Thanks for all the reviews, favorites, and alerts! The following takes place immediately after 'The Bond in the Boot.' The muse was being a little contrary, so apologies for taking longer than usual in posting. Enjoy!

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"Are you still worrying about your watch?" Booth asked. "Buy a new one. The cost of a new Rolex is pocket change for you, Bones!"

"That's not the point, Booth. It was a gift. It was something someone gave me, so it was special."

"It wasn't a--what did you call it?--an 'assault on your virility?'"

Brennan laughed. "Why would I need to assert my manliness? I'm a woman."

"Well, yeah," Booth said, slightly embarrassed, "but you're independent. You like to do things for yourself."

"And women aren't supposed to be independent?"

"It's not that, it's just…" Booth trailed off. "I'm gonna stop talking because this isn't looking good for me." He glanced at her and cocked his head to the side.

"What?"

"Your makeup's smeared and you're all wet," he said with a grin.

"If this is your way of apologizing, you really suck at it. Besides, I don't see why you find my current state so humorous."

"It's not funny. It's cute."

He'd said some off-the-wall things since coming out of the coma, and she studied him for a moment, unsure of how to respond.

But then the moment passed, and Booth cleared his throat as he stood. "I'm gonna get you a towel," he said as he hurried from the room.

Booth returned moments later and held out his hand to help her up. She grasped his hand and got to her feet, taking the towel with her free hand, but not relinquishing her hold on his other hand.

"Bones?"

"Are you sure you're okay, Booth?"

"Yeah, great, fantastic. Why wouldn't I be okay?"

"It's just that lately you've been…well, not you."

"Of course I've not been myself, Bones. I'm recovering from head surgery and being in a coma for days. I'm just readjusting to everything, you know?"

"So you'd tell me if something was seriously amiss?"

"You mean if something was wrong?" Booth said as he made a face at her word choice. "Yeah, no secrets, remember?"

"Right, no secrets," she agreed mildly, finally letting go of his hand.

They shared a small smile, then Brennan turned her attention to drying off. She soon realized that the towel wasn't going to be very helpful in drying her soaked shirt, and she glanced back up at Booth, who apparently hadn't taken his eyes off of her.

"What is it, Booth?"

"Huh? What? Oh, I was just thinking that your wet shirt couldn't be too comfortable. You can take it off if you want." He regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth. Embarrassed for the second time in just minutes, he closed his eyes and rubbed a hand over his face. "What I meant was that I can let you borrow a shirt." Finally, he reopened his eyes, though he couldn't quite look at her.

"Maybe I should just go," Brennan said, offering him the towel.

"No!" Booth protested. "Look, Bones, I'm sorry for the weirdness. Please stay. Besides, if you leave I won't have any help fixing the plumbing."

"I thought it was quite apparent that I'm no help at all," she said, indicating her wet--and quickly becoming cold--shirt.

"Hey, we learned what not to do, right? Isn't that a well-learned lesson for students as well as teachers?" Booth said with a grin as he finally met her gaze.

Brennan rolled her eyes and returned a half-grin. "Trial-and-error is a valid learning tool."

"Exactly!" Booth exclaimed as he clapped his hands together. "I mean, it's not like you perfectly recreated the circulatory system the first time you tried, right?"

"Actually…"

"You know what, Bones? I don't want to know. I'm just gonna get you that shirt, and we'll try again with the plumbing, okay?"

"Fine," she agreed. "But this time, you're holding the pipe…teacher."

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Thanks for reading!