Hey! How are things going?


"Dr. Brennan?" she heard through the other end of her phone.

Brennan perched her phone on her ear as she pushed her grocery cart through the produce section. "Yes? This is Temperance Brennan."

"It's Sweets," she heard and when he said "It's about Agent Booth," her mind went blank only to come back in time to hear, "He's okay, but he's in a little bit of pain. I just…I thought you should know. Brennan immediately put down the asparagus she'd started to examine. "Where is he?"

"Here, at his apartment," Sweets answered.

She closed her phone and abandoned her cart, making a promise to herself to call in the next morning and give a reward to the employee who had to put back the groceries she'd already gathered.

She drove through the city, pleased when she made each light. And when she made it to Booth's door, she scanned the area, almost expecting to see some sort of danger. But all she saw was a faint light emanating from Booth's apartment. The door was cracked, and she pulled it open quickly to see Booth sitting on his couch, his socked feet propped on his coffee table and an ice pack over one eye.

"Dr. Brennan," Sweets was there too, and he stood when he saw her come inside.

"Bones!" Booth sat up, the ice pack falling into his lap. He winced and grabbed for it, and that is when she noticed his busted knuckles and lip as well as the scratch on his neck. "What are you doing here?"

A little bit of her fire left her, and she motioned toward Sweets. "Sweets called me."

Booth stared at the other man, an incredulous and betrayed tone to his voice. "You called her?"

Sweets swallowed but stood his ground. "Yeah, I did. She's your partner."

"Out of line, Sweets," Booth muttered, pressing his tongue to the inside of his cheek.

"You're telling me that if the positions were reversed, and she's the one who'd been in an undercover fight-" Sweets pointed at Brennan. "You wouldn't want me to call you?"

Booth's jaw tightened and his eyes flickered to Brennan. In that instant, he saw what she was wearing, a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt that read, "Anthropologists dig it deep."

Did she even know what that meant? Doesn't matter. Don't think about it. "Goodbye, Sweets," was all he said, keeping his eyes on his partner as she stood near his doorway.

Sweets looked between the agent and the anthropologist and got the message. "I'll see you tomorrow," he nodded with a mock salute as he walked out the door, closing it behind him.

But neither of the room's two other occupants looked at him. Instead, Booth watched as Brennan walked toward him.

"What happened?" she asked, stopping when she reached the edge of his couch. Her finger traced along the edge of the heating pad resting there.

Booth licked his lips, wincing again at the bitter taste of dried blood there. "Remember the Crassman case I told you about?"

Brennan nodded, her eyes scanning his face for signs of injury.

"Well," Booth licked his lips again, looking at his table for a moment and running his finger along the edge of a file folder. "Tonight there was a stakeout. Guys only," he caught her gaze. "If you know what I mean."

"I understand," Brennan shook her head. "But I don't understand how you're in this current position."

Booth rolled his shoulders back. "Well, I was mainly there as backup, but also to keep the cover of the other team working. So it was my job to make sure everything went according to plan, and in this case…I had to sort of fight another guy to provide a distraction. It just…" he rubbed his jaw and cracked it, squeezing his fist and wincing again. "Lasted a long time, that's all."

Brennan sat on the couch and grabbed at his hand. "What have you done to insure you don't get infected?"

"Infected?" he smiled in disbelief, but when he saw she was completely serious, he shook his head. "Listen, Bones. I'm fine, okay? Don't worry about it."

He watched as she considered his words and from the set of her jaw, he knew she was going to disagree with him. "Like Sweets said, if the situation were reversed, would you worry about me?"

Damn it. She had him by the holster there. In a last ditch effort to get her to stop looking at him like that, he shrugged a shoulder, biting back a groan at the way his ribs ached a bit. "I thought you didn't believe in psychology."

She didn't even offer an answer to that, and he knew he was sunk. "Okay, okay…" he eyed her as he stood up. "I'll go get my first aid kit, okay? Happy now?"

Lifting her eyebrows as if to suggest it didn't matter to her one way or the other, she nodded. Booth sighed and did as he said he would. And when he returned, he sat beside her on the couch, putting the kit between them.

"I'll do it," Brennan said, and he looked at her in surprise.

"I can clean up my own cuts, Bones."

"I will be better if I do it," she insisted and took out a cotton swab.

Booth stared at her face as she concentrated on her work. Her lips parted and her eyes narrowed as she dabbed the swab with some alcohol. And he couldn't quite look away when she met his gaze and moved to sit closer to him, taking his hand in hers.

