A/N: For Twitter pals and awesome people: BaileyJane, RMCbuckeye, and OwlStory. BaileyJane, you're Canadian, you invented LTS and you feed raccoons in your backyard, if I knew nothing else about you, this would be enough. I hope that this angst hurts so good and the smut soothes the ache! RMCbuckeye, you are one of the coolest artists I know AND you watch baseball. 'Nuff said. OwlStory, you alone understand my museum nerdiness and all that it produces. I appreciate all of you and the awesomeness you bring me on a daily basis. Happy Birthdays!
Disclaimer: I am sick and cannot seem to edit. Please inform me of any and all errors you spot so I can clean them up later. Gracias!
"You rat bastard!" Brennan yelled as she stormed into his apartment. "When are you going to stop trying to take bullets that are meant for me?" She cried as she fought the urge to slap him.
"Bones, calm down. Nothing happened to me. I'm fine." He explained as he jumped off the couch.
"He would have killed you if he had gotten the chance."
"But he didn't. That's the point. I was trying to protect you."
"Protect me?" She asked. "How would you feel if I kept stepping in front of bullets for you?" She asked. "You would have me locked in a cell in Gitmo before you let me step outside of the lab again." She said, knowing it was true.
"I'm never going to let someone hurt you if I can stop it first." He said, unapologetic for his actions. "If that means that I have to work solo on one of our cases, then so be it."
"So what, you just decide to go on a little sniping mission for old time's sake?" She asked. "I know that you have this sick notion that taking bullets is just karma for all the lives that you took in the army, but so help me, if you take one more bullet for me, I will have no problems eliminating the threat."
"What the Hell is that supposed to mean?" He asked, his eyes coming to life with the rage he was experiencing towards her. Wasn't she supposed to be grateful that he had potentially saved her life?
"If the Gravedigger case taught me anything it's that if I am willing to kill someone else to save your life, logically, I would be willing to do the same to myself if..." She said.
"Bones!" He cut her off, not wanting to hear her truthful words anymore. To say that he was stunned by her confession was an understatement, but he was also furiously angry that her own life meant so little to her when it meant the world to him.
"You don't have to like it, Booth. Just remember it the next time you decide to work solo." She said, throwing his words back in his face as she tried to leave the apartment.
"Bones!" He chased her out the door and into the hallway. He tugged at her jacket sleeve and forced her to turn around and face him. Brennan jabbed the elevator button angrily and turned around, finding another fight still in her.
"And what am I supposed to tell your son?" She asked him, ignoring his question. "Hmm?" She stared him down, wanting an answer. "Sorry Parker, I know that you wish that your dad was still alive, but he decided that my life was more important than his own." She imagined the scenario in her head.
"Don't you dare bring Parker into this." He yelled, vibrating with rage at her statement.
"That boy comes to me for honesty. He knows that I would never lie to him so when he gets confused, he asks me the hard questions. He trusts me completely. When you die, I'm the one who is going to have to walk up those four steps and knock on that door and tell Rebecca and Parker that the most important man in their lives is dead. That is my responsibility as your partner." She watched the elevator doors open and close out of the corner of her eye, but made no effort to leave. "I looked Rebecca in the eye and I made a promise to her that I would never let them send a standard issue FBI agent to her door to deliver that kind of news. If you ever make me fulfill that promise, I will never forgive you." The sight of her watery eyes and quivering chin made him pause. She sniffed and pulled herself together, willing the tears to end.
"Bones…" This time the name was apologetic, but she wouldn't have it. She couldn't listen to him say her name like a caress after he had so blatantly pissed her off. She shook her head as she jammed the elevator button again, calling the elevator back to their floor. Booth knew her well enough to give her some time and space.
