Author's note: It's been such a long time since I felt like writing. It took this devastated Booth and that look in Brennan's face to make it happen. And words of encouragement from BandBFan.

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Note two: Thank you to my wonderful beta MickeyBoggs for the title and all the usual kindness.

Much love

Jane

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He was not a drunk. But he was very, very drunk.

The significance of the number three just swirled and twirled and danced in his head. It bounced around like a ball inside his skull and made it hurt. Becca, Bones and Hannah. The holy trinity of pain.

At one, you just think tough luck. At two, you look for the connection. At three, you stop looking and start blaming. And Bones walked in when he was ready to blame. And surely not himself. Been there, done that, got the t shirt to prove it. And the book and the DVD set and the all the merchandising.

And she was just sitting there, ready to take whatever he had to dish out. And it was so damn easy.

He could hear her heart pounding, pounding, pounding. Like a sparrow caught in a net that knows there's was no way out. Waiting to die.

Just like he had felt that day a year ago when he had opened himself to her.

He had looked back. Many times. The booze excused it. They say you shouldn't. The dude that turned into a statue of salt sure as fuck knew that. But when there is nowhere to go, no future to look forward, what can you do but look back?

It was mean. But he was just drunk enough to feel vindicated when he laid down the law - just partners - and he heard her heart break just as loudly as if it had been made of crystal.

Screw women, screw loving them.

He was up for the screw part, though. He wanted to literally fuck someone. He wanted to spread the pain.

He downed one more shot.

The sound of shattered crystal faded.

That was the new Booth. Take it or fuckin' leave.

Yeah. He was good with that.

He was done offering.

Now he would do some taking.

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It was easy as sunshine.

When the bar closed and the lights dimmed and the bartender told them to go home, he just turned around. She wanted to stay? Fine and dandy.

"Come."

Somehow, he did not want to say her name.

It's easier to hurt someone when you don't know them.

He hailed a cab. Held out a hand to her.

"Come."

Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead.

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He was out of the cab before the thing stopped. He tossed the money at the driver and walked into the building. He did not wait for her.

He considered that her opportunity to walk away. She did that pretty well, anyway, just give her half a chance.

He jogged up the steps to his place and left the door open. Somehow, he just knew that she would be there when he turned.

He walked to his room dropping clothes as he went along. He was deliberate only with his gun. As he turned, she was there, vacant, expectant.

"Come"

And sure as shit, she took the hand he held.

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Hannah's things had gone as if she'd never been.

He blamed Bones for that too. He was drunk. If he'd been sober, he'd have been able to point exactly how that was, but for now, the feeling was sufficient. As sufficient as the memory of his heart freezing inside his chest as if the thing would never be able to beat again when she had stopped that kiss.

The anger built in waves. He took the scarf at her neck and pulled her coat off, none too gently.

"We're gonna have sex now", his hands molded around her ass and pulled her to him. "More than once". Her name rolled around in his mouth but he bit down on it violently. "So if you want to leave, now is too late." He ground himself against her, the anger building as he inhaled her soft scent. He pulled her shirt off, ripping buttons that he didn't bother undoing.

Brennan gasped.

The sound spurred him on. He avoided looking at her.

Kneeling, he took her pants down the same way you chuck off unwanted parts of fruit.

Her scent was inebriating. He kissed the swath of fabric that covered her.

Brennan run her fingers through his hair. He pulled her hands away.

No, no touching.

He was doing all the taking tonight.

He pushed her on her back and parted her legs. The ridiculously small piece off fabric stood between him and her. Story of his life. All the barriers between him and his women were fragile like silk.

He made a grab for it and halted when the soft whiteness hit him in his residual decency. Her innocence.

The he did his best to remember that she was anything but, that she had screwed any guy moving except him and he just pulled it aside in the urge to taste her.

God, the taste of her.

It was sweet and honey-like and he just wanted it all over him, because that would stand between him and Hannah and him and Becca and him and the Bones that he loved.

His tongue darted back and forth and her hands grappled the sheets close to his head.

As she thrashed, he reveled in his power. When he'd had his fill, he moved up.

He claimed her breasts, her neck, her shoulders with small viscous bites.

When she called out his name, he told her simply NO.

She went silent.

He turned her around flat on her stomach.

Did not worry about being gentle. Wouldn't.

Where he had for years laid his hand in protection, he felt nothing, not a hint of connection. He was alone. The loneliest he had ever been

Not even the small of her back offered comfort.

He pulled her legs apart and dived on inside her.

He fought the homecoming sensation every step of the way. It was nothing but lies. Turned out, Bones was right about all the chemical crap being all that was love was all about. Loneliness was as good a bond as any.

It was just that scent of hers, that softness of the skin on her back against his chest or the way she bit her lip and remained silent. It got him mad.

Damned stoicism of the woman. He was hurting her. He was demanding that she give him what she had given every Joe, Dick and Harry for free. He was forcing himself on her. It was only right that she cried and complained. There was nothing. She was just there, just like she had been there when he talked about Hannah and his love for Hannah and all that jazz. Why didn't she bleed when he hurt her?

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The thing about sex?

It's a weapon.

He wielded it against HannahBeccaBones. He punished them all in that one rough, violent, careless fuck.

