Spoiler Warning: This contains spoilers for Ep. 18 of Season 5. There are also spoilers from Season 1's Two Bodies in the Lab.

Disclaimer: I do not own or profit from Bones

Author's Note: I am discovering just how therapeutic fan fiction can be for dealing with upsetting spoilers.

The Revelation in the Dates

He knocked on her apartment door with the paperwork from their latest case in his hands. He was just there to get her signature. He was not trying to reassure himself the she was home, alone. He was absolutely not making sure that his abnormally large- foreheaded boss was not there with her. He just needed her signature. He knocked again. Why wasn't she answering? Every second that went by without her opening that door made him more and more nauseous...he really needed that signature. Tonight. Right now. He knocked again, more insistently. He was about to take out his key, when the door was opened by his flushed partner. For a moment his heart stopped- she's not alone- but then his eyes moved from her face to the rest of her body, and he realized that she was dressed in sweats and holding an i-pod in her hand. His breathing slowly returned to normal.

"Booth? BOOTH?"

His eyes snapped back up to her face.

"I asked if you wanted to come in. Is everything okay? It looked like you completely zonked out there. Have you been experiencing any strange symptoms lately? If you have, you should tell me right now, Booth." Her words spilled out of her mouth quickly, her voice tense.

"It's 'zoned out,' Bones."

"Huh? Booth, maybe we should take you to the hospital." Her eyes met his, and he could see the fear there.

'Pull it together, Seeley, before she has you strapped into the back of an ambulance.' "I'm fine, Bones, no hospitals necessary. I was just letting you know that when you said 'zonked out,' you should have said 'zoned out.' I zoned out for a minute, but it's only because you're wearing sweats. I wouldn't have guessed you even owned a pair of sweats."

She rolled her eyes and opened the door wide, indicating that he should come in. "Of course I own sweats, Booth, you know I work out regularly- do you think I do it in button-down blouses and dress pants?"

"Nice use of sarcasm there, Bones, " he said appreciatively.

"Anyway, I have on the sweats because I've been cleaning. Now, did you come to discuss the mysteries of my wardrobe, or is there something else you need from me?"

'Oh yeah, there's something else, alright. I'm here to make sure you aren't getting it on with my boss. I'd hate to have to shoot him, but, hey, those are the breaks!' '"I'm here to get your signature on the report from the Miller case."

"My signature? That couldn't have waited until tomorrow?" She wasn't buying it.

'Deflect!!!!!' "So you clean your own house, huh Bones? I find that surprising, an important doctor and author like you, I would have thought that you definitely would hire someone to do that for you."

"Yes, well, I'm a constant surprise." She paused to take a breath before asking the only thing she really wanted to know in that moment. "So how was your date? You know, with Catherine from the aquarium."

Booth laughed, "Yeah, Bones, I know who my date was with. It was fine, it was lunch...but I don't think we'll be going out again."

"Really, why not?" Brennan hoped her tone conveyed a sense of nonchalance and polite interest, rather than the pure relief that nearly knocked her to her knees at his words.

"I don't know, there was no spark. You know what I mean?"

She looked at him blankly. "No, Booth, I do not know what you mean. I would think the absence of a fire on your date would be a good thing, so I have to assume that you're speaking metaphorically...."

"Yeah, Bones, " he interrupted, "I'm speaking metaphorically. She was pretty enough, and funny, but...I don't know..something was missing. Oh, and she actually really annoyed me- we went to the diner, right?"

Brennan nodded her head, trying to fight back the unpleasant and irrational feelings brought on by the image of Booth and the blond scientist at what she had some to think of as their place.

"Okay, so she ordered a salad," Booth continued, "but she kept grabbing fries off of my plate. It made me so crazy that I couldn't actually pay any attention to what she was saying. I could only concentrate on the fact that she should have ordered her own fries."

"But Booth," Brennan broke in, "the fries at the diner are more than one person can eat. They are definitely more than one person should eat. Besides, I always eat your fries...is this your way of trying to tell me that I annoy you."

"No Bones, not at all." In fact, it was precisely the fact that when Bones stole his fries, it was fine (better than fine,it made him happy) that convinced him that dating other women, even other sexy scientists, wasn't going to solve his problem. "It's different when you eat my fries. This woman, we just met. You don't go around stealing the food of people you've just met, it's not right."

Brennan tried to hold back her smile. She didn't want to make her next suggestion, but had to be fair. "Perhaps you should have just told her that you would prefer it if she did not eat off of your plate. I'm sure she would have stopped once she learned you found it annoying. Maybe then you would have found that you enjoyed her company enough for a second date." Brennan held her breath, waiting for his reaction to her suggestion.

"Eh," he said with a shrug.

This time she literally had to bite the inside of her cheeks to keep from smiling a smile that revealed everything at his answer.

"I wasn't the only one with a date today," Booth figured it was time to get it over with. This must be how defendants feel when they're waiting for the verdict to be read. "How was coffee with the boss man?"

