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 The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!

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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:01 pm

Chapter 33. Carmen Feeds Booth, Larrinaga gets award, Booth Back to Airport

Larrinaga pulls up to the hotel entrance, hops out and greets Booth as he comes through the door. "Good morning, fellow Flyers fan. Wasn't that an awesome game? Thanks for giving me the excuse to go see it! Here, let me get that door for you."

Both had forgotten how much this guy could say in one breath. Laughing, he says, "And a good morning to you, my friend. Where we going for breakfast?"

"My house."

"What? Won't the kids still be in bed? Do we have enough time to eat and get to the ground-breaking?"

"Carmen and the kids have been up since 6:30. She's been making waffles, scrambled eggs with cheese, and bacon for twenty minutes already. She'll kill me if I don't bring you over to help get rid of them."

"Well, okay – with Special Agent Seeley Booth on board, no waffle is safe – no leftovers, guaranteed!"

"Excellent!" Then Larrinaga takes out his cell, pushes one button, and jubilantly announces, "We have lift-off. The eagle has landed and the package is in transit."

Booth smiles at the way Carmen and Larrinaga communicate. Their euphemisms the result of years of communication and the exercising of a shared sense of humor. He and Brennan have the same thing in small ways. Her making mistakes when she tries to use pop vernacular. He repeating those same mistakes back to her later in acknowledgement that they are sharing a private joke.

"Un-huh. Un-huh." Larrinaga pauses, listening to the voice on the other end of the phone. "I'll see. Love you, too. Be there in five." Larrinaga snaps the cell shut and asks, "So, how do you feel about grilled salmon covered in a delicate lemon pepper marinade?"

"For breakfast?" chuckles Booth.

"For dinner, Seeley. Carmen is going to attempt to get you to stay one more day. She says I don't have enough friends and she enjoys watching the man chat we apparently use, whatever that means. I'll warn you Seal," he continues, shortening Booth's first name. "Carmen is very hard to say no to."

"Enrique, you know I would love to – but I have to get back home tonight. I promise I'll come back out soon though. I'd love for you to meet my partner – You'd get a kick out of her."

"A kick, huh?

"Yep, she's a real kick in the pants."

"A kick in the pants …"

"Yeah, just wait, you'll see what I mean."

"And she's just a partner?"

"Yeah, here," starts Booth as he reaches into his pocket and brings out his cell. "I have a picture of her." When Booth sees the photo of Bones sleeping, he reconsiders. "On second thought, this might not be appropriate."

"WHAT? You have an INAPPROPRIATE picture of your female partner on your cell phone? You didn't say she was your girlfriend, Seeley."

"Well, she's not exactly," Booth says a bit sheepishly.

"What kind of partners do you FBI Agents get out in D.C.?"

"Enri," Booth says, making it sound like HENRY without the H, "It's kind of a funny story. You're a dad, I think you'll appreciate this …"

Booth recounts the events of the early morning, finishing up as Larrinaga pulls into the driveway of his house.

"My god," says Larrinaga, wiping the tears from his eyes. "I haven't heard a good story like that in quite a while!" After a moment of silence on their way into the house, they both crack up again. Larrinaga laughing and coughing, Booth sporting a very wide grin.

"Bones still doesn't know about it – but she will. I may end up with a black eye because of it."

"Oh, she's a bit of a force to be reckoned with, huh?"

"She's a force alright. You don't know the half of it!"

Gorged on breakfast food and thinking a nap sounds really good, Booth accompanies Larrinaga to a large grassy field on the North end of campus, right behind the Science and Engineering building. Chairs are already set up for the event, and a brand new shovel with a red, white, and blue ribbon tied in a bow and affixed below the handle sits on a small table behind the podium. These things usually bore Booth, but this one he thought he'd enjoy.

Larrinaga had been called upon by the FBI to help identify the digital source of the Anthrax-laden letters. In 2001, the killer had used the US Postal system to mail spore-laden letters killing five people, sickening 17 others and leading to billions of dollars in government and private spending aimed at defending the country against biological attacks. It was Larrinaga's pursuit of every detail and his ability to recognize a far-flung pattern by looking at the results from a distance that no one else thought could possibly amount to anything, that cracked the case wide open. A modest man, he had refused commendation. He was just doing his patriotic duty, he had said. The FBI had called upon him twice after that initial case and he was again key to the capture of unlawful people.

As the Anthrax case came to a close after almost a decade of investigation, three victims' relatives created the Stevens Morris Nguyen Foundation, with the first recipient already chosen – Dr. Enrique Larrinaga. The award stipulated that the funds be used to further scientific research in the discipline pertinent to the apprehension of instigators of chemical warfare.

This morning, Booth was present to deliver a plaque, a check, and a heart-felt handshake to Larrinaga on behalf of the United States Government. Larrinaga would then have the honor of being the first one to put the shovel to the ground on the site of the future Stevens Morris Nguyen Center which would more than double the space and technological equipment for the School of Astronomy and Physics.

The ceremony over and the cake eaten, Booth and Larrinaga headed back to their car. The juicy aroma of wet grass and fresh dirt lingering in the air around his face, Booth took a moment to thank Larrinaga for his fine work and for his friendship.

"Please give my apologies to Carmen. I do promise to come back soon for a social visit," explained Booth.

"That's right, leave me alone to disappoint Carmen. She'll be crushed."

"I'm sure she'll survive, my friend. To help you soften the blow, I ordered flowers to be sent to your house this afternoon. It's really as a thank you for her, both of your, warm hospitality."

"Seal, how did you know she loves flowers?"

"It's one of my FBI super powers."

"Can you share with a brother?"

"Okay, Enri. I saw her flower garden out the back window. Deduction: she loves flowers. I noticed you have four rose bushes, and they are all red. She appreciates richness, hence the deep color of the flowers. It is likely that if she loves vibrant colors, she also enjoys vibrant aromas. The bouquet I ordered will be full of yellow roses, the most fragrant of the roses."

"Well, I can already tell you, you couldn't have made a more perfect gesture. And she does love flowers."

"Bingo, Baby. Now, can you drop me at the airport? I have a flight to catch."

Settled into his airplane seat - first class, of course, thanks to Sharon, his favorite check-in attendant who had booked every one of his flights as first class yesterday, Booth reaches in his brief case for the blue footies.

"Sir, are you Agent Seeley Booth of the FBI?" he hears coming from a very tall fine featured- African American man who could have played linebacker for the Dolphins.

"Who wants to know?" The conservative black suit and crisp white shirt gave nothing away. "Looks like you're from the Men in Black squad, pal. Do they make you wear that or is that by choice, because, I gotta tell you - color is what the ladies go for ..." Booth is irritated by the intrusion ... and by the fact that he almost got caught slipping baby blue girl foots on his hands and feet.

Not cracking a smile, the man leans forward. "Sir, were you on the campus of Haverford College early this morning for a ground-breaking?"

"Sounds to me like you already know the answer to that question. What's this about?"

"Agent Booth, while at the college and in the presence of 152 civilians, did you wear your piece, and do you have it with you now?"

"You know I did," Booth said, getting really irritated at this unexplained interruption of his first class trip back to the home and people he loves. "Now you better give me a satisfactory answer or you will be wearing your testicles in a bag strapped to your thigh ..."

"Agent Booth, unidentified remains have been found on the grounds of Haverford College. We just have a few questions we'd like to ask you. Please come with is, Special Agent Booth."

Booth looks at the man, purses his lips, and sighs an exasperated sigh. "This better god damned well be important, SIR, because you are interrupting a very important FBI case that we are on the verge of cracking wide open."

"I understand your frustration, sir. I am just following orders."

"Well follow this order: Make sure my belongings get off this plane and find their way to me within the hour!" says Both slipping his baggage claim ticket inside the man's shirt, between the buttons, then pressing down on it, hard.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:01 pm

Chapter 34. The Tables Are Turned

"At some point one of you are going to have to tell me where we're going and what this truly is about," threatens Booth. "How about you, Milk Shake? Doing this job to feed your Ben & Jerry's habit?" His escorts remain impervious to Booth's jibes.

One large man on either side of him and two more large men following immediately behind, Booth is escorted into the security area at Philadelphia International Airport. Without ceremony, he is brought to what he would call an interrogation room.

"Sit, sir," says the mountain who had made initial contact back on the plane. "This might take just a little while. We have beverages, appetizers, a radio, a couch, a chair. We call this our hospitality suite. Please make yourself comfortable."

"Am I being accused of something? If you have a suspicion, or proof of something, arrest me – otherwise – let me go."

"We work for the same people you do, Agent Booth. I assure you all will become clear in a matter of time. Please make yourself comfortable."

"Yeah, like that's gonna happen," he says with an ironic tone. "I'd like to make a phone call. They relieved me of all my possessions except my Tighty Whities before sticking me in this interrogation room."

"It's a hospitality suite, Agent Booth."

"Look, Pal," says Booth, surveying the room. "I've been in a lot of these rooms and I know what it is. You've got the double-sided observation window," Booth waves a greeting toward the window assuming someone higher up the food chain is observing from there. "You've got the video cameras inconspicuously placed around the room," as he says this he points out the five most visible ones, "and a lapel pin doubling as a small camera for recording up close anything I say or do," He steps forward and speaks directly into Mr. Tall and Dark's lapel. He takes the pen out of this guys shirt pocket and gives it a clear view of the inside of his mouth.

"You provide water GLASSES instead of paper or plastic cups," he continues, "so you can easily capture my finger prints. The temperature is high so I will eventually NEED that drink of water and will be compelled to touch one of those glasses. And then you will think you've got me."

"I assure you, sir, that I can provide something for you to arrest me for if the details of this detainment are not made clear to me within 15 minutes. And I'd like my gun back."

"You know that is not going to happen, Agent Booth. And hang tight. This will not take long."

Someone knocked on the door softly and entered carrying Booth's gun. She spoke directly to Tall and Dark. "No GSR on the barrel, sir, or the trigger, the hammer, the holster, or the coat. Plenty of fingerprints, however. This is indeed Special Agent Seeley Booth of the Washington D.C. FBI division. Here on official FBI business. Flew in yesterday, scheduled to fly back out … ten minutes ago. Would you like the details on his flights?" She hands the gun, holster, and coat to Tall and Dark.

What the hell is going on here, thinks Booth, only slightly concerned. It doesn't look like anyone was planning to plant something on him or involve him in something he would want nothing to do with. He just wants to get home to Parker – and to Bones, though she has her own house, of course.

Tall and Dark leaves the room with his female sidekick and Booth is alone. He notices that they left his coat and its contents on the interrogation table. They are watching me to see what I do. Who I call. He picks up the cell and dials Andrew at the FBI in D.C. "Andrew, listen carefully," he begins.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Tue Oct 11, 2011 1:02 pm

Chapter 35. Friends to the Rescue from Police and Toenail Polish

"What do you mean they have him in custody back at the airport," Squeeks Larrinaga. "Seal takes people into custody – not the other way around! Besides I was with him the entire time he was here in Philly. The only time he was alone was in the middle of the night. And there is absolutely no reason to believe this death occurred last night – or last year, for Christ's sake! This is Bull Puckies!"

"Enrique, calm down. Sit down! Stop rubbing what you have left of your hair or you'll end up bald and I'll have to leave you." Carmen attempted to lighten the mood but it wasn't working.

"Carmen, I'm heading down there. They can arrest me too if they want to, but I'm not letting Seal deal with this alone." Larrinaga grabs his coat, his keys, slides on his Keens, and darts out the door almost knocking over his friend and local law enforcement officer, Angelus Scarpeti.

"Ang, what brings you here?" He says without slowing down on his path to his car.

"Special Agent Seeley Booth. I think we can get to the airport quicker if we use my siren and lights," he says jovially and opens the passenger door for Larrinaga to get in.

Larrinaga's eyes shoot open wide and he turns on his heal toward Angelus' Crown Victoria with the blue stripe down the sides and the cherries on top. And they are on their way.

"Thanks for coming to get me, buddy!" Booth says as he puts his suit coat back on and slaps Larrinaga on the back.

"So, I don't get it. Now we are working WITH them? They are the good guys?"

"Yep. That's how it goes when you're not inside your own jurisdiction. While here, I serve at the pleasure of the mayor of Philadelphia. Unless we can find some way this case crosses state lines, it remains here in Philly. But if there is any suspicion otherwise, it gets turned over to us – and we're off to the races!" Booth gets into the back seat of Angelus' Crown Victoria. "The good news is … that I get to see Carmen and eat her delightful food again. And you can bet I WILL be here for dinner as well."

Larrinaga and Angelus get into the front seats and slam the doors shut at the same time. For a moment, all three men are lost in thought. Then Larrinaga. From the front passenger's set, turns to face Booth. "The college is going to be under scrutiny, isn't it?"

"Well, most certainly. The body was found on school property. The likelihood that the answer to this mystery lies between the walls of Haverford College."

"And I will be a suspect?" Larrinaga was worried.

"Everyone will be suspect, Enri. The gardener, the janitor, all the teachers and students who had anything to do with that area of campus," explains Booth. "As far as a window of time for the murder, that can't be determined until the coroner does her work. Any news about that, Seargent Scarpeti?"

"It's Officer Scarpeti, sir. And no news from the coroner. He came to view the remains and left after five minutes. I haven't been told why."

"Hey, what was that deal all about back at the air port, Seal?"

"Oh, they were a bunch of suits just doing their job. Checking me out. Making sure I wasn't trouble. And holding onto me until they could exclude me as a suspect in this murder before I took off for places unknown," explains Booth. "They are probably pretty nice guys. No harm done."

"Angelus, instead of taking us over to Enri's, could you bring us to the campus crime scene?"

"You got it, boss," replied Angelus energetically as he put on the brakes, made an illegal U-turn right in the middle of the street, and flipped the button to turn on the cherries."

"Don't get much action around here, Angelus?" asks Booth sarcastically.

"Why would you say that, Agent Booth?"

"Oh, never mind, Angelus. Just making conversation here. Carry on. Don't let me disturb you." Booth sits back in the back seat of the Crown Victoria and relaxes for a moment.

Booth pulls his wallet out of his back pocket without even thinking about it. Before he realizes what he's doing, he notices he has Bones' footie note in his hand. Looking at the note, he lays it on the seat beside him. He reaches into his opposite pocket and pulls out his cell. Flipping it open, he scrolls down to PHOTOS and pulls up the last one taken. There she is. Asleep. In his bed. Beautiful. And here beside him, he has her note. He feels like a high school kid with a crush on a cheerleader two years his senior. Today her note seems more precious, more serious. In conjunction with this photo, the note feels ethereal.

"Hey guys, have you ever heard the word "ethereal?" Booth shouts toward his companions in the front seat.



"Know what it means?" Booth challenges them.

"I used to."

"Can't say as I remember exactly, why?"

"This week I've been trying to increase my vocabulary. Ethereal was Saturday's word. It means, extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world." He pauses, staring out the window, note in one hand, cell photo in the other. "What do you think about that?"

"I think it is sweet, Seal. Sounds like you've got a certain partner on the mind."

"Geez," Angelus begins. "There's gotta be some tail involved somewhere. No real man improves his vocabulary for himself! I think you both need to grow a pair or you may wake up one morning with your toenails painted and a tampon jammed up your nose. Jesus, Mary and Joseph!"

"Got a couple issues, there, Angelus?" asks Booth, teasing him good naturedly.

"Married at seventeen," Angelus submits. "Five baby girls by the time I'm twenty-five. I live in a vat of female hormones. I gotta do all I can to maintain, know what I mean? And I do NOT want to improve my vocabulary! Or get in touch with my inner child or my feminine side or what ever the $&%*#&%."

"Angelus," begins Booth. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. And don't let no one tell you no different, my man. BE STRONG IN WHO YOU ARE!"

All three men in the car break out laughing till they cough.

"This conversation never took place," is the last comment Angelus makes.

Readers, if you are enjoying what you've been reading, please drop me a note or write a review! Thanks!
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:58 am

Chapter 36. Newbies

"Agent Booth, so glad you are here." Coming through the wet mid-morning grass toward Booth is a lanky young man in a suit that he must have taken out of it's package this morning. It's so blue and so crisp.

"Who are you," asks Booth, extending his hand.

"Oh sorry, sir. I'm Officer Ronald Benton, I've been put in charge of this case. They've told me about your credentials and the work you do with an anthropologist up in D.C. I think we may need your help with this case. There's been a strange development." Officer Benton leads Booth through the grass and over to the site where he had presented Larrinaga with his award only an hour ago.

"Can you be a little more specific?"

"Well, we're almost there – I'll let you see for yourself."

Booth notices that in one short hour a lot has changed for this stretch of land. The Bulldozers wasted no time in digging a trench around the perimeter where the foundation for the new Stevens Morris Nguyen Center would be laid. Booth notices the yellow crime scene tape in the lower East corner encircling a spot where the bull dozer had come to a halt in its tracks.

"What seems to be the problem?" Booth shouts toward a brown haired head inside the hole cordoned off by the crime scene tape.

"Well, the bones are completely clean. No guts or skin," answers the person. Now able to see his face, Booth realizes this must be a student.

"Who are you?" Booth demands. "Get out of there! Do not TOUCH anything. Do not STEP anywhere. Do not BREATHE other than toward to sky. WE'll get someone to lift you out of that spot."

"Who authorized students to go near the remains?" asks Booth.

"Sir, I. Sir, I don't know. This is certainly not protocol. I will see that it never happens again, sir."

"If you're on the force long enough to see a second time, Benson," Booth spits out.

"It's Benton, sir."


"Never mind, sir"

"So what should you be doing right now, Officer Nebton?" Booth puts him on the spot.

Other than pissing my drawers? Thinks Benton. "I should have officers covering the perimeter." He states humbly as if reading it straight out of the Officer's handbook.

"And?" prompts Booth.

" I should detain anyone who was here when the remains were discovered."

"And ….?"

"Maybe I should cover the remains with a tarp in case those clouds open up and rain down on us. And then …"

"Yeah, Officer Benton, what's next?" Booth is enjoying this intimidation act. It toughens them up for the real world, he thinks.

"And then I should be at the ready to carry out any orders you hand down to me. And I should wait for those instructions but not get in your way."

"Gold star, Officer Benton. Now get that KID out of there!"

"Bones, pick up. Pick up, Bones," says Booth into his cell as he high steps through the still wet grass toward the sidewalk and the building where Larrinaga has his office in the Science and Engineering building.

"Booth, I'm in the middle of something, but I have a minute. I assure you I will be at the airport to pick you up at … at …"

"Bones, simmer down. You WILL be at the airport, but not to pick me up. I'll pick you up. I've had the Jeffersonian book you on a 12:24 direct flight on United 3369 from Logan to PHL. You should be here by 1:20 PM. Pack a bag, we may be here for a couple days."

"We have a case?" she asks, a little too energetically. She hops off the examination table, tosses aside her little paper dress, and reaches for the clothing laid out on the chair just outside the changing curtain. "Is it my birthday? Haaaa ha, haaa. That was a joke, Booth. Because it really isn't my birthday, but … you know that a new set of remains is like a wonderful gift to me – because I love my work … but why do I have to fly somewhere?"