He hurt them all.

The took his revenge on them all.

Screwed sense of accomplishment that they had not wanted his love and could all stand happily his body and his sex and his sweat. His flesh. No one wanted more from him.

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He came. Violently. Not so much out of pleasure in the flesh but out of the pleasure in the punishment. As if he had finally dished out some of his own.

And when he did, he got up and locked himself in bathroom, cleaned up, showered. Cooled off the drunken haze.

He looked in the mirror.

There was something odd about his reflection, as if the guy in the mirror was someone he didn't quite know. Wasn't quite sure he wanted to live with.

Screw thinking about it. Had never done him an ounce of good.

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He grabbed water from the fridge and drank, drank drank until he felt sated. From now on, this would be him: drink until he had enough, take until he was full, think of himself alone. His dad seem to have done alright living by that law of nature.

He felt free.

Free from himself.

And wasn't that great.

He turned the bottle in his hand, considered the movements of his muscles.

Heard the soft rustling in his bedroom.

Too bad that freedom felt more like a prison than an horizon.

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He walked into the bedroom.

The fire had cooled inside him. There was only a cold detachment as she pulled the sheet around her chest as if she feared him.

"Sit."

He was surprised at the blind obedience.

He had braced for recrimination, for shouting, even for her running.

That vulnerability in her eyes left him feeling empty, like when the water draws back from the shore before tsunami. When the wave hit, it was with destructive violence.

"I'm not done."

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The sheet dropped from hands and she was naked before him, his fingers marked on her shoulders, his teeth imprinted on her neck.

He closed his eyes and plowed on.

He. Was. Not. Done. Taking.

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He moved inside her like a home he had just come back to.

He hated the feeling.

He didn't want to know her. Or care. Or have a history with her.

His stare was fixed on the wall in front of him but world seemed, with each plunge inside her, to reduce itself to its simplest expression: Bones. His hand found that spot at the small of her back. Rubbed that spot against his will and better judgment.

She cried out his name, a breathless sound ripped from her throat and when her hands gripped convulsively at his back, he did not push her away.

"I love you," she sighed, more like she was talking to herself.

He didn't come.

He couldn't.

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He lay on his side, facing away from her. Her breathing was soft and even.

He was wide awake, just staring at the insides of his eyelids. He made himself breathe slow and even in the pretense he was asleep.

"I'm sorry, Booth." The words were a whisper. Could have been only a breeze in the air. "I'm sorry I hurt you"

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He woke up when she was ready to leave, coat and scarf draped over her arm, shoes in her hand, moving like a cat.

"What, no after play? Coffee?"

Booth was happy he had found some venom in his voice.

"I... it's late, I should be in the lab..."

"Make us coffee."

What was it with him? He should just let her go. The faster she left, the faster he could go on the rest of his life.

She put her things down on the sofa and went into the kitchen.

She made coffee and toast and laid it out on the table for him.

"I never though you were the doormat type."

Her shoulders hunched before she turned around.

She held her chin up.

"I owe you."

He grabbed the hot coffee and burned his mouth on the hot liquid. The pain was nothing new.

"Yeah, you did. Consider it paid as of last night."

Her arms dropped to her sides and she stood in his kitchen, an oak sapling facing a hurricane.

"I love you, Booth."

He paused over his coffee.

"I do. I love you. I apologize for the bluntness, but it's true."

"Fat lot of good it did me." And he turned away from her, sipping his coffee has if he had just heard it was going to rain and he had the umbrella in his hand.

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Her heart was steady and her steps firm when she walked out of Booth's apartment. When he laid down the law at the bar, she knew he was going to break her heart. She also knew she was going to let him. Newton's first law of physics: for every action, there is an opposite reaction. She had refused him, hurt him. This now was only to be expected. And nothing ever came for free. That was her own first law.

She had decided, in a split second, at the very moment of choice when he gave her those two choices, that she was going to give him the only thing she had never given anyone else: the power to hurt her.

As she hit the street and the cold air of the just out sun, she was was reminded of the girl with the iron boots and how she'd had to walk her iron boots worn until she deserved again the love she'd betrayed.

Each step she took away from him, she hoped, would bring them closer. And hope, though fragile, was as good as it got.

She would wear her heavy iron boots and she would wear them down and away. And she would do so gladly.

She would wait and she would take what was offered.

She would wait ten lifetimes over.

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Booth put down his cup and got rid of the bed linen and pillows and tooth brushes and everything that had been left in that room, stripping it to the bare walls and furniture.

He opened the windows and let smell of sex out of and the fresh air in.

He wanted a brand new start, a beginning.

He wanted a do over.

But that wasn't likely to happen, was it?

Give someone the power to hurt you and they will. And he'd do well to remember that.

As it was, he was done.

He put on fresh clothes, badge and gun and walked into the morning.

Brennan's scent lingered in air when he sat in the car. It was all over him, on his skin, in his mouth, in his brain.

There was a basic difference between the three of them, he realized: Bones was the only one that was always there.

And as his body remembered her, the feel of her skin under him, of her juices in his mouth, her whispered confession as she came around him, his breath caught in his chest, as if his soul wanted out of him. He felt too stupid to breathe.

Oh shit.

What have you done?