Hey guys! This fic is episode tag to the third season finale, "The Pain in the Heart," so definitely beware of spoilers if you haven't seen it yet! Please review after you're finished reading!

As always, Bones isn't mine. If it were, this would've been how the season ended last week. The dialogue in the beginning is borrowed from the finale.

She heard his heavy footsteps coming down the stairs behind her, and she lifted her head out of her hands. Still no tears. In the past two weeks she had killed a woman, lost her partner, got her partner back, and discovered that someone else she trusted, loved, and respected was a murderer and working for a serial killer. She felt and had been feeling defeated, devastated, heart broken, even, yet she still couldn't cry. She didn't know whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

After the events from her teenage years, she had taught herself not to cry. She had thickened her skin and learned to compartmentalize and deal with every bad thing that came her way, whether it be something small like losing her car keys or something big like losing a loved one. She hadn't cried at Booth's fake funeral, and ever since Booth had pointed that out, the reasoning behind it had been bothering her. No wonder people saw her as cold and distant. She had had the worst two weeks of her entire adult life and couldn't even manage to shed a single tear.

She heard him coming and mentally prepared herself for a speech about how much she meant to Zack, or about how much she loves him, whether she expressed it through gifts or not. Her gaze remained locked on her hands as he arrived and sat down, and she only briefly glanced up to confirm that it was, in fact, Booth come to comfort her.

He sat down next to her, and without saying a word or meeting her eyes with his, he pulled out a letter and began to read to her.

"Dear Mr. Addy," Booth started.

Brennan's eyes widened and she leaned closer to Booth as she realized the letter in his hands was from the box of Zack's favorite things. She instantly knew what the letter was. She knew it had come from her.

"It is my pleasure to offer you the post as my intern in forensic anthropology. I chose you from hundreds of applicants because of your knowledge, your desire to learn, and because I feel you will find a home here," he read.

Booth folded up the letter and placed it back in the envelope as Brennan processed her own words in her mind. Her eyes never left him as he read Zack's acceptance letter to her.

"I think you gave him something great, Bones," Booth said as Brennan looked at him with sad eyes.

She snatched her contribution to Zack's favorite things out of his hands and took a deep breath before leaning over and laying her head on Booth's shoulder. He instantly rested his head on top of hers in an act of comfort for both her and himself.

Booth lay his head on hers and just listened to her breathe. Her breathing was steady and even for a few minutes but finally grew deeper. Booth slipped his arm around her back, holding her softly to his side. He heard a tiny sniffle come from his partner, and, as he finally looked down at her face, he realized she was crying.

Silent tears were running down her cheeks as she kept her head on Booth's shoulder. A tear spilled off her face and landed on the envelope, which only made her begin to cry harder. Her sobs became a little less silent, her breathing more ragged, and Booth held on a little tighter.

"Bones," Booth said quietly.

"He…" she cried. "He kept the letter."

"Yeah," he said, rubbing her back gently.

"What am I going to do without him?" she asked.

"You'll get him back…someday," Booth said with confidence. With this, she broke down into hysterical, frantic sobs, with big tears pouring out of her blue eyes.

"He killed someone," she cried.

"I know," he said.

"Booth," she said.

"Yeah, Bones?" he asked, keeping up his soft tone of voice.

"I'm sorry I hit you so hard," she said, wiping some of the tears off her face.

"Oh, no, don't worry about that now," Booth said.

"I thought I had lost you. I can't lose both you and Zack," she said.

"You're not going to lose me. I'm right here," he said, running his hand over her side. "What's going on, Bones?"

"I never cried," she said.

"When?" he asked.

"When they told me you died. I didn't cry. I just…felt numb, Booth, like something was missing. Sweets was wrong. I didn't handle it well at all. I tried to compartmentalize, but I just couldn't deal with it," she revealed. "I threw myself into work, like I always do when I'm upset, but outside of work, I was a mess. I even ordered a piece of pie just because it reminded me of you. Now, with Zack being…Gormogon's apprentice, these past two weeks are all hitting me at once."

"I'm truly sorry you had to spend two weeks thinking I was gone. If I had any idea that they hadn't told you, I would've called and told you myself," he said, holding her even closer to him.

"I know," she cried. "I know you would've. I knew you wouldn't leave me."

"Never," he said. "Not intentionally, anyway."

A few more sobs escaped her throat. "What do I do about Zack?"

"You do what you did with your dad, Bones. You love him," Booth said.

"But he's a murderer!" she said.

"Yeah, but he's not a bad guy. You know, in your heart, that Zack is not a bad guy," Booth said.

"I'm trying to come up with something I could've done differently. I should've been better: a better teacher, a better friend," she said.

"Stop. It's not your fault. It's mine. I never should've let him go to Iraq. I knew that was no place for him," Booth said.

"If it's not my fault, it's not yours, either," she said.

"Yeah, I know," Booth said. "We both just want someone to blame."

"The Jeffersonian won't be the same without Zack," she cried.

"No," Booth agreed. "But don't think he didn't love you. The rest of us, we gave him objects, material stuff. You, Bones, you gave him his friends…his family."

"His home," she said quietly, twirling the envelope in her hands.

