Posted 27th Dec 2010.

Disclaimer: They're not mine and never will be. No infringement intended, ever. Fox owns them.

Summary: B&B romance, fun and frolics. A large thin crusted pepperoni pizza and a bottle of Chianti essential for this one. (Not a fava bean or human liver in sight.) Time to read? Dunno. (Wink)

Rating: NC17/M

Thanks: To my beta Kam. Huge gratitude and humble thanks for all your time and efforts. Great to have you back. XX.

Romanesque.

Chapter I Zoning out.

The late spring day was still sparkling outside, vibrant with fresh lime growth on the boughs of the trees in the Jeffersonian grounds. However in her office, although large and airy, Bones couldn't see any of that vital renewal. All she could see were the shafts of opaque sunlight streaming through the glass roof which flooded her beloved lab. She looked out of her office door towards Hodgins' desk enviously, seeing him bathed in that warm sunlight, and sighed. She leaned back in her chair, deliberately neglecting her report for the FBI for a few moments. Her eyes fixated on one particular shaft which played provocatively with his petrographic microscope, and zoned out.

She had been zoning out quite a lot recently, she idly noted. What was it that had her so distracted? Was it the fact that her partner was no longer with his girlfriend Hannah, and he seemed extremely happy about that? Which she couldn't fathom why. The split had been mutual, so he said, but he hadn't elaborated on the circumstances of their separation. And she didn't feel it her place to pry so left that well alone. She was expecting him to mope about for a while but clearly that hadn't been the case. If she were to put his mood into words, she would say he seemed back to his old cheery self and even elated that he was single again. Or was her distraction nothing to do with that but had everything to do with feeling exhausted?

They'd had many cases of late and not much respite or down time. They had certainly put in plenty of overtime, so that could be the cause for her distraction, she reflected. In either case she didn't have the energy or inclination to finish her report or think anymore, so she chose to finish her day right there and then.

She saved the file, and shut down her MAC. Grabbing her coat and purse, she walked out of her office. As she walked past Hodgins he looked up, curious as to why she was leaving. 'Where you off to, Doctor Brennan? The FBI?'

'No. Home. See you tomorrow, Jack,' she explained in staccato.

Jack snagged his head back, his brows confused. 'Bye,' he said instinctually, then looked at his wristwatch. It read 16.31. He looked up to her as she walked out of the doors and disappeared.

Angela appeared by his side a moment later. 'Was that Bren going home?'

'Yeah,' he said, shrugging his shoulders, not understanding her leaving in the middle of her day. Ange slid her hands over her ever increasing bump, and sighed.

'I'm worried about her, you know.'

'Yeah, me too. She seems so...'

'Yes, exactly. Maybe I should pop round to hers tonight, have a chat with her. See what's up.' Ange caressed his shoulders from behind, giving them a delicate massage.

'Oh. Leave her, Ange. I just think she looks really tired. We've been putting in the hours recently. I think she just needs a break.' Ange conceded his point, agreeing with a nod, and a kiss to her husband's head.

Ange said absently, already having decided on her course of action, 'I'll have a chat with her tomorrow.' Just as she said the words, Booth came in with a huge smile and a spring in his step. 'Hey, Booth you've just missed her. She's gone home early.' Booth lost his smile instantly, checked his energy filled swagger, and exchanged it for concerned look.

He interrogated instantly, 'Is she sick?'

'No idea. She just walked out, said goodbye and went,' Ange told him bluntly.

'Huh.' He hitched up his pants, and thought out loud, 'She has been kinda quiet the last couple of weeks.' He leant on Hodgins' desk, clearly cogitating on his partner's recent behaviour.

Ange added, seeing him look increasingly puzzled, 'We were just saying she looks pretty tired. I was gonna pop round to hers later and have a chat with her.'

Booth shook his head, saying, 'Let me. I'll take some Thai and a bottle of that slosh she loves, wheedle it out of her.' He grinned handsomely at the newlyweds. Ange and Jack exchanged sly looks. It felt to them as if Booth was as keen as mustard to go see his partner after hours. Something that had inevitably dwindled when he was with Hannah. With that exchange, Booth spun on his heels, and made haste out of the lab having never said what he'd come in for.

'Well, well, well...' Ange said, doing a little cogitating of her own.

Her husband looked up to her with an affectionate, knowing smile, saying cheekily, 'Three holes in the ground.'

'Yes, precisely.' They kissed softly, chuckled at each other, then Ange went back to her duties.

!

Chapter II The Invitation.

Booth took her apartment steps two at a time, thinking the elevator would be too slow. His hands were full of take out; two bottles of her favourite wine, a bar of dark chocolate and a punnet of strawberries. In his other hand another bag, finally on his face, an enormous smile which he had trouble controlling. He checked as he reached her door, looking briefly over the contents he carried, thinking he had covered all his bases, then tapped her door.

He grinned as casually as he could at the peep hole, while straining to listen for her footsteps approaching on the other side. As he heard her undo the chain, he grinned wider at her peep hole, feeling his heart rate quicken as she opened the door with a watery smile. He could tell she wasn't really up to visitors but decided to not be hurt by that realisation.

'Hey, Booth. I'm not sick,' she said, already assuming that was why he had come to see her. She stepped aside to let him in.

'I know,' he said sweetly as he walked in. 'I brought you dinner; booze, chocolate and some strawberry's to cheer you up.' He headed straight for her kitchen island, and place the items on it.

'Oh... Right... Thanks,' she said haltingly, closing the door behind him. She didn't have time to question him for his impromptu visit as he was already rummaging for plates, glasses and a corkscrew.

'Take a load off, Bones. Dinner's coming right up, glass of wine?' He spun to grin hard at her, holding the bottle up, wiggling it a little to tempt. Bones couldn't resist his attractive smile, and matched it, charmed by his casualness.

'Sure, why not.' She sat on her usual chair, still perplexed but enjoying having him around. His glee seemed to be infectious and she felt a whole lot better now he was here.

'Cool.' He poured her a healthy glass, handing it to her. Then he began dishing up her dinner onto a plate. 'We've been so busy lately we've not had much time to catch up, have we?'

Bones took a large mouthful of the excellent wine, and swallowed it. 'No, not really.' She felt the alcohol relax her shoulders, and she sighed as it warmed her from inside. 'Umm. Lovely. Thanks for this. I was going to skip dinner and just have a bath then bed when you knocked.' Booth nodded, with a tiny smile creeping over his lips, she noted. He sat down, lifted his glass for them to toast with another stunning smile. Bones clinked glasses with him, and took another sip. 'What's going on, Booth?' she asked, unable to fathom why he was smiling so hard at her. He had a mysterious look about him, like he knew a secret and was bursting to tell her about it.

'Eat up, Bones,' he urged, deliberately ignoring her question. She began on her take out, watching as he put the fruit in the fridge, then found a pan to heat the chocolate up in. 'I've been thinking,' he began again.

She interrupted saying, 'Oh dear, is that wise, Booth?'

'Ha!' He spun from his task, flashing his eyes at her. 'Probably not. However... I've been thinking about us.' Bones almost choked on her egg roll, and snapped her eyes to his. 'We're pretty tight, aren't we, Bones?' She nodded, not as casually as she'd hoped, taking another gulp of wine to calm herself. He continued, ignoring her shocked reaction, sitting back down opposite her, 'We've both been so busy lately, you look washed out.'

'Thanks,' she said, with a slight pout.

He grinned even wider, dismissing her mild reprimand with a wave of his hand, as he snatched his own battered prawn morsel. He began to munch it, adding with his mouth full, 'Oh. You still look amazing, don't sweat it. Anyway, where was I? Oh. Yeah...' Bones felt a flush of heat on her pale cheeks at his casual compliment. 'I'm going to take a break, a vacation,' he clarified quickly. 'And, and I would like you to come with me...' He looked at her expectantly. Bones now completely stunned, felt her mouth drop open slightly. Before she could think of anything to say, he was rummaging in the second bag he'd brought with him, with half of the prawn between his lips. 'I was thinking Rome,' he mumbled, then manoeuvred the prawn into his mouth, and chewed it. 'A few days, maybe a week. Separate rooms obviously.' He pulled out three glossy brochures, and placed them in front of her. Her eyes looked to them, then back to him incredulously.

Bones felt deeply touched although shocked by his request. The fact that he wanted to spend some of his down time with her made her feel extremely special and terribly excited. If she were honest with herself she couldn't think of anything better. There was also the other implications which hung heavy on the invitation. Was this invitation a move towards a romantic relationship or was it just two friends taking a break together? Or had she got completely the wrong end of the stick. With that embarrassing thought her blush got to full strength, and was burning her cheeks, and felt her heart palpitating wildly.

This time she could see the nervousness in his expression as she sat dumb. He went on a little quieter, explaining gently, 'I wanna go see the Vatican; Sistine chapel and all that. Parker's a little too young to appreciate it. I don't wanna go alone, I want to share it with someone, my best friend hopefully... And I'm sure you could do with a break from all the bones 'n' stuff. We could do things together or if you wanna go off when I do my God thing, that's fine...' Bones lifted her hand to stop him rambling on.

Needing clarification, she asked, 'Let me get this straight...' Booth stilled, but took a sip from his glass, his glittering eyes trained on hers. 'You want us to go to Rome?' He nodded once. 'You and me, together?' and once again. 'A pilgrimage for you, is it?'

Booth quirked his lips. 'Kinda. Yeah I suppose, not really but its somewhere I've always...'

Her decision was instantaneous. 'Ok,' she said quietly, interrupting him. It was Booth's jaw that dropped slightly, then his smile grew big and strong.

'Really? You'll come?' He twitched excitedly on his seat.

'Sure. You're right, I could really do with a break, and I've never seen Rome. You're good company and can be quite amusing. I imagine you would make an excellent travelling companion.'

'Ha! Thanks!' They locked eyes, and grinned as casually as they could, although both of them were extremely excited about the prospect of spending a week together. Booth got up, and came around to her side, sitting next to her hurriedly. He opened one of the brochures, and flicked to a page with a map of the city. Bones watched his jubilant face shimmer with elation that she had agreed to go. She felt her knees weaken, and her fingers pulse with excitement at the prospect. It felt like they were a real couple somehow and were planning their first trip away together. And she adored the sensation that thought gave her now.

'I was thinking the old city quarter, there's plenty of really old hotels in the little cobbled streets and tones of great restaurants 'n' stuff. Fancy shopping too, if you want that.' He looked to her, while pointing at the area he had thought of. 'The Parthenon; Forum, Coliseum...' She was nodding just as excitedly, but looked to him when he paused. 'I'm so glad you agreed to come with me, Bones,' he told her sincerely, softly. Bones looked over his gentle expression, with the strong urge to kiss him as he looked so adorable and grateful.

While Bones caressed his expression with her eyes he looked to her lips, reining back his desire to kiss her for agreeing to his invitation. Their silent enamoured gaze felt excruciatingly sensual. Bones braved a question to clarify, 'Separate rooms?' Booth nodded gently, not breaking eye contact.

'Yeah,' he said softly, almost seemingly embarrassed by her asking again, then went on, looking away to the brochure, 'I'm sure we can decide on something we both like the sound of. Something central to everything. We can walk everywhere it kinda small, so perfect for that.'

'Sounds wonderful. When?' she asked, while picking up the carton of Singapore noodles. She scooped up a healthy amount on her fork, then into her mouth, feeling wonderfully light-headed.

'Ooo. ASAP, Bones. Lets choose where first, check out the what's free and book it. I'm owed so much time and Andy is badgering me to take it. Can you leave at the drop of a hat?'

'Pretty much. The interns can cover what I do.'

'Not as well but I'm sure the place won't fall apart in a week.' He grinned handsomely, scooping out noodles from her carton.

Bones riled, 'Hey, you brought them for me! Eat your own,' she playfully reprimanded him. He ignored her completely, scooping more, as she tried to keep them away from him. They started to laugh, and struggle over the carton.

'Share, Bones.'

'No, mine, all mine.' She got off the chair, trying to get away from him. Booth wasn't having any of that though, and chased after her. She ended up almost running around her island, while stuffing her face with the noodles till she had hamster cheeks. Booth chuckled at her playfulness, and seeing her gorgeous smile light her up. Not being able to get to her he grabbed the sweet chilli veggies, and began on those. Bones gasped, appalled he was eating her favourite dish. 'At's ooo ot air!' she said garbled, her mouth so full it disguised her words. Booth belly laughed at her.

'What did you say, Hammy?' She chewed her mouthful, and swallowed.

'I said, that's so not fair. Ok, you can have some of these if you don't eat all of those.'

He compromised gallantly, 'Ok.' They grinned, and sat back down, swapping the cartons. Both unable to lose their smiles, as they tucked in again.

Shoulder to shoulder, while Booth flicked through the pages of the brochure, they ate. 'That's the one!' she declared, just as he said, 'That one!' They both looked at one another, and grinned. Booth cutely bumped her with his shoulder, rocking her a little. Both parties easily agreeing on a place to stay.

'I want a double room, Booth you get more space that way. I know we won't be in it much, just to sleep but I like room to move about.'

'Ha. Move about? What, do you sleepwalk or something?'

'Nooo. You know what I mean.'

'Yeah, I'll do the same actually,' he said, then, 'Or we could just...' he checked again, losing his cute smile somewhat. 'No never mind.'

'What, could what?'

'Nothing, it's ok, forget I said anything.'

'A twin?' she offered, surprised she found the courage to suggest what he was obviously thinking, and that her question had rolled out so easily. It was Booth's cheeks that flushed slightly now. He looked away from her to the hotel's page. She went on saving his blushes to explain her reasons, 'It would make fiscal sense, Booth. It's not as if we haven't shared a room before.' She grinned cheekily, as she took a gulp of her wine, adding, 'If you don't think I can trust you, you're mistaken. I'm a black belt in karate and proficient in several other martial arts.' Booth smiled, daring to look back to her. 'I'm sure I could incapacitate you if the need arose. A swift kick to the groin area will usually suffice.'

Booth was adoring the fact that she was being so charmingly playful with him, then retorted faking his seriousness, 'I'm sure I can control myself, Bones. You're not that irresistible.'

'Well, you've not seen me in my negligee yet. I wouldn't be so confident,' she cautioned, while taking another gulp of wine to drain her glass. They both looked at one another, then began to laugh.

!

Chapter III Stripped Bare.

'Ow! Geeese that smarts,' Bones grimaced, looking over to Ange on the other waxing bed. Ange chuckled at her friend.

'You're always such a wimp, Bren,' Ange chastised amused. 'So, when is it you fly out? Ow! Watch it!' Ange then snapped at her waxer. Bones huffed a chuckle at her now, staring lethally down at the scared beauty therapist.

'Friday. Two days time. I'm so looking forward to it, Ange and I know Booth is too. He's been reading up all about the best places to eat and visit.' Their conversation was regularly interspersed with the ripping of unwanted hair growth from their limbs. Ange watched her friend's gleeful expression as Bones went on, 'I know he's so excited about seeing all those sights he's dreamt of visiting. He says it's not a pilgrimage but surely it is in a way? As he's Catholic I can understand the need to go to its high seat. His faith is his moral compass and after his experiences in Afghanistan, I think he's wanting to reconnect with that.' Ange nodded, thinking that was a fair assessment but not the whole truth. 'I'm curious too. I expect it should be quite enlightening and an educational trip... Why are you looking at me like that?' Bones queried suddenly. Ange grinned a little harder.

'Twin beds not a double?' Ange goaded her a little. Bones sighed, and shook her head forlornly.

'I told you, Ange, it makes perfect financial sense. We're just two good friends going to Rome to see the sights.'

Ange huffed again, amused she was being so nonchalant. 'Yes, of course,' she said sarcastically. 'He's single now, you're single, You're going to share a twin room in the cutest 15th century old Cardinals house in the old city quarter, in the most romantic city in Europe.'

'It's arguably the most romantic city in Europe. I think Paris would have something to say about that.'

'Stop splitting hairs, Bren. Things are gonna happen between you, I can feel it in my water,' Ange wagged her finger in the air to accentuate her premonition. Bones shook her head, trying to hide her blushes from her by looking up at the ceiling. Ange went on ignoring her, ignoring her, 'You two have been like a pair of school kids lately. All smiles, playful around one another, huddling around guide books together, swapping those sultry looks...' That last observation hit a nerve.

'We do nothing of the sort!' Bones reprimanded, not willing to concede that was indeed the case. Ange knew the reason she admonished her so readily was because she was right. 'We're just exchanging information about our trip those times, nothing more.'

'Ri-ight. Ok.' Ange backed off for a few seconds, letting her calm, then asked cheekily, 'Have you packed any contraceptives?'

'Ange!'

The Artist started to laugh hard at her outraged scold. Changing tack completely, Ange went on, 'At least you can find out what happened between Hannah and him. I'm sure he'd tell you, aren't you intrigued to know?'

'No. That's his business, Ange. If he wants to tell me, I'll listen but I won't ask him,' Bones explained sensibly.

'Did you get that other thing sorted?'

Bones grinned over to her, and nodded sweetly. 'Yes, all arranged. I can't wait to see his face,' she said wistfully, while her therapist began lasering her underarms. Ange saw her distant expression, and thought it reminiscent of a statue carved by Bellini. She couldn't recall its name but it was beautiful, and just how she looked now.

Ange rolled onto her side to allow more waxing to continue, and to watch her dearest friend. 'Booth's worked out an itinerary, printed it up and gave me a copy to annotate if need be. It was extremely detailed and well thought out actually.' She sounded quite surprised by that fact. 'Very sweet too, ha,' she chuckled, recalling, 'He'd left time for me to shop or put things in it like; Free time away from the God-y one. I thought that was particularly endearing. I think he was quite touched when I gave it back with my saying that I didn't need any free time alone.'

'I bet. I think he's hoping you're together 24/7, Sweetie or he'd have never asked you to go with him.'

'Yes, I concur. He did seem very pleased when he saw it.' Bones looked over to her friend, then rolled to face her too. 'Ange, I need some advice.'

'Here we go,' Ange muttered, then, 'Shoot girlfriend.'

Bones grinned nervously, took a breath for courage to ask her question, 'What if...'

'Do it,' Ange answered fast and sincerely. Bones' jaw dropped at her sudden reply.

'You don't know what I'm going to ask yet?' she questioned incredulously.

'Sweetie,' Ange said kindly. 'Look, just enjoy the trip. Don't go with any expectations either way. Then if nothing happens, you will have had a great time with one of your best friends. If it does, then you've still had a great time with the added delicious extras,' she explained, with a flare of her eyes. Bones stayed perfectly still, staring into her eyes not commenting for a few moments. Then she sighed, and rolled onto her back again. Ange added, seeing her deep in thought, looking into the space above her, 'And stop thinking about the what if's, pro's and con's. Bren.'

'You're right. No expectations. We're just going to have fun,' she said, convincing herself.

'Exactly.'

'Right, Ladies you're all set,' the therapist said casually, professionally forgetting everything she'd heard instantly. 'Manicure, pedicure?' she offered. Bones and Ange exchanged glances and little smiles. They both held their hands out in front of them in silent reply, and laughed towards each other.

!

Chapter IV Arrivederci.

'This is the final call for flight 2541 to Rome. Would the remaining passengers make their way to gate 33 as the aircraft is about to depart.'

'Booones, come on, that was the last call? The very last call,' Booth whined, scared they was going to miss the flight. However Bones seemed to be unconcerned and totally un-phased by his insistence she move faster towards the gate. She couldn't fully hide her torturous enigmatic smile from her lips. She thought he was about to start a manic run to the departure date if she didn't pick up her pace, which tickled her.

'Calm down, Booth. They won't go without us.'

He looked aghast to her, snapping, 'Yes they will!'

'There'll be a huge queue at the gate, mark my words,' she explained casually. Then said just as calmly, stepping onto the travellator letting it take her along, 'It's a long flight, Booth. The least amount of time I can spend on the aircraft the better.'

Booth was trotting beside her along the airy corridor, dragging his unruly in-flight bag. His eyes were wide and panicked like a rabbit's caught in headlights. 'We'll just see the damn thing taxiing off and we'll be left stranded. We won't even get on the bloody thing at this rate,' he scolded, flapping his hand manically for her to move quicker. Although he didn't realise he was virtually running while she was elegantly still but moving at the same pace as him. 'I knew we should have got here earlier,' he muttered, totally disgruntled and beginning to perspire. Bones started to chuckle, and shook her head. He snapped her an annoyed glance as she stepped off the travellator, unruffled.

'There, see? Gate 33 is just down there. Calm down, Booth,' she said as cool as a cucumber, pointing in its direction. Booth looked but the sense of dread still filled him as it seemed like it was still a mile away.

'Would passengers Booth and Brennan please make their way immediately to departure gate 33 as the aircraft is about to depart.'

He snapped his eyes to Bones as if he was either going to faint or have the screaming meemies. Bones couldn't stop laughing at his manic expression on hearing their names called. That had never happened to him before clearly, she mused. 'Jesus, Bones! I'm gonna pick you up and run with ya if you don't move that cute butt!'

'Ha. Cute butt, eh? Nice,' she muttered under breath, pulling out her passport as they neared the empty gate. Booth jogged up to the two hostesses who grinned charmingly at them.

'Oh. God, so sorry, so sorry,' he panted, fumbling to find his passport and boarding card. 'We left it a bit late, sorry.' He still couldn't find his passport, and began to get concerned, patting his pockets down. Bones handed hers to the other smartly dressed hostess. She processed it smiling prettily, handing it back to her.

'It's ok, Mr Booth we have a few moments grace. Passport, boarding card?' Booth was rummaging through his bag, muttering expletives as he couldn't find it.

'Yes, somewhere I can't seem to find it. Maybe it's in here. Oh. Crap, not in there. Where the fffu...' Bones dropped a hip, and shook her head. As he was bent down, unzipping his bag she casually pulled both required items out of his top shirt pocket, and handed them to the hostess.

'He's a little flustered,' she explained, still regally unruffled. Booth stood to full height and hitched his jeans up, embarrassed. Bones snuck him a glance, unable to hide her giggles. His face broke into a charming smile, and he nodded to accept that he'd acted like an idiot.

Booth followed the hostess, matching her hasty pace, while Bones walked just as casually as before to the aircraft doors. Booth turned right still apologising, and headed down the fuselage, looking for his seat. Many of his fellow passengers were looking at him with disgust for holding them up.

'Mr Booth? Mr Booth... could you,' he heard behind him. The aircraft engines started up, and the doors were being locked and it started to taxi away from the terminal.

'Yes I'm trying but I can't, find any frigging seats.' People were eyeing him suspiciously now, as he kept trying to read his boarding card, and match the seat numbers to it. 'Maybe it's on the other side...'

'Mr Booth, please come and take your seat. We must have you seated before we take off,' she insisted. There were tuts and huffs from the passengers, and more daggers thrown at him. 'Bones? Can you see our seats?' He turned, but she was nowhere in sight. Only a few hundred pissed off faces and one pretty hostess stared at him.

'This way, Mr Booth your seat is this way, please, this way,' she said sweetly insistent.

'Oh. Sshoot. I thought, sorry, sorry.' He spun fast, consequently his flight bag clouted the back of someone's head as he paced off after the hostess. 'Oh. God, sorry, I'm so sorry.' He felt like a complete fool, wanting the plane doors to open up and let him jump off. He grabbed his bag to his chest tighter, beading with sweat and humiliation. He followed the hostess almost blindly, trying not to make eye contact with any more frustrated flyers. She slipped behind the curtain in front of the flight deck door. She stilled so did he, confused. Then he had a mild panic, thinking he was in real trouble and she was waiting for the captain to come out and tear him off a strip.

'After you, Mr Booth,' she said attractively, gesturing up the narrow stairs. It was then that the realisation hit. His shoulders relaxed, and he felt suddenly very moved. He started up the stairs, still clutching his bag to his torso. There were only four seats up in the first class section, huge seats that laid flat, he noted excitedly. Bones was sitting serenely on one of them, flicking through the in-flight magazine and the only person in the plush cabin.

'Take your seat, Mr Booth. Please, I really must insist.'

Booth sat beside Bones, who he could see had a gorgeous smile on her face, but still kept her eyes on the magazine. The hostess relieved him of his bag, and stowed it. Booth put his belt on, and she left them with genuine relief at finally getting him seated. Moments later the aircraft powered up its Rolls Royce engines, and began to hurtle along the runway.

'Where did you get to?' Bones asked casually, finally looking at him. He was grinning from ear to ear. It took a few moments but eventually they both started to belly laugh at his antics.

'I hit someone on the head with my bag,' he told her with a puppy-eyed pout. Bones giggled again, rolling on her chair. 'I was running up and down the plane looking for my seat. You'd disappeared. Everybody hates me, if you'd seen the looks I was getting, Bones. It was scary!' Bones' shoulders rattled with her hilarity at his absurd boarding procedure.

'You did this,' he said, calming slightly as their laughter subsided eventually, nodding to the cabin they were in. She nodded humbly but keeping her smile perched on her lips. 'Awesome,' he told her just as sincerely. Bones felt her shoulders relax, delighted he hadn't made an issue out of it.

Bones put the magazine away, as she explained, 'I just upgraded us. This way, we both arrive fresh in Rome in the morning. It was the least I could do. I thought it appropriate to thank you for inviting me along with you, for which I'm deeply touched.' They forged one of those looks which sent them swirling deep into each other's eyes.

His voice almost broke as he said, 'As am I.' He took her hand, and brought it to his lips, placing a delicate warm kiss on the back of it. Bones watched his lips touch her skin, which sent a lovely thrill along her arm to warm her metaphorical heart. He gave her back control of her hand, and sighed, looking as she placed it on her thigh. Then changing the subject he raved, 'Oh. Boy this is amazing, Bones. I'm so excited I could pee myself.'

She chuckled again, pointing to the toilet. 'It's over there. However I would suggest you wait till the seatbelt sign goes off, or they will throw you off the plane.' Booth chuckled, nodding to agree.

Once the sign pinged off, the hostess arrived back with a relieved smile. 'Mr Booth, that was a little close. We nearly lost our time slot for take off.'

Booth apologised again, blushing slightly, 'Oh. Gosh sorry about that. It won't happen again, I promise.'

'No problem, all is well.' Then she turned her attention to Bones. 'Hello again, Doctor Brennan. Lovely to see you flying with us again. Have you been well?'

'Yes very well, you?'

'Not bad, not bad. How's the new book coming? I'm desperate to read another,' she said sincerely. Booth realised that Bones must often fly with BA regularly this way. He cheerily listened to their conversation, while itching to lay his bed flat and check out all the bells and whistles on his seat arm.

'Oh. A few months yet, I'm afraid. It's with my editor at the moment. Agent Booth here is my partner and partly the inspiration for the character of Andy.' The hostess' eyes grew wide.

'Oh! Wonderful.' Looking to Booth who was beaming proudly at her, she looked very impressed, saying, 'I imagined him to be shorter, but that's just in my head. Now I've met the real thing. I'll change my perception.'

She went off to the other two seats, and began to make them up into beds. Booth watched on, guzzling in everything around him. 'I hope you're not too disappointed,' Booth said softly.

'Ha! Not at all, Agent Booth, not at all. I'll get you a drink in a moment, but I must just do this for you first. Have you decided what you would like for dinner?'

Bones handed him the menu booklet, as he whispered in Bones' ear, 'Awesome.' Bones grinned wider, knowing he was loving every moment of her treat.

'Is it business or pleasure the reason for your trip to Rome?'

'Pleasure, definitely pleasure,' Booth gushed, looking over the menu, deciding. Bones felt her cheeks flush again which was becoming a regular occurrence of late, she noted.

'Lovely.' She went on casually, 'If you get the chance there's an incredible trattoria my husband took me to on our honeymoon. El Gennaro's in Navona piazza. It has a roof top garden and dining with a fantastic view over the city, gorgeous, romantic, intimate and quiet. You'll need to book a table but believe me, the pastas and veal especially are sublime.'

'Ok. Thanks, we'll give it a try,' Bones said, making a mental note of her instructions. 'How is your husband Gerard?' Booth was slightly surprised she remembered his name, as she usually forgot people's names readily.

'Oh. He's great, Doctor Brennan. He's the captain on this flight actually.'

'Cool,' Booth interjected, pleasantly, having decided on his meal choice. He grinned wide at Bones who was still reading the menu.

'Would you like to go up to the flight deck, Agent Booth? I can arrange that for you a little later.'

Booth double checked his glance with Bones then back to the hostess, his excitement brewing. Bones could feel that excitement coming off him in wholesome waves. 'Wow. Really? That would be fantastic. Yes please.'

The hostess turned, after finishing the beds with a placatory smile, and a nod. 'Ok. I'll let you know when. Have you decided?' She came over, and waited with her hands behind her back.

'Bones?'

'I'll have the gazpacho to start then the pasta, thanks.'

'Good choice. Agent Booth?'

'I'm the meat eater in this partnership.' That comment made her smile, and glance to Bones, who flicked her eyes high, adding a little smile to accompany the gesture. 'Pâté then the fillet, please.'

'Right, about half an hour for dinner. Just sit back and relax. Call if you need anything and I'll bring your aperitifs up shortly.'

Booth read her badge. 'Thanks, Heather,' he said, utterly taken with her and the calmness that had now descended over him. He felt he was slowly slipping into this holiday and they'd only been in the air ten minutes or so. If it was to end now he would have been totally content, almost. Heather went leaving them alone and grinning at one another.

'Cockpit visit; steak, my beautiful partner beside me, sleeping on a flat bed in the sky, week in Rome, all totally awesome, Bones.'

'That's interesting... I came after the steak,' she said cheekily, although flattered immeasurably.

'Yeah, but I did say my beautiful partner.' He leant in a little, full of charm and smoothness.

'That's true, you did,' she said almost shyly, feeling his body heat warm her up slightly. It was then that he took the opportunity to experiment with all the buttons on his chair. Bones watched on as he went up and down several times, ooo-ing and arr-ing as he went.

'Is it just us up here then, Bones?'

'Looks like it.' She looked around the cabin as he came up straight again. 'Heather is our dedicated stewardess. She's lovely so is her husband. Ex-RAF pilot. He served in both Gulf Wars flying AWAX.'

Heather appeared again with a drinks tray, and placed it on the small fridge in the corner of the intimate cabin. She offered them a drink, and brought them over. 'Gerard says after dinner if that is convenient, Agent Booth.'

'Wow. Great, thanks so much.'

'You're welcome. I'll get started on your meals,' with that she was off again. This time Booth got up, and started wandering around the cabin. He prodded the beds Heather had made up to test their comfort. Bones stifled her chuckle, seeing him so impressed.

'Are you a member?' he asked, coming back over, while draining his gin and tonic.

'Of what?' she asked, confused by his smile, handing him her glass as he went off to make another.

'Well, you travel first class when you can. They have beds and stuff, I just was curious if you've ever... you know? Mile high?' He brought back her refill, and sat down with a heavy comfortable groan.

Bones grinned, shaking her head. 'No, not yet. Besides I've never been on vacation with someone I've been intimate with. Are you a member of this dubious club?' He looked at her curiously because of the way she answered his question.

'Me? Ha. No! When would I get the chance?' Bones stared into him for a few seconds then thankfully Heather interrupted them. Booth twitched on his seat slightly, forcing a smile onto his lips for Heather. He didn't dare to remark on Bones' silence which seemed to be messing with his head and libido.

!

Their meal was excellently prepared and they drank plenty of wine and then topped that off with couple of brandies. Booth had his visit to the cockpit. He was full of it when he returned back to their personal space. He excitedly recounted his experience to her. She listened patiently but her eyes were heavy with fatigue, and the amount of alcohol she'd consumed. 'Booth, would you mind if I went to bed? I'm feeling extremely tired.'

'Not at all, Bones. You get some sleep. Do you mind if I watch a movie over here though? I'll put on the headphones so I don't disturb, obviously,' he asked, with a plea in his expression. It was clear to Bones he wanted to get everything out of her treat as he could and she had no qualms about that. She was loving the fact that he was enjoying himself so much, and delighted she'd upgraded them as it gave him so much pleasure.

Bones yawned, getting up to get her cabin bag. 'I don't mind at all. I'll be out like a light, I'm sure.' Booth watched her reach up for her bag, as she did her smooth-honed stomach came into view under her shirt. He had to control his need to plant a kiss directly on her midriff. She caught where his eyes were directed, as she pulled out her wash bag and ivory satin pyjamas. He dragged them away, and gave her a tiny grin. Then he fumbled for his ear phones, trying to cover for his ogling of her flesh. Bones didn't comment, but as she walked to the restroom, she grinned surreptitiously all the way there.

As she changed, and did her ablutions, she dared to consider the possibility that they could very well become intimate on this holiday. Those thoughts she tried to put aside, remembering what Ange had advised; not to have any expectations. So she took a breath, and let it go slow, calming herself.

As she came out, Booth glanced over. He had his ear phones in, and was plainly watching his movie. Then she noted that he took a double take of her. 'Nice jammies, Bones but where's the negligee?' he asked humorously.

Bones chuckled softly. 'I'm saving that for emergencies... Night, night, Booth.'

'Sweet dreams, Bones,' he countered softly, wondering what she meant by that comment. In fact that comment spun around his head throughout his movie.

!

Halfway over the Atlantic the plane hit a little turbulence. Bones woke slowly to the gentle rocking and bumps. She took a moment to figure out where she was, then rolled over to her other side when she realised. Booth was laying next to her in the other bed, fast asleep. He was sprawled on his stomach, one of his long legs was dangling over the side of the bed. The other foot hung over the end of it, and the blanket was jealously clinging to his body, barely. She could see he just wore his boxers and chain. He was utterly peaceful and serene. She selfishly, slowly devoured the way he looked in monochrome. Although his muscles were relaxed, they were defined perfectly and highlighted seductively by the low ambient light.

It was as she sighed softly that he opened his eyes to hers. He blinked a few times to focus through the darkness. He could tell she was watching him but didn't know for how long. They looked at each other for what seemed like an age, saying nothing to each other just content to stare. Almost at the same time, they reached for the other's hand a couple of feet away, and held each other tenderly. Then they closed their eyes, and went back to sleep.

!

Chapter V Benvenuti A Roma.

