Hi you guys!! Have you missed me? Well, I have a very special treat for you today! This fic was written jointly by myself and the AMAZING hpaich in honor of our dear friend Sherri's (bearlee-there) birthday. She is such a tremendous support for so many of us authors and she really deserves a round of applause from those of us that rely on her to help us make it through. She puts up with my random requests for editing and content review, as well as writes the most lovely and encouraging reviews and emails. I just love her to death! So Heather and I decided that, with our forces combined (ala Captain Planet) that we could create a little surprise for her. Don't worry though...The Bet and Flight are still in the works, and everone should get updates soon! Like many writers during the summer months RL gets caraaazy! Please enjoy, and please review! We both need the encouragment! Oh yeah, and if you know Sherri, make sure you PM her with b-day wishes and tell her how fabulous she is! ;)


It shouldn't be this hard, mused Angela. And yet it was.

If the Jeffersonian was Egypt, then Temperance Brennan was most definitely the Sphinx. Getting information out of her was ridiculously difficult. Of course, if this was Egypt, then she was absolutely Nefertiti. And Nefertiti never took no for an answer. A shout from the main room of the lab distracted her, and she glanced over at the source of the noise.

"Night, Jack!" Angela waved briefly as Hodgins smiled and sprinted down the hall before turning back and focusing her full attention on her friend. Okay. Time for a little Egyptian interrogation.

"So?"

Intent on finishing the cataloguing she'd started earlier in the day, Brennan quickly sorted through the photos on her desk, carefully separating them by the different types of bone deformities. "So what, Angela?"

"So, when are you going to dish about your date with Jason last night? You know, it's mandatory that you tell your best friend everything when you go on a date with a guy. Especially all the dirty details. That's what 'so'." She waited, tapping her toe. When Brennan didn't answer her, she leaned forward, a concerned frown on her face. "Did something go wrong last night, Sweetie? Is everything okay?"

Carefully aligning all the photographs, Brennan finally sat back and faced Angela. "Everything's fine, Angela. But I don't think I'll be seeing Jason anymore."

"Oh, but – why not? You guys hit it off, I know you did. I saw you together..." Frustrated at the prospect of yet another winner slipping through Brennan's stubborn fingers, Angela heaved an impatient sigh. "Look, Bren – this guy, he really liked you. And he was hot as hell. And he was a Paleopathologist! You guys must've had so much to talk about!"

"Our jobs had nothing in common, Angela – he studied ancient diseases. It has absolutely no bearing on what I do."

"Yeah, but the pillow talk must've been very impressive. I bet you guys both used the same big words." She spoke lightly, but her sharp eyes caught the slight wince and like a bloodhound she was on the trail. "Something did happen, didn't it?"

Nothing was going to stop Angela. Brennan sighed and pushed back from the desk. Actually, maybe she could help her with her problem. She certainly had more experience and insight in the world of relationships. She made a quick decision. "Yes, something happened. Or, well, something didn't happen."

"Didn't happen? What do you – ohhhh..." Quickly cluing in to what Brennan was revealing, Angela pursed her lips, her eyes round with surprise. "You didn't?"

"No."

"You mean he couldn't? Wow..."

Brennan stood and began to pace the length of the room. "No, Angela. It wasn't that." Her long strides brought her quickly back to Angela's chair where she stood looking down into her friend's curious eyes. "I couldn't."

"Wait. What? Brennan, that doesn't make any sense. What do you mean, you couldn't?"

"I just – I just couldn't, Ange. We were at his townhouse. Jason had displayed all the signs of physical attraction, and I was initially amenable to prolonging our evening. But then – I don't know. I just...I was unable to stimulate the desire to engage in sexual intercourse with him."

Angela quickly pulled her down into the chair next to her. "You need to tell me what's going on, Bren. What's really going on. You would never have brought this up with me if you didn't already know what was wrong. C'mon, talk to me."

To her dismay, she felt a blush creep high along her cheekbones at Angela's astute statement. Never one to shirk from unpleasantness, however, she took a deep breath and soldiered ahead. "I found myself comparing him."

"Comparing him? Comparing him to what?"

