What if the End was Just a Beginning

By LizD - May/July 2010

Spoiler: Through THE BOY WITH THE ANSWER

A/N: What if there were no Maluku expedition? What if there were no request for consulting in Afghanistan? What if the Taffet case got Booth in trouble for cutting too many corners and making up too many rules? What if Booth and Brennan had to leave the FBI and the Jeffersonian for different reasons? What if they couldn't bare the idea of parting from each other and found a different path ... together.

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Booth was rushing around his apartment - an apartment filled with boxes in various states of packing. His hair was still wet and his shirt open. "Yeah, yeah ... I'm sorry the meeting ran long," he explained into the phone and laughed at the response he was getting. "Who are all these people again? Fishfolk? Won't be anyone there named Nemo, right?" A short knock on his door led him over to open it. Bones was on the other side; he was clearly surprised to see her. "Yeah ... Ok ... I'll be there in twenty," he said. He laughed again. "Funny ... see you there." He snapped his phone shut. "Bones!" He stepped back leaving the door open but not actually inviting her in. "Don't have a lot of time." He continued to dress.

"You are on your way to meet Dr. Bryar?" she asked.

"Some event at the Aquarium and I'm late. So what's up?"

"I need you to explain something to me," she said, her voice cracking. She stepped in and closed the door. "Why did you accept the position in San Francisco?" It was not a simple question. He had announced his transfer to the Squint Squad that morning with little or no explanation and informed them that Agent Perotta would taking over as the FBI Liaison. Booth left quickly allowing no discussion. They all knew that after the events of the Taffet case, Booth would be reprimanded in some way. Most were hoping for a wrist slap and back to normal - too much to hope for apparently. "So can you explain that ... no one else needs to know."

"Cause I thought I would keep my job," he defended.

"Your career would be better served by staying in Washington."

"My career?" He scoffed. "That ship has pretty much sailed there, Bones."

"Why?"

"WHY?" He almost laughed. "Weren't you paying attention? Can you really be that oblivious? They could have fired me; hell they could have thrown me in jail. I have compromised myself and the FBI too many times to count."

"Because of me."

"I'm lucky I have a job at all," he continued. "And no it was not because of you. Not everything is about you," he protested a little too much. "I knew the consequences and I made my choices. Time to pay up." He slipped on his shoes and grabbed his coat. He was ready to go - well, he was ready to end the conversation and 'going' seemed like the quickest way to do that.

"You may have bent some arbitrary rule or regulation of theirs, but it was always in the name of justice, of catching the bad guy."

"Not always, Bones." He wasn't about to admit the myriad of other reasons that pretty much all involved her. He opened the door to let her precede him out. "I have to go."

"By taking this transfer you are effectively putting an end to our partnership," she declared. "Is that your intention?" She remained standing in the middle of the room; Booth had no reply. "I believe that if things were different between you and I that you would not allow yourself to be reassigned."

"You do, do you?" He got mad. How dare she imply that his career would be affected by his relationship or lack thereof with her. "Well, you're wrong."

"If we had entered into a sexual relationship as you had suggested it would also have broken one of the FBI's rules - but you wouldn't be taking this assignment so easily."

"You don't know that," he snapped. "Why do you care anyway, Bones? You're on your way to China ... Guatemala ... Afghanistan, what difference does it make where I am?"

"I leave for Chile tomorrow," she corrected.

"Tomorrow? ... I thought it was next week."

"But I will be back in a month."

The idea that she was leaving the next day and hadn't told him before made him angrier. "And Agent Perotta will be happy to see you."

"The only thing I ever asked for was for us to continue to work together," she protested.

"Yeah, well ... wishes and horses, Bones."

"I don't know what that means."

"Look it up," he said harshly. He was done being her urban reference guide.

"I don't understand why you are so angry with me? Will it make our separation easier for you?"

"I'm not angry ... just late ... let's go?" He again motioned for her exit.

"Won't going to San Francisco effectively put an end to your relationship with Dr. Bryar, as well?"

"We don't have a relationship!" he snapped. "We have dinner and laugh - that's it."

"I don't understand. Aren't you attracted to her?"

"No, yes ... any red blooded American male would be."

"Are you not compatible ... sexually?"

