I have no claim on any of the characters on Bones.

This is my first excursion into the Bones universe. I apologize if I've missed the mark. Unfortunately, I do not have Booth's sniper training or Brennan's marksmanship. I also apologize if this one-shot does not fit with the storyline of the show. I've only seen seasons 1-3. So, hopefully, I have not wasted your time in reading this short Booth and Brennan moment that I dreamt up while wondering what would make Booth seek comfort from his partner.

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LET'S JUST CALL IT EVEN

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"I wish you wouldn't keep letting me hug you when I get scared." The words echoed through Brennan's memory. She'd said them to Booth the night they'd found blood on her apartment floor; the night she'd fallen into his embrace. He'd been the only thing holding her up, murmuring in her ear that it would be alright. She remembered the fear that had engulfed her, the comfort his presence had been, and her later comment that he shouldn't let her depend on him. Brennan also remembered his rebuttal, "Hey, I get scared and I'll hug you. We'll call it even." She had cogitated on that comment at various intervals during the year since that dreadful night, and Temperance had come to the conclusion that she would be in perpetual debt to her partner. She had observed him when he experienced anger, remorse, and even concern, but Booth rarely demonstrated signs of fear.

As an anthropologist, Brennan could objectively conclude that Booth adequately exhibited the attributes of a successful authoritative combatant. Along with his need to protect those around him came the impulse to shield them from his own problems. The leader of a group tended to put the necessities of the group ahead of his needs, be they physical or emotional. In more primitive cultures, the most respected warriors were those who took responsibility for the clan and sacrificed for the good of the tribe.

In many ways, Brennan knew that Booth viewed the "squints" as a clan. Sweets would say that Booth harbored a desire for family while Angela would argue that he simply needed a castle to defend. If she were to allow a less clinical view of her partner, Temperance would admit that he was noble and brave. Booth felt the need to protect them from the horrors he saw on the streets and what he called "the real world." In doing so, he had built up barricades to conceal his own burdens. As a warrior, he was compelled to be strong in the face of adversity and to lend that strength to his friends when they confronted turmoil. Shielding them from his fears was a part of that defense he instinctively provided. Therefore, when an exceptional situation arose in which Booth displayed indicators of real fear, Brennan was never quite certain of what she should say. As she sat watching Booth pace in the waiting room, Temperance knew that this was one of those times.

They had just finished a case and were comparing notes at the Jeffersonian when the call came. Rebecca and her boyfriend Brent had taken Parker on a camping trip. On the way home, Brent's car had been hit by a drunk driver. Both vehicles had flipped and rolled from the impact. Rebecca and Brent were in intensive care, Parker was in surgery, and the drunk driver was dead. One look at Booth led Brennan to an observation that was incongruent with her nature. A part of her was relieved that the driver was not accessible to Booth and his need to release his confined hostility. Even now he exuded the tension of a caged animal.

"Booth," she attempted to gain his attention. He didn't stop, and Brennan came to her feet. "Booth, there is nothing that you can do right now. But…" She searched for the right thing to say, "But it's okay."

"No, it's not okay Bones," he countered, turning on his heel to march back the way he'd come. "Rebecca and her boyfriend are both in ICU, and my son is in surgery!" She found herself following him across the room.

"I know Booth," she endeavored to sound reassuring. He reached the other side of the room and pivoted. The speed of his actions took her off guard, putting her directly in his path. Her partner came to a halt to avoid running over her. Temperance took a breath before continuing, "Dr. Myers is at the top of her field. Her diagnosis is favorable, and she is confident that Parker's recovery will be expeditious."

"Yeah, Bones, I get it. Wearing a hole in the carpet won't help anybody," he replied. She could see the darkness of his eyes, the frustration, and the trepidation. "But I need something to do. Somehow whipping out my gun and taking a few shots at that chair over there doesn't seem appropriate."

"Surely there are other outlets for you to release your tension," she suggested. Booth's gaze zoomed in on her, indicating that she should elaborate. "I thought the purpose of submission to a deity's authority was so that the supreme being might be approached in times of need to grant favors to his subjects," she said, pointing out that there were calmer pursuits he could undertake. The moment the words were out of her mouth, Temperance realized she would probably have to restate the suggestion, but Booth's adrenaline levels were high, speeding up his translation of her unique wording into its more humanistic counterpart.

"I've been praying, Bones, ever since we got the call," he answered. "I just…He's my son!" His eyes darted about the room, his actions indicating that he was emotionally distraught and would likely succumb to the impulse of physically assaulting some hard surface within adequate distance. She could hear Angela's voice of reason, He's gonna' snap Sweetie. Oblivious to his partner's thoughts, Booth continued, "I'm supposed to protect him from harm. I should be doing something!" Temperance grabbed his shoulders to stop his restless movements.

