Disclaimer: Don't own Bones

God, I'm so excited to be posting this!! It is the first thing that I've written that's getting that beautiful Complete designation! Remember this is a prequel to Breaking all the Rules, so if you are wondering how I could have left this so up in the air, it is merely because it all gets resolved in Breaking! I know this chapter has been a long time coming, but it is very long and hopefully you all enjoy it and let me know if you do!!

This story is wholeheartedly dedicated to Dispatch22705 who followed through on her part of our little deal so much quicker than I did! Hope you are happy with this conclusion! :)


His eyes drank her up greedily and neither of them realized it.

"Wow," he exhaled, lips curving up in utter appreciation.

"Sorry I'm late," she said at nearly the same time.

"You are here now," he replied happily, his hand immediately going to the small of her back as he guided her across the room. "And wow, Bones," Booth repeated a little breathlessly. "You look like a million bucks."

"I actually know what that means," Brennan laughed a little self-consciously. "Thank-you, Booth." She looked at him and couldn't help but be completely honest. "You look very handsome as well." Her eyes narrowed a little as she leaned into him, inspecting him closely. "It really is amazing just how perfectly structured you are, it's quite remarkable."

"Ah, thanks, Bones," he said, hoping he wasn't blushing. Booth knew that he was a good-looking guy, but he never had anyone analyze his looks in terms of structure and bone ratio the way his partner did. It wasn't the first time she had told him just how perfectly structured he was, but her voice never betrayed anything that would indicate it affected her in any way. And as flattering as it was whenever she started going on about his perfect symmetrical features, that scientific tone she used didn't tell him what he really wanted to know.

Did he do it for her? That question drove him crazy, and he thought how miserably unfair it would be if he didn't because she did it for him in every goddamn way.

"Hey, how was your book signing?"

Brennan shrugged, giving him a half-smile. "I continue to be perplexed by the manner in which my readers refer to fictional characters as if they were actually real."

"That's likely a compliment to how well you've written them, Bones," he said, frowning a little as he caught the tiny stress lines around her eyes. And Booth remembered how she hated those book signings.

"You are tired," he noted softly, the hand at her back unconsciously rubbing up and down slightly in a soothing caress. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't have asked you to …"

"Booth, no, come on, it's okay," Brennan interrupted before he had a chance to finish, but she could see that he was still frowning. "All right, I admit that you showing up at my house with Thai food and a ridiculously convoluted movie would have been the preferable option," she conceded with a playful smile. "But this option is also quite acceptable as it still involves your incredibly entertaining company."

It took him a second to process her words, and when it hit him that she was saying that any option that involved him was a good one, he couldn't help but smile foolishly.

"That's really nice, Bones," he said as evenly as possible, trying to fight the nearly overwhelming urge to kiss her senseless. "Tell you what, how about you decompress with some alcohol. Did you drive here?"

"No, I took a cab."

"Then how about we get you as many drinks as you need to forget about that book signing and I'll drive you home later?" Booth phrased it as a question, but he had no intention of letting anyone else take her home at the end of the night, drunk or not.

"Well, while I do not enjoy becoming intoxicated," she noted with a considering smile, "alcohol is wonderfully effective at reducing tension."

"It sure is," he laughed. "Don't worry, I won't let you become too intoxicated," Booth promised, knowing how much she hated feeling out of control.

They bickered playfully about just how intoxicated he was going to let her get as they reached their table and Booth went to get her a drink.

"Thank-you," she said with a smile and took a big gulp of the pretty looking drink he handed her.

He was entertaining her with stories about some of the FBI personnel that littered the room when Charlie came up to them and asked her to dance. Booth had to smile at the surprised look on her face; she was disarmingly unaware of how beautifully fascinating she was.

"Oh," she said in surprise, dabbing her lips with a napkin. "Alright." Shrugging out of her wrap, she draped it around the chair and followed Charlie to the dance floor. And that's when Booth got a look at the back of her dress and nearly fell out of his chair.

