So, like everyone, I feel like the "death" of Booth was a fertile soil that could have been reaped a bit more. Takes place after the finale.

Disclaimer: I own nothing in relation to the show Bones.

Booth was at a loss for how to help Bones. She'd just lost Zach, they all had, and it was a lot to take in. With Gormogon caught and Zach the victim of his brainwashing, the team was shaken to its foundation. Still, he couldn't help but feel a little hurt, which made him feel selfish.

He'd taken a bullet for her, had supposedly died for her, and she hadn't seemed to care. She'd tossed an explanation out that she was able to compartmentalize her feelings, that she was able to move on in the interest of doing her job, yada yada yada.

Loosening his tie slightly he walked away from the group and sat down in one of the comfier chairs in Angela's office. He needed to take a break from the reminiscing for awhile. He needed to collect himself, stop feeling angry for a moment so he could go back out there and continue to support the team who'd just lost a part of them.

It had been a long few days and his shoulder ached from the still healing bullet wound that sat taped with gauze under his shirt. He rubbed the spot absently, thinking of her face when she'd seen him at his own funeral. He'd never seen her that furious and, at first he was confused why. He thought she knew about his faked death. He couldn't lie to himself, he'd wondered over the last few days what would happen if she thought he was really dead. Would she cry? Would she think about him?

A humorless smirk came to his face as the adage "be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" went through his mind. She had thought he was dead and now he knew how she would feel if someday he died in the line of duty. She hadn't lost even a bit of pep in her step over it.


Angela's voice snapped him back to reality and he chided himself privately for throwing such a pity party over it. "Hi Angela."

She crossed the room to her desk and turned on the desk lamp. Her eyes were red rimmed and glassy, her nose raw. She'd been crying for hours over Zach as they'd begun going through his things. His heart went out to her, the most sensitive squint on the team. Suddenly he became aware that he was in her office, where she would probably like to be alone for awhile.

He rose from the chair and started for the door. "I'll let you have some time to yourself Angela, sorry for intruding."

"No Booth, it's okay. I just needed to grab something off my desk. Please, sit back down for a sec, I'll hang out with you before I go back with the others. I could use a little breather from the Zach talk for minute. What were you doing in here?"

She sat down in the chair across from the one that Booth had just occupied. Following her lead, he reclaimed his old seat. "Oh, you know, I was just, I was meditating for a minute."

Angela gave him one of her looks that said she smelled a rat. "Sweetie, you're a good guy."

Booth squirmed in his chair. "Thanks."

Her expression never changed. "Which makes you a terrible liar."

He was and he knew it. Thankfully, his talents were better developed in smelling out lies when other people told them, making him an excellent judge of character and good at his job. He was born to be on the right side of the law, he couldn't lie himself out of a paper bag.

Angela's eyes were on him intently and he could tell she wasn't going to let him off the hook before he spilled a little. With everything she'd just been through though, he just didn't feel like it was right to bother her with his problems. He could handle his own bruised pride by himself.

Which was exactly what he told her, eliciting one of the biggest eye rolls he'd ever had directed at him.

"Booth, don't you know that the best way to distract someone from their own problems is to dish about someone else's? Why do you think people watch Dr. Phil?"

She had a point. Squirming in his chair again he loosened his tie a bit more, suddenly feeling like it was stuffy in there. If he was going to talk to any of the squint squad, Angela was definitely the one he felt he could talk to. But she was Bones' best friend and colleague. Maybe she wasn't the best, most objective person to talk to about this. She started tapping her foot lightly, an expectant look on her face, and he realized that he wasn't going to have much of a choice.

Maybe if he just kept to a sketchy outline of facts she would be satisfied and drop it. "I've just been thinking about the whole thing with the shooting. I feel bad that Bones wasn't told about my faked death."

Angela leaned back in her chair and eyed him like Hodgins eyed slides of particulate matter. "You feel bad because she didn't know or you feel bad because she wasn't told and acted like it didn't bother her very much?"

Booth let all of the air out of his lungs and stared at her in disbelief. "What are you, an interrogation specialist now?"

A bright smile flashed across her face and for a moment Booth was glad that his situation was providing her with the distraction she needed to be happy Angela again. "Sweetie, I may not be an FBI agent but if there's one thing I know, it's men."

Booth yanked at his tie until it was off his neck completely and stuffed it into the inner pocket of his suit jacket. She was still looking at him like he was a fascinating science project and it was making him feel very exposed. Why hadn't he gone into Bones' office?

Because he'd wanted some distance from her. Because he was hurt.

As she waited patiently for him to provide her the clarification she asked for, he found it was getting more and more difficult to keep his details sketchy.

"A little of column A, a little of column B I guess. It's no big deal." He tried to give her a casual laugh, use a bit of his charm, but she was proving too good at reading him and he felt naked.

Angela leaned forward, her expression growing serious. "Booth, I'm going to tell you something and you are forbidden to repeat it. Brennan is my best friend and you know how she hates having her personal life discussed openly, especially behind her back."

Booth nodded his head and leaned forward in his own chair, mimicking Angela's posture.

