A Would-be Reunion
By: Lesera128 & dharmamonkey
Disclaimer: Here we posit our normal rigmarole. No, we don't own anything from Bones or Angel... or anything else. Yes, we're wreaking what havoc we can with these characters that we don't own to create an awesome story. But, since it's only for the purposes of creative enjoyment and amusing distraction, we think we're okay. Are there any other questions? No? ::blinks:: Good. Then moving on―
Summary: Set six months after Booth regains his memories from his life as Angel, Brennan is confronted in D.C. by the very thing from his past that she'd always feared when someone comes looking for the former vampire with a soul. Bones/Angel crossover. Very, very AU. Sequel to "Toe to Toe," "Barging In," "Making Him Beg," "Comfort on the Edge of Reason," "The After Party," "The Price to Be Paid," and "Echoes True and False."
Logistical Notes: Although we've said it before, just in case people are wondering, for those who are familiar with Whedon-verse, this story assumes the events through the end of Angel's series finale ("Not Fade Away") and the comic-book "Angel: After the Fall" are canon. It ignores all other stories in the Angel chronology, including the BTVS Season 8 and Twilight storyline in the canon comics. For those others who are wondering, this story would be set roughly sometime during the first part of the second-half of season 4 of Bones.
A/N: Ladies and gents, welcome to this (finally!) the eighth of what will be a nine story cycle chronicling the lives of Angel(us)-Booth and the witch Temperance Brennan. As ever, if you stumbled across this series via this story for the first time while reading this chapter, if you're looking for your good ole canonical Booth and Brennan Bones' story, you'll be sorely disappointed as this piece is anything but. Translation: if you haven't read the prior 7 stories in this cycle, you will be utterly and woefully confused. Bewildered. Frustrated. Nothing will make any sense to you. We promise. However, if you have been sticking with us, we hope you're ready for another excellent ride. So, here we go!
UNF Alert: Warning... there actually is no unf alert for this first chapter. Yes, we know. We tricked you. But we promise there will be...eventually...and so leave it here as a reminder to you all...and us, of what's to come.
Part I: A Tale of Two Vipers
It hadn't been a good day thus far, and the more she thought about it, the more she was feared it would only get worse.
Dr. Temperance Brennan sat on the couch in her office at the Medico-Legal Lab of the Jeffersonian Institute in Washington D.C. She was half-attentively reading—scanning, really—an article in the latest spring volume of the Journal of Physical Anthropology that had come in her stack of correspondence and periodicals from the mailroom earlier that morning. She wasn't in a particularly positive mood. Her brow was creased with the subconscious ire she felt, having awakened in a foul mood for the fourth straight day.
She had a slight headache that she knew was from the heated exchange she'd had with Booth after she'd spent the majority of their lunch in the bathroom at the Royal Diner as opposed to sitting at their customary table sharing a meal as they'd originally planned. The ensuing discussion—which had ended with her partner and husband dropping her off in front of the Jeffersonian with a curt shake of his head and a vague 'whatever'—gnawed at her. She did her best to wonder when her relationship with Booth began to become somewhat bipolar as it had in recent months. On good days, Brennan knew she'd swear that she'd rarely had a better day in her centuries-long life. But, on the bad days...well, on the bad days she wondered how bad bad could be and whether it could possibly get any worse. As her head continued to throb, Brennan was almost certain that she was going to chalk this day in the column of proverbial bad days.
She knew her headache was indicative of tension and increasing stress levels, which she was in turn quite certain had caused her feet to swell. She tried to focus on the crisply starched pages of the journal she held in her hand, hoping she could get lost in the solace of anthropology for a few minutes and temporarily forget what had caused her to have the headache in the first place. Her plan worked for about twelve minutes.
By the time Brennan had finished reading the first article, and making mental notes about the author's findings that she would eventually write down for later analysis, she had just scanned the second article's abstract when she felt it start again. It started off as a dull ache. Knowing that if she didn't do something now to combat the initial onslaught that she wouldn't fit into her shoes when it was time to go home, she sighed once loudly and then gave in to the evitable. Setting the journal down beside her, she quickly kicked off her modest flats that were already a size bigger than she normally wore. Grabbing a pillow from the opposite end of the couch, she situated it on the coffee table. With one final grunt, she heaved her legs forward and placed them as gently on the pillow as she could until they were elevated at a point of measurement that corresponded to one that was higher than her heart as she reclined on the couch.
Grabbing the journal from beside her, Brennan stubbornly vowed to put the irksomely mild pain (and its larger cause) out of her mind. She was able to maintain that pledge for approximately seven minutes. Eventually, unable to get comfortable in her current position, she sighed in frustration again. She couldn't help herself as she scooted forward slightly on the couch and shifted her legs from where they were propped up on the coffee table. Glancing back down at her journal, she was able to read the second article in its entirety, although she knew she wasn't really reading it critically and would have to go back and reread it for a deeper analytical comprehension. As she glanced at the clock and saw that she'd had her feet elevated for approximately thirty minutes, despite the fact that she had a large pillow under her feet, when she peered over the edge of the journal, she could still see the tell-tale puffiness of her ankles that had caused her to kick off her black flats and wait to attempt to return to the lab platform until some of the swelling had subsided.
As if sensing the displeasure of her mother, the baby that she was carrying suddenly began to kick her in earnest. At not quite six months, Brennan was entering the end of her second trimester, and she was already becoming quite frazzled with the chaotic changes that her pregnancy had wrought in her body. Not a day had gone by in her pregnancy since she'd found out that she was going to have a baby when she wondered if she had control over anything anymore, and that stress had had a domino effect on her entire life, including her relationship with Booth. Unable to help herself, pursing her lips, she looked down at the tell-tale bump that was the source of a fairly regular thumping against the confines of her abdomen.
