|Scene Title||Masculine Mating Rituals|
|Synopsis||Brennan and Maura discuss the trainwreck|
|Date||August 18, 1996|
Monday morning sees Brennan hunched over her desk - glancing between samples under the microscope and the notes she jots down as she goes - before the sun has even fully risen. There is nothing in her demeanor or manner of dress to indicate discomfort, but there is a subtle tension in her neck and shoulders - contraindications of ease, at any rate.
Someone else is working early today too. The sound of the lab door opening heralds her entrance as Maura pokes her head inside. "Oh good, someone's here. Could you help me get over to my chair Dr. Brennan? I don't want Starbuck to knock anything over or contaminate your work." she explains, apparently not in the least shy about requesting the woman's assistance in this case. "I'll have her just wait right near the door for me. If it's not too much trouble."
Brennan looks up as the door opens, one hand still scrawling notes even while the bulk of her attention is on Maura. "I have no objections to offering assistance," she begins bluntly, setting down her pen and spinning on the stool before standing. "But I highly doubt an animal of Starbuck's expense would have any deficit in training or fine motor skills. So long as she does not stand on the counter and shed on the instruments, her presence should cause no contamination of current samples." Nevertheless, she crosses the small, mobile space and offers her arm. "It is possible samples of her hair on your person may contaminate your own work, however. If you are working with extraction and isolation today, I would recommend a set of scrubs."
"I really should look in to more of what she's capable of, shouldn't I." Maura smiles down at the canine in question, but then nods at Brennan. "It will be useful to have her next to me so that I can move with he chair and not topple over. I'll be working with some of the samples I stored in the fridge. So yes, gloves at the very least." she agrees, and is not above using both the dog and the Doctor to get where she needs to be. "Thank you. How are you doing today? You seem a bit more tense than normal." It would be hard for her not to feel bad for the woman. So she just has to ask.
"Any contact with samples or chemical reagents should be gloved at the very least," Brennan reminds her with all the bland firmness of someone accustomed to the instruction of those within her domain. "While you are becoming adept at the PCR methods of isolation and replication, we can of course begin again should your work become contaminated, however, the samples of actual subject genetic material are limited so it would be best to begin as you mean to go on." And Brennan is fine with working alongside Starbuck to get Maura seated at her station. She may not have tact, but she also does not have the usual societal awkwardness around people with differing needs. "I am in perfectly acceptable health today, thank you." Because Bones does not even notice her own tension, most of the time. "And… yourself?" Because it's only polite.
It is definitely a unique experience for Maura to work alongside Brennan. Really. And it's obvious she enjoys the opportunity. And obviously, she nods respectfully at the instruction and reassurance such as it is. "We can use my own genetic material, you know. It may not be ideal since he didn't succeed quite as well as he wanted to. But, it might make the changes he was attempting and his methods to do so that much more obvious." As for her health, the Hufflepuff just sort of snorts a little. "I'm not referring to your health, Doctor Brennan. I'm talking about how you're feeling. After, you know. The whole thing with Harvey." The incident. The trainwreck. She definitely described it to Jack like a gigantic locomotive suddenly tearing through the bullpen and leaving wreckage in its wake. But, best not to say that aloud. Ahem.
Brennan hums thoughtfully at that. "A sound suggestion, Maura." Praise is never stinted on when it's due; Brennan may be a hard taskmaster, but she is always fair. "When you are ready to begin analytical sample work, we will use your own genetic material. That should be sufficient to provide a basic understanding, at least." As to the 'trainwreck' she is silent, returning instead to her own workstation. "I am feeling that masculine courtship rituals are ridiculous in the extreme." That's rather blunt, even for her. But she pays it no mind, returning most of her attention to the microscope and her own samples. "For one to develop such visible feelings while the other is so painfully unaware even of interest is counterproductive and needlessly stressful."
Maura fairly beams with pleasure at that. She got -praise-. From -Brennan-. Following the others lead though, she is quick to obtain a slide that they had already isolated a sample for, so that she can start studying it under the microscope. And, she cracks open a textbook. She -always- has her reference material in front of her since it's unfamiliar territory. "I've been trying to dive into transfiguration theories. That's the only type of magic I can figure he would have used." she shares, until the courtship rituals come up. She has to ask, of course. "Is that masculine courtship rituals in general? Or just when it's male to male courtship?" Because inquiring minds want to know. "I admit I'd like to have been a fly on the wall for the conversation that followed. And it can't be a non-magic thing. Since, Jake -is- a wizard. Hmm."
"Transfiguration, Potions, Arithmancy, Charms - all of these branches of study have elements that could be used in this kind of work if the magical-technological barrier could be sufficiently breached in each case. It is fine to begin with Transfiguration, but don't make the mistake of limiting yourself only to that discipline." It's so easy to fall into the cadence - of thought and speech - that she's used with her students for years. "Depends on the male," she answers distantly, scratching notes on a particularly interesting osteocarcinoma anomaly. "Also on the culture in which each was raised. Taboo of any kind is often stronger in the minds of most males of any culture than of the corresponding females." But that last comment makes her sit up straight and blink a few times before turning toward her companion. "As is Mister Specter," she points out, as though that was obvious despite no evidence of his having used any in their presence. "They attended Salem together and Mister Specter is perfectly capable of wandering the castle, which no Muggle could do."