"Bones. Again, simmer down – we do have a case, but it's here in Philly. You're coming to Philly, Bones, pack a bag!"

"Oh excellent – you know I love their cream cheese …"

"Well, there's plenty of that here. Listen, Bones, they've got a couple of moron's protecting the site – if you can call it protecting. So the sooner we can get you here the better," Booth says into the phone, one hand on his hip, as he turns around to face the grassy area, now spotted with bright yellow bull dozers and encircled in a deep brown trench. He notices Benton or Benson, or whatever his name is – has instructed his minions to encircle the entire operation in yellow police tape. "It looks like the bones have been cleaned."

"Cleaned. Boiled?"

"I don't know – that's for you and the squints to figure out. There just isn't any viscera, clothing, jewelry, or anything else for that matter. For all I know, this could be a plastic skeleton stolen from a fifth grade biology class by some pissed-off kid. SO I need you down here, Bones."

"Booth – what about Parker? I still have Parker," she says, realizing the complication and perplexed about what a person does in a situation like this.

"You still have Parker? Bones, he's supposed to be at school today!" Booth blurts at just below shouting level.

"Alright, Booth. Don't get upset - !" she begins, realizing she wasn't completely accurate. "Parker IS in school. I got him there with six minutes to spare this morning and a stomach full of pancakes …"

"You made him pancakes, Bones …?" this touches Booth as he knows it is one of Parker's favorite foods.

"I brought him to IHOP. THEY made him pancakes. I have to return to school around noon to bring him a sack lunch," she says, going through her mental list of Parker responsibilities for the day. "Then, I'll be picking him up after school at 2:55 and keeping him here at the Jeffersonian with me – though without exposing him to anything that might give him nightmares - until Rebecca and her boyfriend are released from the hospital around 5:30," Bones explains a bit apologetically.

"Well," Booth begins, turning around in a half circle and running his free hand through his hair, then thrusting it into his pocket to jangle the change pooled there. "Well, I got a body here and a bunch of amateur cops swarming around, ready to dive into the trench and muck up the whole crime scene."

"Booth, what do you want me to do? I'm not abandoning Parker. His last two days have been disjointed, his diet compromised, his sleeping pattern disrupted … both of his parents are else where doing other things and he's stuck with someone who is not even a family member …"

"Bones, you're not just someone he's STUCK with. You are the closest thing he has to family outside Rebecca and me. But you're right … "

"Booth, I can take care of Parker until Rebecca gets here, then catch the red-eye out there. Or something that departs after six."

"But what about the crime scene? I don't know how long I can hold the scene without local authorities trampling all over it. And you always say time is crucial …"

"The bones are clean?"

"They appear to be."

"Okay – you be my eyes and nose and we'll get enough information to satisfy the buzzards without compromising the scene."

"It's eyes and ears, Bones, eyes and ears …"

"Not in this case, Booth. Trust me," corrects Bones, imagining the disgusted face Booth is most likely making at the prospect of the unsavory task before him. "And don't make that face, Booth. It makes you look constipated."

"How do you know what face I'm making?" he answers, pulling the phone away from his phone and looking at it – as if there might be a camera hidden there transmitting his expression through the air waves.

"Look Booth, I'm in the doctor's office …. I'll be out of here in about fifteen. Suit up and get ready to do a little squint work. I'll call you within twenty. If it looks like I absolutely have to get there ASAP, we'll deal with it then. Talk to you in twenty."

"But where am I gonna get a suit? I'm not going down into that mud hole in Armani."

"No more excuses, Booth. What are you, a little girl?" asks Bones, enjoying the rare opportunity to feminize her alpha male partner. "Every ambulance is stocked with two protective full body suits – get one from them. See you in twenty – well, not SEE you, HEAR you," she finishes.

"I know what you meant. In twenty," Booth pushes the button, snaps it shut.

"Hey, Berstein, where's the ambulance?"

Benton, standing right outside the crime scene tape, hands on hips, chest puffed up – Man in Charge posture, swings around and runs toward Booth. "Sir?"

"Where's the ambulance parked?"

"Ambulance, sir?"

"Yes, the truck that brings all the medical toys and the two EMTs?"

"Well, sir. We're pretty sure this victim is dead, sir. I didn't think …"

"Obviously, Berstein. Ambulances do more than revive people – they are mobile tool boxes. Get one here within five and meet me down there, " he says pointing to the area inside the police tape where the gaping hole has punctured the green.

"I'm on it!" Benton begins walking back to the sceen.

"Bernton!" shouts Booth. Benton turns around to face him.

"IN FIVE!" Benton nods, turns, and runs to his squad car.

"Dr. Brennan, according to your blood work, your hormone levels are exactly where they should be. You have no markers for cancerous growths, your cervical swab is clear. Your height and weight are within the range we like to see for a healthy female in mid thirties."

"What about these – hot flashes, heart palpitations …?"

"If you feel it's necessary, we can hook you up to an EKG and do a stress test … But, Dr. Brennan, you are far from the onset of menopause. In fact, if you were interested in becoming pregnant, now would be the optimum time."

"NO – I don't have time for a stress test this morning. We just got a case. But there IS something going on here."

"I'm going to write a prescription for Lorazepam, it will help ease your panic attacks .."

"I don't think I'm having panic attacks. I'm a very well-rounded, happy and controlled person … these can't be panic attacks – it must be something else. And I am not taking Lorazepam …"

"Dr. Brennan, I understand your position. But you are a healthier than usual mid-thirties woman with a high-stress job and little emotional support outside your work. It would be quite normal …"

She can tell that Brennan isn't buying any of this, so she stops and just looks at her with a pitiful expression on her face.

"Thanks for the shrink referral, but I already have one of those," she says.

"And what does your shrink say about these … symptoms … you are experiencing?"

"What?" Brennan says. "I haven't told him about them."

"Might not be a bad idea, considering … "

"I am NOT crazy …. Thank you for your time this morning."

"As always, you are welcome. Call me if anything changes or if you change your mind about the Lorazepam."

"Fine – can you get that prescription filled while I'm getting dressed?" she asks, thinking – great – a sedative. Do I need Valium?

"Certainly, Dr. Brennan. And again, thank you for the work you did to help identify my sister's kid."

"It was no problem," Brennan replies, placing her hand on the doctor's forearm and giving her a compassionate smile. "I hope the family is working toward a place of healing?"

"Trying. I'll get that prescription for you." She smiles at Brennan with a look of appreciation and something else ... pity?
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:00 pm

Chapter 37. The Poop Whisperer

General medicine is such an inexact science, thinks Brennan as she pulls her clothing back on. I don't know why I even bother. I do know why – because I don't have the time to research it all on my own today! If a man were having these symptoms, there'd be a symposium every other week and billions of dollars raised for trials and research grants – pharmaceutical companies falling all over themselves to find the cure, forget the cause. Cause isn't profitable. Viagra is profitable.

Grabbing her prescription for Lorazepam from the doctor, she tries to recall what she remembers from studying pharmacology as an undergrad. Lorazepam, in the benzodiazepines family, used to relieve anxiety, works by slowing activity in the brain to allow for relaxation.

"I DON'T have anxiety," Brennan says out loud, almost shouting as she passes through the door leading out of the doctor's office and into the tiled hallway of the medical complex. She notices three heads turn to look at her, one belonging to a tiny 60ish woman who says, just loud enough to be heard, "Think again, sister."

"Ma'am," Brennan turns to face the woman straight on. "I am a doctor. I have in Forensic Anthropology, and two other disciplines that I assure you, you cannot pronounce, let alone understand, even if you DO speak the King's English. I hold impressive distinctions in thirteen countries, am considered royalty by at least two of them, and even "I" cannot remember how many languages I speak."

Brennan pauses only to suck in enough air to replace that which hissed out during her tirade. She continues without batting an eyelash, unaware that she has moved four steps closer to the diminutive woman and is waving her finger in the woman's face to emphasize each syllable.

"I solve unsolvable murders every day. I carry a gun. And I do NOT have anxiety. I am not an ANXIOUS person. I am a LOGICAL person. Sensible and reasonable to a fault. Furthermore," she pauses ready to take her next breath, and notices that a crowd is forming around her as she hears her last words echo around the cavernous hallway outside the waiting room.

"Buttercup," says the woman, just above a whisper while maintaining eye contact and not flinching an inch, except to raise a discouraging finger at two approaching security guards who must have overheard the comment about carrying a gun.

"And, oh my god, where did that come from?" Expels Brennan, furrowing her brow.

"Butter cup," the woman begins again. "Lets have a sit down over here on the couch. There is noting to be worried about. Everything is going to be just fine." The woman reaches out her hand and waits for Brennan's hand to descend upon it. Leading her by the hand, the woman moves toward a big comfy couch, not looking away from Brennan once. "There. Now breathe. In …. And out …. And in …. And out …."

"This would be much more effective with my head between my knees," critiques Brennan, and chuckles.

"Let go of the control. Just let go. See? Good job. You're already back with us here on planet earth."

Finally relaxed, Brennan begins, "Please accept my apologies, ma'am. I do not know what came over me. I can only conclude from the available evidence that I am, indeed, a stress basket."

"Honey Child," the woman says, though child comes out rhyming with file rather than wild. "It happens to the best of us. Nothing to be scared of. It's a testament that we are all members of the human race. Waking, talking, breathing, reproducing, dying, crying, feeling, pooping, laughing. The whole lot of us. "

Brennan is still trying to figure this all out – while listening to this woman. "You okay now," the woman states rather than asks. "Lemme ask ya' a couple questions and we'll get to the bottom of this. Okay?"

After a moment, Brennan realizes the woman expects an answer. "Yes. Whatever – go ahead."

"Okay – have you recently had a baby?


"Left a husband."


"Bought or sold a house?"


"Had a visit or call from your mother."

"Uh, no."

"Received some disturbing news?"

"No. Well, yes. But, well. No."

"That would be a yes. Now we're getting somewhere. Lost a loved one to death?"


"Had your heart broken?"

Brennan pauses. "I don't know."

"Interesting. One more. Become attached to a child that is not yours and whom you might lose?"

"Yes. Yes," replies Brennan, her shoulders drooping a bit. "I think I see what you are getting at, Ms. Buttercup …"

"It's Tif. You can call me Tif …"

"Tif, I have had a minimum of four significant events in a short period of time, " Brennan sighs, but remains calm, relaxed. "Some of which have persisted a length of time. Each alone would be considered stressful, causing a flood of adrenaline into my blood stream. However, the combination and duration of these events - and the high level of adrenaline in my bloodstream has – hijacked my normal physiological response, rendering me … rendering … me …"

"A blubbering idiot?" provides Tif.

Brennan looks at Tif. The last time someone called her an idiot she clocked him in the nose. Twice. "You are correct. A blubbering idiot." Brennan starts to laugh. Eventually her smile makes it all the way up to her eyes.

Tif laughs with her, rubbing her shoulder firmly so that Brennan ends up rocking side to side.

"Thank you, Tif. This has been a fortuitous meeting. You and I. I am not usually …"

"Of course, Ms …?"

"Call me Temperance."

"Temperance – I'm not just blowing sunshine up your skirt. You really are going to be fine."

"How do you know that, Tif?"

"I know it because you recognized what was happening without me having to tell you. And you laughed at yourself. This stress you are under, it won't last. You've got some big things at stake right now, right?"

"Yeah," Brennan answers, resigned to the truth.

"When you start to feel panicky, … just stop. And breathe. And have faith that THIS TOO SHALL PASS."

"Ahhh, the Persian Sufi poets. They are an insightful bunch," coos Brennan as if she were reminiscing.

"Here's another one for you, but this one from Max Ehrmann, the Poet Laureate of Terre Haute. You would do well to commit this one to memory:

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

"Ah, yes. The Desiderata. I'd completely forgotten about that. My mother used to recite it to me whenever I had a disappointing day." Brennan's eyes grew shiny with the tender memory.

Tif and Brennan recited the next part of the poem together.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul."

"Tif, may I ask what your area of expertise is, and please let it not be psychology or general medicine."

"Certainly. But it is a strange expertise. I work with aging farmers and constipated youth. They call me the poop whisperer. Don't ask. But I am the top in my field," she said and smiled.

"I believe you, for some reason," replied Brennan, and shook her head, chuckling.

"Now, off you go, Temperance," Tif directed. "And be gentle with yourself."

Brennan stood and turned to leave, then turned again to face Tiff and hugged her. As they drew apart, Brennan turned and swiftly left the building.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:00 pm

Chapter 38. Real or Memorex?

"The phone rings in the middle of the night, my father yells,

"What you gonna do with your life …"

"Bones, where have you been? I've been sitting here in this monkey suit sweating up a stink for almost an hour. And why are you at the doctor's office – everything okay?"

"Booth, everything's fine. At least it will be. I just had the strangest experience, but I'll tell you about it later. Suffice it to say that I am more human than I thought I was," she says, actually sounding excited. "Resistance is futile," she says in a robotic voice. "Get it, Booth? It's Star Trek. You know, the Borg …"

"Who are you and what have you done with my partner?" laughs Booth, surprised by her knowledge of the cult series featuring Jean-Luc Picard. Flippin' foreign guys again, he smirks to himself. "Just wait until Sweets and Fisher find out about this. They had you pegged as a Dalek."

"What's a Dalek?"

"From Doctor Who."

"Dr. Who? The periodontist-proctologist with the wandering eye at Bethesda General?"

"What?" says Booth, disturbed that there is such a person. "You know, long knitted scarf … curly hair, English accent. Travels around in a flying blue phone booth thingy – or, no, wait – I think it's a police box – or bobby box or whatever. He calls it THE TARDIS?"

Brennan remains silent. He can hear the blank look on her face over the phone line.

"Time travel?" He tries one last time, gives up. "Okay –lets move on."

"Thank you. Were there gum shoes in the ambulance?" She can't believe she let the time travel comment go without comment."

"Yes, thank God. It's a crap hole down there. Can't I just take a picture and send it to you?" he asks, shifting from one foot to the other, testing the ground for squishiness and knowing full well that it's going to get worse the closer her gets to the mud.

"Booth. Have you ever heard me complain about getting dirty?"

"Oh, there are so many comments I could make, but no one is hear to enjoy them with me …"

"Booth. Focus. Please. Didn't you ever have a sand box as a kid? Or were you one of those fussy boys …" Brennan chides her partner.

"Well, grown men have a whole different idea about what getting dirty means than little boys in a sandbox …"

"Okay Casanova, lets get to work."

Booth asks for and receives a pair of large gum shoes from the EMT. He puts them on and heads over to the area cordoned-off by bright yellow crime scene tape.

"Tell me when you get to the hole," says Bones. She's sitting in her car, parked outside the medical complex.

"At the hole," he reports.

"How deep is the hole?"

"Bout five feet."


"About three and a half wide and spans the length of the property."

"Hmm. Interesting. Look at the walls inside the hole. There should be visible layering, like the rings in a tree trunk, but in the dirt."

"Layers of sediment," he says.

"Precisely," she replies.

"Okay – do the lines of sediment appear consistent around the perimeter where the remains were located?"

"Yes. What does that mean?"

"I don't know for sure, but Hodgens will. I'm going to have him come out there with us."

"No way, Bones," objects Booth.

"Excuse me?"

"Angela is due to squeeze out a puppy any moment now. He'll quit before he leaves her side until that baby is born."

"Oh. Good point. I'll have Hodgens locate a coring device so we can gather samples to send back to the lab."

"What about the remains? The locals want a name, time of death, anything," Booth kicks a little dirt into the hole and peers over the ledge at the skeleton.

"Okay – whatever you do, the goal is to disturb the surrounding soil as little as possible," Brennan closes her eyes and envisions herself there. "Sit on the edge of the hole, as if like you are about to ease into an in-ground swimming pool for the first time."

"Okay .."

"Not yet!" she says quickly.

"What? Don't sit down yet, or don't slide into the hole yet?"

"Before sliding into the hole, determine where you want your feet to land. You need to have enough space between yourself and the skeleton so that you can bend over it and look at it closely without touching it."

"Got it. Can I get in now?"

"One other thing …"

"Now what?"

"If indeed these bones have been somehow cleaned, the particulates are even more difficult to find than if we had soft tissue, clothing, etc. to examine. So – disturb as LITTLE of the surrounding soil as possible. If you can manage to make only two foot prints, that would be optimal."

Booth makes a dubious face. "You're asking a lot, lady."

"To whom much is given, much shall be required," quotes Brennan.

"Oh," starts Booth, disbelieving what he just heard. "Did you just quote the bible to me? The Catholic Bible?"

"Are you in the hole yet?"

"I think you just quoted from the gospel according to Luke. I'm in the hole. FIRE IN THE HOLE! Sorry, I just had to say that."

"All Christian religions abide by the allegedly historical writings in the gospels. Not just the Catholics."

"Yeah, but we were first," counters Booth. "The dirt down here is not as wet as it looked. The bones … aren't exactly clean."

"What do you mean?"

"Well," he says, down on his haunches, using one arm to brace himself against the opposite wall of the hole. "They've been in a hole full of dirt for some time. They look dirty – but cleared of anything that might have been human before."

"You are referring to viscera, tissue, etc.?"

"Correct," says Booth standing for a moment and stretching his back.

"Okay – that, combined with any disturbances in the sediment layers will give us an approximate time – for now. It would take too long for me to bring you through the process of identifying age of remains – or how long this person has been dead."

"We've gotta give law enforcement here something, Bones. Anything."

"Okay – ask for a measuring tape and someone to write some notes down."

"Benton! Where's Benton?" shouts Booth over the edge of the hole he's standing in.

"While he's locating writing materials, find out who has a SLR camera. Probably a newspaper photographer. Tell him he can be the first one to use whatever you shoot. They usually go for that."

"Got it." Booth sends another minion to summon a photographer from the on-lookers.

"Take down the length measurements of the humerus, radius, femur, and tibia. Without disturbing the bones, see if you can estimate the circumference of those four bones. This will help us determine if the victim is male or female. Take five or six close-up photos of the cranium. Send those all to me and copy Angela at the Jeffersonian right away."

"Got it," answers Booth, confidently.

"Oh, and take photos from as many angles as possible of the sacrum. This will help us determine the sex, the age, and whether or not this person has given birth."

"One more thing. In each photo, place something next to the bone as a reference of scale."

"Like what? I have nothing here."

"Ask the EMT for scissors, unroll the tape measure, cut of the final three to five inches, and use that to place next to the bones you photograph."

Booth starts to do this and the EMT begins to object. "We'll buy you a new one, buddy," he says to the most agitated of the two EMTs.

"Done?" Asks Brennan.

"What? I haven't even started."

"It never takes me this long …" says Brennan.

"Would you just … back off, lady. I'm out of my element here!"


"What?" he snaps at her.

"Take the scissors and tap on the skull, then one of the larger bones."

