The Burden of Proof

Misleading Evidence

"Keep your hands off of my things!" Brennan spat out, slapping his hand away from the equipment.

"Hey! You touch my stuff all the time!" he cried out.

Angela, Cam and Hodgins, forced bystanders, looked at each other.

"Oh! Like you let me touch your siren? I don't think so."

Couldn't they realize how incredibly dirty they both sounded?

"Because the siren is not a toy!" he grunted.

"Oh! And a five hundred thousand dollar scanning electron microscope is?" she bit back.

"Well, not when you say it like that..." he mumbled.

"Kids, that's enough!" Cam cut their bickering short.

"Aaaaaanyway..." Hodgins dragged out. "I ran mass spec on the paint we found on the victim... Dead end."

"Well, we had to try something," Cam commented. "Ok, what's next?"

"No, I mean," Hodgins interrupted. "it was Dead End, the name of the paint color. Actually, Angela found it. It has a unique chemical signature."

Brennan was bored, which bothered her. She had never been bored with a case before. She took a glance at Booth. He was flattening his tie. She looked back at Cam, who was listening to Angela explain how she was running a wide search on the companies that sold the paint.

They talked about that freaking paint for what seemed like eternity. And she wondered why she was still standing there. She had plenty of work to do. She looked at Booth again, about to ask him if he needed anything before she went ahead and lost herself in Limbo. He was still touching his tie. Maybe he was fishing for compliments. It was a pretty tie, after all.

"Nice tie," she told him.

He turned to her.

"Oh!" He flattened it again. "Thanks. Catherine gave it to me."

So? I give you ties all the time. I even found your precious belt buckle online. And it took me forever, too.

She snorted.

"What?" he asked her.

She looked at the tie. Yeah, it wasn't that nice. The color was wrong for him, anyway.

"She doesn't know you very well, does she?"


She semi-pouted, semi-grimaced. Then raised her eyebrows, looking down at it.


She shrugged.

He got the message.

"You just said you liked it!"

Right. Uhm...

"I was being sarcastic," she replied.

And she excused herself out of the room.

"Does it..."

"SHHH!" he shushed her loudly.

She glued her lips together and looked around –not that she could see anything- to make sure everything was still quiet.

She lowered her voice to a whisper and asked again, without him rudely interrupting her this time.

"Does it have to be so dark?"

"Yes," he replied right away. "We don't want the suspect to know we're waiting for him in his office, do we?"

"I guess not."

"We don't."

His elbow brushed with hers. She took a deep breath to calm her nerves. It made it worse. He had to stop wearing that aftershave. Control, Brennan. It's not like you haven't felt like this before. She tried to scoot away from him a little bit. It was not an easy task. The bench they were both sitting on was awfully small.

"Can you sit somewhere else?" she bluntly asked.

She heard him chuckle.

"What, like on the floor? No thanks. But you go ahead."

"Never mind."

She was being ridiculous. It wasn't his fault.

"What, am I bothering you?" he pressed on.

Had he just touched her thigh on purpose?

"Yes," she admitted.

"Oh, I'm sorry," he said. Even she could hear the overwhelming sarcasm. "Do you wanna be left alone?"

"I said never mind," she hissed between her teeth.

Not that she was psychoanalyzing herself or anything, but she was probably feeling so vulnerable (or stimulated) because he was dating someone. This was only her primal instincts kicking in. She was feeling territorial. Nothing to be ashamed of, really. Just nature. She thought she was evolved enough to be above all this, but apparently, she wasn't. She was just as human as everybody else. At least, that's what she told herself. Never mind the fact that she had felt that pull towards him for over 5 years. Or 6. She had learned to accept it, let it slide, not dwell on it. She had learned to know him and they had grown closer and stronger. And all of that for what? So he'd be ready to date a scientist?

His leg was pressed against hers again.

"Booth... Come on!" she whispered, completely annoyed and confused. Angry with herself, she tried to put some distance between his body and hers.

"Would you stop fidgeting!" he warned her. It was so dark he couldn't even see her face.

