regret it. Capiche?" At the jerky nod he released his grip, and allowed one small step back, never removing his gaze from Ortiz's fearful one. He shifted his head slightly, calling out to an agent behind them. "Agent Mills?"
Brennan watched as the agent moved quickly towards them, and she recognised him as the man who had originally been escorting Ortiz.
"Get him out of here." Booth forcibly moved Ortiz toward the other Agent. He watched as he was led away before finally turning back to Brennan, noting the concerned look she was giving him, but refusing to address it. Now was neither the time nor the place. "We're having lunch at home today Bones," was all he said, presenting it as a statement rather than the usual question.
Brennan thought about arguing for a moment, wanting answers to the questions running through her head, but one long look at him was enough to make her change her mind. His jaw was clenched, his gaze intense and she could see anger bubbling just underneath the service. He looked like a man on the edge, and Brennan understood that now wasn't the time to argue. Instead, she took one of his fisted hands in hers and rubbed her thumb over his hand soothingly.
"Okay," she uttered softly.
He didn't answer and for a moment Brennan thought he hadn't heard her, but then she felt him shift. He opened his hand and turned his hand quickly, gripping her hand tightly in his.
She nodded once more again, never faltering in stroking his hand gently.
Their drive home passed in silence, Booth staring straight ahead as he drove while Brennan shot him concerned glances every few minutes. He could feel her gaze on him, and he while he wanted to reassure her, he couldn't force the words past his lips. He knew he was overreacting, but he couldn't shake the image of Ortiz crowding against his partner. Every time it ran through his head he felt a mixture of dread and anger so intense it almost made him shake, and he knew he couldn't face Brennan until he'd regained some semblance of control.
When they arrived home Booth left the car and headed toward the house, conscious of Brennan following close behind. He could sense her anxiety, and he knew as soon as they were through the door that the questions would start. He wasn't ready, but he knew he could only expect her to hold off for so long before her need for the truth would override all else.
Brennan followed Booth into the house, torn between concern and her desire to understand exactly what had happened. She knew there was a lot more to the confrontation between Booth and Ortiz than she had understood, and it had taken all of her will power to stem the flow of questions on the drive over. She had understood that Booth had needed the moments to himself, but that hadn't made it any easier.
She turned back to face Booth, preparing herself to begin the conversation that she knew he wouldn't start, but before she could utter one word she found herself wrapped in a pair of strong arms, her face pressed closely to his chest. She returned the embrace, hugging him tightly, surprised to feel a small shudder make its way through him. She hugged tighter, her concern mounting as he held her close.
He eventually pulled back, cupping one cheek in his hand and his kissed her gently. He kept it light, loving, taking reassurance from the fact that she was here, in his arms. Brennan felt some of the tension leave his boy, and she could only marvel at the fact that she had the power to sooth this powerful man.
After one final kiss Booth moved until his head was resting on her shoulder, turning his face into her neck.
"I know, Bones." He forced himself to move, depriving himself of the comfort of her body as he stepped back. He grabbed her hand and led her to their living room, stepping over the toys strewn across the floor before pulling her down onto the sofa.
Brennan glanced at the floor and let herself be momentarily distracted.
"You told me you'd put her toys away." She tried to keep her voice light, but Booth could hear the censure in her tone.
He shrugged lightly, a sheepish smile gracing his face.
"I did," at the look thrown his way he felt his smile widen, "Well, I would have by the time you got home."
Brennan made a noncommittal sound, attempting to keep up the façade of disapproval even as the sight of his smile filled her with relief. Silence fell between them, but unlike the car journey this was a lot more comfortable, none of the previous tension present.
"I'm assuming you remember the case we closed involving Ortiz? Back when we first started working together?"
Brennan jumped at his sudden question. She hadn't expected him to begin the conversation, and she couldn't hide her surprise at both his initiation of the discussion and the manner in which he did so. But, if he needed to talk about a case from eight years ago she would let him. Even if she didn't yet understand his reasoning.
"Yes. Maria and Augustine Duarte."