"I assume you are referring to Andrew, and the coffee was pleasant enough," she answered.

Well, that's what he expected. It felt like he had been gutted, but he had expected that too. "So, when's the next date?"

"There won't be a next date."

"No?" He asked simply, using all of his self-control to keep from doing a happy dance right there in her living room. "Why not?"

"Andrew is nice, and he is somewhat attractive, but...."

"No spark," he filled in.

She nodded solemnly, "No spark."

They stood there staring at each other for a moment before she felt the need to break the silence. "I am not very good at this Booth, but I think I should apologize to you." He looked at her, surprise etched on his features. "You asked me not to date your boss. While I maintain that I am the only one with the right to decide who I do or don't date, you are my closest friend, and I should have given your request greater consideration...especially considering that my actual interest in Andrew was lukewarm at best."

Booth didn't even try to hold back his smile, "No apology necessary, Bones." He was suddenly in an extremely generous mood.

"It had just been so long-"

"Whoa! Stop right there," he interrupted, his goofy smile fading. He was definitely not prepared for this conversation. "I don't want to hear about how much much you needed sex. No way, Bones."

"Oh for god's sake Booth-"

"No, Bones, I'm serious," He stuck his fingers in his ears. "Lalalalalalalala. I can't hear you."

She crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, glaring at him until he removed his fingers from his ears. "Are you finished behaving more immaturely than your eight-year-old son? If so, I can tell you that what I was going to say was that it had been so long since anyone showed interest in me in that way, that I was flattered. If I'm honest, I agreed to go out with Andrew because it was nice to have the attention."

Booth flopped hard onto her sofa. He didn't know whether to laugh with relief, or to break something in frustration. He wanted to shake her and tell her that he would be more than happy to show her exactly how interested he was in her...but today just wasn't the day. Sure, he was a coward, but he just wasn't ready to face the possible consequences of revealing that particular truth today. So, he settled for a less friendship-changing truth, "I understand, Bones. I'm pretty sure that's exactly the reason I agreed to go out with aquarium Catherine." Bones looked at him with disbelief and snorted. She actually snorted. "Bones, did you just snort? Am I to understand that you are scoffing at my revelation? Is that how friends behave?"

She could tell his tone was teasing, so she relaxed. "Yes, Booth, I am scoffing at your 'revelation.' The idea that you agreed to a date because it had a long time since a woman had expressed interest in you is absolutely ridiculous. We can't go two minutes without a woman showing interest in you. Every female we interview turns into a simpering little girl around you. Sweets' secretary always applies a fresh coat of lipstick when she knows you're coming in. Margie from the diner fawns all over you-"

"Bones! Margie is 80 if she's a day!"

"-she still counts! Besides, Agent Perotta is well within your acceptable age-range, and her eyes go all sparkly anytime you're round. Sometimes I even think Angela would drag you off to the Egyptian room if you'd only just smile at her the right way!"

Booth was suddenly feeling like his old self again, "Jealous, Bones?"

"I believe we've already discussed the fact that I am not a lesbian, Booth. Why would I be jealous that all of these women are interested you instead of me." Her tone was serious, but Booth could see the start of a grin on her lips.

He could push this conversation, but he wouldn't. Not tonight. Not until he could be sure. So he just sighed and said, "What a pair."

She turned to him then and said with a smile, "I've said that about us before. Remember? You were in the hospital because you had just been blown up, and I had a big bandage on my head from being hit with a gun."

"Yeah, Bones, I remember."

"You saved my life that night."

She waited for him to respond, but he didn't. He just looked at her, as though he was waiting for her to continue. She almost did. She almost told him that somehow, while he was busy saving her life, he had also managed to save her (metaphorical) heart. He had taught her to have faith, to forgive, and he had convinced her that love was more than chemical. She almost told him that she had only agreed to have coffee with Andrew so that she could apologize for letting him believe that there might ever be more between them. She almost told him that it took every ounce of her strength to keep herself from sobbing when he told her that he was going on a date...with a scientist...a blond scientist. She almost threw her arms around him and told him that the only people they should ever date were each other. Almost. Then, she looked at him on her couch, smiling at her, laughing with her, and she knew tonight wasn't the night. She couldn't risk it, she couldn't risk chasing him away. She would have to eventually (doesn't everything happen eventually?), but not tonight. Tonight, she would enjoy her time with her friend.

"Do you remember what else we did that night in the hospital?" She asked.

"Ate some awesome pudding?"

"Well, yes, but that's not what I meant. We watched tv. Do you want to stay and watch tv with me Booth?"

He grabbed the remote and started flipping until he found an old movie. "I would love nothing more, Bones."

"Hey, Booth," she began tentatively, "are you sure you don't want me to stop taking your fries?"

He put his arm around her and pulled her close. "I'm positive Bones. My fries are your fries."