A/NThe story I was going to write next is temporarily on the back burner, as Booth refused to co-operate; he complained he'd been through too much already lately. So this story came along instead, a little lighter - at least at the start. I can't promise beyond that - my muses haven't told me exactly how it works out along the way.

The characters etc don't belong to me, unfortunately, I'm just playing with them, and I promise to put them back where I found them - well, more or less.

Nor am I making any money out of this, merely the experience of writing, which is in all senses of the word priceless.

I can't promise to update as often as I did for the last story, since I'm writing this as I go along. Workload is heavy; on the other hand, the more work I have to do, the more I seek the distraction of writing, and this story is really busting to come out, so it shouldn't be too long between updates.


Chapter 1 Fight

Dr Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist, stood motionless, her heart beating fast. She braced herself for the attack she knew was coming. If she lost this fight – her mind blanked as she tried to imagine the consequences. This was one battle she could not afford to lose.

Her assailant charged towards her, and she managed to simultaneously block his attack and use his forward motion to send him crashing to the floor. He swung his legs round, trying to knock hers from under her, but she was prepared and jumped back. He was on his feet again in an instant, and back on the offensive. He grabbed her round the neck, and she staggered under his weight. For the moment she feared he had the advantage, but then he shifted grip and she managed to pull his head over her shoulder. He followed in a graceful somersault, landing gasping at her feet.

Again, he was up on his feet faster than she was expecting, and after a couple more moves his superior strength and weight was beginning to show. She was tiring, and running out of ideas. The urgency of her situation struck home to her, and this time she tripped him and landed on top of him. But he grabbed her by the wrists and rolled them both over. Now he was pinning her down. She was struggling to breathe underneath him, but a convulsion of her whole body managed to force him off. She rolled over and back onto her feet, then stood facing him. Both were breathing heavily.

He lunged again, and grabbed her, twisting her round and holding her tightly against himself. She dug an elbow in his stomach and he grunted with pain, but did not release his strong grasp. Desperately, she tried throwing him, but he twisted his body and managed to land on top of her, knocking the wind out of her.

This was it. The end was in sight. In an effort to evade the cost that would surely follow, Brennan frantically searched her memory for any move, anything that might enable her to avoid the inevitable. Then he relaxed slightly, his concentration wavering, and she saw her chance. She threw him away from her, dived on top of him, put him in a leglock and carried out her killer move.

"Hey, Bones, that's not fair! No tickling!" Booth writhed on the safety mat underneath her, desperate to escape the fingers relentlessly tickling his ribs. She laughed, and continued her assault.

"Do you surrender?"

"What? Yes, yes, I surrender!" he chuckled helplessly, unable to break out of the hold she had him in.

She eased off and moved away, laughing. "I told you I'd win." She moved to the corner of the dojo and grabbed her bottle of water from the bags lying there.

"Yes, but Bones, that was hardly a legitimate tackle, was it?" he challenged her, propping himself on one elbow and gazing up at her. "After all, in a real fight..."

"In a real fight, I'd have kneed you in the groin," she pointed out playfully. "I imagined you'd prefer me not to do that?"

He raised his eyebrows, and she saw him blush slightly. "Well, now you come to mention it..."

She put the bottle back in her bag, and held out a hand to help him up. He took it, but used it to pull her down beside him instead. "Are you ticklish?" he asked, holding his hands over her midriff threateningly.

She had just opened her mouth to reply when a mobile phone rang out. They both jumped to their feet and dived for their bags. As Brennan fished for her phone, she cursed the interruption. Just when they were having fun! Although when she thought of the position they had just been in, perhaps it was just as well; she was not sure where they were headed, and right now the thought of finding out made her tremble with fear – and something else she couldn't identify.

She looked at the phone display; no-one she recognised. She pressed the button. "Brennan," she snapped briskly into the phone, smirking at Booth who was pretending to be disappointed that it wasn't his phone ringing.

She listened for a few minutes, asked a couple of questions, then hung up. "Sorry, I've got to go," she told Booth.

"You're just running away because you know I should have won!" he declared. "I demand a rematch!"

She grinned. "I've got other killer moves," she threatened.

"I can't wait!"

Well, what do you think? Please review!