"Cut it out," she grunted at her stomach, her voice sharp and cutting. "I really mean it this time. Cease and desist in your excessive calisthenics, fetus." Glancing at her watch, Brennan then rationally continued, "It's only 3:30. You aren't supposed to be up and kicking for another three hours. Remember? Your normally scheduled routine stipulates that you prefer to be most active between 6:30 and 8:00pm with an encore performance between 9:30 and 11:00. And, since I haven't consumed any high-fructose, high-caloric desserts as the result of some irrational and idiotic craving—which I'm quite certain is related to the fact that your father scarfs down sugar like he expects Dixie to stop manufacturing five-pound bags at any moment, since I know the genetic material that I contributed to your DNA isn't responsible for that particular predilection of yours—you have absolutely no reason to be kicking me right now, so will you stop it?"
As if to mock her, the baby gave her a particularly strong jab in the left side that caused her to intake a sharp, swift breath. Once she gulped down several mouthfuls of air and had recovered, she scowled at the growing bump in the middle of her stomach. Jabbing her finger in the bump's general direction, she sighed.
"Oh, come on, now," she complained. "It's not like I'm not keeping my end of the bargain. I no longer consume caffeine. I'm imbibing an excessive amount of fluids to maintain hydration. I've eaten more legumes and nuts in the past five months cumulatively than I think I've ever eaten to make certain you receive enough protein. I'm making do with the gummy prenatal vitamins your father insists on buying me instead of the regular gel caps I prefer to take. I've even reduced my workload both in the field and the lab in addition to trying to sleep more and keep off my feet. So, all of that considered, since I've complied with my end of our symbiotic relationship, how about you do your part and cease and desist in kicking me in the spleen, please?"
Brennan waited expectantly for some type of response from her growing child. She didn't have to wait long for it when a response came in the form of another sharp jab in her gut. A foul curse escaped her lips as she gasped once again for breath.
She then scowled once more before she muttered, "Now that was just you being vindictive."
A shuffling in the direction of her door quickly drew Brennan's ire away from her ongoing disagreement with her child. She looked up to see who was disturbing the inner sanctum of her office that few people besides Booth and Dr. Camille Saroyan failed to venture into unless they had a very, very good reason. Brennan's eyes confirmed who her new visitor was at the same time her ears processed the vocal evidence of the person's identity.
"Who's being vindictive about what, sweetie?" Angela Montenegro said as she walked into Brennan's office carrying several thick manilla file folders in her arms. She paused once she just inside the door, leaning into one hip and tucking a lock of her wavy dark hair behind her ear. Unlike Brennan and the other Jeffersonian scientists, she sported neither a blue nor a gray lab coat, but instead wore a flouncy dress with a bright, purple, and lemon floral pattern and a spirited pair of strappy silver-colored sandals with two-inch kitten heels.
Nodding at her stomach, Brennan said with a slight amount of bitter snark in her voice, "The fetus."
Angela's eyes lit up at the mere mention her friend made of the baby. "Awww!" she said, coming forward to sit down next to Brennan on the couch, hastily discarding the stack of file folders on the coffee table. "You were talking to the baby? That's so sweet!"
"She's kicking me," Brennan complained, the grumpiness she felt clear in her voice as she spoke. "Hard. And, I don't like it."
"But, that's good, right, Bren?" Angela blinked at her, her slender eyebrow deeply arched as she couldn't help but smile at her friend, who seldom if ever waxed anything that even remotely resembled sentimental. Who are you and what did you do with Bren? the artist thought to herself. She pursed her lips, puzzled at Brennan's irritation, then shrugged and said, "I thought that the more active the baby was, the more healthy she is, right?"
Considering her best friend's supposition, slowly the forensic anthropologist conceded Angela's point. "Yes," Brennan sighed. "Obstetrical research does seem to show there is a correlation between regularly active fetal movement and many other things, such as full-term deliveries, healthy weight percentiles when the baby is born, along with increased lung capacity and high Apgar scores. But—"
"But?" Angela asked, when her best friend's voice trailed off, biting the inside of her lip to suppress a smile.
"But," Brennan continued, her brows furrowing and a scarcely audible growl of frustration rattling in the back of her throat as she pouted. She shifted her hips against the sofa cushion and sighed once more. "It's not her normal time to be active, and so I've concluded she's just doing it out of spite."
"Now, why would she do that, sweetie?" Angela asked. "She's just a baby. Babies can't be vindictive. They don't know how."
Shaking her head, Brennan contradicted her friend. "Usually I would agree with you, Ange. However, for reasons I won't go into at the present moment, I think it's fair to say that whatever this child will be, if nothing else, she will be quite advanced as compared to her peer group. So, no I don't put it past her to be vindictive at the mere age of—"
"Twenty-five weeks," Angela dead-panned. "Seriously, Bren?"