"This may likely sting a bit, Booth."

"Yeah," he swallowed, admiring the line of her neck. "I know what will happen…ah!" he sucked in a breath through clenched teeth.

When she smiled at him in her knowing way, he couldn't help but smile back. "Nice t-shirt."

He watched as a soft blush crept against her cheeks, though if he hadn't been staring at her, he never would have heard the embarrassment in her voice when she shrugged a shoulder and kept working. "Angela gave it to me one year for my birthday."

Yeah, Booth mused to himself. That sounded like Angela.

But then he couldn't think about anything when Brennan's fingertips brushed against his chin. He watched her face as she examined his cuts and bruises. His cheeks softened at her caring touch, and it settled deep in his heart, much deeper than his surface injuries.

"I only wear it when I don't have much else to wear," she was saying, still tracing his cheeks and chin. Feather light and soft, she made it hard for him to concentrate on her words.

"Since we've been so busy, I'm rather behind on my laundry. I was doing that tonight, since I knew you were going to be busy," she continued. "And grocery shopping." Her eyes met his and she gave a slight admitting smile. "Which I was also behind on."

Booth couldn't help but smile in return, recalling their conversation from the night before when he'd talked her into getting Chinese food with him instead of going shopping. But his smile caused his tender bottom lip to split again, and he bit back a curse.

"Stop smiling," she chided, leaning in closer to examine his wound.

Not possible, he wanted to say, finding it also impossible not to inhale the soft scent of her perfume. Flowery and soft and mixed with powder and something else that both made him feel like a man and also a young boy. It made him feel like he used to when he was young and his grandmother's friends would squeeze his cheeks and make him pie. When the most beautiful women he knew were nice and had soft hands.

Her hands were very soft, his mind, body and heart realized, and he closed his eyes for a second against the incredible pleasure her touch invoked.

And when he swallowed and opened his eyes again, he saw she was watching him, a slight bend to her eyebrows the only indication that she might know what he was thinking. They stared at one another as she ran the soft part of her thumb around his eye before lifting another cotton swab and gently rubbing him clean.

When she was finished, they both were caught in a soft web of connection, invisible to the human eye, known only with the stirrings of two hearts twining together. Booth's entire body tightened when Brennan leaned toward him and gently pressed her lips to the sensitive skin near his eye.

His throat dried up and he both heard and felt her gasp as she pulled back. She quickly wiped some more alcohol onto a new swab. "The…" she cleared her throat but still sounded as raspy as his own heart felt. "The reason I did that was because…when I was a child and I was wounded, often times my mother would do that." She met his eyes for a second and Booth watched, stunned, as she looked away. "Though her rationale that kissing something would make it all better is not medically proven, I often found that I did feel better."

He couldn't help it; he had to touch her. His hand lifted and his thumb and index finger brushed against her chin. "Yeah…" it was his turn to clear his throat. "Uh, my mom used to do the same thing."

At the mention of his mother, her eyes widened in curiosity. And Booth watched, surprised, as her gaze caressed his face. From his position, he could see emotions flicker across her expression. But it still surprised him when he saw her eyes water for just an instant. And when a single tear spilled from her eyes, a fierce protective sensation rose up. "Bones," his voice was hoarse and low.

Her hands curled up between them and she moved back quickly, standing up. "I should…I should wash my hands. It's really important for my hands to be very clean. In fact, I should probably have put gloves on, and-"

"No, wait," he reached out with one arm and wrapped it around her waist, yanking her to him with a little too much force. She fell forward, her knees on either side of his hips, and their faces were really close. With his wounded hand, he reached up and brushed his thumb against her bottom lip. It was an intimate liberty he'd never taken before, but the way she'd cried…it had broken down all his defenses against his self control. "I don't want you to wear gloves. I just…I just want you. I…I like the way you care about me."

In the quiet of his living room, their eyes met and held, and then his gaze flickered to her lips. They were parted and close to his and he wondered if it would be okay to kiss her. In the back of his mind, he figured that maybe it would make her feel less sad. All better, he thought, as he gently rubbed his lips against hers. She gasped against his mouth and immediately, he needed more. She seemed to lean into his touch though they were not exactly kissing as much as just rubbing lips and breathing each other's air. When he felt the tip of her tongue skate out against his upper lip and then retract, Booth groaned, kissing her harder, needing even more. Brennan made a whimpering sound in the back of her throat and her body moved forward as her hands landed against his ribs. Booth groaned, though not in pleasure, as he sucked in a breath and his arm instinctively tightened as a shaft of pain rocked over his midsection.