"I swear I have a larger stake in your health than you do at this point." She said as she shook her head. "I have fixed your back. I have seen your x-rays. I have stood next to a surgeon as he cut a hole into your skull and removed a portion of your brain. Hell, I've even had your semen analyzed!" She said, staring him down. Booth tried to open his mouth to defend himself but she continued on anyway. "Do you have any idea what it's like to watch your partner, someone you love, bleed out underneath your hands?" She asked. Booth stayed quiet because he knew all too well what that felt like. "Do you know what it's like to be sitting in an ambulance when the heart monitor flat-lines? To have a doctor come out and simply shake his head because he knows that no words will infiltrate the constant buzzing that is still in your ears?" She was crying openly now, and couldn't have stopped if she tried. "Two weeks." She said. "I heard that flat line for two weeks straight. I didn't sleep, I didn't eat, I'm not sure I even spoke for the first three days. I just heard that constant buzzing, that stupid flat line." She said, irrationally angry at the inanimate screen even now. The elevator doors opened again, and this time, she stepped inside. "I have worked too damn hard to keep you alive for you to care so little about your own life." She shook her head. "It's never just the one person who dies, Booth." She said, his words haunting her even now. "You taught me that." The elevator doors closed and Booth closed his eyes, his fist meeting the nearest wall.
It was one AM when she heard the pounding on her door. She didn't need to get up to know who it was. Only one person would knock on her door at one in the morning that desperately. She wasn't sleeping of course. How could she? Every time she closed her eyes she was right back in the lab, snippets of conversations rattling around in her brain, creating a larger picture.
"Where are you off to?" She had asked.
"I got something I need to take care off. Are you good here?" He asked her as he shut his phone.
"Yeah, I should have the skull reassembled soon."
"Stay here. I'll be back for the evidence when I'm done."
"Looks like we are on our own this afternoon. Booth was sent home."
"Why? What happened?"
"He got into a shoot-out with one of our gang members. He's totally fine, I guess the guy didn't realize who he was threatening with a gun." Cam rolled her eyes. "Even still, the FBI told him to take the rest of the day off."
She sighed, debating whether or not to answer the door when she remembered he kicked in doors for a living. She got up and padded towards the door, bleary eyed from crying and sleep deprivation.
"What?" She cried as she yanked open the door. He didn't say a word, simply pushed her into her apartment and shut the door. She was taken aback by the determined look in his eye. This was a man who had clearly made up his mind about her and she felt exposed and slightly vulnerable being out of the loop.
"Look, I've been racking my brain for a few hours trying to find better way to say this but I can't seem to find it so I'm just going to say it. I love you." He said blatantly. She took a step back at his words. "And not in the partnerly "Atta-girl" kind of way that I told you last month, I mean I really love you. That's why I'm willing to do terrible things to people who threaten you. That's why I would never think twice about stepping in front of a gun for you. My own well-being doesn't even factor into the equation." He assured her. "But what today showed me is that you love me too." He said as he took a step forward. "I know that's why you reacted the way that you did and why you said all of those things this afternoon, as annoyingly true as they may be." He said. "You said them because you love me." She opened her mouth to say something, but she couldn't deny it and she was too shocked to say anything else so she just closed it again. Booth seemed to take this as his cue to invade her personal space because in a heartbeat he was crossing the floor to hold her. His arms wrapped around hers and she looked up into his eyes, searching them for a sign for what this meant. "You know that things have been different since I woke up." He said. "We both felt the change and I thought that maybe I could go back to the way things were before, but I realized I don't want to." He admitted. "I'm tired of pretending what we have is something other than what it really is."
"And what is it?" She asked. He stared at her for a moment before leaning down to capture her lips in a soft and almost tentative kiss. She was surprised by the action, but let him lead. As he pulled away, he ran his thumb over her still tingling bottom lip.
"That's what I'm here to find out." He confessed. She felt her heart clutch in her chest and within that moment, she knew that he was worth the experiment. She nodded once in understanding and reached up and kissed him again, this time deeper, giving him his answer. They caught fire as they fell into one another, finally letting go of the pretense and taking what was rightfully theirs. When they made it to the bedroom, he wasn't surprised when she began stripping him of his clothes, but the surrealistic moment caught up with him when he realized he got to return the favor. She walked into his hands and he let them linger on her hips for a moment before slipping the nightgown over her head and discarding it to the side. She looked like heaven and as she kissed him again, he realized just how long he had waited for this moment.
"Touch me." She whispered as she leaned her forehead against his, wondering why he was staying so still.