She arched an eyebrow and cocked her head to the side as she waited for her friend to respond and wondered if she would continue to act strangely as she had in the first few weeks of her unexpected pregnancy. Angela still vividly remembered the morning that Brennan ran off the forensics platform after suddenly turning a bit green around the gills during examination of a newly-arrived set of partially-decomposed remains, and after Angela chased her into the ladies' room, admitting that she was pregnant. "Don't say it," Brennan had warned her in a breathless rasp as she crouched in front of the toilet in-between dry heaves. "I'm still not entirely sure I'm over the surprise, and I'm sure as fuck not ready to deal with anyone else's right now, so—just don't." As the weeks went on and Brennan's pregnancy became visible, the surprise wore off and her being pregnant with Booth's child began to seem to many at the Jeffersonian like yet another step in the natural progression of things. It certainly had felt that way to Angela, who was thrilled at the news even as she watched her friend groan wearily as she emptied out the contents of her stomach once again.
Angela blinked away the memory and made a face as she said, "Wait, why do you keep referring to the baby as a girl? Did you get your sonogram and find out the sex of the baby at your last appointment and didn't tell me?"
Slowly, Brennan shook her head. "No, indeed not. I've chosen not to learn the sex of the baby largely because Booth dared me that I wouldn't have enough self-control to hold off on learning the fetus' sex. As I wish to prove him wrong, I am thus exerting the superior self-control I have—" Brennan paused for a few seconds as a flash of an impromptu if not impulsive kiss on Halloween flashed in her mind and then she quickly dismissed it with a mental chide before she continued speaking. "—and not finding out if at all possible. However, since Booth says that it would be bad for the baby to be objectified as an 'it', I'm merely using female pronouns for ease of conversation at this point in time."
Angela considered Brennan's words for a minute and then nodded. "When the G-man has a point, Bren. I gotta admit, he has a definite point." The artist watched her friend as Brennan shifted on the couch. When the forensic anthropologist winced, Angela tilted her head as a slightly worried frown marred her beautiful face. "Do you feel any better?"
Exhaling slowly, Brennan nodded. "Yes, I find that keeping my feet elevated at an angle that is above the current position of my heart, the swelling decreases substantially. And, when the moderate edema that I'm suffering from as a result of my pregnancy gets worse because I've spent more time on my feet than I probably should, I have been making a concentrated effort to rest."
Nodding at her, Angela said, "I've noticed. And, just between you and me, Bren, I've got to admit, I'd be lying if I said that I haven't been worried about you. But, I think it's a really good that you're making an effort to try and take care of yourself."
Quiet for a minute, Brennan eventually nodded. "I promised Booth," she explained. "He's been very worried about me, especially since I ended up in the hospital during my first trimester due to the hyperemesis gravidarum I suffered from because of the fetus. He's trying very hard not be overbearing and smother me during my pregnancy. In return for that consideration, I've promised him that I would make a concentrated effort to listen to my body and not overdo things. That's why I'm not on the platform right now with Dr. Edison. I'd hoped if I'd elevated my feet, it would reduce the swelling to an acceptable level by the time Booth returns so that he won't complain too much when I go into the field with him later to interview Mrs. Annenburg." She paused for a minute before she took a breath and continued. "He said she might be willing to come into see us at the Hoover, but if not, that he was going to go see her at her house about Andrew Welton," Brennan said. "In either case, I feel strongly that this is one interview that he could benefit from having my assistance with..."
Her voice trailed off, and she shifted her hips against the couch cushion with a quiet grunt and a weary sigh as she struggled to find a position whereby she could keep her feet sufficiently elevated and support her aching lower back while still being able to comfortably read. Frustrated at her inability to strike such a balance, her brows furrowed into a frown and she breathed a long sigh.
"God, I hate this," Brennan grumbled in a plainly irritated way. "Even though I feel like the damn Hindenburg and look like it twice over, I really am more than capable of carrying out my duties and assisting with our casework and the ongoing investigation. It's not like I'm an invalid. I'm still useful and effective and —"
"And, you don't need to worry," Angela suddenly interrupted her friend as she leveled a knowing stare at Brennan..
Brennan blinked at her for a minute. Her brow crinkled as she cocked her head and asked, "Worry about what?"
Her chin jutting forward, Angela responded with a reassuringly kind smile, "Booth."
As soon as the artist said the word, clearly caught off guard by Angela's answer—a comment that for a moment made her sound more like Brennan's longtime friend and fellow witch Stephanie—it took the forensic anthropologist a minute to make sense of what she might mean. After struggling for a minute, Brennan finally answered. "I don't understand. What about Booth? What don't I need to worry about?"
"There's no reason for you to be jealous," Angela said as she folded her arms across her chest and then leaned back in the couch.
The artist raised her eyebrows and blinked her dark brown eyes very deliberately as she cocked her head to the side in an expression she reserved for only the most egregious examples of deliberate denseness on the part of very intelligent people. Brennan knew this look well, having been on the receiving end of a similarly teasing glare from Stephanie, albeit the latter's piercing green eyes probed deeper on account of having known the witch-turned-scientist for the better part of five centuries.
Angela looked at her friend and remembered how abrupt and withdrawn—and hell, downright snippy at times—Brennan had become in the year following the first case she'd worked with the jaw-droppingly handsome FBI agent. She'd seemed to mellow a little bit after Booth had started working with the Jeffersonian again on a more extended basis, especially after that Christmas quarantine that year, but still, Angela had noted something was a bit off about Brennan, but she couldn't quite put her finger on what it was. Then Goodman had hired Camille Saroyan to be the head of forensics, and soon after, Booth had cozied up to Cam, who'd turned out to be an ex, and that's when the fireworks had really started. Angela wasn't really sure who fired the first shot in the Jeffersonian's version of the Confederates' attack on Fort Sumter, but there was no doubt that there was a not-so-civil war of wills being waged that first year between the pathologist and the anthropologist.
