Unstoppable Trainwreck

Participants:

Brennan_icon.gif Jethro_icon.gif Jake_icon.gif Harvey_icon.gif Maura_icon.gif Mike_icon.gif

Scene Title Unstoppable Trainwreck
Synopsis Brennan astutely deduces a secret; not so astutely reveals it
Location Bullpen
Date 08/17/1996
Watch For Harvey. Just Harvey.
Logger Maura

Sundays are usually quiet affairs in the bullpen. If anyone's there, it might be Maura reading or Jane coordinating reports - nothing big, nothing busy. Today, it's Jethro and Brennan, bent over a map spread out across his desk. "Here is where we located the first set of remains," she says, pointing to a blue dot on the map and then to the corresponding photo of a small skeleton in disarray. She is in his space - and comfortable there - in a way she just… isn't with most people, but it's been such a gradual change that not even Brennan herself seems to notice. She continues to talk to him quietly, pushing hair behind her ear so that it no longer obscures her view. Aside from them, the room is quiet and empty. For now.

Next up, Maura with the big ass book of doom again. It floats ahead of her as if announcing her presence before even the clicking of the dogs nails are heard trotting along on the floor. What? Reading is productive. But hearing the word 'remains' captures her interest, and so her voice cuts through the relative hush of the bullpen. "Are you mapping where they have all been found?" she wonders aloud, sticking her nose in where it doesn't exactly belong as her awkward walk brings she and Starbuck closer. And, the book settles on a nearby table.

Jake's been following her progress, having picked up her trail when she exited the library. "You're not putting as much weight against her as you should be. She can take it. The mutt probably weighs more then you do. Now try it again, walk her across the room." To Brennan and Jet he nods politely, hands clasping behind her back like a drill instructor might do. Thus, trying to distract the healer and let the other two work without worrying about what she'll see.

After the awkward morning, Jethro's had a pretty good day. He's done some PT with the M-sec folks, then wandered back to the bullpen to work on catching up on things. Brennan joined him later, and then they started talking about the remains and their location. He stands beside her, fully focused on the map, making noises of agreement at Bones' words until he hears the click of dog feet on the stone floor. He stands up straight, especially at the tone of Morgan's voice, and nods to both of the entering people. "Morgan, Maura. He's right," he adds. "Dog's trained for this. Seen dogs smaller than her take a lot more weight." He returns to looking down at the map, mind whirling. He pulls his wand out of his sleeve, flicking it to bring his notepad and a regular muggle pen to his hands. He starts scribbling down notes about the placement of the bodies. "Where was the next one, Bones?"

Harvey knows that voice. Even from down the hall and not quite within the range to be able to understand all the words, he knows that voice. So it is that when he rounds the corner into the room, briefcase in hand, there's already a crooked smile on his face. "If she can't take it, I certainly can," he offers as his own playful introduction, moving far enough into the room to stand next to Jake and then stopping to take a look at the actual situation. "Now who is she and what can she take?"

Tucked away in a nook in a mostly-deserted corridor, Mike has once again found his way into the castle to sit and read and simply be in its relative peace. He’s well into The Fellowship of the Ring before his attention is snatched first by the clicking of claws on stone and then by a large floating book, followed by a girl he doesn’t know and a man he recognizes from the MA meeting passing across the opening to another hall. Curiosity piqued, Mike slips his book bag into the messenger bag nearly constantly glued to his shoulder and sits up to follow them them toward the bullpen—and when the vaguely familiar form of another tall man in a incredibly nice suit also passes by, he pushes himself to his feet and goes to follow, slipping quietly into the bullpen with bright, interested eyes and a slight, amused smile as yep, there was absolutely more sass to be found in the stranger.

"I believe the intended 'she' in this case was the dog, Mister Specter." Brennan, oh so helpful. "And while I have little doubt that a man of your height, build and muscle tone could support the weight of Miss - " she catches a glare from Jethro in time to remind her and she changes tacks with remarkable speed " - Maura, I highly doubt you would be nearly as socially acceptable a replacement." She thinks about it a moment. "And you'd have to engineer a new harness, certainly." Because yes, she does put that much thought into everything.

