Hi everybody again,

Here is the 16th chapter of my story. I hope you like it.

Disclaimer: as always, Bones is not mine…


Booth and Marquez were still following the footprints and checking the map to not get lost. Booth noticed that they were walking westward, but didn't know exactly where they were, under the city. Then suddenly Booth stopped. The footprints disappear in that point.

"Here, they must have climbed this way. There are no more footprints from here on." He said.

"Do you think it's a good idea to go this way? We don't know where we are gonna appear."

"Yeah, you're right. Maybe we can go out through the previous cover, it was twenty meters before. We can take a look of where we are and enter from the street level."

"Yes, I like this option so much more than the first one. Let's go."

Booth climbed first and, before open the cover, put the ear against it, trying to hear any sound.

"We are under a street." He said, opening the cover and going out. Marquez followed him in a second. They scanned the street and immediately Booth got his bearings. They were very close to Corball's house, the one where he set a trap for Perotta, but not exactly in that place. The walkie talked again in that exact moment.

"Here Perotta. Booth, where the hell are you?"

"Here Booth. Right now agent Marquez and I are approximately two kilometers west from Brennan's building. We are out the sewers, in front of a familiar house I suspect is Corball's aunt." He said.

"Ms. Montenegro has contacted me a minute ago. She has been able to trace the signal from the webcam to the same familiar house you're looking at right now. We are on our way to where you are, so wait there, I repeat, wait there. Don't go into the house, Booth. It can be another trap."

"Ok, Perotta. We'll wait the cavalry for five minutes. If you're not here Marquez and I will go in. Over and out!" He said, turning the walkie off.

Hopefully Perotta took only two minutes to arrive in a S.U.V. with three more agents. The rest were waiting two hundred meters away.

"I believe he has Brennan in the basement. I don't think he suspects that we are here, so maybe we could use the surprise factor. The basement has no windows. I'm sure there's another manhole cover in the basement, because the stairs were half the length than the ones we have used to come out. We must keep watch there, just in case he tries to go that way." Booth explained to Perotta.

"I agree. You two, go into the sewers and wait right under the cover. Don't let Corball use that way to escape." She ordered the two agents at her left. "Ok. I suppose I can't make you stay away, so let's go in." She said.

"You're right. You can't." Booth replied checking his gun.

They surrounded the house in pairs. Booth and Marquez in the front door, and Perotta and agent Smith were surrounding the house and would use the back door to enter. Booth tried to open the door quietly but couldn't. Then Marquez took from one pocket a set of picklocks and he opened it in complete silence. The house seemed to be abandoned. There were lots and lots of dust everywhere, and all the pieces of furniture were covered with white sheets. But someone had been there, because there were a lot of footprints on the floor. They met Perotta and Smith in the living room. They decided to inspect the first and second floor before go to the basement, just in case. But they didn't find anyone nor anything useful. When Perotta and Smith were finishing with the second floor a metallic sound came from the basement.

They were getting ready to open the basement door when a desperate scream came from there. Booth recognized Bones' voice in it. He was going to open the basement door and ran to safe her, but Perotta stopped him.

"Booth, wait!" She said quietly but totally serious. "Remember that we must take him by surprise! This is our best option to catch him and to take her out of here alive."

"Right." He just said clenching his jaw. Bones' screams echoing in the walls. He took two deep breaths and opened the door carefully. There was a downstairs with walls in each side, so Corball couldn't see them coming until they were at the final steps. Bones' screams with pain and desperation were chilling his blood and making him feel absolutely frantic. He needed a great effort not to run downstairs and shoot him between the eyes without hesitation. They got to the basement floor in absolute silence, Booth first, with Perotta, Marquez and Smith right behind him. And then he saw the scene and a tear slid through his cheek, but he didn't notice it. He couldn't take his eyes from Bones hanging upside down, totally naked, with her legs covered in wounds, the blood sliding through all her body and unconscious. He had to fight back the bile that was threatening to find a way out of his body. But Corball saw them out of the corner of his eye and put himself behind her, shielding himself with Bones' body.

"Get away from her, Corball!" Booth shouted aiming his gun directly to Corball's head, but Bones' legs were in the line of fire. Booth could see how Corball's face changed to an annoyed one when he saw the agents there.

"Agent Booth… you really are a pain in the ass! How did you find me?"

"Stop talking. GET AWAY FROM HER NOW!" Booth exclaimed. But Corball's didn't want to give up so easily.

"No. You all better stop right there, or I fry Temperance right now and right here." He said. Unluckily for the agents the generator was just in front of Bones' head, so they couldn't shoot at it without hurting her, and Corball had just to hold his hand out from where he was, shielded behind Bones' body. He turned the wheel to maximum power, and held his hands with the electrodes very close to her body.