"What's that gonna do?"

"The sound will tell us if the skeleton is a polymer replica, or real bones," she explains.

Booth takes the scissors and taps several different bones. Brennan quizzes him about the quality and tone of the resulting sounds and determines that this is indeed a real skeleton.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:01 pm

Chapter 39. Meanwhile, Back at the Jeffersonian ...

Back at the Jeffersonian a little while later, Brennan swipes her card and ascends the platform where her team awaits.

"What do you have for me, Hodgens?"

"The Science Center in Philadelphia is transporting six core diggers to the site. Estimated completion time for sample retrieval is two hours. From the photos Booth sent me, this looks like your garden variety soil, in general. A closer look will give us temporal and geological profiles."

"Thanks, Hodgens. Wendell?"

"Okay – from the skeletal images of the 5 major bones, the sacrum, and the cranium, I would estimate the age to be 20 to 25 years of age, Caucasian female never having given birth. Approximate height, five foot five. No scoliosis. No bowing. Some remodeling, but nothing within five years of death. Bones appear healthy though suspicious femur growths surrounding and beneath the patella. Osteoarthritis is the possible culprit, but I'll have to see the actual bones to confirm this."

"Well done, Wendell. Pack your bags, you will be flying out to Philadelphia in the morning to assist in the collection of the remains."

"Angela, how's the facial reconstruction going?"

"It is difficult to come up with an accurate portrait from the angle of the photos Agent Booth sent. However, using the data from Hodgens and Wendell, plus an algorithm that determines the angle of image and reformulates it to coincide with the cultural and physiological data we already have, I've come up with a preliminary sketch."

"Very well done, Angela. Let's get this to Booth so he can provide it to the local authorities. Where's Dr. Saroyan?"

"She's on the good will trip to visit with Vincent's parents and family."

No one said a word for a moment.

"Good work, people. Parker will be here this afternoon from 3:30 until a little before six. I have assured Rebecca that he will see nothing that might be disturbing for a nine year old boy. Hodgens, I'd direct you to use your own judgment, but … I don't want you to use your own judgement. If you are unsure about what falls under the category of DISTURBING, please ask Angela."

Brennan turns to leave, then turns back around and returns to the center of the platform. "I will be taking the six PM flight out to Philadelphia this evening, hopefully we'll be back in a day or two. Booth is already there, as you know."

"Dr. Brennan?" asks Hodgens.

"Yes, Dr. Hodgens?"

"Are these remains actually at the site where Agent Booth was honoring Dr. Larrinaga? That just seems like way too much of a coincidence …"

"I don't believe in coincidences, Dr. Hodgens. But, yes, the remains were found after the ceremony when the bull dozers began digging the perimeter of the new building."

"Angela, please prepare my portable communication equipment and download everything we have about pre-cleaned skeletons found on the East coast."

"You got it, Sweetie."

", while we wait to receive the actual remains, do a work up on how those bones could have been cleaned – both before and after interment."

"You know what that means," says Hodgens, a gleam in his eye, as he turns to face Wendell.

"Experiments!" they say in unison.

"Make sure you check with Dr. Saroyan before spending her money or making a mess, boys! I'll be in my office for a while – then out to lunch with Parker. You can reach me on my cell if anything comes up."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:02 pm

Chapter 40. Who Can Resist?

Before Brennan reaches the edge of the platform, Angela calls to her and smiles. "Bren, Sweetie, you are becoming quite the surrogate mommy!" teases Angela.

"Angela, I assure you I have no intention of birthing someone else's child, but I do enjoy the time I have with Parker. He's a sweet little innocent Booth – with the scientist part of his brain not yet replaced with sporting images and details."

"Any kind of Booth is pretty fine in my book, Bren, sports or no sports. Both are equally hot!"

Brennan laughs with Angela and heads down the platform stairs to her office. Time to call Booth with the update. She dials his number and a child answers the phone.

"Booth?" She looks at her cell, confirming she called the right number. There's it is – his number.

"Give me that phone!" Brennan hears Booth's voice but gets the impression he is chasing a very young thief. "Come back here or I'll tickle attack you! Hey, that was supposed to be a threat – why isn't it working?"

Brennan hears a cacophony of high pitched squeals and Booth's voice getting louder and louder. "Gotcha – stinker!"

"Booth?" asks Brennan feigning concern. "Are you being held hostage by a munchkin?"

"Bones! I wish I could say no – but I'd be lying. I'm at Dr. Larrinaga's for lunch getting attacked by a Kewpie doll with a penchant for thievery. But like most women, I think she just wants to be caught and tickled. Whatcha got for me?"

"Caucasian female, twenty to twenty-five years old, never given birth. Angela is sending you a tentative reconstruction."

"Great – I'll start asking around here. When do you get in?"

"I'm on the 6:15. Can you pick me up?"

"Be there with bells on!"

"Booth, it's been a long day – please no bells."

"Only if you ask real nice."

"No bells or I'll make you go back down into that skeleton hole tomorrow!"

"Okay, that works. See you later …"

"Not if I see you first," Brennan quips with a grin.

"You've been hanging with Parker a little too much."

"No such thing as too much Parker," she counters.

"Do I hear a lilt of estrogen in your voice, Bones?" Booth teases.

"If I could be guaranteed an exact replica – in personality and form – of Parker Booth - I may consider pro-creation. Maybe."

"Good to know," says Booth, nodding and smiling to himself. "Good to know."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:03 pm

Chapter 41. An Issue of Articulation

Brennan stands on the mezzanine over looking the lab. Arms outstretched to either side, her hands rest on the cool, metal railing.

"I'm going to have to talk to Sweets," she says resignedly, and sighs. These last couple of months it has seemed like he was her very own FBI-issued private therapist. They had been meeting at inconspicuous locations twice a week since the month after Booth and Hannah split up.

Shortly after joining Booth at the bar the night he proposed to Hannah, she was given an ultimatum. She chose to remain Booth's partner and nothing more rather than lose him completely. "He's angry now," she told herself, "but he won't always be. And then what?" Brennan found herself experiencing tightness in her chest when she pondered the inevitable change in their relationship ...


"You are having conflicting emotions, Dr. Brennan," Dr. Sweets had said when she first went to see him. "This is where the pedal hits the metal. it's completely normal to feel nervous, maybe even frightened."

"I … don't understand what that means," she looks at him questioningly.

"There are no longer any obstacles keeping the two of you apart, romantically, that is."

"Oh, yes, I am aware of that," she says, waiting for him to say more. When he doesn't, she prompts, "But the pedal and the metal … that would cause a spark."

"That's an interesting choice of words," Sweets said, looking closely at her.

"I'm still confused, Dr. Sweets. Please, just say what you mean."

"This situation you find yourself in, it's a little intimidating. And for someone who isn't intimidated by anything, it can be a daunting experience." Sweets looked to her to assure she was following his logic. "You may feel short of breath at times, distracted, nervous, perhaps even just a little … je ne sais quoi," he finishes, shrugging his shoulders to indicate an indescribable uneasiness.

"That's unlikely. All of it," she said, but continued listening because, in truth, she concurred.

"Dr. Brennan, may I remind you that you came to me, I didn't ask for this meeting," he paused, his comment hanging in the air like a hollow polymer bone floating atop a vat of pudding.

"You are correct."

"And who knows that you are here in my office to discuss the nature of your relationship with your partner?

"No one."

"Isn't it true, Dr. Brennan, that you came to me because this concern of yours is wicked significant regarding your relationship with Agent Booth?" Sweets moves to his chair, but doesn't yet sit down. He motions her to the couch opposite him, which she moves to, but she doesn't sit either. "And that you know me to be a," he pauses to find a word that will appeal to her sense of logic, "proven diagnostician in the science of the human psyche?"

"I still don't know how it can be called science," she replies, "But I concede that your … skills … have been instrumental in identifying that which cannot be observed in the realm of human behavior."

"Dr. Brennan, after all this time, you have to admit … actually," he pauses, thinking, then smiles a wide red-lipped smile, deciding to take advantage of this opportunity for affirmation from Brennan. "I insist that you acknowledge my legitimacy as a scientist who has proven, within an acceptable margin of error, a very … small … margin," he says, raising his eyebrows, turning his head slightly to the side, but still holding eye contact, "the legitimacy of my discipline."

"In matters of unobservable human intent," Brennan adds.

"Oh I assure you, Dr. Brennan, intent is almost always empirically observable if you are a trained expert in deciphering the meanings of the behavior."

Dr. Brennan stares at him, sighs.

"If we are going to work together toward a satisfying result, I need to know that I have your full acknowledgement of my … expertise," Sweets finishes.

"I accept your conditions," replies Brennan after looking at him from head to toe for effect. Then she sat down.


"And you have my acknowledgement of your expertise."

"Now that wasn't so hard, was it?" Sweets grabs a white, blue lined paper pad and a black ball point pen. He sits.

"Don't patronize me, Dr. Sweets," warns Brennan.

"Duly noted," Dr. Brennan. Adopting a professional posture, Sweets looks out the window for a moment, then back at Brennan, cocking his head to the side once again.

"Dr. Brennan, can you synopsize for me what you feel the issue is that we are here to confront?"

Brennan stares at him as if he's just asked her to spell c-a-t. "Dr. Sweets, Maybe you have time to waste," she begins, "But I do not. Since you are the "expert" here and more than well aware of the … issue … how about YOU tell ME what you FEEL the issue is. If I could articulate it, I'd have resolved it by now."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:03 pm

Chapter 42. Anybody Need a Lift?

It had been a long afternoon. Lunch at Parker's school had been interesting. Why is it that all older elementary schools smell the same, Brennan had wondered when she passed through the heavy wooden front doors. Floor wax, books, pencil shavings, cafeteria food, industrial strength bathroom cleaner, and gymnasium dust. She enjoyed sitting in the little grey folding chairs across from him at lunch, drinking milk from a single serving size milk carton.

Parker was impressed when she demonstrated how to puncture the topside of the carton with a pen, creating the perfect-sized hole in which she inserted the thin translucent drinking straw Parker collected from the milk line. Parker's classmates lost more milk by accidentally (or was it?) squirting it across the table when they attempted to copy Brennan's handiwork.

"This is so much cooler than opening the carton the regular way," some kid squealed across a fountain of spewing milk. Parker was the most popular kid at the table today. Brennan found it satisfying to see him enjoying the attention. She could tell by his interactions with the other third-graders that Parker enjoyed a fair amount of peer respect, but wasn't accustomed to being the center of attention. Though gregarious and hilarious in Brennan's and Booth's presence, Parker was more reserved in his natural environment with his peers.

After an afternoon of no further results, Brennan looked forward to picking him up at 2:55 at school. Parker attended the same school Booth had attended when he was in elementary. Waiting by the school playground fence as Parker had instructed her, Brennan wonders what Booth looked like as a nine-year- old schoolboy. Short pants, a buzz cut with cowlicks, knobby knees sporting a two-day old Band-Aid, pointy little pink elbows, soft little brown eyes and long lashes. Why is it that little boys always have the prettiest thick eyelashes?

Leaning against the chain link fence that looked like it had seen better days, Brennan imagined Booth sitting on the swings, kicking at the loose dirt at his feet. More likely, he'd be over in the bald spot at the bottom of the slide in a fistfight with a kid much bigger than Booth wearing brand new sneakers and clothes stamped with a designer insignia over the breast pocket. Brennan can't help but smile at the image.

As she turns to glance back at the front doors, she sees Parker with a group of boys and girls running toward her screaming something she can't make out. She moves away form the fence and watches to see what all the fuss is about. "Dr. Bones, Dr. Bones!" she eventually makes out. "Show us something else cool!" A couple of the kids are carrying little milk cartons and chewed-up straws. They must have snuck them out of the lunch room earlier.

Chuckling to herself, and more than willing to further Parker's and his friends' fascination with simple science, Brennan pursed her lips and tried to think of something simple, interesting, and within reach. She put her hands on her hips and looked at the group, trying to buy time as she mentally inventoried the contents of the trunk of her car. Inspired, she narrowed her eyes, made a "come here" motion with her index finger, and said to the group as if sharing a secret, "Follow me."

She leads the children to her parked car and popped open the trunk. Searching through several toolbox-shaped supply containers, she brought out a clear plastic drinking cup, a half-gallon jug of water, a box of baking soda, a vial of vinegar, and some kernels of loose popping corn.

Standing in front of the open trunk, her materials displayed on top of one of the closed toolboxes, she instructs, "Make a semi-circle around me so everyone can see. Make two rows, shorter kids in the front."

As the twelve excited kids jostle about, each trying to get the best spot, Brennan poured a cup of water into the clear plastic drinking cup and turned to face them.

"What I have here are some ordinary items that you can probably find in your own kitchen at home. Regular drinking water, vinegar, Arm and Hammer baking soda, and unpopped pop corn."

Turning to face her supplies, she explains, "I've poured some water into this plastic cup. Now I'm adding two teaspoons of baking sods and stirring it until the baking soda dissolves." Brennan does as she has described and holds the cup up so all can see it.

Replacing the cup on the toolbox, she continues, "Into the soda water, I am now adding about three tablespoons of vinegar." As she does this, the water bubbles up and almost spills over the top of the plastic cup. The kids are amazed. The mixture calms down, but bubbles have now collected on the bottom and sides of the cup.

"See how it looks like it has turned into soda pop? Like Ginger Ale or 7 Up or Sprite?" Oohs and ahhs all over.

"That's not even the exciting part," she explains as she reaches for the popcorn. Choosing six kernels, she drops each into the cup and steps back so everyone can see. The kernels drop down to the bottom of the cup. Nothing happens. Did it fail, the kids begin to whisper to each other?

"Nothing's happening!" a couple of them complain.

"Science is about being patient and observing," she says. "Look carefully."

Still nothing but some corn on the bottom of the cup. "Maybe they're old maids," one kid offers. Brennan isn't concerned. As they all begin to get restless, one of the shorter dark-haired girls in a skirt and long pants squeals. "One started floating! It's floating!"

They all gather in closer as eventually each of the pop corn kernels floats to the surface of the water.



"How'd you do that?"

"You saw exactly what I did. There's no magic here – except the magic of chemical reactions and good old simple science," explains Brennan. "But wait, there's more."

The kids stare at the cup and its contents as if a rabbit were going to appear out of thin air before their eyes.

"That pop corn piece just dropped back to the bottom," someone screams, astonished.

Once again, the kids break loose in exclamations of wonder. "Is this Voo Doo," one kid asks.

"Nope – science," Brennan counters.

Eventually they all fall to the bottom of the cup. As the last one hits ground level, one of the first ones slowly rises to the top once more. The kids are aghast.

"That's freaky," says a tall blond boy in the back.

"No it's not – it's cool," says Parker.

"It IS cool … and it's science!" announces Brennan.

"YOU'RE COOL!" a kid yells, starting a chant.


"I wish you were my doctor," says the short dark-haired girl.

"She's nobody's doctor," says Parker. "Except she's my dad's doctor."

"I'm not a people doctor," explains Brennan, "I'm a science doctor, a bones doctor. I work at the Jeffersonian Institution."

"She's a foreign apologist," says Parker confidently.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:04 pm

Chapter 43. I Sing the Body Electric

Returned to the Jeffersonian with Parker in tow, Brennan finds that she's finally feeling energized after such a strange and slow-moving day. She prefers to be up to her elbows in remains or action, neither of which is currently happening in D.C. She is anxious to get to Philadelphia, conference with Booth, examine the remains herself, and start putting together a profile more robust than what they have now. Having Parker for the next two and a half hours will make the gap between now and her flight fly by, she thinks, chuckling at her own pun.

"Up on the platform," she says to Parker who is trotting behind her as she swiftly mounts the few steps, swiping her card through the security mechanism as she goes.

"Angela, have the supplies arrived from the Young Scientists Initiative Division?"

This morning she and Angela collaborated to create a unique experience for Parker. While Brennan was out of the office, Angela made calls to several other divisions of the Jeffersonian collecting materials and equipment.

"Right over here," Angela replies, pushing a kitchen table-sized metal cart to the center of the platform. Parker can barely contain his excitement as he surveys the array of goods before him: pencils, waxy pastels, several tape measures, erasers, a life size three-dimensional plastic replica of the human body with removable parts, and three 11 X 14 black and white diagrams identifying the major parts of the body in layers: as we see it from the outside, the muscles and all soft materials, and the skeleton.

"This is better than Christmas," he says, breathlessly. "Don't tell Dad I said that," he added nervously.

"Your secret is safe with us," says Hodgens, coming up the steps to deliver two massive spindles – one containing a roll of paper, the other a roll of clear Mylar.

"And you ain't seen nothin' yet, baby Booth," chuckles Angela.

"Parker, you can breathe now, buddy," says Hodgens, clapping him on the back. "Don't pass out now – you don't want to miss the good stuff – and we've only got about two hours, right Dr. Brennan?"

"About two hours, but not to worry, Parker. We are professionals and we work FAST!"

Parker jumps up and down and claps his hands together. "Let's get this boat on the road then!"

That's "this show on the road," champ," begins Hodgens. "First, we gotta get you weighed and find out how tall you are. Come with me to the funnest part of this whole place …"

"That kid is lucky it's a slow day at squint central," chuffs Angela, sorting out the supplies and unrolling the paper onto a lab table.

"He's not the only one, Ange, I have a feeling the poop is about to hit the air conditioner with this case Booth's got for us."

"You mean the poop is about to hit the fan."

"Yes. That does make more sense. And it's much worse visually than poop splattered on an air conditioning unit," concedes Brennan.

Ten minutes later, Hodgens and Parker return to the platform.

"He's 48 inches tall and 56 pounds. Wendell is bringing in the body mass index."

"They put me in a huge tub of water, Bones. And I didn't even get wet. It was so cool!" reports Parker

"Parker, step over here onto this foot stool and we'll measure your other body parts." Angela points to the automan she brought up from her office and selects a flexible vinyl tape measure, a pencil, and a clip-boarded chart from her cart.

"Angela, in addition to the measurements we discussed earlier, I'm going to need the following …"

"If you could give me your list in English this will go more quickly," interrupts Angela.

"That's highly unusual for me, but I will do my best. Okay – let me see," she says, pointing to several areas of Parker as he stands on the stool, a willing specimen. "Shoulder to elbow, elbow to wrist, wrist to tip of middle finger, shoulder to waist, waist to ankle, hip to knee cap, knee cap to ankle, ball of the foot to the tip of the big toe, top of the base of one ear to the same of the other, chin up over the head to the base of the skull above the cervical vertebra."

"Got it." Angela starts working, moving Parker around like she's testing the flexibility of a marionette as she goes.

"This is fun," he says. "Mush less painful than my nine year old check-up. I had to get two shots. But I didn't complain. Even though it really hurt. That is the worst thing about getting older," he finishes with a nod and a sage expression on his face.

"Tell me about it," Hodgens answers sympathetically, stifling a chuckle. "Wait till you're my age, buddy. Things get even more ... uncomfortable. I mean, interesting," he finishes as Angela gives him a warning glance. When Parker looks away, Hodgens mouths "What?" at Angela, feigning innocence.