Although she never really let her hate flag fly, Brennan made no secret of the fact that she resented having been relegated to the role of a minion by a fast-talking woman who took to flirting with Booth less than thirty seconds after seeing him at a crime scene. It didn't take a particularly discerning eye to figure out that there was more to Brennan's fierce rivalry with Cam than professional egos. Brennan's disdain had a distinctly possessive and jealous air.
Thank God that's behind us, the artist sighed to herself as she watched a look of comprehension suddenly dawn on Brennan's face as she took Angela's meaning. I was afraid if Cam kept things up that Bren was going to do something that would only require jello or mud to make it a show I could probably sell tickets to and make a pretty penny with—I mean, I never knew Bren could be so...possessive or vindictive when someone really pissed her off. The artist remembered how she nearly had a heart attack after overhearing Brennan talking to Cam about a case involving a woman who ran off with another woman's husband and turned up six months later at the bottom of a ravine in suburban Maryland. "From a biological standpoint, it's perfectly reasonable to use lethal force against a rival female who competes for one's mate's' affections," Brennan said in a very matter-of-fact tone. Then, with a wicked little smile, she added, "This particular woman just wasn't very smart about hiding the evidence. Of course, if it had been me, I would've done a much better job. If someone tried to run off with someone who belonged to me, well, suffice to say the authorities would never find her remains because none would be left after I was done with her to be left behind to find." Everyone on the forensic platform suddenly got very quiet for a few seconds there as Brennan and Cam exchanged a look. It makes me shiver just thinking about it, Angela thought, a fleeting wince flashing across her face at the memory.
The look quickly disappeared before Brennan nervously laughed and dismissed Angela's comment with a wave of her hand that was just a bit too casual. "I'm not worried about Booth, Angela."
Arching her delicate shaped thin black eyebrow at Brennan, Angela asked, "You're certain?"
Slowly, Brennan nodded. "Of course," she responded. "I'm very certain."
Nodding, Angela said, "Because, it's okay if you're not, Bren. I mean, I know that you two haven't been spending as much time at work as you had been before you got pregnant. But, like I said, just because he's been working with Cam on this case since she was so close to Andrew, I don't think you need to feel threatened, Bren."
Brennan considered the point for a moment. Not really surprised that Angela was picking up on her something being off in her recent behavior, because she was and always had been so intuitive, she finally shrugged her shoulders slightly as she pursed her lips before she replied, "I know that."
"You sure?" Angela asked again, with her critical stare never breaking from where she studied Brennan's curious gaze. "Because, just in case it isn't obvious, he's so in love with you, it's not even funny."
Brennan's eyes narrowed and she glanced out the window of her office and directed her gaze towards Cam's office and the autopsy suite on the other side of the lab. She felt the bile rise in her throat as she remembered her first sustained interaction with Camille Saroyan.
She hadn't been on the scene of the fatal train derailment two minutes when the doe-eyed coroner came along holding a severed arm and barking out orders to the first-responders to find its owner.
"Stan!" she called out with natural authority in her voice. "I need some gauze. Danny? You don't find the owner of this in the next ten minutes, he'll bleed to death. Starting…" She pressed the chronograph on the severed limb's wrist watch before she emphatically finished in a clipped voice, "Now."
Brennan watched her look up and saw a flicker of familiarity in Cam's gaze when her eyes met Booth's.
"Seeley," she said breathlessly as a smirk hung from her bright red lips..
"Camille," Booth replied, a certain tightness in his voice as he bounced on the balls of his feet, strangely unnerved by being in the presence of his old friend and former lover, Cam, and his partner, who he'd been silently smoldering for since they first met two years earlier. He swallowed and wiggled his boots in the dirt, then gave the coroner a faint smirk.
"Don't call me Camille," the coroner retorted as his smirk turned into a genuine smile that Brennan immediately recognized as one that Booth only saved for people who knew him very, very, well.
Brennan's suspicions were confirmed when the smile was followed by the emergence of a tell-tale playfully bright twinkle in Booth's eyes, even as his voice remained tense and formal. "Don't call me Seeley," he said. He looked at his partner and then to the coroner and said, "Dr. Brennan, Dr. Saroyan. You two know each other, huh?"
Brennan shook her head slightly. "No," she answered with a puzzled look on her face.
The woman did look vaguely familiar, but she wasn't sure from where. By the way she was barking out orders to the first responders, and the fact that Booth had referred to her as "doctor," Brennan quickly surmised that the attractive woman was a coroner. She narrowed her eyes and let her gaze rake up and down the coroner's form, clad in a fitted, casual black jacket and snug black trousers that flattered her curvy hips. Noting that Cam's bust was substantially smaller than Brennan's own, she wondered what Booth saw in her that clearly piqued his interest—since it was obvious that Booth and Cam knew each other in more than just a professional capacity.
It can't be her tits, she thought with a smirk. She knew that his lips and nipping teeth had been drawn to her own bosom for a century and a half, and clearly the coroner had less to offer in that regard, so it must be something else. Maybe she's good with her hands...or her mouth? Bringing her eyes back up to Cam's face, she saw her bright, glossy, rose-colored lips and wondered if the other woman liked to suck men off, which sort of thing Brennan knew most men liked, but which Brennan herself had done only once in all the years she'd shared a bed with the man who stood next to her.
Cam's eyes swung between Booth and Brennan a couple of times before she smiled faintly and said, "No."
Booth's brows flew up and he muttered, "Uh-oh."
Camille Saroyan shifted immediately and seamlessly back into incident-response mode as she turned to Brennan and said, "Dr. Brennan, I'd like you to check out the automobile this train hit. It's probably what caused the derailment."