Maura is not prepared for the sound of the voice behind her, nearly jumping right out of her skin when she's 'reprimanded'. And that forces her to put her weight on the dog just to stay upright. "Okay, okay. Sorry. I'm just not used to her yet." And is totally afraid of hurting the poor canine by leaning on her too much. Which she shouldn't be. Because even with the near stumble, Starbuck is still as a stone until they need to move. "Good girl." she coos, walking them both with a slightly better gait to the other side of the room as instructed. Because, you don't say no to Jake when he uses that voice. She does, however, turn a wee bit red when Brennan speaks. OMG. "You should all be very glad I am not wearing the medallion right now." Nuff said.

Smug, that's Jake's expression when he puts a fright into the girl so that she has to use the damn dog the way she should be. And Harvey… Harvey just makes him laugh abruptly. "So you want to get down on all fours and let Maura walk you across the room?" He sounds incredulous at that, and obviously teasing. "Brennan's got it right. Bet we could find a harness without having to engineer one though." Does he leer at Harvey? He leers at Harvey.

Jethro is busy glaring at Bones for a moment, keeping her from spouting out Maura's last name. When she doesn't, he nods, and turns toward the others in the room, his eyes narrowing at Harvey. "Specter." He's still not sure about him, but sometimes, it's useful to have him around. "Morgan," he barks, 'Gunny' completely present in his voice. He won't headslap the kid, but he can sure scold him a bit. He looks askance at Maura as if he can't believe what she just said. Bones gets a pass, because she probably didn't even think about what she said. And because well, she's Bones. Sorry. He goes back to his notebook to scribble something else down, and then tucks it away. "C'mon, let's finish this later, Bones. Not gonna get a lot done with all these yahoos in here." He cocks his head toward the chairs.

"I'd make the harness look good." Because obviously that's the most important point to address first. Harvey is, however, remarkably quick to return that leer with his patented 'charming you out of your pants' smile. And he even drops his voice a little lower, because it's fun to make people squirm and sometimes this kind of play is… well, he takes the outlets he's got. "But if I'm gonna be on all fours it damn well better be for something more fun than a walk. Sorry, doll."

Mike sidles easily along the wall and settles himself into a corner, not even bothering with furniture. He knows he’s not exactly supposed to be in here, but it’s….kind of nice to be around people just going about their business without them paying him any real attention. It’s a way to get his needed dose of time with others without actually having to deal with people who know him and who’ll ask questions. But sitting himself down in a corner doesn’t mean he isn’t going to listen, and as Specter’s retort hits his ears (and briefly plants an incredibly unnecessary image in his brain), he lets out a low hum of true laughter before he can stop himself.

Brennan is… confused. There's a moment where her eyes narrow in something like focus but she lets Jethro direct her off toward the chairs. She'll sit with him without moving her chair out of his immediate personal space, but most of her attention is on the lawyer and the sailor. There is a puzzle here and that always steals her top priority. Even Mike (supposed to be in here or not) doesn't quite register on her 'notice me' scale. Not yet, anyway.

Maura is, alas, not nearly as flirtatious as the man she's seeing. But he has been a -terrible- influence on her, apparently, because she looks about ready to respond to Harvey's prompt. But, nope. Nope! She's a good girl. Instead, she just smiles. "Am I done parading, Mister Morgan? We also have a, uh,…" She nods her head towards the lurking Mike over there. Which obviously puts her off balance again. Because hello. And everyone can just pretend please that they don't see her impatience with herself flicker across her face. Starbuck's a pro though, leaning her weight as she needs to to prevent a mishap.