Measurements taken and recorded, Parker awaits his next instruction. Brennan had briefed him on the way from school, so he had a vague idea of what was to come. As Angela and Brennan chat about the order in which to handle the next few tasks, Parker inspects the wax pastels, picking up four and comparing them to himself. Placing them on the examination table, he waits for the women to finish.

"Bones," he says, "I think these are the right colors for my skin, my hair, my lips and my eyes," he says.

"Very good job, LittleBigMan," she replies, holding each up to its respective body part, impressed. "Are you ready for the next step? This is my favorite part, by the way!"

"Ready as I'll ever be," he replies, trying to contain his excitement.

Hodgens covers the examination table with paper from the roll. The paper covers the entire top of the table and hangs off the two shorter sides.

"Okay, big guy, up you go," says Hodgens, lifting Parker from the footstool as if he were a baby. He lies him down gently on the paper-covered table, careful not to tear it. "Spread your arms out like this, and your legs out like that," he instructs while manipulating Parker's limbs so each lies flat on the table.

"Parker, this may tickle a little, but you know what I'm doing, so please contain yourself," says Brennan.

"Are you kidding me, when I was nine, my whole body was a tickling erogenous zone – this should be interesting," says Hodgens, crossing his arms and stepping back for a better view of the operation.

"I have a couple tricks up my sleeve, Dr. Hodgens, Oh ye of little faith."

"Parker, before I trace your form onto this paper, I am going to slide this piece of flannel against your skin all around the edges where I will be tracing. This will acclimate your nerves to the touch and significantly decrease the gargalesis sensation."

"The gargoyle what?"

"The gargalesis – it means laughter-inducing tickle sensation. I'll bet your dad has never heard that word."

"Then I will definitely have to use it this weekend. He won't know WHAT I'm talking about. And that will give a gargalesis to my funny bone!"

"You'll have to let me know how that goes," says Brennan with a smile. "Okay – here we go. Flannel," she says, tracing a seam around his body with the soft fabric. "Now the tracing. Please spread your phalanges – I mean fingers!"

Parker lies very still and makes it all the way through the process until Brennan gets to his armpit, which is just too sensitive. Each time she attempts to trace the arc from rib cage to elbow, Parker gets an attack of the giggles. "It's not really that it tickles," he says, trying to cover up that fact that it really is, "It's just that the word "gargalesis" sounds so funny!"

Brennan narrows her eyes and gives him an I KNOW WHAT YOU ARE UP TO stare. He calms himself down almost instantly, biting his lip when he gets the urge to crack-up at the other armpit.

Fifteen minutes later, they are finished and Angela has copied his outline onto two identically-sized pieces of Mylar.

"Now, shall we give you some bones?" says Brennan.

"Of course, unless you expect me to slither around like a snake for the rest of my life," Parker points out.

Forty minutes after that, Brennan has sketched all 206 bones onto the paper outline. She steps back to admire her work, nodding satisfactorily. She hasn't done this since grad school and had forgotten how relaxing it can be.

"That's better than therapy," she says to herself.

"My skeleton looks like a big maze!" says Parker.

"Now it is your turn to do some work. Take this diagram," Angela hands her the sheet containing the skeleton drawing with each of the major bones labeled. Brennan lays it on the covered table, careful not to cover any of the Parker skeleton drawing. "Label each bone that I have put an arrow and a blank line next to. When you are finished with that, we'll color them all in."

"After we've got the skeleton completed, we can attach the first Mylar sheet and begin coloring in your muscles. After that, we can color your outside appearance onto the other piece of Mylar – which we'll use for the top page. The sinews will go in the middle, and the bones will be the bottom page."

"I can't wait to show this to Dad!"

By 5:45 when Rebecca arrives, everything is completed except the coloring for the top page. Parker is not happy about leaving this wonderful creation at the Jeffersonian, but he's able to negotiate another visit soon out of the deal.

"In the meantime, if you guys miss me, you can jus talk to Flat Parker!" he says with a giggle.

"It was great having you with me these last couple of days, Parker. Thanks for keeping me company at your dad's place."

"Anytime, Bones. Just call if you ever get lonely – even at your own place," he says seriously, hugging Brennan.

"You do the same," replies Brennan, kissing the top of his head.

"It's always a pleasure with you, Baby Booth," Angela tells Parker warmly. "When you come back, you can help me finish coloring some clothes on this guy, and then you can take him home."

"Or I can let Bones keep him," he whispers into Angela's ear as he hugs her.

"Well, that is another option," she laughs, thinking how like his father Parker is.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:05 pm

Chapter 44. What the ...?

Brennan eases herself into her first class seat on American Airlines Flight 4534 from Washington Dulles to Philadelphia, checking her arrival time and dialing Booth on her cell.

"Yo," he says in greeting.


"The one and only."

"And there are hearts breaking all over America based on that one fact alone," She says. "How do you like that for sarcasm?"

"Heh," is all he says.

"Okay, whatever. Are you ... on vacation?"

"It's Philly, baby! Land of the Home, free of the Braves – or whatever ..."

"Are you drunk?"

"No – just chillin' … and bored out of my skull. When do you get in?"

"You know that is not possible … well, it IS possible … screw it, I don't have the energy. I get in at 7:45."

"Good thing you are on your way here, Bones. Sounds like YOU need a vacation. Did you bring your bikini?"

"I can't even think of a response for that that won't encourage your already over-salacious nature. Are you sure you're not drunk?"

"Uh, yeah. Are you? You're sound drugged."

"No drugs, just tired. What are you doing?"

"I'm just making a bunch of calls, waiting for yourself to arrive so we can get on the trail of righteous indignation and nail a bad guy together."

"Okay," she says, pausing too long as if she's lost her train of thought. "Listen, I love your kid, but I am exhausted."

"Welcome to the real world, Bones. Sleep on the plane. We got work to do – and dinner plans with a couple of really short people."

"Huh?" Brennan sighs and yawns, already losing interest in whatever he just said. "I don't … know how … you do it."

"Its called caffeine, and adrenaline. Hope you brought your party pants. Did I mention we have plans for dinner?" He listens for a response. Any response. "Bones? Bones?"

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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:05 pm

Chapter 45. Booth's Ride

Booth hangs up the phone and looks at his list of possible victims. Making these calls is one of the most difficult parts of the job. Sure, people want answers to what happened to their loved one, but they never want the news he often has to deliver. Once the family of a missing person has an answer, hope dies, and the final grieving begins. Some are relieved to know what happened. Some would rather hang on to their dream that whatever happened, their missing person is in a better place - either on earth or on a higher plain. It makes it easier to deny that they may have had an unimaginably horrible final experience on terra firma.

Booth's ability to quickly ascertain how the news will be received, and then to interpret the actual response, are part of what make him FBI Agent Numero Uno in his division. His uncanny ability to lead a suspect into doing or saying something to reveal motive is one of many skills that baffles and eludes Brennan. Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt uncovered once that Brennan wanted to get into Booth's head. "Once inside his head, then what?" he'd asked her. It had been an interesting conversation. For Dr. Gordon Gordon, at least. Uncomfortable for Brennan.

Looking at his watch, Booth decides to pack it in for the day. He closes a file that is way too thin for his satisfaction at this point, and returns it to his brief case. He takes his second shower of the day and puts on a tee shirt and jeans to go pick up Brennan. He finds that he's really looking forward to seeing her, more excited than he's been in a long time ...

Exiting his hotel room, he saunters to the elevator, gets in, and punches the lobby button, already swaying to the muzak version of "The Girl From Ipanema." At the front desk he's directed by the attendant to the young man who arrived two minutes earlier to meet him.

A pimple-faced, red-headed boy of twenty-something stands and straightens his suit coat.

"Special Agent Seeley Booth?"

"Yes," confirms Booth, enjoying the deference this kid is already paying to him. Recalling something his grandfather once told him he smiles a satisfied smile at the boy. Pops had said, "Son, it's not the man in the suit that has the most power. Men wear suits to make themselves appear important. Now, sometimes you gotta wear a suit - and that's just fine. But if you want to know the most powerful man in the room, look for the one who doesn't need to be dressed up to gain respect. Notice how the other men in suits defer to him. That, my friend, is real power."

Booth wasn't so much into power, but respect was a necessity.

Arriving in the lobby to pick up a brand new Chevy Suburban SUV 2WD 1500 LTZ, even if it was only a short-term rental, dressed in a tee shirt and jeans felt pretty dang good.

"Sir, I have your car parked right outside in the waiting area. You requested the Steel Green Metal Chevy Suburban SUV 2WD 1500 LTZ, correct?"

"Your supervisor told me that's the closest you've got to black in the 2011?" asks Booth.

"That is correct, sir. However, I think you'll find that the 326 horses under the hood at 5,300 rpms, and the 348 pounds of torque at 4,400 rpms will more than make up for the tint."

"What else is she loaded with?"

"Well, your were very clear about your priorities on your rental application. I think you will find the 1500 LTZ more than exceeds you expectations."

"Can you be a little more specific, sport?"

"Agent Booth, sir, if you'll follow me," he says beginning to move in the direction of the lobby doors. "Here's your key fob. There's an extra set for a second driver." Even though he said, "follow me," Red then motions for Booth to lead the way like Vanna White revealing what's behind door number three.

At the curb right in front of the hotel entrance sits a thoroughbred, as far as Booth's concerned. Attempting to mask his delight, he turns to Red, which he's decided to call him inside his own head, and says, "It certainly isn't black …"

"Allow me to demonstrate the driver's seat controls, Agent Booth." Red clicks the fob still in his hand to start the engine.

"Sweet!" exclaims Booth, unable to contain himself. "Did you just do that from the fob?"

"Yes sir," he says with a grin, relieved that Booth has finally shown approval. He points out each of the unobtrusive knobs, levers and buttons decorating the left side of the driver's seat.

"She's got a heated, ventilated bucket driver seat with six 12-way memorized power height, power lumbar and power tilt. She's fully loaded with a Bose audio system with ten speakers, AM/FM radio, CD player/MP3, and a radio data system satellite radio. She's got Driver and passenger heated power door mirrors, Electric foldable mirrors, a navigation system with full map and voice instruction, Voice-activated radio, phone and navigation system, and a 40" x 108" cargo area that opens remotely with a touch of the fob button. Oh, and alloy wheels with 130 inch wheel base."

"Sold American," says Booth getting into the vehicle. "So you need a ride back to the rental office, son?"

"No sir, I'm covered. Enjoy the ride. Call us when you are ready for the return. I'll pick it up anywhere within 100 miles of our office. Just put the key fobs in the self addressed stamped envelope you'll find in the glove compartment, lock the doors, make the call, and drop the keys in any US mailbox."

"Got it," says Booth, anxious to hit the road. He slams the door shut and rolls down the window. "Am I supposed to tip you, kid?"

"I wouldn't accept one if you offered, sir. It's my pleasure to serve you," said Red with a little nod, as he stepped backward, with his hands clasped and a grateful smile on his face. "It is GOOD to be home," says Booth, pulling away from the curb and turning on the Bose. "Agent Booth is a happy camper. A happy camper driving 326 horses with 348 pounds of torque!" He cranks the Jimi Hendrix.

Alone in the SUV with twenty-five minutes to himself, he tires of jamming after the first three songs, and his mind turns back to Hannah. The bomb she dropped changed the way he thought about Brennan. Strangely enough, Hannah, the woman who had ignited his angry campaign against all woman, was also the one to give him the shove he needed to leave behind the campaign and get back to living life to the fullest. He could't wait to tell Bones. "If she can stay awake long enough to hear about it," he said out loud as Prince sang a ballad about "Darling Nikki."

Unable to resist a little Artist Formerly Known As, Booth cranks it and sings along:

"I looked all over and all I found

was a phone number on the stairs.

It said thank you for a funky time.

Call me up whenever you want to grind …. "
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:06 pm

Chapter 46. No Matter What

Tooling down East Lancaster Avenue, toward Ardmore Ave., Seeley Booth turns the volume down on the ten-speaker Bose sound system in his rented Chevy Suburban SUV 2WD 1500 LTZ with 326 horses under the hood. There will always be another opportunity to jam with Steven Tyler to "Janie's Got a Gun," though Booth's version was more interesting: "Brennan's Got a Gun." Take that, Aerosmith!

"God it feels good to have a set of wheels underneath me again," thought Booth as his mind turned to other things. Non-murder related things. Female things. Women. Relationships. Partners. Ex-Almost fiancées. The whole ball of wax.

Knowing he'd see Bones within the hour, he decides to get something straight in his head. What was it Hannah had said about his partner that had had such a profound affect on him?

"Remember when I was in the hospital after having a 38 slug cut out of my leg?"

"Huh, yeah. I remember that vividly," Booth had answered.

"Temperance saved my life. She had the opportunity to, literally, let me die. But she didn't. She was the one who pointed out the hairline evulsion fracture of my femur. If she hadn't contradicted my physician, a tendon could have pulled out the bone shard and punctured my femoral artery. And I would have bleed out before anyone knew what was happening." Hannah had said all this, with an expression of utter disbelief on her face.

When she continued, she added, "And to top it off, she came to visit me while I was recovering from surgery. Did she ever tell you what she said to me the day she gave me her sun glasses?"

Booth had shaken his head slowly, "After what you've been telling me today, Hannah, there is no way I can predict what you are about to tell me. Go on." Booth had leaned forward in his seat, clasping his hands and laying them on the table in front of himself.

"She came to visit me without a gift. I told her it's customary for a hospital visitor to bring a gift for the injured person, right? So she let me take her dark brown sunglasses. Later I felt pretty creepy about having done that - taken her glasses - but part of me knew she had you, and I guess I wanted to take something from her." Hannah had paused, looking down at her hands and continuing to play with the rubber band. By now, the rubber band was stretched almost beyond it's limits. Booth kept expecting it to break and sting Hannah. But it never did.

"Do you still have them," Booth had asked. "Don't tell me you plan to keep them. I'd like to think in an exchange, I'm worth more than a pair of sunglasses."

"Maybe she can give me her first born child, if things go well between the two of you," she suggested.

"Hannah, you're getting way ahead of yourself. We aren't even a couple - Bones and me," Booth said matter-of-factly. "Romantically, at least."

"Booth, life would be much less complicated if you two just had it out, threw caution to the wind, and ran off together."

"I'm not sure I'm done being pissed off at the whole female race," said Booth, defensively.

"For your sake and hers, I hope you take that gamble again - like you did before everything went to Hades for the two of you. Seeley, I know the last time broke your heart - but the odds are stacked in your favor this time. She's already told you she loves you - and wants no regrets. What are you waiting for?"

"Pardon me if I'm a little gun shy, Hannah. Strike three, and I'm out. How do I know she will EVER be ready?" Booth was nowhere near convinced he could go forward romantically with anyone anytime soon. "So what did the anthropologist say to the sunglass thief when she visited her in the hospital?"

"Perhaps you should be a little more careful in the stories you pursue in the future."

"What stories? What are you talking about?" Booth asked.

"No, that is what Temperance said to me that day in the hospital. Booth would be very unhappy if you died, she said."

"Really?" Booth had been unaware this had been going on between Hannah and Temperance.

"Once again, Seeley, she put your happiness above her own. Not may people would do that. Especially in her situation."

"Her situation?"

"Her situation. Whether she KNEW it or not at that time, she was already in love with you. Had been for a very long time. But that girl's got some serious barriers - and a resolve like I have NEVER seen. I'd hate to be across from her in a hostage negotiation situation. She's got ovaries of steel. That is what it takes to almost marry off the person you want for yourself because you think it will make them happy."

"She's got good reason," Booth had replied, "For the barriers, I mean."

"Yes, I know, Seeley," she said looking him straight in the eyes. "Anyone Temperance has ever loved has left her. And she wasn't willing to risk that with you. Wasn't wiling to risk losing you or hurting you. Not because she doesn't love you enough, maybe the opposite. She didn't trust herself not to hurt you or chase you away. The glimmer of hope here is that in turning you away as a lover, she was, in her own way, also preserving your relationship. The way I see it, that was an act of self-love as well as selfless love."

"So," prompted Booth, wanting to be sure he understood her correctly.

"So, Seeley, I think you have a shot of putting some chinks in her armor if you can help her to see that you can take care of yourself - she can stop protecting you from the heartless anthropologist who chases people away. Let YOU worry about you. And make it okay for her to do something for herself. But she also needs to know you aren't going anywhere. No matter what."

"No matter what."

"Yes, no matter what."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:07 pm

Chapter 47. Put On Your Man Pants, Seeley Booth

"I know it was painful for you when we broke up," said Hannah at the Royal Diner just a couple days ago. It was an intense conversation. Sweets would have wet his pants in excitement, it was so intense, thought Booth.

"Especially since it was the third time you'd put your heart on the line. First with Rebecca, then with Temperance, then with me, but Seeley, you have been licking your wounds and acting like you're that kid who wasn't enough. That kid whose dad didn't love him enough to stop hitting him. You have been taking the punches and letting them keep you down."

"Where the heck is this coming from?" Booth was feeing a little uncomfortable at this point. This WAS beginning to feel a bit too much like therapy. Maybe Hannah was channelling Sweets. "Have you been talking to Sweets about me? Because that would be a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality and I could have his job," he had said, combatively.

"Just hear me out, Seeley! There is another way to look at your situation - a better way. A truer way. Look, you have had Rebecca with whom you made a beautiful child, who has since admitted that she made a mistake and that she did love you - but believes your moment together has past. Besides, you've both moved on."

"Regardless, she loves the father you are for Parker; thinks you are a wonderful dad."

"Then there's Temperance. No one with any eyes or ears would say that she doesn't love you. She told you that she had to protect you and her fear was that she couldn't love you as much as you loved her, or that she would hurt you, or , I don't know, that it would mess everything up."

"And then you had me. And I did love you. I do love you, but like I've just told you. This is not our love story, this isn't the love story of Booth and Hannah. Other things are planned for me."

"Despite what the little boy Seeley Booth thinks, this is not the story of a three time looser, this is a story of a very fortunate man who has had three wonderful loves. Yeah, the timing sucked and maybe the women weren't ready, but here's the thing, Seeley Booth. You were made a very strong man. At the right time, and in the right place, that strength and that loyalty, and that persistence … and your compassionate patience are what are going to get you to the remarkable relationship – that's out there for you."

It made sense that he had been angry a moment earlier. Hannah had struck a nerve when she called a spade a spade by mentioning the childhood insecurities that had reared their ugly head after he and Hannah broke up.

"$(#*&%#!," he had said at that point, tears in his eyes. He knew she was right. About all of it.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:08 pm

Chapter 48. I Hope You Feel My Love

Booth had taken a break and gone to the bathroom to collect himself. When he returned, Hannah had paid the bill and was preparing to leave. "What a relief this conversation is over," thought Booth. Then Hannah opened her mouth …

"There are two more things I have to tell you, Seeley."

Booth groaned.

