Dear BRAND NEW Reader:
If you are new to FanFiction or The When and the How: A Bone to Pick, reading the last several chapters might help you make sense of this if you don't pick it up right away. Where 'Love Don't Die Easy' picks up is after Brennan recently shared with Booth her previous (and current) difficulty committing to relationships as a result of what she calls her 'fiberglass wrapped heart'. Now, Booth is having difficulty sharing with Brennan the depth os his anguish over sins of his past, those things that still haunt him from his days as a sniper. He's had terrifying nightmares as part of his PTSD, and this is what troubles him most.

And so we move onward ... never getting as far as I intend in one chapter ... but forward nonetheless! I have to tell you I was a chicken and too nervous to read your comments for the last chapter until I got another one out. There was no B&B in it, (and I was nervous someone would say something negative about that and crush my creativity - it happens, you know!) but I wanted to send it anyway because the time had come for More info about MadMan. Soon we will be starting a whole new phase of The When and the How: A Bone to Pick. To that end, there will be a TWATH Part II which will have a different rating and be entitled "Tuesday's Child." I will let you know here when to look for that to appear under its own name!


Love Don't Die Easy

I will stand in the thunder and shiver in the rain while I'm tied to the
mast of a leaky boat in a hurricane … but I will find my way back to you
even if it's all in vain. My love don't die easy

~ Worsham & Tyndell, 2013

She sat in the dark across from her mate, willing herself to take deep slow breaths, hoping to tame her galloping heart rate. Her mate was clearly distressed. Brennan felt a panicky helplessness that bordered on hysteria. She kneaded her cheeks with the tips of her fingers, shocked at how feverd they'd become. So this is what it's like to share someone's pain, she thought. She didn't like it, and she didn't even know what the pain was all about, but knew she'd do anything for Booth. Anything.

She inhaled deeply and slowly, then exhaled. No sudden movements, she remembered from Sweets' book about helping a loved one experiencing extreme emotional stress. If you overreact to their behavior it will make it much worse because your behavior will feel like an invalidating reproach. Therefore, be the embodiment of calm acceptance. Exu-u-u-u-ude acceptance. Assume a nonthreatening posture. Brennan wiggled about in her seat, crossing and uncrossing her arms until she forced herself to drop her shoulders and lay her hands on her things, fingers straight and separate, like beached starfish on the shore.

Sitting across in the over-sized chair kitty corner from Brennan, Booth wasn't even registering his mate's agitation or attempts to calm herself. He focused inwardly, attempting to pull himself together. His arms remained wrapped tightly around his mid section, his heart racing and his right knee gyrating like a pump-jack in a Saudi Arabian oil field. The balmy air laced with the scent of white tea and ginger from Brennan's bubble bath mixed with the herbal shampoo from his own scalding shower and enveloped him in a humid cloud of proffered tranquility, but his agitated flesh failed to allow absorption. He chastised himself for his inability to calm and wished he could force the blood pooling in his cheeks to go back where it came from. As Brennan focused on her breathing, Booth leaned forward slowly, causing a whiff of Bonesy air to puff into his face from the sweatshirt Brennan had pulled over him in the hopes of warming his shivering body.

He still couldn't shake the convulsive shivering. The tension in his jaw split his brain in half, filling it with lava. Oh, no. Here it comes. I'm going to puke!

Booth quickly sank his nose into the neck of the sweatshirt and gulped air like a dying fish flailing on a dock. He focused on the Bonesy scent mingling now with his own brand of musky sweat. Once the nausea subsided, he felt lightheaded, but struggled to unlocked his jaw, wincing at the gravely crunch as the hinges grated against each other. Then he became aware there was something damp and spongy, foreign, tucked inside the clenched fingers of his left hand.

Brennan saw him pull his hand out and hold it close to his face. She heard the sound before her eyes fully adjusted to the darkness enveloping them. There was an indistinguishable dull crinkling noise like the sound of an over-starched shirt being bent to the will of its wearer. She squinted and focused hard on the gentle slope of Booth's forehead, the angular edges of his strong jawline, the length and straightness of his nose, the pouty fullness of his bottom lip. No matter how distressed this man was, she would always find his bone structure, his entire person, to be majestic in every way. She couldn't help it. Even if it hurt her.