"Bones ... geez ... no." He would never get used to how impersonally she talked about sex. "Not that it is any of your business - but no, we haven't ... we aren't ... No. We haven't had ... No."

"I don't understand."

Booth was not about to explain. "You don't have to."

"But you used to enjoy having dinner with me ... and we laughed ... on occasion, but when I rejected your offer of -"

"Yeah, I know. I was there," he cut her off. "Look, Catherine and I are just friends, OK?"

"You said you had to move on. That you wanted to find someone to love -."

"I'm not going to fall in love with Catherine."

"You can't know that."

"I do, I do know that." He shifted his weight self-consciously avoiding eye-contact. "I can't fall in love with Catherine ... because ... because." He glanced away. "Because I'm still in love with you."

"Booth." Her faced washed with sadness.

"Look, what difference does it make where I am?" He tried to shift the conversation back to her original question. "I can't work with you ... you won't be with me ... what difference does it make if I am 3000 miles away or 10? At least I won't have to watch you sleeping with men because of some biological ... urge." He wiped his hands across his face. "Hacker, Bones? Had to be my boss - ex-boss. "

"I'm not -."

"Doesn't matter," he cut her off. "There will be someone ... someone else ... If I am in another state I won't have to know about it. I won't have to pretend that it's not eating me up inside."

"Sex is just sex," she defended.

"No, Bones ... it isn't ... it never is."

She granted him his point. "There is no threat that Andrew and I will have sex."

"Should tell him that." He shook the image away.

"I have ... as such." Booth was silent. "So you are ending our partnership because I didn't want to have sex with you?"

"WHAT?"

"Because if we did enter into a romantic relationship, I believe it would end our partnership."

Booth couldn't believe what he was hearing. "What's the definition of insanity?"

"Doesn't apply here ... seems like any course we take, the partnership is at an end."

"Seems that way," he said sadly.

"I'm sorry."

"No," he said evenly. "You aren't. You have no idea what this feels like. Maybe you have it right. Maybe emotions are just too painful to have so not having them is the only way to survive. Too bad I am not built like that."

"I have feelings, Booth," she protested. "I just don't let them rule me."

"That is all they do, Bones. They rule you whether you want to experience them or not. They affect every choice you make."

"This is what I wanted to avoid," she said as her eyes welled with tears. "Relationships always end badly."

"Only when you stop working at it," he stated. "All living things need to grow, to evolve or they die - you told me that. When something has no hope of survival, you should put it out of its misery."

"You don't believe that."

"And when something is dead, you should bury it. "

"That's not what we do," she stated the obvious. "We break it down and study it."

"Not this time, Bones." He stepped out into the hall. "Lock up when you leave, alright?" He walked out the door.

Brennan remained in his living room. She was confused and frustrated. She went there to save their partnership - their friendship. In spite of all her efforts to shield herself, to deny herself, to protect herself - and him - none of it worked. She was in pain, he was in pain and any relationship between them was impossible. Tears rolled down her face. She sunk down on to the couch. How did it all change? When did it? Was it her fault? Was it his? Was there any way to save it? She had no idea what to do. No idea how to make it right - and for the first time she really wanted to make it right.

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Booth made it all the way to his car before he accepted the fact that he could not just walk out on her like that. It wasn't fair to her but more importantly it wasn't fair to him. He had no idea what he could say. He had even less of an idea what he wanted to hear. He was hurt and angry, but he shouldn't take it out on her. He was the one who had changed the rules of the game, a game that she never agreed to play. She had always been consistent. She didn't say things she didn't mean. It wasn't her fault that she didn't love him the way he wanted her to - it was not her way. It wasn't personal, but it sure felt that way. He wasn't prepared to lose her completely in his life but he had assumed that he would have a little bit more time to figure it out.

He found her sitting on the couch looking like the lost little girl that he knew she was inside but never let the world see. "Temperance," he called to her. "I'm sorry."

"I'm the one who should be apologizing."

He sat down next to her. "Look ... this thing ... this thing in San Francisco. It was temporary. ... I just need to be away from here for a while."

"Away from me, you mean."

"Yeah ... and the rest of it. New place, new people, nothing that would remind me of ..." He stopped himself from finishing his statement. "Stupid, right?"

"No," she said sadly. "Removing oneself from a painful situation often allows a person to gain perspective."

