Chapter Title: Dare you to move.
Characters: Brennan, Booth
Summary: "Yup, the mighty Temperance Brennan was sick."
Notes: Takes place after Season 3, Episode 4. Minor reference to something mentioned in Intern in the Incinerator.
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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A/N: If anyone is wondering, I haven't abandoned my other stories. They'll all get their turn. Don't hold me to it, but I think I might finish this one out before I move on to the others, as there probably isn't too much left. :)
This chapter gave me fits; I think it may very well suck. For which I apologize.
So, how about that Santa in the Slush? ;)
As always, you have my sincere thanks for reading (and reviewing, if you do that). Happy Friday, my friends!
Chapter 5: Dare You to Move
"Aren't you going to kiss it and make it better?"
The words he'd just spoken ricocheted in Booth's skull, and he mentally smacked himself in the head. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Great time for his mouth to detach from his brain. Said brain raced as he scrambled to find a way back onto solid ground. He ripped a page from Brennan's playbook—when in doubt, fight. "What's the matter, Bones? Cat got your tongue?" He allowed his mouth to stretch into a grin he knew would infuriate her. "Didn't think I'd live to see the day you'd be speechless."
"Ha," she answered, and set the daffodil card on the kitchen counter. "You wish." She gave a haughty sniff, crossed her arms over her chest, and widened her stance. "As if anything you said could possibly render me speechless."
A flash of inspiration swept over Booth, and his grin widened. Maybe there was a way to salvage the situation, after all, and have a little fun, too. "Come on, Bones. I dare ya. Kiss my thumb."
"You dare me to kiss your thumb?" Brennan's forehead wrinkled in disbelief.
"Yup. I dare you." He nodded smugly. "'I know you're too chicken to do it. Probably afraid you won't be able to resist the old Seeley Booth charm; few women can." He rocked back on his heels and snapped an invisible pair of suspenders.
She rolled her eyes and shook her head as if she were a teacher and he a naughty schoolboy. "This one can," she muttered. "But I'm still not kissing your thumb. It's an utterly juvenile idea."
"Bok bok!" he clucked, tucking his hands in his armpits and flapping his arms like a chicken. He egged her on, counting on her inability to resist a direct challenge—especially one that came from him.
"How old are you, Booth?"
He clucked again, this time adding a little head motion to it for good measure.
She suddenly stood straighter. "Let's make this a little more interesting, shall we?" she asked, one elegant eyebrow raised. She smiled a Mona Lisa smile, and he gulped, smelling trouble. "If I do it, if I kiss your thumb, what do I get in return?"
"I don't know. What do you want?"
An unholy gleam lit her eyes, and another slow smile slid over her face. "If I do it, before dinner you have to read aloud a few sentences of my choosing from The Beach Alibi." Ah, there it was again, that pesky ability of hers to turn things around on him.
He stroked his chin thoughtfully and silently considered her words. How bad could it be, even if he lost? "Ok. I accept your terms. But what if I win? What if you don't have the nerve to kiss it? What do I get?"
She shrugged. "I don't know. What do you want?" she asked, parroting his own words back to him.
A dangerous question, that. Possibilities flooded his brain, and he turned them all over and discarded them one by one until only a single option remained. "I get to ask you a question. One question. You have to answer." She opened her mouth to speak, and he anticipated her question. "And no, I won't give you any hints." The way he figured it, it was a win-win situation for him. If he won, she'd have to answer his question. If he lost, he'd still get a kiss on the thumb from her. Of course, then he'd have to read aloud from her "romance novel." He was going to ignore that part until and unless it became unavoidable.
"Fine," she said, her expression nonchalant. The pause only lasted for a split-second, but he noticed it and wondered at its cause. "I have nothing to hide."
"Everyone has something to hide." The quiet words caused Brennan's gaze to sharpen, so Booth hastily changed the subject. "So...What'll it be, Bones?"
"That's an easy question to answer, Booth." She gazed at him like he was a poor sucker. "I'll kiss your thumb." She stepped forward.
"Oh," he raised his hand as if to stop her, "just one more thing: the kiss has to last for three Mississippis."
"What?" Her befuddlement made him smile.
"Three seconds, Bones. I'll count 'em off."
"Fair enough," she replied with a nod before reaching for his hand with both of hers.
He held his breath as she clasped his forearm with one hand and wrapped the other around his palm. The smile slipped from his face as she tugged his hand toward her...and finally pressed his thumb against the pillowy softness of her mouth.
The sensation jolted him so that it took a second before he remembered to count. "One Mississippi." She stared at him without blinking, her pupils wide and dark; he stared back, feeling as though he were in a dark tunnel with only a spot of light—centered on her face. "Two Mississippi." Her fingers fluttered across the underside of his arm, and he felt an answering flutter in his chest. A shiver arced down his spine, and goosebumps rose in response. "Three Mississippi," he finished, praying she didn't notice that he sounded a bit breathless.
Brennan's lips parted, and her warm breath swept Booth's skin a moment before she released him. The bottom dropped out of his stomach. She didn't step back immediately, as he expected she would, and he found himself clearing his throat. He stuffed his hands into his pockets the minute he realized he was stroking his thumb with his other hand. Seeley Booth had been with lots of women, and he liked to think of himself as a smooth and confident man. But something about this woman threw him off-balance and made him feel like a boy sometimes.
