Title: "How long have you loved her?"

Summary: What if the psychiatrist in "The Girl in the Gator" had asked Booth about Brennan?

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I don't own these characters, I'm only renting them.

My first Bones fanfic; all comments are greatly appreciated! Hope you enjoy!

"So, was Epps your 50th kill?" Dr. Wyatt asked.

Agent Booth stared at the brick barbeque pit, wishing that this conversation was over. He didn't enjoy sharing his feelings with this man, but he knew he had to if he wanted to go back to work. "Epps was a monster. He killed young girls. He burned a firefighter alive to escape from prison and then decapitated his ex-wife."

"He was a blight upon humanity, to be sure," Dr. Wyatt agreed. "An abomination who needed to be removed from the gene pool. If the pavement hadn't killed him our justice department would have. But you didn't answer my question, Agent Booth. Was Epps your 50th kill?"

"I was trying to save his miserable life," Booth argued. "I was holding onto him as hard as I could and he was taunting me about going after my son and Bones."

"Bones?" The doctor repeated, raising an eyebrow in confusion. "Whose bones?"

"Bones is the nickname I gave to my partner, Dr. Temperance Brennan," Booth explained.

"Ah, Dr. Brennan! I read her book. Is she a lot like her character?"

Booth laughed. "Yeah, she is."

"So, like her character, Dr. Brennan seems to have a spectacular knack for finding herself in life threatening situations," Dr. Wyatt surmised.

"You could say that again," Booth mumbled.

"So she's been in mortal peril before?" Booth nodded. "Tell me about it."

Booth took a deep breath and clasped his hands together, still staring at the bricks. "Well, there was the time Agent Kenton tried to kill her so that she wouldn't uncover his role in the Cugini murder." Thinking of Kenton made his blood boil. He had trusted Kenton to protect Brennan while he was in the hospital, and instead that bastard had taken her to an abandoned warehouse, tied her hands, gagged her and was about to shoot her when he and Hodgins arrived. For weeks afterwards he had had nightmares about that warehouse. When he awoke he would invent some excuse to call her. He needed to hear her voice and know she was safe.

"What happened?" Dr. Wyatt asked.

"I shot him," Booth said. "He survived and confessed to everything."

"You were suffering from multiple injuries so severe you could barely stand, and yet you checked yourself out of the hospital to rush to your partner's side. Amazing." Seeing Booth's confused gaze, Dr. Wyatt added "The Bureau did send a few files over. Wasn't she also buried alive?"

Booth felt another wave of rage wash over him. "Yes, but we found her in time." He had had nightmares after that one too. In them he was digging endless holes in the desert, calling out for Brennan. Sometimes he awoke with her name on his lips.

"Having to save your partner from all the wackos out there must be terribly stressful," Dr. Wyatt said, putting a hand on Booth's shoulder.

"It's my job. I'll do whatever I can to protect her," Booth looked down at his hands and realized that he was making fists.

"Even if it means killing someone? Say a serial killer dangling from a balcony?"

Booth met the doctor's gaze for the first time. "I tried to save him, even after everything he had done."

"Did you want to save him? Really want to? Be honest." Dr. Wyatt studied Booth's face.

"Of course I didn't want to, but I was going to and--"

"And what?" Wyatt prompted.

Booth didn't answer. The two men sat in an uneasy silence for a few minutes before Wyatt tried again. "And what? "he repeated.

"When he talked about going after Bones, I got so angry and..he fell."

"He fell, or you let go? Which was it?"

"I don't know," Booth whispered.

"I find that hard to believe, Agent Booth. Do you really want to go back to work? Back to your partner?"

"Of course I do. That's why I'm here, doc. I need to go back."

"I understand. Tell me what really happened and I'll sign your paper. Did he fall, or did you let go?"

"I couldn't let him threaten her or my son again. I did... what I had to do."

Dr. Wyatt nodded thoughtfully. "I see. Is this the first time you killed someone for your partner?"

The bluntness of the question momentarily stunned Booth. "Um...yeah. I did threaten one guy who put a hit on her. I put a gun in his mouth and for a few seconds I thought I was going to pull the trigger. But I didn't. I walked away. I never told her about it."

"So how long have you loved her?"


"Your partner. How long have you loved her?"

"Look, doc, we work together, and when you cross that line things get messy real fast." Not that I haven't thought about it every day since the day we met, he added mentally.

"So you don't deny that you love her. How does she feel about you?"

"I don't know. She's too much of a squint to believe in romance. She'd rattle off some diatribe about love being a socially acceptable excuse for fulfilling biological urges. Yet underneath it all I think she likes me."

Dr. Wyatt laughed. "You think? Clearly you haven't read her book closely enough. If you say she's like her character then she's madly in love with you.

Booth couldn't help but smile. "Really?"

"Really. You've never felt for anyone as much as you have for her, have you?"

Booth didn't hesitate. "No. Never."

"A guy like you likes to keep his emotions in check. When you realized that you had killed another human being out of love for your partner, you got scared. Suddenly you weren't in control of your life anymore; your feelings for Dr. Brennan had taken over completely. That's why you shot that truck. It was your way of regaining control."

"So what do I do now?" Booth asked.

"As an employee of the FBI, I would tell you that having a personal relationship with your partner endangers you both. But it seems you find yourselves in danger anyway. As one man to another, I say you go to her, tell her how you feel, and shag her all night long. Doctor's orders."

"How was your visit to the psychiatrist?" Brennan asked as Booth stepped into her office and closed the door behind him.

"Good actually. I figured out why I shot the clown." Booth answered.

" You had a momentary lapse in judgment brought on by the extreme stress of the case," Brennan declared. "It's not uncommon for--"

"It wasn't just the case, Bones. It's you and how I feel about you. I..." For a second he thought about not finishing the sentence. Once he did there was no turning back. Come on Booth, he said to himself. Be a man. "I...I love you, Temperance Brennan."

For once she was speechless. A long minute or two passed before she spoke. "But..but...when we were at the merry-go-round with Parker, you said that people who work together shouldn't get involved."

"I know. It breaks every rule in the book. But some things are worth breaking the rules. Some things are worth fighting for." He put his hand on her cheek. "I'll fight for you, Temperance. Always." He leaned in for a kiss, praying that she wouldn't back away. She didn't. She returned the kiss with the passion he always knew was there.

That night Booth lay beside Brennan in her bed, his arm wrapped around her waist. As he watched her sleep he felt as happy as he had ever been. He was with the woman he loved and nothing else mattered. Whatever evils came their way they would face together. With Brennan at his side he could take on anything.