"Painful, huh?" He nodded toward her. "Is that why you are going to China or Afghanistan?"

"Chile," she corrected. "While I don't believe that is why I accepted the assignment, I do believe that it was a factor in my decision."

"Right."

"I have gone away before, but I always knew that you would be here when I got back."

"Times change."

"Yes they do." Which was exactly her point about relationships and why she didn't believe in them. Times changes, people change, situations change - there was no way anyone could promise a lifetime to another person. She wiped the tears from her face and stood up. "I should let you get to your date."

Booth nodded, but he had already canceled Catherine. She knew his feelings for Brennan and wasn't about to get between them. "It wasn't a date, Bones," he said under his breath.

She was again over come with sadness by his definitive comments about Catherine. "I want you to be happy, Booth ... you deserve to be happy. To have ... to have what you want in life."

"Yeah ... well ... back at you, Bones." She shook her head not accepting the idea that she would ever have the kind of happiness that Booth was looking for. She was happy with their partnership. "You don't have to be alone, Bones. You can have it too." She kept her head down and shook it from side to side. Those kinds of thoughts were not allowed. She moved away. "Can I ask you something?" he asked stopping her from escaping. Brennan stopped by the door and nodded for him to continue. "I have been thinking about this ever since we told Sweets about our first case ... our first kiss." He stood up. "You asked me to go home with you but then you changed your mind all in the space of like five minutes. Why?"

Brennan shifted her weight from side to side. "I told you."

"It wasn't the Tequila." He stepped toward her.

"No." She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. "I too have been thinking back to that night - wondering how it would have been different for us if we had spent the night together." She stepped away from him. "I don't do long term relationships, but you do ... your confession about the gambling ... that kiss ... I knew ... I guess you could say I knew too ... from the beginning."

"Knew what?"

"That I - that you wouldn't be satisfied with a night, a week, or a month ... that you would want more ... that I would want more ... I just couldn't ... I don't ..." She shook her head and wiped at her eyes. "It was not realistic."

"Is that why you got mad at me? To push me away?"

"Maybe," she shrugged. "I don't like psychology so I don't really know. You didn't like me much at the beginning either."

"You did tend to frustrate a bit, but you grew on me." His smile was disarming.

"But what I didn't expect was that working with you ... becoming partners would be - and has been - so much more rewarding than sex."

"Has it?"

"If we had had sex that night, it would have changed everything ... ruined it possibly. I treasure our partnership, Booth. I have never trusted that anyone would ... how do you say it?"

"Have your back," he helped.

"Yes ... you have my back and I have yours. There is nothing I wouldn't do for you, partner."

"Back at you," he said sincerely edged with sadness. "Do you still feel that way?" He stepped closer to her.

"What? About that night? That we shouldn't have?"

"That we shouldn't."

"Yes," she said almost too quickly. "And no. I don't know ... potentially yes, sex could ruin our partnership. You have said so yourself."

"It's not just sex, Bones."

"I know. " She swallowed hard. "I accept the notion that there is more to sex than consenting adults with biological urges that need to be satisfied." She couldn't look him in the eyes. "And that it ... sex ..." She looked up into his eyes. "That making love could potentially be more rewarding - both physically and emotionally - if there were a prior emotional connection ... a relationship with a past and an implied future."

Booth smiled. "The whole equaling more than the sum of the parts? Breaking the laws of physics?"

She bit her lip. "Maybe ... of course I have no evidence."

"You like evidence," he said suggestively.

"I live by it ... but I'm willing to grant your hypothesis ... because of you."

"Me?"

"You have often been right when you have no actual proof ... at least none that I can measure."

"Is this a hypothesis you're looking to test?" He stepped toward her.

"It could potentially cause more damage."

"Risk vs. Reward."

"Must be considered."

"Well let's take this one step at a time." He took another step closer to her. "Do you believe that we have an emotional connection?"

"Outside our working relationship?"

"Yes."

"Yes," she looked away.

"Do you have ... evidence?"

"Anecdotal."

"Care to share?"

She hedged. "I believe that my dating Andrew bothered you ... I won't get into details of my observations ... and ... and I find that I am very distracted by your relationship with Catherine - irrationally so."