"Booth," Brennan pulled back and sat at his side, concern covering her features as her fingers seemed to settle in his shirt. "What's the matter?"

He winced and tried to deflect. "Nah, nothing…I just…you know…got punched is all." His jaw tightened as her methodical fingers began to smooth over his waistline. "And…maybe kicked."

"Booth," she chided, though he heard nothing but affection in her voice. But when she began to pull his shirt all the way from his waistband, he started.

"Whoa, no, Bones. Trust me. I'm fine. Don't worry about it."

"Booth…" she stared at him in the way she did that always made him feel about 10 years old at the library. Oh shit, do not think about librarians right now.

"Booth…I need to see your injuries so I can ascertain what further medical assistance is needed."

"Medical assistance?" he groused. "Last time I checked, it didn't say MD after your name on your office door."

She didn't pay any attention to his words and instead began to loosen the tie around his neck. No, not again…

He grabbed for her wrists, biting back a wince at the way his knuckles still ached. "No, Bones…I can do it myself." Booth watched as her mind processed the fact that no evidence was available to potentially be compromised. As he lifted his tie over his head and began to unbutton his shirt, he wondered if she was going to fight him on it.

But she didn't. She merely stared at his progress. Booth wondered if she was as calm and cavalier as she appeared. And as he shrugged out of his dress shirt, he had his answer. Her blue eyes widened, and he felt a small sliver of pride at her admiration of his body. He certainly didn't work out for her benefit, but it was always nice when a beautiful woman appreciated his efforts.

But her interest turned to concern when he lifted his undershirt up to reveal a rather nasty looking bruise on his side.

"Booth…" her fingertips moved forward and brushed against him lightly. Booth groaned, and let her interpret it as pain. He'd take that over letting her know that her simple touch made him tight all over. Of course, if she just happened to look a few inches lower and to the side, she'd see exactly what he was feeling. That thought did nothing to stem the tide of arousal he felt just from her light touch.

"Lay back and let me look at you," she was saying, and with any other woman in any other circumstance, he would know it was a come on.

Hell, his cock thought it was a come on, and he grew an inch harder in his pants. It was not a good idea for him to relax on his couch. At least when he was sitting, he could hide his arousal.

But somehow, his thoughts were too jumbled to protest as she pushed on his shoulders, and Booth found himself staring up at his ceiling. He'd looked at it before when relaxing on this couch, trying to put together an answer for a case or thinking about baseball stats. But that was a world away from having his partner's professional fingers slipping over his side.

He heard her wince and lifted his neck up in time to see her examining the bruise on his side. It did look pretty nasty, and he had a feeling it was the kind of pain that would hurt even worse the next morning. Booth watched as Brennan's fingertips made it as far as they could go before reaching the waistline of his pants. She tugged them down a half an inch and the friction between his legs was subtle and torturous.

"Okay, Bones," he wheezed, lifting up onto his elbows. "That's enough."

But when she looked up at him, she had the same pained and stunned expression as before. He'd never seen such caring from another human and he was powerless to resist. And when she blushed, he knew she knew exactly what was happening to his body.

Surprised that she hadn't said anything about it, he couldn't look away as she continued her touch. And it was only when she began to work at his belt buckle and zipper that his mind processed what was happening. "What?" he sputtered, but one of her hands on his lower belly stopped him.

"Booth…" she bit her lip and let one of her fingers slip under the seam of his zipper, measuring the length of his erection. "I would like to do something to ease your pain."

"Uh," he tried to swallow, every nerve in his body centered against her fingertip. "You already have, Bones. I mean it, um…yeah, oh, jeez" he inhaled through his nose as another finger joined the first, this time sliding against the underside of his shaft. "You're a good nurse, Bones." Except she's not a nurse; she's a doctor. She wants to play doctor. Oh shit, shit…do not even think that. Son of a bitch.

"Your body is very tense," she explained, absolutely no guile in her expression. "It would benefit you to have an orgasm."

"I don't…I don't want to come for my medical benefit," he closed his eyes and ground his teeth together when her fingers folded down the waistband of his boxers and she kissed his chest. When she didn't do anything further, he opened his eyes again, wondering if she really was going to stop.

But her eyes were wide and honest. "Please, Booth. I want to help you." She swallowed then, and he noticed she was very sincere and not clinical. Her tenderness was his breaking point.