"Buck up, big guy. This won't take long - and I know you have to go. I just can't leave for Afghanistan without explaining something. So bear with me for five more minutes."

"Does it get worse?"

"Worse? Has this really been so bad? To recap,

You've always loved Temperance.

She's always loved you.

She gave up the antique phone, saved my life, warned me about breaking your heart, asked me not to die - she put your happiness above her own

I have always been truthful, but I can also be a bit of a conniving female k-9 when I think someone's treading on my territory.

She even gave you up instead of possibly hurting you

"I got hurt anyway," Booth interjected.

Hannah tosses him a smirk. When was he going to let that go?

"And now I'm territory? Property?" says Booth, eyes wide like he can't believe she'd consider him that.

"Welcome to the party, Seeley, women have lived with that distinction since Adam conked Eve on the head and dragged her out of the Garden of Eden," chuffed Hannah.

"Hey, Eve was the one who took a bite of the apple … "

"Because she was charmed by a sexy male snake … come on, everyone thinks that even if they don't admit it."

At the same time, they both realize the irony of what she just said. Eve. Charmed. By a sexy SNAKE. Interesting metaphor. They stared at each other, each expounding privately on the possible meaning, then looked at each other and laughed.

"You know what I meant," Hannah finally said with a patronizing smile. "Get your mind out of the gutter."

"Any way you slice it - it comes out smelling true," Booth replied in defense of his own imagination. "And you were the one who said it, not me."

"Are we up to date?" asked Hannah, continuing without waiting for a response from Booth.

"After that day in the hospital I thought, you know what? Bones has got brains, and she's gorgeous, and really, she's got you. But as willing as you were to have fun and to be with me while you were figuring that out, it was okay with me."

"When you told me that she said she was in love with you and didn't want to have any regrets, I worried that it was going to be the end of us. Because by then I was already in love with you. You could have left me and never looked back. I think I expected you to. But you didn't because that's not who you are. And I think you were still hurt, and angry, at the choices she'd made."

Booth sat silently for a little while, looking at the table. "Liz should really clean this table," he finally said.

"I was impressed that she didn't continue to pursue you after that," Hannah said, picking up where she'd left off. "That is not who she is. She doesn't play games. If I had been her, I wouldn't have cared if she were my BEST friend, I would have pursued you like Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner. She was a good friend to me, Seeley. She was someone that I came to admire and respect."

"When I saw what was happening, that you were not going to leave me - but that you were still in love with her - I knew that I was gonna have to be the one to end our relationship … eventually. It's not that I am not the marrying kind, Seeley. It's that I'm not the kind of person who wants to marry someone who is in love with someone else," she tried to explain.

"I still don't understand how you could see all this - and I didn't," Booth says, shaking his head in confusion. "It can't be women's intuition, Hannah. It's gotta be more than that."

Hannah regard him with soft, understanding eyes. She reached across the table and put her hand on his forearm. He kept his arms crossed, not yet ready to conceded that this was real, not witch craft.

"Baby, I've been around the block a couple times. Let me tell you. I am a product of an unhappy union between a man and the woman he could never love the way he loved a different woman who was married to someone else, by the way. And it destroyed him. It's a long story – as they always are. But take it from me. The more interesting stories I know are the ones I will never write."

"Someday you really should," Booth suggested. It was nice to be talking about something that had nothing to do with him - even just for a moment. "There's your Pulitzer. Write what you least want anyone to read, and you'll be writing for all of humanity."

"Maybe someday," answered Hannah, piling her plates up and sweeping crumbs inter her hand, dumping them on top of her dirty plate. "Don't they ever clear the tables around here?"

"I've been watching Liz. She's looked over here several times - but I think she hasn't wanted to interrupt. She's pretty good at keeping her distance when it looks like she should. I wish people at the office were more like that …"

"Anyway … when you asked me to marry me, I felt like it was coming out of the blue and so that's why I said no. I have to say I do love you, but I am not as in love with you – I don't know that I'm capable to love someone as much as she loves you. And I hope that you will take this and will be able to do something about it. Put an end to the pity party, Seeley. Go get the girl. If you don't, not only are you a fool, but you are going to die a bitter old man. I know you."

"I know there are going to be challenges between the two of you, you are both stubborn, competitive, sacrificial, smart. You don't think you're smart, but you are."

"Have you seen who I hang out with? Booth said, incredulous.

Hannah ignored him and continued. "Here's the thing, Seeley, I don't know if you think anyone in your life has ever considered you smart, …"

"Thanks a lot, Hannah, wanna take a shot at my manhood while you're at it?" Booth tossed out.

"Temperance doesn't just think you're smart, Seeley, she knows you are. Here's this woman who's brilliant. She's a genius. And she recognizes in you an intelligence that she does not have. And I think it probably takes a genius to be able to do that." As hannah paused, she looked at Booth who was looking out the window, letting what she said sit there. She notices his eyes were glossy, about to spill over. She knew that intelligence was a tricky subject with Booth. As a jock, he never was recognized for his academic achievements, but he did very well in school.

His FBI track record was proof that there was something between his ears other than ear wax. That had to count for something, right?

Continuing, Hannah said, "I was so shocked when you proposed. I don't know if you did it to convince yourself that you were doing the right thing - or that our relationship wasn't a rebound relationship. I think you were afraid that I would feel I had been used as a substitute for what you really wanted. I don't know."

The night you asked me to marry you, I knew I had to say no. And I saw how devastated you were. I knew the greatest kindness I could do for you at that moment was to call your best friend, so that is what I did. I knew she would go find you. That is how she came to be at the bar with you that night."

Booth nodded his head. He knew Brennan hadn't just happened to show up at the right time. She'd told him Hannah had called.

"What you don't know, Seeley … " she paused for effect, looking straight into his eyes, pulling his arms out of their place crossed in front of him on the table, and holding his hands. "What you don't know is that Temperance also opened her home to me that night. She knew I needed a place to stay."

"What?" Booth whispered, thinking, "Wow."

"Before we hung up, before she left to be with you, she told me where she'd hide a house key, she put out fresh sheets and towels, and she let me stay the night at her place. I left in the morning before she got up. But I will never forget what a fine person she is for doing that for me."

They sat in silence for at least three minutes, no longer holding hands. The final punch delivered. Booth sat looking out the window, lost in his own thoughts. Hannah now shedding a couple tears. For her, this was her final gift to him. And the final goodbye. There was no turning back. And she now felt she could get on with her life. She had made restitution. She had done the right thing, the brave thing. She had put his happiness before her own. Realizing she learned that from Brennan, she could't help but let out a little laugh. "Thank you, Temperance Brennan," she said to herself.

Having collected himself, Booth was then pulled out of his reverie by her little laugh.

"Thanks for telling me this, Hannah. I …" He sighed, letting the weight of the world fall off his shoulders. "Wow. I don't know what to say. Thank you for loving ME enough to tell me this. You deserve the best. And I know you will find it."

Hannah answers, "I DO deserve the best – the best for me.

And for what it's worth, That's everything I wanted to tell you. There it is." Hannah pauses, then, "Are we good?"

"Are you kidding?" answers Booth sliding his chair back and standing up. He pulls her out of her chair into a warm embrace, rocking her back and forth just a little. The embrace was just as much for himself as it was for her. She had freed him from the negative view he'd had of himself and life since his third strike. Which she had pitched.

"We're more than good."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:10 pm

Chapter 49. Dazed and Confused and Hyperventilating

Hannah had made herself clear. In the process, Booth had gained closure. He was feeling free. That chapter, heck, that whole book of his life was over. "I'm BACK," he shouted out loud to Jimmy Page's twang-bow-wow-slither-slide as Robert Plant crooned "Dazed and Confused as only he could:

Been dazed and confused for so long it's not true.

Wanted a woman - never bargained for you.

Lots of people talking - few of them know

The soul of a woman was created below …
As Booth swung into parking garage A East, he could feel his pulse accelerate. He took several deep breaths. Over doing it in his excitement, he got a little light-headed. Then had to calm himself down even more. "Don't just jump on her. Don't just jump on her," he told himself over and over. He wanted to recount his entire conversation with Hannah to Bones. But he kept reminding himself of a conversation he'd had with Dr. Gordon Gordon.


"Yes, yes, she told you that she loves you - wants no regrets. But when she did that, it was not as great of a risk as you might think - because you were with Hannah. See Bones KNOWS you. She knows you've never cheated on any woman. That knowledge provided her with a cushion. I dare say, if you had never been with Hannah, Dr. Brennan may never have come to her own realization."

At the time, Booth hadn't wanted to hear that. He had just wanted something easy for once. "Just once, Sweet Jesus, can something by easy?" he'd actually said out loud to Gordon.

"My dear boy, what would be the fun in that? No, Mr. G Man, you enjoy the hunt."

Booth had groaned and dragged his fingers through his hair, almost pulling some of it out. Gordon had laughed.

"Well now you've done it," he'd said. "You've sprouted horns. How appropriate."

Booth tried fixing his hair - but gave up.

"So what do I do when my "burnt offering date" comes? Provided I'm not pissed at the world anymore." Booth punched out, spitting a bit, then whipping his chin. He and Brennan had written the dates that they each thought they should finally get together - on pieces of paper and burned them - without revealing to each other what they wrote.

"You will do what you always do, Agent Booth," he pronounced "Booth" so it rhymed with "smooth," rather than "tooth." Booth assumed that was part of the whole English Accent thing.

"You will follow her lead. You see, you are so in tune with her - its almost as if your sensitivity, your awareness of her feelings makes up for her lack of awareness of them."

Gordon had flipped a plump juicy burger and prepared to top it off with a slice of Gruère cheese sprinkled with some kind of herbs Booth did not recognize.

"So what you're saying is - even though she's told me about her feelings, there's still some kind of barrier there? And I still have to tread lightly?"

"Precisely, my boy."

"How on God's green earth will I ever know when she can handle her feelings? How will we ever make the next step without her running in the opposite direction again. 'Cuz I gotta tell you - if I put it out there, and I get shot down, Man, I'm done," he'd said, making the same hand gesture a baseball referee makes as he screams, "He's SAFE," after a guy lands on the base while ALMOST simultaneously being hit by the flying ball.

"I do believe, Agent Booth," There it was again, 'Agent Smooth-Booth', "That when she is ready, she will come to you." Gordon tilted his chin toward his chest, pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes. It was the kind of look that conveyed that it took years of experience to be able to predict the behavior of a woman as complicated as Dr. Brennan. But that Gordon would be willing to bet a juicy steak on it.


"Yes. She will come to you, mark my words."

"Hmmmm. So it may hit me out of no where?"

"Oh no. You will see it coming - if you pay attention."

"What do you mean? I am an EXPERT at paying attention …"

"But do you know what to look for?"

"Well, I …"

"Would you like some suggestions?"

"By all means, hit me."

"You've mentioned Dr. Brennan uses a … detached … clinical … vocabulary."

"She says things that most people wouldn't say, for propriety's sake, yeah."

"Even when she's referring to sexual matters?"

"Especially when she's talking about that! She says things like 'I assume you've had sexual intercourse' or 'coitus' or 'I've always thought we'd be quite compatible because we both have great stamina' or 'love is just a confusing rush of hormones or pheromones, or something - that hypnotize you into thinking you need to be with a person. She says it's all part of the human imperative ...

"Quite right, quite right. Marvelous," Gordon said, observing Booth calmly. "Well, that my dear, dear boy, is an anti-intimacy mechanism." He lets Booth work that out silently.

"You mean, it provides distance - when she's talking about the most intimate experience a man and woman can have," he guesses, the light coming on.

"What is it you say? Bingo, Baby?"

"Yeah. SO all I gotta do is get her to stop talking so clinically about sex …"

"Sincerely, Agent Booth, have you heard nothing I've said this whole evening?"

"What? What'd I miss?"

"You won't have to do anything - you SHOULDN'T do anything," said Gordon, sounding only slightly exasperated - because he really wasn't at all - but he did want to emphasize the point so Booth would get it.

"Huh. Not sure I know how to do that."

"Stop thinking so hard. I predict that when she's ready she'll make some kind of a declaration. And it will be emotional - not logical. Not like 'hey baby lets go ahead and give this relationship a try and by the way can you pass the bangers and mash?'"

"Really, because that's how the majority of our conversations go, you know."

"Really …." says Gordon, dragging out the word and pausing long enough, a twinkle in his eye, for Booth to know he's being teased.

"So will it be like, I love you - or something like that? Is that what you mean?"

"Oh, I dare it will be a little more emphatic, more impassioned - like perhaps, I cannot live without you."

"Oh," Booth had said. His throat suddenly tight, pulse thumping in his ears.

"Every day I work so hard, bringing home my hard earned pay.
Try to love you baby, but you push me away. Don't know where you're going -
only know where you've been …Don;t know where you're going,
only know just where you've been. Sweet little baby, I want you again."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:12 pm

Chapter 50. She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not, or A Rose By Any Other Name

Booth's cell rang Brennan's rendition of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" as Booth sat in the driver's seat, still in the parking lot. It was 7:30. She shouldn't have arrived yet.

"My luck her flight is the first one in history to arrive fifteen minutes early" he says to the empty car.

"Bones! Are you here already?" Booth jumps out of the SUV, slams the door shut, noticing the solid THWANK it makes as it locks into place. Solid, manly, he thinks. What a sweet vehicle!

He beeps the doors locked and pockets the fob, heading down the row of mostly SUVs toward the glass doors of baggage claim for Concourse A-East.

"Uh, no. We'll be landing in about fifteen minutes," she says looking at her watch and returning her seat to the upright position.

"Yep, flight on time?"

"Is this the same concourse you came in on? A-East?"

"Yeah, or something close to that, why?" Booth negotiates through a tide of arriving travelers pulling their wheeled luggage behind them.

"Is there a lot of walking from the concourse to the parking lot?" Brennan takes her bag from under the seat in front of her and sets it on the adjoining seat to her right. Whenever possible, like tonight, she prefers to have a window seat so she has somewhere to look when she doesn't feel social. Tonight she lucked out even more - the seat next to her was vacant.

"Nope … it's a straight shot. Get off the plane, take a right down the concourse, walk through Ticketing, take the skyway over the SEPTA train tracks. The skyway dumps you into baggage claim. The garage, Garage A East, will be right there. RIght in front of you."

"Good. No shuttle or train rides?"

"No shuttle or train rides."

"Okay," she says, relaxing with a sigh. "I'll meet you in the garage. I'm still so tired. I slept on the plane - but that is never restorative! I think the last time I got a good night's sleep was … when was that? Oh!" She realizes it was the night she cried herself to sleep in his arms - but now that she'd already brought it up - she might as well finish what she was saying. "It was the night Mr. Vincent Nigel-Murray was killed. The night I stayed at your place - with you."

"No one does hospitality like Booth does hospitality," he answers, grinning at his own memories of that night and the next morning. He thinks to himself, "Wait - I'm supposed to be slowing my pulse, not accelerating it - these thoughts are not helping."

"Really?" replies Brennan, also struggling to sound casual. "Do you let all your house guests into your bed … uh … room?" She closes her eyes and chastises herself for encouraging this line of discussion.

"We do aim to please, ma'am," he says breathing as quietly as he can into the phone.

Brennan says nothing. Where to go from here? What is there to say now? Nothing, she tells herself. She knows Booth can't stand lulls in a conversation. He'll be compelled to say something eventually.

"Bones, I'm coming in to meet you - I'll get your bags for you," he tells her.

She smiles at her fulfilled prediction.

"That won't be necessary, Booth. Like you said, it's a straight shot. I'm an able bodied adult human female. I can get my own luggage."

"Bones - you've had a long day. A long couple of days. I can't thank you enough for stepping in with Parker. This is the least I can do. I'll meet you at Ticketing, right outside security check."

"Well, if you put it that way, you win …"

"God, I love it when you say that."

"The infrequency of the occurrence is what makes it so enjoyable when it does happen."

"Not true, Bones. Not true. Not true about all things, at least."

"Anthropologically speaking, rarity and difficulty of acquisition have dictated desirability in all cultures since the stone age," she says, matter-of-factly. "That which only few may possess becomes the world."

"Who is that, Shakespeare? Pope John Paul? Better yet, John, Paul, Ringo and George?"

"No," she answers seriously. "Temperance Brennan."

"Oh. Quoting yourself now, Bones. Isn't that a bit … um …."

"Ostentatious? Pretentious? It would be if it wasn't valid. In this case it is."

"Whatever," says Booth, rolling his eyes and shaking his head. "I'm at Ticketing."

"Good, see you soon," Brennan pushes the "End" button on her phone and slips the phone into her bag.

"Booth snaps his phone shut and takes a look around. He's got about ten minutes till she deplanes. Spying a kiosk selling roses, he buys one on a whim. Why not?

Thinking better of it - he walks away from the kiosk and tosses the rose in the garbage. "What am I thinking? That is NOT something I would usually do."

His phone rings again. "Booth."

"Booth, it's me again. Did you say we have dinner plans tonight?"

"Yeah, why?"

"I am really exhausted. Is there any way we can get out of it? I want nothing more than to sink into a hot bathtub and then smack the sack," she says yawning.

"Hit the sack, Bones. And, no, we are not canceling dinner. We're going to Dr. Larrinaga's house. His wife Carmen made salmon covered in a delicate lemon pepper marinade," he says, adopting the voice of a Maître 'd.

"That does sounds delicious, but you are personally responsible for keeping me vertical and conscious. Does the Booth hospitality encompass that set of amenities?"

"Like I said, we aim to please."

"Good. You'll earn your tip tonight, garçon," she says, yawning again and stretching her legs out in front of her as the plane begins its descent."See you in a minute."

"Kay," he answers, pacing Ticketing. He returns to the garbage can, peeks inside, looks around to see if anyone is watching, and retrieves the rose. "All women like flowers, right?"

Fifteen minutes later, she's landed, deplaned, and made her way through concourse A-East to Ticketing. Booth spots her as she lumbers through the line of passengers carrying a large bag and dragging her carry-on suitcase. Her clothing is wrinkled, her hair is disheveled, her make-up has mostly melted off, and she's never looked more beautiful as far as he's concerned. He can't help but smile broadly, his eyes twinkling. Now he's glad he picked the rose out of the garbage can ...

Brennan doesn't see Booth at first. She stops walking and cranes her neck to see past all the other passengers flowing around and past her - as if she were a rock in the middle of a shallow creek.

Booth watches her for a moment, not moving, barely able to contain himself. As he watches her, he notices that she looks like a different person. With a satisfied smile, he admits to himself that she is not the one who is different, he is. He wants to see the look on her face when she sees him. He's going to let her come to him. This may not be what Gordon Gordon meant, but it sounds like a good idea to Booth at the moment.

As the throng of passengers begins to thin, Brennan continues looking for Booth. The moment she spots him, her whole body relaxes and feels energized at the same time. He's looking at her intently, smiling as their eyes meet. Her stomach does a little flip and she starts walking in his direction, exhausted, but happy. Her tired shoulders drop, her bag doesn't seem so heavy anymore, and without even thinking, she heads toward him like a speed walker.

