This is my first fanfiction - actually, this is the first piece of fictional writing I have ever done! I really hope you enjoy it - if you do, please let me know - reviews make my day!

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He flopped down on the couch and flipped through his mail. Nothing. At least, nothing he wanted. The overnight from the Bureau got tossed on the couch. Why the hell should I open it? Screw them – it's probably just more bad news. Taking a swig from the beer he'd grabbed the minute he'd gotten home, he dropped his head wearily back against the cushions, eyes closed. The events of the past few weeks ran through his head, eating away at him.

The transfer orders had come through without warning, and with no room for dispute.

AGENT: BOOTH, SEELEY, SP. CLASS
BRANCH: CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS BRANCH
DIVISION: CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION
OFFICE: WASHINGTON, D.C.

REASSIGNMENT: ILLINOIS
FIELD OFFICE: CHICAGO
TIME ALLOTMENT FOR TRANSFER: THREE WEEKS
REASON FOR TRANSFER: ADMINISTRATIVE

He rubbed his eyes wearily, sighing. The three weeks he'd been given had been a nightmare of packing, traveling, locating an apartment, making arrangements for visitation with Parker - his heart ached, viciously, at that thought - and filling out buckets of paperwork. Now, he'd been in Chicago for a month, and the apartment was still jammed with boxes he had yet to unpack. Avoiding the issue, Seeley? He glanced around the room, his gaze settling on a box with no lid, crammed with cards, gifts and pictures. A couple of dead balloons drooped over the sides. Despite his mood, his lips curved as he remembered the send-off the Jeffersonian staff had given him. They hadn't had much time to prepare, but one thing they were known for was ruthless organization. He'd agreed to a farewell dinner with Cam at Wong Foos, only to be battered by confetti and shouts from all sides when he'd arrived. They threw a pretty good party, for some squints. Damn, I'm gonna miss them. His smile faded as he remembered who'd been there – and who hadn't. The most important person.

Bones had been on sabbatical, another of those long trips to some third-world country no one knew existed. There was no question of her coming back - they couldn't even get a message to her. She must be back by now - wonder who the bureau assigned to work with her? He beat down the urge to hurl the beer against the wall, kicking his shoes off instead. Not like it matters, anyway - I hate whoever it is. Downing the last of the beer, he grabbed another from the fridge and headed for the shower. It was pointless to wonder what was going on at home. In D.C., stupid - not your home anymore.

He braced an arm against the wall as the water sluiced over his head. He had nearly quit, once he realized there would be no reversing the transfer. The Bureau assumed he had no ties to the area – he lived alone, so he was easily moved. No ties to the area - assholes. What the fuck is Parker, for Christ's' sake? He reached out to the sink, grabbing his beer again. God, I miss him so much. I can't do this.

Temperance pulled her jacket closed against a blast of wind, shivering as frigid air seeped through every gap. Pine Ridge Apartments, Lakeview section... The sun had set an hour ago, and heavy snow had been falling for some time. She shook her head, disgusted with herself for not being prepared. Fall in Chicago was notoriously unpredictable. I wish I could find a cab - my coat is definitely not warm enough for this. Wishing fleetingly for a hat - and gloves - she tucked her head and forged into the bitter gale.

She had returned from her sabbatical, refreshed and ready to take on the world - and had suffered a major setback when Angela had told her Booth had been transferred. She refused to believe it at first, but a quick conversation with Rebecca had made it clear that it was no joke. Her inquiries and complaints to the FBI were met with a minimum of response - until she slipped past security at the Bureau and waylaid Cullen in his office. His threat to have her arrested for unlawful access to a government building hadn't given her a moments' pause. She'd argued with him, pointing out their extremely impressive solve rate, and the family members Booth was forced to leave, but nothing had made a difference. Parker didn't count, in their eyes – Booth had no legal custody of his son. Cullen's sharp response had remained the same - these things happen, and there's nothing that can be done. I hate the FBI. She trudged on, trying to ignore the stinging in her hands.

Booth punched the buttons on the microwave and watched the food spin around. He was perfectly able to cook, but just couldn't drum up the desire to actually make anything. He knew he was working himself into a black mood, but didn't care. Even the snow spilling out of the sky held no interest for him. If Parker was here, we'd go sledding, and make a snowman. My little man would love that. Leaning against the counter, he'd just begun picking at his meal when someone knocked at the door. Slowly, he made his way down the hall and tugged open the door. Stared. Blinked. "Bones!" She was shivering wildly, and her hair and clothes were wet. He quickly drew her inside, into the living room. "Jesus, Bones, you're soaking wet! What the hell!" He peeled her jacket off and dumped it on the floor.

