This is my first fic, so let me know what you think!

I don't own anything or anybody! These are just the nonsensical ravings of a lunatic mind ;)

If Only To Live

Booth lay back on the bed, cradling a crying Temperance Brennan in his arms, hoping he was being of some comfort to her in this hard time. All he could think of was trying to ease her pain over the death of her favorite squintern, Vincent.

"Shh. I'm right here. I know. It's hard," he said, rubbing her back and arm. He could feel her relax against him, the tears still coming strong.

The partners lay together in the soft light shining in from the living room, holding one another, both thinking back over the events of the day. Vincent Nigel-Murray really was a good kid. He had been interning at the lab for a couple of years and everyone had come to enjoy his presence. Listening to random facts being spouted in the process of a case had become the norm. Few bothered to even stop him anymore. It was accepted behavior now, just like Clark's need for professionalism, Daisy's high-pitched squealing, or Fisher's herbal tea. It was what it was. It was what made Vincent special.

'If only I hadn't handed him the phone …,' Booth thought, trying to dismiss the sense of guilt that had finally started to settle over him. 'If only he hadn't answered. If only I had traced the signal quicker ….'

I don't blame myself for this. I blame the guy who pulled the trigger. He did blame Broadsky, of course. But Brennan knew that he was saving a little bit of that blame for himself. She could feel the tension stirring in Booth's chest, just under her hand, knowing he was starting to blame himself, regardless of what he had told Sweets in the conference room. She could practically hear his thoughts, stabbing at his self-worth like tiny daggers.

"He meant to kill you," she said, so soft that Booth wasn't even sure if she had spoken. He was so lost in the "if onlys" that he had stopped paying attention to the woman in his arms.

"What?" he asked, bringing his thoughts back to reality.

"I said, he meant to kill you. Broadsky was aiming for you, Booth." Her words were still soft spoken, just above a whisper.

"Yeah, he was," he concluded after a moment, not knowing what else to say.

"I miss him, Booth. I miss Vincent," she said, tears threatening to fall again.

"I know."

Silence passed between them for a moment. He could hear her breathing, in and out, steady. Just like when she was examining remains in the bone room. He knew she was concentrating her thoughts, trying to say the right words to express how she was feeling.

"As much as I miss him, I know I would miss you more. If Broadsky had shot you -," she hesitated, unsure of what to say next. "I'm … glad … that Broadsky didn't shoot you."

Her voice was thick with emotion. He could hear the tears in her voice, hear her holding them back. Booth didn't know how to respond. Suddenly the air felt thick, heavy. It was harder to breathe now.

Slowly, he shifted onto his side, bringing them face to face. He felt like he needed to see her. He placed a kiss on her forehead, so light it may not even be considered a kiss. Just lips resting on her skin. So slight; a butterfly kiss. He tightened his arms around her slightly. He kept his eyes on her face, willing her to continue. He knew instinctively that she had more to say, but he also knew that sharing these emotions was hard for her.

"Booth, I –"she started, not knowing how to continue. "If he had shot you-"she stopped again, the tears falling lightly. She closed her eyes and shook her head faintly, willing the thoughts to vanish from her mind.

"Shh, it's okay. I'm here," Booth repeated, rubbing her back again.

Brennan pushed against him slightly using the hand she had been holding over his heart. She could feel the strong beat beneath her fingers and it suddenly made her feel alive. She lifted her head and looked him in the eyes again, trying to show him exactly what she was feeling. Booth stared into her eyes, rimmed with pink from her tears. He wanted to kiss her, but he couldn't move. He could only look into her grey depths.

"I'm not impervious." Words spoken so quiet, as if spoken any louder would cause the universe to come crashing down. It was a statement, and nothing more. To anyone else, it was irrelevant. But to the partners, it was a declaration. And those three words spoke more than any words in the world.

Slowly, she leaned forward. Her eyes drifted closed, just a bit, as her lips rested atop his. Neither moved, both frightened and awed by the position they were in. Then, as softly as a breath, she pressed forward into him, moving her lips slowly over his. She smiled as she felt his mouth begin to stir under her own.

His arms tightened around her, drawing her body flush with his. Her arms snaked around him, hugging him close, as she moved to deepen the kiss. She had forgotten how right it felt to be kissing him, his scent mingled with the taste of him, like a dark espresso blended with a touch of minty sweetness.

She felt his arms tighten around her again as he pressed his mouth into hers, tongues beginning to seek each other out. It was unlike any kiss they had shared.

Their first kiss was one of passion and desire, a yearning for something which had once been forbidden. The second kiss had been full of lust and release, knowing it would only last for five steamboats and then it would be gone. Their last kiss had been one of desperation, of begging for more than what was. But this kiss was different. This kiss contained both finality and beginning. As their tongues danced along one another and emotion increased, they both knew that this was the kiss of a beginning. There would be no going back, no turning around, and no moving away. This kiss was a kiss of a new foundation.

When the need for air was too great, they broke apart, still holding each other closely. Booth looked into her eyes, seeing love and hope staring back at him. He leaned down to kiss her lips again, silently asking what the next move should be.

"Make love to me, Booth."

She lifted her gaze to his and was nearly overcome with the adoration, lust, passion, and desire she saw in his brown orbs. She knew then that they would be okay. It wouldn't be easy, but together, it could be done.

Good? Bad? More? Less? Please let me know!