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An Ethnographic Study.... (Temperance Brennan (Bones)/Sara Sidle (CSI)) - Crime Crossover Ficathon

Vicki posting in Crime Crossover Ficathon
User: crimecrossover (posted by vicki595)
Date: 2007-11-15 00:26
Subject: An Ethnographic Study.... (Temperance Brennan (Bones)/Sara Sidle (CSI))
Security: Public
Title: An Ethnographic Study of Female Homosexuality in Las Vegas Drinking Establishments; Brennan, Dr. Temperance
Fandoms: Bones, CSI
Pairing: Temperance Brennan/Sara Sidle.
Rating: PG-13
Content Warnings: Femslash
Author's Notes: First, I have so many apologies for just how late this is! Second, thanks to both meeshy and havocthecat for reading and betaing - and the latter says that I can also blame her for the lateness! :) Any mistakes left are my own.

An actual fic note, don't try and place this in the timeline of either show! Also, this is apparently what happens when the ex-anthropology student writes an anthropologist ;)

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.

Not even Brennan could have spent her entire life unaware of that particular phrase and even if she's not sure how the logistics work, ("Actually a marriage certificate issued in Las Vegas is a legally binding document representing the repression of women anywhere else."), there's something about the idea that excites her.

Maybe Las Vegas is a place where she can leave the straitlaced Doctor Temperance Brennan at home and simply be Tempe and do what Tempe wants to do.

(The fact that what Tempe wants to do is quietly read a good book, or continue working on chapter seven of her next Kathy Reichs novel, is neither here nor there.)

Her first night in Vegas, Brennan slowly walks the length of the strip. Her trained anthropologist's eyes dart from gaudy casino to gaudy wedding chapel and she wonders just what part of human evolution could have led to this. It is a far cry from Uruk and Ur and the earliest examples of cities she had looked at; yet at its heart, the city still followed the ten criteria Childe specified in his checklist from the Urban Revolution.

She listens to the exited chatter of tourists in a dozen languages, and picks out exotic dancers out of the crowd from the way they hold themselves and walk.

Returning to her hotel room, her head is spinning slightly as she tries to process the lights and noises that makes up the unique culture that is Las Vegas.

The fluid nature of the city fascinates her; there always seems to be a constant stream of people coming and going. But there is still a city when all those people go to their homes in the suburbans, leaving behind the monumental buildings and a population which boasts the largest growth out of any US city founded in the twentieth century. (Brennan had read the guide book cover to cover on her flight in.)

She knows that to understand the culture of Las Vegas, just like to understand any culture in the world, she cannot just observe; she has to participate. To do that, she has to look past the lights and the crowds, and see the dust and dirt that city officials don't want the tourists to see.

The next night, she goes looking for a bar, desperately trying not to look out of place as she rejects the country and western theme of the first, and the wailing of the karaoke machine in the second.

On first appearances, the third time appears to be the charm.

* * *

Sara keeps swearing that she's never coming back here, but there was just something about the place that keeps drawing her in again and again.

Maybe it isn't the place itself, but the knowledge that for a few hours she can lose herself. If she wants to, she can leave with a warm body who doesn't care about her name or what she does for a living and who, after the night is over, she'll never have to see again.

She changes at work, ignoring Greg's whistles and suggestion that he comes out on the town with her and bites back the remark that he isn't likely to get lucky where she's going.

Sara only hopes that she will.

* * *

It takes Brennan shockingly long to realize that all the patrons in the bar are women, and even longer to realize that these women are all sexually interested in other women.

She has two options available. She can go back out into the night and look for a fourth bar, or she can stay and observe a culture which she has little previous interaction with.

She decides to stay for at least one drink, already distancing herself from the population in the bar as she falls back into the familiar persona of Doctor Brennan, the anthropologist.

If nothing else, maybe this will help next time she finds inspiration lacking in her writing.

