Thanks again for all the wonderful feedback you guys have been giving me - I appreciate it so much! This story is rated M for later chapters. Basically, the story begins where Booth's patience ends...if you like it, let me know!


"Blaise Redfield seduced the victim and emptied her bank accounts – it's obvious she went off the deep end and killed him in the heat of the moment." Booth hurried after Brennan as she sailed through one of the Jeffersonian's many long hallways, case file in hand.

"'Went off the deep end'?" Brennan's sarcasm was obvious. "If by that you mean that she was clinically insane, that will never hold up in a court of law." Pushing open the door to the lab, she moved briskly toward her office, smiling at the sound of Booth's curse as the door bounced back into his elbow. Their argument about their most recent case had been raging for days, with neither willing to concede the point. Her ears were still ringing from their shouting match in the truck. She had employed every mental tactic she could think of, and as a result, Booth had been fuming all day. Baiting him was becoming the most enjoyable part of her time with him – she wondered every day just how far she could go.

"Of course it'll hold up in a court of law – she found out what he'd been doing and shot him with the gun from her nightstand." Booth rubbed his elbow, wincing at the pain. He shot an infuriated scowl at his partner, pissed beyond all belief that she was being so pigheaded about this. His head was throbbing in time with his elbow, his blood pressure had to be sky-high, and there she was, cool as a cucumber, calmly pressing his every button. It was deliberate, he knew it. Whenever she was in the wrong, she started to play this game, figuring he'd get so mad that he'd walk away. And, of course, he fell for it constantly – he helplessly rose to the bait every time. To add to his misery, she was wearing another one of those blouses today – the low-cut, frilly tops that were a completely erotic contrast to her no-nonsense attitude. He'd nearly punched at least three guys today who'd been ogling her, all the while trying not to look for himself. I swear she does that on purpose, too – is she trying to kill me? It was getting harder and harder to remain professional with her – he knew he was sliding down a slippery slope, and couldn't seem to get his footing. Focus, Seeley, focus. "I'm telling you, any jury hears her story, they're gonna sympathize with her, and she'll get off."

Sitting down at her desk, she coolly organized her papers and pulled an apple out of the drawer. "That is a completely implausible story," she snidely remarked. "She shot him with the gun from her nightstand – in the middle of the day, across town from her house. It's patently obvious that this is a premeditated crime." Crossing her legs, she pinned him with one of her best analytical looks. "She should be charged with first-degree murder."

He sighed heavily, dragging a hand through his hair. "Bones…I'm telling you, she'll never be convicted. We charge her with that, and she'll walk. She should be charged with manslaughter. We hit her with that, she'll be convicted, do five to ten, easy." He made a face at her. "Anyway, you should be happy that she's getting off easier – you've been ragging on the victim since we started this case. You hated him."

"Excuse me, Dr. Brennan?"

Brennan looked up to see Selden Johnson, one of her students, at her door. "Yes, Selden?"

Booth whirled around, an angry snarl on his lips. "She's busy right now, kid – why don't you come back in a year or so?"

"Booth." Brennan glared at her partner. "It's fine, Selden, please come in. Are you feeling better? Do you have your report ready?"

"Yes, Dr. Brennan - Craniofacial Anthropometry, per your request. I do feel much better, and my doctor says I am no longer contagious. I appreciate you giving me a couple of extra days to finish the report." Nervously, Selden avoided the angry man pacing the room and focused on his teacher. He smiled, sidling closer to her as he realized she had one of those shirts on today. Peering down at her while she reviewed his submission, he suddenly felt the hair on the back of his neck stand up. He looked up hastily, meeting the enraged eyes of the man who had silently approached him and was looming over him, vibrating like a guard dog on a leash. He gulped, recognizing the extreme danger of his position, and abruptly headed toward the door, praying for a safe escape.

"This looks good, Selden. I'll do a more thorough review later and – " Brennan broke off, realizing that her student was no longer in the room. Her gaze shifted to Booth. "Where's Selden?"

"He had to leave."

Confused by his deceptively calm tone, she glanced out at the lab, but saw no sign of Selden. "That's strange." She frowned for another moment, then shrugged and placed the paperwork carefully in her inbox. Without breaking stride she picked up their earlier conversation. "While it is true that I dislike that type of person, it doesn't negate the fact that this is a clear case of first-degree murder. However, the victim was still a sleazy con artist." Biting into the apple again, she leaned over, straining to reach some papers that were falling off her desk.

Jaw clenched, gut tightening at the sight of her bending forward, Booth fumed impotently. She knew, she had to know what she was doing to him – and he wasn't going to put up with it for much longer. Patience… "He wasn't any worse than the other mooks we've arrested in the past – why do you hate this guy so much?"

"Because he knew how these women felt about him, and he used it. He took advantage of their feelings and betrayed them. He used his alpha-male status to attract…basically, prey – to lure these poor women into horrible situations." Self-satisfied, she bit into the apple again, noticing that he was becoming distracted. The anger was coming off of him in waves, and seemed to be increasing exponentially.

He gave her a look of complete annoyance. "Bones, what the hell are you talking about?"

"It's one of the attributes of the alpha-male…take you, for instance." At his groan of sheer frustration and anger, she waved her hand condescendingly in his direction. "While you aren't a criminal, you definitely share some of the character traits of the victim. For example, you feel you're irresistible to the female of the species. It's a classic alpha-male tendency," she reasoned smugly. Smiling, she bit into the apple.

That apple – that shiny red apple – it was the final straw. He came around the desk in a fury and shoved her chair back as he leaned close. "Well, that's obviously not true, since I know of at least one female who doesn't find me irresistible!" he ground out. She froze, her eyes huge, shocked at the utter rage on his face. Against his will, his eyes dropped to the apple, her lips still on it. With a snarl he pushed away from her and burst out of her office. Work in the lab came to a halt as her door slammed against the wall, and all eyes followed Booth's fuming progress toward the exit.

Brennan's shock finally wore off. She thumped the apple down on the desk and bolted after her partner. "Booth,wait! Booth!"