"Accidental?" Booth asked, scribbling something on his notecards.
"NTSB guy says the train struck the car at least 200 yards from the nearest access," Cam said with a slight shrug of her shoulders before she waited a beat to see if Booth had understood. She smiled when he immediately responded in kind.
"Deliberate," the agent said with a knowing nod.
The coroner glanced over her shoulder and called out in a completely random manner, "Eight minutes, Steve!" Then she turned back to Booth and explained, "Probably suicide." Her eyes narrowed and she turned to Brennan with a hard look. "Why are you still here, Dr. Brennan?"
Brennan felt her jaw tighten and every muscle in her body tense with disdain at the presumptuous way the coroner was speaking to her as if the she were some sort of hired lackey. She felt her temper bubble up inside of her chest and she wanted to tell this woman that her arrogance was mislaid, that however good a coroner she thought she was, she was a nobody compared to Brennan who was internationally regarded as being at the top of her field; that however smart she thought she was, Brennan was far, far smarter; and that whatever she thought she knew about Seeley Booth, and whatever history she had with him, she knew nothing—nothing at all—about the man he really was, or used to be. She took a short breath and pushed away such thoughts, despite how badly she wanted to blurt them out.
"Because I'm not a coroner," she snorted, "and I don't work for you?"
Cam blinked but didn't miss a beat. "You got that half right."
Brennan shot Booth a questioning look but before he could do more than grin faintly at the game of verbal tennis being played in front of him, a pair of firefighters walked past carrying a wounded man on a stretcher towards a waiting ambulance.
"Got him, Cam!" one of the firefighters called out to her. "Still breathin'!"
"Thanks, Steve!" she said, carefully tucking the severed arm on the edge of the stretcher next to the wounded man's side. "Alright. Every survivor is one less person for me to autopsy."
Cam cocked her head to the side and gave Booth a long, appraising, head-to-toe look. She flashed her brow as a crooked smile broke across her lips. "You look good out of your suit, Seeley," she said in voice that was distinctly huskier than it had been just moments before. "But then, you always did."
She walked away, leaving Brennan to stare, her mouth slightly agape, as Booth watched her vanish into the crowd of firefighters, paramedics, and NTSB investigators swarming around the first-class car.
Brennan instantly recognized Cam's move for what it was—a clear signal that she had engaged in an intimate relationship with Booth in the past, and in doing so, marking him as her territory vis-à-vis Brennan—and after her immediate response, a sharp flash of possessive anger, faded amid the cacophony of sirens and shouts and the dizzying pulse of flashing blue, red and yellow lights from the dozens of emergency vehicles, she felt a sickening lightheadedness overcome her. As she began to assess the remains in the scorched and shredded car that collided with the train and caused the derailment, she felt her pulse race and she could hear her voice waver as she rattled off her findings to Booth.
He's mine, she thought. Not hers. Mine. He's a part of me, and I'm a part of him.
Brennan didn't know who Camille Saroyan was or what she had been at some point in the past to Booth, but the doe-eyed coroner was nothing to him compared to her. He'd been hers for a century and a half, and watching him respond viscerally to the beautiful black doctor made Brennan hate her immediately. She shook her head and tried to focus on the task at hand, doing everything she could to ignore the waves of nausea that lapped at her as Cam's flirtatious words echoed over and over again in her mind.
The memory of the first time she had ever met Dr. Camille Saroyan slowly faded away as Brennan felt her friend's questioning gaze waiting for a response. Refocusing her steely blue eyes on Angela's concerned and questioning warm brown stare, she tried to reassure her friend. "I know that," Brennan repeated as she nodded. "Trust me, Angela. In all the time I've known Booth, he's faced far more tempting invitations to engage in illicit sexual liaisons from persons much more skilled and alluring than Dr. Saroyan—"
Brennan smirked as she remembered an off-hand comment the coroner had made once about not having a gag reflex and how that particular characteristic made the job of autopsying human remains—with all of the requisite sawing open of heads, dissecting livers, examining entrails and their contents, and so on—all much easier to do. Even without a gag reflex, she doubted Cam was anywhere near as skilled at fellatio as she was.
Brennan imagined that Cam, who was fierce and assertive in her working life, was probably a very competent lover, but she was fairly certain that the coroner's skills in bed were nowhere good enough to compare to the only other woman whose sexual technique had the ability to tempt this man on the scale that Brennan's could. She remembered her old friend Darla, and the way the elegant vampire had talked about the young Irish stallion she'd turned in an alley behind a tavern in Galway. Darla had a confidence, a style, a charm and an urbane sophistication that turned heads every time she walked into a room. It was no wonder, then, that the young, cocky Irishman had been so intoxicated by her that he'd allowed himself to be lured out of that tavern and into a dark alley where he might have been set upon by cutpurses or worse. Darla made sense, Brennan thought, but she'd never understood how Angel could have fallen for Buffy, a woman whose age, naivete, breathtaking inexperience and general lack of substance or depth made her a rare outlier among the women who had shared her partner's bed over the last two hundred years. Blinking away the unpleasant memory of the Slayer, she smiled as she recalled the many women that had come and gone in Booth's life—including all those whom he'd fucked, loved, and many other things in between when he was both Angelus and Angel—she felt a flush of warmth as she realized that out of all of those countless women, only she had lasted.