"Booth?" She said weakly. She had regained consciousness just a minute ago and had listened to the conversation between Booth and Corball. She was too weak to say something more, to be sure if it was him or not because she was still blindfolded.

"Bones, hold on, Baby. I'm gonna get you out of here." He said to her, as softly as he could, both for her and himself. He needed to stay in control, but with his Bones in that state it was being really really difficult. With the confirmation about Booth being here she got even more anxious, because almost always something bad is about to end the patience just fades away. And Booth's voice increased that state. She began to cry and sob on the chain violently. Her ankles were hurting like hell, but she didn't care for them right now. "Bones, don't move, ok? We're gonna get you out of here, but, please, please, don't move!" Booth said to her gently. But she didn't stop, she couldn't even if she wanted. The pressure Booth was feeling on his chest was almost unbearable. He could tell it was causing him physical pain.

"You are too much self-confident, don't you think?" Corball said. He was scanning the room and his brain was working full looking for something useful, or even better, a way out.

"It's over, Corball. Let the wires on the floor and lie down, on your stomach!" Booth exclaimed.

"Oh, no, no, no way. I'm not gonna give up so easily. Specially after everything I've had to do to get to her."

"Shoot at him, Booth" Bones managed to calm herself enough to stop the violent spasms and whispered that. She hadn't energy for anything more.

"Oh, yes, please! Shoot at me. If you're lucky you'll just destroy her long and beautiful legs…" Corball said, touching her left leg, spreading all the blood pouring from the wounds all over it. "Come on! What are you waiting?" Corball provoked him. But Booth knew very well that Corball was just trying to make him lose patience. He knew he couldn't risk a shot against him while he was behind her.

And in that very moment the electricity went off. At the same time a bright ray of light came from behind Booth, pointing directly to Corball and Bones. Corball. Booth didn't waste any time and began to walk toward him aiming directly at his head, tried to electrocute Bones with the electrodes, but they didn't work, evidently, much for his desperation. Booth got to him from the left, grabbed his elbow, making the electrodes fall from his hands, and pushed him forcefully to the ground. Corball fell on his knees and Booth put his left arm around Corball's neck, from behind. He pressed roughly his gun against Corball's right temple.

"Please, give me another reason to pull the trigger!" Booth muttered in Corball's ear. "Or maybe you could just offer some resistance, please!" He said sarcastically to him, playing at the same game Corball's liked so much. But this time Corball didn't open his mouth, just bowed his head in defeat.

"Booth. Let me, ok? Go to her." Said Perotta, pointing to Bones, who was still sobbing. Without warning Corball she pushed him hard, making him lay down.

"On your stomach! You bastard!" Then she put herself on his back and handcuffed him with a total lack of consideration.

Booth didn't waste any time and lifted Bones a little, trying to keep her head as high as he could, and to release some tension from her ankles. In that moment the electricity came back on and Booth saw Marquez grinning proudly. He realized that he had discovered the electrical panel of the house right behind the stairs and had switched the power off without anyone noticing. That was why the power had gone off in that very moment. While Booth was silently thanking him for that great discovery Smith came to help Booth and let the chain down carefully while he held Bones. Booth knelt on the floor with her on his lap. He removed the blindfold from her eyes and as soon as he released her hands she sank on his chest, crying inconsolably. Booth just clutched her against himself in a tight embrace.

"Shh, don't worry, it's all over." He tried to calm her down softly. "Bo… Temperance… calm down, please, don't cry. No one is gonna hurt you again, I promise, it's all over… shh…" He was caressing her hair with one hand and clasping her against his chest with the other one. God, how much he needed to feel her alive. Even with her crying in his arms, he felt a great relief just feeling her alive.

Marquez handed his shirt to Booth and he thanked him with a glance. "Bones, I'm not going anywhere, ok? Let me put this shirt on you." He said. She released him just enough to let him put the shirt on her and buttoned if with so much care. "You know, this was not the way I imagined I'd have you naked in my arms for the first time…" He said, trying to release some of the tension. She laughed with him, and Booth thought that was the most beautiful smile he had ever seen in her. "Come on, let's get out of here." He carried her in his arms and she just hang from his neck, leaning her head against his shoulder.

Perotta had taken out Corball and called the paramedics to check on Brennan. They were arriving when Booth went out with her.

"Here sir!" One of the doctors called. He laid her and let the docs work on her, never stopping to look at her.

Later, at the hospital, Booth was at the waiting room when he thought again about Parker. He should call Rebecca. She must be frantic.

