Chapter Title: Every time she sneezes...
Characters: Brennan, Booth
Summary: "Yup, the mighty Temperance Brennan was sick."
Notes: This is pure, unadulterated fluff. If you don't like fluff, don't read this. Takes place after Season 3, Episode 4. No spoilers in this part, but there may be some in future parts.
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely meant to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
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I've been sick the past few days -- not as sick as Brennan, though. 'Tis the season, I guess. :D If you commented previously and you haven't heard back from me yet, that's why. I'm catching up, slowly. Thank you for your feedback or just for reading.
Just to reiterate the warning in the previous chapter, this story is pure fluff. Hopefully it's not badly written fluff, but it's still fluff. Read at your own risk. ;)
I am not above begging for comments, so if you have a minute, please let me know what you thought. Smilies, frowns, paragraphs, and everything in between are so appreciated.
Booth bit back a sigh when he stopped by the head of Brennan's bed. He eased her down onto the mattress, making a mental note to up the weights next time he lifted upper body at the gym. No more slacking. She was almost as tall as he was and heavier than she looked, thanks to her muscle. Of course, he'd never tell her that; she'd probably grab his gun and shoot him before the last words had left his mouth. Better not to push his luck. He was already on her shit list for coming by that morning.
He stifled a laugh and picked up her bunched up comforter, which lay in a sad heap on the floor. After he'd made sure it was tucked securely around her, he reached for the digital thermometer on her night-stand. "All right, Bones. Open up and say ahh."
"I'm not a child, Booth."
"I know. But sometimes you act like one."
"I do not."
"I think it's best that you leave now," she said, glaring at him.
"Ouch." He clutched a hand to his chest in mock pain. "You know, you're going to hurt my feelings if you keep trying to kick me out."
"Why are you still here, Booth? Is it so you can gloat over my pathetic state?"
"No, of course not." He shook his head. "I came to take you to brunch; I'm staying because you're sick. If you want me to go, you're going to have throw me out of here. So, the question is, do you really feel like getting out of bed and taking me on right now?" He really hoped she didn't say yes; he wasn't at his best without breakfast.
Brennan glowered at him, her red-rimmed eyes promising unheard of levels of pain once she'd recovered. That was just something he'd have to risk.
Finally, she sniffled and shook her head.
"Look," he said, consciously softening his tone, "you're not pathetic, Bones." He patted her shoulder. "You're just sick. It happens to everyone. All you need is some meds and a little rest." And a little TLC, he added silently. "Now, can we please take your temperature?"
She held her hand out to him in answer. He passed her the thermometer and perched on the very edge of her bed, waiting. When the thermometer beeped, he pulled it out of her mouth before she could take it. "101.6 degrees." He frowned and took in her flushed cheeks and glazed eyes. "What time did you last take some medicine?"
"I don't need medicine. I'm just going to go back to sleep for a little while, and I'm sure I'll feel fine when I wake up. I will not be cowed by mild congestion." She sounded very confident — until she sneezed.
"Bless you," he said, and handed her a tissue. "Don't forget puking and fever," he added helpfully. "You need to take some meds, Bones. Tylenol or Advil would be good."
"Can't you go bother someone else?"
The woman took independence to ridiculous new heights. He had to remind himself sometimes that she needed as much as anyone else did, maybe even more — she just wasn't used to having her needs met. "I could, but why would I, when I can just stay here and torture you instead? Admit it, you don't have any medicine."
She sighed in defeat. "The Tylenol is expired."
"You could have just..." he trailed off. He shook his head. "Never mind. No problem. I'll just run to the store and pick up some Tylenol for your fever and some ginger ale for your stomach."
"How do you know I don't already have ginger ale?"
"I've never seen you drink it."
"So? Just because you haven't seen me drink it doesn't mean I don't enjoy it on occasion."
"You're right," he said, gritting his teeth and willing himself to be patient and understanding. "Do you have any ginger ale?"
He rolled his eyes. "Ok, so I'll add that to the list. Can I borrow your key?" He hurried to explain. "That way I can lock up behind me, and you won't have to get up and let me back in."