"F-Freezing." She could barely talk – her lips and jaw felt frozen solid.

He grabbed her hands, shocked at how cold they were, and rubbed them briskly. "You have to get the circulation going again. Don't you have a winter coat? Or gloves?"

She hissed at the pain. "Oh, that hurts. No, don't stop – I know you have to do it."

Her eyes looked huge in her pale face, and her lips were an unusual shade of lavender. "C'mon, Bones, we've gotta dry you off, get you some warm clothes." He pulled her down the hall to the bedroom, and started digging through a large suitcase, pulling out a thick sweatshirt and plaid flannel pants. "Here – change into these, and grab a towel from the bathroom. Your hair is soaked."

He closed the door and she hurriedly changed, goose bumps springing up all over her body. She located the drawstring, and pulled it as tight as she could – the pants rode dangerously low on her hips, but were behaving for the moment. Swinging through the bathroom, she wrapped her hair in a fluffy black towel and headed toward the kitchen. The scent of coffee teased her, and as soon as Booth saw her he pressed a steaming mug into her hands. "Here. Sit on the couch." He wrapped a fuzzy grey blanket around her. Sitting next to her, he eyed her bare feet – grabbing them, he held them in his lap, massaging away the numbness.

Slowly, her color returned, and the shudders racking her eased as she sipped the coffee. "I couldn't find a cab." At his inquisitive look, she elaborated. "I thought I'd walk part of the way, but when the weather worsened, no one would stop."

Her feet finally felt warmer, and he reluctantly tucked them under the edge of the blanket. "You'll never find a cab in weather like this. When did you get here?"

"I arrived about quarter after four, and – "

"And you've been walking since then? That's hours, Bones!" Scowling, he leaned forward to tuck her in more tightly. "You'll be lucky if you don't get pneumonia after this. You know, for a genius, you pull some pretty bonehead moves!"

"I'll admit I wasn't prepared for this weather. It took me quite by surprise."

Somewhat mollified by her admission, he let it go, and a comfortable silence settled on them. Booth was content to simply look at her; the warming effect of the coffee and blanket were lulling her into a stupor. They stared at each other, calm in each others' presence. The snow drifted down, quietly blanketing their world. After a time, she shifted, breaking the mood.

"I went to see Cullen."

He met her gaze dispassionately. "Yeah? What did he have to say?"

"He threatened to have me arrested."

He snapped to attention. "What? Why?"

She smiled inwardly, secretly pleased with his quick anger. "Well, I...hmm."

He frowned, peering at her intently. "Bones. What did you do?"

"Um..." She looked skyward, then finally faced him. "I didn't actually check in at the front desk when I went to see him."

He gaped at her. "You broke into the FBI offices."

"It was the only way to see him. I received no response to my inquires, so that seemed the next logical step." She permitted herself a small smile.

He shut his eyes as he leaned back. "Sometimes, Bones, your logic is just - twisted."

"I also called him a Nazi."

"You know what?" He held up a hand. "I don't think I want to know this. Can we talk about something else?"

She took a deep breath. Okay, here goes. "I refused to work with them."

"What do you mean, you refused?"

"Exactly that. They sent another agent over, as soon as I returned to the Jeffersonian. I didn't like him. He was...smarmy." She smiled again at his expression.

"Smarmy? Why?"

"He was all polished, very smooth - and didn't mean a word he said. He left in a huff after we had a - an argument."

He could only imagine that conversation – she had probably ground him into dust. Good girl. "An 'argument'?"

"I detest artifice. And he was very patronizing."

"Mmmm…okay...but won't the Institute just make you work with the Bureau?"

"No." A funny expression crossed her face.

Suspicion began to creep into his head, and his eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Just - no?"

"Well, they did try to compel me to form a partnership." At his inquiring glance, she shrugged carelessly. "So I quit."

His mouth opened, his jaw flexing, but no sound came out.

She tilted her head, studying him, enjoying the moment. Of all the times she'd shocked him, she'd never seen him quite this speechless.

Minutes passed, and finally he recovered. "Are you insane? You quit?"

"I told them that if they tried to coerce me into a new partnership, I would leave the Institute, effective immediately. I also told them," she continued, beginning to gather steam, "that their failure to bring you back, without delay, would produce the same result." She huffed angrily. "And then I walked out."