Jesus Christ. Nothing but bare, flawless skin. Was she trying to make him cry? It was shocking, how the front of that dress was so very modest and then there was no freaking back to it. Oh god, it was wrong, so wrong the way she was unhinging him just with the curve of her bare back.

His lips automatically curved up as he saw her throw her head back and laugh at something Charlie said; he always loved it when she allowed herself to let go and have fun. He could tell she was leading a little but Charlie seemed unaware of it as he chatted her up.

One of the Bureau secretaries tapped Booth on the shoulder and told him to get up and dance. He laughed at her mock stern expression and acquiesced; no one said no to this particular woman. The joke around the Hoover was that she had been around since J. Edgar himself had ruled the FBI.

"Thank-you, Agent Booth," she told him formally as the song ended. "Now, I expect you to go find your date and have some fun."

"I'll do my best, Madeline," he answered seriously, giving her a little bow.

Walking back to the table, he saw his partner sipping on her drink again and couldn't help leaning down and whispering in her ear, "You like to lead, Bones," he teased, bracing one hand on the back of her chair.

"I do not!" she gasped, turning her head and nearly grazing him with her lips; he swallowed and straightened quickly.

"I think Charlie would disagree," he responded with another teasing smile.

"He's quite amusing," Brennan pointed out with a mischievous smile of her own. "We played a game."

"Yeah?" he asked cautiously.

"Guessing what inanimate object you'd be most likely to shoot next," she told him sweetly.

"Oh yeah," Booth said dryly. "Charlie's a riot."

Brennan laughed at his narrowed-eyed glare and continued to tease him mercilessly until they were interrupted by Assistant Director Hacker.

"Temperance," he greeted smoothly. "You look lovely. May I steal you for a few minutes? There's a Congressman who's a big fan and would love to meet you."

Brennan wasn't sure why, but it took all of her willpower not to look at Booth; she had absolutely no desire to go and mingle but she wasn't sure how to give a polite no.

"Sure," she agreed with a marked lack of enthusiasm that didn't go unnoticed by Hacker.

"I appreciate it, Temperance," Hacker said sincerely. "I'll bring her right back," he promised Booth as he guided her away.

"Yeah, you do that," Booth muttered, the sight of the man's hand against her bare back making him vaguely nauseated.

Booth nearly groaned when he saw Sweets heading in his direction and knew he'd better get his act together before Sweets decided to psychoanalyze him. He made small talk with the kid until Brennan returned; and to Hacker's credit, he did escort her back within a very reasonable amount of time.

Brennan joined the conversation between Booth and Sweets but her mind wasn't very focused; she kept wondering if he was going to ask her to dance at all. He had to know she wasn't opposed to dancing.

"Well, don't we look fancy tonight," Cam announced in her trademark dry tone, walking over and joining the small group. "That's a killer dress, Dr. Brennan."

"I assume you don't mean that literally," she surmised with a smile. "Thank-you, Cam; you look very alluring as well." Cam laughed as Booth and Sweets hastened to agree with Brennan's conclusion.

When an FBI agent whose name Brennan couldn't remember approached them and asked her to dance, she hesitated slightly. She knew it would be rude to turn the man down in front of so many people, especially since her only excuse would have been, I'd much rather dance with my partner. Everyone had suddenly fallen silent and she felt horribly uncomfortable as she nodded her assent.

Two pairs of eyes turned to look at Booth, but it was Cam who reacted first.

"Dance with me, Seeley," she demanded, grabbing his hand and refusing to give him an option; she did not want Sweets to be a party to their conversation.

"Cam …" Booth sighed resignedly; pretty sure he knew what she was going to say.

"You are pathetic," she stated bluntly.

"Jeez, don't hold back, Cam," Booth told her. "Tell me how you really feel."

"Just ask her to dance," she ordered. "What are you waiting for?"