"Not what, Angela. Who." Once she said it there would be no going back, no erasing the words. But Angela's face was sympathetic, and she knew she could tell her anything. "I kept comparing him to Booth."

"Oh. Oh, really." Well that hadn't been anything she'd expected, Angela mused. Wished for, yes. Prayed for, even. Hell, she'd even gone so far as to visit that little shaman over on 10th Street in Chinatown. But now, after all this time, and all that effort? She decided she should have expected it. The two of them were going about this whole relationship so ass-backwards, nothing about it or them should surprise her anymore. Gathering herself, she looked back over at Brennan. "Wow. Has this comparing thing ever happened before?"

"Yes." Now that she'd admitted the first part, telling Angela everything didn't seem so bad. "The two men I dated before Jason. I found myself beginning to compare them as well."

"Well, it's not really all that crazy, Bren. I mean, Booth is a serious hottie. It's about time you recognized that and took action."

"I've thought about that at length. I know Booth wants to remain professional. It's very important to him. But he is, first and foremost, a male of the species. Therefore, I've determined the correct approach with regard to this complication."

"Okay, Brennan – I already don't like the sound of this. You're using your scary lab words to describe something that's supposed to be tender and beautiful." She scooted her chair a bit closer. "You have feelings for Booth, and I know he has feelings for you. Why don't you just go to dinner with him? Just talk to him?"

"No, Ange. I've already decided. Since I've been comparing all my potential sexual partners to Booth, it's only logical that I desire Booth as a sexual partner. I've decided to stop at his apartment tomorrow night to initiate a mutually satisfying solution."

Angela flung her hands into the air in utter frustration. "Why don't you just admit it - you're going over there for a booty call."

"If by that you mean that I am going to go to Booth's apartment to initiate a sexual encounter, then yes, that is precisely what I am going to do."

"You know, Booth isn't one of your usual 'lead-them-around-by-the-nose' guys, Brennan. He may have something to say about this. I get the feeling that a quick hit isn't exactly his cup of tea."

"I'm not sure what a quick hit is, Angela, but I've been thinking about this, and I've planned this very carefully. I intend on being fully prepared before I go." A confident smile graced her features. "Like most men, his baser needs rule his actions and reactions, and he responds strongly to visual stimuli. I've noticed that he looks at my body when he thinks I won't notice. Therefore, I need to appeal to that part of him."

"Yeah, but Bren, that's only one aspect of a very complex situation. What about the way he talks with you, how he brings you meals, the wonderful way he's always there when you need him most. That speaks volumes about his feelings for you, and believe me, it's not just a bout of hot, sweaty sex that that man wants."

Anxious now to end the conversation, Brennan sprang up, rounding the desk and beginning to straighten her work area. "Don't worry, Angela, everything will be fine." She ignored the tension in her stomach and switched off her computer. It was just her eagerness to embark on a different journey with her partner.

But Angela wasn't about to let her get the last word. "All right, sweetie. If you're determined to go 'deep-Seeley diving' then I can't stop you. But just keep in mind what I said." Before Brennan could argue further, she quickly walked back to her office and perched behind her desk. "Oh Brennan, I hope you know what you're doing." A small spark of hope suddenly flared in her, and she carefully nursed it until it was larger and steadier. Brennan might be starting it out all wrong, but based on what she knew of Booth, she could count on him to finish it right.

Booth allowed his eyelids to drift to half mast while watching the Flyer/Devils game. With all of last season recorded, he enjoyed playing back the video during the off season. This game was doomed from the beginning though, with his team picking up too many penalties (two alone from veteran defenseman Kimmo Timonen) early in the game. He had seen this match enough times to know that it ended with a 3-2 win for the Devils. It was comforting background noise though, and he allowed himself to relish in the feel of contentment as sleep slowly wound its way into his body, pressing him back into the cushions. It may not be an ideal Saturday night for some, but he had his team on and there were two empty bottles sitting on his coffee table. The cool beers on the inside had combined with his heated skin on the outside, leaving him with a decidedly lazy feel after his shower.

Not a bad Saturday night at all.

