This has been posted on LiveJournal for a while, so my apologies to those who have already seen it. For those who haven't, I'm doing a series of fics this summer called The Summer of Us - sexy, occasionally angsty stories about B/B from their teary union in Hole in the Heart, on through to the crazy revelation in The Change in the Game. For those of you looking for an update to Apprentice on the Island - I'm a little behind (again), but will have a big ol' update promptly on Sunday.

When she awoke that morning, to a soft bed and tangled sheets and an oddly familiar scent enveloping her, it took Brennan just a moment to reorient herself.

Booth's bed. Booth's sheets. Booth's scent.

She looked around the room, but Booth wasn't there any longer.

Reality came flooding back from there. First, a painful jolt when she remembered Vincent's untimely death - the sight of his body on the lab floor, an impossible amount of blood spilling as Booth tried to staunch its flow. And then, the hours alone on Booth's couch, analyzing Vincent's last words... Trying to imagine how anyone could think she could be so cruel, so cold. Did people really think such she would ever be so heartless?

It was only when she couldn't stand lying on Booth's couch alone, going over the same few words over and over again, coming up with exactly the same results, that she gave up. They thought she was a monster - they must. What else could explain her interns final thoughts revolving around his supervisor banishing him from her lab?

She hadn't meant for anything to happen when she knocked on Booth's door - she firmly believed that. But there had been tears, and Booth's arms, and those soothing words that still lingered, hours later. It's not your fault. He loved you... We all love you, Bones. And then a shift, so subtle that she would have missed it, had it been anyone but Booth. Lying there in the dark of his room, so close that she could feel his heart beating, steady and as soothing as the lullabies her mother had sung to her as a child...

Brennan had kissed him - she. Booth never would have made such a bold move - not then. Not with tears still fresh on her cheeks, the memory of Vincent's final words still hanging in the air. She worried, at first, that he didn't turn her away simply because he felt badly for her. But it wasn't like that. She had never imagined the first time with Booth to be so... Natural. So quiet, and unhurried. So filled with whispered conversation and unexpected confessions. When she had allowed herself the fantasy of her and Booth in the past, their first time had always been a frenzied coupling - like those described in the novels Angela was always trying to get her to read. Up against a wall, on a table or in the sand or even in the dim lights of a rain-drenched streetcorner.

Anywhere but in Booth's bed, his voice as soothing to her as any sound she'd ever known.

The images replayed in her mind - his lips, soft and sure... His hands - exploring, caressing, heightening, until it seemed as though everything but the two of them had ceased to exist. She had never understood women who spoke of being emotionally overwhelmed during sex. It was sex. One of her favorite things.

This was different.

Everything about this had been different.

And now...

Brennan sat up and rubbed her eyes, waiting for panic to set in.

In the next room, she could hear Booth humming. In her experience, people very rarely hummed when they were panicked. Or unhappy, for that matter. Which meant Booth was neither of those things. She put his sweatshirt back on. It reminded her, unexpectedly, of a girl she had known in foster care, who had always worn an oversized college sweatshirt that had belonged to her boyfriend.

Temperance Brennan had been focused, driven, scholastically-minded - even then.

But oh, how she had secretly envied that girl and her oversized college sweatshirt.

The bedroom door opened a crack, and Booth peered in.

"You're up."

"Yes - I thought we should probably go in. We'll need to get to work."

He came into the room. He hadn't showered, and was still in sweatpants and t-shirt. Regardless, he looked as good as she had ever seen him. Brennan ran a hand through her hair self-consciously.

"Yeah, we'll need to get in there pretty quick, but we've got a little time. I wanted to let you sleep as long as I could... Figured you didn't get much, last night." He actually blushed. Brennan thought it was one of the most endearing things she had ever seen.

"You didn't, either," she pointed out.

"Yeah, but I got a few hours of shut-eye before you came in. I'm guessing you didn't."

"That's true."

Outside, she could hear morning traffic - cars that stopped and started, shouting pedestrians, horns honking. The clock read 9:12, warning her that - despite Booth's claims to the contrary - they didn't really have "a little time."

He came over and sat beside her on the bed. She had no pants on, and was suddenly very aware of where the bed sheet ended and her naked thigh began, exposed to view. Based on Booth's gaze and the unmistakable dilation of his pupils, she was guessing that he was equally aware.

"You doing okay this morning, Bones? I thought maybe we should talk..."

There was a part of her - a refreshingly small part, she found, but a part all the same - that considered retreating. It had all been so... Much - both physically and emotionally. Instead, she turned her body so that she could look at him more fully. There was a red mark on his skin, just above the neck line of his t-shirt. She couldn't help but smile at the sight.

He rolled his eyes, following her gaze.

"Yeah - thanks a lot, Bones. Nothin' classier than a sniper with a hickey."

"I'm sorry. If you put a spoon in the freezer and then move it over the area to disperse the - "

Now he was smiling.

