AN: I was planning on taking a break from fan fic to concentrate on looking for a new job, but this story wouldn't leave me alone. Hope you enjoy!

"Booth, it's me–your favorite forensic anthropologist," Brennan said to her comatose partner as she settled into the uncomfortable chair by his hospital bed. It had been three weeks since a murder suspect had shot him, three weeks since he had slipped into the coma. She had come to see him every night after leaving the lab; it had become a part of her daily routine. His doctors weren't entirely optimistic about his recovery, but they didn't know Booth like she did. He was a fighter; he wasn't going to give up. She was confident that he would wake up at any moment, and she wanted to be there when it happened. Before tonight, however, she had never said a word, only watched him sleep. Yet over the last few days, Angela had been encouraging her to talk to him. Brennan didn't believe that Booth could hear her, but Angela had insisted that talking would help them both. Although she still thought it was irrational, she had promised Angela that she would give it a try tonight.

Glancing around furtively to make sure no one else was around, she addressed her partner. "Angela said I should tell you about what's been going on since...since you got shot. I've been working on a set of remains from ancient Rome. Male, age 20 to 25. Possible murder, considering the extensive damage to his skull. It's not the same as investigating a recent homicide, but it's still fascinating. Zach has been working on an article for an anthropology journal. He asked me to look it over last week. He did a great job; I'm very proud of him. Angela and Hodgins have been...busy. I walked in on them kissing in the autopsy bay a few days ago. Anyway, they all miss you and want you to get better soon."

She paused, debating with herself if she should continue, if she should be completely honest with him. Why shouldn't I be? It's not like he can really hear me. "I miss you too, Booth. I miss the way you stride into the lab. I miss the way you smile when you say we have a new case. I miss the way you drag me away from work and force me to eat something, or bring me take out in the middle of the night. I miss the way you hug me when I'm upset, and how you make me believe that everything will be okay." Tears filled her eyes and raced down her cheeks, and she made no efforts to stop them. "I want...I need you back in my life, Booth. Please. Please come back to me."

XXXXXXXXXX

Booth had never felt happier in his life. He was lying on a towel on a white sandy beach, looking up at a cloudless sky. His left arm was draped around Bones' shoulders; she was sleeping by his side, her head on his chest, her arm wrapped around his waist. They were alone and surrounded by silence. Even the waves crashing upon the shore were quiet, as if they didn't want to disturb this perfect moment. He let out a long, slow breath, savoring the feeling of contentment. He couldn't say how long they had been lying here–days? Weeks? Months? Time didn't matter anymore, the rest of the world didn't matter anymore. He had his Bones, and she was all he needed.

Now a voice was breaking the silence. It seemed to come from all around him. He knew it sounded familiar, but some time passed before he realized it was Brennan's voice. Now he was really confused. How could Bones be talking to him when she was asleep beside him? He tried to listen to the words, but they sounded as if they were coming from a great distance, and by the time they reached his ears the meaning had been lost. One phrase, however, successfully completed the long journey: "Please come back to me." I don't understand, he thought as he turned his head to face her. I'm right here, Bones. I haven't left you; you know I would never, ever leave you. He decided that the voice was a figment of his imagination, or a dream masquerading as reality. Pushing it out of his mind, he focused his attentions on admiring his sleeping partner.

XXXXXXXXXX

"Dr. Bones, do you love my daddy?" Parker asked her the following night. Rebecca had brought him to visit his father, but had left the room a few minutes earlier to use the bathroom.

Brennan was taken aback that someone so young could be so bold...and so perceptive. "I...I care about him very much, Parker."

"Oh." He sounded disappointed. "I don't know if it will work then."

"If what will work?"

"You giving daddy a kiss."

She almost laughed, but stopped when she saw the serious expression on his face. "Why would giving him a kiss help?"

"When Sleeping Beauty was sleeping, the prince kissed her and she woke up because he loved her," Parker explained. "I watched the movie with Mommy."

Brennan put her hand on his shoulder and spoke softly. "That was only a movie. Things like that don't happen in real life."

"But could you try?" The look on his face instantly reminded Brennan of Booth when he wanted something.

Brennan was spared from answering by Rebecca's return. "It's getting late, Parker. We need to go home and get ready for bed. Good night, Dr. Brennan."

"Good night, Rebecca."

"Can you say good night to Dr. Brennan?" Rebecca prompted her son.

"Good night, Dr. Bones," he said sadly. He allowed his mother to take his hand and lead him towards the door , but he stopped suddenly when they reached the doorway and whirled around. "Will you try? Please?"

She couldn't say no to him, not when he looked so much like Booth. "Okay. I'll try."

