[A/N: This is monstrously long (over 10,000 words), but I couldn't bring myself to break it up. It was tempting to put the very last short part in a separate chapter, so that I could hang onto this story a bit longer. Posting this has been so much fun. I hope giving you this long final entry was the right decision for you dear readers. I remain awed by your continued reading, your generous reviews, and the over-the-top tweets. Sharing this story with you has been a pleasure! Enjoy Happy-logue Part 2!]

Epilogue to Translation (Part 2—The Final Part)

After kissing Booth soundly and telling him that she would be looking forward to their first date, Bones had dropped Pops off at the nursing home Sunday night on her way home. Booth had nearly been rooted to the spot where she'd kissed him and said that. He'd never expected Bones to look so happy and doe-eyed about anything—much less a date with him. His frustrations with her delays and avoidance had been whisked away and forgotten completely. How he'd gotten so lucky to have a chance with her, he just didn't know. But he'd take it.

The next day Booth had dropped Parker off at school and headed to the office. He had actually been excited about getting back to work and returning to a normal routine. While he wasn't yet one hundred percent, he was close. He was able to hide his minor discomfort and stride into the office as confidently as he ever had. He thoughtfully considered that the pep in his step likely had everything to do with his plans for the evening.

Booth's first morning back at the office had been filled with well-wishers and other welcomed interruptions. Since he and Bones didn't have another case to work together, he had spent his morning catching up on paperwork from the Westar-Park case and sifting through pages of unread e-mail messages. He'd snuck online and worked through the important ones from home already, but he was amazed how much remained to be done.

Charlie and some of the other guys had done their part to wrap up as many of the details in the case file as they could, but as the primary officer on the case and the one who'd taken out the last two gang members, Booth had been required to document the final details for the case file. He had found that he had needed to take breaks from that work—walking back through that night and the dangers they'd all faced had been too difficult to do all in one stretch. Despite the delays, he had made decent progress and had determined to work with Bones to complete much of the rest of the file—hoping that working on it together would make it easier for both of them.

Around noon, his phone rang. Smiling at the extension from the lab on the display, he picked up quickly, "Booth."

"First date, huh? Where are you taking her, man? What's the grand plan?" Hodgins had asked eagerly. Booth grinned at the support he heard in the other man's voice. They'd slowly moved past being reluctant confidants about the women they loved over the years. "Well, Bones asked me out, Hodgins. I assumed that she'd be the one making the plans."

"Seriously? On the first date? I dunno, man. Even Dr. B may not be that independent. Nice flowers, though. Really nice."

"She got them?" Booth asked, grinning again imagining the look on her face and the squeals from Angela. He'd called the florist early that morning and ordered a big bouquet of daisies and daffodils. He'd even asked the florist to spray paint one of those Styrofoam balls and label it Jupiter and float it in the midst of the flowers. He'd had the florist write "Looking forward to our first date—Booth" on the card.

"Way to up the pressure on the rest of us, man," Hodgins grinned back at him. "But seriously, you're not planning the whole evening? Ang and I were convinced that you..."

"Don't try to get me all worked up, Jack. It's my first day back at the office and I'm snowed under. Besides, it doesn't matter where Bones and I go out as long as we go out," Booth replied honestly.

"You are even more far gone than I realized. Good for you, man," Hodgins said before muttering quickly, "No, Dr. B. I'm not on the phone with the bureau asking for a referral to Booth's florist. I'm working on those samples you sent over..." The line went dead and Booth grinned. He pondered for a moment that perhaps Hodgins had been right. Maybe Bones was expecting gallantry and planning and his best efforts. But just as he considered making arrangements, another agent popped in to shoot the breeze.

"So where is he taking you?" Angela asked as she followed her friend as she rushed back into her office.

"I'm sure I don't know," Brennan said as she sat down, reviewed her notes quickly, and entered data into the computer. "Of course, I'm the one who asked him out—does that mean that I should be the one making the plans? Do we need to have plans?" She wrinkled her brow in frustration, realizing that she was busy and did not want to allocate sufficient time to planning a social engagement.

"Honey, this is Booth we're talking about. Look at these flowers. This man has wanted you for years. He probably has the first ten dates all mapped out already."

Indulging in happy thoughts of her partner for a few moments, Brennan quickly dismissed them. "I have to work now, Angela, so that I can have time to get ready for our date."

"Oh, of course, Sweetie," Angela shrilled as she practically skipped out of the office.

Resigning himself to the fact that he really didn't have time to plan an elaborate evening for them that night, Booth had finally sent Bones a text to ask her if he should pick her up at seven. She had replied that he should and smiled for a long moment before getting back to work.

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Any day on which Temperance Brennan left work at any time resembling the end of a normal work day was noteworthy. When Brennan had left the lab at five to get ready for her first date with the man they'd watched hide his feelings from her for years, the rest of the squints had assembled to discuss their ideas about what would happen that evening. Giving up on doing anything else productive when they had such a desirable distraction to discuss, they had headed over to Wong Foo's for dinner and more gossip about their favorite couple finally taking that bold step to become an actual couple.

Meanwhile, Booth had left his office at about 5:15. On his way out, Charlie had yelled, "Have fun on your date, Booth." Booth had grinned and saluted him on his way out the door.

Sweets had overheard Charlie's comment and rushed over after Booth was out of sight. When Charlie had informed him about Booth's date with Dr. B, Sweets had nearly choked on the spot. Recovering quickly, he had dialed Angela and learned that the rest of the team was out at dinner. He made plans to join them immediately.

