For the both of them, it is ordinary, routine even. It happens again, day after day, yet it is not insignificant. Far from it- he knows exactly why it continues on the long-trodden path; he has fifty reasons to remember and a police scanner crackling static to goad each weary case and call of duty.

She has different reasons(fundamentally, they are very much the same), but feels no need to explain them- perhaps his off-hand nickname for her carries more meaning than intended. Every fragmented shard of bone begged answers of different degrees, and maybe she'd come past the point where she felt the complete need to provide all of them. Her partnership with Booth changed things- nothing was ever stark black or white, nothing ever completely good or bad. Nothing ever certain.

He knows the danger of habit. It comes slowly, but builds up to a point where there is no escape and it has become but a ritual, done only because it exists.

He doesn't want their relationship to become that way- he's not sure if it already has: he knows sometimes they argue for the sake of normality(it became routine somewhere along the way with her, and sometimes he asks a question that requires an anthropological point of view just so she can explain and he can smile).

And then something would happen: she'd offer something of herself, or he'd present her with another little gift across the table in their diner and for a while they'd both try to believe that something had changed.

She tries to be rational- she is rational, she tells herself, but the presence/absence of emotion she cannot explain away. Booth handles himself and his vices, his list with God and confessionals and prayer. She had her science and her disbelief, and that had been enough for a while.

The day she woke to a darkened existence and a stinging puncture-burn she faltered: eulogies hastily penned on earth stained paper, the silence of the underground- and tried to put her trust in something other than science and reason.

Desperation led to false hope, she knew, but refused to believe that either of them had reached that stage, that he felt as illogically and irrationally affected as she did(although he would have put it differently).

When arms(his) permeate the soil above and pull her out of the nightmarish prison her car has become, she feels safe, secure- and stops being ashamed long enough to admit her dependence(but not to concede she doesn't mind).

Neither of them liked(at least consciously) moments when the immediate danger had passed and there was nothing that could be said to fill the void of destruction and fear that lingered still.

He wonders if it would be callous to admit he does- that in yearning so much to break the habit of he and she, death and life he remembers those moments a little too vividly. When (on a rare occasion) she buries her face in his coat and he wraps his arms around her, his only thought revolves around this is good; this hasn't happened before; this is progress; this is no habit, this is good-

He doesn't wait for the day she attempts to abandon all rationality and give in to her other prejudices- because then she wouldn't be Brennan; she wouldn't be anyone he knew.

Right now he isn't even sure he knows her- across the table from him in the diner and she's talking about the case and he starts to compile a mental list of what he knows about her.

Minutes later, he decides he knows enough, and that night he troubles no more over her- he sleeps.

Today he brought her to church(well, she asked) and they didn't say anything the whole time, pew creaking softly under their weight and candles drooping, flames licking the air:

he whispers, once, during the sermon, and she shushes him and he smiles.

They argued less often now: less bickering, more discussion (well, less anger anyway, and that was a relief) and since the church service she hadn't once brought up God. He still hadn't decided if that worried him or not.

Eventually both lapse into an awkward silence that goes on for days, and this time he isn't grateful for the pause in their long-established ritualistic lives.

He slides another gift across the table in the diner- another night descending from daylight into homicide and skeletons and sterile medico-legal laboratories- and hopes for the best.

She accepts it with a miniscule twitch of the lips- a smile, but just barely.

When she doesn't return any of his calls, the crimson display of his bedside clock stands sentry while he watches the phone.

It's been almost two weeks when she finally calls and he comes almost immediately, grateful for the summon (and he decides they're stilljust partners).

She answers the door on the first ring. He can see the television(barely swallowing the surprise at that willingness to be exposed to pop culture) and-

"Hey." It's that smile again, and he cringes.

"Hey, Bones." Smile a cover to treason; casual greeting a façade.

"I need to ask you a question- well, I suppose I thought you'd know, and…"

"Bones. Just…ask."

"How do you forgive someone- what should you do? "

"Well." Sheepish: "Are you mad at me, Bones? You know I- "

"No, Booth. I just need to know." She paused. "What other cultures require- well, they are of anthropological interest; the Masai- "

"You have to accept it, Bones, their reasons or explanations and know that it's only human."

She took a step forward in reply.

"And humans are never completely rational."

He doesn't hold her and she doesn't yield and they don't change radically in the moment both envision. Their habit- arguments and diner-conversations and little gifts- allows just enough for subtlety and awkwardness, but not that and both regarded it forbidden. (She refused to think of it, and he chose to believe their differences made things that way.)

And they go on, days and nights product of habit , devoid of everything else, but often (curiously enough) both manage to find satisfaction.

Their habit consumes; it changes everything and improves nothing. She never did put much stock in psychology, but she knew the comfort(and danger) of habit- they both did, and yet everything went on: it was never about the sun and the way it rose and set-

it was about their dependence on the familiar and the fear and eschewal of change.