This one is for Princess Smurfs. :P

The Breakdown in the Lift

Brennan chanced a look at where Booth was practically hugging the wall of the stalled elevator. The thought that he was trying to get as far away from her as was physically possible was more painful than she would ever admit. As much as she hated to think about it, she had assumed that when Hannah was gone, they would resume their close relationship…maybe even move to something more. But so far, Booth had been even more reticent to spend time with her than he had when his girlfriend was in his life. Brennan turned to stare at her own face looking back at her in the highly reflective elevator door, trying desperately to school her features to something more passive and blank so that her pain wasn't so completely obvious.

Booth sighed and glanced at where Brennan was facing the elevator door, the sadness on her features obvious in the reflection of the polished metal in front of her. He realized that he was leaning away from her, and it was intentional. But he just couldn't bear to get as close to her as he wanted to…at least, not yet. His heart was still trying to repair itself from the damage he inflicted on it with Hannah, and the cracks that Brennan herself had put there were still gaping and raw. Distance, both physical and emotional, was Booth's only defense. He knew he was hurting her and that fact ripped at him, but he wouldn't be doing either of them any good if he jumped into something that he was nowhere near ready for.

The ringing of Brennan's phone broke the silent stalemate, and as she moved to answer it Brennan chanced a glance at Booth, who was staring off into the distance, barely acknowledging the sudden noise in the confined space.

"Brennan."

"Hey sweetie." Angela's voice came through loud and clear and Brennan moved to switch her to speaker so that Booth could hear.

"Hey Ang. Have we gotten anywhere with getting us out of here?" She glanced at Booth, who now looked as though he was at least listening to Angela.

"We're trying, Bren. But with the storm it's hard to get anyone out there. Are you guys okay?" Angela sounded truly worried.

"Yes, we're fine. Thank you." Brennan looked at Booth again, bothered by his complete lack of interest in the efforts to free them from the stalled elevator. "Ang…did you, you know…make that phone call?"

"Oh! You mean Kevin? Yes, I did…although it was under protest. Brennan, I love you. But seriously? It's been two years since you've had sex! What is wrong with going out and having a good time? What happened to the woman I knew who could go and satisfy her-"

"Angela, I appreciate your help in getting us out of here. Can we talk later?"

"Yeah, thanks Angela." Booth finally said.

There was a moment of silence before the artist spoke again. "You had me on speaker? God, Bren….I'm so sorry."

"Bye, Angela." Hanging up, Brennan resumed her position facing the doors; studiously ignoring what she could feel was Booth's penetrative stare.

A long, uncomfortable silence followed, with neither knowing quite what to say. Finally, Brennan couldn't take it anymore and turned on her partner.

"Booth, would you quit staring a hole into my back!" She spit, moving to dig a stick of gum out of her purse.

"Sorry." Sounding more than contrite, Booth stretched his legs out in front of him, his feet almost touching her knee. "I didn't mean to…"

"I know." Brennan held out the pack of Trident with a sigh, and then leaned forward when Booth nodded at her offer. "It's fine."

"Thanks." Booth unwrapped the gum and stuck it in his mouth, nervously shredding the gum wrapper as he tried very hard not to vocalize the questions he had spinning around in his head. Two years? Why would Bones be celibate for that long? That would mean that…holy shit. The deep sea welder was probably her last…wow. Suddenly, a massive wave of guilt washed over him, leaving his head throbbing.

Brennan watched Booth in the elevator door's reflection, but he was distorted to the point where she couldn't see his expression, so she turned to look at him and they immediately locked eyes, a gesture they hadn't shared in months. The intensity was both comforting and almost debilitating to Brennan, and she broke the standoff first, looking down to her lap.