"You know you are leading," Booth deflected, trying to adjust his steps to hers.

"Nice try," she smirked. "You need to do it already; she's waiting for you to do it."

"You've become a mind-reader all of a sudden, Camille?" Booth asked a little snarkily. "Should we alert the government?"

"Sarcasm doesn't become you, Seeley," she answered, undaunted. "And I don't have to be a mind-reader; I just have to be a woman."

"Yeah, well, the usual rules don't apply to Bones," he muttered.

"Look, I'll admit Dr. Brennan is unique," she said with a fond smile. "But she's still a woman and I'm telling you that if you don't dance with her tonight it's going to tell her you are not interested. Is that what you want her to think?" Before he could even answer, she asked, "How much longer are you going to keep doing this?"

Her words were so reminiscent of Angela's that he felt himself getting pissed. "You know what, both you and Angela need to mind your own damn business." He moved them to the end of the dance floor and released her.

"What goes on between my partner and me is nobody's business but ours," he declared on a near-hiss before striding away. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Bones dancing in that man's arms and it only pissed him off more.

Booth stormed into the restroom and splashed some water on his face to cool off the color temper had brought to his cheeks. Goddamn it! He knew, he knew Cam and Angela were just trying to help, but god; they had no idea, no freaking clue how wrong things could go. One wrong step and he might as well wave goodbye to most everything that was amazing in his life: goodbye partnership, goodbye Bones, goodbye happiness.

Booth stared at his reflection in the mirror and acknowledged that Cam was right about at least one thing: he needed to just ask her to dance. He'd been damn near yearning for it all night long and there was just no way he was going to let the chance of having her in his arms pass him by. Except … he was a little bit concerned of what would happen once he finally put his hands on her.

After drying his damp face, Booth went in search of his partner. He wanted to groan aloud when he saw her talking to Angela near the bar. He gritted his teeth as he realized he was going to have to ask Bones to dance in front of Angela. I swear to God if she makes one smart ass comment …

"Hey, Bones," he directed his words at his partner but threw Angela a warning glance. "I was wondering …" he fiddled unconsciously with his bow tie. "Would you like to dance, Bones?" Her answer was immediate but to Booth it felt like an eternity. Jesus, how could asking one woman to dance create so much anxiety, he wondered. But of course he knew; she wasn't just any woman, she was the only woman.

"Yes," she answered simply, handing her drink to Angela who smiled but remained mercifully quiet.

As the night wore on the band had started to play more and more slow songs and more and more couples swayed to the soft lyrics, lulled by the night and the consumed quantities of alcohol.

"How's your intoxication level?" Booth asked as he steered her to an empty spot on the dance floor. "Quick, how many bones in the human body?"

"I'm nowhere near close to intoxicated," she answered primly. "I've only had two drinks."

"Are you stalling because you don't know the answer?" he teased, wrapping his arms around her.

"Barring any abnormalities, two-hundred and six," Brennan answered on a laugh, locking her arms around him on a contended sigh.

The second she was in his arms, he felt it. Click. God, she fit him perfectly. He'd always known that. Always.

He splayed his hands against her skin and held her just a little closer than he probably should have, but he was too high on her to care. He swayed them softly to the music and inhaled deeply; her scent wrapping around him almost as tangibly as her arms.

"Thank-you for coming," he murmured in her ear, lips grazing her silky hair.

"You are welcome," she answered softly, giving in to the need to place her head on his shoulder. It was probably not a very partner-like thing to do, but Brennan figured he would likely conclude she was tired. And she was tired.

Tired of keeping her distance. Tired of pretending she didn't want to touch him. Tired of looking at the one thing she wanted more than anything else nearly every day without being able to do a single thing about it.

She knew she couldn't jeopardize their partnership, but she was just so damn tired and frustrated.

