A/N: (raises head and sniffles...)

well, here it is, my lovely fanfic friends. the last chapter. i wasn't going to update tonight, but i stayed in because i'm throwing an engagement party tomorrow and must get up eaaaarrrllllyy... and how could i not write? it's my favorite thing to do instead of study nowadays, apparently. i'm so bad.

i just want to thank you all again for being so welcoming to me over here and hanging on with me through this angst-filled ride of my first foray into Bones writing. it's been great fun, and have already made a friend for life, so it's been so worth it. not only that, but one of my dearest friends has overlooked my complete and total neglect of another story and followed me over here. thank you, my darling jenn. i swear i'll finish my story soon. i would never leave you hanging. :) also, thanks to laurie for always being so enthusiastic and encouraging.

and oodles of thanks go to jamie -- she helped me through writing this; inspiring me along the way, pointing out details i'd forgotten about or would have let slip away. i'm so glad we've gone into the shipping business. this woman motivates like no other, you guys. she supplies me with all the sexy david boreanaz pictures a girl could ever hope for, as well as friendship and smiles. :)

i hope this final chapter does this story justice. it was never meant to wrap everything up neatly or completely -- only to open a door, i suppose. some of you expressed disappointment that you did not hear what Seeley said at the gravestone in the last chapter, and i'm sorry. i never intended to write that scene -- the point, to me, was that Temperance realized it was what he needed.

anyway, thank you all. i'd really appreciate you letting me know how you feel now that this is all over -- i'll know whether or not this was successful and to continue in the future. big kisses, mia

Chapter Twenty.

His smile is catching and his eyes sparkle as she gazes at him over her stack of waffles. After days of snow and rain, the sun of the early morning continues to shine brightly through the windows of the diner, leaving patches of light on the their table. Lifting the bottle of syrup, she drizzles it in shimmering bands across her breakfast in elaborate patterns and swirls.

"Are you only going to play with your food, or are you going to eat it?" he teases, reaching for his large glass of orange juice. He has a man's breakfast in front of him – eggs and bacon and sausage, potatoes and a pile of toast. And while his food is already half-devoured, she's spent the last ten minutes dreamily spreading butter over hers.

She starts to slice it in pieces, and he forks a chunk of waffle off her plate, popping it into his mouth, causing her to scowl at him briefly. "Hey…"

"You never finish them anyway," he retorts. "I'm just trying to keep it from going to waste."

She glances at her towering plate. "They really should consider serving only two instead of four."

"Nah." He stabs another bite, and she looks at him in mock outrage.

"Eat your own breakfast," she gripes.

He chuckles, dropping back against the worn leather of the booth. "Guess the honeymoon's over already."

She frowns. "What honeymoon?"

He just shakes his head, laughter in his eyes. "It's just an expression, baby."

"Oh." Blushing slightly, she peeks up at him through her lashes. "Do you want to come to my place tonight? I'll make dinner. I think we should eat something that isn't takeout for once."

"You making macaroni and cheese?"

"I hadn't really decided on a menu, to tell you the truth. But I'm craving something a little… healthier for dinner than what we've been ingesting lately."

"You're the one who put three packs of butter on your waffles," he teases.

She sweeps a piece of waffle into a puddle of syrup, chewing happily. "Thus the need for a dinner with vegetables."

He cocks his head to the side. "Whatever you want."

Arching a brow delicately, she reaches for her coffee. "Oh? And how long is that going to last?"

The corners of his mouth twitch as he tries not to smile. "You'll just have to wait and see."

There is a comfortable silence for a moment, and then he glances up at her, swallowing as he reaches again for his juice. "I have Parker tomorrow, just so you know – through Monday night. Rebecca was taking him to visit her mother Thursday through today, so that's why I'm overlapping into the week."

At the mention of his son, she pauses. "Oh. Well, if you want to stay at your house and have a night alone before he comes I –"

He reaches across the table, snagging her hand in his. "No, no," he murmurs. "I just wanted to give you a heads up." He moistens his lower lip with his tongue, and her breath catches at the sight. Sexy.

"He likes you – a lot," he assures her. "And I'm not going to push with him, alright? You can choose to spend as little or as much time with him at first, if you want. But you don't have to worry. He takes after his dad."

She taps the end of her spoon against the rim of her coffee cup, his words sinking into her, swirling around inside. "What does that mean?"

He scoops up a pile of eggs with a triangle of toast. "He's already a bit of a fool for you."

She feels heat sweep through her, and she drops her eyes to her plate, hiding a smile. Out of any other man's mouth, she might be tempted to roll her eyes, but from his, she can hear the sincerity and playfulness. He's comfortable enough with her that he's not trying to woo her or impress her.

"Anyway, I was thinking of taking him to the aquarium tomorrow," he continues, sprinkling pepper on his hash browns.

"I'm sure he'd love that," she murmurs, her focus now entirely on him, her breakfast forgotten.

"Would you come?" he asks her, and she catches the hopefulness in his voice.

She hesitates. It isn't that she doesn't want to – she loves the aquarium, and she finds his little boy to be an intelligent, intuitive, loving kid – just like his father. But as always, she feels that slight tug, that fear of attachment to something or someone.