"His home," Booth agreed, nodding.

Sizeable tears spilled out of her big, blue eyes as her crying started back up again. Just as before, she started off with silent weeping that soon turned into intense sobs as the weight of the events from the past two weeks hit her fiercely. She knew that Booth was just as devastated as she was, and that's why, when he cupped his hand around her cheek, she didn't push him away. His hand gently moved her head up and to the side, and he rested his forehead against hers, their noses brushing together.

"Booth," she cried with a soft tone of voice.

"We'll get through this," he promised, brushing her tears away with his thumb.

She brought her hand up to rest on his face as her crying continued. They remained in this intimate position for a while, slowly breathing in and out together. Booth wanted nothing more in that moment than to calm her crying, so he comforted her in the only way he knew how. He titled his face into her palm, keeping their foreheads together, and kissed her mouth gently.

He pulled away before she had time to respond to his lips against hers. He moved his head back to its original position and she continued to cry, her tears becoming more silent once again.

"Again," she muttered.

He titled his head and kissed her again, and she responded, kissing him back. They pulled apart after only one kiss, but their lips lingered near the other's mouth.

"Booth," she whispered.

He pressed another gentle kiss to her lips and returned to resting his forehead against hers. She finally opened her blue eyes and looked up, meeting his gaze, her hand still tucked snugly around his face.

"More," she whispered against his lips.

"Are you sure?" he asked, matching her tone of voice.

"More," she repeated.

Booth did as she requested and kissed her again. This time, when they pulled their lips apart, they immediately leaned together again, instantly rejoining their mouths.

He felt her begin to cry again so he moved his lips away from her lips and began to kiss away the tears that spilled down her face, tasting the salty flavor on his tongue. She sighed as his mouth traveled over her cheeks, and she used her hand to steer his face back to her lips.

Their kisses were quick and lazy, and when they pulled apart, there was hardly any sound. Their tongues never touched, their hands didn't roam the other's body, and their mouths weren't devouring each other. Their kisses were sweet and soft as they poured their devastation into them.

Brennan had never experienced this before. She had never kissed simply because it felt good to kiss or because it was a way to relieve stress, be comforted, or comfort someone she cared about. Kissing always tended to lead somewhere with her, but at that moment, kissing Booth, touching her lips to his, felt better than anything she had done with any of the other men that had come in and out of her life.

Her crying finally ceased, but they continued to share tender but passionate kisses. As time crept by, they both came to understand that they weren't kissing simply to comfort one another but also to show the other how horrible their two weeks apart were and how much the other was missed during that time.

"Do you think they left?" Angela asked from the lounge.

"Booth and Brennan?" Hodgins asked. He was on one of the couches, softly playing Zack's harmonica.

"Yeah," Angela said. "She ran out of here a long time ago."

"Let's go check on them," Cam said.

She and Angela got up and walked to the staircase as Hodgins played sad music and Sweets looked through the box of Zack's things. The girls arrived at the top of the staircase and peered over the edge when they heard one of Brennan's sobs from below.

Both girls were initially shocked as they watched the partners hold each other's face and share soft, intimate kisses. Angela sighed at the sight, and a slight smile graced Cam's face.

"Come on. Let's leave them alone," Cam said, turning Angela back towards the lounge and their friends.

"Are they gone?" Hodgins asked.

"No," Cam said. "But they're a little…preoccupied right now."

"Preoccupied?" Sweets asked. "What does that mean?"

He started walking towards the staircase to go observe Booth and Brennan, but Angela stopped him, using a surprising amount of force to shove him back to the couches and away from the staircase.

"No," she said. "You can psychoanalyze them tomorrow. We have all had a very long, trying two weeks, partially thanks to you and your 'experiment,' and you are going to let them have their moment!"

"Okay," Sweets agreed. "I'll stay here."

Booth and Brennan pulled their lips apart with a quiet smack. He began to play with the ends of her hair as she slowly calmed her breathing.

"I'm glad you're alive," she said softly.

"I'm glad you're alive," he responded as she shifted to once again lay her head on his shoulder.

"So what now?" she asked.

"In terms of what?" he asked.

"Zack…Gormogon…us," she clarified.

"You and Zack shared a close bond. Forgive him, Bones. Forgive him like you forgave your family," he said, resting his head on hers just as he did before.

"And us?" she asked.

"Want to go get something to eat?" he asked. She had her eyes closed and scrunched up her face at his suggestion.

"Mmm…comfortable here," she said.

"Why don't you get up and we'll over to my house?" he asked. She picked up her head and looked at him with wide, questioning eyes.

"Why?" she asked.

"Because my bed is more comfortable than this staircase," he said.

"Your bed?" she asked, her eyes widening even more.

"Not for sex," he clarified. "Just to sleep. Just to be together."

She thought about his new suggestion for a moment. "Okay," she agreed.

"Okay," he said. He reached for the railing to help him stand, but she pulled his arm back down and laid her head back on his shoulder.

"A few more minutes," she said, nestling her face into his neck.

"Okay," he smiled. "A few more minutes."

Reviews are always greatly appreciated! Please leave one if you've got some time.