"Okay," he agreed, already feeling himself get harder, just from his own permission. "But on one condition. When I feel better, I'm going to…"

"Ease my pain?" she murmured, sliding his boxers down his hips.

Booth groaned in pleasure as his penis sprang free from confinement. He felt her hand wrap around him and he looked down his body to see her pale fingers moving. In his absolute ecstasy, he almost missed her question, but he caught the look in her eyes as she stroked him. "Do you have pain?" he swallowed.

Their eyes met and he knew his answer. He'd always known it, since their first fight ever. But her look of admission warmed him up. He trusted her more than anyone else in the world, and he knew she felt the same about him.

So when she gently lowered one of his feet to the floor and straightened his other leg out in front of him, he let her. And when she placed her knees on either side of his hips, he let her. And when she moved forward, letting her lips press against the tender skin near his eye once again, he let her, a groan rising from deep in his chest.

The soft fabric of her shirt brushed against his body, and he ached at the sensation. All of his nerve endings fired up when her mouth skimmed over his jawline and down his neck.

She kissed his chest and he felt her cotton covered breasts rub against his erection, the light touch making him desperate for more. His hips arched up; his foot on the floor gave him good leverage. And Brennan got the hint, moving further down his body until her lips hovered just over the part of him that really ached for her. Her eyes followed the twitching movement of his penis, and Booth thought he might come from the small smile that curved up one side of her lips. And then he really thought he might come when those very lips parted in a small 'oh' and she sucked on the tip of him.

"Oh. My. God. Bones," he rasped out, completely unable to look away as she made love…yes, made love damn it, to his body. "Mmmmmmm…" was all he was able to choke out.

He watched as she pulled off of him, his rosy tip stretching out toward her lips in protest. And he whimpered when she moved away, leaning down to press a kiss against his ribs and then another, her soft lips tracing the bruise on his skin. "Bones, please…" he lifted a hand, his fingers hovering just above her hair. "Don't torture me. Please."

"I won't," she promised, kissing a line up his straining shaft. And when she reached the sensitive head, she took him in her mouth again, beginning a wet up and down movement. Anthropologists dig it deep. Oh yeah.

"Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh oh, oh…uh…oh…oh, uh, uh, Bones," he chanted over and over to the rhythm of the flat of her tongue around his penis.

This wasn't going to be one of those times where he won any awards for endurance. He tried to warn her by placing a hand on her cheek. And when she moved back and pressed a kiss to his palm before taking him in even deeper than before, he lost it. His fingers tightened on her shoulder and he squeezed as he came in her mouth. Any shame he might have felt washed away at the sound of her pleased murmur.

"I'm going to kiss you, Bones," he promised, his hips falling back against his couch cushions. "I'm going to kiss you all over, and I'm going to make you feel really, really good."

He blinked when she was suddenly looking down on him, and he watched as her eyes took in his expression. He could only imagine how he looked. Bruised, cut, and completely in love with her.

She bit her bottom lip and hesitantly kissed him. It struck him that she'd blown him away with these lips but felt unsure about kissing him. One of his hands rested against her back and she kissed him more deeply, their tongues tangling. His fingers slipped under her shirt and he realized she wasn't wearing a bra, just a tank top underneath. His hand cupped her breast, her soft skin soothing against his pain. Brennan moaned in his mouth and arched back.

"I don't want to hurt you," she said, and he almost laughed.

With his other hand, he slipped his fingers under the waist band of her sweatpants, finding her pantyless and warm and wet to his touch.

"Bones," he teased breathlessly. "Going commando at the grocery store."

She didn't even acknowledge his joke, her lips falling open as her hips twisted against his fingers. He didn't have the strength or energy to do what he should, pick her up and carry him back to his bed. But he could do this. He lifted up on one elbow and kissed her lips as his thumb worked at her clit. As quickly as he'd come in her mouth, she was coming against his hand, mewling against his lips. When she moaned and arched away from his hand, he eased his touch, noting her sensitivity. He smoothed the back of his hand against her belly before placing his hand on her back, bringing her down to him. It took some maneuvering, and he winced a few times, but he pulled up his boxers and got them situated on his couch, his arms around her and her hands resting on his bare chest. She reached for the blanket along the back of his couch and moved it over them. Booth murmured in pleasure, amazed at the way his day was ending.

"I suppose I can get groceries tomorrow," Brennan added, burrowing into his chest. Booth laughed at her joke, ignoring the pain in his side. Yeah, he was going to be sore in the morning.

But there was no one he'd rather be sore with.