I am really sorry for everyone who liked this story and who want a conclusion. Due to time management problems, I have finally posted the final chapter of my story, though this might not be considered my best work. Anyways, this should be a suitable conclusion.

Chapter Sixteen

Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.

All Zack could hear was the sound of the heart monitor as he sat by Booth's side in the hospital room. Both he and Brennan had remained with him throughout the night, watching for any sign of improvement.

Right now, Brennan was out getting coffee for the two of them. After catching only three or four hours of sleep apiece, some sort of caffeine was desperately needed.

"Knock, knock," came a voice from the doorway. Angela, Hodgins, and Camille stood there, holding a "Get Well" balloon. Their faces indicated the level of sympathy that they were feeling for him, not to mention Booth.

"When's his surgery?" Cam asked, not one for unnecessary, soppy condolences.

The former grad student raised his head drowsily. "In three hours. But they said he should be fine until then. And during. And after."

"So, good news!" said Angela, trying to seem cheery. "I mean, at least Booth's going to live."

"Should live," Zack whispered. "Booth should live."

Entering the room again, Brennan handed Zack a cup of coffee. "Anything?"

"No," he answered.

0-0-0-0-0

Seven hours later, Zack and Brennan were finally allowed back into Booth's hospital room. By now, the man was halfway conscious; at least he was sitting up in his bed.

"Hey, you," he said drowsily, reaching a hand out towards his boyfriend. "Guess I've kinda put you two through the ringer, huh?"

"No more than you," Brennan answered. "I think getting shot in the stomach, ripping through your stomach, and then having the organ repaired beats waiting miserably for news of a loved one."

"Does she know how… to be literal… or what?" Booth said grinningly, his eyes fluttering shut from time to time. He patted the free space on the bed, looking at Zack.

Loyally, Zack sat down on the bed beside the patient, wrapping an arm around him and kissing him gently on the cheek.

Moving to the side, Brennan occupied a chair. Now that Booth was out of danger, his friend and boyfriend were remaining with him for support.

"Hasn't anybody else… bothered to show up?" Booth asked, looking around for signs of the other Squints.

"They came earlier for a while," Zack answered, "But they had to leave. New case or something."

"And having to work without their best people, too," Booth laughed softly, trying to soften the pain that such an action caused him.

"We'll see."

0-0-0-0-0

Three weeks later, the entire Squint team cheered loudly as Booth entered the Jeffersonian lab.

"Yeah, yeah…" he said, waving them away with his hands, a grin plastered on his face. Zack pushed his wheelchair, showing off the victim to everybody.

An enormous chocolate cake took up half a table, plates and forks piled up high. Large balloons decorated the entire room, making everything seem cheerier. Angela and Hodgins had thrown streamers around before hanging up a sign that read "Welcome Back, Booth."

Each person taking food and drink, the six co-workers and friends enjoyed themselves, reveling in Booth's recovery. All memory of horrific hour-long hospital visits were temporarily erased, left to be pondered another day.

Tapping his plastic cup in an imitation of crystal, Booth called attention to himself. Not being able to stand up, he remained seated and waited until everyone else did the same.

"First, I want to thank Bones for saving my life," he said, nodding his head towards his partner. "Without her, I'd be really dead."

Traditionally, the other Squints clapped at the cheer. Quickly, they grew silent, seeing that Booth wasn't done speaking.

"My second thanks goes to Zack. He's stood by me throughout the past few weeks, helping me with everything."

Another round of clapping.

"Lastly, I want to thank you all. I know that you've still had to work, but you all found time to cook us dinner, to help out with my dry-cleaning, and other things… I'm very lucky to have you all as friends."

Tears appeared in everyone's eyes. Their friend's emotional, if short, speech touched them all.

Zack went over to stand behind his boyfriend, placing his hands on the man's shoulders. The two wheeled away, leaving the party behind them.

Going into Angela's office for a bit of privacy, Zack leaned forward, kissing Booth squarely and firmly on the lips.

"I am so glad you didn't die," he said dryly.

Pulling the man towards him, Booth sat Zack down on his lap. "I bet you are," he laughed, kissing Zack back. "But you know… I can't really do much with this bullet wound in my chest."

"That's all right," Zack assured. "Just being here with you is enough."

As if in a final dramatic conclusion, the men slowly brought their lips together once more, a clear image of their affection for each other.

"I love you," whispered Booth into Zack's ear.

"You do? Funny… I love you too."

FIN