A/N Ahh, the delicious fun of being able to make your characters do anything you want them to … yee har!

Disclaimer: The only thing I own is my soul, and I even lend that out on occasion, but only if you ask nice. Anything that even looks familiar in this story probably belongs to someone else (except the actual story - that's all mine, Mine, MINE [*maniacal laughter*]!)

Part Three: Don't Leave

Oh how quiet, quiet the world can be
When it's just you and little me
Everything is clear and everything is new
So you won't be leaving will you?

Oh don't leave home, oh don't leave home

If you're cold I'll keep you warm
If you're low just hold on
Cause I will be your safety
Oh don't leave home

Feeble sunlight seeped across his face and he woke gradually, almost reluctantly, a mindless smile curling his lips. Thick curtains framing the windows helped muffle any traffic noise and the only sound he could hear was the distant hum of some appliance, a refrigerator maybe. He couldn't find his watch or see a clock – he assumed it was fairly early; there were very few street noises and the morning light was weak and still allied to the night.

The morning was cool but for a moment he was lulled by the sun's delicate warmth; secure in his demi-sleep. Stretching like a giant cat, sinews popping, he let languor overtake him, until he abruptly became aware of where he was, who he was with. He froze mid-stretch and his heart leapt and plummeted almost simultaneously. He shot an apprehensive sideways glance at his partner, almost fearful of what he might discover.

Brennan was curled on her side, away from him. He propped himself up on one arm and tried to look at her face, searching for any hint of turbulent thoughts, regrets, doubts that might be disturbing her sleep. He couldn't see her well enough to read any signs, only one rounded cheek and those impossibly long, impossibly thick lashes. Her hair was spread riotously over the pillow, in total disarray, and Booth couldn't help grinning at the memory of the passion they'd shared that helped get it that way. She had her arms twined together in front of her chest as if in some weird yoga position, the sheet pulled up snugly underneath them. On tenterhooks, Booth tried vainly to analyse her body language, searching for any tiny indicator that might give him a hint of what her reaction would be to waking up with him in her bed. Then she sighed, and he held his breath, and her sigh ended on a whimper. He scooted closer to her, concerned, but before he could reassure her with his touch she rolled over, whispered "Booth" and curled into him like a kitten. She was still fast asleep. He pulled the sheet up to cover her breasts and tucked it gently around her.

Booth settled himself back on the bed, Brennan coiled around his arm and chest. He felt his whole face start to split with a smile and he lay there beaming at the ceiling like a fool. He thought his heart might burst with happiness. He thought his head might burst with his new knowledge of her. He curled his arm a little more tightly around her shoulders and she burrowed her face into his neck, seeking the warmth he offered. Deep, restful sleep claimed him.

He was home in her arms and he didn't ever want to leave.

Like a ghost don't need a key
Your best friend I've come to be
Please don't think of getting up for me
You don't even need to speak
When I've been here for just one day
You'll already miss me if I go away
So close the blinds and shut the door
You won't need other friends anymore

Oh don't leave home, oh don't leave home

When he opened his eyes again, he found himself staring into her disconcerting blue gaze. She'd inched herself up the bed so that they were level, and was studying him unblinkingly. The impassive stare she'd mastered years ago was so achingly familiar yet, even after all this time, still unreadable. Her shield was in place, and Booth prepared his heart for a rebuff. He was drowning in her eyes – cliché or not – and he opened his mouth to fill the void with words, even though the right words hadn't yet formed themselves in his brain.

She placed a finger gently on his lips and leaned into him, taking possession of his mouth with hers. The kiss was deep and lingering, yet inexplicably sad. When he drew back she had tears in her eyes. She reached for him again and this time their lovemaking was fierce and desperate and punishing. He felt a goodbye in her touch and didn't allow his thoughts to interact with his feelings, for fear his heart would truly break.

She left his arms hastily when the act was over. They still hadn't spoken coherently and he felt a momentous sadness. He'd thought she shared the feeling of rightness in their passion. She'd certainly made love to him like there was no tomorrow. Made love, not had sex.