At precisely 7:00 p.m., Brennan heard a knock on her apartment door. She felt a rush of what felt like substantially more than pure adrenaline as her heart sped up on her way to answer the door. When she opened it, Booth stood there in jeans and a t-shirt and a perfectly arranged-to-look-hastily-thrown-on button down over it. He offered her one long-stemmed red rose when the door opened, and she had been surprised that the gesture made her blush.

"Booth, you've already sent beautiful flowers," she whispered, taking the rose he offered her gallantly.

"You look incredible, Bones," he whispered, drinking in the view of her in casual slacks and a shirt that he'd always found particularly attractive on her. Unlike most of the times they'd left work and headed out on the town, Brennan had styled her hair, applied fresh makeup, and put on a scent that already had his senses humming. The molten heat in his appraising stare raised her temperature.

"Thank you," she whispered, stepping close and kissing his cheek, lingering there for a long moment. Breathless, she told him that she needed to put the flower in water. He followed as she turned and walked back into her apartment.

"So, Bones," he began, trying to sound casual and not as nervous as he suddenly felt. "What's the plan? What would you like to do this evening?"

Smiling at his nervousness, Brennan teased him, "Angela insisted that you'd have a romantic evening all planned."

As she had predicted, Booth swallowed and looked sheepish. She had always found that expression rather adorable on him, so teasing him had been more than worth the effort. "Well, Bones... since you asked me out I didn't want to make any assumptions... in case you wanted to make the plans."

Laughing lightly, she walked over to him and smiled, "It doesn't matter where we go. Since neither of us has made plans, let's just go to the diner."

"Really? You're okay with that? Cause I can call and try to get a table...," he offered as he reached for his cell phone.

"It's just a date, Booth," she said, smiling and placing a hand upon his arm to stop him from rushing to plan something.

"It's my first date with you, Bones. That's... Hell, that's huge. I should have..."

She shook her head at him, "Booth, you know I'm not big on social conventions and traditional roles. We always have a good time at the diner. Let's go. I'm hungry."

She had already been rushing toward the door when he'd caught up with her. "I'm opening the doors, Bones. I always open the doors on dates," he said, pulling the door opened and motioning for her to walk through. Shaking her head a bit at behavior she'd fully expected, she allowed him to hold the door opened for her, relaxing immediately as soon as his hand fell into place on the small of her back.

T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . .

They ambled into the diner to their favorite table. To the casual observer, it could have been just like any of the dozens of times they'd done this before. Eating at the diner was comfortable—a habit they both enjoyed, a comfort when nothing else seemed right, and a sacred place where they had shared meaningful conversations about life and love and murder (without the need to call it translation). Yet tonight, the diner held an entirely new aura of hope and possibility and promise. Tonight the diner's ordinary atmosphere and well-known décor were brighter and more polished somehow. Tonight the diner would become another special memory in the virtual scrapbook of their relationship. Tonight, they'd share their first official date in the place in which they'd both pretended they'd never want one.

After they reached "their" table, Booth surprised Bones by sitting down beside her on her side of the table. As she realized that he wasn't sitting in "his" seat, she made a comment about his being out of place and waited for his explanation. Changing anything at the diner required an explanation. They'd just done the same things there for too many years to break tradition without a reason. Finally taking the bold step toward changing something as substantial as their relationship required both of them to act desperately as if everything else were normal and nothing had changed. For her sake, Brennan needed for "them" to still be "Bones and Booth" instead of being some nervous couple trying to navigate the intricacies and landmines of the anthropologically significant first date. Booth's rearranging the seating was not helping her relax and pretend as if this were just another meal with her partner.

Smiling at her as he had countless times before, Booth sat determinedly on her side of the table. He wasn't going to let her intimidate him into moving. With that charming smile lighting his features and disarming her as it caused her worries to evaporate, Booth informed her confidently that, on dates, they would sit on the same side of the table. While they'd had some of their most intimate and heartfelt conversations leaning across that very table toward one another in a way that made it surprising they hadn't closed the distance with a kiss, Booth boldly deemed separate sides of the table to be insufficient for the dating experience. Raising an eyebrow at his near-psychological description of the dating process, Brennan listened patiently to the dating "rules." Booth continued, noting that, on other times when they were not officially on dates, they would each sit on their own "sides" as they always had and that he would ogle her from farther away. She started to protest but instead opted to ask him why he had wanted to sit on her side of the table during the date. At her question, he had smiled at her and leaned closer, telling her with his eyes that he intended to kiss her sooner rather than later just for asking him that question.

"You guys want your normal evening orders?" Vera squeaked behind them. She'd been annoyed that they hadn't sat in their normal places. She'd even hurried over because she hadn't realized who had occupied the table.

"MmmmHmmm...," Booth said without ripping his gaze from his partner's. Normally he'd have gone out of his way and possibly even wrenched his back to turn around to smile at Vera, but not tonight. He was on a date with Bones and even common courtesy to others couldn't distract him from that singularly happy fact. Smiling at how wrapped up in one another they now were, Vera made a quick exit.

"I think you made Vera uncomfortable," Brennan said with a grin as she inched even closer toward him. It was as if his happy smile and his strong physique had become even more magnetic and had pulled her toward him. It felt strange and yet strangely perfect to allow his strong magnetic field to draw her closer.

"I don't care. I'm on a date... my first date with you... I can't see Vera or any other woman."

To hide how truly happy she felt to see him that utterly content about spending time with her, she teased him, "That's corny, Booth."

"It's true," he whispered, finally leaning close enough to plant a kiss on her waiting lips. Magnetism, she supposed, had been the perfect metaphor for his effect on her that evening. She had felt the crackle of a force as powerful as intense electromagnetic energy race through her entire body when his lips had pressed tenderly against her own.

