Dr. Temperance Brennen waited patiently outside Booth’s front door, listening as the footsteps on the other side drew closer and closer. Booth’s place was not what she had expected from the typical Alpha-male Special Agent. It was an actual house, still in the city, but a bit farther from the center than most of her acquaintance. There was a small garden in the front yard, and she could see the top of a tree peeking over the roof of the house when she had pulled up. It was a quiet street at this time of night, but there were plenty of houses with lights still on in the front window, and this one was hardly distinguishable from the rest of the houses on Revello Drive, except for the door being painted a bright blue. No doubt, it was another expression of Booth’s quiet rebellions, like his socks or belt buckle.
Booth opened the door just as she was musing if he bothered to add quiet rebellions to the interior of his house as well, or if he felt comfortable enough to realize that they were unnecessary in his own domain.
“Bones,” he said with some surprise, his eyebrows lifting.
“Yeah,” she confirmed as she studied him- he was barefoot, wearing sweatpants and his shirt was unbuttoned. Presumably she interrupted him half-way from changing out of his work clothes.
“Did we have an appointment?” he asked with some confusion.
“No,” she explained as she handed him the file she had been holding, “Uh…it’s him. Masruk is the bomber.” She began to think again on the wife, who had been so adamant that her husband was not a terrorist.
“I guess the wife didn’t know the husband very well,” Booth echoed her thoughts.
“Seeley, who is it?” a voice called through the house.
“It’s work, Dr. Brennen,” Booth responded as a woman walked into the front room where Brennen and Booth had been talking.
“Oh, sorry to interrupt then. Do you have to go back in?” Temperance took a long look at the woman- she was short, approximately one hundred and sixty centimeters, petite, and Brennen would put her age at around late twenties, maybe younger. She was also pretty in the standards of Western Culture, though her nose was a bit odd, with blonde hair and light hazel eyes with more green than typical.
“Looks like, we’ve got an ID on the bomber case.”
“Alright, well, I’ll put your plate in the microwave.”
“You sure you can handle dinner from here?” Booth asked with a smirk. Teasing, Brennen realized, he’s teasing her.
The woman, in turn, rolled her eyes, “I’m sure I can manage not to burn the house down at this point. Though I’m sure I’ll hear about how I don’t cook as well as you.”
Booth smirked again, and then turned back to Temperance, “I’m sorry, Bones, this is my wife, Buffy, Buff, this is Dr. Brennen from the Jeffersonian.”
Buffy (and what an unusual name) stepped forward to shake hands with Bones. “It’s Elizabeth, actually. Buffy is an old nickname from school that Seeley won’t let die.”
The man in question shrugged unapologetically, “When I met you, you were Buffy, I’m attached to it. Buffy is who I feel in love with.”
“Buffy is whose pigtails you pulled,” the woman corrected, “Don’t try to romance your way out of it. Is he this bad at work as well?” Elizabeth directed the question at Brennen.
“Well, he doesn’t try to romance his way out of it,” was all Temperance could think to say, but the couple smiled and then Elizabeth waved an arm towards what Temperance assumed to be the kitchen, if the smells were any indication.
“He’d better not,” she jested, “Would you like something to drink?”
“I’ll go get changed,” Booth interjected, with a gesture to another part of the house, leaving Brennen alone with this wife in the front room.
“Oh, no thank you,” Brennen replied and then promptly worried about what to say next- she knew she was not the best at social situations even with people she knew well, let alone complete strangers.
Fortunately, Elizabeth seemed to be a talkative enough person that Temperance didn’t have to pick up much slack.
“Seeley’s mentioned that he’s worked with you the past couple weeks. He’s really very impressed with your methods, though he gets a bit huffy when someone else does parts of his job better than him. He’s competitive. When we went to school together we’d compete in everything- so I guess we’re both as bad as each other. Do you enjoy working with the FBI?”
“Oh, yes. I find it useful to be able to use my skills to help society put away criminals, though it does cut into my work for the Jeffersonian.”
At that moment, Booth returned, closing his cell phone like he just ended a call.
Booth turned towards the two women. “The Bureau just called- Santana said something about the bombing. Maybe, uh, you should come, Bones?”