His hands felt hard and warm against her bare skin and she wanted to arch into them and feel them stroking up and down against the curve of her back. She felt dazed by his proximity and wondered if it was actually possible to pass out just from the feel of his hands against her skin. He looked and smelled and felt so amazing, it was all she could do not to press herself flush against him and just tell him. Tell him she wanted him, tell him she was tired of waiting. Brennan was used to saying whatever was on her mind and now she bit her lip hard to prevent the dangerous thoughts from spilling out recklessly.

Unconsciously, her fingers caressed the back of his neck lightly in an up and down motion that nearly made him want to purr. Booth was sure his eyes were rolling back inside his head when he felt her fingers glide up into his hair briefly before moving down again. And he couldn't help the infinitesimal glide of his own hands against her satiny skin.

The song ended and Booth panicked as he realized that he couldn't let go of her. Damn, Bones, you belong in my arms. Every part of him tensed in rejection of lowering his arms and taking a step back.

I'm not going to let go, he realized crazily; instead he was going to press her against him, bury his face in the curve of her neck, and tell her just how much he needed her. But then she raised her head from his shoulder and looked at him with questioning eyes.

"Booth?" Her voice broke the spell and he had to make a conscious effort not to jump back as if he'd been burned.

"Thanks for the dance, Bones," he said, struggling not to let her hear the strain in his voice.

"I didn't lead, did I?" she asked with a slight smile.

"Nah," he answered, his hand nearly moving to the small of her back to guide her away from the dance floor before he realized that touching her right then would be a very bad idea. "You were perfect."

She threw him a dazzling smile. "I want another drink," she said giddily. "With pretty colors."

"Alright." Booth laughed, her sparkling eyes making him melt unceremoniously. "You got it." God, he was putty in her hands and she had not a damn clue.

For the next hour, he nursed a single beer and mingled distractedly with his colleagues. He introduced Brennan to a couple of new agents, one a recent transfer, the other a recent graduate with a shiny new badge and she was her usual self: unconsciously blunt and utterly mesmerizing. Or maybe it was just him that was mesmerized every time he saw the smooth span of her silky bare back.

She'd danced two more times that night; once with Hacker and once with Charlie again and his stomach clenched at the thought of all that perfect skin under someone else's hands. Though he was supremely gratified to see the considerable distance she left between her body and theirs. Definitely no arms locked around their necks and no head on their shoulders.

He was tempted, oh so tempted, to dance with her over and over again. But he couldn't forget that minute, that second really, when he had not been able to let go, when every part of him had rebelled at the thought of releasing her. Booth was pretty sure if given the chance to hold her again, his body was going to throw one hell of a tantrum when it came time to let go of Temperance Brennan. Fuck, even now, he had a stranglehold on his beer bottle trying to prevent himself from politely excusing them from the conversation, dropping a possessive arm around his partner, and taking her some place where he could devour her whole.

In his mind, he could see it so clearly it was crazy: he had her alone, hands braced against a wall as he trailed his hands and lips all over her back. He would kiss and suck and stroke every damn delicious inch of her until …

"Booth?" Her voice interrupted his horrifyingly arousing thoughts. "Booth?"

"Yeah, sorry, Bones," he apologized in a strangled voice. "I'm tired, my mind was spacing out."

"I'm tired too," she told him. "Do we have to stay much longer?"

"Not at all," he answered. "You wanna go?"

"Only if it's okay for you to go," she replied, biting her bottom lip. "I know this was a required event for you and …"

"It's okay, Bones," he interrupted with a soft smile. "I've put in my time, we definitely deserve to go home."

Brennan's eyes widened slightly at his words; she knew they weren't going home together, but it had sounded that way so much her heart rate had sped up automatically.

They said a quick goodbye to Angela and Sweets who were still hanging around and then went to their table where Brennan collected her tiny purse and he picked up her wrap from the chair.

"You are sleepy, aren't you?" Booth whispered as he draped the gauzy material around her.

"How do you know?" she asked in an adorably sleepy voice.