He stared at the tousled sheets where just minutes ago she'd been; they were already rapidly losing the heat from her body. Bitterly he came to the conclusion that he'd been justified in holding off expressing his feelings all along, waiting till the time was right; apparently his reasons for waiting were way off the mark. Instead of protecting her, gentling her, trying to ease her into her own mind and heart, it was palpably clear to him now that there never would have been a right time. What he's seen as a lifelong passion, a merging of two into one, had been a chimera, a mirage - a fabrication of his mind that she'd probably dismiss with a laugh in her logical rational fashion.

He was a fool. He thought he was expert at interpreting people and their motives, now he was filled with self-doubt. Maybe he had a little talent at it except in one vitally important area; Brennan. She remained an enigma to him.

He continued to silently berate himself, bitterly disappointed that the chance he'd taken on their happiness had failed so disastrously. His expressive face reflected his inner chaos; so wrapped up was he in self-recriminations he didn't hear her come back into the bedroom. She stood watching him for a few seconds.

The heavy curtains swished closed and he jerked his head around at the noise, searching her out in the muted light. She was there, wrapped in something blue and diaphanous that made him think of misty rain. Following on from his thoughts, the look he gave her was unconsciously hostile, and she faltered a moment before coming closer and sitting on the side of the bed.

"Here – drink this." She held out a cup of steaming coffee, "I didn't realise you'd be so grumpy without a coffee." He took it from her wordlessly, confusion twisting his features. For all her apparent composure, she wouldn't meet his eyes – she seemed almost timid. All his insecurities crowded around his brain, each one insistently seeking a hearing. He steeled himself for the 'biological imperative' spiel that he'd come to despise. He was certain she cared for him, but cared how? Enough to work at this, to take it further than one mind blowing night?

But then Booth caught the fluttering look she gave him from beneath her lashes, recognised the tentative smile curling her lips – the same one he'd seen across the diner table a hundred times or that they'd shared at those other private times when she would hear him out on a subject she wasn't sure about. It was a smile that she reserved for him alone. A rush of colour fled up her neck and into her face. Brennan … blushing? Suddenly the full force of her gaze met his, and he was stunned by the intensity of it. Tears were misting her beautiful eyes and he scrambled to put down his coffee and take her into his arms again.

"Oh baby, what's wrong?" He had to lean close to hear, the words were spoken so softly. This was a different Brennan than he was used to – where was his warrior woman, his rational squint, his Bones?

"Will you stay with me today?" she asked diffidently. The throaty timbre of her voice grew hoarse on the question. Booth could only look at her blankly, several emotions fighting for dominance on his features; bewilderment won. She was asking him to stay, not leave, but he still had a multitude of unanswered questions.

"Of course I will – where did you think I'd be going?" He settled his arms around her shoulders more securely, hoping the closeness would help her feel safe enough to continue. The question seemed irrational to him; he hadn't planned on leaving her side any time soon or ever, if he had his way. But he was still wary. He sensed there was more to come and he wondered whether he could handle it.

Brennan dropped her eyes again, "I thought perhaps you couldn't wait to leave. That last night might have just satisfied your curiosity and that would be the end of it." She laughed humourlessly, dropping her voice even more, "You'd realise by now that I wasn't worth the effort after all." At her words Booth gathered her to him, almost crushing her in his effort to quell her concerns.

"Bones, you are worth so much more than that – where do you get these ideas from? Y'know, sometimes I feel like shaking you until some actual sense rattles out of that brilliant brain of yours. I would never do anything to hurt you - you're my best friend, my Bones." She flicked him a smile, she knew at least that was true. He'd proved it to her over and over again in so many ways.

"You're my best friend too, Booth." She sniffed and impatiently wiped away a single tear that was meandering down her cheek.

"Well, then. Was it … I mean – last night was I, um - good for you?" This time Brennan couldn't help the throaty chuckle that bubbled up at his discomfiture at speaking about sex, particularly after what they'd just recently shared.

"Your performance was more than adequate." He missed the teasing look she concealed almost immediately.

His reaction was instantaneous and predictable, "Adequate?" She was in squint mode and he imagined her mentally checking some creepy score card of sexual adequacy.