"You are so beautiful," murmurs one woman, sprawled out across the bar as Brennan orders a small glass of white wine.

"Thank you," replies Brennan in surprise, handing over her money and taking the drink, before moving to a small empty table in the corner. Thankfully, the woman doesn't follow her.

Sipping at her wine, her eyes scan the room analytically, watching as woman approached woman and noting how the whole thing echoes how all the cultures she has encountered choose a mate.

But these women aren't looking for a mate, so how do they determine the desirable characteristics after throwing out the normal gender for a mate? They're not looking for broad shoulders and strength to protect their offspring; nor are they looking from a male point of view to see which female was best suited to carrying and raising a child, with full figures and wide hips.

Brennan notices a couple as they come in, and follows their movement towards the bar as she mentally catalogs their appearances and behavior. She notes the differences; one is older; tall, blond and slightly plumper than the diminutive and delicately built brunette she arrives with. The blond wraps an arm around her companion, pulling her close and Brennan, still with gender roles in mind, assigns the role of protector to her.

She can see the comfort they have with one another, if not this place, and feels a sudden rush of jealousy that she has never experienced a bond like the one these two women were displaying; nor, she believes, is she ever likely to.

The younger woman disentangles herself, heading confidently towards the bar. Brennan watches her, realizing that she doesn't need the protection that the other woman was seemingly offering.

She shifts her attention back to the blond, who is moving towards a table. She's stopped by another woman; a woman who is confident, assured and looks very much at home in this place.

* * *

Sara has a thing for blonds. She keeps telling herself that it had absolutely nothing to do with a certain (completely unavailable) co-worker of hers, and that it just really was that blonds had more fun. (It had certainly been true of the lawyer from New York, and the California cop, and the young Marine lieutenant.)

Glancing around the bar, she notices a number of blonds, but only one stands out. She's tall and conservatively dressed, looking around the place almost in wonder. Sara guesses that she was an East Coast wife who has left her husband at some poker table further along the strip and who will try and tell Sara that the one time with her roommate in college hadn't really counted.

"You're looking a bit lost," she remarks, a bright smile on her face, as she strides up to the woman, first noting the lack of a wedding band, and then the bright blue eyes that locked directly on her.

"This isn't exactly my sort of place," the woman admits, surprising Sara with a crisp English accent. Despite the number of tourists that made their way here, she has never met anyone from outside the U.S. or Canada, and the English accent is definitely sexy.

"I can tell," she says, wryly. "I'm Sara, by the way. This your first time in Vegas?"

"Nancy. It's my first time in the States. We've been spending the summer out here, just trying to see as much as we can really."

"We?" echoes Sara, her smile dimming slightly.

Nancy nods, looking around in the direction of the bar. "She's just getting drinks – Oh! Here she comes."

A short brunette weaves effortlessly through the crowd, and hands Nancy a glass, before slipping one arm possessively around her waist. "Making friends already I see?" she asks, her own accented voice light, even as dark brown eyes glare daggers at Sara.

Nancy smiles down at her partner, and Sara feels a stab of jealousy that she's never had anyone look that way at her before.

"I'm surprised that you haven't already, my love," laughs Nancy.

"Look, can I give you some advice?" asks Sara bluntly, not caring that she is interrupting.

"You can. Whether you may is another question," murmurs the younger woman under her breath, and Nancy nudges at her.

"What?" exclaims Sara, momentarily thrown.

"Don't mind her," says Nancy. "Please, you were about to say something."

"You don't want to be here," continues Sara. "Not in this place. This place is for lonely single people who are just looking for some fun, and maybe a warm body for the night. This is where the married women who don't want their husbands to know that they like other women go; this is where people come and pretend to be someone other than themselves. This isn't really a place for couples; unless, you're looking to add a third for some fun..." Seeing both women's eyes widen almost comically, she chuckled, any tension between them immediately disappearing. "And clearly you're not. There's a nice little place downtown. Gypsy Jocelyn's on Jackson Street. There's a few tourists on the prowl there, but mostly it's locals. Tell Amelia behind the bar that Sara sent you."

