Pain In the Therapist Day Seven

They woke early, each aware that it would be time soon to go back to work, and pick up a new routine that meant they were partners in every sense of the word. They weren't dreading the return, but each knew that their need to be completely "professional" even after they disclosed their relationship to their superiors meant that neither could be as expressive as they might otherwise be. They'd already decided Brennan would tell Angela before they returned, since she'd been so insistent that she and Booth belonged together. Brennan called her to suggest that they have an early supper, though she didn't say more than "I have something I wanted to discuss with you if you have time."

They spent most of the morning doing nothing—he made them breakfast, they showered, and then he settled into the couch to catch up on the sports scores he'd missed while they were on their mid-week trip. She laughed as he groaned or cheered as the various replays came on the television, then settled herself next to him with a book she'd been meaning to read. He shifted, needing more contact with her than just hip-to-hip as he watched the scores, so he sat back against the arm of her couch and pulled her to sit between his legs, her back against his chest as she read. He flipped channels idly, looking again around the living room. It felt like home—it had for a while even before this last turn of events, but he'd never been certain of his full welcome before. Now he was, and it was wonderful to have one-- his own place never felt like anything other than a waystation, except perhaps on the weekends when Parker was there.

He clicked the sports channel off, and snugged his arms around her more tightly as she continued to read her book. Heavy squint stuff, from what he could tell by looking over her shoulder. He loved just getting to be with her—it wouldn't be just short breaks when they were working on cases anymore. They were more, now—and he could touch her (almost) whenever he wanted. He loved that she willingly leaned on him now—like in the last photo from the boat.

The photos from the boat-- he'd unpacked the copies when they got back last night. He'd set them on the entry table as a reminder to go out and get frames, but he'd been enjoying just kicking around with Bones so far today that he only remembered them now. Parker's question, an innocent one in his innocent voice, came back to him. "How come she doesn't have any pictures?"

"Bones?" he asked, deciding to tackle it head-on. He squeezed her around her waist as she said "Hmm?" and half turned over her shoulder to look at him.

"Where are all the photos you had hanging up, and on the shelves? And… Brainy and Jasper? "

He'd been almost insanely gleeful over the years when he'd see her display his tokens in the open along with a picture of the team, with them at the center, and another one of just the two of them, together. As Parker had noted, however, those items and every other real personal effect, not her more impersonal artworks were gone from view. He knew for certain they'd been here the week before he was shot, he remembered picking up Jasper and making him and Brainy talk to each other about Bones' stubborn insistence of "No more Mee Krob, Booth, until we get this next page done." She'd laughed, tossed a chopstick at him, and said "Jasper's voice is deeper, more like Dr. Goodman's," before ordering him back to the table to sign one more form.

As he waited for her response, Bones flushed then looked away, the book in her hand shaking as she said "I put them away." He craned his neck—just from the view of the side of her face, she looked more upset than she had in days.

There was something off-- something bad—something festering still, but though his gut iced over again, he wasn't yet positive what it was. So he pushed a little. "The ones with me in them and Brainy and Jasper I get, but why the ones with you and Ange, and the team from before I came along?"

She shook her head, refusing to look at him as he shifted to the side, still holding her close, trying to gauge her expression. "I don't want to talk about it," she said, her voice small and half-pleading.

He tipped her face around so she looked at him. "Bones, you know you can tell me anything, right?"

Her eyes changed under the weight of some memory—that something still festering. "It doesn't matter," she said, quietly. "I've been meaning to put them back up, I just put them away while I was cleaning."

She was telling the truth about everything except her assertion that it didn't matter. The way her eyes dulled as she said it was proof positive, and his gut iced over again. People only put away personal items, but not everything else, when they were selling their own house, or that of a loved one who… bile rose in his throat and he swallowed it.

"Were you planning on someone other than you needing to sell your apartment, so you cleaned up your personal effects for them first?" Oblique, but direct at the same time. She jerked, a look of panic spreading over her face even as he held onto her, willing her to respond.

"I don't know…" she stammered. "I just needed to put them away, just…"

"Just what," he pursued. "Just in case? Just…what, Bones?"

"I don't know," she said weakly, looking and sounding increasingly anguished. "I… I just couldn't… I couldn't sleep… I couldn't eat… I couldn't breathe…" Her pupils had widened and her breathing was ragged, so he let go of her face and tucked her head under his chin, clasping her face to his chest.

