Chapter 1

He leaned in close to her, like he had done dozens of times before. This time, he felt the potential impact of their proximity and gazed seriously into the grey-green eyes that held so much emotion and trust.

"Bones," he said quietly and with all of the conviction he could muster, "now is our moment. Can you feel it? Let's not miss it this time. No regrets, right?"

She gave a slight tilt of her head and felt herself drawn into his warm, brown passion-filled eyes and decided she could indeed feel the moment. "No regrets," she agreed.

Booth's fingers gently brushed her hair back from her face and ended by cradling her face and neck as he moved in and took her lips into his own. It was a beautifully familiar feeling, yet yielded itself to a new tenderness and love that had not been present before. He broke away and their eyes swam together. He smiled. She returned with her own smile and snaked her hands up along his chest and around his neck as he pulled her close into him and they kissed each other again. This second kiss reflected a deep-seated passion, unleashing itself upon the knowledge that this was their time, this was the culmination of the realization that only she could fulfill his needs and desires and only he could do the same for her.

Booth's heart raced as they broke away. He wanted nothing more than to continue, but needed to make sure she heard the words loud and clear before they gave in to their physical demands.

"I love you, Bones. I tried so very hard to stop loving you, but I couldn't fight fate."

"I love you too, Booth."

Wouldn't that be wonderful if it were that easy? Sigh. Sorry, that's not *quite* how this story goes…

Brennan answered her phone, "Brennan."

"Hey Bones," came Booth's cheerful voice on the line.

"Booth, do we have a case?"

"Nope. Just thought maybe you wanted to, you know, have lunch together or something."

Brennan studied the set of remains in front of her as she considered his offer, attempting to determine whether or not she could finish reconstructing the skeleton in the time it took for Booth to come and pick her up.

"I'm sorry, Booth, but not today. I really need to finish this skeletal reconstruction in time for Angela to be able to help with identification."

"Well, alright," Booth said with a trace of disappointment. "How about dinner, then?"

"You seem intent on not eating alone. Perhaps you are trying to use me to replace the time you used to fill with Hannah?"

Was that guile? He shook his head to himself. It had been weeks since breaking up with Hannah and she thought that now was when he was feeling the absence? "Before Hannah, I seem to remember that I used to fill up almost all of my time with you when I could."

Brennan gave an involuntary smile at this unexpectedly straightforward response. She had to admit that she was rather enjoying how brazen and confident he had been lately and surprised herself by responding, "Sweets might say that you are now trying to resurrect our surrogate relationship and while I am not completely opposed to that idea, I really can't eat lunch with you today and I'm not sure about dinner, either. Why don't you try Cam or Sweets?"

Surrogate relationship my ass, Booth thought to himself. "You know what, Bones? Nevermind. I just thought it might be nice to have a meal with my friend, my partner, but if you're too busy getting all psychological, then have fun with that. I'll call you when we have a case." He shut his phone in mild irritation.

"Booth, I –" Brennan started, then realized he had ended the call. She felt a tinge of regret and considered whether or not to call him back. His "psychological" remark was enough to help her make the decision against returning the call. He was the one that usually agreed with Sweets and relied on his psychology to help them with their cases and now he conveniently didn't like it? She'd stay at the lab and proceed rationally, thank you very much.

An hour later, Brennan's phone rang again. Booth. "I haven't changed my mind, Booth, if that is why you were calling again," she answered testily.

Booth stifled a sigh. Bones might not be like most women, but she still knew how to hold onto a grudge. "No-o. I said I'd call when we had a case. And, as it happens, we have a case. I'll come pick you up," he responded, equally on edge. "That is, if you're not too busy."

"No," she responded calmly. "A potential homicide victim does indeed take priority over the subject I am working on currently. I'll be ready."

"Great, I'll see you in 20," he said in a reciprocal, if not slightly imposed, affable tone before hanging up.