"Thanks," says Nancy. "We appreciate it."

Sara shrugs. "Figured you'd have a better time if you weren't hit on every five minutes by another woman," she says. "Glad to help. Enjoy the rest of your time in Vegas."

Moving past the couple, she is suddenly acutely aware of someone watching her. Glancing around, she locks eyes with a woman sitting in the corner and nursing a full glass. Blue eyes meet Sara's unblinkingly and Sara is drawn in.

"That was nice of you," says the woman bluntly.

Sara blinks, confused. "What was nice of me?" she demands.

The woman waves her hand to where Nancy and her partner are extracting themselves from the bar. "Pointing out that they didn't belong here, and giving them someplace else to go. Most people would have just let them struggle."

Sara shrugs. "I try to be nice," she says. "Honestly, I'm surprised that anyone even noticed." She slowly sits down in the spare chair next to the woman.

"I was watching," says the woman.

"Watching me?" asks Sara, amused to see that the woman ducks her head and blushes slightly at that.

"Watching you. Watching the women you were talking to. Watching, well... everything. That's really what I'm here for."

Sara leans forward. "Just watching can be very boring," she drawls and is rewarded by another blush.

"I'm not a lesbian," says the woman frankly.

"Honey, you're in the wrong place then," says Sara, sighing as she relaxes back in her chair. (This woman is apparently what Greg would emphatically call a cock-tease and Sara has yet to find an equivalent word from the female point of view)

"I'm an anthropologist," says the woman, as though that makes all the difference. "This is just another culture to me, and I'm observing it."

"Don't anthropologists participate in different cultures as well?" asks Sara, her curiosity piqued.

The woman nods. "It can either take the form of 'participant observation', which is the acquisition of a new role or of 'observant participation', which is the utilization of an existing role to observe aspects of a familiar or unfamiliar setting," she explains and Sara feels as though she is was suddenly plunged back into her college days. Either that or she has just met the female equivalent to Gil Grissom.

"So is this an observation night, or a participant night?" she asks playfully, half wondering if the chances of getting anywhere with this woman will be worth it.

"Well, it can't really be separated into the two. Although it has been a long time since I've done any ethnographic research. This is more for my own interest rather than a paper or anything..." Her voice trails off as Sara moves to rest a finger on her lips. Sara is slightly distracted as she watches the blue eyes widen and immediately decided that she is worth it.

"What's your name?" Sara asks suddenly, pulling her finger away.

The woman hesitates.

"It doesn't have to be your real one," continues Sara, noticing the hesitation. She reaches forward to place her hand on the woman's and is encouraged when she doesn't pull away.

"Angela," she says, after another moment.

Sara smiles.

* * *

She doesn't dance; never has. Sara doesn't seem to care about that as she pulls Brennan out of her chair and toward the dance floor. Brennan is laughing slightly, letting Sara lead her and doesn't say anything when Sara's hands drop to rest on her waist, pulling their bodies closer together.

Brennan's heart is racing, and her cheeks are red. She is feeling slightly giddy and intoxicated, although she knows that it's not from the half of a glass of wine she's drunk.

Both she and Sara are in heels, matching each other's height inch for inch and Brennan's mouth is suddenly dry as her eyes meet Sara's. She realizes that what she sees in them is desire.

* * *

Laughing breathlessly, Sara moves her mouth towards Brennan's ear and murmurs, "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi, ce soir?"

Brennan just looks at her blankly. "I don't know what that means," she says. "I'm afraid my French is definitely sub-standard, although it's not really been a problem as I mostly go to Spanish-speaking countries."

Sara grins. "You don't know what it means?" she asks incredulously. "You mean you've never heard Lady Marmalade? Watched Moulin Rouge.

Brennan shakes her head. "No," she says.