"I couldn't breathe…" she repeated. He knew she'd already forgiven him, but it was still a gut punch to be reminded how much she'd been affected. All that time he'd thought he was just maybe her best friend, when he should have known by the fact that she let him get away with stuff she'd clock anyone else for that it went far deeper than that. But he'd convinced himself just because Bones wasn't obvious about how she felt that she'd be fine those two weeks—despite all the time he'd spent rooting out other deep feelings that weren't obvious, but that he still knew were there. Bones was the master of denying herself things that she wanted, and he damned well knew it, but he'd lulled himself into thinking there wasn't any part of her that wanted him because he'd been the one who was chicken. This was what he got for his foolishness, his poor Bones almost as fragile as eggshells.

"Sweetheart," he murmured. "I'm so, so, sorry, I wish I could go back and make everything better, but I can't. But everything's going to be fine, and I'm not planning on going anywhere, so you're stuck with me, hunh?" He stroked her hair, hoping she would believe him and that her upset would subside, but his question acted like a lance to a badly infected wound, and that something festering burst forth.

"You can't promise what you can't control," she said, her voice strangled. At some point since he'd tucked her into him so that the join of her neck and shoulder were the first thing he could see, right under his nose, she'd grasped his arm with one hand. She was grasping him so tightly, her knuckles white, that he wasn't quite sure she wouldn't leave bruises if she didn't let go soon. "I… couldn't eat, all I could smell was blood. I couldn't sleep… you kept falling," she choked out, hot tears starting to soak through his shirt at the collar.

"I couldn't breathe … you weren't coming back, and I was glad I couldn't sleep because if I did I didn't want to wake up, so I could just stay at the lab. I didn't have to go anywhere, didn't have to drive and wonder if I could just close my eyes and let go…" She choked again, then started sobbing silently, ashamed for admitting how weak she'd felt, and yet relieved to have finally told someone—no, not someone—the only one—how she actually felt those two endless weeks.

She never once, ever, let anything that ever happened to her make her anything but more angry and determined to show them, whoever they were, that she was fine, that she was stronger than them. But when Booth was gone? There was no one to show that to—no one that mattered. He wasn't around for her to prove to him that she didn't need him—the fact that she did need him, and only knew it clearly after he was gone and she could never tell him… it was a never-ending loop of bitter anger and anguish. Never before had she helplessly wished for something, anything, to make the pain stop—a drunk driver, a bolt of lightning, something. Something that would make it impossible to hurt so much.

She'd put the pictures and mementoes away after the third nightmare that third night he was dead – it woke her up and a frenzied dusting of bookshelves reminded her that not only was he gone, but that nothing any of her friends tried to do for her could ever make it better. They loved her, and it wasn't enough. And she loved him, but he was gone. She had to put all those reminders of failed love away, so she couldn't see them and be reminded that she'd never be happy again. Being in denial about why precisely she'd never be happy again made the anger and anguish and confusion only deeper, more strangling. She'd been drowning in it by the time the funeral came. She'd only started breathing again when her fist hit his jaw.

Up to that point, she hadn't actively planned anything, but the thought of "I'll put these away, too, because if someone needs to clean this place after, in case I'm lucky and I just don't wake up," definitely passed through her mind. She didn't know if she would have gotten to that point, back then—"you can't miss what you didn't have" maybe had some currency. Now? She didn't know, still, how she'd react if he died again. Maybe happy memories would be enough. She dreaded the thought of ever being without him.

She continued to choke on her sobs as tears leaked from her eyes, all the while his hand stroked circles on her back. His warm arms encircled her and the reassuring sound of his heart beat under her ear, but he'd been silent and his breathing was more ragged than it usually was—until a hot tear, then another, and another, dripped onto the side of her neck—not from her, but from him.

Booth was so furious at himself and at Sweets that he hardly cared that he was crying, though he never cried—it just wasn't something he did. He stopped crying at twelve, when the best way to protect his family from their dad was to get in his way, and then not give him the satisfaction of crying—his father would invariably get tired of hitting or using the belt before Booth would give him the satisfaction of crying. He didn't even do it when he was alone all that time "growing up"—as if he hadn't grown up from the first time he saw his mom get a black eye. But not crying kept him in good stead in the Army when he was taken—they wanted the satisfaction of breaking you. The longer you held out, didn't cry, didn't talk, didn't make any noise that let them know they were getting to you, then the longer your squad had a chance of finding you.

