I should be sorry that's he dead, Booth thought when Detective Carter brought him in for questioning. He was, after all, a human being, and every human life is sacred in the eyes of God, right? On the other hand, he was a worthless, miserable drain on humanity. You could argue that he deserved to die. A voice in the back of his mind added: Of course, you probably wouldn't hate him so much if he hadn't been dating your partner.

Carter, an older, balding man who looked like he hadn't slept in days, stared at him from across the interrogation table, sizing him up. Do I look like that when I'm about to question someone? Booth wondered. It's so strange to be on this side of the table, having to answer questions instead of asking them. He wanted to laugh at the absurdity of the situation, but he knew that would be a bad idea. You're being questioned about a murder, he reminded himself. You need to look sad.

"Thanks for coming in, Agent Booth," Carter began. He sounded civil enough, but Booth didn't buy it. "I appreciate your cooperation in this matter. So, how long had you known the victim, Nathan Spencer?"

"Not long." Booth counted the days in his head. "About three and a half weeks."

"And how did you meet him?"

"My partner and I were investigating the murder of Timothy Daniels. Mr. Spencer was one of his co-workers, and so we interviewed him in the course of our investigation." Booth made himself stop and take a deep breath before continuing. Carter's trying to get a read on you, so don't sound bitter when you say what happened next. "Shortly after our investigation ended, my partner and Nathan Spencer began dating."

"I see. How did you feel about that?"

I hated it. I knew in my gut that something was off about him, but Bones didn't listen. Seeing them together made me sick. When I saw him touch her, I wanted to tear his arms off...Okay, calm down. You say that to Carter and he'll charge you with murder right now. "Fine. My partner has the right to date whoever she wants."

Carter didn't appear to be convinced. "So you're saying that you had no problem with their relationship?"

"Well, I was a little..." Don't say jealous. Don't say jealous. "...concerned. Bones...that is, Dr. Brennan, doesn't have the best judgment when it comes to men. This one guy she dated turned out to be an axe murderer who chopped his brother's head off."

"Was Spencer an axe murderer too? Is that why you interrogated him last night?"

Booth fought to keep his expression neutral. "Last night I received a call from a fellow agent, Jim Ryan. He told me that a woman's body had been found. She'd been raped and strangled. The woman had been identified as Melissa Kincaid. Melissa's family believed that her ex-boyfriend was responsible."

"Nathan Spencer was her ex?"

Booth clenched his fists, remembering the anger that had consumed him last night upon learning his partner's boyfriend was a murder suspect. Most of his anger was directed at himself. He had known this guy was no good; why hadn't he pushed her harder to break up with him? She would be furious with him for trying to interfere in her personal life, but so what? He had promised himself that he would always keep her safe. Feeling Carter's eyes studying him, he forced his emotions to the far corners of his mind. "Yes."

"So you brought him in for questioning?"

"Yes, but we didn't have any hard evidence against him so I had to let him go." The bastard smiled at me when he left. He bragged that he had another date with Bones tomorrow.

"What time did this interrogation end?"

"About 10:30 P.M."

"What did you do then?"

"I went to my partner's apartment to tell her what happened. She was understandably upset, and I did my best to comfort her. We talked for about an hour, then she went to bed."

"Did you join her there?"

Oh yeah, telling someone their boyfriend may be a killer is a great way to jumpstart a romantic evening. After she cried on my shoulder, I kissed her tears away and we made passionate love until the sun came up. In my dreams, maybe. "No."

"So you went home then?"

"No. I...I wanted to be there for her in case Spencer tried to hurt her, so I sat in my car outside her apartment building."

"For the whole night?"

"Yes."

"I don't suppose you have any witnesses who can support your story?"

It was a stake-out, not a block party. "No. It was just me."

Carter motioned to a file folder that lay on the table in front of him. "I've read your file, Agent Booth. Given your military experience, I find it hard to believe that you would just sit around if you thought your partner's life was in danger. Let me tell you what I think happened. You wanted to protect Dr. Brennan, so after leaving her apartment, you tracked down Mr. Spencer and shot him. No one in their right mind could say the bastard didn't get what was coming to him. Personally, I think you did the city a favor."

He's trying to bond with me. Does he really expect me to come out and say "Gee thanks! I'm so glad someone understands why I had to kill that s.o.b." Do I look that stupid? "Someone did the city a favor, but it wasn't me. I didn't kill him."

"So you're in the habit of making empty threats then?"

"What are you talking about?"

Carter smirked at him. "I have a witness who overheard you talking to Mr. Spencer after your interrogation. According to the witness, you said, 'I swear to God, Spencer, if you hurt her I will fucking kill you.' Do you deny saying this?"

Crap! "No. I said it. I wanted to scare him." It worked on Ortez, he thought, remembering with satisfaction how he had shoved his gun into the gang leader's mouth. Of course, if Ortez had really hurt her, I wouldn't have hesitated to kill him. The things I said to Ortez and Spencer weren't empty threats; they were promises.

"Forgive me if I'm skeptical, Agent Booth, but it seems awfully coincidental that a few hours after you threatened to kill Nathan Spencer he ended up dead."

"If you've read my file, you know that my service record is one of the best in the Bureau. I don't kill murderers; I put them in prison. That's my job and I do it very well. I wanted to put Spencer in prison, too."

"But you said yourself that you didn't have any evidence against him; you had to let him go. Maybe I was wrong earlier. You didn't kill Spencer to protect your partner. You did it because letting him go was an insult to your professional pride. You don't care about Dr. Brennan at all, just your career."

If Carter wasn't a cop, Booth would have hit him. Accusing me of a murder I didn't commit is one thing, but saying I don't care about Bones...that's inexcusable. A torrent of rage surged through him, overpowering the self-control he had exercised thus far. "NO! Bones is more than a partner to me. She's my best friend and I would do anything for her." He regretted his outburst immediately. He just said that to get a reaction. I can't believe I let him get to me.

A knowing grin spread across Carter's face. "I believe that you care about her, Agent Booth. I believe she's more than a partner... more than a friend even. In fact, I think you're secretly in love with her. Sounds like a perfect motive for murder."

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