Booth was shocked when Brennan looked away, a blush coloring her cheeks. He knew that she was feeling slightly tentative around him lately, but the extent of it wasn't obvious until that moment. He knew she was embarrassed by Angela's unintentional revelation, but if anything Booth was charmed by it. Poleaxed, but still charmed. The warm feelings began to fade as he watched her twist her hands in her lap, obviously unsettled. With a gasp he realized that Brennan…Bones…was painfully uncomfortable being this close to him.

"Bones? You okay there? Not getting claustrophobia?"

She sniffed in response. "I do not suffer from claustrophobia."

"Never? Not even when-" He thought better of the question and covered. "Okay, I was just checking. I'm actually feeling a little closed in myself. Thought maybe you were sharing my pain there, Bones."

"We don't share anything anymore." Her response was soft, whispered and obviously intended to stay in her head, judging by the way she covered her mouth immediately.

Booth shook his head and moved a little closer to her. "That's not true, Bones. We still talk. Hell, if it weren't for you, I might have gone off the deep end with the Broadsky case."

Nodding, Brennan spared him a glance. "Yes, we do talk about the cases quite a bit. Of course you're right."

"Not just the case, Bones. You know how much I appreciate your being there during that whole mess, don't you?"

"Yes."

"That was personal, Bones. Not about the case. You're the only person who knows…things, you know, about my past. I'm glad you were there for me and I can't thank you enough for that."

Brennan slowly turned her head towards him, and Booth had the odd thought that if her neck were hinged it would have creaked, she moved so languidly. "Didn't you share any of that with Hannah?"

Something looking suspiciously like guilt crossed his face at the question, and he picked at the carpeting under them as he spoke. "Nope."

"But…I thought that when you're dating someone…living with them, you share everything. Isn't that how it works with you? I told Hannah-" She stopped and looked down, breaking the intense eye contact.

"You told her what?" He leaned forward, tilting her chin up with his finger. The fact that it was the first time he'd touched her in a very long time wasn't lost on either of them.

With a sigh, Brennan confessed. "I explained to her that when you are with a woman you give all of yourself to her, and I warned her that if she wasn't ready to reciprocate, that she should be honest. I just never imagined…"

"What, Bones? That I would be the one who held back? You can't really blame me about that. I mean, the last time I put myself out there, with the one person who knows me better than anyone, I got shot down. Why wouldn't I be reticent about doing that again?"

"But Booth…that didn't have anything to do with you! That was all about my own insecurities and fears, not that…"

"I wasn't good enough for you?" Booth's eyes narrowed as he vocalized his greatest fear when it came to Temperance Brennan and everything she represented to him.

"No! Booth, no! That's not true at all. You represent an ideal collective of standards that any female would desire in a mate. I'm the one who isn't good enough for you, that is an indisputable fact. I'm damaged, fearful; overly rational…I know you can find someone more suited to spend the rest of your life with." She swiped at the lone tear that skittered down her cheek. "It was never you."

With another heartfelt sigh, Booth leaned back against the wall again, head thrown back. He stared at the ceiling for a moment before he spoke. "I'm not going to even get into all of the reasons why what you just said is complete and utter bullshit, Bones. Anyone with half a brain knows that you're one of the best people I know, so selling yourself short is personally offensive to me. And as for the rest of it, I'm not blaming you, Bones. I did a shitty job of pleading my case, and the time and place were all wrong…"

"I've realized, since then, that there was nothing wrong with your timing, Booth. We…we needed something to move us forward, or in our case, backward. We were at a stalemate."

Nodding, Booth continued to look up. "Yeah. Maybe." He finally tipped his head forward and looked into her eyes with more naked emotion than she had ever seen. So much so, it made her gasp. "But you still completely wrecked me that night, Bones."

Brennan turned from the stare he was giving her, staring at the doors again. She nodded absently and wiped a few tears away. "I know." She said quietly. "I told you, I regret that now. And I don't know how to make it better."

"There's nothing you can do to make it better, Bones. What's done is done…by both of us, I'd like to point out." He angled a finger at her. "It's not your fault, so stop. This is something I have to deal with."

