I still don't own Bones.

Thanks everybody for your great ideas. This was a difficult one for me to write! This is the last chapter.

"You know what Bones? I'm not ready to talk to you yet" he shut the door in her face. She stared at the closed door in disbelief. She'd never made him this angry before. And now that she knew how dangerous he was when he was angry…. She was a little bit scared to piss him off.

And this time he had every right to be angry. She'd nearly ruined everything. Nearly cost Maria her life, and for what? Because she wanted to play hero? Because she wanted to show Booth that she was as capable as he was? No. If she dug deeper, she knew it was because she wanted to protect him. Wanted to help him and keep him safe. It was because she'd been terrified of losing him. She wasn't rational when Booth's life was on the line. She'd learned that long ago and it had been no different this time around.

A knot formed in the pit of her stomach as she walked the lonely trek from Booth's room to her suite. She'd really screwed up this time. He would never forgive her. He was obviously very attached to Maria, regardless of what the girl had told her earlier, she knew he cared deeply for her. It was so obvious. He'd never be able to forgive her for endangering his partner.

"Okay, there is obviously some tension here" Dr. Sweets observed in their session the following week "lets talk about it." They both looked exhausted, their jaws set, their legs crossed away from each other and their arms folded over their bodies.

"We can't. You don't have clearance." Booth answered sharply.

"Okay… then lets discuss… in generalities… how you're feeling."

"I'll start" Dr. Brennan looked straight into his eyes rather than Booth's. "I'm feeling repentant… In general."

"And I'm feeling unforgiving." Booth spat the words at him, rather than at his partner.

"So…" Sweets put the pieces together carefully. "When you were both away on a classified mission, Dr. Brennan did something inappropriate, which she sincerely regrets." She nodded in agreement.

"And you, Agent Booth, feel unable to forgive her at this time." Booth just glared at him threateningly, making him squirm uncomfortably in his chair.

"Don't take it out on Sweets Booth." His unlikely defender demanded. "I'm the one who messed up." The agent's glare changed directions in order to pierce Dr. Brennan's usually thick skin. He thought he might've actually seen her squirm this time.

"You got that right" he shot back through clenched teeth. She looked desperately to Sweets for help for the first time in her life.

"I made a poor decision that ultimately endangered the life of a woman with whom Booth… shared a bond." She explained to him.

"This woman wasn't… you… by any chance, was it Dr. Brennan?" Booth's body language confirmed his assumption but his partner disagreed. "No, it wasn't me, it was another young women who Booth was… attached to."

Aha! There was the crux of the issue. The other woman made the good Doctor both jealous and despondent, meanwhile Booth was actually more concerned for Dr. Brennan's safety than for the safety of this other woman.

"I may be wrong here," he began, giving them an out, in case they weren't ready to talk, "but in my experience, there are few things that make Agent Booth angry, and danger to his partner is at the top of that list." He looked at Booth for confirmation, and saw a hint of agreement in his eyes but the angry agent obviously had no intention of verbalizing his agreement. "Since he is refusing to speak, I will speak for him and suggest that perhaps you placed yourself in an unnecessary amount of danger on this mission." Booth turned his head slightly looking expectantly at her. His jaw was rigid and his arms were still folded tightly across his chest.

With both of the men in the room waiting for her response, Dr. Brennan took her time to answer.

"It is true that I did not realize the limitations of my own skill set in this context. And I was captured momentarily by a man who may have intended to kill me… but I believe that Booth's anger, stems from the fact that my interference could have resulted in his failure to complete the mission, the result of which would have been Maria's death."

"You believe this friend is more important to Agent Booth than you are?" he clarified, forcing her to expose more than she wanted to.

"I don't know." She admitted. Booth's face softened only slightly at this admission, but it did force him out of his silent fury.

"You're wrong Bones." His voice was more raspy than usual but his words were filled with energy and passion. "You have no idea what it's like. Turning off my emotions like that… leaving my heart at home. I have to make heartless decisions. All I can focus on is completing the mission. If I loose that focus, I die." He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "You could've been raped and murdered right in front of me Bones… that happened once to Carter's partner. You could've been shot, you could've been tortured, you could've had your throat slit…. And you know what? I would leave you there, dead and bleeding on the floor, and finish my mission because there's no helping a dead guy. That's the definition of heartless Bones."

"You wouldn't let anything happen to me," she whispered defiantly, tears escaping from her bright blue eyes.

"Maria was my mission Bones…. You're my heart." His hand clutched his chest as he said it and he finally looked over at her. Tears were streaming down her face but he didn't reach out to comfort her.

"How could you put my heart in the middle of all that?" His tone was accusing. "How could you knowingly put yourself in that kind of danger?" His eyes flashed with anger.

"I wanted to help you. I wanted to be a part of things… like when we work a case." She explained.

"This was different Bones. And you knew that. I told you that."

"I really thought I could help." She sniffed and straightened her spine "Obviously I was mistaken." She grabbed a kleenex and mopped the tears off her face.

"This isn't just about you following me. This is about our relationship. Our partnership. I mean for Christ's sake Bones, I mowed down ten people in front of you last week! I tortured a father and husband while you stood there with a gun to your head." Wow. That must've been some mission. He squashed his curiosity and focused on his patients.

The hollow look in Booth's eyes sucked the air out of the room. This was obviously a man who had been through hell and back, more than once. And this mission had been his own personal version of hell.

"You had to do all of that Booth. I know that."

"That doesn't make it any less disgusting."