"It probably won't be visible with a dress shirt," she said, blushing slightly herself now.

"It's okay - don't worry about it. Small price to pay, trust me."

They sat there for another few moments of silence. Brennan started to say that they should go, but Booth started speaking at the same time. They laughed, though even the laughter felt awkward by this time.

"Sorry," he said. "You go."

"I was just saying that we should get going. You have a very busy day."

"Yeah. You too."

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Brennan started to rise, feeling more and more ill at ease. Booth stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"Hang on, Bones."

She sat back down. The sheet had fallen away even further with her movement. Goosebumps formed on her naked skin.

"What is it?"

He didn't say anything for several seconds - long enough that Brennan began to feel apprehensive. Booth was about to break up with her, and they hadn't even been on a date.

"Booth, you don't have to say anything. This was... People say things in the heat of the moment. With Vincent's death and heightened emotions and our senses still reeling from - "

"That's not what that was, Bones," he said, almost sharply. She fell silent, relieved that he was finally saying something. He looked at her intently. "I know that, and I hope to hell you know it..." He paused. "You do know it, right?"

She nodded, after a moment of thought.

His relief was palpable. "Good. It's just... When I imagined it, you know? I just figured that the next morning, I'd bring you breakfast in bed - eggs and toast, maybe a flower or something, and then we'd lie around and talk, and..." he faded.

"I always imagined we would have sex again. The next morning, I mean," she said.

He smiled - a real smile now, full of that hint of wonder she saw in his eyes occasionally when he looked at her. "Yeah?" He brushed a tendril of hair behind her ear. "I usually imagined that, too." He blushed again - though less obviously this time. "I like making love in the morning."

She stared at him, amazed that after six years, she had never known that about him. "I do, too."

Things became very quiet in the room. She met his eye. He raised his eyebrows, nodded. "That's good to know, Bones. I'll remember that."

A shiver ran up her spine, an ache starting somewhere low. She took his hand. It was long and lean and strong. Now that she knew just a few of the things he could do with those hands, she didn't really want to relinquish them to the outside world again anytime soon.

"We don't really have time, this morning."

She thought he might argue the point, and realized that it was a debate she would gladly lose. Instead, he nodded reluctantly.

"Yeah, you're probably right, Bones."

Another moment of silence followed. She was waiting for him to suggest when they would get together again, she realized. Would he ask her on a date? Should she ask him? Or would this be something that only happened on those nights when she arrived on his doorstep, hungry for someone to hold? The thought seemed... Terrifying. Where did they go from here?

"I'm sorry that Vincent died," she said. Her eyes filled, though lingering on Mr. Nigel-Murray's death just then hadn't been her intent.

Booth nodded. His forehead furrowed at the sight of her tears, his own eyes becoming glassy. "I know, Bones. I'm sorry, too. You've got no idea how sorry I am that I didn't take that shot at Broadsky when I had the chance."

"You would never have done that, though," she said quickly. Her own concerns vanished, her focus immediately shifting to Booth. "I'm glad that you wouldn't do that... That you're the kind of man who values justice, and honor. You can't change because someone like Broadsky refuses to fight fair."

He started to say something, but Brennan put a hand on his arm. She could feel the muscles of his forearm, the warmth of his body, and for a moment she almost lost track of what she was going to say again. With some effort, she managed to maintain focus for a few seconds more.

"That's not what I was going to say, though. What I wanted to say, is that..." She stopped, struggling with the words. Booth waited. "I'm not sorry about what happened between you and me, last night. I would like..." She paused again. It seemed like such a risk to take, so early into this. She lost her nerve, and shifted her gaze to her hands as she finally dared the words.

"I don't want that to be the only time. I don't want that to be all there is, for us."

Silence. Silence for so many steamboats that Brennan was tempted to flee the room. She looked up, and was mortified to find that Booth was smiling. He thought this was funny.

"I didn't realize that was amusing."

Her tone apparently conveyed to him that, whatever the joke might be, she was not in on it; his face became serious again.

"It's not - I'm sorry, Bones. Hey - " He lifted her chin with his index finger. "Look at me, huh? It wasn't funny - I'm an ass. I just... Sometimes it just gets to me, that you can have this off-the-charts IQ and three PhDs and be on speed-dial with a dozen law-enforcement agencies around the world, and be so..."

She raised her eyebrows defensively. "So... what?"

He shook his head. "Dense, Bones. You can be really dense. You think I want last night to be our only time? After dreaming of waking up with you for goin' on eight years now? You think I wouldn't give half my pension to be able to crawl back into bed with you right now and bury myself so deep that everything but you and me just disappears?"

Her mouth felt very dry, suddenly. She swallowed with some difficulty, her eyes falling to Booth's lips.

"You would?" she asked.

He laughed, but then an instant later became still once more - as though a thought had just occurred to him. He smiled at her, his gaze locked on hers.

"You want me to prove it to you?"

TBC