Author's notes: So willgirl started this thread at the Boneyard called "The Cottonball Crusade". Each month a new challenge will be issued. This month it had to feature either Booth or Brennan shirtless, and water had to be involved one way or another. You all know that someone has bunny-napped my inner fluff bunny so it was quite difficult for me to come up with a fluffy entry. Luckily I had Jemb around to help me write this thing here. She expanded some parts, tweaked some bits, and in general made this one-shot a hell of a lot better! So thanks girl, I owe you one! Oh, one final note...I'm not labeling this story "Complete" because I'm planning on gathering all my CC entries here.

Disclaimer: I do not own Bones, duh.


Burning Hot


Booth glanced around the abandoned warehouse, taking in all the activity. The nature of the scene meant that not only had he brought Brennan with him, but Zach and Hodgins were there too, each tasked with gathering evidence. Across from the remains, two CSI's were snapping their own pictures. Booth shook his head, wondering why they needed to be there anyway. He stood off to the side, his little black notebook in the palm of his hand. Everything was progressing as normal, evidence was being bagged and Zach and Hodgins were fighting over a bone covered in a mysterious substance; Hodgins wanting to remove the particulates before Zach bagged the bone for transport. But then all hell broke loose. One moment Booth was taking notes, the next a deafening explosion thundered through the air, followed by the terrifying sound of screaming metal and cracking wood.

Everyone in the room was sent flying to the ground the moment the explosion rumbled through the warehouse. For five seconds all that was heard was the sound of bricks and wood falling down. Groaning and blinking multiple times to try and clear his blurred vision, Booth lifted himself up on his arms. The first thing he saw was his colleagues crawling around in the heavy smoke created by the explosion, confused and disoriented. Then he caught sight of something that made his heart skip a beat. Through the hole that had been blown in one of the walls, he could see red and orange flashes dancing around in the thick smoke. Whatever was behind the explosion had set the tall piles of wood that had been stored in the warehouse on fire. He scrambled to his feet as quickly as possible and made his way over to Brennan. She was sitting on her knees near the remains, slightly hunched over and was clutching her head with both hands.

"Hey Bones, you alright?" he asked as he gently placed a hand on her shoulder. When she turned to face him, he saw the source of her pain---a cut running from her temple to her cheekbone. When she went down in the explosion, she obviously hit the rough ground hard and was cut by a piece of wood or metal on the floor. He was helping her to her feet when Hodgins and Zach staggered over to them. Hodgins looked quite in control of himself but Zach seemed a little disoriented and if Booth was honest, scared. "There's a fire," Booth informed them. He tried to sound calm and in control, despite the intense pounding of his heart. "We have to get everyone outside." He gestured to the exit with his head, his hands currently gripping Brennan's upper arms. The two scientists nodded in agreement before moving away to help everyone who was still down, to their feet.

"Booth, my head hurts," Brennan mumbled, leaning heavily against the agent's shoulder. She was finding it hard to concentrate and her legs felt shaky, like they were made of jello.

"I know. You had a nasty fall Bones. Let's get you outside---lots of fresh air there." He tried to keep his voice light, not wanting to panic Brennan. As he turned to the exit, he could see Zach and Hodgins almost at the exit with the two CSI's. Coughing hard because of the thick smoke, all four seemed to be holding each other up as they headed towards the dusky light of the street. Booth realised he and Brennan were falling behind so holding tight to Brennan, he started across the floor, careful to avoid the fallen bricks and wood scattered across the ground.

Halfway to the door, Booth began to cough harshly. Brennan was about to ask Booth if he was alright when another explosion rang out through the room. For the second time around, everyone fell to the ground. But to Booth's horror, the second explosion had happened in between he and Brennan, and the door. Booth could only stare on helplessly as the heat and sparks from the explosion set fire to a pile of barrels filled with oil. The fire quickly spread to the wooden boards scattered across the room, effectively blocking the way to the exit.

Booth spotted Hodgins and Zach on the other side of the fire, looking for a way to help. "Go!" he shouted, knowing if they stayed any longer they would be in danger themselves. They hesitated for a second, but after a curt nod of Booth's head, they made their way outside, just behind the CSI's. Booth swivelled around to help his partner, feeling the adrenaline spat through his veins. "Bones, we gotta go. Now!"

He roughly grabbed her wrist and dragged her away from the fire before them. Covering his mouth and nose with his sleeve, he weaved through stacks of rotten wooden boards and other junk. Brennan followed close behind him, coughing because of the thick smoke hanging around them. When a piece of the ceiling crashed down in front of them with no warning, Booth skidded to a stop. His grip on Brennan's arm tightened when she bumped into him. They slowly backed away from what had just fallen down, only to be forced forward again when another piece of the ceiling came down.

Booth's eyes flicked through the room. There was no way out, no escape. They were trapped, like animals, in a circle of hot-as-hell flames and black smoke. Brennan grabbed his shoulder to steady herself as she pulled her other hand free from his grasp so she could cover her mouth and nose. Her eyes were stinging from the smoke and her lungs were screaming for air. She...they...needed to get out as soon as possible.

Booth's arm encircled her waist before he moved to the right, in the hope of finding a different route to the exit. No such luck so it seemed, because they ran almost straight into another pile of burning wood. Horrified they watched the pile collapse almost on top of them, forcing them to stumble backwards. Even though her eardrums felt numb from hearing two explosions and the blazing fire was making conversation impossible, Brennan clearly heard Booth groan. Through the tears clouding her vision, she saw him reach for his shoulder.

"Booth?" she said, shouting loudly in an attempt to be heard above the roaring fire.

"I'm fine. Keep moving," he shot back. There was no time to worry about the searing pain he felt, not when that pain would only get worse if they didn't get out soon.

Having changed direction, Brennan was now in the lead. She rounded the pile that had just collapsed with Booth in tow. They both stared at the sea of fire in front of them. There didn't seem to be any way out. Then Booth noticed a small gap in the flames, leading to a door. With only a moment of hesitation when his mind thought about what could go wrong, he wrapped his arm around Brennan and lunged forward, through the fire and over the burning oil---safety only a few feet away.

Everything after their jump seemed to happen in a blur. Before they knew it, they were sitting in the back of an ambulance. Both were wet from the water the firemen had been spraying at the burning warehouse which had hit them when the pair ran outside. Booth was shirtless because the medics insisted on taking care of the burn on his shoulder while Brennan cradled his hand in her lap. Her eyes drifted to the warehouse which was now engulfed in flames. She could hear Booth talking to the paramedic but the words were not registering. She was focused on how close they came to not making it out. Slowly, she turned her head to look at Booth. She was surprised to see him staring at her.

"You need to look at her head," he told the paramedic, without taking his eyes off Brennan.

"It's just a cut Booth, your shoulder is burned, it needs immediate treatement," she nodded.

"Neither of you should worry, we'll get to your cut in just a moment," the paramedic smiled. As he continued to work on Booth's shoulder, Booth winced and gripped Brennan's hand tightly before realising what he was doing.

"Sorry Bones," he apologised quickly and loosened his grip on her hand. She curled her fingers around his hand and gave it a quick squeeze.

"It's the least I can do after you got us out of there. We could have..." she trailed off as her gaze drifted to the warehouse again.

"Hey..." Booth reached out with his free hand tucked a loose lock of hair behind her ear, his hand lingering at her cheek. "We're okay, okay?" he assured her. She shifted her gaze once more and met his reddened eyes. They held each other's gaze for a long moment then Brennan broke away, glancing down at their intertwined hands.

"Yeah, we're okay." she nodded.


Now this is what I call "subtle fluff". Don't you agree?