A/N: This is another one I intended to write for the Porn Battle at LiveJournal but it's too long, so I've failed. Again.

ETA: When I said I failed, I only meant that I'd failed to write something porny in the 4300 character range. g But thanks for the reassurances anyway; you've made my day. :)
Prompt: Knife
Timeframe: This is set sometime after Santa in the Slush.


All the world is
All I am
The black of the the blackest ocean
And that tear in your hand
All the world is danglin' danglin' danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have with that
Tear in your hand
That tear in your hand
- Tori Amos

The target smiles, and years of training kick in. Something in the subtle shift of his shoulders telegraphs his intent to raise the knife clutched in his right hand. Booth knows he has mere seconds before the knife slices through his partner's throat. He blinks at Brennan—and sends up a quick prayer that she understands. A fractional narrowing of her eyes. She knows.

"Take your best shot, Agent Booth," he taunts.

She blinks at him twice in rapid succession. Her body tightens as she prepares to move. He prays again—hoping the coiled energy in her muscles is enough. She rocks to the left, and the chair topples.

Now.

Booth takes his best shot, aiming for the heart.

The target falls, knife clattering harmlessly to the warehouse floor.

Another name added to his list, but it's all right. Has to be. Because if he has to choose between his soul and her life, well, it's not even a choice.

He crosses himself, and then he's running, pausing only to grab the dead man's knife, ignoring the swarm of fellow agents that move in around him.

He forces the chair upright and saws through the rope binding her wrists. With hands that are not quite steady, he eases her arms from behind her back, knowing from experience how her muscles ache from being forced back and frozen in that position for hours. Then he comes around front and kneels at her feet to free her bound ankles. As gently as he can, he rubs the circulation back into her limbs, carefully avoiding her raw and reddened wrists and ankles.

When he can avoid it no longer, he looks up into her eyes. They are dry, but her shoulders tremble beneath his hands.

The sharp tang of her fear pulls him forward; he leans in and wraps his arms around her, rocking her, trying to absorb into his body the fine tremors that wrack hers.

"Shh," he murmurs against her hair, even though she hasn't spoken, "I'm here now."


She refuses to go to the hospital, so he takes her back to his apartment. They don't talk during the short drive, and she stands patiently while he fumbles in his pocket for his keys. Her patience is a warning sign.

"I'd like to take a shower," she says after they step inside. Her voice is a rusty knife; it guts him.

"Sure. Of course," he replies, curling his hands into fists so he won't touch her. "Let me get you some clothes."


She comes out of his bathroom wearing his oldest sweatshirt and sweatpants. He chose them because he knows they'll be soft against her skin. The large, loose clothes should seem ridiculous on her, but they don't. Long, wet hair spills over her shoulders. Her eyes are far too big in her pale face. She looks fragile, vulnerable. His chest aches.

"I made you hot chocolate," he says, holding out the steaming mug.

"Thank you, but I just want to go to bed."

"Bones, you should drink something. It's—"

"I'm fine, Booth," she says, holding up one hand. "I just want to go to bed."

That she doesn't raise her voice is what keeps him from forcing the issue. "All right. You can have my room."

"Booth, I'm not going to—"

"Please. Don't fight me on this. My room," he says, jerking his thumb in the direction of his bedroom.

The tension in his shoulders eases a notch when she nods. "Fine."


Brennan leans back against the headboard and lets him push up her sleeves and pant legs. When he smooths on the first drop of ointment, she stiffens.

"I'm sorry," he says—and he is.

She avoids his eyes, looking somewhere above his shoulder. "Don't be. It's not your fault."

"I know, but—"

"Shut up, Booth," she says, but there's no anger in her voice. There's nothing.

He finishes bandaging her wrists and ankles in silence.


"Let me know if you need anything else," he says, gathering the ointment and extra bandages and placing them back into the first-aid box. "I'll be up for a while." He stands up.

"Stay."

The word turns him around. "Do you...want to talk about it?"

She closes her eyes for a moment, then shakes her head. "No." When she pats the space beside her on his bed, he hesitates.

"Bones..."

"Yes?" Blue eyes meet brown, and she holds his gaze for the first time that night.

"Nothing." Before he can think better of it, he comes back and sits down next to her.

They sit silently, shoulders just touching, for so long that he thinks she's fallen asleep. When he shifts, she reaches for his hand and places it on her breast. Surprise makes his heart stutter, knocks the breath from his lungs.

He tries to pull away, but she keeps him there, her grip surprisingly strong. Turning to face her, he struggles to form the right words. Words to tell her they shouldn't be doing this. There's a line—and consequences—and he needs her too much to risk...

"Booth," she whispers, her breath brushing his face, and it's his name, his name. No one else says it like that, like it's a prayer and a command and something else he can't find the word for. He let her father escape because she called for him. He's never been able to refuse her anything when she says his name like that; why should now be any different, even though she doesn't know, can't possibly know, what's she's asking of him?

With her free hand, she reaches for him, her fingers curving around his cheek, and rubs her thumb against the soft skin below his bottom lip. That small, tender gesture undoes all his good intentions; he surrenders to whatever is happening between them—has been happening between them for a long time. If it costs him everything, maybe this, her hand on his cheek like a benediction, is enough.

