Firstly, thanks for all the feedback for my recent fics, 'Oh, Buck,' and 'Better Than Sex (ch 2).' It's comments like yours that draw me back into this crazy world of fanfic. :) This is a missing scene from 'The Hero in the Hold,' and it takes place between the last two scenes. There are definite spoilers ahead! Enjoy!

VVVVV

The overhead lights in the hall barely illuminated his sleeping form, but I continued to stare at him—barely an arm's length away—as he slept in the small hospital bed. It was as if I needed to assure myself that he was there—that he was alive. I must have sat there for hours because the next thing I knew, Booth shifted slightly and cracked open his eyes.

"Bones?" he asked sleepily.

"I'm here."

"I know. But why?"

That was a good question. One that I wasn't certain I had the answer to. So I avoided the question altogether.

"You've got to stop doing this to us, Booth."

"Doing what?"

"Nearly getting killed. We can't stand much more."

"What, you have multiple personalities now?" he asked with a tiny, drug-induced laugh.

"No," I told him with a chuckle of my own. Any other time we would have ended up in an argument, but I was so glad to have him back that I didn't have the heart to argue. "Us. You and I," I continued. "We can't continue our relationship if one of us is no longer alive."

"Relationship?"

"Partnership," I replied quickly. Even I knew we had something more than a partnership.

"Oh, well, I'm not going anywhere, Bones. I'm always going to be here."

"Booth—"

"I know you're going to say that I can't promise things like that because nobody knows what the future holds. That's true, but I'm always going to be a part of you, just like you'll always be a part of me. That's why it's called a partnership. We're part of each other."

"I don't think that's the actual origin of the word," I offered a small smile. "But I know what you mean."

"Good." He shifted into a more comfortable position. "How about this? I promise to do my very best to protect myself—and you—from getting eighty-sixed." His eyebrows furrowed as he reached for my hand and held it tightly. Even in the dimly lit hospital room I saw a tear roll down the side of his face, and I tried to remember the last time—if ever—I'd seen him cry. "I'm sorry, Bones."

"For what?"

"For putting you through this mess."

"Hey, it's the Grave Digger's fault, not yours."

"Yeah, but I didn't catch him when he kidnapped you and Hodgins. That allowed him to come after me, and in doing so, put you through hell again."

"You've been through hell more times than either of us can count, Booth. And the proper pronoun would be 'her.'" I hesitated to tell him, but I knew he'd eventually hear the truth.

"What? I don't understand."

"The Grave Digger was a woman. A U.S. attorney."

"Wait. You're telling me that I was coldcocked by a woman, who then transported me to a dilapidated ship ready for detonation in the middle of the ocean?"

"It wasn't exactly in the middle of the ocean, but otherwise, yes."

"That is not cool," Booth groaned. "Kidnapped by a woman, and rescued by another."

"I can't take all the credit. Everyone helped—Angela, Hodgins, Cam, Sweets. But we wouldn't have found you without Jared's help."

"You went to Jared?"

"We had no other choice. We were taken off the case, and he was our only link to the inside. My requests probably cost him his job."

"No, I'm sure Jared did was he thought was necessary."

"I asked him to steal a body from the FBI."

"Oh. Why?"

"We thought Vega's body might contain evidence pertaining to the identity and/or whereabouts of the Grave Digger, although, ultimately I realized who the Grave Digger was when we were served the warrant."

"Okay," he slurred sleepily. "The next round of meds must have kicked in because I have no idea what you just said."

I smiled slightly and squeezed his hand. "I'll fill you in on everything later."

"Mmm," he mumbled as his eyes closed.

I tried to pull my hand out of his grasp, but the movement jolted him, and his eyes opened again.

"Seriously, Bones, thanks for coming to my rescue."

"That's what partners do."

He brought our joined hands to his lips and kissed the back of my hand. "That they do. I do have a couple of regrets."

"Oh, yeah?" I didn't see the connection between his two sentences, but I blamed it on the medication.

"Yeah. I never made it to your banquet, and I lost my 'Cocky' belt buckle. But most of all, I regret never telling you that I…" The meds stopped him from finishing his sentence.

I closed my eyes and shook my head. "Me, too, Booth," I whispered into the shadowy hospital room as I gave his hand a small squeeze.

I swear he squeezed back.

VVVVV

Thanks for reading! Wow, I'm sadistic, huh? But I'm pretty smart with the play on words between the episode title and the fic title, right? Right?!