A/N – Yep – this is real. I actually have another update ready. When I have the time and when the creativity is cooperating I can actually write. I hope you guys are still enjoying the story. Thanks so much for the reviews on the previous chapters. I'm going to keep trying to churn out chapters. I'd like to get this one finished soon since it's from season 4. *sigh*

Thanks to my creative genius friends for helping with the writing (you know who you are). Also, thanks to MickeyBoggs for her proofing skills.

Disclaimer – I don't own Bones.

Chapter 12

"That is extremely unnecessary," the slightly pained voice echoed through the hallway causing Booth to jump slightly. His concentration on the task at hand was broken. She had heard his rustling as she woke from a now all to frequent nap. Her curiosity got the best of her and she decided she felt well enough to see what her partner was doing. Initially, she postulated he must be dusting. "I can hire a service to handle that," she said.

His lightening fast reflexes had him at her side almost instantly. "Bones, what the hell?" he said harshly completely ignoring her question. All that mattered to him was for her to make it to the hall without falling. "Just because two days ago your doctor told you that you could sit up doesn't mean that you can be wandering all over the world without help."

If Brennan had been 100 percent healthy, she would have rolled her eyes at her partner's obvious display of over-protectiveness. Right now, however, she settled for cupping her hand over her still healing ear to relieve some of the pressure that was building from standing for just a few minutes. She then put up the fight he was so thankful she had in her. "I hardly call walking 10 meters wandering around the world."

It might as well have been a trip around the world, though since she was relieved that his strong arm around her midsection gave her some support as he led her to the couch. "What are you doing anyway?" she said as she sat and realized he wasn't dusting.

Booth's face contorted slightly at the question. In some ways, it was easier when she was doped to the gills. Now that she was displaying some outward signs of improvement, she was beginning to ask questions. It was both a relief and a burden for the FBI Agent. His partner was on the mend but she'd probably put herself in the hospital by stopping him from helping her and doing too much too soon.

"Oh, ummm," he stammered in effort to gingerly word his answer. "I was just straightening a few things." It wasn't exactly a lie and based on the fact that she pulled her feet onto the couch and moved to lie back down, he assumed he'd managed to escape the interrogation he figured would be coming. He accepted her now closed eyes as approval and he returned to his task occassionally throwing glances at his partner as she slipped back into a peaceful slumber.

Approximately 45 minutes had passed when the snap of a plastic tote lid made caused Brennan to jump. She winced and let out an audible "Owww!"

"Bones, you alright?" he practically jumped over the coffee table and was at her side.

"FINE," she said dryly but with a bit of annoyance in her voice. "I'd be even better if you'd refrain from repeating that sharp noise that seems to be at a frequency that resonates with my ossicles."

"That's good, Bones," Booth said. "You're using words college professors don't know," he teased but immediately softened when he saw her put her arm over her eyes out of discomfort. He knew she still wasn't well but was doing much better than the previous week.

Her doctor's visit had been invasive but yielded good results. Her imaging studies had shown that fluid leakage had diminished from her initial hospital visit and that scar tissue seemed to be forming around the fistula. 'She's not out of the woods,' Dr. Hawkins had said. 'She still has a high degree of nystagmus and her hearing in her right ear is extremely poor. Only time will tell but for now, I'm confident that emergency surgery isn't necessary.'

The pair had left the doctor's office with a new confidence that with time they would return to normal. Now, however, the difficulty was finding a balance. Sure, Brennan had improved and could hold her head up without vomiting incessantly but the dizziness, pressure, and pain were still debilitating. She tried to fight it but she really couldn't. She still needed help.

"You want your pain meds?" Booth asked as they both focused on reality instead of their spiraling thoughts.

Brennan cracked one eye in response. "I think that would probably be advisable," she said with a sigh.

I was only a few seconds later that Booth returned with two white pills and a small glass of water. Brennan instinctively popped the pills and sat up a little straighter. The urge to lie back down was there but she knew that the medication would cause her to fall asleep within twenty minutes. She wasn't willing to give in to sleep earlier than she had to, though. She needed to capitalize on wakefulness while it was there.

She studied her partner for a few minutes. His actions confused her. She looked around the room. Things were different but the same. It was quite confusing. Finally, her foggy mind focused on an object, rather, a missing object. "Booth?" she said quite timidly.

"Hey, Bones," he said gently in response. He placed a piece of plain brown paper on the floor and walked toward her. "What's up? You need something?"

She made a conscious effort to speak confidently and not sound like a bumbling idiot. "Where is my African fertility goddess statue that was sitting on my foyer table?"

Booth didn't need sniper skills to know that he'd been busted. "Oh, that, ummmm," he tried to phrase his answer very gingerly.

"Booth," she sternly urged him to get to the point.

"Well, Dr. Hawkins talked to me and Angela while you were back in imaging. He said that the biggest risk to you was injuring yourself from a fall. He said you could hit your head on a table or sharp object and scramble that pretty brain of yours," he said and was pleased that she wasn't yelling at him yet.

"Angela and I talked and we thought it would be best if we put all the objects up that might be dangerous for you to fall into," he said with a charm smile.

"How did you determine what objects might pose as a potential danger," she asked.

