This is perfect, Booth thought as he stepped into The Golden Truffle restaurant. The sparkling chandeliers, the beautiful paintings on the walls, the soft music, the red roses on the tables, the patrons dressed to the nines--it was the perfect place for a romantic meal. He had heard as much from a few guys at work, but he had wanted to check it out himself before booking reservations for his and Bones' six month anniversary as a couple. A glance at the menu confirmed his suspicions that meal prices were way out of his budget, but she was worth it. More than worth it. He smiled as he imagined how surprised she would be when he brought her here instead of the diner.

He was walking over to the maitre d' to make a reservation when he saw a familiar face, a man he hadn't seen since the first year of his partnership with Bones. The arrogant bastard was dining with an attractive young woman half his age, probably one of his students. Stopping in his tracks, Booth considered his choices. He could (a) pretend he had never seen him and keep walking or (b) give the guy hell for the way he had treated Bones four years ago. He liked (b). He knew (a) was the polite, proper choice, but (b) sounded so appealing. Very, very appealing. Yup, he was definitely going with (b). Like a predator after his prey, he headed straight for the bastard's table.

"Sleeping with another one of your students, Professor Stires?"

Michael Stires whirled around in his chair. "Who are you?!"

Booth laughed. "You don't remember me? That's okay. I had amnesia myself a while back. I'm Agent Seeley Booth, Temperance Brennan's partner. You remember her, don't you?"

"Mike, you know Temperance Brennan?" His girlfriend asked him. "She's, like, my all time favorite author!"

"Oh, he knows her," Booth answered for him. "He dated her when she was his student. Four years ago, he came back into her life and charmed her into revealing the details of a case we were working on. Then he testified for the defense and tried to destroy her credibility."

His girlfriend looked shocked. "Is that true, Mike?"

"I was just doing my job," Stires told her. "It wasn't personal."

"It wasn't personal?" Booth clenched his fists. "Telling a courtroom full of people that you think she can't do her job days or maybe even hours after you've slept with her--that's personal. You were her teacher, and you know what you taught her? That guys can't be trusted. That it's a mistake to let people into your heart. She deserved better from you."

Now Booth, Stires' girlfriend, and everyone at the surrounding tables was glaring at Stires. "I'm not responsible for her trust issues," he argued, standing up to face Booth. "You can blame her family for abandoning her as a teenager. She was damaged goods long before--"

Booth punched him in the face. Stires tried to hit back, but Booth dodged the blow and hit him again, this time knocking him to the floor. "She's a much better forensic anthropologist--and a much better person--than you'll ever be." The diners at the surrounding tables started applauding. The sound startled Booth; he had been too angry to remember that they were in a crowded restaurant.

Oh crap.

Booth turned to Stires' girlfriend. "I'm…uh…sorry I hit your boyfriend."

"He's not my boyfriend anymore," she said. She shot a venomous look at Stires, who was lying on the floor cradling his face, then smiled at Booth. "Dr. Brennan is very lucky to have you as a partner. So…do you guys do all the stuff Kathy and Andy do in her books?"

Booth's face reddened as he thought of the sex scenes in Bones' books, all of which they had reenacted since becoming a couple. "Well, we…solve murders like they do."

"Is that all?" She asked, moving closer to him. "Because if you're just partners, maybe we could get together some--"

"NO." Booth put his hands out and backed away from her. "We're NOT just partners. My heart is hers."

The maitre d' tapped Booth on the shoulder. "Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

"Of course!" Happy to escape Stires' ex-girlfriend, Booth allowed the maitre d' to escort him to the door. "I was actually coming to talk to you before I saw Stires…but I'm guessing this isn't the best time to ask for a reservation." The maitre d' raised his eyebrows at him.

Maybe I'll cook for her instead.

XXXXXXXXXX

After his less than successful visit to The Golden Truffle, Booth stopped at Mai Thai, where everyone knew him and Bones by name, and ordered take-out for the two of them. She had told him she'd be working late at the Jeffersonian tonight, so he was sure she hadn't eaten yet. He brought the take-out cartons to her office, where he found her sitting in front of her computer.

"I brought you dinner, Bones!" He announced as he walked across the threshold into her office. He placed the cartons on the table in front of her couch.

She walked over to him and kissed his cheek. "Thank you. I'm starving."

"I figured you would be." He gave her a quick kiss. "How was your day?"

"Productive," Brennan answered as they opened the cartons. "Since we don't have a case to occupy my time, I was able to identify a set of remains in Limbo and work on an article for an anthropology journal. How about you?"

"I had to catch up on paperwork. Lots of it." He fed her some mee krob. "I missed you."

Brennan gave him some pad thai. "But we live together now. You see me quite frequently."

"But I still missed you," he said as he served her more mee krob.

She smiled and gave him another helping of pad thai. "I missed your company as well. So that was all you did today…paperwork?"

Booth nodded. "That was all I did at work, yeah."

"And what about after work?"

"I went to the gym for a bit." He made a show of flexing his muscles, earning a rare giggle from his partner and girlfriend.

"And after that?"

"Then I talked to Parker on the phone. He's very excited about going to the carnival with us this weekend. Thanks again for convincing Rebecca to let him spend more time with us; I don't know how you did it."

"I reminded her how important it was for Parker to have an outstanding male role model in his formative years…and I promised her I'd help improve his grades."

Booth flashed her his biggest charm smile. "You're the best, Bones."

She smiled back. "I know. What did you do after you talked to Parker?"

I went to a restaurant I couldn't afford and ended up punching one of your ex-boyfriends. Twice. "What's with the twenty questions, Bones?"

"I've only asked five questions, and I was just trying to find out if you hit anyone today," she said casually.

Booth nearly choked on his pad thai. "What?!" How did she find out?! Did Stires tell her? That bastard!

"My publicist monitors my official fan site, and she called to tell me that 'Jessica89' posted that she saw you, 'the real life Andy Lister', punch Michael Stires because he insulted me. Is that true? "

Damn technology! "Yeah…it's true. I went to this fancy restaurant because I was going to make a reservation for us and I saw him. I was only going to talk to him, but when he said something disrespectful about you, I--"

"What did he say?" Brennan interrupted.

"Nothing worth repeating."

"Please, Booth. I want to know."

Booth hesitated. He wanted to spare her feelings, but he wouldn't lie to her. "He said you were 'damaged goods'. I lost my temper--must have been that alpha male chemical thing-- and punched him in the face." And I really enjoyed it.

"'Damaged goods'? What does that even mean?"

"It means he's a jerk who's jealous of your success, nothing more. But I should have handled the situation differently. I'm sorry, Bones. I shouldn't have hit him like that."

She surprised him with a tender kiss. "I would have."

Laughing, they kissed again and again, their hunger for each other eclipsing their appetite for dinner. They would finish eating later; right now they had more important things to do with their mouths.

________________________________________________________________________

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