Feeling genuinely happy, Brennan was honest when she added, "I feel can say with complete honesty, Ange, I know I have absolutely no reason to doubt Booth's affinity, affection, and devotion to me. Just between us, I doubt if he would even be tempted for a split second even if Cam tried like she did last year. Aside from the fact that I know he's always been extremely attracted to me physically, and our sexual compatibility has remained quite satisfactory...even as the stages of my pregnancy have progressed—"
"And there's just the minor points that you're carrying his child, are his wife...and that he loves you—all there is in the world and more plus a scoop of sugar—that are keeping him in line, huh?" Angela said with a small chuckle as she interrupted her friend's explanation and finished the sentence for the forensic anthropologist. She then clucked her tongue as she asked, "Right, Bren?"
Brennan bit back a sigh of annoyance as she felt another stab of warmth flow through her body as she held Angela's gaze for a minute, nodded almost imperceptibly, and then looked away. The light in her office caught a faint sparkle that drew her eye to her hand. Glancing at the silver ring that she wore on her left hand, Brennan let her eyes skate across the twisted Celtic knot work of the setting that cradled a brilliant marquise-cut ceylon sapphire in its grasp. The dark blue stone twinkled back at her, and Brennan smiled once more as she added, "Indeed, I was just about to get to those more salient points."
"Uh huh," Angela said with an arched brow and a knowing, toothy grin, her eyes following Brennan's as her best friend's lips curved into a smile at the sight of the ring on her finger. She then nodded at the vase of fresh-cut daffodils that were sitting on the coffee table next to Bren's feet. "Hey, those daffodils are holding up pretty well. Haven't you had them for ...what, well—" The artist stopped for a moment as she said, "Wait, how long have you had those because...ummm, it seems like it's been awhile, hasn't it?"
Her smile uncharacteristically broadening, Brennan answered, "I've actually only had those flowers since Monday."
Making a face, Angela then asked, "Really? Because it seems like a lot longer." She stopped and then gestured at the vase of fresh-cut daffodils that were sitting on the coffee table next to Bren's feet. "So, are those from the Romance Ranger himself, I guess?"
"Yes," Brennan smiled, her cheeks flushing slightly as her gaze settled on the vase of flowers and her thoughts briefly fluttered back to the hundred other times he'd sent her such flowers over the century and a half since he'd begun courting her affections. She bit back a wider grin as she thought of how he had indeed made good on his promise to make up for all of the times he didn't send her flowers during the first two and a half years of their partnership because, while he knew she liked daffodils, his mystical amnesia kept him from understanding why.
"One look at those pretty flowers, Bren, and you'll know I'm never far behind, or too far away, mmm?" he'd told her with a cocky grin one evening when he'd arrived in her office doorway and caught her staring happily at the flowers that had been delivered early that morning. Then she remembered what he'd told her a century and a half before: "You never know when I'll be comin', lass, so you best always be ready."
"Is it just me," Angela's voice pierced through Brennan's reverie, "or, is he sending those things to you on a pretty regular basis?" she asked.
"Every Monday," Brennan answered with a soft nod. "Every Monday when I've come in to the lab, he's had a vase of two dozen fresh daffodils waiting for me on my desk. He's done it for several months since even before he found out I was pregnant, but he's been extra diligent since then to make sure he procures them for me each week. So, to answer your question, yes. He's been doing it on a fairly regular basis. Ever since just before Christmas, as a matter of simple fact."
"Wow," Angela said, clearly impressed as she did a quick mental calculation of how many bouquets of fresh daffodils that Booth had sent Brennan during the time span she had specified. When she realized just how many flower bouquets that was, and the cost involved for some who she knew had been thrifty with a dime before his unexpected marriage to Brennan, Angela nodded. "That's romantic, even for Booth. And, it must be costing him a small fortune."
Perhaps, at one time, she might've been surprised at seeing this side of Booth—his willingness to spend whatever part of his modest government salary was left after covering living expenses, child support and the twice-monthly contribution to his son's college fund on gifts for Brennan—but then again, when it came to her best friend and her partner, she'd come to expect the unexpected, and thus Booth's flower habit was just another in a long series of surprises. She remembered when she first found out that the two were more than 'just' partners.
She would've been surprised, but after finding out about Booth and Brennan's impromptu nuptials almost by accident a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving, Angela Montenegro had concluded that almost nothing would surprise her ever again when it came to her best friend's relationship with her partner and how she'd found out it had drastically changed from professional to very personal just a few months earlier.
Angela had just finished a forensic reconstruction of an individual based on a partial skull and was walking towards Brennan's office with a copy of her computer-assisted sketch when she heard a loud male voice bellowing from inside the office. Her breath caught in her throat and she stopped a few feet away from Brennan's office door as she listened to the argument within.
"...and, Tempe, I had thought, after all these years, that you'd finally got some sense in that beautiful skull of yours, honey, and finally figured out that you deserve better than that."
"Dad," Brennan sighed in a weary voice that Angela had rarely heard Brennan use outside of when she was conversing with one of her family members. "We've already been through this. It's my life, and it's my decision. You don't get a vote. I'm sorry you didn't get the memorandum."
"I can't believe it," Max Keenan grumbled. "I-I..." His voice cut off abruptly as he laughed darkly. "You know, it's one thing to sleep with him. I know that ship sailed years ago, so there's no point—"
"That's right, Dad," Brennan interrupted, her voice rising sharply. "You don't get a vote in who I date, who I sleep with or who I marry. You never have, and you never will, so just deal with it or turn around and walk right out that door, and maybe we can talk in a decade or two when you've come to your senses...just like you always do."