"Seeley! Where are you? Are you ok?" She asked as soon as she answered the phone. He was right, she was absolutely frantic.

"Rebecca, calm down, I'm ok. How is Parker? Are you with him?" He asked trying to focus on the conversation.

"Yes, an agent called me and I came here as quickly as I could. He was terrified, but he's asking for you and Dr. Brennan. Where the hell are you? We have to talk seriously!" She said, changing suddenly the tone in her voice from normal to upset.

"I'm in the George Washington Hospital. The man who took Parker from the zoo used him to get to Bones. She exchanged herself for him. We've arrested him a few minutes ago."

"Seeley, listen to me. This is not gonna happen again. I'm not gonna let something like this happen again to Parker! It could have happened anything to him! For God's sake!" She shouted.

"Rebecca, don't dare to yell at me! You don't have any idea how mine, Bones' and Parker's day has been! Usually I'd be blaming myself for what has happened, but you know? Not today! This wasn't anyone's fault but the son of a bitch that has taken Bones just to torture her for his own evil pleasure. She has been electrocuted, wounded, and who knows what more. The doctors are running a lot of tests on her to make sure she's ok. So excuse me if I'm being a little rude, but I'm covered in her blood and she has been through a hell of physical and psychological pain just to save Parker from the hands of that monster!" In that moment a doctor called for him. "Doctors are calling me. We'll talk later." He said and hung up.

"How is she?" He asked impatiently.

"She's ok. We've run tests on her to identify possible internal damages because of the electrocution, but we've found nothing serious. We've cleaned and stitched all the wounds in her legs and were about to run a rape kit on her, but she doesn't want to do it. She says that he hasn't touched her sexually." Booth felt better knowing that.

"Could I see her, please?" Booth asked. His voice was a plea.

"Yes, of course. Follow me." Booth followed the doc to Bones' box. He entered the room and found her still dressed with the shirt Marquez had given to her. Her legs were covered with bandages protecting the stitched wounds.

"Hey…" He said softly while entered the room.

"Hey…" She answered as softly. She saw him covered in her own blood and a shiver ran through her spine.

"How do you feel?" He asked sitting at her right on the bed.

"Better now." She answered. Much for his astonishment she made him raise his left arm above her shoulders and curled up against his left side.

"Bones, I'm all dirty…"

"I don't care…" He caressed her face with his right hand. She closed her eyes and leaned her face against his palm, looking for the warmth in it. "How's Parker? Is he ok?"

"Yes, don't worry. He's fine."

"I'm sorry, Booth. I didn't know he was going to use Parker against us. I would never have gone on with this if I had suspected it."

"You don't have to feel sorry for that. This is not your fault. In fact you saved him, and I have to thank you for that."

"I couldn't let Michael hurt him, Booth. I had no option."

"I know, I know. Don't worry for that now." He said, pulling him tighter against him. "You're exhausted. You should try to take some sleep." He said lowly.

"No, I'm fine. Maybe later." She said. "How did you find me?" She asked.

"Well, Parker told me what had happened in the lift. The shooters didn't see you and Corball, so I thought that he was gonna try to escape through the sewers again. Angela sent me a map of the sewers system and with agent Marquez we followed your footprints. We discovered the cover from which you had gone up and Marquez and I used the previous one. Corball had brought you to the basement of his aunt's house. You already know how it ends." He explained, never stopping of hugging her and caressing her hair and face.

"While we were walking through the sewers I realized that he must have been watching and listening to everything through the cam Perotta rescued in the explosion.I suppose he was listening to it when he got me because he had some kind of earphone." She paused for a second. "Neither of us thought that the webcam could still be working."

"Well, Angela already did, but it was a little too late, because you were on your way to your apartment. But you're right. He knew what was happening. We were lucky that he couldn't have access to our internal communications during the operation, because he'd have known that I was on your heels."

"Yeah…" She said, closing her eyes again and making herself more comfortable against him. He never stopped caressing her hair and looking at her face. She was exhausted, although she didn't admit it, and fell asleep in the warmth of his embrace.

Some time later Angela entered the room finding Bones sleeping in Booth's arms.

"Hey…" Angela greeted lowly.

"Hi Angela." Booth answered.

"How is she?"

"She's fine, just asleep. Let's go out the room." Said Booth, releasing himself from Bones' embrace, carefully to not wake her up. He explained her what had happened, but avoiding the worst details. It wasn't necessary for her to know everything. "She's just exhausted. She fell asleep a while ago. The doctors have run many tests on her looking for internal damages, but fortunately found nothing. I don't think they keep her here much more time."