Still caught up in the heady rush of endorphins that had accompanied that tender kiss, Brennan tried diversion to forestall her temptation to drag him to the car or the restroom or the nearest dark corner to ravish him, "I thought it wasn't customary to kiss until the end of the first date," Brennan stated coyly, her eyes not leaving his lips as she spoke.

He could see that she was just toying with him. She'd enjoyed that kiss as much as he had, "It's not customary to wait this many years for the first date. We're way past customary, Bones."

"That is a valid point," she said, grinning, leaning in and kissing him again just because she had wanted to do so.

By the time their food had arrived, they'd disentangled from one another and managed to eat their meals in companionable conversation. Booth paused in his eating more than once to place his arm around her. She felt her heart stutter-step every time he looked at her like that. He kissed her whenever she had stolen a fry, and she decided that she now had more incentive than ever to save Booth from those unhealthy potatoes filling his plate. She was completely willing to become a mindless Pavlov's dog if stealing fries would earn her more kisses from him—from the man making her heart beat erratically every time he looked into her eyes.

When Vera brought the bill, she finally had to ask, "What's up with you two tonight? I've never seen you so... touchy."

"It's our first date," they both replied at the same time. Vera laughed, "Yeah, right," she said, shaking her head and dismissing them as being silly. She'd never have believed that those two hadn't been dating for years. She'd seen too many intimate meals at that table over the years to fall for that line.

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Caught up in rampant speculation and utter nosiness, the squints and Sweets had finished their meal and wandered over to the Founding Fathers to continue placing bets and guessing what sort of first date their favorite couple might finally be on.

Eventually Cam had gotten past her discomfort at being pumped for information about what Booth might plan for a date. That had been extremely awkward—so much so that she had tried imitating Angela's "Awkward... Really awkward" line and then opted for wine to take the edge off her discomfort. She knew that Booth's feelings for Dr. Brennan were much more intense than the connection she'd shared with him. She'd known that for years and was perfectly okay with that reality. That fact finally settled internally and with the group, she began considering that Booth would plan elaborately romantic gestures to show his feelings for Brennan. Her own relationship with him had been more straightforward and simple—and it had worked for them, but Booth had always been a romantic, so she had embellished a bit based on his prior overtures and suggested a few things. "I bet they're walking around the mall or sitting in front of the Lincoln Memorial," she suggested.

None of them realizing or even considering how inappropriate their obsessive conversation had become, Angela finally broke down. "I can't stand it. I'm asking," she said, ripping out her phone and rattling off a text to her friend.

When Brennan pulled out her phone, Booth intercepted it, saying, "It's Angela," before reading the text message and laughing. He entered a quick reply and hit send before showing his partner the message and turning off her phone.

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Angela's mouth fell open when she received the quick response. But then she realized that Booth had to have sent the message. Shaking her head, she looked at their thread.

"Had hot sex yet?" she had written originally.

"4 times. He's a God," Booth had responded.

"Nice one, Booth. Not even U R that good. Leaving U 2 alone now," she typed before regaling the table with the tale of Booth's outlandish claims.

Instead of giving up and moving on, the group then became even more morbidly curious about what the dynamic crime-fighting duo had actually been doing. They telephoned Sid to see if perhaps Booth had only been exaggerating. Perhaps they'd fallen straight into bed and ordered takeout. Sadly, Sid reported that he had not heard from them. "Booth will be courting her, Angela. He's a gentleman."

A great debate about what other activities the pair would be involved in ensued. They could not arrive at a consensus. There just hadn't been enough evidence despite their determination to find some or make some up.

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Outside the diner after their meal, Booth and Brennan started walking arm-in-arm down the block. "What next?" Booth asked, pausing and turning toward his partner. He was thrilled with the way the evening had gone to this point and was content to do anything or nothing—as long as they were together. It was strange. For years, he'd imagined planning ways to sweep Bones off her feet, but now that they were on a date, the form didn't seem to matter—only the substance of their quietly romantic time spent together.

"Let's go get a drink," Brennan had suggested, looping her arm back through his and leading him in the opposite direction.

"Founding Fathers? Are you sure about that, Bones? You know at least one of the squints will be there. Won't that be awkward?"

"Not really. They all know we're out on a date. I don't mind them seeing us together like this—do you?" she asked searching his face carefully.

He didn't hesitate to reassure. He didn't care who saw them together—he just wanted to be with her, "No... Of course not. I just never pictured our first date to involve the squint squad."

"We can go somewhere else if you want," she offered.

"No, you're probably right. They're going to have to get used to seeing us together as a couple. Might as well start now," he said, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and planting a kiss in her hair as they continued their walk to their favorite bar.

His heart felt as if it had grown a few sizes larger as Bones had insisted that they had no reason to feel uncomfortable being with their friends. When she'd added that nothing had really changed and that they were just acting on feelings that had always been there, he'd stopped her and reminded her exactly what had changed—he could now kiss her crazily in the middle of a block just because he felt like it.

"You'll do anything to win a debate, Booth."

"Especially if it involves kissing you, Bones," he confessed as he slipped his arm back around her shoulder so that they could continue walking.

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Unable to settle their curiosity, the now inebriated group from the Jeffersonian sat facing the corner windows as they huddled conspiratorially and analyzed the ongoing first date that had mesmerized all of them. Eventually, they turned to Sweets for his professional opinion. After a speech about how he had to respect his patients' confidentiality, Sweets offered his own theory. "No disrespect to you ladies or your estimation of Agent Booth's sexual prowess, but I suspect that Dr. Brennan might be inclined to jump him at the door. It will, however, be Agent Booth who spurns her advances in favor of a more traditional first date. I mean, dude... that's a lot of pressure for a guy who just had surgery."