'Oooh. Bones, look at that!' Booth gushed, transfixed by the view of the dome of the Vatican as it came into view briefly in the distance. It was a fleeting glimpse but tantalizing nonetheless. By the time she looked in the pointed direction it was gone. However, she was quite content to take in the city and its treasures by foot and wasn't in such a hurry to see everything at once. If she'd the choice she would have come for a month to soak up the Eternal City at her own pace. Yet she knew he would never be able to afford that. If she had suggested they do that at her expense, which she could easily afford, he would have probably declined. So she sat back, and absorbed what she could from her seat next to him, content just to be here and with him.

The taxi weaved its way through the traffic at a pace to terrify any traffic cop back in the USA, and any unsuspecting Rome sightseers. The driver beeped his horn almost constantly, it seemed to the partners, adding to their excitement. It felt to Booth as if he was on a rollercoaster ride, terror mixed with excitement he could almost taste.

Booth's jaw then hung open as they joined the early traffic lines sweeping around the noble colonnades of the iconic Coliseum. The curving facade glowed with the blood orange sunrise, while punctuated by elegant arches which leaked through the crystal clear azure sky. 'Wow. It's so much bigger than I expected,' he said, spinning in his seat to keep the view a little longer.

'Magnificent. I've always admired the Romans. They were tremendous visionary architects.' Booth nodded mute, still looking out the back window of the white cab. He wasn't going to disagree. 'Historically it's said it could hold up to 50,000 spectators.' Booth nodded, his eyes still trained on it.

The elliptical three storied gigantic amphitheatre, the largest ever built by the Roman Empire, stood defiantly, gorgeously ruined by earthquakes, fire, and man's hand, yet still strikingly imposing. Bones wistfully muttered a phase in Latin, as they looked out of the rear window framing the yellow edifice. Haunted and intrigued by the words she'd spoken, Booth asked, 'What does that mean?'

She grinned humbly, saying slowly, 'As long as the Colossus stands, so shall Rome. When Colossus falls, so shall Rome. When Rome falls, so shall the world...' Booth glance to her, enchanted by her wondrous expression, then returned his eyes to the view. Bones went on, 'It held gladiatorial contests; possibly mock sea battle, animal hunts too, utilising many species captured from the all corners of the empire. It must have been fantastic to witness,' she extolled.

Booth huffed, and smiled slyly, saying, 'And the executions of a few thousand prisoners and Christians. I bet they didn't think it so amazing.' Bones tilted her head to concede that point was true too. Booth went on, 'The Pope leads a torchlight procession on Good Friday from there. It's called The Way Of The Cross in remembrance of the martyrs and Jesus' sacrifice for mankind.' Bones grinned wide, just as charmed by the fact they saw things so differently. Their perspectives may diverge, yet they complimented each other beautifully, she thought, like a double helix strand of twirling DNA.

As the view got smaller in the window she turned back around. Booth said interestingly, 'The night lighting is changed from white to gold when someone is freed from the death penalty. Or a country or state abolishes capital punishment.'

'Really?' Bones seemed astonished by that snippet of information. Booth sat round properly again, and smiled hard at her.

'Yeah, really,' he confirmed. 'But you knew that already,' he accused gently, thinking she knew everything and was just flattering him.

'No I didn't, Booth,' she insisted sweetly. Booth grinned at her, she magnified her smile to match his clear jubilation at finally being here.

They fell silent, and just marvelled at the countless baroque, ancient and Renaissance buildings that whizzed by their fields of view. He nudged her to look one way, then she did the same to him, as they made slow progress through the winding back streets of the old city. They rattled over the cobbles feeling their fillings loosen, but sighed, relieved when the taxi screeched to a halt. The driver was out of the car, and opening the trunk before they realised they were at the exclusive hotel.

They got out to retrieve their bags as the driver lit a Marlboro, and took a long nonchalant drag from it. Booth heaved them out while the handsome young man waited with his hand on the trunk lid. It was obvious he wanted to get his next fare as soon as possible. He eyed Bones openly, looking over her attributes shamelessly as she took out the fare from her purse.

Booth heard him say something in Italian to her with a lecherous grin on his smug face. Then Booth caught saw her smile just a tad, as she concentrated on fingering out some Euros. To Booth's astonishment she looked up to the driver, and began conversing with him in fluent Italian. The driver slammed the trunk, and replied slightly more sultrily it seemed to Booth. The driver got a little closer to her, eyeing her more intently. Booth thought he was being a bit fresh and felt the need to punch his lights out, but resisted. She hadn't been here an hour and they were already hitting on her, he thought bitterly. The other thing that registered with him was that she sounded even better in Italian, sexier and more sensuous than in American.

Eventually they started to laugh as he took the Euros from her fingers, with a suggestive wink. He gave Booth a cursory high chin nod, and watery smile. Then got back in his cab, flicked his Marlboro out the window, and sped off.

'What was all that about?'

'Oh. Nothing. He was just being... nothing, Booth.' She decided it wasn't worth explaining the driver's suggestive first comment about her figure. Or that fact that when she repremanded him gently, that she in fact spoke Italian and knew exactly what he wanted to do to her. Nor the fact that he asked her out tonight, suggesting she dump her boyfriend for him. All of which she felt might set Booth to be constantly in protection mode of her. And she didn't want him to feel he had to do that, besides he'd nothing to fear from the frisky Italian males. She'd set her sights closer to home.

'And since when do you speak the lingo, Bones?' he asked, wheeling both case towards the entrance of the hotel. Bones chuckled at his incredulous expression.

'Latin is my second language, Booth. It's not much of a leap to conversational Italian.'

Bones looked up to the stone carved arched Renaissance entrance. The whole front was swathed in lush emerald ivy that was clinging to the centuries old sandstone. The small windows of the rooms were pushed wide to let the fresh warm air in. Bones thought the white frames punctuated the living green facade beautifully. The sun was just beginning to caress the rooftop where she knew the breakfast terrace was. The entrance was narrow but invitingly dark and warm. She looked to Booth, adoring the cute smile that hung sensuously on his lips. She could see he wasn't disappointed with their choice of small hotel. It only had four rooms and the street it was on was still quiet and tranquil. Their smiles grew as they stepped over the threshold one at a time.

An elderly, short, plump and balding man sat behind a tiny counter on the left of the narrow corridor. His arms were folded across his large belly and his chin was on his chest almost, as he slept gently and quietly. Booth went to tap the brass bell on the counter top to wake him but Bones grabbed his hand not to. Instead waking him gently with, 'Signore?' Bones said quietly, gently rocking his arm. 'Signore?'

The old man woke, blinked, and beamed them a huge smile, then throwing his arms wide in an overly friendly gesture. 'Mr Booth! Miss Brennan, welcome, welcome to Rome!' Bones and Booth both started to chuckle as he began to come around the counter.

He hugged Booth like he was his returning prodigal son, kissing both his cheeks, while patting his back solidly. Then he did the same to Bones affectionately but not as vehemently. His welcome was utterly genuine and pleasant. 'Did you have a good flight? Come up to the terrace for some coffee. Did you eat? We have plenty to share. Your room is all ready. I opened the windows to let the good day in,' he rambled his questions adorably, not giving them any time to properly answer.

Before they knew it they were sat on a comfortable couch on the rooftop of the hotel. They were surrounded by yellow and cerise geraniums and magenta azalea in aged weather-beaten terracotta pots and stone troughs. Their hands thrust full of strong delicious coffee and sweet pastries too. The sun was now peaking over the skyline and bathed them it is silky warmth and gilding hue. The patchwork of confused rooftops drew the eye towards the Tiber River, across the bridge to the dome of the basilica in the distance.

'Oh. Man. This is wonderful,' Booth waxed, his eyes skimmed the vista cluttered with a multitude of small domes and campaniles, then he sighed completely happy.

'Thank you, Mr Booth, Seeley. May I call you Seeley? And Temperance?'

The partners exchanged glances, and Bones confirmed for them both, 'Sure. yes.'

'You can call me anything as long as its Leo.' The partners nodded, amused, adoring the little man already. He was so hospitable and obviously very proud of his small exclusive hotel. He picked up the odd petal that had fallen in the night, and popped the vibrant colours into his black pants pocket. 'I'll take your bags to your room while you take in this beautiful morning. Then I expect you will want to go and explore,' he said with wide eyes, and gestured with his palm across the roof tops of his city. They both nodded, while sipping their very good coffee.

Leo was off down the stairs with a spritely step defying his age. Bones drained her coffee cup, then walked to the black iron railing. She leant on it, and soaked up the view in enamoured silence. Booth watched her from behind for a few moments, then joined her quietly. He leant on his elbows too, mimicking her position, just as peaceful and quiet. They could hear the distant rumble of the traffic, footsteps on the cobbled street below, and the slow echoing chimes of melodic church bells, wafting towards them from every direction. Those bells were gently calling to the faithful towards their doors to give thanks. The city was gradually coming to life, and they could feel its heart begin to beat as the sun disc rose higher and stronger. Bones turned her head to look at him, he took a few seconds to look towards her, but when he did the smile he gifted her with, was breathtaking. There was so much affection, joy and peace in it, she could feel its caress on her sunlit face.

'You're exceedingly happy, aren't you?' she enquired gently, already knowing what his answer was.

'You have no idea, Bones. If I could bottle this feeling...' he trailed off. Looking back to the view he was captivated by, and the secret he was holding fast in his heart. She thought she saw his eyes sparkle with the extra water in them as he'd spoken. So she let him have those few moments to collect himself, then gave him a little shoulder shove. 'I get first dibs on the shower then lets go explore.' She waved her palm over the rooftops just as Leo had done. Booth huffed a chuckle, straightening up, hitching his pants, then ran off to the stairs down.

He challenged, 'First come first served in the shower, rrrrace ya!' He thundered down the stairs like an excited school boy. Bones picked her jaw up off the floor, and charged after him.

!

They fell ungainly, noisily into their room, barging each other out of the way to get to the shower first. Cackling with laughter at their childish behaviour, they looked around the room for the bathroom door. It was then that their laughter drifted away like incense on a Roman breeze.

'Oh. Wooow.' Booth stilled instantly. Bones had the same reaction but didn't vocalise it. She thought he'd said all that needed to be said.

The creamy stone walls were inlaid with arched alcoves, adorned with thick beeswax candles on brass stands and snuffer and matches in each. Beautifully restored tapestries hung around the walls from highly polished brass rods with elaborate finials at either end. The tapestries denoted everything from ancient Roman life to the stations of the cross. Every piece of furniture, from the dresser to the sumptuous chairs, were antiques. There was a carved coat of arms in relief between the two beds, which were huge and directly in front of them. They were dressed with a comforter and cushions and looked immaculate, comfortable and elegant. Each had a ornate solid brass bedstead and footer to frame them. The small windows to their left were pushed open wide and clumps of highly scented sweet peas fragranced the room perfectly in small crystal vases. There was a bottle of cherry red wine and two glasses on a small incidental table and a wood slab of red grapes next to them. Bones thought that a lovely welcoming touch. The ancient history of the Cardinals house seeped out of the walls in every direction and washed through the stunned pair. It didn't need saying but both knew they'd chosen a wonderful place to rest their weary bodies after a day's sightseeing.

Bones looked to Booth for a moment, then went through the arched old oak door to her right to look at the bathroom.

All the furniture in there was a modern and pristine white but somehow it didn't look out of place. There was a shower big enough for a family to her left at the end of the space. A free standing bath immediately to her left, and two sinks with huge baroque brass framed mirrors behind each directly ahead. Next to them, a toilet and bidet. Two terry robes hung on brass hooks on the wall and a liberal pile of different sized towels, again all in ice white. The floor was flagged stoned but had several rugs to warm the feet. Beside the sinks was a generous collection of soaps and shampoos and other accruements usually found in hotels. The difference being here, they were all from Italy's finest house for cosmetics.

Bones felt Booth's body heat permeate her back as he drew closer to her silently, as if stalking her. She stayed perfectly still as he slid his hand onto the small of her back, as if warning her gently he was going to hold her. But to her surprise and slight disappointment he didn't. Instead he rested his chin on her right shoulder, looking around their en suite. 'It'll do,' he said, absurdly running it down, while holding a grape to her lips, as he chewed his.

Bones tutted, opened her mouth and he popped it on her tongue, then she turned, saying, 'It gorgeous, Booth.' He started to snigger impishly. She planted her palms flat on his chest, pushing him out gently as he pouted, and she grinned. 'Go and unpack and leave some room for my clothes,' she warned, closing the door, turning the large knurled black iron key.

!

Chapter VI Happy Slapping.

Booth sat on the bed having unpacked, and began to sort out his day sack. He put his maps; guide books, itinerary, wallet, cell phone and a complimentary bottle of water from the quaint mini bar in the corner of the room. He'd already chosen his outfit for their first sightseeing adventure and had laid it out ready to change into after his turn in the shower. He laid down on the bed, hands behind his head, and crossed his ankles. He noted he couldn't stop smiling, as he listened to the water of the shower splash down the shower screen. He daydreamed, closing his eyes to imagine what she looked like under that beautiful shower. He mulled over their first day on holiday too with deeper smiles, remembering the silly fun they had already had. As he did the door to the bathroom unlocked and out she came. Booth looked over casually but when he saw her his breathing snagged in his chest. She was almost swallowed up in the fluffy white robe, with a towel turbaned around her head. She wore a huge satisfied smile, and held her clothes. He thought she looked adorable and like she had just stepped off a cherubs cloud painted by Raphael.

'All yours,' she said, throwing her clothes on the bed, and began to rub her hair dry. 'That feels so much better,' she cooed. Then flumped to sit on her bed, and tossed her head and hair like a spirited chestnut mare. Booth caught her scent and breathed her freshness in indulgently.

Bones noted he still hadn't moved but was still grinning at her. 'What? Aren't you going to shower?' she enquired, confused as to why he didn't seem to be in any hurry.

'Yes. I was just taking in the spectacular view,' he said sweetly. Bones held his gaze for a few moments, then realised he was talking about her. She wanted to say something witty in reply but the words wouldn't form as she was so touched by his easy compliment. To her he seemed to be oozing delicate charm at every opportunity, which she was afraid to admit to herself she was adoring.

Booth got up quickly, grabbed his clothes and wash bag, and went without another word into the bathroom. Bones sighed out her held breath, and began to silently chant her mantra; no expectations, no expectations, no expectations.

!

By the time he came out refreshed and changed, she'd unpacked and was dressed too. She didn't turn around but chose to keep looking at the view out of their window to the quaint narrow street below, watching the couples meander by. They looked up and around them casually absorbing their surroundings with soft smiles on their faces, she noted.

Booth catalogued her casual holiday attire, she wore a plain white figure-hugging t-shirt with very thin straps over her shoulders. Then the palest blue linen trousers which widened at the bottom but cuddled her hips and rear snugly. And a lovely wide leather dark blue belt that hung low beneath her waist. On her sock-less feet she wore cute slip on sneakers perfect for walking. He caught the small name tag on the side, it read, Sketchers. Then she had a small matching pale blue cardigan looped over her shoulders, and tied loosely over her chest. Her hair was free and wavy and when she turned around to look at him eventually, her smile was the only make up she needed, he thought, as it decorated her face perfectly.

'Love the get up, Bones. Very becoming,' he said generously, although he wanted to gush and say how absolutely stunning she looked. He thought that may be a little too much too soon.

'Thanks.' She took him in now, as she stood to grab her purse. He wore a loose fitting white linen shirt which had trouble containing his biceps and matching pants too. 'You look very handsome and so chic. Mind you, you've always had excellent taste in clothes,' she said casually, almost flippantly. Booth seemed to grow a foot at her comment, and grinned hard.

Thanking her now with a surprised but touched, 'Aww. Thanks, Bones.'

'Right, come on, enough of the mutual fashion compliments. Let's explore,' she instructed, keen to get outside and mix with the locals and other tourists.

'Ha! Ok. You got everything you need in that little thing?' he asked incredulously, looking to her tiny purse looped over her shoulder and head, which hung on a long thin strap on her hip. He hitched his day sack onto his shoulder.

She started to push him out the door, urging him through it with a knowing smile. 'Yes, Booth. I travel very light. Cash, cards, Blackberry, which is turned off,' she added quickly, then, 'Sunglasses, that's it.' The sunglasses she popped on, as they trotted down the stairs to the ground floor.

Booth stood on the threshold of the hotel for a few seconds, looking both ways along the cobbled street, deciding which way to go. 'Why have we stopped?' she asked playfully from behind him. 'We haven't even got outside yet. Are you scared?'

He tutted. 'No. I'm just getting my bearings,' he told her sensibly, if not a little haughtily. She giggled, grabbed his hand, and pulled him right along the street, leading the way confidently. He went with her, stunned she had taken his hand so freely. She then let it go, but looped her arm through his, flashing him a sweet friendly smile.

'Our first stop, on your excellent itinerary, is the Pantheon. That's this way.' She nodded along the street.

'How do you know that? I'm all turned around,' he confessed.

'I studied the maps before we came, Booth.'

'Oooh. That explains it. I thought you were some sort of human compass, or something.' Again she chuckled, and rocked into him a little, while squeezing his arm a little tighter.

At first they walked fairly quickly but as they progressed they began to slow down considerably. It seemed the pace of the city was starting to infuse them with its laid back ambience and bustling lanes. The old city area was teaming with ambling people from every nation doing exactly the same as them. Some of those people were sitting in tiny coffee houses which tumbled out onto the pavements. Those people gossiped with each other, or read newspapers and guidebooks with wrinkled brows. Some were having heated gesticulated conversations about subjects that meant nothing to Booth. Although he thought them fascinating and very Romanesque.

There were small ordinary shops along their route too. A small barbers, for one, with old black leather chairs facing huge ornate mirrors with young and old sitting in them. They were being attended to by busy raven clad stylist's. As they passed by, the spicy testosterone filled barber's open door, they could hear the stylist's scissors clipping frantically, and their idle gossip. One man looked like Father Christmas as his jaw was creamed up with white foam. The barber was sharpening his cutthroat razor on a thick leather strap hanging off the back of his chair, preparing it to de-fuzz him. 'Did your father shave his clients that way?' Bones asked out of the blue. Booth grinned sweetly at her, unconcerned at her mentioning his estranged father.

'Yeah, as a matter of fact, he did. I had my first shave that way too. Hot flannels, clouds of tingling foam, the terror you feel as the flash of cold steel passes your eye then that first scrape under your jaw.' Bones laughed a little at that. Booth went on, smiling, 'Stinging aftershave being slapped on. There's nothing closer than a cutthroat, Bones. I love 'em,' he said, reminiscing dreamily. Bones squeezed his arm to her a little tighter, enjoying learning that about him. 'Maybe I'll treat myself while I'm here.' Nodding a warm smile at him, she encouraged him to do just that silently.

As Booth had mentioned the terror of the razor at his neck it brought back to her a little anecdote. 'That pole symbolises bloodletting and tooth extractions, which in medieval times was traditionally performed by the barber. The red for the bloody rags around a pole which the unfortunate client had to grasp to encourage blood flow, or grip to fight pain.'

'Arrh. I know another little thing about those striped poles,' he offered handsomely, a little proudly too.

'Ooo. Do tell.' She grinned charmingly at him, while easing him towards the next window along the higgledy-piggledy parade, which fronted a quaint antique jewellers.

Taking her shades off, she peered into the window at the trays of neatly displayed rings, earrings and gem encrusted jewellery, he enlightened her, 'Barbers also used to be present at births to cut baby's umbilical cord. Red stripe for the artery, blue for the vein and white for the cord.'

'I didn't know that, how interesting,' she said impressed with him. He grinned snootily, which she found utterly endearing. Just then she jumped. 'Ooo!' she yelped, feeling her right buttock being pinched, and glanced behind her quickly. There were so many men brushing past them on the narrow crowded sidewalk, she couldn't clearly decipher who'd sneakily goosed her. Booth looked puzzled too, but at her though.

'What happened, you ok?' She started to laugh softly when one of those men turned around, and winked at her with a lecherous handsome smile. He kissed his fingertips, and blew her his kiss. Booth caught the exchange, and felt his blood boil realising what he'd done. He began to stride after him with thunder in his eyes. Bones hauled him back by his hand.

'Booth, stop it. He was just being friendly.'

'Friendly? Jerk, let me smack him around a bit, Bones.' Bones started to chuckle at his murderous expression, pulling him away and onwards.

'Haa. No, Booth. It's not uncommon here for males to show their interest in such overt physical ways.' They passed a greengrocers with a vivid array of fruits and vegetables on display practically taking over the path. They had to step into the road to make headway.

Booth went on, his nostrils still flaying, and checking behind regularly, making sure the whippersnapper was heading in the opposite direction, 'Yeah, well, I don't like 'em touching you. It's despicable,' he spat bitterly. Bones threw her head back, laughing hard. Booth snapped his eyes to her while she rattled with her amusement.

'Despicable? Haa. Oh. Booth, that's so gallant of you, but I don't need your protection.' She brought his hand to her lips, and kissed the back of it quickly.

'Clearly you do! Who knows what else they might grab.' Bones was chuckling again, shaking her head. Booth continued to mutter under his breath huffily. It was only then he noticed she was squeezing his hand in hers gratefully.

'Stop now... Intercontinental relationships are unsustainable,' she said gently, soothing him with her statement, looking into his calming eyes. 'I'm not interested in him or any Italian men.' Booth's grin returned slowly, as he looked back into her now.

Booth ventured bravely, 'Good. That's good to hear,' squeezing her hand back nervously. Bones smiled comfortingly, pleased that he'd calmed down, and hugely flattered by his determination to be her chivalrous American knight. She lopped her arm through his again, looking along the narrow street. She chanted that chorus in her head, till it almost wore out like a scratched overplayed piece of Eighties vinyl.

They turned off the street after a little while, and headed slowly along another street. The difference being, this one was less crowded and peaceful. The houses were clearly residences and wrinkled black draped women sat on small stools in their doorways, watching the world going by. Some were talking to their neighbours and nodded their respectful greetings as they strolled past. The pair wandered the lane quietly, just content to absorb the pleasant atmosphere and cherishing being together like this.

Bones said suddenly, 'Oh. If I remember correctly there's a small fountain at the end of this street. It's called the Fontana delle Api, the Bees Fountain.' Booth felt a thrill whistle up his spine at her sexy Italian accent again. Bones felt that shiver run his body, and looked confused to him. 'You ok?'

'Yes. Its just you sound so, so...' He changed the subject to hide his blushes. 'Oh. Wow, ice cream, Bones, wanna ice cream?' he asked excitedly, pulling her into the brightly lit parlour, not giving her the opportunity to refuse. There was a mind-boggling array of flavours to choose from and a plethora of colours to tempt the eyes and taste buds. She could tell he was already salivating. 'What-d'ya-want? I'm having a bit of everything.'

'Haa. Chocolate will suffice for me.' She was off again, conversing easily with the pretty young girl serving behind the counter. 'Tell her which flavours, Booth.' Booth grinned childlike, as he pointed to each rainbow coloured bucket of smooth ice cream. The young woman began with a smile but as the pile on the enormous cone began to get unstable she started to loose it. Booth seemed oblivious and unconcerned for her difficult construction task.

'Booth, that's enough, surely? You'll get sick and have a major sugar rush,' she warned, but with an amused grin.

'One more, just one more dollop, Bones,' he pleaded. 'That one.' He pointed to the bucket as the girl precariously planted the last scoop on the top, and pushed it firmly down to secure it. Bones calculated it must have been almost six inches high off the cone's rim, and was already melting down the sides of it. Booth rummaged in his bag for his wallet. Seeing him struggling, and fearing the cone might melt away before he got out his cash, Bones paid. She nudged him, handing him the cone with a smug smile.

'Oh. Cool, thanks, Bones. I'll pay ya back in a sec.'

'Whatever,' she said casually, unconcerned, and walked out into the sunshine again, licking her sensible chocolate cone. It was then Bones heard a sloppy thud and a sorrow filled elongated whine of horror behind her. Before she turned she knew exactly what had happened.

Booth looked completely distraught, but courageously held his bottom lip still as he looked to her. His eyes were not longer vibrant with excitement but dimmed delectably. Bones was barely keeping her hilarity in check, she could feel her belly twitch painfully, then had to let go her laughter. Booth's smile returned, and began to laugh uncontrollably too. Booth looked to the messy pile at his feet through his streaming tears of laughter.

Then to Bones' horror, she watched as he tried to scoop up the gelatinous mess back onto his cone. 'Booth! Oh. God, don't!'

She grabbed his hand, as he simultaneously stood up, saying, 'I think I can get most of it.' Then accidentally smeared it all over her pristine white t shirt with the tug of hands. Bones froze as the multi-coloured treat now adorned her. Bones snapped her eyes to his. 'Oh. Sssh-it' he said mortified, and started to apologise profusely, 'Sorry, oh. God, sorry, so sorry, Booo...' He felt the wet slap of chocolate ice cream cover his mouth and nose, as she pushed her cone into his face in retaliation. His eyes had shut as the cone had hit, as he opened them, she was laughing again. She creased up, holding her stomach, obviously unconcerned by being spoilt.

Passersby watched on secretively at the pair of them while they were laughing hysterically. They edged by them, grinning, understanding what had happened. The partners were oblivious that they were the main attraction in the small piazza.

Booth watched, transfixed by her gorgeous glowing face, as she pulled out her Blackberry, and took several shots of him. He grabbed it off her, and took some shots of her too, while she tried to control her laughter. To his delight she posed childishly, pointing to her shirt, with a fake outraged expression.

The pretty young girl from the parlour appeared with napkins and a cloth to help clean them up. 'Oh. Thanks so much,' Bones managed, taking them from her, and began to clean the worst off herself. Booth discarded the cones, still chuckling, and began wiping his face. 'Here, you missed a bit,' Bones said, turning his face to her with her fingers, and scooped off the ice cream from his nose. She licked it off her finger, humming with a sultry flare of her eyes too. Booth felt his loins jump in his chocolate ice cream spotted pants.

He looked to her finger as it popped free of her sweet lips, then to her eyes. Bones stilled when she registered his expression and what he was trying so hard to disguise in his eyes. She smiled as normally as she could, saying, 'Would you like another?' She noted she sounded distant and impossibly soft. He stepped a little closer, holding her gaze.

Ignoring her question with something more pertinent to say, he said sincerely, equally gently, 'I love to see you laugh like that. You make the world gasp and still, to watch the beauty of it.'

Bones almost gasped herself and could only manage to swallow in reply. She searched each deep pupil, checking he meant his remarkable compliment truthfully. When she was certain he did, she became emboldened. She took his hand, wrapping hers around his like a warm cashmere glove, and delicately kissed his cheek. Booth instantly, slowly rubbed his cheek against hers, while squeezing her elegant hand. They relished the closeness for a few brief moments, grinning wildly over each other's shoulders and with their eyes closed, they sighed.

'Come on. ' She stepped back a little, then pulled him back into the ice cream parlour, adding playfully, 'Let's get your inner child an ordinary sized ice cream not the greedy one. We've got a whole week, Booth. You can still try all the flavours, just a couple at a time.' Booth slung his arm around her shoulder, squeezing her to him.

When they left the shop this time they both had sensible delicious ice creams, and exchanged silly smiles as they made their way past the Bee's Fountain. They stopped briefly to stare, while licking away the ice creams, and began crunching on the cones. 'Delicious,' Bones said to the ether, finishing hers. Booth was taking his time and still had some more to go. Again to his delight, she looped her arm through his, and edged him onwards.

!

Chapter VII Eye To Heaven.

The ancient Pantheon came into view as they ambled through the Piazza delle Minerva arm in arm, nearing it from the south east. Its russet pink walls and dome made of Roman concrete, glowed in the rays of the sun that was baking the edifice. 'It's a church now, dedicated to St Mary and the Martyrs.' Booth told her, as they walked between two pastel painted Renaissance buildings towards the entrance on the far side. The lemon and subtle pink of the buildings either side elegantly framed the dark pink structure, constructed almost two thousand years ago.

Their eyes were raised high absorbing the smooth dome, as she added to his knowledge, 'So I understand. It's still the largest, oldest un-reinforced concrete dome in the world.'

He sounded even more impressed with that piece of information, 'Really?' He looked to her, she smiled, adding a little nod to confirm.

'In Greek Pantheon means; to every God and temple. It was commissioned by Agrippa as a temple to all the Gods of Rome.'

'We'll not bother with the tourist earpieces then. You know everything I wanna know,' he said charmingly, as they stepped through the towering wooden doors inside the rotunda. Their eyes immediately shot skywards to the oculus which bathed the interior with warm brilliant light. They both felt dizzy as they entered the huge open space, standing on the multicoloured checkerboard marble floor. It was a peculiar sensation of mild vertigo and feeling suddenly very small. Booth had read that, that was how the architect wanted you to feel in front of all the Gods. He couldn't deny that was exactly how he felt; overawed and tiny.

'Awesome,' he said, walking in further to stand directly underneath it and turned slowly on the spot. Bones grinned, charmed by his admiration of the elegant dome symbolising heaven. She stood close beside him doing the same thing.

'Legend has it, that when Romulus, the founder of Rome and whom the city is named after died, he was here, on this spot...' Booth nodded, listening, but still looking up through the oculus. 'An eagle swooped down, and took him to the heavens to be with the Gods.'

She had told him quietly and slowly to make it the legend sound real somehow. Booth adored her gentle retelling of the fable, looking to her now. 'It's not by chance this was built here, you see?' She went on, seeing he was captivated. 'The oculus is open to the sky and elements. And on the solstices its said the light that comes down to this spot is so powerful it can cure the sick; grant wishes or allow you to converse to the Gods.

Booth grinned wide, looking back up. 'I love that. What would you wish for, Bones?'

She replied honestly, 'Nothing.' He chuckled, looking back to her. He knew that she didn't believe that wishes logically could be granted by omnipotent beings or legendry Gods.

He went on with his wish list despite that, 'I'd wish for world peace, a long healthy life, and to be loved.'

'That's three wishes, Booth and a little greedy. Pick one.'

'Ha. Loved then.'

Booth's jaw slackened as she said, 'Me too,' softly, walking off in the direction of the altar. He watched her stroll over and stand to watch the people sitting in the pews and praying. Her admission was endearing but made him sad that she hadn't worked it out yet. As he walked to join her he crossed himself, then genuflected as he sat on the end of a pew. Bones sat next to him quietly. He bowed his head, and closed his eyes. He stayed that way for several long moments, while she glanced towards him at regular intervals.

Bones had decided that on this trip with him she wasn't going to spout any of her usual derogatory comments about his faith and beliefs. She understood that this was an extremely serious and important part of his life in which he found peace, guidance and solace. If she did, she understood now, that would be hugely disrespectful. She still didn't believe and logically never would, but that, she rationalised was her way of seeing the world, and he simply had another. She'd realised that it was about time she let those differences embellish their partnership, and not come between them.

'Hey, Bones?' he whispered, still with his head bowed and eyes shut. She leant over to listen closer. 'The Big Guy says hi.' Bones grinned, charmed. She didn't know what possessed her but she slipped her hand over his back, caressing him with her fingertips affectionately. It felt like a hugely intimate, natural gesture to her and it seemed to it to him too, as he relaxed while she continued. Eventually he turned his head, and smiled at her. She stopped caressing him, as he leant slowly back. She left her arm resting casually on the back of the pew behind him. 'Let's have a stroll around,' he said, sounding pleasantly touched. Bones nodded, taking his arm again and they wandered.

They marvelled at the Annunciation painted majestically by Melozzo da Forli. The impressive tomb of the artist Raphael and composer Corelli too. Coming full circle they left via the massive doors again. They stepped out under the portico, between the lofty Corinthian columns of grey granite into the sun. Having their fill of the Pantheon they headed into the Piazza della Rotunda.

It was bustling with Romans and tourists alike. They walked passed the huge central splashing fountain by Filippo Barigioni, admiring the baroque white marble statue. Not before they took a few shots of each other next to it with the Pantheon's facade in the background. Another American tourist heard their idle chatter and asked kindly if they wanted him to take a picture of them together next to the fountain. They decided that would be a great idea. So Booth stood behind her, resting his chin on her shoulder, then wrapped his arms around her, clasping his hands over her stomach. Bones felt a delicious sensation fill her as he did, and another of hopeful joy at his open affection.

Was this going to be the way of them on this trip? she mused. Or was all the holding hands, lashings of easy hugs and demonstrative gestures just his friendly way of expressing how happy he was? She hoped it was meant deeper than that of course, but daren't raise her hopes. So she told herself to relax as much as he seemed to be, and reciprocate just as tenderly when the opportunities arose. Bones put her thoughts into actions immediately.

'Smile, Bones,' Booth instructed casually, grinning hard and wide at the American tourist with her Blackberry in hand. She smiled too, resting her head on his a little, then covered his hands with hers. 'That's it,' he said softly into her neck. Then to her pure delight Booth pecked a little kiss there.

'Oh. That was so cute ' the photographer said, 'Do that again.' He prepared to click another shot, acting like he was some sort of professional paparazzi.

Amused, Bones muttered through her chuckles, 'Yes, do that again, Booth.' Booth instantly obliged, with his own soft chuckle, delighted she didn't mind receiving his kiss.

'Oooh. Yeeeahh,' the photographer drooled. 'You two are so adorable together. Turn to face each other.' Flapping his hand to position them. They began to laugh harder at the man but did as instructed, as this seemed too silly for words. The man was readjusting his position; stopping people from walking between him and his subject, and framing the shot meticulously. His wife didn't look so amused however, they noted. They thought she looked embarrassed by her husband's antics. 'Kiss again, kiss again,' he insisted.

Bones cocked a subtle brow at Booth who looked positively excited about kissing again. He readjusted his stance slightly, holding her tighter around her waist. Bones looked to his parted lips, then back up into his twinkling eyes. She mentally rambled; no expectations, no expectations, but couldn't stop herself from having the highest of expectations.

He seemed to be magnetised to her mouth as he pecked her lips softly, holding them to hers for a few moments. His soft innocent kiss actually felt extremely erotic and she was about to deepen it. However she was slightly disappointed when he stopped. 'Aww. Come on, man, show a little passion,' he cooed, urgently.

Bones glanced to the man for his clear disappointment at such a pathetic kiss as he saw it. Then she felt Booth's fingers on her chin, urging her to turn back to face him. Her stomach began to flutter with excitement knowing now what Booth was hoping to do. Booth's laughter began dissipating to be replaced with something else.