"I'm propositioning you," says Sara frankly, watching Brennan's eyes widen and her cheeks flush red.

They stop dancing in the middle of the floor, and Sara tries to read the other woman's face; her blue eyes widen and her cheeks are flushed red.

"Let's go," says Brennan after a moment, her voice strong and sure.

Sara smiled, her hands catching at Brennan's and tugging her off the dance floor.

* * *

They pause for a moment outside the bar, enjoying the relative silence and the cool night air.

"I don't do this," says Brennan suddenly. Sara looks at her, her eyes asking for further clarification. "Leave with a woman I've just met. In fact, I've never done this before. With a woman. Well, done anything with a woman in fact."

She is babbling and she knows it, and Sara knows it, and Sara stops it by lying a finger across Brennan's mouth.

"If you don't want this, I can just walk you back to your hotel," says Sara, her finger gently tracing the outline of Brennan's lips.

"No, I want this," replies Brennan, surprising herself at just how sure her reply is. She proves it by leaning forward to clumsily kiss Sara again.

* * *

Sara's never taken a woman home with her and 'Angela' is certainly not going to be the first. Instead, she checks them in to a small hotel not far from the bar, and if the receptionist recognizes her (as she does him), he's careful not to mention it. It's not anything fancy, but it's clean (as clean as hotel rooms get anyway), and doesn't charge by the hour (Sara's done that once and never will again).

Brennan's nerves had obviously increased on the short walk, and while Sara is trying to make small talk, it all seemed so very forced as the door closes behind them with a resounding thud.

"I don't want to force you to do anything you don't want to," Sara begins, her voice unsure and unlike her own.

"No one's forced me to do anything I don't want to do yet," replies Brennan, her own voice strong and in complete contrast. "And no offense, but I hardly think you'd be the first."

It is Brennan who kisses Sara and it is Brennan who leads them to the bed.

Sara regains control five minutes later and keeps it for the rest of the night.

* * *

Brennan traces her fingers down the cervical, the thoracic and the lumbar vertebrate; the familiarity under the smooth skin is reassuring and Sara shivers slightly under her touch.

"What are you doing?" she asks through a yawn.

"Looking at your bones," replies Brennan honestly and is rewarded with a chuckle.

"That's a new one," says Sara, turning to face Brennan in the half-light of the room.

Brennan catches Sara's left wrist; her fingers probing. "Distal radius fracture," she says. "Didn't quite heal properly."

Sara nodded, her eyes starting to close. "Broke my wrist when I was a kid," she says. "I was pretty stupid and didn't follow all the instructions the doctor gave me. It's fine though. Surprised you could even realize it."

"I know bones," replies Brennan quietly. "I don't know people."

"Seemed to do okay with me," murmurs Sara.

She doesn't hear Brennan's whispered reply, "I'm just playing a role as an ethnographer in participant observation."

* * *

'Angela' is gone before Sara wakes up the the next morning.

Sara isn't surprised.

She slowly moves from the bed and into the shower, tracing the red marks left against her pale skin before her hand slips between her legs.

On her way out of the room, she finds a note left on the desk. A single scrawled, "Thanks" and it brings a smile to her lips, even as she crumples it up and drops it in the wastepaper basket, knowing that whoever 'Angela' had been, she is never going to see her again.

* * *

Brennan is packing when she gets the phone call. She's not really tempted by the offer, but Goodman is 'strongly suggesting' that it's in her best interest to do this one little favor for the Las Vegas police department. (And, if she understands correctly, it means that he now owes one less favor to someone himself.)

Sighing, she pulls back her hair, books her room for another night before moving downstairs to wait for her very own police escort, which is to be in the form of one Detective Jim Brass.

* * *

Sand and dust half-cover the skeletal remains and Sara stares at the exposed bones, her mind a million miles away.

"We're in luck," says Grissom behind her, and she jumps. "We've managed to get hold of a forensic anthropologist who's been in town for a couple of days. She's an expert in bones and should be able to tell us everything we need to know from this skeleton. She should be here any minute now."

