See I didn't keep you guys waiting too long did I?

Thank you everyone who added this story or me to your favorites, and added me to your story alerts.

Special shout out and thank you to Evanjalin64 (no need to thank me, thank you for your support and reviews), hot4booth , Tartantrace, Lunalovesbones (I've written a whole bunch of other BB fics, check them out at my profile page), horseninja, bones35, sassybee, aracely6, Ger (glad to know you agree with me about HH and BB on the show), chicanita11.

Brennan arrived at their agreed upon meeting spot. It was just like her dreams, the bench, the coffee cart, but no Booth. She told herself it was still early and not to worry. Unlike her dreams she felt too nervous to consume anything so she gave the coffee a miss. She did take her seat on the bench however. Like her dream, she watched the world go by. Did anyone else realize how important, how significant this day would be for her?

How long she sat waiting, she didn't know, but when she felt a little hungry, she glanced at her watch. It was way past lunch. She wondered if she should go buy a sandwich, but didn't want to risk missing Booth. The hour also made her anxious. Was her dream going to become reality? Nervousness drowned out her hunger as she continued to wait.

The afternoon sun began to dip and she feared that he would not show.

Then she saw him. Still in his Army fatigues, he was a distance away but there was no mistaking him. Those familiar brown eyes. The relief that washed over her made the tears she had been holding back all day roll down her cheeks. He was safe! That was all that mattered.

He had been partially obscured by the people around but as he walked closer she realized he was walking with the aid of a walking stick. His left arm was in a sling. She stood, her heart beating wildly. He had been injured after all. The wait was too much and she closed the distance between them in a few strides.

They stood eye to eye a few feet from each other. Neither said a word. There was a strange emptiness in his eyes, and it made her even more anxious.

Booth had been waiting for this moment since he walked out of her hospital room. And now it was happening, it was reality, there she was. A part of him wanted to jump for joy that she hadn't stood him up but another part, the part that had been in action, at war for the past six months, hesitated, unsure. Was he still worthy of her?

Did he risk too much in asking for her to wait? Had he lost her to something, someone else?

Brennan sensed his hesitancy and recognized that she had to be the one to make the first move, to take the initiative. A small gesture, she offered him a smile, then held her arms open, welcoming him home.

That small gesture was all he needed. He hobbled the one step towards her and fell into her waiting arms. They stood, motionless, clinging to each other, as if breaking their embrace would cause them their lives. She felt a dampness on her shoulder and realized that he was crying.

She gently pushed him, and he lifted his head. In all their years as partners she had never seen him cry so openly. She wept along with him, unsure of the reason for his tears. She took his hand in hers, and he allowed her to lead him to a waiting cab. This was too public a place for them, so she took him home with her.

They made the journey home in silence, but his hand never left hers. He allowed her to pay for the cab ride, then lead him back to her apartment. It was night when she unlocked her door and they walked in. His hand still in hers, she led him to her couch and he sat, grateful for the rest. She could tell he was in pain, both physical and emotional.

Again, she was the one to make the first move, to break the silence.

"Would you like something to drink? Some water?" She stood, his hand dropping from hers.

She heard his voice calling for her as she turned towards her kitchen.

"Bones!"

She returned to him, only to have him take her hand again, pulling her to sit beside him.

"Don't, don't leave. Please."

His evident need for her scared her but she stayed, allowing him time to formulate the words he needed to say to her in his head.

"I ah, I'm sorry I made you wait so long."

She shook her head indicating she hadn't minded waiting, not realizing his double meaning.

"I almost couldn't make it, those Army doctors saying I wasn't fit to fly. But I had to, I had to. I made a promise to you."

She placed a hand on his knee but quickly pulled away as he winced. "What happened?"

"We drove right into a land mine, got ambushed. It was shrapnel." He nodded to his leg. "Got busted up pretty bad, they stitched me up, popped my shoulder back in place, gave me pain meds."

"You dislocated your shoulder?"

"Yeah. Cracked some ribs. Maybe I'll get them to send you my X-rays. You could take a look at them huh?"

"Of course."

"I - "Booth winced.

"Maybe you should lie down." She nodded to the small bag Booth had with him. "You have any painkillers?"

"Yeah but I can't. They wouldn't let me come home, said I needed to rest up some more but I signed some papers, you know to say if anything happened to me on the way home it wouldn't be their fault."

"You shouldn't have."

"It was a promise I made Bones. And I can't take me meds I need to be clear headed."

He was hurting, but he had to get the words out, he had to let her know how he felt. He had to know if she would still have him. That moment, all his defenses cam crumbing down, Everything he was holding back came out in a rush. He opened himself to her again and hoped she wouldn't scrape his heart raw again.

"I am so sorry Bones. Please say you thought about us, Cos I thought about us alot, and us, there's nothing I want more than for there to be together. Please say you'll forgive me. I hurt you, and I shouldn't have. I honestly thought it was for the best. Forgive me Bones."

"There's nothing to forgive."

"I was afraid. Afraid you'll hurt me, afraid I wouldn't make it back from Afghanistan, afraid to lose you, I was a coward."

"No you did the right thing. You're no coward. You were right, we would have rushed in to things, its better this way and now I'm sure. I thought about us, about you, our future. This is what I want. I want us to be together."

Booth couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Really?"

"Yes."

"That's it?"

"We've made things so complicated for six years already, it's time we simplified it."

"I – when I was there, after Indonesia, it was like they were punishing me for taking off to find you, I was thrown into every assignment they could think of. I killed them Bones, people I didn't know about, people who looked me in the eye before they died. People who didn't know I was watching them through my rifle, about to end their lives. I took so many lives…"

"Then I'll help you catch more bad guys to even out your cosmic balance sheet. We can be us again, Booth and Brennan, partners."

They stared into each others' eyes, the tension and awkwardness seeming to have lessened.

"I'm not sure if I'm the same man."

"I love you Booth, nothing's going to change that."

He broke into his first smile since he got home.

"I love you too Bones. Nothing's gonna change that too. But I need you to be sure. I haven't got my job at the FBI back, I have no place to stay – "

"Stay here. I know you've been through a lot. Stay here and we'll work things out."

"I – " Booth wanted to say they were rushing into things, wanted to say he didn't want to be living off her, wanted to be the man she deserved.

"I want to give this a chance." She looked so sincere, so hopeful. She used the same words he had.

Why was he stalling again? Wasn't this what he had always wanted? He didn't come home from war physically and emotionally unscathed but they had wasted enough time. He would have to talk to Sweets, get his job back, make up to being apart form Parker for a year but he wouldn't waste anymore time when it came to her.

Time to man up, she was finally ready, and so would he.

"So do I."

They exchanged wide smiles and he pulled her to him, holding her to his heart, then tipping her head to his in a passionate kiss.

What's a year? The time it takes for the earth to make a revolution around the sun. The time it takes for two hearts, once damaged and hurting to become one, whole and healed, ready to start life afresh together.

And that's it guys. We're done! Thanks for sticking around, thanks for reading and reviewing.

If you must know I'm already working on the first chapter of another BB story. (As if I'll write anything else!) It'll be longer than this one I think, and it'll have to have an M rating to be safe. So stay tuned and watch for it.

And again, thank you for your amazing support! Don't forget to review on your way out!