Hodgins agreed wholeheartedly, "Oh, man... So many years of wanting her like that... of listening to her talk about having sex with other guys... of reading her books and knowing... Yeah. Sweets is right. That's a lot of pressure. I wouldn't want to be Booth right now."

"Why? Because his friends and his therapist are speculating in public about his ability to perform sexually?" Brennan interrupted.

Fortunately neither man had taken a drink or eaten anything when the dating couple had walked up behind them. Neither Hodgins nor Sweets had seen the couple arrive or noticed the way the ladies had tried to stop their conversation. Each man had turned an unhealthy shade of pale, and they both now looked as if they feared imminent death.

Booth cleared his throat, leveled both men with a gaze that threatened violence, and said, "You guys are all pathetic."

"I concur. You all need to 'get a life.' Booth and I have had a lovely date. But that's hardly reason for all of you to sit here speculating about our personal lives. Would you like a drink, Booth?" she asked. He nodded and she headed to the bar to retrieve a beverage for each of them.

As the guys moved farther away from Booth and willingly offered up their barstools for the couple (and for their own safety), Angela spoke, "You guys don't have to sit here with us... you know... on your date," hoping to ease the tension that now ran rampant through the group.

"We probably should. You'll be saying that we're doing illicit things with each other in the restroom if we don't stay here so you can watch us," Booth grumbled. He was now convinced that joining the squint squad for a drink or two had been a terrible idea.

Before he could continue to berate them, Bones returned with a bottle of beer for him and a glass of wine for her. He stood and offered her the barstool on his left but she shook her head and motioned for him to sit back down. As he did so, she surprised him by turning her back to him and leaning back against him. Instinctively, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, whispering "Thanks for the drink" into her ear and planting a series of kisses beneath it. She shivered from his proximity and the feel of his breath on her neck and in her ear but otherwise appeared completely at ease in his arms.

Despite the fact that nearly everyone stared at the couple for a few awkward moments and that only moments before Booth and Brennan had caught them actively talking about their newly expanded social lives, the group slowly settled into a lively conversation. While so many things about the evening were the same as on other nights the group had gotten together, it was obvious in the subtle touches and glances and in the way that both Brennan and Booth were looking at one another that they were happy and that everything was as it should be between them. Even Sweets had been surprised how relaxed both Booth and Brennan were given their first opportunity to be obviously together in front of their friends. He knew better than to voice that opinion. He was still cringing from the words he'd spoken in front of Booth earlier that evening and relishing the fact that he was just lucky to be alive.

Later, after the second round of toasts in which their friends began admitting more freely how happy they were for them, Booth pushed Bones to her feet and sidled up to her, wrapping his arm around her. "Well, guys we appreciate your support and all, but Bones and I have a date to continue. And we'd rather not have you watch us... Watch me kiss her goodnight." He had corrected himself quickly and avoided the catcalls that might have followed that announcement had he not rephrased it carefully.

"Booth's right. We appreciate your support... and the drinks. But we really must be going," she said, locking her gaze on her partner's for a long moment. They broke the stare only to make certain not to add too much fuel to the fire of their colleagues' conversation.

"Goodnight," they both said, and they laughed as their co-workers yelled supportive as well as inappropriate things as they made their way out of the bar arm-in-arm.

After they walked through the doorway and around the corner from the entrance, Booth surprised Brennan by pressing her up against the wall and kissing her deeply. After a few heady moments, he pulled back and whispered, "I never imagined how hot it would be for you to be okay being with me in front of our friends." In response, she instinctively grabbed the lapels of his jacket and pulled him closer, reigniting the spark that kiss had set off between them. Heedless of the public place or the fact that their friends were so near, the pair quickly lost themselves in gentle exploration of one another, relishing the time to be together and walk in familiar places and yet be together in an entirely new way.

When they finally came up for air, Booth shook his head. "What's wrong? Do I need a breath mint?" Brennan asked with concern filling her voice. "No, Bones," Booth said with a chuckle and a wink, "You're perfect. That was... perfect. But our friends were watching us," he confided, nodding in the direction of their entirely nosy coworkers.

"They really are hopeless," she said, grabbing his hand and pulling him farther down the street. A moment later, they spun around and waved to their friends who still had their noses pressed against the window to watch them disappear for the rest of their date.

T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . .

Booth drove Bones home holding her hand the whole way and enjoying the ebb and flow of the conversation and the fact that he was more than content just being with her. However, as he parked the car and walked around to open her door and walk her to the apartment, he found that he actually had been feeling more than a bit nervous. Having the guys at the bar state so explicitly how nervous he should be and how much he should be feeling pressured to deliver and make things special for Bones had been a bit of intimidation he hadn't needed.

Tonight would have been a pretty lame date had he and Bones not been floating along on the tide of their newfound relationship. He could do better. He would do better. But first things first. He'd always known that he'd be awed in this situation if it ever happened. How to pull off a simple, effective goodnight kiss after his first date with the woman he'd loved for years—he still didn't know how he'd do it. But this was Bones and he'd die trying to make her happy, so he knew they'd figure it out.

He'd been encouraged by the way that Bones had held tightly onto his hand even after they'd walked past the security guard and a few neighbors at the door to her building. It had almost been surreal how much Bones seemed to enjoy showing everyone around them that they were now a couple. He'd fully expected her to try to pretend that they were still just partners. He couldn't help worrying that she'd get cold feet and back away from him eventually, but that hadn't yet happened. He tried not to worry about that for now. He had enough other things on his mind.