"Hey," he says quietly, bringing her back. "You don't have to decide right now. I just wanted you to know we'd love it if you came, okay?"

She nods, giving him a smile, and he grins back. When she returns her eyes to her plate, pushing her food around slowly, he pauses as well. "What's on your mind?"

She sneaks another peek at him, blushing. "You."

He sighs, setting down his fork. "I know we still have a lot to figure out, both with work and other things. But I say we just wait until this case is over. Then we can decide what we want to do, who we want to tell." He looks at her guiltily. "By the way, I have a feeling Sweets isn't going to be very happy with me. I put off our session, and I just know that kid's going to pick up on something being different when we go in there on Tuesday and I just –"

She interrupts him, and he stops, his mouth half open.


"That's not what I meant."

He frowns. "Huh?"

"When you asked what I was thinking about. I wasn't thinking about work."

"Oh." He pauses. "What were you thinking about…?"

She gives him a sly smile, and his eyes widen. "Oh."

He's suddenly reaching into his back pocket, tugging for his wallet, and she watches with curiosity as he swiftly pulls two twenties out, dropping them onto the table. Jumping up, he's beside her instantly, tugging her out of the booth.

"What are you doing?" she asks, laughing.

"You're thinking, I'm doing," he says on a breath.

"I'm not done with my breakfast!"

"I have waffle mix at my house," he says desperately. "I'll make you a mountain of them."

"Booth –'

He pauses, turning and his face is suddenly only an inch from hers, and her heart pounds as their eyes lock. "You really want your waffles, Bones? Now?"

She pulls her lower lip between her teeth, her body starting to tremble, and simply shakes her head.

He grins broadly, his fingers winding in hers as he leans to whisper into her ear. "Good. Because I'm going to have enough trouble making it through weekend traffic."

"My place is closer," she breathes. "By at least five minutes."

His pulls back, and his eyes sparkle. "God, I love that brain of yours."


Her door bursts open with a bang, and they tumble over the threshold, hands flying, mouths gasping only a breath apart. As he kicks the doors shut with his foot, she grabs the front of his jacket, stumbling into her apartment until her back hits the wall behind her.

He's already tugging her own jacket from her, dragging it down over her arms, revealing the light sweater underneath. Their breathing is loud, echoing through the quiet of her living room, and she moans lightly when he stops kissing her to lift the cashmere over her head.

Her fingers fumble with his belt, yanking hard to pull it free from the loops of his jeans. Flinging her sweater over his shoulder, he dips his head down again to kiss her, and she winds her fingers into the waist of his pants, tugging him hard so that his hips crash back against hers and she can feel the hardness of his body. Her hands again find his jacket, and she shoves it from his shoulders and then yanks his t-shirt over his head, revealing his bronze skin.

He sinks down to his knees, pressing desperate kisses down her body along the way, his hands falling to her hips and then to the button of her pants. Her head drops back against the wall with a soft thud, her eyes falling shut as his tongue sweeps across the flat of her stomach. God, can he kiss.

He gets the buttons undone, pulling the zipper down, but she's tugging on his hair, pulling him back up to her, wanting his mouth on hers. He doesn't disappoint her, crashing his lips on top of hers, sliding his tongue along her own. Her arms wind around his neck, loving the taste of him in her mouth, of the feel of his arms around the bare skin of her waist.

Clearly intent on getting her naked, he rips his mouth free, his palm moving up to cup her breast, his face burying against it. His other hand quickly finds the clasp behind her back, and his fingers flick effortlessly and it unhooks, and he tugs it free and down her arms. This alone seems sexy to her – his deftness with her clothing, and she again grabs a fistful of his hair, pulling a growl from low in his throat.

She yanks again on his hair a bit, and his hands fly to her hips, pushing her hard against the wall, his mouth fastening to her nipple, suckling furiously, and she lets our a hoarse cry, her whole body thrumming.

He has her pants off her hips and down her legs in moments, and she kicks them hurriedly off her feet, her hands flying to the button of his jeans as he struggles with her boots. They're moving so quickly their limbs keep tangling, their hands fumbling as they try to get inside one another's clothing faster. Before she has his zipper down, he's slipped a finger inside the edge of her underwear, and he groans, the deep sound vibrating low in his chest, only making her hotter.

"God, you're wet," he rasps. "That's so fucking hot, baby -- you have no idea."

But her hand is inside his jeans, cupping the hardness of him, and she thinks she does have some idea. Because the feel of him so hot and rock hard has her so ready for him, she isn't sure they'll make it out of the living room.

"You got me wet at breakfast," she pants, and he groans at her words.

"Oh, what?" he manages. "How?"

"You licked your lower lip," she gasps as he slips a finger deep inside of her. "And it was so…Oh, god…"

She squeezes him in her hand, making him growl again, and she drops her open mouth against his neck, sucking on the skin of his throat. The scent of him is all around her, the spicy, clean smell that she's inhaled over the years whenever he leans close to her, whenever he's brushed past her. Even in the beginning, it had given her pause. Now, it floods her mind with images of him naked against her at the slightest hint of it in the air.

