Title: Dreams on Fire

Disclaimer: Still not mine. No infringement intended.

Rating: T

Summary: Post-ep for Fire on the Ice #3 in Fantasy Series

A/N: I'm continuing these as a series of 'one-shots'. Please do review as I really love to know what everyone thinks! Thanks to everyone who has reviewed the stories so far.

She licks vanilla and strawberry ice-cream off the disposable plastic spoon watching as he spins around the rink. Her ankles hurt from the effort of staying upright on narrow metal blades and she's opted for a break on the sidelines. Booth is unstoppable, a blur of dark fabric as he races by, shifting his weight and shaving the ice with elaborate, sharp moves. She was surprised by his skill when she'd watched him play hockey.

"Go you," she encourages, setting the small tub of ice cream aside. "I'm suitably impressed." He comes to a stop before her, his hands pressed against the Perspex barricade.

"Did you think for a moment I'd murdered that guy?" he asks her, his hot breath condensing against the resistant plastic. She uncrosses her legs and tries to stand, momentarily forgetting the blades that are attached to the soles of her feet. She loses her balance, falling forward in a most undignified manner. When she has righted herself, she looks positively indignant.

"Of course not! How can you even...?" Since the interference of their investigation they haven't been able to discuss the changes in their relationship. Never before has she resented the intrusion of her work into her private life so much. She almost regrets not letting him come into her home all those weeks when he dropped her home. Perhaps if he had, she wouldn't have been required to bring herself to a quick climax. After the ice-hockey game the following night he had been called away on a case that didn't, much to her forlorn, include the team. Long nights, mornings and afternoons packed with briefings, she had missed him. And the intimacy.

"I'm sorry, Bones," he apologises quickly. "It's not much fun being on the other side of the interrogation table, you know." He taps the ice with his toe, unable to look at her. He feels guilty for doubting her because he knows, or at least he ought to, that she would never doubt him. Her trust in him is unyielding. She demonstrated this once recently, standing in front of a foam board while he tossed knives at her.

He shakes away the memory of their undercover stint and it's rather unexpected conclusion. She's glaring at him, still smarting. Lord, she looks adorable, he thinks, dressed in her woolly scarf and hat, those cute gloves. The ice-cream melts in the carton beside her as she sits down again, crossing her legs. She's not a good skater, despite her natural agility on the high-wire. But her hopeless flailing endears him because he quite likes playing protector to her not-often seen damsel in distress.

"Cam was quite impressed by your macho display of team-spirit," she tells him and at first he is not sure to what she is referring. Brennan seems to notice this and elaborates. "When you had that fistfight." He feels guilty about it now, given that the poor guy was dead.

"Camille used to be a cop," he jokes, stepping behind the barrier to the spectators seats. "She gets her kicks from gratuitous violence." She shifts over to make space for him at the edge of the bench, smiling. "No kidding, she fantasises 'bout it." The word hangs between them and Temperance feels him stiffen beside her. She wonders what vivid, sensual imagery is playing in his mind, now.

"I'm sure she doesn't," Brennan laughs nervously, her hand rising to her earlobe where she fiddles with the simple studs she wears in an uncharacteristic display of awkwardness. "Cam goes for the romantic, sensitive-guy types. You know them... with the physique of gladiators and manners you would love to show-off to your mother." Booth stretches his neck inside his shirt, pulling on the collar.

"I'd hardly say I have the physique of a gladiator," he responds modestly and beside him, Brennan crumples into a fit of hysterical giggles.

"Oh no," she chuckles heartily, "I wasn't referring to you." Put out, Booth tenses his jaw and stands. "Don't be offended. You have a very admirable, fine physique, Booth," she insists kindly. "Firm abdominals, tight pectorals, slim hips..." he isn't impressed, taking to the ice with a gruff snort. "Oh come now!" she tries to follow, wobbling unsteadily, clinging to the edge of ice rink. "Don't be huffy." He spins quickly, skating backwards with breathtaking skill.

"Huffy?" he retorts. "Women are 'huffy', I am not huffy." She finds him amusing, as she has so many times before. Booth is a typical masculine man's-man, so heterosexual that he practically screams 'testosterone'. He refuses to be labelled as anything less. "My body is in top condition – I'm not twenty-five anymore, you know." Chest puffed out, he does an interesting move with his legs, almost zigzagging across the same polished surface that she is struggling to stand on.

"Yes, you're thirty-seven now and a very, very attractive thirty-seven, too. You don't look anywhere near forty." He stops still, his dark eyes rounded like saucers.

"F-forty?" he says as though it's a foreign word that he can't quite grasp. Brennan nods.

"Yes, you're faring well for middle-aged."

"I am not middle-aged. I just said I wasn't a young man anymore. That doesn't mean I'm middle aged. Look, forget it, Bones." She is confused – not an unfamiliar feeling in his presence. It seems as though she stumbles upon emotional mine-fields without even realising it. Somehow a compliment is often construed as a criticism. She teeters on the skates, trying to fathom where the conversation went wrong.

It suddenly dawns on her that her strict realist view on life isn't always as welcome to other people. Booth was firmly masculine, yes, but he was also a life-long member of the 'bury one's head in the sand' club. He didn't want to admit that in three more birthdays he'd be the dreaded, much loathed four-oh.

Brennan cautiously makes her way back to the spectator's box, ignoring the melting ice-cream she watches Booth complete several more laps of the rink with speedy determination – probably convincing himself that he has the body of a man much younger. She is well aware that he does, for his body has haunted her dreams for more consecutive nights than she can count. She knows only that she has woken up, sweaty and dissatisfied too many times.

Her cheeks burn as she watches him take a hockey stick from the changing room corridor and toss a puck across the ice. He chases it, like a stealthy cat chasing a mouse. It does not allude him for long, plastic thunders against plastic, there is a whistling sound as his blades sheer the ice into a fine powder when he turns. Brennan nibbles on the inside of her mouth, fascinated by his unprecedented display. His long coat flies behind him like a cloak – a caped crusader on ice, whizzing by at lightening speeds. He pulls his stick back, swings it forward and the puck plummets over the rink and into the back of the net.

"Well," she murmurs breathlessly. "That was quite something wasn't it?" He tosses the hockey-stick aside and peers at her through the thick safety Perspex.

"Let me take you home and you will see just how young this thirty-seven year old man can be." Brennan's smile transforms into a grin as she reaches down to unlace her skates.

"You have so got a deal."


A/N: Thanks again to everyone who is taking the time to read this little one-shots of mine. It helps to read all of them but I hope they are still understandable when read on their own. As always any unedited version of anything I have written is available on my website. So far, #1 of this little series is MA rated. Please review and let me know what you think! Thanks!