“Sure,” replied the anthropologist, ready to get back to the case.
Booth gave her a small grin and turned to back to his wife, “I’ll try and be home soon, and you try not to ruin dinner.”
Elizabeth huffed and crossed her arms, “I haven’t ruined a meal in years and you still don’t let me forget it.”
“The same way you don’t let me forget how you beat me in the kickboxing unit in gym class every year. The price of having known me too long, babe,” he softly kissed Elizabeth before pulling away slightly to whisper to her, “See you later.”
“See you,” Elizabeth replied, “It was nice meeting you, Dr. Brennen.”
“Nice meeting you as well,” Temperance called back as she followed Booth out the front door.
“Okay,” Booth griped as they exited the elevator after arriving at the Bureau. “What is so funny?”
“I just never figured you’d be in a relationship,” Temperance explained as she chuckled a little more. It was rather humorous, to her mind- the juxtaposition of Booth’s persona outside his home, and the reality of the married man.
“Why, do you think something’s wrong with me?” Brennen realized that the Agent was taking her entertainment the wrong way. She sought to clarify.
“Not wrong. You just have alpha male attributes usually associate with a solitary existence.”
“What! Me?” Booth shook his head, “You’re solitary.”
“No,” Brennen corrected, “No, I’m private. It’s different and we weren’t talking about me.”
“Well, I was.”
“Well, I wasn’t,” she returned easily, “Look, I’m happy for you,” she continued, trying to explain her mental process, “Relationships have anthropological meaning. Even marriage, though an antiquated ritual, had societal meanings that at one point made it essential for societal function. No society can survive if sexual bonds aren’t formed betw-“
Booth chose that moment to cut her off. “What the hell are you talking about?”
Before Brennen could further explain, Mickey Santana exited the office and walked up to the duo.
“Booth,” the other Agent began.
The man in question seemed eager for the change in topic, “Yeah.”
“You got that ID?” his superior asked, playing slightly with the file in his hands.
“Yeah, it was Masruk,” the anthropologist watched as Booth seemed to adapt his usual alpha-male persona that she had always associated with him. The better, she supposed, to lead with.
“Oh,” the other man sighed, “That’s too bad.”
“He killed four people and injured another fifteen,” Brennen felt the need to remind the Agent- it wasn’t like the man was the victim here. The context of Santana’s remark confused her.
Santana nodded slightly before handing a file to Agent Booth and continuing to speak, “The report came back from ballistics. Now, the explosives were placed under the car with the trigger connected to the odometer. Masruk was murdered.”
Now that the remark had context, Brennen peered at the file, “So Masruk wasn’t a terrorist.”
“Somebody tried to make him look like one,” Booth replied before turning again to Santana, “Any leads on who did it?”
The other man looked a little annoyed, “That’s why we’re paying you, Booth.”
As Santana walked away, Booth gave a sigh, “Gonna be a long night, Bones.”
“She was having an affair!” Booth insisted the next day while he and Brennen ordered some food at Wong Foos.
Brennen was incised, “I’m sorry, but that’s an offensive assumption!”
“Well,” Booth retorted with a shrug, “All the signs were there.”
“You can’t make wild accusations on someone’s personal life based on a feeling!” Brennen insisted- there were no such thing as “signs” that someone was having an affair that you could pick up in an interrogation room. This sounded dangerously close to psychology.
“It’s more than a feeling,” Booth tried to defend his position, “Okay, that photograph is evidence just as solid as the markers you squints pick up looking at your little bones.”
Brennen felt he was now belittling her work by comparing it to this…psychology was really the only thing to describe it- he was using. “The evidence that I find isn’t empirical. What you consider evidence is merely conjecture.”
Booth began to list his reasoning, “She dyed her hair. She lost weight. You know how she shoved a little Botox in her forehead. She’s still feeling guilty over the last fight she had with her husband.” He shrugged as if to say that his words could only lead to one conclusion.
“Uhhhh!” Brennen searched for an appropriate insult but all she could come up with was: “You are an insufferable…arrogant…man!”
“Oh!” Booth immediately fired back, “So only a woman could know a woman. I thought woman wanted us to understand them.”