"Distracted?" He couldn't help but smile. "You're jealous."

"Yes," she admitted reluctantly.

He took another step toward her. "She poses no threat, Bones."

"I will have to take your word on that."

"I have never lied to you." He moved one step closer. "Is that your only evidence?" He looked deeply into her eyes.

"No," she squeaked out. He nodded for her to continue with the evidence. "I think you know."

"Probably."

"But ..."

"You can trust me."

"I do ... I do trust you ... with my life." He closed the slight distance between them and gently tilted her head up so he could look into her eyes. "I ... I don't ... " The breath caught in her throat. She could feel the heat from his body. "I don't know how."

"It's very easy, Bones." He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her close. "Falling in love is just like falling."

"Falling is scary."

"All you have to do is let go ... just let go ... I'll catch you ... trust me." He kissed her. Gently at first but when he felt her relax into it he deepened it. Then the dam burst and the flood gates opened. Everything they had been holding back for six years came pouring out of them - no reservations, no hesitations, no equivocations. Two became one; even Brennan would agree that the laws of physics were challenged.

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Close to midnight Brennan woke with Booth spooned up tightly behind her. Brennan was not the kind who enjoyed the postcoital contact. She would often leave before her sex partner would wake up or get up and work until he woke up; it had caused the end of more than one relationship in the past. Her first thought was to slip out, but she made no move to go. It actually felt nice to have him so completely aligned with her. She stirred slightly and he reactively pulled her closer. She could feel his rhythmic deep breathing letting her know that he was in a sound sleep. She had not expected ... well anything when she went over there that night. She certainly didn't expect to wind up in his bed, but as she thought about it that was the only logical place to be. If they would no longer be permitted to work together then they should explore a different aspect of their relationship - a more personal, more intimate if only to prolong the inevitable. Regardless of what they shared, she still felt that their split was inevitable. But inevitable didn't mean that it was immediate.

She leaned back into him and laced the his fingers though hers. She studied his hand and forearm noticing the myriad of scars he had acquired over the years. She could tell that he had broken his hand more than once and apparently the ring finger on his left hand had never been set correctly. Just that one hand had experienced so much pain, inflicted so much pain, had done so much good and yet was so sensitive. She marveled at the entirety of Booth - the man; his attitude to keep on trying, to keep on loving, to keep on living with hope regardless of how many times he got knocked down. He truly was amazing. He was a tender, sensuous, generous lover who knew how to satisfy and be satisfied. She brought his hand to her lips and kissed each finger tenderly, turned it over and kissed his palm. She felt his breaths get shallower.

"You're insatiable," he said softly into her ear.

"I'm utterly sated ... for the moment."

He kissed her neck. "Good, cause I am not as young as I used to be." He rolled her toward him and kissed her. An impish smile spread across his face, "but apparently I'm not ready for the retirement home just yet."

"So you're the one who's insatiable."

"I know a good thing when I have it."

"Good?" She smiled up at him.

"Great, fantastic ... what would Angela say?"

"She would make up some word combining several others."

"Yeah, well ... that." He nuzzled back into her neck.

"Booth ... Booth ... Booth."

"Little busy here, Bones," he mumbled back.

"I've heard people say that they can live on love, though I have never believed it ... Booth ... I need food ... real food." He collapsed down on her and exhaled his mock disappointment. "It will give me more energy for our next ... next session."

He laughed and pulled himself up to look at her. "You mean this is you with low blood sugar?" She nodded. "Then we better get you fed."

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Of course all the take out places weren't delivering past midnight, so Booth had to throw something together with what he had, which really wasn't much. She watched from her perch at the table wearing nothing but his shirt and a come-hither smile. It was amazing how comfortable they were with each other. Any strain that their partnership had been suffering was gone - they were back. They had always been physical with each other, but after consummating their long denied attraction it freed them to be more intimate - a stolen kiss, a lingering touch - liberties that lovers took.

"So tell me about your new assignment." she said.

"San Francisco - for six weeks, then I go to Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Miami."

"I don't understand."

"Apparently I will be the poster boy and advocate for the use of squints in investigations - not in the field mind you, but from the lab. I will be sent to field offices to extol the virtues of exceptional forensic work in solving cases. They were impressed with our track record if they weren't impressed with us." She was still a little confused. "This will sound odd to anyone who doesn't work for the government, but they wanted to fire me but couldn't, so they promoted me - sort of."