In relief, Booth looked like a man bent in prayer, but the buzz of his anxiety electrified the air and prickled the fine hairs on Brennan's arms and legs as if lightning were about to strike. Brennan shivered and forced herself to continue breathing slowly and deeply. Drawn by the crumpling sound, her eyes fell to what had caught Booth's attention: his left hand above which a small ball appeared to levitate like a soul over a grave.

Booth rocked forward; hand outstretched over the coffee table, and gently placed the amorphous lump on the reflective surface, as carefully as if it were a robin's egg, but didn't release it. After a thoughtful pause, he leaned even further forward until his knees met the dark edge of the thick glass. He released the ball carefully as if he feared it might roll away if he hadn't completely stopped it. His fingers backed away, then returned to touch it gently before he clasped his hands together, rested his forearms on his thighs, and sank backward against the overstuffed chair cushions.

"What is that, Booth?" Brennan queried in a hushed voice.

Booth moved forward silently and reverently reached toward the ball again, but stopped just short of touching it. Pointing a limp index finger at it he glanced toward Brennan with the mawkish humility of someone returning a generous yet undeserved gift. He inhaled shallowly and held his breath for a beat before releasing it in a slow hiss. Just as he was about to open his mouth a flash of light shot across the sliding glass doors, startling both of them. Before either could say anything, an explosive clap of thunder resounded, shaking the glass.

The first drops of heavy Seattle rain smacked against the glass doors in juicy spurts, muting any remaining electricity still crackling in the air. Booth sat statue-like, his face marbled from the vertical shadowing of raindrops racing in rivulets down the panes. Brennan focused on his face, his strong cheekbones becoming clear in the dark, and shivered at the heaviness behind his dark blank expression, his clenched jaw, his puckered lips.

After a moment, she leaned forward to get a closer look at whatever Booth had so reverently placed on the coffee table. The drizzling rain shadows made the ball appear to be breathing. Brennan imagined for a moment that it also contained heat and that if the raindrops were to fall upon her skin, perhaps the heat from inside the ball would chase away the chill.

When the second crack of lightening transformed night into day for a split second, Booth shook his head as if being awakened from deep sleep. He leaned forward to examine the amorphous shape, which again appeared to be hovering just above the reflective surface in front of him. He poked it, gingerly, then lay a finger on it. It felt warm. No, it didn't reallyfeel warm, but in his mind's eye he sensed it possessed some kind of healing heat. Unaware that his thoughts echoed Brennan's, he wondered if there might be a fire inside it. Indeed there was, as they both subconsciously knew, but the fire captured in that scrunched-up ball was not Booth's. It came from Brennan. It was the poem she'd created and then written down for him. In a flash, causing a wave of warmth to wash over his flesh from scalp to shin. He shivered involuntarily as if shaking the alst droplets of water from a raincoat and smiled slightly in the dim.

"It's …" he muttered, recalling the susurrus of Brennan's question as it hung in the air. He cleared his throat and swallowed, his brows drawing toward each other. "It's that, uh, the—it's 'Sir Seeley', the poem. Um …" He looked up at her as if this explained everything.

Brennan returned his gaze, emitting a questioning hum. As he searched for the words to explain, she continued. "Why is it like that? Crumpled into a ball?" Like trash. When he didn't respond immediately, a shadow of disappointment drifted over her body.

"Well," Booth whispered, not really sure what the answer was.

"Did you ... throw it away ... at some point, Booth?" Brennan's voice was filled with confusion. This did not make any sense at all. Booth puts a premium on intimacy ... what could possibly be a logical reason for why he might throw away this highly intimate gesture? It just didn't make sense at all.

He shook his head slowly, sensing the long cold fingers of guarded suspicion hat had begun to swirl around her. "Uh," he insisted, swallowing loudly, "Not at all, Bones." His face flushed crimson at the memory of Brennan's audaciously intimate imagery and the way her eyes shone when she recited it from memory for him earlier. Closing his eyes, he could feel the soft warmth of her lips on his neck after she's recited those incredibly ... provocative ... words. Guilt over making her think he might have disrespected, or devalued everything she put into writing that poem washed over him.

"I don't understand," Brennan gasped, scrubbing a cheek with her much cooler fingers, a cheek whose temperature was slowly rising to an uncomfortable and prickly degree. "Why did you—why is it—wadded up—like gar-garbage?" She nodded toward the table, straining to keep her voice expressionless. She bent forward again for a closer look as her heartbeat throbbed in her cheeks and temples. This whole intimacy thing was affecting her much more than she had anticipated. Why do *I* feel embarrassed? I have no reason to feel embarrassed. What is this all about? This is not me. She knew, conceptually, that intimacy is all about vulnerability, and vulnerability is all about trust. Ergo, the nature and value of intimacy is precious only because of it's danger.