Brennan couldn't prevent the derisive snort that escaped at Booth's words. She quickly turned away again, biting her lip in the hopes that he would just, for once, let it go.

She felt Booth shift closer to her, sliding along the elevator floor to sit next to her. He placed a hand on her arm and pulled slightly. "Come on, Bones. You can't make a noise like that without getting a reaction from me, you know that." He pulled her a little harder. "Tell me."

With a small growl, Brennan pulled her arm out of his grasp and stood up, palms rubbing up and down her thighs nervously, as of trying to wipe something off her hands. She paced back and forth in front of him, and Booth had to pull his own feet back quickly to avoid being stepped on in her excitement.

"Do you know what would be really wonderful, Booth?" She wheeled on him, eyes blazing. Without waiting for a response, she continued, hair flying behind her like a beautiful and much less deadly version of Medusa. "What would be wonderful would be for you to do for me what you're always asking me to do for you. You…you're always telling me that I can't deal with things that upset me on my own, that being there for someone is what friendship is about, what loving someone is about! And yet, when you have emotional issues, when something is bothering you, you get to keep it all bottled up! You get to engage in the emotional avoidance that I always seem to have to forgo where you're concerned. You give me all these partnerly rules…telling me that this is what partners do for each other, but when it's you…I have to let you handle it on your own! It's not fair, Booth!"

Booth grunted as he stood, both from the slight twinge in his back and from anger-fueled righteous indignation. "What the hell are you talking about, Bones? I don't share with you? Excuse me? You know more about me than anyone else in the world! And I don't share with you?" The last words were growled as Booth stalked back and forth, in tandem with Brennan's own pacing. "What is it that you need to know, Bones? Huh? Tell me, because I sure as hell can't figure it out!"

"Oh my God, you are so full of it!" Brennan rolled her eyes in a way she knew always irritated him. "Surface feelings! That's all you ever give. Which is ironic, considering that you are the ultimate master of the grand romantic gesture!"

"Oh, here we go…now I suppose you're going to tell me that not only am I closed off emotionally, I am over emotional? I have got to hear this!" Booth stopped where he stood, and dropped to the floor. He crossed his legs and looked up at Brennan with a sarcastically expectant face. "Go ahead, Dr. Brennan, enlighten me!"

Brennan glared dangerously at Booth's petulant attitude, but moved to stand directly in front of him, looking down at his upturned and angry face. "Fine. You want to know what your problem is, Agent Booth? Your problem is that when it comes to personal relationships, you have to have all the control. You are the one who makes the rules, and when the woman you are involved with doesn't follow those rules, you shut it down." Booth scoffed, but managed a small smirk.

"Nice turn of phrase, Bones."

"Be quiet, Booth. I am not done. You've gotten your say over and over again, now it is my turn." Brennan abandoned her high ground and dropped down in front of Booth, mimicking his position. She leaned forward, eyes intently focused on Booth's. "You have a ridiculously romanticized idea of what a relationship is supposed to be…how it is supposed to work, how it should operate. But the problem is, that when you lay out those parameters, if the woman in question doesn't immediately fall in line, you end it. You…" Brennan sighed, the fight starting to seep out of her with the almost-defeated look that began to creep across Booth's face. "You require all or nothing, Booth. Absolute devotion to your idea of what the relationship should be. And then, when your partner doesn't accept those requirements out of hand, you end it. You don't compromise, which is surprising to me considering how flexible you are in every other facet of your life. And the biggest problem with that is, when you present these ultimatums, for the other party in question, it's always like being hit with an emotional steamroller."

Booth breathed quickly out his nose, trying not to interrupt her with what would be a half-hearted denial at best. Deep down, he knew that Brennan was right…he did expect everything when it came to his relationships. The problem was, he didn't think that was asking too much.