'He wants passion, Bones. Have we got that?' Booth asked softly, with an enigmatic smile. Before she could answer he was kissing her. Her partner was kissing her and it felt unbelievably romantic and passionate to her in front of all these strangers, and the gorgeous bubbling fountain.

Bones nearly melted to the hot slabs beneath her feet, as he slipped his large lips over hers, opening his mouth hesitantly against hers. It was instinctual and necessary to open her mouth a little, and touch his tongue with hers. She felt him hum sultrily for her reciprocating so eagerly. Every nerve end she owned fired, and mischievous sensations began to slowly meander their way to long forgotten secret places.

Booth ventured further into her succulent depths, while slowly sliding his delicate yet inquisitive tongue around hers. They vaguely heard the photographer croon with delight for their overt romanticism.

As they continued Bones ran her fingers through his hair, changed her angle slowly, elegantly, and delivered a deeper kiss for both their pleasure. She felt Booth almost grinning with elation during their passionate kiss. He rocked her slowly over the apex, holding her firmly in his comfortable yet powerful arms. She gasped into his mouth slightly, as she felt her core flooding and it begin to tingle lusciously. She could also feel his passion elsewhere against her upper thigh. Sliding her palm over his jaw to his neck and down to his chest, she never wanted this immaculate kiss to end.

The people, chatter and bustle of the piazza drifted away for a few sublime moments, till he eased her back up. Slowly he took back possession of his tongue, closing his mouth to leave his lips comfortably on her moist ones. They both blinked open their eyes, then broke away completely. Booth rested his brow on hers, his calm breaths caressed her glowing face.

She thought he looked handsomely flushed, realising she must too. She could also feel his other passion subsiding slowly. His lips were so pink it looked to her as if he wore lip gloss, she noted. Then ran her thumb pad slowly across them to dry them slightly. His eyes looked dewy and his lids heavy, Bones suspected she looked the same as she felt very dewy and deliciously lethargic.

'There you go. I got some great shots. Enjoy the rest of your honeymoon, guys,' with that the photographer popped her Blackberry into Booth's shirt pocket, leaving them alone still staring into one another.

Booth rolled his head against her brow, looking to the guy walking off, saying feebly, 'Thanks.' His wife was giving him a telling off and they started to argue, Booth didn't care. He looked back to Bones, as she lifted her head away from his. 'We're not on honeymoon,' he said at a whisper. His comment was intended for the unknown tourist but there was no way he would have heard it. Bones thought his comment sounded slightly poignant, and blinked to refocus her eyes.

Bones thought it amusing that the mystery photographer made the assumption that they were on their honeymoon. Did they look like they were newlyweds? she asked herself. She wasn't sure what newlyweds were supposed to look like or how they acted but was charmed he thought so. The irony of their situation didn't pass her by.

Bones began to grin, then smile, finally started to laugh gently. 'Why are you laughing?' His smile returned too, seeing her so happy.

'Because... Just because, Booth.' She smiled hard to ease him. She took his hand in hers, and pulled him with her. His legs felt heavy and took a while to get going. He felt like she'd drugged him somehow. Her confident lush kiss and sweet elixir must be pretty potent stuff, he thought happily, as he was already having withdrawal symptoms. 'Where to next, Booth? What does our itinerary say?'

'The Forum,' he said, still distracted by their kiss, and grinning stupidly at her. Bones tried to hide her own delirious grin, but she knew her eyes were giving her joy away. 'We have to get the tram for a couple of stops.'

'Oh. Yes! Wonderful, I've been so looking forward to visiting it.' As she turned away to look where she was going, she secretly licked her lips. To savour the taste of him still clinging to them and her tingling tongue.

!

Chapter VIII Et tu, Bones?

The short tram ride was nearly uneventful but fun for them. It was so busy and crowded that when they got on, they became separated. Having to find their own standing niches within the packed tram. They stood facing one another though from a few metres away, but couldn't take their glittering eyes off each other. They didn't mind the separation as their kiss had reinforced an invisible conduit between them, strengthening what was already there.

It amused her when Booth was seen to whack a short adolescent with his substantially full day sack, as he hitched it up on his shoulder. She huffed a chuckle as he apologised profusely to him and his protective pissed off mother. Seeing him flustered again when another hoard of people squashed themselves onto the tram at the next stop, Bones giggled. They tutted and gave him snobbish looks for taking up too much room. He looked over to her after yet more apologies, and grimaced at getting pushed further away from her. Bones laughed at his silly expression especially when he crossed his eyes playfully too.

They came to the stop next to the entrance of the Roman Forum's sprawling excavations, relieved to alight the crushing tram and re-establish their physical connection again. Looping her arm through his when he offered it, she rocked into him a little when he said, 'I felt like a sardine in tin can, Bones.' Then added, 'And I got goosed.' Bones laughed even harder at his secretive proud boast.

'Good for you!' she exclaimed. He grinned wide, all puffed up like a strutting cockerel, not feeling left out now. 'It was that octogenarian with the white cane, I presume,' she added, straight faced, pricking his ballooned ego.

To her delight he laughed hard, and nodded. 'Yeah, I think she just wanted me to get off her foot. Haa.'

Booth bought the tickets, and they shuffled through the entrance shrouded by the other Forum visitors. Within a few more metres the people dispersed, leaving them isolated with the crumpled ruins rolling out ahead of them.

'Fantastic,' Bones said, as they began to walk up the wide boulevard slicing through the centre of the Forum complex, known as the Via Sacra. The columns that once stood to dignified attention either side of it were now tree-like stumps but hinted at its former glory and importance.

The sun was almost at its apex, the ruined buildings and temples radiated its heat and beauty back on them. There was little shade or respite from the majestic avenue's views. In every direction the massive site threw imposing columns and lavishly blighted temples at them. Sweeping eye-catching curves and broken marble statues abounded too. All better than the last. Arches towered over them, disjointed from their original buildings but no less impressive. The remains of which strewn the ground cushioned by jade grassy patches. Deep pits edged by uniform masonry hinted at the numerous shops and offices that had lined the avenue in antiquity.

The centre of Roman life, politics and civil meetings for nearly a thousand years, stole her breath. 'Can we just sit down and take it in for a while, Booth?' She knew this was too vast to take in, in one visit, so chose first to absorb what she could.

'Sure, whatever you want. Over there?' He pointed to a bench temporarily shaded by the lofty ruin opposite. They walked over and sat. Booth took out his trusted guide book to discover where they were sitting in relation to the buildings and patchwork of crumbling foundation walls.

Bones sat back, arms out, resting them on the back of the stone bench as if opening herself freely to the history. She could feel that history seep into her bones, and smelt it in the arid gritty air. She imagined back to its heyday, to the golden days of the supremacy of Roman cultural life and empire. This place being its seat, the start of world wide civil democracy and the gathered and conquered knowledge of other nations. Libraries, temples to Gods, platforms for political debate too surrounded her. The decisions made here were to ripple out across the empire, and its knowledge to enlighten the minds of its citizens. Inspiring poetry; music, medicine, philosophy, religion, architecture, calendars, mathematics, the sciences and bloody wars.

Being an anthropologist this place was to her, a microcosm of all she loved about the human being, which had spread across the globe like a virus. This place was the centre of the world for a thousand years, now it looked forlorn, decrepit and lost, but invoking an aide memoire to the roots of civilised society now. The streets seemed haunted by the ghosts of noble men and women in wrapped toga and stole. She could almost see them walking past her now; buying goods in the shops and masterful orators debating the issues of the day.

'It says here that's the... um, how do I say that?' he asked, looking over his shoulder to her behind him. Bones snapped out of her musings, and smiled at him.

'Sorry, what did you ask?' She leant forwards now, placing her hand on his back, to look at the guide book he was holding. He pointed to the word he couldn't pronounce, and she smiled. 'Curia lulia, it means the senate house.'

'Oh! Cool. This was where Julius Caesar was stabbed then,' he said excitedly.

'Actually it isn't.' She smiled warmly at him, sitting back again, resuming her previous position. 'I hope it doesn't say that in your guide book, as that would be wholly incorrect and misleading.'

He asked surprised, 'Really?' She nodded to confirm. Booth noted she was caressing his back again now, as if she'd been doing this for years. He was completely distracted by her delicate touch.

'Julius Caesar ordered that building, which was the senate house, refurbished. The senate met during the refurbishment in the Temple of Pompey, which is over there.' She pointed with a lazy flick of her palm in its direction. 'Partly under modern Rome now.'

'Oh,' he said, looking back to the page in his guide book, trying to stop his ardour from rising. 'Why have they got it wrong then?'

Bones shrugged a shoulder, and her eyes flicked back to the building across the street, and began her reflective history lesson, 'Julius Caesar had been warned of a plot to assassinate him by his closest friend, Mark Antony and other political colleagues. He was also told by his wife, Calpernia to beware the ides or March, as she'd had disturbing dreams about it. Ides was a Roman term for mid month, the 15th to be exact, and a feast day to the God Mars. Traditionally the God of War, which was to become prophetic...'

Hearing her drifting tones, Booth turned just his head to watch her as she went on distantly, 'On the way to the relocated senate in the Temple of Pompey, Julius boasted that nothing had happened to him and dismissed the threat. As he oversaw the debate in the Temple, he was handed a petition to recall his brother from exile. Caesar waved the senator away. Then he was attacked with knives hidden under the conspirators' togas. The Liberators, as they called themselves, feared his ever growing power, so called madness and their own dissolution.' Booth listened to the epic story, enthralled. He'd already given up on the guide book as it did indeed say he was killed in the building opposite. She was obviously better informed, so trusted her knowledge implicitly.

'When Caesar saw his believed illegitimate son, Brutus, raise his blade to strike him too as he lay dying, he said in Greek to him; You too, child? and covered his face with his toga as his son struck him...' Booth listened to the world changing event, utterly drawn into her soft voice and careful story telling. All the while she made soft sweeping circles on the plains of his back. Looking as if she was watching the events as they happened across the street, Booth thought.

'Brutus and his fellow assassins ran out to this street proclaiming joyously they were free citizens again. The people didn't cheer though, they were horrified that these so-called noble politicians had done such a thing. They retreated quietly to their homes in fear of what was to come...' Bones sighed, tilted her head back while closing her eyes. 'Am I boring you, Booth?'

'Hell no. Go on, please,' he pleaded. She smiled enigmatically, opened her eyes, and looked into him again.

'Caesar's body lay on the steps for three hours before he was removed and the steps washed clean of his blood... An autopsy was performed, the first ever recorded in human history. It found twenty three stab wounds on his body, the second of which was the lethal blow to his chest. He bled out on the marble steps having fought back valiantly...' Booth's eyes widened, wishing his teachers had gave history lessons like this one.

'The citizens of Rome knew what was to come; civil bloody war.' Bones' wistful voice and distant expression held him spellbound. 'Two days after Caesar's assassination, a comet appeared in the sky. It was so bright it was visible night and day for three months. It was proclaimed as Caesar's Comet and the man given the status of a God... Caesar's widow when witnessing the comet said; when beggars die there are no comets seen. The heavens themselves blaze forth for the death of a prince...'

Bones' eyes blinked after a few moments, as if she came out of the ancient memory returning to the present. Her palm was now still and flat on his back, and she looked into his eyes. She grinned hard and wide at him, seeing he was entranced. Booth was desperate to kiss her but didn't. 'Did you enjoy that? I did.' She seemed to be sparking in the sun which was now on their faces having risen over the senate building.

'Awesome, Bones, you're awesome,' he compliment her and the lesson.

Bones huffed a humble chuckle, looking up the street, and sighed. 'Oh. Booth, I relish places like this, where you can feel the history and the ingeniousness of the people who lived here. Flushing toilets; multi-storey living accommodations, aqueducts, piped water, under floor heating, fridges, even simple washing machines. Not to mention their medical ingenuity too. Did you know they even performed successful brain surgery?' Booth looked impressed by her fact but more charmed by her passion. 'All that knowledge had to be relearned after they were long gone from here, it's quite remarkable...'

'You really love the Romans, don't ya?' She looked back to him, glowing, nodding. He'd moved a little closer as she'd looked up the street in preparation. She was only slightly surprised by his new nearness. Booth looked to her lips then to her eyes. 'I love 'em too now,' he said cutely.

Bones noted he didn't make any advances towards her other than stare into her eyes. The kiss that was in his eyes and hanging on his lips didn't materialise. She waited with bated breath for him to near like he'd done before, he didn't so said sweetly, 'Take me to lunch, Booth.'

Realising sadly that he'd missed his opportunity because he needed to be cautious, he covered, 'Phew. So glad you said that! I've been trying to stop my stomach from growling.' He stood, holding his hand out for her to take. 'I was gonna start nibbling on ya.'

Bones chuckled again, taking his offered hand. 'I thought you were going to kiss me again. I hadn't considered you were just hungry...' she goaded happily, doing a little covering herself. 'I had considered that you were suffering from trapped wind as your expression was so concentrated,' she added humorously.

Booth laughed generously at her quip but her words felled him like an oak. He resolved not to miss his next opportunity, understanding that she was completely happy if they kissed again and even expected them to. That realisation and knowledge tasted bitter sweet on his tongue. Countering with as much cheekiness, he said, 'Act-tually...' Then stuck his buttocks against her thigh, and pretended to break wind against her.

Horrified, she jumped away from him. 'Booth! That's so...' Booth jumped after her again, waggling his bottom at her, chortling like a mischievous ten year old. She smacked his arm, and held him off her, laughing at him. He grabbed her to him though, and blew a long wet raspberry against her neck. It tickled, and sounded quite real too, sending her into hysterics. She attempted to wriggle out of his clutches but to no avail, as they blundered, zigzagging along the main street. It was a delicious sensation having his wet lips attacking her throat as he persisted, and made more disgusting noises against her exposed shoulders, back and neck.

He wrapped his arms around her waist from behind while she laughed, and scrunched her shoulders up to stop the assault and narrow his target. 'Stop! Haa. Booth, you're crazy! Haa... It tickles!' He ignored her completely until she spun in his arms, wanting some pay back, then went after his throat just as manically. She blew her own wet raspberries against him. He too began to squirm now, and laugh himself silly at the sensation.

'Et tu, Bones? Et tu?' Booth countered, thrilled she was playing along with him so sweetly. It was his turn to try and stop her now. She began to kiss his neck, drizzling her lips up to his. Their chuckles began to whisper away, as they opened their laughing eyes. Neither hesitated this time, and delved into each other, committing themselves wholeheartedly to another compulsory kiss.

She felt herself melt into his hot body, delighted that this was happening again. She adored how sensitive he was being with his tongue. Soft swirls of it caressed hers. He didn't probe too far or fill her too much, but let them edge deeper gently. They found a luscious depth and tempo, perfect for each of them. When he changed his angle she felt his breathing on her flushed cheek, and heard herself moan wantonly.

Although their deep kiss was still romantic and sensual, it held more heat than the last. To his pure joy she purred during it, rumbling the sexy approval in her throat, and gripped his head and torso to her. Booth could feel her nipples erect against his chest and felt his loins igniting. They were just getting sucked in to each other when to his horror, and foot stomping annoyance, his stomach rumbled loudly. Bones broke the glorious kiss, laughing hard on hearing it, throwing her head back up to the sky above.

'Sorry,' he said apologetically, sadly too. He watched her shake her head unconcerned, and look back to him. Her eyes sparkled, and flared briefly. Booth thought she looked younger with every kiss they shared, as if they were taking years off her.

'Come on, Booth. Let's get you fed and watered.'

'What am I, your dog?' he said.

Her tone dropped a little as she said, 'Stallion, would be more appropriate.' She cocked a very naughty brow at him, dropping her eyes briefly to his half inflamed groin. Booth blushed at her sexy unexpected comment, although completely flattered by it. He got tugged along again, this time with a proper hand hold she was reluctant to let go of, he noted cheerfully.

!

Chapter IX We All Scream For Ice Cream.

Walking back into the old city quarter, they came across a few little piazzas with great potential for a good lunch and view. They decided on Angello's, a small trattoria not far from the steps leading towards the Trevi fountain, which just happened to be on the itinerary for the late afternoon. There were steams of trotting obedient tourists lead by open multi-coloured umbrellas with knowledgeable tour guides beneath. They all headed in its direction and the partners presumed the fountain would be deluged with them. So a lazy late lunch now seemed apt and wise. They decided to let them have their time, then later it would be theirs.

They held hands constantly now, that being a simple necessity it seemed to Booth. Their passion-filled kisses had lit the long unused dusty fuse between them, and released them to be openly affectionate towards one another here. It felt as natural as breathing in and out to him, he prayed she felt the same. The fact that she squeezed his hand regularly when pointing out a particularly beautiful palace or vista, or when they glanced at one another, confirmed his prayer had been answered.

As they crossed the pretty cobbled piazza, a cloud of pigeons took to the warm air as they disturbed them. The square was filled with a melodic violin string aria coming from the trattoria in an evocative way. Its notes corresponded perfectly with the birds twirling, ascending flight. Bones felt the air they displaced caress her face, and watched them rise into the blue. They corkscrewed anti-clockwise in tight formation around the piazza above their heads, flocking together till they passed under them. Once safe, they began to settle back to solid ground to resume their foraging.

'This looks good, Bones. What do you think?' he asked, reading the menu board outside the establishment. Bones grinned, and looked back to him, thinking even the simple avian spectacle romantic now. Ange had been right, Bones thought, this was an exceedingly romantic city.

'Lovely, yes.' She made her way towards a small mosaic table bathed in afternoon sunshine. However suddenly ahead of him, Bones began to flap her hand around her midriff area, and spin on the spot. Then began flapping more wildly. Booth began to chuckle as she looked slightly panicked. He couldn't tell what was going on.

'Get off, get off,' she muttered, snagging her head back, and grimacing, seemingly dodging whatever it was with her head. The other patrons looked over confused too, and started to gossip to each other, thinking she was one of those odd people they let out occasionally.

Booth was trying to contain his amusement as she looked so funny, and cutely weird. 'Bones? What's going on, what is it?'

'Apis Mellifera. Away, away!'

'Huh?' he queried, totally confused, covering his teeth with his lips to trap his laughter inside his mouth as she ungainly pirouetted, still batting thin air.

'Bee, a bee, get off, get off,' she explained, still flapping her hands about, and scanning the immediate vicinity for the buzzing insect that was honing in on her for some unfathomable reason.

Booth began to laugh unable to hold it in anymore, but chivalrously held the back of the chair, waiting for her to sit down. He couldn't see or hear anything like a bee near them. Thankfully the mild panic seemed to waft away as she sat down, but he noted she still flicked her eyes around wildly, clearly distracted.

Regrouping, Booth took his place beside her, handing her a menu. She took it, and began to read, but her eyes were constantly flicking around. Once she was satisfied it was gone, she relaxed with a sigh, and looked properly at the menu. Booth's smile cemented to his lips as she settled nonchalantly and the strange looks she'd been getting, ceased. Calm was restored.

Booth chose his lunch almost immediately, but he waited patiently while she studiously scanned her options. 'Wine or Beer, Bones?'

'Oooo. Wine most definitely. Anything red, please.' He nodded once to confirm, then lifted a finger to the waiter. He came over with a cheery smile.

'Bon jour, umm. Ciao. Can we, we 'ave some red wine, red wine? Please thank you, Signora.' Bones grinned charmingly at his forced words and elemental errors. It amused her no end that he thought the waiter wouldn't understand him so he'd pronounced everything clearly. She held back her giggles for him calling the waiter madam, instead of sir. She did surreptitiously flick her eyes to the waiter to see his reaction though. To his credit the waiter seemed extremely unaffected.

He nodded politely, saying, 'Si, Signore,' as he went to get their wine. As he walked away, Booth realised his error from the way the waiter had replied to his drink order.

'Oh. Crap. Did I just call him a woman?' he asked out of the corner of his mouth. Bones started to chuckle freely now, rubbing his thigh to placate him.

'Yes I'm afraid you did, and you said; good day in French, then goodbye can I have some wine. Haa. It was totally adorable though.' Bones rocked into his shoulder, put the menu sheet down, and crossed her legs elegantly. Booth shook his head forlornly, but just as he did, Bones leapt up inelegantly, and began with the flapping and ballet twirling again.

'Oh! For the love of... Get off!' she commanded illogically. Booth was in hysterics at her practically running around the table trying to get away from the insistent invisible bee. 'Stop laughing, Booth it's your fault it's after me!'

Stunned by her chastisement, he questioned, 'How'd-ya work that out?'

'Ice cream! Ice cream!'' she barked indignantly, holding her filthy t shirt out for him to see and justify herself. Just then the bee materialised and settled on the t shirt between her fingers. 'Arrh!' More flapping and manic expressions ensued. Booth rolled around on his chair, with tears running down his cheeks. Moments later he nearly fell off his chair when the waiter returned sharply, looking absolutely terrified of her, and gingerly placed a bowl of ice cream on the table. He'd obviously heard her shout for ice cream so he hurriedly brought her some. She stilled when she saw the bowl arrive, and began to laugh herself. They looked at each other, and sniggered at the absurdity of the situation.

'That's it,' she warned nobody, then grabbing her purse, 'Order me the pasta special. I'll be back in a bit.' She smooched Booth's lips with a sultry hum, and headed away across the piazza. The pigeons took manic flight as she ploughed through them, parting them like the Red Sea. Booth's jaw dropped, as he watched her pace off. Firstly he was confused as to where she was going, and secondly, enamoured that she'd kissed him so naturally. Booth's grin blossomed on his lips, as he smugly looked around the faces all staring at him. Saying silently to himself but actually to them, she kissed me, yeah me, not you.

The waiter coughed for his attention nervously. 'Oh. Hello again, Signore,' Booth corrected his previous error, then went on, 'Can I have the veal and the special pasta, please.'

'Does she not want the ice cream? Was it not good?' The aged waiter looked forlorn, and slightly worried.

'Oh. No, no, there was a apee metatarsal something-or-other... a bee and err...' Booth trailed off, seeing the waiter's confused expression. He didn't feel it was worth trying to explain what had happened. 'The ice cream is lovely, I'll eat it, don't worry.' The waiter placed the wine bottle on the table along with two glasses.

'Is she coming back?' he asked, pouring him a glassful.

'Oh. Yes. At least I hope so...' Booth looked across the piazza through the thinning sightseers and settling ruffled pigeons, eating ice cream, and waited anxiously.

!

It was a good twenty worrying minutes until he saw Bones striding back across the piazza. She had a smart shopping bag swinging in one hand, and divine a smile on her face as she locked eyes with him. He twitched excitedly, and was plainly relieved as she neared. He stood up gallantly as she huffed as she sat down again. She placed the glossy black and silver Versace bag on the table, grabbed her glass of wine, and downed it in three thirsty gulps. She smacked her lips together, and sighed.

She had another t-shirt on but this one was pristine white and plunged at the neckline into her substantial cleavage. Booth admired the design as well as the extra flesh it showed. 'Like it?'

'Very much,' he said sincerely, lifting his eyes to hers. She chuckled, shaking her head at him in reprimand for his ogling of her, but was hugely flattered too. He poured her another glass as she settled.

'I brought you something too, here.' She opened the bag, and casually handed him a shirt similar to the one he wore but with a huge difference. It was white linen too, clean and top designer quality. He could just smell how expensive it must have been. 'Go change. I don't want to see that bee again.'

'You shouldn't have, Bones. This is...' he trailed off, deeply touched.

Seeing his expression, she said sweetly, 'Please, don't make it into an issue, Booth. It's just a clean shirt.' Her eyes pleading with him to accept it gracefully. He got up to change, but realised this was another opportunity, then leant down towards her slowly before he went. She turned her face to look into him. She could tell he was nervous about kissing her again, and was waiting for some form of permission from her. Granting it gladly, she smiled, lifted her hand to his cheek, then eased him the rest of the way down to her lips.

They kissed innocently this time, mouthing sensuously over the other's warm wine sweetened lips several times. They finished the exchange with delicate smiles, and a couple of sweet pecks. His gentle physical thank you warmed her up again.

'Back in a bit,' he said, before he walked inside the trattoria with his soul ascending. Bones sighed, sipped her wine with, it seemed to her, a permanent smile on her face.

When he sat back down a few minutes later she looked him over, 'Looks good.'

'Thanks. Feels it.' He rubbed the material between his fingers at the hem, clearly impressed with it.

'I must apologise for my behaviour earlier, Booth, for embarrassing you like that.' She poured them more wine, finishing the bottle. She casually ordered another by looking over her shoulder, pointing to the empty bottle. Their efficient, diligent waiter went off to get another. All the while she recounted her yarn, 'You see, I had a nasty experience with a bee once in the jungle in Peru. I don't usually panic like that. Previously I'd take no notice or just be calm and they fly off eventually.' He nodded, settling to listen to her story. 'This one particular time I was working on an excavation deep in the jungle. Above and around me were huge mahogany trees, and in these trees slept fruit bats.' She took a long slurp of wine, and swallowed, going on with, 'Their dropping were all over the place and attracted many different species of insects. Anyway it was hot, steamy and didn't smell very sweet, as you can imagine.' She grinned charmingly at him, he matched it, huffing a chuckle.

'A bee, a large bee and other insects began to swarm around my head. I wore a hat sensibly to protect me from... You can imagine.' Booth laughed again, while sipping some more wine. Their meals arrived and they started to eat.

'I started batting the annoying things away but they were not ready to leave me alone. Little did I know but one of those bats had left its calling card on the top of my hat. The remaining fructose in their droppings had clearly attracted the bees. So, realising the situation I took off my hat to clean it. As I did two bees landed on me. One on my brow and one on my head. I did what anyone would do and batted them away. Unfortunately they both stung me. The pain was excruciating...' Booth looked horrified, but understood now why she had gone a little crazy earlier. He watched as she expertly twirled her fork in her pasta, and popped the neat pile in her mouth, and chewed.

'Um. This is great, want to try?' Booth nodded keenly, as she swirled again, and delivered him the mouthful as she went on, 'I felt my skin start to tingle signalling it was going to swell. I managed to get one of the stings out on my brow but the one in my scalp, I couldn't. So I got the full dose of its venom. Within minutes, seconds,my head was twice its normal size, my eyes had closed over and the side of my face ballooned. Even my neck began to feel strange. I felt pain everywhere, nauseous and short of breath. I then had a terrifying epiphany...'

Booth swallowed. 'You were allergic,' he said gravely. Bones nodded, with a little grin.

'I'd never experienced Anaphylactic shock before with previous bee stings but it was obvious what was happening to me. I knew I had to get medical assistance immediately or I would probably die from asphyxiation.' Booth was nodding vehemently, twitching on his chair anxiously. Bones poured some more wine for them, and took a healthy mouthful.

'Our guide was called, when he saw my condition, he hurried off through the jungle. When he came back I was laying flat; gasping for breath, my limbs agonised, and cramping. Antoine, my fellow anthropologist was trying to cool me down with water from our flasks and getting the sting out of my scalp. I could see from his eyes though, he thought I was going to die out there...' She looked to her plate solemnly, slowly twirling her fork in her pasta. Booth could see her eyes cloud as she recalled what she thought were her last moments. Booth placed his hand on hers on the table, and gave it a squeeze.

'What happened, Bones? You survived, what did you do?' Bones slipped her fingers through his, and squeezed his hand hard, looking deeply into him. The expression on her face said something he thought he would never hear her admit. He still didn't hear it but he knew what she was saying she'd done. His eyes widened slightly with the realisation, and his heart beat faster. She took a deep breath, sat a little straighter, and sighed. It was plain to Booth she wasn't going to elaborate so he just accepted what she had confessed to him.

She began again on her meal with a little more enthusiasm. 'Our guide came back with two things. Two different plants. The first he crushed in his fingers, then rubbed the sap over the stings. The other he put in water and boiled up a broth. At this point I was quite delirious and resigned to my early demise. Apparently our guide poured this broth down my closing throat and within moments I began to feel its effects. It burnt my throat and stomach, tasted rancid, terribly bitter and smelt vile. I shook violently and sweated till I was drenched through... It took them eight hours to carry out of that jungle to the nearest medical facility. By that time I was breathing easily, my head was numb for a further two weeks. And the swelling took at least a week to subside. Ha. I looked like Elephant woman.' She grinned wide at him. 'Unfortunately, when I felt well enough I left the hospital but forgot how disfigured I still was. On the way to my hotel my appearance terrified several small children.' She laughed softly, recalling, Booth chuckled too. 'They ran screaming, warning that I was the terrifying, Chupacabra of their native legends come to suck their bodies dry of fluids.'

'Haa. Wow. Bones, great story.' She accepted his praise humbly, with an eye flare, chewing slowly on her delicious pasta. He went on, 'I've got one for ya...'

!

Chapter X Telling The Truth.

Lunch at Angello's had been delicious; extremely long, unhurried, and chockfull of people watching. Living la dolce vita for a few hours together was immensely satisfying. Their conversation had been interestingly varied; laced with gentle laughter and humour, revelations, basic Italian lessons, and muted affection but in a very romantic way though, Bones pondered. She thought he was a completely different persona when away from Washington and relaxed on holiday. He was her same Booth but was showing her his other gentler, less serious side here. She suspected he felt the same of her too. She did feel softer; calmer, less intense and showed him her opposite side.

It was the paradox in their respective professions, that death, the countless horrors, and the relentless degradation of morals, that those serious subjects left little room for them to show their whole. He had only caught glimpses of this side of her, likewise her with him. Now, with those restrictions lifted and the heavy responsibilities they normally carried were set aside. They were free to express and explore those areas normally hidden or capped when in their professional environment.

Booth, she recalled had gifted her with a wonderful compliment earlier. When he said he loved it when she laughed, that the world stopped to watch when she did. That comment, although very touching had a deeper meaning for her. He was compounding her thoughts that he hadn't seen her like that before. She knew she would jealously guard that compliment for the rest of her life, whatever happened between them.

'What would you say to a kitty, Bones? Hey, Bones?' He tapped his finger on her forearm to get her attention back to him. She took a deep breath, snapping out of her musings.

She launched a stunning smile in his direction. 'Sorry, I was miles away. What did you ask?'

'Kitty. We both sling a few hundred Euros in a pot. Then everything comes out of that, meals; coffees, ice creams, getting into places, shares fifty, fifty.'

'Sure. Great idea. You have control over this kitty though. I don't want the responsibility. How much do you want?'

'Say... three hundred?' Bones retrieved her purse immediately.

'Fine, here. Let me know when you need more.' Booth stripped out the same quantity from his wallet, and put it on her pile. He gathered it all together, and put it in a separate part of his wallet. He showed her where although she didn't really care. She idly thought she would pay anything to just sit here, with him, for the rest of her days. 'I'm just going to use the restrooms.' Booth grinned, adding a nod. She went off as he called for the check. However he didn't pay it with the kitty money, he paid with his own.

A few minutes later Booth felt her warm palm on his shoulder, and instinctually looked up and behind him. 'Ready to move on?' she asked, caressing his neck with the fingers of her other hand. The thrill her gentle touched caused was like his first sip of really good wine. It felt decadent and completely delicious.

'Yeah.' He stood up, retaking her hand, that hand that has just been caressing him, and kissed it softly. Then they laced fingers, walking slowly away from the restaurant into the warm shadows of the buildings, as the sun was starting to set behind them. 'You've caught the sun on your shoulders, Bones,' he warned, noting the tan line from her first T shirt straps. She looked unaffected to her shoulders, and smiled.

'Good. I need the colour and the vitamin D.' Booth got out his itinerary from his day sack, handing her the bottled water to have. She didn't hesitate to take a few thirsty sips, as with drinking so much wine and the heat of the sun she felt a little dehydrated. They leant their backs against the outer wall of one of the 900 churches that bejewelled the city. She watched as he pulled out his city map too, and studied it. 'What are you looking for? The Trevi Fountain is down that way. You can almost hear it.'

'I know. I'm just checking to see if this is the right church.' He looked at his map, and began to twiddle it around to get his bearings.

Handing him the water bottle to partake of, she asked, 'Which church are you expecting it to be?'

'Ha. Why, have you memorised all 900 of their locations and names?' he asked with sarcasm. There was a curious silence, then he slid his eyes to hers disbelievingly.

She dropped a hip. 'Not all of them, no,' she said, slightly embarrassed.

Booth swigged his water, peering into her face. 'Bones? That's, that's incredible. How many?'

'What church do you want?' she insisted, deliberately not telling him. Booth smiled wryly, hatching a plan to get the truth from her. He knew she had a remarkable, almost photographic memory but to recall them so perfectly was still unbelievable, and left him virtually speechless. 'Santa Maria in Cosmendin,' he said solidly. Bones took the water bottle back, with a wispy smile, making him wait for her superior knowledge. She drained it by tilting her head back, then grinned hard at him.

'Yes, this is it,' she finally claimed. Booth grabbed her hand immediately, and pulled her around the side wall to it and the next wall till he reached its portico.

On the far side of the portico was planted an ancient silver grey marble circular sculpture, set against the aged lime plastered wall, painted terracotta. The ominous face of Oceanus, the representation of all the salt water bodies of the world, stared back at them. His eyes and nostrils holes eerily black, and his dark mouth agape to the abyss beyond. The scary apparition was designed to throw the onlooker into fear, for this statue had a purpose and legend to boot.

Booth pulled her towards it with an intense smile she couldn't resist. 'You know what this is, don't you, Bones?' She laughed softly, and nodded. 'It's The. Mouth. Of. Trrruuuuth,' he cooed hauntingly. Bones laughed hard again, shoving his shoulder for being so silly. 'You put your hand in there, and I'm gonna ask you a question. If you lie,' he warned, 'If you lie,' he repeated as if to confirm the horror to come if she transgressed. 'He will bite your hand off!' he barked in her face. She jumped a little in shock, then tried to hold back her laughter but it bubbled up and echoed off the walls of the church portico. 'I mean it, Bones,' he cautioned. 'He'll get ya.' Adding a wagging a finger in her face.

'Haa. What's the question then?'

'Oh. No, no, no.' He shook his head. 'Put your hand in there first then I ask it.' Bones looked over his face, as he peered into her in challenge. She was deciding whether to or not. Before she decided, he'd grabbed her hand by the wrist, and pushed into the black mouth. She squealed, trying to pull it out. He stepped closer, staring into her eyes, refusing to allow her to remove it. Her chuckles began to subside under his intense stare. 'Don't lie, Bones.' She smiled a little wider, and relaxed her hand, leaving it inside the bocca's mouth. 'First question.' Her mouth gaped open in shock.