"You saved my life, you saved Maria…I think don't think less of you. I think you're amazing. You will do whatever it takes to keep people safe. And I would do the same thing for you. Just because you are a trained killer doesn't mean you aren't a better person than someone who isn't. Because when you're in danger Booth... I'd do anything to save you too. Anything. I let my dad torture that bounty hunter. I lied to the police... and I'd do worse if I had to. I know I would." She said it with a conviction that brooked no argument. Booth looked tentatively, hopefully up into her eyes. They just sat there, eyes locked for a long moment, Dr. Brennan obviously trying to convey the depth of her respect and love through her eyes. Apparently it worked, because the tension left Booth's body slowly as they looked at each other. Some sort of unspoken communication was happening here.

"So this Maria person… you weren't sexually involved with her?" He interrupted, hoping to explore Dr. Brennan's jealousy a little further before the session was up.

"Maria is infatuated with Booth… And he did kiss her when we found her." She said helpfully.

"It's a mild case of hero-worship, she'll get over it." He said dismissively.

"Probably didn't help that you kissed her." She mumbled. This was excellent. Her jealousy had to be as obvious to Agent Booth as it was to him.

"Oh please, it was just one kiss on the forehead. Besides it made her feel good. I didn't see any harm in it."

"It leads people on when you do things like that."

The two of them were carrying on a conversation as though he wasn't even there. He kept silent, in order to best observe the interaction. After a long pregnant pause, Dr. Brennan surprised them both by asking "So did you sleep with her?"

"Excuse me?" Booth choked on the words.

"With Maria… did you sleep with her?" She avoided his eyes.

"Why do you care?" he asked suspiciously.

"No reason, just curious." she shrugged.

"Why?" he demanded.

"Can't I be curious about your sex life?"

"You know I don't like to talk about that stuff Bones." He said dismissively.

"You did sleep with her." She came to her own conclusion, and her voice sounded so obviously dejected that Sweets had to stifle a laugh. Booth's mouth turned up at the corners and his eyes twinkled with amusement. It was remarkable how much his face had changed from the lost soldier he'd been only moments before

"Are you jealous Bones?" He asked teasingly. She turned on him, her eyes filled with fire.

"Is that funny to you?" she spat the words at him but she wasn't denying it. She was jealous. "Because I can assure you it doesn't feel at all amusing to me. It's an intensely uncomfortable and unfamiliar feeling."

"Come on Bones, you've never been jealous before?" he said in disbelief.

"I've envied people's lives, their feelings, their choices, their possessions yes… but that is completely different." He could not believe this. She wasn't backing down. She was putting herself out there, admitting her feelings. It was more than Agent Booth had ever been willing to do and that guy was jealous every time she so much as looked at another man.

"I didn't sleep with her." He said simply and watched her tortured soft eyes turn to him in disbelief. He dropped his gaze to the floor but continued to watch her out of the corner of his eye.

"I didn't Bones." He reassured her.

"Why not?" She asked. Atta girl Dr. Brennan. Sweets cheered inwardly.

"Yeah," he squirmed uncomfortably and cleared his throat a few times "that whole hero-worship thing is not… sexy… to me Bones. I'm a killer, not a hero."

Dr. Sweets couldn't resist interjecting here. "Actually, I should point out that jealousy is only natural in a relationship like yours." They looked up at him, probably surprised to find him still in the room.

"Really?" Dr. Brennan's voice was adorably hopeful.

"Totally. Your romantic relationships threaten the surrogate relationship you've established, and jealousy is a natural response to that threat."

"So it's normal to be jealous when she...she has a date or something?" Agent Booth had obviously spoken before he'd had a chance to think it through because he froze the moment just after he said it.

"When I have a date?" She repeated, her eyes filled with questions.

"You're not the only one who gets jealous Bones." Booth admitted, his voice thin with exhaustion, his hands raking through his hair. This was incredible! Something important was happening here and they were sharing it with him. They were letting him be a part of it. Granted they were both so tired, they probably wouldn't remember any of this in the morning. But still!

"I don't understand what that means." She said softly.

"Yeah you do Bones." Booth looked at his watch. "You know exactly what it means." He stood, shoving his arms through his jacket. "I gotta go. I'm picking Parker up." She was looking up at him with a completely unfamiliar expression on her face. It was definately part fear, that was obvious… but it was something else too… hope… satisfaction… determination…love... Sweets couldn't put his finger on it, but it was definately there.

And then he watched dumbfounded as Booth leaned down over the back of the couch and dropped a kiss on her forehead. Not a quick kiss like he would give his son. A soft, strong, upside down kiss that lasted just long enough to mean something. Booth walked out of the room without a backward glance.

Dr. Brennan just sat there for a moment, staring at the door. He watched her, gauging her reaction carefully. Had it been too much? Had it been too soon? Had she even understood the implications of what just happened?

A small, reverent smile curved her mouth and her eyes were wide with wonder when she finally looked at him. "I should um…" her smile had grown into a shit-eating grin and apparently, it was difficult for her to talk and grin at the same time. "I should go….. now Sweets." She stood awkwardly and gathered her jacket and her purse and walked to the door, grinning the entire way. He couldn't hide the answering smile that played at his own lips.

"See you next week Dr. Brennan."

"Goodbye Sweets… and thank you." She stopped at the door and turned to face him once more. "You were…. Useful… today." He waved her off and sat in silence for a long moment, a smug smile plastered on his innocent, boyish face.