Until the soft knocks at his door jolted him from semi-consciousness, causing him to sit up with the quick surge of adrenaline that the sound caused. Momentarily confused, his visitor had to knock again before he realized that there was someone at his door. He stood to his feet, running his hand over the back of his neck as he glanced at the clock hanging by the front door. Hell, it was only 9:30. He supposed it could be any of a small number of people at his door, but there was really only one person that he hoped it would be. He shuffled over to the door and placed his eye against the peephole, and he didn't even try to suppress the smile that came to his face as he saw his partner standing on the other side of his door.

He had been wondering when she would come. Something was going on with her…with them…and the intensity of it had kicked into overdrive this last week. Several times he had caught her staring at him, and yesterday he had even dared to give her a slow head to toe perusal in response. He could still vividly recall how she had become flustered, turning hastily away to stammer out instructions to an intern. It had taken him a day or two of her odd behavior before he recognized it for what it clearly was – attraction. The knowledge of it had slammed into his chest with the force of a freight train. And quickly on its heels was a surge of such intense hope that he had been left feeling giddy; awash in a vast sea of "what ifs" and "maybes".

He took a deep breath before opening the door, carefully schooling his features so as not to give away the pounding of his heart.

"Bones."

He purposefully said her name as a statement rather than a question, giving her the opportunity to believe that he had been expecting her…that he knew why she was there. He could barely suppress the shudder that shook through him as she quickly took in his bare chest and low slung sweat pants; the tip of her tongue darting out to moisten her lips. She looked beautiful, as always.

"Can I come in?"

Her voice was a curious mix of sultry and uncertainty. Could she really be nervous around him? It caused him to pause and consider the ramifications of allowing her to proceed down the path that he was both terrified of and hoping for. He wasn't sure what exactly she had come here for tonight, but he knew that there was the definite scent of change in the air. Feeling slightly less confident, he stood back and allowed her to walk into his living room. She would normally take off her coat and lay it over the back of his couch, but tonight she kept it tightly cinched around her waist. Perhaps she wasn't planning on staying? A sharp stab of disappointment pierced his gut at the thought. She seemed to be dressed up, so maybe she had somewhere to be?

"Umm…can I get you anything?"

Was that really his voice?

"No." She paused before turning to him, her shoulders squared and a look of determination on her face. "I don't need you to get me anything. I need you to do something for me."

As she spoke, she reached up for the belt at her waist, pulling it loose and letting it hang to her thighs as her hands then went to work on the buttons running down from her collar.

Something about the way that she was moving spoke directly to his male self, and he responded instantly - his mouth going dry and his body growing hard and tense. She was watching him as she slowly popped each button on her jacket, her eyes continuing to flick across the wide expanse of skin that he had exposed to her. She must really like what she saw, because her tongue made another swipe across her lower lip as she continued speaking.

"I am certain that you have been aware that the attraction between you and I has intensified lately."

She reached the final button, and with a small shrug of her shoulders the jacket slid down her back and was left to pool on the floor. He was unprepared for the swift surge of arousal that her actions caused. He knew her, and he even knew that jacket. It wasn't long ago that he had been teasing her about her expensive tastes in outerwear, and that coat in particular had cost her almost as much as an entire paycheck for him. She would never let it fall so carelessly to the ground. He moved his eyes up from the garment to her face, prepared to meet her head on in whatever game she was playing.

"I've noticed."

This time, his voice sounded much more assured.

She began walking towards him, her hips sashaying in a purposeful manner as her heels clicked delicately on the floor. As she approached him, her hands went to the tie that was at the side of her simple wrap dress.

"I've found that you have become a distraction for me."

"Is that so?"

"I can't allow it to continue. The most logical course of action in this type of scenario is to remove the distraction."

He felt like there were cotton balls in his mouth as he took in the sight of the dark teal fabric clinging lovingly to her body, the deep V of the neckline affording him a delicious glimpse of the swells of her breasts. Out of habit, he tried humor to lighten the mood, and he had to clear his throat before speaking.

"You umm…you want to remove me? The uh…distraction?"

She ceased her approach and cocked her head delicately to the side. In her typical fashion, she responded to his – albeit inane – joke with all seriousness.

