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(You and) Things Like You

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"You shouldn't have come," Bones says.

Booth tucks his sunglasses into his pocket and scans the crowd. "Nah, that's what partners are for, right? I watch your back, you watch mine and tell me to stop slouching?"

"No," Bones says. "I mean I specifically told you not to come."

"C'mon, Bones, your creepy penpal could be lurking in the self-help section as we speak. I'm just here to make sure he doesn't, you know, try anything."

Bones stops straightening her books on the table and swivels her head to glare at him. "I know three kinds of jiu jitsu."

"I know kung fu," Booth says, unable to resist.

She just stares at him. "No you don't."

"The Matrix? You haven't seen The Matrix?"

"I don't know what that is, but I don't need you here, Booth. It's a book signing."

"Everyone else is here." He gestures behind him where Zack, Hodgins, Angela, and Cam are sitting in the front row. They wave.

"I'll be fine," Bones says. "The only thing I'm in danger of is some minor compression of the median nerve from the repeated motion of signing my name multiple times in the same sitting, but, in the unlikely event someone does try to attack me, I am completely capable of disabling them, as you are well aware." She goes back to arranging her stacks of books.

This isn't going like he planned. He comes around the table and takes a copy off one of the stacks and flips through it.

"Can I get an autograph?" he asks.

She looks up. "I'm fairly certain you have to purchase the book first. I don't think the bookstore is donating copies to this event but you're welcome to talk to someone and find out." She goes back to pre-signing, and Booth watches her big messy scrawl as she signs, DR. TEMPERANCE BRENNAN.

"Doctor?" he says. "You sign your books Doctor Brennan? Isn't that a little, I don't know, arrogant?"

"I am a doctor," she says.

He puts the book down. "I did buy a copy," he says. "Last week, as soon as it hit the shelves."

"I could have probably gotten my publisher to give you a discount," Bones says. People start filing in for the reading, taking folding chairs and pulling out copies of her first book. Some of the nerdier ones are actually carrying forensics journals. "But that was very sweet of you," she whispers to Booth. "I appreciate it."

He touches her lightly on the back of the head, and for a split second she leans into his touch, but then she stands up, and shoos him away, and he goes and takes a seat in the back and starts scanning the crowd for potential crazy people.

After being introduced, Bones stands behind the podium and cracks open her book. "I'm here to read you a section from my latest novel."

She seems to be somewhere in the second chapter as far as Booth can tell, but she sounds completely bored. He's seen her more excited about a dead guy in a trash bag. He tries to catch her eye. She looks at him like he's crazy. He jerks a thumb up at the ceiling, a clear request for more enthusiasm. Nothing. He does jazz hands with an exaggerated grin. He tries the double-handed raise-the-roof maneuver. Still nothing, except now half the audience has turned around to stare at him.

"Hey!" A skinny redhead cries, pointing at him. "It's her partner!"

Now everybody is staring at him and a tall goth-looking kid is rushing at him with a stiletto. "Seriously?" Booth says, deflecting the blow, twisting the kid's arm up behind his back, and dropping him to the ground. "A stiletto?"

The kid squirms angrily. "It's Maegnas, a dagger forged by the Elves of Gondolin!"

The redhead's standing on her chair now, taking a video with her cell phone. "It's just like in the books!"

Bones vaults over the table, paper flying everywhere. The redhead snaps a picture. Booth gives the Elf kid a nudge with his foot, rolls him over, and plants his shoe against the boy's ribcage just in time for Bones to push him aside and step on the kid's neck.

"You okay?" she asks Booth.

He smiles, sort of charmingly flattered by her concern. "Yeah, totally unscathed," he says.

She looks down at the kid writhing under her foot.

"So, my partner Booth here is going to arrest you now," she says to the kid, who gurgles. "And he is not only much bigger and much faster than you are, he's also smarter and he carries a gun." The kid goes even whiter. "So what you should be thinking is that you made a very, very stupid decision."