"I can't!" she confessed.

"What's going on with you?" he asked, starting to feel concerned.

"I'm..." No. She couldn't tell him. He would freak. "Maybe I should stay in the lab more, from now on."

"You're kidding, right?"

She didn't respond. She tried to concentrate on the door, hoping the suspect would enter soon so they could get out of there.

"Bones, I know you. And something's going on. Why won't you just tell me?"


"I'm feeling aroused."

She didn't really see his face, but she knew what it was like. His mouth was probably hanging open, his eyes widened in horror. This was not the time nor the place. Not that it ever was.

"Huh? By me?"

"Of course. There's no one else here."

He took a moment to catch his breath.

"Wha... Who says stuff like that? Are you drunk?!"

"SHHH!" she shushed him in return. If she wasn't allowed to raise her voice, he wasn't either.

He remembered where they were and what they were supposed to do. But he still had no clue where that had come from.

"Did I do something to get you... uhm..."

"Excited?" she proposed.

He choked on his saliva. She had to stop that.

"Are you saying stuff like that on purpose?"

The tension was slowly dissipating. She felt a smile creep on her lips.

"I admit that I take great pleasure in seeing you squirm."

"..." He swallowed the lump in his throat. "So you were joking."

Silence answered him.

"You were not joking."

She sighed.

"Look, I'm sorry I embarrassed you or made you feel uncomfortable. But I asked you politely to sit somewhere else. I didn't mean to cross your stupid line."

"My what?"

"You know. The line you drew a long time ago."

"My line's not stupid," he retorted –for lack of anything else to say- on the defensive.

"I know," she admitted.

He heard her take a deep breath. He added,

"Plus, it's not my line. The line was there. I just... highlighted it."

Something had changed between them. Right? She wasn't imagining things? She turned to him, trying to make out his features despite the darkness.

"Well... Is it still there? The line, I mean."

He took his time before answering.

"It should be," he said, evasively.

"I agree. Vehemently. But... is it?"

Suddenly the office door cracked open and they both jumped up, startled.

The lights went on.

"Todd, my man!" Booth yelped, flashing his badge. "Just the suspect we were waiting for!"

The man froze, like a deer caught in headlights, then started running. But Booth was faster.

Brennan stood there, amazed as always, and watched as her partner cuff Todd's hands behind his back.

When Booth wanted something, he always ended up getting it. Always.

It was his fault. He had broken them. So, technically, he should be the one to fix them. She really hoped he could. Boy, had she changed. Putting hope in psychology. But she had no idea what else to do. And she had to do something.

"You know what this is about?" Sweets asked her.

"No. That's why I'm here. So you can explain."

"See..." Sweets sighed. He was in way over his head, now. He should never have published that book. Now he felt it was his duty to help them at any given moment. And he had no idea what to do anymore. "If you two weren't so afraid I was right, you wouldn't be reacting that way."

"But you said..."

Sweets interrupted her by raising his hand.

"Look, we can talk about it all you want, but, at the end of the day, it's not about what I say. It's about what you feel. Now, you're scared, and I get that..."

It was Brennan's turn to interrupt him.

"Why do people say I'm scared, all the time?"

He ignored her.

"You both know I'm right."

Funny how he kept talking to them even if she was here by herself.

"And now that it's out in the open, you can't ignore it any longer without the other figuring out you're ignoring it."

He really liked hearing himself talk, didn't he?

"I'm confused," she confessed.

"I know." Me too.

"You're whole concept is irreversibly flawed," she told him for the 100th time. "We're not ignoring anything. We've proved you wrong. We're both... dating other people."

She waited for him to refute her statement, as he normally did. But this time, he didn't.

"Wouldn't it be easier, faster, and way more efficient to just talk to Booth about all of this directly?"

"I can't," she said. "We argue incessantly."

"You always do."

She shook her head.

"It's different. We can't even talk anymore. It's like we're back six years ago."

Ok, so maybe they were getting somewhere. At last.

"And what did you and agent Booth have in common six years ago?"