At that precise moment, Angela dropped onto the stool beside Brennen.
“Not really,” she inserts into the conversation casually, “A magician never wants to reveal her tricks…”
Booth gestured between himself and Brennen, “We’re having a private conversation.”
Angela airily waved her hand, “I’m not here.”
“So you think you know women just because you’re married?” Brennen immediately turned back to her original point, “Unbelievable.”
Booth scoffs and was about to continue before Angela jumped back in. “You’re married?” Her eyes lit up a bit, eager for more information.
“Yes,” Booth sighed at Angela, "Our anniversary is next April.
“Besides,” Booth continued, “It’s not about being a woman or a man- though the Botox isn’t something you see often in men. It’s people. Men and women aren’t that different. If I saw a widower who had recently dyed some of the grey out of his hair, started going to the gym, was dressing in better suits, I’d think he was having an affair as well.”
Bones shook her head, that sounded good in theory, but she doubted Booth practiced it in reality, she sought to get Angela on her side, “Booth thinks just because Masruk’s wife started working out and had a little make over, that she was having an affair.”
Angela hummed slightly before asking, “And how long were they married?”
“Eleven years,” Booth returned eagerly, seeking to recruit Angela to his own side. He was pretty sure she’d agree with him- she was more of a people person than Bones.
Angela immediately turned to her friend, “I’m with him.”
“There is no concert proof!” Brennen insisted once again.
“Boobs perkier?” Angela asked Booth.
“Mmmm hmmm,” the Agent directed at his food.
“I don’t believe this,” Brennen said, looking between the two of them, “If you’re so sure then why didn’t you confront her?” she interrogated Booth.
Angela, however, was the one who answered, “Because if she or her boyfriend were involved, she would warn him.”
“Very good,” Booth told the artist with some surprise.
Angela shrugged and offered a mysterious smile, “I’m a constant surprise.”
Brennen couldn’t handle this blatant disregard for actual evidence anymore, “Alright. Great. I will be in the lab getting us some real data.” And with that, she left the artist and the Agent to their meal.
“So,” Angela began, looking Booth up and down in a way Booth had seen Bones look at a skeleton. “Why aren’t you wearing a ring?” Angela asked, after examining his hands.
Booth sighed, clearly she wouldn’t leave him in peace until he gave her some tidbits, “I do,” he pulled out a chain around his neck, a man’s wedding ring hanging on the end of it, “I just don’t wear it where the bad guys can see it. Or where a sudden fight can potentially get my finger jammed with it still on,” he grimaced in remembered pain, “Not a fun feeling.”
Angela realized that was probably a sensible thing for an FBI Agent, but she perked up and continued her questionnaire, “What’s her name? Where’d you meet? Any kids?”
“Ha ha ha,” was all Booth would respond before turning back to his meal.
“Apparently, they met while still in school, and they’ve been married for going on sixteen years,” Angela informed the rest of the squint squad later that day, "got married when he was eighteen."
"Kinda child-bride-esque. Weird," Hodgins commented.
Zach’s eyebrows were pinched together as he asked her, “Should you be intruding on their lives like this?”
Angela was shocked he had to ask, “Oh yeah. Absolutely.”
Hodgins chose to insert something relevant to the case, “We’re negative for Lupus and Paget’s. When you’re done, I will do a scraping for environmental contaminates.”
Zach handed a petri dish of particulate to Hodgins, seemingly grateful for the shift in topic, “I found these. Shiny flakes that caught onto the torn patches of bone.”
Tired of their avoidance of the clearly more interesting subject, Angela continued, “Bottom line, I don’t think Brennan has a shot with Booth.”
Hodgins finally joined in her gossip, “But she said she’s not interested before. I doubt that’s changed because he’s got a secret wife.”
“Methinks the lady doth protest too much,” Angela returned, slightly concerned for her friend. Married men were not good men to have crushes on, she knew from experience. And Booth was straight-laced, so Angela was pretty certain sixteen years of marriage was not doing anything but moving on to become twenty, thirty, and fifty years of marriage.
Zach, however, had another opinion, “Maybe she protested just enough.”
