Show and Tell

by Dira Sudis


Beta thanks to Iulia!

Brennan's mind skipped back to the case almost as soon as she caught her breath, circling through the same list of pending lab results over and over. If the particulate was something damning--if they could retrieve DNA--if, if, if--and this was why Booth had been so determined to distract her in the first place, and why she'd let him. There was nothing she could do about the case tonight.

Beside her, Booth made a small sound, not quite a whistle. She turned her head to see him watching her, chin propped on his wrist. His posture suggested that he'd been watching her for a while, and there was a smile in his eyes--not post-coital satisfaction, or not only that. Booth looked amused. Even as Brennan tried to figure out what he was finding funny, the smile spread to his mouth, and he let out a puff of laughter.

"What?" she said finally, frowning and glancing down uncertainly at herself, sprawled naked beside her equally naked partner. Things weren't supposed to be weird and awkward until the next morning, and in the morning they could get back to work. Booth was getting ahead of himself.

Booth shook his head, still smiling. "I was just thinking," he muttered, and he reached out one hand and tapped her forehead with his fingertip. His hand was warm and smelled distractingly like sex--like her. As he took his hand away, Booth said, "I finally got all your clothes off you, but I still can't see you naked."

"Those mean the sa--" but Booth's smile flickered at her contradiction, and despite the light in his eyes his voice had been inflected seriously. He meant different things by those words, and then it wasn't hard to work out what: every boyfriend she ever broke up with had accused her of the same things in the end, of being cold and distant. They couldn't guess what she was thinking or feeling and it didn't occur to her to tell them--and she could have told Booth she was thinking about the case, if he'd just asked. Booth was getting ahead of himself here, too.

Except Booth had smiled, had laughed, and the light was still there in his eyes, and Booth was still here in her bed. Brennan looked away, down at her own bare body again, trying to think of a way to tell him she did know what he meant, in a metaphorical way like he'd said it in the first place. Booth's hand settled on her shoulder, not pressing her for anything, and she looked back to meet his eyes. "I guess I'm always wearing my skin."

Booth smiled again--without the edge of humor--so that must have been about right. "Yeah," Booth said. "I know."

But he said nothing more than that, and it had been a strangely serious thing to bring up now, tonight, when this had only supposed to be a distraction, an escape from work. "Does that bother you?"

"Nah," Booth said. "I like you with your skin on."

Brennan grinned. "Well, that's good, or I'd have to keep a much closer eye on you at the lab."

Booth wrinkled his nose even as he laughed, and Brennan just watched him, taking more pride in her partner's bright-eyed laughter than she had in his orgasm. She'd distracted him, too. She'd done this right. The feeling was addictive, and she wanted suddenly, recklessly, to give him what he'd so deliberately not asked for. He'd seen her at her worst, knew her better than almost anyone, and she had, after all, been perfectly willing to be naked with him tonight.

She thought suddenly of every time Booth had brought her to a corpse, all those times she'd complained about soft tissue--about skeletons still wearing their skins. There were ways around that problem, though. She'd looked at Booth's x-rays herself, and learned more from a few minutes with them than months with her partner.

Brennan reached for Booth's hand even as his breathing evened out, the laughter dying away. He let her guide his fingers to her cheek, and she pressed his fingertips just blow the left-side temporomandibular joint. She shifted his fingertip against the back two molars. "Crowns," she said, holding his gaze as the light in his eyes settled into seriousness, the same intent look he wore in her lab. "Replacing two teeth broken just above the gum line. Six years ago."

Booth's eyes narrowed a little, calculating, and then he said, "Tibet?"

Brennan winced in memory--it was the feeling of her own broken teeth in her mouth, floating in blood, that stuck with her; the blow itself was a blur--and nodded.

Booth's thumb gently brushed her cheek, and he held her gaze. "Where else?"

Brennan tugged his hand down, letting his fingertips graze her throat all the way to the hollow at the base, and then along the clavicle to about the midpoint, halfway to her right shoulder. "Healed break," she said. "Twenty-three years ago."

Booth's fingers pressed down, shifting back and forth. There was a slight but palpable unevenness to the bone there; Brennan thought sometimes that it was the mark of the old break. She knew when his forehead creased that Booth thought so, too. "Just a kid," he said. "Car accident?"

Brennan shook her head. "Fell from a tree. I followed Russ up and couldn't get down."

Booth's mouth tightened, and he started to say something, but Brennan cut him off.

"Russ ran to get help, and I panicked when I realized I was alone. He and my father were there practically as soon as I hit the ground, Booth. He didn't abandon me."

She could see the skepticism in Booth's eyes, but he didn't say it out loud. Not that time. Booth nodded shallowly, lowering his gaze to his fingers, and Brennan took his hand again, guiding it lower, between her breasts, to her left side. Booth's thumb detoured, brushing across her nipple, and Brennan's fingers tightened on his as her skin went tight, a shiver of pleasure running through her.

She frowned sternly at Booth, and he gave her a helpless smile in answer. Brennan rolled her eyes and yanked his fingers down to her seventh rib, left side, just anterior to the angle. "Healed fracture," she said, walking Booth's fingers down. "Seventh and eighth ribs. Fifteen years ago."

Booth's eyebrows arched and then lowered again. "Girls' rugby team?" The words were light, but his tone had an edge of seriousness, waiting for the awful revelation.

Brennan had to smile, if only to tell him it wasn't as awful as he thought--but Booth's worried gaze stayed steady.

"I got into a fight at school on the day of a scheduled foster care welfare check," Brennan said, letting her own gaze drop to Booth's shoulder. "I'd go months without seeing a social worker, but she was right on time that day--it must have been her first, maybe second week on the job. She was young, she cared. So I got pulled from a house where I didn't get hit and shipped off to another house where I didn't get hit in a different school district, where I got to have the same fight all over again."

Booth's hand flattened on her ribs. "Where's that one?"

Brennan grinned and met his gaze again, forming a fist with her right hand. "That one, I won."

Booth gave her a smile, closing his hand around her fist. "Attagirl."

Brennan twisted her hand, letting Booth's hand slide to her wrist. "Healed hairline--"

"I know this one," Booth said, his grip tight for an instant and then gentler. She remembered the moment the fracture was diagnosed, and Booth bursting into that clinic room in New Orleans, and how it hadn't really been a surprise at all to see him there. Booth leaned in and kissed her wrist on the radial side, unerringly zeroing in on the location of the break.

"You don't have to tell me," he murmured against her skin, and then leaned back, meeting her eyes. "You really don't, Bones, I mean that."

"I know," Brennan said, smiling as she curled down to kiss his knuckles. "Don't get used to it or anything."