"Ange, do I have to go? This seems like a waste of my time. I have plenty of remains down in bone storage to identify. My time would be better suited there."

"No way, sweetie. I'm not letting you get out of this."

Angela and Brennan were in Brennan's apartment, both dressed up for a night out. Brennan was dragging herself to get ready, only being helped along by Angela when her friend noticed that she was lacking in the jewelry or make-up department.

Somehow, Brennan had let Angela talk her into going to a speed dating event. Angela was doing everything she could to find a man for both her and her friend. Angela, along with everyone else who worked at the Jeffersonian, knew Brennan belonged with a certain FBI agent, but since neither Brennan nor Booth were about to admit it, Angela was getting her friend out into the dating world in order to make her realize her feelings for the very Special Agent.

After a lot of persuasion and three outfit changes, both women were finally ready to make their way to Adolph's Italian Bistro, where the event was being held.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Booth couldn't decide what to wear. Jeans and a t-shirt? No, if he was going to make an impression, maybe he should stick to his work attire. Maybe lose the tie…no, he decided against that too. The rebellious tie was part of the work clothing package.

After Booth had laid his heart and soul on the line for a chance at a relationship with Brennan, Sweets had suggested getting back out on the market as soon as possible to help get over the pain just a tad bit faster. He prescribed some speed dating.

Before meeting Daisy, Lance had frequented speed dating events, hoping to avoid the awkwardness of meeting someone random at a bar. It hadn't worked, obviously, but he had gained some friendships that made him more open to different people. Sweets was hoping it would be the same for Booth, perhaps even more successful, since Booth could connect with practically anyone he met.

Booth was nervous. He wasn't exactly sure what he was getting himself into, or more accurately, what Sweets was getting him into. He had let the psychologist talk him into it and sign him up. Booth was more of a conventional meet-a-girl-at-a-bar-and-take-it-from-there kind of guy.

He stayed in his suit and decided to get something to eat instead. Booth knew he probably wouldn't be eating, despite the fact he was going to a restaurant. He made his way into his kitchen and picked up an apple. Glancing at the clock, he realized he was going to be late if he didn't leave now, so Booth grabbed his jacket and keys and hurried out the door to Adolph's.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Brennan and Angela walked into Adolph's and made their way to the large banquet room, where the speed dating was about to start. They signed in, were each assigned to separate tables across the room from each other. Angela with number 6 and Brennan number 23. Angela was hoping they'd be right next to each other. She wanted to see Brennan in a different light than she saw on a normal basis. Brennan, on the other hand, was secretly happy. She was planning on making a swift exit, catching a cab home and only notifying Angela of where she had gone once she was safely in her apartment.

The men who were to rotate around the tables were being held in another banquet room next to where all of the women were being seated. Booth stood nervously among the other men. He wasn't sure what to make of the company he was in. These guys all reminded him of Sweets: Awkward, confused, and just overall…nerdy.

The organizers of the event announced that they could go find the table numbers they were assigned and would need to switch as soon as they heard the bell ring. Booth spent the first few seconds looking for table 6. He saw the sign and made his way to the table.

Booth practically choked as he saw who was sitting at the table. "Angela? You have got to be kidding me."

"Oh, believe me, sweetie," she said as she got over her shock of seeing him, "I'm going to take advantage of this little date."

He ignored her. "Why are you here?" Booth didn't expect to see a woman as beautiful and outgoing as Angela at a speed dating event.

"I'm sick of going to bars to hook up with a drunk guy who ends up taking me back to his mom's place for sex. Can I ask you the same thing? Did you just come from the Hoover or something? Why are you still wearing what you wore for work?"

"Sweets made me come. And I thought I look better in suits than in jeans and crummy t-shirt."

Angela chuckled. "Trust me, Booth, you could make a toga look good," she told him as she practically disrobed him with her eyes. It was not the first time she had done that. It was a daily occurrence at work.

The artist debated telling her 'date' about who else was here. She knew these events were scheduled so there was enough time for every guy to meet every girl. He'd discover his partner eventually. She decided to leave it up to fate as the bell rang. Booth bid Angela goodbye and moved on.

XXXXXXXXXXXXX

Brennan was having trouble. Every guy she talked to seemed annoyed.

She honestly looked for a decent way out, but Angela was sitting near the only exit. Guy after guy would come and sit at the table, introduce himself and then ask about her. So she talked about herself. Some people recognized her from her novels and they were confused as to why such a famous novelist would be at a function like this. Some people had never heard of her. Brennan preferred that. She didn't want people who fussed over her or asked for several autographs.

But she talked the ears off of every guy that sat at her table. And the more she talked, the more theses guys seemed to become aggravated.

Brennan stayed on the subject of Booth for most of her one-sided conversations. She talked about the cases they solved, going to the diner, both of them taking Parker to the zoo, among other things.

One guy finally asked, "So why are you here?"

"Excuse me?" Brennan asked the guy named Bryant. She was confused, but apparently, so was he.

"You're in love with this Booth guy. So why are you here?" His remark could've been taken out of context, but he meant it in the nicest way possible.

"I'm here because…" Brennan couldn't come up with a reason besides she had been forced into it by Angela.

Bryant smiled at her. The bell rang and it was time to move on.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Booth kindly listened to the girl at table 22 go on and on about her nephews and her cats.

Why am I doing this to myself? He thought, I should call Bones. See if she wants some takeout later.

"What's on your mind, sugarplum?" The woman he had been talking to asked. Her name was Rosie and she claimed she could read minds.

"Huh? Oh sorry, what were you saying?"

"I may not have had many boyfriends, but a girl can tell when a guy has someone else on his mind," Rosie said knowingly.