"I said more than adequate!" She chortled as she said it, lightly digging him in the ribs, "Last night exceeded my expectations and experience, Booth. You are a superlative lover." She laughed openly at him and Booth loved to hear her laugh like that; loved that he made her laugh like that.

"Last night," he swallowed, "Baby, last night was the answer to every hope and dream I've ever had." He put his finger under her chin and lifted her face up until he could look into her eyes. Brennan ran her finger down his chest, sending a shiver of desire through him.

"Don't call me baby." The unexpectedness of her response made him laugh as well. She smiled with him for a moment and then his expression became solemn. He brought his face close to hers, his breath fanning her lips.

"Temperance Brennan, I've been in love with you from the moment I met you. I will never hurt you. I will never leave you. I will always love you. Trust me, please." Booth's eyes pleaded with her to follow her heart.

"I have never trusted anyone as much as I trust you, Booth." His heart swelled with hope at her words. "I've trusted you with my life for so long now, I don't how not to trust you." She put her head to one side and looked at him searchingly, "What do you want from me, Booth?

His answer was immediate and directly to the point, "I want you to love me."

Brennan reached for him, a wicked glint in her eye, "I thought you might be too tired to go again, but I'm ready if you are." Booth happily kissed her, but then pushed back on her shoulders so that he could see her face. "Very funny, Bones. But I didn't mean make love. Your real actual love. That's what I want."

Brennan pressed her lips together, searching for the right answer. When she responded, "I don't know what that means." Booth swore under his breath and made to get up, but she put her hand on his arm to restrain him.

"Booth, don't be angry with me. I'm not being fatuous, I really don't think I know what that means in the sense that you mean. I want to be able to say that I love you, but I'm not sure of the definition or parameters."

"Jeez, Bones, why do you have to analyse everything? Head and heart – haven't you learned that yet?" Although the heat of his anger had dissipated almost as soon as it had flared, disappointment at Brennan's response was wedged in his chest.

"Well," Brennan moved in close to him and her arm snaked around his neck, "I'm a scientist, I need to analyse things the way you need to … be the man and fix things." Booth smiled ruefully at that, and she continued, "I know I like to be with you and if you're not close by I don't feel … right, I feel off balance. We really do complement each other. I know that I respect you together with your beliefs, even if I don't always agree or understand the basis for those beliefs; if something is important to you I want to understand it. I know that I never want to be responsible for your pain, I can't bear to see you in pain. I know you drive me crazy -"

"Pffft - that sure goes both ways!" Booth snorted.

"Hey!" Brennan gave him a light slap and then settled back against his chest, " – and that I can't stay angry with you. I know the way I feel when you touch me, like I've got a fever that I don't want to cure. I know you make me a better person. I know I want you to be happy and that you make me happy. I know you are a good man, you have principles and ethics that I admire. I value your opinion and I depend on your advice. You are trustworthy and strong and you protect me – keep me safe - even though I can look after myself and you know that. I know that you will never fail me."

"You put a lot of thought into the subject recently, Bones?" He tenderly pushed her hair from her forehead.

"Mmm hmm, you could say that."

"And are you still going to tell me you don't know what love is?"

"What do you mean?"

"Temperance, you've just told me everything I needed to hear. Whether you're ready to say the words or not, I don't need to hear them. Not now that I know what's in your heart." She opened her mouth to argue about his definition of 'heart', but this time Booth placed his finger on her lips to silence her. "Yes, I mean heart, Bones."

For a few moments they smiled into each other's eyes and what he saw reflected there made Seeley Joseph Booth shout with happiness.

He pulled her back down onto the bed, not letting go of her for a moment. The room resounded with their laughter and quiet chatter and finally the sound of the laws of physics breaking, of two becoming one.

She was home in his arms and she didn't ever want to leave.

I arrived when you were weak
I'll make you weaker, like a child
Now all your love you give to me
When your heart is all I need

Oh don't leave home, oh don't leave home

If you're cold I'll keep you warm
If you're low just hold on
Cause I will be your safety
Oh don't leave home

Awww … that was fun to write - hope you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading (and it's lovely to see so many of you stopping by - :D)- I'd really appreciate your comments if you've got a moment ... I was thinking of doing some more along these lines and I'd love to know whether there's enough interest out there?