"It's on the kitchen counter."
"Ok. I'll be back soon. Try to get some sleep." He stood and turned to leave the room.
"You don't know everything about me, Booth," she called out.
He paused in the doorway and looked at her over his shoulder. "I know. Just the things you think it's safe for me to know."
Something in her expression shifted a second before her glance slid away.
When Booth got back from the store, he set the bags down in the kitchen and then searched them for the Tylenol and ginger ale. He poured a glass of the soda and carried it into Brennan's bedroom. "Hey, you awake?" he whispered.
She heaved a heavy sigh. "Unfortunately, yes."
Sunlight streamed in through the window; he pulled down the blinds, hoping it would help her sleep. As he helped her sit up in the bed, the comforter fell to her waist. I will not look at her chest. I will not look at her chest.
Ok, I'm looking at her chest — but only for a second. Oh, I'm going straight to hell, aren't I?
He pressed the two pills into her hands. "Here. These should bring your fever down and help you sleep. I got one of those multi-symptom things. And this—" he handed her the glass of ginger ale, "should help settle your stomach."
She took several sips of the soda, her hand trembling. He grabbed the glass from her before she could drop it. Weird. To see her so visibly weak was just weird. But he knew better than to comment. "I know you haven't eaten anything today. I think you should try a slice of toast. We can try soup later on. I know, I know, you're vegetarian. So chicken soup's out. We'll do vegetable. But what do you think about toast?"
"Ok, Booth, I will try eating a piece of toast. Is that better?"
"No, I mean, you're not going to give me a lecture on the anthropological significance of a man making a woman toast?"
There was a long pause during which he saw his life flash before his eyes.
"That hadn't occurred to me yet. I'm having difficulty...thinking." Her lips twitched upward in a tiny smile. "But now that you mention it..."
"All right. I think I'll just quit while I'm ahead." He raised his index finger. "One piece of toast, coming up."
He stuffed his hands into his pockets, fiddling with her apartment key, and watched her eye the toast suspiciously. "I didn't poison it, if that's what you're thinking. Just eat it already."
She took one bite. Then another. "Are you just going to stand there and stare at me while I eat?"
He shrugged. "I already ate. Grabbed a Sausage McMuffin at McDonald's."
"Since you're clearly not leaving... You're not leaving, are you?"
"Nope. I stopped at my place and picked up some things so I can stay here tonight."
"I don't need a nurse, Booth."
"Good, 'cause me? Not a big fan of nurses." He scratched his chin. "Although, there was that one at the hospital after your refrigerator blew up. She was smokin' hot. And she brought me extra chocolate pudding." The memory brought a smile to his face.
"What are you going to do, Booth — annoy me into feeling better?"
He flashed her a grin. "Something like that."
"Well then, you might as well do it sitting down."
"Ok. I'll go get a chair from out front."
He caught the flicker of amusement in her eyes. "You can sit on the bed."
"Unless...That is, if you'd rather sit on a chair, well, then..." she trailed off, looking away and plucking at the comforter. Her cheeks turned noticeably redder.
It was his turn to be amused. "No. No, bed's fine." He took off his shoes and placed them neatly on the floor before lifting the corner of the comforter and carefully sliding underneath it.
She'd invited him into her bed. Not like that. But still...
Brennan wiped her mouth and blew her nose before lying back down. Booth picked up the book that lay on top of the comforter. "No wonder you couldn't sleep," he said, his tone accusatory. "You were reading."
"No, I couldn't sleep, so I decided to read."
He looked at the front of the book, but it was a hardback, and the cover was missing. He checked the spine. The Beach Alibi. Alison Kent. Neither the title nor the author seemed familiar, but he was glad she was reading something other than an anthropology journal for a change. How squinty could something with the word "beach" in the title be, after all?
Noticing him opening the book, Brennan grabbed for it. But he held it over his head and out of her reach. "Listen, if you want to read right now, I'll read to you. You don't want to strain your eyes." Parker liked it when Booth read to him; he always begged him to do the voices. Maybe it would help Brennan fall asleep.
