Okay. I didn't really like this last episode, and I was a little angry. So, this was my way of dealing with that. A bit angst-y, a bit BB. I'd say enjoy, but, well, I'm still sulking a little bit. (just kidding!) I do hope you enjoy it.


How stupid I'd been.

That was the chief thought circling in my head as I hurriedly left his apartment. If his back wasn't still stiff, I know it would have been much harder to slip away. But as it was, I left him there, scratching his head in confusion. How could he be confused? Doesn't he get it yet? Apparently not, since Agent Perotta is either about to fill the blonde slot left open by the departure of Tessa, or she already has. She's certainly interested, if her questions at the hockey game are any indication. And the soup. Booth most definitely returns the interest; I think I can read him well enough to see that. And she fits the bill. Cam aside, the women Booth has been involved with are slender as wands, with streaming blonde hair. Huffing angrily, I try to remain fair in my head. The other thing they all had in common was that they were very successful professionals with wide independent streaks. I couldn't fault him there; as much as he may pretend to be a Neanderthal, I know he has no problem with strong women. The fact that he is willing to work with me is proof as well. And it is also the crux of the problem. Because, as happy as he is to be my partner, he never takes another step further.

My phone buzzes in my pocket, but I don't look at it. I know who it is. I'm awarded a short reprieve, a few minutes of silence, and then it buzzes again. I still don't look. I only want to run. It's what I'm best at, after all. I'm just so tired. I'm weary. I can't be around him anymore; I won't watch him look at yet another woman like that. Work is different. But all the meals, the walks, the long talks – I can't do them anymore. Did he draw the line for me? At first, I thought he did, because he was attracted. Now, I think – I think he drew it for me. Because he's not.

I have no one. There's a reason for that.

I want my heart to stop throbbing so strongly; I want to stop feeling so much. But I finally begin to realize that that is what it would take, to rid myself of this hurt. My heart would have to stop beating. When did my life become so painful? My childhood pain and my adult pain are melding together, and I can't tell them apart anymore. How much better to feel nothing. No happiness, no sadness. No love. Better to merely exist, to move through life fulfilling a purpose. Nothing more.

It's buzzing again, and I sigh unhappily. He'll wear me down; he always does. I simply can't fight the summons, and I slowly reach for my phone. "Hello."

"Bones, where have you been? Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." It's all I can manage, to try and speak normally. I can't even pretend to be alright, because I'm not. I'm not.

"Why didn't you answer? Where are you?"

"I really don't want to talk, Booth. Please, just leave me alone for a while. I have a lot to think about right now." I can hear him breathing faster than normal as he tries to think of the right words to say to me. The words that will elicit the reaction he wants. So he can handle me. I don't want to be handled. I don't want to be a problem to be fixed.

"Bones, I really want to talk to you. Please, tell me where you are."

It sounds like concern, and maybe it is. But it's more likely guilt, or his overactive sense of responsibility. I won't be the reason for either. "No. I'm fine, Booth, really. You don't need to worry about me. Don't keep agent Perotta waiting – your soup will get cold."

"What are you talking about? She left when you did."

And turned right around the minute I was out of sight, I'm sure. "It's okay, Booth, I don't mind, really." I'm trembling now, the hated quivering affecting everything, including, unfortunately, my voice. I don't want to hate her, I know it's not logical, but I feel the anger and pain rising in me, and know I have to get off the phone before he hears it. "I have to go now, but I'll see you at work. Have a nice night."

"Bones, don't, please, just tell me where -"

But I've already clicked off the phone. I have nowhere to be. And he has someone waiting for him.


It's odd, being here. I haven't visited in so long, despite Booth's and Angela's best efforts. It feels right, at this moment, for some reason. Maybe because there's no one to offend, no one to draw a line. No one to say no. I can't bring myself to talk to her; it still feels too strange. But the cold granite feels sturdy against my back as I sink to a sitting position. I sit for hours, until the sun is long gone and the cemetery is dark. It still feels right. But it feels wrong, too. I can't stop thinking about him, about seeing her walk into his apartment, all perky and golden and self-assured. When that happens, I still feel like I'm in high school, where I spent my days looking at the floor, hoping no one would notice me. Grew my bangs long so they'd cover my eyes - so I wouldn't have to look at anyone. Perhaps I'm destined to be alone. It's for the best. How long would it be before I did or said something he found unforgivable? He's already forgiven me once, when I didn't deserve forgiveness. It will happen again, it's unavoidable. No, better to step back to the professional, where I belong.