At the door to her apartment, he stopped her as she tried to unlock the door. "Bones, listen," he began, swallowing hard when she turned to face him with an expression that had been so open it had almost floored him.

"Tonight was wonderful. I had a great time. It was the best first date... ever."

"I enjoyed myself, too, Booth," she said, turning to unlock the door. Again, he put pressure on her arms and turned her around to face him.

"This... Bones... This is the part where I kiss you goodnight," he said in a hoarse whisper, leaning down, he pressed gentle kisses to her forehead and cheek before diving down and capturing her waiting lips with his own.

Had there been any remaining doubts about the step they were now taking, that kiss would have rendered them pointless. This kiss was deeper and yet more tender, more intensely intimate than any other they'd shared to date.

Underestimating her response, Booth quickly lost control of the kiss. In no time, Bones was wrapping herself around him and half-moaning into his mouth. Struggling to retain his sanity, he pulled back before he lost the will to do so.

"Wow... Bones... That was... Go out with me again?" Ever the traditionalist, he felt compelled to ask.

"Certainly," she said with eyes lit with more than just the hallway lighting and lips swollen from kissing him and being kissed overwhelmingly well in return. "We're giving this thing a try, right? I assumed that automatically meant more dates with you."

"Yeah. And that's... Jeez, Bones... I still can't believe it sometimes," he confessed happily as he leaned his forehead down so that he could rest it upon hers.

She squeezed his hand in comfort and agreement, "Booth, you don't have to leave."

"Bones, I don't want to leave, but this... this is too important. This thing between us... It's not just about... you know..." She was amused by the way that dropping the pain medication had brought back Booth's reticence about sexual matters. She smiled at his discomfort saying the word that had clearly been on both of their minds for the steamier parts of their evening.

"I'm not an innocent school girl, and you've been courting me for years, Booth."

"I... God, Bones... I just..."

"I appreciate your willingness to be honorable and patient and chivalrous, Booth. Really, I do. But that night in the alley..."

Upon hearing those words he was suddenly able to think about her even more clearly than he longed for her. He stepped closer and wrapped his arms around her, aching with the knowledge that they were both still reeling from the trauma of that horrible evening in the alley.

"That night in the alley, I promised. I promised myself that I wouldn't let anything keep us apart. We... I made us waste too many years, Booth. And now that we're giving this a chance, I don't want to hold anything back. I don't want to spend any more nights longing for you or wishing that you were there in my bed or that I was in yours. Stay with me-please?"

Had Booth not been so caught up in the moment, the significance of her words might have knocked him flat. "But Bones, you've never had anybody show you how much you deserve to be romanced and adored and held without sex getting in the way. I don't want to be like those other guys who just jumped you the first chance they got."

With happy tears glistening around the rims of her beautiful eyes, Bones leaned closer and whispered intently, "Booth, we've waited for years. I'm asking you to stay. Don't make me beg."

Jesus, Joseph and Mary... the day Temperance Brennan had to beg him to spend the night with her... That had been Booth's last coherent thought before he kissed his partner senseless right there in the hallway. Having given himself permission to indulge in touching her the way he'd dreamt of doing for too long, he waited impatiently, wrapping himself around her and kissing her neck and her shoulders as she tried with shaky hands to unlock the door. Fighting the impulse to knock it down, Booth spun her around and kissed her again, somehow finding enough spare brainpower to unlock the door as he did so. They stumbled into her apartment, a tangle of limbs and lips and other body parts. He pressed her back against the other side of the door and pulled back only for a moment to ask one last time, "Are you sure about this?"

"Absolutely," she said in a low voice that turned his gut to jelly. She kissed him again, and they began the lovers' dance across her apartment, leaving a trail of jackets and a purse and a belt with a Cocky belt buckle and shoes behind them.

By the time they reached her bedroom, things had been heated enough that the inevitable had now become a certainty. Still, Booth surprised her by pausing and sitting down on the bed, reaching for her hand and smiling when she took it and sat down beside him.

Absentmindedly rubbing his fingers over the knuckle on her left hand's ring finger without even realizing he'd been doing so, Booth paused for a moment before speaking in a voice so full of emotion that it had actually slowed her heart rate and caused her some difficulty breathing.

"Bones... I... You know you're it, right? I mean, I know we're just technically giving this thing between us a try, but this... being with you is what I want. I want tonight to be the beginning. And I want it to be special. And I... hell, I've wanted you for so long that it's made me crazy. But what I feel for you... It's... I just...," he paused and turned to look straight at her as he continued, "I'm in love with you, Temperance."

Professions of love in books and plays and opera performances had never moved this woman to tears. Attempting to explore the effect those words had had on other people, she'd studied such passages intently and never quite understood why so many people found them to be so emotional, so touching. Love was a fleeting, temporary feeling, and those who uttered those words had either left after saying them or only said them to get what they had wanted from her. So it had been with utter amazement that Temperance Brennan sat there reeling from her partner's honest admission. Even though there could be no scientific explanation for it, she had felt those words even more than she'd heard them.

Unable to return the sentiment honestly because she had no idea how to do so yet, she smiled at him, eager to say something to let him know that she understood what he was trying to tell her. "I knew that, too," she whispered. She watched as tears flashed momentarily in her soon-to-be-lover's eyes.

Clearing his throat to calm himself, Booth stood up and pulled her up to face him. After kissing her so tenderly that both of them felt weak, he finally allowed their longings for one another to take over, taking blissful time getting to know his partner even more intimately than he ever had before.