Aghast, he tried to process all that she was telling him. Booth was extremely upset that she'd sabotaged her career so dramatically, but deep within him was a growing warmth - pride in her fearlessness, joy that his partner, his friend, was so loyal. "When did all this happen?"

"About a week ago. I think they were trying to call my bluff, because they didn't respond at first. But I wasn't bluffing."

"No, you usually say exactly what you mean. What'll you do now, Bones? You love what you do - you can't give up everything."

"Are you forgetting that I'm a rare commodity?" She set the mug on the floor, then frowned. "Why is there no coffee table?"

He shrugged impatiently. "I've been busy. So - what, you found a new job already?" His heart sank – she was already moving on, and away from him.

"Well, news does travel quickly. I've fielded several offers, and am considering all of them. But," she added meaningfully," my current front-runner is the Anthropology Department at the University of Chicago."

"Bones." Taking her hand, he struggled to find the words. She'd done this for him. "You humble me." He looked up as she gently touched his face.

"You are my partner – and – and my best friend. I can work anywhere - I choose to work with you." For the first time, she seemed unsure of herself, and looked away, anxious. "If you - If you still - "

"Yes. Look at me. Look at me." He drew her closer. "These past weeks have been torture for me. I've been considering leaving the bureau – I even made some calls regarding job openings in the private sector. It's bad enough having to leave all my friends and co-workers. But the worst thing, by far, has been leaving Parker - and you. You are my partner - and my best friend."

She exhaled shakily, overwhelmed by a wave of emotion. Settling back into the cushions together, shoulder to shoulder, they watched the snow cascade past the window for several minutes. Finally, Booth shook himself mentally and stood, grabbing her mug and heading for the kitchen. She followed, the blanket trailing behind her on the floor.

"Do you want more coffee?"

"No, I feel much better, thank you." She watched him move around, straightening the small space. "If I drink any more coffee, I'll never sleep tonight."

"Speaking of tonight, you're gonna have to stay here, Bones." He pointed to the window. "You can't go back out there. You can have the bed - I'll grab the couch."

"I have to admit, I'm not looking forward to going back out in that storm."

"Then stay." He moved back to the living room, tidying up along the way. "Just give me a minute to clean up everything." He grabbed up the worst of the mess, tossed his mail in the nearest box.

"Booth - was that a letter from the Bureau?"

"Yeah." Distracted, he searched in the boxes for extra pillows and blankets.

"Aren't you going to open it?"

"Eventually. To tell you the truth, I'm not especially anxious to find out what crap they're spewing now."

Bones moved to the box. "Booth. Do you remember what I said earlier, that the Jeffersonian thought I was bluffing?"

"Yeah. What about it?"

"Do you remember what I said after that?"

Busy digging in boxes, he answered absently. "Yeah, you said you weren't bluffing. Why?"

She gripped the letter, drawing it out of the box, studying it intently. Waiting until Booths' back was turned, she quietly ripped open the envelope, drawing out the letter within. Her hands were trembling, and for a moment, she was unable to read the neatly-typed characters. Suddenly, the letter clicked into focus, and the words became clear. A dull roaring noise filled her head.

"Just give me a minute to change the bed sheets, then - " Booth broke off as he looked at Bones, shocked to see tears spilling down her cheeks. "Bones - what's wrong?" He hurried across the room, concerned for her. She looked up at him, eyes streaming, and he finally noticed the paper clutched in her hands. "What - is that from the FBI?"

"Yes." For a moment, she was unable to speak, and held the letter close to her, her head bent forward.

"Bones, what does it say?" This had to be bad – he couldn't remember the last time she'd been this upset. "Tell me…"

"I said something else, before" She whispered, her voice thick with tears, her eyes eloquent. "I said that they tried to call my bluff, because they didn't respond at first. Booth, before I left D.C., the Institute – they flinched. They promised they would see if there was anything they could do about this." At his blank stare, she pressed the letter into his hands. "I didn't want to say anything in case - in case they couldn't…" Fresh tears rolled down her face. "I didn't want to raise your hopes."

He stared blindly at the letter, afraid to hope, afraid to know. He swallowed hard, focusing, and the words lined up precisely.

AGENT: BOOTH, SEELEY, SP. CLASS
BRANCH: CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS BRANCH
DIVISION: CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION
OFFICE: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

REASSIGNMENT: WASHINGTON D.C.
FIELD OFFICE: MAIN OFFICE
TIME ALLOTMENT FOR TRANSFER: THREE WEEKS
REASON FOR TRANSFER: ADMINISTRATIVE

The paper drifted to the floor as he raised stunned eyes to her. "What did you do?"

