Chapter Title: Pretense
Rating: T or PG-13 for some language
Summary: Booth catches Brennan getting ready for a date.
Characters: Booth, Brennan
Timeline/Spoilers: Set not too long after 3x13: The Verdict in the Story, so everything through that episode is fair game.
Notes: This grew out of a writing prompt posted by willgirl If this looks familiar, that's because Chapter 1 was in All That Lies Between Us..
Feedback: is always appreciated. If criticizing, please be constructive.
Disclaimer: Bones and its characters belong to FOX, not me. This story is purely mean to entertain. No copyright infringement is intended.
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Chapter 1: Pretense
Watching her apply lipstick shouldn’t be this interesting. Booth stood in the doorway of Brennan's office and found himself nearly hypnotized, his gaze tracking each stroke of red pigment on Brennan’s mouth. Cultural significance blah blah blah, he could practically hear her say. To him, it just looked hot. “Objectifying yourself, Bones?” he asked, sarcastic smile firmly in place.
“I have a date,” she replied, glancing down at a small mirror in her hand and sounding way too preoccupied for his liking. When she pressed her lips together, Booth nearly groaned at the sight, his body choosing that inconvenient moment to notice for the thousandth time that his partner was a gorgeous woman with a gorgeous mouth.
“Really?” He injected a note of skepticism into his voice as he strolled toward her.
“Don’t sound so surprised, Booth.”
Shrugging he said, “It’s just that you hadn’t mentioned you were seeing anyone.” Leaning against the edge of her desk, he watched her retract the lipstick and stick the cap back on. When he'd decided to stop by, he'd expected to find Brennan nose deep in bone fragments or paperwork, not doing something girly like putting on makeup. For another man's benefit, his brain helpfully added.
“Do I tell you everything about my personal life?” she said.
”Actually, yeah. Usually you do.” He barely repressed a shudder as her question reminded him of Sully and every excruciating detail of their relationship that she’d shared with him.
”Then I must have forgotten to mention it. It’s a first date.” When she reached for her purse, Booth snatched the tube of lipstick off the desk.
“Give it back,” Brennan said, swatting his leg.
Satisfied now that he had her full attention, Booth ignored her and turned over the lipstick. “Ooooh, Scarlet Temptation.” He snickered and glanced at Brennan. “Who the hell comes up with these names?” Not that she needed lipstick; her lips looked pretty damned tempting completely bare. Not that he'd noticed. Much.
“I’m going to be late.” She shoved back her chair and stood, grabbing for the lipstick. He danced away from her, holding the treasure over his head. “Could you please stop being childish and give it back?”
He grinned. “Nope. Not till you tell me about the tool of the day.”
He rolled his eyes. ”Who’s this guy you’re going out with tonight?”
“That’s none of your business,” she shot back, frowning.
He raised his eyebrows. “Since when?” If it had to do with Brennan, it was his business. Simple as that. He'd stopped asking himself exactly why that was the case a while ago. An anthropological inevitability. Or something. The sky was blue, grass was green, and Brennan was his business -- whether she liked it or not.
“Well, it’s not as if you tell me about all the women you date -- or the ones with whom you satisfy your biological urges.” She made another grab for the lipstick, but he palmed it with his other hand and held it behind his back.
“That's different.” He really wished she'd stop talking about biological urges. The squint speak he'd gotten used to. But hearing those two words had the unfortunate effect of reminding him of the urges he'd been having whenever he came within ten feet of her.
“Oh? How so?”
“For starters, my track record’s better than yours. None of the women I’ve dated are murderers or—”
“I'm going to ignore that comment,” she said, giving him her snootiest look, “but only because I don't have time to engage in a debate with you right now.”
“Oh, so now you don't have time for your partner?” he asked, annoyed by her changing priorities.
“Did you need something?” she asked, raising her arms in a questioning gesture. “From where I'm standing, it appears that you're only here to irritate me.”
Moving more quickly than he thought she could given that she was wearing heels, Brennan lunged, catching his hand and trying to pry his fingers open. Booth stepped back, pulling her with him. She collided with his chest and he grinned. Having her this close wasn't exactly a bad thing.
Her blue eyes narrowed. “Give it back,” she said, her warm breath puffing against his face.
“No.” Laughing, Booth yanked his hand free and shoved the lipstick in his right pocket.
Arching an eyebrow, she smirked at him. “You think I wouldn't put my hand in your pocket?”
She'd do it. He didn't doubt that for a second. “I don't know. Would you?” he countered.
With her eyes locked on his, Brennan reached toward him. He captured her wrist before she got too close. “Trust me, Bones” -- still holding her wrist, he stepped forward, his free hand curving around the back of her neck -- “you don't need lipstick.”