"I'm so sorry, Booth. I'm sorry for not discover it before. I should have been able to know that the camera was transmitting. Maybe we could've been able to trace the signal before to where Corball was receiving it." She said sadly.

"Don't worry, Ange. It's true, maybe we could've done something before, but maybe not. We'll never know that. But every one of us did everything we could, so don't blame yourself. I've been thinking and saying to everyone that the entire fault is Corball's, and I'm starting to believe it myself. But that's the truth. And finally it's over. That guy is going to spend the rest of his live in jail." Answered Booth, trying to make Angela feel a little better.

"Booth?" Bones woke up feeling alone.

"I'm here, Bones." Answered Booth, going in.

"Hi Sweetie!" Said Angela. She hugged her impulsively, but trying to not hurt her more. "How do you feel?"

"I'm fine, Ange, just a little tired. Don't worry for me."

"I'm sorry, Sweetie. If I had just a few more minutes I would've found out everything about the webcam."

"No, Ange. That's wasn't your fault. Anyway, we wouldn't have had any other option. Thinking better about everything we wouldn't have prevented Corball's from abduct Parker. In fact, I think it has been better this way. If I couldn't be there to exchange myself for him and we had tried to do something with him as a hostage, probably things wouldn't have been ended well for him. I'm sure Corball would have asked for me to exchange myself for Parker anyway, and that would've been a lot more dangerous for him. I don't regret the way we have performed the plan." Brennan explained. "I know I'm right, although there's no way to prove it, so there's no reason to worry about that now. It's over." She remained in silence for a few seconds. And just in that moment Dr. Daniels came back to the room to check on her. "Hi again, Dr. Daniels."

"Hello, Dr Brennan. I have good news for you. You're free to go home whenever you want. You have just to be very careful with the stitches on your legs, and clean the wounds daily. We have bandaged all the wounds individually, and every time you clean them or take a shower you'll have to bandage them again, at least for the few three or four days. And, the electrocutions you've been through could cause you to feel dizzy and sick for the first days. Do you have someone to stay with for those first days, or someone who could stay with you?"

"Don't worry, doctor. She won't be alone." Booth answered. Angela smirked.

"Booth…" Bones started to complain, but Angela didn't let her continue.

"Honey, you've heard the doc. You know I'd willingly stay with you, but if I have to carry you for some reason, I won't be able to do it." Brennan's face reflected exactly what she was thinking about that. "You need someone with you with enough strength to carry you just in case. Don't worry doc, Agent Booth will stay with her all that could be needed. Right?"

"Of course!" Booth said.

"That's perfect. The orderly will come in a few minutes with a wheelchair and you'll be free to go." Dr. Daniels said opening the door to go out. "Take care, Dr. Brennan." And she closed the door.

"I can manage myself, and I don't need a wheelchair or someone staying with me." Brennan said obstinately. She sight in frustration.

"I've brought you the spare clothes you had at the lab, so you can get dressed." Angela said, showing her a bag.

"I-I'll wait outside." Booth said shyly, going out the room and closing the door behind him. Surely he had seen her naked a while ago, but now the circumstances were different.

Brennan dressed herself with some difficulty, but better than expected due to the amount of wounds. As the doc had said, they weren't as deep as she thought when she felt them, and some of them did not even need stitches.

The orderly arrived with the wheelchair and a minute later a sulked Brennan appeared pushed by Angela. Booth smirked at the vision, knowing how much that was pissing her off.

"Let me, please." He said to Angela. A known feeling made him smirk again. "I'm having déjà-vus lately, do you think is serious, Doctor?" He asked playfully to Bones.

"Don't get used to this. As soon as I cross the main door I'm gonna stand up from this chair. I dislike it so much!" Bones said. Booth, Angela and the orderly grinned.

As she had said, as soon as the chair crossed the main entrance of the hospital she stood up. "Thank you for the clothes, Angela. See you tomorrow." Brennan said to her.

"Honey, let Booth take care of you. Don't be as stubborn as you use to be about needing someone's help. It's not a shame to need somebody once in a while."

"Bye, Ange." Bones and Booth said in unison and then they walked the few meters to the SUV.

"Bones, do you mind if we stop at my apartment for a moment to grab a few things, and then we go to see Parker? I need to see by myself that he's fine, but only if you are not too tired."

"Sure, no problem." She answered.

"Thank you, Bones." He replied with a smile in his face. After grabbing some stuff from his apartment they headed to see Parker. When Rebecca saw by herself the state of Brennan was easier for Booth to calm her. She understood what Brennan had done for her son, and couldn't be upset with her or him. Booth explained what had happened and she understood what Brennan explained to her: that probably nothing would've stopped Corball to abduct Parker, and things would've been so much worse if she wouldn't have exchanged herself for the kid. Parker hugged Bones and wept with the fact that Bones was alive. Even Booth and Rebecca had troubles to keep the emotion at bay.