"But, don't you see, honey?" Max tried pleading again. "I can't...not with him. With anyone else but him, I'd try. But...with him? I mean, Jesus, Tempe, he's dipped that nib of his in so many bottles of ink it makes me sick to even think about it. He thinks he can use that charming grin of his to get whatever damn thing he wants, and he always has. He's been doing that for ages, Tempe. You know it. I know it. And, he knows we both know it. That's why he's always pulled that little dark and brooding act on you, waxed a little vulnerable, flashed you that charm-smile of his because he knows it's the one thing that will make you look the other way. You've actually always fallen for that not so subtle move of his, and I'll never, ever understand why. I mean, come on, Tempe. You fell for it. You actually fell for it. How can you not understand? You deserve so much more—"
"I deserve to be happy, Dad," Brennan interrupted again. "And Booth makes me happy—very happy, in fact. I love him. I've loved him for a long, long time. You know that better than most. And, now, more importantly, he's my husband. Booth and I got married. Why can't you understand this? I mean, I finally did what you've been harping about for centuries. I finally did it after you thought I never would. I married the person I love more than anything in the world, just like you did when you married Mom.So, that's it, Dad. You need to just accept reality and deal with it. And..." There was a shuffling of papers and the sound of a desk chair's wheels rolling on the floor. "We're done discussing this. At least, I am. I need to get back to work. Angela's on her way with a sketch of a murder victim and I have better things to do than argue with my hard-headed father about a marriage that has already been concluded and, lest there be any doubt, duly consummated."
Angela stood there in the hallway outside Brennan's office clutching the file folder to her chest, her mouth gaping open in shock. She wasn't sure whether to quietly turn around and go back to her office, to squeal with joy that Booth and Brennan finally stopped doing their insane dance of unresolved sexual tension and finally did the horizontal tango, or to march into her best friend's office and choke her with her bare hands for not spilling the beans about her marriage—her marriage!—earlier. She was still standing there moments later when Max Keenan stormed out of the office and nearly collided with her as she stood there in stunned silence.
Yes, indeedy, Angela thought with a grin. Nothing can surprise me about those two anymore...not even if I caught them going at it somewhere in the lab. I'm just glad both of them finally got their heads screwed on the right way and got their acts together before something stupid happened to keep them apart even longer than they have been like some new cold-blooded blonde twit that Booth seems to attract like flies.
"He knows I like it," Brennan explained as Angela refocused on what her friend was saying. "And, since flowers of the Narcissus jonquilia variety are my favorite, he continues to send them," Brennan smiled as she became lost in her thoughts of the true symbolism behind why she liked getting those particular flowers from him.
After a minute of silence between them, Angela finally broke the silence by asking, "So where is Il Studalissimo, anyway? I thought I saw him earlier. He leave to head back to the Hoover or is he out and about with Cam somewhere knocking heads together in that uber sexy way of his?"
Closing the journal that had fallen into her lap and tossing it on the coffee table, Brennan shook her head as she replied, "No, I don't think so. I'm fairly certain he's just outside."
"Doing what?" Angela asked. "Drumming up attendance numbers for the Jeffersonian by parading his sexy self back and forth in front of the main entrance?"
"No," Brennan said, a faint smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "If I know him as well as I think I do, and if I must say so myself, I think I know him very, very well, I believe he's sitting in the Sequoia pouting right now."
"About what?" Angela asked with a curious arch of her eyebrow. "His latest issue of Studly G-Man Monthly get lost in the mail?"
"No," Brennan explained with her previous chuckle growing into a hearty laugh. "That's not it at all."
Her chin jutting up, Angela's brown eyes sparkled as she tilted her head and asked, "Okay. I'll bite. What's got his starched boxer briefs in a bunch?"
Licking her lips, Brennan answered, "I told him that I would buy him one of the new Dodge Vipers, one of the SRT-10 roadsters that he's been salivating over for about six weeks...ever since he found out what the new models look like."
"Okay, honey," Angela said as her brow furrowed.
She remembered walking into the diner a few weeks earlier and finding the two partners sitting at their usual corner table, discussing the features of the new Viper. As she sat down at the table with them, Booth acknowledged her with a warm smile and a friendly nod before launching back into his recital of the engine specifications of the coupe (510 horsepower and 535 pound-feet of torque) versus the roadster (500 horsepower and 525 pound-feet of torque). At the time, she'd assumed it was another one of the moments of geek that Booth tended to lapse into within the first day or so after the latest issue of Car and Driver hit the newsstand. Angela had uttered a quick laugh as she found herself unable to contain her surprise as she realized that they hadn't been discussing the car generally, but rather had been talking about which he actually wanted. For a guy who loved cars as much as Booth did—Angela would readily admit to having had certain fantasies over the years involving a 1965 Camaro jacked up in a garage and a grease-smeared Booth wearing tight jeans and a white wifebeater T-shirt where he saw just how flexible the artist really was as he bent her over just the right surface—he should've been over the moon at being able to drive a high-powered sports car like that on weekends. She shook her head in puzzlement.
"Color me confused," she said. "You told Booth you'd buy him an expensive toy like that, and he's pissy why?"
"Well, I'm not quite certain why myself," Brennan said. "Except, I suspect it has to do with the fact that I told him that we could buy it. I wanted to buy it for him, actually."
"So...the problem is?" Angela prompted with a gentle wave of her arm.
Brennan shrugged. "I actually wanted to do it for him. I wanted to buy it for him. But—"
"But," Angela prodded the forensic anthropologist with a gently knowing look on her face. "You put what condition on it?"
