Title: Stripped Bare

Author: Cardiogod

Rating: PG-13 or light R for sexual situations

Word Count: About 2000

Pairing: Booth/Brennan

Spoilers: Immediately post "Pain in the Heart," so anything up to that point is fair game.

Summary: "They come together in pain, as she always imagined they would."

Disclaimer: BONES is owned by Fox and Hart Hanson. I'm only playing with them.

Author's Note: I knew from the minute that I saw "Pain in the Heart," that I would have to write something because there was way too much material there to ignore. This isn't quite what I had in mind, but it mostly wrote itself, so who am I to argue with that? This is my first real attempt at angst, so please forgive me if Brennan seems out of character. She is both the easiest and the most difficult character I've ever tried to write. I've also never written any really physical scenes before, so that provided a challenge as well. The must has really been active lately- probably because class is out for the semester- so please forgive the bombardment of stories. I need to amuse myself somehow. 


They come together in pain, as she always imagined they would. She knows that he had pictured romance and flowers and whispering sweet nothings (a phrase she heard him use once- she doesn't really know what it means) and making love.

In her mind it had always been like this, both of them stripped bare by tragedy, fear, relief. There wouldn't be candles or music or gentle caresses and soft declarations of love. Instead, there would be passion and moans and tears, rough touches and bruised skin, brought on by things greater than the two of them, things that would overwhelm her until she broke.

They go to her apartment after sitting on the stairs for what feels like forever (although she knows that "forever" is an unquantifiable term that is irrelevant in the real world) and he has barely gotten in the door before she is pushing him against the wall, swallowing his surprise with her mouth, her lips, her tongue. She needs to feel him, to feel something that isn't pain or betrayal or incredulity.

He is tangible, he is real, and he is kissing her back, his hands framing her face, touching her back, her sides, her hair. He is grabbing and pulling and she is doing the same, his shirt fisted in her hands, his leg insinuated between hers as she grinds against him, needing proof that what she is feeling is real, what is happening to her body is real.

She wants him to make her forget. She wants him to make her forget that a week ago, he was dead and she was trying to figure out what that meant for her, for her work, for her life. She wants to forget that she couldn't go two minutes without thinking about him, missing him, seeing something that reminded her of him. She wants to forget that she didn't step foot in the diner for two weeks, or in the Hoover building, or in his apartment or anywhere that would remind her of what she lost.

She wants to forget how much it hurt when the doctor told her he was dead, when Angela hugged her in an attempt at comfort, when it first hit her that she'd never see him again, never argue with him in the SVU, never correct his inferior knowledge or share a cup of coffee or watch him with Parker. The moments all hit her separately and each time the hurt was greater than the time before. She wants to forget that.

She wants him to make her forget Zack, forget that her apprentice had another master, a master that stood for the very thing she spent her life fighting against. She wants the images out of her head- Gormogon. Zack. Zack and Gormogon together. The lobbyist, the priest, the violinist. She knows their stories, she knows how they lived, what they loved, and she knows how they died, and how they suffered. And now, every time she closes her eyes, she sees Zack right there, helping Gormogon the way that he'd always helped her. At his right hand the way he was always at hers, ready to provide a fact, a statistic, a piece of evidence.

A knife through the heart.

"I'm expendable," he had said. He was talking about Gormogon, but she wonders for a moment if he thought that he was expendable to her. It is psychology, and she hates psychology, but she wonders what it was like for him to return from Iraq and see Clark Edison on the podium, standing in a place that he'd once claimed for his own.

She wants to forget him, forget this boy who first came to her with so much promise and so much intelligence and so much potential and who left her a killer, who took from her the one thing that she'd always believed in; logic.

So she thrusts against her partner again and attacks his neck with her teeth, her tongue, her fingers in his hair, pulling him closer until she is sure that the outline of him is imprinted on her skin. She wants it this way, burning hot like a car fire on the interstate, eating her alive the way that the flames engulf flesh, singeing away tissue and organ and dermis until all that is left is bone, bare and basic and true.

When he pulls her back to his mouth, she does forget, and for a second nothing exists in the world except for her and him and the wall and she is grateful for the relief, for the dulling of the ache in her chest that she can't scientifically quantify, or categorize, or easily reference.