"I don't think that is a possibility. Not only do we work together, but I would find your removal from my life to be keenly…upsetting."

Was it just his imagination or had she stumbled a bit over that statement? Her expression had taken on a momentary look as though she was recalling a memory, but it was gone quickly and now she was looking at him like she was a hunter and he was the prey. As she continued speaking, she inched her body closer to him, one tiny step at a time.

"I was thinking more along the lines of removing the physical distraction by engaging in what will surely be a mutually satisfying sexual encounter."

Her fingers twitched once, hovering hesitantly over the fabric knot at her hip. As if connected, her lips twitched as well, the small movement changing her face completely, adding something to her features he couldn't quite pin down. Some type of promise. Lulled into a trance by those small changes in her, he was simply unable to speak, instead waiting for her next move. When it finally came, his mind went blank with shock and his lungs rapidly emptied themselves.

With a firm pull on the tie, she released the knot and swept the edges of the soft teal material aside. She stepped forward and shrugged the dress away from her, leaving it on the floor in front of her coat.

Sweet merciful Jesus. He'd never seen anything like it. Never seen anyone like her. She was a vision, her creamy curves accentuated by a bra and panties, the thin material so pale that to his rapidly crossing eyes she appeared truly naked. The sheer nylons only added another level of allure and the small satiny bows teased him with their very lack of color. He had to think, had to say something before she touched him and he lost the last remnant of his control. He was casting about desperately for something to say, for the right thing to say, when she moved again. And something triggered in his brain.

Something was off. His curiosity began to rise, and he watched her again, carefully this time. When her hand stroked upward, caressing and molding her body as it went, he was sure. She was uncomfortable. He knew without a doubt that she would have no trouble making the first move. And sexual shyness was not something she would easily suffer. But the way she was moving, the way she was displaying herself for him, made it perfectly clear.

She was doing this for him. All the objectifying, the clothes, the mannerisms – she thought this was what he wanted. Thought it was what she had to do, to gain his interest. He was absurdly touched even as he ached keenly for her. Did she really think this was all she had to offer? That she was just a pretty face? A hot body? She was so much more than the sum of her parts. How could she not know that?

He felt his heart constrict with the realization that this incredible woman that stood before him, full of brazen proposition and seduction, was in fact completely uncertain of his desire for her. She was making every attempt to boldly meet his gaze, but he could easily discern the self-conscious blush that was creeping into her cheeks. She was afraid that he wouldn't like what he saw, and if he couldn't come up with an appropriate comment soon, then he was going to reaffirm her insecurity.

Oh, but he could hardly formulate a cohesive thought. The knowledge that she felt like she wasn't good enough for him mixed with the incredibly arousing sight of her to form a heady cocktail that was leaving him breathless with emotion. He had known for a while how he felt. He had thought that he understood the breadth of his feelings for this frustrating, confusing, and often infuriating woman. But right now, in this moment, he was experiencing a love that was so profound - so consuming – that he felt completely overwhelmed. Her name was the only thing that he was able to gasp out on a ragged breath.

"Temperance."

His delayed response combined with her given name caused her to noticeably deflate. Her eyes darted around the room, flicking up to his face before quickly sliding away. She was looking for an escape route. The pink of her shy blush was now turning into a deeper shade of embarrassment, and she brought her arms up in an attempt to cover herself. He managed to regain a sense of control and immediately stepped towards her, his hands reaching out to encircle her wrists and still her movements. She was trembling like a bird in his grasp, all of her fears and insecurities at play within her in a way that he had never seen before. He had to somehow convince her that she had absolutely nothing to be ashamed of.

"Hey?" He reached one hand up to cup her chin, gently turning her face to look at him.

"If anyone here should feel at all insecure, it's me. You…are perfect." Her eyes settled on his, their grey-blue depths showing just how desperately she wanted to believe him.

"For a minute there, I couldn't even breathe." He trailed his fingertips from her chin, up along her jaw, and back behind her ear. He noticed that her response seemed involuntary as she leaned into his touch, turning her face slightly against his hand.

"All of this?" He waved his hand at the clothing she had discarded. "You don't need any of it to be beautiful to me. You are already the most incredible woman that I have ever met, but it isn't just your looks Bones." He reached up and touched her temple.