Brennan, for her part, could see that Booth disagreed with her. And despite the flaring anger that was running through every inch of her body at that moment, she was sorry about that fact. With a deep breath and new resolve, she continued to explain her position to the man in front of her.

"Look, Booth…I am not saying that what you ask from a partner is unreasonable. Quite the contrary, it is very romantic. Very idealistic, but still romantic. The problem…your problem, as I see it, is that you ask this of women who are either not equipped to reciprocate in kind or are so overwhelmed by what you're offering that they…we don't have time to respond in any salient way. I do not for a moment believe that Hannah meant to reject you. I believe her intentions, her expectations for your relationship, were pure and honest. But you asked something of her that she was incapable of giving you, and I believe that you knew that. And as for me…" Brennan swallowed hard, her resolve weakening for a moment.

"Come on, Bones…you've come this far. Finish this. Tell me what I did wrong with you. I can take it." Booth's face belied his words, and Brennan could clearly see by the way his entire body was nearly vibrating that he had a tenuous hold on his emotions.

Needing to move, Brennan pushed off the floor and stood, moving to lean against the wall furthest from Booth.

"What's the matter, Bones? Not enough room to run?"

The defensive way Booth goaded her combined with her own nerves, finally pushed Brennan over the edge she had been skirting since the beginning of this conversation. "Fuck you, Booth!" Taking in his shocked expression, she leaned forward, frowning. "What? You didn't know uptight, buttoned-down ice queen Temperance Brennan used four letter words? Well, when the situation calls for it, I can curse with the best, Booth! So, yes….fuck you! Fuck you and your cocky smirk, your flowery irrational romanticism, your need to control everyone and everything around you, your closed-off attitude about things that affect you emotionally and especially fuck you and your insistence on pushing me to decide whether I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you in a five minute conversation! Just…" Stopping abruptly, she stared at Booth for what seemed like hours before she gave up and dropped her gaze to the floor.

The fight suddenly drained from her with her profanity-laced outburst, Brennan turned and leaned her forehead against the wall of the elevator, breathing heavily and wondering dazedly if she had just completely destroyed the best relationship she had ever had. Behind her, she heard Booth stand up and approach her from behind. She knew he was close, but hadn't realized how close until his breath ghosted her neck, bringing goose bumps to her arms and, to her complete surprise, causing her nipples to harden into tight pearls.

Booth took one finger and ran it slowly down her spine, making sure to outline each and every vertebra on his way down. When he reached the end, he rested his hand, palm down, on the curve where her bottom met her hips, using a slight but definite pressure. "Bones…there is something you should know before this goes any further."

Brennan moved her head to the side in acquiescence, waiting for the verdict she was sure would not fall in her favor. Taking a deep breath, she started to turn when Booth's hand on her ass stopped her.

"No. Stay there." He moved his hand, replacing it with his entire body. Brennan sucked in a breath as his warmth enveloped her like a warm blanket, and his hands settled on either side of where her head still rested. He leaned into her hair, taking in the soft scent. "Listen to me very carefully. Because this…I am only going to say this once." She felt him inhale deeply again before continuing. "I fully admit to pushing you that night. I know that what I said, how I handled it…was wrong. For you. And I am sorry for that, Bones. I didn't want to hear what you had to say past the word 'no', and you deserved better than that. But you're wrong when you say that I gave you an ultimatum." Her unhappy laugh brought his anger back to the forefront and he responded by grabbing her shoulders and turning her to face him, pressing her back and effectively trapping her between his long, hard body and the unforgiving wall. "You are wrong."

Brennan gathered all her courage and tilted her chin defiantly. "I am rarely wrong, Booth."

"I beg to differ, Bones. You see…" He slid his hands down from the wall, grasping her hips lightly. "I compromised with you."

"How-"

"Partners, Bones." His eyes locked on hers, almost begging her to see the truth. "You asked if we could still be partners."