He kept his eyes open until the last possible second, watching her watch him as he leaned closer and closer. To his surprise, she didn't pull away. Even though she could have stopped him, she didn't. Her lips parted, and she inhaled. When her eyes finally closed, he let his slide shut, too.
Her lips were softer than he remembered. Warmer. Moving slowly against his like every single fantasy he'd never admit having. Like she wanted this, him, as badly as he wanted her. There were no holidays at stake and no family members to disappoint, he realized with satisfaction. This was purely about them, and if she didn't want him, well, she could just pull away.
No steamboats to count this time. Good thing, too, because he couldn't have kept count if he'd tried.
He flicked his tongue against her bottom lip, tasting lipstick she didn't need. A distant part of his mind recognized this was way over the line, but he didn't fucking care. Who knew why he'd done it? The only thing that mattered -- the only thing Booth cared about -- was that he'd done it, and now she stood pressed against him, arms wound 'round his neck, while he swallowed the tiny noises she made in the back of her throat.
Awareness returned slowly, but return it did. Booth finally had to acknowledge they were standing in Brennan's office making out. Yeah, it was evening, so many people would have left already, but anyone who looked through those big, sparkling windows would see them. There was one small problem: he didn't want to stop. He wanted to touch her -- wherever and however she'd let him.
Booth pulled away, reluctantly breaking the kiss. His hand drifted up from her hip, and he brushed his thumb over her naked mouth. “I told you you didn't need lipstick.” He'd kissed it off her, he thought, smiling.
“I have to go,” she said, sounding guarded. Without looking at him, she retreated, dipping her head to look at her watch.
“How many times must I tell you this? I have a date.” He watched as she marched to her desk and gathered her purse and a stack of manila folders.
“You're seriously going to go out with this guy? After we...”
“After what, Booth?” she asked, eyes flashing. “What? One more kiss that didn't mean anything?”
“The hell it didn't,” he replied. How many times were they going to play this game? “And for your information, you kissed me back.”
“So? That was a reflex response.”
“Reflex? That's lame, even for you.”
“I don't know what you expected.” She shrugged. “Did you think you would kiss me and I would just fall at your feet?”
“No. Of course not.”
“Then?” she asked, regarding him coolly, lips pressed into a thin line.
He hadn't planned to kiss her. He'd just done it. Now, with her staring at him like that, the right words wouldn't come. “Bones...” Frustrated because he could feel her slipping away, Booth sighed and wiped a hand over his mouth.
Brennan bowed her head for a moment before turning and walking away, the click of her high-heeled shoes echoing off the floor. Frozen, Booth watched her go. When he could no longer see her, he collapsed on her couch, hands balled into fists and stomach tied in knots.
Shoulders slumped, he reached into his pocket and pulled out her lipstick. He rolled it in his hand, staring at it and seeing Brennan's face during those heartbeats before he'd kissed her. He laughed, the sound as hollow as he felt.
Man, had he fucked that up.
Chapter 2: Dancing
An early May breeze set tree branches dancing and swept over Brennan, dipping cool fingers into the low neck of the wrap blouse she’d worn for her date. Her skin prickled with goosebumps as she hurriedly unlocked her front door and stepped inside her apartment.
“Did you kiss him?”
Startled by the disembodied voice filtering out from the darkness, she dropped her keys. They clattered to the floor, but she stood frozen, a hand at her throat, mouth dry and heart beating too fast in her chest, even as recognition set in. “Booth. What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for you.” There was a whisper of sound. Her eyes slowly adjusted to the darkness, the rest of the room gradually coming into focus, and Booth melted out of the shadows to stand in front of her.
“So you decided to break into my apartment?”
“I didn’t break in. I used the key you gave me.”
“I didn’t give that to you to use whenever you want.”
“I wouldn’t have used it at all if it weren’t important. So, did you kiss him?”
Ignoring him, she crouched to search for her keys. Booth kneeled too, and she heard the faint jingle as he scooped them up and then rose to his feet. A twinge of anger flared inside her. She reached for the keys nestled in the curve of Booth’s palm, intending to snatch them away as quickly as possible. She wasn’t fast enough; he caught her hand, sandwiching the keys between them.
“Answer my question,” he said, his tone insistent – bordering on belligerent.
“No,” she said, her voice cool and clipped. She allowed for a second’s pause, listening to the sound of their breath and absorbing the warmth of his skin. “It wouldn’t be your business even if I’d had sex with him.” Booth didn’t need to know that while she’d sat across the table from her date, sipping her wine and trying to smile politely as the evening dragged on, her mind had repeatedly flashed back to the warm pressure of Booth’s mouth against hers.
His grip tightened fractionally. “Did you?”