She scrubbed at the wetness on her face, as her smile began to grow. "It worked Booth – it worked! They did it!" She bent to grab the paper, but was stopped by his hands on her shoulders.

His fingers dug into her arms as he looked at her, his eyes churning with raw emotion, his voice hoarse. "Do you know what you've done?" His eyes were wide and blazing, fixed intently on her. "You've given me back my life."

Before she could blink his arms were banded tightly around her, and she returned his embrace, rubbing soothing hands down his back, feeling the tremors running through him. In the next instant his mouth was on hers – and her world turned upside down. Her hands streaked through his hair, grabbing, caressing, until she had to stop for air. Lips tangled, sharing each others' breath, they stared, electrified, and then came together again. They traded kiss after raging kiss as he backed her down the hall.

He eased her slowly toward the bedroom as they clung to each other. They stumbled, tripped, bumped into walls, but through some strange magic managed to stay upright. His teeth nipped the sensitive skin under her jaw, and she whimpered, emotions colliding within her. Is this happening? Oh my God oh my God…

She pressed her hands against his face and tilted his head back, her eyes flashing a desperate question. He smiled intimately, pulling her even closer. He leaned forward, and his soft whisper in her ear seemed louder than a shout. "I've never been more certain…" She shuddered as his teeth closed over the soft flesh of her earlobe, and she was reeling, reeling, until they reached the bed. He hitched her up, guiding her legs around his waist as he lowered them slowly to the mattress. Heat pooled in her stomach as she settled onto sheets still rumpled from him, as the essence of Seeley Booth filled her head. His lips were so strong, but so soft, and somehow she'd known he would kiss like this. She'd known instinctively that he was an extremely sexual creature – but she hadn't realized just how sensual he could be. Then they sank into a blistering kiss, tongues dancing erotically, and she couldn't think at all.

Lazily she raised her arms so he could slide his sweatshirt off of her. Her head was still covered by the fabric when his mouth fastened on her breast. As he laved her nipple, his muscles stiffened at her wild response, as she bucked underneath him. "Oh, God, you're so beautiful, so soft." Breathless, incoherent pleas were torn from her when he buried his face between her breasts and inhaled deeply, as if to imprint her scent in his mind.

She slid her hands under his shirt, sliding higher and higher, and he ducked his head as she tugged the fabric away. Her hands continued to race over him, finding all the wonderful spots she knew existed – spots she'd wanted to touch, to taste, for years. The soft skin at the nape of his neck, the rugged torso, the warriors' shoulders. Her hands slid lower, flicking underneath his waistband, sliding lower, lower down his sides. With a deep growl, he went wild – it seemed he was everywhere at once. At this dazzling onslaught, a trembling weakness worked its way from her toes to her scalp. "Don't stop, don't stop…Seeley…"

He couldn't get enough of her, couldn't get close enough. She was his oxygen, and he had to have her. Her body was shaking as if in a windstorm, soft mewling gasps were bursting from her lips, and her hands… Jesus, her hands… He slid his palm beneath her, to the small of her back, grinding himself between her legs. His other hand slipped beneath the gaping waist of her pants, and he froze, realizing with delicious shock that there was nothing but Temperance underneath. "Oh, Christ, Temperance…" On a deep groan, he slipped his fingers between her legs, capturing her desperate cries with his mouth as he thrust his tongue deep, matching the movements of his fingers. The feel of her nipples against his chest drove him insane, and in a fury of desire he yanked at the flannel barrier, hurling the pants to the floor.

"Oh…please…please…" Freed, she began to reach for his waistband, but dropped back with a rasping cry as he slid his fingers deep inside her. He steadily drove her, pushed her, watching her eyes widen. Gripping the sheets, writhing, she was helplessly driven insane until her body convulsed, her mouth open in a silent scream. Wave after wave of pleasure washed over her, destroying her, leaving her limp, chest heaving. He moved restlessly over her, and then pressed close again, and she could feel the throbbing heat, the hard length of him between her thighs. She wrapped her legs around him, rolling her hips, and drew a vicious curse from him. Feeling wanton, she repeated the movement, wanting to torture him as much as he'd tortured her.