Layered on top of the possibility of that danger were the weight of hormonally-intensified emotions that threatened to rob a person of their usual grasp on rationality. And that is what she was feeling now: an irrationally intense emotional response to the possibility of being rejected by the one person she trusted with her life and happiness. The tiny hair on the back of her neck stood on end and a frozen shill ran down her spine as she put every last penny on a horse who had just thrown it's rider and bounded over the fence to flee a race it never wanted to be in in the first place. Brennan had on image in her mind of a giant red exclamation point smacking right into her nose and forehead. Shock.

Booth looked back at Brennan uncomprehendingly as the words, 'wadded up like garbage' seeped into his semi-consciousness. "What?" He followed her line of sight to the crumpled ball of paper. "Oh, Bones, I am so sorry, no—" he said, "I'm not sure how that—how it got all into a ball like that. I think I was just, I don't know." He swallowed once, then again. How could he turn this around? He picked up the ball of paper and began to carefully unfold it as if it were in danger of disintegrating if he handled it improperly.

"About your poem, I think—it's great, Bones, heh! It's the sweetest, well, sweet isn't exactly the word. It's more like … it's a, uh, kinda … " Naughty, he thought. "It's highly erotic," he blurted, finally stumbling upon the most appropriate word he could find. The flesh of his face and neck burned and pounded at the sound of his own voice saying the word 'erotic' out loud in reference to his relationship with Brennan. He looked toward her and continued to falter. "I'm just not sure—" He shrugged guiltily, and sighed, bereft.

"I don't understand, Booth. Of course it's erotic," she cried, surprising herself at the fervor in her voice. Overwhelmed by the emotion of the evening, of her concern for him, she was funneling all her passion in this line of questioning which she knew was inane, but she was helpless to stop. She swallowed, hearing a little clicking sound in the back of her throat. "That's exactly what it was meant to be, Booth." Her eyes watered as a flush washed over her again. "Do—do you find my sexual inclinations toward you embarrassing, or, or inappropriate," she gasped once and then again.

"It's not you, Bones! It's me! I'm just—I'm not sure it's me, you know? What if that poem, what if the man in that poem, he's not me?" Booth was nonplussed at her visceral reaction. Immediately his mind went blank. What had he done?

"Wha—? Of course, it's you. Who else could it possibly be? I wrote it — me, your mate, Booth. You do want me to be your mate ...?"

"Ye-yes! Of course!"

"Well, I am telling you it's all about you. Each stanza expresses my thoughts about you and no one else. I do think about you, Booth. Mates are supposed to have rousing sensual thoughts about each other. Stimulating thoughts, ah, rousing thoughts. That is the definition of exotic—" She paused, feeling exposed as her heart beat fiercely against her ribcage. Then she was struck by a terrifying thought: maybe she had gone too far, become too vulnerable, said too much about her concupiscent inclinations toward him.

"—you mean, erotic," Booth corrected, "not exotic."

"Yes, erotic, of course. Do you know what erotic means, Booth?"


"It means 'tending to arouse sexual desire and intense excitement'. It's healthy. It's normal. It's necessary for the continuation of the race, Booth, and I make no apologies for those concupiscent inclinations toward you." She could easily have been speaking in a calm tone using the exact same words, but she wasn't. She was a helpless passenger on an emotional locomotive that didn't have nearly enough track for her to slow to a stop without combusting all over the place.

"Con-pubescent?" Booth said slowly.

"What?" Brennan leaned back, derailed by his question.

"You said, 'I make no apologies for con-pubescent inclinations toward you ...'"

Brennan stared expressionless for a moment. "Uh, concupiscent. Filled with sexual desire. Lustful." She crossed her arms and shoved a fist under her chin. Both of them sat, staring across the heated distance, in awkward silence for a moment. Both of them felt the crashing of the red river of life as it coursed through each of their circulatory systems, calling out to each other. Brennan swallowed slowly and broke the silence.

"That's how sexual attraction leads to intercourse which then has the potential to lead to conception," she said, fighting the impulse to hide her face in her hands as an overwhelming hunger washed hotly over skin and deeper, causing her heartbeat to throb at earlobes, temples and thighs. This really shouldn't be that big of deal, she told herself. Why did she feel like she had to defend or justify herself?