This time, when he tries to pull his hand from her breast, she lets him. Booth covers her hand and turns his face into it, shutting his eyes and nuzzling her palm. She shivers under his mouth, and he opens his eyes to find her watching him, tracing the bones of his face with her eyes.

Must be a trick of the light—the way her eyes seem black instead of blue. Doesn't matter. He's still Booth, and she's still Bones, and yes, he'll still do anything for her. "Tell me what you want, Bones," he says. His voice sounds hoarse, raw, and he hears how she responds to it, her breath coming a little faster now.

"Kiss me," she says, and he feels it everywhere—in his chest, in his cock, and sparking up his spine.

He tugs her down to lie on her back and then runs his fingers over her eyebrows, cheeks, nose. Her face is so familiar to him, but he's never before had the luxury of being this close to her and just looking. A sigh of irritation from her, and she pulls his hand from her face and licks the kanji on his wrist. She sucks the skin into her mouth, and he moans, wondering if she can taste his pulse.

"I said, kiss me," she says, the words muffled against his wrist.

"All right, all right," he says, and in spite of everything, the corners of his mouth kick up in a small smile. He kisses her, long and slow and sweet, nibbling on her lips and sliding his right hand up under her shirt, well really his shirt, to cup one round, heavy breast. No bra. He sighs his approval and slides his tongue along her bottom lip. This isn't their first kiss, but it feels like it is because there's no mistletoe and no audience. Just him and her and the slow burn under his skin.

When he flicks his thumb over her nipple, she arches into his hand with a moan that makes him want to strip her naked and slide inside her right then and there. But it doesn't matter what he wants; this is for her. He intends to go slow, thinking that's what she wants, but apparently he's wrong. What she wants is his tongue, because she licks into his mouth again and again, whimpering. Feeling her desperation now, he moves his hand from her breast, sliding it down, down over ribs and stomach, through soft hair. Carefully, he runs a finger over her, testing her. His finger comes away wet; he raises it to his mouth and sucks it clean, watching her face. Her eyebrows draw together, and her lips part.

Much as he'd like to draw it out, tease her until she's begging for him, now isn't the right time for that. It's not in his nature to be cruel—and it would be cruel to make her wait now. Now, when he can smell her need for him, musky and hot and all woman. So he slips his hand between her legs again and slides one finger inside her wet heat.

He sets an easy rhythm, moving his finger in and out as he buries his face in her neck and inhales in her scent. She smells like his soap, only much better, and he's hard and aching, feeling her wetness on his hand and imagining it surrounding him.

"More," she breathes, hips rising and falling in a wave.

He slides in another finger and hears her breathing change. Shoving her shirt up, he sucks her nipple into his mouth and flicks his tongue against it. "So...good..." she croons, threading her fingers into his hair.

He rubs his thumb over her clit and she gasps. "Mouth...on me. Please," she pants.

"Anything you want," he murmurs against her breast—and means it. He drags himself down her body, peppering her skin with kisses as he goes. He unties the drawstring and eases the pants over her hips and thighs, down past her calves. She kicks them off and he groans; she isn't wearing any underwear. His pants are probably wet with her juices; the thought nearly makes him groan again. Gently, he spreads her legs and looks at her.

"Look later," she commands.

"Ok, ok." He rubs his stubbled cheek against the silky skin on the inside of her thigh, and she rewards him with a shiver.

He gives her one long, slow lick. She tastes like...home.

When she moans, he feels it more than hears it. As she sifts her fingers through his hair, he lifts her legs over his shoulders. Curving his hands under her ass, he draws her up toward his mouth. He lets the motion of her hips and the sound of her breathing guide him, alternating sucking her clit into his mouth and tapping it with his tongue.

When her movements become more frantic, he flicks his tongue against her and slides in one finger. He can feel her muscles clenching and releasing around his finger, and it makes him crazy. He can feel how much she needs this—how close she is.

"Booth..." He looks up at her. Her cheeks are flushed, her eyes heavy-lidded; she is as beautiful as he imagined she'd be. "Booth..." she repeats, and she's never said his name like that before—breathless and hungry and if he's right, just on the edge. "I can't..." There's something like panic in her eyes, and it tugs at him, makes him want to soothe her.

"It's ok," he murmurs against her soft, wet flesh, feeling his heart thunder in his chest. Lifting his head because he wants to see her, he replaces his mouth with his hand. "Let go, Bones. I've got you." Always.

She moans his name one more time and thrusts hard against his hand, back arching as she comes apart, shaking. He tries to memorize the moment, from her flushed skin and tousled hair to the scent of her, which lingers in the air.

Even though he is still frustratingly hard, something heavy and full settles in his chest as he crawls back up her body, pausing to sip the moisture from her skin. But her breathing sounds jagged, and when he leans in and kisses her, he discovers why. She tastes of salt, and her eyes are no longer dry. Though it hurts him to see her like this, he understands that it's necessary.

When she turns away from him, spine curving in a pale half-moon, he pulls her back. "No." He runs the back of his hand over her cheek; it comes away wet. "Don't hide from me."

She sniffs. "I'm sor—"

He cuts her off. "Don't say it."

She blinks at him, eyes swimming with tears. "You didn't...You're still wearing all your clothes, Booth."

He presses the pad of his thumb against her mouth. "Shh... It doesn't matter."

"But—"

"For once, Bones, just be quiet." He reaches for her, then, and gathers her into his arms. "Shh. I'm here now."