They were always meant to end up this way, she thinks. It was an anthropological inevitability. Him and her and this.

He flips them around, pinning her hard and tight against the plaster and paint. She pants and he moans and she struggles to pull his jacket from the limbs that are wrapped around her and unwilling to relinquish their hold, as though letting go, if only for a second, would separate them completely.

She wants to tell him that they can't be separated, not now and maybe not ever (although she holds no misconceptions regarding the transience of human relationships, she periodically wonders if Booth might be the exception that proves the rule), but her mouth is too busy kissing him to speak, so she says it with her hands.

She doesn't know when he managed to get her jacket off, but she nearly trips over it as they stumble together to another wall, new territory to conquer. It will be over quickly, she deduces, and they probably won't make it to the bedroom. She digs her fingers around his waist, hunting for the hem of his t-shirt and pulling it over his head in a practiced, fluid motion, their mouths separating with a loud pop that echoes through the dark hallway.

She wants him. Maybe she's always wanted him, but right now she can feel the desire manifesting, filling her every thought, controlling her every motion. It feels good to give in to something, to lose for a moment the control that she fights to maintain in every other area of her life, every moment. She doesn't need it here. What she needs is him, inside of her. Now.

Her hands fly to his belt buckle- she managed a wry grin as her fingers trace over the lettering- and almost as soon as she's unbuttoned his fly, she finds the air in front of her cold and empty and it takes a full three seconds for her to realize that Booth has flown to the other end of the room, still panting and looking at her in a way she's only ever seen in her own fiction.

The first emotion to hit her is anger. Fierce, hot anger that courses through her as easily and as naturally as the desire had. Sweets would tell her that anger is an expression of hurt designed to protect the person experiencing it. She would punch Sweets in the jaw.

She'd like to punch Booth in the jaw too, and she takes three steps towards him with exactly that idea. He's sprouting off some explanation, rationalization, something about not wanting it to be like this, wanting it to be different, but all she can think is that he betrayed her. He left her. Again. And, unlike the last time he left her, he is here and alive and leaving her on purpose.

She strides towards him, consumed with fury and injustice and the need to do something, because if she did nothing, she would cry, and she can't cry. If she cries, he wins. It strikes her as ironic that "he" can refer to any number of people- Booth, Zack, Gormogon. She doesn't know which one is worst.

Instead of slugging him in the jaw, she hits his chest, hard, right in the spot that she clung to three weeks ago, desperate to stop the bleeding from the bullet he had taken for her. She hits him there and it's not enough. Again. Not enough.

She hits him a third time, and he doesn't go away. Again, and no change. Once more and he is still there and Zack is still a murderer and it is still her fault.

It is primal now, punching his chest and his arms and wherever she can reach. He hurt her. He died and he hurt her. He came back and he hurt her. He pulled away and he hurt and she hates him for it. More than that, she hates herself for letting him, for giving him that power.

He is motionless under her attack and she hates that too. She wants him to fight back, to restrain her, to give some sign that this is affecting him too, that she isn't the only one with pain she can't control.

It's too much, all of it, and she can't compartmentalize this because compartmentalizing is what caused it in the first place. She is the one who taught him to separate, to distance, to ignore names and faces and histories. She is the one who told him that a six year old boy was not Charlie but the victim, the remains, the bones. She is the one who told him to put his heart in a box, to focus on the details, to not feel, and she is the one who turned him into a killer.

She doesn't know when her torrents of anger turn into sobs or her fists melt into grasping hands, but they do and his arms are around her and, while they do nothing to ameliorate the grief, she is grateful for them nonetheless. He strokes her hair and her back and kisses the crown of her head and she wishes he wouldn't because it makes it impossible for her to be angry and allows the sadness to envelope her, to envelope both of them.

And she cries. She cries for what she has lost and for what she has found and for the price she has paid for all of it.

"It was everything I believed in, Booth." A huge admission for her, one she doesn't intend to make but that comes out of her anyway, quiet and broken.

"I know."

He tilts her face up to look at him and answers her unasked question. "Believe in me."

She closes her eyes, the things that she sees in his- hurt and exhaustion and fear and love- too overwhelming to withstand at the moment.

She nods her head against his chest.