Almost two hours later they arrived to Bones' apartment.

"I'm gonna take a shower and then go to bed." She said, thinking in the amount of evidences to analyze in order to prosecute Corball. She felt tired just thinking about it.

"I'll prepare something to eat while you shower." Booth said, taking one step toward her.

"I'm not hungry, but you can make yourself whatever you want." Booth's face couldn't hide how much that was upsetting him, but Bones continued. "I'm very tired. The guest room is ready. It's always ready just in case my father comes. There are clean towels in the bathroom closet. And anything you need, I'm sure you know how to find it." She said, more dryly than she had intended.

"Bones… wait, please!"

"What…" She replied stopping under the frame of her bedroom door.

"I know you don't wanna talk about what have happened, and I'm not gonna press you to do it. You know I'll be here whenever you need me. But I n-need you to do something for me." Bones didn't answer, but her face showed him that she was going to do whatever he asked her to do for him. He took a few more steps toward her, stopping two meters away from her. His hands in his pockets and a little head bowed were telling her how difficult was being for him to ask her what he wanted, even for someone as ignorant as Bones was reading people. "I almost lose you today, and I-I know that these d-days have been very difficult, for both of us, a lot of things have happened, but…" he took another step, taking his hands out of his pockets. "I just want you to stay with me for a while. I don't care if you don't want to talk, we could just stay in silence, or do whatever you wanna do. I just need… I need to feel you are alive." Booth took the last step toward her and caressed her arm with the tip of his fingers, leaving goosebumps under it. "Please…"

"Ok. I can do that. Although it should be enough for you to know that I'm alive just because I'm speaking to you. But I'll stay with you if that makes you feel better." She had taken another step toward Booth without notice it.

"I know you're alive, I don't need to know it. I need to feel it." They were so close now that they could feel each other warmth. But suddenly she felt awkward and moved away to her bedroom again. "But I need a shower first."

"Sure, I'll make something to supper, meanwhile." He told, the spell already broken.

"Ok." Bones entered her room and closed the door. Booth, feeling a mix of relief and uneasiness, headed to the kitchen. He was a little taken aback. A while ago, at the hospital she seemed to need him as the air to breathe, but now he had had almost to beg her to stay with him. It had been really difficult for him to ask her that. But this way, he thought, she couldn't hide in a shell from him. He concentrated in the task and started to prepare something easy. He was tired too.

Bones undressed carefully in her bedroom and removed one by one all the bandages on her legs. Her ankles were marked with an almost black mark all around. She discarded the thought and entered the shower. She wanted to run the water as hot as she was able to stand, but the wounds were hurting like hell with that temperature. Frustrated, she cooled the water and sat on the shower floor, trying to let the water took away everything that had happened that week. She didn't even notice the tears, at the same temperature as the water, being swallowed by the wastepipe.

When the water began to cool, she turned it off and grabbed the towel. She didn't like what she was feeling, because she wasn't able to control it. She just wanted to hide in the most remote hole she could find and wait for the chemical substances her brain was secreting against her will to stop making her feel that horrible way.

She was preparing the bandages when a soft knocks on the door brought her to Earth. She rolled the towel round herself.

"Bones? You're ok in there?" Booth said through the door.

"Yeah, I'm fine." She said, opening the door. "I have to put the bandages again. Give me five minutes, please."

"I'll do it. Come sit on your couch." He said grabbing all the stuff from her bed.

"That's unnecessary. I can do it by myself, Booth. Plus, I need to put my underwear, if you don't mind."

"I want to do it. And besides, it's easier for me to do it, so let me, ok? Go and put your u-underwear…" he tried to sound as normal as he could "… and come to the couch, please."


"Ok? That's all? No more arguments?" He asked skeptically.

"Yes, ok, you're right. Although I'm perfectly capable of doing it myself it's easier for you to do it due to your position in front of me."And with that she went into her bedroom again and put her panties and a soft tshirt to sleep. Then she came back to the couch where Booth was waiting for her with all the medical stuff. She sat on the couch and he knelt in front of her. He concentrated just in the task he had to do, trying not to think in her in just a tshirt and panties. He put some iodine on the lint and applied to every mark on her legs, so softly that she could barely feel the touch. Then he bandaged all the wounds again, one by one. And then he saw the marks on her ankles, black, purple and deep green, all around them. He caught her left leg carefully to not touch any wound, and brushed the bruise with the tips of his fingers. Even she could interpret the look on his face.