'First question? There's going to be more than one?' she asked affronted.

He sniggered evilly, nodding mischievously. 'How many churches did you memorise here in Rome?'

'Most of the important ones,' she said honestly, not fearing for her hand.

'Oh. No. Not good enough, Bones. I want a number between zero and 900.' She sighed, with an enigmatic grin. As she hesitated, to intimidate he stepped even closer, till he could feel her breasts against his torso, and her sweet breath on his tongue. However his nearness didn't intimidate it just inflamed her libido.

'I can't be more specific than... 732.' Booth's eyes widened, completely stunned, loosing his smile slightly. 'You think I'm a freak, don't you?' She pouted a little.

'God, no. I'm in awe, Bones,' he said seriously. She went to take her hand out but he held it firmly in place. 'Next question... Confirm to me what you did when you thought you were going to die.' Bones kissed his lips suddenly, he didn't understand why but wasn't going to complain.

'You already know, that question is moot. I was very young and my philosophies on religious beliefs were not fully honed or investigated,' she obfuscated professionally.

Not falling for her backtracking twaddle, he urged her to say the word, with his eyes too, 'Say it, say to me, you...'

'I... ppprrraayed,' she droned, rolling her eyes as if bored and it was nothing to get worked up about. Booth grinned hard, and kissed her now solidly. He went to let her go, but to his surprise she wrapped her hand around his wrist quickly, and held his in the abyss now.

'Don't lie, Booth,' she said softly, Booth lost his smile, apprehensive to what she was about to ask. He nodded, mute. Bones locked eyes with his. 'Question... Are you as physically aroused as me?'

At first he was shocked by her question, then elated because she obviously was, then as he searched her twinkling misty eyes, he said sharply, 'Yes, yes-Christ-yes.' His confirmation and her question were the spark to ignite them.

Their hands came out of the abyss in a flash and attached themselves to the other's body, head and face. Their tongues went into manic action immediately too. Booth leant heavily against her as she stumbled blindly back till her shoulders hit the wall. She hooked her leg around his thigh as he rubbed himself slowly against her centre. She gasped, changed her mouth's angle on his, and clawed at his back, getting him flush with her hardened nipples. She could feel his growing erection nudging her pubic bone, and groaned with delight as she flooded again. He broke their wild kiss, panting on her face, then he attacked her neck with lips and tongue. He pushed her arms flat to the wall either side of her head, sliding his palms up to her wrists, holding her still. She rolled her head on the hard lime wall behind, made delirious by his savagery to engulf her. She tried to free her hands to allow them the treat of exploration. Then, as if he understood, he released her wrists, but gripped her buttocks, lifting her up against the wall a fraction, and thrust purposely against her throbbing core. His point of contact was just about perfect on her sensitised slick nub. It felt incredible, it felt uncomfortable, it felt like a fantasy being realised, and she loved it.

'Oh,' her moan was captured by his mouth, as he invaded her again. They fell into a wild intricate rhythm with their swirling tongues and writhing bodies. While Bones slide her hands under the loose shirt she'd gifted him with, and dug her nails into his back, then raked them down over his taut muscles to his buttocks. Once there, she gripped him into her, feeling him flex against her again with a deep throaty appreciative groan.

She didn't know why but she caught herself mentally chanting again, but this time it was a different mantra; don't stop, don't stop, please don't stop.

Bones felt the long forgotten sensation of blissful release nearing. Her body tightening as his actions built the pressure within her astonishingly fast. She knew this was reckless, lawless, juvenile and probably disrespectful to the sanctity of the church, but she understood they couldn't help themselves.

His tongue suddenly left her panting against his face, she blinked open her eyes to his, feeling less full without it. He was trembling, his flesh quaking against her fingers and bare arms. She could tell from his gritted molars he was moments away from his own powerful release. He was watching her as she watched him for the instant they both tumbled into the clouds together.

'Hey! Signore, signora fermata che!' Bones looked over his shoulder to see an Italian policemen who looked appalled, and extremely angry at what he was witnessing.

'Oh. Crap,' Bones slipped down the wall as Booth looked around too, releasing her. The colour in her cheeks fading fast along with his erection.

'Si tratta di una chiesa? Andare a casa,' he blazoned.

Booth picked up his day sack, and attempted a placatory smile, but just got daggers back from him. 'What he say?' Booth muttered out of the corner of his mouth. Bones straightened herself up a little.

'Scusi, scusi,' Bones mumbled a quick apology, adding a placatory smile of her own. The officer waved them off with a stern wrinkled brow.

'Quick, Booth before he changes his mind and arrests us for indecent behaviour.' They began to walk up the cobbled street hand in hand, glancing behind them as the officer followed, watching them suspiciously. 'Faster,' she urged, and they picked up their pace but tried to be as casual as possible. They glanced at each other as they broke into a trot, and then started to run. Laughter broke out during their escape and continued until they ran into the nearest leafy horti they came too. They were unable to run anymore as they were laughing so hard. Booth slowed down, pulled her to him, bent his knees, and lifted her up into the air in jubilation of their lucky escape. He spun her around, as she gripped around his head, tossing her head back, still laughing hard.

He kissed her stomach through her t shirt, humming loudly. Then let her down slowly against him. 'Now stop that, that's how we nearly got arrested,' she chastised him for kissing her again but clearly didn't mean it. He pouted handsomely, pulling her to a bench on the towpath of the Tiber River.

The Tiber's source came from two springs known as Le Vene from one peak in the Apennine mountains. Those joint springs filled the river to the sea and flowed ageless, almost silently past them. Its eddy's rippled the darkening water and drew their eyes left towards a bridge. The Ponte Sant'Angelo, spanned the two shores and led pilgrims towards Vatican city. It being one of the oldest bridges across the constantly silting river, glimmered majestically in the fading light.

Booth rolled to lay his head on her lap, and looked up to her, crossing his legs at the ankle. She looked down at him on her lap, with an emotion filled smile. She flattened out his rumpled hair a little, then leant down, and kissed his lips softly. 'We went a little wild, Bones.' She grinned wider, caressing his jaw tenderly.

'Yes. We certainly did. A few moments longer and...' she trailed off, looking back to the river reflectively.

'Yeah. You were so close,' he whispered the secret, excited at the thought they had come so close to giving the other their ultimate pleasure.

She looked down again. 'As were you.' Kissing him again but this time held her lips to his for a few tender moments. Finally she answered his question about the police officer's words, 'He said to stop that, this is a church and to go home. Haa.' Her soft laughter was like taking a sedative, he closed his eyes, unable to loose his smile, and sighed heavily. She looked to him, feeling him relax even more into her lap. She caressed his torso with her fingertips as the light grew dim. With the sun setting at their backs, she watched as the towpath lights flickered on. The dome of the basilica showed signs of illumination but as the last rays of the sun caught the gold on its pinnacle, she felt her eyes start to droop.

!

Chapter XI Tossing coins.

Bones woke suddenly, blinking a few times to focus on the now fully lit river. There was a dinner boat drifting slowly by and the chatter and soft music from it, ghosted across the wide river to her. She looked down to her partner, he was grinning up at her. She smiled back tenderly, tilting her head slightly to read his expression more readily. She couldn't so asked, 'What?' softly. He lifted his hand, and stroked her hair off her face a little, then using his index finger, gently caressed her cheek. Bones felt his touch and warm eyes speaking to her, she waited for his next romantic compliment.

'I'm hungry,' he said impishly.

'Haa. I thought you were going to say something romantic again. Ho hum.' She looked back towards the illuminated bridge and beyond it, faking pity. Booth began to chuckle on her lap, then sat up to look at the view that someone had painted since he last looked. Canaletto, he presumed had been very busy.

'Oh. Bones,' he sighed. 'That's stunning.' She nodded to agree. The basilica's dome was now perfectly lit with yellow beams highlighting its imposing architecture. The pedestrian bridge to their left was elegantly arched below with down lighting creating a shimmering copy on the silky black water. The marble angels along it were lit too and looked busy with curves and swirls of graceful Renaissance art. It oozed its age with subtle joie de vivre. Those angels looked so life-like that they half expected them to jump from their plinths, and walk into the city in their flowing robes. The gentle music from the boat serenaded their silence as it rippled by.

Booth broke that silence with, 'It's known locally as the Bridge Of Angels,' he said softly, then added, pointing, 'The legend goes, an angel appeared on the top of that castle at the far side, to herald the end of the Great Plague, hence the name.' He faced her, and smiled warmly. He watched as she rolled her eyes around his face leisurely, absorbed in him, then leant in to kiss him. He thought for a second she was going to say something heart filling but had changed her mind at the last moment. Booth felt his heart rate soar as she kissed him with deep slow laps with her tender tongue instead, while her palm rested softly against his stubbly cheek. When she'd had her fill and need quenched, she pecked his lips once, and sighed contentedly. Then Bones stood, offering her hand for him to take which he did gratefully. They then wandered back out of the small narrow grassy area edging the bank, into the quieter cobbled streets in silence.

!

They eventually began to hear the sound of gurgling, rushing water, getting louder and louder. As they turned yet another corner, a square opened out for them to witness the breathtaking sight of the world famed Trevi Fountain. They both stilled for a second, and gripped each other's hand just a tad firmer. This was the visual masterpiece at the end of the Roman Aqueduct Virgo, one of seven which had fed the city with fresh spring water for centuries.

They lazily ingested the enormous marble statue of Oceanus astride his shell chariot. The gushing waters of the spring flowed under his feet to fill the massive bowls, representing the world seas that he commanded. The baroque creation with its smooth lines and curves seemed to be alive, as an imaginary wind blew through the gowns and hair of the mythical figures. The light and shade effects on the Hippocampi and Tritons made them real in the virile magnum opus, and held them spellbound.

They stepped closer, Booth stood at the shore of one of those vast oceans, and fingered the illuminated limpid water thoughtfully. It was warm to the touch and the air was heavy with the scent of fresh water, wet rock and melodic cascades.

Bones whispered gently, with restrained excitement as she fingered out a few coins from her purse, 'They say, that if you flip a coin over your right shoulder into the water, you'll return to Rome one day... Do you want to return to Rome one day?' Holding her hand out with coins flat on her palm, she smiled hopefully at him. But he shook his head very slowly, looking back into the water. She was suddenly very disappointed by his clear rejection, and felt her heart sink to her knees as they weakened.

Booth told her seriously, 'I never want to come back here...' He thought she looked very confused and worried.

Bones considered painfully, was he not enjoying being with her? Had his smiles and affections been all a ruse and deflection? Was he thinking of someone else he would rather be with here? She closed her palm around the coins sadly, realising she'd raised her hopes too high and felt foolish.

Seeing her looking confused and utterly dejected, Booth ached for her sorrow and naivety then continued tenderly, 'Unless you're with me when I return.'

Bones felt her eyes water suddenly, she dropped them from his, and looked to the coins in her hand. She'd goaded him for not saying anything romantic earlier now he had, she was close to becoming a gibbering pathetic woman. She understood that was his way of saying he wanted to be with her for a long time. And that if he did return, it wouldn't be as wonderful without her beside him.

Without the courage to look at him, she scolded gently, 'Don't do that to me, Booth,' with a quiver in her voice. 'That was so cruel, and very beautiful, but cruel.'

He smiled, hearing her compliment and reprimand him in one sentence. 'You said cruel twice.' He lifted her chin to look at him but she resisted his plea. Her eyes now adding to the fountains warm volume.

She admitted, 'Yes, well, I'm very emotional right now.'

'I can see that... Look at me, Bones,' he instructed tenderly. She shook her head, refusing to let him see her tears, but cutely stepped closer into his body, clearly needing him to hold her. He had no trouble with granting that silent request. He wrapped her in his embrace tightly, rubbing his head on her soft hair, as she buried her damp face in his neck. 'You're so fragile, Bones it scares me sometimes,' he confessed.

'I know,' she muttered in his neck. 'You've made me stronger though. I would have backed away by now if anyone got this close to me, or said those lovely things.' He held her tighter, more possessively, kissing her head.

'I understand,' he sympathised sweetly, then changed direction, 'It's been a loooong, arduous process to get you this far, I can tell ya,' he said playfully, as if it had been a terrible burden and sacrifice for him. Akin to a task he didn't relish. It was then that he felt her push him into the Caribbean like waters of the fountain, unceremoniously shoving him in. He was so shocked when he spluttered to the surface to see her pointing at him, and her hysterical laughter.

He stood up, faking annoyance, and heavily waded out of the waters. Several onlookers were either laughing or disgusted with them. But Booth and Bones were oblivious to their reactions and wouldn't have cared.

'Sorry, sorry. Couldn't resist. You were so smug,' she defended her action. She retreated as he began to narrow his eyes, as hers widened. He was dripping wet from head to toe, and looking very determined. She observed his linens had become see through, and left very little to the imagination. As she dragged her eyes from that part of his anatomy, he pounced, seizing his chance. Grabbing her around the waist, he flipped her over his shoulder, and carried her into the waters kicking and screaming. All the while she laughed uncontrollably.

Bones knew the inevitable was going to happen, so slung her purse onto dry land, unable to do anything else as he waded them out to deeper waters. 'Booth, dooooon't...' she pleaded, but it was to fall on deaf ears. He plopped her off his shoulder and into the water just as unceremoniously as she'd done.

She sat on the bottom up to her neck in water, and looked up to him. Booth knelt opposite her, brushing wet hair off her face, while they howled with laughter at each other for several minutes. 'God, I've never had so much fun in my life,' he gushed sincerely. She shook her head too, in complete harmony with him. Lifting her hand out of the water, she unclasped her palm, and offered him the coins again. This time he took one as did she, both grinning madly. Their promise to return made to each other now. She hadn't misread anything, her hopes for them burned in her heart.

'One, two, three!' Simultaneously they threw their respective coins over their shoulders. Hearing them plop behind them, they edged closer to each other. Booth sat down too now, but she knelt up, and clasped his wet shirt, pulling him to her lips. They kissed deeply, than began rolling around in the warm surf like a couple of larking dolphins on heat, devouring each other again for several glorious sodden minutes.

Then they heard a familiar stern voice, 'Hey! Signora, Signore?' The cavorting couple stilled, stopped kissing and smiling instantly, then looked to the policeman. He was tapping his baton on his palm, waiting for them to get out.

'Oh. Christ, we're in deep, deep do dar,' Booth muttered, helping her up. They tried to straighten themselves out but it was useless, they looked a soggy shambles. They waded out holding hands, and stood in front of him forming huge puddles at his shiny calf length boots. They hung their heads like school children waiting for their punishment.

Booth listened to him tear them off several strips in Italian, which felt a lot worse than he'd imagined it would. Bones was nodding but not saying anything. Booth flicked his gaze between her and him constantly. Then he went quiet and that was when Bones started to converse with him. Booth watched as the policeman listened patiently then to his amazement he began to laugh, and seemed to calm.

Bones went for her purse, and pulled out her driving licence, handing it to him. 'What's going on?' Booth asked. Bones shook her head for him to be quiet, which he did instantly. All Booth could understand was, blar, blar, blar Seeley Booth FBI blar, blar, blar. The policemen looked at him suspiciously, then smiled holding his hand out for him to shake. Booth shook it instantly, and attempted a drippy smile. Then the policemen walked off after handing back her ID, and waving off the curious onlookers as he strolled away.

Bones began to recount what he said to her sensibly and secretively, 'Phew. We dodged a huge missile there, Booth.'

Booth loved that she got the saying wrong, and corrected her gently, 'Bullet, Bones bullet. What did he say?' Bones nodded to acknowledge her error, while picking up their bags, and made their way home.

'He said we are to go home, dry off and not swim in famous fountains or have sex in public on his beat ever again. We were showing our countrymen up by acting like morons, I think the terms was. Something like that anyway.' They both squelched out of the square, heading back to the hotel, ignoring the odd looks they were getting from the evening revellers. They waddled like penguins as their linens were clinging to their legs uncomfortably. 'If he sees us doing anything wrong again, he will have to arrest us,' she said seriously. Booth listened intently to her, while he dodged amused pedestrians. 'I told him you and I were on our honeymoon and that I was a famous author and was prone to emotional creative outbursts.' Booth nodded again, squeezing the hem of his shirt out. 'Hence the open air risqué sex and fountain swimming. I also told him we were very jet lagged and had too much of Rome's excellent wine for lunch.' They left a slippery trail behind them like a pair of juicy

snails which shimmered with the glow from the now risen moon.

'Wow. Bones you covered all the bases there then,' he said, relived and impressed, squelching noisily in his shoes.

She told him seriously, and rather proudly, 'Yes. I thought I did remarkably well in the circumstances.' Booth nodded to agree.

!

'Oh! Is it raining?' Leo asked, waking from his chair behind his counter, seeing them drenched through and looking freezing.

'Haa. No, we had a swim,' Booth said cutely.

'Where, in the Trevi or Tiber?'

'Trevi,' Bones confirmed, with a gleeful smile, then added proudly, 'We nearly got arrested actually.'

'How wonderful! You've had a good day, I can tell. You both look so in love.' Booth and Bones hesitantly exchanged shy glances at his comment, but said nothing to confirm or deny the observation.

Booth said slicing through the sudden silence, 'We should stop dripping on your floor and get changed for dinner.' Bones nodded at him, with a nervous smile playing with her mouth.

Leo flapped his stubby hand flippantly, unconcerned for his floor, and said, 'Ok. See you later.'

They began to make their way up the stairs. Booth slopped up behind her, seeing the globes of her buttocks bounce seductively as she stepped up the stairs. He also noted she was wearing only a lacy string under those opaque linens, and had to stifle his aroused groan in his throat at that discovery.

They stepped inside their room to find all the candles in the alcoves lit, which threw flickering shadows all around it. Booth thought it looked magical and utterly seductive. As Bones turned to him, he could tell she thought exactly the same, but to his disappointment she didn't say anything to confirm that. She just said, 'You go get cleaned up first, Booth.'

'Ok.' He padded into their en suite. Bones watched him go, then sighed, looking around the room at its subtle romantic lighting, and noted the warmth it filled her with. As she heard him start to whistle in the shower, she smiled to herself, and began to strip off her saturated clothes.

!

Chapter XII Food For Thought.

'Do you think it's alright to leave my wet stuff in the hamper, Bones? I've wrung them out as best I could,' he asked, rubbing his hair dry, as he came out of the en suite. Getting no answer, he looked around their room. 'Bones?'

'You were very quick,' she said, poking her head around the wardrobe door she was naked behind. Booth thought her statement sounded like a question not a reprimand. Then he realised why.

'Oh. Sorry. I'll shut my eyes.' He cutely placed his hand over his eyes. Bones chuckled when he split his fingers to sneak a peak though.

'Pass me my robe then.'

'You know,' He went back into the bathroom to retrieve a robe for her. 'This is totally irrelevant, Bones. After our dip in the Trevi I could see everything you're being coy about,' he said, remembering fondly.

Taking it from his hand, she retorted, 'I'm not being coy! I'm not ashamed of my body.' He muttered something under his breath as he turned away she didn't hear, but chose not to question him on it. She slung her robe around her, and came around the door tying it up. 'I'm attempting being chaste and alluring,' she said, with a wry smile and a sexy eye flare. Booth again chuckled at her playfulness and cute banter. 'In answer to your question, yes, but I think we should warn Leo. It's only polite.'

'Agreed. I've gotta nip down and ask him something in a mo, I'll tell him then.' Booth sat on his bed, and began again on his hair. 'Our itinerary says it's dinner on the roof of something I can't pronounce!' he called out to her as she closed the door behind her. He noted happily this time she didn't turn the iron key.

'Great!' she hollered back. 'I'm ravenous now!' He nodded with an ironic huff as he could feel his stomach protest the lack of sustenance again.

Booth got dressed, preened his hair, and put on some aftershave. He put just his wallet in his back pocket, taking her advice to travel very light, especially after nearly rendering people unconscious with his day sack. 'I'll be back in a while! I'm just going to speak to Leo!'

'Ok. See you in a while!' she shouted back. He closed the door behind him, and went to see Leo.

When he came back up to the room forty minutes later, she wasn't in there. 'Oh. Where's the sexy anthropologist gone?' he asked himself. He checked the bathroom after tapping the door. He knew she hadn't gone out as he would have seen her, so he concluded she must be on the roof, so he headed up there.

When he saw her standing with her back to him looking over the roof tops, he almost whimpered, and his shoulders sagged. She wore a short-ish dress that flared from her curvaceous hips to just below her knees. It was rich solid black silk and embraced her carefully, tenderly. The elegant line of her spine was bare as the drapes of silk rippled either side of it like waves parting. The loose material went all the way down to the top of her buttocks, and showed off her hourglass figure to perfection. He could see she didn't wear a bra either and he knew that when she turned around, he was going to spontaneously combust on the spot. It was a dangerous creation she'd chosen to wear, he mused. It was more than likely to have every male with in two hundred yards drooling over her, and a few females too probably. On her dainty feet she wore a black heel not too high but enough to do wicked things to her leg muscles only a man could fully appreciate. 'Oooh. Nooo,' he whined forlornly. Bones turned, surprised she wasn't alone. 'You can't go out like that, Bones?' he chastised seriously.

'What? Why? Is this not appropriate then?' She looked over herself briefly, clearly puzzled. He stepped towards her, his heart pounding against his ribs, locking eyes with her concerned ones.

'You're gonna make the stars jealous of me,' he told her softly. He could see her eyes twinkle and the relaxation now ripple across her face. 'They'll start falling from the heavens to get next to you.'

Bones stepped closer breathing him in, while slowly, softly nuzzling his cheek with the tip of her nose. Booth trickled his finger tips down the line of her spine, feeling a shiver run through her as they went lower. 'And I'll get into so much trouble with the Big Guy,' he whispered into the curve of her diamond studded ear.

'Thank you, Booth. You're being so...' She gave up trying to explain so left it unsaid, but added another sincere, 'Thank you.'

'You're welcome,' he said just as sweetly, then boldly, lifting the hugely tender moment between them, 'I've got a hankering for a large juicy steak.' Flaring his eyes brightly.

She giggled softly, taking his hand, and lead the way to dinner.

!

Booth had thought right, every single man they passed on the way to the restaurant on the roof not only drooled, they even ventured to call out to her their compliments. At one point en route, a young buck on his sunflower yellow Vesper went up the back of a taxi because he was staring at her as they walked by. The screech of his brakes, crunching metal and the resulting mêlée with the furious cabbie, made her turn to see what was happening. Booth found it amusing she'd no idea that it was her that had caused the fender-bender, and she carried on chatting. He didn't enlighten her, knowing she wouldn't believe him anyway.

Halfway through his steak he took a break to sip the excellent wine they'd chosen. He looked over the terracotta tiled roof tops, highlighted churches, and campaniles then sunk into the gentle music playing to accompany their gourmet standard meal. Their dinner conversations were full of gentle laughter about their antics today. Visions too of gorgeous buildings, colours and sparkling water came back to him. They'd exchanged more stories from their lives and hopes for the rest of the week during the sumptuous meal too. He pondered over the reactions he'd gotten from her when he had complimented her generously. Those recollections made him smile, and feel vindicated for taking another chance with her. She was clearly relaxed, surprisingly demonstrative and wasn't pushing for answers or asking question to where this was going between them. He was grateful for that, he mused. He didn't want to get in too deep and possibly scare her off. His tactics and approach were working perfectly so far, he felt. So decided to keep the status quo, mixing romance, and tenderness with fun and humour. He knew the time would come when he would have to broach the thorny subject of what may lay in store for them as a couple. But for now, he was content in mind and body. He just had to sort out his spirit now.

'This itinerary says Vatican, and Sistine chapel all day tomorrow.' She was grinning keenly. 'Are you excited about tomorrow?'

'Excited? In a way I suppose I am...'

'Humm.' She looked his expression over while he looked back to the view. 'Your expression suggests you're not excited.'

'That's the wrong word really. I'm curious and slightly nervous.' He twitched on his seat, and took a hasty sip of his wine. Bones snagged her head back, not understanding his lack of enthusiasm or his clear anxiousness.

'Nervous? Why on earth would you be nervous?'

He settled back into his chair, then explained, 'Damnation and divine retribution, Bones.' Bones' jaw hung slightly. He went on quietly, leaning on his elbows, and ringing his hands. 'I was taught that when we sinned, committed a mortal sin that we're punished. God punishes the evil and wicked. I fear walking into that place and all my transgressions will be visible somehow. That He will throw me out, the repeating sinner, the murderer, damn me, shame me for the lives I've taken. And... I fear I will taint that sacred place with myself and my sins...'

'Oh. Booth.' She slipped her hand around his neck, and rested her brow on his. 'You are not a murderer,' she whispered against his face. 'Every life you've taken has eaten away at you. I'm witness to that painful truth. This God of yours, as I understand it, is a forgiving one. He forgives those that are truly sorry.'

'I am, Bones, but you miss the point. When you confess, you promise to not repeat the sin. I've constantly broken that promise. And let's be really honest here, I've not really been following the rules of my faith, have I?'

'Explain.'

'I've had sex before marriage. I've had a child out of wedlock, even slept with another man's wife before. I've killed, and maimed and not kept His day sacred. I've broken every commandment of the faith I'm supposed to follow and believe in. I'm a hypocrite, Bones. So yeah, I have a little fear.'

Bones took a moment gathering her thoughts before she replied, feeling his sorrow and shame, and ached for him. 'Those sins,' she began. 'As you call them, are by any other term, common human frailties, Booth. We're not perfect, we're weak and selfish creatures and your God knows that. It never says in that list of commandments about justifying those sins. You may ask, how can you justify killing some one? You know you can if it saves more lives, and protects the innocent and weak. You know that, Booth.' He looked away from her eyes over the rooftops again. She went on, after gently easing his brow back to hers. 'And as for tainting that holy place, I find that statement absurd. I can tell you a few stories about a Pontiff who did a whole lot more in ten years than you will ever do in your whole life. One of those is interred in that sanctified ground.' Booth grinned weakly, nodding slowly against her warm brow. She went on sweetly, 'Personally, I think you must be one of His favoured followers.' He looked up to her eyes at close quarters, as she caressed the back of his neck. 'Because you struggle so hard with your conscience and still come back to His teachings, when you could so easily walk away. That takes great courage, shows you're willing to try harder, and that your soul is purer than most...' She let her words sink in, feeling him take a deep slow inhale, and then let it go gradually. 'If you have a little fear for tomorrow, just think how I feel... I'm terrified.'

'Haa.' Booth laughed softly, tilting his lips towards hers, and kissed them tenderly in thank you for her pep talk, and for caring so much about him.

'Finish your steak, Booth. I want tiramisu now.'

'Yes, Bones,' he said, and she gave him a little nudge for being so cheeky.

!

It had been a hectic day full of lovely memories to take away with them. As they wandered back to the small hotel via yet more cobbled streets and ancient houses, they began to feel extremely tired. Booth seemed to be dragging his feet a little to her. As if he didn't want to go back just yet, so she asked, 'Did you want to stay out a little later?'

'No, no it's not that, Bones. I'm exhausted actually. We've had an awesome day, haven't we?'

She squeezed his arm tighter against her flank, grinning hard. 'Yes, totally awesome.' Bones did have a slight sense of disappointment though at his statement. She selfishly thought that he was too tired to be intimate with her tonight, which she had been looking forward to after this afternoon's wild episode. She was still mentally repeating every kiss and touch of his hands, not to mention the feel of his member almost rubbing her senseless and breathless. It was clear she was going to have to be patient on that front and not have any expectations other than she had already been given.

'I've got to go somewhere tomorrow morning, a personal errand,' he told her cryptically. 'I'll be back before breakfast though. So don't rush around in the morning. Then after we can do the Vatican, ok?'

'Sure, whatever you want. Would you like me to come with you on this errand?' They reached the hotel, and walked up the stairs quietly, past Leo who was asleep on his chair.

'Not really your kind of thing, Bones.' He gave her a wonky, forgive me, pout.

'Is it God-y?' She asked wryly over her shoulder.

'Haa. Yes, it's God-y,' he confirmed, kissing her cheek quickly for being so cute and not getting offended.

'You can bring me a coffee in bed when you get back then.'

'What am I, your slave?' he retorted, opening the bedroom door for her to enter. She smiled regally, tilting her chin up, as she stepped inside.

He rolled his eyes, when she replied, 'Yes.' Resigned to his fate but willing to oblige her whims of fancy, he smiled. Then he watched stunned as she kicked off her shoes. They arced in the air one at a time and landed neatly on her bed with gentle thuds, while she casually took out her earrings. Booth's jaw hung in amazement at her accuracy and the neat trick.

'Wow, Bones!' She spun, holding her palm out beside her thigh smugly, walking back past him toward the bathroom. He smacked her palm, low five-ing her cutely.

'I'm good,' she muttered, winking cheekily at him, closing the door behind her. His shoulders rattled with his chuckles. Then he decided to have a go. His first attempt wasn't bad, he thought. His shoe went too high, bounced too hard on the fancy duvet covers, then thudded to the floor. His second attempt however, was disastrous.

He knew he was in serious trouble when he flicked it way too high again, and too far. It hit the wall behind his bed, dropped to the pillow then kicked savagely right, crashing into the antique glass lamp on the nightstand between their beds. The crash and shattering of the glass shade shocked him so much he gasped horrified, and covered his open mouth with all eight fingers.

Bones came running out, and froze, as he snapped his head around to look at her. She thought his expression reminiscent of Edvard Munch's masterpiece, The Scream.

Then he started rambling, 'I don't know how it happened. My shoe hit the wall, did this crazy weird flip thing and... Oh. Shit, Bones,' he sighed, distraught. 'I broke it. Do you think we can stick it back together quick?' he asked hopefully.

Bones started to laugh. 'Stick it back together?' she said sarcastically. 'That was a 19th century lamp, Booth. Probably irreplaceable.' She smacked his arm in reprimand, and began to pick up the glass carefully. Just then there was a knock at their door. Bones grimaced at him over her shoulder. He looked terrified as he peered around the door.

Leo looked to him and then Bones crouching to pick up the remains of the lampshade, wrapped in a towel around her torso.

'Seeley,' he said softly, looking at him as if he was a naughty child. 'You broke my lamp.'

'Yes. Ooohw. I'm so sorry, Leo. It was an accident. Do you think we could replace it?'

Leo came in, and started to chuckle. 'No I'm afraid not, Seeley.' Booth sagged again. Leo went on casually though, 'But I am insured. Have no more worries. I will ask my brother-in-law to come with the forms tomorrow evening. You just have to write what happened and all will be forgotten.'

'Really, that's it?' Booth asked incredulously, extremely relieved.

'Yes, that's it. It happens all the time. Let me guess, you kicked your shoes off after a hard day walking and it hit the lamp.'

Booth pouted again. 'Yes...' Then, 'Bones did it first!' He pointed to her accusingly, trying to deflect the blame. Bones gasped in, her mouth dropping open, horrified he was blaming her too.

She countered indignantly, 'Yes, but I'm an expert shoe flicker with decades of experience!' She stood face to face with him. Leo grinned hard, hearing their silly argument, not worried about his lamp one iota. He picked up the waste bin, and tipped the glass in her hand into it. She did it without thinking or thanking him as she was too pissed off with Booth.

'Expert, eh? Well, it was a silly thing to show me! Your shoes are lighter than mine.'

'Exactly! You didn't need to copy my trick with your big heavy foot protection. You must have known the risks and possible consequences. You just wanted to show off!'

'And you didn't?' he challenged. 'If your shoe had hit the pillow like mine did, then you would be mortally embarrassed and I would be sympathetic!'

'Hu! No you wouldn't! You'd be all smug and condescending,' she sneered, then, 'I'd never hear the last of it!'

'I would not! I'm offended by that accusation!' He huffed gruffly and shuffled his stance, giving away his white lie.

'Oooh. Offended? Ridiculous! Your epidermis is as thick as a rhinoceros!'

'Oh, oh! Name calling now, is it? How very grown up of you,' he sneered sarcastically, staring her down, inches from her lips.

'Yes, well, if you were acting like an adult you profess to be, we wouldn't be having this argument!'

'How do-ya work that out?'

'I saw your expression when my shoes landed, it was full of childish excitement to do the same. You just wanted to out do me, a woman!' she accused, prodding his chest with a rigid elegant index finger.

'Ow! Evidence?' he challenge her to prove that comment, already knowing he was fighting a losing battle, standing with his hands on his hips defensively.

'Broken lamp!' She pointed sharply towards the scene of the crime. 'Shattered glass! Barefoot FBI Agent! Size 13 black man shoe! Need I say more?'

Leo walked out with the glass and lamp in the waste bin, and shut the door gently, after saying quietly, 'Good night.' He grinned all the way down the stairs.

The click of the latch snapped their eyes to the door. They looked back to each other, realising they had argued all through his cleaning up of the glass. They glared at each other for a few moments, then their eyes began to soften. The swirling anger ebbed away from their irises to be replaced with something greater and infinitely more deep.

Bones smiled heatedly at him. 'I adore arguing with you,' she said softly, popping up on tip toe to peck his lips, then padding elegantly back to the bathroom.

Booth had trouble not going after her. He wanted to kiss her senseless for her simple forgiveness, and grudgeless attitude. She was to him, his absolute, the supreme. 'Me too,' he whispered after she'd closed the door.

!

Booth had changed out of his clothes, and checked for more shards of glass before he snuffed out a few candles. Except one, that one he'd placed on the nightstand between them. He left the window slightly ajar and pulled the little curtains too. He'd also turned down her covers and poured her a glass of water just in case she wanted some in the night. He had considered moving the nightstand and pushing their beds together, but decided that would have been presumptuous and too soon.

Bones came out with a sweet smile for him, loving the touches he'd done to the room since she was away. It felt extremely cosy and like stepping back in time, she thought. Booth walked past her with just his baggy sleeping boxers on, that barely clung to his slim smooth hips. She couldn't help her head turning to watch his sexy exit. She slipped under the covers after pulling on a camisole and matching satin shorts. She watched the flame of the candle flare and flicker its glow around the room. The shadows it created fascinated her as they seemed to change the inert into life. They seemed to dance slowly over the flat surfaces, waltzing to the gentle sounds of the close night of the Eternal City.