Scowling for a few seconds, Brennan's mouth twisted before she then sighed and answered, "I told him if we were going to get one, I wanted to get the black one."
"Ohhhh," Angela said, as comprehension dawned. If nothing else, Booth was a red-blooded American male, and she knew that nothing screamed machismo louder than a hot red sports car zooming down the road with a low, throaty growl as its engine revved up in top gear. The very thought of it oozed masculinity, she thought. Just like Booth. "I get it now. He wanted a different color? What, red, or something?"
"Yes," Brennan nodded. "Indeed. He liked the dark cherry red one quite well."
"Okay, Bren. So, what's the big deal?" Angela asked. "I mean, the black is sexy as hell, but the red is pretty hot, too. Is it really that big a deal to you? I mean, if it were me, I'd kill my dad and the rest of his bandmates without blinking twice to get either one."
Pursing her lips, Brennan said, "In fact, Ange, I do have my own reasons for preferring the black."
Angela cocked an eyebrow as she asked, "That are important enough to get Booth's fur in a dander? Really?"
Slowly nodding, Brennan answered, "Indeed, the reason is quite important to me. However, as you've alluded to, since it was such a big deal for him, I was willing to compromise."
Another look of confusion furrowed Angela's smooth almond colored brow before she blinked a few times and then asked, "Wait, I don't get it. Now I'm really confused. Are you telling me that Booth is still having some epic hissy fit even though you said that you were going to get the color Viper he wanted? You told him that you'd get the black one, right?"
Nodding slowly, Brennan confirmed, "Correct."
"Then, what's the problem?" Angela asked. "What am I missing? Because I gotta tell you, Bren, it feels like I'm missing something at least the size of the Grand Canyon."
Shrugging her slightly slumped shoulders, Brennan responded, "Well, it's simple really. Booth continued to sulk even when I told him that if he really wanted the red one, for him, I'd grudgingly find it an acceptable substitution—"
"Wait," Angela said, waving her hand vaguely in the air. "You already said that part, Bren. And I didn't get it the first time. If you told him that you were okay with the red one, then why is he still being pissy?"
"Because," Brennan said wryly. She leaned back against the couch cushion and rolled her shoulders back with a wince, then gave a weary sigh before she continued. "He wanted both—the black one and the red one, and he thought he could charm his way into getting both. But, then I had to tell him no at lunch...again...for the umpteenth time in the past two days. We've been over this point before. He doesn't seem to understand that just because we have money and he 'wants something cool' that doesn't mean we should buy it. So, he dropped me off in front of the Jeffersonian and refused to come in. I believe this is his passive aggressive way of sulking about it since he knows I'm right. Between my silver Mercedes, the blue Prius, and the Sequoia, there are only so many additional cars that it's realistic for us to have. I told him we could purchase either the black or the red Viper...but not both."
Angela chuckled as she imagined Booth sitting out there in the garage pouting. In some ways, it was yet another surprise, seeing the Special Agent with the working-class Pennsylvania roots acquiesce to having money spent on him and being able to spend more lavishly than he had when he'd only access to his government salary to live on. Yet then again, she'd long ago noticed that Booth had always been willing to spend a pretty penny when it came to certain luxuries—his well-tailored wool suits, a half-dozen custom-fitted leather jackets, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, of which he owned at least three pair—so perhaps it wasn't a tremendous stretch to see him accede to enjoying the fruits of Brennan's wealth.
Shaking her head in amusement, Angela's eyes danced with laughter as she said, "You just love punishing that boy, don't you?"
"I might enjoy just a tad of sadistic pleasure from inflicting such pain on Booth, yes," Brennan chuckled. She then said, "Besides, from a more practical perspective, if we got both, I wouldn't have any place to park the Deep Impact Blue V6 Mustang convertible I pre-ordered from Ford when it comes off the assembly line."
Angela's eyes narrowed and a smirk curved her lips as she said, "And who's the Mustang for?"
Brennan smacked her lips as she said quite happily, "Me."
She smiled as she thought about the car, and how she was very particular about the things that she wanted. when she wanted it. She didn't just want a sports car—she wanted a very specific sports car in a very specific color, and she had bided her time waiting for the right one to come along with all of the features she wanted. In a way, the car was yet in a long line of handsome indulgences she'd sought after over the years, being willing to wait patiently until the right one came along, but once she had set her eyes on what she wanted, she was relentless in pursuing it, with very little regard for the cost. She thought about her home in London's Cheapside district, which she had long since rented out after leaving England for America, and she thought about the charming, brash man she took into her bed when she still lived in that cozy, timbered home, and how he, too, was another indulgence that she was determined to have as her own. She shrugged a little as she considered how heavy the cost of his love had been, and how she would never have guessed that the night she first laid eyes on his smirking, sweat-slicked face after the boxing match in Covent Garden in 1860.
"Oh, Bren," Angela said, taking a deep breath as she looked at her friend sitting there on the couch, her feet propped up as she shifted her posture again, struggling to find a comfortable position despite the changes that Booth's child had wrought on her body. "Somehow," she added with a toothy smile, "I think Booth will get over it." She paused for a beat before she added, "I'll be back in a bit. Try not to overdo it okay?" She took one last admiring glance at Brennan, then nodded to herself and walked out of the office.
A/N2: So, there we have it. We bet some of you weren't expecting that little bombshell, were you? ::grin:: Brennan's pregnant...Booth is pouting...what's to come next? Want to find out, the next chapter is cued and ready to go, so help encourage us to post it all the more quickly to let us know what you think of the latest turn of events. Thanks for reading!