"Because you make everything look good. Right Harv?" Jake smirks, and then clears his throat. Because damn, Jethro has that 'Gunny' voice down a whole lot better than he does. "Go ahead and sit down." He instructs Maura, and gestures at one of the chairs near Jet and Brennan for her. He should probably let someone else address Mike though, since he's too busy trying not to be amused.

Jethro does notice the boy in the corner. "Kid," he says, tone softened a little. "C'mere." He pats the chair on the other side of him. He wants to find out how he is, and if he needs anything. This bothers him enough that he's not paying attention to the expression on Bones' face. Which is probably a bad thing. Morgan gets a satisfied nod for his actions, and Harvey gets another scowl.

Harvey's always been partial to that slightly smirking smile of Jake's. It led them into so much trouble as children. As adults it had done little better. "I make nothing look pretty good too," he teases back, but this time the mirth doesn't quite reach his eyes. And when Jake turns to let Maura off the hook, there's just this flash of intense emotion that crosses Harvey's face. Blink and it's gone, but he still doesn't know how he's going to face life without that smile.

That nod toward Mike has the Ravenclaw sure he’ll be kicked out soon, but he makes no move to leave until he absolutely has to. This is way more fun than sitting off in an abandoned corridor alone, after all. What he isn’t prepared for is being called over to sit with Jethro, and his smile fades a bit—especially at that slight softening of the other man’s tone. Mike obeys without a word, readying himself for the questions he knows will be coming, questions he’d just left his grandmother’s (his, now, too) house to avoid.

Brennan would have missed that flash of emotion if she hadn't been studying them both so closely. Something starts to click in the back of her mind, but none of the pieces fit together entirely the way they should. So, instead of letting herself be distracted by the oncoming kid - which is a scenario that promises stimulating conversation in its own right - she stews. There's something here she's missing, she can tell. It's just that she can't tell what.

Maura settles herself on the other side of Brennan. "Dr. Brennan. Jet. Mike." All are offered additional polite greetings when she settles into a chair and turns into a human ragdoll. Her book is floated over, and she starts to dig into it again. It's a nifty way to avoid being the target of anyone's questions. Mike gets a brief, sympathetic glance here before she goes back to her reading.

Jake is Ultra Clueless Man. Dude seriously needs a cape and goggles to go with his codpiece of 'clearly not getting it'. So he doesn't see Harvey's expression, nor does it occur to him that Brennan is watching them both like some kind of lab experiment. No, he's all business. "Dr. Brennan, did you find anything interesting?" Since he doesn't specify what he's asking about, this could turn out badly.

When Jethro scowls at Harvey, he sees something cross the man's face which kind of shocks him for a moment. He hesitates, because he cannot be too hard on a man whose expression carries that much familiar pain. He turns back to Mike, fully aware that the kid is nervous. "Hey." He sticks a thumb under Mike's chin, and lifts his head so they can look each other in the eye. "You okay kid?" He doesn't remember the kid's name, not with all of the people that have dealt with attacks lately. "You need somethin', you let me, or one of the others know." He won't push too hard, remembering those first few months. He didn't want anybody to remember his pain at all. "Anything. Even if it's … kinda stupid."

"Mike." Harvey's voice is a little rougher than he'd like, but a quick cough and he's back in top form, not a chink in his whole suit of armor. "His name's Mike Ross, Agent Gardener. And he's not, technically speaking, supposed to be here." Despite the fact that Harvey apparently didn't get the memo about Mike being allowed, he doesn't sound like it's a rebuke. More… subtly amused, complete with that little quirk of his mouth.

Maura’s greeting is met with a nod and a quick, polite smile, and for a moment a needling of jealousy eats at Mike—he’d quite like to be hiding his face in his book right now, too. Jet’s words shock that desire right out of him in seconds, however, and in that moment Mike’s shaky safeguards crumble. In the space of a heartbeat Mike’s not about to turn seventeen, not about to start his last year at Hogwarts, not about to start the beginning of the end of his childhood; he feels twelve years old and twelve inches tall and raw, completely raw, and it shows blatantly in his eyes. He swallows and begins to answer, before his gaze snaps to the owner of that rough voice now speaking his name with a quirk not unlike one of Mike’s own on his face. It gives him the split second he needs to pull himself back together, and in a moment he’s returning that smirk. “I’m technically not supposed to be in the castle, and yet—“ He holds his hands out in a ‘what can you do’ gesture, blue eyes the perfect picture of fake innocence. “Here I am.”

