Hi everyone! Long time, no see. So glad Bones is back, though I might not write post-ep fics every week. I got burned out near the end of last season-to the point where I couldn't enjoy some of the episodes because I was searching for something to use in a fic. So I've decided that if I'm struck with an idea, I will write. If not, then that has to be okay, too. Thanks for all the support.

Also, minor Hannah alert. Just in case you'd like to stay away from any mention of her.

The following takes place after "The Mastodon in the Room." Enjoy.

VVVVV

Brennan studied her partner's features. They'd been without contact for seven months, but as she told Angela, she thought-and even dreamed-about Booth. She'd never forgotten his face, but she still found herself staring at him.

"What is it?" Booth asked, casting her a quick glance, aware of her eyes on him.

"Why won't you look at me, Booth?"

"What are you talking about, Bones? I've looked at you."

"When we met at the reflecting pool, yes, but since then, there have only been glances." She paused for only a second. "It's not the way you used to look at me. Before…"

"Before Hannah?"

"I was going to say 'before we left,' though, given the circumstances, both statements are true."

"Oh," Booth chuckled nervously. "You want to get drinks with everyone? I think we can catch up with them if we hurry."

Brennan shook her head. "I don't feel like drinking."

"Daisy drove you nuts, huh?" Booth grinned, still not looking fully at Brennan.

"I'm bewildered at how someone so smart can be so…"

"Irritating?" Booth supplied.

Brennan laughed. "How'd you know?"

"Eh," he half-shrugged and grinned, "it's happened to me once or twice."

"So, Hannah," Brennan continued, steering the conversation back to Booth's…girlfriend. "I'd like to meet her."

Booth groaned inwardly and fidgeted, knowing he wasn't anywhere close to being ready for Hannah and Bones to meet. "She's in Iraq."

"You told me earlier. Perhaps one day our paths will cross."

Booth mumbled noncommittally and shoved his hands in his pockets.

"Provided your relationship with Hannah continues, and you and I are still partners, there's a high probability that Hannah and I will eventually meet. Why are you so anxious about us becoming acquainted, Booth?"

"I just am, Bones," Booth replied, eyeing the mastodon towering over them.

"Oh…" Brennan trailed off, also finding the mastodon intriguing, though for different reasons than the ones circulating through Booth's mind.

"You're you, and she's Hannah. I don't know. I guess I just never pictured the two of you meeting," Booth said eventually, his voice sounding soft-even to him-in the cavernous space. "It's weird."

"It doesn't have to be, Booth. We're friends, and friends tell each other everything, right?"

"You know what, Bones? You're absolutely right." He smiled and nudged her with his shoulder. "So, tell me more about the Machu Picchu Islands."

It was her turn to nudge him. "It's the Maluku Islands, Booth! And, I'm beginning to think you intentionally say the wrong name because you know it irks me."

Booth smirked but neither confirmed nor denied her statement.

She took Booth's silence as a sign to continue. "With the exception of a two-thousand year old bead, Daisy and I were unsuccessful."

"I'm sorry, Bones," Booth said sympathetically. "So why do you want to go back?"

"I'm an anthropologist. It's my job to search for answers concerning mankind's existence."

"What if the answer is that there's nothing to find in Malagapago?"

"Booth!"

"Sorry, Bones," Booth grinned. "Last time. So…"

"There's always something to find. One just needs to be patient and meticulous. However, I realize now that my leaving was selfish and ill-advised."

"Mine, too," Booth nodded in agreement, finally looking her in the eye for more than a second.

They smiled at each other, and Brennan slid her arm through his.

Slowly, Booth's eyes traveled back toward the mastodon. "How're we going to get this out of the lab?"

"The same way it was brought in," she replied.

Booth looked over his shoulder at the sliding doors behind them. "I'm assuming Tall, Dark, and Tusky isn't going out through those doors."

"No, of course not. Those doors are far too small to allow the passage of the mastodon exhibit."

"Then how?"

Brennan sighed. "I currently do not possess the knowledge needed to solve this conundrum."

"So you don't know."

"That's what I said."

Booth chuckled. "I'm glad we're back, Bones."

"Me, too," Brennan smiled. "Even with the mastodon in the room."

VVVVV

Thanks for reading.