When the first letter arrived it was almost illegible. She had gotten letters on-site before, but this was the worst looking one yet. The weeks of travel that poor envelope had suffered were more than any piece of paper could reasonably have been supposed to endure. Dirt, water damage and other mysterious stains marred the once clean surface where her partner, her friend, had carefully addressed the regulation size-army-issue envelope.

She shook her head and smiled, running her fingers across the crinkled paper as Daisy skipped away, happily grinning because of her own slightly desecrated letter from "Lancelot"; Hodgins would love this. She would keep that poor envelope for him, and treasure it's contents herself.

She looked at all the postage markings, marveling at all the places through which the letter had traveled to get to her, from him. 4,500 miles from Afghanistan; over two oceans and two continents-- but here it was. The first letter. She slowly slid her index finger under the sealed corner and carefully split the top seam, an unexpectedly intense sense of anticipation mixed with apprehension welling up within her.

Grains of desert sand lightly dusted her thighs as she removed the single sheet of loose-leaf paper. As she unfolded it and got her first proper look at the letter she chuckled to herself. The most prominent stain was on the inside-- Booth had spilled coffee on it. An unexpected thrill ran through her as she recognized the all-too-familiar scrawl of his handwriting.

Bones,

Greetings from the desert! (I'm sure I sent you some of it too. Damn sand gets everywhere.). I am well and as safe as I can be in a war-zone. I'm even getting used to the heat, as I've spent most of my days in a makeshift classroom with corporals, staff sergeants and no air conditioning. This should go without saying, but I miss you. A lot. After five years, it is so strange knowing how far away you are from me. Though, despite the actual miles between us, you are not really so far away from me. I catch myself thinking of something you would say or do all the time. Like last week you would have corrected Staff Sergeant Jones' explanation of deductive reasoning without a second of hesitation.

So, Bones, have you changed history yet? Well, I should say again, because of that whole mummy thing. I want to hear about your work, even if I don't understand a word of it. I'm sure you are having the time of your life with Daisy and the skeletons. Speaking of which, how is everybody? Have you heard from anyone? All I've gotten so far is a card from Parker with a huge baseball on the front.

This situation, this big change, gets easier for me every day. Not because I am getting used to it, but because each day that passes brings me further into this year and closer to the end of it.

The work we do this year is un-selfish. It is for the greater good, and I am proud of both of us for making the right decision; though I fully intend on being a little selfish when we get home, just to make up for it.

I have no idea how long this will take to get to you, and I'm sorry this letter is kind of short. But hey, I've got a whole year to get better at writing them.

-Booth

P.S. The coffee stain will make you laugh, even though it was an accident.