DISCLAIMER: Pretty self-explanatory; the characters do not belong to me, etcetera.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
SPOILERS: Up to The Skull in the Desert.

The First Time in Forever
By TheAgonyofBlank


She was smart. She was one of the best forensic anthropologists in the United States. She knew bone composition like the back of her hand, she could pick out the smallest abnormalities simply by looking at an x-ray of a bone, and she knew exactly what needed to be done to properly preserve a bone. No, there certainly was no doubt about it; she was smart, she knew what she was doing, and that was that.

Yet somehow, things that should have been simple, like human emotions, completely flew over her head. She couldn't seem to grasp the art of communication with fellow human beings well. She got along well with her colleagues, but she noticed that she tended to turn most other people off – at least, they tended to get edgy around her after a while, and she couldn't comprehend why. She didn't understand for the longest time, either, why Booth constantly kept her under close supervision, especially when she was talking to others. But soon she caught on, and tried to be respectful. Tactful. She was more careful now with what she said, and she tried. She did.

But the fact of the matter was, when it came to dealing with human feelings, Temperance Brennan just wasn't that smart. It seemed that whatever other people came with – those things that regulated what they said so that they wouldn't be too forthright and direct – well, Brennan didn't seem to have that built into her. All she had was bones and anthropology, and she figured that out quickly and just stuck with it. After all, she wouldn't have to worry about dealing with people if she could just become one of the best, right? They would have to worry about dealing with her.

Maybe it was because of that mindset that she didn't go out a lot. That the only people she had relationships with were those who were lacking in the social skills department like she was; either that, or fellow anthropologists – people who shared the same interests as she did. And maybe it was because of all this that she never had to think too much about going out for a date, much less fall in love. She had never fallen in love; she didn't know what that felt like. She only knew that sooner or later, another anthropologist would come along, and they would talk shop for a bit, and then maybe follow it with dinner, which would lead to the both of them returning to one of their apartments for the evening. That was good enough for her.

So when Angela arrived during her second year at the Jeffersonian (and caused Brennan's heart to do a strange lurching thing whenever the newcomer was around), Brennan simply brushed it off as human curiosity about the newcomer. She knew she had taken to Angela – she seemed clever and knew what she was doing – and thought they would become friends, like most colleagues tended to become. They did become friends after a little while, and it was thanks to Angela that Brennan started getting out of the lab more.

But that was it.

They were just friends.

Brennan thought she was fine with that – and she really was. But she couldn't seem to understand the feelings that rose in her whenever she saw one of Angela's new boyfriends. She thought that was what all friends were supposed to feel when a fellow friend started dating someone else. She was just being protective of Angela because she didn't want her friend to get hurt, right? That must have been it. No other reasoning made any sense.

But when Hodgins brought in his girlfriend, Brennan never felt those same feelings towards Hodgins that she had towards Angela. This puzzled her, and as she didn't know what she could do about it, she tucked it away at the back of her mind and forgot about it. Though her subconscious hadn't; she started acting rather coldly towards the men Angela showed up with, and her colleagues were beginning to pick up on this trend. They never told her, though. Angela just stopped having her dates show up to her workplace after a while.

Brennan knew Angela was still seeing the occasional guy, which aroused aforementioned unbecoming feelings – not that there was anything she could do about it, because what right had she to butt into Angela's personal life? Angela wasn't seeing as many as she had before, but she would go out with one or two every once in a while. However, for as long as she had known Angela, Brennan had never before heard of this missing photographer. He obviously meant a lot to Angela, and Brennan couldn't help but feel sorry for Angela, and tried to comfort her distraught friend.

In Brennan-speak, that meant explaining emotions and love (even though she had never felt it towards anyone but her own family) in more complicated terms. (Because Angela was convinced that she wasn't going to find love again, that she'd passed her one chance.) Needless to say, she had to re-explain herself in simple English. She squeezed her friend's hand, trying to be comforting, and said, "I promise, from my heart, you will get another chance." Which wasn't so bad and actually went pretty well, considering she was usually bad at these things.

But then, but then… She did something bad.

She didn't know what had possessed her to do it; it wasn't like her at all. Maybe it was all that pent-up energy; she hadn't dated anyone for a few years now – work still came first. But when her lips brushed against Angela's, she was surprised to feel a blaze of sensations assault her. She could feel the electricity run up and down her spine, and she thought, no matter how strange all these feelings were, it was, all in all, quite nice.

As soon as it had started, however, it was over. Brennan had pulled back, shocked by her behaviour. She stared at Angela, who could only gaze at her in surprise. Brennan cleared her throat, reaching out for the coffee mug that sat idly on the coffee table in front of her and taking a sip of the cold coffee. She swallowed the bitter drink without so much as a grimace, sitting in silence.

"Well," Angela started, and Brennan looked up at her. "We should get going. We have to catch our flight."

And so they did.

Brennan thought that was that. She thought they had a silent agreement not to speak of what had happened between them, that they should keep it a secret – or pretend it never happened. But she was wrong. Because ever since they got back to D.C., she noticed that Angela would somehow find a way to touch her, whether it was a light brush of hand over hand, or the gentle bump of shoulder against shoulder. And those innocent, feather-like touches soon grew into dates for coffee, and sometimes even dinner. Then it grew into something more – something more that lasted for more than one night.

All of it showed appreciation, showed commitment, showed affection, and showed possibility.

And being the smart woman she was, Brennan knew that.

And that was more than enough to keep her happy.

Because for the first time in forever, she had something she wanted for herself, something other than work, something that kept her spirits up whenever she was down. For the first time in forever, she was in love.

The End

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