The tone of his partner's voice stunned him slightly. It was her interrogation voice. The one he had taught her that she only used when they knew they had the suspect where they wanted him. 'Dammit! I taught her to interrogate people and now she is using it against me,' He thought to himself before he spoke. At this point, honesty and the fact that he knew she had just popped two narcotic pain pills were his only hopes. "Well. . . I ummmm considered, rationally," he threw one of her favorite words in for good measure. "We considered objects that might be dangerous for a child. I went back to when Parker was learning to -," he was interrupted by an obviously demoralized anthropologist's voice.

"Is that what I am now?" she asked, "A child?"

"Bones, no," he said as he moved closer to her. If she was sitting completely upright, he would have pulled her into a hug. "You are NOT a child. You are just recovering. We just want to make sure you can get better without hurting yourself," he said.

She gave him a simple nod. He figured she folded very quickly due to the cloud medication that was rolling into her mind and muddling her thoughts. "You know," she managed to say with a certain degree of clarity. "There is a much higher likelihood that I would strike my head on my coffee table than on my African fertility goddess."

A sly grin grew on his face. "Well, Angela and I have that one covered," he said hoping she wouldn't prod further.

No such luck. "What did you do?" she asked

Silence filled the room.

"Booth?" she said again and this time she opened both eyes that clearly told of her resolve to know what his plan entailed.

"Let's just say that the Jeffersonian shipping department doesn't have as much bubble wrap as you would think they have," he said. "Well, they don't have as much as they used to have."

"Really, Booth?" she managed to protest before the yawn overtook her body. "I'm fine," she said as her eyes began to droop.

He smiled, stood up, and went back to work. "You will be, Bones. You will be."

Brennan was thankful for a changing of the guard. She found herself seated on the couch as the light of sunset trickled into her living room. Her torso was covered by a throw blanket but her feet were poking out from beneath the cover.

"I appreciate the gesture, Ange, but I find it unnecessary to have freshly manicured toenails when I am under house arrest for at least another month," Brennan said with frustration.

"Sweetie, it's not house arrest. You're getting better," Angela said. "But. . . If I was under house arrest, I would want that studly man guarding the door. You're actually lucky. Too bad the doctor says no romps under the covers."

"Angela!" Brennan said more loudly than she should be talking given her still delicate condition. "How on earth do you know I can't have sexual intercourse and why would you assume that Booth and I would be bumping funnies if I didn't have a medical condition that prohibited it?"

"First of all, it's bumping uglies!" the artist laughed. "Next, you and Booth have more pressure between you guys than Old Faithful. One of these days, you're going to explode if it's not released."

Brennan, surprisingly, didn't deny anything. "As Booth would say, we have both left metaphorical marks on each other."

"Marks are one way to put it," Angela said with a smirk. "Personally, I'd let Booth go ahead and mark his territory if I were you."

"Human males don't. . ." Brennan said before realizing she was being too literal. "I think I get what you mean but I'm not sure that he would want that kind of relationship with me."

Angela capped the nail polish bottle and let out a huff. "Seriously, Sweetie. Stop playing Miss Clueless and admit what you see." The frustration in Angela's tone was very clear. "That man has been by your side for almost two weeks. He only left tonight because Parker had an end of the year presentation at school. He'll probably bust through that door any minute terrified that I let you conk your head on your coffee table or something," she went on. "He loves you, Sweetie. That's what love is. Wanting to make sure the person you love is safe, healthy, and happy."

Brennan sighed. "I'm not sure that it's love. It's certainly a very mutualistic relationship. We both benefit from being together professionally," the anthropologist said in effort to minimize her feelings for the FBI Agent in question.

"Just professionally?" Angela asked with a raised eyebrow.

Brennan knew when she had been caught. Her friend was right. She and Booth were better together in every facet. All in all they made each other better people.

Even though the revelation hit Brennan, she wasn't ready to deal with it. Right now, she felt like a lackluster person. She wasn't strong and she needed to be the person she truly was to address the issue of her relationship with Booth. "Angela," she said with a bit of a forced weakness. She needed to be convincing. "I'm really not up to talking about this right now."

"I know, Sweetie," Angela said in a compassionate, soft tone. "When you are better, though, we are talking about this."

Brennan nodded and closed her eyes. "I know," she said simply.

"No sleeping, yet." Angela said. "I still have to do your nails."

Brennan cracked an eye. "Freshly manicured nails are not required for sitting on my rear end doing nothing all day," she fussed. She knew she wasn't ready to work and she certainly didn't feel like it but she still felt so useless.

"Hey," Angela encouraged. "The doctor gave you a good report. AND Cam told me that whenever you feel up to it, she'll put some stuff on the network and you can access it through your VPN and do a little work."

That caused Brennan to perk up a little bit. "Maybe in a couple of days I can actually focus on the computer screen. I tried opening my email this morning and my head started pounding so I had to stop," she pouted a little. "I can't even read the anthropology journals I hold subscriptions to and Booth refused to read them to me. He says it's like reading the book of Kings in the Bible with all the weird names and words."

Angela snickered. "If you want, I can have Daisy or Vincent come by to read them to you."

Brennan cringed at the thought. "That won't be necessary," she said as she gave her hand to Angela to start the 'totally unnecessary' manicure.