This is my first published fan fic, so please be as kind or as brutal as you need to! :)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter One: Quagmire

It was a crisp, bright December afternoon when FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth strolled through the glass doors of the Jeffersonian Institution's Medico-Legal Lab in search of his partner, Dr. Temperance Brennan. Ostensibly, he was there to get new details on their current case, a 24 year-old woman who was murdered and whose body was left on the steps of the Washington Monument. But in reality, he just wanted to see his Bones.

If he truly stopped to think about it, his relationship with Brennan was twistedly co-dependent...on his end. He honestly could not definitively verify that she felt as strongly about him as he felt for her, which is probably why he didn't stop to think about it very often. He had enough things in his life to depress him, knowing for certain that Bones thought of him as nothing but a friend (and never would think of him as anything more) would simply be the icing on the crap cake his life had become lately. Brain tumors and kidnappings had nothing on the sadness he knew he would feel if Brennan ever truly turned him away...romantically or otherwise.

Running up the steps to the forensic platform after scanning his access card, Booth looked around for any signs of life in the midst of the death this clean, organized and sterile area usually encompassed. Seeing no one, he stepped down the right side and walked slowly to Brennan's glass-enclosed office. Slowly, because he could see that she was not alone...and with a sinking feeling in his stomach, he realized that he recognized the tall man standing in front of Bones' desk. He stopped just out of sight, but just inside hearing range, hoping to find out what former FBI agent Tim Sullivan wanted from his ex-girlfriend.

"You wouldn't believe the way the water looks in Montserrat, Tempe! Just gorgeous...and the skies are cloudless and almost as blue as your eyes." Sully said with a ghost of a smile on his face.

"It does sound lovely, Sully.' Brennan replied, "I'm glad you're happy with your life now."

Outside the office, Booth could hear Sully's steps as he walked in front of the desk.

"Tempe, I still think that you would love it. I know you said that you couldn't come, but I want you to at least think about it.. Please?"

"Sully...you've been gone for over two years! You've never even asked me what my life is like now, if I'm seeing anyone...nothing. Why do you assume that I am not only available, but at all interested in following you all over God knows where for God knows how long? You left, without so much as a backward glance, and not a single call, email or text in the time you've been gone. Your gall is astounding!" Brennan was absolutely livid, and Booth couldn't help but grin to himself. "That's my girl.", he thought.

Inside the office, Brennan was in a panic, albeit quietly and to herself. She was in no way interested in getting involved with Sully again. He had, while not exactly breaking her heart, hurt her in a way that was unforgivable. But to admit to him that she was currently uninvolved was not something she was willing to do....especially since she was still trying to reconcile her feelings for a certain FBI agent partner since their near-kiss at the Anok Exhibit. She knew her former lover was tenacious, so when Sully finally recovered from her rant to ask her if she had someone in her life, she blurted the only thing she could think of.

"Yes, Booth and I are in a relationship, and have been for quite some time.", she said, hoping Sully didn't have the same skill set as Booth for sniffing out a lie.

Sully was truly flabbergasted. But not as flabbergasted as Booth was, standing outside the door. In fact, his jaw dropped open so quickly he swore he heard it creak.

Sully managed to recover first, sputtering a response to Brennan's shocking statement.

"Seriously? Booth?!? Wow, Tempe...I just never thought that the two of you were in any way compatible. You're just so different!"

For some reason, even though her relationship with Booth was a complete fabrication, Brennan took umbrage to Sully's comments.

"I don't know what you're talking about! We are more alike than you know. In fact, we have a connection that is indescribable. Something that you and I could never have had. Ever!"

Booth decided that it was time to help Brennan out, and save her from defending the two of them any further.

"Bones! You feel like getting some lunch, babe?" He stepped into the office, and pretended to be shocked by her visitor. "Sully? Hey! When did you get back to town?"

Sully stepped forward and shook Booth's proffered hand, replying, "Just yesterday. I thought I would stop by and try to reconnect with Tempe, see how she was doing. Apparently, she is doing very well."

Booth looked at Brennan's shocked face and surreptitiously winked at her. "Yeah...well...everything happens eventually, doesn't it, Bones?"

"I...uh...yes. Yes, it does." Brennan recovered sufficiently enough to walk towards Booth and wrap her arm around his back, smiling at Sully.

Booth placed his arm over Brennan's shoulders and kissed her cheek with a smile on his face. "Would you like to join us for lunch, Sul?"

"Um, sure. We can catch up, I guess.", Sully replied, looking like he wanted to do anything but join them at that moment. "I'll take my car and meet you there? The diner?"

"Absolutely." Booth answered, walking over to grab Brennan's coat. "We'll see you there."

After Sully had walked across the platform and was safely out of sight, Brennan turned to Booth in dismay.

"Booth! Were you listening at the door?"

"Not intentionally, Bones. I was just walking up when I heard you talking. I couldn't help but overhear, and I figured you would appreciate the help." He threw her a smile to let her know that he was perfectly okay with the situation.

But Brennan was mortified. "I can't believe how embarrassing this is....I am so sorry, Booth! I just didn't want him to think that I was sitting here waiting for him...and you know how hardheaded he is. If he knew I was single, he wouldn't leave me alone. And I couldn't think of anyone else that would care enough to back me up if I misled him." Brennan looked at the floor, not willing to make eye contact.

Booth placed his hand on her shoulder, rubbing softly. "Bones, you don't have any reason to be sorry. I am happy to do anything to help you out, you know that. And I am aware of how Sully hurt you, so the idea of you getting back together with him does bother me, so if I can try to head that off, I'm more than willing." 'If it keeps Sully away from you until he leaves again, I would willingly crawl on my hands and knees over broken glass. Pretending to date you is a walk in the park, comparatively.' Booth thought to himself with a grin.

Brennan smiled as Booth took her hand in his and walked her across the lab, through the sliding glass doors, and down the corridor to the elevator. While her internal, rational self began to wage war with her more emotional side, what she was feeling with Booth's warm skin encompassing hers felt so comfortable and right that she secretly rooted for her heart to win this battle...and, ultimately, the war.

To the victor, goes the spoils....right?

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Reviews help me to improve my writing and are much appreciated! Thanks!