She lifted her chin and met his gaze squarely. “No. I’m not in the habit of having intercourse with a man I’ve just met.” The contrarian part of her wished she could say yes just for the pleasure of irritating him.
“Good.” To her surprise, he released her and dropped her keys into her outstretched hand. “Why’d you go out with this guy anyway?”
Though she was well aware she didn’t owe him any explanation, she found herself answering regardless. If it had been anyone else who’d asked the question, she would have simply ignored him or fixed him with her most quelling look. But it wasn’t anyone else. It was Booth. “For the same reason anyone else dates – I have needs." She lifted one shoulder in a half-hearted shrug. “For companionship and conversation and yes, even sex.” Turning away, she switched on the hallway light before setting her keys inside her purse and placing the purse on the small console table near the door.
The heat from Booth’s body alerted Brennan he’d moved in directly behind her. She waited for him to touch her. She was still waiting when she turned to face him. “I believe you have something that belongs to me,” she said evenly, suppressing a surge of disappointment. Her gaze flickered from his face to the shirtsleeves rolled up over his forearms and back to his face, dissecting the tension that clung to his familiar features. “I want it back.”
“What? You mean your lipstick?”
His expression altered, smoothly shifting into lines that bespoke a challenge. “If you want it, come get it,” he said, slipping his hand into his right pant pocket and wiggling his fingers before pulling them out.
Straightening her spine, Brennan stepped forward, her heels tapping a staccato beat against the hardwood floor. Without looking away, she slid her hand into Booth’s pocket, careful not to touch anything more than the charcoal fabric.
“Careful, Bones.” Obsidian eyes held hers, and she forgot to breathe. “You’re playing with fire.”
Her fingertips brushed what felt like her lipstick case; she gripped it and extracted it, exhaling in a rush.
When she would have stepped back, Booth spoke, his words stilling her movement. “I can’t do this anymore,” he said, shaking his head, his voice pitched so low she had to strain to hear it.
Brennan blinked. “I don’t understand,” she said, eyebrows knitting in a frown. “What can’t you do?”
“This.” He waved his hand between them. “Play these stupid games. Pretend I don’t want you.”
“You want me?”
He laughed, the jagged sound skittering over and through her. “I’ve been thinking about you since you left for your date. I can’t seem to get you out of my head. It’s not fair, but maybe you need me to be the one to say it first. So this is me saying it: yes, I want you.” The laughter faded, the grooves around his mouth deepening. “I can’t stand watching you date other men anymore. And if you need to hear me say that before you’ll stop punishing me, then so be it.”
Brushing her hair back from her face, she hoped he wouldn’t notice the way her hand shook. “I’m… I’m not punishing you.” It was a blatant lie – one she desperately hoped he wouldn’t catch.
“No? What do you call telling me you kissed me back because it was a reflex?”
“That’s not the truth, Bones. That’s you in denial.” An enigmatic smile just touched his lips before disappearing. “We’ve been dancing around this for months. Probably longer than that.” He moved closer; she retreated. This continued until Booth had cornered her, the heat and solidity of him forcing her back until she stood pressed against the cold door.
“I’m done dancing.”
He hadn’t touched her. Not yet. But then he hadn’t needed to. She could feel him, anticipation sharpening her senses almost painfully. “What are you saying?” she asked, moistening lips that felt dry and sensitive.
His gaze lingered on her mouth. “I’m saying what you and I both know: we’re attracted to each other. When I kissed you today, when you kissed me on Christmas Eve, it sure as hell meant something.” Anger overlaid his statements; it dripped from each word. “All of it means something.”
Brennan blinked rapidly, words of dissent rising inside her only to die in her throat.
The man watching her so intently didn’t frighten her. No, it wasn’t fear that made her flatten her palms against the door at her back. It was desire.
The boldly patterned tie Booth had worn earlier in the day was abandoned somewhere, and the top three buttons of his white dress shirt were undone, revealing the skin at his throat. The white glowed faintly in the dim light. Tibia, fibula, patella, she chanted silently, grasping for the control that seemed to be spinning away with alarming rapidity as she observed the rhythmic rise and fall of her partner’s chest.
“Now,” he said, drawing her attention back to his face, “unless you tell me to stop, I’m going to kiss you again. Not to prove a point. Not because I’m being blackmailed. Because I want to -- and you want me to.”
Dark eyes searched her face as Booth lifted his hands and braced them against the door, on either side of her. His breath brushed her face, and her stomach clenched. “What do you say, Bones, you ready to stop dancing?”
Author's Note: Sorry, I couldn't leave well enough alone. I'm feeling restless and blocked, so this is a way for me to hopefully work out some kinks. If you have a sec, let me know what you thought.Oh happy day. *g*