"Nothing!" she let out. "That's my point!"

Sweets tilted his head.

"Think again, Dr. Brennan."

She did.

"A physical attraction," she finally said, avoiding the psychologist's eyes.

Now, she had never been ashamed of her sexuality, but... Talking openly about it with the boy made her feel somewhat uneasy.

"And what conclusion can you draw from that observation?"

He saw right away that she understood. Well, that she had understood something. He doubted she had gotten his underlying point.

I should have become a musician like I wanted to. This job is hard!

"Sweets says Booth and I fight because we are consumed by sexual tension."

She didn't look at Angela's face. It's not like she was asking for her opinion. Yet, she waited for her friend to put her two cents in.

Angela continued her drawing with Brennan hovering.


"Well..." What do you want me to say? "What do you think?"

Brennan put down the statue she was holding when she realized she was fondling it. She sighed.

"I know that he's right about me," she said. Then she had an interesting thought. "You broke your vow of celibacy because you were acting crazy, right?"


"I guess," Angela replied, unsure she wanted to know where this was going.

"Maybe I should sleep with Andrew. He never asked openly, but I know he wants to."

"NO!" Angela jumped up before she could stop herself.

"Oh, he does. All the indicators are there. Trust me."

Angela's mind was racing. This could not be happening. After all the progress her clueless best friend had made. No.

"No, I mean..." Think. Fast. "Celibacy's good for you once in a while." Quick! "I think you should give it at least six months. At least."

Brennan looked at Angela's work.

"I have been sexually inactive for more than that already, Ange."

It's no wonder my hormones are out of wack.

Damn it! What do I say... Come on. You can't let that happen. Booth would even the score with that doctor. Or kill Hacker. Not really, but still...

"I meant, six months... into the relationship. Before you..." ...ruin everything... "give it up."

Brennan pursed her lips... and nodded slowly.

Angela watched the anthropologist leave, wondering if the crisis was averted. It wasn't any of her business, really. But it was a damn interesting business to run.

Angela peeked inside Cam's office and found her at her desk. She cleared her throat. As soon as her boss looked up, she dropped the bomb.

"We've got a situation."

Sweets' head spun up.

Did no one ever bother to knock anymore?

Angela waited for Cam to come in and slammed the door. Through the window, she saw a woman, startled, dropping a ton of folders.

"I'm sorry!" she said through the door.

Sweets turned off his handheld recorder.

"Come in," he said for no reason. "Have a seat."

"No, thanks," Angela spat out. She looked... furious. As for Cam, well, she just stood in the back, arms crossed. She didn't look like she wanted to be there.

"Er... Is there a problem?" he tried.

Angela laughed. And not a happy laugh.

"You could say that."


Angela looked at Cam, who motioned for her to go ahead. She did.

"You need to stop rationalizing everything for her," she said.

"What are you talking ab..."

"Oh, cut the crap," Angela shut him up.

Sweets closed his mouth.

That lost puppy look is not gonna work on me.

"Because of what you told her," Angela explained, "Brennan is thinking of sleeping with Hacker to relieve the tension between Booth and her."

"Well, that's not going to work!" he laughed.

"You don't say!"

His laugh died quickly. Angela was one scary woman when she wanted to be. And right now? She really, really wanted to be.

Sweets swallowed as best as he could. And then, he defended himself.

"She misinterpreted what I said. I only suggested that..."

"Well, stop suggesting. Stop implying. Stop playing with them. You've had your fun."

And on that note, the artist turned on her heels and headed out. Cam gave him an apologetic, discreet smile. Sweets waved, stunned and sorry.

Reaching the elevator, Angela allowed herself a sigh of relief. That felt good.

"If I may ask... Why did you need me to come with?"

"Moral support," Angela said.

"You didn't look like you needed moral support. You crushed him."

"Not for me. For him."


They got in the elevator.

"You really think she will sleep with Hacker?" Cam asked.

"I think I bought them three more months, give or take."

"Three months? Is that gonna be enough time?"

"With Brennan and Booth? Who knows!"

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