"You won't like that kind of work very much."

"No, no I won't ... but I don't think they were taking my feelings into account."

"And what do they expect from me ... from the Jeffersonian?"

"Status quo ... I imagine, but don't expect Agent Perotta to be taking you out into the field."

"I won't work with her," Brennan stated.

"Bones, she's good."

"The Jeffersonian has hired me for many functions - I don't need to work with the FBI. I don't need to work at all. Cam, Hodgins and Angela can do what they like ... I don't need to be the one who heads that team. I'm not in charge anyway. That's Cam's job. That's why they hired her."

"Didn't you enjoy our work? Didn't you think that helping to put murders away was a good thing?"

"I did and I do ... but what I enjoyed was being part of the investigation ... working with you."

"Bones, Cam is good. Hodgins is good. Angela is good. And whoever the squint of the week is, is typically ... interesting. But you are extraordinary. You are the one that sees the things they don't, the one who asks they questions they forget to ask. You're the one that brings it all home."

"That's because I am part of the investigation ... because I'm there when you're talking to witnesses and suspects - not just at the crime scene. I couldn't do as much if I were stuck in the lab - and I suspect it will be the same for any forensic scientist you find in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago or Boston. Further it makes no sense to send you to all those places, when they could bring all of them here and you could do whatever you are going to do with all of them at once."

"I think they expect me to work a case with them and consult."

"Then shouldn't you take one of your SQUINTS with you?"

His face broadened into a very sweet smile. "Are you suggesting we take our show on the road?" She smiled back and shrugged a nod. "Not gonna happen. They don't want us working together."

"Why?"

"They don't think I can be objective or that I will follow FBI protocol. I would have to agree ... when it comes to you."

"Because you broke their rules to save my life? To put a murderer in jail? Because I have killed to save yours?"

"Bones, you have to admit that on more than one occasion we have bent the rules a little too far to get something done. Your father? What I did? What you did? And the Gravedigger - come on, that was anything but by-the-book. Yes we saved your life, Hodgin's life and my life, but my brother lost his career. They invested a lot in him. How many other suspects died during our investigations without getting their day in court? Yes, they pushed us into that, but it was not justice. All that rule bending makes the FBI really nervous. All our cases can be called into question. How would we live with ourselves if a murderer got to walk on a technicality?"

She didn't like what he was saying. Everything they had done was justified. They were not loose cannons - to use a colloquial expression. But she had to believe that he was correct. "Then let's take the FBI out of the equation. Take the Jeffersonian out."

"What are you suggesting?"

"Booth, I question our ability to maintain a personal relationship if we are forced apart for work ... it's a large a portion of our lives individually and a very large portion of our life as partners. I would tolerate you having sex with Catherine better than you getting another partner. If we are forced apart for work, I do not believe our personal relationship will survive." Something occurred to her. She sat back and took a deep breath. "I suppose I should ask ... I mean maybe you don't want to ... maybe you want that to end."

"End?" He was puzzled. "End of us? I thought we just got started."

"Maybe."

"Maybe what?"

"Well six hours ago you were ready to walk away ... just walk away."

"A lot has changed in six hours and I wasn't walking away for good."

"Maybe."

"There is no 'maybe' about it, Bones. What are you saying?"

"I guess I need to know what you want ... what you want to happen next? I mean, do you want to go be the poster boy for the FBI. We won't see each other anymore ... not work together."

"We will see each other, Bones. There are planes and weekends and time off for good behavior. I'm not walking away from this - from us ... not now."

"But you are willing to put your job between us ... your job has dictated that we can no longer work cases together ... and your job puts distance ... possibly even a new partner between us."

"No, well yes ... no ... I don't know ... haven't really had a lot of time to think about it."

"So, think about it."

"No, no I don't want to ... not now." He reached for her hand. "Can't we just go back to bed and think about all this in the morning?" She didn't like that request. "Bones, really ... we can't change anything until tomorrow ... can't we just enjoy what we have and shut the rest of it out ... for now ... for just a few more hours?"

She shook her head and leaned back. "It's so unfair. It's too soon. It's too late. It's my fault."