On any other day at any other time, Mike, Brennan would dearly love to discuss the castle's leniency and what forms it apparently took. But just now, she's a little distracted. A little because Jake's innocent question finally pierces to the heart of the problem and everything slots neatly into place. "Oh!" That exclamation, Jethro would probably know by now, only ever comes when Brennan has made a rather remarkable intuitive leap. Sometimes those break cases wide open… and sometimes they break people wide open. "A courtship ritual, of course. Though I must say, Mister Specter it is by far and without a doubt the most bizarre method I have ever witnessed and I have partaken in the sacred Himalayan catamite selection." She glances to Jake then, because obviously as the other party involved he would be an excellent source for reference material. "Does your lack of acknowledgment stem from a personality embarrassed by physical intimacy or does it serve some ritual purpose?"

"Screw that. He needs to be with people who will look out for him." Not supposed to be here. Hnph. Maura's motherhen healer instinct flips on like a switch. "The school knows that." Or so she assumes, figuring it wouldn't have let him in otherwise. Notably, she barely looks up from her book to say that (Neener!). So that she need not reveal her expression. Boy does THAT end quickly when Brennan… when she… when holy crap, did she really just say that out loud? Tentatively, her eyes peek up over the edge of the tome. She's too shocked to say -anything- about it. Except maybe a 'hnnnnnnggggggg' sound. That might escape.

"The hell you talking about, Brennan. A courtship ritual?" Jake looks at Harvey, and then looks at Brennan. And then Harvey. And then Brennan. And… and then -he's- addressed. "Wait, what? Me?" Now he just looks flummoxed. An expression, may we note, he has not yet ever sported in the presence of the people in the room.

"Castle let him in, Specter. Leave 'im alone. Headmaster knows." Jethro pulls back from Mike, seeing his wall come right back up. He'll talk to the kid later. Besides the important stuff's already been said. Having settled that in his mind, he turns toward Bones who's started talking. And he nearly headslaps himself right there. He didn't see this one coming, caught up in his own pain echoing through Harvey's and Mike's, and bouncing back again. He starts to speak up, to interrupt her. "Bones, …" His voice is low and carries a hint of warning, usually enough to get her attention. But no. She continues on and speaks over him, already excited about her findings. He knows that feeling too, but even he knows … aw, hell. He looks up at her, glasses still on his face from reading the map, and whispers to her. "Morgan didn't know." Everybody else did, though. He's a little late to the party, it seems, but even he got it.

A swift click of designer heels heralds one more addition to the party, though she picked the worst time to walk in when she doesn't have time to stay long. "What courtship ritual?" Siobhan pauses just long enough to look around the assembled faces before reaching out to ruffle Mike's hair on her way past him to pull a stack of manilla folders off Jethro's desk. Jet gets a quick-flash of a smile and with the folders tucked into one arm, she pauses to give Jake a sweet peck on the cheek. "Harvey, if you're going to be bending my husband over anything fun while I'm in this meeting, I want photos." Because that's how they've always teased since she'd met Harvey - who, in her expert opinion, wasn't in any state to bend anyone over anything - and in her rush she can't possibly know the entire context.

That's going to be mildly awkward later.

Harvey Specter is a man with a plan. If someone holds a gun to your head, you do any of a hundred and forty six other things; you don't surrender. But this is, honestly, the last thing he'd ever expected to deal with. Most of the people observant enough to notice were also tactful enough to keep their traps shut. He's almost got a spin to put on it when Sio breezes through. It's her casual teasing and that kiss on the cheek, - no doubt for Ross' benefit, since no one else here was about to be fooled - that sets off just enough of his temper so that instead of formulating and executing a brilliant cover-up, he's glaring vicious daggers at her swaying hips as she breezes right on back out of the room.