A face is made at the mention of Arithmancy. That was definitely not Maura's strong suit in classes. Not that she can remmeber anyway. "I enjoy learning. But at this rate, I will be of little use trying to help find a counter-agent to whatever Shadow is using." While not exactly a lament, it's certainly an expression of disappointment for her own slow pace. "Well, at least I can provide damages genes." Snort. "You're right of course. About Harvey. I was just commenting on Jake's obliviousness. Considering how quick he is to pick up on other things around him, it's weird that he never noticed his best friend being in love with him." Something about that thought makes her frown, though it's only seen from her profile. She's busy trying to scribble a note. "Had no idea about taboo being stronger in the male mind though. That's certainly interesting."
Brennan considers that for a moment, her eyes going distant and glassy as she gets lost inside her own head. "Refine your search pattern; look for information regarding potions work meant to transmogrify. Polyjuice is one such example." You know, in case the first part wasn't clear to those who aren't insane enough to have two PhDs before 40. "In the interest of fairness, Severus did not realize the extent of his own feelings for Siobhan until I pointed out what was, frankly, obvious to anyone with eyes. Honestly, he did not react as if I'd stabbed his fluffy pet." And doesn't the memory of the fact that everyone did just that last night make her huff. "If people are going to be depressingly obtuse, they should not become so agitated when the obvious is pointed out to them." But she sighs, then, letting her diatribe fade into the silence between them. "It's an interesting phenomenon of physiological and societal evolution. They are the hunters, protectors, providers - in their own minds, at least. They have to be able to focus on one thing at a time and trust that nothing else is going to shift while their attention is elsewhere. It's why it is often so very distressing for them when behavior algorithms fall outside their accepted parameters - even if that behavior is their own." This sounds like a discussion she's had to have many, many times with her own Muggle staff who are not so… accustomed to the more open and flexible wizarding ideals and definitions of love. "To be honest, I am less surprised at Mister Specter - who is painfully Muggleborn - concealing his aberrant behavior than I am that the special operations SEAL and successful security team CEO somehow missed it." She shakes her head again and goes back to her work, but some thought on the tail end of that amuses her enough to laugh a little bit inelegantly to herself. Because idioms.
Maura hastily writes down the words of advice on refining her search pattern. Whatever is going to keep her busy will also keep her happy because she'll feel useful. "I knew he felt that way just hearing one side of the mirror conversation she had with him when we were both in the dungeon together. It's harder to see those things when they apply to you, though. It's hard not to try and protect your own feelings. Because what if you're wrong?" She is talking about everyone else here, right? Right. "And you know, from what I've been told… didn't Jake lose his parents and his sister? I can imagine he might not want to recognize someone having feelings for him. They might die on him too if he lets himself feel anything back. And now…" Well, surely Brennan can fill in the blanks there. Now the former SEAL is dying, and wants to provide for his ward. So many variables. "God, talking about all of thta makes me feel spectacularly lucky."
Brennan pauses long enough to give that thought its due consideration. "Is that what is meant by 'love is blind'?" Because one thing Brennan has yet to master is the art of the cliche. "Because really that sounds like merely an extension of the expectation bias. You don't expect someone to care for you - because you have a front row seat to all of your own faults - and so you see within the results of observational study only the data that supports your own conclusions and not the entire picture." That makes her frown. "I suppose that's at least a rational failing, though it is one every scientist strives not to fall prey to in their own work." Mention of losing parents and sibling makes Brennan visibly flinch and she turns harshly back to her own work. Too close to home, Maura. If someone could see Brennan's face around the microscope, there are ghosts in her eyes and a pale kind of fear in her expression. She is quiet for a few heartbeats before a deep breath precedes an attempt to move forward into less uncomfortable waters. "I suppose each individual responds to their mortality differently, but all organic life is finite. No one is left untouched by death. I should think the regrets of things left unsaid or undone would be worse than any perceived increase in pain because they had been undertaken before the chance was permanently removed." There's an extra weight to this, but it's slight and subtle. Not like she has personal experience with these particular quandries or anything.
"I always thought 'love is blind' referred to not seeing the faults of the person you're in love with. I guess it could also be what you just said." Maura elaborates, clearly not knowing anything about Brennan's past or she'd have kept her own mouth shut on the details of parents and siblings. "It would be pretty easy to close yourself off. It takes more courage to face your fears and all, right?" Her pen taps against the desk in nervous habit while she continues hovering over the microscope. "I don't even really know how I would have handled these things in the past. But no use dwelling on it, right? And I'm sure that once tempers have cooled, things will settle down." Yeah, she's not very good at the reassurances is she. Maybe that's why she holds out the slide toward the Doctor instead of making verbal happy offerings. "This doesn't look right, to me."