He pulled her up to standing and wrapped his arms around her. "Don't ... we'll be OK ... we'll be great." She was not convinced. "Come on, Bones. We are the best. We can figure anything out ... between you and me there is nothing we can't do." Still not convinced. He pushed her back so he could look directly into her eyes. "Temperance ... I love you. I do ... I love you. I know you don't believe -."

"I love you too," she cut him off.

"What?"

"I love you," she said as if she were stating a simple fact but a little sad at the truth of it.

"But you said -."

"I know what I said ... I was lying ...I thought it would be better if you thought ... but it isn't ... I was lying. I love you. I have for a long time. It was easier to deny." She teared up. "The thought of losing you completely ..."

"You won't. You won't lose me. I'm not a set of car keys." He couldn't help but smile. "Have a little faith."

"In you?"

"In yourself ... in us. We'll figure this thing out. Ok?" He was grinning from ear to ear. "You love me?"

She grinned back. "Are those magic words?"

"Music to my ears." He swept her up into his arms and carried her back to bed.

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It was 38 minutes after dawn. Booth wasn't asleep; he refused to allow himself to sleep. His eyes were closed and his breathing slowed, but he was acutely aware of his surroundings - the passage of time, the change in the city as the new day dawned, every breath of the person next to him. It was a skill he had learned as a sniper. The obvious difference between that night and the hundred or so nights he spent waiting to take his shot was that she was there - beside him, next to him, under him, over him, with him ... utterly consuming him. To reflect purely on the physical would diminish the encounter ...encounters. It was so much more than he had ever expected or experienced. She was entirely there, completely in the moment. In all the times that he had imagined kissing her, caressing her, making love to her he never imagined how present, confident and involved she would be - it was astonishing. Bones lived in her head. The Dr. Temperance Brennan he had known over the years couldn't maneuver her way through a simple birthday party for a colleague with ease and grace, but stripe her naked and allow her the opportunity to be sexual and she was elegance personified. It was no wonder that men didn't want to leave her. It was nothing short of a miracle that after six years of waiting ... Booth found his target, took his shot and hit the mark. After one night ... just over twelve hours, he was convinced that he would never aim for anyone else ever.

He felt her slip from his embrace and anticipated her return. He wondered how she would amaze him next. There was a joy in his heart; a joy he had never known. It wasn't about 'getting the girl', it wasn't about the sudden and repeated sexual release - at least not entirely. It was a personal joy. It was hope. Booth believed in hope, he trusted in hope, but probably for the first time in his life he felt hope ... he felt hope down to his bones. His life was changing.

She should have returned to their bed, but she hadn't. He opened his eyes and found her dressing.

"Where are you going?" he asked without concern. He was hers and she was his ... where could she possibly be going?

"Chile ... my plane leaves in five hours. I need to go home to pack."

His life was changing alright, but not how he imagined. He sat up. "You're still going?"

"Why would you think that I wouldn't?"

"Bones!" He got up quickly and pulled on his boxers. "No."

"No?"

"It's not a command ... it's ... I don't know ... but No ... you can't go."

"You are leaving for San Francisco tomorrow."

"Not necessarily."

"You wouldn't give up your career just because we -."

"Not give it up ... per se ... but I think there is room for discussion."

"We can talk when I get back." She grabbed her coat and headed for the door. "I feel I need to say something to acknowledge what we shared."

He didn't wait for what she would say next. "Wait ... wait ... OK? Just wait a minute." She looked frustrated. "Why are you trying to get away from me so quickly? You know what never mind ... pretend I didn't ask that. Just sit down for a minute ... Please ... Bones ... Temperance ... You can give me a minute. We need to talk ... don't you think?"

"I tried to talk about this last night, but you didn't seem interested."

"Last night I wasn't ... but I did say we would talk in the morning ... geez, I need some coffee. This is not how I pictured this morning would go."

"What did you imagine?"

He shook his head. "I don't know ... I didn't imagine anything really. Maybe breakfast in bed ... but I didn't think you would get up at dawn and run away from me. "

"I'm not running. I have made a commitment."

"And what about me ... us ... that wasn't a commitment? What was last night? A good bye fu-" He stopped himself from being too crude. She looked away. "Temperance, please ... I know you don't like this part, but you gotta give me something here."