He traced his finger along her lower lip, smiling with satisfaction when her eyes closed on an erotic tremor. "Open your eyes." His stare hypnotized her as her lids fluttered open. He continued to study her, stroking her face. In the dim light of the room, his eyes held hers, strong hands tangling in her hair. They stilled for a moment, on the precipice, watching each other.

She met his gaze, her heart in her eyes. "This changes everything..."

He smiled knowingly. "Yes. This changes everything." His smile gone, he slowly shook his head. "And nothing." She let out a choked cry as he slid into her slippery warmth, and her eyes blurred. Teeth gritted, he began to move, slowly at first, so slowly, savoring the moment, tormenting them both with the exquisite friction. Delicate hands reached up, framing his face, and he gently bit her thumb as he increased the pace. Her hips were rocking, meeting his every thrust, taking him in completely. Guided by his hand, her hips tilted, allowing him even greater access. He jolted as her hands slid to his waist, clutching him, drawing him even closer. "Christ Jesus, Temperance…ah, God…baby…" Their lips clashed, tongues dueling, as she coiled around him. Knowing he'd die if he didn't increase the pace, he began to move more quickly, then faster still as she kissed his chest, her tongue darting out for a taste.

He was driving into her, hard and strong, and she wanted it to go on forever. He pistoned into her, moving like lightning, and his hand slid down between them, stroking her urgently. Lunging upward, she bit his neck, drawing a violent shudder from him. She wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close, whispering softly in his ear. At her words, he tensed, then plunged into her fiercely. As she felt him erupt she gasped brokenly, her body clenching, clenching around him, drawing him even deeper. He collapsed onto her, pinning her to the mattress, and she embraced him, thrilling at the way his weight trapped her underneath him. She felt so free, so relaxed, so wanted. She nuzzled his neck, and he rolled onto his back, pulling her with him, keeping them joined. Strong hands moved lightly over her skin, up and down, up and down.

He stroked her neck, enjoying the feel of her lips on his chest. Suddenly, he felt dampness on his skin, and he opened his eyes, shocked to see her tears. "Temperance, don't…please…what's wrong?" He pulled her close, cuddling her to him, and to his great relief he saw a blissful smile spread on her face. "You're alright..?"

"Yes…I just…it's never…I never…" She felt herself blushing, simply couldn't stop it. His cool thumbs stroked her flaming cheeks and her embarrassment faded. She met his eyes again. "It's never been like that – for me, I mean. Never…I…" He silenced her with a tender kiss, and her fears dissolved instantly.

He pulled her still closer, moving to sprawl half over her. "You're not alone. What we just did - we went beyond anything I've ever experienced." He suddenly seemed hesitant, almost shy. "Temperance – what you said – I have to know."

She smiled softly, understanding his vulnerability. She'd thought she would be the one to have trouble saying it, never thought she could really feel it, but somehow she is stronger than ever. I don't know why I was so afraid. "You want to know if I meant it." He nodded, looking away, afraid of what he might see. "Yes."

His eyes shot to hers, and then he crushed her to him, squeezing her tightly. "Say it again – please, say it again." He pulled back, his eyes searching her face.

"I love you." Words that once terrified her, caused her to run, now felt so right. It's what she wants – it what she knows now she's wanted for a long time. The words didn't trap her, she realized. They set her free. All it took was the right person.

"Oh, God, Temperance, I love you – I love you so much." Booth brushed a feather light kiss on her lips as warmth rushed into him. Outwardly, he was an emotional and caring man, but he'd secretly guarded his heart for so long. He'd begun to think he would never find love. Now, he was so happy – so full of joy. I can't believe this is happening – she's actually mine. He dropped his brow to hers, seeing the tears again spilling down her face – tears of joy. "I promised myself if I got a second chance with you, there was no way in hell I was gonna waste it. I'm not gonna waste it, I swear to you." He gently stroked her hair. "I meant what I said earlier. You've given me back everything - Parker, my friends, my co-workers - you." His lips pressed to hers, lingered, drew out the moment.

They drifted in the kiss, each seducing the other. Several long moments later, she propped herself up, her elbows on his chest. "Booth – I know everything worked out – but I interfered in your personal affairs without asking you. I hope you don't mind." She looked at him uncertainly.

"Mind – are you kidding? You've given me more than I had before – you've given me the dream." Their noses bumped as he smiled proudly. "You even outmaneuvered the Jeffersonian Institute and the Federal Bureau of Investigation." His brow quirked in amusement. "You really are an overachiever."

Arching under his hands, she placed a soft kiss on his nose, drawing a chuckle from him. "Well, I told you I'd never get a B."