Apparently Grissom is developing his psychic powers, as mere seconds after he tells her that fact, a car pulls up on the road behind them and there is the sound of car doors slamming.

"Gil, Sara," says Brass, moving towards them. Sara is momentarily distracted by the glistening of silver near the skeleton, and leans in to take a closer look. "I'd like to introduce you to Doctor Temperance Brennan, who has very kindly agreed to provide her expertise in this case."

"Doctor Brennan," says Grissom and Sara rises from her crouched stance to make her introductions.

"Nice to meet you," she begins, her voice trailing off and all the facts fall into place and of course it has to be her.

This isn't supposed to happen.
Post A Comment | 9 Comments | Share | Link

I'm not crazy, i'm just a little unwell: sofia
User: half_life33
Date: 2007-11-15 20:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
please write something to go with this.. because that was so freaking hilarious.
poor brennan.. lol
she's so awkward.
i loved it!!
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Vicki: CSI N/S bathroomtalk
User: vicki595
Date: 2007-11-29 18:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:CSI N/S bathroomtalk
:) Thank you! It was kinda hard to write, because I've never actually written either of these characters before and then trying to make them fit together.

And honestly, I just wanted to floor Sara at the end there! :)
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Lindsay: Bones - dress zipping
User: babylil
Date: 2007-11-17 20:33 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bones - dress zipping
Hehe, very anthropological *g* I can just picture Sara's face when Bones walked into the lab.
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Vicki: Bones quote suck & blow
User: vicki595
Date: 2007-11-29 19:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Bones quote suck & blow
Hee, yeah! It kinda worked it's way from the Bones being all anthropological about Vegas, because that's all I had! And then I had the Sara reaction for the end and it was all about filling in the middle. Which was so much easier said than done omg!
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Angelina Ballerina: Book - Gay Viking Holiday
User: greenovalfruit
Date: 2008-01-11 10:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Book - Gay Viking Holiday
I have never seen an episode of CSI in my LIFE (well, apart from two in year 10 science that the teacher put on when he couldn't be bothered to teach and I spent those two hours pointing out errors in their forensics procedure) and I am totally in love with that. Yay! Brennan crosses all crime shows, I love it.

I'd really love you to repost this at cross_my_heart. It's a new femslash crossover community (I just posted a promo banner here for it, actually) and I'd absolutely love to have you as a contributor! Even if it's just this fic. I hope this isn't too presumptuous but I'd love to offer my services for a light beta, if you did want to repost this. Just to cover a couple of typos and grammar hitches. I really loved this fic and I want a bunch of other femslashers to enjoy it just as much without having the occasional distraction of spelling and all.

Anyway, sending you an invite to the comm (to tempt you) right now.
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User: dynamics_xx
Date: 2008-02-03 02:21 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
As one of those crazy CSI and Bones fans who's seen every single episode of both shows ever made I must say...
My heart is smiling. =) lmao.
Are you going to write more to this?? I really hope you do!
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User: zephyr_tempest
Date: 2008-03-01 07:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
brilliant fic, absolutely perfect characterisation. would love to read the rest of sara's reaction, and tempe's of course.
assuming sara's in love it catherine (or maybe Sofia?) perhaps Tempe, with her brilliant observation powers and very little tact, could point this out to everyone?? would really love to read that.
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User: jackson_nash
Date: 2008-04-05 05:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
For a minute there, I thought Brennan was going to leave vegas without just the one night stand. But heh... that worked so awesome with her getting called to work a case.

Also the English lesbian couple totally needs to like show up again.

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User: joelthecat
Date: 2011-12-12 01:36 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
This was purely lovely. I wish there had been a Grissom reaction line, since he surely knows Sara well enough to know something's up, but the story is appealing, the characters ring true and the sex is beyond smoking hot. Well done.
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