She tried to choose her words carefully. "I imagine that we have entered into a romantic relationship that typically excludes all other sex partners. I expect I know how you feel on the subject and I will make that promise to you. And -"

"So what? We're going steady?"

"I don't know what that means." She waited to see if he wanted to explain, but then forged on. "Unfortunately our work is taking us in separate directions quite literally and consequently we will not be afforded the opportunity to be in each other company as much as we had been. I suspect that that won't always be the case, but until such time ... that is what there is."

"And you are Ok with that?"

"My preference is not a factor."

He smiled. "It actually is, Bones ... it's a HUGE factor. You act like you are at the mercy of the world, outside forces. You aren't ... we aren't. We can choose our own fate."

"Fate, by definition ... is something we can't choose."

"But you don't believe in fate ... or destiny ... but you do believe in free will - a tomorrow, a future. We can choose what tomorrow will be."

"Yes, I do believe in free will - and making my own choices."

"And you really want to wake up tomorrow in Chile?"

"My plane won't land until the morning, and I don't expect that I will sleep on the plane ... but I see your point." He waited. "I don't want to wake up the following day here with you in San Francisco."

"Ok fine ... let's review our options. But the first thing you have to do is cancel your flight."

"And you yours?"

He smiled. "I never made reservations. In fact I have never officially accepted the new assignment."

"Why not?"

"Because it was not something I wanted to do," he stated. She liked that answer. It wasn't Booth at his most proactive, but it was nice to know he didn't just roll over and take it. "I hoped that something would come up to stop it."

She stepped toward him, laced her fingers behind his neck and brought her lips dangerously close to his. "Something like this?"

God, he could get used to this passionate side of her. "Yeah," he smiled smugly as if he had known all along that this would be how it would go down.

"What if I hadn't come over last night? What if I had missed you and you were on your date with Catherine?"

"You did and it wasn't a date. And what if's are not allowed ... but just for the sake of argument." He put his hands on her waist keeping her very close. "I have always wanted to see South America."

"Are you suggesting that you would have followed me to Chile?"

"Maybe."

"So maybe I should not cancel my flight ... let you chase me. Isn't that how it is done in the movies?"

"You don't want to go ... there is no reason for you to go. You are one of six anthropologists on this particular assignment; two of which are from the Jeffersonian and you don't even like them or respect their work. You aren't heading up the dig and quite frankly it is a pretty minor find. You were only going so you could be gone."

She tried to pull away from him but he kept her in place. "How do you know all that?"

"Cause I know you, Bones." He grinned proudly. "I didn't know that you had changed your flight to today. Everyone else is leaving next week."

"I wanted to get their early."

"You wanted to scoop your fellow anthropologists ... you can be pretty competitive."

"It's not competition ... I wanted to see the ruins before they were disturbed. I learned that working with you." He grinned. "You like that you teach me things."

"I like that you notice that I teach you things." He kissed her quickly. "The real question is when did you decide to leave today."

"About fifteen seconds after you dropped your bomb and left the lab."

"So you didn't want to scoop your colleagues, you wanted to scoop my leaving."

"Yes." The smile faded from her face. They did need to talk. "I am totally out of my element here. New ground, new territory."

"Me too."

"You have been in a number of relationships."

"Not like this," he admitted. "Not one that I actually believed would be for the rest of my life." She tensed. "Don't ... don't do that ... don't get scared. Life is all about one day at a time ... with an eye on tomorrow. So all we have to think about is right here, right now and do what we need to do, what we want to do for today and tomorrow."

"That doesn't sound very practical."

"Let's try it." He kissed her. "Cancel your flight."

"And then what?"

"How about breakfast and some honest communication."

"Ok."

"Ok?"

"Yes. I believe that if we set our mind to a goal, we will attain it."

"What more can you asked for?" He pulled her close.

"A toothbrush and some coffee."

He grinned. "Done and done."

X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X_X

A/N: This was written before Season 5 Season Finale. After it aired I saw no reason to post this. Now seven episodes into Season 6 it might be nice to have a little ONE SHOT that could have changed the path they were on in a different direction. So cleaning out my files today, I thought maybe someone would find a little joy in this, put a little Booth and Brennan smile on your face. Hope you had a little fun.