Booth is overcome by a feeling he can only describe as excited contentment. "I had forgotten what happy feels like …" he says to himself, realizing it for the first time. Surprised by the … relief … he feels at having her here in Philly, about to have dinner together at his new friend's house, about to work a case together, he begins moving toward her, never losing eye contact.

They meet in the middle and Booth embraces Brennan, her arms still at her sides hanging onto her bag and suit case.

"Booth, your crushing me!" she complains, laughing. "Happy to see you too, partner."

"Oh, it's just so good to see a familiar face," he teases her. "Even though it is a very tired face. It's a beautiful and welcome face nonetheless."

Brennan smiles at him, feeling a little … charmed … by his comment. "It is quite reassuring to see your face as well. I find that I feel like something is missing when we are apart" She says.

I am so in love with you, he thinks, but "I was just about to say the same thing," is what comes out of his mouth. He takes her suit case from her and offers to relieve her of her bag. "Hey, wait till you see the sweet ride I've rented!"

"I can carry my own bag, Booth. I'm tired, not injured," asserts Brennan. "What is that?" She points at the rose.

For a moment he thinks, "Whoops, bad idea?" Buoyed by his renewed faith in humanity though, he holds it out to her, saying, "I thought you'd appreciate something beautiful and sweet-smelling after breathing stale airplane air for over an hour." He grins and winks at her as they walk through the doors into the parking garage.

"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asks suspiciously, narrowing her eyes and hoping it has nothing to do with his tête-à-tête with Hannah yesterday morning. Something has definitely changed. "You are acting strangely, Booth."

"Just happy to be together. Happy to have a case. Happy to not be in D.C." he says, putting his arm around her and squeezing her to him as they walk down the row of parked vehicles like two very old, very dear, very attracted-to-each-other friends.

She smiles openly up at him and says, "Ditto, partner," winking back at him, but not the exaggerated, mock wink she usually gives him. This is a real wink, a charming wink, a warm wink.

"You're getting better at the winking, Bones," he compliments her. "I'm telling you, it takes practice. But that one was pretty good."


"Curled my toes."

"Hmmm … fascinating. "
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:09 pm

Chapter 51. The Bigger the Boy, the Bigger the Toy

"Now, let me introduce you to my little friend," Booth says, a la Al Pacino in Scarface. Stopping behind the Steel Green Metal Chevy Suburban SUV 2WD 1500 LTZ with 326 horses under the hood, he depresses a button on the key fob, remotely starting the engine. "How about this beauty? Huh? Nice, right?"

Brennan's jaw is hanging open. He can't tell if she's impressed or ...

She stands outside the car patiently while Booth backs the SUV out of the parking space and parks it in the middle of the aisles of parked cars. She's so tired her eyes feel like they have sand in them, but when she rubs them and tries to see - it's like her eyes are covered in slimy opaque plastic. She can't remember ever feeling this tired. She yawns and a dog-like, lioness-like sound erupts from somewhere in her chest. Booth had been pointing out something in the back of the car which she had no interest in and they are both surprised by the loud yawn-like whatever that was.

Both stops talking and looks at her, surprised. "That was attractive." he says.

Brennan looks at him quizzically for a moment, says, "I assume that is sarcasm as I you must mean exactly the opposite of what you just said?"

"Um … Yes," he replies, still looking at her. He relieves her of her bag and suit case, placing them gently in to the cargo hold.

"Look at all this space," Booth tells her, and continues.

All she hears is, " bla bla bla volume bla bla bla security straps … bla bla bla auto-locking … look at that, huh?" Brennan stands there, happy to no longer have anything hanging off her shoulders or weighing her hands down. She stares at him, noticing he's expecting some kind of encouraging response. So she makes one up.

"This is amazing, Booth. Quite Impressive."

"Wait until you see what we've got up here," he leads her toward the front of the SUV and opens the passenger-side door. She follows him slowly as he launches into another sales pitch.

"Now, look at this …" he continues. "She's got a heated, ventilated bucket driver seat with six 12-way memorized power height …" he drones on, excited, while she stands there like a zombie.

"… power lumbar and power tilt. She's fully loaded with a Bose audio system with ten speakers, AM/FM radio, CD player/MP3, and a radio data system satellite radio. She's got Driver and passenger heated power door mirrors …"

Brennan, as muddled as her exhausted brain is, tries to think of how she can shut him up and get this show on the road.

" … Electric foldable mirrors, a navigation system with full map and voice instruction, Voice-activated radio, phone and navigation system …" Booth continues, looking from the interior, then back to Brennan, then back to the interior, doing his best Vanna White impression.

The next time he looks this way, decides Brennan ...

" … and a 40" x 108" cargo area that opens remotely," he looks toward her and is almost knocked over as she throws herself toward him and he automatically catches her.

"You can hug me now. My arms are free," she says, more leaning on him than hugging him. " … with a touch of the fob button, woah, you are so soft." He squeezes her to him. It had been so long since he'd really paid attention when he hugged her. And laying in bed beside a person isn't the same as wrapping your arms fully around them as they lean into you.

"Of course I'm soft, Booth. I'm covered in adipose tissue and connective musculature - which right now are flaccid from fatigue," she says matter-of-factly. "Now help me up into this seat."

He releases her and offers her his hand, which she takes and uses as leverage to get herself into the passenger seat. As he starts to mention, once again, the seat controls she grabs the door and slams it shut, not even looking at him.

"… did I mention the alloy wheels with 130 inch wheel base?"

Revived slightly by the breeze from the air conditioner blowing into her face, Brennan looks at Booth as he drives them onto the Interstate. He hasn't said anything since he got into the car.

"Booth, this is an impressive vehicle," she begins.

"I know, right? The guy said it was pretty much right off the assembly line."

"Have you gotten a raise or … has the FBI changed their travel budget?"

"Don't worry about it, Bones. We might be here for a little while and I thought we deserved a little happiness in the form of 326 horses under the hood at 5,300 rpms, and the 348 pounds of torque at 4,400 rpms."

"Hm. If this is happiness for you, I think I need to rethink my Christmas present strategy."

"Lets just enjoy the comfort. Hey, we're the crack crime-solving team of Booth and Bones. Even Obama wants us to enjoy the best. I mean, he would if he knew anything about us."

She gives him a look that conveys, "Aren't you going a little overboard?"

Booth smiles a goofy, proud smile and drives on.

No one says anything during the next five minutes while Brennan formulates some thoughts that she'd like to share, but is attempting not to. She can't resist, and opens her mouth.

"You are aware that the automobile industry feeds on the insecurities of their primary consumer."

"What? What does that have to do with anything?"

"Well, it has been postulated, and rightly so I might add, that the contemporary male psyche is rife with concerns of deficiency in performance prowess, social stature, and physiological superiority. Compensation over the centuries has been attempted in varying creative constructs. For the Mayans, it was the largest wife, the greatest number of children. For the Romans it was the biggest sword, the biggest chariot and jousting equipment. In the '60's whole countries competed with the size an strength of their militaristic weapons - who had the biggest missile with the greatest traveling distance to impact."

"Ahhh. See? Why do you have to go and say something like that, Bones?"

"What? I didn't make this up - it's well known. And documented."

"So, what are you trying to say, that I have insecurity issues? That I'm trying to make up for small reproductive organs?"

"I'm just saying," Brennan says quietly as she turns to look out the window.

"Okay - no more talk about small … male … inadequacies … or junk … or whatever! I just wanted to provide a comfortable ride for my partner here - who's had a couple of long days - and deserves some pampering for all the fine work she does for our fine nation. And this time I think Uncle Sam couldn't argue with that. Especially since we got Broadsky."

"Pampering? So this was all for me," she asks,

"Well," he pauses, caught. "I enjoy it as well …. but no more talk about … that other stuff. Can't you just relax and enjoy?"




"That's right."

No one says anything for a moment as they each retreat to their opposite corners of the boxing ring.

"Can I say one more thing?"

"What now," Booth says, unable to hide the frustration from his voice. "Nothing about the tiny bits or the anthropological morphism stuff whatever. Or picking on my choice of vehicles."




"What were you going to tell me?"

"Well, did I mention that my doorman agreed to accept the delivery of your new television?"

"That's great. When's it coming?"

"The manager at Plasma World - or what ever it's called - said the reason the delivery has been delayed several times is that the manufacturer is out of stock."


"Just wait."

"Wait - do you know how long I have been researching those things? How many hours I've spent on the internet and talking to friends about their stuff?"

"You have friends?"

"I have a couple. But that's not the point!"

"Keep your eyes on the road, Booth. Maybe I should drive …"

"You? You're basically comatose. Forget it. I can't believe this."

"You do have a point …"

Booth nods and continues looking out the front windshield, hitting his right palm against the top of the steering wheel several times. "Jeez, no Superbowl party at my house this year …. "

"Are you going to let me finish?"

"Christ, there's more?"

"Isn't it a sin to use God's son's name when you're not actually praying, Booth?"

"Oh, but I am praying, Buttercup. Praying this nightmare will be over and I'll get the stupid tv I ordered!"

"You have an interesting way of praying …"

"So - what else?"

"What else what?"

"You said there was more …"

"Oh, yeah. I convinced the manager to upgrade your purchase - free of charge," she says, raising her eyebrows and her voice for emphasis, "to the 103 inch model."

Booth is stunned. "WHAT?


"Are you kidding me? Say you aren't joking. Please, please, please."

"I rarely joke - you know that - and it usually doesn't come out right. No, I am not joking."

"You're serious?" he says looking back and forth between the road and Brennan.

"Serious as a heart attack."

"Wow. Bones. I can't believe you did that." Once again he's stunned. He stares out the front windshield, shaking his head.

"Well, when you're happy, I'm happy," she replies, looking at him with a sheepish little smile.

Booth melts, smacks his right hand against his chest like he's been shot in the heart.

"Bones, you slay me," he says, looking at her in her eyes, holding contact for longer than is probably safe for someone driving 326 horses.

"You're mocking me," she says, looking away and out her door window.

"I'm not," he pleads. "I really mean it. Hey."



"Okay." She smiles her little innocent smile at him.

He smiles back.

"Equilibrium is restored," she says. Then remembers something.

"Booth, the best part - the 103" Panasonic flat screen?"

"Yeah," he says, warily.

"It comes with an even bigger DONGLE." She bites her lips to stifle a laugh.

"Oh, you're just loving this, aren't you?" he says with a chuckle.

"How could I not? It is quite humorous …" she says, letting the laugh reverberate throughout the cab of the SUV. Booth relents and joins in the laughter.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:10 pm

Chapter 52. Shangri-La on the Horizon

Booth and Brennan arrive at the Larrinaga household, a light blue two story house nestled into a neighborhood resplendent with leafy green mature trees that reach across the residential streets to meet in the middle, forming a leafy canopy. The front yards have gardens and the occasional two person swing glider. These are not big, new, manicured, homes and lawns. The houses are moderate to small in size and not everyone has a two car garage. The front yard gardens are neat and lush, probably planted ten to fifteen years ago by the same people who live there now.

Before they even get out of the car, Booth turns to her, "Now Bones, Larrinaga is a talkative one … and Carmen is busy with the kids most of the time - but she seems very nice. And I like them. So could you … you know … not bring up vertebra, viscera, bone fragments, putrefaction - stuff like that while we're eating? And, whatever you do, do not say anything about sexual intercourse or old tribes - anything that will make them uncomfortable."

"Booth, I can handle myself! But you forget that Dr. Larrinaga is a scientist like me and we might get into a scientific conversation that could possibly require mention of realities you mere mortals find distasteful."

"Well, try to reserve the creepy stuff for AFTER dinner, if at all possible. They have small children."

"Hey! You've seen me get along with Parker very well. I will not say anything to scar the two children. As far as Camille goes, I have no contact or experience with soccer moms as a whole, so I will simply be pleasant and do what comes naturally."

"No! That's exactly what I DON'T want you to do - instead, do the opposite of what comes naturally to you, regarding Carmen, that is."

"Booth, I will not eat steak. Nor will I put recyclables in the trash can. Nor will I stand by and allow someone to present as fact something that is just not true."

"These are nice people, Bones. I'm just saying, if she asks for help with the dishes, don't start talking about the subservient role of women throughout history. If she asks you to help with anything, it really means she wants to get the two of you alone to chat - out of male earshot.

"Ahhhhhh. I see. Thank you for telling me that. Interesting."

"Also, she will be watching to see how you interact with the kids - if you're good with the kids you'll have her respect immediately."

"All good to know. Man, I don't get how you can tell this stuff - but seldom are you wrong."

"What was that?" says Booth, cupping his hand to his ear.

"What? What are you doing? Did you hear something?"

"It was the sweetest sound - like angels on gossamer wings." Now he's going overboard and she knows it has something to do with her.

"Please say what you just said," he asks.

"You mean: What? What are you doing? Did you hear something?"

"No - before that …"

"Was it … I don't get how you can tell this stuff … "

"Go on. A little further," he coaxes.

She can't put it off any longer, so might as well just say it.

"By any chance was it …. lets see, how did that go? … something about you being seldom wrong?"

"Now see, there it is again, those gossamer wings." He looks dreamily up at the sky and gets out of the SUV.

Looking around and breathing in the fresh early evening air, Booth says to no one in particular, "I could really get used to a place like this."

Bones sees his reaction to the environment around him and recognizes in him man's anthropological need for establishing and marking territory. She half imagines him cutting through the yard to urinate around the perimeter, thereby marking his territory. She stifles a snort, not wanting to ruin his moment.

"You know, Booth," she starts, walking around to the front of the car, "I could really see you here. Couple kids in the back yard. SUV getting washed in the driveway. Bikes laying in the grass of the front lawn," she sighs a satisfied sign, dreamy.

"Really?" he looks at her surprised. "You could see me here - all domesticated?"

"Oh there's never been a question of your ability to establish and maintain your own little fiefdom, your own hive - though I still contend hives only have queens and drones but I'll let that slide," She smiles and walks the rest of the way around the car, joining him to take it all in. "Yes, I could definitely see you having your own little Shangri-La in a place like this.

"Could you see yourself living in Shangri-La?" he asks her, knowing that this is an important question, but trying to make light of it.

"Booth, Shangri-La is a fictional place created by James Hilton in Lost Horizon as a mystical, harmonious valley, a permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world. It doesn't really exist."

"Bones, just be with me here. Don't be yourself - just imagine that a place like that did exist. Can you see it?"

"Would there be murders to solve and criminals to grill and intimidate?"

"We'll import them," he says, smiling and putting this arm around her shoulders as they both stare up into what they can see of the sky between the leaves of the trees.

"I could try to imagine it, Booth, but I'd rather live in a neighborhood like this one," she says smiling, knowing this response will make both of them happy.

"That's a start, Bones."

"But I'd only want to be there if you were there," she says, because it is true.

"I'd only want to be there if YOU were there, Bones. Problem solved!"

"You are the epitome of a romantic at heart, Mr. Alpha Male Special Agent Seeley Joseph Booth," she chides him gently, putting her arm around his waist.

"Who says there's anything wrong with that?" he counters.

"Who indeed," she says, still looking at the sky. "No complaints here. I find it … refreshing," she says turning to him and smiling, her eyes crystal clear, the color of the sky. If it were any other man, she thinks, this would be the perfect moment for a long, delicious kiss. Her heart beats a little faster. Unfortunately there's still the Hannah issue to contend with.

Looking down at her, he wonders if she's thinking the same thing he is, which you and I, Dear Reader, know he is … and he's also thinking of Hannah, but for very different reasons than Bones is.

Almost as if on queue, Brennan starts to hyperventilate a little. Her face is all of a sudden red and she's sweating through her shirt, the result of a heat flash.

"Booth," she gasps, "I need to sit down!"

"What is going on?" he says, concerned, his eyes as big as saucers. He catches her by the arm just before she falls. He puts her arm around his neck and helps her walk to the front door.

"Enrique!" he shouts, knocking on the door and ringing the bell at the same time. He is a bit freaked out by this turn of events.

"Booth, get me a paper bag and a glass of … water … and I need to sit down - BUT NOT ON THE FLOOR!"

"Enrique, you heard her …." Enrique runs into the kitchen where Carmen is putting the salmon into a decorative serving plate.

"I'm not sure. Something is wrong with Dr. Brennan," he tosses back to her as he runs back out the door with the paper bag and a glass of water.

Carmen follows behind him with a clean cool washrag for Brennan's forehead.

By the time the Larrinagas get to the living room Brennan is sitting upright once again, having had her head between her knees the whole time Enrique was running for supplies.

"Are you alright, Sweetie Pie?" asks Carmen, elbowing herself to the front of the group of onlookers. "This is for your head. What happened? I'm Carmen, by the way, Enrique's wife. Has this happened before. Are you pregnant? Are you diabetic?"

"CARMEN!" admonishes Enrique.

"WHAT?" she answers back with equal vigor. "It's a legitimate question when a woman her age gets light-headed, has the sweats, goes all flush like that."

Enrique shrugs, and shakes his head in apology to Booth.

"You're looking much better now. When did you last eat? Are you getting good sleep? Can I get you anything? Do you want some iced tea?"

Brennan, finally breathing at a normal pace, finally speaks, "I am most certainly not pregnant. Not diabetic. I last ate at lunch, though I didn't eat much. You can get me another cool glass of water. Ice tea would be even better." She smiles at Carmen who reminds her of someone she cant put a finger on. "Thank you so much, Carmen. Can you take me to the kitchen? I'd like to put my face in the freezer for a moment, if that isn't completely inappropriate …?"

"By all means, by all means … and what a great idea. That will cool you right off. Follow me. You need help? Are you steady on your feet."

"I can walk just fine," Brennan answers. "I apologize for the drama."

"Don't even mention it, Dr. Brennan."

"You can call me Temperance."

"Temperance, there's always some kind of drama going on around here - did Agent Booth mention we have two children?"

"Yes, he did," Brennan said brightening up.

"Yes, Jack is nine and Anna is five. Drama Queens both of them. Wait five minutes and you'll witness it yourself!"

"I think I'm good now," says Brennan closing the freezer door.

"Do you know what happened?"

"I saw my physician yesterday - or was it today? Anyway, I'm healthy as a horse. Maybe it's nothing to worry about. I'm supposed to pay attention to when they occur."

"If you ask me, it's a panic attack of some sort. In my parents' day, they called it swooning," she offers with a knowing glance.

"I guess that would explain it … "
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:12 pm

Chapter 53 Love, It Wasn't My Fault

Carmen shows Brennan to the bathroom right off the kitchen so she can splash some water on her face and do anything else she need to do.

"Temperance - you just take all the time you need," suggests Carmen through the bathroom door. "There's no schedule here. Just a couple of friends sitting down for a meal. Whenever you are ready, we'll go back to the living room where I am sure the guys are talking about whatever guys talk about. Cars, or sports, or computers … cars."

"Dongles?" Carmen hears Brennan say through the door.