"Booth…" She called him. "I'm fine, ok? Look at me." She said trying to make him raise his eyes to hers. But he couldn't. "Those wounds and bruises will heal and disappear."

"I know. But… I-I'm…"

"No, you already said it. It's not your fault. You couldn't have done anything to prevent this."

"Yes I could. If I hadn't let you do this… maybe…"

"Then maybe you'd be now cleaning Parker's wounds, or maybe something even worse could've happened. You can't go jumping to conclusions about what could've happened if you've done this or that... You'll get nothing good doing that, just torture yourself and feel bad. You should feel good because this has ended the best way for all of us. And as I said, these are nothing but wounds that will heal in a few days."

"I know you're right. But sometimes I couldn't help to feel this way. You know me."

"Yes, I know you. And just because of that I won't let you feel bad for this." She said, pointing to her legs. A few seconds passed and then Booth raised his head to look at her.

"Do you have some lotion for the bruises?"

"Yes, it's in my bathroom."

"Don't move from here." He said, standing up. A few seconds later he was knelt again in front of her with a lotion tube. Then he put a bit of cream on both of her ankles and massaged them without so much pressure, to not hurt her unnecessarily.

"Ok. Let me wash my hands and let's eat that delicious pasta I've prepared." Booth said standing up. In that moment Bones was aware of the soft music sounding and that the table was already set for supper. "I told you that I'm not hungry, Booth!"

"Don't eat if you don't want. More for me!" He said smiling. And she smiled too. "It'd make you feel better if you eat a bit, at least." He said, concerned.

"I know…"

Finally they sat on the table and eat the pasta Booth had cooked. She just ate a little bit, and really felt better. They cleared the table and wash the dishes in silence, just feeling each other. Then they just sat on the couch, listening to the soft music. Bones leaned her head on the couch and closed her eyes. Booth turned to her side and leaned too his head against the couch. He stared at her for a few seconds, thanking God to let him stay in that exact place right now, just watching her breathing. Booth put his left arm behind her head, and with his hand on her left shoulder pull her against him. She knew he needed it, and although she'd never have admitted it, she needed it too, as much as him. She leaned her head against her chest and her left hand on his waist. She put her right hand on his back. As soon as her head touched his chest she felt Booth's arms embracing her, protecting her from the whole world, and giving her all the warmth that the day had stolen from her. Without noticing the time, they found comfort in each other arms, just concentrating in their breathing rhythmic movements. Sometime later the music ended, but neither of them moved. They just stayed still, not daring to move, Bones listening to Booth's heart and Booth feeling her breathing against his body. And in that position, both being exhausted, they fell asleep.

Sometime later Booth woke up feeling Bones moving involuntarily in her dream, and he knew she was having a nightmare.

"Bones…" He tried softly first, but she didn't wake up. "Bones, wake up! You're dreaming…"He said, and she opened her eyes in terror. "Hey, it's ok, it was just a dream, it's not real."

"Booth…" She just said, trying to normalize her breathing. "I was there again… He was there…"

"No, it was just a nightmare, a bad one, but just a nightmare. It's not real. Nothing is gonna happen to you. Come on, let's get you into bed. You need to be somewhere more comfortable than here."

"I was very comfortable, Booth"

"As glad as I am to hear you say that, you need to rest properly." He said, guiding her to her own bedroom. He pulled the sheets and made her lie down.

"Booth, could I ask you something?" She said before he could leave.

"Of course."

"I'd appreciate very much if you could stay with me for a while." She said, leaving Booth astonished. When a moment passed and he was very still and not saying anything in return she continued. "As irrational as it may sound I'm afraid of closing my eyes, because every time I do it I saw his face, and I'm back hanging from that chain again…" She just added. Booth didn't say anything, but sat on the bed ready to lie down besides her. "You know, Booth, I doubt you could be very comfortable sleeping in those pants. You could take them off, if you want. Although you have a problem with that…" She just said.

"No, of course not…" He answered shyly, but did as she said. Then he lay down on her bed. He couldn't help to feel a little uncomfortable at first, but she astonished him again when she turned her back to him and curled against his chest. He was a little shocked for a moment, but then passed and put his arms around her in a very intimate embrace.

"Thank you Booth." She said holding his arms with her hands making him understand that she really needed this. "Will you be able to sleep this way?" She asked naively.

"Yes, yes, of course. There's no problem with that!"

"Ok, good night, Booth."

"Good night, Bones."