Like right now.
Brennan blinked and brushed her thumb over her mouth. "I win." Her lips curved in an enigmatic smile that didn't quite reach the sky of her eyes, and Booth found himself wondering who had won what. "So, ready for storytime?"
They settled on opposite ends of the couch, he with his legs stretched out in front of him, and she with her bent knees drawn up to her chest, revealing her bare feet. He glanced at his watch. "I think it's time for your next dose of Tylenol, Bones."
"You're stalling, Booth." She quirked an eyebrow and flashed him a knowing look that made him grit his teeth.
"No, I'm not. I'm just concerned for your health and well-being, Bones. It's been over six hours."
"A few more minutes won't hurt." She waved her hand at the book she'd brought out from the bedroom and set beside him on the couch. "Now, either start reading, or concede defeat."
"Concede defeat? You've gotta be kidding me. Never." He picked up the book and stared at the sentences she'd underlined, willing the book to burst into flames. When nothing happened, he heaved a sigh of disappointment. He turned his head to look at Brennan, and she gazed back at him expectantly, her eyes twinkling with mirth. At his expense, damn it. He cracked his neck and sighed. Might as well get this over with.
He raised the book to eye level and began to read aloud. "When he didn’t answer immediately—or at all—she raised her gaze and asked him again with her eyes. You want to kiss me? And suddenly he realized there was nothing he wanted more." Booth paused and closed his eyes.
He could do this.
He skipped to the next sentence she'd underlined in blue ink. "A want that caught him like a hard knock to the jaw because it seemed so right for all the wrong reasons," Booth droned in a monotone.
"Booth, you're cheating," Brennan scolded with a frown. "I'm certain this isn't how you read to Parker. This should be a dramatic reading. With feeling. Try and inject a little enthusiasm into the words. Remember, this is supposed to be entertaining."
Oh, he had no doubt that this was entertaining—for her. He tightened his grip on the book and continued reading. "She slid both hands up his chest to his neck, cradled his nape first, then the base of his skull, and lifted her face, lips parted, eyes sharp as if taking him in like she would the rules to an exam." Booth paused to take a breath, and the meaning of what he was reading began to sink in. Cold terror blew threw him when he realized that the description of the sharp eyes reminded him of his partner. He shifted on the couch, trying in vain to get comfortable as he was hit with a visual of Bones sliding her hands up his chest. Unnerved, he shot her a sideways glance and noted the small smile playing about her mouth.
Damn her; she was enjoying this.
How? How was it that she'd taken something he knew had been embarrassing for her and then managed to make him squirm?
"He lowered his head, covered her mouth, took full advantage of her lips that were yielding and accepting..." Booth inhaled slowly, trying to get his pulse under control and marshal his thoughts, which were suddenly filled with pictures of him kissing Brennan. This was worse—way worse—than his wandering thoughts while she'd been taking a bath. Because now he actually had some clue what her lips would feel like against his, if that ridiculous thumb kiss was any indication. And what the hell had he been thinking, anyway?
That wasn't even a kiss. It was his thumb, for crying out loud. Nothing remotely sexy about that. No way.
Why did his pants suddenly feel tight? "...And so very hot when she kissed him back. She slipped her tongue along his, played with his, tempted..." Booth slammed the book shut and tossed it on the couch. "For the love of...Enough, Bones. You win. So help me, you win." If this had been a test, he'd have gotten a big, fat "F" circled in bright red ink. Booth swallowed thickly and shook his head. His ears were burning; he could feel it. What if he'd caught whatever Brennan had? That would explain it.
The couch sagged as Brennan moved to sit next to him. Mortified, Booth stared straight ahead and wished the floor would open up and swallow him. "You did much better toward the end, Booth." The words sounded surprisingly cool and controlled. He would have expected more gloating. He snuck a peek at her out of the corner of his eye and noticed the way her shoulders shook with suppressed laughter.
And somehow that made it ok. The ridiculousness of the situation dawned on him then, and Booth felt the tension leave his shoulders. His lips twitched in response to Brennan's obvious amusement, and he nudged her with his shoulder. "You're a dirty girl, Bones," he said, unable to keep the admiring note out of his voice.
"Thanks, Booth." She nudged him back. "I have to admit, you lasted longer than I thought you would. Oh, and by the way, I won." This time she made no effort to hide her amusement, throwing him a Cheshire Cat grin that made him want to strangle her and kiss her senseless. Whoa. So not going there again. Even though he could still smell the spicy fragrance of her body wash. Why couldn't she just be smelly and snaggletoothed? This would all be so much easier then.
"Way to be a gracious winner, Bones."
"I don't believe in being gracious, Booth. I believe in being honest."
Booth turned to face her, his legs brushing hers as he did so. "Really? You mean that?"
"Of course," she replied without hesitation. "You should know that by now."
Maybe this was the opening he hadn't known he needed. "Then you won't mind if I ask you a question." He had tried to keep his tone neutral, but he felt the stiffness in her body, as if she were bracing for a blow. Maybe she knew him as well as he knew her.
The atmosphere in the room thickened, and for a moment, Booth studied the shadows cast against the wall by the lamps situated around the room. He took a deep breath and then slowly released it.
"What was it like for you when you and Hodgins were buried alive?"