Booth came out to find her on her side asleep, facing his bed. He couldn't help but smile, although disappointed she'd drifted off to her dreams. He was insatiable for more of her. He would have talked or argued all night with her if he'd been given the opportunity. Maybe another night, he hoped.

Hearing her measured breathing, and seeing her serene expression lulled him too. He snuffed out the candle, sighed, and closed his eyes.

!

Chapter XIII Son Rise.

Booth opened his eyes, hearing the tuneful dawn chorus begin, as the house sparrows outside their window sung their joy in the emerald ivy. Their room was still full of dark shadows but he knew it wouldn't be long before the sun clipped the horizon and began its ascent, fading those shadows. He breathed in, smelling the cool air winding its way through the short drapes across the window, and sighed. That wasn't the only honey scent he could recognise hanging in the morning air. Bones' fragrance filled him too, and made him breathe in deeply again. Consequently his morning erection grew a little harder expectantly, so he slipped his hand under his shorts to reprimand it, willing it to disappear.

Booth understood that this week with her beside him was going to drive his libido crazy and thought he was prepared. The trouble was she was sleeping less than three feet away from him, oozing all those tempting fragrances and sounds. He just ached to slip in beside her, spoon her from behind gently, and breathe in her rich scent through her hair at the back of her neck. To caress her smooth abdomen with his fingertips, then loop himself around her compelling warmth and softness.

He thought, would she really mind if he did all that? Would she protest the intrusion and presumption or welcome his body to hers, especially after yesterday's wild, almost sex? Whatever, he thought, he wasn't going to spoil what had already occurred between them by jumping the gun. He also couldn't do that to her with such a potent erection. That, he mused would only make her think he was just wanted sex from her. This vacation with her wasn't about the potential for sex between them, it was about so much more than that.

His erection was refusing point blank to settle, spurred on by her uniform breathing and curled sleeping form. He realised it was a futile exercise to try and control it, so took his hand out of his shorts slowly. Resigned, he eased back his duvet, and sat up on the edge of the bed with his back to her, then rubbed his face with his palms. Yawning, he stretched a little, then stood. His cock tented his baggy shorts, the cotton restraining it remarkably well under the circumstances. Knowing he couldn't urinate with such a rod-like hard on, he collected his clothes for the day, and padded quietly to the bathroom to dress.

Bones opened an eye to see him open the bathroom door, clutching his clothes to his naked torso unable to miss his visible arousal. As he closed the door gently so as not to wake her, she squirmed a little against the sheets with her own similar arousal, with a little strained sigh. Closing that eye again, she listened as he cleaned his teeth, used the toilet and dressed. While she listened, she thought it would have been wonderful if he'd slipped into bed with her for a while, cuddled her close from behind and nuzzled her neck. That, she mused would have been a perfect way to start their day. Perhaps another morning, she hoped.

Booth came out of the bathroom, checked he hadn't woken her, then picked up his shoes, phone and wallet. As he closed the bedroom door behind him to go on his errand, Bones opened her eyes again. She realised this God-y errand was probably him going to Mass as it was Sunday, just. Changing position, recalling what he'd said last night about not rushing around in the morning, she closed her eyes, and fell back to sleep.

!

Booth put on his shoes, sitting on the last step of the stairs. Then pulled out the scribbled map Leo had sketched for him. The directions were simple to follow to where Leo said he could go to early Mass and confession.

He turned left out of the entrance, and headed down the street. It seemed to Booth to be a whole new city as the warming streets were completely deserted. All the shops were shut up and only a curious tan and gold scrawny cat accompanied him on his dawn walk to church. His footsteps echoed almost too loudly for the hour off the walls of the cobbled streets. He tried to walk more quietly, as he turned right at the end of the lane, following Leo's directions to the letter.

Pulling out his cell from his back pocket, he flipped it open, hitting speed dial 2. Seeing a bench overlooking yet another small fountain, he made for that, while he waited for the call to be connected. He sat down with the new sun on his face, watching as the clear water rippled over the marble bowl, like millions of fluid diamonds. 'Parker? Hey, Little Man it's Dad,' he explained excitedly.

'Oh. Hey, Dad! How's Rome?' Parker asked, excited to hear from his father.

'Awesome, Little Man, awesome,' Booth gushed sweetly. 'It's really hot, crazy busy and very pretty. Tons of great places to visit too. The ice creams are incredible. I had twelve flavours on one cone yesterday.'

'Wow! Have you and Dr B been to the Vatican yet?'

'No not yet, today. I'm just off to Mass first. Our room is really old and beautiful with...'

Parker interrupted, keen to know, 'Have you got an X box?'

'Haa! No, no, Park, no TV either.'

'Oooh. Never mind.' He sounded extremely disappointed and sorry to hear that to Booth, which amused him no end.

'We don't need one, Parker. We're having a great time without one. We went swimming in a famous fountain last night, had an amazing dinner too in this roof garden, overlooking the rooftops of the city. Bones is great company and so much fun to be with!'

Parker asked hopefully, 'Have you told her you want to be her proper boyfriend yet?' Booth grinned, recalling what he'd explained to Parker. Parker had asked were they boyfriend/girlfriend and was that why they were going on holiday together. He'd been honest with him, saying he hoped that could happen but wasn't going to push her into anything.

'Nah. Not yet, but I'm working on it. Tell ya a secret though, we have kissed a little...'

'Well, if you've been kissin' 'n' stuff then she must be your girlfriend, Dad. Wise up.' Booth laughed as his son explaining the situation so pragmatically, just like Bones would have done. Having Parker confirm that, compounded his secret thoughts and same suspicions.

Booth went on, 'Hey listen to this... When we got on the plane, guess what Bones did for us?'

'What?'

'She upgraded us! We flew first class, slept on proper beds and had the whole cabin to ourselves. How cool is that?'

'Oh. Maaan!' Parker growled enviously. 'That is sooo cool, Dad.'

'Yeah, it was. Listen, have a great game today, text me the result ok?'

'Ok, Dad. I will.'

'Anyway, I gotta get to Mass. Say hi to ya mum for me and be a good man ok? I'll ring you later in the week again.'

'Sure, I will. Say hi to Dr B for me.'

'Will do, knuckles.'

'Back at ya, bye.' Parker disconnected the call first. Booth looked to his hand set, still grinning as he disconnected his end. Popping the cell in his back pocket, he headed over to the church. Standing at the entrance, he took a brave deep breath, then stepped over the threshold.

!

Chapter XIV Ding Dong Ding.

Bones woke with a little start. She blinked once, to focus on the handsome familiar smiling face inches from hers. Then saw the reason she'd woken. He was stroking her cheek with a lemon rose just about to open on a long emerald thorn-less stem. He rolled it over her lips softly. Her smile grew, feeling the silky cool petals, and inhaling its subtle scent. 'Booooth,' she drooled, deeply touched by his romantic gesture, watching as he placed it in little crystal vase on their nightstand.

He looked back to her. 'Morning, Sunshine,' he said, gently like the morning. Resting his chin on his folded arms on her bed, he just grinned at her. She smiled just a tad, taking in the room without moving. He was kneeling beside her bed, clothed. He smelt of fresh air, incense and him. The curtains were drawn and light streamed in through the window, leaving a warming slow moving patch of light on the creamy stone floor. She could hear bells tolling, lots and lots of bells calling the faithful to prayer. Some of them close by, others from miles and miles away.

She smelt the rich coffee too twitch her nose, and the warmth that her body oozed. She felt good, really good, so much better than she'd felt in a very long time, she realised. Rolling slowly onto her back, she reached behind her, curling her fingers around the tubes of brass, and pulled her knees up, as she squirmed a long slow stretch. Arching her back viciously, she pulled harder on the bedstead, twisting her body slowly, then yawned loudly.

Booth had watched every delicious move she made. He mused it was no different than what everybody did every morning but to him, it was a visual concerto. A fine piece of body language art which oozed grace, beauty and was staggeringly sexy. As his thoughts raced, she rolled back to face him, resting her head on her palms.

'Where did you go?' she asked, husky from her long refreshing slumber.

He said just as huskily, but for another reason, 'Confession and Mass.' She cocked a casual brow, then lifted the covers in invitation for him to join her under them. Without hesitation, he slid in beside her, resting his head on his palms too innocently, as they engaged in one of those eternal gazes.

'I thought Mass but confession hadn't crossed my mind,' she explained, then very tenderly asked, 'Were you given absolution?' He nodded mute, seriously. 'Do you feel better?' Again he nodded but not as much as before. 'Did you take the sacrament of communion?' He nodded, tilting his head to change her view slightly. 'Are you going to kiss me or do I have to instigate osculation?' Booth huffed a chuckle, breaking eye contact, as he shook his head. When he looked back at her she was grinning happily, pleased she had got him to smile again. 'Or was all that yesterday a figment of my imagination?' He lost his smile a little, and shook his head this time. 'Ok, good. Then why are you not kissing me?'

He said smugly but very affectionately, delighted she was keen to carry on as before and didn't want to stop what they'd begun, 'I'm making you wait, testing how resistible I am.'

Bones furrowed her brow, saying, 'Humm. This doesn't bode well for me either then. Maybe I should've put my negligee...' His lips were at hers instantly capturing her last unfinished sentence. She chuckled into his mouth but when his hand slipped to her bare thigh, those chuckles drifted out the windows. Snapping her eyes open, she willed him to do more, anything more.

Booth felt her body respond to his touch and understood her need completely. He kissed her lips but left them close to hers, as he said, 'I don't think we should have sex, Bones.' She felt her heart drop away irrationally to the pit of her stomach, painful disappointment washed through her. However she rationalised, he'd just been cleansed of sins and didn't want to push him, today of all days into anything he wasn't ready for. Then he added, she thought nervously, 'Not today... but I would very much enjoy making you feel good,' while his fingers caressed the smooth flesh of her thigh.

She lifted her hand to his hair, and played with a few spiky strands delicately, putting them where she wanted them to go. She considered his generous offer silently for a few seconds, then said sweetly, 'Arrh. Right. Well, that's going to be a problem then,' trickling that hand over his jaw to his chest.

His caress ceased. 'How come?'

'Well, I don't do one way sex. I give it obviously, and chose not to be pleasured. But my philosophy is if I get pleasured so do you. So maybe we should just abstain till we're both ready.' She didn't see it as a sacrifice although she may later, she thought.

His brow wrinkled cutely, as he looked up to the ceiling, trying to work out her philosophy. 'That doesn't make sense.'

'Yes it does, Booth. It's early, you need coffee and sugar,' she said, patting his chest patronisingly. 'Then your undersized brain will be able to work it out.' She rolled out of the bed, leaving him there. Booth grit his jaw, and ran after her. She giggled, and ran the last few steps into the bathroom, attempting to close the door. He pushed back, getting inside easily.

She held her hands up to stop him coming closer, laughing at his affronted playful expression. 'Haa. I'm a black belt third Dan, remember?'

He said dismissing her irrefutable talents, 'Phuh! Don't care.' Then backing her up against the sinks, he trapped her with either hand by gripping the rim of the sinks, caging her cleverly. Their eyes locked on and held fast. Bones slid her hands up his shirt covered chest, and clasped her fingers around his neck. His smile got bigger and wider, sexier. Then he felt her shift slightly, and lift her knee into his groin very slowly. He didn't flinch although he knew she could cripple him in an instant.

She felt his member jump in his jeans, as she leant into his loins a little more. 'If we're not ready for sex, Booth how about sharing a shower instead?'

He stuttered slightly, obviously already aroused at the prospect of seeing her naked, 'Am, am I allowed to touch?' She tilted her head, considering his request, while gently rubbing him with her knee.

She thought through the options and came up with a solution to their predicament. 'You said no sex, therefore I don't think touching appropriate. So, no, not flesh to flesh... just eye pen-etra-tion,' she said meticulously slowly, millimetres from his lips, so all he could feel was her body heat and her warm breath on him. He got her gist instantly, bewitched by her. She sounded as hot as the surface of the sun as his erection nearly ripped through his jeans. He gulped a swallow, and nodded, easily complicit. She grinned slightly smugly.

He stepped back a pace, his fingers already trembling on his shirt buttons. Bones turned around to face the mirror, crossed her arms, and pulled up the hem of her flimsy satin camisole, while watching his reflection, quivering with excitement already. He ripped the shirt off his shoulders, while his eyes went to the line of her bare spine. 'Oh. Bones, gorgeous, gorgeous,' he muttered, admiring as her back muscles flexed sensuously. He started to pull down his pants and boxers over his enormous erection, as it sprung free he sighed in relief. He bent down to take off his pants over his feet, and kicked them away. Bones had slipped off her shorts, and cross her arms over her torso, placing her hands on her breasts. Then quietly turned to face him again.

They both knew this moment was epic in their history. It wasn't just because of the steps they were taking towards a sexual relationship. Nor the fact that they were slowly stripping away the last vestiges of reticence. It was proving they were finally ready for the next part of the journey towards each other.

Naked, physically and emotionally, she waited patiently for him, though slightly pensive. She felt euphoric, liberated and calm on the surface but underneath that fragile veneer, she was a broiling mass of insecurities, and fearful too about what was to happen after this. She endeavoured to hide those long held insecurities in her expression from him, as she had done for years.

The slinky shorts pooling at her feet caught his eye. He stilled for a second, then slowly let his eyes drift up her body, taking in every sublime inch. When they reached her centre he was surprised to see a stylised copper French wax. He'd fantasised that she wouldn't go for something so feminine and imagined her preference was to go au naturelle. But he loved the revelation, and his charmed smile and raised brow made her chuckle. 'Lovely, Bones.'

Bones knew he probably didn't know that waxing went back to Egyptian times and she had always preferred to be dressed this way. She was however enjoying seeing him delighted with discovering that little secret about her. She mused, that she'd a few others for him to discover, but he was going to have to wait a while for the rest.

Booth looked up the rest of the way languidly, not wanting to rush his moment. She dropped her hands away from her breasts very un-coyly. Booth tilted his head slightly, she noted, seeing his admiring, silent sigh. Bones took her opportunity just as leisurely, and looked to his very cocky, Cocky. She did a quick mathematical calculation in her head, the answer she came up with was a jaw cracking smile for him. Seeing it, he grinned proudly back. His member stood straight up parallel with his navel, and throbbed to bump against his smooth honed muscles. She knew his girth would be devastatingly satisfying and his crown, a ridged lady treat. A tensed, fully aroused Seeley Booth, was indeed a sight to behold, she mused.

Booth thought she sounded a little rustic when she asked, 'Shall we?' He nodded, and stepped into the shower, and she followed him in. She closed the glass shower door, then twisted the shower on. He instantly stepped very close, clearly overeager and forgetting they weren't supposed to do more than shower together. 'Steady, Booth, steady,' she said, mildly cautionary. She snagged her head back a little, making sure he didn't touch her, as he huffed like a frustrated bull but complied grudgingly.

The hot water bathed them cooler as their temperatures rose above it. She could see his eyes dancing over her skin, breasts and thighs, mapping her womanly curves. He checked a little, calming as he approached carefully again, licking his lips. The water cascaded over them, making their eyelashes bat as the spray dusted them like dew on cobwebs. 'Can't believe I can finally see you like this. Tell me you're real,' he breathed over her face. Bones swallowed, and nodded, suddenly feeling very emotional. 'This is killing me, Bones.' She didn't doubt his sentiment as she was in no better state. His primed body was just as alluring and provocative to her.

She could hear his breathing was shorter than hers, and could feel his exhalations on her flushed face as he stared into her eyes intently. The thrills that now ricocheted up and around her were almost terrifying, she felt.

Was she up to this kind of brutality? Could she hold fast, could he? she asked herself. It had sounded a good idea and tease, a sexy precursor to more at first. However, as she hadn't been with a man for so long, her primitive desires were running riot. This man was no ordinary lover though, this was her previously untouchable Booth. Now they'd given each other permission and stepped over the threshold, it seemed ludicrous to her that they were still holding back. They were trying to restrain the carnal desires they'd suppressed for years and it was agonising, but a delicious torture nonetheless.

Not today, not today, not today, was Sunday's new chant.

Bones turned around slowly, and picked up the shampoo, and poured some into her palm, noting it was trembling. He watched on as she began to lather up her hair. She could literality feel his eyes on her back, caressing over her shoulders down her spine to her buttocks. They followed the trickle of bubbles as they slid down to her buttocks and in between those slippery cheeks, burning an invisible path. She closed her eyes to the eroticism and strength of his penetrating gaze.

Erotic wasn't a strong enough word to describe the sensations now galloping throughout her. When she turned again he was soaping up a real sponge, and half-heartedly smoothing it over his chiselled torso. All the while he glared at her with such intensity she could barely breathe. When she did breathe, all she got was the intoxicating scent of his arousal and desire for her in the plumes of steam billowing around them. The aroma mixed with hers was so magnetic she nearly broke her own ridiculous rule, his and his God's. She fought to stay focused on her task, as she rinsed her hair out.

He spoke again, 'When we do this, Bones,' he whispered, 'You better be ready,' he warned sultrily.

She nodded, completely knocked off her centre, saying shakily, 'I'll be ready.' Reaching for the bubbly sponge in his hand, careful not to touch his flesh, she soaped herself up as well. Over her breasts, under her arms and down her thighs, deliberately avoiding that area most in need of stimuli, already sensing she was on the verge of orgasm. Looking between them, she saw he was gently soaping his erection. She watched transfixed as he twisted his grip along his smooth thick shaft, and rolled his palm over its velvet crown on the up stroke slowly. Her eyes were flaming wide and wild, she twitched too, he noticed and she reached for the stone wall to steady herself.

He inched closer, peering into her misted eyes as she looked into his. She pined earnestly, 'I want to do that to you, for you... Oh. Booth, why are we not having sex again?' she asked breathlessly, confused. His free hand slowly followed the contours of the breasts, a hair's breadth away from touching her but to her, it felt like he was.

'I've got things to say first, things you should know 'n' understand... This was your idea, Bones. I just agreed to it.' Booth could sense her ache, peaking arousal and emotions all punching through her wafer thin cool veneer.

Bones looked to his dripping face again, then deep into his welling eyes. He was a breath away from her mouth, their combined scents mingled, their honey sweet breaths too. Her clitoris was so hard and engorged it screamed for attention, and had been since they stepped on the plane, she ruminated.

Her honesty blinded him temporarily when her veneer cracked and blistered with their combined heat, she said, 'I want you inside me, Booth so deep you can't leave me.' His blinked, stunned, having prayed for years to hear something akin to that from her. Then Bones dared to beg, something she'd never ventured before, 'Ti amo... Sin for me...' Her eyes starting to well too. Thankfully she thought, they were dissolved in the rivulets of water running her face. However Booth saw them sparkle like tiny gems on her cheeks then wash away.

Booth, so moved by her sweet plea, and the spark it sent to his fuse made him stagger slightly. He nearly fell on her, but managed to brace himself with his palms on the wall behind her. She gasped for more oxygen, leaning back to the same wall. 'Touch yourself,' he urged, seeing her in some discomfort, not willing to break her no contact rule. His face and body were matching her subtle movements but not daring to touch. They swayed this way and that, dodging each other to prolong the yearning, to heighten the merciless craving.

She rolled her head on the wall. 'No. It won't be enough. It's never enough,' she confessed openly. Both parties close to something extraordinarily new and startling.

Her confession, the sentiment and illicit image, sent a violent pulse along his cock and it bounced on her twitching stomach. She gasped, he groaned, both dizzy and breathless. It was just enough extra stimulation for both of them, hyper sensitised as they were. 'Oh-God-Booth.' Slapping her hands to the wall beside her, she tried to grip its slippery surface, as she climaxed without reservation or shame. Witnessing her orgasmic throes and whimpered relief, he felt her fire rage, engulfing her in torrid bliss. The hair trigger she'd put him on, went off in an explosive chain reaction.

Pearly semen erupted from him, along with his grunted ecstasy and splashed over her abdomen. She felt his hot semen like a tenderly given whip crack across her trembling flesh. She jolted in honoured shock to know he was climaxing too. She looked between them to witness three more beautiful ejaculations lace over her abdomen. Her excited clitoris, silky inner cavern and womb throbbed raptures to every pore of her, in gratitude and relief.

Bones' breathing began to calm while those exquisite sensations slowly pulsed away. Booth rested his head on her brow, and flickered his eyes open. Feeling his tender hot touch on her brow, she reopened her eyes to his, grasping his shoulder to steady herself. 'Look what you did to me, look what we did to each other,' he said weakly. A mixture of emotions laced his statement; astonishment, joy, bewilderment and chronic adoration.

She nodded, still slightly breathless. Seeing his eyes filling and the enormous flush of emotion in his eyes, she smiled, stroking his face tenderly, empathetically. Then she went with humour to lighten the severely intimate moment, 'Now listen here you...' prodding his chest. He ouch-ed a little, and began to smile tentatively. 'Don't get all mushy and weepy on me.' He knew she was covering over her own similar emotions with a humorous veneer this time, so went with it taking her lead. 'You should be jubilant. You made me orgasm without touching me, that's a remarkable feat.'

Bones picked up the sponge, and began washing him down, lathering him all up till he looked like he was covered in icing sugar. 'Arms up,' she instructed, he complied, giving himself over to her vigorous washing, his smile so wide his cheeks hurt. 'Turn around, please.' He did slowly, feeling her sponge over his back and down it to his buttocks. 'That's a good boooy,' she whispered naughtily in his ear, he laughed at that comment, then jumped as she slid the sponge down his between his buttocks.

'Don't be shy,' she oozed, nudging his legs apart with her knee, while kissing his ear. 'Just going to do this bit...' He could feel her whole body against his back and her hand now slipped around his solid scrotum from behind. He thought idly she was being extremely thorough but when her other hand gripped his shaft at the same time, and began to stroke, he knew this was something completely different.

Booth wanted to drop to his knees, and deify her because her dainty hand was clasped around his turgid flesh and performing miracles. 'What are...' he began to question, but stopped when she hushed him.

'Ssshh.' She whispered in his ear, 'You need to orgasm again or you'd have gone flaccid by now. You would never have told me that, you're too much the gentleman.' She felt him lean back a little into her and sigh quietly. She smiled, happy he was going to let her do this for him. 'The second one is always the best, I find,' she said sweetly.

Booth loved her easy attitude and sexual generosity, and answered, 'Yeah, it is.' Bones grinned, watching his reaction as she slipped a soapy finger inside him. 'Whoa, Bones,' he gasped, suddenly shocked.

He snapped his head sideways to look at her. She looked as cool as ice to him. 'Don't tell me you don't do this to yourself. I know you do.' He searched her sexy all knowing eyes, trying to decide if he should try to cover his shame, and lie to her. Her hand was insistent on his crown though, her pinch grip had him gritting his molars hard, and arching his neck unable to think straight. 'Don't you?' He nodded fast, groaning his answer honestly. 'Don't be ashamed, Booth,' she sympathised tenderly. 'I may not be good with body language but I can read the physical signs easily... That first climax, while strong, only just took the edge off your arousal. Do you know how flattering knowing that is? Do you?' She sprinkled him with tender wet kisses throughout her gentle lecture, as she toyed expertly with him. 'You only would have masturbated alone, feeling you were transgressing again. This way is much better, isn't it?' All he could do was to nod, and hum. Then she whispered generously in his ear, 'I'll commit the sin for you.'

Booth nodded in awe of her, loving her more that he could ever imagine. She was willing to sin for him just to ease him. He felt humbled by her.

Unable to resist the growing pleasure, he began to thrust gently through her tight grip, squeezing his buttocks on her expertly positioned finger. With his secret out now, he felt no shame and relaxed into her gentle handling of him. 'Feel good?' she enquired, almost casually. He pecked her lips, and chuckled ironically.

'No... It feels incredible cos you're doing it. No one, nobody, ever has...' he trailed off, unable to go on as she kissed him deeply, sensuously and didn't stop.

Bones didn't want to know about any of his previous experiences, to her they were completely irrelevant and not their blueprint. This was just about them, here and now.

Bones sensed his nearing climax, her joy overflowing as she lead the way. Booth gasped to breathe, so breaking the mammoth kiss, he stared feverishly into her eyes. Planting one palm on the wall to steady himself, bracing for the inevitable, the other around her. She noted his eyes watered again as he jerked, rumbling a groan in his throat like a tiger's warning in crescendo, while erupting powerfully. She dragged her eyes from his as he slammed them shut. Again she watched as his seed shot out fast, like lightning strikes against storm clouds, in this case, steam clouds and hot rain. 'Oooh. Superb,' vocalising her thoughts on the image, then, 'More, Booth, show me more,' she encouraged fervently, kissing his cheek quickly. Booth grit his jaw more tightly, and pumped harder through her almost painful grip as she milked him arid. More steely bolts flashed out till he was thrusting with nothing more to give or show her hungry eyes.

Bones knew she'd never seen anything more sensual as watching him orgasm, seeing and feeling the results of it. It was wholly hedonistic of her and the vision of the process by which life was made, mesmerizing.

Completely drained, Booth staggered with his receding bliss and nearly slipped over. Bones grabbed him around his waist to support him and prevent him hitting his head on the solid wall. She could still feel him trembling as she held him tightly. He started to chortle weakly as he got back control of his wobbly legs.

'You ok?' she asked concerned, but secretly totally intoxicated with her prowess and the amusing after effects on him. He nodded but not wholly sure he was.

Collecting himself together after a few moments, he crooned, 'Mind-blowing, Bones. Aaww. God, you were... 'cuse the language, fucking amazing.' Bones still held him to her around his waist, while they swapped serene smiles.

'You're very welcome. Any time,' she said, with a not too humble head bow, which made his shoulders jiggle with his amusement.

It seemed to her remarkable that they'd trespassed into the realms of sexual intimacy so easily, finding no awkwardness or residual shyness now. Clearly this was their natural evolution, she mused cheerfully.

He held her back gently, running his hands down to her buttocks, and caressed them adoringly. Then he said sweetly, after pecking her lips, 'Let's make love.'

There was a moment when Bones took a double take of his sated expression, seeing he was deadly serious. It was then she got slowly, really pissed off. Taking a stern deep breath, she began frigidly, 'Special Agent Seeley Booth.' He knew he was in for an ear bashing instantly. His mother used to start her lectures with his full name too, he recalled fondly. 'Firstly, you clearly state, we cannot have sex, so we don't. Much to my disappointment, I might add!' Booth still held her close, caressing her back, even though she was using hand gestures and plenty of angry eye flares. 'So, we compromise, then after we've had wonderful non contact or penetrative sex, you change your mind, and come up with, lets make leerve' she whined. 'I'm so annoyed with you. We could be doing things and having things and together we could've...' She rolled her head, clearly thinking about what they could have been doing right now. Then she snapped out of her sweet fantasy, going on with more annoyance, 'The water's getting cold, my hair is terribly matted and we're already late for the Vatican. We've no time now!' Booth covered his teeth with his lips, holding back his laugh. She had a point about her hair, it did look an awful mess, he thought, but cutely so.

She trained her narrowed eyes on his, adding haughtily, 'You know what? For that, I'm going to decline the offer. Thank you very much.' She huffed to cool down, dropping her tense shoulders.

Booth smiled, unaffected by her rant, and kissed her lips, holding them to hers. Then he told her sincerely, 'I think you're phenomenal.'

'Yes, well, I am...' Pointing with a straight arm, ordering him, 'Get out of my shower.' Booth lost his smile, and pouted, hung his head, then opened the door to leave. 'Wait.' He turned with hope. 'Kiss me before you go.' He grinned hard and wide, doing just that passionately, as she reciprocated just as ardently.

As he waked away, grinning impishly, he muttered under his breath, 'Bossy anthropologist.' He felt a wet natural sponge smack the back of his head, as he was grabbing a towel. He picked it up, and threw it back at her.

!

Chapter XV It's Not What You Know But Whom.

A tiny 19th century bakery, three streets away from their hotel, had caught their eyes and nostrils yesterday on their rambles. Its doorway was less than three foot wide and crooked like the row of buildings it was cocooned by. Its leaded windows and black painted frames made it look cave-like but intriguingly so. The display counter ran the length of the narrow shop, and at the back was an opening to the busy hot ovens beyond. It smelt of fresh doughy breads, sweet pastry treats and calorie-loaded cakes. All of which were laid out tantalizingly in large oblong wicker baskets on the sloping counter. This was where Bones insisted she explore this morning en route to the Vatican.

'Bones, hurry up, chose something, anything... If we get there too late, we'll 'ave to line up for hours,' Booth bleated, urging her to chose quickly from the mind-boggling, mouth watering selections on show.

'And whose faults that?' she challenged. 'If we'd had sex like normal couples do, we would've got it over and done with. But no, you had to get all freaky and domineering!' Booth looked horrified to the other tourists in the line snaking out the door waiting for their turn, as they all looked around to him with appalled faces. He could tell they thought he was some kind of sexual deviant. He was also mortified that she had no reservations about talking about their sexual relations in public, and busy food establishments.

She smiled politely at the assistant, pointed to her choice finally, and spoke her sexy Italian. Relived, Booth pulled out is wallet to pay. 'What we did was normal and keep your voice down, you're making me sound perverted,' he whispered in her ear, while handing over the Euros.

'I know, great, isn't it?' He looked dumbstruck at her, then smiled, kissing her lips for being so playful. But to his horror she pulled her lips away from his quickly, saying sternly, 'If I'd known you liked that kind of kinky sex, I'd never have agreed to this marriage!' She snatched the pastry bag from his hand, and walked out leaving him in her fragrant elegant wake. There were tutts and disgusted looks for him as he walked briskly out with his head down, avoiding all eye contact.

He saw her waiting for him down the street, nonchalantly munching on her apricot pastry. That delicious confectionary was still warm from the oven and she hummed, as she chewed her first soft bite. Watching him trot closer, she started to laugh at him as he looked absolutely enamoured with her. She adored how he looked today, for some reason he looked lighter, fresher and so, so happy. She hoped she'd had something to do with that and not just because of his early morning celebration of mass, and receiving those so-called, soul cleansing sacraments.

It seemed that today was going to follow the pattern of yesterday, Booth mused; masses of smiles and fun, sprinkled with a little tenderness. He was completely content with that. He walked up close, and locked his gaze with her. 'You want a bite, Booth?' she said, as if butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

'That was so unfair. Those people, did you see the looks I was getting?' He pulled out the other pastry, and started on that without permission.

She admonished, 'Hey, that's mine? You had breakfast while I was cleaning your... off my...' trying to grab it back off him. He resisted her advances vigorously. Then the pastry dropped, sticky side down on the pavement. She wined, 'Booottthhh, what is it with you?'

'Three second rule!' he yelled childishly, ignoring her scold, and he picked it up. Her jaw hung as he looked it over, and picked a few bits of grit off it.

She ordered, 'You are not going to eat that.' He went to put it in his mouth, she grabbed his hand to stop him. 'If you do... I'll never kiss you again.' He instantly threw it to the floor again, and kissed her deeply. She snapped her arms around his shoulders, and they melted into each other, mingling everything they could gleefully.

Bones couldn't recall being happier in her life as she was this day. This magnificent day, with a flawless sky of baby blue above her head. The warm Roman sun seeping into her skin to leave its colourful footprint. Or having this man in her arms. She did once, feel this way, but that was a long time ago now. She reflected that, that history was the past tense, this persistent euphoric feeling was the present, and hopefully their future. If she was prone to pray, she would have, not for anything but to give thanks.

Booth felt a tap on his shoulder, and sucked off her lips to interrupt their kiss, and look behind him. Their old friend the policeman narrowed his eyes, and pointed to the hastily discarded pastry. Both elated hearts skipped a beat, and their breathing stalled. Booth rushed to pick up the offending pastry. Bones opened the bag quickly, not taking her eyes off the policemen, then Booth dropped it inside the bag. The policemen walked off slowly without another word, so they both started breathing again.

Booth looked back to her. 'Vatican,' he said. She nodded keenly, taking his hand, and they walked the streets to the bridge to cross the river. On the way there, Bones' phone chimed pleasantly in her tiny purse.

She surprised him when she started talking in Italian, and cheerfully too. He had a terrible thought cross his mind; was it that cabby that dropped them off yesterday, trying to get her to come out with him? Or possibly the waiter at the restaurant last night? Had he slipped her his number or got hers somehow? He couldn't understand why she was speaking Italian. He watched her check her wristwatch and then laugh softly. She even let go his hand, and leant up against another wall. Booth kicked his shoes against the wall slowly, hands deep in his pockets, waiting for her to finish her call. He hated himself for his thinly veiled jealously, and tried to think it totally irrational of him. They had been acting like a true couple, they'd even had a hugely intimate morning and shared a few home truths yesterday, but he still felt a little insecure about them.

Bones finished the call with, 'Ciao, ciao, si, ciao.'

'Who was that?' Booth tried to sound casual and not burning with curiosity, but knew his tone was a little blunt at them being disturbed by outsiders.

Bones took a double take of his stony expression. Seeing he looked secretly jealous of her mysterious caller, she eased him with, 'I've been trying to get us tickets to the opera, Booth.' He snapped his eyes to hers, plainly relieved with that revelation. 'That was my editor's contact over here. He was just calling to say he could get us some for Thursday evening. I said I'd check with you first, then confirm later. Would you like to go?' she asked kindly, hoping that had placated him.

Booth took her hand, and they began to walk off again in the direction of the Vatican. Bones noted the throngs of visitors to the city seemed to be getting thicker the closer they got to it. 'I'd love to go. What's the opera?' he enquired.

'Puccini's, Turandot at the Caracalla; it's a stunning partially excavated Roman baths they convert to a stage for the opera, in the spring and summer. Shall I call him back?' she asked.

'Sounds brilliant, yeah, ok.' Bones was delighted by his reaction to the idea of going to the opera. She was very keen to go and unbeknownst to him she'd called in a few favours to get them these tickets, as they were like hen's teeth to get hold of. However she had just lied to him, blatantly but for good reasons, she rationalised. The call she'd received had nothing to do with the opera tickets, which she'd got stashed away in a pocket of her suitcase already. The call had to do with another surprise she had prearranged for him. She hoped when he found out he would forgive her for lying to him.

'It's a black tie event, Booth. Have you got your tux with you?'