"Yes! Even dongles. And I don't even want to know what that means!"

"You know, you remind me of someone I know - but I just can't put a finger on it."

"Maybe we knew each other in a past life."

"Oh, I don't believe in past lives."

"That's okay, I do. And neither of our belief systems have any effect on the existence or nonexistence of past lives anyway - or anything else for that matter. We are inconsequential. So it's not worth getting all worked up about. Know what I mean?"

"I DO know what you mean. And I agree. In my work I deal with things that can be proven, usually beyond a reasonable doubt. Scientists who research and theorize about that which cannot be proven or disproven baffle me. How can one live without results?"

"I … do not …. know, Temp. Can I call you Temp?"

"Sure. Just don't call me late for dinner, ha!" she laughs at her own joke. "I'm sorry, my dad used to say that all the time when someone asked to shorten his name - Max or Maxi or Maxi million - I never really understood what was so funny about it. But there you have it."

"You have everything you need in there?" asks Carmen.

"Yes, I am fine," says Brennan splashing cold water on her face. "Could you please tell Booth that I am okay. There's nothing to be concerned about."

"Sure. Be right back," Carmen leaves the kitchen and is back in less than three minutes. "Enrique would like to know if you are up for a little wine - or something a little stiffer?"

"Ohhhhhh - a really cold beer would be good right now," Brennan answers, taking a break and sitting on the toilet lid, her elbow leaning on the paper roll and her forehead in her hand. WHAT is going on with me, she thinks to herself. Ruling out food allergies - because she hadn't eaten anything. Ruling out ovulation - because she'd just had her period, peri menopause was ruled out by the doctor. THis doesn't seem to be neurological, but it wouldn't hurt to get checked out.

Carmen delivers the drink order to Enrique and returns to the kitchen just as Brennan is closing the bathroom door behind her. "Oh, don't close that door - the kids will think there's someone in there are refuse to use it until I prove otherwise," she explains.

"How do you do it, Carmen?" Brennan asks.

"Do what?"

"Always have the kids at the forefront of your mind - always be one step ahead of them?"

"Always put the garbage can on top of the kitchen counter?"

"Precisely. How do you know what to do?"

"It takes a lot of planning. I talk to myself all day long. I ask myself, what can I do while the kids are awake or, better yet, when they're asleep, is it more important to shower or nap if I get a free half hour, do I have enough in my bag to entertain the kids if we get stuck in the grocery store check out line or rush hour traffic, they want ice cream - but what has their sugar intake already been today, do I have enough snacks to keep the munchies/whineys/tantrums away?"

"Wow," says Brennan, visibly impressed. "I have enough trouble taking care of just one person - I can't imagine being responsible for two whole other people in addition."

"I find comfort in knowing that women have raised children for centuries. Some successfully, some not so successfully. But the population hasn't turned out too awfully terrible. And if all those women survived it, surely I can too."

"That is a very anthropological approach, Carmen. I can respect that."

"Thanks, but I'm no hero, Temp. I have many friends that I lean on, and my sisters. Enrique does more than most husbands, so I feel fortunate to have his supportive. Oh, and my moms' group is always there for me. I could never do all this on my own."

"And the rest is all trial and error, Sweetie Pie. Trial and error. Emphasis on the error part," Carmen leans back against a counter top and takes a moment just to look at Brennan. "No one is really born a natural mother," she says cocking her head to one side. "That's a bunch of HORSE PUCKIES created by men to manipulate women into being responsible for all things domestic - including birthing, clothing, feeding, educating, loving, disciplining, defending and supporting the offspring. Which, of course comes on top of clothing, feeding, training, loving, obeying, satisfying, and supporting the man of the house."

"When did you figure all that out?" Brennan asks, intrigued. "And was it too late by then?"

"Oh, I knew about it well before I fell in love with Enrique. Did you know that many cultures, tribes, and communities in human history were matriarchal societies? I could get you a list, if you'd like to see it. I did my master's thesis on this topic."

"Oh, no, Carmen. I'm quite well read on this topic myself. Being an anthropologist …" she chuckles.

"Oh I am so sorry! Forgive me for running on like this. Enrique rarely has friends over that I connect with. It's nice to have someone here who understands and is interested."

"So … knowing everything you know - the denigration of women to the status of domestic, nursemaid, housekeeper, geisha, teacher, cheerleader, servant … not to mention the inequitable expectations regarding your financial independence which. in most cases, disappears … You were aware of all that …"

"Yes, fully. Still am."

"Yet you Still chose to get married? That baffles me," Brennan says, a look of confusion on her face.

"Oh, that. Well, I'm not responsible for that - I was drugged."

"What? You mean Enrique used gamma-hydroxybutyric acid or benzodiazepines (Roofies) to get you to marry him?"

"No, silly. Try adrenaline, dopamine, fenylethylamine, endorphin and oxytocin. All drugs my own body used against me to get me to participate in the continuance of the human race."

"No way!" Brennan can't believe she's on the receiving end of these comments. It's like she's talking to herself, a much more emotional and lively self. One that is MARRIED.

"Yes way! I was drugged. It wasn't my fault!" Carmen is flashing a fabulous smile and enjoying every moment of this conversation.

"Temp, all my friends think I'm crazy for looking at life this way, but come on, look at the woman in her right mind would willingly choose marriage and all that other stuff unless she was in a drug-induced stupor that lasted through a courtship, an engagement, and the first five weeks of marriage? Seriously."

"Your point is valid considering the evidence. I concur. Then why have you stayed married, now that the adrenaline, dopamine, fenylethylamine, endorphin and oxytocin have worn off?"

"Oh, they haven't completely worn off. I have surges every now and again. But the thing is I love this man. He is a good and wonderful man. He's a fantastic father to our children. He is a beautiful man … and he loves me. He loves me - all the time. I don't know how he does it, because I can be a major witch. Yet, he always finds me beautiful. And he says the sweetest things that melt me when I least expect it. Not real frequently, mind you. But … I am in love with him - and THAT Is over and above the adrenaline, dopamine, fenylethylamine, endorphin and oxytocin."

Brennan stands there in the kitchen letting everything Carmen has just said swim around in her head.

"I was a very independent woman when I met Enrique, still am, actually. However, being with him long enough - and truly KNOWING him … and then loving him … I had to make a choice. Everyone else was getting married and having babies. I was the outlier. So I chose between guaranteed independence, self-sufficiency, financial freedom, mobility, and many other things - but no Enrique. That was choice number one. Choice number two was living with the potentiality of losing my identity, my figure, my professional position, my financial freedom, my independence, my life as I knew it - but getting to have Enrique be a part of it in a committed, legal marriage. What I have found is that I have lost very little, very little. And gain so much more. More than I ever could have on my own. And I don't just mean babies, Temperance."

"I've talked you rear off enough for two evenings! Let's go see how the guys are doing …" Carmen says.

Brennan doesn't say anything at first, she's deep in thought though still also very tired.

"What is your masters degree in?" Brennan asks.

"MBA: Corporate Law, emphasis on contract negotiations."

"And how does your thesis of matriarchal cultures fit under that umbrella?"

"All politics mirror mankind's first politicking. The battle between the sexes. If you study historically how the women and men negotiated their roles through out the centuries, you understand the base issues at the core of ALL negotiations. It's quite fascinating. At least it was to me," she finishes.

Brennan starts to yawn and puts her fist in front of her mouth. "It is clear that this topic is fascinating to you. I find that I am enjoying this conversation more than I have any others between two women in quite some time."

"And here I thought I was putting you to sleep!" They both laugh. "Let's join the men before they get out the cigars and stink up the place …"

"I love a good cigar …"

"I'm not gonna touch that with a ten foot pole …" smirks Carmen, grinning slyly.

"CARMEN! You're horrible!" replies Brennan, slapping her on the arm.

"No, I'm FUN," Carmen replies with a twinkle in her eyes.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:13 pm

Chapter 54 Snuggles Adopts Seal, Carmen Charms Temp

Carmen and Brennan return to the living room where Booth and Enrique are trying to hold a conversation while two energetic children jump all over them. Jack, the nine year old, is up side down sliding down his father's back. Anna is finally curled up on Booth's lap in the fetal position, licking the back of her hand, while Booth rubs her back and pats her head. The two men continue talking like this is an every day occurrence. Which maybe it is when you're a parent. Brennan reminds herself that Booth is a parent. Even though Brennan only sees the occasional snippet of it, there is a lot of parenting that goes on between Booth and Parker that she just never sees. There has to be. "I wonder what it would be like to see Parker and Booth handle a difficult situation - a matter of discipline, maybe. Or Parker being obnoxious and irritating Booth to the point of him losing his temper," she asks herself. Interesting.

Brennan notices how relaxed Booth is. So naturally paternal. She starts to feel her face go hot again. "Crap, crap, crap! Breathe Temperance, breathe," she tries to convince herself.

When Booth sees Bones he calls to her, "Bones, come meet my new little friend."

Brennan walks over to the two of them on the couch and sits down next to Booth. "Well, who have we got here," she asks in a kid friendly voice.

"Meow!" says the dark-haired, brown-eyed little five year old girl cherub.

"This is Snuggles. Isn't she soft?" Booth pets her back and her long curly hair. "Snuggles is a little white kitten. Apparently I have been adopted by a little, furry, soft, purring kitten," he tells Brennan, giving her a look that conveys both 'isn't this hilarious' and 'isn't this cute?'

Bones looks at Booth and his adopted kitten with utter amusement. She laughs as quietly as she can manage. "Hello, Snuggles," she says reaching out to shake her paw.

Snuggles smiles up at Brennan and gives her a little purr. Brennan pats her on the head and scratches her under her chin. Snuggles purrs even louder.

"For a dog person, Bones, you're doing pretty well with this kitty. I'm impressed!" says Booth.

"Can I hold Snuggles?" Brennan asks.

"Well, that's up to Snuggles, isn't it?" he says looking at Snuggles's face. Snuggles just smiles at him and lays her head down on his lap.

Brennan attempts to remove the girl/kitten from Booth's lap and gets "Hissssssss" from Snuggles. "Grrrr. Pfft, Pfft!" then Snuggles reaches out with her hand/paw and bats/scratches at Brennan's face.

"Oeow!" Brennan says, leaning back a bit. "I think this kitten has found her home and she doesn't intend to leave!"

"Anna," her father calls to her, "It's time for your bath. Crawl down off Agent Booth's lap."

Snuggles pretends to mew/cry and paws at Booth's chest.

"I can't help you there, Snuggles. You're on your own, I'm afraid." Booth sits back, no longer petting or encouraging her.

"Thanks for letting me be your white kitty, Agent Booth," says Anna.

"You are the cutest little white kitten that ever made a ohm eon my lap. I hope we get to se each other again." replies Booth. Anna smiles shyly and turns to Brennan.

"Hello, Dr. Brennan, My name is Anna. I'm five. I go to kindergarten. Where do you go?" asks Anna.

"Well, my school is the school of forensics in Washington D.C. Have you ever heard of Washington D.C.?" asks Brennan.

"Yes!That's where President Obama lives! I voted for him in kindergarten class. I'm so glad he won because he was the cutest guy they let us vote for." Anne gives Brennan a little hug and runs toward the stairs leading to the bedrooms and her bathroom.

Relieved of his petting responsibilities, Booth steps forward tower Brennan and hands her a cold beer. "Just like you ordered," he says with a cheery smile. "How are you feeling? You had me worried!"

"I'm fine - I think the stress at work lately is catching up with me resulting in some unfortunate and untimely physiological reactions," she explains.

"Oh, okay." Booth has no idea what she just said. "I have no idea what that might mean, but I take it you're fine?" He looks at her questioningly, seeking confirmation.

"Yes, Booth. I am just fine. No worries." She smiles brightly at him.

"Well okay then," says Booth twisting his body to face Larrinaga. "Then let me make some formal introductions." Booth holds out his hand toward Larrinaga. "Dr. Temperance Brennan, Anthropologist, this is Dr. Enrique Larrinaga, Astrophysicist." Booth pauses for a moment, faces Bones and says, "Dr. Larrinaga, this here's my partner in anti-crime, Dr. Temperance Brennan of the Jeffersonian Institution in Washington D.C."

Brennan advances, stopping in front of Larrinaga, kissing him on both cheeks, and says,

"¡Es un placer conocerlo, Doctor Enrique Larrinaga! He oido mucho de sus exitos ayudando a mi compañero, Agente Especial Seeley Booth."

(It is a pleasure to know you, Dr. Larrinaga. I have heard much of your successes helping my partner, Special Agent Seeley Booth)

"Igualmente, Doctora Brennan. Su Agente Especial ha hablado mucho de tí. El placer es absolutamente mío. ¿De dónde eres, querida, y dónde aprendiste mi idioma tan perfectamente?

(I am equally pleased. Your Special Agent has spoken a lot about you. The pleasure of meeting you is absolutely mine. Where are you from, dear, and where did you learn my language so perfectly?)

"Viví en Lugo con mi abuela dos veranos cuando era una niña. Fue una época muy especial para mí. Me encanta todo esa parte de España. ¿La has visto?

(I lived in Lugo with my grandmother for two summers when I was a child. It was a very special time

for me. I love that whole area of Spain. Have you seen it?)

¡Sí, sí, mi querida. Muchas veces! (Yes, yes, my dear. Many times!)

While Brennan and Larrinaga exchanged pleasantries, Booth stands there smiling, happy that his partner and newest friend seemed to be hitting it off.

"Well, Seal, I think you've got a keeper here," he says, clapping him on the shoulder.

"I like to think so, Enri," which still sounds like "Henry" without the "H."

"I find it interesting that you both have modified your names for each other in such a short amount of time. Hsve you also exchanged blood and spit in a brotherly handshake?" Brennan asks, amused by the camaraderie she's seeing in Booth that she's never seen before.

"Sometimes you just know the first time you see someone - that this one's for keeps," replies Booth, looking into her eyes a little longer than necessary. Larrinaga doesn't notice, but Brennan does, and her stomach does a little flip-flop.

"Well, if you two will excuse me, I'm going to check on Carmen and the kids. Bath time can be a little hairy around here. I'll be right back, please make yourself at home." Larrinaga heads upstairs where they can already hear splashing and squealing noises coming from.

"Seal? He calls you … Seal?" she whispers to Booth, wrinkling her nose.

"Yeah, I never would have thought of that. But I like it - it has a certain … salty … powerful-water-animal ring to it. Don't you think"

"It makes me want to throw you sardines," she laughs. "But get this, Carmen asked if she can call me "Temp." Anthropologically speaking, members of societies often create special names to show favor for fellow members with whom they share an affinity. I can live with "Temp," she says. nodding her head and trying it on until it should and feels good.

"So, does this mean you are not permanent?"

"Now, even I can tell that that was lame," answers Brennan.

"Come on, I only had five seconds to come up with that joke!"

"I think you need another drink, SEAL!" she laughs and starts making barking seal noises.

"SHHHHHHHH! You don't want them to hear you," says Booth, but he can't help laughing as well. Then he makes the same seal noises right back at her and they break into giggles, trying to stay quiet - but not succeeding.

"Temp," they hear Carmen's voice from somewhere up the stairs. "Temp, can you come give me a hand?" She's in the bathroom with the kids.

"You're needed for battle,' says Booth. "Hey, does that mean this is your first "temp" job," he says, cracking up. Brennan hits him on the arm. He hits her back on the leg as she's leaving. She turns around, makes some seal noises and smacks him on the cheek.

"Oh-hhhoo," she says, her hands fly to her mouth in surprise, her eyes wide. "I am so sorry! Ha ha haaaa haa. I didn't mean to hit you so hard!" She keeps laughing, but runs away before he can get her back. Booth puts his cold beer up to cool down his cheek and flexes his jaw to make sure it still works. Regardless of the discomfort, he can't help smiling a little bit.

"That was actually kinda fun," he says to an empty room, " and hot ... In a pseudo sadomasochistic way. Man, that hurt."

The thought that this was kind of like foreplay was not lost on Seeley Booth.
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:14 pm

Chapter 55 Rubber Ducky, You're the One!

Larrinaga descends the steps and stands at the bottom, hands on hips. His shirt is splashed with large oval dots of water. He looks at Booth and shakes his head. They share a laugh.

"Ohhhhh. I been there!" says Booth, chuckling in acknowledgment. "Nice splatter pattern.

"Yeah, well … luckily for me, Carmen handles most of the wet work in this household, but I think even she'll tell you I try to do my share."

"Right. Who are you kidding?" Booth gives him a sly, knowing look, and holds out his half empty beer bottle.

Larrinaga grabs a fresh beer from the table, opens it, and leans in to clink Booth's bottleneck. He sighs, smiles, takes a long swig.

"How do they do it?" he asks Booth, a look of incomprehension on his face.

"You know what? I don't know. They make it look easy," he shrugs.

"Well, sometimes you wouldn't think so, considering all the complaining they do …" Larrinaga says feigning exasperation and taking another swallow.

"We are talking about the women, not the kids, right?" clarifies Booth.

"Heck yeah," answers Larrinaga. "Sometimes when I come home she gives me this look like, "Gall dang you, you turd. How could you leave me alone with these obnoxious, ungrateful, slobs all day!"

"Well, how could you, you gall dang turd?" Booth asks, a serious look on his face. His beer bottle is half way up to his lips and he's looking sideways at Larrinaga. They both crack up.

"Feces," answers Larrinaga as they both pull from their bottles. Larrinaga shakes his head. They stare at each other, both knowing there really is nothing they can say about the fortunate situation they each live in - cared for and loved by women - or at least one of them knows for sure he is. The other is still working it out …

"Yeah, Rebecca, that's Parker's mother, my ex girlfriend, manages to have time to raise Parker, run a household, manage a successful branch at the bank in her neighborhood, and date a guy we affectionately call CAPTAIN FANTASTIC," comments Booth, screwing up the corner of his mouth in awe. They both think about that for a minute, both looking at the floor, or their shoes, lost in contemplative silence.

"Do I detect a bit of envy there?" asks Larrinaga.

"What, about Captain Fantastic? No. Nah. Rebecca is a wonderful mom, but she and I - we're not in love anymore. I want her to be happy - and this guy is actually pretty nice. He treats Parker well, that's all I care about," Booth explains.

Larrinaga continues looking at him as if he knows there more to be said. Waits for Booth to continue.

"IT's just that sometimes I see the three of them together, Rebecca, Parker, and Captain Fantastic …

"Yeah …?"

"… and they look like a family. You know?" Booth finishes speaking, purses his lips, sneaks a look up toward the stairway, eventually putting the beer bottle to his lips, pausing before he takes a sip. A small display of … resignation … frustration … acceptance?

Larrinaga is no dummy. He can read the writing on the wall. This is a touchy subject for Booth. And Larrinaga knows when to walk away from a conversation and let a guy have his thoughts to himself. If Booth wants to share, he will, but he gets to decide when that will be.

"What about Dr. Brennan, Temperance? She have any kids?"

