Standards

A/N: I hate Catherine! It's not entirely her fault that she's hogging time and space with Booth, but I hate her nonetheless. So let's take her out of the picture, shall we? :) Reviews are much appreciated!!

Update: I've deleted song lyrics that were in the story, as I just learned that was against the rules. Just FYI, he's got Foreigner's "Hot-Blooded" playing.

Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine. Neither is the song.

(Booth's line, "Bones, you are the standard," has to rank as one of my top 3 most romantic lines of all time. Hence, the title.)

Temperance Brennan was unaccustomed to hesitating about decisions. Generally speaking, she was an extremely confident individual who carefully considered her actions and then, having decided upon a course that was grounded in infallible empirical evidence and logic, proceeded accordingly. But with no such evidence available to her in this situation, Brennan did more than hesitate. She stalled. Her indecision both infuriated and frightened her, because it was a reflection of what she was trying to decide upon--something uncertain and incalculable, with no predictable ending. Something that relied on more than her brilliant intellect for success.

She stood in front of the door for several long minutes, hesitating again. Even after taking her hands out of her lab coat's pockets—once she'd made the decision, she'd been in such a hurry that she hadn't even bothered to change—she wavered before lifting her hand tentatively and knocking.

The knock sounded somehow cold and hollow in the dimly lit hallway, reverberating all the way into the pit of Brennan's queasy stomach. She waited a few moments before knocking again, this time a little louder. Still, no answer. In a desperate bid to silence the ominous thunderstorms gathering in her mind, she hammered on the door hard and called his name loudly.

"Booth?"

When he failed to respond, an awful thought finally occurred to Brennan. It was Saturday night. His car was in the drive, so he was definitely home, yet not responding. What if he had company? It was possible—likely, even, given the mutual physical attraction between Booth and Catherine—that they were in the process of consummating the relationship.

She turned and hurried back down the hallway, jabbing the elevator button repeatedly, as though her actions would have any sort of effect on the speed of the mechanism.

This is what happens when you make irrational decisions founded on unscientific evidence… the words drummed through her mind tonelessly, adding layers of self-recrimination to her already besieged brain.

She heard the click of a lock being turned and made a beeline for the stairs, forgoing the just-arriving elevator. Given her present state of mind, she had no desire to confront her partner and his new 'partner.'

"Hang on, I'm coming—just a sec—GAHHH, DAMMIT!" Booth cursed as he stubbed his bare toe on a piece of furniture Parker had moved around the previous day while playing indoor hide and seek.

Clutching at the towel around his hips with one hand, he unlocked the door and shoved it partially open with the other. He frowned as he peered out into the empty hallway.

It didn't make any sense. He'd had the music on loud and the shower at full blast, but the blows to the door had penetrated even his own self-imposed wall of sound. The person knocking had clearly wanted to see him. So why leave so quickly?

From the corner of his eye, Booth caught sight of the fire exit door swinging slowly shut. His frown grew deeper. So his unexpected, demanding visitor was in such a hurry that they couldn't even wait for the elevator?

He stepped back into his apartment and made his way back to the shower. He hit play on the iPod shower speaker, cranked it up a few extra notches and stepped back under the water as the song he'd been playing earlier started up again.

Something nagged at the back of Booth's mind as he leaned into the strong spray, feeling knotted muscles begin to slowly loosen under the forceful jets of water.

He belted the next lines of the song, playing the air guitar to the driving beat and feeling a cheesy grin drift across his face. To hell with it. If the person couldn't wait, then they'd come back. Or not. It couldn't have been that important.

Nothing like a little Foreigner to de-stress after a long day. He reached for the bar of soap. Even Bones could get on board with music this good.

"Bones." He muttered her name without being fully aware of it.

His partner's face drifted to the front of his mind, along with the memory of her dancing to this song with him in her apartment. He smiled, recalling the tentative, shy smile as she'd started to dance with him, the glint in her blue eyes as she got into the music, that ridiculous high kick—

Booth's eyes snapped open in sudden realization. "Bones. Oh, shit. Bones!"

The music blared behind him; the water continued to run as Booth bolted from the shower.