Brennan's eyes slipped closed, shame coloring her cheeks. "You have to know what that cost me, right? I mean, now…you have to see-" He stopped, throat working and chest expanding. "You know, right?"

Nodding tightly, Brennan let the tear that had been threatening slip past her eyelid and slide down her cheek. "You're right, you're right…I'm sorry, Booth."

"Don't be." Her suddenly defiant look spurred him on. "I mean it. I wanted to do it, even though it was tearing me up inside. You…well, I thought that you didn't want me, and the only way I could live with that and you at the same time was to try and move on. I hated every single second of it, but I did it. I compromised for you. To be with you."

"You couldn't do that for her, though." Her whispered statement was ripe with the heartbreak that simple fact had cost all of them.

"It was never even an option." Booth inhaled sharply through his nose. "I couldn't give her what I gave you. The thought never even crossed my mind. When she rejected me, I was done." He half-smiled, his face, for the first time since they stepped into the elevator, not etched with angry lines. "But I'll never be done with you - this last year is proof of that. Why did we keep working together when it would have been so much easier and less painful to go our separate ways? Why, Bones?"

Brennan tilted her head and suddenly realized that she was unable to answer his question. She looked away from him and her shoulders dipped not in defeat but in acceptance. He answered his question by asking it and she knew he was right.

When she failed to respond while simultaneously abandoning her usual, stoic posture, Booth couldn't stop himself from reaching down and using two nimble fingers to flick the button open on her jeans. She inhaled lightly, not a gasp but just enough of a hint so that he felt comfortable following his first move with a slow pull on her zipper.

When her jeans were open to him, he lay his palm, fingers down, against her stomach and began to slide down slowly, taking in the softness of her skin and the silk of her panties. Just before his fingers reached their intended destination, he looked up into her eyes, waiting for her to either give him the permission he sought to continue, or to deliver the slap across the face he almost believed he deserved.

Brennan raised her eyebrow in question. "You're stopping there?"

Her saucy but still slightly tremulous response was all he needed to move his hand that last few inches. When Booth reached the apex of her legs and felt nothing but soft wetness, his eyes slammed shut and her name passed his lips on an exhale full of want. "Bones…" His finger slid against her clit, circling once…twice, and then stopping completely as Brennan's head fell back with a thud against the wall and a keening moan escaped her tightly held control. He thrust his hips forward, pressing his obvious arousal into her and forcing his own hand to press harder against her mound, eliciting another deep groan from her throat and spurring her into action.

Brennan leaned forward and yanked on Booth's tie, pulling him forward so that their lips met in one of the hottest, wettest kisses either had ever received. She worked on removing the tie while simultaneously pushing his jacket off his broad shoulders and drawing his tongue into her mouth, swirling hers around his slowly and deliberately, drawing a deep, throaty groan from him and making his hips buck forward again in response. Once the jacket and tie were scattered over the floor, Brennan began working on the buttons of Booth's shirt, her shaking hands impeding her. When the shirt went flying, she ran her hands down his pectorals and rested them on his abs, rubbing in circles and gasping at the warmth coming from his smooth skin. Her hands didn't stay idle for long, and when she grasped his belt buckle, Booth stepped back and rested his forehead against hers, desperately sucking in air and trying to get control.

"Bones. Just…wait." Booth looked up into her eyes, trying to gauge what she was really feeling. All he saw was desire, acceptance…and something else he'd never seen from her before. "I need you to know, that…this, what's between us…this is it for me. I'm done. If you don't want me, if we can't finally get on the same page, I don't think I'm going to be able to sur-" His words were cut off by Brennan's lips pressing against his desperately. She pulled back and gasped, feeling overwhelmed by her emotions and his, but riding such a wave of exhilarated adrenaline and pure unadulterated lust that any doubts she might have entertained were swept away in one word...one syllable.

"Yes."

"Yes?"