"But you know me!" he coughs, and she rocks her shoe across his windpipe. "You love me!" he croaks.

Cam and Angela come rushing up, followed by Zack and Hodgins.

"Dude," Hodgins says. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah," Booth says. "Almost got stabbed by an Elf, but who hasn't these days?"

"It's a common misconception that Elves prefer the bow and arrow as a weapon," Zack agrees. "Those are only the wood-dwelling Elves. Cave and mountain Elves were more often known for their mighty swords and fine daggers."

"So, should I arrest this guy?" Booth asks Cam.

"No, no, you can't!" the kid says, trying to struggle to his feet but Booth pushes him down again. "I'm part of it!" the kid says. "Temperance, and her books, she writes them about me."

Booth wants to say, "Actually, she writes them about me," but then he's afraid Cam or Angela might pick up on it and start making fun of him.

"No I don't," Bones says, crouching down to look the Elf kid in the face. "They're completely fictionalized narratives based on the kinds of challenges faced by forensic anthropologists."

"But, the way you describe me! You know me so well, everything I'm thinking, everything I'm feeling!"

"I'm sorry, but it's clear that you don't understand the difference between fictional characters and real people," Bones says. "Oftentimes people who are unstable mentally have a hard time making those distinctions. I don't know you, and I can promise you you don't figure in any way into my novels." She sounds sympathetic, but it's just her rational voice, like emotions can ever be rational. Booth knows it's not going to work, and sure enough the kid starts yelling and flailing around.

"You're lying!" the kid screams, lunging for Bones. Booth knocks him back and slaps some cuffs on him. He's crying, shouting into the carpet, "What about all the beautiful letters I wrote you? We're meant to be together!"

And Booth just blurts it out. "They're about me, okay? That FBI agent? Me."

"They're purely fictional, Booth!" Bones insists, and then goes back to the podium.

Cam takes the handcuffed kid over to the Borders security guard, so they can hold him until the cops come. Booth sticks around to see if Bones is gonna finish her book signing.

"Hi, um, hello," Bones says to the confused and murmuring crowd. "Well, that was unexpected."

She gets a smattering of laughter, which seems to confuse her as much as it confuses Booth.

"Due to extenuating circumstances, I am going to have to leave this event early, and I apologize and will make sure my publisher knows so she can book another signing for you people. I do have some pre-signed copies --"

Booth ducks out as the crowd mobs the table for their signed copies, and a couple more Borders security guards eyeball the scene.

He goes down to the lot, starts the suburban, and pulls it around to the bookstore's front door. He leaves the engine running while he goes back in for Bones.

"I'm hungry," she says, standing on the sidewalk and looking around, resisting his attempts to hustle her into the car.

Booth opens the passenger door for her. "Sure, sure, why don't you just hop in the car and we'll talk all about it?"

"Why are you rushing me?" She frowns at him. "And I can open my own door, thank you."

"In you go!" he says.

She climbs in, shooting him a puzzled look. He slams the door and hurries over to the driver's side.

"Vietnamese?" she says.

"No," Booth says, peeling away from the curb. He squeezes the last bit of yellow out of a red light, and soon they're several blocks away from the bookstore and all the crazy people who can't tell fiction from reality. "So your book, Bones, c'mon."

"What about my book?"

"C'mon," Booth says again, because she can't be this dense. She knows what he's after and she's willfully clamming up. "Just admit it, and I'll buy you some chicken chow mein."

Bones looks at him, her big eyes searching his face admiringly. "You stopped that criminal in a remarkably effective way!" she says. "That was very impressive, how you were able to both disarm and detain him in, what, one second? One and a third at the most."

"Thanks," Booth says. "That's high praise in Bones-speak."

"I think that that would be considered praise in anyone's speech," Bones muses.