"It's your intelligence…" His hand skimmed its way down to land just over her right breast. "…and your heart. Your sense of humor, your compassion, your desire to seek justice for those who can't. You're the whole package and I feel like the most lucky man in the world right now. Never, ever doubt that I want you. You might pretend that one night together is going to make everything easier, but you know better. I have always and will always want you. "

Some indefinable emotion flashed across her beautiful face as he spoke of always wanting her, but he had no time to process it because she immediately leaned forward and pressed her lips to his.

All thought vanished as he became completely engrossed in the sensation of having Temperance Brennan's mouth on his. He had imagined it innumerable times, but in truth, nothing could compare to the reality. She was pouring herself into the kiss and it took him a few precious seconds to collect himself enough to give back as good as he was getting. He shuddered in delight at the soft gasps she let out as his fingers traveled up her waist and over her shoulder, finally cupping the back of her neck and anchoring her firmly against him. The sensation of her thighs and hips pressed up against his was nearly enough to cause him to lose control of himself.

He pulled back slightly, his head trailing kisses from the corner of her mouth, down her neck and into the curve at its base. She was a feast and he wanted to sample everything at the table.

"Booth."

He loved the sound of his name on her lips. From day one he had found it arousing; the way that her lips curled around that single syllable that was technically his last name. She had so many different inflections that he loved, whether it be his name when she was aggravated, laughing, or fearful. And tonight brought a whole new addition…breathless. He could definitely get used to hearing her say it like that.

"Booth."

He realized then that she was tugging slightly at his head, trying to get his attention. He wasn't willing to abandon the topography of her neck, the secret hidden dips and planes of her collar bone, but he acknowledged her with a hum as he began tracing the curve of her neck with his tongue. Her head lulled back, granting him better access to her pulse point. He could feel her heart throbbing beneath his mouth as he fastened his lips gently against the spot, causing her to gasp from the sensation. This time she didn't wait for him to lift his head.

"Booth…do you…do you remember that night at the diner…after…oh…" He had applied gentle suction to the spot on her neck and noted her reaction for future reference.

"There have been many…" he kissed her throat. "Many…" he kissed her jaw, just in front of her ear. "Many…nights at the diner." He captured her lips again and wanted nothing more than to continue tasting her, but she was determined.

"The night after we finished…with the pony fetishists."

He rested his forehead against hers, but kept her body firmly encircled within his arms.

"I remember." Of course he remembered. That conversation had replayed over and over in his mind a thousand times. That moment was on repeat in his brain, when they had looked at one another and it had been there. The very spark that he had been talking about had flared between them, hot and bright.

"You told me that making love was when two people become one…you called it…"

"A miracle."

"Yes."

They were quiet for a moment, each lost in their thoughts as they recalled the night that she was talking about. The deeper meanings of what she saying was not lost on either of them, and he could feel the tension in her frame as the ramifications of what they were doing began to sink in. He was preparing himself for the fact that she would most likely have a change of mind now, leaving him here with a heavy heart and a coiled body, never to speak of it again. So he was surprised when her soft voice reached out to him, hesitantly and just above a whisper.

"Will it be that way with us?"

He leaned his head back to look directly into her eyes, capturing her gaze in order to help her fully understand what he was going to say.

"Yes, Bones. Yes it will."

"How do you know?" She looked so uncertain, so hesitant to believe that what he was saying could be true.

"That night at the diner, those things that I said? I wasn't talking generally, although I didn't claim otherwise." He reached up and slid his hand across her forehead, catching a stray lock of hair and sweeping it back behind her ear.

"I was talking about you and me. Even then Bones…I knew how it would be…one day." He stared at her hard and assured, conveying the confidence that he had in this. His own voice dipped lower as he stated his final point.

"It's always been about you and me."

Her eyes swam before him, the irises hardening with a newfound sense of certainty beneath the tears that were gathering uncharacteristically at the corners.

"You'll show me?"

His breath fell hotly against her mouth once more, and just before he again took her lips with his and eliminated the need for any more talking, his breath brushed one final promise against her skin.

"I'll show you."


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