“Puh lease,” Angela rolled her eyes at the boy’s ignorance. “She’s been sleeping alone for months. She has enough pent up sexual energy to power a small mid-western city. She just needs to direct it somewhere other than a married man.”
Hodgins continued work on the bomb case, “This looks like gypsum. That wouldn’t cause any organic damage. It’s probably used to insulate the explosives, bet the FBI doesn’t know that yet.”
Having figured the boys weren’t ideal gossip companions anyways, Angela decided to have some fun, “I’m gonna go check out this wife.”
Less than half an hour later, Angela was walking into a cafeteria and looking around her. She referenced the picture she brought with her again- on it was a small blonde woman with hazel eyes and a cute nose. The artist spotted Booth’s wife just across the room, sitting alone a table reading a magazine.
Angela casually bought some food and began walking past Mrs. Booth, before dropping her purse and spilling its contents all over the floor.
Elizabeth Booth immediately dropped down to help Angela, who struck up a conversation with the blonde, glad to see her plan worked to a T.
Half an hour and two cappuccinos later, Angela returned to the Jeffersonian with her news.
“Oh my god, Mrs. Booth might be my new favorite person,” she announced to the room, slightly hyped up on the afore mentioned cappuccinos.
“I beg your pardon?” Brennen returned, confused as to the context of this information.
Angela, thinking Brennen was feeling worried at her status as Angela’s best friend, sought to reassure the anthropologist, “I mean, she’s no you, honey, but wow- any girl who can down cappuccinos like that and gossip with me deserves an award of some kind.”
“You talked to her,” Brennen said in a daze, slightly in shock.
“Spent the lunch break together. She’s a counselor for troubled kids, and the FBI calls in her to help work when they have juveniles to be interviewed or processed, you know. And can I say? Killer fashion sense. She helped me settle on what I should wear to my next date with Brad, the musician. We didn’t even talk about Booth, but that is one well-adjusted, happy woman. She had a magazine, a good lunch, and then was lucky enough to go out for cappuccinos with a lovely brunette with a great sense of humor.”
“She’s spying for you?” Hodgins’ shocked question was directed at Brennen.
Brennen was clearly embarrassed and protested.
Zach chose that moment to chime in with something that was, in Angela’s opinion, less than helpful, “Even if you have nothing in common it’s difficult to sublimate intense sexual attraction and we hear it’s been awhile.”
“Okay, stop!” Brennen attempted to retake control of her own lab.
Angela was not interested in discussing dead or death, so she continued on the topic at hand, “He’s a lucky man, I’m telling you. She’s got a phenomenal figure on top of it all.”
“Okay,” Booth’s voice came from behind them at that time, silencing them all, “I couldn’t get his medical records,” it was that moment he noticed the awkward tension before him. “What?”
The next day, Booth was trying to get Brennen to exchange theories with him on the possibility that the wife and her lover tried to kill Masruk to be together, “Ah, C’mon Bones. Just work with me here. Alright. It’s what we in the law enforcement call positing a scenario. Don’t use the word eschewed,” he requesting, referring to her earlier word choice.
Brennan decided that if they were going to talk about couples murdering each other to get out of marriage, she’d use the nearest example to hand, “What if you and Elizabeth were going to divorce and you didn’t want to?”
Booth was confused and a bit annoyed by the apparent change in topic, “Why would Buffy and I separate? We don’t want to separate.”
“Well I’m positing a scenario,” Brennen retorted, before continuing “Elizabeth wants to split up and you don’t want to so she poisons you.”
“That’d be difficult since I’m usually the one to make dinner but- this is not relevant,” Booth shook his head, unable to follow Bone’s thought.
“And then,” the anthropologist continues, disregarding the FBI Agent, “just to make sure she blows you up with a bomb.”
“Why would Buffy do that?” Booth questioned.
“Exactly,” since she felt her point was made, Brennen dropped it, “Thank you.”
Booth still was shaking his head, “See cause Buffy and I, that’s a bad example.”
Brennen didn’t understand why, “Well you’re a couple in love, right?”
“Of course we are, we’re married- but why do you keep bringing up my wife? I mean why? What’s the big deal? Is it so odd for you that I have someone in my life?”