Booth flipped to the page marked by an index card, cleared his throat, and began to read aloud. "She flexed her fingers once, twice, her gaze caught by the movement as if seeing his bare skin..." He trailed off, his eyes narrowing and then widening as he processed the next few sentences. Clearly he'd misunderstood the reason she'd grabbed for the book when she saw him holding it. He snapped the book shut. "Oh ho. Bones! I can't believe you're reading porn."
"It's not pornography. It's a romance novel." She huffed and rolled over onto her side. "And I'm reading it for research, not sexual gratification. My editor said some of my scenes need more...heat. She suggested this author."
"Sure, I get it. It's 'research,'" he said, raising his hands and making airquotes. "Tomayto, tomahto." He paused for a moment and let her be lulled by the silence, before he leaned down by her ear. "You read porn." He straightened, throwing back his head and laughing until his stomach hurt, ignoring Brennan's halfhearted jab to his shoulder. Finally, he wiped his eyes and settled down.
He wondered what ideas she had picked up from the book. The thought was strangely intriguing, and it made him shift uncomfortably on the bed.
Brennan groaned, recapturing his attention. She rolled onto her back and covered her eyes.
"My head feels like there's someone inside, jumping up and down. Repeatedly." She groaned again, and he winced in sympathy. "I know that's not possible. But that's how it feels."
His laughing like a donkey probably hadn't helped. Instantly remorseful, he turned to face her and tugged her hand from her eyes. "Hey, it's going to take a little while for the Tylenol to kick in."
Brennan's eyes opened and she looked at him, breathing through her mouth, her forehead scrunched in pain. Releasing her hand, Booth let his right hand hover over her forehead. "What are you doing?"
"I'm about to massage your forehead. But only if you promise not to hit me."
She frowned as if she were considering his words. "All right," she said with a decisive nod. "But don't get any ideas."
He raised his eyebrows. "I make you toast. You invite me into your bed and try to seduce me with porn. What ideas could I possibly get?" he asked, chuckling softly.
The frown smoothed, and her eyes, though bloodshot and tired, took on a distinctly devilish glint. "Booth," she said, infusing his name with something that made his stomach contract, "If I were trying to seduce you, I wouldn't need pornography to do it." The words were no less sexy because her voice was made low and husky by the congestion. She held his gaze unblinkingly, and he felt his cheeks grow warm.
He looked away first, clearing his throat.
"I apologize. Did I disturb your Catholic sensibilities?"
He snorted. "As if."
"As if what?"
"Just be quiet," he muttered, brushing her hair back and cupping her head. Brennan's eyes drifted shut. Booth started at her eyebrows, using his thumbs to smooth over them in a firm, straight line. The tiny hairs tickled his thumbs, and he smiled. He worked his way up her forehead, trying to keep his touch gentle. Her skin felt hot and just the slightest bit damp under his hands. Finally, he came to her temples, where he rubbed small circles with his fingertips. She sighed.
He paused. "Tell me if I'm doing it too hard."
"I like it a little hard." The words slurred together, and Booth wondered if the Tylenol and his fingers were starting to work.
"I'll keep that in mind," he replied with a smirk
Brennan's eyes blinked open, and he could tell she was having trouble focusing. "That didn't come out the way I intended."
"Didn't it?" he asked, massaging the spot between her eyebrows.
"Shut up, Booth," she replied, but the words lacked heat.
Maybe he should take advantage of her drowsy state. He pitched his voice low. "You know, Bones, it's ok to need people sometimes."
"Hmmm..." she murmured. "I don't need anyone."
Booth moved his fingers back to Brennan's temples and waited to see if she would say anything else. He didn't have to wait too long.
"Right there," she said, tapping the center of her forehead. Her hand flopped back on the pillow and she sighed.
"Ok." He obeyed her request and moved his fingers.
To be continued...
*The Beach Alibi is an actual book by Alison Kent. I haven't read it; I just pulled the sentence included in this chapter from an online excerpt.