DISCLAIMER: Dr Brennen belongs to Kathy Reichs & Fox TV, all other characters belong to Fox I own nothing.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Third Degree
By Acathla




"Why are you always pushing me towards Booth? Are you not happy?" Dr. Temperance Brennen asked softly as she lay in bed with her lover, lightly stoking her arm as they lay in a comfortable afterglow.

Angela Montenegro tensed a bit then lifted her face to look at Temperance. "Of course I'm happy sweetie."

"Then why do you keep pushing me to go after Booth?" Temperance was genuinely confused. If Angela was happy with her and their relationship then shouldn't she be pulling her away from Booth instead of toward him?

Angela turned away from her lover at that question, not sure how to explain herself. She took a deep breath and tried anyway. "I'm not blind Temp, I see the way he looks at you. And as jealous as that makes me I also see the way you are with him. I guess sometimes I wonder if you wouldn't be happier with him in your bed."

"What?! Angela, look at me." Temperance waited for Angela to face her again, when she didn't Temperance took her face in her hands and forced her to look at her. Once she was sure she had Angela's attention she said, "regardless of how he looks at me or how I am with him, you are the one I want. You are the one I love. How could you ever think otherwise?"

"How? You dare ask me that?" Angela was upset now. Trust Temperance to declare her feelings as a way of placating her. It made the words seem less sincere, like she was only saying them to keep Angela happy and not because she meant them. "Are you forgetting how you reacted when you found out about that lawyer he was dating? You were jealous as hell and I'm the one who had to stand there and listen to you go on and on about her as if you wished it were you Booth was dating. I'm the one who has to stand there and watch the sparks fly whenever you two get within five feet of each other. And I'm the one who has to pretend there's nothing beyond friendship between us because you can't step out of the closet long enough to tell anyone we're together."

"Angela, I-why haven't you said anything before now?"

"Because, that's what friends and lovers do. We keep the secrets we're asked to keep. You made it clear that you didn't feel comfortable telling our bosses or co-workers about us because it would change everything. And, at first, I was ok with that because I was just happy to be with you. Happy knowing that I know you in a way the others don't."

"So what changed?" Temperance asked, afraid of where this conversation might be headed.

"Booth. When he became a more frequent fixture in the lab, and I saw you responding to him, I realized I could lose you. And that hurt more than the silence. I never saw the guys as a threat because they never seemed your type. But Booth, he isn't like them and I saw you actually smiling at him a few times...the way you used to smile at me before we got together and I got jealous."

"So, it doesn't mean anything that I spend my nights, when I am not working, with you? That whenever I am not on a case all I can think about is coming here and holding you, touching you, making love to you? All that stops being important just because I smile at Booth?"

"No, it's just, I guess I got scared. I've never loved anyone like I love you and the thought that I could lose you to someone else, scared the hell out me. And Booth, he's more like you. You and he can talk about crime scenes and forensics and stuff like that and he'll never ask you to stop because it's making him ill. You don't have to censor anything for him like you do with me. He's your equal and that can be a powerful thing. Not to mention with him you wouldn't have to hide the affair."

Temperance took a moment to think about what Angela was saying. She admitted that maybe she hadn't been fair to Angela in asking her to keep their relationship a secret but she was scared too. The first time she'd ever thrown caution to the wind was when she asked Angela out. Regardless of how well that worked out, she was still reluctant to do it again. She didn't want to have any of her work called into question because of her sexuality. She didn't want her whole identity defined by whom she chose to love instead of who she really was. But she also didn't want to lose Angela.

"I am so sorry honey. I never meant to hurt you and I didn't even realize I was hurting you." Temperance leaned forward and pressed her lips to Angela's, needing the contact to reassure her before she went on. "Do you want the guys to know about us?"

Angela thought about it, not realizing until that moment that she needed her friends in the lab to know about them. If for no other reason than to stop Zach from crushing on Temperance. But also because, it hurt her that she couldn't even comfort her lover when an emotionally difficult case came in and Angela could tell Temp needed a hug but would never ask for one.

"Yeah sweetie, I want them to know but I don't want you to tell them just because it's what I want. You've gotta want it too. Until then, I can wait."

"Okay, but while you're waiting, can you stop pushing me towards Booth? Cuz, honestly, I am more than happy right here with you. You are all I ever need to make it through my day. Just knowing you'll be there at the end of the day to hold me is enough to keep me going, ok?" Temperance asked as a plan formed in her mind. A way to prove to Angela that her love was true and real and that Booth was so not what she wanted.

Angela smiled, wondering what she ever did to deserve such a wonderful lover. "Okay, I'll stop pushing you to Booth if you stop flirting with him."

"I do not flirt with him."

"Yeah you do, you just don't know you're doing it. It comes naturally with you two."

"You know, it just occurred to me that we are in bed together, naked, and we're talking about Booth of all things. All the things we could be doing together in bed and naked and you want to talk about Booth?" Temperance said, trying to get off the flirting topic because she really didn't think she flirted with Booth and if she didn't know she was doing it how could she stop?

