A/N: Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for your alerts and favorites and reviews and encouragement! I can't even begin to tell you how much it all means to me, given this is the first piece of fiction I've ever put out there. I'm so incredibly touched… and just a little intimidated. Hope this meets your expectations!

Dear Bones,

I messed up.

I know this confession won't shock you. In fact, I imagine you're thinking something like, "of course, Booth, you've messed up hundreds of times!" And you're right, I'm sure I have. But I'm thinking of one time in particular here, one time where my getting it right was of utmost importance, and instead I just screwed it up.

I'm thinking of that night outside Sweets' office.

Now, please, don't burn this letter without reading the rest. Don't let your brain go too far ahead of your eyes. I know what happened there, and I know I should have done better. I owed it to you—to you and to me—to have expressed how I feel in a way that you'd understand, and I failed in that. I was too hopped up on adrenaline to say what I should have said, what I really mean. But now, these months later, with all this space between us, I want to take the chance to say it right. You may still reject me—in fact, I think you probably will use that amazing brain of yours to come up with a few good reasons to reject all of this—but I have to try to get it right. I owe that to myself, and to you.

To us.

So, let's start at the beginning. I was wrong to frame the whole thing in terms of taking a chance. In fact, maybe that's the one part I can blame on Sweets: he kept stressing the gambler part, so I went with that. But it was stupid, as I'm sure you'd say any reliance on Sweets' psychology would be: how I feel about you, how I feel about the potential for us to have a lasting relationship that's more than just a work partnership, has absolutely nothing to do with chance. I want it—that relationship—because I know for sure that it would make us happy. Not just me, and not just you—it would make US happy for a very, very long time.

I know, I know. You're thinking that I can't know the future. You're thinking that I can't know how I'll feel in 10 years, much less 30 or 40 or 50. But you're wrong. I know how I'll feel in the future because I know how I've felt in the past, and I know how I feel now; it hasn't changed, it's only deepened over time. You're also thinking that whatever evidence I have is anecdotal. But you're forgetting something important in that analysis, Bones—

Your life is anecdotal.

So is mine.

Really, everyone's life is an anecdote—nothing that happens in any one life can be considered data. But your life, as you've lived it, has already defied the data. Mine has too.

You were abandoned as a teenager by criminal parents, and put in the "care" of abusive foster "parents." The data suggests that you should have turned out to be a menace to society as a result of these experiences; in fact, you are the outlier in that data, the case study on how even the worst circumstances can turn out an amazing human being. Your academic achievements alone are outside the data range for people of your background; add in the professional and literary achievements, and you're an anecdote in a class all its own.

I was yelled at and demeaned and hit—ok, abused—by an alcoholic father, and abandoned by my mother. The data on people like me is pretty freaking bleak, but I think I've turned out ok; shit, even Jared has turned out ok in the face of what we went through as kids. Let's take this even a step further—how many heirs to multi-billion-dollar estates do you know of who earn multiple degrees in random scientific areas and care more about being King of the Lab than king of any kind of fortune? How many daughters of guitar legends do you know of who prefer not to talk about who their dads are in favor of just letting their friendships and skills speak for them? How many abused adoptive kids do you know who went on to become highly skilled (and highly annoying) FBI profilers before the age of 16?

My point is just this: individual people defy data every day. You can call that anecdotal evidence, but if you discount it, you're basically discounting your whole life. Mine and all your friend's, too. And I know you can't do that. I know you can't.

So, I'm gonna end this letter here, because it's late and I have to sleep or I'll end up being just another piece of data in this war when I can't keep my head about me in the morning when I'm on a live fire range with a bunch of young'ins with rifles in their hands. But I want you to know this—I heard everything you said that night, and I'm going to prove you wrong about almost all of it.

I know I can. And I know you'll listen.

I miss you all the time.