A few hours later Bones woke up. She felt Booth's arms still holding her and instantly felt good. She listened to his rhythmical breathe and knew he was asleep. She kept as still as she could for a few minutes, trying to keep her brain off. But her mind was on autopilot and fully awake now, and couldn't stop. She was trying to understand why this felt so right, to be this way with Booth. She was trying really hard to understand what she was feeling, because she has never felt something like that for anyone. Sure she had cared about someone before Booth, but never with this intensity. That was scaring her the most. Because she had always controlled herself very well, and now she couldn't. But the fact was that now or later, to lose Booth is something that she couldn't bear. She already knew that. Angela was right. If she didn't make the right choice she could lose him forever. The only man that really had got enough patience to know her, the only man that hadn't run from her, that hadn't left her behind to go on with his life, because… because she has never let anyone get that closer to her. Of course that couldn't apply to her parents or Russ, that was different. Not good, of course, but the reasons were different. Booth had been the pillar in her life since she met him. He had made her more open to see the world, he had tried to teach her that feeling were a bad thing, and she was now the person she was because of him. Sure she had a lot to learn about people, but who could be better than him to learn from? And the most important was that Booth was the only person she could trust with her own life. She knew he'd never hurt her on purpose, and she know too he'd give his own life for her. Ok, he already did, and she wasn't sure that could be a good thing, but she couldn't help to be flattered by that. Although she'd do the same for him, she already did too. Again she thought about something Angela told her to think about. How did she see her life ten years from now on? She just could think about two possibilities: one was to be with Booth, happily together in a big house with a big pool; the other one was alone in this same apartment, and Booth happily married or taken by another woman, in a big house with a big pool, full of kids. And that made her think. What could she offer to him? She didn't believe in the "and they lived happily ever after". And what about kids? But the more she thought about it the more convinced she was. She couldn't feel any other way about Booth than what she was feeling right now. She needed him to be fully with her, because if he found another woman to spend his life nothing could be the same with him. Their partnership would change into something purely professional, and it couldn't be like it was now. And honestly, she couldn't bear even to imagine him with someone else but her. So the change in their relationship was going to be inevitable, and it was in her hand to decide what to do, what way to choose. She tried, very hard, to extract her feelings from the whole scenario, but couldn't. She felt selfish in that moment, because the decision was made, and she hadn't the strength she thought she had to decide against her feelings. They were just too intense, too heavy. She couldn't ignore them anymore.

Then she stirred a little in his arms and he woke up.

"Hey, you ok?" He asked softly.

"Yes." She answered and he just held her tighter and placed a light kiss on her temple.

"I need some water." Booth said, releasing her and standing up. She stood up too and followed him to the kitchen. "Booth, I promised Angela that I'd make a decision about my feelings toward you when everything ended, and I've done it. I've understood some important things that were right in front of me but I wasn't prepared for assuming them. But first of all, I want to say sorry."

"Sorry for what?" He asked, grabbing a glass and filling it with fresh water.

"For being so rude with you on the platform. I don't want you to think that our kiss didn't mean a thing to me, or that I didn't feel something. It was not my intention to hurt you. And I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."

"That's good to know. And I know you, and I already knew that you didn't mean a word. But apology accepted."

"Thank you, Booth." She said. Then kept quiet for a moment and Booth took a step toward her and took her hand.

"Come on, let's go back to bed." He said.

"I need you to know something, but I'm not sure I know how to put it in words." She said leaning against the counter.

"Bones, it's ok. You don't have to tell me anything you don't want to, or you're not prepared to tell me."

"No, you don't understand. I'm prepared. I want you to know how I feel, but since I don't fully understand them, it's very difficult for me to put my feelings in words. So you must be patient with me."

"We have all the time in the world." He said standing right in front of her, still holding her hand.

"That's very inaccurate, Booth…"

"I knew you were going to say something like that." He said, smiling at her.

"I find myself feeling something I've never felt before, so I'm really confused… I… I don't know how to say it… it's frustrating!"

"So, you're feeling something for me but you don't understand it, right?"

"Well, yes, the thing is that now I'm aware of those feelings. They were there before, but I was ignoring them. But with everything that has happened to us these days, and everything you've said to me and what has happened between us, I find that I'm not capable of hiding them anymore. They've become stronger than ever, and, what I'm about to say I know it's impossible, but it's like they were growing inside me, and my body wasn't enough for them anymore. I know, it's ridiculous…"

"No, of course not. In fact you're explaining yourself very good."

"I know I told you I didn't want anything to change between us. I really didn't, but I've understood it's going to be inevitable. Now I understand what Angela told me at the lab."

"What did she tell you?" He asked.