Parker smiled--it was the Booth charm smile in miniature–and left the room with Rebecca.

Left alone with Booth once again, Brennan thought about what she had just agreed to. She had often wondered what it would be like to kiss Booth; she had even dreamed about it. In none of her fantasies, however, had she ever imagined that he would be unconscious! She couldn't do this; it was wrong. She could tell Parker that she had tried the kiss and it didn't work. Yet, if Parker was as like Booth as he appeared, he would know that she was lying and feel hurt. He was already sad about his father; she didn't want to cause him any more pain. Telling herself that it was for Parker's sake, Brennan slowly lowered her lips to Booth's.

XXXXXXXXXX

He was still admiring his sleeping partner when he felt his lips tingling. That's strange; it almost feels like someone's kissing me. Am I imagining this too? Yet as the feeling in his lips intensified he doubted that his imagination was that powerful. Someone was kissing him, he decided, and it was no ordinary kiss. It warmed his body from head to toe, stirring his dormant senses, breathing new life into him. The beach, the waves, the sky–all of it melted away. This kiss was the only real thing in the world, and he was determined to hold onto it.

XXXXXXXXXX

I can't believe I'm doing this; this is utterly ridiculous, Brennan thought as she kissed him. I need to stop before some passing doctor or nurse sees me and throws me out of the hospital for molesting a patient. As she started to pull away, something impossible happened–Booth flung his arms around her and kissed her back.

Not trusting her senses, she pulled away to face him. "Booth?!"

He opened his eyes, blinking rapidly against the florescent lights that hung above his bed. Taking in his surroundings, he realized that he was in a hospital. "What happened?"

She was blushing furiously and couldn't quite bring herself to look him in the eye. "You...you were shot. You've been in a coma for three weeks."

"Three weeks?!" Oh god. I must have put her through hell. " I'm so sorry, Bones. In my mind you were by my side the whole time...if I had known the truth, I would have fought like hell to come back to you. I would have never been away from you for so long."

"I know," she said, still looking away from him.

His heart ached when he saw a tear slide down her beautiful cheek. He had promised himself that he would always be there for her, but for the past three weeks he had abandoned her. He had failed her as a friend and partner and he hated himself for it. "I feel terrible, Bones. I could really use a guy hug right now. Could you maybe help me out with that?"

She laughed softly and finally turned to face him. Slowly she moved toward him and reached out to embrace him. He pulled her close to him, rubbing her back gently when, a few moments later, she began to sob into his chest. She hadn't clung to him this tightly since he had rescued her from Kenton. "It's okay," he told her soothingly. "I'm here. I came back to you."

"I don't want to lose you ever again," she said between sobs.

"You won't. I promise. No matter what happens, I will always come back to you." When she stopped crying a few minutes later, he dared to bring up the kiss. "So...uh...I had this dream that someone was kissing me," he said, trying to gauge her reaction. "It was an amazing kiss... It broke through my fantasy world and showed me the way home. Thank you."

"It was Parker's idea," she said, embarrassed.

"My son told you to kiss me?" Booth made a mental note to buy Parker a large ice cream sundae the next time he saw him.

She nodded earnestly. "He said it worked for Sleeping Beauty."

"Sleeping Beauty?" Booth repeated incredulously, his face twisted in disgust. "I am NOT a princess."

She laughed. "It worked, didn't it? Or would you rather be back in the coma?"

"That depends," he said suggestively.

"On what?"

The infamous charm smile lit up his face. "Would you kiss me again to wake me up?"

"No," she said firmly. Seeing his face fall, she added: "The next time I kiss you I want you to be completely conscious."

The promise of 'next time' brought a goofy grin to his handsome face. "Okay. Well...I'm conscious right now. I feel a little weak, though. Better kiss me quick before I have a relapse."

She glared at him. "If you relapse, I'll kick your--"

The rest of her threat was lost as Booth covered her mouth with his. He worried for a moment that she might hit him, but his anxiety slipped away when she wrapped her arms around his neck and returned the kiss. Getting shot and spending three weeks in a coma suddenly seemed a small price to pay for the pure joy he felt at this moment.

"How are you feeling now?" Brennan asked breathlessly when the kiss ended.

"Great," he beamed. "In fact, I've never felt better."

"That's because you're experiencing a release of endorphins," she said in true squint fashion.

"Call it whatever you want, Bones, but your kisses are still the best medicine I've ever had."

As she kissed him again, even more passionately than before, Booth knew that like Sleeping Beauty and her love, he and Bones were sure to live happily ever after.

Thanks for reading! All comments are greatly appreciated. :)