Despite years of yearning long ignored, a firm foundation of pure friendship, and the significance of this change they were making, there were no awkward moments, there was no hint of incompatibility, there was no hesitation, and there was absolutely no need for translation of their feelings for one another. There had been only love and passion, desires finally met, and new desires born.

For the first time in her life, Temperance Brennan had encountered tangible, physical, irrefutable evidence that love was indeed real and that its existence could be confirmed. Making love with Booth and forming a more intimate bond with him had been unlike any other sexual or relational experience she'd encountered. Generously, patiently and tenderly, her partner had given himself to her completely-mind, soul, and well-defined body. He'd awakened emotions and yearnings within her that she'd never thought possible. A piece of her heart now seemed irrevocably bound with his. Emotionally more than physically, Booth himself had become evidence enough to put any remaining reservations she'd had to rest.

As he had since he'd met her, Booth made good on his promises. He literally consumed her—turning her mind inside out and driving her body past the point at which she could distinguish one source of pleasure from another. He did so with such care, such determination, and such skill that she marveled how she had ever pretended not to have wanted to experience every physical and emotional gift he had to offer. Moved by his tenderness and fueled by the fire he'd lit within her, Brennan responded in the only way she knew how. She reciprocated in offering herself to him in ways intended to arouse and then consume him in return.

T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . .

Brennan and her very capable and enthusiastic lover had taken turns waking one another and exploring one another in ways that had proved to be endlessly enjoyable. Sated, happy, and exhausted, the lovers eventually slept wrapped in one another's arms in the waning hours of the morning.

After she turned off her alarm and mumbled something incomprehensible in her exhaustion, Booth rolled over and whispered into her ear. "I'm calling in... Stay here with me, Temperance. Let's stay home in bed today."

"Booth, we can't... They'll know what we're doing. I... Working with you having everyone know we're dating will be difficult enough. Where would I even begin to make up a credible excuse for being absent?"

On a high even he had not anticipated, Booth ignored her arguments and crawled out of bed to locate his cell phone. Standing and stretching his weary but contented body and enjoying the fact that his lover—God, Bones was actually his lover—was admiring his physique while pretending to sleep, he dialed his office and left a message with the receptionist that he had overdone it his first day back and that he needed to take the day off to recuperate. Sympathetic for the entirely gorgeous man who had always flirted with her shamelessly even though her children were near his age, Eleanor had smiled and wished him a quick recovery.

"You lie very well, Booth. That is cause for concern," Brennan grumbled as he grinned down at her. "What? I didn't lie. I did overdo it. I didn't say where that happened. Should I call Eleanor back and tell her that I overdid it here in the bed of the FBI's favorite forensic anthropologist? It'll break her heart, but I'll give her the dirty details if you wish." As he'd spoken, he'd pulled her toward him and embraced her tightly as she squirmed while he teased her. He knew in that very moment that he'd never tire of the feel of her body in his arms.

"It's not fair. You know that they'll all be there... They'll know why we're not in the office, Booth. You're the one uncomfortable discussing sex-how are you going to handle the leers and the jokes?"

"Mmmm... Temperance...," he whispered in a gravelly voice in her ear as he felt her body grow still as he began exploring her curves with those hands that were as adept at stopping her great mind from functioning as they were on aiming a gun at a suspect, "I promise I'll make it worth your while if you stay here with me. You'll be rewarded for your sacrifice and your bravery. Promise."

"For someone who said he was interested in more than just sex, you seem to be focused intently upon that one facet of our relationship," she complained half-heartedly. After staring at him for a long moment, she realized that she would never be able to focus on work—not when she'd be wishing she'd stayed in bed with her partner. She was still so moved by the entire evening's experience that she couldn't even pretend to be worried or unnerved about anything that had happened. "I intend to hold you to that promise," she said, kissing him quickly and then leaving the room to call in.

She intentionally sent the message through the voicemail system so that she wouldn't have to talk to anyone directly. "Cam, this is Doctor Brennan. I need to take today off. I will be back in the office tomorrow morning. I apologize for the inconvenience." As she clicked the call off, she felt Booth walk up behind her, sweep her hair off her neck and begin kissing a white hot trail down toward her shoulder. The phone missed the cradle and rattled loudly on the countertop but neither of them noticed. They were already overwhelmed by the heady rush of another opportunity to express their feelings for one another in new and overwhelmingly satisfying ways.

T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . .

They were both seemingly insatiable—given the fact that they'd also managed to christen Booth's family room the following afternoon when he'd gone over to retrieve his laptop and clothes for work the following morning. Brennan had assaulted her partner with her body the moment he'd unlocked the door to his apartment. That had seemed the only rational response to the way her body trembled as she remembered the way Booth had taken control of gaining access to her apartment the evening before.

The following morning, they'd nearly run late after making the fatal mistake of opting to shower together. Neither of them had even considered sleeping anywhere but with one another now that they'd taken the proverbial leap off the pier and found only complete satisfaction where they'd splash-landed. Booth drove them through a donut shop drive-through and picked up coffee and donuts since they hadn't had time to eat at home or at the diner. At the Jeffersonian, he barely had time to park before Bones leapt from the car and rushed for the elevator. Running to keep up with her, Booth barely managed to board the elevator before she pressed the doors closed.

"I don't see why you're accompanying me to the lab. We don't have a case. It is obvious that you're just eager to brag to the men about your conquest."

"Conquests, Bones. Many conquests," he said with a smirk that was as infuriating as it was sexy, "I'm a modern, liberated man. I'm happy to admit that I wasn't the only conqueror. In fact, I'd even admit that it was a pretty close race."

"Really, Booth," she said, shrugging off the arm he had wrapped around her shoulder. "You'll be late for work. You have been off too much recently. You don't want to be unprofessional."