Brennan found herself once again having to explain her logic, “We were talking about couples. It’s a natural segue.”
Clearly uncomfortable, Booth began to nitpick. “Alright, you know, you have to quit using the word segue and eschew. They sound French.”
Brennen nodded as if in understanding, “Keep changing the subject. I get it. You’re sensitive about your marriage.”
Booth still wasn’t quite sure what was happening, “I just don’t discuss my marriage at work. Why aren’t we talking about you and your boyfriend?”
“I don’t have a boyfriend.”
“You just said that as though it’s a good thing and you know what?” Booth deflected onto the anthropologist, “It’s a very, very sad comment on your personal life.”
“Look,” Brennen gestured towards the Agent, “you’re angry again.” Luckily for Booth, Brennen’s phone rang, sufficiently distracting her while she answered. “Brennan.”
It was as the two were driving to the Hamilton Center in an attempt to keep Masruk’s brother Farid, the real terrorist, from blowing up a peace conference that Booth pulled out his phone and dialed.
“Buffy? Hey, babe, where are you? Oh, still at work? Ok- well, keep there if you can, there’s something going down right now.” He paused as his wife talked, “Yes, I promise to be careful. Yes, I will see you tonight for dinner. I love you too, Buffy. Bye.”
He pulled up the convention center just as he hung up. “Let’s go find our bomber.”
An hour later, Booth was wrapping up the case with Brennen at the Jeffersonian.
“You know I told them to tell the press is was an undercover operation,” the Agent said with a slight nod.
Brennan was a bit confused by his apparent egalitarianism, “But it would be a Rose Garden Ceremony. That’s an honor, Right? I thought you FBI guys loved your medals?
The FBI guy in question shook his head slightly before answering, “There’s no pleasure in taking someone’s life. Nothing to celebrate.”
Before Brennen could offer her own thoughts on Booth’s actions that day, he gave her a small smile and sighed, “I’m gonna head home now. I’ll probably get an earful from Buffy for worrying her. Best to get it over with. Have a good night, Bones.”
Brennen nodded as she watched him leave the building. She decided that maybe she finally had time for those WWI bones.
Booth unlocked his front door and took a deep breath. He could smell pasta sauce- one of the few things Buffy felt comfortable enough to cook on her own, and he smiled as he heard feet running towards him.
“Daddy!” a small voice shouted, before launching himself off the steps and into Booth’s arms.
“Hey, buddy, how’re you?” Booth replied, tucking the child under his arm and ruffling his hair, “Did you have fun with Aunt Willow after school today?”
“Awesome! I drew a dinosaur today- mommy put it on the fridge. Come see!” Letting the child wiggle out of his arms, Booth followed his son into the kitchen where he greeted his wife.
“Hi,” he sighed, before swooping down to kiss her.
“Hi,” she replied with a small smile.
“Daddy! Daddy, look!” the child intruded.
“Alright, Parker, let me see, wow- that is an awesome dinosaur! You did that all by yourself?”
The boy enthusiastically nodded his head, grinning at his father.
“Ok, young man,” Elizabeth cut into the boys’ bonding, “Go wash hands, dinner’s almost ready.”
The small boy was off like a shot, and Booth turned back to his wife. Wrapping his arms around her waist from behind, he buried his head in her neck and breathed deep.
“Thank you,” she whispered to him softly.
“For what?” he returned just as quietly, feeling the moment wrap around them like the soft blanket they kept at the foot of their bed that Parker used to crawl on as a baby.
His wife shifted herself in his arms, turning so she faced him, and placed a hand against his cheek.
“For what you did today,” she shrugged, “For doing what you’ve always done- being Parker’s hero and everyone’s protector. For being you.”
Booth sighed, “I killed someone today.”
She nodded, “You also saved more than one someone. There’s no black and white, Seeley. Just a whole lot of grey. But, you do the best you can, and the fact that it bothers you, that makes you a good man.”
Looking down at his wife, Seeley bent once more to kiss her.
“Ewww!” They were interrupted by a childish voice. Chuckling, the parents separated at their child’s protests to their sharing “cooties.”