'No, but I'm sure I can hire one from somewhere. We can ask Leo, he's bound to know where from. I'll add opera to our itinerary for Thursday then,' he said gleefully. Bones nodded, squeezing his hand.

They had to slow down as the crowds were so thick they began to shuffle and dodge people crossing the angel adorned Ponte Sant'Angelo. They turned left down the steps off the bridge and she felt Booth's grip tighten, and heard his breath catch. 'Oh. Bones, oooh. Bones,' he whispered, clearly deeply moved to finally see the wide grand avenue, Via della Conciliazione which led the pilgrim up it to St Peter's square. He could see over the heads of the faithful and curious to the Egyptian obelisk taking centre stage, with two huge fountains either side balancing the square perfectly. 'The Witness,' he said in awe. Bones noted his glassy eyes, and felt a sense of humility witnessing his complete joy coming to his faith's seat of pilgrimage. 'It's said that the obelisk witnessed the martyrdom of Peter in the Circus of Nero. That's why it was brought here.' Bones nodded, looping her arm through his, just wanting to be closer to him. It seemed his eyes couldn't leave the sight as the square opened out before them.

The huge elliptical arena was a visual feast of grossly elegant late Renaissance architecture and a baroque opulent masterpiece. Even Bones' breath seemed to leave her on seeing the sweep of the edifice, its two arcs symbolising the embracing arms of the Catholic Church. The extensive curl of the colonnades and pillars drew the eye from left to right then inevitably, like a magnet drew the gaze to the divine ratio designed dome of the basilica. The sun glinted on the golden ball and cross at the pinnacle of the dome to catch the sun and moon's rays. 'Gorgeous,' she said under her breath but Booth heard her. He looked to her with an enigmatic smile.

'St Peter was a fishermen by occupation, Jesus' first disciple, Bones. He asked him to join him in his mission and become a fisherman of men.'

'I know,' she said softly, adding, 'Peter is from the Greek for rock. I understand he was also told by Jesus that He would build his church upon him; His rock. Hence Saint Peter's remains are under the basilica's altar and so believed still there today.'

Impressed with her knowledge, he said, 'That's right. You've been doing some reading up, Bones.' She laughed softly, with a slight tinge to her cheeks. They walked straight to the pink granite obelisk, and stood below looking up into the bright sky. 'There's supposed to be a fragment of the True Cross in the brass cross on its top. And this...' She pointed to the marbled ring around it under their feet. 'It's used as a sun dial and shows the directions of the winds of the world too.'

'Peter refused to be crucified as Jesus was, thinking himself unworthy. He requested to be crucified inverted, upside down,' he said solemnly.

'That was a courageous thing, Booth.' He nodded to agree, however surprised but delighted she wasn't making her usual comments about his religious beliefs. 'Shall we head towards that queue? It does seem like we've gotten here a little late, the crowds are quite numerous.' She noted Booth looking around at the wide sea of people heading over to the Sistine chapel entrance. He sighed forlornly, gently moving across the piazza soaking up the atmosphere and spectacle.

'Looks like we've got a long wait, Bones. How about going into the basilica first then?' Bones wrinkled her nose with her expression, clearly not convinced by his idea.

'Let's just wait a while, I don't mind,' she said, with a shrug of her shoulder. He didn't want to argue, not here of all places, so they nestled in the shuffling line up which stood twenty across.

They could see at the head of the muted lines, two Swiss guards. They stood in their full multi-coloured uniforms of blue, yellow and red striped jackets. They also carried a long brass handled sword. The pantaloons and black beret a clear Renaissance style and flavour. Booth thought them magnificent, and told Bones so, 'Look at them,' he whispered in her ear, while holding her hand. 'They're said to be the loyalist bodyguards ever. They swear their lives to the current pontiff and his successors...'

Bones interrupted him, while pulling out her bleeping phone to read the text she'd just received, 'They also look ridiculous in those impractical ceremonial uniforms.' Booth huffed, annoyed, thinking he thought it was too good to be true for her to not ridicule something here. 'They have to adhere to antiquated criteria before they can even apply for a position; be Catholic, unmarried, I suppose the Holy See assume they must be virgins...'

'Bones?' he said, trying to get her to keep her voice down. He became even more annoyed and agitated when he saw one of those noble men flick his eyes to her. 'Shhhush...'

She was oblivious to the snobbish looks she was getting from the fellow queue dwellers and blazed on, 'Which I very much doubt they are, and aged between 18 and thirty. Its archaic, if they recruited from ordinary professional sources then Pope John Paul II may not've been nearly assassinated.' Booth's jaw hung open, livid with her snide comment. She read the text, replied with easy dexterity and speed, then snapped her phone down, and pushed it back in her purse. When she looked up, they were standing a foot from one of the guards. She noted he didn't look amused nor did Booth. She smiled at the guard, and asked him casually, 'Are you a virgin?'

Gritting his jaw, Booth whispered hard, 'B, Bones? What are you doing?' Booth stumbled on his words, in complete shock. To his horror a priest stepped between Booth and the guard suddenly. He wore the robes of his faith and papal insignia. Booth wanted the ground to open up and swallow him into the catacombs below.

'Please come this way, Madam, Sir.' He had a clipped Italian accent and gestured ahead of the whispering crowd.

'I'm sorry she didn't mean it. She's an atheist and an anthropologist and doesn't respect the...' Booth tried to protect and explain her insensitivity instantly.

The priest insisted, 'Please, this way.' Bones walked after him unaffected by the fact that they were probably in huge Vatican trouble. Still reeling, Booth followed with terror in his heart, thinking this was his divine retribution, the lightening strike he was dreading.

'Father, I apologise for my partner. She's quite forthright with her opinions and...'

'No, please don't apologise for her,' he said with a smile to her. He turned briefly, while opening a door at the side of one of the baroque buildings to allow them ahead of him.

'Bones, apologise, please,' Booth pleaded, knowing he was never going to see the Sistine chapel or the basilica as he would be banished forever.

The priest closed the door gently. Booth found himself in a quiet mahogany panelled room, with a coal fireplace in one wall. A huge matching desk inlaid with crimson leather stood overlooking a quiet courtyard with a small fountain at its centre. There were plush couches and chairs in the large square room, with two painting on the walls of previous Popes. As he turned around to look at him, to his horror and confusion Bones and the handsome priest were hugging hard in silence.

He admonished incredulously, 'Bones, what are you doing, he's a priest?'

Bones started to chuckle softly at his veiled accusation. She kissed the priest's cheek, and stepped back a little. The priest still held her hands by her fingers. Delicately though, Booth noted.

Bones explained gently over her shoulder, 'I'm sorry, Booth. We had to jump the queue. This is an old friend of mine, Father Roberto Angelotti.' The priest beamed a welcoming smile at Booth, and stepped over with his hand out.

'Seeley Booth, it's a sincere pleasure to meet you. When Tempe told me you were coming to Rome and told me of your partnership and excitement to see the Vatican, we hatched a plan. A little devious, I know but she was always good at those.' Booth looked to him dumbstruck, shaking his hand, then back to Bones.

'Hey!' She smacked the priest's arm playfully, sending him a sassy smile. 'You were the one that always blamed me but it was you that planted the seed.'

'She right, she's always right, isn't it annoying?' addressing his question to Booth. Booth still nonplussed, smiled, and nodded weakly to agree. The priest gestured for them to take a seat on the comfortable couch. Bones took the chair alone as Booth and Father Roberto took to the couch. Before he sat, Roberto tugged a long tapestry cord that hung from the ceiling to the right of the mantle over the fireplace. 'You look so well, Tempe, so good... Time has been generous with you. How long has it been?'

'About twelve years,' Bones crossed her legs, placing her purse on the coffee table, and settled back to the chair casually. Booth noted she deliberately avoided his confused gaze. 'You've done very well for yourself, Rob. Look at you, in the Vatican, a high flyer. Cardinal next, I assume.'

'Haa!' Roberto laughed, shaking his head dismissively, crossing his legs. 'I doubt that very much, Tempe. I'm quite content with serving his Holiness in my humble way... Arrh. Coffee!' In came another priest of lower rank, and placed a silver tray on the coffee table between them. It was loaded with beautifully cut sandwiches, sweet cakes and a large coffee pot.

Booth tried to catch Bones' gaze but still she refused to make full eye contact with him. As Roberto poured them a cup, and handed them a plate each, he asked, 'I suppose you're thinking where the atheist and me met, Seeley?' Roberto looked to him, it was then that Booth looked at him properly, feeling his blood pressure start to settle. Booth's breath caught when he looked into his eyes properly for the first time. He had the most amazing coloured irises. Booth had to take a double take as he was so shocked and disbelieving the first time. They were the softest rarest violet, he noted. Regrouping, Booth placed his age at 37-ish and of American heritage but of Italian decent. 'I guess, college?'

Roberto let a smile creep across his lips, looking to Bones, as he handed her a coffee in a small china cup. Booth noted it had the Vatican crest elegantly painted under the glaze. He was still stunned as to what was happening. He was sat in the Vatican drinking coffee, with a high ranking priest who served the Pope in some capacity, and lastly Bones seemed to know him very well. Booth felt it all a little disorientating.

'I told you he was very perceptive, Rob,' Bones said softly, only briefly looking into Booth eyes, then away to her coffee. She took a sip, looking back to Roberto now. 'And just to clarify, I prefer the term agnostic if you want to label my belief system.'

'H'ok, Tempe, duly noted.' Roberto gave her a generous smile, then continued talking to Booth, 'You've probably deduced, Seeley I'm from New York, born of immigrant Italian parents. I was studying bio-chemistry when I met Tempe on campus.'

Then Bones added openly, 'We became lovers.'

Booth's jaw dropped again, and nearly dribbled his coffee over the crimson papal carpet. 'Bones? He's a priest?' Booth chastised, aghast she should say that so casually. Roberto started to laugh at him and his horrified reaction.

'Yes, he is, he's also human, Booth,' she said haughtily. 'Rob did have a life before he joined the church.'

'Haa. I have a life now, thanks to you,' he said charmingly then, 'You've not changed, Tempe. Praise the Lord!' Booth crossed himself quickly at him praying. 'Isn't she a miracle?' Roberto gushed.

'She's something alright, I apologise for...'

'Will you stop that, Seeley. I've always found her honesty refreshing, don't you?' he questioned curiously. Booth took a calming breath, seeing Roberto was completely relaxed about her blurting out something so intimate. He looked to her seriously, holding her eyes with his firmly, daring her not to look away this time. She didn't.

Bones eyed him cautiously over the rim of her coffee cup at her lips. 'I think... Temperance is the greatest thing to grace my life next to my son.' Bones swallowed a sip of coffee, feeling her corneas burning.

Impressed and knowingly, Roberto said, 'Wow. Nicely put, Seeley...' Roberto started to tell their story with delicacy and sweet empathy. 'Tempe and I fell in love, Seeley. Crazy, madly, deeply. We were inseparable. We couldn't breathe without the other, our love completely overwhelmed us. We fought and loved in equal wonderful measure,' he recalled wistfully. Booth saw her smile slightly, as she played with the handle of her cup absently. Booth knew she clearly agreed with his words. 'Two blissful years we spent together, then something happened to us. Something profound one September day.' He looked to Bones briefly who had her head down, and was exceptionally quiet and still. It was as if, if she heard what had happened, it would open the scar and she might bleed out all over again.

Roberto went on gently, 'I had the calling, Seeley. An over powering urge to explore what I had been asked to do. I was in turmoil, twisted out of all recognition. I told her that I was thinking about joining a seminary. We went through agony, didn't we?'

Bones slowly lifted her head. 'It worked out, Rob. I'm fine,' she said softly, with a sweet smile to the handsome priest with the remarkable magnetising eyes.

'This woman here saw my pain. I couldn't decide between her love and His. So... She made the choice for us all. She walked away, letting me go... I know it nearly killed her as it almost did me.' Roberto looked to her with immense compassion and respect, Booth noted. But Booth couldn't take his eyes from her. 'I knew that was her profound love for me, she sacrificed what we could've had for Him. A faithless woman with such faith in me and what I had to do. Tempe was right to do what she did but I've always feared for her since. She's so fragile, a precious heart, generous to a fault and so forgiving... But you already know that, don't you, Seeley?'

Hearing his question, Booth snapped out of his stare of Bones, unreturned by her, while Roberto extolled her virtues and spoke honestly of their love affair. All Booth could do was nod. He felt his eyes singe, his heart was pounding against his ribs causing it to constrict, painfully sucking the breath from him.

Booth finally understood her completely, having his own profound moment of clarity. He had all her answers in quick succession. It was akin to a key turning to unlock a dark labyrinth. It synced all the connections to open the door, throwing the lights on, so he could see clearly inside her for the first time. He painfully saw the wreckage inside her and how it got there.

The history Roberto recounted revealed her intricate knots and hidden emotional complexities. It explained to him why she was so anti love and anti-religion in one foul swoop. She'd been so torn apart by love and left in pieces that she protected herself the only way she could. She kept his love at arm's length, refusing to accept it, fearing history would repeat itself. The similarities between Roberto and him were all too obvious, and the terrible irony too. Their God was the only thing she could never compete with and so couldn't dare to risk her heart again.

Her words this morning; 'I want you so deep you can't leave me,' had nothing to do with the sexual component but everything to do with her deepest emotional fears. Then there was those tearful begging words; Sin for me. She was asking him to forgo his faith and God for her, knowing she was asking almost too much of him. Roberto couldn't, she was asking if he could. Booth surmised, that was the evidence she required, that was the simple truth of her.

'I made a rational, logical decision, one you couldn't make, Rob, that's all. You make me sound like some sort of saint,' Bones suddenly spoke, with a little crack in her voice but with humour to cover it. She placed her empty cup back on the tray, picking up a sandwich to munch casually. 'And you and I know I'm far from being so sanctified.' She flared her eyes at him naughtily.

Roberto chuckled, pouring her some more coffee. 'Yes, I do recall all too clearly, Tempe. Confession for me later.' They both laughed while Booth nearly had a coronary hearing the innuendo from a celibate man of the cloth. 'So you know all about us, Seeley. You look stunned by all that information. Our spirituelle, agnostic Tempe and a lowly Roman Catholic priest, its completely ironic, isn't it?'

'You weren't a priest when I was with you,' she corrected quickly. 'We didn't break any vows or God-y rules.'

'Haa. Maybe not,' he said wryly. 'Depends on your perspective... Right, I'm going to get your passes and will be back in a few minutes. Just relax and enjoy the refreshments.' Bones nodded cheerfully, as Roberto got up. 'It's so good to see you again, Tempe,' he said sincerely, as he opened the door.

Bones said just as genuinely, 'You too, Rob.' He closed the door behind him, leaving them in silence except for a large cabinet clocks tick to punctuate the quiet elegant room.

Bones looked to Booth, she could see he was pondering all he'd heard, with tears in his eyes. She got up quickly, and walked to the window to look out into the pretty courtyard. 'Stop pitying me, Booth. It all happened years ago. I'm over it now,' she said, gently admonishing him for his moved expression which made her heart tweak under her sternum.

Booth was standing beside her in a moment, ignoring her lie. He looked into her face side on, witnessing the lines of sacrifice etched on her expression now. 'I get you now,' he said empathetically. 'I understand it all. Oh. Bones, I get it, truly I do.' He gently rested his brow on the side of her head. She sighed relieved, and slowly, blindly looped her fingers through his. Words didn't need to be exchanged, only heartbeats.

!

Chapter XVI Art For Arts Sake.

Roberto came through the door and they turned around to see him holding two yellow passes on long neck chains. 'Here, put these on and let's get going. We've got a lot to see.' Booth slipped it over his neck, after he saw it said his name as a guest of Father Angelloti. He proudly sported the yellow laminated Vatican pass.

'What are we going to see?' Booth asked curiously.

'Didn't you tell him?' Bones shook her head, and smiled smugly. They were led out of his office and headed down a long corridor. The white marble floors clipped as their shoes paced over it. The walls were adorned with statues of saints, stone busts of pontiffs, and original oil paintings that Booth suspected were by a plethora of famous artists from decades and centuries ago. 'Well, Seeley. When Tempe got in contact she asked a favour of me. One which I'm delighted to oblige. You're getting a private tour of the highlights of the Vatican.' Booth jaw dropped again, lancing his gaze with her.

'You could always go back to the queue,' she said cheekily, with a wry smile, knowing Booth was quivering with gratitude and deep emotion that she'd done this for him.

'Haa,' Roberto laughed heartily at her quip to Booth, opening another door into the courtyard they'd been looking at a few moments earlier. 'Tempe tells me you're of the faith, Seeley.'

Nervously Booth replied, 'Err. Yes, Father. I try to be a good Catholic but I...'

Roberto interrupted him kindly, 'You're not in the confessional now, Seeley. We all struggle with what we're asked to do. It's the trying He appreciates. If we fail and come back to His grace, that's what's important.' Booth nodded solemnly, looking at his feet deep in thought. He felt Bones take his hand sweetly, and saw her smile at him.

'I thought you might like to see the chapel first, everybody does,' he said flapping his hand around casually. 'Then we'll wander the basilica spend a little time gorging ourselves on its splendour. Hopefully I can tell you some things you don't already know, and make it interesting for Tempe too,' he offered, with a huge comforting smile to them, then added sneakily, 'Then I have a few surprises in store for you.' Booth's hand gripped hers tighter, slowly relaxing into the situation, his excitement growing.

Booth noted they were meandering between huge buildings like towering canyons, bustling with vibrant Swiss guards, priests in flowing cream and purple robes and laymen and women. All of them with purpose and direction it seemed, going about their duties with muted conversations, and respectful nods to them and Roberto. 'Sunday is a very busy day here clerically. I would've loved to arrange an audience with his Holiness but as you already know he's abroad at the moment.' Booth nodded, pleased in a way as he would have been overwhelmed with that prospect. And he thought irrationally, he didn't have the right clothes on to meet him or a close enough shave.

'This is amazing, Father, I can't thank you enough. It's a dream come true,' Booth gushed, cutely humble.

'Think nothing of it, Seeley. I'm here to serve.' Roberto opened a huge knurled wooden door, letting them step through first to an oblong building. 'This is the back entrance to the chapel, during conclave this door is the only way in and out. It is used to bring in the cardinals' meals, beds, medical supplies, everything. Heavily guarded as you can imagine.'

As he closed the door he asked them to wait, and he walked off briskly down a dark plain stone corridor and disappeared. They could hear the rumble of the crowds in the chapel as they wandered through on the other side of the wall.

'Bones, this is awesome. I'm so excited, thanks for this. You're so sneaky. I thought you were gonna get us thrown out earlier with what you asked the guard.'

'I had to lie to you. Please forgive me. It was Rob I was talking to earlier and texting. It was very amusing seeing your terror though.'

'He's a lovely man, Bones. He's got violet eyes, violet. I mean they're extraordinary,' Booth waxed, wide eyed himself.

'Yes, they're beautiful. I'd forgotten how beautiful till I saw them again today. Only one percent of the human race possess such an unusual colouration in their irises. However...' she paused, and stepped a little closer, then stared into his eyes. 'I've grown to appreciated milk chocolate swirled with sweet caramel and smooth creamy tones. I find I prefer the warmth that seeps from those hues.'

So touched by her compliment he couldn't resist kissing her, although he knew this wasn't the place to. He did so tenderly however, holding her closer to his body. Their tongues slowly swirled in repeating rhythm with their joyous heart beats. They both had so much to say to each other but knew it would have to wait. So they substituted those words for a precious kiss which said just enough for now.

'Pissst, over here.' Roberto beckoned them with a wave towards him. They stopped kissing, and chuckled at his cute secrecy. Retaking hold of each other, they walked briskly to him. Roberto whispered secretively, 'Right, just a few minutes more. Then we should have the chapel to ourselves. I've asked the guards to clear it for half an hour.'

'Is that allowed?' Booth asked shocked, just as secretively as him.

'Nooo,' Roberto cooed naughtily, shaking his head. 'I'm hoping I can convert Tempe when she sees it, and I'll be forgiven.' Bones huffed ironically, and looked utterly nonchalant as if he didn't have a hope. 'Michelangelo's ceiling is quite...' One of the Swiss guards popped his head around the wall, and spoke Italian to Roberto. 'Right, come on, all's clear.' He strode off with them following in his wake, with a sense of apprehension and acute excitement rushing their veins.

The surprisingly small chapel for its global spiritual significance was empty, save for a few Swiss guards placed strategically around the room. The floor of fine Italian marble patterns was the foundation to the walls, which were ablaze it seemed with colour; light and lapis blue and gold. Roberto stood directly under the centre ceiling everybody came to see, and waited for them to join him.

Roberto was talking excitedly about the vaulted space, its history and its creation, 'The chapels dimensions adhere to the Temple of Solomon described in the Old Testament...' His words, facts and anecdotes were lost on them for a few moments as both together, they looked up.

The nine scenes along the spine of the ceiling, created from the Book of Genesis, painted by the most celebrated artists of their day; Botticelli, Raphael, Perugino and most famous of all, Michelangelo. It pulled the breath from the couple, making them hold hands tighter. The lavish frescos were not only beautiful, they were movingly so. So moving in fact, Booth felt his eyes water and trickle down his temples at their majesty and the story they told. The iconic image of God creating Adam was to him, the start of it all. The creation myth which divided science and religious beliefs inexorably, floated above them. However the two opposite minds then looked at each other, their differences made minute and insignificant under the luminescent paintings. Bones lifted her hand to his face, and wiped a tear away tenderly. Her smile almost as bright as the sun that streamed through the small windows to fill the chapel with warmth and light.

Roberto stopped talking, seeing their gentle exchange, and stepped closer. 'Any impulses to kneel and pray, Tempe?' he asked hopefully but lacing his question with a resigned tinge.

Bones shook her head, changing her weight from one foot to the other. 'No, sorry, Rob. You'll have to do better than that.' Booth sniggered, knowing he didn't have a chance to convert her.

'Ok, I'll stop trying... for now.' He winked at her, then spun to point. 'So, we're standing in the place where conclave is held. The cardinals eat sleep and vote in here, locked in until they reach agreement on who should succeed to become the Bishop of Rome and leader of the Roman Catholic Church. We erect a small stove and chimney here at this time and when the votes are counted if no agreement is reached, the voting slips are burnt, sending up the dark smoke. When a pope elect is chosen then the papers are burnt and white smoke appears out of the chimney. The pope elect is asked does he accept the Papacy. He has no obligation to accept the burden. But it's likely if he might be chosen, in recent times he has specifically stated that he would not accept before the final ballot; saving the blushes of the cardinals.'

'Charles Borromeo refused the Papacy after getting enough votes,' Booth said, still looking at the splendid art that was embracing them vibrantly on all sides.

Impressed, Roberto nodded. 'That's right. You know your conclave history, Seeley. The Pope elect is taken to choose and dress in his robes of office, choose his name, and then goes onto the balcony to address the faithful. I was privileged to be here when his Holiness was elected. It was an incredible historic occasion. I'd like to take you to the Room of Tears. It's a simple room furnished in red and is just through there. So called as it symbolises the joy and sorrow of the monumental weight of office, the newly elected Pope will have to carry.'

'Brilliant,' Booth said, wide eyed. 'Can I take a few shots of us in here?' he asked tentatively, already knowing it was forbidden.

He was overjoyed when Roberto said, 'Yes, course, go ahead but don't tell anyone... Stephan, could you oblige please?' he asked one of the Swiss guards. He came over to assist pleasantly. Stephan took several shots of the trio together and then just of the couple in the ancient small ecclesiastical amphitheatre. There was ten minutes or so as Booth snapped many shots of the chapel's notable frescoes and statues. Bones noted amused, that he tried to get her in every shot he possibly could.

'Enough, Booth. You're supposed to be taking shots of the art, not me,' she admonished, slightly embarrassed by his insistence.

Booth said generously, sincerely, 'You are a piece of art, Bones. Smile, say; Gorgonzola...'

'Cheese.' Bones giggled, tossing her hair as she looked towards Roberto. He was stood quietly to the side, with his hands clasped behind his back. Bones walked over to him, she looped her arm through his, and whispered, 'He's so happy,' watching as Booth stood next to one of the Swiss guards and took their photo together at arm's length. 'Thanks for this, Rob.'

'You need to tell him you're in love with him,' Rob said just as quietly in her ear.

Bones flicked him a glance, saying soberly, 'I suspect he already knows... I told you he was perceptive, Rob.' Rob quirked his lips at her, tilting his head slightly. Seeing his gentle reprimand, she added, 'I'm working myself up to vocalising it in English,' cryptically, then grinned slightly, squeezing his arm a little tighter. 'Booth, come on, the people outside will be getting agitated. We've already...'

'Yes, sorry, sorry, I'm coming.' He jogged over, beaming hard at the pair of them. 'Room of Tears?' he added hopefully, with his brows almost in his hairline.

!

The private tour around the basilica was just as moving for Booth. He spent a considerable amount of time talking with Roberto this time. He found him a gentle man, with a wealth of knowledge and extremely humble about that enthusiastic knowledge.

They stood in front of the marble statue of the Pieta Michelangelo created in the north aisle chapel. They lost track of where Bones had wandered off to, and became engrossed in the moving tragedy of the huge sculpture for several long minutes. Its creamy form stood out against the russet red and copper swirls of living patterns in the marble behind. It focussed the eye onto the draped lifeless form of Jesus after he was taken down from the cross, and laid in his mother's arms. His sacrifice for all mankind seemed to drip from the painful yet beautiful statue.

'I don't know what to tell you about this. It's heart wrenching, grievous, yet inspiring and beautiful.' The priest stepped closer, and stroked the leg of Jesus. 'You can almost feel His death in the marble made flesh.' Booth nodded to agree, touching it too.

'Terrible beauty,' Booth said softly, offering his own opinion. Rob agreed with a nod, thinking that an excellent metaphor. Then looking around, Booth asked, 'Where did Bones get to?'

'Shall we find her? You look lost without her next to you.'

'Do I?' Booth asked, clearly delighted by that observation. Roberto laughed softly, leading the way up the enormous nave towards Bellini's baldacchino.

The size of the basilica, Booth pondered, reminded him of walking below the rim of the Grand Canyon. It was so vast, high and adorned with awe inspiring beauty and ever changing colour. He realised one would need months if not years, to marvel at every niche and statue to fully appreciate the efforts which it took to create.

Booth thoughts inevitable drifted back to Bones and what had transpired between them recently. Roberto saw him drop his eyes away from the spectacle to his shoes.

'What is it, Seeley?' he asked kindly. Booth snapped his eyes up again to Roberto, and grinned.

'Can I ask you a question, Father?'

'Sure, Seeley, ask it.'

'Well, Bones, Tempe speaks great Italian, I don't.' Rob smiled sweetly, nodding. 'She said something to me this morning. I thought it was Italian for what she said in American right after it. But I've been thinking about it, now I'm not so sure it was.'

'What did she say in Italian? I can translate it for you.'

Booth said nervously, 'She said, ti amo.' Booth knew if it indeed meant; sin for me, then Roberto might understand what they were doing this morning, and felt his cheeks flush slightly. To his slight discomfort, Roberto stopped their progress up the nave.

Roberto clarified, 'Ti amo?' Booth nodded, searching Roberto's gorgeous eyes. Then Roberto smiled gently, and patted his back in friendship. He now understood what Bones had meant earlier when she said she was building up to telling him in English. Father Roberto explained, 'Seeley, in Italian, ti amo is something lovers say to each other when verbally expressing their deepest, strongest feelings and emotions for the other person. Ti amo means; I love you...'

Booth dropped his eyes from his, an emotion ripped through him instantly; obliterating euphoria.

'You're not shocked by that surely, Seeley?' Booth shook his head, lifted his eyes to his, and smiled watery eyed.

'No, not shocked. I knew she did but I never thought... I'm so happy I can barely breathe,' Booth said distinctly airless. Roberto patted his back again, laughing a little. Roberto began again down the aisle, while Booth floated up the gargantuan nave with him.

'Oh. My... God in heaven...' Booth suddenly whispered, when he set eyes on the gigantic four twisted brass and gilt columns of Solomon which suspended a brass cloth canopy over the high altar. 'I've seen the pictures but when you see it in real life it takes the breath.' The thirty meter high pavilion like structure marked the sacred spot where St Peter was interred below. On the top of each corner stood an angel, then at its heady apex a gilded cross and sphere, symbolising the world redeemed by Christianity. Booth and Roberto crossed themselves, and genuflected as they neared respectfully. They were dwarfed by the sheer enormity of the square dais, high altar and its canopy.

Unbeknown to them, Bones watched them approach from above on one of the balconies which housed the four relics the basilica was renown for in one of the four transepts. As she watched the two men she had loved and had loved in her life, she shook her head at the irony. Then looked up to the dome towards metaphorical heaven floating above the baldacchino. 'You've got a warped sense of humour,' she muttered, with a wry smile.

She allowed her eyes to soak up the concave of the dome's awe-inspiring decoration, she felt her own eyes start to water, it was indeed a moving sight. Feeling it something so beautiful, like a mother coming face to face with her newborn for the first time. It being so beautiful that you gasped with joy and wonder. No doubt, she mused that was the intention of the artist to make heaven look so beautiful you wept. Michelangelo's dome to her was his greatest achievement, a magnificent vision intended to inspire and send the onlooker into awe.

Bones read the gilded Latin inscription around the circumference of it. She spoke the words softly aloud, 'You are Peter... On this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.' The acoustics carried her words down to the upturned faces smiling at her. She felt herself blush as she looked back down seeing them. She stood straighter, nervously flicking her hair over the back of her ear. 'I was just reading the inscription,' she said defensively, then straight faced, 'This isn't the road to Damascus, is it?' Booth and Roberto exchanged glances, then began to chuckle. They went up a narrow winding staircase to join her.

Booth walked hurriedly straight into her arms, held her close, caressing the small of her back with his thumbs. 'Hello, I missed ya,' he said openheartedly. Bones cocked a handsome brow, and nearly let him see her touched smile.

'Unlikely. You've been too busy getting all God-ied up,' Booth chuckled, and nuzzled slowly into her neck, breathing her in. 'Are you supposed to do that in church?' she asked satirically, feeling him pepper her neck with moist kisses, while she caressed his back.

Booth knew this was his moment to give for her peace of mind and to unlock her heart, so he said the words she needed to hear, 'I'm prepared to sin for you... die for you,' he whispered and tattooed them against her flesh. 'I'm expecting a double lightning bolt about now, but I don't care, as long as I can die in your arms.'

Bones' eyes watered, and she gripped him to her with all her might. 'Oh. Booth,' she sighed, slamming her eyes shut to the power of his honesty and devotion. Running her fingers through his hair, she gripped a clump tenderly in each to lift his head up to face her. The courage of his words filled her too. She searched his eyes for a moment, drifting deep into them, posed to say what was burning in her eyes. Booth saw it, and placed his finger to her lips, gently silencing and calming her.

'Not here, later, on neutral territory,' he told her at a whisper. 'We can show each other.' Bones nodded imperceptibly, kissing his finger on her lips to affirm.

There it was, said and done, the promise made, the truth shared, out and undeniable, Bones thought. Her heart burned with exhilaration. The mantra now obsolete, and redundant. Feeling a calm sense of peace wash through her, she released her grip on his hair, to smooth it down into his nape. Sliding her hands down his back, she felt his body relax to her touch. Taking his hands in hers, she stepped back, and pulled him with her. 'You should see this.'

'Oh. The reliquary,' he said.

Booth startled slightly when Roberto spoke from behind them, 'Seeley these relics; St Longinus' spear, a fragment of the True Cross Jesus was crucified on, and St Veronica's handkerchief, are displayed to pilgrims on the third Sunday in Lent. Bellini designed these niches to house each one,' he told him, pointing to the four transepts. 'The last relic; St Paul's severed head, was given to the Greek Orthodox Church some years ago.' Booth nodded, looking around the four enormous pillars supporting the dome above them. 'The fragment of the cross displayed in this ornate larger cross, has recently been restored. The other two relics are behind these wooden doors.' Then to Booth's astonishment Rob pulled an unassuming key from under his cassock, and unlocked one of them, muttering a phrase in Latin. Then he looked over his shoulder briefly, as he held the small doors open to show Booth and Bones the relic housed behind thick glass. All the while, Bones held Booth comfortably around his waist from his side, watching his expression of wonder.

'Longinus's spear, purportedly. The Vatican has never confirmed or denied this to be the actual spear to pierce our Lord's side but my heart tells me it is. We have to do this fairly quickly, Seeley, sorry. Otherwise there might be a stampede,' Rob said, flashing him a charming smile. Booth nodded, understanding completely, knowing he was being granted a huge privilege to see these relics up close and personally. Roberto closed the first door, and proceeded to open the next. The small folded piece of linen darkened with the blood of Jesus took Booth's breath. 'Remarkable objects of the True Passion, wouldn't you agree?'

'Yes, yes. Astonishing. Faith confirming. Thank you, thank you so much, Father, You've overwhelmed me.' Booth crossed himself, taking a last look as Roberto locked the cases again.

Roberto nodded humbly, winking surreptitiously at Bones. 'I'd like to show you something else very important to our faith, Seeley, but first a little lunch and refreshments,' he said cheerfully.

'Great, sounds wonderful, thank you again, Father.'

They all headed back down to the basilica floor. Walking past the chair St Peter was supposed to have sat on, now ornately decorated with gold leaf and haloed by the baroque Gloria in eye splitting gold. It was illuminated naturally, cleverly, by the yellow alabaster window opposite. The inspired cacophony exploded in the eye of the beholder and drew gasps.

'St Peter's throne,' Booth oozed, it almost hypnotizing him.

'That chair is 12th century, Booth and can't possibly be the chair he sat on.' Booth narrowed his eyes at her, tickling her ribs suddenly. His discreet tickle made her jump, and yelp. It echoed around the basilica as all faces turned to her, looking appalled by her behaviour.

'Bones,' he chastised coolly. 'This is a church, show a little respect.' Bones pouted back at him, huffing.

'She's right though, Seeley. The actual chair is virtually nonexistent now. Anyway, let's eat.' Bones briefly stuck her tongue out at Booth making him chuckle again.

!

Chapter XVII Soul Food.