Instead of repeating her acceptance, Brennan popped his belt buckle off and opened his pants, her hand sliding in just as his had done with her moments earlier. She grasped his already rock-hard cock in her hand and smiled when he hissed her name and dropped his head to her shoulder. She stroked him slowly, from root to tip; letting her thumb brush the plummy head on each downstroke.

Gathering his strength, Booth moved his hands to her hips and pulled her slacks and panties down her long legs, making her release him in the process. She growled in protest, until Booth stayed on his knees and placed long, wet, sucking kisses along the inside of her thighs as he moved up. When he reached his intended destination, he inhaled deeply, an action Brennan found so indescribably sexy that she instantly became wetter than she had ever been and responded by throwing one leg over his shoulder, steadying herself against the wall. She looked down at him, and the sight of his face almost completely buried between her legs made her glad that he was holding her up, because her knees suddenly buckled.

Booth grasped her inner thighs, holding her in place as he finally placed his tongue against her, the light touch bringing out a harsh moan from her throat and making her hips thrust towards his mouth. "Easy, Bones…I've got you." He used his thumbs to part her softly, and then leaned up and wrapped his lips around her clit, sucking it tightly and almost grinning when she whimpered and grabbed a handful of his hair, pulling hard. A few quick strokes of his tongue, and he was standing again, grabbing her leg from his shoulder in the process and wrapping it around his waist.

Once Booth was eye level with her again, Brennan reached up with both hands and cradled his face. Her expression softened from passionate to loving as she held him. "This changes everything." She whispered.

"There's nothing to change, Bones. This has always been…this." He leaned into her palm, nuzzling her as he reached between them and slid himself into her warmth in one smooth move. They locked eyes and gasped in tandem, and together they wrapped their arms around each other and held on.

Booth moved his hips back and thrust tightly and quickly, and Brennan had no choice but to hold on for the ride. The smooth slide of his cock in her tight channel was sending electric shocks through her entire body, and the gasps and pleas pouring from her were heartfelt and heated. She raked her blunt nails down his shoulders and around to his abs, kneading his firm muscles in an effort to ground herself as he pushed her towards the precipice of a fall she knew would be scary, breathtaking and completely satisfying.

Dropping his head back to her shoulder, Booth let his body take over and lost himself in the sensation of being inside this woman for the first time…her tight, molten hot wetness was drawing what was going to be a mind blowing orgasm from him, and he swiveled his hips, his pubic bone bumping her clit on every pass, intent on making sure that she was just as carried away as he was. And judging by her window-shaking cries, he was closing in on his goal.

Suddenly, Brennan felt as though every single nerve ending in her body was centered between her legs, where Booth was pistoning his hips in a rhythm that was setting her on fire. She threw her head back one more time and with a hoarse moan that sounded roughly like his given name, she came around him, shaking and clutching at his shoulders, desperate for something solid to hold her to the earth. In the middle of her storm, Booth froze and grabbed her ass with both hands, pulling her to him so tightly she almost couldn't breathe, but she could feel every single drop of himself that he released into her, his wheezing, breathy chant of his nickname for her the only noise he was able to make.

Minutes passed as they stood, still clutching each other tightly and waiting for the world to stop spinning. With a sigh, Booth moved back enough to slide out of her body, and she made a moue of protest as he left her. Smoothing his hands along her sides and kissing her softly, he looked at her closely, trying to gauge how she was feeling. When she returned his sweet kisses with more of her own and then smiled, Booth finally felt his world right itself.

"Are you alright?" She whispered, and he almost laughed.

"That's my line, Bones."

"Oh." Her forehead wrinkled in that incredibly cute way that he could never resist and he couldn't stop himself from kissing her deeply in response. When they parted, Brennan gave a little half smile. "In that case, I am most certainly more than alright."

Giving into the laughter bubbling from his chest, Booth grinned and pulled her close. "Yeah, Bones. Yeah." He nodded with certainty, running one hand through her hair as he kissed her again. "I think we're both alright."