Temperance Brennan patted her stomach, softly. Somehow being pregnant was not as disconcerting as she often imagined. Even though the baby was still fetal, and not actually capable of keeping anyone company at such a state, she somehow always felt like she was not alone anymore.

Yes, the touch to her own stomach promised a tangible connection to the tiny being inside.

Her baby was only four months along. She was finally starting to show. This was another element of pregnancy that she always assumed would be rather unpleasant. When you show your pregnancy, you are outwardly sharing a piece of your personal life with strangers; with everyone. People come up to you and want to talk. Sometimes they even want to touch your stomach. Temperance did not look forward to any of that. But she did enjoy watching her stomach grow. It meant the baby was healthy.

This baby that was created in a whirlwind of emotional turmoil. A couple misspelled letters in a telegram followed by an emotional meltdown, an irrational decision (you should never make major life decisions when you are feeling emotional; Booth himself told her that!) – and here she was. Four months later. She owned it. She owned it all. Every decision, every act in her life – emotional or rational – they were hers.

As she felt life growing inside of her, she couldn't feel sorry about any of it. She never really believed in fate. Until now. Because somehow, it seemed like fate that it happened like it did.

The worst day of her life – receiving a telegram in the Maluku Islands informing her that her partner and best friend Seeley Booth had been killed in an explosion, along with nine other soldiers – had led to the best feeling in the world.

She had wanted to be able to look at her life objectively. She had gotten so much more than she had bargained for. Her relationship with Booth, her feelings about her work, the meaning of every friendship that existed for her in DC, her feelings about babies… she was finally seeing clearly, for the first time her in her life, exactly what she wanted in her life. Some of it was already happening…

She patted her belly and looked out the circular window of her airplane. After her time away, she was finally going home to her family.

B & B & B & B & B B & B & B & B & B B & B & B & B & B B & B & B & B & B B & B & B & B & B

Seeley Booth walked up to the coffee cart by the reflecting pool. He was actually nervous. He was thrilled to finally see his partner again, his "Bones." He was thrilled to be back in DC – and mostly to start working FBI cases again. He was hoping that Bones got whatever it was she'd been seeking when she left.

She had been so tired. So emotionally drained.

He knew she needed a break from it all, much as it hurt him. But everything happens for a reason.

"Do you believe in fate?"

His own voice from years ago taunted him. He did believe in fate. He believed in a lot of things. It was fate that brought him to Temperance Brennan. And it was fate that broke them apart for a little while. It was more painful to leave her than he could've ever imagined.

But… he met Hannah.

He did believe in fate.

He was nervous to introduce Hannah to Bones. And he was really nervous to see Bones again after his time away. When she wasn't around, focusing on Hannah and their relationship together was easy. Planning a future? Also easy.

Seeing Temperance Brennan again – the woman he swore was the love of his life, just before he ever met Hannah? That would be hard.

He saw her round the corner. Her piercing blue eyes caught his gaze and his face broke into a welcoming, warm grin. She smiled as she got closer.

She was more beautiful than he even remembered. Somehow the seven months apart made him forget just how beautiful she really was. Something tightened in his stomach.

Then she was right there. Standing before him.

"Hi, Booth," she said softly.

He grabbed her into a fierce hug, not being able to contain himself. Her familiar smell washed over him; old feelings drifted to the surface.

"Bones, I missed you," he said.

When they pulled away, he saw her swipe at something on her cheek. Her eyes were glistening. He hadn't expected Bones to be emotional. That tugged at his heartstrings. She was a classy woman. Always so off-guard, she would let her guard down for him. Sometimes, when she let him in, let him see the emotional side of herself, it meant more to him than the most emotional speeches someone could give to him about love.

For Bones, she communicated her love in very quiet, sincere ways – and only sometimes was he lucky enough to experience it.

"I have so much to tell you, Booth."

"Me too."

She smiled. "So much changed while I was away. So much happened. I found out things that happened, things that changed everything! Then I found out that those things weren't even true, and the relief I felt… it made everything very clear for me," she said all at once.

He was confused about what she was saying. Something happened, then didn't happen?

"That's… great, Bones. I think," he said, and put his hands in his pocket.

Something seemed different about her, he realized as he surveyed her closely. She was wearing a buttoned up, heavy jacket. Her complexion seemed softer, maybe even fuller. Her eyes seemed warmer. Maybe she just missed him a lot.

If he didn't tell her about Hannah now, he realized, he'd never get the nerve up to do it at all.

"I have some news, too, Bones. Everything that happened when we were apart; well it was just like we talked about. You know, about me moving on, finding someone to love me? Well… I did. I met someone," he said. His voice got softer, more husky as he talked. Almost like something was caught in his throat, preventing those last words from coming out.

The warmth and happiness in her gaze changed instantly. She looked taken aback, caught off guard. And then Booth saw it. Her walls started slipping back into place. She hadn't expected him to say that. And why would she? They were two minutes into their reunion, and he spit it out right in the middle of something she was trying to tell him.

It was rude. He knew that now. And she hadn't expected that from him.

"Bones, I'm sorry," he said in a rush. "I just blurted out what was going on with me, and you were in the middle of telling me what is going on with you! And I want to hear all about it. I do. What happened and then didn't happen? What made things clear for you? I am so happy to hear things are clear, because you know, I was not a fan of when things weren't clear at all. It made you run to the Maluku Islands – and stop working on cases with me. Are you back? Are you going to work cases with me again?" he asked, hope creeping into his expression and voice.

She smiled warmly, not exuding the same enthusiasm as before. "Yes," she said quietly. "The rest isn't important just now," she said, like she was processing her thoughts, thinking of how to word things very carefully. "I can tell you all about that another time. But for now, I'm happy to hear you found someone, and I look forward to meeting her as we resume our work as partners solving crimes."

Wow – back to clinical speak. Something constricted in Booth's heart as he realized he really did take the wind out of her sails. She barely ever opened up and he completely interrupted her when she tried.

"Bones, please tell me –"


A voice interrupted them. Booth knew that voice. Hannah was here. Early. He turned to look at his girlfriend approach and smiled at her.

The beautiful blonde practically jumped on him, kissing him passionately. "I missed you."

"Me too," Booth muttered quietly. He really didn't want a reunion in front of Bones. "Hannah. This is my partner, Dr. Temperance Brennan."

Bones took the woman's hand and smiled. "It's nice to meet you."

Hannah smiled widely. "I've heard a lot about you, Dr. Brennan. It's great to meet a friend of Seeley's."

Booth didn't miss the look that passed over Bones's delicate features. Something was wrong with his partner. And, like always, she just smiled and pretended that everything was perfect.