I'm back again! You all are wonderful for staying with me, and I love you all. To cut down the risk of rambling, I'm going to say one word – angstfluff! Oh yes, and I own 206 bones, but none of them pertain to this show.

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"You're staring at me." He noted a few minutes later without looking in her direction. "A penny for your thoughts."

"You'll actually give me a penny? Not to sound arrogant, but my thoughts are worth more than that."

"Just a saying, Bones, just a saying." He laughed and glanced over. "I will give you a penny if you'd like, though."

"No need." Her laughter faded into a soft smile. "I was thinking a lot of things…mostly watching…I haven't even seen a picture of you in three months…negating that one googling session…"

"You googled me?" Booth pulled into the parking space below his apartment, turning toward her.

"Yes, you're featured in a number of news articles, as am I." She reddened under his gaze, and looked down at her hands. "Listen, it wasn't anything…I missed you, I missed all of you so much…and I couldn't have pictures…"

"Hey…" His voice softened, and he put a finger under her chin and forced her gaze to his. "There's nothing to be ashamed of…you can't imagine how hours I've spent staring at pictures of you."

Self-conscious, she averted her eyes, whispering, "I missed you, Booth…some days I didn't think I'd be able to handle staying away forever."

"I thought you had…" His voice broke, and she watched as tears glistened in his eyes. "God, Bones…I still…I still can't believe you're here…I'm terrified I'm going to wake up and you won't be here…and I won't…I can't…"

"Shh…" Through her own tears she reached up and wiped his cheeks with a soft touch. "I'm here, I promise. You won't wake up."

He caught her hand in one of his and held it against his cheek, letting out something of a grunted laugh. "Jeez, Bones, when did you start mopping up my tears? We have to stop this before my alpha-maleness is questioned."

She laughed with him, letting her hand linger on his cheek for a few more moments. "We probably should go inside."

"Yeah." Reluctantly letting go of her hand, he wiped the remnants of tears off his face. "I'll get the food….do you have your bags?"

"Yeah." As she stepped out of the black SUV she stared up at the apartment complex, familiarity washing over her again. "I don't have that much…they're going to send the rest later. I just needed to get home."

"I'm glad you did." Bumping the car door shut with his elbow, Booth balanced the food as they made their way up to the apartment, motioning for Brennan to grab the key out of his jacket pocket. After a rather awkward moment they were inside his apartment, and Brennan breathed deeply as she dropped her bags.

"You can have my bedroom, Bones." Booth called as he set the food on the table in the kitchen. "I'll sleep in Parker's room."

"That's ridiculous, Booth." Following him into the kitchen, she sat down in one of the chairs across from him. "I'm not taking your bed – I'll take Parker's room."

Shaking his head, Booth held up a hand as if to settle the matter. "His bed is small. You'll take mine."

Raising her eyebrows, she cocked her head. "Logically, it would make sense that, because I am smaller than you, I would take the smaller bed."

"And it would make sense, because I am the gentlemen here, that I would give you the more comfortable spot. Don't argue with me, Bones."

"What fun would that be?" He laughed along with her, and the subject was dropped momentarily as they dug into their food.

"You know, I have Parker tomorrow after lunch." Booth interjected during a lull in conversation, earning him a questioning look from Bones. "I have no idea what I'm going to tell him about you…he'll be thrilled of course, but I just managed to help him understand that Grandpa James, Rebecca's dad, isn't coming back."

Brennan set her fork down, knitting her eyebrows together. "I..don't know. I'm not good at that sort of thing…you certainly don't want to confuse him."

Rolling his eyes, Booth took both their plates to the sink. "It's going to confuse him, Bones…it still confuses me. The trick is to tell him why you came back from heaven and grandpa won't."

Silence met his response, and he turned from the counter to see Bones staring at him with confusion mixed with some other emotion. "What?"

"You…you told him I went to heaven?" Her voice was thick he took a step toward her involuntarily.

"Listen, Bones…I know you don't believe in heaven. I know that this is an insult to what you believe and all that jazz, but it's what I'm teaching him."

"But your religion believes that non-believers go to hell, not heaven." Her whisper was broken with emotion, but it still retained the argumentative logic she was known for. "So, technically, there is no way I would be in heaven."

Booth's eyes flashed momentarily, and there was a sudden fire in them she hadn't seen. "I wasn't telling my son you were in Hell." He took another step toward her, now staring directly down at her. "I didn't believe it myself. Stop giving me that look. If…if you were dead, if I really had lost you, there was no way I was going to believe that I'd lost you completely. It may go against every Catholic belief there is, but I knew you were in heaven. I couldn't have gone on thinking you were not going to be waiting up there for me."