"Booth!" When his gaze focused on hers, Brennan met him with her usual clarity. "There's nothing you can do." Even to her clinically trained ears the statement seemed somewhat harsh given the circumstances. Unbidden, Hodgins' voice reprimanded her, Ouch! Why don't you kick him while he's down? Brennan glanced down and then back up into her partner's eyes before trying to rationalize with him in a softer tone, "You are not a surgeon, Booth. You're not a medical practitioner or an anesthesiologist or a medical assistant."

"I know," he acknowledged, releasing a pent up breath as though he'd been holding it to conserve oxygen. He glanced down at the floor as if lost. "What do I do Bones?"

Brennan frantically searched for a response. This was not her strength. She understood variables in a lab. She gave identities to the dead. Giving comfort to the living was his gift, not hers. She accepted what she could see and prove. She didn't have faith in the intangible, but Booth did. She moved her hands from his shoulders to the side of his face, forcing him to meet her gaze. She wouldn't lie to him, but she could try and give him hope. "Believe, Booth. It's what you excel at." His eyes, always probing and reading others reactions, were searching hers for the truth. Temperance couldn't let him search too long. He'd see the more humanistic side of her hoping Parker would be okay while the scientist in her demanded proof before accepting the likelihood of the boy's sufficient recovery. Booth needed something to hold onto, not her clinical rationale. As though he were standing in the room, she could hear Sweets' recommendation. He needs a hug, Dr. Brennan. She hated psychology, but she had to conclude that Sweets would be correct in his diagnosis of the situation.

Brennan's hands slid from his face back to his shoulders as she pulled him down. Booth's head rested on her shoulder while his arms wrapped around her torso. He buried his face in her hair and clung to her like a drowning victim who'd been thrown a lifeline. Temperance found herself rubbing his back while whispering into his ear, "Parker will be okay, Booth. You need to believe that." Whether he did or not, his hold tightened and for a brief fraction of time, she found it difficult to breathe. His embrace loosened as footsteps sounded in the hallway, and he'd just released her when Dr. Myers entered the room. Temperance offered to go get coffee, but Booth asked her to stay. She listened as Dr. Myers explained the procedure Parker had undergone. The prognosis was favorable. Parker would recover without any inhibitors to his development.

"So, he's going to be okay?" Booth prodded when Dr. Myers had finished. The doctor gave him an understanding smile.

"Yes, Mr. Booth," she acknowledged, "your son is going to be fine. He isn't awake yet, but you can come see him in recovery if it will ease your mind." Booth accepted the invitation, and Brennan watched him follow the doctor out of the waiting room. She was thankful that Dr. Myers recognized Booth's need to see Parker, even if he couldn't stay with him until he regained consciousness. While he was gone, she would call Angela. Brennan sat down on the one couch in the room and pulled out her cell phone. She dialed the Jeffersonian and filled in her friend on Parker's condition. Booth returned to the room as she was hanging up.

"He's going to be okay," Booth stated, as though to reassure her. Temperance gave a silent nod in response, and Booth added, "It'll take a while for the drugs to wear off before they move him." He sat down next to her. "Then I can go in and see him again." She watched him lean back against the couch, his relief giving way to the fatigue he could no longer hide.

"You need some sleep," she commented, studying him with a critical eye. He shook his head with a slight frown.

"No, I'll be fine. I'll just wait here until Parker's awake," he replied, blinking back the weariness. Temperance tipped her head to the side, ready to argue, when he added, "I'm not leaving Bones. Not until I've talked to Parker." Brennan gave a soft smile, realizing that no amount of rational thought would persuade her partner to leave. However, he wouldn't be Booth if he weren't immovable once he'd decided that what he was doing was right. She had known he wouldn't be convinced to depart, and so she pulled out the pillow one of the hospital staff had offered earlier.

"Here. You need to be rested when you see Parker," she stated. He studied it as though it were a test tube holding human tissue, causing Brennan to add, "I'm sure you'll be more reassuring for him if you appear less…exhausted." He glanced back at her before exhaling with a grin. He kicked off his shoes as he reached for the offered pillow. She had intended to hand it to him, but Booth dropped it down on her lap as he leaned over, pulling his legs up on the couch, and rested his head on the cushion. For a moment, Temperance sat frozen, with her hands help up in the air as she stared down at the side of her partner's head.

"Thanks Bones," she heard him murmur before his body relaxed. It took only a few minutes for him to drift off, indicating that she had been correct in her observations of his fatigue. She realized that she must be exhausted as well. Weariness was the only rational excuse for her lapse in professional behavior as she lowered her hands, one coming to rest on his shoulder and the other running gentle fingers through his hair. She bent down and whispered in his ear, "Hey, let's just call it even."

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THE END

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