He laughed it off. "No, no one else. Just thinking about the horrible amount of paperwork I have waiting for me after this." And Bones at her apartment waiting for me and a bag of Wong Fu's take out.

"Hmmm," Rosie rolled her eyes and took a drink of the wine in front of her. "So what do you do for a living?"

"Work for the FBI. Solve crimes," he kept the conversation short and sweet. Booth was planning throttle Sweets for even suggesting this. This was the worst idea ever, he thought.

"Oh wow, like what kind of crimes?"

"Murders. My partner's a forensic anthropologist so she looks at the bodies and I take out the bad guys."

"Forensic anthropologist? Like in those books? Is Temperance Brennan your partner? I could definitely see you being Andy. I heard Dr. Brennan's here. I doubt it, a woman that beautiful wouldn't need to come to an event like this," Rosie rambled on.

Upon hearing that Bones was likely in the same room as him, Booth perked up and scanned the room for any sign of his partner. Rosie watched him.

"Ahh, so she's the girl you're all hung up on. I don't blame you. But what I don't understand is why you just don't go for it? She's pretty, you're incredibly handsome, so what's the problem? You two would have the most gorgeous children on this earth."

Booth heard everything Rosie had said but was still looking for Brennan. Half of the women in the room had their backs to him but the event was almost over and he still hadn't come to her table. He looked down the line at the tables he would be coming to in the next few minutes. The bell rang and startled Booth. He looked back at Rosie. They smiled at each other and Booth stood up to move on. He became even more nervous than he had been when he arrived. Would seeing Bones in this setting be awkward? Or just what he needed to convince Brennan to take a chance on them?

He moved to the next table and avoided looking at the woman in front of him. Booth took a seat, heaved a deep breath and looked up.

"Booth?" Brennan heart practically stopped, or it would've if it were physically possible, "What are you doing here?"

"Uh…just a little experiment. What are you doing here?"

"Angela," she pointed back to her friend who was a few glasses of wine in and was almost hanging on the man.

"I already talked to her and she didn't say you were here!" Booth said, annoyed that Angela hid the fact that the love of his life was at the same event.

"Oh," Brennan wasn't sure how to respond after that.

"Bones, do you really think you need to go to these lame things?" Booth asked.

Brennan shrugged. She downed her wine and waved to a waiter to bring her another.

"You don't need to go to these either," Brennan told him.

Booth shrugged this time. "Well, Sweets made me come. He said it'd help me get over," he stopped short and looked up at his partner.

"Me. Get over me," she finished for him. Booth nodded slowly and looked away.

"I don't want to though," he told her, "I'll wait for you, you know. I'll wait 'til you're ready."

"Ready for what?" she half yelled.

"To realize that love is more than just chemicals."

"But your type of love isn't a biological process!"

The bell rang, and the partners watched people get up to switch tables. Booth stayed put.

"Booth, come on, you have to go. It's this man's turn to talk to me," Brennan gestured to a man standing next to her table waiting for Booth to get up.

"Seriously, man, you know the rules, move it!" The stranger said.

Booth took out his badge and coincidentally flashed his gun. "FBI, move along."

The stranger huffed and took Booth's spot at the next table.

"Booth, that was impolite! We can talk after!"

He shook his head. "I need to know: why, besides the fact that you're a scientist, can't we give this a shot?"

Brennan hadn't been expecting that. She finished off her glass of wine again, took a deep breath and said, "Because I don't know how to change. I don't want to hurt you and I don't want you to leave me. You are the one constant I have in my life. I know you won't leave if we keep things the way they have been. If we stop working together and try…us…There is nothing stopping you from leaving. The minute I fall for someone or even realize I care for them more than I should, they leave. I need you and I need Parker. I need you two in my life. I can't mess up what we already have."

"What do we already have? Nothing! Bones, we work together. That's it. Parker loves you. So do I. And I need more than just us working together!"

Brennan's eyes began to fill with tears again.

"If I knew for sure you won't leave, if you give me some sort of hard evidence that you won't leave…I'll agree to a relationship," Brennan whispered, a hint of a hopeful smile on her lips.

The bell rang again and the next man who attempted to take Booth's seat approached. Booth kept his eyes on Brennan and he pulled his badge and gun out, slamming them both on the table. The guy took the hint and moved around to the table on the other side.

Brennan smiled a bit wider and Booth returned the grin.

"Marry me." He casually leaned back in his chair and waited for her answer.

"What?"

"You want proof that I won't leave. Marry me. Then, even if I do try to leave, which I never will by the way, you can tie me up in all sorts of legal crap and I'll never escape you. Marry me."

"No. Are you serious?" Brennan couldn't believe what she was hearing.

"I am. I don't joke about marriage. I wanted to do right by Parker. Rebecca refused. That wasn't my fault, but I will blame myself for the rest of my life if we don't try to make things work."

"You know I don't believe in marriage," Brennan reminded him. Her heart was pumping faster than ever. She was scared to hurt her best friend. She would do anything for him, except maybe…

"I know you don't. But it's about evidence. For me, a God-fearing man, marriage is one of the sacraments I refuse to take for granted. There's your evidence."

"My evidence is that you're religious? All religions, including yours, are impractical," Brennan reasoned with him.

Booth looked dumbfounded. "You're disputing my evidence?"

Brennan didn't respond. She knew it was indisputable evidence. He believed in his God as she believed in science. Brennan knew there was no way she could deny his evidence. Booth had proved to her that he wasn't going anywhere, he staked part of his religion on it, something incredibly important to him.

"So are you going to marry me or not?" Booth asked. He felt his heart pound. The agony of waiting was worse than when he had waited to get the approval for the final kill shot before leaving Kosovo to go home. He had never felt this anxious.

"Not yet. We haven't even gone on our first date yet. Unless you count this one."