"It's going to be impossible to work with you," he chokes out. "Every time I see you, I'm just going to want to – Oh, god."

As exciting as this is up against the wall, desperate for one another, she suddenly realizes how badly she wants him above her, how much she wants the heavy weight of his body on top of hers. It's something new she's finding she likes – surrendering. And so she wiggles out of his arms, leaving him with his eyes wide and his mouth half open.

"What are you…?"

Standing only in a pair of red cotton panties, she backs away from him playfully. "I want you on top of me, all around me," she taunts, backing up a few steps as he reaches for her. "I want you inside me."

His eyes darken, his lids heavy over them. "Temperance…."

"So come and get me," she teases, her eyes sparkling, spinning on her heel and suddenly racing towards her bedroom.

It amazes her, his grace and speed, because he's got his arms around her waist and is sweeping her up before she is even halfway down the hallway. Tossing her over his shoulder, he heads towards her bedroom in one fluid motion, and she lets out a gasp in surprise and then starts to laugh, the sound of it echoing down her hallway.

And then she's sailing through the air, landing softly in a nest of covers, and he's following her down, his tongue sinking into her mouth immediately as he kisses her deeply. She's tugging on the waist of his boxer briefs, and he's dragging at her own panties, yanking them down over her hips, and then they're skin to skin, and she gasps against his open mouth.

When he thrusts inside her she moans, her hands wrapping around the strong arms on either side of her. After years of being on her own, of being independent and sleeping with men along the way, she finds that being held like this, feeling safe enough to lose control and not be in charge feels incredible. She knows they have plenty of time to find what drives the other wild, to make love in different places and different ways. But for now, she finds the weight of his body above hers, the strength of his arms as he braces himself over her is incredibly sexy, exactly what she wants.

And she realizes that in the end, it's not about being equal in every single moment along the way. Sometimes he'll be the one to be strong; sometimes she'll be the one to be brave. What matters is that together, they complement the other; that the balance is there. The silver dog tags that hold her name, that hold her words hang between them, dangling from his the chain around his neck, and she wraps her fingers around them tightly for a moment, as if her touch could pour more of herself into them in some way.

She thinks for a moment, as she rolls her hips along with his demanding rhythm, of that first case, of that moment in the shooting range when they'd locked eyes, when neither had been willing to back down. And she smiles against his kiss, realizing it had been there since the very first day, the heat that surrounds them now.

Her smile soon disappears as her mouth opens, a gasp escaping as his hand slips between them, his fingers finding her clit, and she cries out his name hoarsely. He's ahead of her, she realizes, and wants desperately to bring her along with him, for them to tumble over the edge together, but she wants something else. Finding his hand between them, she tugs it back up, and as she reaches for his other one, his eyes lock with hers, understanding, and he braces his weight on his elbows.

His fingers intertwine with her own, pressing their hands into the mattress, and she arches up, pressing wet, open-mouthed kisses along his throat as she lets her knees drop lower to the mattress, lets him sink more deeply within her.

"I love you," he rasps suddenly. "God, so much, I love you so much…"

Everything around her is him – his smell, his touch, the way he tastes. His body is buried deeply within her, his hands a mirror image of her own against the sheets. The room disappears, the world disappears, and she feels tears well up in her eyes at the awesomeness of it all, of the sheer magnitude of what it is they can do together, what they can make. Making love, she thinks. We're making love.

"Seeley, I love you," she gasps, breathless, weightless. " I love you…"

And she sees him begin to tremble, sees the surrender in the deep and beautiful brown of his eyes, and it's all it takes, all she needs to fall with him, their hands still clasped together.


It is those hands of his that she reaches for amongst the tangle of sheets, pulling them up to examine them in the light still streaming through the window of her bedroom. She lifts her own, holding it against his, and his palm dwarfs her own, his fingers extend several inches past hers.

"Your hands," she murmurs. "I've never seen hands so large."

He shifts next to her, his head dropping next to hers, his voice near her ear. "Oh?"

She nods, the pads of her fingertips stroking his palm, and he shivers. "Strong," she whispers. "Like a warrior's."

He chuckles, but she hears the pleasure in his tone when he speaks. "A warrior, huh?"

"But gentle," she says. "They're my second favorite thing."

"Second favorite?"

"Mmm…" She turns in his arms, his hand still in hers, and she places them on his chest. "This is my favorite."

"My chest?" he jokes lightly.

She doesn't answer, but rises up suddenly, and presses her lips softly and slowly to where his pulse is beating beneath his ribcage. When she lifts her head, she sees the shimmer in his eyes, hears the tremor in his voice. "Temperance… it won't be easy."

"No," she says, shaking her head. "Definitely not."

"But we're strong,"


"We're warriors," he says with a smile.


His hand cups her cheek, his thumb stroking her bottom lip, and she catches his wrist, pressing a soft kiss to the tips of his fingers. "And we'll make it," he says reverently.


She sees the surprise on his face at her answer, sees the amazement. "How do you know?" he whispers, his eyes questioning, his voice catching.

And she smiles, feeling her heart beating strong and sure beneath her ribs, feeling her blood rush through her body with each breath as she finally answers him.

"I have faith."