This story picks up where the season finale left off.

Disclaimer: Alas, they are not mine, but they wish they were.

"Who are you?" asked the man in the hospital bed with a half-smile.

"What?" gasped Temperance Brennan, head jerking back as if she had been physically struck. "What do you mean? Booth, do you know who I am?" she whispered with such horror in her voice that Booth couldn't answer for a moment.

He simply gazed at the incredibly beautiful woman sitting on his hospital bed holding his hand whose face had been filled with joy and something he couldn't quite identify when he opened his eyes. "I'm not sure," he said quietly, reaching out to grasp the hand she had snatched back at his words. He felt better when she was holding his hand, but she jumped off the bed and backed away wrapping her arms around her waist as if comforting herself, never taking her eyes off his face.

"I need to let the doctor know that you're awake," she said gesturing toward the door, voice shaking despite her best efforts. Her only thought was I have to get out of here before I lose it.

"Wait!" Booth called urgently and she halted instantly.

Booth's head was fuzzy, his thoughts fragmented and disjointed. He seemed to have many memories of this woman but the memories were so different they could not all be true and he was currently unable to distinguish between them. Even with all that confusion, he did know four things without a doubt. 1)He had hurt this woman with his question and it made his own heart ache when he saw the pain, loss and panic in her eyes. 2)This woman was important to him in a change your life, thank you, God for sending he to me kind of way. 3)He had to fix this. He had to take away the pain and sadness and make her smile at him again. 4)He had to keep her here to fix it. He could not let her leave in the state she was currently in. He had no idea how he knew these things, but his gut said trust me. So he did.

"Booth, are you ok? I need to get the doctor," she said somewhat sharply, gesturing toward the door again. She looked ready to bolt out the door and not stop anytime soon.

Following his instincts, he agreed. "OK, get the doctor." His next words halted her mid-step. "Please don't leave. Promise me you will stay where I can see you," he pleaded.

Desperate to escape the room, she nodded jerkily. "I'll be in the hallway. I promise I won't leave."

Luckily, Booth's doctor was easy to locate and was all too eager to examine his patient now that he was finally awake. Brennan leaned against the wall outside Booth's room and just felt, for one of the few times in her life. She had been ecstatically happy and relieved when Booth appeared to be coming out of his four day anesthesia induced coma following his brain surgery. She had expected him to regain consciousness and be confused at first. She had expected questions like Where am I and What happened. It had never crossed her mind that the first question out of his mouth could destroy her entire world.

As a bestselling author, Brennan knew the power of the written word. She had learned in childhood, especially during her time in foster care, that the spoken word could often be cruel and cause some degree of emotional distress. But, she had never imagined the kind of pain those three little words caused her. Her chest physically hurt. She knew it was a physical impossibility for her heart to simply shatter inside her chest, but that is exactly what it felt like. She was nauseated and her brain was racing a million miles a minute. The only clear thought she could pick out was that Booth was such an integral part of her life of her that she didn't think she could function without him in it. Not and be the person he had helped her to become. The person that she wanted to be.

At that thought, she stiffened. What kind of person was she? What kind of friend to be so focused on how she felt and how this would affect her that she hadn't even thought about how confused and scared that Booth must be feeling. Disgusted with herself, she glanced up to find Booth's unwavering gaze locked on her. He was speaking to the doctor but his eyes never left her. If one of the nurses interrupted his line of sight, he simply shifted position until he could clearly see her again.

Oddly enough, seeing the way he was looking at her calmed her down. As she was neither blind nor stupid, she knew that Booth looked at her a lot. Granted, he did not usually do it so openly, but he did do it and it was a familiar feeling. As she gazed into his eyes across the room, she saw warmth, caring and need. Mostly she just saw Booth and she realized that even if he did not know exactly who she was right now, he seemed to sense that they had a special relationship and he needed her right now as much as she had ever needed him.

This feeling of familiarity stiffened her spine and gave her the courage to step back into that room, stand beside her best friend and face whatever fate had sent their way. They would get through this the way they always did. Together.