"She told me that sometimes, when somebody searches too hard for something or someone to be happy with, doesn't find it, because is too busy just searching. Though I think she was mistaken in the searching part, because I wasn't busy searching but working a lot, I understand that what she wanted to tell me with this advice was that I'm happier when I'm with you than when you're not around, I feel safe when you hold me, even with those guy hugs you give me sometimes. I've noticed that my heart rate increases when I see you, and just see you smile makes me feel good." Booth leaned beside her as she went on. "I can't face losing you, and I'm beginning to understand that if I don't face what I'm feeling for you I'm certainly gonna lose you, because you'll find someone else to share your life, and you'll stop coming here late at night with food, and our relationship will become just professional, I'll not be allowed to have those hugs that make me feel so good, and you'll stop to come to the lab to make me eat when I forget, because you'll be too busy with your…" A tear slipped treacherously through her cheek.

"Hey… don't cry." He said, tenderly wiping away the tear.

"I tried, Booth, with all my will, not to cry, I didn't want to give him the satisfaction to hear me cry, but when he started electrocuting me I couldn't help it, I broke down completely. I thought I was going to die. But I saw you, or my mind tried to help me making me believe that I was seeing your face, and I knew you wouldn't let me die there, I knew you'd find me." At this point tears were running freely on her cheeks. "I knew that if someone in this world could to find me that was you…" She explained, and Booth instinctively pulled her against him and held her as tight as he could without hurting her.

"Of course I wasn't going to let you die, Bones!" He replied, and then kissed her head sweetly.

"Booth, I made a decision about my feelings for you." She said pushing him lightly to see his face. "I can't deny what I feel for you anymore, because, as you put it before, to ignore them is not enough for me neither, and anyway, I just can't hide them, I'm not able to do it anymore, and I've made the decision to accept them and try to explain them to you."

"Maybe I can help you to put a word to those feelings, and when you're ready, you could tell me. Bones, what you're describing is exactly the same I feel for you. That's exactly how I know I'm in love with you, why I love you." He said in their embrace. He kept in silence for a few moments before reply. "I'm really proud of you, Bones, for a lot of things. You're one of the strongest human beings I've ever met, even comparing you with a lot of guys I've met in the Rangers. But what makes me the proudest is that you're facing the situation without running away, nor pushing me away from you. And I know very well how difficult this is for you to do, and I know too that you're doing this for both of us. I knew you could do it, I trusted in your heart even when you didn't."

"Sometimes I think you know me even better than myself." She said.

"No, it's not that. You already had the strength to face your feelings, you just needed to find it. I knew you'd do it one day. And I'm glad you've done it at last." He said. Then he released her and grabbed the glass again to put it in the sink. But before he could come back to her, her words made him froze.

"I love you, Booth. I accept your reasoning about you loving me, and if that's true, then I'm really sure I love you." Then, after a few moments she raised her head and looked at a very still Booth. And what she saw impacted her. "Booth… you're… you're crying?"

"I-I'm j-just happy, Bones!" He said wiping rapidly the tear on his cheek. "You don't know how much time I've hoped to hear you say that to me." And with that he closed the little distance between them and kissed her again, trying to put all the love he felt for her in that kiss. And she kissed him back with the same passion. Booth felt her tremble in her arms. After a few more moments he released her lips and look at her, caressing her face with adoration.

"We should sleep, Bones." He said.

"Why? Don't you want to have sexual intercourse with me? Because I want you, Booth!" She replied, a little disappointed.

"Do you have to say it that way? Sure you can choose other words to say it, Bones!"

"Ok, let me try again. Do you want to teach me how to break the universe laws with you?"

"That's better… You don't know how badly I want to make love to you, but I want our first time to be perfect, I want you in better conditions because I'm planning to make love to you all night long, Baby!" He told to her ear with a husky voice.

"Don't call be baby!" She replied.

"You said the same when I started to call you Bones, so I think you'll get used to Baby too, Baby!" He told her covering them with the sheets.

"Don't. Call. Me. Baby!" She warned, playfully though. "It's going to be very hard for me not to touch you, but I agree we both need a few days to recover, at least until my legs let me move without the stitches coming out. And your head need to relax too…"

"You cannot say those things to me Baby, do you have any idea what that does to me?"

"Booth, if you call me Baby again I promise you I'll be talking about us having sex all the time!" She said as serious as she could.

"You're cruel! Ok, I give up, I won't call you Baby again until then. Come here." He said pulling her in his arms and kissing her temple. And with that they returned to the bed and they slept till the sun rose.

THE END? Maybe I could work on that missing scene when they both are recovered...

I want to thank you for being patient with me, and I'm very sorry for taking this long to make this last update. Sometimes I was busy, and when I wanted to write something nothing good enough came to me. But now it's done.