"Nope - she vacillates on that subject. She has said that she doesn't understand the logic behind bringing children into a world so full of darkness. But you know, I think she's been coming around the last couple of years."

"Really, how so?"

"Well, she's become quite attached to Parker. She and he spent time together while I've been here the past two days. They have their own jokes that they don't always let me in on. It's sweet."

"Hmm. Interesting."

"Yeah. A couple years after we met, she got the idea that she was doing the world a serious injustice by not depilating herself for future generations."

"Was she seeing anyone at the time?" Larrinaga asks, his brow furrowed.

"Well, it is an interesting story - for another, much more inebriated time. Suffice it to say, things didn't turn out the way she planned She hasn't brought it up since." That was all Booth was willing to say to a man he'd only known for two days. Maybe someday … maybe someday he and Bones could tell that story together to Carmen and Enri. Booth exhales deeply - sighs audibly.

"What are you thinking about, partner?" asks Larrinaga.

"I'm thinking I could use another beer," he says, raising his beer bottle in front of himself and over his head and grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

"I am fully qualified to accommodate you, Mr' Special Agent Seal Booth!" Larrinaga gets up from his squat on the lining room chair and heads into the kitchen.

Upstairs, Brennan sits on the toilet seat, elbows on her knees, up to her forearms in soap suds.

"What's this?" she asks, pulling a little yellow rubber ducky up through the suds and squeezing it. She touches the bubble-covered squeaking duck to Anna's nose.

"Gwack, gwack!" she says, moving the duck through the air repeatedly to bop Anna on the nose then fly away.

"That's Yellow-ey," but he doesn't know how to fly … he's just a baby!"

"Did you know, Anna that ducks are waterproof" Asks Brennan.

"Of course Yellow-ey is water proof! She's plastic!" Anna giggles like this is the funniest thing she's ever heard.

"Well, did you know that ducks don't have any nerves or blood vessels in their feet, so they can stand on ice cubes as long as they want without feeling cold? They can also swim in very cold water."

"Really? I don't like swimming in cold water. I like swimming in warm water - AND BATHTUBS WITH HOT WATER!" As Anna says this last part she stands up, her pink slippery Rubanesque body covered in patches of soap suds.

"Ohhhh, ha ha ha! Ohhhhh AHHHHHHH!" screams Brennan as Anna makes a dive into the water, landing on the bottom of the tub onto her stomach and splashing gallons of water onto Brennan. After landing, Anna slides her body up and down the tub. "Look, I'm flying! I'm flying!"

For a split second, Brennan sits there, arms out in front of herself, shocked and not sure what to do.

"You stinker!" Brennan breaks into a playful, surprised laugh, standing up. "I'll get you - ha ha ha he he ha - you say you don't like cold water, huh?" Brennan looks around, knowing she'd seen a pitcher somewhere on the floor.

"Ha ha ha!" Anna continues to slide the length of the bathtub on her tummy.

Brennan locates the pitcher and fills it half way with cold water from the tap in the sink. As she turns back toward the tub, she catches a glipmse of a slippery, suds-covered little body, hopping out of the tub then running naked down the hall, screaming.


As Anna had exited the tub, she had grabbed Brennan's thigh, imprinting it with little hand prints, and knocked Brennan off balance. The pitcher, still half full of water, knocked against Brennans chest, sloshing its contents onto her already wet shirt.

Agent Booth, Temp wasn't you to bring in her suitcase," says Carmen, standing half way down the stairs.

"Why?" he asks, confused about what reason she could possibly have for wanting it.

"Don't ask why!" Carmen shouts, laughing.

"Don't ask why, man. Just do it," Larrinaga whispers out the side of his mouth so Carmen can't hear.

"She just needs her suitcase. Anna decided to give Temp a bath …"

Booth looks at Larrinaga with a quizzical smirk and shakes his head.

"Do the smart thing, Seal," Larrinaga advises.

"What's that?"

"Whatever she asks you to do. Go!"

Booth goes out to the SUV retrieving Brennan's suitcase and bag, and returns within minutes. He takes the stairs two by two and heads for what he thinks must be the bathroom. Brennan's shoes have been flung into the corner. Brennan is not in the bathroom, but it looks like a hurricane Katrina hit. He spies two sets of wet footprints on the carpet and tries to follow the larger set.

"Bones, where are you?" he shouts.

"I'm in here, Booth," he hears from behind one of the closed doors. "But don't come in, I have nothing on … just leave the suitcase outside the door there."

At the thought of Bones on the other side of the door, possibly wearing only a damp towel, Booth closes his eyes and shakes his head several times, trying, very unsuccessfully, to think of something else less ... provocative.

"There is a time for every purpose under heaven," he whispers to himself, taking a deep breath.

Just then, Carmen comes around the corner, and has her own interpretation of his head shake.

"What do you mean, No?" asks Carmen, in a very mother-like tone.

"Booth, did you say No?" asks Brennan, surprised, from behind the door.

"No! I didn't say no. I was shaking my head - but it wasn't because I was saying no! There was a bee in here - I felt it land on my ear. Oh, there it goes. We're all safe. Here's the suitcase," he explains quickly as he leans the suitcase against the door. "I brought in your bag too - in case you need your … you know ... lady things ... in there too," he finishes, clearly embarrassed, and retreats back down the stairs.

If Hodgens were here, thinks Booth, he'd have one word to say about the situation Booth had just been in: "DUDE!"
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:15 pm

Chapter 56 What's the Deal Between You Two?

Carmen knocks gently on the door, "Temp, he's gone. Want you things?"

Brennan opens the door unabashedly, indeed wearing only a damp towel. "Thank you so much, Carmen."

"You should have seen Seal. His face was all red and I think I actually saw a bead of sweat on his forehead."

"That's strange. He is in very good shape - one flight of stairs, even carrying my suitcase and bag shouldn't have winded him. Is he inebriated, do you think?"

"Doubt it, big guy like that. Take more than two beers to lay him down," Carmen says smiling devilishly.

Brennan sees Carmen's lascivious grin smile and entertains her own thoughts of laying Booth down for a moment. If the walls weren't already steamed up from the hot bath, they would be now.

Carmen snaps out of her reverie and looks up at Brennan, still contemplating her own. The two smile at each other.

"Say no more," Carmen says, a shrewd glint in her eye, and turns to go tuck the kids into bed.

"Carmen," blurts Brennan. Carmen turns on her heal to face Brennan, arms crossed, she leans against the door frame.

"What did you mean by that? Say no more?" I don;t know what you mean by that.

"It means, my dear anthropologist, that I know exactly what you were thinking - At least I had the general idea …"

"That's not possible. How is that possible? No person can know what's going on in someone else's mind. ESP is a hoax," Brennan states.

"Yes, my dear, but the body gives freely what the mind tries to hide."

"I don't recognize that quote," says Brennan, still confused.

"Of course you don't, it's attributed to one Carmen L. Larrinaga, circa 2003.

Brennan's confused face slowly lightens in comprehension. "Okay - I get that. Don't use psychology on me, sister. It's an inexact science."

"Which, fortunately for the rest of us, doesn't depend on your belief in it to exist …" answers Carmen, a little snarkily, then smiles sweetly, too sweetly.

"Temp … I'm putting the kids down. It'll only take a minute. After you get dressed, could you wait up here for me for a moment?"

"Sure," agrees Brennan. "I apologize for getting the bathroom floor all wet - and causing Anna to run naked and dripping onto the carpet."

"Oh, forget about that. I have something else I'd like to talk to you about."

"Something about anthropology? Or bones? I'm an expert at bones."

"Not exactly, although one could say that …. no, never mind. I'll be back in a couple of minutes."

Brennan dresses and combs her hair, which by now is half wet, half firizz. She sits on the chair in the bedroom and waits. This must be the master bedroom, she observes, noting the king size bed, dresser covered in jewelry and makeup, the mirror sporting two crayon drawings of white kittens and a little girl.

"Now, forgive me if this is too personal," begins Carmen, closing the bedroom door behind her and sitting on the bed across from Brennan.

"I will," replies Brennan.

"So … What's the deal between you and Seal?

"There is no deal."

"Come on, there's gotta be something going on," she insists. "How long have you two been working together?"

"About six years," Brennan answers.

"Listen, I'd be hyperventilating all the time if I had to work beside that delicious hunk of manhood down there - every day, too." Carmen scoffs.

"It is obvious he's hot for you. And you're hot for him. So, what's the hang up?"

"Have you ever …"

"Had sexual intercourse? No.

"Has he ever kissed you?"

"Not that would really count for anything," she says, thinking back to the few times they had kissed … under the mistletoe, on the steps of the reflecting pool before she turned him down, and then there was the first time … outside the bar the night he fired her from their first case. That was h-o-t hot. For a moment she can't breathe. Memories of that kiss, that amazing kiss, still gives her shivers when she thinks of it.

"So what gives, sister? Carmen crosses her arms, snapping Brennan back to the conversation.

"Well, actually, its complicated, but suffice it to say, um, he got engaged," she begins to explain. She heaves a heavy sign and slumps back in her chair. "I don't even remember how many months ago. Something could have happened between us before that, but I wasn't ready - and after a while we went our separate ways. Nine months later when we got back together as a team, he came back with a girlfriend. He ended up proposing to her - she turned him down, now just this last week she's reentered his life."

Okay …" says Carmen, clearly ready to hear more, even if she has to drag it out of her new friend.

"Ever since Hannah, that's his old girlfriend's name, turned down his proposal, Booth has been a bear to live with. He barely makes eye contact. He's humorless, in comparison to his old self…"

"Ew, that must have been hard," says Carmen, commiserating.

"Well, I guess you could say that. But anyway, It's really none of my business," she adds. Carmen gives her an are-you-kidding-me look.

"So Hannah reemerges into his life this past week and all of a sudden his mood is a lot better - he's happier - he's joking with me. We're having a good time … and you know I … eh … Its … "

"Did you ask him about it? Did he tell you anything?"

"No. He doesn't know that I saw them together holding hands and you know, talking, forehead to forehead pretty much," Brennan says, the memory making her uncomfortable.

"And … did you ask him about it?" Now Carmen is giving Brennan the tone of voice she probably uses when she's asking her child: And what did you THINK was going to happen when you put your baby doll into the microwave and pushed the fifteen minute button, huh?

"I did, I did," she admits.

"Well, what did he say?"

"He said its personal."

"What the $*%&$ is that supposed to mean?" Carmen blurts out so fast Brennan jumps.

"That's what I'd like to know! And the thing is, he usually doesn't keep ANYTHING from me," she says, clearly a more than a little distraught.

"Honey, we all got secrets," answers Carmen, shaking her head.

"We share everything. We're partners. We've been through everything. I mean, you name it - everything. We've been through it. Together."

"Hngh," is all Carmen can say. She regards Brennan like she's assessing her for something. After a moment, she sighs.

"So Im not really sure, Carmen, what's going on with him," Brennan sys, clearly finished.

"Well, you know, baby doll, you just never know. Who knows what it could be you saw. Sometimes these things happen and derail us, but I'm telling you, I can't imagine that he's in love with somebody else and he behaves the way he does with you, looks at you the way he does."

"What way?" Brennan asks innocently.

"Like he's a hungry tiger and you're a big juicy slab of top sirloin," she says.

Brennan's stomach does a triple flip upon hearing it put that way. "Dang," she says. "Oh, I'm sorry, Carmen, I don't usually express myself using colloquial slang. I've just been uncharacteristically … something … lately. And it's physiological in nature - this - whatever I'm feeling."

"Well, you should have seen him this afternoon. He'd just talked to you and discussed you coming here. He was pacing around like a jungle beast, he was so agitated - excited, I'd say," Carmen informs Brennan. "Or he's just an incredibly good actor."

"He can be a good actor. Especially in the interrogation room." They both think on that for a while.

"Okay well, if you're with him for six years, and all of a sudden you're hyperventilating, something must have happened. Something that has messed you all up. I'm just saying."

"Well there's no scientific basis for that so …."

"Okay well, good luck with all that, Temp," she says, and what she means is, "There is nothing more I can do here."

As Carmen and Brennan are about to go back down stairs, Brennan's phone rings. Brennan digs around in her bag, locates it and answers.

"Hella Angela, I really don't have time to talk. We're interviewing a couple suspects and we'll be busy all evening …"

"Bren - I just wanted to warn you - Hannah has been here, twice, asking for you."

"Did she say why? Brennan asks.

"Nope - just wants to talk to you."

"Any theories on your part - you're good at that …"

"Yes, but it'll have to wait until you get back. We need to talk. In the meantime - you're out there alone with the gorgeous FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth …. and I'll bet he brought his handcuffs. Maybe it's time for the beautiful anthropologist to get arrested by the sexy FBI man! Just forget that Hannah exists. That's my advice, Sweetie."

"Thank you, Ange, I'll take that into consideration," she says grinning, her face turning red.

"Are you really doing that - interrogating suspects - is that what this is?" asks Carmen, sitting back down on the bed, maybe a little hurt. But just a little, she's big girl.

"Of course not. No. Although, I will be honest with you, Carmen. Because remains were found on this campus, right outside your husband's building, he will be questioned. That's our job," Brennan informs her, apologetically.

"Well I guess that is all we can expect," answers Carmen, "But you know what? You go right ahead and interrogate Enrique. Try to torture him, if you want. But I know my husband. My husband would not kill another human being. I'd believe that I killed someone before I could believe he killed someone. It's just not possible." She stares defiantly at Brennan.

"Sometimes people do things we think they'd never, ever do," Brennan says, compassionately.

Carmen looks Brennan straight in the eyes. "Not my husband."

"I'm sure you are right. Booth knows people. That's his super power. If Booth has bonded with Enrique this quickly, it is highly unlikely that he is the killer. But please understand that it is our job to ask questions … of everyone."
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PostSubject: Re: The When and the How: A Bone to Pick ... read it here!   Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:16 pm

Chapter 57 The Way You Look Tonight

The children in bed, Carmen returns to the kitchen to put the final touches on her lemon pepper salmon.

"Men, dinner will be out in less than ten minutes and Temp is finally dried out - so have a seat at the table in the dining room, please Enrique, could you pop open that bottle of wine?".

As if on queue, Brennan appears at the stairs and descends slowly. She's feeling a little flush after Angela's comment about the handcuffs. Her fresh face is clean of all vestiges of makeup that may have survived her day thus far.

Brennan has put on a rosy-burgundy top made out of stretchy, thick polyester with the texture and appearance of suede. The top has a plunging sweetheart neckline. From each underarm to the opposite hip, fabric is draped, yet form-fitting. A capped sleeve, attached just above the underarm, holds the top in place - otherwise, it would probably fall down into her lap. Her hair is off her face, a ponytail twisted into a chignon so her wet hair doesn't drip onto her clothing. Below, she's wearing a pair of black denim low riders which cling to her thighs, then flare gently from her knees to the floor.

Booth, his back to the stairs and in the middle of telling Larrinaga a story about Parker's hockey team, notices that Larrinaga is no longer paying attention. He is staring at something behind Booth with his mouth hanging open. Booth turns to see what it is, and sees Brennan. If he had had a cigarette in his mouth, it would have fallen to the floor when he saw her. "Thank you, Jesus, for little kids and water fights," he says to himself as he struggles to refrain from making the sign of the cross.

"Bones," he says, coughing on his own saliva. "Eh, excuse me." He grabs a napkin off the table, covers his mouth and coughs to clear his throat. "Bones," he tries again. "You look … refreshed," he finally gets out. Though from the sound of his voice, you'd think he'd said, "Holy … wow."

"What, are you kidding me? She's HOT!" says Larrinaga giving Brennan a wonderfully warm smile.

Attempting to recover his composure, Booth continues. "I think my man here put it very succinctly," he says. "Did you know one of her book reviewers calls her the sexy anthropologist," he says to Larrinaga, sounding boastful."

"The way you say it, Seal, it sounds like you take a little credit for it."

"No - she's a sexy anthropologist all on her own - I'm just proud when my partner gets the acknowledgement she deserves," he explains. "and this one's the whole package - she's both beautiful AND brainy." He winks at Brennan and they share a smile, both knowing the other is thinking about the little Smurf Booth gave her once after she shared a painful and embarrassing story from her childhood involving Brainy Smurf.

Booth's eyes linger on Brennan's, and he wishes he could take her somewhere else and tell her everything he's just learned from Hannah … and much more. It almost hurts to see her standing there, gorgeous, the dark top setting off her eyes so they sparkle like a full moon on a very dark night.

With every minute he knows that being with Bones is right. He's known she was the one for him since he first saw her six years ago. The night in front of the reflecting pool, he told her this, and it frightened her. His feelings were strong, almost unbearable then. But those feelings were a mere shadow of what he's been feeling these past two days. She seems to be responding to him, not at all afraid. She's … she's … she's the person he wants to spend the rest of his life with and this is how being in love REALLY feels. He's never felt this way about anyone before. Not Rebecca. Not Hannah. Thank God they both turned him down, he thinks. "I would have never gotten to this … place … and found these feelings … with her." He can barely breathe. Remember Gordon Gordon, he reminds himself. Take it slow, let her come to you.

For a moment, which feels like five, Bones and Booth maintain eye contact as she comes into the dining room and stands next to the table. He can't help himself, he reaches out. Grabbing her hand and pulling her to him, he takes her in his arms, kissing her on both cheeks, then lets her go.

A little embarrassed at his impulsivity and the intense intimacy of that act, he looks to Larrinaga and says, "I hear the bathroom will never be the same, though!" His voice hides what is going on in his chest - a thunderous pounding. He looks around to see if anyone else can hear his heartbeat or see it jumping under his shirt. A bead of perspiration trickles along his hairline.

"Yeah, it will finally be completely clean," Carmen says, cheerily, as she comes into the dining room carrying a glass bowl containing a romaine heart salad and a set of tongs. Temp, I want you here, Seal across the table from her, and honey, you sit where you usually do," she says giving everyone their assigned seating. Always the hostess, Carmen likes to orchestrate every aspect of the entertaining experience for her guests. "Would anyone care for some white wine? We have a chilled Gewürztraminer in the fridge, and a Zeller Schwarze Katz Riesling chilling in the ice bucket on the table over there," she says, pointing to the the corner of the table between Larrinaga's and Booth's place settings.

"If you promise to lift my head off my plate when I pass out," says Brennan, yawning "I will gladly have a glass of the Gewürztraminer. But I have to warn you - after the long day I've had, followed by this wonderful evening, I am not going to need any assistance getting to sleep tonight!"

"Boy Scout's honor," says Larrinaga, holding up three fingers.

"Me too, but it's supposed to be the other hand, buddy," Booth chides Larrinaga, who quickly switches hands. Everyone cracks up at the same time.

"What? Larrinaga says defensively, laughing. "I was brought up in a Spanish household - I didn't learn about Boy Scouts until I was too old to be interested!"

"Come on, Enri, you're never too old for Boy Scouts! Get this, the Boy Scout Law: A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. How 'bout that?"

"No wonder you don't have a girlfriend, Booth. You gotta get out more!" teases Larrinaga.
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