Booth slumped into the back of his chair, swallowing the last mouthful of his gourmet prepared veal a la crème, and sighed, replete. The excellent warm red wine slipped easily down his throat, as he looked up to the cloudless azure sky overhead. The small piazza in which they sat was filled with other members of the cloth, guards and clerics taking their lunch too. It was filled with soft chatter and gentle laughter. Most of the voices he heard were in fragrant silky Italian. He didn't care that he couldn't understand what they were saying, he just thought it tranquil background white noise.

They were tucked in one corner of the nearly square piazza inside the ancient Vatican city wall, which towered around them on three sides. Collections of stone troughs and huge flaking terracotta urns overflowed with lush foliage, and vermillion geraniums and rainbows of azaleas. The walls had creeping trembling ivy draped over the top of the rounded topped walls, and made the space feel intimate. In the centre of the piazza was a white marble fountain in perfect soft balance with the size of the space. The tables were arranged around it casually and the three tiered fountain trickled and bubbled, intermingling with the quiet conversations and clinking of cutlery being utilized.

Bones and Roberto were deep in catch-up conversation and seemed oblivious to their beautiful venerable surroundings. Its history wasn't lost on him though. He thought how many names from the annals of history had sat here, or walked around these walls, or dipped their hands in the trickling fountain. Booth felt extremely grateful to be given the grace to be a part of it, even for just a little while. However after a few minutes soaking up the relaxed atmosphere, his thoughts returned to Bones. The absorbing captivating woman sat on his right who had professed her love for him and he her, almost.

He watched as she forked up a little salad and half a cherry tomato, then added a pouch of spinach filled ravioli to the implement, preparing to put it in her mouth. Watching, amused, Booth saw that her conversation with Roberto halted her forkfuls progress towards her lips, as she seemed in no rush to eat the perfect sized mouthful. He had rarely watched her eat so intently, and found it intensely erotic in a perverse way. He found himself willing her to open her mouth, place the morsels on her tongue and close her lips over it and chew. It seemed everything she did, even the most ordinary, now beguiled him. He grinned wide when she almost opened her mouth to eat it while listening to Roberto. The carefully prepared forkful was hovering at her lips, then she dropped it away a little, as she replied to his question. Booth felt frustrated like an itch on your back that you can't reach, watching her protracted teasing.

Then to his shock she turned her head, slipping her eyes to his, saying softly, 'Stop watching me, its very distracting.' She smiled though, placing that forkful to his lips. He grinned charmed, then opened his mouth for her to deposit the packet, which she did carefully. Then as if to soften her chastisement even more and thank him for his attention, she kissed his cheek as he chewed slowly. He felt the itch no longer and she went on with her conversation with Roberto.

Booth sipped the last of his wine as he felt her hand rest on his thigh, while she loaded another fork expertly. She didn't look at him either but went about her task still chatting to Roberto. He placed his hand over hers on his thigh, and they entwined fingers delicately. Booth felt his soul swell with happiness as her warm glove-like palm flattened against his, and he could feel her heartbeat in it.

By the time they were on to the rich dark coffee's Booth was engrossed in the conversation with them too. Their hands were still laced discreetly under the table in a muted display of affection and the need to be touching one another.

'Right, enough of this,' Roberto began, wiping his mouth with his napkin. 'We should move on, are you ready, had enough to eat?' he asked kindly. Booth gushed his thanks and affirmed he was full, Bones too. 'Great. Come on then.'

They left the pretty little courtyard after Booth took a quick photo of it with Bones standing next to the fountain. Roberto led them slowly through the palaces around the wall to the rear of the basilica, deep within the papal city. Booth noted he looked particularly excited with what he was going to show them, and his excitement escalated too. 'I've been granted permission to take you into the sacred catacombs below. Most of what's under here is extraordinary. The Romans decreed that there was to be no burials above ground within the city walls. Therefore the catacombs were burrowed out from the soft volcanic rock, as Jews and Christians favoured burials to cremation.' Roberto opened a wooden door in an ornate portico of a small modest chapel. He let them enter ahead of them.

Booth looked down the narrow unlit corridor to a blank wall, and wrinkled his brow, confused to see a dead end. Roberto flicked on a switch to his right, which in turn, turned on a flickering stark florescent tube, obviously rarely used. It took a while to heat up and illuminate the space, so they stilled.

'Just down here. Go careful you two, the ground is uneven,' he warned kindly. He walked past them to the end of the corridor, standing to face them just short of the featureless wall. His rare eyes sparkled with his own excitement. 'Under here, along many narrow decorated corridors, is where many Pope's, dignitaries and the wealthy were interred. The lighting is dim to protect the artwork, the temperature averages a cool 18c and the air is a little thick, but not toxic. It's easy to get lost, so stay close.' He bent down, and pulled on two iron rings sunk in two wooden trap doors. As he heaved the first aside, Booth rushed to help, and pulled the other open and out. 'Thanks, Seeley.'

There were stone steps leading down into darkness, with a wobbly iron hand rail to the right. Roberto started down the steps. Booth looked to Bones, and they grinned wider at each other, plainly loving the adventure. He let her go first, and as he began to descend there was a warm glow beginning to light his way. Roberto had lit an old Tilley lamp and handed it to Bones to carry. He lit another as Booth stepped onto the uneven ground, and off the steps. The hiss from the lamps and the unearthly glow ratcheted up their adrenalin levels and quickened their hearts.

'Ok, we've got a little walk ahead. If you stop to look at something let me know, so we don't get separated. And watch your head, Seeley, the tunnels get lower at some points.

'This is so cool, Father. I'll bring up the rear.' Bones flashed him a cheeky smile. Booth gave her an innocent grin, and a little push to move on. They followed Roberto as he walked purposely along the tunnel into the darkness.

'The order of Salesian de Bosco, of which I belong, are the favoured responsible for the Christian catacombs. The Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology directs the excavations and restorations of the catacombs and tombs.'

Bones turned to Booth, saying impressively, 'He's their boss.' Booth mouthed his wow.

Roberto laughed, then chastised her tenderly, 'Haa. Trying to be humble here, Tempe. Moving on...' he brushed over his importance and position quickly. 'These catacombs were used for religious services and as hiding places in times of persecution. The volcanic rock, known as tufo, is soft to tunnel then hardens when exposed to air. Which makes these tunnels extremely safe and strong. Hence they have lasted for centuries.'

Booth noted they seemed to be heading downwards slowly, so asked to confirm, 'Are we going down a little or is that my imagination?'

'No, you're right, we are. As you maybe aware, Seeley Rome is built on seven hills. Two of those hills are close by, we're just walking down the side of one at the moment. We will start heading up one shortly. It can be quite disorientating. Arrh! Here we are. This is what's known as a loculi, or a walled graved, see how its cut into the rock? Several burials may have been in these loculi at a time, family graves if you will. A stone or marble slab would be positioned over the body, which were usually wrapped in linen. The name and dates of the deceased simply carved on its top. Further on we'll see larger tombs and sarcophagi, some elaborately decorated with astounding frescos.'

'Where are we now in relation to the surface, Rob?' Bones asked.

'We're about 50 feet below the surface, directly under the Sistine chapel now. The deepest points reach around 62 feet. We'll wheel left in a while..'

After a few more minutes they came to a large chamber to the left, off the narrow channel and stood around a marble sarcophagus. The walls were covered in scenes from the Old Testament and one of the Last Judgment. Booth was hugely impressed with the lavishly decorated tomb.

'Who's this?'

'This is the remains of Pope Uban I. He was the first Pope that we can clearly define his reign. He was born in Rome and thought martyred but that was not the case. He was supposed to be beheaded but there's strong evidence that he died of natural causes after only eight years as pontiff. He died in 230..'

Booth's jaw dropped in shock. 'Wow. This is an old Pope.'

Bones and Roberto laughed at him. 'I meant he was an early one,' he said, quirking his pout as they chuckled at him. Bones stepped beside him, taking his hand giving it a squeeze for him to forgive her for laughing at him.

'Yes, most in this part of the catacomb are, Seeley. Let's move on, shall we?' Booth snatched a wet smooch-y kiss from her lips as Roberto walked back along the tunnel, much to her delight.

'Booth, this is a gravesite, show a little respect,' she chastised, like he'd done to her earlier in the basilica. Booth dismissed her reprimand with another hummed kiss. They quickly headed after Roberto, hand in hand.

As they continued passed more countless loculi and small chambers, they felt the pull on their calves, knowing they were climbing slightly. 'We're going up,' Booth said softly from behind her. She nodded, with a sweet smile for him. She knew where Roberto was taking them, and her excitement grew exponentially as they got closer to Roberto's surprise for him.

Roberto crouched, hunching his shoulders under a very low roof. On top of the mound they were on, was a smallish simple unmarked sarcophagus in grey marble. At each corner were lamps. Booth thought it very unimpressive compared to the others they'd seen. The walls were devoid of paintings or frescos. He had to crouch even more than Roberto being taller than him, almost squatting in the tiny space around the tomb.

Roberto began solemnly, while lighting the four lamps around the tomb with matches from inside his jet cassock, 'This simple unassuming tomb houses a Pope, Seeley.' With the lamps lit illuminating the space he continued, 'He was martyred by crucifixion and brought here in the second century...' Roberto paused, as Booth nodded, then Roberto continued, 'We're directly below the basilica's altar... and you're standing on the rock that it was built on, that Christian faith was built on.' Booth eyes snapped to his disbelievingly but with the realisation beginning to seep in. 'This man was a simple fisherman, the keeper of the keys to heaven, walked with Jesus, and heard His ministry.'

'St Peter...' Booth said in awe, with wet cheeks and with fear in his heart. So moved Booth dropped the last few inches, kneeling to the rock, suddenly weakened. Bones felt her eyes burn, witnessing his earnest complete humility.

Roberto knelt carefully too, bowed his head, and began a quiet prayer in Latin next to him. Bones rolled quietly away around the wall out of sight, and rested her head back to the catacomb wall. She ached for his fear at being here, knowing what he thought his heart was revealing to this icon and Roberto.

When Roberto had finished the lyrically spoken prayer, he placed his hand on Booth's shoulder. Bones heard him saying benevolently, 'Receiving the sacrament of absolution is meaningless, Seeley if you cannot forgive yourself...'

Bones felt her shoulders drop with an overwhelming sense of relief and gratefulness. She realised Roberto had read him perfectly, understood his deepest fear and seen the shadow of turmoil in his eyes for his mortal sins. Bones heard Booth softly weeping, muffled by the compassionate hug from Roberto. She stayed stuck to the wall, her eyes leaking too. Being a silent witness to his breakdown and the power of forgiveness was something deeply moving. She could finally understand the appeal, so quietly, respectfully conceded never to doubt its power again.

Roberto appeared quietly at her side, and leant on the wall next to her. She wiped her eyes, and straightened slightly. 'Let's just give him a minute, Tempe.' She nodded, while looking at her shoes. 'He'll be ok now,' he whispered, taking her hand, giving it a squeeze reading her too.

'Thank you.' Her voice cracking with thankfulness.

'Any pangs?' he asked sweetly, with a cute expectant smile. She chuckled quietly, shaking her head.

'Are you on commission or something?' Roberto's shoulders jiggled up and down with his stifled laughter.

Roberto explained quietly as they waited for Booth, 'The Vatican grotto above us has several centuries of shrines to St Peter one on top of the other.' Bones nodded, but still hoping Booth was alright. 'But this is the deepest and the true site of his burial and rarely allowed to be visited.'

After a few minutes of quiet discussion about the tomb, Roberto and Bones heard footsteps. She felt her pulse begin to race at seeing him again. He stepped into view having only eyes for her. She was about to ask if he was ok but didn't get the opportunity as he hugged her hard, squeezing the oxygen from her lungs. She smiled over his shoulder at Roberto, as she clung on to him just as tightly. Roberto left them to their tender moment to snuffle out the lamps.

'Did you tell him?'

She replied honestly, 'No, no, I'd never break your confidence, Booth. Never. He's just... ' she trailed off, seeing Booth nodding with a smile that told her he thought him remarkably perceptive too.

They all headed back down the tunnels towards the remains of the day. The sun was starting to set when they returned to Roberto's elegant office, to say their goodbyes and thanks for the wonderful time they'd had. 'Father, what can I say? I'm so grateful, I don't know how to repay your kindnesses and generosity,' Booth gushed, shaking his hand vigorously.

'Think nothing of it, Seeley. It was genuinely my pleasure. Great to see you again, Tempe. Don't leave it too long before you return to visit.'

'We won't.' Bones hugged him hard, closing her eyes to his warmth. Booth was delighted that she answered with; we won't. 'Thanks again, Rob,' she whispered again in his ear. Roberto held her a little tighter.

He smiled brightly at both of them. 'Ok, I'll walk with you to the square.'

In the square next to The Witness, they shook hands again. Bones kissed both his cheeks affectionately. Roberto, Booth noted, whispered something in her ear in Italian before they separated. He also noted that Bones looked close to tears as she nodded at Roberto. Then they walked away, hand in hand, hearing Roberto say after them, 'Look after each other.'

!

Chapter XVIII Song and Dance.

To Bones, Booth seemed a high as a kite emotionally. She thought if he could stand the crazy looks, he would have skipped across the bridge like a child. He had a swagger about him that made her chuckle.

'What? Wha-cha laughing at?'

'You. You're...'

'Yeah, I feel like I'm floating. Bones. He's amazing, isn't he? What a day, fantastic day, incredible,' he gushed, dancing around her like a butterfly flying for the first time.

'That he is...' she placated, adding, 'My feet are quite sore with all the walking we've done.' She felt the balls of her feet throbbing.

He settled gently beside her, taking her hand, saying, 'Let's find somewhere with a view, have a few glasses of wine and I'll give you a foot rub.'

'I wasn't fishing for a foot rub.'

'I know, Bones. You won't refuse though, will ya?' he said playfully, kissing her cheek quickly.

They wandered into the old city again, and picked a quiet bar with a view of the Tiber River. As the light started to go, they sat down under a wide navy canopy-covered courtyard with couches and deep outdoor chairs. 'This is perfect,' he crooned, looking around at the pink and yellow washed buildings with a gap between them to the sparkling river beyond. He heard her groan as she sunk into the couch. Slinging his arm around her shoulder, he kissed her neck, whispering, 'Life doesn't get better than this, Bones. Give us your foot,' he instructed sweetly, patting his thighs. She healed off her shoes, and unleashed another throaty groan as his warm hands began to massage the ball of her foot. Dropping her head to the back of the couch, she hummed in relief. He couldn't help the sexy grin that he beamed on hearing her joy to free her feet.

The waiter came over casually, Bones opened her eyes, and smiled mistily at him. She spoke her, groin tightening Italian to him, ordering them a bottle of wine. Then Bones took out her Blackberry to check for messages. She had three arrived, so she opened them as Booth diligently massaged, while looking across the piazza to the river.

The waiter arrived back and poured them two large ruby glasses. Bones immediately took the globe of the glass, and gulped twice. 'Delicious,' she muttered. Booth reached over her legs on his lap, and drank his glass down. He topped hers up, and poured himself another. Then he went back to his task while she replied to the messages.

Booth loved the way her toes waggled as he thumbed the balls of her foot, and she hummed absently. To his added delight she told him who the messages were from too. 'Ange send her regards, she's still waddling apparently and no sign of her waters breaking yet. She said she's going to name the baby after me if it's a girl. Second name though. She thinks Temperance is an awful name apparently.' Booth looked at her horrified by that piece of information.

'It's a gorgeous name,' he protested the smear. Bones flicked her eyes to his, he noted they narrowed slightly.

'You're just saying that,' she accused, suspicious of his motives.

'No I'm not! It's unique and so you.'

'Why call me Bones all the time then?'

'Arrh. Well, that's just habit. Given different circumstances...' He slid his warm palm over her ankle to her calf, curling his hand around it sensuously. She felt herself twitch with the lovely sensation his touch sent up her leg to pool at her core. 'I will call you by it if you have no objections.' He leant over a little, nearing her lips. 'Would you have any objections?' She shook her head slowly, staring into his warm eyes, shadow-less and clear. He slid a little higher up to caress behind her knee under her loose pants. 'Good. Maybe,' he said sultrily and suggestively. 'Maybe I'll say it when I'm so deep,' he whispered. 'I can't leave.'

Bones wanted to mount him right then, there in this piazza but knew they would most certainly get arrested and strangely, she mused she wouldn't care less. Pulling his mouth to hers by the back of his head, she captured his lips into a luscious kiss. She felt his cock shift under her legs, and groaned. Feeling herself soften as he hardened and her body wetly preparing for his welcomed raid. She felt his hand come out from under her pant leg, and broke the kiss. While searching her eyes, he whispered against her lips. 'You had me hooked from; hello, my name is Temperance Brennan. From the H of hello, Temperance.' Bones nodded, caressing his jaw tenderly.

Pecking his lips, she whispered her own moment of discovery, 'Our first kiss, that first drunken kiss in the rain. I knew too, Booth.' He grinned, nodding sweetly, sliding his hand up her thigh, then rubbing his knuckles against her intimate lips slowly. His action almost unnoticeable to the casual observer, but she definitely noticed it, and attempted to hold perfectly still. She bit her bottom lip sexily, he noted gleefully.

'Oh! Signora, Signore...' Bones snapped her eyes to the policeman that seemed to be the bane of their lives on this trip. He sat down on the opposite chair with a colourful cheerful flourish. Booth slowly moved his hand back to her thigh. The policeman grabbed Booth's wine, and took a mighty gulp, then began chatting away, seemingly pleased to find them.

Bones began quietly translating his words to Booth. 'He's Leo's brother-in-law, would you believe it? He's got the insurance form on him and would like you to fill it out, now.' Booth's jaw slackened, then nodded at him incredulously. The policemen smiled pleasantly, handing him it along with a pen. Then he called the waiter over, and asked for another glass. 'He says he's off duty tonight and was pleased he'd spotted us so he could spend a little time with his wife and not hang about waiting for us. Apparently he recognised my name from the hotel registration forms we filled in.' Booth smiled weakly at the policemen, then looked over the document.

'What should I put, Bones, the whole embarrassing truth?' Bones nodded, amused at his terrified pout, while watching the policemen pour himself another large glass, which drained the bottle. Bones ordered another, thinking it was the least she should do as he hadn't arrested them yesterday or this morning. She chatted with him casually, noting he seemed to be in for the long haul. He took off his cap, crossed his legs, and lit a long thin cigarillo.

While Booth recounted the incident last night on paper, Bones and the policemen were seemingly getting on like a house on fire, which he found slightly distracting. They were laughing, and ploughing a large swathe through the second bottle of wine, Booth noted. They were getting a little tipsy too, and when the policemen broke into a tenor aria which turned stunned heads to stare and listen, he nearly choked on his own slurp. He had to concede he had an amazing voice and was singing romantically to Bones. His barrelling voice echoed within the square and off the walls in a haunting way, that sent thrills up spines.

The situation seemed absurd but in a wondrously spontaneous way. Bones snatched an enamoured glance at Booth, then giggled as she nestled on his shoulder to hear him out. They watched as the policemen stood up at the crescendo of the aria, and bellowed the last lines magnificently, with arm gestures and rapturous facial expressions. When he sang the last elongated note, the spectators, patrons and Bones and Booth clapped wildly. He took his bows and applause humbly, twice. Then sat back down casually, to drain his glass and then refill immediately.

'His wife is soprano and they both perform opera at the Caracalla Roman Baths, where we're going on Thursday! Amazing, eh? He was giving us a personal preview,' Bones explained excitedly.

'Cool, he's really good,' Booth said sincerely. 'I've finished the document, Bones.' he held it in his hand.

'Oh! Right, I'll check where you need to sign it.' She whipped it out of his hand, and skimmed it with the policemen. He pointed to one particular dotted line. Booth signed it, and handed him back the pen. He tucked the lot away inside his jacket. Then he kissed Bones on both cheeks with passion and a wide smile, shook Booth's hand, and left as quickly as he'd arrived.

Booth and Bones looked stunned at each other for a second, then began to laugh at the bizarre incident. They kissed sweetly, then settled again.

Booth ordered another bottle of wine, but this one they took their time over, while he returned to massaging her feet. He noted she had a wide grin fixed on her mouth and her eyes watched his face constantly, while her fingers played idly with the hair at his nape. 'Who were the other messages from?'

'Two from Ange and one from my brother. She just wanted to know I was ok.'

'Why?' Booth asked confused. Bones lost a little of her smile, and reached for her glass.

She took a long draught from it, and sighed. 'She knew I was seeing Rob today. She was concerned for me, that's all.'

Concerned too now, he asked, 'Are you ok?'

'Yes! Yes, Booth. As I said, it was a long time ago. I've no residual romantic feelings for him, just a deep sense of vindication knowing I made the right decision for both of us.'

'Phew. That's good to hear.' He sank back to the couch.

'I better just text her back actually, do you mind?'

'God, no. Why would I mind?' he said, not needing a reply, then picking up his glass to slurp some more ruby wine. 'Ooo. I meant to say, Parker says hi. I spoke to him this morning before church.'

The copious amounts of wine she'd drunk were starting to take effect, as she said, 'Awh. Sweet of him. Is he ok, hissing, tut, missing you?'

'Haa. No. He didn't sound too impressed when I told him we didn't have a TV or X box in our room.' Bones huffed, wiggling her toes again, and began to multi-task. She started replying to Ange's text messages with a thumb from one hand, while caressing the back of Booth's hair with her fingers of her other hand. Booth couldn't stop grinning, feeling her affectionate easy caress. It felt to him like they had been like this for years. He pondered, in a way they had, just not physically but he knew that was all set to change tonight. She snapped him from his delicious thoughts when she asked casually, 'Has he got one? And how do you spell... bukkake?'

Booth snatched a horrified breath and her cell from her hand, to read what she was writing to Ange. He understood the Japanese sexual term for ejaculating over your partner. He was appalled that she was relating their antics in the shower to her this morning. He relaxed when she started to laugh at him, plainly amused she had tricked and shocked him so much. 'Bones, you're so naughty. I thought you were...' She leant in, and smooched his lips with hers, while still caressing his hair.

'Has he got one?' she asked against his lips, taking her cell back from his hand. Booth leant back a tiny amount, and shook his head.

Bones said slightly apprehensively, 'Maybe I should get him one for his birthday. To say sorry for taking you away for a week, and missing his game today.' Booth grinned, utterly besotted with her for thinking of Parker's feelings and remembering that he indeed missed his game today. Which was something Hannah never considered. He knew Bones had always had a soft spot for his son, and she'd proved that again.

'Maybe,' Booth said a little softer. 'We should get it from both of us.' Booth's implication that being by doing that, they were symbolising they were a true couple in every sense, and Parker should see them as that, Bones realised. Touched, she kissed him again holding her lips to his, as she nodded gently. Reaching for her glass of wine, she said, 'Wow. I feel so wight, light headed,' she corrected fast.

'Ha. I'm not surprised. That's the third bottle we've polished off.'

Bones grinned, unconcerned, dribbling the remnants from the bottle into her glass. She also noted, that thankfully her feet felt amazing now. 'Do you want another?' he asked, just a the bar turned on some music to accompany the sultry night. She shook her head, draining the glass.

'No, thanks. I've had more that enough. I expect the alcohol with have effected my equi, equili... balance,' finally she got a word out.

'Haa. Just say you're drunk, Bones. It sounds cuter.'

'I'm not drunk! Just a little... woosy.' She rolled her eyes a tad, making him laugh again.

'Wanna go back? Get dressed for dinner? We could always find the trattoria Heather mentioned on the plane over here?'

'Sure.' She nodded wobbly. 'I t'ink I should h'eat, eat.' She seemed annoyed with herself that she couldn't get the words out properly. Booth's shoulders rattled with his muffled chuckles, at seeing her so incapacitated.

'Me too.' He pulled out the kitty, and threw more than enough to cover the wine and tip. She didn't seem to be able to move or put her shoes back on convincingly. Seeing her struggling, he took pity, and assisted with her shoes.

'Tar. You're sooo good ta me, Booth.' She hugged him around his torso, snuggling into him.

'Come on.' He stood, pulling her up to the upright. Bones swayed dangerously. 'Steady,' he encouraged, holding her close so she didn't topple. She looked into his eyes trying to focus, hooking her arms around his waist.

'I think I might need some assistance to work, walk.' Booth thought that was obvious, and lifted her to stand on the couch. 'Woop! Haa! What-ya-doin'?'

'Hop on my back, Bones. I'll give you a piggy back home.'

'Oh. No. no, no, you might herniate a lumbar disc.'

'Just get on, woman.' He let her go, and turned his back to her. It was then that she wobbled, and half fell over the back of the couch in a fit of hysterics. Booth apologised to the rest of the laughing patrons watching on. 'Too much wine,' he mouthed to them. Grabbing her arm, he pulled her back up straight, her hair was all fluffy over her flushed grinning face. He fireman lifted her over his shoulder so she was hanging over his back. Grabbing her purse, he walked towards their hotel. He noted she sweetly waved her upturned goodbyes to the rest of the bar.

She muttered allsorts as they headed back, he noted, random things like; cute gluteus, sexily, or wooow, chewing gum! Then softly, sooo sleepy. Then she went quiet and he thought she had drifted off to sleep. After a few minutes more she shouted, 'I want steak! Which shocked him, and made him laugh so hard he nearly dropped her. Charmed immeasurably by an inebriated Tempe Brennan, something he'd never witnessed before, he could do nothing but smile hard and wide.

Booth carried her into their candle lit room, and flopped her down on her bed as gently as he could. She groaned, and rolled onto her side, trying to pull the duvet over her. Booth had quite a struggle to get her shoes off as she was trying to cocoon herself in the duvet. He wasn't going to let her kick them off tonight and they have more damages. She started to mew adorably, as she drifted off to sleep and was catatonic in moments. Booth hitched up his pants, watching her for a few seconds, deciding what to do about her clothes. Deciding to leave her to sleep it off, he headed into the bathroom.

!

Chapter XIX Precipitation, Perspiration And Picnics.

Bones fluttered her eyes open. They hurt, so she closed them, and tried again, this time one by one. Then she realised it wasn't her eyes that hurt, it was her cranium. Odd flashbacks came to her, curious things like; blobs of chewing gum, and turbulent oceans of red wine, then bizarrely, plates of rare beefsteak. She wrinkled her brow, shaking her head slightly to rid her mind of them. Then realised she had got fairly inebriated last night and she was clearly feeling the after effects of that over indulgence. Confused as to whether it was still night, she looked at her Rolex, squinting to read it. From the light just starting to be generated by the muted sunrise she could see it read 6.03. Taking stock she felt she was still fully clothed, although she wore no shoes. So she unravelled herself from the duvet she'd tossed herself in last night, and gingerly walked to the bathroom.

Unbeknown to her, Booth had watched her groggy, charming awakening from the chair by their window in silence. When he heard the shower go on, he pulled off her duvet, folded it neatly, and placed it at the footer of the bed. Moving the nightstand from between the beds, he then pushed the two beds together making one enormous one. He sat back down in the chair, and waited patiently like he had done for most of the night.

When Bones had walked into the bathroom, and turned the lights on, she noted Booth had set a large glass of water on her sink thoughtfully, next to a packet of pain relief. She threw three down her throat instantly, and finished the glass of water too. As she showered she had a sense of sadness. She hadn't intended to get drunk, it had just happened. She wasn't sure but she suspected it was relief and relaxation that caused her to be so generous with fruit of the vine. The day had been wonderful, deeply emotional for him and her. They'd made each other promises about making and saying love to each other last night, but in her state those promises had been broken. Not deliberately but unintentionally, she rationalised, but that loss still saddened her.

She took her time bathing and coming around from her deep sleep under the steady stream of water. Her refreshing shower felt more erotic than ever before. She closed her eyes to remind herself of the last time they were in here, and she ached for what they'd missed last night. While cleaning her teeth she studied herself in the mirror. She thought she didn't look too bad considering what a state she must have been in, and thankfully noted the pills were starting to ease and clear her head.

Bones opened the door of the bathroom, surprised to see him sitting in the chair looking pensively out the window. He was nude like her and didn't turn as she stilled. She thought his meditative pose reminiscent of Rodin's sculpture, The Thinker. His smooth handsome body, strong long legs, fine hands and relaxed pose, agitated appreciative female hormones within her. The feeble light through the windows lit and shadowed him perfectly, and he looked to her like a thriving example of living poetry. This prime image, she knew was one she would hold sacred, deep in her private memory store, forever.

She saw what he'd done with their beds, and was relieved; felt that it was sultrily hot in the room, and heard a distant rumble of thunder quiver the heavy air. All of which added a richness to the silent historic moment.

'It's raining,' he said desperately, quietly, and unmoving.

Hearing the hope in his voice, she walked over to him slowly. He looked up as she neared, offering her a gentle smile. Bones smiled back apologetically, saying, 'I'm sorry, Booth.' He shook his head, forgiving her easily. Taking her hand, he eased her onto his lap. She went into his warm tender embrace happily submissive.

As she nestled her head against his shoulder, she too looked out at the large drops of rain as they flashed passed the open window. He asked kindly, 'How ya feeling?' She curled her toes on the window ledge, and held his hand, becoming an integral part of his poetry.

'Good, really good. Thanks for the analgesics and water.' Then with a smile he couldn't see, she asked, 'Was I very embarrassing?' She felt his chuckles bubble up his warm torso to his throat, and lifted her head to look at him. He pecked her lips softly, breathing his amusement over her.

'You were an adorable lush, hugely embarrassing, yes. I had to carry you home on my shoulder, do you remember that?' The look he got spoke for her.

'No! You didn't, did you?' she asked incredulously, not recalling that clearly.

'Yeah, I did. You were jabbering on over my back, and then shouted that you wanted a steak.' Booth told her, highly amused too as he recalled.

'Hooo. I must have been a sight. I don't remember much after he sang Nessun Dorma in the piazza.' They chuckled again, kissing softly. She played with his hair, while they zoned out of the window together. 'What did you do last night when I was indisposed?'

'Ha! Indisposed? Say it like it is; you were pissed, Dr Brennan!' She looked affronted at first but had to concede that. So she nuzzled into his ear, then licked inside it slowly in gratitude for his chivalrousness. She heard him groan a little, tilting his head towards her warm breath, which was sending lovely shivers down his back. She whispered, 'Tell me,' urging him to tell her. She felt his fingers start to caress her thigh, and felt her own delicious shiver radiate out from his touch.

'I got you settled, then had a shower, changed... and went out for a steak with a gorgeous Italian chick with the biggest...' He felt a tug on the back of his hair as she pulled his head back a little in reprimand. He was chuckling at her as their eyes met.

Bones began to seduce him with sexy affection, feeling his body awakening. She licked at his lips slowly, sliding her tongue along them, as she said against the wetness she left on them, 'She must have been very myopic and extremely desperate,' her sexual tone was juxtaposition to what she'd said. Booth gasped in shock, narrowed his eyes, then tickled her mercilessly. She writhed on him, fighting him off, bubbling with laughter. Then leaping off him, she ran away. Booth was fast after her, and grabbed her around her waist from behind before she could scramble across the huge bed, and away from his evil fingers.

With her knees on the mattress, she laughed herself silly, till she felt his lips kissing her spine and his firm hands holding her still. That laughter turned to soft moans, as she surrendered. 'I can't stand it anymore, Bones, I can't,' he whispered painfully, kissing lower down her back to her buttocks. His hands followed his lips lead, as he added, 'I've got to make love to you.' Bones bowed her back, hearing his need while the words caressed her heart. She rolled her buttocks around as he kissed over and down between them. She could hear him inhaling her scent, groaning his desire for her.

She noted, she was just as far along as he splayed her buttocks with his hands, knelt down, and licked around his hard option. She gasped with delight, excitement and now rampant lust. Dropping her head between her shoulders, she muttered, 'Fan-tastic, Booth,' as his soft wet tongue swirled, and gently probed her. One of his hands joined in, and slid lower between her silken folds. She stiffened to the cascades of sensation as he teased her slippery petals with his fingers. He pushed her buttocks away so she exposed everything thing for him, complying with his confident silent instruction.

'Can't wait to go so deep you can't breathe,' he paused, then with honesty, 'Or leave me.' Bones sighed softly at his words, knowing he needed that too now. His mouth covered her smooth lips from behind, and probed that burning slick orifice with his demonstrative tongue from every which way, while he slid a gentle finger into her rear.

Bones slammed her eyes closed, slipping her hands along the sheet to the split between the beds, and gripped the hem of the mattress. 'That feels... out-standing, Booth,' she said throatily, and airless. She felt his slightly egotistical smile on her vibrating lips. She wasn't going to chide him for it as he was delivering masterful oral pleasure on her, and had every right to be smug, she thought. He left nothing un-caressed; licked, sucked, nibbled or kissed and was indulging himself noisily of her. Every time he did something unique she purred sensually like a tigress in heat, praising his gift and the pleasure he was bestowing.

Booth heard himself guzzling her down exuberantly, and as long suspected, her wholesome juice was the only nourishment he would ever need. So he feasted like a starving animal on her banquet. He felt his cock ache and burn between his legs and seep warm pre-ejaculate onto his crown. The realisation struck him with mighty force that he was making love to her. An undeniable fact, the proof of which covered his face as he buried it in her hot velveteen-like pussy. His free exploratory palm raced around her smooth abdomen, full breasts and honed thighs desperate to know all of her. 'More,' he mumbled against her, demanding, 'Give me more.' Bones could do nothing but, as he jabbed his tongue inside her repeatedly, grunting on each soft penetration. He felt her contract on his tongue, and growled his enjoyment.

'Jesus, Booth,' she murmured, stunned and disbelieving of his absence of inhibition, but relishing his lack of restraint and wild nature.

Bones let him pleasure her for a few mutually generous minutes, but couldn't cope with not seeing him and what he was doing was making her feel drunk all over again. So she rolled away to his groaned disappointment. Then spun to grab his hands, and pulled him onto the bed. He grinned hard at her intensity; seeing her skin glowing, her hair wild, and the roasting stare she gave him. 'Got to see your eyes,' she explained huskily. Pushing him onto his back, propping him up against the pillows, she straddled his torso. Then brazenly positioned her sparkling sex at his mouth for more.

'You wanna watch me,' he challenged cutely, already knowing her true desire. Bones grinned, panting lustily, and nodded. Then leaning down, and holding his head in her palms, she kissed him fast and deeply. He pulled up towards her, passion filled, gripping her around her hips as they writhed in his palms. He tore his mouth from her, gasping, 'I'm so close to coming, you taste that good.'