"I'm trying to memorize you." He half-explained, half-apologized as he pushed her down onto the bed. He pulled her thigh up around his waist and ran his hand over it, licking his lips subconsciously. Her milky white skin felt sinfully smooth under his touch. He allowed himself the decadent pleasure of kissing the front of her hip bone and he felt her tremble under his lips. She ran her foot down the back of his leg and he fought to control himself. His lips came down and captured a nipple in his mouth, earning him a delicious moan of approval from his partner. Her hands tangled in his hair as he explored her breasts and stomach, scattering kisses as he went.
"I can't wait any more, Booth. I need to feel you." She begged, arching up into him. "Please?" He understood the sentiment and he reached down to adjust her hips. He caught her stare and it spoke volumes without saying a word. He kissed her as he entered her and he felt her exhale sharply against his mouth. He stilled as their eyes met again, speaking the words that they couldn't say. As he began to move within her, she let out a hum of contentment against his lips. Soon the hum turned to a moan.
"Booth…" She murmured as he stroked deep within her. He had been with many women in his lifetime, but she was the first to call him by his last name in bed. And the way that it fell from her tongue should have been damn near illegal. He felt her fingernails clutching into his back as she tried to hold on. She was close, her quickly fraying control gave her away and Booth sped up his pace, wanting to watch her come completely undone but every thrust brought him that much closer to the edge as well.
"Let go, Bones." He whispered. "I've got you, baby." He encouraged her with a kiss. "Let go." With his words in her ear, she shuddered hard as she rode out her orgasm. He followed her, her name on his lips as he emptied himself inside of her. As they both collapsed on the mattress, he kept her close, not wanting to lose any more contact with her than he had to. As she lay on his chest, she slowly gained her thought process back. What had just happened was going to bring consequences, she knew that. What those consequences were, however, remained a mystery. As always, he seemed to be able to read her before she could let her questions be known.
"Sleep." He commanded as he kissed the top of her head. "We'll talk in the morning."
"We just had sex." She said, surprised at him. "You may be able to sleep but I'm wide awake."
"Then I didn't do my job properly." He teased. She rolled her eyes but smiled despite herself.
"Everything has changed. I just want to know what it means."
"That's the terrifying part about love, Bones. We have to go through it to find out how it all ends." He said.
"I suppose that's true." She said. "Are we going to have to tell the FBI that we've slept together?" She asked.
"I don't know." He said. "Are we going to tell people that we're together?"
"I don't see why not."
"Then I suppose we'll have to."
"They could take you off the team." She whispered, clearly horrified by the thought.
"They could." He said. "But I'm going to go down fighting if they try." She didn't say anything, clearly still ill at ease with the idea.
"I will refuse to work with anyone else." She said, formulating a plan. "If they want me to keep contracting, they will have to give me you. I only work with the best and our completion rate proves that."
"You think I'm the best?" He smiled, surprised by the compliment.
"Of course I do. Why would I keep working with you if I didn't?" Her matter of fact tone made him chuckle. "Besides, anyone who has ever met me knows that I can compartmentalize better than almost anyone. Nothing will change at work." The statement came out as a fact, but Booth could hear the subtle warning in her tone. He wasn't allowed to rock the boat too much and he respected that. This was new and complicated. He didn't want to scare her away.
"What, no afternoon quickies in the storage closet?" He teased.
"Cam had the entire place wired after Angela and Hodgins got together." She said. "And from what I heard from Angela, you don't want Cam showing up at your office with a sex tape." They both laughed at the picture that formed in their heads.
"No, I definitely don't." Booth agreed. She sat up and turned to face him.
"Do you really think that this could work?" She asked. "Be honest. You and me, work and personal life?" Booth took the question seriously. "We're so different."
"We've been through everything together, Bones and we still ended up here." He shrugged. "If we can survive all of that, well, that's enough evidence for me." She caught the use of the scientific term and she paused.
"Are you really using evidence or are you just saying that to make me feel better?"
"What do you think?" He asked, playing it mysteriously.
"I find that it works on both levels." She said.
"Then yes." He smirked as he leaned in to kiss her. She found herself being manipulated back to the mattress again and she broke the kiss as she propped herself up on her elbows.
"Booth, we have more to talk about." She said as she fought the grin that kissing him brought to her face.
"Later." He said, barely breaking away long enough to manage the word. "We've got the rest of our lives to talk." He reasoned.
And just this once, she didn't bother to correct him.