Booth listened silently, noting the defensive tone in her voice and wanting to kick himself for being the cause of it. He didn't know what to say or how to make it right.

"Modern society would have you think that women aren't as sexual as men are, but that is entirely untrue. I myself have on occasion been highly motivated by sexual yearnings. And when it comes to you— well—Booth—" She said in a strangled voice as she willed eyes that had unknowingly turned into pools of saltwater not to close and spill. "You're my mate," she said plaintively as if it were her final argument in a fight she shouldn't have to participate in. Resigned and emotionally fatigued she was slumped back against the couch cushions and shoved a thumbnail between her front teeth. She felt absolutely absurd for having reacted so emotionally, but she was flailing and lost. She shook her head and stared unseeing in the direction of the coffee table.

"Is it at all possible," Booth offered delicately, folding his hands into a steeple, "that you may be overreacting … just a teeny tiny bit?" He grimaced apologetically as he pinched a centimeter of air to demonstrate.

"Wha—" She stared at him, deflated, and then took inventory. She knew she was having an intense reaction. She knew it, but still had not wanted to actually, verbally, admit it to herself - not even inside her own head. Her shoulders dropped even further as she sighed in frustration, quickly brushing an agitated tear from her cheek and sniffing juicily. He was right and she had to admit it, but she didn't like it. Damn it.

Booth wondered if she'd even heard his question. He could tell her brain was working on something, so he didn't repeat it.

"Well, I guess-" Brennan whispered, though Booth couldn't make out her words. He leaned forward, but seeing the look of concentration on her face, said nothing. Somewhere along the way her mood lightened as if that one escaping tear had leached some of the irrationality from her body. She recalled an earlier thought about the wording of 'Sir Seeley'. Something was wrong with it, but she hadn't been able to put her finger on it.

'It is you, Sir Seeley, who's got me all—

No, no, no, she thought to herself, noticing herself cringing as she thought the words. That's what it is! Her eyebrows shot up and her fist fell from her mouth into her lap. 'Who's got me all wet', ugh, that isn't romantic in the least. But it could have been much, much worse: 'When I'm in your presence my stimulated pituitary gland causes vascular engorgement which results in plasma seepage to facilitate increases sperm motility during the sex act.' Now that was the antithesis of 'romantic' and she certainly couldn't find anything to rhyme with seepage.

Booth watched in silence as Brennan processed, her demeanor clearing like the cool air after a spring shower. Booth realized that this odd bunny trail their conversation had taken had actually shifted his focus away from his own quagmire of self-doubt and fear. And he actually felt some levity as a result.

"Booth," Brennan said breathlessly after several introspective moments, "I have decided that the first line of 'Sir Seeley' is crass so I'm changing it from 'wet'"—she crinkled her nose in distaste—" to 'beset' which means to be 'assailed on all sides' or 'overcome'.

It is you, Sir Seeley, who's got me beset, sir.
It is your lips that cause me to tremble and sweat, sir.

Appreciating her incredible ability think her way through just about anything, even her reactions and emotions, Booth's features softened into a smile. "Bones, truly, it's a wonderful poem. And of course it's about—uh, what you said it's about," he added in a jumble of swift words, then continued in a rush. "I just—" He dropped his forehead into a palm and chuckles humorlessly. "This is going in a whole different direction than I thought—" He mumbled to himself.

"It's okay if you don't—" She said, not finishing her sentence, some of the confidence from a moment ago slipped away as a heaviness threatened to settle like a stone in her stomach. The need for assurance from her mate was woven throughout her entire presence. About everything else in her life she could be confident, she realized, but this whole issue of intimacy and interdependency made her the most vulnerable she had ever been in her entire life. Rational or not, it was what it was. Her eyes traveled over to Booth's knees and then up his torso to his eyes which she could now see rather clearly. Her own insecurity surprised and hurt. She felt the familiar sensation in her chest that warned she was about to purge herself by weeping if she didn't receive some assurance soon. She had opened herself so wide for him. She was at his mercy, and she could do nothing but surrender, defeatism heavy on her lids.

