Title: Breath

Author: Doc

Disclaimer: Not mine, but I think I could manage if they were.

Rating: T

Summary: A crime against Booth and Brennan forces them to face themselves.

Author's Note: A huge shout-out to everyone that's read and reviewed this roller-coaster story. I'm not completely sold on the way it turned out, but these characters have definite minds of their own. Thanks a million to those of you who sent some serious encouragement my way. Also, this is set a few weeks after the last chapter.

"Big plans for the weekend, Bones?"

She started slightly as she looked up from her terminal to see Booth standing just inside her office. Deep into revisions on her latest book, she hadn't heard nor sensed his approach.

"Didn't mean to startle you," he smirked, tapping his pen on the post-it notes she had on her bookshelf, curio cabinet, and even her desk lamp, "Working on your new book, I see. Andy and Kathy having hot monkey sex again?"

"I don't know what monkeys have to do with it Booth, but yes, there are some sex scenes in this book. That's not what I'm working on right now; I'm doing revisions."

She looked at him expectantly for a moment, and when he just sunk down onto her sofa and put his feet up, she asked pointedly, "Did you need something?"

As though she hadn't spoken, he flipped his poker chip in the air and continued, "Well, if you need any help with Andy's 'moves', I'd be glad to give some pointers."

"I don't think I need any pointers Booth. I've had sex before. While I'm sure that you have an array of 'moves' you could share, I think the sex scenes are just fine," she answered wryly. "And what was it you said you needed?" she asked again.

Unperturbed, he continued as though she weren't trying to get rid of him. "Just got off the phone with Sid. He wants to make it up to us, you know, after what happened at his bar. He's been asking for a couple of weeks, and I gave in and told him I'd ask you about this weekend."

"Booth, as much as I like Sid, I don't know if I'm ever going in that bar again. Poisoning, memory loss, a hangover from hell, - I don't think I want a repeat of that night ever again." She discreetly left out the part about waking up in his bed with only her underwear on.

"It's like falling off a bike, Bones. You have to get back on. Sid feels really terrible, and really wants us try the place out again." He got up from the couch and perched on the corner of her desk, flashing his most winsome smile.

"Not tonight."

"Tomorrow then."

"This is a bad weekend for me. I really need to work."

"You work every weekend. Give yourself a break, Bones."

"Booth …"

"Bones …"

Sensing that it was utterly useless to try to put him off, she sighed and sank back into her chair.

"If I go,"

"Yes!" He flipped the chip up into the air and snatched it in triumph.

"IF I go, I'm only drinking water. Period. Out of a bottle."

"Absolutely." He couldn't stop himself from grinning widely as he shook her hand to seal it. "You won't regret this Bones. You'll have fun, relax, enjoy the music, and forget all about the last time we were there." At her eye roll, he hastened to add, "I mean, forget all about the part you remember. Whatever – you know what I mean."

He headed for her door, knowing he needed to get away before she changed her mind.

"Pick you up at eight," was the last thing she heard as he strolled out her door.

The bar was dark and a little smoky when they arrived, and the crowd was just starting to gather at the tables near the small corner stage. The live music for the night was a local band that played a mix of soul, blues and jazz and they were just starting their first set.

"Yo, Booth, I've got a place for you and the lady doctor over here in the corner," Sid said by way of greeting, shaking Booth's hand and smiling widely at Brennan. "I appreciate you giving me and my fine establishment another chance, Dr. B.; I promise to pour and serve all of your drinks personally."

"Thank you Sid, but I'll just have water, please," she said as he led them to their table.

"Beer for me Sid, I trust you."

Sid just chuckled and headed behind the bar, as they slid into their booth.

"Bones, you know the chances of anything like that ever happening again are like, a million to one. Not to mention that Sid is watching the place like a hawk now. I'm sure you're safe to order anything you want."

"A million to one or not, Booth, I'm just being careful. Besides, I want water."

"Have it your way."

Sid slid their drinks on the table and they both relaxed and drank deeply. Booth stretched his legs out in front of him and pushed the dark blue sleeves of his sweater further up his arms, before laying one arm across the back of the booth. He could just barely touch her hair if he wiggled his fingers, and contented himself with that as they talked.

It was a rare time for them, talking and laughing, without serial killing cannibals, murderous clowns, date-rape drugs, or anything else horrifying on their minds. She laughed at his stories about Parker, and he smiled when she referred to Amy's girls as her nieces. Time swirled around them without being noticed, as Sid replaced her water with her favorite wine, and then replaced Booth's beer with water.

The sad strains of a melody began, as the singer's smoky voice penetrated their consciousness.

Booth looked over at the stage and then turned to her, "Hmm, I love this song."

He watched her listen for a moment, trying to place it, when he heard himself say, "Dance with me, Bones."

For a moment he thought she would refuse, and in fact he expected her to.

For a moment she thought she would refuse, and in fact she expected herself to.

Surprising both of them, she twisted her mouth and the words, "Sure, Booth," came out of their own volition.

Any other woman, and at any other time in Seeley Booth's life, he would have led her to the dance floor by the hand. But Bones was certainly not any other woman and this was a time in his life for which there existed no road map. So he crooked one long finger around the fine bones of her wrist and maintained just the slightest touch as they crossed to the crowded dance floor.

It amazed her how well they fit together on the dance floor. She had noticed it previously, in Aurora during that weird cannibal case, and at Jack and Angela's non-wedding reception. Before, she attributed it to their obvious height compatibilities, after all there were very few men she didn't tower over in high heels. Now that explanation seemed inadequate.

"…are you so strong or is all the weakness in me … Why do you come here, when you know I've got troubles enough… I need to see you … I need to hold you…"

As they swayed to the music, the words he breathed in her ear just added to the sense of being blanketed by the crowd, by the smoky haze, by … him.

He was amazed at how well they fit together on the dance floor. Lord love her, she was tall, and it unnerved him in a way, dancing with a woman who could very nearly look him in the eyes. And of course she always tried to lead, but he never let her; they wouldn't have been Booth and Brennan otherwise.

She could feel the warmth of his hand splayed across her lower back as they moved, holding her close but not too close. Something made her mind jump back to the conversation with Angela weeks ago, about their last night in this bar. She replayed the conversation in her head, and then tilted up her chin.

"Is this a date, Booth?"

Her voice startled him, and even more so when he comprehended her words. The witty retort died in his throat as he pulled back to look in her eyes. Honesty. That was all he saw there and knew he had to return it in kind.

"I think it is, Bones. That okay with you?"

She thought for a moment, and he held his breath.

Lowering her chin to his shoulder, she answered softly in his ear, "I think it is Booth. I think it is okay."

He responded by holding her a little closer and murmuring the last few lines of the song in her ear.

"…I need to see you … I need to hold you…"

A/N: The song is 'The Weakness in Me' by Joan Armatrading. Thanks for reading.