"You're jumping to conclusions that aren't supported by the evidence!"

"You're dragging your feet on finding me evidence because you don't think the suspect did it!"

"You're the one with the irrational prejudice against the suspect, I am merely reserving judgment!"

"Irrational prejudice! The guy has a rap sheet eight miles long!"

"And none of that proves he murdered this little girl, in this case! There's nothing linking him to her except the eyewitness statement of a crack addict!"

"Face it Bones, you just don't want to handle this case because it's too close for comfort. Cool, objective Temperance Brennan identifies a little too closely with the foster care victim, and rather than man up enough to solve the case, she backs off like a coward, and leaves a little girl lying on a table for almost a week without any hope of going home to people who love her. Trust me, if I could get another forensic anthropologist within 500 miles to work this one, I would, but let's see, oh! That's right! The only other one around here's in jail, and it's not like he'd be much help anyway, he's just as cold and as cowardly as you are!"

She froze, her whole body turning as unyielding as ice, looking at him not with shock, but with hate. We were all waiting for her to slug him, or slap him, or something, but all she said was, "Get out."

"No, I won't, not until you get me some goddamned evidence!" He was seething, seemingly unaware of what he'd just said in his agitation to move the case forward.

She stood there, still, and simply repeated, quietly, icily, "Get out."

He stopped, then, and looked at her, something shifting in his face. "Look, Bones..."

"Do not call me that name. My name is Dr. Brennan, and if you do not get off this platform by the time I am done counting to five, I will take your gun from you and shoot you through your black fucking heart. Get out, and do not show your face here ever again."


"Five," she said, muscles coiling in her legs, right hand twitching ever so slightly. I had no doubt she could take him.


"Four," she said, cold and even.

"I'm sorry, look..."


Well, I didn't want her to shoot him, so I'd better say something. "Seeley, I agree with Dr. Brennan. Get the hell off this platform. I'll call you when we come up with results." I never thought I'd take her side against his, but he had stepped over the line. She wasn't to blame for what had happened to Zack-- none of us were, and for him to use that against her? I was shocked. His head snapped to look at me, then took in the fact that all had fallen silent, Jack and Angela's expressions as closed and as angry as I'm sure mine was.

"Get off our platform, Agent Booth. And leave your security card at the desk. It won't work if you try to come back here."

"Two..." He looked back at her, and there it was. He realized he'd just told his partner of four years that she was no better than poor mixed-up Zack.

"You'd better go," said Angela. "Because I'm next in line when she's done with you."

I was both satisfied and heartbroken when he turned and walked off the platform. I'd hoped we'd all make it through this, though I'd worried that something would cause us to break. I never thought it would be because of something he'd said. I thought he was going to be the glue that held us together.

As the door closed behind him, she quietly said, "Thank you, Camille."

"You're welcome, Temperance. Now, what can I do to help wrap this one up?"

- - -

"Booth! What the fuck did you do!"

Cullen was sitting behind my desk when I got back to the office, though I'd been sorely tempted to just pull over to the side of the road and shoot myself to put us all out of my misery. He was holding out a piece of paper, and his blood was boiling. I took the paper, and read.

"D.D. Cullen: Please be advised that with the exception of the one case still open involving Special Agent Seeley Booth as the F.B.I.'s representative, the Medico-Legal Lab of the Jeffersonian Institute will no longer accept Agent Booth as F.B.I. Liaison. I have so informed the Jeffersonian's Board of Directors, and they are in accord with this decision, in light of Agent Booth's gross disregard of professional etiquette, and his profound disrespect for the scientific process required to validate our findings. The Jeffersonian will work toward the quick resolution of the outstanding case, but I must inform you that all communications between the Lab and the current Liaison will take place only between myself and Agent Booth, by telephone or email. Agent Booth's security privileges have been revoked. Please contact me to discuss the appointment of a new liaison, and the conditions upon which the Lab will agree to continue providing services to the F.B.I. Dr. C. Saroyan."

I reread it again. That was it. I'd done it. Thrown four years of hard work, friendship, and love right out the window because I was too impatient to give her the extra hour she said she needed before I could file some damned paperwork. I may as well have stabbed her right in the heart with the damned knife Zack had used.

"I'm waiting."

I looked up at him, he clearly waiting for a good explanation. There wasn't one.

"There's no good explanation. Just, I fucked it all up to hell, Sam."

I shook his head. "I don't really care what you did. Just fix it."

"I don't know if I can."

He narrowed his eyes. "Well, you've got a week, at which point I'll expect a full explanation from you about what the hell you were thinking, telling Dr. Brennan what you did, and how you've fixed it, or plan to. Either that, or start packing for Austin, because that's the only other SA with enough scientific know-how for me to assign as their liaison, and I'm not paying him mileage from Texas."

I'd promised to never leave her, to never betray her-- I'd made that promise here, in my office. I'd promised, but by my actions, I'd left her, betrayed her, used all my knowledge of her heart against her. I had no idea how I could fix this.