Standing up suddenly, Brennan wrapped her arms around Booth clinging to him desperately for a few moments. He held her just as tightly, and they both were shaking slightly with emotion. Against his shoulder, he heard a muffled "That's not logical, Booth. It's…"

"Just shut up, Bones." He pulled away, brushing her hair off of her tear-stained cheeks. "I think we both need to get some sleep. You can change in my hall bathroom so I can change, and then my room is all yours."

"I'm not…"

"Going to argue with me. I know. Now, get into your pajamas, get ready for bed, and go to my room."

She turned to go with a begrudging expression on her face, muttering "You can't tell me what to do…don't care if it is your house." His laughter followed her into the bathroom.

After washing her face and pulling on shorts and a cami Brennan gathered her things and walked down the hall to Booth's room, knocking on the door. "Are you decent?"

"Never." Came the reply. "But I'm covered, so come on in."

By 'covered' she assumed he meant pajama pants and a t-shirt, and she was half right. He was wearing grey pajama pants, emblazoned with a bold FBI on the side, but they were slung low enough to encourage some very inappropriate thoughts. It defiantly didn't help that there was no shirt covering his chest.

He didn't seem to notice her prolonged stare, mostly because he was engaged in one of his own. They stood there like that for a moment or two before she noticed something around his bare neck. "Booth, what is that?"

"What?"

Taking a few steps forward, Brennan reached up to finger the glint of metal held around his neck with hemp cord. "This…Booth, this is my mother's earring."

Booth's breath caught in his throat, and he caught her hand in his own. "Yeah…I found it on your bedside table when…when I…I had to keep it. Where was the other one?"

"My jewelry box…I kept that one close….I'm not really sure why…"

"Because it holds intrinsic powers?" His voice was soft, but she saw the faintest trace of a smile grace his lips.

"Objects…they don't…"

"This one did." His hand was still holding hers under his chin, and she could feel his breath against her hair. "I haven't taken it off, Bones."

"Booth…"

Whatever she was going to say was lost as Booth let go of her hand to trail it down to her bare shoulder. His eyes narrowed in concern as he stared at the jagged line that ran from her collarbone. "Is that where…"

"Yeah."

He let his fingers trace down the jagged line, tears appearing in his eyes. "I am so sorry…You never should have had to go through that."

The trail of heat took her breath away for a moment, and she just stared up at him with tear-filled eyes. When she did fine her voice, it was only a whisper. "It wasn't your fault…"

When she met his eyes, she realized exactly how close they had become. Booth's hand stilled on her shoulder, and for a moment neither of them moved. Wiping her tears, Brennan pulled back suddenly, smiling in reassurance. "Booth…"

Nodding slightly, Booth signaled that he understood. "I know." He smiled softly and turned back the covers. "Now, in bed with you."

Rolling her eyes to clear her head and muttering something about 'tucking her in as if she were a child', she slipped under his thick comforter, astonished at how tired she really felt. Snuggling deeper under the covers, she felt warm and safe as he gripped her hand tightly, bringing it up to his lips to give her a feather-light kiss. He let it go as quickly as he had taken it, and as he turned off the lights, she suddenly realized that she didn't want to be alone…not tonight.

"Booth." He stopped just before the door clicked shut, poking his head back through.

"Yeah, Bones?"

"Stay with me." Her plea melted his heart, and he couldn't have gone any further if he had wanted to. He padded slowly through the darkened room, dropping his blanket and slipping under the covers beside her. Without any hesitation he pulled her to his bare chest, wrapping his arm protectively around her waist. He swore he heard a soft sigh escape her lips as she did the unthinkable and relaxed against him.

Pefect was the only word that could penetrate his brain as they lay there, waiting for sleep to claim them after the longest day of both their lives. The world had ended, and now it was beginning, and she was here just like she always should have been. With the last lingering thoughts of how to keep her there forever he drifted into an almost-sleep before her scratchy, tired voice roused him again.

"I would have waited."

"What?"

"If…if there somehow was a heaven, and I, against all logic, went to it. I would have waited for you."

He knew she didn't want a response, and he wasn't sure that he could have given one if he tried. All he could do was pull her closer and plant a soft kiss on her hair, and thank the heaven she didn't believe in that she was back.

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Fluff fluff fluff…. Lots of fluff for a little chapter. I hope it was enjoyable, and you can let me know by pressing that little button down there…see that? The review button? Yeah, it sustains me.