Booth's eyes widened at her immediate response, before a soft smile flitted over his face. Eight years, and she still remembers their names. And people say she's cold?
"Yeah," he agreed softly, "and I guess you also remember that I was late to their funeral."
"Yes," she responds immediately, frowning slightly, "I was very annoyed with you."
"I remember. For a second I thought you were going to hit me. Or attempt to, anyway." He shot her a half hearted grin, glad to see she returned it.
"It crossed my mind," she admitted, "but you said it was important." The last is said as a matter of fact; even at the beginning she had trusted him enough to know that he wouldn't lie. Not about something so important.
"It was, Bones. Very important," he took a deep breath, unsure how exactly she would respond to his confession. "Ortiz," he paused, unsure how to continue, "well, Ortiz…he took a hit out on you." He watched Brennan closely, looking for any sign of a reaction. When she remained still and silent he forced himself to continue. "And, because you were, and are, my partner, it was my duty to make sure that he saw the…error of his ways, so to speak."
Brennan watched him impassively as her mind raced. She said nothing for a moment before asking the one question at the fore front of his mind.
"What did you do to him?"
"Nothing, not really." She sent him a long look, and Booth sighed. "I may have forced my gun down his throat while explaining exactly what would happen to him if any harm came to you." He sent her a hard look of his own, the lack of apology in his gaze not surprising Brennan in the least. "You're my partner." He said simply.
Brennan held his gaze, the emotions in her clamouring for some kind of relief. Anger, annoyance, pride, relief, thanks, love….all fighting within her for dominance. She strove to ignore them for as long as possible, instead focusing on drawing all information from Booth. While she had many questions, all demanding an answer, what she had heard so far didn't completely explain all she had seen.
"While you were…restraining him," Booth sent her an arched look at her description of his actions, but made no further comment, "you said that you had spoken to him more than once. Explain please."
"I made it clear a long time ago that anytime he was brought into the building, I was to be notified. Regardless of the reason. And on a few of those occasions, I may have reiterated our previous discussion. With a few amendments." He expected some kind of response from her, and when it became clear that none were forthcoming he dragged a tired hand through his hair. "Look Bones, I stand by what I did then, and by what I've done since. You're my partner. Whatever else may have been happening between us, you were my partner and it was my job to protect you." The intensity in his voice shocked them both, and Brennan moved without thought, shifting closer so that they were in touching distance. "I may not have always been successful, but this I could do for you."
It took a moment for Brennan to truly understand what he meant, but when she did her heart ached. Pelant. After all this time, it still had the ability to wound. She wasted no more time, and closed the remaining distance between them until she had almost crawled into his lap. Booth held it together for a moment before he broke.
"I thought I'd lost you once," he wrapped his arms around her, allowing no distance between them as he held her tight, "and seeing him there, so close to you, I just…" he shuddered once, his emotions getting the better of him as he struggled to continue.
Brennan pulled back from him, forced to use more strength than usual as he refused to let her go. Eventually he let her move back, and she reached out to turn his face up to hers. She kissed him once, softly on the cheek.
"Thank you, Booth." She ignored the confusion in his eyes at her words, instead kissing him again, this time on his other cheek. "For protecting me." She cupped his face in her hands and leant forward, laying another kiss on him. This time she touched her lips to his, lingering for a moment for pulling back. "For loving me then." She saw a flicker of realisation on his face, and the relief that came with it. She leant forward again, and this time he met her halfway, their mouths coming together with a familiar ease.
She tried to keep it light but Booth had other plans, deepening the kiss. Tongues tangled and hands grasped, as the need to be closer overcame them both. When they next broke apart, gasping for breath, Brennan found herself lying on the couch with her partner looking down on her. She cupped his face in her hands once more, and finished her previous thought.
"And for loving me now."
For a moment Booth didn't follow, but after a moment the fog cleared enough for him to think straight. When understanding dawned he smiled, closing the gap until they were a hairs breath away.
"Always, Bones." This time is was Brennan's turn to be confused, and Booth smile widened. "For loving you always."