I was absolutely blown away by this week's episode. I thought it was one of the most well-written shows I've seen of anything in a very long time. However, one of my dearest friends asked me for a follow up, so I felt obliged to do so.


Booth reached for his towel and wiped the sweat from his eyes before turning back to the heavy bag. He continued to pound into it, channeling his anger and frustration into his fists as he pummeled it repeatedly. He had no idea how long he'd been at the gym, only that it was nearly deserted and he still wasn't ready to go home yet.

His hands hurt from the repeated contact with the bag, in spite of the boxing gloves he wore, and his shoulders were aching with exhaustion, but he refused to stop. Not even when he felt her presence behind him did he allow himself a break. He kept his focus solely on the rhythm he had established, keeping his punches even and his breathing steady while she settled herself on a bench behind him to watch.

It was several long minutes before she spoke. "You're dropping your elbow."

He startled a bit at the unexpected observation and grabbed the bag with both gloved hands to stop its motion. "It happens sometimes when I get tired," he noted as he slowly turned to face her.

"How long are you planning on staying here?"

He shrugged and picked up his towel, using it to wipe his face again. "I don't know."

"Okay," she replied. "I'll wait."

He dropped his towel back to the ground and then turned back to the heavy bag. He began punching it again and after several solid blows, he spoke. "What are you doing here, Bones?"

"Waiting for you," came her quick reply. "And you're still dropping your elbow."

He stopped long enough to give her a dirty look before adjusting his stance and picking up his rhythm again. He never should've gone into such great detail while they were undercover in Vegas as Tony and Roxie. "How did you even find me?"

He saw her shrug out of the corner of his eye before she answered him. "I went by your apartment first, then your office. The process of elimination brought me here."

"Why?"

"I wanted to talk to you," she replied.

"About what?"

She didn't answer him right away, the only sounds between them his heavy breathing and the steady thump of his fists against the heavy bag. When she finally gave voice to her thoughts, he was surprised to find that she had moved until she was standing directly beside him. "Are we okay, Booth?"

"Of course we are, Bones," he replied quickly.

"Then why are you trying to see which one of you gives out first?" she asked as she nodded to the heavy bag.

"I just needed a good workout," he replied.

Her hand on his forearm brought him to a standstill and he slowly lowered his arms to his sides. "Talk to me, Booth. Please."

The pleading note in her voice was his undoing and he knew he couldn't avoid this discussion any longer. He had hoped that several rounds with the bag would ease the confusion he felt, but her presence beside him seemed only to magnify it. "Was it worth it?" he finally asked as he lifted his gaze to hers.

Instead of trying to act like she didn't know what he was talking about, she turned the tables on him. "When you pocketed my earring three years ago, was it worth it?"

There was no hesitation in his voice when he replied. "Yes."

"Is this going to change things between us?" she asked. "Can you still trust me knowing that I willingly cheated the system?"

"Did it change things between us when I did?" he replied as he removed the boxing gloves from his hands and dropped them to the floor.

"I think it made our friendship stronger," she replied. She gazed at him for a long minute before she added, "But it was also a little scary when I realized what you were willing to risk for me."

"I'd risk a helluva lot more for you, Temperance."

"I know."

They stared at each other in silence for several moments before he reached out to trace a finger down her cheek. "I'm glad you got your father back."

"I'm sorry that I had to cheat the system to do it," she replied. "And I'm even more sorry that you had to corroborate the story. I never wanted to hurt you. But to answer your question...yes, I think it was worth it."

"I was more concerned about you than myself," he replied.

"Why?" she asked as she took his hand in hers and held it up to examine the bruises that were already forming on his knuckles.

"Because I wasn't sure if you were ready to follow your heart that completely," he replied. "I don't think I've ever seen you be so completely Temperance Brennan before."

She rubbed her thumb gently across his knuckles as she met his gaze again. "A very good friend of mine told me that sometimes you just have to put your brain in neutral and let your heart take over."

"I'm glad you followed his advice," he said softly.

"Me, too."

He dropped his gaze to where her thumb was still absently rubbing across his knuckles wondering if he should voice the question that had been running through his head all day or just leave things as they were. Before he could make his decision, she gave his hand a gentle squeeze and he lifted his gaze back to hers.

"I realized something earlier today, Booth."

"What's that?" he asked.

"When you were on the witness stand and you were trying to keep my name from getting dragged through the mud, I realized that I wasn't the only one who had to put my brain in neutral and follow my heart."

"It's what partners do," he replied.

"Not always," she said. "And I want you to know how much I appreciate what you did for me and my family today." He started to say something, but she placed a finger on his lips to silence him. "And just so you know, I would go a helluva lot farther for you, too."

Their gazes locked again and he saw in her eyes the answer to his unasked question. She did understand why he'd so easily turned his back on the system he fought for on a daily basis. His lips curved up slightly beneath her finger and she saw the change in his demeanor as his entire body seemed to relax at her admission.

When she lowered her finger from his lips, he lifted their still joined hands and turned hers over to place a kiss on the back of hers. Deciding that it would probably be best to lighten the mood a bit, he flashed her a full fledged smile. "I'm starving. Do you want to go get something to eat?"

She returned his smile and shook her head. "Only if you're going to take a shower first."

He pulled her closer and leaned in to whisper in her ear. "Am I not sexy enough for you, Roxie?"

"A little too damn sexy at the moment, Booth," she replied honestly. "And unless you're ready to jump headfirst over that line you drew, I'd suggest you go get a shower and meet me at the diner."

His eyebrows rose at her admission and he found himself at a loss for words. She chuckled softly as his mouth opened and closed twice with no sound coming out. "You're going to catch flies if you're not careful, Booth."

She turned to walk away from him, but he caught her by the wrist and pulled her back to face him. "I'd rather catch you, Bones."

"You already have," she replied.

"Have I?" he asked softly.

She leaned up and pressed a soft kiss against his lips, lingering for just a moment before she pulled back to meet his eyes again. "Totally and completely."

He gave her a goofy smile and then leaned down to capture her lips in a searing kiss. She gasped in surprise at the unexpectedness of it, and he took the opportunity to slip his tongue into her mouth, tracing it along her teeth and the roof of her mouth before sliding it sensuously against her own. His arms slid around her and pulled her body flush against his as her arms wound around his neck holding him to her.

They spent several minutes locked in the embrace, their lips and tongue dueling playfully as their hands gently caressed each other. When they finally broke apart, Booth rested his forehead against hers and took a deep breath. "Change of plans, Bones. We're skipping the diner and going back to my place. I think I've managed to get enough sweat on you that we both need a shower now."

"Are you offering to share?" she teased him.

"Yes," he replied. "And I'm desperately hoping that I'm not diving headfirst over that line by myself."

"Never," she assured him.

They came together for one more gentle kiss before he broke away from her and moved to pick up his boxing gloves and towel. Once he had secured them in his gym bag, he reached for her hand and they made their way out of the building like they knew they should...together.


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