Bones' chest heaved as she wrapped her fists around the tubes of the brass bedstead. Hanging her head to watch as he wasted no time and closed his lips around the little rock he'd created between those soft folds, and tugged at it gently. She gasped again, feeling herself losing sentient thought. That being such a rare event, it scared and exhilarated her. Before this, her experience of this act had been pleasant foreplay, and mediocre foreplay at that. However now all those experiences paled in comparison and from her memory. He was lapping the slate clean with each soft caress of his tongue, and rewriting her memory store.

He couldn't take his eyes off her expression of mild panic and near blissful insanity. The act felt different now seeing her face. Wanting this moment to last, Booth forced himself to slow down to control their rampant lust, as they soldered a riveting gaze.

Booth began a soft lap across the hood of her clitoris with the utmost tenderness and dutiful precision, now knowing the fragility of her bruised heart, he wanted to mend and soothe it with his love.

She felt her eyes burning as well as her core. Watching him love her so gently now, she closed her eyes so her retinas could imprint the vision. Finding the tenderness of him emotionally overwhelming, she felt a spring of tears cooling on to her cheeks. She looked down again, seeing him rolling his head around in a slow figure eight, while his tongue curled up her essence, and he took her inside him. She wiped her cheeks, then sniffed as she explained her tears, seeing his concerned eyes, 'Joy, Booth, joy. You're so tender it, it hurts here.' She patted her heart, as more tears leaked from her sparkling eyes. Placated, Booth continued without breaking his stride.

Bones noted, through the fog in her eyes, him grunting softly, and thrusting his hips up to nothing. He was as dangerously poised as she was, it seemed. She held his head to her in a tender gesture of moved delight, breaking eye contact as his delicate tongue's tip quivered her mindless into voice cracking ecstasy, 'Booo-thhh...'

Booth flicked his eyes up to watch the ecstasy he'd given pour out of her and into her. Her sobbed graceful rhapsody filled his eyes too, and pumped out over her back and buttocks. Feeling his hot eruptions slash at the trembling flesh, she groaned a gleeful closed eyed smile through the seismic shock waves.

Eventually as they began to subside, Booth reached over to the night stand, and pinched out some tissues from the box. She panted heavily over him, while he blindly, caringly, wiped her dry. Once done he held her close, kissing her quivering stomach lovingly. 'So considerate,' was all she could manage to say in gratitude at his thoughtful deed.

Bones toppled right elegantly, and rolled onto her back, drawing her knees up slowly. The last delicious aftershocks of her thigh-trembling climax still rumbled wondrously through her core. One hand still gripped the brass bedstead, as if fearing she may fall too fast off her high if she let it go too soon. Slowly she looked over her tricep to him as he swallowed his panted breaths.

Noting her looking at him, he turned his head too. It took a few seconds but within another few matched heartbeats they blossomed smiles at each other, they both knew this was not typical for either of them. These feelings, sensations and emotions went deeper than anything yet experienced and their expressive eye dance lingered for a long time.

The air thickened in the room with humid Roman rain. The sound of heavy drops splashing against the ivy covered outer wall, released its earthy fragrance and wafted around them. There was almost a constant rumble outside now which blotted out their thundering heartbeats.

After some minutes of recovery, Booth rolled closer, propping his head up on his palm. He caressed down her toned arm gripping the cool metal from wrist to her smooth armpit, but stopped just short when he felt something under her skin. He looked curiously at her underarm for a few seconds. 'Implant?' he asked softly.

She explained, unable to stop her smile from leaking through her seriousness, 'Yes, it's an alien implant.' Booth laughed at her silly joke. She chuckled too, delighted she'd made him laugh. She rolled over to mirror his position, tossing her hair over her shoulder casually. It didn't need explaining as she could see his eyes sparkle, knowing they were free to make love safely and feel each other as nature intended.

'I love when you do that,' he said sweetly, continuing to caress her smooth flank lazily.

'What, make you laugh?'

'No, yes that too, I meant, toss your hair like that.'

Bones was about to comment but suddenly there was a brilliant flash of light that brightened their room, then a resounding deafening crack of instantaneous thunder which made her jump, as it shocked her. Then she giggled softly. 'I thought for an awful moment you were history then,' she said playfully, patting his hip. Booth belly laughed along with her as the steer rods of rain pelted to the pavement below followed by another blinding flash, and more deafening thunder almost drowning them out.

Unconcerned by the storm outside, they settled and calmed again. They caressed one another with delicate memory retentive fingertips now they were free to. Bones traced his outline reverently, from brow to upper thigh then back up via the line of his centre. 'This is all mine then?' she asked softly, placing her palm flat over his heart, feeling it drumming below. It was obvious to Booth she meant not just his heart but his body too, he nodded slowly. 'Awe-some,' she said Booth-like, leaning in to kiss his lips gently. There was a protracted comfortable silence as they lay still, drowning in each others eyes while all raged outside their calm room.

Suddenly he spoke, 'Me and Hannah...' Her deliriously happy smile drifted off on the gust of humid air brought in on the storm. She didn't want him to bring her name into this wonderful moment but it seemed she had no choice in the matter. 'I know you don't want to hear, but you need to know what happened,' he said sympathetically. 'I need to tell you.' She sighed, and rolled onto her back again, looking up to the oak beamed ceiling. Raising her arms behind her head, she absently played with the curves of brass. He carefully began again, while caressing around her peaked nipple. 'Two things, then I'll never mention her again.' He saw her nod and twitch at his tender touch. 'Firstly, have you heard the term, a rebound relationship?' She nodded slowly. 'Well, she was my rebound. It could have been anyone though. I know that sounds callous but it's the truth. I used her to get over you, or at least try to... Be honest, Bones you knew that and saw right through us like dirty glass.' Bones bit her lip, and half glanced to him, then looked back up to the ceiling. She wasn't going to confirm or deny that, as she listened to his confession.

Booth got a little closer, and mouthed over her tightened nipple, then lapped around it sweetly. One of her hands released the bedstead and played with his hair affectionately, thanking him silently. 'Secondly.' He saw her take a deep breath, and sigh it out slowly through tensed pursed lips. 'We were in bed...' he said slowly, knowing how hard this was for her to hear. 'She asked me to say it to her, so I did... But she looked me in the eye and smiled. You're not a very good liar, she said... You've loved and still love Temperance. What the hell are you doing with me? Go and try again, don't give up on her so easily...' Bones rolled her head to look into him, as he looked into her. 'The relief, Bones. The lie, the burden of it was lifted. It was like she freed me back to you. I didn't care if we weren't together. I just was so ecstatic to be free to love you how I wanted to again. From afar if need be. That's why I've been so happy since she's gone.' Booth waited for her reaction, it took a while to come. He noted he'd stopped breathing, and his lungs burned.

He breathed again when Bones rolled carefully, shuffled even closer, sliding a long leg over his thigh casually. She got very close to his face almost touching his nose with hers, and locked onto his pupils like a vice with hers. 'Don't lie to me, Booth,' she warned, as a little smile crept over her lips. It was just like Saturday with the bocca, he mused. She didn't need to warn him not to lie, he never could as he looked into those limitless sapphire irises. His heavy erection almost creaked under its own weight, throbbing and straining to get closer to her wet hot depths. Then she said, 'Say it to me.'

Instantly he rolled over her, pushed her leg out with his knee, and thrust into her his whole frenetic length and divine ridged width. Every sinew, muscle and limb was rock solid as he took her. His beautiful violent thrust pushed her lungs empty and her mouth gaped to the sublimity of him inside her finally. 'I love you,' he breathed life back into her.

Then his tongue was in her mouth, with one hand on her almost rigid breast, crushing it in his palm. She sucked in air around his tongue, but as he began to thrust, she bit down on his tongue, and crooned her second orgasm of the morning effortlessly. Her neck arched as her head went back, and she raked his back with her nails, dragging them to his buttocks, pulling them to her, ultimately him, deeper. It was his turn to cry out and crane to the ecstasy as he throbbed his pledge, soul and seed into her. Snapping her legs around his hips, locking her ankles, she bore down on him inside her, making him hers.

She felt the deep heat and sleek explosion in her womb, tossing her head as everything around them lit up with silver light and then a ground-shaking crack of thunder to accompany it. They felt the storm rumbling through their marrow as they coalesced into a single mass of trembling matter.

Was the storm overhead God's fury at their merging, was He angry with their sin? Or was it His way of communicating pleasure at their divine union and sanctifying the love they shared? It's not a sin if it's love, it just can't be, she thought.

Bones was still quaking internally and trembling as he brushed her wild hair from her shimmering face. She fluttered open her eyes as he pushed a little higher, wedging his last pump so deep, she gasped with shock at being almost split apart. Her clitoris pulsed, hit by his pubic bone and sent her off again. Her walls constricted savagely, tightly sheathing the passionate invader with her grip. He grunted his delight, feeling her orgasm persist, while flicking his hips fast to draw out her ecstasy.

Her whimpers, moans and lusty croons were to him her sung aria. Elegantly delivered, pitch perfect and so spine tingling that the hairs on the back his neck stood to applaud her.

Booth stayed inside her as deep as her body allowed without protest, till she began to settle slightly, and he felt her hands relax on his back. Bones knew another of her secrets was out, as he'd pumped it out of her.

When he withdrew slowly, he knelt up, and rolled her as carefully as he could. Bones was still reeling from her throes so couldn't protest his withdrawal. Then realising she didn't need to as he took hold of her hips, and lifted them decisively.

'Oh. God,' she muttered, as carnal desire now took over her mind. She knew he was feeling those same feral impulses, and that they needed to purge themselves of this fever. She felt him pat his cock on her buttock crack a few times, then slip his wide crown to her pulsing labia. 'Um, um, um,' she mumbled, waiting impatiently for him to connect them again. He slid his hand up her spine, then slipped himself back inside her. 'Yeeessss, deeeeper. Deep as you need,' she encouraged gutturally. Reaching for the tubes of shiny cold brass, she gripped them, and began to match his slow but sharp thrusts, using the bedstead for leverage and to brace herself against.

She felt wide open, stretched to tearing point, and her thin veneer being punctured by him. She knew he was being deliberately hard for her, although sensitive to her slight discomfort. She felt her cavern protest a little at the sheer size and width of him, but didn't want to stop him or tell him to go more gently. It all felt too right this way, this love had been painfully earned so it made perfect sense to acknowledge that fact.

Booth could see her knuckles going white, while steam condensed on the metal around her fists, misting the cool brass. Her body snaked around in front of him, like a sensuous Renaissance marble curve, mesmerising him. Her skin glistened with perspiration, like the similar beads forming on his solid torso. Gliding his hand up and down her tension filled back, he exalted, 'Temperance, my, God you're exquisite...Ti amo, ti amo...'

She allowed her body to engulf him completely, reaching behind her with a trembling hand. Squeezing his thigh so hard, her nails left their imprints in his flesh for his declaration. Her name hung on the thick air and enchanted her as it was said so adoringly. She managed a replete smile, knowing now he understood those words and said them back to her righteously.

With each partial withdrawal and subsequent deep penetration, he groaned deep and long, matching her magical hums and sweet gasping moans. His hands switched between widening her to make his penetrations more comfortable, and smoothing her slick back. He watched his glistening cock slide in and out more easily as she started to dribble more essence. She tossed her hair over her shoulder to look around to him. He stroked her hair off her face, asking tenderly, 'More?'

She confirmed, 'Much more, Seeley.' She beamed a shimmering smile, seeing his loving expression at her calling him by his name. He nodded, then they picked up the pace a little, and a little more, till he was banging himself inside her and she was virtually breathless.

One of her hands left the rail to reach to her centre. He saw and felt her rub her little rock, placed his hand over hers, feeling her pace and pressure to learn her secret, excitedly taking over. 'Oh. Tempe, let me,' he pleaded. 'Like that?'

Grabbing the rails again, she chanted, 'Seeley, ooh. See-ley, yes, yes.' Sounding amazed by how quick he learnt her. Slamming her buttocks back as he thrust forward, they jammed themselves repeatedly together in a final coup de grace. Their blissful cries harmonising along with their climaxes. Her blistering walls drew in around him as he blew again, unable to resist the command of her with his own yelp of torturous rapture. She felt the burning heat of his seed infuse her again, matched only by her own incineration.

Bones pushed herself back off the bedstead, kneeling up, gripping him around his head. Booth snapped his arms around her torso, holding her flush to his body while they rode the storm, embracing. With her powerful contractions, their essences pumped out down her inner thigh. The hormone surges, adrenalin rush and firing of every pleasure neuron in her brain, her mind and body went into meltdown.

Lights flashed across her corneas, startling her. Thunder roared overhead and in her brain, and the rain hammered the cobbles musically. She couldn't tell the difference between what was happening outside or inside her, and to her. They were indistinguishable differences that felt utterly seamless, as they became a part of each other.

Bones released him, grabbing back hold of the bedstead, with a throaty last groan, panting to calm herself.

Booth withdrew slowly and carefully, then collapsed beside her on his stomach, whimpering, sweat soaked. She moaned for the void he left her with. She collapsed in a heap too, then slowly straightened herself out.

She'd never experienced sex like this before, and if she had, the memory no longer existed, as they'd just replaced all that provenance.

Laying on his stomach beside her, legs sprawled out, with his chest rattling with his hastily taken breaths. He looked at her, thinking she looked beautiful but completely ravaged. Then she looked towards him too, and smiled all gooey-eyed at him. Booth would have laughed if it wasn't such a loving, gorgeous expression of deep satisfaction and wonder.

'I'm hungry,' he said casually, as if totally unaffected by their love making. Bones gasped, outraged, tucked her head in the fluffy pillow, and muffled her scream into it. Booth chortled, seeing her thrash her legs, annoyed, against the mattress.

Bones felt him place his hand on the small of her back and settle close beside her. She turned her head again, and opened her eyes to his. Thankfully, he noted they sparkled with amusement. 'What would you have me say after that, Temperance?' he asked seriously but rhetorically, brushing her soft mane off her face. Then placing a delicate kiss on her mouth.

He saw her sink a little deeper into the mattress, clearly having to agree with him. Her smile grew, as she said, 'I could eat...' He grinned matching her sweet voltage. 'Let's ring for room service,' she said huskily. 'Order a bottle of wine and picnic on the bed.' Booth nodded excitedly, flaring his eyes.

!

Bones came out of the bathroom, with a huge smile for him, as naked as the day she was divinely sculptured, Booth thought. She looked over the bed strewn with tempting plates of food and an even more tempting Seeley Booth on it too. He lay naked, ankles crossed, propped up on pillows. He held out a misted flute of chilled champagne in one hand for her, and smiled wide too, clearly delighted to have her back. The ice bucket was next to the bed in an antique pewter stand made for the decadent purpose. The windows were still open and the rain still hammered but neither party cared. Their itinerary now made completely irrelevant and happily forgotten for today.

'I got you steak,' he said cheerfully. Bones chuckled, knowing he was joking, and lay at the opposite end of the bed facing him. She took the dewed glass from his hand, as he picked up his and they toasted each other in knowing silence. Taking a little sip, she sighed contentedly as the cool bubbles exploded on her tongue and the dry wine slipped down her throat.

One side of the bed was covered with plates nearest the window, the other side by them. She wiggled her toes against his flank, as he slid his hand up her smooth shin to her knee, thanking him for his touch. 'This is lovely,' she offered serenely. He nodded, agreeing wholeheartedly, and began on their sumptuous picnic. Bones reached over his legs to the oil-drenched olives, and popped one into her mouth. 'Did Leo say anything about us being hauled up in here?'

Booth shook his head, swallowing his mouthful. 'No. He was very discreet and sweet actually. I told him to tell housekeeping to give us a miss today.' Bones huffed, amused, looking out the window. Then he asked slightly nervously, 'Do you feel good?'

She snapped her attention back to him, and tilted her head. 'Why ask me that? Can you not tell?' She threw an olive at him, amused by his ridiculous enquiry. Amazingly he opened his mouth, seeing it coming at him, and snapped his lips shut around it, catching it deftly out of the air. Bones laughed as he chewed it arrogantly. He held his palm out and she slapped it to acknowledge his excellent trick.

'You're not the only one with cool moves, Bones.' She huffed an amused snort, with a conciliatory nod.

'This is good pasta,' she said, forking some up, and filling her hungry mouth. 'Av sum,' she mumbled, sucking up the spaghetti. He threw her a napkin to wipe her chin covered in creamy sauce. She wiped, grinning, locking eyes with him, as she swallowed. 'What, did I miss a bit?' she asked, seeing him staring at her mysteriously.

'No, you got it all.' He picked up a slice of pizza, folded it in half and stuffed the lot in his mouth. 'Father Roberto, Rob...' he began. Bones shook her head a little, knowing what was coming. If she were honest she'd expected him to have enquired before this.

'What do you want to know?' Bones picked up another forkful, and looked into him.

Nervously, Booth asked, 'This calling, what was the nature of it?' Bones sighed, looked out of the window drifting back to that time. He could see her deciding whether to tell him or not. 'You don't have to tell me, sorry for asking,' he backtracked immediately.

'No, no it's ok, Booth,' she eased, kissing his furry shin cutely. 'I was just recalling. It was such a difficult time for him and me. And I don't want to make it sound spooky.'

He asked to clarify, 'Spooky?' Bones nodded, with a wry smile. Booth stopped eating to listen, and give her his full attention, totally intrigued already. Booth couldn't resist not touching her though, and caressed her lower abdomen as she explained those events.

Bones began, 'Rob's mother had died some years before we met. He went to lay flowers at her grave every year on the anniversary of her death and birthday. One day when he was there, a man came over to him and asked about his mother. Rob told me he thought he was the grounds keeper and that he was concerned as Rob was clearly very upset, and just wanted to comfort him. He told this man about her and how much he missed her meatballs and her smile, that kind of thing.' Booth nodded. 'He said after he spoke to this man he felt much better and left, thanking him for his time and his ear. The man waved him off and Rob came home.' Bones drained her flute of bubbles, handing the glass to Booth to refill, which he did. 'A few weeks later he was in the lab doing an experiment and this same man walked in. Rob was so surprised and confused to see him there, he asked what he was doing. The man ignored his question but asked him casually about his experiment, what he was doing. Rob told him that he was trying to create a chimera. In this case, a cross between swine DNA and human DNA in an attempt to improve transplant technology.'

Booth picked up another piece of pizza, and ate it slowly, engrossed in her story, his pupils dilated. 'The man told him that although his efforts were noble, he didn't think it was a good use of Rob's talents. Rob said that he thought it was, and what would he suggest he do, just to be polite. This man said he knew that he wasn't happy with his career choice and that he should join the church. Well, as you can imagine, Rob laughed at him, dismissing his absurd suggestion, and asked him to leave, politely. This man smiled, then walked over to one of the cages of mice they used to experiment on...' Bones took a break to sip some more champagne, and ate some more pasta.

Booth shifted his buttocks a little with the tingle running his spine, anxious to hear more. Bones continued casually retelling the events as evenly as she could, 'Apparently the man brought over the cage to his desk, and opened it. He took out one of these mice and held it flat on his palm. He said to Rob, and I quote; Only He has the power to take life... Rob watched as the mouse struggled to breathe then it died on his flat palm. Rob was horrified thinking it an awful callous trick, and took the mouse from his hand to feel for signs of life. Rob swears to me it was indeed dead.' Booth looked at her stunned.

Bones nonchalantly picked up the pasta bowl to scoop some more to her mouth. Booth couldn't believe she was so unaffected by the story, but strained to hear more. 'Then the man opened Rob's palm with the mouse in saying, and I quote again; And the power to resurrect the dead... He then takes Rob's other hand in his, pulls his index finger straight and touches the mouse with it... The mouse recovered, breathed again, came back to life, use whichever term you want, Booth.' She waved her fork casually to accentuate her words. Booth's jaw hung, feeling his eyes water. Bones went on quietly, seeing his moved expression, 'His parting words to Rob were; Leave this science to others, your destiny is to comfort those in need. That, was what you were created for Roberto...'

There was a few moments of silence between them, then Booth muttered, 'Holy shit.' He crossed himself, looking out the window with pizza sauce smeared over his lips. Bones tried not to laugh at his expression and messy face. 'He performed a miracle through him,' he said, thinking out loud. Then went on, 'Rob knew what my pain was and comforted me yesterday...' Then Booth snapped his eyes back to hers, 'What did he do? Rob, I mean.'

Bones put the bowl down, and sighed heavily. 'He came and told me. I was his Devil's Advocate, we argued every point, the reason and logic and the consequences for both of us. He struggled for weeks, nearly a month actually. He believed what he was told and witnessed implicitly. I couldn't shake him on that, no matter how hard I tried. So, eventually, I bowed out as gracefully as I could... Here endeth the first lesson.' She grinned cheekily at him. Booth's smile returned.

'You don't believe him?'

'Yes! I do believe he saw what he saw. I just don't interpret it the same way. I don't have his faith or yours, that's all.'

She rolled onto all fours, and crept towards him slowly. Kissing her way up his leg seductively, she looked at him after every soft kiss placed. His smile grew wider as she neared his face. 'You've got pizza sauce all over you,' she chastised sultrily, then licked the sauce off him slowly in one long lap. Booth grumbled a husky moan as she settled over his reawakening erection. Then she kissed him. This kiss wasn't lusty or fast like their earlier exchanges. It was deliberately slow and tender and it went on and on.

Booth pushed her shoulders back a little to break the kiss, and caress her breasts. He rubbed around her nipples gently, then cupped a breast in his palms, and began to suckle each one. He felt her position his crown at her entrance, and lance herself through with him again. He opened his mouth over her areola with pleasure at sinking inside this remarkable woman again. She held his head to her, as she began to ride him slowly. Booth gasped as she rhythmically crushed his width with her core, while she almost withdrew him completely then sunk him back in.

'Holy Mother...' Bones grinned, knowing her sexy treat had shocked and pleasured him in equal measure.

Correcting him cheekily, she muttered against his lips, 'No, Tempe Bren-nan,' He couldn't laugh although he wanted too as he was too dazed, and rushing towards a very quickly delivered orgasm.

'This will be over too soon, Tempe, if you keep on doing that,' he warned sweetly. Her soft boastful laugh captivated him.

'You don't trust me,' her smile suggested that her statement wasn't meant to challenge him but tease. 'Relax, Seeley,' she whispered against his lips. Bones continued to work her magic while he dropped his head back, and rumbled his throaty pleasure. Bones grinned, while kissing his joyous hex encrusted expression. 'That's it, let me work this beast,' she muttered, feeling him surrendering to her.

Booth started to laugh at her humorous comment. She loved to see him laugh, and cuddled him to her, giggling over his shoulder. Booth ducked his head to capture one of her nipples between his lips, and suckled it tenderly. 'Humm. Lovely, thank you.' She leant back to watch him, as she caressed his cheeks. He sucked off her nipple to groan, and flick his eyes to hers. They both smiled at each other, and kissed deeply. She felt him get tense beneath her and his breaths shorten, as she edged him ever closer gently.

'Tempe? Oh. God, Tempe, you're fantastic,' he stammered, bracing slightly. To his relief she stilled for a few seconds, until he relaxed again with a sigh. Booth immediately went for her breast as she started her pompoir skill again. Lifting his mouth off her voluptuous breast, he kissed up her neck to her warm mouth, and they engaged in another succulently lazy kiss.

Booth thought he'd been pampered enough for now, so slipped his hands to her buttocks, and eased her more solidly onto his erection. She tossed her head as his gentle pull wedged them together tighter. 'Enough of that for now, Tempe,' he said gratefully, then eased into her onto him again. She took an inward gasp of air. 'Am I deep enough?' he asked tenderly, knowing what she needed to feel safe.

So moved by his care, she felt her eyes begin to water. 'Yes, yes beautiful,' Bones confirmed soulfully. She looked into his eyes, hers burning with emotion, saying pitifully, 'Don't leave me, ever.'

He saw her chin start to quiver. 'Never, oooh. Tempe, never.' He rolled her over carefully as she wrapped her long limbs around him, and he began to take over. He pushed in on her inhale while she captured his mouth with hers, and they languidly kissed again. He gripped her shoulders, and pulled her down, as he thrust forwards lovingly.

Bones caressed down the line of his spine, to his flexing pelvis. She held him there to feel him move to her, while she matched his tender movements, returning his gentle passion. Moving her knee out, she flattened herself against him so she could have him as close to her as humanly possible. He trickled his hand along that exposed inner thigh, feeling it flex to his touch. Then he edged it between them to bring her to her peak, needing to see her orgasm again. He knew now how hypersensitive she was and how easily he could pleasure her fully.

'Not yet, Seeley, please not yet,' she pleaded, knowing what he wanted to give her generously. He smiled sweetly, understanding she was in no rush. 'Just like this, like this,' she whispered. Booth drew his attentive hand away, happy to comply to her request.

He felt her adagio balletic movement under him, as she extracted the best from him and giving him her very best too. Even her hands and dainty feet, he noted, played him like a violin, creating a vibrato trill to reverberate through them like the raging storm outside. The notes they played against one another drew soft breathy moans and desperate kisses. Both needing to play out the symphony to its climatic conclusion now.

Beginning to weep with joy, Bones peered into his eyes, saying to explain where she thought paradise was to be found, 'Heaven's in your eyes.' Booth smiled shakily, he aimed them at hers, and forbade her to look away or close them like she'd done before all those times.

He found it astonishing that she could stare at him so deep sometimes and for so long as if he knew she was reading his mind and soul. However when she got to the last instant before ecstasy she couldn't hold his gaze any longer. Booth understood this was her last tissue-thin veneer he had to break through. She had to loose the fear of being loved and allow herself to love completely again.

He felt her get agitated beneath him as she struggled to keep her eyes open under the relentless pressure to close them. The compulsion to hide away at this last intimate barrier, to let herself be seen vulnerable and open was a habit she need to break. 'Seeley,' she sounded terrified of the love coming from his deep bronzed eyes.

Holding her head in his palms now, boring into her soul, he could see her turmoil and fear. To his amazement her eyes leaked but she didn't even blink. 'Tempe, let me in. please,' he begged.

This is it, she thought, how its going to be from now on. She knew she was going to have to get used to this transcendent sensation in body and mind. To get lost in him and feeling a part of someone else for the rest of her life. Booth, she knew was giving himself to her totally. She had to do the same if they were to last. It was like the universe knew that too, it rattled and rolled outside as a virile portent. Everything around her was encouraging her onwards to no longer be the single entity; closed off and unreachable. She just had to find the courage and be a part of the larger superior organism. Seeing his eyes water too and the plea for her to give herself up, she found that courage in his honest eyes, and took the leap of faith towards him.

Ok, she instructed herself, let him in, accept this sweet love he's offering, you've earned exclusive rights to it.

Bones heard her long suppressed mantra quietly begin in her mind, echoing around it getting louder and louder. It sounded like distant church bells tolling until it reached her lips, aired finally then seep into him, 'I love you...'

With a whimper the thunder stopped along with the rain. The chaos outside died down as if it was no longer needed once the decision was made and the words spoken. Only the dripping ivy could be heard now, and the gentle pats as their tears fell to the pillow. A shard of sunlight pierced the room at the same instant as they poured themselves in the other, eyes locked open to receive what the other offered.

!

Chapter XX Renaissance.

Bones snuffled into his neck, their bodies entwined during a dreamless heavy two hour slumber, resulting from their exertions that morning and afternoon. As his pungent sexy fragrance intoxicated her, she hummed erotically. She found, not surprisingly, she adored waking in his strong warm arms which were curled around her possessively. She felt more alive than ever before. She grinned slyly, feeling the slight discomfort between her legs as that reminded her of the exhilarating passion they'd shared. Also she noted her body felt completely revitalised yet malleable and exotic. Her mind felt serene with no thoughts other than showing her his phenomenal expression when she finally gave herself to him. She no longer had a metaphorical heart, she had a real one that throbbed deliciously, almost bursting out of her chest with pure joy. She felt as he did yesterday; weightless. Like a butterfly leaving its cramped cocoon she was liberated, casting off her shackles and was free again.

This time love had not cheated her. Booth loved her more than his God, more than himself, and he'd proved that to her unequivocally. She felt that evidence everywhere, inside and out, in every niche and crevasse of her mind and body. To her, they already felt ageless, timeless and indestructible. Like an unbreakable union that no man, woman or omnipotent being could tear asunder.

She recalled Roberto's comforting parting words to her in Italian, 'Every soul needs an anchor. Seeley is your rock, you are his. You've nothing to fear anymore, Tempe.' She believed that now absolutely.

Booth opened one eye, sneakily snatching a glance at her grinning introspective expression. He could almost hear her thoughts as they were his own. Closing his eyes, he mouthed humbly, 'Thank you,' to his God.

Bones slipped her delicate palm slowly down his torso, over his stomach muscles, then felt for his member. Feeling the fluffy curls that nestled it, she edged blindly ever lower. Thrilling, as she felt the warm flesh she sought. She stroked along his length like she was smoothing a cherished pet. Her smile obstinate to leave her lips, as she felt that caressed flesh start to thicken and swell.

'You naughty anthropologist, fiddle, fiddle,' he said croakily. Taking a deep breath through his nostrils, he held her a little tighter.

'I enjoy fiddling with you.' He opened his eyes to look at her. She felt the pillow move so opened her eyes too, without ceasing her gentle fiddling. 'What did we miss today?' she asked, as if oblivious to the fact that he was almost at full extension. He reached for the itinerary on the nightstand, and flipped it open with one hand, the other busy holding her around her shoulder. He blinked to focus his eyes, and read it.

'Hummm. Coliseum, Spanish steps, aaaand, oh. Crap, I don't care!' He tossed the page into the air, and kissed her passionately. Bones giggled into his mouth, then slid over him, sliding herself onto him instantly. Then she began to ride him like an equestrienne, gripping the reins of the bedstead behind his head. She looked down to him as he looked completely shell-shocked. She laughed softly, seeing his expression.

'Don't you go flaccid on me now, I'm far from done today. I'm just getting going,' she cautioned mischievously, with a sultry smile, and kissed him wetly, quickly.

'Wouldn't dream of it,' he appeased as if her statement was an affront to his manhood, age and stamina. She thrust along his length gracefully but heavily. 'I should've put sex day on our itinerary,' he said wryly, gripping her hips, helping her diligently. Bones nodded, flared her glittering eyes, then kissed him hard again.

'That feels so, so good, Seeley.'

'So should this,' he teased, then brought his knees up, and splayed them, putting his soles together, and batted his knees. Then clenching his buttocks in rhythm with her wanton thrusts.

She bounced happily like at a heavy trot. 'Oow, oow, like it,' she encouraged and complimented, dripping molten sex.

'Yeah, you should enjoy this too.' He pushed her torso back till her shoulders hit the mattress and his cock was bent the wrong way. His ridged crown began stimulating her G spot, and she started a husky giggle, knowing where this was leading.

'You can't do it, Seeley you're not compact enough,' she warned, as he flapped his knees, and jerked forwards repeatedly as best he could.

Half eaten plates of food started to bounce to the edge of the bed, balancing precariously, desperately trying to defy gravity. 'Anything Andy can do, so can I,' he accepted the challenge excitedly. He bent forwards, twisting his torso like an acrobat, growling wildly, while suckling her protruding clitoris. Bones went skywards almost instantly. Gripping his head, she pumped her hips wildly.

The terrified plates gave up their tightrope walk, and crashed to the stone floor. The pewter ice bucket wobbled then went over too, spilling its contents with an ear splitting clatter. 'Page... one...eight... seven!' she panted in triumph at finally experiencing it. Then hollering her lusty crescendo, 'Ooooohaaawwww yeesss!' as she climaxed unashamedly loud and freakishly fast.

The small birds that had taken refuge in the thick ivy during the storm under their window, flew off scared to another safe haven, with warning screeches to their siblings to do the same.

Booth didn't have time to react when she slid off him at pace. His cock flicked back, and waggled like a flagpole in a stiff westerly. Bones spun to take him down her humming throat, lavishing outrageously good fellatio upon him.

Flabbergasted and slightly terrified, he wailed his own climatic aria, 'O'shit, o'shit...Bones-Bones, Tempe-don't-stop-don't-stop-don't-ever-stop!'

Below on the street passers by looked up to their open window, some in shock at the noisy climatic sounds wafting on the refreshed Rome air. Others grinned, squeezed their lover's hands, understanding completely. Leo leant on the entrance arch, smiling broadly at those passersby, and gave them respectful nods, completely blasé.

!

Chapter XXI Many Happy Returns.

'Look at them, just look at them. They still look so happy after all these years, Trish.'

'Yeah, I know. It's kinda embarrassing though, Rob. Do they have to kiss like rampant teenagers? And did you hear them last night? Whell, I was blushing at breakfast this morning. I couldn't look Mom in the eye. And at their age, I ask you.'

'Haa. Just you wait, just you wait, one day, Trish,' Rob warned tenderly, wagging a finger in her face. 'I think it's wonderful.'

'They'll get arrested doing that, here of all places,' Trish said, seeing them kissing again and gazing lovingly into one another.

'Arh. Give them a break, Sis. This was where it all started for them, and us in a way.'

'I know, I know but still...'

'I think it's awesome they've still got that crazy hot passion for each other...' The twin's eyes snapped to their older brother suddenly. 'What? I do,' Parker said defensively. 'I remember when they came home it was like they'd been on honeymoon. You two were on the way within a few months and we'd moved into the house. They never looked back, and the honeymoon is still going strong by the look of it.' All three siblings looked towards their parents still French kissing each other adoringly.

A ripple went around the thousands gathered in St Peter's square. Then jubilation and excited applause as white smoke billowed from the Sistine chapel into the clear blue above. Brothers and sister looked to each other wide eyed, then to their parents next to the Witness. 'Where they going?' Trish asked confused, seeing them start to walk away. 'They haven't announced who's Pope yet.'

Rob smiled, watching his parents make their way through the cheering jubilant crowds hand and hand, saying, 'They already know...'

!

Authors Notes: Thanks for reading this far. My last fic was so heavy I went for light fluffiness in this one. I hope you enjoyed the snap shot of Rome too. If you did, please feel free to review. Have a happy, peaceful Christmas and New Year. Hugs, Lebxeb. XX