"I am picking up folders and evidence from Hodgins for Caroline, Bones. I have as professional a reason to be here as you do."

She scowled at him as she exited the elevator and tried not to spill her coffee as she rushed toward her office.

"You're really gorgeous when you're angry and frustrated," he said, hoping to disarm her. It felt otherworldly to be able to compliment her like that within the walls of this particular building.

"You'll have to improve your flattery if you expect it to work, Agent Booth."

"Agent Booth? Seriously? Bones, baby... you even called me Seeley last night—loudly and more than once."

She whirled and glared at him in a way that wiped the cocky grin off his face—almost.

He fought through the haze of desire her glare inspired and opted for brutal honesty. "I'll behave, Bones. I swear I will. I'm just so damned happy. Cut me some slack. You know you're the reason I'm so happy."

Shaking her head, she stepped closer to him and grabbed one of his lapels, using it to pull him closer, "I'm pretty happy, too, Booth." She kissed him hard and then pulled away abruptly to resume her determined march to her office.

"Hey Bones," he whispered as he noticed that the lab was eerily quiet, "Nobody's here. Where do you think everyone is?"

"I'm certain I do not know. Perhaps they're in a conference call or observing while Hodgins is performing an experiment. You know I prefer not to speculate without evidence, Booth," she said brusquely as the crossed the threshold to her office.

Forgetting anything else except the desire to kiss her and the fact that they were alone, Booth rushed around her and pressed her firmly against the door to her office somehow managing not to cause either of them to spill a drop of coffee as he began to kiss her senseless. Forgetting all reason and sanity and caution, Brennan instantly lost herself in his touch and his mind-altering kiss. She was already considering dragging him back outside so that they could drive home for another day in bed together.

"How's that for evidence, Temperance?" Booth asked a challenge in his voice and his face only millimeters from hers, his breath now ragged.

He had assumed that Bones was just frustrated that he'd been revving her up in the office. But when her expression changed, he tilted his head hoping she'd explain what was wrong.

"We have an audience," she whispered, watching the blush start to creep up his neck.

Booth turned slowly hoping that Max wasn't standing behind him ready to kill him. There had been nothing remotely platonic about the way that he'd pressed the man's daughter against the door. Instead, Booth was aggravated to see that the entire squint squad plus Sweets was standing stunned on the opposite side of Bones' office. At least they appeared to be mortified to have witnessed more of their colleagues' new habits than they'd expected.

Shifting Bones strategically in front of him and pulling her back against him, Booth barked, "You people really need therapy..."

"Booth, we were just planning to tease Dr. Brennan about her conspicuous absence yesterday," Cam tried to explain but quickly realizing that Seeley wasn't amused with her excuse.

"We had no idea you'd waltz in here for the second inning this early," Hodgins confessed, earning an elbow to the rib from Angela.

"We get it. You approve. Nice of you, but Bones and I aren't looking for approval. We have each other's. What happens between us outside the lab and when we're alone in here and not working is our business-ours. So I suggest that you all leave now. I want to kiss my girlfriend in private."

Like dogs being punished for bad behavior, the team of scientists skulked out of the office. Booth and Brennan laughed after the door closed behind their chagrined colleagues. Reveling in the private moment, Booth kissed Bones again—just because he wanted to do so.

"I've really gotta go. I'll miss you," he said, reaching down for a quick kiss before grabbing an evidence box and leaving. She nodded and turned to watch him leave.

As she watched her lover hurry down the stairs and out of the lab, she colored slightly realizing that all of their observers' eyes were now focused directly on her. Just when she'd been ready to rush into her office to collect her scattered thoughts, she heard Booth call out, "Hodgins... Second inning? Not even in the right ballpark, man." Blowing Bones a kiss and hoping she'd forgive his indiscretion, Booth turned and jogged down the hallway. After scanning her friends' faces and seeing that they were duly impressed with Booth's confession, she had surprised them all by adding, "Not even close to the right ballpark" before turning and closing the door to her office.

Her implication must have registered because she had listened to the approving whispers of her colleagues as she turned on the lights and smiled at the bouquet of flowers her lover had sent a few days before.

T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . . T R A N S L A T I O N . . .

Seven months, three weeks, and two and one-half days later...

After putting the final touches on the paperwork for the rather disturbing case they'd just closed, Brennan suggested to Booth that they go out like they had in the past to celebrate the successful end of a case. Surprised by her suggestion but eager to make her happy, Booth had agreed. He'd excused himself to go to the restroom while Bones had closed things down in her office. They'd been working for hours and the mood of the day had hung heavily upon both of them. While Booth definitely preferred their new routine of rushing to her apartment or his and falling in bed to celebrate the victory of justice over evil and wrongdoing, he understood Bones' interest in doing something different, something comforting, and something familiar to lift their moods that particular evening.

Observing her mood but not commenting on it directly, Booth helped her into her coat and asked if she'd wanted to invite Angela and Hodgins or Cam or anyone else from the team to join them. Perhaps a party with their friends might help minimize the worry lines he read in her forehead. She shook her head and kissed his cheek while telling him that going out with him was what she wanted. He smiled as he considered that she might never fully understand what a simple statement like that still did to him. Her words could transport him to mountaintops from the bottom of valleys and could humble him in an instant. He was past the point of wondering whether she meant a statement like "going out with him was what she wanted" on more than just the literal level.