Lofted brows are added to Mike’s smirk at Maura’s ‘screw that’, his gaze moving from Harvey to where the book appears to be defending his presence. Or, rather, the woman behind the book. The outburst is more comforting than anticipated (all of the assurances that he’s allowed are, really)—but then Bones starts talking. There’s a moment as Dr. Brennan is speaking in which Mike isn’t completely sure he’s hearing all of this right, but the longer she goes on, the wider his eyes get—and he’d thought he’d been uncomfortable before. ‘Oh my god’, He mouths to himself as he lets his gaze drop to the floor, trying to get his expression back under control. Siobhan’s entrance helps, her ruffling of his hair sending his face crumpling into the kind of expression a brother would use while being casually loved on by a sibling (complete with a slight yet halfhearted lean out of range), and her comment has him clearing his throat to cover up a short, pleasantly shocked laugh. But no matter what reasons were behind Sio’s pecking Jake on the cheek and despite her quips, Mike Ross isn’t fooled. There’s too much in Brennan’s observations that answers a few of his questions about the tensions before the MA meeting to put that cat back in its bag.

For all of the activity flurrying around her, it honestly looks like Brennan is about to simply repeat her question in light of Jake's confusion. Instead, however, she finds her attention arrested by the sound of Jethro calling her 'callsign' and (with a deference she certainly doesn't give anyone else around here) listens to his whisper before she speaks. Good thing she did, too. "Oh." She blinks twice and only then do the implications of that statement start to sink in. "Oh." And she slumps down into her chair and contents herself with merely watching. No doubt she is responsible for the mess unfolding in front of them all, but in a rare moment of insight, Bones figures her attempts at 'fixing it' wouldn't be very much welcome just now either.

Maura flat out stares at the scene unfolding before her. At first because she's worried that the temper building in their lawyer friend might wind up causing someone physical harm (namely Siobhan). But then, because she's worried this is going to bring them a passed out Morgan. Obviously she's forgetting the kind of training the man's had. But for real. A quick glance around the room to see how everyone else is reaction, annnnnd, she keeps watching in a daze.

His lovely wife might later realize that Jake didn't even say a word this time when she breezed in, made a joke, kissed him on the cheek, and left. Nope. He's actually been pretty still and silent as all this sort of coalesces around him like a typhoon about to bear down. And he's at ground zero. "Not a word out of any of you." he warns them all, finally speaking and sounding a tad hoarse maybe as he does so. "Harvey, let's go." This obviously needs discussion, and there's no point in putting it off.

The whole situation just … hurts. It reminds him too much of sitting at the train station, dress greens on, smiling at a local girl and riding away. It reminds him of explosions inside that matched the ones outside, hearing the words of his superior officers … Jethro Gardener is silent. He sits still for a long moment, just aching with the bittersweet memories. Then, as Jake speakes up, he does too. "Morgan," his voice is almost as rough as Harvey's. "Go easy on 'im. Not his fault it came out like this." He knows he's ignoring Jake's command, but he does not give a hot damn. Having said his piece, he allows the stone facade trained into him to slide back into place, staring straight ahead as though at attention.

There's a moment of silence around the room. It's enough to let Harvey collect himself beneath his cool, detached poker face. Through it sll he keeps one eye on Jake - his posture, his balance, his bearing. He's known the man long enough to be able to read a lot from those things alone, but this time… This time there're too many variables. All he knows for sure is that he'll be following Jake's summons and doing damage control as it comes. He doesn't answer out loud, but when Jake walks out, there is a stone-faced shark trailing behind him.

Oh, and a mental note to have Donna send Gardener a really nice bottle of bourbon.


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