"You've knuckled your eyes twice in the last two minutes," he explained, keeping one arm around her shoulders as he guided her to the door. "Plus, your voice goes all little girl on me when you are sleepy."

"Does not," she mumbled and he chuckled.

The cool night air hit them as they got outside and Brennan snuggled a little into him. "Wow, I didn't realize it would get this cold," she said, teeth shattering slightly.

"Come on," he said, removing his jacket and draping it around her.

"Booth …" she started to protest, knowing he had to be cold too.

"Relax, Bones," he interrupted before she could gain steam. "It's two minutes to my car."

She stopped arguing because she knew it wouldn't do her any good and just walked quickly to his car. Once inside, Brennan snuggled into his jacket, leaning her head against the window. She was out like a light before he'd even driven half a mile and he couldn't help reaching over and smoothing a lock of hair away from her forehead.

The late hour and lack of traffic made the drive to her apartment nearly twice as fast as normal. He put the car in park and turned to look at his sleeping partner.

His sigh was deep and heartfelt as he allowed himself to look at her without having to worry about whatever might be written all over his face. His fingers hovered over her face, but he didn't touch, afraid of waking her. She looked so soft and relaxed, and he knew she had to be absolutely exhausted to have fallen asleep so quickly.

"Oh, baby," he whispered, his words uncensored because he knew she was deeply asleep. "I hate waking you."

Finally, he turned off the car reluctantly and got out, walking over to the passenger side and opening the door. Leaning in, he unhooked her seatbelt and let his fingers brush over her face.

"Bones," he said gently, the back of his fingers skimming along her jaw line. "Wake up, Bones, you are home."

She made soft little waking sounds in the back of her throat that made him wonder what it would be like to wake her up in the morning; maybe turn those noises into soft little moans of pleasure.

"Booth?" Her eyes fluttered open slowly and she blinked her sleepy eyes at him.

"Yeah," he said in a slightly choked voice. "Come on, sleepyhead, the clock struck midnight quite a while ago."

She slowly sat up straight, missing the reference and still slightly disoriented. "We are home?"

"Yep," he answered, helping her get down from the car. Keeping his arm around her, Booth walked her to the door.

"Thank-you again for coming, Bones," he told her as she returned his jacket and fished around for her keys.

"Stop thanking me, Booth," she said gently. "It was different from the stuff we usually do, but it was fun."

Brennan opened her door, looking back at her partner wistfully. The night was over but she didn't want to say goodnight, she didn't want to go inside her apartment without him; instead she wanted to wrap her arms around him and breathe him in deeply. Instead she wanted to rub herself all over him and finally find out what every hard inch of him would feel like on top of her. And under her and every other way she could imagine.

"Goodnight, Booth," she whispered, wondering how much longer she had before even compartmentalization ceased to be enough. Weeks, months, years? She couldn't be sure but she knew it was inevitable; she knew at some point she would no longer be able to compartmentalize him.

"Nite," he responded just as softly, watching as she closed the door between them. His hands fisted as he stifled the urge to knock on the door and kiss her madly the second she opened it.

His mind rioted as he pictured what would happen if he were on the other side of that door. He'd peel that sinful dress off her and taste every centimeter of skin reverently, he'd fuck her hard and slow, he'd make love to her over and over again, every way he could think of. Jesus, he'd do it all.

His body, his mind, his heart, every part of him was so desperate for her and Booth wasn't sure how much longer he could wait. He didn't know how much longer he could stand it. Every day he seemed to unravel a little more and at some point, both of them would have to accept every damned thing that had been building for years and couldn't be swept back anymore. He didn't know when or how but something was going to send the tide crashing forward and when that happened nothing and no one would be able to stop it.

It was inevitable. They were inevitable.

I'd love to know if you liked this! :)

p.s. I'd also like to give credit to Sheytune for inspiring me to think of Cam as a big BB shipper as reflected by the conversation in this story. I think you are totally right :)