Since that day months earlier when they'd gone out on their first date, there had been no turning back. It hadn't been the easiest of relationships—Brennan was stubborn as an ox—not that he'd tell her without fear of bodily harm—and her inexperience with relationships had made things challenging for both of them on more than one occasion—hell, more than once a week. His temper and his jealousy had added even more spice to the recipe of their relationship. But he wouldn't change a moment of it—not even the ones in which he'd been torn between ravishing her and strangling her. They'd long since moved past the need for any translation of each person's feelings for the other. Because at the root of it all, they'd built a romantic relationship that fit perfectly atop the layers of friendship, partnership, respect, and admiration they'd accumulated since they'd met. It wasn't always a hallmark card, but it was a relationship that was uniquely theirs, and he thought it was pretty damned wonderful.

Booth realized that Bones was still thrown a bit by their arrest of the mother for the murder of the young murder victim earlier that day. He knew that Temperance was wounded and sad about the way that the victim's family had been ripped apart. Fortunately, he also knew that being stunned and sad about a case didn't mean that she had any doubts about their relationship. Booth knew that she had faith in them. Over time, she'd learned to expand that faith she'd had in him to cover them and their newly formed relationship. They'd developed as balanced and complementary a love life as the partnership it was founded upon. As they'd dated, he'd continued to fall for her, and he'd be damned if there weren't moments in which he was certain she'd been tumbling along behind him. Pops had been right—following his heart had been all he'd needed to do. He was still as grateful as possible that she'd been willing to follow hers, too.

As they neared the entrance to the diner, Bones stopped abruptly and turned to face him. He hated the worry he could read in her features but he knew better than to crowd her. Some things she just needed time to sort out. He understood that because he was like-minded.

"Bones?" he asked, his concern for her evident in his gaze, in his gentle touch.

"I... suddenly I'm not in the mood for the diner. I want a drink. Do you... Would you mind if we go to the bar instead?"

"I love it when you change your mind, Bones. It's girly. You know how hot I think it is when you do something remotely girly," he quipped hoping to coax a smile from her. She did smile a bit, but it hadn't lit up her eyes the way he had hoped.

Concerned about her state of mind but trying not to show it, Booth wrapped an arm around her to lead her toward their new destination. Just outside the bar, she stopped again. A bit of hesitation or uncertainty had always been a turn on where Bones was concerned, but now she was starting to worry him.

He turned to look at her, his warm brown eyes scanning hers desperately for a signal about what might make her feel better. Her own vibrant blue eyes were rimmed with tears, sending an instant pang of concern straight into his gut.

"I love you, Booth," she said, watching his face and noticing the way that he seemed to have stopped breathing. "I... This case... Telling Mr. Warren that his wife had betrayed him so cruelly... Watching his pain... Seeing how much he had loved her and been hurt by her actions. I would never betray you like that, Booth. I love you too much."

Booth seemed frozen. He hadn't moved or breathed or even blinked since she'd spoken to him. "Booth... are you okay?"

Unable to speak, he nodded slightly, obviously still stunned by her words. He hadn't been sure she'd ever love him the way that he loved her, and he'd been far past the point of expecting her to tell him.

"Surely you're not surprised to hear me profess my love for you. I've loved you for so long and just not found the proper way to tell you. You know that I love you, don't you?"

She watched as the shock on his face morphed into a flash of happiness before he rushed toward her and enveloped her his arms and initiated a kiss that was quite a bit too steamy to be appropriate on a public sidewalk.

Gasping for breath by the time he released his hold on her, Brennan struggled quickly to understand why her partner, her lover, her best friend, her one and only love would be pulling her away from the bar they'd intended to visit. Before she could gather her thoughts and ask what he was doing, he'd hailed a cab and started nudging her into the open door. "Booth! Our cars... aren't you hungry?"

He barked out the address for her apartment before kissing her as if one of both of their lives had depended upon it. When they finally came up for air, he smiled at her the secret smile he reserved for their most intimate moments alone together. "You can't do that, Bones. You can't tell me you love me and expect me to sit in a restaurant or a bar and pretend that I'm not the happiest man on this planet."

Seeing how thrilled he was made her glad she'd blurted out those words that she'd never thought she'd feel much less vocalize to anyone. Yet she couldn't resist teasing him, "I can't? The happiest man on the entire planet? There's no way to measure... You can't be certain about that fact."

"I'm pretty damn sure," he sighed before relishing another steamy kiss as their taxi pulled up to her apartment. He paid the fare and they walked arm-in-arm toward her apartment building. As they crossed the lobby and entered the elevator, he dialed Sid and asked him to deliver something to Brennan's apartment.

"Anything special?" Sid had asked, sensing that his old friend sounded in the mood for celebration.

"Anything you want, Sid. I've already got the most special thing in the world right here in my arms," Booth said as he clicked off the call and pulled the love of his life back into his arms where she belonged.

And they really did live happily ever after.

[A/N: I cannot imagine a way to express my gratitude to all of you for the time and attention and advice you've offered to my inaugural story on this site. Suffering through over 100,000 words of angst in any story I write makes you worthy of respect-if not a candidate for therapy—LOL! I have felt truly welcomed and supported by all of you, and I really appreciate your reading and your reviews.

As is typical for me, my "muse" can focus on only one story at a time. So as I typed these last words, I found myself wistful about the end of this story because it has been so very much fun to write and also at a loss because I had nothing else to write about-not one single kernel of an idea. My brain is utterly one-dimensional when it comes to writing. I cannot multi-task. It simply doesn't happen. Posting the first part of the epilogue rekindled an old idea that might germinate into a story given time. Even so, it will still probably be a while before I post a new story. I like to bank most if not all of a story before posting. Until then, I hope to read your stories, watch Bones re-runs, and count the days until Season 6 starts!

Thanks again for the incredibly generous reviews!]