But it wasn't true he never cried. He'd had a lump in his throat the whole time from his realization at the hospital until the time he shot Kenton, his eyes swimming after she collapsed on top of him, her still-bound hands circling his neck. He'd hardly been able to breathe around the hard lump in his chest when she first called him from New Orleans, and it only slowly dissolved once he'd made sure that whatever else happened, she was still Bones. He'd excused himself to the bathroom more than once during those hellish hours while she and Hodgins were buried, so he could wipe furious tears from his eyes and punch the wall hard enough for the physical pain to distract him, make it possible to make the tears go away long enough so he could focus, goddamnit, focus, on getting her back.

He'd known, even before he knew he was in love with her, that she was good, and clean of any ill purpose, and wanted to help him—he knew all along that she offered a chance not to regain his innocence, but to be able to stop believing that everyone was already evil, and would inevitably act on it. She still had hope that people were good— she made his hope possible again.

She was so strong, to hope like that—and yet he almost broke her, when all the dangers she'd faced since he'd known her and whatever she'd never told him about her life before him hadn't. Booth didn't need to forgive himself—he could make it up to her every day for as long as she'd have him. But him—he was going to pay for playing with her. Sweets was never going to forget what it meant to hurt Bones, and Booth would make sure that he lived every day in fear of what would happen if he tried it again—fear kept people submissive, and if properly applied on a continuing basis, the person in fear would do practically anything to avoid a repetition. Booth had no qualms, none whatsoever. It wouldn't be torture—it would be justice, personally rendered. If she was gone by the time he came back, and all because he didn't take the time to make sure she knew, and relied on someone else, Sweets, to protect her…. Well, that was the ultimate failure—one he wouldn't have gotten over, one way or the other.

He clasped her tighter, almost convulsively, rocking her slightly as more angry tears slid down his face and splashed on her neck, until she shifted to look up at him, realizing the source of the tears. "Booth," she said, sniffling, "I'm okay now," then smiled at him waveringly. Her attempt to make him feel better for something he'd done to her, the fact that even as much pain as she was clearly still getting over didn't stop her from trying to comfort him made his heart burst, overwhelmed by all the reasons he loved her all over again.

"God, Bones, I couldn't do it without you, I can't do without you at all…" he choked out, then pulled her mouth to his, pouring all the need for her that he couldn't express aloud, at least right now, into a ferociously passionate kiss. Her hand came up to his neck to steady herself, responding with her own need, arisen again by admitting what she'd passively wished for, if not actively planned.

She took his seeking, desperate tongue into her mouth, kissed him back with all the breath in her lungs, wanting nothing more for the moment than to assuage herself that at least for now, she had him. Time spent dreading the future would only prevent her from enjoying time now spent with him.

He shifted, standing and bringing her with him as he made his way toward her bedroom. Tears streamed disregarded down his face as he undressed her, and her hands trembling, she worked at his shirt and pants. Freed of their clothing, he lay alongside her, then slid an arm under her as he hitched one leg between hers, pulling her half under him as he started almost desperately kissing and stroking her. He needed to be in contact with as much of her body as possible—to assure himself she was fine.

Each touch and searing tear on her skin made her own need more urgent, and she threaded her hands in his hair, fingers flexing as he took one breast into his mouth, sucking deeply at her. She arched into him, the firm heat and suction as his tongue flicked hard over her nipple spreading fire though her—then arched again as two of the fingers exploring her dipped into her lightly. She was ready, aching for him, and as his fingers filled her, she thrust her hips against his hand seeking more. She groaned wordlessly as he started to pump his hand into her slowly, ignoring her hips' faster, more frantic thrusts.

He paused for breath, then switched his attentions to her other breast, reaching across her to fill his mouth with her. His weight pinned her to the bed, and her own mindless arching, thrusting attempts to gain relief from the need consuming her were forestalled, the tension in her building unbearably higher as he continued. She could only moan and whimper as he continued, her feeble bucks against his hand losing rhythm and his mouth sucking not just her breath but her will from her. His fingers plunged into her deeply, but he was going so slowly that it seemed like each return to her heat took hours, or days, or eons.

"Oh! I… I need…" She moaned. He'd been so caught up in the need to taste her and feel her-- her pleading call brought him back to himself in a jolt. He looked up then, and her face was a rictus of tension as her hips bucked against him again.