"Were you just gonna sit here all night?"

He's standing just to my left, looking down at me. I can feel his gaze on me, but can't bring myself to look at him, not yet. I close my eyes, willing myself to be anywhere but here. It doesn't work. It never worked in high school, either. "How did you find me?" I finally flick a quick glance at him, but can't tell what he's feeling.

He stands quietly with his hands jammed in his pockets, his eyes dark and unreadable. "I looked."

I don't know what to say - for the first time since we met, the silence is uncomfortable. This feeling has been building in me all day. The feeling of being out of place, of not belonging.

"Did something happen between you and Agent Perotta on this case?"

His tone is cautious; tense. He still doesn't know – part of me is horribly relieved, the other part is bitterly disappointed. Why doesn't he know? How could he not know? "No – nothing happened, everything was fine." My lips feel waxen, unable to smile, to put a face to the falsehood. I hate her. I don't look at him when I say the lie.

"You don't have to hate her, you know." Groaning just slightly, he gingerly drops onto the ground next to me. Shoulder to shoulder we sit, backs against the stone monument, staring out into the darkness.

My thoughts are suddenly racing. How did he know that? It's almost as if he read my mind, and it's not the first time. How can he know I hate her, but not know why? "Hate her?" It's all I can come up with, and all I can do to keep from jumping up and running, running as fast and as far as I can. Running until I'm safe, until it doesn't hurt anymore.

He somehow senses it, and grasps my reluctant hand, his strong fingers lacing with mine. "You know, you're really good at running and hiding, Bones. But I'm way better at tracking. Do you really think I won't find you if you run?"

The skin on my face is prickling. I'm grateful to the nighttime for hiding my flaming face, and decide to ignore his comment. I dissemble, instead. "Why would I hate her?"

"I think you know why."

I feel like he's slowly, methodically, cutting off all my avenues of escape; why is he doing this? To make me feel worse? I didn't think it was possible to feel worse but he's proving me wrong. I wish he would stop. I wish he would go away. It's just too hard. "You notice too much."

"And you don't notice enough."

His voice is soft, measured – and yet, what he says lands like a bomb at our feet. I'm standing instantly, yanking away from him and putting the headstone between us. "Why are you saying this?" I wrap my arms around me, but they don't ward off the pain. Nothing does. I pull frantically at the night air, trying to calm myself.

"Because you need to hear it. And I need to say it." He's moving toward me now; his face naked, concealing nothing. His hand reaching out to me.

I can't do this, I can't open myself to the agony; it's unbearable. I'm backing away, swinging around. It's flight, at last. But I've only taken a few long strides when his voice rings out behind me, and it's as if my feet are suddenly chained to the ground. When did he gain such control over me? When did I begin to allow it? My breath puffs out in huge, panicked clouds, escaping into the darkness. I envy it.

"Temperance! Don't run. Please, don't."

He's moving closer, close enough that I can feel the heat of his body on my back. I hug myself tighter. I'm so afraid. I don't want to hurt anymore.

"Please. Give me a chance, Temperance. Please." Slowly, so slowly, the flats of his palms rest on my back, pressing and heating, before drifting softly down to my waist. He takes the last step, bringing his body flush with mine, and slides his arms gently around my waist, pulling me back against him. His voice, when he speaks again, is low, so low I can barely hear, and yet I understand. "When was the last time you really let yourself be touched?" His breath runs hot against my neck, followed almost immediately by his lips. "Let me touch you."

No, no, this is more than I can endure, I'm not strong enough to refuse this, to refuse him. Please don't break my heart. Again, he seems to have heard me, or perhaps I've spoken aloud. He holds me tighter, enveloping me in him, and whispers again.

"One heart, Bones. One heart."

I can breathe again, and cry again, and want again, just that quickly. "Booth…" I turn around, arms and lips seeking him, at last allowing myself to love again. "Booth."

He knows.