"No, no, no. That's not it at all, Bones. That's not it at all," he whispered in a fervent hush, reaching out toward her and taking her hand loosely in his. "It's just, um—" he rotated his thumb over her knuckles and searched desperately for what to say. "It's just—"

"It's an antler-y poem," she suggested, calmed by his thoroughly affirming tone and the warmth of his fingers on her skin. "I think that's what Angela would call it. No, that doesn't sound right. Wait a minute … Horny. Yeah. It's a horny poem."

Something between an 'Eep!' and a chuckle erupted from Booth's throat. Brennan chucked in grateful relief and waited patiently for him to say something. When the silence stretched into a yawn, she squeezed his hand as if to say, It's okay. It's really okay, but noticed suddenly that his hand was sweaty and his focus had shifted back to himself once more.

As Brennan had begun to relax, her response to his touch affected Booth just as forcefully. He knew it was time to come clean and the conviction struck at his heart like a steel mallet, ricocheting off his ribs as they vibrated unable to absorb the impact.

"You sound nervous—or worried, Booth," she said with her heart in her throat. "You can tell me whatever is bothering you. You can. Clearly the poem isn't the problem. Right?" She nodded encouragingly.

"Bones," he said, releasing her hand and leaning back again, wrapping his arms around himself. His knee started to bob up and down. "Listen, it's—that poem blew me away. It really did," he shrugged and glanced up at her, glad she couldn't see the blush torturing his neck and traveling over his cheeks once more as he thought about the passionate sensuality of her first attempt at poetry. He smiled shyly for a moment and sighed as his stomach did flip-flops and his blood turned to back to fire.

"Well, what I meant to say is, what if I'm not really that guy, your Sir Seeley, from the poem?" He looked up and paused, listening to the splat, splat, splat of the rain against the glass. Brennan pursed her lips and waited. This didn't make sense to her. She squinted, knowing there was a Boothy logic underneath it all and she just had to wait. Again.

"I've been lying to you. There are things I have kept from you."

He closed his eyes momentarily, then opened them, staring forward sightlessly at the table in front of him. This is it, he told himself. This is the moment I've been dreading all week. Breathe, he reminded himself. And remember, God says be not afraid. Have faith in me. Have faith in Bones. This is the right thing to do. Here goes nothin', he thought, making a mental sign of the cross.

"Bones," he began, still staring at the mottled reflection on the surface of the coffee table, "we've been together for a long time." The near darkness of her hotel ante room hid the fact that it felt like a trail of irritated black and silver scorpions were clamoring up his back forcing a film of sweat to seep into the crevices in his palms and fingers as well as across his forehead and around his ears. He wanted to lean forward and touch her again, but something was stopping him. He had the defeatist sensation that seeking and acquiring any comfort before he purged himself would be cheating. He deserved to feel the full force of his own guilt.

The room was silent except for the distant ding of the elevator arriving on the floor to pick up its passenger. Somewhere in the distance an ice machine dumped a fresh batch of cubes into its voluminous metal compartment and, in the street forty feet below, a woman giggled and then a car door slammed shut. Inside the hotel room, he could hear Brennan breathing and forced himself to slow his own breath by matching hers.

"We've been through a lot together. I mean … a lot, heh," he said nervously.

"Yes, we have," she whispered, her head inclined toward the coffee table.

"You are one of two people who have seen me at my worst and the only person, probably, who knows me probably better than I know myself." She was also the only person who'd ever seen him in real tears, but he wasn't going to say that out loud. "You—" he choked, biting back the emotion that threatened to overtake him, "—absolutely are that person—who—" swallow "—knows me."

Brennan nodded, then stilled, barely breathing or moving. It took all of her willpower not to dive at him and squeeze him until he couldn't take another breath that would allow him to feel anything less than love and acceptance for the rest of his days. She pressed both of her lips between her teeth and bit down hard.

Booth's eyes darted up to hers for a moment, then dropped down to his hands, which he'd clasped together and shoved between his knees. The image of her, now that his eyes were adapting to the dim, was as refreshingly and reassuring as the cold, solid, enduring surface of the statue of Venus de Milo. Solid, reassuring.

"I mean, I hadn't realized until this week how well you really do know me," he said, peeking up at her again. I mean, I feel practically transparent in front of you, naked basically," he chuffed as a ball of dough began forming in his throat. "That makes you, like, just about the m-most important person—" he coughed "— in my life." He paused, telling himself that he just had to get this all out once. On time, and it would be over with, forget the fact that I never planned to tell this to anyone ever, I mean never ever. Hell, I don't even want to know it myself.