"Oh, baby, I'm sorry" he said, hastening to enter her. She cried out as he completed his thrust, her hips surging upward to meet him-- she grasped hard at his shoulders and pulled him closer. His own groan as he came hard to the end of her walls erupted from that part of himself he tried to mostly ignore—the part that before meeting her was so afraid that each day would be the day that he failed that he could hardly get out of bed in the morning. He'd met her when he almost needed something outside himself to keep that part from taking over— she was it, ever since, even when he didn't even know if he liked her. The fact that she dared him—"be a cop," she'd hissed-- to do better at the work they were doing together was enough.

Her legs wrapped around him, pulling him to her in almost a frenzy, even as she cried out each time their hips met. He braced himself on one arm as he kept up the fast rhythm she was demanding, then sucked his thumb just long enough to moisten it. He stroked her once and she shattered. He pulled her to him as he paused in his motions, holding her as she arched and wailed from her climax, her walls gripping him strongly as she flooded around him. He was still astonished that she wanted him making love to her, still stunned at how beautiful she was anytime but even moreso when she was in the throes of her release that his heart practically burst.

She gradually calmed, noting she'd somehow managed to hold on to him despite the force of her orgasm, and pulled him to her again as she opened her eyes, still feeling slightly dazed. "Oh…" was about all she could manage, so she smiled at him instead, then was instantly dazzled by his amazed smile and the tears still leaking from his eyes. She pulled herself up to reach his lips, and sighed into his mouth as he let his weight settle onto her, his still-solid length nestling deeper within her as he returned the kiss. As the kiss continued, she arched her hips into his, and he pulled away, then returned in response.

Their arms wrapped around each other as his weight bore hers into the bed. She drew her knees up to better receive him, and met his short slow thrusts with her own-- he levered himself to return to her only a few inches at a time, wanting to remain inside her as long as he could.

Their kisses were interspersed with gasps for air, their bodies moving together, until the tension gradually built in both of them, and she began to shudder in anticipation of her climax. She clung more tightly to him, and her fluttering walls drawing him to speed and lengthen his thrusts— her shrieked "Seeley!" as she came again, had him following her immediately with his own gasped call of her name. She enfolded him with her arms and legs so completely, as his own release pulled him into her. He never wanted to leave. He was safe as long as he was with her—and made it possible for him to keep her safe, too.

Gradually, she stirred slightly under him, one of the hands holding him to her now tracing his brow and jawline. He shifted, leaving her to lie next to her, propped on his elbow as he looked down at her. Her dexterous fingers made their way over the rest of his face, brushed lightly under his tear-reddened eyes, over his lips. "Love you," she rasped, licking lips parched by their exertions.

"Love you," he croaked back, laying a hand aside her cheek as he bent to kiss her again. He rested his forehead against hers, and stared at her long moments, her eyes as always drawing him in. "Promise me…" he said, solemnly, not able to finish the thought aloud.

She nodded, swallowing, keeping in mind both by the memory of how she felt when he placed himself in harm's way, as well as his own 'I can't do without you.' "Promise me… and I'll try."

"I'll try…" he said, then kissed her again.

She stroked the side of his face again, eyelids fluttering from the intensity of their lovemaking and the emotional storm that preceded it. He lowered himself again, lying on his side until he could pull her half under him again, holding her as closely as possible while their chests pressed together. His heart, still beating hard from their exertions, was met by her own echoing throb. She was fine, now. He'd make sure she stayed that way.

Booth's mischievous side emerged when they woke from their short sleep, and after they'd bathed and he'd loved her again in the shower, he convinced her that while she would still go out with Angela for dinner, they would surprise her with the news together. He lounged against the wall of the bathroom, teasing Bones that she took more time getting ready to go out with her friend than she had with him the past few days. She smacked him-- "like I said… if a certain Special Agent wasn't always dragging me out in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, I might have more time to make myself presentable."

He took two steps forward and encircled her waist, saying seriously to her in the mirror, "You're always presentable. Never think for a moment that you're not always the most beautiful thing ever."

She looked at him a long moment, then smiled one of those wide, stunning smiles, that were no longer as rare as they once were-- before saying slightly "Sap."

He snorted and kissed the side of her neck. "Yep."

He let go then, and wandered off to the bedroom to get changed into some real clothes. He had some plans of his own while she was out.

