Title: Ready

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters herein. They belong to the Fox Network, who can pass them over to me any time! )

Spoilers: This is post Woman in the Tunnel.

Rating: I rate everything I write as 'T' or 'M'. For this one, I'm going to go for T, although it might be less.

Summary: Brennan thinks she's ready to know what Booth keeps inside his mind.

FBI Headquarters,

Washington, D.C.

9.15pm

Temperance Brennan watched him silently for a long time, hovering just outside his office.

Bent over the desk, scrawling illegible words that he would no doubt try to pawn off as an 'official case report' to his superiors, Booth had no knowledge of her presence.

He mumbled to himself occasionally, drumming his fingertips on the page.

"Gruesome quest for wealth… no…. sadistic nature of greed…" He sighed, shaking his head. Brennan smiled. "What do you think, Bones? Was it gruesome or sadistic?" She jolted.

"How did you…?" He lifted his head, pen hovering across the page.

"I was a sniper, Bones. If someone passes within ten feet of my office, I know about it." She nodded, stepping across the threshold, easing the door shut behind her. The incessant ringing from the outer office was silenced, and she relished the peace. She didn't understand how Booth could work with such raucous noise outside. "What's on your mind?" He asked, gesturing to the chair facing his desk.

Brennan cast her eyes around the room, absorbing the courage and nobility that permeated from every corner. "That's what I came to talk to you about," she said, finally resting her eyes on him. Booth frowned.

"My case report? Don't worry, Bones, I have it sorted."

She rolled her eyes, ever frustrated by his inability to maintain her pace. "No, Booth. The case report doesn't concern me. I wanted to talk about the sniper thing." He dropped his pen, and she saw the frustration creep into his face. She saw how his eyes darkened, shadowed by the memories that haunted him.

"This again, Bones? You'll never be prepared for the truth about me. About what I've done." Brennan slipped into the chair opposite, resting her elbows on his desk. Her eyes followed his, refusing to break their gaze. When he glanced away, she still watched his face for a long time.

"When I was twenty I betrayed my best friend. She was dating this really, really handsome guy from California and I slept with him one night while she was visiting her parents in Rhode Island. I've never told anyone what happened because I was so deeply ashamed about what I had done." Booth turned back to her, his expression depicting that he was questioning her sanity.

"So why are you telling me now, Bones?" He asked, lifting his pen and scrawling his name along the bottom of his report. He'd settled for gruesome.

"Because I trust you, Booth," Brennan said. "Her name was Alexia. She never spoke to me again. What I did, Booth, had no redeeming value to anyone. It caused hurt to so many people. It wasn't noble. But what you did was noble. And admirable. The people you…," she paused, swallowing hard.

"Killed? Murdered? Slaughtered?" Booth offered.

"Shot. The people you shot, died because you were doing right for your country. You never wanted anyone to die, Booth. You're a very righteous man. I would be honoured to know what courage it took for you fight like you did." Booth straightened in his chair, trailing his fingers through his hair and closing his eyes.

"Murder doesn't take courage, Bones," he said. "It takes an emotional detachment from humanity. I was wrong." Brennan shook her head. "Don't deny it. If you had been called to identify the people who lay dead because of a bullet I discharged, you'd have been horrified. You'd have called me a monster."

Brennan pressed her hand to his fingers, squeezing tight. "I know you're not a monster, Booth. I want to know because I want you to let go. I wish you weren't haunted by the things you've witnessed." Booth lifted his eyes.

"Not witnessed, Bones. Done. There is a difference. Plenty of people witnessed the atrocities I inflicted. Only they didn't know it was me. They only saw a bullet fly out of nowhere and people falling to the ground." Brennan sighed. "You're not ready to know what I've done, Bones. You'll never be."

Temperance crossed her legs, reclining back in the chair, fixing Booth the same stare she'd show Zach if he did something that bothered her. She had perfected the 'I'm pissed' stare a long time ago.

"I am prepared," she said.

"No-"

"Don't presume to know what strength I have!" Brennan snapped.

"Have you ever thought, Bones, that I care enough about you that I don't want you to visualise me as a beast with a rifle? Have you stopped to consider that some things are private?" Booth pushed his chair back, turning his back, slamming his palm against the wall. A framed photograph trembled.

"Have you ever thought that I care about you, too? That I'm more than just a blue lab coat?" Booth stiffened, turning to face her, his eyes burning with frightening intensity. He opened his mouth to speak and found that there was nothing he could say. Brennan, it turned out, was far from finished. "Do you think that all we have between us is some bones? That once I identify the remains of one of the bodies you bring to me, I just stop thinking about you? Do you think, Booth, that once I leave the Jeffersonian I have no recollection of who you are until I return the next morning?"

Booth smirked. "You're off your head, Bones, you know that?"

"I don't-"

"Let me guess… you don't know what that means?" He shook his head, watching the features on her pretty face as they twisted in annoyance and aggravation.

"Actually, I don't think you have any right to pass judgement!" She barked. "You say I'm cold and detached, but I came here, offering you a friend who might understand-"

"You could never understand," Booth said, watching the carpet.

"I could try," Brennan countered. He looked at her through lowered lashes.

"Bones…" he whispered.

"Talk to me, Booth. I am ready."

He fell into his chair, dropping his head into his hands, his voice muffled and defeated.

"When you're a sniper, Bones, you are like a robot. I was like a robot. My moment of… enlightenment… connection with humanity or whatever, was on a Wednesday afternoon in January. It was freezing and we were lined up, guns ready…"

I know this was really a very short piece of fiction, but the idea occurred to me when I seen this episode on Thursday night and when Brennan didn't pursue it, I was disappointed, because I think she really wants to know. I don't know what Booth did and I don't want to speculate because I am fairly certain it will be revealed in later episodes, so for now, it's Brennan's little secret! Please review!