He swallowed dryly and continued. "There have been so many times—many more than you know—when you've saved my life just by being there for me, you know," he glanced up again, a little longer this time. "Just by being, well, by being you—Bones. By being Bones." He said her name as if he were hearing it for the first time. It was his name for her, a name whose definition they'd recently put words to; words that were absolutely perfect for how he saw her. That's why only he got to use that name. He and Parker, that is. And Parker was just an extension of him anyway. He didn't, and she didn't, allow anyone else to use that name, the name reserved just for her, and given to her by him. So long ago. And just like that, the path he needed to follow in that moment unfurled before him and he sat back and began to speak.

"Even that very first case we worked together ... Remember that? That was the first time I called you Bones." He smiled with sad eyes.

"Hm. Gemma Harrington. And I didn't really like it," she answered, a soft truncated sigh adding finality to her words.

"You did at first, remember? You said you'd call me 'Shoes' because, you said, my shoes were shiny or something like that." His mouth crinkled at the absurdity of her logic and thanked God that the nickname hadn't stuck.

"You thought it was a stupid nickname."

"Yeah, I did. It was—silly," he grimaced.

"Mmmm," she hummed, nodding slightly as she glanced over at him. "I do remember that. Booth is a much better nickname. I like it," she paused thoughtfully. "It's much more—Boothy, you know, masculine."

"Boothy means masculine?"

"Of course, as well as several other characteristics attributable to one who is—"

"Okay, we're getting off point, Bones—"

"You are correct. Sorry. Perhaps another time we can discuss what I mean by—"

"But not now—" Booth insisted, his look pinning her to her seat, but in a delightful progressive way. And it felt good. This, the banter that was uniquely theirs, normalized the situation for Booth. "There really is nothing to be afraid of," he mumbled.

"I'm not afraid, Booth," Brennan said gently, dipping her chin as if to lift his with a single finger.


"You said there is nothing to be afraid of."

"I did?"

"You did. I said that maybe later we can discuss the masculine properties of your surname and you said not right now and then you said there is nothing to be afraid of."

Booth sighed. "Hm. Sorry. Are you sure I said—? Of course, you're sure. It was exactly what I was thinking."

"You were thinking out loud." She nodded.

"Uh, yeah."

"Had you intended to say that to me or to yourself? Because it sounded like you were saying it to me, but since you hadn't intended to say it out loud—"

"I was saying it to myself, Bones." Yes. This banter was good opponent against the mounting anxiety over his intended confession.

"Oh." She paused, understanding this was his way of summoning the courage to do something he didn't want to do, but knew he had to do regardless. "I hope you believed yourself after you said it. In my experience, when people say, you know, that there's nothing to be afraid of, it means they are experiencing the physiological sensations that manifest in times of extreme duress." She shrugged so he knew she wasn't accusing him of anything.

At that moment, a live electrical current flowed from her, snapping and crackling its tentacles across the gap between them, reaching toward him, gently grasping and holding his own electricity, enfolding it within its core where it became fully and irreversibly enmeshed with hers. It was powerful stuff he was feeling. And it was just what he needed.

He stared at her, mystified. Stupefied. Humbled. The corners of his eyes and mouth turned up and he felt heavy, solid. Warm.

"Well, you're right. It's about what's been going on. You know, the nightmares and stuff? That's what I gotta tell you about."

"And they are frightening nightmares? Or is it that you are anxious about telling me about them?" She asked gently.

Booth exhaled quickly then held his breath, staring at his knees. He shrugged. "I guess it's both." He looked up quickly, willing her to understand now that the fear was subsiding and he was feeling more confident.

"Oh," she said quietly, "But why? Like you said, we've been through a lot together—"

"Yes," he affirmed looking up to meet her eyes. "Yes, we have. But what if …" He wasn't sure what to say or how to say it. She already loved him so much, maybe too much? And if he did something to ruin that … "Bones, I just don't want to hurt you," he said without thinking. I'd kill myself before I'd intentionally hurt you, is what he meant.

"Booth, we agreed: No protecting each other … not from each other. I want to know what you are going through. Maybe I can help in some way?" She cocked her head to the side and looked at him with forgiving eyes.

Thank you, dear reader, for spending this time in the Bones Universe with me. My fear is gone as I've begun the serious delve into the dark of Booth's pain and chapters will come more swiftly now. Shorter, but more frequently. Your notes and reviews brighten my days!

~ MoxieGirl