When Angela appeared, he was putting away some things in her bedroom, and he finished that task before sauntering out. Her expression was priceless. "Oh, Booth, hi…" she said, startled to see him coming out of Bones' bedroom.

"What are you… are you staying with Bren… is she …" she stammered, then fell totally silent as he came up behind Bones, wrapped his arms around her waist, and planted a long kiss on her gorgeous lips as she turned her head to look at him before answering the artist's question.

"Not staying with," he began, smiling.

"Living with," Bones continued, announcing the decision they'd come to in the car ride home yesterday, once she'd turned to him after a long period of thought and said "I don't want you to go homeI want you to stay."

Both partners were fairly sure that Angela's deafening scream of "Oh my God, finally!" might have inflicted permanent hearing damage.

Booth saw Bones and Angela out, prompting another squeal from Angela when he dropped a short peck on Bones' forehead as he held the door open for them. He finished collecting his things and left, making his way purposefully toward his destination after stopping at his apartment for a few more things. Bones' heartbroken "I couldn't breathe … you weren't coming back" was playing on repeat in his mind as the ice in his gut fueled the formation of the last few details of his plan. He was going to return some of Bones' pain.

It went as he hoped it would, though he wasn't really surprised. Security at most apartment buildings was lax, and they never had enough cameras to cover all the possible sight lines. He'd just walked in the front door, made his way up the stairs to the floor he'd learned was his destination, and picked his way into the apartment in such a way that any passerby would think he was just using a key. Then he waited, knowing it wouldn't be long.

It wasn't, and he pounced, returning to the therapist a small fraction of the pain and anguish and fear he'd caused Bones, carefully measured so he would bend and stay cowed, but not break. People couldn't be useful if they were broken—he wanted Sweets just this side of deathly afraid. He finished making his promises, because that's what they were, solemn vows he intended to keep, then gave his last warning.

"Good," he said, slamming Sweets back into the wall one last time. "One last instruction. Don't call us. We'll call you." He let go then, noting with satisfaction the stunned terror on the young man's face.

Booth pulled his sleeve over his hand, avoiding all fingerprints, as he opened the doorknob and went out in the hall. He shut the door behind him silently, but not before he turned and said, "Be sure to lock up now, Doctor Sweets. You never know who might try to get in." The flicker of terror in the therapist's eyes told Booth he'd succeeded perfectly.

He waited a moment outside the closed door, then heard a whimper and the slide of a body whose knees just gave out from fear hitting the floor with a hard thump. Good. Carefully, consistently applied fear would achieve the desired result.

Bones got home not long after seven-thirty or so, and laughed to see him at her sink, washing dishes and singing along, loudly and badly to some Bon Jovi blaring from her stereo. "Found more of my shameful music collection?"

He smirked, then said "Whitesnake, Bones? Even I don't have Whitesnake. And you need more Van Halen. Thank goodness I have most of the CDs you seem to be missing. Your hair metal collection is surprisingly spotty. You don't have any G'n'R whatsoever."

"G'n'R? I don't know what that means," she said, setting her things down and coming over to plant a kiss on his cheek.

He snaked an arm around her waist until she was facing him. "Guns n' Roses, Bones? Really? Sweet Child of Mine?"

She shook her head. "No, sorry."

He tried singing the first few lines to her, "She's got a smile that it seems to me/ Reminds me of childhood memories/ Where everything/ Was as fresh as the bright blue sky…" but she just smiled and kept shaking her head.

"Sorry, doesn't ring a bell."

"Well," he said, a thoughtful expression on his face, "it's a good old song. I'll bring the CD over—you should know that one."

She kissed him back, then headed off to the bedroom to get rid of her coat. He kept singing the song to himself after she left, trailing off after the part that said "She's got eyes of the bluest skies/ And if they thought of rain/ I hate to look into those eyes /And see an ounce of pain…"

When Brennan came back out, he'd heated water for tea, and cracked a beer for himself. "What have you been up to," she asked, as she ruffled through her cabinets looking for the teabag she wanted.

"Paid a visit to Sweets," he said laconically.

"Ah," she said, turning around to catch the dangerous glint in his eye as he smiled at her. "Well, good. I had some ideas of my own. When will be good to pay his office a visit?"

Booth looked at the clock, then thought for a moment. "Sometime after eleven, I think. What were you thinking of?" The furious glint in her eye as she smiled at him and outlined her ideas promised as much pain as anything he'd just given to Sweets.