Angela smiled as she shift to lie above her lover. As their lips met and hands roamed it occurred to Angela that maybe you shouldn't try to give your girlfriend the third degree when you're naked in bed together.

Monday mornings at the lab were so not Angela's favorite times but there was nothing to be done about it. The weekend was over and there was work to be done. Luckily, Booth hadn't come by yet and Temperance was in her office alone. Angela was tempted to go to Temp's office and tease her lover but she knew that that wouldn't amuse Temp. So she resigned herself to staying in her little room with her computers and her other equipment, silently wishing she wasn't bound by the rules Temperance imposed on their relationship.

Meanwhile in her office Temperance was pretending to concentrate on the file in front of her, but all she could think about was Angela. Their conversation the other night was still weighing on her mind, making it impossible to concentrate on her job...something that had never happened to her before. She's always been able to focus on her work regardless of what was going on in her personal life.

As Temperance went over their conversation, it occurred to her that if she wanted to keep Angela with her she'd have to tell the guys about them. And she knew she'd have to do it today, before they got mired in another case and her focus turned to the thrill of finding the answers. She had spent the last half hour outlining what she'd say and how she'd say it and trying to anticipate every reaction to the news and her response to each reaction. Finally, before she lost her nerve, Temperance picked up her phone and dialed Angela's extension. Asking her to come see her in her office.

Angela walked to her lover's office, wondering why she'd been summoned there. As she walked into the office she saw Temperance sitting at her desk seemingly focused on a file in front of her. Seeing her there, unguarded and calm, Angela couldn't help but fall in love all over again and she had to resist the urge to go to her lover and kiss her. But she knew better than that by now. She knew Temp wouldn't welcome such a blatant display of affection in the workplace. Angela cleared her throat before, "you wanted to see me?"

Temperance looked up and smiled, wondering how she'd gotten so lucky as to have this wonderful woman in her life. "Yeah, there's something I need to talk to you about." Temperance said as she stood up and walked over to Angela who'd stopped in the middle of the office. Temperance looked out the glass walls of her office and into the main lab area. She noticed that the guys were there and Booth had just walked in. Temperance smiled, knowing that she only had a minute or two before they all turned to look at her office and that they could see very clearly what was going on. Soon, Booth would walk into her office, followed closely by Zach and Jack and begin briefing her about a new case. In the minute it took for her to think about what she was about to do Angela moved a few inches away from Temperance, thinking her lover would want space. In a lightning fast move, Temperance reached out and pulled Angela to her a split second before she captured her lips in a searing kiss that left no question as to their relationship. Angela needed no encouragement and instantly responded to the kiss, sliding her tongue inside her lover's mouth and tasting her.

The kiss went on for what seemed like hours but was really only a few minutes before the sound of a throat clearing broke them apart.

Federal Agent Seely Booth, with Jack and Zach right behind him, stood in the doorway of the office watching the two ladies with a mixture of shock, lust, and disappointment in his eyes. "Uh...Bones what's going on?" After a moment, Booth realized he'd be more likely to get a clear answer from Temperance, whom he always called Bones, than Angela.

Dr. Temperance Brennen looked right at her colleagues and smiled as she stated, "Angela and I are dating and we're in love. Anyone got a problem with that?"

Three very shocked men just stood there for a moment before they each shook their heads no. Jack and Zach turned and headed back to the lab, but before they got out of earshot Temperance heard Jack say, "dude, I told you, you owe me ten bucks."

Temperance looked at Booth who was still standing there. "Was there something you needed Booth?"

Agent Booth snapped out of his thoughts and held up a folder. "Uh, yeah. A construction crew found a skeleton in a local park. The local authorities are transporting the body here but I thought you'd want to go see the scene."

"Thanks. Let's go." With one last kiss for Angela, Temperance turned and walked out past Booth.

Booth looked at Angela and smiled. "Congratulations Angela."

"Yeah, thanks Booth. So you're okay with all this? It won't affect how you work with her?"

"Yeah I'm ok. I was wondering though if Bones would ever go public."

"What do you mean?"

"C'mon Angela. I'm a federal agent, you really don't think I didn't know about you two before this? Why do you think I flirted with Bones so much?"

"Cuz you like her?"

"Well, yeah I'll admit I like her but really because I knew if I pushed enough you'd push her to go public and she did. She'll be happier now that she doesn't have to hide it. I got to go. Later."

With that Booth left the office and a very surprised Angela behind. So, Booth had known and apparently Jack and Zach must've had some kind of bet about it. Angela smiled, she finally got what she wanted though, Temp had let Booth know she was taken and really that's all Angela really wanted. She wanted Booth to know that he'd never have a chance with Temp.

Knowing that Temperance had done it all to make her happy, to try to prove her love, made it all that much sweeter. And to think, it all began with the third degree in bed.

The End

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