"But the book, Bones? The book. The kid, your creepy penpal?" Booth changes lanes so he can take a right. "He was clearly off his cracker and, I mean, obviously the book wasn't about him, but seriously. Between us? Not buying the purely fictional line."

"Why?" she asks. "Is there a particular passage in the book that led you to suspect I was somehow commenting on you when I wrote my character?"

"I didn't read it that closely," Booth rebuts, though he did, and he found it to be pretty damned exciting and cleverly written.

"Then obviously you don't know what you're talking about," Bones says.

"It's more of an overall feeling. You know, I'm a detective. I feel things. Besides! Everyone in the lab sees it! Angela said --"

Bones gets her phone out. "Of course the character is modeled after you, Booth. We work very closely together, who else would I use as a basis for my protagonist's partner?" She frowns. "I was going to call my agent. I wonder why I don't have her number."

"What, the, really?" Booth's so flustered by her sudden capitulation that he misses his turn. "It's me?"

"Yes," she says. "How about Mexican?"

"I'm getting enough Chinese food to feed you for a week and then we're watching The Matrix at my place. Let's talk about how you put me in your book. If I'm the FBI guy, which you have lied about for the past two years, then it stands to reason that you, Bones, you are the forensic anthropologist having sex with the FBI guy! Me!"

"Did you like those parts?" she asks. "My editor though they might be too explicit for my target demographic, but women like sex. I like sex. It's possible to be a professional woman with a successful career and a healthy appreciation for sex and I'd be doing a discredit to my gender to pretend otherwise."

Booth feels his mind begin to glaze over like a donut, Bones in the background saying sex sex sex in her prim little forensic anthropologist voice. He misses another turn. He has no idea where they're going. Baltimore possibly. He pokes at the GPS unit and it advises him to do an illegal U-turn.

"Does that make you uncomfortable?" Bones asks.

"What, that women like sex or that you're fantasizing about sex with me and clearly using it to sell books?"

Bones stares at him. "Explain what you mean."

"I'm just saying, Bones. These are crime books, right? And the best way to make anything sell is to add a lot of hot sex to it," Booth explains slowly, still back on the sex sex sex part.

"Is that true?" Bones asks. "My accountant keeps track of all that."

Booth sighs. "You know, sometimes you are so out of touch with the world it makes me wonder what they do to you in forensic anthropology school."

"I had a good deal of sex in school," Bones says. "Along with managing to complete three doctorates."

Booth tucks into a driveway, turns around, and heads back down to the turnpike. "You're killing me, Bones," he says.

She looks at him more. "You're just interested because my books make you think about what it would be like to have sex with me, and that compromises your steely professional exterior."

"I am not thinking that!" Booth says.

Bones smiles. "Fair enough," she says. "I am. I wonder frequently."

Booth nearly flies out the windshield when he slams on the brakes at the on ramp. "What?"

"I mean," Bones says. "You clearly have a good degree of stamina, you're well built, symmetrical and with good genes, and you seem like you'd be a strong and intimate lover. It's a biological imperative to assess members of the opposite sex for breeding potential."

"I don't want you to have my kids," Booth says, unsure of what that means. "But the sex --"

"Want to conduct an experiment?"

"That is the worst come on ever, Bones," he says. Actually, it might be the hottest offer he's ever gotten.

"So?"

He cruises down the freeway, speeding now, thinking maybe the Chinese food and The Matrix might be lower on his priority list right now.

"Yeah," he says. "Why not?" He means to say, I've been waiting for you to ask for two years.

"Excellent!" Bones says. "Swing by the Chinese place on the way to your apartment. We can get takeout and eat it after, cold. I'm sure I'll be even hungrier then."

Booth starts to panic. He should have realized that having sex with Bones would be like a National Geographic special. Now that he's proven he's got the biggest horns and gotten the girl, he's going to have to live up to his hype and that's a lot of pressure.

It'll probably kill him, or at least leave him sore as hell in the morning, but when Bones flashes him a sly little grin, he knows it'll be worth it.