Thank you for all of the feedback on my last fic. I know I promised a post-ep for 'Double Death of the Dearly Departed,' but unfortunately, I'm lacking inspiration. Go figure--a gem of an episode, and I can't find a single thing to write about. *sigh* The following takes place after 'The Girl in the Mask,' and as with my other fics, anything prior to this episode is fair game, too. Enjoy!

VVVVV

"We agree to understand that this is worth it."

Brennan swallowed her beer and let out a sigh.

"What are you thinking about, Bones?"

"Huh?"

He gestured toward her. "You've got your thinking face on."

"Of course, I do, Booth. I'm thinking most of the time, so I…"

He interrupted her. "What I meant was that you look like something's bothering you, and you're trying to think your way through it."

She made a face--one that resembled a frown, but was actually one of weighing pros and cons. "It's just that you said that 'this is worth it.' Were you referring to us?"

Booth wasn't sure he liked where this conversation was going. "Yes," he finally answered.

More puzzled than before, she shifted in her chair and cocked her head. "But I thought that 'worth' could only be attributed to a situation where love is involved."

"Yes," Booth admitted, already knowing--and dreading--her reply.

"You're implying that our relationship revolves, at least partly, around love. But so-called feelings of love are simply a confluence of biological urges and the release of chemicals in the brain."

"Bones," Booth sighed, "just because you don't believe in love doesn't mean I don't."

Her gaze dropped from his, and she picked at the corner of the label on her beer bottle.

Booth watched her for a few moments then cleared his throat. "You want another beer?" he asked, changing the subject.

She tipped her bottle sideways so she could see how much liquid remained. "No, I can't drink too much. I still have to drive home."

"You can stay here tonight if you want," Booth offered.

She slowly shook her head and took another sip of her beer. "No, I've spent too many nights here recently because you kept giving me alcohol."

"Hey! It's not like I made you keep drinking it."

She smirked. "Relax, Booth. I'm only kidding. You're familiar with that, aren't you?"

"Yeah, I just didn't know you were," he replied with a smile.

"I'm learning." She sighed and drained the bottle. "I should probably get out of here," she told him as she placed the bottle on the table and got up.

"You don't have to go," he said as he followed her to the door. He knew it was lame before the words were out of his mouth.

"Thanks for the ice cream…and beer," she said as she reached for the doorknob.

"Anytime," he replied, his mind searching for ways to prolong her visit. "See you tomorrow?"

She smiled and nodded as she opened the door and turned to leave. Her hand gripped the doorknob, and she lingered in the open doorway. "Booth?"

"Yeah, Bones?"

"Am I worth it?"

Four years ago, Brennan's blunt question would have surprised Booth. He'd since learned to be prepared for anything she had to say.

"Yes."

"You don't even have to think about it?"

"No."

She considered his response then slowly closed the door behind her.

VVVVV

The end! No, I'm kidding. I have a short epilogue already written--which I'll post in a day or so, but I'd like to know what you think of this so far.

Thanks for reading!