"After you passed out from your gunshot wound, the paramedics arrived and took you to the hospital. They wouldn't let Brennan on the ambulance with you and she stood in the street, watching your ambulance, sobbing."

A small dull ache started in Booth's chest as he listened to her tell the other side of things. The last thing he'd remembered was Bones kneeling over him, ordering him to hold on. Then he was in a hospital room with a twenty-four hour guard and orders to allow only a select few people, which had included Bones, know about his survival. In all the chaos, he hadn't heard anything about what had happened during the week leading up to his sham of a funeral.

"We all drove to the hospital as fast as we could, but when we got there we were told that they were still working on you. Brennan paced the waiting room, going on and on occasionally about the nature of a gunshot wound to that area of your body and how, if the doctor's were even marginally competent, you should be fine."

Booth smiled at the mental picture. He'd seen her try to work a problem that scared her in just that way. She'd go over all of the facts about it over and over in her head until she had theorems and hypotheses. It kept her calm to fall on science when she felt out of control. Most of the time, it helped to calm him too.

Angela went on, her head dropping a bit. "Then they came out and told us that you were dead."

Booth watched with sorrow as he saw that his death had affected her. He'd forged friendships with the team at the Jeffersonian and he had been so wrapped up in how Bones would feel that he had entirely forgotten that anyone else would have been impacted. He silently cursed himself. He dealt with death everyday, saw the ripples it created surrounding the victim.

"Angela, I'm so sorry that I caused you pain. I should have apologized to you right away. It was thoughtless of me."

Angela waved him off and gave him a small nod. "I understand Booth. Hell, I was so relieved to see you alive I was perfectly happy accepting it under any terms. It was like a Days of Our Lives moment. We were all just glad to have you back."

"Except Bones." The cynical twist was in his voice before he could reach out and snatch it back and the look on Angela's face said she hadn't missed it.

"I'm getting there Booth." She continued on, a far away look creeping into her eyes as she brought the memories back to the forefront of her mind.

"We all started sobbing, all of us. Hodgins wrapped his arms around me and we cried on each other's shoulders. Cam sank back down into her chair, her hands balling up into fists. I thought she was going to start punching things, but she just cried. Zach-" Her voice broke at the mention of her friend but she went on. "Zach sat down with Cam and put his arm around her. But Brennan-"

Angela looked directly into Booth's eyes, hitting him again with one of her expressions that told him she saw more than others did when it came to the people around her. "Brennan stood in the center of the room and said nothing. It took me a second in my own shock to realize that I should go to her. After all you were her partner. I went to hug her, but it was like she was made of stone. She didn't move, didn't speak. She just stared at the door the doctor had come through to tell us the news. She stood without reacting for so long that everyone started to notice. Then, she took off through the doors after the doctor. She demanded to see you, but he told her that the FBI had ordered an autopsy and that no one would be allowed to see the body."

A slimy ribbon of guilt began working its way through Booth. He had been just fine. Hell, he'd probably been conscious by that point.

"Brennan started screaming at the guy, saying she was your partner and he was going to have to arrest her because she wasn't going to take no for an answer. She was screaming that the FBI didn't need to do an autopsy, that there had been dozens of witnesses and that she insisted on seeing you. We were all so upset that it took me a second to realize that in her tirade she'd started crying. Two guys in suits came and escorted her out of the building, but she never stopped screaming at them. Once they threw her out she collapsed and Hodgins had to pick her up to put her in my car. I had to spend the night at her place. She cried all night Booth."

His heart was slamming in his chest at her words. Bones had seemed so cavalier, so hard about the whole thing. His voice was quiet and he found he couldn't quite meet Angela's eyes. "I didn't think she had cared at all."

Angela leaned back, a wry smile on her face. This one was a smile he'd seen from her on several occasions. It was her you're-an-idiot smile. "I can see how you would think she didn't care. I mean, she only tried to kick your ass when you showed up at your own funeral."

Booth shook his head. "Anger and grief aren't always the same thing Angela. Bones saw my not telling her as a breach of trust. When someone you-" he paused, choosing his words carefully, "care for is dead, you don't try to finish the job yourself when you see that they've miraculously come back to life."

Angela shook her head. "She came in the next day and acted as if things were business as usual. I guess, for the casual observer it would be understandable to mistake her coldness as indifference. But you aren't the casual observer Booth. You know people and you know her. She cared, still does."

Angela rose from her chair, the color in her cheeks looking a bit better now. She stretched her long, lithe frame and made her way to the door, feeling ready to rejoin her friends in going over Zach's things. If the last few days had taught her anything, it was not to pull any punches and she wanted Booth to leave this room with the absolute truth as she'd seen it.

Looking down at him still seated in his chair she leveled him with her eyes, wanting to drive her point home before she ended the conversation. "Booth, Brennan was like shattered safety glass after you died. She was still in one piece, still held together by that binding that has always made her so strong. But every piece on the inside of her was shattered. She was a shell of broken bits walking around this place."

She walked to the doorway and couldn't resist throwing in the last piece of information that she felt he needed to face. "I wouldn't have expected anything less from her after losing the man that she loves."